Pants optional: A birth story


I wasn’t thinking about labor or delivery when my water broke. I was thinking about the two ice cream sandwiches I had just eaten and was contemplating a third.

But then, all of the sudden, whoosh.

The Teton Dam 2.0 broke.

And the panic that followed could have rivaled the original 1976 disaster.

The last nine months flashed before my eyes like a horrific montage as I realized one jolting truth: We were having a flash flood baby.

With shaking hands, I made a few phone calls — including one to my husband who rushed home from work like a gallant white knight wearing a Broulim’s apron instead of a suit of armor.

Also the hospital, because in the few short moments of water-breaking-panic all common sense leaked out of my ear with the rest of my brain.

And after the good nurse reminded me that babies are born in the labor and delivery unit of the hospital, I decided it was probably a good time to start packing a hospital bag.

To those of you who have never experienced water breaking, I apologize for what I’m about to say next.

Hollywood is a liar. Because well, it just kept… coming.

So, with a towel wrapped around me like a sumo wrestler, I came to the evening’s second jolting truth: Every pair of pants I owned that fit my massive belly were currently on the permanent press cycle of the wash.

“That’s it,” I thought to myself. “I’m just going to have this baby here.”

But luckily, at the eleventh hour, my husband found a pair of old leggings shoved in the back of our dresser. Out to the car I waddled.

And with a hastily packed bag filled with probably useful baby things, we headed toward the hospital, my anxiety — and contractions — intensifying by the minute.


As we got settled into the delivery room, in came the nurse on the night shift.

“Are you preregistered?” she asked.

And I’m thinking, “Lady, I don’t even have clean pants. What do you think?”

Secondary thought: “Give me all the epidurals.”

Twenty minutes later, I was hooked up to beeping machines, gritting my teeth through contractions as the nurses asked me dozens of questions about my medical history as I tried not to offer profanity laced answers.

Cue my husband, who having to run back to work to solve a problem, walked back into the room carrying a bag of tacos.

Trying to play it so cool, I turned my focus to my breathing rather than the putrid smell of the tacos wafting from the chair next to me.

My husband — bless his soul — does not have a sense of smell.

But my resolve lasted less than four minutes.

All sense of decency and willpower gone, I demanded the removal of said tacos, as a sheepish looking husband shuffled past two nervous looking nurses to remove all evidence of the smelly offenders.

A couple hours, a few laps in the hallway and a thousand ice chips later, sweet redemption came.

The epidural.

A few hours later, as I watched the sunrise on what I knew would be my daughter’s birthday, my doctors began wandering in.

One looked at me with a wry smile on his face.

“You’re shaking an awful lot. Let’s check and see how you’re doing.”

It was around 6 a.m.

“Sure, Doc,” I thought, “But the nurse said this baby probably won’t be coming until about noon today. So…”

But apparently, it was time to push.

So I huffed and I puffed, strained every muscle in my body, threw up a bit and squeezed the life out of my husband’s hand on repeat for an hour.


Holy crap. It was hard.

And here’s a great big shout out to all the women who did it WITHOUT drugs. You are champions!

Then, as I sat in a delivery bed — pantless once again I might add —  three doctors, a handful of nurses and BYU-Idaho nursing students, a blurry face who said they were either a baby snatcher or catcher filled my room, because the more the merrier, apparently.

Suddenly, it was showtime.

And in that moment filled with fuzzy memories of blue scrubs, silver sterilized medical tools and my husband’s comforting voice, my life forever changed.

Because there she was, a purple screaming miracle.

The first thing I noticed were her perfect fingernails. That’s all it took. I loved her instantly.

And then I saw her face, mouth wide in a wonderful scream. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard.

Bellamy Jane Whitlock was finally here. Seven pounds 13 ounces of perfection.


And she was all ours.

I’ll never forget holding her for the first time. It was a moment filled with equal parts inexplicable joy and indescribable fear.

And it was perfect.

I’ve held onto that thought this past month as we’ve welcomed Bellamy into our family.

Because that’s the beauty of it, really. Going forward despite the fear, enjoying tiny moments of quiet perfection along the way.