Labor Pains – Delivering you Maximo Leonard Juarez

Well folks, he’s here! Maximo Leonardo Juarez has made his appearance in the world –

July 14th, 2012 at 4:37pm
7 lbs, 14 oz and 20 1/2 inches of pure love.

I said I would be honest in this blog, and let you all know how the pangs of pregnancy, and now motherhood, took over my life – so here goes the “A Baby Story: Maximo and Stephanie.”

WARNING – This is a labor story so DO NOT READ IF:

1. You are about to give birth and are petrified. I do NOT want your anxiety on my conscience.
2. Can’t handle the truth – as Jack Nicholson said. Labor isn’t all puppies and rainbows – but there IS a pot of gold at the end – xoxo
3. Don’t like a good story. Go watch some more Kardashians on E!


Well as you read previously, I spent the night in the hospital due to a minor “concern” and had been placed on bed rest for the last couple of weeks with ultrasound appointments about twice a week. Of course this meant daily foot rubs and being fanned with grape leaves by Claudio as I feasted on Chinese food and Sex and the City episodes, so who was complaining?

Then I went back to the doctor, who told me I had HIGH amniotic fluid. High? That’s good right? Lots of water for baby to play in – and trust me – he was having a BLAST in there. Dr. Feder said it’s not a serious concern, just not normal and we would have to watch the levels. If they got too high, there was a rise in concern of my water breaking at home as it could (a) flip Maximo into breech (YIKES! NO C SECTION PLEASE!) or (b) the huge water rush could push the cord out first which could choke him. Not to mention, a flood of 10 gallons of water just MIGHT be too much for Vera to handle.

So I was having “mom worries.” I was only 38 weeks, and Claudio’s sister’s wedding was coming up (yes, I was planning to STILL walk down that aisle 9 days before my due date come hell or high water). Plus I was still fixated on my due date! I still had two week until he was supposed to be here. Couldn’t he just wait?

Well that week’s ultrasound confirmed it – the fluid levels kept rising. Dr. Feder asked me if I had any plans this weekend cause baby was going to come. Um… just a huge family wedding is all. But Maximo needed to come out. At 39 weeks, babies are considered “full term” and there is no reason to leave them to come on their own when it’s better to have him come a little early with no problems. They wanted my water to break “in a controlled environment” and I agreed. I didn’t want to risk any problems with Maximo! So we set the induction for Saturday, so hopefully he would come that day, and Claudio could still sneak off to the wedding on Sunday.


Joke is on me! Induction Saturday = you come in Friday night. The date was getting closer and closer. I had been on “bed rest” but when they give you a deadline – you go CRAZY trying to prepare. In two days, I tried to clean the house, get the house stocked with groceries, anything left we need? Maybe a quick manicure/pedicure for the delivery…. haha.. oh yeah, the Rehearsal Dinner is Thursday NIGHT! Did we pack everything for the hospital?

PRO: being induced means you skip triage. No sitting in pain in a mini emergency room for women in labor. You can sit in triage for HOURS until you fully dilate. Well at least till you’re about 4-5 cm right? Me? I went right into the labor room. Talk about a wake up call.

CON: I was STRESSED having a date! I feel like it would’ve been so much easier to just be sitting at home and WHOOPS! water breaks! Maybe lets take in a movie, a glass of wine, and trek it to the hospital. LOL.

So here we are again. Just me, Claudio and a hospital room. No food. Just ice chips. And cable. And a cell phone (if you saw all Claudio’s Facebook updates on the labor, lol, you know what I mean). IV Time!! YAY! (scarcasm). This time I BEGGED for a tiny needle and to keep it away from my wrist – that shit HURTS! So I took it in the hand.

8 pm – Dr. Feder came to see me. Time for the Cervadil. Cervadil is a little paper like piece they insert to “soften your uterus.” You can’t go into labor unless it’s ripe. Mine needed some encouragement. The nurse told me to dance and walk around to try and get baby to come down into position – so Claudio and I decided to have a Friday night party with Pittbull and ice chips (see video).

5 am – The night was rather uneventful, but about 5 am I was having cramps and pain and they came and gave me some morphine so I could sleep. That did the trick – I mean, I haven’t had as much as a TYLENOL in 9 months – so this made me a little loopy then I knocked the F out. I think Claudio bribed them with my M&Ms just so he could sleep lol.

9 am – Good morning from Doctor. Time to break your water! OMG! FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK! This is it. It hit me there is no turning back. Once the water is broken, this baby is coming. (yes, I knew he was coming, but somewhere in the back of my mind I thought maybe they’d send me back home for another week or 20!) My nerves were on edge. She poked around with a little stick and and I heard a little “POP” but just a trickle of water. “Funny,” She said, “I thought there would be more water.”

Well not to disappoint – remember when they parted the Red Sea in “The Ten Commandments” and then Moses let go? Well, let’s just say my water was competing for an Emmy nomination.

11 am – Time for Pitocin! They gave me a couple hours to let labor start on it’s own. I was feeling the contractions, but it made sense to speed up the process a little. Well it wasn’t long before those contractions were kicking in FULL TIME. Still at 1 1/2 cm – those puppies HURT! Claudio was holding my hand going – BREATHE! BREAAAATHE! Deep breath in! Our Lamaze teacher would be so proud.

Then “he” (I quote “he” as in “he – the evil one with the back needle) came in with the Epidural. This was the moment. Do or die. I had been dreading this moment my WHOLE life. I have literally been terrified of a needle in my back since I can remember playing tea party with my dolls in kindergarten. He explained the side effects and pros. I was already in tears. I knew I was going to eventually get it, so I said okay let’s do it now.

My heart was in my throat. They had me sit and arch my back over on the bed, clutching a pillow. I was in tears, and Claudio stood in front of me rubbing my shoulders. He must’ve seen the fear in my eyes, because he wouldn’t let me go. I couldn’t even look at him, or concentrate on anything. I was freaking. I felt them sterilize my back, and then numb the area. Ok here goes the needle – you’ll feel a little prick then some pressureeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee….. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

And I felt nothing. Literally nothing. Then my legs went numb.

Someone give this man an award! If my adrenaline wasn’t so high and I could remember his name, I would recommend him for EVERY PREGNANT WOMAN IN THE WORLD! And then I really felt nothing. No pain. No contractions. No legs.


1 pm – I was feeling some pressure, like they say, the “need to poop.” I know. But that’s exactly what the feeling is. I could beat around the bush and colorfully paint a picture for you using cute, glittered words, but let’s just cut to the chase. I told the nurse this so she figured I should get an internal exam.

And…. 10 CM! I was fully dialated. HOLY FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK! Two hours and it’s go time??? This was it. This was the time. The nurse said, relax, you need to give it another hour. You’ll feel when it’s time to push.

Another hour? What was I supposed to do now? Sit back relax and have a cocktail hour? Let’s get this baby out!

2:15 pm –  Time to push. I couldn’t take it anymore. They want you to wait till the contractions are on top of each other so you don’t start pushing too soon and wear yourself out. But hey, when you know, you know. And Maximo was saying it was time. Cece had just shown up to say hi and see how I was doing and I told her she could stay. JUST DON’T LOOK DOWN! That was my only request.

The next two hours were a blur. I felt like Rocky. DING DING DING! Round 3! Claudio had one leg, Cece had the other and I was pushing – and I felt like my EYES were going to explode. Andddd rest. Claudio would feed me an ice chip, Cece gave me some oxygen. Breathe for 1 min…. DING DING DING!!! Round 4!

Finally the doctor said, the baby just wasn’t getting over the “hump.” Or the pelvic bone. He was RIGHT THERE. I could feel him, but he was going to need a little help. He was sitting in there for a couple hours now, and he was getting distressed. Now, the word “DISTRESSED” is like acid to me. Distressed means – get the baby the F out or a c section is coming. Plus I was starting to run a fever – WTH – and we needed to get the show on the road. So we were going to give him a little help with a suction. A suction? Yes, a little vacuum that helps pull him out. Great. Now I am going to have a cone head baby. I had already told Claudio I wasn’t going to show ANYONE pics if we had a creep looking newborn. I mean, come on admit it! Newborns are NOT usually the prettiest of creatures – they come out warped, covered in fluid and white, smooshed, red marks, looking blue… you name it! I joked that if he had a uni-brow thanks to all the heartburn I was having, I was going to shave it immediately. Claudio didn’t laugh.

4:15 pm – It’s show time. Finally the doc was there and setting up show down below with her team. Really at this moment – everything is a blur. Time stops.

Time to push again. And this time I know he’s coming out. I keep pushing – and I. Feel. Everything. All I know is that I was screaming – in pain, in fear, in confusion. In joy. In relief! Every emotion you have ever know or thought could exist surges through your body in those few seconds.

And then he was here. Crying. On the table. The only way I can think of to describe it is that it felt like I was having an out of body experience. It was the worst and best moment of my life simultaneously. Pure raw emotion. I saw Maximo for the first time – and I could only think – Oh my god, I made that – that’s mine. That’s what he looks like – that’s a BABY! Wait, that just came out of me? What do I do? Is he okay? He’s so big! OMG is that really mine??? I was crying. In pain, and joy and just overall overwhelming floods of emotion. I watched Claudio walk over to him and call his name, and watched Maximo open his eyes and look right at him. He knew his daddy. Claudio was crying. Then he came back over to hold my hand. I heard the doctor talking in the faint distance.

Stephanie! STOP MOVING! I snapped back to reality as I felt the stitching needle. Maximo had decided to come out head sunny side up – facing up – the cord was around his neck and his arms were crossed on his chest. This means that at his widest point to come out….he was even wider. You do the math. Or let me help you – approximately 10 stitches. And the needle looks like a mini grim reaper’s sickle. Yeah. awesome visual I know. Ever see the Texas Chainsaw Massacre – the Beginning when he was a butcher? Yeah. I felt like I was in that movie. Or maybe it was Hostel??!

The hard part? They let your epidural wear off so you can feel the contractions to push. They don’t hurt. But by the time that baby is coming out – you feel EVERYTHING. And the stitches to follow? Well – I think you get the point. I was laying there crying, click click clicking my epidural to kick in again, but it wasn’t going to work before these stitches were done.

Truth be told however. Dr. Feder is amazing. She knew exactly what to do, how to do it, and kept me focused. If you know me – I need a strong doc to keep me in line an tell me what to do. She was THE BEST. Seriously, if you’re looking for an OB/GYN in the city – she could possibly be the best.

So let’s just say – I have a new found respect for women who have given birth. Words could never descibe the experience. I have tried, but even reading back – it just doesn’t paint the picture as I lived it. I guess it’s meant to be that way – it’s just one of those things in life you have to expereince on your own to fully comprehend.

But in the end – everything you go through is worth it. The nurses all tell you through out the whole thing – “but you’ll have a beautiful baby at the end of all this!” You could really care less when you’re having a contraction – I wanted to be like – shut the F up! I don’t care make this pain STOOOOOP! But it couldn’t be more true. At the end – it’s like nothing you went through mattered anymore. And you would go through it all again – and THEN some, just to hold Maximo in your arms.

^^^ and I can’t help but LOVE this little noises he made as a newborn. Only lasted first couple of days I’m glad we captured them 🙂 xoxo Good job DAD!

As I watch him sleeping and making faces as I type this on the couch, I couldn’t be more happier and can’t believe the journey of pregnancy has come to an end. It really is the miracle of life. How your body can create, nurture, develop and push out  a tiny human being with relatively NO help from yourself.

By | 2017-11-20T06:25:14+00:00 July 24th, 2012|labor and delivery, Motherhood, pregnancy|12 Comments

About the Author:

Stephanie Barnhart is an award-winning blogger, columnist, and outdoor enthusiast writer featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and other media outlets. She is also the NYC Editor for


  1. Emily July 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    “I watched Claudio walk over to him and call his name, and watched Maximo open his eyes and look right at him. He knew his daddy. Claudio was crying. Then he came back over to hold my hand.” – This made me cry

    • slbarnhart July 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks Em! Everyone keeps telling me that- didn’t realize I wrote it so heart felt… But I tried so glad you enjoy it!

  2. July 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Feel so blessed to have shared this with you. Most amazing experience!! xxxxAuntieC

    • slbarnhart July 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      Glad you were there Cece xoxo 🙂

  3. Aunt Kim July 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    What Emily said — what a tear jerker eloquent description of that moment (contrasted with the reality convo of the labor journey — it was so real!) So great to read your story to go with the pics Claudio kept sending to keep the PA branch in the loop — your Gram kept shaking her head and smiling each time there was another pic – we are so grateful and very proud of you three and your new family!

  4. Marsha July 25, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Read this on my subway ride home. Boy was I glad that I had my sunglasses on! Can’t tell you how much I nodded my head in agreement, laughed, and shed a few tears. Thanks for sharing. What a great idea to write a blog!

  5. Ana Juarez August 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Blessed be Motherhood!! And you newly mom have joined the club!! Life has begun in a way that only a mother can experience and feel. Maximo will allow you to experience every emotion possible that a human being can experience. Enjoy every moment and always remember the miracle of birth in the beautiful perfect face of Maximo Leonardo Juarez!!

  6. Diana Terrones August 2, 2012 at 4:00 am

    Man!!! You are so right. Maximo is adorable.

  7. Michelle August 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Another NYC mama here – Congrats!!

    • slbarnhart August 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Thanks! Congrats to you too!

  8. Leah Jlyn November 6, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Thanks, for sharing this journey of birth with us. And what a lovely baby, too!

    • Stephanie Barnhart November 6, 2013 at 6:50 am

      Thanks Leah! Birth is quiet the story to tell!

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