Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Day I Plopped Down In The Bathtub And Plopped Out A Baby!

This is a story that's taken me 9 years and a lot of nagging (elizabeth-w) to write. I guess I never thought to hash and rehash everything out in written form because most of the people I know detect the first mention of an impending 'Miracle Of Life' story and they instinctively double over-feigning a massive diarrhea attack in the hope that they can escape and run far, far away.

We totally planned on delivering Caterpillar at home all along via the two really experienced midwives we hired..........but you know what they say about the best laid plans.


I woke up around midnight on June 21, 1999 with that horrible cramping sensation that only occurs when you eat way too many chili dogs at the Sonic Drive-Thru. It also happens when your labor powers suddenly kick into ACTIVATE mode. Within the hour I knew that this was the real deal and the birthing process had begun. As M.C. Hammer should have sang to expectant mothers, it was STOP! Labor Time!


This was to be our first at-home birth so I really only had the medically invasive experiences of my three prior hospital births to apply towards my Masters Degree in Baby Pushing.
I figured that laboring would constitute a long arduous process so I ignorantly waved Papi on to work around 2:00 A.M. I then harnessed the power of my nesting instinct and set about cleaning the house in super turbo gear. The last thing I wanted was for the midwives to arrive and have to assist me in birthing my baby while standing in the middle of a dirty underwear pile. Apparently, keeping busy and moving around progresses labor much faster than laying in a hospital bed moaning and groaning and cursing at your husband. Yeah! I was single-handedly proving Newton's Law Of Gravity without even realizing it! Plus I didn't have to wheel an awkward I.V. pole to the toilet with me.


I didn't telephone the midwives right away because I didn't want them or anyone hovering over me until it was absolutely necessary. You know, a watched pot never boils is equivalent to a watched pregnant woman never births. Well, by the time that moment of "absolute necessity" arrived it would be too late.(oooh, ominous foreshadowing)


Somewhere around tidying up my ceramic pig collection and enjoying the quiet solitude of my home while our 3 kids under the age of 4 were sound asleep, I got kind of shaky and weak.


I decided to fill up the bathtub so I could sit down and take the edge off the labor pains. I switched on the radio in our room and lowered myself into the tub. Immediate relief whooshed over me as the warm water helped ease the increasing pace of the contractions. Then the soft sounds of Kenny G. and his lilting saxophone filled the room and I was thinking, "Oh crap. How the freak did it get on this lame station?" That sneaky Smooth Jazz station lured me in with the sounds of The Doobie Brothers 'What A Fool Believes' and made me think I was on the lite rock channel. The last thing I needed was a craptastical array of Smooth Jazz favorites to compound my increasing labor pain. I mean Kenny G. may be aight for baby making music but he certainly isn't fit to provide the soundtrack for baby birthing.


Suddenly, I was rocked with excruciating pain so intense I started mini-hyperventilating. I knew I had to call someone NOW so I started with Papi and told him to come home immediately. Then I phoned the midwives and talked to the mother of the mother-daughter midwifery team. She tried to console me as I incoherently babbled about how I felt like my hoo-hoo was a burning ring of fire bigger than anything Johnny Cash could ever imagine.


I guess the midwife knew that was an imminent sign that she wasn't going to make it to the house on time. She very kindly didn't apprise me of that information until much later so she could try to minimize my freak out at being alone and in pain. While she was en route I suddenly screamed at her, "Ohhhh Noooooooooo I feel like I have to push" and then I dropped the phone.


I made a snap decision that if I had to deliver the baby myself, I could see more clearly what I was doing if I got out of the dimly lit bathroom and laid down on the bed. Unbelievably I was still annoyed at the gaggy Smooth Jazz blaring on the radio. Part of my big plan to haul my massive laboring body over to the bed involved throwing the radio across the room to silence it forever.


As I got on my trembling knees in the tub and leaned over the side in an effort to hoist myself up, I started pushing uncontrollably.I will never-as long as I live-forget the tremendous 'PLOP' sound the baby made as she exited my body and landed in the warmth of the tub water. Frantically, I turned around to fish her out.


I'm not exaggerating when I say I was terrified that something was wrong with her, especially since she never uttered even one cry. I sat there, stunned, in the yuck tub water holding her and blubbering all over the place while I kept apologizing out loud to her that she had a stupid mother that was too stupid to even know she was in advanced labor. It's a good thing we're not Scientologists because all my wailing and carrying on probably left a big imprint on Caterpillar.


Ummm, my Caterpillar did nothing but look up at me with these dark grey eyes while she made the perfect crinkle-nosed newborn face that seemed to say "WTF is wrong with you, woman?" It usually takes children until their teenage years to perfect a look that reveals they think their mom is insane and my baby got it down within minutes of her birth. I am so proud.


After I was sure she was breathing okay, I wrapped Caterpillar up in a towel and waited. I mean really I could have gotten out of the tub and started walking somewhere to get help but I wouldn't have ventured too far with the giant dangling umbilical cord still hanging down out of my nether regions. It would have looked like I was walking my pet baby on a weird looking leash. Mercifully, thankfully none of our other kids woke up because I'm not sure I would have been able to deal with that on top of everything else going on.


Papi got home about 10 minutes after the birth. I started laughing as he nervously took the cord clamp, iodine, and scissors out of our homebirth kit with his super shaky hands as he announced he was going to cut the cord. That was anything but reassuring. I didn't need Papi's trembling hands to miss and give me an unexpected episiotomy so I advised that we should just wait for the midwives to get there so they could deal with the umbilical cord and deliver the placenta.


So, the midwives arrived a few minutes later and took care of the rest of the post-birth details like weighing Caterpillar and examining her and giving me the all clear to go and take a much needed shower. We didn't have plans to eat the placenta or bury it under a tree or anything so we graciously allowed the midwives take it with them.....for FREE!


I remember Papi and I marvelling over Caterpillar's body that was so tiny except for her ginormous butt. Papi called her 'J.Lo Booty' and kept telling me, "Wow girlie, I'm not amazed that you were able to squeeze her head out without any help but the way you delivered those giant nalgas took a small miracle!"


When we rolled into Church a few days later with our newborn, word of her somewhat unconventional birth had already gotten around. Church members started calling me 'The Pioneer Woman.'
Dang, that would have made a great blog name. :)


Anyway, as you can see, the story has a very happy ending. Whenever someone asks Caterpillar where she was born she always yells out exuberantly "In The Bathtub!"

43 comments:

b. said...

I feel like crying!

That was an amazing story....thank you, thank you for sharing!! Seriously.

YOU...


wow....

PJ said...

Amazing IS a great word for THAT story!
What a Woman!

Hope she has a happy birthday, she is scrumptiously cute

nikko said...

Wow.

W - O - W!

What a great, fun, awesome birthstory!

Tell Caterpillar Happy Birthday from the Blond Boys. :o)

aubrey said...

oh. my. gosh. elastic, i just shouted "NO WAY!?" at my computer screen. nothing that i have ever read in blogland has incited that kind of shock in me. what a fantastic story. you are SUCH a pioneer woman. i had max natural and i clearly remember that freakin painful ring of fire. holy crap. so, you never got the chance to throw the kenny g playing radio out the window, eh? hooray to ew for forcing you to write that! happy birthday, caterpillar, bathtub baby!

Bee said...

Sorry, I couldn't read this cuz I had a diaharea attack! ;op

Hey, standing ovation for you becaue I would have lost my mind.

Hey It's Di said...

YOU ARE A PIONEER WOMAN! I think that blog is still available isn't it? *snort snort:)

You are awesome. I loved that story. . . now what really happened? Just teasing! I have no cool stories like that and my 4 were birthed in hospitals and had to be because of my stupid body that likes to labor FOREVER!

Happy Birthday darling Caterpillar!

Elizabeth-W said...

The leash!!! I'm laughing at that mental image so hard, 'Lastic.
Thanks for sharing the full story, finnalllly. I knew most of it, but the leash image was worth your getting all down in one spot :)

compulsive writer said...

That is seriously the best birthing story ever! Happy Birthday Caterpillar!

Ringmaster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ringmaster said...

You are a WOMAN!!! My twinkle toes had a bday yesterday too. I think that we now have 2 kids with same bdays. WEIRD

Lisa said...

WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! I can't believe it! WOW! You are amazing, lady!!! That is an incredible story and I'm so glad you shared it! Awesome!

Happy 9th to caterpillar!

Hilary said...

Wow.. what a story. I'd have been a basket case.

Happy Birthday, Caterpillar. ... you sure turned into a beautiful butterfly! :)

NOBODY said...

Okay, you sort of gave away the ending with the title, but I started laughing when I read that you tried to get out of the tub. You definitely hold the record for most eventful attempt at getting out of the tub.

She's beautiful. And what a great story to be able to tell.

Stephanie and Co. said...

Holy wow! You are so funny. What a great story. I've had my kids natural, but not quite that natural! :)

nora.lakehurst said...

OK WOW and I would NEVER been able to do that in my life. And YAY for the whole being aware after birth because I remember being toooo shaky and tired after birth.
I LMBO when I was reading the last part you are toooo funny.

Jami said...

That's so wonderful. She's a cutie. Where's the baby picture?

How was the birthday dinner?

It's odd because I thought to myself yesterday, "I'm gonna steal something from that woman's blog, so I get to hear her six birthin' stories."

Mine generally involve telling at least one person to SHUT UP (generally someone is suggesting I relax).

Alice said...

Wow! See..now there's a birthing story that doesn't suck.

I think my mom was sort of born like that..at home, unexpectedly I mean..not in a tub.

Happy Birthday Caterpillar!

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

I wanted to document this for posterity. I never expect people to read massively long posts because I'm a bit blog narcissistic but not to that degree. :) So THANK YOU to those who read and commented! And this is why you don't start a woman talking about giving birth because it will inevitably turn into the Neverending Story.

This is the birth story that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends......

Chell said...

Oh my word, I have to agree with Aubrey, in that I yelled "no way!" at my computer screen!!

You are on hellavu woman - thanks so much for sharing that story with us, it was a truely awesome read!

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

Did you know that I birthed my Melody in exactly the same way? I was on my knees, in the tub, no midwives. The only difference is that Papi was there to guide her out and help me afterwards until the midwife got there.

That was only 5 years ago. Maybe I'll write down her birth story in another 4 years.

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

To those of you thinking of birthing your baby at home alone in the tub.....DON'T! And here's why:
You know how you once brought home that report card with all A's? Or maybe you hit a home run or kicked the winning goal? Okay, you know how afterwards everybody held you that level of expectation and if you did anything less than perfect your parents/coaches/teachers told you "I know you can do better because I've seen you do it."

Birthing a baby alone is the same exact thing!!!
Whenever we've had some major trials in our life or I've gotten injured in some way, Papi will flippantly say, "What's the big deal? You can handle it. You gave birth by yourself. Anythings easy compared to that" as though I'm now some sort of unbreakable Super Woman.

J-Mom said...

AMAZING!!!
Happy Birthday Caterpillar!
She is beautiful!

I love hearing other's birthing stories. I'm not supposed go into labor at all---so I find most stories very intriguing, yours even more so.

Nancy Face said...

I am speechless! :0

Nancy Face said...

I've seen you comment about this INCREDIBLE experience somewhere, sometime...but I'm so glad you wrote the full story!

I was a childbirth wuss by comparison!

Nancy Face said...

Happy birthday to your super cute and adorable caterpillar! :D

Sketchy said...

It's stories like this that make me realize I could never be a pioneer woman.

Way to go you!

damon said...

What the heck do you do with a free placenta?
Sounds like a sweet deal though. Have you noticed the soaring price of placenta nowadays?

Happy birthday to your little caterpillar!

Annie said...

I love that story. :sigh: Tell it again, Mom.

Annie said...

I am one of the priviledged few who have heard this told in real life. I have to admit though, the written version, closely rivals the in-real-life Elastic animation.

Tracy said...

Oh My Gosh that is one amazing birth story!!! I think I'm most amazed by the fact that your other kids didn't wake up! Knowing my kidlets, they would have been in there, one trying to get in the bathtub with me, one trying to fix my hair, and the other sitting on the floor crying because he can't climb all over me.
Happy Birthday To both of you! You're both truly amazing people!

Suzanne said...

Oh Elastic, I can not even imagine!!!

What a blessing that the children stayed asleep. And what a blessing that you had all the home birthing equipment right there and ready to go.

I seriously would have been traumatized by all that for the rest of my life. Who knows, maybe you are! ;) You ARE a pioneer woman! :)

Suburban Hippie said...

You are so so so so so sooooooooooooooooooo much tougher than I am.

glittersmama said...

Holy cow.

You should have saved that placenta to make some kind of wacko nutritional supplements or beauty product or something.

Physcokity said...

What a cutie! Happy Birthday to Caterpillar!

That story was very entertaining. I experienced some uncontrollable laughter when I read, "She tried to console me as I incoherently babbled about how I felt like my hoo-hoo was a burning ring of fire bigger than anything Johnny Cash could ever imagine."

You are teh woman!

Jami said...

I'll go out on a limb here. I didn't eat my placenta fried with onions, but my midwife did dehydrate the sucker, ground it up and encapsulated it for me. I took the capsules to ease the hormone-related postpartum depression. It helped some, but not a lot.

Prior to the ultimate weirdness, we discarded the first three placentas and planted a tree on top of the other two.

omar said...

Hopefully when Caterpillar tells the story to others, she leaves out the part about her mom's burning hoo-hoo.

Happy birthday, Caterpillar!

By now, you must have like two Ph.Ds in child birthing, right?

Jean Knee said...

I need a moment, I'm still tearing up here.

The splash will forever reverberate in my echoing empty head. forever

Methodical wormer said...

You don't see that on "A B@by St0ry"

Millie said...

"birth my baby in the middle of a dirty underwear pile" cracked me up.

I've been told this story before too but wow, it's great reading it. What an amazing birth she had!

Happy Birthday, Miss Girl!

mindyluwho said...

Oh my goodness...tears were streaming from laughing so hard! I'm amazed that Papi was able to do anything after walking in and seeing you, my husband would have fallen over in a swoon! My last 4 were born at home, but luckily I was able to make it out of the bathtub first!

jams o donnell said...

Wow EWBL, I'm speechless. What an amazing story.

Biddy said...

oh my...

i'm pretty sure i would have fainted right there in the tub...

Givinya De Elba said...

That is truly an amazing story! For me, advanced labour comes very soon after "Oooh, I think it might be time soon" and I am afraid I might birth future babies in similarly unconventional places!