Saturday, March 28, 2009

“oh yes, sweet darlin’ so glad you are a child of mine” -carole king

a birth story

“am i really doing this? is this really it?”
it was probably around five thirty-ish on january twenty ninth.
a thursday.
“lindsay. look at me. this is it.” ginger says. DSC_1626

it’s the twenty eighth. i’ve spent the day with lucas.
it involved:
a giant lollipop.
a box of popcorn.
a good chat.
a balloon.
holding hands.

i’m thirty nine weeks pregnant.

it’s now night-time. i take a quick fresh air drive.
the cranberries: “ dreamin’ my dreams” plays really loud through my speakers and out the windows.
i am singing outloud.
i spot a tiny sliver of moon.
i cry tears for a good best-friend day with lucas and acknowledge that this dynamic is going to change. DSC_1631
i cry tears for a baby boy. an old friend that i will meet again soon.

back at home i work on my birth playlist a bit.
i add “he came to meet me” by hem. i’ve found his birth song!

“…i'd seen this whole day
like it was drawing near…”

it’s now bed-time and i feel sick.
i take a hot midnight bath and rub my big belly.
i say a prayer for sleep. for peace. and please, no sick germs tonight.
my mom calls from the franti concert. she will be here in a few days.
i sleep good.
luc pukes.
andrey moves to the couch.

the twenty ninth. i wake. braxton hicks contractions are bugging me.
lucas and i eat a good breakfast together.
i clean lucas up and make him a cozy couch bed with his orange striped socks.
i take a HOT. LONG. SHOWER.
i remove ALL the bedding. start a load of laundry. i scrub and disinfect the kitchen.
it now smells like clorox. get these sick germs out!
i email amy for sick remedies:
RE: “open the door and let in some fresh air!”

the contractions are bugging me.

i change over the laundry and set-up to start sewing bumper pads for the baby’s crib.
i call my mom. she’s lunching at red lobster with gram and jen. we talk about cheddar biscuits.
“bring me one tomorrow and when is that birth tub supposed to be here?”
i tell her about the contractions.
“just sit down, hold still and rest” she says.
so i snuggle up on the couch with lucas to write baby shower thank-you’s.
we take a slow little walk to the mailbox and lucas drops each one separately into the slot.
we sit down together at the kitchen table for a yummy lunch. smoothies and a good sandwich. delish!
natalie calls from work to say “hello”
“if you talk to mom,” i say “tell her i think my baby is coming today.” DSC_1633
i am only half way kidding.

the contractions are bugging me.

amy stops by with our sick-y survival kit.
a jug of recharge and some soup.
i cry. i feel different and my mom isn’t here yet.
“mom, don’t cry. i’ll take care of you” lucas tells me.
and he does.

i try to work on the bumper again.
i have to stop sewing with each contraction.
i call my mom, “these are definitely real. they start down low. but there’s no real pattern or anything.”
i want her to come now but i will feel so silly if this isn’t it.
i decide that i have had it with the bumper, put it away and call andrey.
“ i think i might need you to come home soon.”

shannon calls.
my mom has called her and she has a tub i can borrow.
mom calls.
she’ll try and come now – but dad wants me to see ginger and make sure before they switch tickets.
she’ll call her for me.
i call andrey. again. “i think you should just come home, now.”
amelia is at the door. she will take me to see ginger. i cry. she’ll be right back with the van.

i change into my cords, put on my birks and tie lukey’s shoes. DSC_1642
i pack him up a simple bag.
this was a “to-do” item i hadn’t gotten to yet.

i think:
this house is not ready.
the sheets are still in the laundry.
there is no pool, yet
we have no groceries
the back bathroom is a mess.
i haven’t shaved my legs.

amelia is back to pick us up.
the van is full of kids. she’s babysitting today.
i explain to her how i am feeling and she can remember feeling like this, too.
she’ll drop me off and take the kids to the park.

i ring the bell at the blue heron. ginger opens the door and greets me with a hug.
there you are” she calmly whispers to me.
she shoos a lady out of the exam room and helps me up on the table.
she feels my belly. it’s contracting.
it’s two thirty pm. i’m three centimeters. fifty percent effaced.
she calls my mom. it’s busy. she tries again.
i’m having another contraction. i need to lean against the wall.
“you should come soon” i hear her say to the answering machine.
she walks me to the door and gives me a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
she’ll come whenever i need her.

i walk out onto the front steps.
i am alone with this. DSC_1647
there is a breeze outside.
i hurt.

amy’s white car pulls up and i climb in and catch my breath.
we call amelia at the park.
the van pulls up and i switch cars.
i try my mom again. there’s two flights.
she’ll be on one of them.
she’ll either be here at six or at ten.

everyone seems to know i am in labor – but me.

i grip the van door handles until we’re home.
andrey is there. he’s already picked up the pool and has started to pump it up.
i get back into my jammies. i cannot do anything else.
amelia rounds up my birth kit, sets up my bed and says she’ll be back. she is calm but moving fast.
i find my spot on the couch.
lucas is playing in the living room with cameron and i ask amy to please take care of him.
i put my face in the indigo girls t-shirt she’s brought me. another contraction.
“start filling that tub now, andrey” she says.
i ask andrey to call my mom. i need to know for sure.
six! she’ll be here at six! ok. good.

i am in labor.

it hurts.
i remember this.
i ask amy what I’m supposed to do.
“i think you just breathe. just. keep.breathing.” she tells me.

it’s just me and andrey now. i need him to squeeze my feets.
i remember that this helped while i was laboring with lucas.
we time them. four minutes apart. call ginger? call ginger.
we move to my bedroom.
i bury my head in his arm on each contraction.
he’s still in his work clothes. i smell the sawdust. it comforts me. i hold on tight.
andrey remembers that i’ll want to be in a sports bra when I get into the tub.
he finds it without asking and helps me into it.
he turns on the tv for me.
distraction. it’s ellen.
the tub is barely full but the tap water is already cooling. he starts pots to boil on the stove.
i love him for remembering how to do this.
he is calm.
ginger calls. she’s on her way. half hour or less.
i need to get in the pool already. i need andrey.
“they are coming too fast… i can’t get a grip” i tell him.
i get louder with each contraction.

ginger is here.
“good. good.” she says when she sees me.
she quietly but quickly gets the things she will need set up.

i am in labor. it. hurts.

please! turn off the news. yes. HGTV is ok.
the water is cool – but I feel so hot.
i need andrey. i squeeeeeeze his hands. he needs to take off his ring.
i squeeze gingers hands. she takes off her rings, too.
i am loud. i surprise myself with this.
ginger reminds me to keep my voice low. i need to relax and that will help.
she hums along with me. she smells like peppermint.
“i need to hear you” i tell andrey.
“you’re doing so good. you’re ok” he tells me on the next contraction.
i love him for this.
i hold onto the pool handles and let myself float. float. float.
“am I really doing this? is this really it?”
it was probably around five thirty-ish on january twenty ninth.
a thursday.
“lindsay. look at me. this is it.” ginger says.
she checks me. six centimeters. fully effaced.
it’s only been a few hours.

i am in labor. four centimeters to go. no way.

i switch over to my knees. i rest my arms and head on the side of the pool and hold andrey’s hands.
please! turn off the t.v.
i need my playlist. turn it up loud. louder!
“such a way” by stephen kellogg
“…she moves in such a way
that people fall in love with her every single day…”

i realize that the sun has gone down. it’s dark in our bedroom.
i need to push!
ginger tells andrey how he’ll need to pull the baby up out of the water so that they won’t have to move me.
what?! already?
it hurts. bad. i’m done.

i need to push!
i hear my mom. she’s here. i can let go now.
it hurts.
push! he’s coming.
someone! please! get him out!
i lean into andrey. sawdust. “you’re doing so good. you’re amazing” he says.
i hear my mom again. “isn’t she so strong, andrey?”
i need to move. i turn around to sit down.
push! it burns! push!
“there’s a cord” i hear my mom quietly say. “ok. there.”
i push. i am loud. i can’t believe this.
he’s in my arms.
he’s warm and wet. i can feel his heart beat, beat, beat against my chest. DSC_1668
i look at my mom. “is he here?” i ask.
my eyes are huge.
i look at andrey. he has tears.
i look at my fresh baby boy.
ginger flicks his tiny foot and i hear him wail.
he’s here.
“he’s gavin. isn’t he” i whisper.
”oh, gavin west. it’s you.”

{to read this story from my mom’s point of view go here}


  1. Beautiful story, beautifully written, beautiful baby.


  2. I'm tired just reading this. I can't believe your mom got there just in time. You are a brave girl!

  3. again, i'm in love. i adore birth stories and of course, cry the whole way through. what an amazing experience for your family.
    i enjoyed your mom's story too.
    when she wrote about the sounds of a birthing woman, i knew exactly what she meant.

  4. Good job girl! I wish I were as strong as you. An amazing story! He is a beautiful boy...I can't wait to meet him.

  5. you should write books.

    i love that photograph of lucas with baby brother gavin. so cute.

    & when you get time do you think i could request a bag like natalies? how its a drawstring and a backpack. a really pretty colorful design. i don't know how much you charge for one, but i'll pay whatever it is.
    i'll wait until you can have time and ENERGY to do it.
    let me know - :)

  6. I LOVED THIS!!! cried the whole way through and the pics are awesome!! is our group still open? seems a little dead - we need to chat! miss you!!

  7. That was really powerful. Moved me to tears

  8. all i can say to that linds is...way to go girl! :)

  9. YOU ARE SO STRONG. I'm amazed Linny. Always amazed. Thanks for sharing this with us. And your mom's story was beautiful too. I love you.

  10. you are amazing. yes, you are : )

  11. Incredible. Love a great birth story. Yours was super great, tear jerking stuff. So proud and thrilled for you. Hope you and your little family are hitting your stride. xxx

  12. I just never tire of reading birth stories. How wonderful.

  13. very sweet. 'twas a very sweet, peaceful day...even though we were moving quickly...there was always a blanket of peace over everything. not sure i can put it into words. when i think about the night gavin was born, i can't help but get emotional. there was a lot of love there. from ginger, from the folks at the arbys drive-through window :), from anxious little cousins, and a holy (i mean, with lots of holes in it) indigo girls shirt that's been lots of places in its lifetime. your were awesome...and continue to amy

  14. I love reading Gavin's story from your point of view. I remember reading your mom's email right after he was first born, and hearing your experience is beautiful.

  15. Thank you for this beautiful story. I have tears streaming down. There is nothing more pure and beautiful than a new baby. Gavin is so cute!

  16. I loved hearing your birth story, Lindsay. Absolutely beautiful.

    Gavin is a beautiful little babe!

  17. Hi. I just popped over from Marilyn's blog. This was so beautifully written. I can see I am going to have to stop by your blog more often :)

  18. this is SUCH a fantastically written story! i love it. looove it. mm.