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Birth Story of Josephine Marie Cleaton


If you guys ever need any tips on delivering a baby 4 weeks early on the side of a freeway, Jamie and I have some experience.

Backstory: given past experience with labor and delivery - on average my labor lasts 20 hrs long on a good day. I haven’t gone into labor naturally ever. I’m always induced (or in the case of the twins - scheduled c section). So when contractions started on July 4th - we ignored them. Too many false alarms at the hospital. 

Besides - I was of course contracting at the end of the day on the 4th because we hosted a July 4th party. So I was sitting down just trying to calm things down. They were somewhat painful Braxton hicks at the beginning and gradually got more painful till they started stretching around my back. So I was like - ok. Time to go to bed (not to the hospital. Duh.) So Jamie and I went to bed and they kept being painful so I started timing them. 1 minute long, 3 minutes apart. Like clockwork. So I woke Jamie up and told him it was time to go to the hospital. We were only 35w 5d along in the pregnancy - so both of us were really hesitant to go in because we didn’t want to lose a night of sleep and be sent home. So we packed things up quickly (read: we didn’t pack ANYTHING we actually needed because i only had 1 minute between painful contractions at this point and wasn’t exactly thinking clearly. I do believe i packed tums and my magnesium though - so that came in handy) and headed to the hospital. 

Thank God - my sister in law was in town visiting, so she was able to stay with our kids and we were able to leave sooner! So many things like this that God lined up. It was the opposite of Murphy’s law that night. 

Contractions were REALLY painful at this point. Like crawling out of my body painful. Jamie was definitely going 100mph down the freeway. We were 5 minutes away from the hospital when I felt her crowning and knew I had to push. I told Jamie that either he pulled over and caught this baby or I would be catching her going 100mph down the freeway.  Jamie pulled over and called 911.

As soon as the car was stopped, I started reclining my chair, and put my feet up on the dashboard. The baby was crowning at this point. I had already held her in through two contractions in hopes that we could make it to the hospital - but if you have ever pushed out a baby - you know that holding in a baby through contractions is a losing battle. The 911 dispatch was asking Jamie super helpful questions like “what is your phone number? What is your address?” And Jamie’s like “can we skip to the part where you are talking to me about how to deliver a baby? Because I can see a head.” And they are all “is there any blood? Is she light headed?” At this point we started ignoring the paramedic on the 911 line. And I’m like - Jamie. Can you see her head? He said yes. One push and 2 seconds later, she was out. On the side of the 805 freeway. At 12:50 am on July 5th.  She came out in one push (along with a TON of blood and uterus goodness. So happy that happened in the front seat of my car - you’re welcome for those details).

Then the dispatch is all “ok check to see if the cord is wrapped around her neck”. Jamie was like “it was, and I unwrapped it.” They were like “ok, now get a warm dry towel” 

We were fresh out of those - considering our car is not a sauna. Or a hospital.  Or equipped to regularly deliver babies. 🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️

So I took off my sweatshirt and wrapped her in it. 

Then the dispatch is all “find a string now”.

Surprisingly we also forgot to pack that. So unprepared to deliver a baby on the side of the road to be honest. Embarrassing. 

The dispatch then said the only helpful thing up to this point and suggested a shoelace in case we didn’t pack our umbilical cord tying string. Jamie thankfully was wearing shoes with shoelaces - and tied that around the umbilical cord. Shortly after, I delivered the placenta (it joined the mess on the ground of our minivan). Josephine cried right away, was a nice pink color and was behaving like a full term baby (not at all like a preemie). 

Right after we did all of that work, the paramedics decided to show up. That’s when they took one look at my pantsless self and thought - now that is a woman who looks like she can walk 20ft to our stretcher. So they asked if I’d be willing. 

Luckily Jamie saved the day and said “absolutely not. Block traffic with the fire truck that is about to arrive. I’ll move the van and my Pantsless Wife (TM) over so that you can move the stretcher closer” (what a guy) I never thought in a million years that I would be pantsless on the side of the freeway. Let alone that 15 paramedics and firefighter MEN would be escorting me and my biohazard purse (containing my placenta - which was attached to the umbilical cord, which was attached to the baby that I had just delivered) to their stretcher. 

So. Traffic was blocked by the firetruck. Jamie moved the car. The stretcher was moved closer, and I was transported to the hospital. 

Meanwhile, we get to the hospital and are met with 25 doctors and nurses (it must have been a slow night).

I also think it’s important to note - Jamie had another shoelace still on his other shoe - so he was holding back the urge to offer to deliver other babies on the way to our room. A real hero if you ask me. He was also wondering along the way why doctors get paid so much. Clearly delivering babies is easy. 

After all of the chaos settled down and they stitched me up, Jamie went out to the murder scene (I mean the van) to clean it up. Armed with a tub of Clorox wipes and all of the towels in our room. Surprisingly the ER staff that was watching him clean up the murder scene didn’t seem to see anything out of the ordinary. So that’s comforting. 

Anyways. I felt like I had never been pregnant as soon as I delivered her! A little sore - but honestly one of the easiest deliveries start to finish! Josie (or Josa as Kolbe calls her) is a champ and is our only child to ever pass the bilirubin test. She is also nailing all of blood sugar tests. And is gaining weight and the doctors are quite impressed with her. 

She is named Josephine Marie after st Joseph, my grandma (Josie), st Josephine Bahkita and our lady. A power line up - so it’s no wonder she’s doing so great!

The famed shoe with no shoelace
Josie Marie at a ripe 3 months
Awesome cartoon of the story that our 12 year old son Cyrus made
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