This was my second child and also my second labor and delivery in Indonesia. Our first child was a textbook labor and delivery involving 18 hours of contractions and three big pushes leading to our first baby resting in our arms. This time I felt pretty confident about two things: One, the baby would be late and two, the baby would be a boy. Now, the doctors never actually told us that the baby was a boy. We had made it clear that we did not want to find out. Who needed to be told the sex of your baby when you already had such strong feelings it was a boy?
Leading up to my due date I had a fairly easy time. My belly was huge and I was hot and sweaty with equator heat but I had nothing major to complain about. Not many people were worried about my big pregnant state because the world was captivated with the group round of the World Cup. The U.S. had tied with England in their first games and my husband and I were eagerly awaiting the States’ second game. My husband spent the entire game day praying and pleading that our baby would not come during the U.S. game or the England game that followed the U.S. game by two hours. The game started at 9 p.m. our time on Java, Indonesia. My husband and I decided that we would hold off putting our 2 year old to bed so that she could enjoy the thrill of the World Cup with us. That game was very stressful for American fans. The U.S. was down 0-2 in the first half only to tie it in the second half and then have our game winning goal taken away from us in the last minutes of the game. (Perhaps that game made me a little too excited and stressed, as you will soon read.)
At 10:55 p.m. the game ended and I stood up to put our 2 year old to bed. She quickly fell asleep and I stood back up intending to go tell my husband that we had to get this baby out of me because I was getting too big and too hot. Instead, I stood up, braced the wall as some crazy movement went on in my uterus and then a gush of water rushed out of me. I whispered loudly for my husband so as not to wake our daughter but also to get some help!
We decided it would be best if I just labored at home instead of going straight to the hospital. At the time I was not having contractions and we knew that in Indonesia once a woman arrives at the hospital they would induce labor instead of waiting to see if things would start naturally. Looking back, maybe we didn’t make the best decision. I took a shower and while in the shower the contractions started but weren’t very strong. Then called my mom to tell her the good news. This was our conversation:
“Hey Mom, my water broke!”
“Kaylor, where are you now!?”
“At home, I just took a shower.”
“Kaylor! Why are you not at the hospital?”
“Well my contractions aren’t strong; I can still walk through them. They are about 3 minutes apart.”
“Kaylor!! I don’t care if you can cartwheel through your contractions, GET TO THE HOSPITAL!”
“Oh, ok then. I love you, bye!”
We quickly called our friend to come watch our sleeping daughter and we took off to the hospital (which was only a five minute drive in 12 a.m. traffic). I walked to the car just fine but two minutes into the drive I realized that I was almost ready to push this baby boy out! My contractions were breathtaking and only one and a half minutes apart. Tears came to my eyes as I told my husband to floor it or he was going to have to deliver this baby himself.
As we pulled up to the Mother and Children hospital, a wheelchair was already being rolled out for my transport. My husband wheeled me into the delivery room and the nurses asked him what relation he was to me. (My husband is Indonesian.) My husband answered, “The driver,” which prompted them to instantly close the curtain on him. I screamed out, “You are not funny—get in here!” The nurses gave me a look that said Why does this crazy lady want her driver in here? I was not amused and my husband quickly explained that while he was in fact my driver, more importantly, he was also my husband!
After being checked I was told that I was 6 centimeters dilated. I knew that this had to be wrong because the contractions were too close and too intense. Within 5 minutes of being told this my body started to push. The nurses checked me again, realized their mistake and put me in the fetal position so that they could call the doctor and tell him to hurry up and get there. I did all I could not to push, which was a harder job than actually pushing the baby out.
After what felt like an eternity the doctor walked in, rolled me over, and three pushes later our baby was born. My husband said, “Honey, you gave me another princess!” with a big smile on his face, and I did not believe him! However, the doctor confirmed to me that we did indeed have a beautiful baby girl. Joy filled my heart as I held our second daughter who weighed in at 9 lbs and 20 inches. It was 12:55 a.m., June 19th, one day before she was due and 5 minutes before the England game started. Our baby girl had respected her father’s wishes. She started her descent 5 minutes after the U.S. game and arrived 5 minutes before the England game. In the 2 hour window between those two games she entered our life—with a bang! She was precious and all that we had ever hoped for. The only problem was that we had not really discussed any girl names, and so it took us six hours to finally settle on her name, Caroline Allyn Kaemba.
Caroline had her own plans about her birth. She was early and she was a girl. At 9 months old she continues to shatter my certainties and follow her own plans.