23 February 2010

We could have named her VANessa or CARly

Dear Pearl,

As it is your birth month, I've been reflecting on your entrance into this world and how it foreshadowed the way in which you would live life.

You were born in the car.  On Lover's Lane.  In Texas.  During an ice storm.  

But, let me back up.  18 months before, I was very much dissatisfied how your older sister was born.  I wanted something better for you and for me.  For us.  I wanted a water birth.  Enter Dinah, our midwife.  She was a short, stout, Jewish woman with unruly frizzy hair, Emcee Hammer-esque pants, and a British accent.  We adored her.  She was going to give us the water birth I longed for.  The routine visits were, well, routine.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  We reached 40 weeks.  Ding!  You were done!  I thought.

You had different plans.

I went in again at 41 weeks, getting quite anxious to hold you in my arms instead of my uterus.  Dinah offered the suggestion of castor oil.  Her very scientific description:  it works for some and doesn't for others.  Gramma and grampa had been in town, possibly more anxious than I to meet you.  Grampa was leaving the next day, which is why he cheerfully offered to make me a castor oil smoothie when we returned from the birthing center.

Castor oil cannot be masked, no matter the amount of ice cream added.  We thought we had at least a few hours before you would arrive, if the castor oil coaxed you out of your hiding place.  Gramma and grampa went to get dinner.  Chinese.

Shortly after they left, I had the urge to take some time in the ladies room.  From that point, I started to have cramps, the kind you get when you've eaten something you shouldn't have.  Which, I did(n't).  I got in the tub, hoping the warm water would help.  Your older sister sensed that something grand was about to happen, though if she only knew it would change her life, she might not have stood next to me and rubbed my back.

Daddy asked me if he should call Dinah.  I didn't know.  She was just getting home from her day at the birthing center.  But, yes.  So he called and she wanted the now contractions timed.  Between 1-2 minutes.  The only problem was gramma and grampa had the car.  Daddy called them to have them return.

Meanwhile, he put towels in the dryer, heeding promptings he had.  I put my clothes on and hobbled down to the car.  By now the pain was mountainous.  The contractions were hard and right on top of each other with no time to relax and recover.  Yes, I was screaming with a mound of warm towels on my lap while daddy drove.   Gramma sat behind me and grampa was at home waiting for the babysitter.

The roads were covered with a thick layer of ice, cars sliding all over the place.  Daddy was trying to drive quickly, but carefully.  Gramma wanted him to pull over.  Daddy said we were almost there.  Then I started to scream that I couldn't do it.  Daddy looked back at gramma and said, oh, no, she says she can't do it.  What are we going to do?  Gramma reassured him I would, and I imagine gave him a weak smile.

Then, I felt your head crowning.  You wanted to come, oh! how you wanted to come.  The medical staff [Daddy and gramma] told me not to push.  I couldn't not push.  We pulled into Lover's Lane Birthing Center to no midwife.  Your head was out.  Gramma jumped out of the car and told me I needed to get the rest of you out.  Daddy called onstar for someone to help us.  I pushed again and gramma caught you and wrapped you in the warm towels.  I held you until gramma couldn't wait any longer to see if you were another girl or a boy.  Dinah pulled up and informed the onstar agent that there was no need to come.  Dinah was here.

 Daddy cut the cord.  Our final physical separation.  Gramma carried your purple, but breathing body in.  I tried to get somewhat modest, though didn't really care at that moment.  There were onlookers, and we joked later what a story they had to tell that day.

No water birth for us.  More of an ice birth.  You waited to come, but when you did, kapow!  It wasn't until we got you home and gave you a bath that we discovered the fuzz on your head was red.  That explained a lot.  Love you, Per-per.


  1. she is beautiful! My sister has a castor oil story! I thik I may stay away from the stuff.

  2. Love the story. It is so amazing! I've only heard it from your parents and I was amazed then. Living in Oklahoma for 5 years, I know about those ice storms. They can be pretty intense, but to have a baby in one. Wow! and AMAZING!

  3. love this! so weird to read Dinah's name here; i don't know any apart from our turtle. but that midwife seems like an excellent candidate for a namesake.

    the woman who taught my hypnobirthing class had an unsatisfactory first birth as well and thus planned carefully and had high hopes for her second. she ended up delivering her(him?) in the parking lot of the hospital. she said it was a wonderful birthing experience though.

    i ADORE these photos of Pearl! i never knew her hair was that red. <3

  4. I've always loved her rosebud lips!

    I don't think I've ever heard this story in it's entirety. You're amazing.

    Love to Pearl on her day!

  5. Oh MY! Glad everyone survived that delivery! I love Pearl's serious faces best of all.

  6. What a fantastic birth story. She is simply adorable!

  7. Glad you chose Pearl instead of
    VANessa or CARly (clever but too AUTOmobilish.
    Loved hearing the story again. You are amazing. So is Pearl.
    Happy B-day Pearl!

  8. what a BIRTH(day) to celebrate! i'm glad to hear the whole and full story too! Your words are as dear as the photos! and as dear as the birthday girl.

    Happy 7th Pearl!

  9. This little girl is a "Pearl" in every way. I'm so blessed to be her gammy.

  10. Fierce! Your story makes me think of the Robert Frost Poem "Fire and Ice". Only instead of the world ending in fire and ice, it begins with fire and ice:

    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I've tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice,
    I think I know enough of hate
    To say that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice. -R. Frost

  11. I love Pearl. Tell her. I got to help her with her math homework over the phone. She's so serious. Like my Seth.

  12. my kids would love an exciting birth story like that one, they think it's great that one of them got to be pulled out by her feet-pretty boring compared to ice storm baby :)

  13. Pearl's birth was quite an adventure. Hats off to Ryan through the ordeal. I love Pearle. Happy Birthday to a sweetie who shares my birth month.

  14. Awesome story. I especially love the use of Onstar and that her arrive coincided with driving on Lover's Lane.

    You're keeping the car.. right?

    Happy Birth month Pearl.

  15. Oh what an amazing story! It is one for the books. What a cutie.

  16. So I popped over to your blog from MADE (to see the awesome headbands!) and have off & on been reading your blog all day (5 minutes here, 5 minutes there...you're a mom, you know how it can be). I love it. You, your blog, & your girls (and your husband who would wear a bow tie--mine already said that he wouldn't unless with a tux). Thanks...I can't wait to see what other adventures you have!

    BTW, great story. I want a water birth too--so far I've just gotten water laboring, but at home & good births nonetheless. Maybe this next one will be a waterbaby. Maybe I'll be as lucky as you and get another girl!

  17. Your story made me tear up. Thanks for sharing it.

  18. Amazing story!
    My oldest daughter has a similar birth story. It happened really fast and I couldn't not push. She ended up being born at home with just me while her daddy was on his way!
    We ladies just do what we gotta do.

    Emily @ www.the-polka-dot-umbrella.blogspot.com

  19. My third girl was like that....day before due date, castor oil, ALMOST gave birth in the car (we have the same car). She was born 15 minutes after we got to the hospital.

  20. Hello! so.. I discovered your blog from a link at Ucreate (I believe)... I don't remember now.. but I've been sucked in to your awesome craft tutorials and baby stories! LOVE it! I have a few questions... Lovers Lane, is that the one in Dallas? If so, I have a brother-in-law an his wife that live not far from there. :) Also, you're bound to be LDS, right?? If you are, MAYBE you live in their ward??? that'd be pretty cool :)

  21. what an amazing Birth Story!
    Loved your retelling.

  22. what an amazing Birth Story!
    Loved your retelling.

  23. As I was nearing the end of my fifth pregnancy this story kept coming to my mind. I didn't know why at the time, but little did I know that my Lucy was destined to be born on the freeway! Now that I've had a car baby I feel something of a kinship with you. :)


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