It was just after 4am. Barrett got up and crawled into bed
with Kyle and me.
It’s not a habit
I necessarily wanted to encourage with my almost 3 year old, but with the
baby’s due date approaching, I knew the opportunities for one-on-one snuggle
time with him were limited. So after he snuck in and situated himself in the
middle of the bed (and stole my good pillow) I curled up next to him, stroked
his golden hair and nuzzled his soft skin with my nose.
And then I got up to pee. Because, you know, that’s what you do
when you are 39 weeks, 5 days pregnant.
At 4:32am, the “super moon” happened (it’s an extra large
full moon, google it). About 10 minutes later, as I laid there in bed breathing
in the deliciousness of my snoozing son while also lamenting the loss of my
favorite pillow, I felt a jolt in my belly. It was like an electric shock hit my torso. Or like someone snapped a giant rubber
band in my abdomen. Or sort of
like someone popped a balloon in my uterus. Oh… wait. That
couldn’t have been my water breaking, right? That was just the baby… doing Karate. Right??? But then I felt the tell-tale
trickle of fluid.
Holy crap! My
water broke. We’re having a
So next I did what any logical person would do: I got up,
put on a diaper, changed my pjs, threw a towel down, and promptly went back to
bed. Because, hello? 4:45am is EARLY, and I am not a morning person. Besides, after my water broke with
Barrett, labor didn’t start for TWELVE hours. I had plenty of time.
I began making a mental list of all the things I wanted to
get done that day before labor started.
I figured I might get lucky and have another 12 hours to work with
before any contractions came… but, just to be safe, I should plan on only
having 6 hours. My internal
monologue went something like this: I’ll definitely need to shower… and blow
dry. Gotta vacuum – darn cats. Pack some snacks in the hospital bag… oh, crap
we didn’t go to the store yesterday.
Ok, quick grocery store trip. Super quick, I swear…
And then I felt a strange sensation. It was in my pelvic floor. I could feel… not pain, not pressure, I
don’t even know how to describe it.
Intense warmth??? It began at the center and radiated outward. Oh my goodness!!! I can FEEL myself
dilating! WEIRD!!!! And yay!!!
Good job, body. Way to know
what to do.
So it’s 5:15 now and I’m lying there, task-list making,
dilating, certainly not sleeping, and I figure, well, I may as well get up
and shower. Please please please
don’t let Barrett wake up when he hears me turn the water on. I need him to be well rested today! I walk, ninja-like, to the bathroom, carefully
avoiding the squeaky spot in the hallway.
I shower, I blow dry, I get dressed. It’s now about 6am. The radiating feeling is still
happening every so often and I decide I should probably wake Kyle. I sneak into our room, wake him, tell
him my water broke but that labor hasn’t really started yet and that he should
feel free to keep sleeping. And
then the radiate-y thing happens again and I bend forward over the bed and let
my head be heavy while the sensation moves through me. And then I look at Kyle and say,
“Actually, you should probably get up and get dressed now… just in case.”
So he gets up and heads to the shower. In the hallway we share a quick
moment. I say to him, “I’m
excited. And nervous.” He smiles,
hugs me, and says, “Me too.”
Through all this, Barrett magically remains asleep. (Thank
you, God.) I go into the kitchen to have a bowl of cereal and a banana. While I’m eating, I notice that every
once in a while I have to stop eating and just sort of deal with whatever was
going on inside me. Should I be timing these things?? Are these
contractions?? I wonder. No. Contractions happen in your belly, I feel NOTHING in my
belly. My body is just getting
ready to go into labor; I’m not actually in labor YET. Besides, timing these
things sounds like a lot of effort.
I’d rather just eat my cereal in peace. So I decide to forgo any and all
Kyle gets out of the shower and asks if I’ve called my mom
yet. She’s lives 3 hours away and
is supposed to drive up to take care of Barrett while we’re in the
hospital. I tell him no, it’s 6am,
I’m not calling her at this hour!
Besides, I’m not actually IN labor yet. We’ve got time. He looks at me like I’m crazy and then tells
me I should probably at least call my BFF to see if maybe she can come over to
watch Barrett – in case my mom can’t come for some reason. All I can think is, Calm
down, dude. We’ve got PLENTY OF
But I semi-oblige him and send my bestie an, “I’m in labor” text - with
no request for her to come over.
Kyle then makes the executive decision to call his brother
to come over to watch Barrett ASAP.
I roll my eyes at him. Kyle’s bro arrives roughly 2 minutes later (Man!
He’s fast!!) I’m bent over the kitchen table, Barrett has woken up and is
happily watching cartoons, and Kyle is doing who knows what other than staying
out of my way. Good man.
At that point, I decide to change my outfit. I want
something with pockets so I can keep my phone close to me so I can stay caught
up with my peeps on the interwebs. I find myself in the bedroom with Kyle and I
said to him, “This sucks. This sucks
SO MUCH. I know I not supposed to
focus on how much it sucks, but this SUUUUUUUCKS.” And he hugs me and tells me I’m doing great. Looking back, I don’t actually remember
being in any real pain, but I must have been feeling SOMETHING or I wouldn’t
have articulated how sucky it felt, right?
Next thing I know, I’m in the kitchen with my mind off in my
happy place (the woods outside my grandparents’ house) and I start feeling the
urge to push. I know from
Barrett’s birth that pushing will feel awesome, so I go with it. I groan like a
wild animal and probably scare the crap out of Kyle’s brother. By this point
I’m hot and sweaty, but I don’t have the urge to throw up, so I decide I
haven’t hit transition yet. I tell
myself once I hit transition I’ll go to the hospital. Because, really, if I go now, what can they do for me other
than annoy me? I really just want
to be ALONE. And I also really
want to poop, so I move to the bathroom. While on the toilet I feel the urge to
push/poop and again I go with it.
At this point I think I did poop.
Cool. Glad that’s out of my
Kyle then peaks his head into the bathroom and just as I’m
about to kill him for disturbing me, he hands me large glass of water with a
straw in it and says, “Drink this” and then shuts the door and leaves me alone
again without another word. And I
all I can think is, **I LOVE THAT MAN**. He’s doing exactly what our childbirth
teacher told him to do 3 years ago.
(Water, with a straw, don’t ask any questions.) He remembered!! I’ve never had a glass of water bring
me so much joy. I suck down the
water and then comes another urge to push/poop. Man, how much poop in there? So I push again and then
I feel it… “it” of course being not poop but THE BABY. I feel her move down. A LOT. Like a lot a lot! Uh-oh.
At this point I realize we REALLY need to get to the
hospital. I tell Kyle it’s time to
go and I’m sure he thought, “FINALLY!!! We should have left an hour ago!!” It’s just after 7am. He helps me walk,
ever so slowly and ever so carefully, down the hall, down the stairs, out the
front door. I don’t even waste
time changing out of my slippers.
As soon as I get outside, the cool air hits my face (San Francisco’s
June Gloom finally decided to show up after a several week long heat wave) and
suddenly all is well in the world. Whatever had been going on inside my body
vanished. I could breathe, I could
walk, I could talk. Ahhhhhhh. See! I told you I wasn’t in labor! I told you we had plenty of
time!!! I begin to wonder if I should run back inside and put on real shoes.
So I get in the car (front passenger seat) and we drive to
the hospital. It’s only a mile or two away, and at 7:15 in the morning there
wasn’t another car on the road. We
made great time. I called the
hospital from the car. I believe the
conversation went, “Hi, this is Courtney.
I’m in labor and I’m on my way in.” *click*. We pull up into the hospital driveway (they have a circular
driveway for the loading and unloading of patients) and instead of getting out
of the car I decide to wait for a wheelchair. (Note: when I
was in labor with B, I was too stubborn to accept help from anyone, including
the nice man at the front door of the hospital who offered me a
wheelchair. I promised myself that
with THIS labor I would let go of my “I can do everything by myself” mentality
and, at the very least, accept the wheelchair. So in the car I sat as Kyle ran
in to find the wheelchair man.)
I see Kyle run inside, look around frantically, and then
dart off to the left. A few
seconds later, I see him run by the front door again off to the right. What the EFF is he doing!!?!?! When I see him run by AGAIN, I think to myself, I
should just get out. This is silly. But then, No. no. You promised yourself you would wait
for the wheelchair. Just relax. Everything is fine. So I’m
there and I’m relaxing and suddenly the urge to push comes again. And I say, out loud, “Stop it! Just Stop. We are not doing this right
now. Just.Stop.It.” And then Kyle
shows up with the wheelchair and opens the passenger door and suddenly the urge
to push takes over. I figure, ok
fine, one push here and then I’ll get out of the car and we’ll go. As my body
starts to push, I instinctively lift my butt up off the seat. And that’s where I got into
trouble. Because with that push,
her head started to come out, and once her head started to come out I couldn’t
sit back down. And because I
couldn’t sit back down, I was stuck.
Feet on the floor, hands on the seat beneath me, butt lifted; in sort of
a crab walk position. I couldn’t
At that point a nurse, who was just getting off shift,
walked by and asked if we needed help. YES, PLEASE!!!!!!! I told him (yes it was a him, I later
found out his name is Paul) that baby’s head was already coming out and that I
couldn’t move. He asked Kyle to check to see if there was indeed a head. Kyle tried to discreetly check by
sliding my pants down a smidge and I yelled at him, “JUST TAKE THEM OFF!!!!!”
He obliged and then told the nurse that there was indeed a head. The nurse yelled for Security to call
L&D and tell them to send a team down. He then leaned into the car, gently put his hand on my
stomach and told me everything was going to be ok. I promptly yelled at him, “DON’T TOUCH MY BELLY!!!!!!!!!!!!”
and he recoiled in fear.
So Nurse Paul, Kyle, and two security dudes are standing
outside the car wondering how the heck to move me (I remember thinking, can
someone get a forklift???) and suddenly the urge to push hits me again. Game over.
I yell, “Guys!
She’s coming. RIGHT. NOW.”
Nurse Paul, bless him, throws his jacket into the car, tears
my adult diaper off (oh yeah, I was still wearing that bad boy), and proceeds
to catch my baby as I push her into the world. (!!!!!)
I remember thinking, “Oh man, my car is going to be so
Once she was out, I was able to sit. I saw her and thought, LOOK AT
HER!!! ALL CHEESY!!! Nurse Paul put her on
my chest and pulled the neck of my tank top down and then over her to keep her warm. Then he seemed intent on rubbing her
and jostling her around a bit. I
just wanted out of the darn car.
Finally, my baby girl let out a soft cry and Nurse Paul breathed a sigh
of relief, “There we go. That’s
what we need to hear.”
“Oh my goodness, what time is it??? What time was she
born???” I shout. Everyone whips out their cell phones to check the time. Miss
Lara Aline was born at exactly 7:30am, on a very foggy June 23rd
morning just outside the UCSF hospital, in the front seat of her mother’s
Satisfied that baby girl was breathing, Nurse Paul stepped
aside and I hopped out of the car (completely naked from the waist down,
smuggling a slimy newborn under my shirt, with an umbilical cord dangling from
my very exposed nether regions) and walked over to the gurney. I climbed on, Nurse Paul took off (yep,
dude caught my baby and then just sorta bounced) and the security guards
wheeled me into the hospital. We took the staff elevator upstairs to L&D
and I arrived in my birthing suite to find… no one. Turns out the delivery team had all run downstairs (via the
regular elevator) to help me deliver.
(Comedy of freakin’ errors, I swear!)
A few minutes later, the delivery team figures out where we
are and they come sprinting into the room to find us all alive and well. They get me out of my tank top and bra
so Lara can nurse and have a dry blanket on top of her. Then they realize I still need to birth
the placenta. I allow them to clamp Lara’s cord and Kyle does the cutting. Not a drop of blood splattered out. (I
was secretly thrilled that the car delivery had inadvertently allowed for a
super delayed cord clamping. Yay!) Placenta comes out (I ask to see it, and
take pictures of it, because I’m a weirdo), the on call doctor – not so gently
(OUCH!!) – checks my lady bit to see if I need stitches (I don’t), then we all
Whew – we survived.
Except, my nurse notices that I’m bleeding. Kind of a lot. She cleans me up with a sponge bath and
presses with all her might (OUCH OUCH OUCH!!!) on my uterus, but the blood keeps
coming. My midwife (who had JUST come on duty – hooray!!! I was so happy to see
her!) comes in to assess the situation.
She tells me that she suspects I may have a clot in my uterus. Goody.
She looks me in the eye and says, “You’re going to want some
painkillers for this.”
I returned her look with one that said “I just delivered a
baby in the CAR, certainly I can handle whatever you’re about to do to
me.” But before I could say
anything out loud she added, “Trust me.”
So the nurse puts an IV in my hand and shoots me up with
Fentanyl. I feel woozy. My midwife lubes up her gloved hand and
proceeds to REACH INSIDE MY BODY INTO MY UTERUS. She feels around in there for a few seconds then pulls out a
GRAPEFRUIT SIZED BLOOD CLOT.
Can I just say that my body was perfectly designed to birth
my babies. It was NOT, however,
designed to deal with that sort of nonsense. HOLY EFFING PAINFUL, BATMAN!!!!! I nearly crushed Kyle’s
hand I squeezed it so hard. She
showed me the monstrous clot and, while it was incredibly painful, I was glad
she got it and it was over. Except
that she had to go in AGAIN. To make
sure she actually got it all.
GAH!!!!!! So more bearing
down, screaming, and crushing of Kyle’s hand and then, finally, the whole thing
The bleeding stopped, I ate some breakfast, Lara got weighed
(8 lb 6 oz) and measured (21 ½ inches) and the rest of the day went on in sort
of a blur. I called my mom (Are
you in labor? She asked. No…. I
actually gave birth already. In
the car.) Kyle called his brother
to see how Barrett was doing.
(They watched cartoons all morning and spent the afternoon playing
basketball in the backyard – pretty much the best day ever in Barrett’s
eyes.) I spent one night in the
hospital and the next day I went home.
In related news:
Turns out Nurse Paul is a NICU nurse, which made him pretty
much the perfect person to happen to be walking by at the moment we needed
help. I’m sure my 8+ pound
daughter looked like a giant compare to the babies he normally deals with. And yes, he totally got off his shift at work,
delivered a baby in the driveway, and then carried on to his car and drove home
as if nothing had happened. I guess on the way home though he realized he
should probably go back to the hospital and check in with L&D.
The front seat of the Camry actually wasn’t THAT messy. I guess the sidewalk outside the car,
on the other hand, looked like a crime scene. (From when I walked over to the gurney.) P.S. I’ll never forgive Kyle for not
taking a single picture of ANY of it - me, the car, the sidewalk, NOTHING!!!
We had the car detailed and you honestly can’t tell that
anything happened there. Kyle was
really impressed at how well it cleaned up. He also decided that he’s never buying another used car, because
seriously, a woman could’ve given birth in there and you’d NEVER KNOW IT.
Some friends of ours commended us for resisting the urge to
name our daughter Camry, in honor of her birthplace. My first thought then was: DARN IT!!!!!!!! We totally should have named her
Camry!!!!! Or at least thrown it
in as a middle name or something! In our new parent fog we didn’t even
consider it. Oh well. Maybe next
We finally got the bill from the hospital a few days
ago. Total cost (before insurance)
for my one night visit was $15,000.
Of that, $700 was for “labor room/delivery”. Not bad considering I’ve seen $350 doses of children’s advil
on hospital bills before.
Speaking of things we got from the hospital - two things we did NOT get were a birth certificate and a social security card. Seems that although we were on hospital property, because we were not technically INSIDE the hospital, the hospital could not certify the live birth. (Seriously??) So, at three days old, we had to take Miss Lara downtown to the department of public health and to prove to them that she did, in fact, exist and could therefore receive a birth certificate. Once that arrived, I had to take it down to the social security office to request a SSN. (Imagine the DMV, but slower and more terrible, with a crying infant in tow... longest hour and a half of my life.) Sheesh. The paperwork alone is reason enough to never have another baby in the car!
On the gurney after we got up to the L&D room.
Big girl. :)
Meeting big brother.
UCSF - Driveway. lol.