Thursday, March 29, 2007

Teagan's Birth Story

In honor of my youngest nephew's birthday today, I will tell the tale of how he came into the world. Now it's a long one and sometimes graphic. So heed that warning before you proceed.

But it's hysterical. It's much funnier when told in person though. It loses something in the translation when written out. But since I can't see all of you in person, you'll have to settle for this version. Remember the "I Love Lucy" episode when Lucy and Ethel were working the assembly line at the chocolate factory?
It was a lot like that. Out of control, crazy, fast and hilarious!

On March 29th 2005, my phone rings at about 9:15pm just as I was settling in to watch the Amazing Race. It's my sister, Carla, saying that she thinks her water just broke. Now this is her 4th child AND she's a labor and delivery nurse. I'm thinking she should know if her water just broke, right? So I ask her "Well did it or didn't it?"

She's not sure because none of her other labors had started like this. With the others, her water didn't break until the very end when she was ready to push. So I ask if she's having any contractions. She thinks about it for a second and says "Uhhmmm...I don't think so."

We talk for about 20 minutes. By the end of the conversation she's realized that she's having a few contractions and the fluid is definitely from her water breaking. So I plan to head over to her house since her husband is at work and she's alone with the kids. I almost said I'd be over after the Amazing Race ended. Hey, I love that show! And I figured her labor just started. I've got some time.
Or at least I thought I did....

I change out of my comfortable pj's and head over to her house which is about 20 mintues away. I got there just a few minutes after 10pm. The kids answer the door and tell me that mommy is having a baby. I'm like... "yeah yeah. She's having a baby soon. But not right this second." So I head upstairs and find her in the bathtub.

Now I have to preface this part by saying that my sister's a trooper when it comes to labor. She labored so long at home with her third child they almost didn't get the tub filled in time for her water birth once she got to the hospital. She's a pro at the labor thing and seems to have a high tolerance for pain. So when I turn the corner and see her gripping the sides of the tub in obvious distress, doing the blow-blow-blow thing with her breathing I got a little worried.

I mean I just got off the phone with her not even an hour ago! At that point, she had to really concentrate to figure out if she was indeed having contractions or not, ya know. So I realize that we'll be going to the hospital much sooner than anticipated. I call my brother-in-law and my mother and tell them to head over.

I line the 3 kids up and tell them to get shoes and shirts on. I tell Tatum to go grab a diaper. I get them all situated and a diaper bag packed with juice boxes, snacks and things to occupy them while at the hospital. In the meantime, my sister is still blow-blow-blowing away in the tub.

My bro-in-law and mother show up a short time later. We ask Carla how far along she thinks she is as far as the whole dilation thing. This is important to know. Because her worst fear is delivering the baby in the car. She absolutely wants to avoid that happening. But the hospital is 20 minutes away.

So do we have time? Is this just a more difficult labor than the others as far as the pain goes? Maybe she's not that far along since it's only been about 2 hours since her water broke? We really need to have an idea of where we stand. She says she tried to check it herself but under the circumstances she can't quite get her hand in there.

Okay.. have you visualized that now? Good. Let's move on.

I, being the great sister that I am and since I'm trained to remain calm under pressure, ask her if she wants me to give it a try. Yes, my sister and I are very close. Even closer now that I've had my hand up her.... well you get the idea.

We move her from the tub to the bed. She has an emergency kit at home with the necessary medical supplies "just in case". So I glove up and dive right in. She talks me through it. She tells me to feel for "the ring". It's like a circle, she says. Well, there's no circle anywhere in there.

The tip of my fingers are hitting a hard object. This doesn't register with her and she insists that I need to find the ring-circle thingy, which I now know was her cervix. But at the time she's just telling me it feels like a ring. I again explain that THERE IS NO RING!

She's getting irritated at this point. Hmmmm ...wonder why? Could it be her sister's hand up her hoo-hoo maybe? She tells me to explain what I feel. I tell her that I feel a tunnel which is the birth canal, right? And then something hard. I think at that point, we all start to realize that I'm feeling the baby's head and he's way past "the ring".

Now we all start moving a bit faster. Bro-in-law rounds up the kids and heads them off to the van. My mom and I start working on getting her dressed. Which is nearly impossible. Every time we try to get an article of clothing on her she tells us not to touch her. We manage a pair of undies, a bra and one sock. Remember she was dripping wet naked in the tub a few minutes ago.

Finally, she says she's not going to make it. My mom and I try to convince her that she is and continue trying to get the other sock on. She starts undoing her bra. Nooooo! It took ten minutes to get the damn thing on. But it's too late. She's stripping again and heading back to the tub.

I look at my mom and tell her we've moved on to Plan B. I send her to the van to help bro-in-law unload the kids while we come up with whatever Plan B is supposed to be. I head into the bathroom and that's when things start to get interesting.

K: "Should I call your midwife?"
C: "No she won't make it."
K: "Okay how about one of the nurses you work with? Maybe someone's off tonight. Maybe they can help."
C: A little louder now and more excited "No they won't make it."
K: "Paramedics then?"
C: Screaming now and very excited. "They won't make it!!! Oh ##$$@ Oh $$%%%!! I'm going to tear! Help me!"
K: "What am I supposed to do?!" A little perplexed on how I'm supposed to help with that.
C: "GET IN HERE!!!!!!"

Since I'm in the room standing right next to her in the tub I assume she means to REALLY get in there. So I push up my sleeves and try to head in.

Okay now picture this scene. We're alone in the bathroom. She tried to get back in the tub but apparently the baby started shooting out so fast that she didn't make it all the way. So she's in the tub on her knees, completely nude, leaning forward gripping the sides of the tub with her bare bottom up in the air and out of the water.

I'm trying to "get in there" but since she's leaning forward her arms are blocking frontal access. I try to go over her arms. I try to go under. It's not happening. "I can't get in!!" I yell. She screams out "Go from behind! Go from behind!" I really wish I were making this up but it's a completely true story and this is actually how it happened.

I step to the rear...pun intended.... and just that quick the little guy's head is out. COMPLETELY out! At this point, I realize there's no going back now and I've got to deliver this baby.

I start to instantly process everything I know about delivering babies. What I've been trained, what I've seen on TV, my real life experience with friends who'd invited me into their delivery rooms. My mind is whirling and I'm remembering that the shoulders are the hardest thing to deliver. I'm thinking I've got to grab the baby around the neck and pull up then pull down. These thoughts are passing through my brain at the speed of light.

I'm just about to start the shoulder manipulation and coaching her through when out he slips. So now I'm holding this slimy, slippery baby and trying not to drop him in the bathwater. My bro-in-law is running in now. I yell at him to get a towel and the snot suction thing to clear his mouth and nose.

In that second, I have a brief moment of panic because I think "what if he doesn't start breathing? What am I going to do then?" He looks like a little fish out of water trying to breathe with his mouth opening and shutting. But finally his chest starts moving and I hear a gurgle noise from him so I know he's good. I'm wiping him off, suctioning his nose, flipping him over to pat his back to get him breathing good and he starts to cry a little. I think that's when I finally breathe too.

Now my sister's arse is still up in the air and she's looking back over her shoulder trying to get a glimpse of him and asking if he's okay. I tell her that he is. She says for me to give him to her. I look at her like she's lost her mind cuz how am I going to do that. They're still attached by the umbilical cord so I can't just hand him to her.

She tells me to duck down and she'll swing her leg over my head. Seriously. So she does and it's not graceful. I'm still trying to not drop the slippery sucker in the water. We get her settled in the tub and she lays him up on her chest. She checks him over and he's fine. Ten little fingers and ten little toes, pinking up, breathing good, not even a conehead since he came out so quick All is well.

On a sidenote, Travis, who'd just turned 5 at the time, really wanted to see his little brother born. He and Tanner witnessed the water birth of their sister, Tatum. But because Travis was only almost 3 at the time he really wasn't that interested.

This time he was in to it. He talked all the time about the birth of his baby brother and was very excited to be a part of it. So when he made it back up to the bathroom and saw that the baby was already out, he was pissed off! He got mad because we hadn't waited for him. Uhhhh ..... sorry buddy.

Now a police officer arrives because my bro-in-law had called the paramedics. Sis and baby are still hanging out in the tub. I'm on my knees right next to the tub as he timidly peeks his head in. I assure him that everything's okay. Baby is out, baby is fine. I'm a cop and she's a labor and delivery nurse. We've got it all under control.

He looks relieved and hightails it out of there to go outside and wait for the medic to roll up. Then the paramedics arrive. They ask my sister (who we've now at least covered with a towel but is still hanging out in the tub) if she wants to be transported on the stretcher. She looks at them as if they have 3 heads and says she's not going to the hospital.

With that response from her, they look at her the same way. Why bother now? The hard work is done and he's fine. That's her rationale. So just to make sure, she calls her midwife and the midwife approves.

She asks the paramedics if they have something to clamp off the cord. But she doesn't want to cut it yet. She wants to wait a bit until all the blood is out so it doesn't make a mess. And she wants to deliver the placenta first, too. See, she just got new carpet. Which is also why she went to the tub for his delivery. Way to think it through, sis.

The medics don't want to touch her if she's not going to the hospital. They basically just want her to sign the release so they can get the hell out of there. She does and they leave.

We get her out of the tub and help her to bed. Now don't forget... baby still attached to cord, cord still attached to momma. It was a little precarious. She gets in bed and gets comfortable. She's already been breastfeeding him the whole time she was in the tub so she continues.

Travis now has become fascinated with the placenta. He's determined to see something come out of there so he camps out at the end of the bed waiting for it. Hey, you have to understand my sister. She's very "all natural-crunchy-granola" with her family. It's just biology and nature. So she wanted it to be a learning experience since the kid was so interested.

Well now it's coming up on 2 hours later, there's still no placenta coming out. She's using all the tricks.... massaging the uterus, breastfeeding, etc. But the sucker ain't out yet. Travis still only has a 5 yr old's attention span so he decided to go play. But makes us promise to call him when it's time. Every 15 minutes or so he checks in, yelling from the other room "Is that THING out yet?" Nope not yet, buddy.

She's starting to get pissed cuz she'll be damned if she managed to deliver the baby at home but then has to go to the hospital for the stupid placenta. She tells her husband to go look in the bathroom and bring her a vial of this special medicine (of which I'm not allowed to mention the name of at her request) that she had "just in case".

So she loads up a syringe and after about 10 times of chickening out finally jabs herself in the leg. I told you she was a trooper. The special medicine then starts working. But all it's doing is increasing her contractions. Still no damn placenta. Call to the midwife. Midwife tells her to go ahead and cut the cord then go sit on the toilet. Apparently that will allow the placenta to drop down naturally.

Too much information? After the last few paragraphs you've been so engrossed in, I don't think anything is sacred anymore.

This time she yells out to her hubby to go get the sewing scissors and BOIL THEM! Seriously...WTF?! Are we pioneers now?! So he brings them in and she cuts the cord with the SEWING scissors. Craft projects will never be looked at the same in that house.

No mess cuz the placenta's been empty of blood and goo for awhile now. She hands the baby off after tying the cord with some kind of dental floss looking stuff. Then heads for the toilet with a big old plastic bowl. Did you think she was supposed to flush it? C'mon! How would she explain that clog to the plumber? LOL!

A few minutes later we hear her frantically yell out to her husband again. This time cuz she apparently sat the bowl on the counter out of her reach. "Bobby!! Hand me the.... uhhhh nevermind."

Oops! So she fishes it out of the toilet and inspects it. That's what nurses do in the hospital. Well, inspect it, I mean. Not fish a placenta out of the toilet. Plus don't forget little Travis and his curiosity. He checked it out and thought it was pretty cool.

Next thing you know she grabs a mirror and inspects DOWN THERE. She mentions that she has a slight tear but uses a much longer medical word for it. I swear at that point I halfway expected her to yell for hubby to bring the needle and thread. Thank gawd she didn't. Call to the midwife who says it's fine and so minor that it'll heal on it's own.

We finally choose a name. He was Tucker or Teagan for the first 2 hours. They couldn't decide. But after a group vote, everyone decided that Teagan fit him better.

At the suggestion of my mom, Christopher was chosen as his middle name in honor of the most awesome super amazingly-calm-under-pressure aunt that helped deliver him.

Okay fine, Carla. You DELIVERED him and I CAUGHT him! Semantics.

So at 11:15pm on March 29th, 2005, Teagan Christopher made his wild and crazy entrance into the world. Only 2 hours and 15 minutes after my sister THOUGHT her water had broken and she MIGHT be in labor. He was in a hurry.

Oh and about the placenta. The next day when I drove her to the pediatrician to have Teagan checked out I asked what she did with it. She told me it was in the freezer. WTF?! She was going to use it to plant a tree. Apparently, it's symbolic. To use this thing that nourished a new life to then nourish a new tree and watch them grow together. Uhh...yeah okay. Whatever.

And recently when I told this whole birth story again in her presence, I turned around and said "By the way, whatever happened with the placenta anyway?"

Yep... you guessed it. It's still in the freezer.

This pic was taken before the cutting of the cord and as you can see by the look on his face, Travis is still pissed off about missing the whole thing.

So that's the unforgettable, crazy, magical story about how my sweet little nephew was born.

Happy 2nd Birthday Teagan!


Doris & Dan said...

That is SO amazing! What a cool story to have. Teagen is going to have that story told at his wedding!

Thanks for sharing and for the chuckle!

Keep smilin!

Kristen said...

Wow.. just doesn't seem to cut it,
Seriously.... the are just no words!!! lol

Heather said...

What a great story! I don't even know your sister and yet somehow I can picture her rear up in the air after reading this post! It's not a thought I want, mind you!

I hope your wait for Mia goes quickly...I remember our own wait for our daughter, Sydney. We're also getting ready to throw our hat in the ring for Sydney's mei mei.

Stacy said...

That truly is an unforgettable story! Wow! Your sister is amazing ~ So are you!! I would have been a mess. I'm impressed.

Happy Birthday Teagan Christopher!!

Dawn and Dale said...

That was sooooo amazing...and soooo scary for me!!!

My best friend is due to have her 4th baby anyday! She wants me there with her this time!! It's going to be amazing cause even though I have 4 boys, they were all born by planned c-sections so I don't even know what a contraction feels like!! She had her 3rd in like 2 hrs so this one could be a "crazy birth" like you just wrote about!!!

I'm going to link to your story for her if that's ok??!!

Great job Auntie!!!



"M" said...

What an unbelievable story! I can't even imagine what it would have been like to be you that night. Even though it may be an even better story in person, reading this sure had me on the edge of my seat. Happy birthday to Teagan!

C.J. said...

Hehee....get your sister a tree to plant already ;0) Get that placenta out of the freezer!

You did a great job on the writing of it but I loved having the facial expression version ;0)

Jennifer "Jenny" said...

Oh My Gosh! That's a great story! You did a great job too. Your sister really owes you Krista :) Happy Birthday Teagan!

Norma said...

Wow - what a story!

Stephe said...

OMG!! WHATTA story! You had me on the edge of my seat for the ENTIRE story! AWESOME!

I think the whole thing sounds amazing!! What a memory!!!

Thanks so much for sharing!!!


wzgirl said...

Not only are you an incredible auntie, Krista, but also an amazing sister. And, a funny one at that!

Happy Birth Day to you, too!

Robin said...

Now THAT is something for the baby journal.. LOL. What an amazing Auntie you are. Just goes to show... NEVER underestimate the POWER of a woman!!

ps.. I can't believe your sister, the L&D nurse didn't remember the old saying.. "Never trust a btdt delivering mom". They can turn on you lickity split and spit that kid out in no time. My second birth only took 45 minutes. They thought it was going to take all day... I sure fooled them!!

Jill and Jaap said...

That was great! Thanks for sharing!

Happy Birthday Teagan!

Emma said...

What a fantastic story!! And a great experience for you!

Drea said...

Okay Krista! I'm LMAO! Seriously, you are way too funny, I can't believe that happened! And, the funny thing is, I was in Maui one year with my parents and went to this party (it was a kid party or something, anyway...) they did the planting a tree with the placenta thing, EWWWWWW, and from then on we have referred to it as the placenta party because my sister couldn't believe what I'd seen when I came home form that party! The whole thing was VERY interesting!

Mark & Michelle said...

That is an amazing story!! I was laughing so hard.

Thanks for sharing it!!

Happy birthday Teagan!

Catherine said...

Wow! You had me captivated! Just thinking of you doing this had me in stitches! I can just picture you going through the motions and imagine the look on your face at different times! Great writing!!! But...someday I want the live version as I have a feeling it's even funnier than the written one.

Happy Birthday Teagan! Congrats Krista. If CJ is ever in a tight spot maybe you can fill in for her sometime?

Shandra said...

WOW! You guys must really be close!

A Special Family said...

So I get my internet back, and wow, what a super story!!!! Your sister is a trooper and my kinda person (I'm a total granola, natural, less medical intervention the better person too!).
It is amazing that you are your sister have such love and support for each other, what sisters should be. Never made sense to me how we are modest in front of people we love and yet not strangers. Sounds like a very very special birth.
Happy 2nd Birthday Teagan!

Mariah said...

Wow..that was an exciting read!! Happy B-day to you all!!

kris said...

This has GOT to be one of the best stories I've ever read about a birth!! I was laughing and crying at the same time (maybe the tears were from laughing so hard?). Amazing. Poor Travis. He does look peeved!

Happy 2nd bday to Teagan!!

Headmeister said...

OMG, what an incredible story! If I were to give birth, that's EXACTLY how I'd want it to happen (not kidding!)! Happy Birthday to Teagan!!!

Shannon S said...

What an amazing story. Suitable for such an incredible family! Happy Birthday, Teagan!

Princess Diaries said...

Happy birthday and what a story!

eggrolls and chopsticks said...

That is the funniest thing I have ever read! But then I reasise it is real and it scares the bejeevers out of me. You are an amazing lady! So is your sis.

Kelli said...

wow! Some story! I laughed the whole time but I can't imagine the fear & adrenaline you had going that night! What a memory! You will for sure never forget that night!!!

Laura said...

I have met your sister online and what an amazing woman... I too had a homebirth although it was planned and assisted by the midwife... And Celia's placenta?? Still in the freezer- she just turned 3!! LOL!! ~L

Krystle said...

After finding your site from Digging a Hole to China - and reading your sisters blog, to be linked to this post....

You are hysterical! What a magical, fun, exciting experience.

You're a great story teller, too.

mimifrancoise said...

This is the best story I've read in a long time. You are quite a story teller. Hope the wait for your baby will speed up.
Fran, Grandmother to 2 chinese beauties. You can read their story at

Sherry Mc said...

Oh my gosh. I was so close to that with Jennifer's brother. Thank god we made it to the hospital on time. Awesome story that will be the highlight of many family reunions. So neat that you got to deliver your nephew. Definitely a very special bond there. Sherry Mc (Jennifer's mom, Abby's meema of waiting4abby)

Dayngr said...

Funniest post I ever read. You really should consider writing a book filled with a series of short stories. That was the best and the fact it was real makes it even funnier.

AngieB said...

OK, you're right, I hit your blog and HAD to read this. Now I'm sending it to my crunchy-granola friend who's BARELY made it to the hospital for her last two deliveries and is trying to concieve again. I AM NOT delivering a baby in a bathtub. (But just in case I'm bookmarking this.)

Jeana said...

You're a great sister! Loved your post!

Sharla said...

That's an awesome birth story! Your nephew made quite an entrance!!!