I love this post from Heart On Guard and I hope you guys do too! Thanks again darling!
I thought my fast labor with my son was something that would never be beat. Water breaking at work, back-to-back contractions, hyperventilating, freaking out, and a baby in less time than it takes to watch an extended version of Lord of the Rings... but then Little Miss was born, and her birth story takes the cake.
My pregnancy with Little Miss was one wracked with anxiety. Her big brother had been born at 37 weeks, so I was convinced she would come around the same time -- which was conveniently when my husband was gone for 3 weeks of training with no communication. Worry #1 - she'll arrive when he's gone. With her big brother my waters had broken first, so there was no question as to when to go to the hospital. Worry #2 - I won't know when I'm actually in labor. Her big brother had arrived in 4 1/2 short hours... so we have Worry #3 - I'm not going to make it to the hospital (especially if I have worry #2 to deal with and end up identifying it late).
We made it through my husband's training without her arrival, so I could breathe a bit easier there. But those other anxieties were stronger than ever. My OB and my doula both laughed at me repeatedly when I expressed concern that I wouldn't recognize labor and that I'd end up giving birth to her in the parking lot of the strip club between my house and the hospital. Perhaps they were simply trying to put me at ease, but of all people they should have known one of the cardinal rules of dealing with pregnant ladies - Do Not Laugh at Them! (ranks right up there with no unsolicited belly rubbing and no stealing food off our plates).
Needless to say I was watching and scrutinizing every possible sign of impending labor. Was that part of the mucus plug? Was that a contraction or just braxton hicks? Then just before my 39 week mark, I started having sporadic contractions. My doula didn't seem all that interested or excited at my "I think I just passed my mucus plug", so I turned to my friend 1500 miles away who was also a doula and much more enthusiastic. My friend agreed that it seemed like I was probably experiencing early labor (i.e. prodromal labor)... and I left my actual doula in the dark. I knew that prodromal labor could last anywhere from a couple days to several weeks, so there was no way of knowing when to expect her. Fast forward two nights and I was having trouble sleeping. Contractions were still sporadic, but I couldn't rest through them. It was about to get serious.
1:34am -- After finally falling asleep, I was woken up by a really painful contraction. I wasn't sure if it was a real one, because I only felt it in one small area of my belly, and for some reason I expected "REAL" labor to affect my entire belly. I got up, used the bathroom and realized there was quite a bit of blood, so at that point I was sorta confident that labor was starting.
1:41am -- I woke up my husband, told him I wasn't sure, but we were most likely going to need to leave. For some reason, though, the last thing I wanted was to bother our friend who had offered to watch our son and our doula who we paid to be on call.
1:59am -- I called my doula, and she recommended waiting a half hour to time contractions. (Note, she wasn't aware of the two days of early labor I'd been experiencing, had she known, she would have sent me to the hospital... oops, my bad).
2am to 2:30am -- I walked around and timed contractions. They were coming every 4 minutes... and then every 2 to 3 minutes... but I still didn't leave. My husband said to me "Um, those are 4 minutes apart..." but didn't tack on what he was really thinking "Um... we need to leave!" Again, I didn't want to inconvenience my doula, and I insisted that I needed to wait the full 30 minutes before I called her back. Note that at that point I was completely ignoring my plan of leaving home as soon as I had three noticeable contractions within a short time. Again... ooops, my bad.
2:40am -- We left the house to take our son to our friend's house where he would stay while we were at the hospital. We arrived and my husband took the bags and gear into the house.
2:45ish -- I told my son how he was going to have a great day with his friends. He gave me a kiss and said "Love you!" before daddy came back. My friend said good luck to me just before I had to brace for the next contraction, and she, my hubby and my son all went in the house leaving me in the car.
2:50ish -- Ten seconds into this contraction and I heard the classic pop, followed by a whoosh as my waters break. I was frantic, because I knew my labor was going to intensify, and I realized I hadn't put anything underneath me in the car. I fumbled for my phone, trying to figure out how to get my husband back to the car in a hurry. After hitting all the wrong keys, accidentally setting the phone to vibrate, I gave up and honked the horn once. Hubby ran out and grabbed some towels from the back as soon as I told him what happened.
2:52am -- I called my doula back, frantic, scared. I could feel my body starting to bear down and push without my help. My doula talked me through, trying to get me to breathe through the urges. My husband was driving through post trying to get us to the hospital 25+ miles away. My doula asked if I could reach down to see if the baby was crowning, but I was too busy holding on to the handle above my head, so I asked my hubby to check. Thank God he was a medic before, so this didn't phase him much. He did a quick check, while driving, and verified he could feel her head.
~3am (time got blurry at this point) -- My doula informed me that if we kept driving toward the hospital, I'd probably have to catch my own baby, so I yelled at my husband to pull over. At that point we were just past the post gates in the parking lot of some car audio place. At some point he had called 911 and the police arrived just before he got over to my side of the suburban.
3:04am -- While I was still on the phone with the doula, Little Miss was born, with her daddy there to catch her. My doula told me to have him check for the cord around her neck, but as he was checking another push delivered an arm and then her other shoulder. I threw my shirt off, losing my phone in the process, and my husband laid our precious little girl on my chest. I could hear the small-town police talking about how awesome this all was, that in their 15 years on the force, this was their first road-side baby.
3:17ish -- the Paramedics arrived having received very little information from the dispatcher -- all they knew was that a mama and a baby were on the side of the road. Way to go dispatch! They clamped the cord (which no longer had any blood in it) and had my husband cut it. They wrapped the baby up and got us both into the ambulance.
After we got to the hospital, I thought we were golden. I hadn't thought to grab the birth plan out of my bag, because, hell, I already birthed the baby. But, sigh. I should have, because then I could have maybe stopped the OB from giving me pitocin to help with bleeding. The nurses told me the doc wanted to give me an IV, and I failed to hear them say "Pit" when I asked what they were giving me -- all I heard was "fluids" (and for some reason my doula didn't stop to ask me if I was sure, even though "no Pitocin" was on the birth plan she helped me write... but eh it's done). The pitocin was horrible, far worse than birthing a baby in a suburban in less than 10 minutes! It was one long 2+ minute contraction with my whole lower body shaking uncontrollably. Ugh. The doctor on call laughed at me when she heard our story, but she did an amazing job repairing the second degree tear. Little Miss was quite cold when we arrived at the hospital (95.9 degrees), so she spent the first 8-9 hours under the warmer by my bed, but she latched well and became a pro at nursing, as can be seen by her chunky thighs :)
For months after this birth, I vowed we were done with kids, even suggesting the "big V". But, now I've concluded that I do still want my four kiddos... but I refuse to ever try to make it to the hospital ever again... the next ones will just be born at home :)
April writes about faith, family, and her life as an Army National Guard wife and stay-at-home mom to her two kiddos -- Stinker and Little Miss -- over at Hearts On Guard.