I sat there, staring at you – a beautiful newborn baby girl with a head full of tousled black hair – with vernix on my hands and Mommy half naked in the passenger seat and the only thought going through my mind was, “Holy crap, we just had a baby in the car!”
12 hours earlier, 10/31/2012, 1:30 PM – It was Halloween, the fall of 2012, and I stayed home from work to supervise framers as they installed 28 foot beams across the living room. Why we started this project 2 weeks before you were due I’ll never know, but we did. The framers finished up at 1:30, and left us with a very open space that you have come to know and love as your childhood kitchen/living room. We had no lights in the majority of the house, no running water, stove, microwave, or oven in the kitchen, and the fridge was powered by an extension cord from the other side of the house. To make things more exciting, we had thought it best to use the nursery as a temporary kitchen, and to leave all of the baby items in the attic so that they did not get covered in dust from the construction. We were not prepared to have a baby.
5:30 PM - A few hours later Momo arrived (to watch the kids for Mommy while she was to be at training on the following day), and we headed over to Dawn and Stan’s house to celebrate Halloween. Blythe and Jericho dressed up as Repunzel, I dressed as a prince, and your Mommy went as a very tough, very pregnant lady. At about 6:45 after a few snacks, and a lot of vodka-sprites, we headed out for trick-or-treating (Blythe and Jericho with pillow cases, and me with a roadie). We finished up the three mile loop at about 9:30, and headed back to Dawn’s house. We were exhausted, but somehow stayed over till 10:40 or so hanging out, at which point I was not fit to drive.
10:45 PM - After putting Blythe and Jericho to bed, I hit the sack, and (unbeknownst to me) your mother went to work.
11/1/2012, 1:00 AM –
Mommy: “Jason, go up to the attic and get the infant car seat down.”
Me: “Are you serious?”
Me: “Oh… man…”
At this point, I’m thinking “oh crap,” I have a hangover, Monica’s in labor, our house is completely torn up, and not only have we not packed, I haven’t even thought about what we were supposed to pack. After finding the Advil, lots of water, and a few things Mommy set aside when she began to go into labor (the camera, blankets, etc.), I start thinking “what else, what else. Ah yes, my headlamp and my safety goggles! Why? I have no idea, but they would have come in handy had I actually ended up packing them.” This is when it hits me, “this is really happening, and I had better get my act together.” In no time, I’m in control, and get down to business. For the next several minutes, Mommy was still able to talk between contractions, and she was periodically telling me what else we needed to bring. I can tell that she is starting to breathe deeply during her contractions, and I am starting to think we need to get on the road soon, despite her assurances that she is fine, and doesn’t want to arrive too soon.
1:20 AM – I go to the back room to get the tripod, and tell Momo that we are going to the hospital (though we were really headed to a birth center). After a few seconds, it hits her like a sugar rush, and she is brooding excitement. Momo stays in the back room, respectfully giving Mommy space for the next few minutes, and I finish packing. It is now 1:25am.1:26 AM – The car is packed, I’m ready to go, and Momo tells Mommy goodbye, and Mommy goes to the toilet for one last tinkle before we hit the road. It is then that Mommy says that she is cold and shivers, and I know then that we are in trouble. Mommy is now in transition (the last part of active labor – when your cervix dilates from 8 to a full 10 centimeters and you get ready to push – is called the transition because during that time, your wife transitions into a half-woman half-beast, ready to rip your arm off if you touch her, or to rip your head off if you move the bed. It is not advisable during this phase of labor to place your laboring wife in the front seat of a BMW (with a sport suspension) as you speed to the birth center.
1:30 AM – We leave the house. As I back up, I start thinking, “where is the stone fencepost, where is the stone fencepost, where is the stone fencepost… I should have seen it by now,” and so I stop… not more than four inches from ramming the center of the trunk into a post. I think, “that was close, and I need to drive more carefully.”
1:33 AM – We have been on the road three minutes and have almost gotten to the freeway when Mommy says, “I know I said I was cold, but you didn’t have to turn up the heat that much.” I crap my pants, and calmly explain that I didn’t touch the thermostat. She is well into transition, and I know that she will soon begin to feel the urge to push the baby out… thirty seconds later we are driving down I-10 at 90-95 mph, Mommy is experiencing serious pains during her contractions (which are coming every few minutes or so), and I was getting the Indian sunburn of my life (for some reason, grabbing my arm as hard as she could and twisting back and forth made her feel better).
1:45 AM – We have been on the highway now 11-12 minutes, and I notice that Mommy begins to moan toward the end of her contractions. She is in a great deal of pain, and I try to take my arm away a few times to avoid tractor trailers as we go… oh yea, I have never been to the birthing center, and have no idea where we are going. I now need Mommy (who is delirious with pain) to give me directions to the birth center.
1:53 AM – I exit Wurzbach, and Mommy is now writhing during her contractions trying to get a little bit of relief. I no longer try to get the use of my arm as I drive, and I know then, that we are not going to make it.
1:54 AM (or thereabouts) – This is when it happens, during the middle of a contraction amidst painful wails, Mommy manages to yell, “Pull over, I’m crowning, I’m crowning.” I yank the car off the road and struggle to slam the gear into park as I look over at Mommy who is yelling, “help me get my panties off,” as she has one hand frantically yanking on her panties at mid thigh while trying to lift the rest of her body up with the other arm to make room for the baby on the front seat of the car; all of this is happening while experiencing one of the most painful sensations on the planet (even for a woman who is laying still on a mattress). I throw her panties to her knees just in time to catch you as you shoot out onto the seat, coming to rest in my hands. At this point, I pick you up and you cry, and I know that all is well. And so I sat there, staring at you – a beautiful newborn baby girl with a head full of tousled black hair – with vernix on my hands and Mommy half naked in the passenger seat, and the only thought going through my mind was, “Holy crap, we just had a baby in the car!”
1:55 AM – I am now relaxed, and know that there is no need to rush. Calmly, I hand you to Mommy, and she asks you, “do you have a penis or a vagina?” (I hadn’t thought to look). Mommy notes that you are a girl, and I give Mommy a kiss and tell her that she did great, though this was an understatement. I ask her where we go from here, and we begin to proceed to the birthing center. This, Amelie, is how you came into the world by the dumpster in the parking lot of Tommy’s Restaurant at the corner of Wurzbach and Gardendale, and how I found myself, half sober, speeding to the birthing center with a half naked woman in the front seat of the BMW holding an infant in her arms. In all, I could have received 5 traffic violations if we were stopped (I had a faulty tail light).
1:57 AM – We arrive at the birthing center, and I run in to tell the Alisa, the midwife, that we had a baby in the car. Excitedly, she comes out to the car, assesses your APGAR score (9), and asks us when you were born; It was then that we realized that we didn’t even look, but figured it was between 1:53-1:54 based on our arrival time and the time at which Mommy started her last contraction. Alisa lets us take a few pictures as evidence of you’re exciting birth, and then I cut your umbilical cord and carried you inside. After a minute, I walk back outside to see Mommy – a few feet from the welcome mat of the birth center – halt. She looks down with a smirk on her face, pulls her knees apart in a perfect basketball stance, and delivers the placenta onto the concrete in front of the birthing center. We bust out laughing, Mommy, Alisa, and I, and didn’t stop for several minutes.
Amelie, your mother was awesome that night, as she is most nights, and you should know that I will always remember the night you were born as one of the most exciting nights of my life.
You could not have made a more perfect entrance into this world. There was nothing textbook about it, but if your entrance into this world says anything about you, we can expect great, exciting things!
It was Halloween night, a solid 8 days before your ‘due date,’ and I had been telling myself that you would be late and hopefully we would have a baby by Thanksgiving. The framers finished taking out a large structural wall and hanging two 28 foot beams at 1:30pm that afternoon. The wall was down, the scaffolding was down, and the workers were gone, but there was no running water, no lights in the main part oft the house, no sink, no oven, no stove top, no AC/Heater. We had a fridge, microwave, toaster, and a bunch of electrical wires hanging all around the kitchen/living room (none of them live). The original plan was for the workers to be done a week earlier because I knew there was no way you would come before 38 weeks, but now we were one day before 39 weeks and I had told you that as soon as the workers were gone we were ready for you.… I guess you took that literally.
We had not brought any of the infant items down from the attic because we knew our house would be full of dust from the construction so why bring those items down just to have to give them an extra scrub. And remember we were a solid 8 days from your due date so I was going to clean tomorrow and have Daddy bring the items down from the attic that evening or the next day.
We were all headed to the Ball’s to go trick-or-treating and we were running late so I finished up the food items I was taking (only cleaning up the essential items), Momo arrived from DFW and we all ran out the door. A prince (Daddy), two Rapunzel’s (Blythe and Jericho), a very pregnancy photographer, and Momo. We started our trick-or-treating about 6:45pm and over the course of the next 2.5 hours walked 3 miles. Somewhere along the way either Dawn or I made the comment that wouldn’t it be neat if all this walking walked you out of there and I thought ‘HA, yeah right, I was running 2 miles a day at 40 and then 41 weeks pregnant with Jericho and that didn’t work.’ We returned to the Ball’s about 9:15pm, ate some delicious Tortilla soup and decided we better get home because Daddy had work in the morning, Blythe had school, and I wasn’t wearing the most comfortable maternity capri’s and I was ready to unbutton them, but that's the thing about maternity pants, there are no buttons or zippers, just elastic. I was feeling like my stomach was kinda crampy and stuffed full from eating too much soup!
We got home about 10:30pm and I put Jericho and Blythe to bed and started getting ready for bed. I had a possible Braxton Hicks contraction and thought, ‘man that feels more intense than they usually do.’ A few minutes go by and I have another very mild contraction but still more than the BH that I had been experiencing and I very casually mention to Daddy that man that contraction hurt. He dismisses it as I did and went to bed (Daddy had quite a few drinks during our Trick-or-Treating and he needed to sleep). While I was brushing my teeth I felt the need to rest my arm on the counter when another contraction came. I finished brushing my teeth and thought ‘oh maybe this time I am going to have pre-labor and it can last for days so I should go to bed and see if changing positions changes the feeling.' I have maybe 2 more contractions that are still very mild and not very close together and think ‘hum should I time these?’ I decided I didn’t want to get excited over nothing so I won’t time them, just go to sleep. Then I had another contraction that had a bit of pressure with it and then I thought, ‘o.k. I don’t think BH contractions cause pressure.’ I turned on my phone, opened the app and started timing contractions at 11:19pm. After 3 contractions went by over the next 5 minutes I decided that I better get up and pack something just in case.
I got up, guided my way with the light of my cell phone to find the packing list the birth center had given me and started placing the items I would want on a pile in the bathroom. I continued to have contractions anywhere from 3-5 minutes apart lasting from 30-60 seconds and ranging from mild to medium (based on the scale the iphone app gave me to choose from). The contractions were still mainly mild and I was able to relax during the contractions and I felt completely normal in-between contractions. I gathered up all the items on the list and finally decided that maybe I should text the midwife and ask if BH contractions ever have pressure associated with them. At this point I am not convinced it is labor (or I won’t let myself be convinced because I didn’t want to think that TODAY was the day and then go another 3 weeks!) so I text the midwife (Alisa) “Had about 12 contractions since 11:15pm, most fairly mild but seem to be more than BH, and 3 with significant pressure, since I didn’t have BH with my other pregnancies I wasn’t sure if you can have BH with significant pressure. No need to call just a heads up.” She told me that she often wakes up to her text, but if she doesn’t text right back to call her, but that if I just had a question that didn’t need an immediate answer to indicate that on the text or phone call. I didn’t want to wake her up at 12:03am if this was false labor or pre-labor.
At this point I get back into the bed to try to get some sleep before the real labor begins in a few days or weeks. When I downloaded this free app it didn’t tell me that only my first 20 contractions are free, so I get to my 20th contraction at 12:22am, it was 3 minutes after my last one and lasted for 47 seconds and then I go to time the 21st contraction and it tells me I have to purchase the full version. At this point I have a few choices; I could clear out the history and start over with a new 20, suck up the .99 cents and pay for the app, or download a new app. Knowing I only have about 3 minutes before another contraction, I don’t really want to lose the history of my first 20 contractions, and I won’t be able to navigate anything during the contraction I decide to suck up the .99 cents. I put in my password, but oh wait I have NEVER purchased an app with my iphone so they need to verify several security questions which I attempt to answer correctly 3 times and FAILED, time for plan B. So the last one ended at 12:23am and by the time I get the new (completely free, no limit) contraction timer app downloaded it is 12:35am, but we’re in business and I can keep timing, crisis 1 solved.
I had 7 contractions lasting from 32 seconds long to 1 minute 3 seconds long and coming anywhere from 1 minute and 44 seconds apart to 5 minutes 55 seconds, so still erratic contractions but I notice on the last three I am actively breathing through the peak of the contractions. At this point during the contractions I am feeling 'o.k. this is a true contraction, but once the contraction ended I felt completely normal and I could run around, do some kart wheels, and be fine until the next contraction started.' At this point it is 1am and since I am breathing through the contractions I decided it was time to wake up Jason and tell him that I think I am in labor and these contractions are real. I nudge Jason 2-3 times, he groggily acknowledges me and I say, “I need you to go into the attic and bring the infant seat down.” To my surprise he pops right up, throws on some clothes and I ask him “how are you feeling?” and he says, “not great, but that really doesn’t matter.” I encouraged him to take a few Advil, so he takes some Advil and gulps down some water.
At 1:05am I decided to text Alisa (the midwife) again
I text “Contractions still consistent, picking up ranging from 3-4 minutes and lasting about 1 minute.”
Alisa responds “Ok…Great work. Are you feeling like this is “real” labor instead of BH?”
At this point Jason has heard me breath through a couple contractions and tells me he thinks we need to go..NOW. I told him that during the contractions I am needing to breath, but that I feel great in between and I didn’t feel this good with the other two and I didn’t want to get there too early, show up and only be dilated 4 centimeters. He said he was going to go get the tri-pod out of the closet in the guest room and let Momo know that we were leaving soon. I had also asked him to grab what I thought was the gender neutral newborn shrink wrap bag from the attic (ended up being 3-6months) and I knew he had already gone to the attic so I asked him where the shrink wrapped bag was so I could pick out a few sleepers and he said “I threw the entire thing in the car, we are leaving.” I had planned to go through it in-between contractions…coach Jason had other plans.
I text Alisa “Yes, my husband is ready to leave but I am still fine between contractions. I am needing to breath through the peak of the contractions.”
Alisa responds “:) ok. Remind me how long it takes you to get to the birth center? And any bloody show/plug?”
I text “30 min, nope and didn’t with the others”
Alisa “Ok all sounds great. You will know when it is time. What a great birthday 11-1-12 :)”
I text “During contractions it’s easy to feel like its time but afterwards I feel differently”
Alisa “Is it the pressure or strength of contractions that makes you feel like it is time?”
I text “Mostly strength but occasionally the pressure is pretty intense”
Alisa “Ok. If its both then I say lets slowly make our way…sounds like sooner than later for sure”
I text “Ok I will text u when we leave”
Alisa “Ok, sounds good”
Jason has the car loaded and he says that we need to leave so I tell him that I want to go to the restroom one last time. I go to the restroom, have a pretty intense contraction and get the shivers. I tell my mom “see you in a few hours with a new baby,” and we head to the car.
I text from the driveway of our house “Leaving now, really picking up”
Alisa “Ok see you there”
I text “Get warm tub going please”
The car is NOT where you want to be when you are having intense contractions because your options are VERY limited as far as positions to move in, to try and get comfortable. I have about 2 contractions before we get a few miles down the road and I am thinking dang this car ride is not going to be fun but hopefully once we hit the highway (we are only about 4 miles from the highway) it will get smoother and therefore be more tolerable. We hit the last four way stop before going over the bridge to the other side of the highway and I said to Jason “I know I said I was cold, but you didn’t have to crank the heat up that much.” He very politely tells me “I didn’t touch it.” To which I say “oh.” Daddy is looking very concerned so I remind him that my water isn’t leaking and hasn’t broke so we know we have time. I couldn’t tell you if the highway was any smoother or not because all I knew was that the contractions were getting stronger and the car was not my friend. For some reason this time I felt that grabbing Jason’s arm and massaging it as I was going through the peak of the contractions, which were getting very hard to breath through and relax during, was helpful. I really did think that I was giving him a nice massage, but when I asked him if I was hurting him he said, “Don’t worry about it,” which I later found out means, “Holy cow women you are giving me an Indian Sunburn!” I have a contraction at 1:38, 1:41, 1:44, each lasting about a minute and each time I get through one I am praying that I get a little longer before the next one because now I am feeling the need to moan at the end of the contractions and the relaxing through the peak of the contractions has gone out the window. Daddy gently reminds me to relax to which I say, “I can’t,” and he lovingly acknowledges, “I know.” In between one of these contractions somehow we talk about speeding and I tell him not to go over 80 and he tells me he is going 90 and we will be fine. I remind him of the exit (he has NEVER been to the birthing center and has never looked it up on the map, luckily it is a total of 5 turns from our house, but it usually takes me 30 minutes). Now that I am looking at the exact timing of all this, I am thinking dang we went really fast, but in the moment I would have guessed that it took us every bit of 30 minutes to get there. But if we left at 1:34 and we were only 4 minutes from the birthing center at 1:54, we were making pretty good time. There were at least 2 times that the road narrowed down to 2 lanes so Jason removed his arm from my loving massage to have 2 hands on the wheel, but don’t worry when the contractions came I found that wayward arm!
The next contraction I had was at 1:45am and there was significant pressure and this is when I thought and said “Oh shit.” I had another one at 1:48 and this time I was feeling my body start to push. We exited I10 at the Wurzback exit I am telling Jason to keep going straight and take a right at the Wurzback stop light. I started the last contraction at 1:50 and this is when I yelled to Jason “I’m crowning, I’m crowning, get my panties off.” I am holding myself up with one arm and using the other arm to yank my panties down as you catapulted out (according to Daddy) and landed safely on the front seat of the BMW. My bag of waters stayed in tact until you were born, so much for thinking that it would leak or break before you arrived! Somewhere during that contraction Daddy did manage to pull over and get the car in park. I don’t know if he even got his seat belt off before you made your grand entrance, but you were here, you were pink, I rubbed your back and you cried and I knew you were perfect. I felt 1000 times better and we were both cool, calm, and collected. Daddy makes a u-turn out of what he later told me was a taco stand, but all I saw was a giant green dumpster, and asks me “now where.” I finished directing him to the birth center which was only about 4 minutes away. We were back on the road within seconds of your arrival and it downed on me that Daddy didn’t check to see if you were a girl or a boy so I said, “we need to see if you have a penis or a vagina.” When I was first separating your legs the cord was between your legs so there was a tiny second where I thought you might be a boy, but I could tell it was the cord and when I moved it I saw you were another precious and amazing girl. I told Daddy he had another girl and he smiled. We both looked at each other with a huge grin and said, “that was awesome; we just had a baby in the car!”
We pulled up to the birth center about 1:57am I told Daddy to run inside and tell Alisa that we had you in the car and for a half second he looked at me like “what I am just going to run in and tell them we had a baby and then we are going home?” and I assured him, “No, you are just going to let her know that the baby is here and she can come out to the car.” Alisa and Daddy returned promptly and we took pictures for 5-8 minutes.
I know your birth pictures are lacking and you have no video of your birth, but hopefully both Daddy and I’s memory of your birth is a good supplement. By the time we finished taking pictures the cord had stopped pulsing so Alisa clamped it, Daddy cut it, and then I handed you to Daddy so he could take you inside. Alisa gave me some giant pads to hold around myself so I could walk inside. I got a few feet from the welcome mat and your little house of 9 months, the placenta, dropped out, right there in from of the welcome mat.
Amelie’s arrival from Mamo’s side of the story
I arrived at the Wilkes house just in time to go to the Ball’s house for pre Trick or Treat drinks and appetizers. We all headed out for an extended 3 mile walk of Treating – with To Go Cups. Monica commented that wouldn’t it be nice if all this walking brings on baby #3. We left Dawn & Stan’s house around 10:30PM. Blythe & Jericho talked to Ladi & Papa on our way home.
Got the girls to bed, Monica said I’m done going to bed. I settled into bed about 11:35PM. Didn’t really feel like I had gone to sleep when the light came on in the back room. Thought hhmm someone can’t sleep – light goes off. Settle back. Light comes on again & someone in the closet (1:19AM) – I sit up and say what’s wrong/what’s going on – Jason turns to me and says I think we are going to the hospital soon (he is getting the tripod out of the closet). I say oh shit are you serious! Jason waves and shushes me. Well I want to run out and check on Monica but I know they want to labor at home as long as they can so I stay put and text Jalyn – no answer.
Maybe 10 minutes later Jason comes and says do you want to say goodbye before we leave. Of course. Hurry to their bedroom and ask when did this start. Monica said I started timing the contractions at 11:15PM.
They leave at 1:35AM. So I pace for awhile and decide I should try to get some sleep as this will probably take a few hours. Turn of the lights get back in bed.
Phone rings at 2:13AM – Jason, it’s a girl and we had her in the car.! I’m asking is everyone OK – he’s laughing saying yes. Well at this point I brew a pot of coffee – who can sleep with all this excitement..
To pass the time I attend to some accounting duties. Text Monica about 4:25AM asking when their expected arrival time back home is & whether I should tell Blythe & Jericho when they get up or call & let them. Nope we are loading up to come home. Monica responds at 4:46 in the car - if you’re stir crazy you can put the couch back together. Good idea, physical activity.
Amelie was home by 5:30 and we were skyping with Jim & Becky.
Jason went to bed & Monica tried but was awoken with noises of Amelie. Monica, I and Amelie had some time together before Jericho got up. Monica asked Jericho if her stomach looked smaller – Jericho, no. Well look at what happened last night – when she saw Amelie her eyes got big – baby! Up in the bed with us – a little confused but very excited. Then Blythe wakes, groggy. I tell her we have something to show you – she comes to the bedroom and then SEES the baby – huge smile. Both confused as they asked for a boy. When I told Jericho her name she just looked at me & I asked what would you name her & she said brother.