Eliza's Story.....

Everyone told me the second would be like clockwork, just like the first only faster. I wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted. I was induced with Erin at 38 weeks for heart surgery and it was a rough delivery and recovery. I ended up getting an epidural and hour before she was born after twelve hours of labor and it never fully set in. Because of her condition I spent fourteen hours on my back strapped to every device in the room and eventually the contractions because so painful I thought death might have been a better alternative than childbirth. The method I was induced put extra stress on Erin causing to heart rate to beat erratically. Thankfully Erin came out healthy, but I spent weeks recovering.

I often thought childbirth was never meant to be the extreme sport I endured the first time around. There was something so unnatural about the process, how did women do it without the drugs? How did my mom milk cows while in labor and the women in the birth video were out hiking in labor and I wanted to be shot at only 4 centimeters dilated? When I became pregnant with the second, those feelings of fear came flooding back. As a first time mom you are blessed with the bliss of ignorance. With the second, I knew the hell I would wade through again. I did a little research and decided on a midwife practice at a high-risk hospital downtown and it was a perfect match for us. The midwives only did hospital deliveries, embraced the use of technology but had a completely different outlook on birth – it was a natural process, not a disease that needed to be treated. I wanted a natural birth mainly for the health of my child, but also for the bragging rights and mainly purely out of curiosity. So I envisioned a birth hanging out in a whirlpool tub at the hospital, listening to my hypnobirthing cd, in a calm and relaxed environment….What I got was an appointment to realign the car, a new land speed record for driving in Clear Lake morning rush hour traffic and a car that will forever smell like amniotic fluid.

I was due on Tuesday June 26 and even though I felt great for being 40 weeks pregnant I found myself jumping the threshold of fear, willing to go into labor at any point and ready to be done with pregnancy. Tuesday afternoon I pulled the lawnmower out and trimmed the jungle we call our front lawn as a Hispanic lawn crew across the street stood slack jawed as they watched a nine-month pregnant woman waddle behind an electric mower in 90 degree heat.

Jared returned from work that afternoon and we sat down to look at the weekly schedule. The following day already looked like a hectic mess on the calendar. Jared had a flight simulation in mission control starting at 6 am the next morning, my mom was flying in at noon half way across the city and I still had a major project in the works that had long missed its deadline due to the editing department. Jared and I causally joked that tomorrow would be the day since the schedule did not have an opening large enough to accommodate an eight-hour labor.…and sure enough fate played it cards.

I woke up about midnight not feeling so good, wondering if I was in labor or really should have passed on the hot peppers at dinner the night before. My labor had started and stopped several times over the past weeks. I shrugged off the pain and went back to sleep. I awoke again around 3:45 am and decided maybe it was labor. The contractions were not consistent but they were contractions. By 4:15 they had started to form a pattern of every 7-10 minutes so I called my midwife. We decided that I was still in early labor and it would probably be around noon before things really got going, but if I wanted to head downtown earlier they would be happy to see me in the clinic. She said I should start heading down when I could no long walk to talk through my contractions. Sounded like a plan….

Side note: So the down side to where I would deliver was it was 26 miles from my house to the hospital and the hospital was located in the center of Houston. The ongoing joke throughout my pregnancy was my claim to fame would be I would be on the 6pm news Jamcam traffic reports: I-45 north right lane would be closed due to a woman having a baby on the side of the road being delivered in that back of a lawn service truck by a man named Eduardo in rush hour.

I got off the phone with the midwife and slipped on my headphones with my hypnobirthing rhetoric on my mp3 player (which I highly recommend and is another story by itself). I went back to bed, not necessarily to sleep but just to relax. The contractions began to fall into a consistent pattern. Around 6:15 I could not longer just lay there and breath through the contraction, I threw off my head phones and thought to myself, “this hypnobirthing junk is a bunch of crap” I walked through my contractions for about fifteen minutes and decided that they were getting strong enough if I waited much longer it would make for a very uncomfortable ride downtown.

At 6:30 Jared was still in bed, I walked in and tried to be nice as not to frazzle him. I told him to get Erin ready and call Anderson’s and tell them we’ll be dropping her off…. I’ll be in the shower chilling out.

I was in the shower when all at once I could not tell when one contraction stopped and the next one started. I thought, great, this will be a fun ride downtown. With Erin I labored like this for almost six hours. It was painful but I still was in complete control. And then all at once I was whipped back into reality as I got chilled and then extremely hot – the telltale signs that your almost there. I thought to myself there is no way I can be in transition; the pain was not severe enough. But I was. I yelled at Jared to see if Erin was ready – he was still in bed. And the conversation went like this:

Jared, are you ready? “Let’s wait until 7am to call Anderson’s, I don’t want to wake them up. (It was 6:45)” No, call them now, we got to go.” But its rush hour and….NO, WE GOT TO GO!

I jumped out of the shower, threw on the first t-shirt and sweats I saw (bad news for Jared, they were his favorite sweats and will never be the same again) and grabbed my bag. Jared was deciding on clothes for Erin - I didn’t care if we dropped her off sporting a pair of skid-marked undies, throw that kid in the car.

I kept telling myself I could do this, I walked out in the kitchen and my water broke. And all at once Jared realized that my calmness had not been a sign of early labor but that I focus inward in late labor. We both knew I had about an hour before the baby came…. 26 miles at 7 am rush hour, there is an open shoulder all the way on the interstate, we can make it in thirty minutes.

At 7:05 I finally hit that point where I could not longer walk through my contractions and right on cue I was heading for the hospital. I was bracing myself against the kitchen counter when Erin came up and asked if I was okay. She then turned to Jared and said” I want to see my baby sister come out”. Jared replied, oh NO, NO, NO, and ran her out to the car. I collected my self once again and started towards the door when I had to push. That primeval feeling where nature takes over and there is nothing you can do to stop it. With Erin it only took three contractions for her to come. I made my way to the car knowing full well I had about fifteen minutes – max: three minute contractions plus 3-4 minutes in between. I honestly thought about just having her in the living room, but Jared was already dragging me to the car with a panicked look on his face. The family joke is Renshaw men will deliver at least one baby, Jared was not about to be inducted in the Renshaw tradition of babies born at home or at gas stations.
I said we don’t have time to drop Erin off, but he had already started the wrong way down the boulevard towards Anderson’s. We pulled up to Andersons at 7:15, threw Erin out on the front lawn, watched her bounce and honked. There was not way in hell we were going to make it to the hospital downtown, but there was a local one 4 miles away……we made it a whole ½ mile before getting stuck in traffic at a red light.

And the conversation went like this:

Jared, go, you got to go!” I can’t it’s a red light”. I frickin don’t care what color it is, honk, jump the curb we’re not going to make it.” It was true the curb was too high, the drainage ditch too deep - we were stuck in the middle of a sea of stupid people in large SUV’s that couldn’t put together a screaming women and a honking man with the color drained from his face were in a tad of a hurry. The light turned, we detoured on a gravel to avoid the next stop sign finally got to the light to turn left onto the feeder road.

There we sat four deep at the light. There was a cop sitting at the light facing us, Jared stated honking and waving out his window like a lunatic. The cop acknowledged him and drove on. What, did he think he was just being friendly?

The conversation escalated to:

Jared, this baby is coming now” No it’s not, just hold it in there. Hee heee heee, awwwwww – ya, not an option, its coming and you’re going to deliver it!" Jared jumped the median, and turned left from the wrong lane on a red. I watched as he red-lined our Buick regal and we sailed down the interstate at 80-85-90-95 mph, maybe I’ll keep my seatbelt on…..contraction number three, bloody hell this is not cool. I thought okay you can hold this one off……just breathe, just breathe…. wow that’s a lot of vibration, guess that median jump will cost us $70 bucks for a new alignment…..focus Em focus!

After I came to terms with the third contraction and that we would be dishing out a good chunk of money to realign the car we saw the hospital in the distance and argued where the ER entrance was located. We pulled up and no one was there, so Jared pulled into the ambulance corridor and it was locked. He ran inside and a nurse told him he had to park in ER parking, which was gated. I honestly thought he was going to ram the gate. As we sat there the 4th contraction came and with it her head. We sat there for a second and no one came out so Jared ran in a grabbed a wheel chair. We went inside and they said the ER does not like to deliver babies. I am thinking to myself what is there to deliver, the hard part is over, someone just has to catch this kid and fast. So a nurse gave Jared a bunch of directions on how to get up to OB, luckily a valet parking man grabbed my wheel chair and we zoomed through the hallways to the elevator. I thought, no not an elevator, I don’t want to tell my child she was born in an elevator. I got to OB and he pushed me into an L& D room, the nurse came in and said we need to get you into a bed, and I calmly replied, no can do her head was already delivered, she looked at me and freaked. A senior nurse said honey; we do this all the time and then looked at the valet guy who was still standing there waiting for his wheelchair and said you may want to leave. The fifth contraction came, and one push finished the job, my baby was not born in the elevator but in a wheelchair.

I heard her cry and took a deep breath; she was fine and had survived the ordeal. The nurse held her for a second and realized she did not even have a table to put the baby on and said “here, hold this” And she threw my new baby girl onto my chest.There I sat, my t-shirt covered in blood and mucus and I thought to myself not exactly the romantic birth I had pictured, but it works. Eliza was born at 7:36 am, twenty minutes after leaving the house, under a minute after being wheeled into the L&D room.

The doctor threw in a couple stitches and we had a good laugh….then he charged me $900.00 for his fifteen minutes of work.

Then the nurse finally asked me for my name and social security number, and I still have to sign consent forms in case I needed an epidural. I felt good, really good. I took a Motrin, took a shower and settled in for 48-hours of bad reruns and pesky nurses. Jared and I just sat there for an hour and laughed. There is no way to explain the conversations in the car, except it was exactly like what you see on a sitcom and I am sure there were a few expletives from me as we sat at stop lights.

Through the latter part of my labor, there was no pain; I attribute it to the adrenaline rush. So if you want a pain-free natural birth…wait for rush-hour and then strap yourself into a speeding bullet ( I highly recommend leather seats for easy clean-up). I really wanted to have a natural birth this time around, what I got was a intervention-free birth, no IV’s, no monitors, just a good story with a good ending. And if you are wondering Jared survived the ordeal too. It took a day for color to return to his face, but he did very well considering the circumstances.


Brenna said...

Man, that is a good story. I am home now and my mom was reading it over my shoulder. She was laughing so hard she had tears in her eyes. Thanks for the good read:)

stacie said...

Wow Em . . . makes me a little nervous for the 2nd!

shannon said...

love it. i have been listening to birth story's all day (oddly enough). this one takes the cake.

Kari said...

You are a superwoman! No epi, no help, just you and Eliza. You are an inspiration (and also a deterrent--I'm never having sex again! Scary birthing!).

Emily W said...

You are the best Em, i think this birth really suites your medical history!

Sarah said...

Oh my goodness! I never should have read this at work. I have tears running down my face! So glad everything turned out well. CONGRATS!

Auntie J said...

That is incredible! So glad God kept you ALL in His protective hands. Cudos to Jared. That's an equally tough role to play!

Love to you all!

Tracy said...

wow... that's all i have to say. just wow.

The Croshaw's said...

Em...that is an amazing story. You are so brave and I can only imagine your conversation as husband and wife in the car! She is beautiful!