Katrina Noelle Lubkin was born Thursday, 2003-12-18 08:34, in front of Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California. She weighed 6 lb. 7 oz. and was 20 inches long.

Her big sister was born in 3 1/2 hours, so we were pretty sure this was going to be a fast labor. We're in Watsonville, a half hour's drive from Dominican. Although we're about 10 minutes from Watsonville hospital, we couldn't deliver there due to doctor vs. hospital vs. insurance issues.

Sandy started having serious labor pains at 6:30am. You're supposed to wait until you've had 6 contractions and established a pattern. The pattern went like this:


By the 6th contraction, she was having a 2-minute contraction every 3 minutes. We called the hospital and our doula, then hit the road.

I stopped at my usual coffee place for a quick takeaway cup (hmmm, I still need to go back and pay for that) -- I'd had 3 hours of sleep and needed to be sharp for some crazy driving. Morning rush hour traffic actually wasn't too bad, slow but no real jams.

Somewhere along the way Sandy said "I think I'm in transition". She was moaning and obviously having trouble not pushing. I tried to drive agressively yet safely. On Soquel Drive for the last mile or so, she read various signs along in a sort of a dull voice, trying to distract herself.

We pulled into Dominican, parked right on the painted "tow away" sign closest to the hospital. It was 8:26am. I helped Sandy out of the car. She walked about 15 feet, then had to rest against a concrete pillar. Cornelia, our doula, walked out of the hospital lobby. As soon as she was with Sandy, I ran inside and told the lady at the admission desk "My wife is having a baby out in front!" Then I ran back.

By the time I returned, a couple of random hospital employees were there. One was pushing an empty wheelchair, he had been returning from some other task and thought Sandy looked like she needed help. By now Sandy was down on hands and knees, still trying not to push. She waved the wheelchair away, saying the baby's head was between her legs and she couldn't sit.

Before I knew it, there were about 20 hospital employees in a circle around us. Someone laid down some blankets and convinced Sandy to roll over onto them. Several people held up sheets to create a privacy screen. A labor nurse examined Sandy and agreed, the baby was crowning. She said "let's give a gentle push". Baby's head came out. Another gentle push and she was born. It was 8:34am. "It's a girl!" She was a rich purplish maroon color, covered with vernix. Someone toweled her off vigorously. She cried out a little, then looked around, stared me straight in the eye. She held her head up without assistance.

Someone clamped the cord in two places and handed me a scissors. My hands were shaking, but I was able to place it carefully and cut the cord. They bundled up the baby and started to take her in to the NICU. Sandy got only a glance of the top of Katie's head. I kissed Sandy, told her everything was fine, and went after Katie.

In the NICU they tagged me and Katie with matching bands, I quickly discussed a couple of medical details (wait with the vitamin K shot...), then went to find Sandy. She was in a delivery room, an OB was examining her, the placenta had already been delivered. I returned to the NICU to make sure they weren't giving Katie any formula. Sandy and Katie met for real around 9:30am.

We later learned that there were people watching from the front doors and 2nd floor of the hospital, and from a walkway above us. When they got Sandy up onto a gurney to wheel her in, she got a standing ovation.

Dominican's emergency response was amazing. The people that responded -- came out to hold up sheets and stuff like that -- were office personnel who hadn't been trained for this sort of event. One of the women bought Katie a nice baby quilt and got most of the people who had been in the circle to sign it. Another woman gave Katie a pair of pink knit booties. A third one had been taking pictures on a disposable camera (she'd started it with pictures of her granddaughter and was wondering what to do with the rest of the film). So we have a few precious pictures of the scene.

And... we later figured out that Katie was born right below the hospital's nativity scene. Her middle name was picked out months ago. We are not religious people -- I'm vaguely Jewish and Sandy's vaguely Christian. We just liked the sound of the names together, plus she was going to be born around Christmas time, so it made sense.

Katie and Sandy are both doing great. Big sister Nadya is still adjusting to the change, but she'll be fine. Grandma Thelma (my mom) is visiting, helping us out and getting to know her granddaughters.

Big sister's web page (incredibly out of date, we swear we'll get some real stuff online soon).