A true story of how Bay Ela Skorupa entered our world on May 17th, 2019.
The light remains red.
No car is moving. Surrounding engines hum together, the frustrated automotive orchestra is set firmly in place.
The only thing stirring is the little one. Bay is minutes from entering our world.
Heather is on all fours.
Our back seat stands ready for the arrival.
911 is dialed on the phone, a red button click away.
I gauge the sidewalk’s width. We’re in the right lane, I could feasibly roll up to skirt the jam. No pedestrians are in sight. If successful, then only one tricky intersection remains. We’d creep through, honking loudly to avoid getting t-boned by a midday driver in sleepy Marin.
Heather bellows. Again. Louder.
This baby is coming.
Angela, the Doula, is behind us in her own car. She’s on the phone getting instructions on how to deliver a baby street-side.
I place my hand on the horn. As the car rolls onto the sidewalk, I stop and think of her reaction.
Will she approve?
Will she follow?
I cannot lose Angela. If 911 doesn’t arrive in time, I have no intention of figuring out how to deliver a car baby on the fly. There are indeed limits to what I want to learn via YouTube videos.
In this moment of hesitation, the light turns green.
The engines hum awake, we move forward.
I gun the car into the median with my horn blaring.
My window opens to address the stunned audience of Tuesday afternoon drivers.
She’s in labor!
She’s in labor!
Stunned drivers look at me. Their expressions fade from insolent surprise to empathy as their wide eyes pan to the back seat.
Heather is an all fours, eyes clamped with the utter determination to hold on for a few minutes longer.
Her window is open, her moans escape into the Marin air.
The cluster of cars divides, opens.
Every minute matters.
Friday, May 17th. The week’s rain stopped and the skies cleared. A low pressure system entered. The changing notes of Mother Earth’s tune resonated in Heather’s body, prompting a beckoning within her womb.
The contractions begin at 3am, lightly.
She wakes, 41 weeks pregnant and already one week past the due date. She believes these are the real deal. While I sleep, she gets up and goes to the bathroom. A near-full moon penetrates big light into our little window.
Heather stands through two contractions in the pale moonlight.
At 4:00 am, she calls Angela. She wavers on urgency of the contractions because she had no Braxton Hicks in either pregnancy. With Haven, we went from nothing to getting induced with misoprostol pill, essentially a cervix ripener, to stimulate contractions.
Angela suggests rest for as long as possible and to work through the contractions since many hours lie ahead.
She informed me of the plan and we do our best to rest.
Our first daughter Haven wakes at 5:30am, far earlier than usual, as if she knew today was going to be special.
Haven and I start our regular morning routine on this very irregular day.
Heather rests and has a shower, contractions and all.
At 8:00am, I drop off Haven at Heather’s parents’ rental cottage so we can focus on the arrival of her sister or brother.
We call Angela again as the contractions increase in frequency. Everything we describe still sounds like early labor. I make breakfast and we watch Meet the Fockers. Heather labors. I wonder by such a shit film like Meet The Parents merited an even shittier sequel.
The contractions gain in intensity.
Anxiety spikes. And not just because this film is such dogshit.
We are planners and consider the time it will take check-in, set up the rental birth tub, and similar to-dos. Angela recommends staying at home a bit longer. We live in a peaceful forest and the stress of entering the hospital system may hamper the contractions.
We go outside.
Heather faces Cascade Canyon and moves her hips around on a medicine ball. The lights shines on her from above.
The contractions get extremely uncomfortable and more frequent. Shes goes inside to the couch and starts to struggle, really struggle. We call Angela on speaker and she says she’ll be there soon so we can leave altogether.
Angela arrives and helps Heather work through a contraction or two. Perhaps three.
We need to leave.
And then water breaks. And I mean breaks.
I run for a towel as Angela quickly helps Heather into the back seat.
As she guides Heather’s head safely into the backseat, she calmly says:
“If she breaches, pull over and call 911. Do not attempt to make the hospital.”
I nod, it’s time to buckle up.
I put the car into Drive.
Every minute matters.
We pull up into the ER via a left hand turn from the right hand lane against the red light. The tires wop-wop-wop as oncoming traffic skids to a stop.
I’ve stopped counting how many traffic laws were broken over these endless 20 minutes.
Angela grabs a wheelchair and navigates, she knows the right path by heart.
We plow into a full elevator and request no one to press anything beneath the fourth floor. Heather is bulging out of the wheelchair, screaming high hell to the heavens. Our case is obvious.
Yet Marin white privilege rears its arrogant head as an older man presses “3”. He turns to me, proceeds to lecture me how the Door Open and Door Close button will make his interruption brief.
I bite my lip not to engage, anything that I have to say starts with F and A and this a sacred moment. I let his impotent arrogant energy flow away.
Our floor opens, the staff hops to when they see water logged rug in Angela’s hands. It’s all the proof they need about the urgency of the matter.
Right, left. Bed. Heather down, legs open. No time for any machine or IV. Her eyes are wide yet shut.
It’s pushing time. The crown is here, she awaits no one now.
Heather feels the full wrath of the Ring of Fire.
Three pushes, a timeless minute or two later, and she arrives.
And then she’s taken away from us. They have no choice as no vitals exist.
Yet I know it’s okay. You are purple and screeching with the full urgency of your sheer existence. You make it known your are second to none.
Officially 8 pounds, 9 ounces. Unofficially 115 decibels. The same size as your sister, delivered by the same nurse only a few years ago.
Her name is Haven.
You will meet her soon, Bay.
Welcome to our world.
We know you couldn’t wait.