B’s Birth Story
What an eventful birth.
Your mommy had kept in communication with me throughout the day letting me know she was having light and sporadic contractions. She had seen her doctor that day and was looking well on her way to going into labor. I remember wondering if I would make it to a group meeting I facilitate each month and letting some backups know I might not be there. I asked your mommy to let me know by 5 pm how she was doing and while she was still contracting regularly it seemed like a good idea to head to my meeting especially as it was just minutes from your house. I figured I could leave if necessary and then check with her after the meeting. After the meeting ended I had a very strong sense I should stay close by yet when I talked to your mommy she was still unsure if this was the real thing because of the very sporadic (15-20 min apart) and light contractions(I felt I knew better and that it was but didn’t want to intrude on your mommy’s space if she wasn’t ready for my presence). So my friend sat with me at a fast food restaurant for quite a long time and we visited and chatted while your mommy watched Survivor! After that was over I spoke to her and felt I really wanted to lay my eyes on her, as we doulas say. I figured if it was still early that I could go rest at a friend’s house nearby and check in with her but still had the strong feeling things were going to start progressing quickly. I knew I didn’t want to drive 40 min away to my own home.
She somewhat reluctantly agreed to my coming over and when I got there contractions were not what you would call the regular pattern of active labor. They were anywhere from 7 to 13 minutes apart but you could tell she was focusing beautifully through them and I could see she wasn’t as lighthearted as one would expect in early labor. We bounced on the ball for a while and broke the ice, tried a few positions and since she was growing very tired as it was near 11 pm we all agreed that she should go try to lay down and sleep if she could. I suggested she try that for approximately an hour and if she couldn’t relax enough to catch a nap that she should get in the shower. I laid on the couch and heard your daddy immediately fall asleep and snore and heard your mommy trying to rest but fidgeting and moving with contractions while doing her breathing. Approximately 45 min of that and I heard her get up and go in the shower. Contractions definitely picked up in the shower and I could hear her moaning and knew with as much certainty as one can have, that she was in active labor at this point.
When she got out of the shower we all got up and tried a variety of positions. Your mommy bounced on the ball but eventually ended up leaning over the kitchen counter as the contractions picked up. Your mommy is what I call a “labor denier” — she was definitely in active labor but as the contractions were growing more intense she was still remaining calm and focused and not being concerned over their intensity even though they were still sporadic and not seeming to get closer together. If anything some doubt started to creep in her mind as to how long she could do this. At one point she felt a bit hungry so we suggested she eat some crackers. After a few crackers we moved down to your nursery where we did hands and knees and used the ball. Unfortunately the crackers came back up and we didn’t have a bucket! Your daddy jumped to clean this and I moved your mommy to the bathroom to use the toilet.I could see your mommy was in active labor but she had a fear of being at the hospital too soon for a long labor due to your older brother’s long labor and birth. In the bathroom the labor really picked up in intensity, though still sporadic, and I said we need to start heading to the hospital. Your daddy was getting things ready and attending to himself in the bathroom and I tried gently but firmly to make it clear we needed to head to the hospital. As your daddy was occupied, I helped your mommy to their bedroom to help her put pants on. I had changed earlier into more comfy clothes when I wasn’t sure if I would be sleeping on the couch for a bit and I needed my shoes so as we headed towards the hallway and to leave, I told your mommy to hold on a minute while I grabbed my shoes. At this point the contractions were coming so quickly that even running to grab my shoes she had another contraction and I had to come straight back. I yelled for your daddy to get the car going and that we needed to go. As we tried to make it down the hallway another contraction stopped your mommy in her tracks and she fell to all fours and began crawling towards the dining room/kitchen/garage. We made it as far as the dining room and I knew we weren’t going to make it to the hospital. Well, let me rephrase. I knew we could head to the hospital but it was a very chilly night and I didn’t want you born in the car or on the side of the road. Your mommy said there was something coming out of her so I pulled her pants down and saw her and your bulging bag of waters in the most magnificent presentation of a bubble that I have seen in my career. Keep in mind this had only been a few short hours since I had gotten to their house and contractions had never gotten to the point of instruction by her doctor of when to come to the hospital.
I definitely did not want us attempting to get in the car so I yelled for your daddy to call 911 and to warm some towels in the dryer. Your parents seemed utterly shocked that I was saying we could not make it to the hospital and a little fear and panic crossed their faces. Everyone collected themselves and as your father was on the phone with 911 I had your mommy lay on her side to hopefully slow the labor a bit and had her blow out my finger as if it was a candle. This can help to relieve some pressure but when things are that far along it is still a struggle and your mommy handled it beautifully. She kept saying she couldn’t have you at home and had I delivered a baby before. I evaded her question somewhat as I didn’t want her to worry about that. I knew that EMT’s come with emergency equipment and are usually very skilled at delivering babies when needed. Within just a few moments we heard sirens and a huge firetruck and ambulance showed up. At least 4 or 5 men came in, as I recall, and the head EMT was so nice and calm and said he had delivered many babies. They did bring in the equipment but when they saw the control your mommy had they decided to just try to make it to the hospital. They asked your father for a sheet or blanket and your mommy somehow had the presence of mind to tell him where a blanket was in a closet and on a certain shelf! However, he grabbed a nearby blanket off of the couch and they lifted your mommy to the stretcher and headed off. I was relieved she was in good hands but also very sad I was going to miss your birth. Your daddy had asked me to please drive their car to the hospital because it was so quick and he felt the packed bags were important. So I did even though I was wondering how I would get home. I grabbed most of my stuff (I ended up leaving my jeans at your house) and tried to turn off the lights and things. We had recently made a pot of coffee and it was still running — that is how fast things progressed! I knew someone would come take care of things if necessary, though, and I got in your parents car and drove very quickly to the hospital. On the way I called both my daughter and my husband to see if they could pick me up. My daughter didn’t answer. My husband did and I told him to turn his ringer way up high for when I called back. I parked and could still see the ambulance in the bay of the ER. I RAN from the parking lot into the ER and practically shouted at the clerk working the desk that my client just came in and may have had her baby in the ambulance. A nurse jumped up and ran with me up to labor and delivery. It’s like they knew I was coming — the doors immediately swung open and as you and your family were in the first room it made it quick to get in there. To my surprise and amazement and semi delight — you were not born yet! How your mommy had that sort of control is unbelievable! The nurses and doctors in the room were quite jovial considering the situation. One head nurse was a tad bit overworked as she was trying to admit your mommy to the hospital and find out details. Your daddy had done a great job filling them in and then I answered a few questions — one of them being that no, we had no idea how quickly things would progress and this was not planned in any way! Your mommy had never had contractions any closer together than 4 min apart and that was only at the very end of being at home when she dropped to all fours.
The blanket your mommy was wrapped in was whisked away and she seemed a little stunned to be told to push you out. You were RIGHT THERE and as you came out I felt amazing happiness and peace that you were here safely and a selfish feeling of joy that I got to see it happen. Your mommy after all her control yelled quite loudly as you came out but she deserved every bit of that yell after all of her calm composure! You were great and healthy. Your mommy was great and healthy. Your daddy I think was still a bit stunned! I remember the doctor and nurses saying great job and that was just fantastic. It was an extremely joyous birth. I stayed until things had calmed down somewhat and you were nursing and then your daddy and I decided I would drive their car back to my car and later your relatives would bring them their car again. As we walked out to the ER so he could get your bags we ran into one of the people who had helped get everyone up to L&D and he was happy to hear you had been born in the room.
We guess that the water broke in the ambulance so it is even more amazing you were not born in the ambulance. When I visited your mommy about a week later we discussed and reminisced about the birth and tried to fill in some pieces. I still couldn’t believe I made it to the hospital in time to see you born! She told me that in the ambulance she was remembering my finger in front of her face and blowing and that she almost asked the EMT to help her with that but she just did it herself. She also told me that one of them said to hang on that you were almost to the hospital and her thinking that isn’t close enough!
So you see, this was definitely one of the most exciting births I have had the privilege to attend and I will always cherish the memory and also be grateful that everyone was not only healthy but willing to roll with the unknowns that can come with birth! You have a very special birth story and very special parents! Big thanks also to the EMT’s for their not only quick response but their calm presence and skills and to the hospital for trying to create a pleasant and happy experience.
All Rights Reserved, Knoxville Doula, 2015
Shared with permission from the client.