Saturday, October 8, 2011

Okay, so there ARE some perks to not going through pregnancy....

In honor of his daughter's first birthday, my second-cousin recounts the tale of her birth, and of his rock-star wife's delivery experience:

Having a Baby in the Car...
One year ago today, my wife delivered our second child herself, in my car, while I drove. Many have asked over the last year how it happened that we didn't make it to the hospital. In honor of Violet's first birthday, here's the full play-by-play of that night, in all it's gory detail along with the 911 recording.

It was the morning of Oct 8, and Karissa was 3 days overdue, but there were still no signs of the baby, and she had her midwife appointment that day. She called me at work to tell me that they said everything still seemed OK, and to come back in a week. She expressed her frustration to the midwife of not having had the baby yet. The midwife told her about a magical "cocktail" guaranteed to induce labor. I can't say for certain, but i think it included eye of newt and toe of frog. I do know for sure that castor oil was one of the primary ingredients. We chuckled about the strange drink, and I got back to my workday.

That evening, when I got home, my mom, who had come to stay with us for a little while to help out, told me that Karissa had tried the drink, but didn't think it did much other than make her feel nauseous and do what castor oil does.

7:45pm As Karissa folded laundry, I noticed she would occasionally stop and try to catch her breath. I asked if she was in labor, and she said no, that she was just having cramps. I asked how long she'd been having them, and she said for about an hour or so. I noticed that they were getting pretty close together, so i started timing them. They were 1 min 40 secs apart, and lasted 45 secs, consistently. (For those who aren't up on these things, they say that with a second child, by the time contractions are down to just 3 or 4 mins apart, you better be on your way to the hospital.) I suggested that we leave, but Karissa was fairly certain that she wasn't in labor, just having cramps. Admittedly, although the contractions were very close together, they didn't seem very intense, as she could still talk through them.

8:20pm I called our Doula and explained the situation, and she was surprised about the contractions being 1:40 apart, but was confused that they weren't much more intense by this point, and suggested we monitor the contractions, and if they suddenly worsened, that we leave for the hospital.

8:40pm Suddenly, the contractions got so bad that Karissa was on the floor, tearing the carpet fibers out of our carpeting. I convinced her at this point that we didn't have much to lose if we went in to the hospital. The worst that would happen is that they'd say, you're too early. Go home.

8:47pm The next ten minutes was a complete blur as I frantically began throwing bags into the car and making sure we had our cameras, iPods, phones, snacks for the delivery nurses, and everything else in.

8:57pm Karissa came out to the car, and my mom asked if we wanted towels for the seat, in case her water breaks on the way. We grabbed some towels, and I put one on Karissa's seat, just in case.

8:59pm We were backing out of the driveway and Karissa had a particularly tough contraction. I asked if we should pull back in and stay at home, but she said to just go.

9:06pm The car ride gave me a chance to see just how fast my car could go in a 30 mph speed zone, while Karissa grunted, yelled and tried to get comfortable. Then, she said the words that are forever burned into my memory. "I can feel the head." I told her to push it back in, and stomped harder on the gas pedal.

9:09pm Karissa said the head was fully out. I looked over, and she wasn't lying. Adrenaline on full blast, I asked her what we should do, and totally calmly, she told me to dial 911.

9:11pm At this point, if you haven't already, watch the video. You'll notice about 20 seconds into it, you hear one little scream from Karissa, and a couple seconds later, you can hear the baby's first cry.
[He might kill me here, but this is the video he put together around the 911 call.]

After the 911 call, Karissa and baby were loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital, and I drove the car to meet them there.

A few Frequently Asked Questions people have asked us this past year:

Q: Is it cheaper to have a baby in the car instead of the hospital?
A: Not in the slightest. We were still sent a bill for the full labor and delivery, and added to that was a bill for the ambulance ride as well.

Q: Give it to me straight... how was the car? Do you have cloth or leather seats?
A: You really want to know? Ok, weirdo -- The car has cloth seats. But luckily, thanks to my mom's forethought, we had several large beach towels with us, and Karissa was sitting on one of them. There still was some clean-up needed, but my mom surprised us the next day by totally scrubbing it to virtually showroom condition. Thanks mom!

Yeah.  She's totally a rock star.

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