Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Baby Lulu's Birth

It started at 4am on June 22nd. J had been asleep since 2am, unable to keep up with me as I was a whirlwind of Getting Things Done, until a self-imposed bedtime of 3am. I had a lot of errands to run in just a few hours, and I'd need at least some sleep, right?

I wake up at 4am to try to go to the bathroom and, no shock to my logical mind, I'm in pain. I hobble to the on-suite and hobbled back, cursing the end of pregnancy and the way my body's strained with weight and promise. I go back to sleep.

At 5am I wake again, in pain even before I can even sit up. Argh, I think to myself, this really hurts, and I haven’t even tried to move yet. Stupid pregnancy. Hurting all the time. Wait a minute, I think again, labor. This has to be labor.

Duh, I hear you saying.

But guys, I say back, it felt different than the other two labors. This one felt lower, more like extraordinary pressure rather than waves of contractions.

Wondering how far apart they were, and realizing that I hadn’t downloaded a stop watch app yet to my phone, I laid in bed and found one to download. Of course I did. I didn’t want to wake up J in case things settled down, so I decide to get in the shower.

You might remember that I didn’t want to use drugs for this delivery. In an effort not to “wing it” this time, I borrowed my friend BreAnne’s Hypnobabies book and CDs. Two nights before I’d started the Hypnobirthing book; I made it through the intro and most of the first chapter. Go me. Pretty sure I got the gist of it.

So there I was, in the shower, when the contractions started strengthening. Sorry, not contractions, “surges.” Surges is what hypnobirthing folks call contractions; it’s a “positive” word instead of a “negatively-associated” word. Well, they feel the same, is what I say. A rose by any other name is still a freaking contraction. I remembered the 5 pages I’d read and tried to breathe calmly through the "surges." I even went as far as to picture a damn ocean.

Breathing in and out. Tides. Quiet. Gray ocean day. It's working. Deserted beach. Phone with stopwatch outside of shower and I can’t hit the button to lap the contraction because I’m dripping wet. Breathe. Doesn’t matter. The surges are a minute apart, maybe less. Don’t really have to bother with a stop watch at this point because there is no more "apart" there is only one long "surge" that doesn't stop. I can barely lift my leg to get out of the shower.

I call my sister and tell her to get to my house. “Want to meet me downstairs and unlock the door?” she says.
And in the last full sentences of that morning I’m able to say, “Use your key.”

I fall to my knees on the bathroom floor and call the midwife. She insists on asking me a bunch of questions. Dammit. I can’t answer these. I manage to stammer out a few answers. She tells me I’m doing a good job breathing through the contractions and she’ll meet me at the hospital.

I call for J. “J,” I say, from the floor of the bathroom.
“What,” he mumbles from the bed. I have to wait to answer again until the surge passes for 15 seconds.
“J,” I say.
“What?” Another long pause.
“J,” I say.
“What do you WANT?” He says.
“BABY,” I manage to get out.
“OH!” he says, and runs to the bathroom, “So, uh, what should I do?”
“Get. Dressed.” I respond, grabbing whatever shirt is laying over the back of the chair to pull over my head.

I just have to put the things I use every day into my already packed bag: contact solution, contact case, makeup, face lotion, toothbrush. I am unable to move. I can’t put those things into my bag because the space between the surges is so short I’m only able to grab one item and move it 6 inches before another surge hits. Not to mention, I am blind: I can’t stop to put in my contacts and no one can find my glasses. I’m just reaching for whatever is in front of me.
“What do you need?” J asks.
“Pants,” I reply.
“Which pants? Where?”
“Drawer. Pants. Brown.”
He has to help me put them on because I can’t: I can’t make a full sentence, I can’t put on pants, I can’t put my things in my bag, I can’t see. I have to hope that my glasses are in the bag because no one else in the house can find them even though I try to tell them to check the floor next to the bed (where they fall at night after I go to sleep.)

We leave the house at 6. My car is on empty. Why? Because Wednesday is errand day. I was going to Costco, to DI, to a million other places, including a stop to fill the tank. “Do I need to stop to get gas?” J asks.
At this point, reduced to monosyllabic responses, yet running a commentary in my head, I am getting angry at him. I don’t want to answer him. I want to breathe through this CONTRACTION. I cannot be answering questions or making decisions.
I grit my teeth and answer, “Yes.” We pull into the corner gas station.
“How much should I put in? Should I fill it?” he asks.
“Two. Gallons.” I spit out.
“Where is your gas thing?” he asks.
“Door,” is what I’m actually able to say.

I breathe and try to picture the ocean again. It’s not working. I should have read more of that book. I don’t have my glasses. I can’t see. I keep my eyes closed so I don’t have to look at the blurry world and because it seems to help. Also, I don’t have to look at the guy who doesn’t know where the release button is.

We take off down the road. The hospital is 20 minutes away in normal traffic. Thank goodness it’s 6 in the morning, the light is pale and there aren’t a lot of cars out. I’m half sitting, half lying, holding onto the door. When I have a break I try to reach the back seat, into the bag, to try to find my glasses. I never get any further than reaching the bag before I have to stop to deal with the contractions. I open an eye to peek and notice that J is driving really fast. Good.
“Should I take State Street or I-15?” He asks.
“I...15...” I manage to say.
He speeds, weaving through the sparse traffic, and asks me about the freeway exit.
“Right. Left. Straight.” I say, hoping he can remember those directions as we barrel down the off-ramp.
“Run it, ” I say when we get to the next light. He does.
“Hmm,” he says, “Looks like the road is closed ahead.”
“STRAIGHT,” I demand through my clenched teeth.

We pull into the red lane in front of the hospital entrance at 6:15am. J runs inside to get a wheelchair. I try to get out of the car. I can’t. I try to talk myself into moving. I can’t. I take a deep breath, twist out of the car and into the wheelchair. “Bag,” I say. I manage to grab my contacts case from the bag’s side pocket and hold tight to it.
He pushes me to the elevator and we’re going up to Labor and Delivery.
I notice that there are a lot of nurses around. A lot. “Did you want to go unmedicated?” asks one.
“YES,” I say.
They wheel me into the triage room.

I’ve been in the triage room before with my other babies. You lie down on the bed, they strap a monitor around your belly. The “whoomp whoomp” sound of the baby’s movements and heart fills the audio system in the room. It's calm and orderly, people measuring and deciding.

Only this time it's chaos; they are trying to convince me to get onto the bed. I won't. They keep insisting.
“I CAN’T” I say, before giving it all I have and crawling onto the bed on all fours. They try to talk me into turning around, lying down, and someone is trying to put the monitor on me.
“NO,” I say, “Check NOW.” A nurse checks me and declares, “She’s complete! Time to go! It’s a good thing you wanted an unmedicated birth because you couldn’t of had drugs even if you’d wanted them.” I crawl off the bed and back into the wheelchair and I’m wheeled into a labor room. “I need a mirror,” I say, “For my contacts.”
“Honey,” says one nurse, “You’re having an unmedicated birth; I think you can manage to put on your contacts without a mirror.” She’s right, I realize, and while in the wheelchair, I undo my contact case and notice how my hands and fingers are shaking as I put in my contacts. It works. I can see--and I see the giant mirror they roll into the room. “What?” I say, “No, get that thing out of here. I just wanted a mirror to put in my contacts.” The nurses are laughing. I stand up out of the wheelchair, and bend over slightly to put my palms on the bed, my feet planted on the floor.

There’s a slightly scared looking male EMT in the corner who is observing the birth. One of the nurses explains, “This is an unmedicated birth. If you ever have to attend a birth in the field, this is probably what it will be like. See how she’s standing? See how she’s telling us what to do? All we do is listen to her and follow her instructions.” Yes, I think to myself, yes.

One of the nurses is applying counter-pressure to my lower back, her palms facing outward while she pushes. It feels wonderful. She calls J over and shows her how to push on my back. He pushes lightly, at first.
“MORE,” I say, until he pushes too hard, and I grunt for him to stop.

At that moment I realize something: if I push, this will all be over.

I don’t have to do this any more. I can push and it will be over.

I push and it feels right and good and I want to push more. I want to push harder. I do, and my water breaks, all over J’s shoes. I laugh inside, because I know he’s panicking inside. This is his nightmare--he does not want to be viscerally involved. He'll want to throw away those shoes. “Get onto the bed!” the midwife and the nurses tell me.
“You have to get onto the bed!”
“Fine,” I summon all my strength, climb onto the bed, and lie down. I push.
“STOP!” says the midwife, “She’s crowning!”
I don’t want to stop. I want to push. Screw this stopping stuff. It only feels right when I push.
“Stop!” says the midwife again, “Push a little then stop, take a breath, only push a little, good, good.” I grudgingly listen to her, and when she says I can push, I do, and baby is out.

“I DID IT! I DID IT I DID IT!” I yell happily. The nurses are all laughing again, and I’m laughing with them.
“I DON’T HAVE TO BE PREGNANT ANYMORE!” I yell again. I am shaking a little but feel fantastic.
“You did great,” J says.
“LOOK AT THAT VIEW!” I say, staring out the window, up the green mountain where the sun is shining over the highest peaks, “WOW, IT’S GORGEOUS!” And they hand me the baby,

who is even more gorgeous.

I see her.

She’s beautiful.

She’s perfect.

She’s in a hurry; it was 6:35am. 14 minutes from the time we pulled into the hospital until she was born.

I don’t count her toes or her fingers, I just look at her face.

I memorize her face.

And I know she’s the one.


whitneyingram said...

I am so glad I was still awake to read this. What a great story. Truly great. I am so glad to hear things went well.

Favorite line:
"A rose by any other name is still a freaking contraction."

MarfMom said...

Beautiful. Congratulations!

Mrs. Organic said...

I can practically smell her babyness through the screen. Congratulations! You did it!

~j. said...

So. Was Costco crowded that day? What about DI?

AzĂșcar said...



Julie {Angry Julie Monday} said...

I feel like I'm reading an episode of "I didn't know I was pregnant", even though you knew you were know what I mean.

And I totally remember your nesting that night, and tweeting!

Congrats mama!

MediocreMama said...

I'm impressed. She is perfect.

Holly said...

The tears...they are welling. Congratulations!

eliana23 said...

beautiful! it is over! congrats! and great story

Jen, RN said...

That's a great birth story! Congratulations!

moosh in indy. said...

I know I just did this too, but I'm all weepy.
I love birthing babies. I LOVE IT.

Aim said...

Congratulations on the new baby! It's 6:38 am and I have been awake since 5:00 not able to sleep because I have been worrying about getting my baby out. I'm just 24 weeks so I have way too long to go and I can sleep so I sit down at the computer to read my blogs and I read your story. Now I don't know if I'm more worried about having to get this baby out or if I'm excited for Oct. to get here so I don't have to be pregnant any more. Enjoy that new baby, she is beautiful!

The Glamorous Housewife said...

What a wonderful story! So similar to my birth of my second child. I am overdue 3 days with my third right now and your story is really helping me be patient. And maybe the laughs will put me into labor!

Thanks doll,
The Glamorous Housewife

Lani said...

Woohoo! My favorite part was the EMT. Heehee.

Jean said...

Oh she is beautiful. Just beautiful.
Congratulations, and great story!

(Word Verif: Duress. Awesome.)

Heather M said...

One word: jealous! I had expectations of natural childbirth with all my kiddos (3) and my SHORTEST hospital experience was 14 hours from arriving until delivery! But I am done now! Congrats on a gorgeous baby girl! Isn't it fun to have a girl after 2 boys? That's what I have too. The best thing is pulling a load of baby girl laundry out of the dryer, all soft and fluffy and sweet!

Janet said...

I bawled (from the beginning actually) and laughed (when they said whatever she says goes) through this. I have to get it together and get out the door.

So glad everything went that well. Stephen is afraid that I'll have several false alarms. I think it'll be like you - I'll be at the hospital right in time.

I can't wait to not be pregnant anymore and have a baby instead.

So beautiful, thank you for sharing.


Melanie Jacobson said...

LOVE this.

She's gorgeous.

Amber said...

Congrats! She is beautiful just like her Momma.

{natalie} said...

i love that they rolled in a huge mirror. HA.

way to go. you are amazing. and ET would have the same reaction to the water breaking on his shoes. he is a sit by the head type of dad in the delivery room which is ok by me.

she is beautiful. congrats. ps welcome to the world of having a daughter.

Tiffany UnTwisted said...

Did you really use the word imprint? (Just sayin')

Anonymous said...

I usually hate reading birth stories, but I read every single word of yours and loved it all. She is beautiful. Congratulations.

Queen Scarlett said...

Man... you really do, do EVERYTHING in that family. I am in awe of Lulu and you. Beyonce got it right. The answer is: girls.

Should I post this, or not? Which socks should I wear? I need you to answer this now! ;-)

Hilary said...

I have so many thing I want to say...
but I will sum them up in the interest of my own time.
a. Nice job. I wish i could have a delivery like this. Really, it's always been my dream.
b. Utah... they're so used to everyone having epidurals. It's just amusing. My first hospital probably only 50% did... wierd thing with mexicans and epidurals.
c. Awh, she's SO darn cute. I'm glad it all turned out. :)

dmarie said...

YOU DID IT! congratulations! baby lulu is just gorgeous. oh...did J throw out his shoes??

Michelle said...

What a great birth story! And that picture is amazing. Congratulations!

Sell...Party Of 4 said...

my hero.

Megling said...

Dang gurl. "Did you ever know that you're my hero?"
Seriously, my kids are such pains they have go in and cut em out of me.
This girlchild of yours (LOVE the name!) is destined to be your sweet girl, easy peasy.
I apologize in advance if this comment has totally screwed you.

Kimberly said...

Congratulations on such a beautiful baby, and loved the story. Enjoy that new baby smell!

Marianne & Clayton said...

Nicely done! I am in awe of the unmedicated birth. Truly freaking impressive. And she is just gorgeous. You might need a new blog just devoted to pictures of her.

the emily said...

That last line. I'm bawling. She's gorgeous! Congratulations!

My second baby was accidentally unmedicated. I went into labor doing sharing time and didn't realize it was labor. Primary President goes, "are you timing these no? 'cause i am and they're 3 minute apart". drove from draper to LDS hospital in less than 20 minutes, baby born less than an hour later.

And I'll never understand why they say pushing makes it feel better. It was a thousand times worse for me. Every push was worse than any contraction I had. Sheer agony.

Marie {Make and Takes} said...

This might be my favorite telling of a birth story, ever! OMG. So awesome! Dying over J's shoes. What did he do, toss them? I'm so proud of you! You did it. Congrats, she's beautiful. (PS, love the name!!)

Kim said...

Oh my Carina, this is just wonderful!!! She was in a hurry for sure!! She wanted to be the sunrise you would remember for the rest of your days.
Congrats mama.

Nemesis said...

Best story ever. You are my Beaches Barbara Hershey Hero.

Nemesis said...

And your baby is gorgeous. Which we all knew she would be.

Mrs JP Chaos said...

So beautiful!
And what a fantastic story to go along with the beauty. :)

Eliza said...

rock on! you got through labor basically all on your own with no help! now you know you can do anything. and your baby is a beauty!!

Tyla said...

Awww, she's so sweet. Congrats! What a great story! And I'm with the first comment...the line about the rose was great! Again, congrats and many blessings for your new little one.

Kimberly O. said...

Amazing! Reminds me of my last birth. Congrats!!

Kelly said...

Wonderfully done! Both the post and the baby. Congratulations.

Tzipporah said...

I remember feeling like I could do ANYTHING afterwards. Isn't it awesome?

Also, dude, your husband. Seriously? WHICH ROUTE should he take? WTF. I think he just earned the entire first month of diaper changing.

Bebe McGooch said...

Oh you made me cry. And laugh. And well, CONGRATULATIONS! Way to go mama!

herlittlefeet said...


The Tame Lion said...

Absolutely fantastic! Yay! :D

TheOneTrueSue said...

WOW. Congratulations, you're a hypnobirthing rock star. She's just beautiful and your story? Amazing.

Janie said...

wow! homebirth for the next then?

Michelle said...


Mary said...

Wow! You almost had a car baby!

And you didn't miss much in the Hypnobirthing book. Imagining floating on a strawberry colored cloud doesn't make contractions feel like roses, either.

She is beautiful.

Laura said...

What an amazing story, what a beautiful girl!

Annette Lyon said...

It wouldn't be your birth story if it weren't an adventure.

Hooray for no more pregnancy, and even more for perfect little Lulu.

Anne-Marie said...

This is my favorite read in a long time. I loved every moment of it. I can't remember & am too lazy to research if you went natural before, but I'm assuming no? My last (#4) was my first un-medicated birth and I so related with that immediate feeling of, "I DID IT!" My water also broke on my husband's shoes. He still talks about it to this day. Traumatic! She is breathtaking!

Michelle said...

I've read a lot of birth stories, but you had me eating out of your hand girl. Congrats on your little beauty!

Miss Molly said...

Wow. Fabulous. I've seen some of your comments "around town" (This Little Miggy?) but never read your blog. Fantastic writer! Fantastic story teller! Fantastic baby.

I went natural with my second and loved it. I'll never get an epidural again (and by never again I mean the third and final baby I'll have if I can ever get pregnant again).

This was really lovely.


And truly..that's exactly how I felt. I told every single nurse and other human being who stepped into my hospital room for the next two days that I delivered unmedicated. (Though, I did have to take pitocin to induce labor. Oh, heavens).

vanessa said...

you want to know the part that made me start crying...


YES! It is over!! :)

And now you have that beauty. She is so pretty.

the mrs. said...

Thank you for sharing in such a wonderful way!

Rachel Denning said...

Love this birth story. Just had #5 (well, 10 months ago now). All my births have been unmedicated - way to go on yours!

What an event birth is. Congrats!

Linda said...

i loved that! especially the parts where your hub was asking YOU FOR DIRECTIONS AND DECISIONS! really!? why do they do THAT? You did GREAT!

A Momma said...

Whew! We are expecting number 3 and I appreciated your detailed tale. I sent it to my husband so he'll know not to ask me stupid questions anymore, this next time, while in labor. And, so he'd know exactly what I was thinking when I wasn't responding. He said reading your story made him excited and he's looking forward to my "water breaking on his shoes". Sweet, I guess.
Thanks for that! And congratulations.

Stepper the Mighty said...

That was quite an invigorating read! Beautiful. Perfect. Beautiful and Perfect baby! And you are my hero.

My favorite was your portrayal of the total euphoric HIGH that you get to ride post-birth. Potent joy!

And I just adore her name!

The Coolest Allen Family said...

I'm a little late to this party, but congratulations! She is beautiful. Thanks also for sharing your birth story. We have 3 adopted kids but I have told my husband that if/when it does happen, I want to do it without medication. Your story just reinforces my decision. Thank you!

gurrbonzo said...


I am super late to the party too but, wow, wow, wow. WAY TO GO!

kelli case anderson said...

yayayayayyaay for having babies! i love it!