When I planned to have my baby at a birthing center that was an hour from our house I got a lot of different reactions from concerned people thinking that would be too far of a drive. However, this was my 4th baby and all three of my other pregnancies and deliveries were pretty consistent. So I felt like I knew my body well enough to get there with time to spare.
Monday (November 9th) gave me NO indication that I was anywhere close to being in labor. It was nothing like my other births where I had mild contractions that built all day long. Nothing was happening. Not even braxton hicks. Plus I was only 37 weeks along.
That night I fell asleep earlier than usually, but I woke up at 10:30 pm and that’s when things got weird.
I was confused by the signs. I had lower back pain and some pressure, but I hadn’t had any contractions. I told J (my husband) that I didn’t feel good and then I felt the first contraction at 10:41 pm.
I called my parents to come stay with the kids who were asleep in bed. I had only had one measly contraction at this point, but my parents live an hour and a half away and I just knew something was up! I tried to relax in a bath which is supposed to slow things down if it’s false labor, but instead I just started freaking out. Not because of contractions, but because I felt pressure. I felt nauseous. I was trembling and it looked an awful lot like transition!
I told J that I was scared and I wanted to go to a closer hospital. I had no idea where or what that would be. I felt so confused and panic set in. J said we just needed to get in the car and go, but I was insistent that we couldn’t go because I didn’t want to bring the kids.
At about 11:40 pm we loaded up the van with our partially packed bags and three groggy kids who were all in footie pajamas. My parents would have to meet us at the birth center. The contractions were strong, but they were still only 10 minutes apart and I was relieved because I assumed that meant we would have plenty of time.
About 11:50 things started getting intense. I was praying out loud. I would sing worship songs through contractions and really tried to stay focused.
Moments later the contractions were coming one on top of the other. As soon as one would stop another would begin and I vocalized this to J. Then we began to pray. I started praying with authority
“Lord, you are in control. I trust in you! I will not have this baby in the car. We are going to make it to the hospital in JESUS NAME. Labor has to stop until we get to safety!”
I was declaring very specific things and I can look back and laugh at it now, but I was serious about it. I have never wanted an unassisted birth. I was not comfortable with the idea of having the baby in the car.
Then when we were about 15 miles away I knew God wasn’t answering my prayer in the way I was hoping. The baby was coming. There is no fighting it. I had done this before and when the baby is ready to be born you can not stop it. So I gave in, and let me tell you the grace and peace of God was all over that van. My mindset changed to being very assertive. It’s weird. I became my own midwife and I narrated everything that was happening out loud. I can’t tell you why I did this, but hey, it worked out.
Here is the dialogue that transpired. J and I were both completely calm. It had to have been the Holy Spirit because even the kids were calm (one was asleep).
Me: Okay. I feel the urge to push. I am taking off my seat belt. I am going to have to take off my pants now.
I had on a long T-shirt and a sweatshirt, and I quickly removed my cotton sweat pants. I was in the front passenger seat with my body slightly tilted and right leg lifted up and apart from my left. Luckily I had brought a towel and had it under me.
J: Do you want me to pull over?
Me: No, by the time the paramedics get here we would have already been to the hospital. Just keep driving.
Plus it was a dangerous freeway and dark and rainy. We both felt this was a safer option given our proximity to the hospital.
J: Do you need any light?
Then I reach down to see if I am imagining it, but I do feel the top of the baby’s head crowning.
Me: Okay I feel the head.
After another contraction her head was out and I had my hands gently cupping her head.
Me: The head is out. Alright. We need the body to come out now. Come on baby girl with the next contraction I am going to push the body out.
Another contraction and a slight push from me. I felt the shoulders and the body being pushed out. I kept my right hand under her head and my left hand scooped her up under her armpit and behind her back.
Me: I am going to wrap her in my pants and put her on my chest now.
And I did
J: She is crying. Good. Does it look like she’s okay?
Me: Yes, she’s fine.
I looked over at my husband as I held my now calm daughter who was so peaceful and perfect. Everything was quiet as we rode along in the dark .
Me: Is this real? Did that really happen… or am I in a dream?
J: Yes. It’s real.
After that we called the birth center (which is inside of a hospital by the way). This was at 12:27 am. There was a team of nurses with a wheel chair waiting for us at the entrance. I felt like a million bucks as we rolled up and they congratulated me and helped me get my shoes back on. I was fully prepared to hop out of the car when it hit me. The adrenaline drained from my body. I was light headed. I felt pain. My “super powers” were gone and I was bleeding. I know that sounds so dramatic, but it really did happen like that.
Since I couldn’t get out of the car they had to put me on a stretcher and roll me into the hospital where a Doctor would check on me and the baby. That’s when I delivered the placenta.
They reminded me to breath and as I did I felt relief. It was over and we were both doing fine, but I knew it would be a while before it all really sunk in.
My parents showed up shortly after that. We all chatted in the hospital room and watched in awe as they washed, weighed, and measured the miraculous little package that had turned our world upside down.
I didn’t expect her to be 2 weeks early. I didn’t expect the labor to be so fast. I wasn’t prepared for any of it. Still, God is Faithful and in the end I am really glad our entire family was together in the brand new mini van that no one is allowed to even eat or drink in! It was really special.
So that’s my fourth birth story.
There’s the one at the birth center, the one in the bathtub at home, the one at the hospital, and now the one in a moving vehicle. Yes there are more options for birth locations, but I think that’s enough adventures for me, at least of this nature.
Or in Ellis’s case the beginning.