July 15th —
For the past couple days, I had been having achy lower back pain which made me think that my body was getting closer to labor day. My mom was set to arrive from Minnesota at 7am on the 16th, so I was hoping that the baby would wait until then. All our people were on call in case she didn’t, but I tried to convince myself that Baby P would hold off! All day I had on and off contractions that didn’t get super intense and I was able to operate throughout the day as normal, though I made sure to conserve as much of my energy as I could. Due date was set for July 19th but I knew that I would for sure not last that long.
So on the night of the 15th around 9pm, we got into bed early to rest up for potential labor the next day. At about 9:45pm, I quickly realized that I couldn’t sleep through the contractions so I decided to go downstairs and labor. In the dark, in my robe, on my yoga ball, I let my body breathe and open. Instead of holding it in, I just decided to welcome the baby in the timing she wanted to come. I’ve been told and I’ve read that laboring in the dark alone would help me transition through the labor stages more quickly and with the goal of not having a long labor the 2nd time around, so I knew this is how I wanted to go through a majority of my labor.
At about 10:30-11pm, I started to text my list of people to get them ready to watch Ro because I did not think I could hold off until morning before going to the hospital. Then I went upstairs to grab Ian’s phone because he had the contraction timer app on his phone - I didn’t even think to download it on my phone at the time because I was in labor land and decided I’d rather run upstairs in between contractions. After timing 2 of them, I learned I was having over minute long contractions about 3 minutes apart.
Shortly after, around 11:30pm, I started to shake uncontrollably, which I knew meant I was in transition. It honestly surprised me because I was doing fine with the contractions and I thought I had a bit longer to go. Once I realized this entire thing was going quicker than I anticipated, I went upstairs to wake Ian. I had him help me put on my Depends (veteran mom move) and my TENS machine. He went to give our neighbor friends the baby monitor for Ro and called Mikki, my doula. I was talking and walking fine in between contractions and was very aware of my surroundings. This was the major difference between my first labor and my experience this time around.
After Ian dropped the baby monitor off, he went to bring the car around and while he was doing so, I continued to labor on my yoga ball. Still in the dark, still in my purple robe in the living room. At midnight, my water broke, and I decided to hightail it out back where Ian was bringing the car. Thank God I had on the necessary garments because made it a point to avoid cleaning that potential mess when I got home from the hospital, haha.
We left at about 12:15am to the hospital and as you can imagine, the car ride over was VERY eventful. Ian’s birth story will cover this part because all I could remember from it was feeling very very close to literally having the baby in the car.
Fast forward to us getting to the hospital, I remember laboring being on the bed and the first thing my midwife asked was if I wanted to touch the baby’s head and I did! *Looking back now, I think if we had left even 15 min later, I wouldn’t have made it to the hospital* I arrived at a +2 (for reference, a +3 station is crowning) and goodness gracious I was so happy I almost cried. Less than an hour after arriving to the hospital, Paloma was born. Then about 40ish minutes from that, my placenta was “born” naturally, which was a huge relief. From the labor to the placenta delivery to the first days in the hospital, she redeemed so much of the birth, labor and postpartum experience for me.
As we were getting to move to the postpartum room, Ian said, “Aw man, we didn’t even get a chance to eat any of the snacks you packed.” And this is one of my the many reasons why I love him so much.
Ian’s Birth Story
I was undoubtedly a bit nervous for “round two”, but somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it would move much smoother. Probably the most nerve wracking thing about having a baby in Los Angeles are all the underlying logistical complications that can arise.
I’ll break it down for you in this equation: X = Φ(ΛΣ10)
X — My stress level (Measured in Newton metres of grip torque on steering wheel)
Φ — Ro’s nap time coefficient (10 = Outside a nap time ; 5 = Midday nap ; 2 = Night time)
Λ — Base commute time to hospital
Σ — Variable traffic conditions (Σ10 = 8:00AM - 12:00PM ; Σ2 = 3:00PM - 9:00PM ; Where Σ = 10)
So at a minimum I’m at ~2.4e+12N m, which upon converting to Joules, is approximately the energy released by the explosion of 1 kiloton of TNT.
The fundamental flaws of my equation pertain to two very important factors I did not account for.
The “wake up babe I’ve been in labor for 2 hours while you’ve been asleep and my water broke” factor (multiply the above result by 1000) and the “wait, we’re literally being chased by the police right now” coefficient (multiply the new result by 50 million).
Allow me to explain.
I went to bed at 9:30PM, expecting to have the baby the next day. Anina’s mom was scheduled to arrive the following morning, and I just knew that the sigh of relief she’d exhale would be the thing she needed to go into labor. I was wrong.
Fast-forward to 11:30PM, where a very in-labor Anina wakes me up. I look around the room. Things are packed. She’s been ready for who-knows-how-long. This is very real. We timed some contractions... we should have been at the hospital already. I fling everything into the car and we take off for the hospital.
If you’ve ever driven near midnight in LA, you’ll know that there isn’t usually much traffic, and most everyone is going 80mph+. So, considering my stress-torque level at this point, I settle on a pace of about 90mph. Not a minute passes before the impossible happens. Red and blue lights flashing in the rearview mirror, and a very stern voice on the megaphone… “Pull. Over.”
And for a fraction of a second, I tunneled into the quantum realm of my own mind and stopped time to consider my options. 1) I either pull over and we have this baby in the car with Mr. Policeman as our doula or 2) I potentially spend the night in prison, but we make it to the hospital. I tried to hit option one but my thumb slipped on the controller and hit option 2.
So here we are, still barrelling down the highway at 90mph with a policeman right on our tail. Keep in mind Anina is in active labor at this point, and completely lost in her own world.
So it’s just me and the LAPD.
I hold my position for the entirety of the highway section, which is 14.3 miles.
This is officially a chase. We are literally running from the police.
By now my equation is yielding the theoretical total mass-energy of the Sun, then multiplied by 50 million, we’re at the estimated total mass-energy of the observable universe.
Finally our exit approaches, this is my chance to stop at a light and let them approach the car. I stop, lean out of the window (half hoping I’m not shot immediately) shouting “Please sir, my wife is in labor and she’s going to have the baby if we don’t get to the hospital right now”. Floodlights fill the car, officers surround the car, flashlights in hand (or maybe guns with flashlights mounted on them, who knows). You can’t fake this stuff, Anina is literally at the doorstep of birth. I couldn’t see anyone’s face, but I imagine they took one look and realized what was happening and BACKED. UP.
LAPD: “Uhh ok, you know how to get there?”
Me (in my mind): “No, sir, I’ve been driving 90mph aimlessly until we literally crash into the lobby of a hospital.”
Actual me: “Yes, thank you.” *While proceeding to burnout*
We finally make it to the hospital, wheel Anina up into the room, and we all sigh the biggest sigh of relief imaginable. After that it was a breeze.
Not even 30 minutes later we met Paloma, amongst relaxed casual conversation with the midwives and nurses, laughing to ourselves about how wild the night was. Anything was less stressful than what had just happened.
Standard 36 hours in the hospital, came home with our chunky little “baby P”. No complications. No jail time. No worries.
Now if we even decide to have a third, I’m just going to call 911 before we get going, and hope we get an escort. That would be most efficient, because if the timing were to work out during rush hour, we’d have to invoke Σ10 (which would yield a number so large, it would outnumber the atoms in the universe and be impossible to express in written form).
July 16th —
At 1:15am, Paloma was born 8 lbs 1 oz and 20 inches. Just like her big sis, she arrived 3 days before she her due date.