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The Birth Story

October 28, 2011

On October 21st, Quinn Le Tom came into the world!  I was 100% positive I was going to have another boy, so imagine my glee when the nurse said, “It’s a girl!”  That moment alone made waiting on knowing the sex of the baby so worth it.  So, here’s the story.


I was technically due Wednesday.  Wednesday came and went with no signs of baby.  My OB recommended I get induced and the Good Doctor took a little poll from other OB’s and it seemed like a good idea since we were getting backed by a weekend.  However, I wasn’t too thrilled to be induced.  Call me old school but I really wanted my body to do what it needs to do.  After all, it’s been doing all the right things these last nine months, why intervene now.  Friday rolls around and we go to the hospital anyway, after my OB tells me I’m already 3 cm dilated, 60% effaced, and contracting (and I thought it was just gas).  I’m not going to lie, I had a bit of an emotional breakdown.  It really wasn’t the way I envisioned bringing the baby in the world – being all hooked up to various wires and contraptions and pitocin dripping into my vein.  The Good Doctor said all the right things and we talked through the process and he let me go through the process of getting to the decision on my own.  And then he held me while I cried.  Not a sniffly, delicate cry.  It was the kind of cry that you know you need to cover your face because it’s an ugly cry and you might be a little embarrassed afterwards.  I just needed to get it out.  After a good cry, I shook it off and it was game time.  Like last time, the contractions started in my back.  Unlike last time, it moved around to my belly but the back contractions stayed.  Everything was manageable – painful but manageable – for the rest of the morning and afternoon until the back contractions started getting intense.   Then things started to get a little kooky.

The nurse came in to check on how I was progressing.  (TMI Warning!  For those who haven’t had babies, “checking to see how you’re progressing” is code for “I’m putting this glove on to stick my hand up your hoo-ha to see how many squirrels can hibernate up there for the winter.”)  While determining I was about 5 cm dilated (enough for squirrel newlyweds, but not enough for any extended family or overnight guests), the nurse had this dark look come over her face.  She started and stopped a few sentences, like “What is….” and “That is so odd…” and “I’ve never…I don’t know what…”  I mean, homegirl has been a nurse for over 15 years and if she doesn’t know what’s going on in my hoo-ha , it must be something scary or sci-fi.  Or squirrels.  She hit the nurse call button to get another nurse to come in and help her figure it out.  With her hand still inside me, my water breaks and a surprised look comes over her face.  Then she exclaims, “I think your baby’s hand is on top of her head and I think she’s holding on to my finger!”  Another nurse comes in, claims that they should call in nurse #3 because she has longer fingers, and the three of them all take turns to confirm that, indeed, the baby’s hand was on top of her head and she was grasping at whatever was trolling around, like nurses’ fingers.  Now, logically, I know that this simply means the baby had just gotten her hand lodged between her head and my cervix.  However, my imagination was producing visions of a hand literally growing on top of her head, like in one of those TLC shows where a “twin” grows on the side of the person’s face but it’s just the mouth and an extra ear.  Look, a woman in labor should not be expected to be reasonable.

The nurse called the doctor in to confirm and do some maneuvering to dislodge the hand because if there is a “hand presentation” when it’s time to push it could result in a C-section.  Knowing this,  and with increased intensity of the contractions, I opted for what they call a “walking epidural,” or what I call an “epi-lite”: all the flavor, none of the calories.

Before I knew it, it was time to push.  The hand had miraculously disappeared or fallen off and everything looked ripe for the pushing.  Earlier, we had talked to my OB (who is awesome) about the possibility of me “catching” the baby, or pulling her out.  He said he’s been delivering babies for over 20 years and has never done that before but he’s willing to try.  Truth be told, I saw Kourtney Kardashian do it when she delivered her baby.  Did I just lose credibility?  Did I just go from badass mom to reality-show junkie?  Anyway, as her head came out, the OB helped guide my hands to support her head while he helped get her shoulders out and then I pushed while I pulled and out she came!  Two seconds later,I brought her to my chest all slimy and beautiful with a healthy set of lungs.

The Good Doctor and I could not be more excited to have a little girl in our lives.  It took us a while to settle on her name.  We always knew we wanted to name her Quinn, but the debate was over the spelling.  When we first decided on her name, it was the Vietnamese version, Quyen.  Quyen is the name of a songbird in Vietnam.  The Good Doctor had concerns that she would spend a lifetime correcting people on the pronunciation and spelling of her name.  Being Vietnamese, I didn’t see what the big deal was.  Imagine the millions of people out there teaching others how to spell and pronounce “Nguyen.”  But then we started asking around and it was clear that it would be a struggle for her.  Everyone was pronouncing it differently, like “Qui-yen” and “Kuay-yen”.  Uncle JB el JB gave us great perspective:  If you want her to become an international kung-fu superhero, spell it Quyen.  If you want her to be CEO of a finance firm, spell it Quinn.  As much as we want her to be the next Ninja Warrior, we went with the English spelling.  It was a hard decision because we want to keep her heritage in her name, but we also didn’t want a lifetime of name corrections for her.

Genghis promptly started calling her Quinny and keeps correcting my dad when he calls her Quinn.  He is so sweet with her, giving her gentle kisses every time she’s in the room and patting her head.  I wonder if the honeymoon will end soon and he’ll ask me to take her back.  Sorry kiddo, there’s a no-return policy on this bundle.  She’s all ours and I think we’re going to keep her.


From → La Q

  1. Julia permalink

    Congratulations! What a wonderful family!
    Can’t wait to meet the baby!

  2. Uncle JB permalink

    Thanks for the props.

    P.S. I’m impressed that La Q came equipped with supermarket feet.

  3. Jenna permalink

    Judy! Oh Judy! Judy! Judy! Judy! Judy! What to say? Judy!

  4. Joy E. permalink

    LOVE the story, Judy! Congratulations!

  5. bogo permalink

    Love the ‘staches!

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