In my film, “Laboring Under An Illusion: Mass Media Childbirth vs. The Real Thing,” I made fun of those silly TV shows where babies get born in cars. Then it happened to me.
Dear Estrella Luz,
You were born in an unusual way!
Your mom’s water broke late one night, so I came over just in case her labor got serious and she needed a ride to the hospital. It looked like not much was happening, and your big brother Marco was sleeping, so I took a little nap.
Looking back on it, I think it might have been smarter to drive to the hospital right away, but the way things turned out it was perfect and everybody was happy, so it doesn’t matter. Sometimes these things can be hard to judge, but your birth reminded me that birthing is something we women are built for.
I woke up when I heard your mom get out of bed. I found her in full-blown labor, kneeling on the floor. I helped her and Marco and Marco’s favorite stuffed animals into my car. Your mom couldn’t sit down, so she rode backward in the front seat on her knees! Marco was buckled in the back seat.
At first, Marco was worried about the noises his mom was making, but then she told him “That’s just the noises it takes to get a baby born.” So Marco comforted her by saying, “There are lots of stars out tonight, Mama! Think about the stars!” It was a lovely thing to say, and in fact you were born under a clear and starry sky, and that’s why your name is Star Light.
We hadn’t gone very far at all when your mom told me to pull over. At first I said, “No, we have to get to the hospital!” But she said it two more times, so I called 911 to tell the ambulance to meet me.
I pulled over on the side of the road and put on my car’s blinkers so the ambulance could find us easily. One very nice policeman got there just before you were born, and the ambulance came after. Your mom said, “The baby’s coming!” I looked and saw the top of your head, and I said, “You’re right!”
A few seconds later, you came rocketing out into my hands. You were very slippery and wet, but I held on! It was dark and starry, around 4 am, and we were next to a sunflower field. Marco and your mom were very excited and happy. You cried just a little, and the policeman shone his flashlight in your pretty little face, and you were nice and pink and breathing well. I wrapped you in a towel to keep you warm.
Your mom really wanted to see you and nurse you, but she was in a funny position, and you were behind her, still attached by the umbilical cord! Finally, the ambulance people came and cut the cord, and they gave us more blankets to keep you warm. Your mom could finally see you and kiss you.
Your mom went to kneel in the grass to birth the placenta, but it didn’t come out, so we all went together in the ambulance to the hospital.
As I was climbing up into the ambulance, I asked an EMT to hold you. He said, “I’d be honored! It’s my birthday!” All the EMT’s and the policeman were glad to be part of your birth story. Usually their work isn’t so much fun.
The ride was about half an hour, your mom on her knees, your brother up front chatting with the driver, an EMT helping your mom, and me holding you. Your mom kept looking at you and saying, “She’s so cute!”
When we finally got to the hospital, your mom got up on the bed and birthed the placenta. You were an hour old. I unwrapped you so your mom could be the first on to see that yes, you really are a girl!
Then your mom held you and nursed you and she was very, very happy. Marco was amazing throughout the whole thing – very calm and cheerful and happy to welcome you! He will be a terrific big brother!
You stayed in the hospital with your mom and brother for a couple of days, and then you all went home to start your new life together.
It was a surprise to be the one to catch you when you were born, but I will always treasure the memory of meeting you. You are indeed a very cute and healthy baby!
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