Several hours into labor, as the effects of the epidural began to fade, Alaha Karimi made an unusual request of her husband.
Karimi, 27, of Syosset, did not ask her husband, Harris, to wipe the sweat collecting on her forehead or for his hand to hold. She asked him to fetch her makeup bag.
Karimi, a consultant who moonlights as a makeup artist, spent three hours on her makeup — slowly applying foundation, mascara and even false eyelashes — taking breaks as she waited for the contractions to pass.
“Some women bring knitting needles to the hospital or books to read,” said Karimi. “I decided I wanted to do something different that would also calm me and would keep my mind off of everything.”
She arrived at the Katz Women’s Hospital at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park at about 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 15 and shortly after received an epidural.
But after a while, she said, it “began to wear off” and she said she needed a “distraction from the contractions.” Around 2 p.m. she asked her nurse if she could put on some makeup.
“I don’t think she expected for me to do such an extensive job,” said Karimi, adding that the nurses were all “shocked” to see her primping through the pain.
After 10 hours, her daughter Sofia was delivered at 6:19 p.m., weighing 8 pounds, 13 ounces.
Nearly three weeks later, Karimi posted photos of herself in labor to her Instagram account to much fanfare. A photo of the new mother applying eye shadow has more than 8,000 likes.
After her story appeared on ABC and the “Today” show earlier this week, she said she had gained close to 30,000 Instagram followers.
Thousands of people have commented on her photos. Most have been positive, Karimi says, but some have criticized her for “putting her own looks before her child.”
“Anyone who’s had a child knows that there’s absolutely nothing you can do except wait,” she said. “I’m kind of proud of myself that I was able to make it through the pain and still enjoy myself.”