Allow me to preface this by saying that a few months ago, Kevin and I looked into doing a home birth. You know… the super crunchy, dim candle light, soft music, warm water tub, calm midwife encouraging me through contractions while my husband held my hand or massaged my back. Yeah that kind. Unfortunately, due to insurance/financial reasons, we learned that this type of birth was just not in the cards for us and we made preparations to deliver at the same hospital Kennedy was born at. I searched for a while to find a midwife that I felt would be receptive of a relaxed, intervention-free birth and I vowed to do my part to make sure this baby’s birth was completely different. Not that Kennedy’s birth (Kennedy's Birth Story Here) was anything less than special… it just wasn’t the empowering, medication/intervention free birth that I wanted to experience.
On to the story…
So Friday morning at 11am I had my last midwife appointment before the baby’s due date (which was Saturday). Going in, I was on the fence about whether to have them check me for dilation/effacement. Up to this point, I had declined internal exams, because I believe in trying to go the full 40 weeks if at all possible, and I didn’t want anything to get stirred up during the exam. I consulted with some girlfriends and asked Kevin if he wanted to know… he was supportive either way. I figured with the due date being the next day, it wouldn’t hurt. I had also decided that since I am late for… well… everything, it would be shocking if any of my kids were on time (Kennedy was 5 days late) let alone early. The MW checked me and said I was 2cm and 80% effaced. These are the exact stats I received when I checked into the hospital with K, after my water had broken, so I couldn't help but laugh at the irony. She offered to strip my membranes and I declined. I had to work Friday (and Saturday) overnight, still had some laundry to do and things to pack/unpack. I had a letter to write to Kennedy (which I planned to use as a distraction during early labor) and one last baby bump picture to take. My (and Kevin’s) curiosity was satisfied so I headed home.
Around 12:30-1pm I took Kennedy out to lunch, to our favorite little café in Liverpool, Café 407. I had taken her last week thinking it might have been our last mommy/daughter date before her little brother or sister arrived, so I was very thankful to be able to sneak in one more lunch date. I started feeling crampy during lunch and on the drive home, but I chalked it up to the internal exam and really didn’t think much of it since the “cramps” were sporadic, varying lengths and not any more intense than annoying period cramps. By this point, I was so set on going past my due date that I even sent my friend (Kennedy’s sitter) a text asking if she wanted to go get pedicures on Sunday.
Around 2-2:15pm we got home from lunch and I tried to put K down for a nap. Normally on work nights, I nap with her to get some extra sleep in before staying up all night. She nursed for a while, but neither of us could get comfortable enough to fall asleep and I began to notice the “cramps” beginning to feel a little more intense. I turned on the contraction timer app on my phone, just for kicks, to see if these were anything worth worrying about. To my surprise, they were coming regularly about 5 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds-1 minute. All the while I was still trying to get Kennedy to nap so I could either nap with her or hop in the tub to see if these contractions were going to stick around or fade away. This went on for about half an hour. She was kind of restless and I guess I was too, so I finally gave up and sent Kevin a text at work around 2:45. I told him I wasn’t sure if it was baby time yet, but I asked if he could possibly come home early to take care of Kennedy so I can either rest or get things moving. He left right away and made it home in record time (excited, much?) around 3:15. I also texted My friend who was going to watch Kennedy when I went in to deliver (who literally lives right behind us, but just happened to be 45 minutes away that day, which NEVER happens, lol!). She was planning to be home by 6pm anyway and I told her not to rush, since I wasn’t really sure if this was it or not. Plus, I kept thinking in the back of my head that with Kennedy, I went in WAY too early and was stuck there for hours… which lead to Pitocin and an epidural. I knew this was not what I wanted and that I did want to labor at home as long as possible. So I told her I just wanted to give her a head’s up but to carry on as planned I used 6pm as my focus point.
By this point (about 3:30pm), I was still on the fence as to whether this was the real deal or just the aftermath of the internal exam earlier that day. I still hadn’t called the midwife or called in to work for the night, because I didn’t want to jump the gun. I was waiting for the contractions to become more intense, closer together, last longer… something.
By about 4pm the contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart, lasting about 1- 1 ½ minutes and definitely increasing in intensity… I was pretty sure this was it. I called into work, but for some reason, held off on calling the MW.
The next hour is kind of a blur. I alternated between the bath tub, birthing ball, my bed, the floor and pretty much everywhere in between. At one point, I drained the tub and thought I would take a shower. Next thing I know, with shampoo in my hair I decided “the heck with it, back in the bed”, then back in the shower a minute later, this time curled up on the floor. I was now absolutely positive this was it, but questioning my ability to get through the next 2 hours. I just kept focusing on 6pm (when my friend/K's sitter was planning to be home and I was planning to drop K off and head to the hospital), but the minutes were dragging. I was picturing arriving at the hospital shortly after 6pm, writhing in agony, only to be told I was at 5cm or something like that and that I still had hours to go. I began to mentally prepare myself to give in and beg for an epidural since the pain was unbelievably intense by this point.
Somewhere around 4:45pm, I wasn’t sure how much more I could take. I finally decided to call the midwife who told me to head in to the hospital. I told her my sitter was about 45 minutes away, but that we would head in as soon as she arrived. I then texted my friend and told her I changed my mind, lol. I asked if she could leave soon and head to our house. She was on the road in minutes.
Around 5pm or so I started to feel like “I’ve got to POOP!” so I sat on the toilet. Then Nurse Monica took over for a second and it hit me. “Holy !^%@#^ … rectal pressure… this is a surefire signal that delivery is imminent”. I yelled to Kevin that we needed to leave NOW. He got Kennedy dressed and sent our sitter a text asking her to just meet us at the hospital. I put my yoga pants on, only to rip them off during the next contraction and hop back on the toilet. It was the only place/position that felt even remotely tolerable. This process (between contraction- pants on, everyone get in the car, I can totally make it to the hospital in time… during contraction- pants off, back on the toilet, I’m not going to make it!!) for a few contractions. Not sure why, but during one contraction, I decided to reach down and check what was going on down there. To my shock, I felt the bulging bag of waters and a firmness (head?!) just inside. OH.MY.GOD!
By now it was about 5:15pm. I yelled to Kevin again, who ran upstairs and must have caught the look of terror on my face. I told him there was no way we were making it to the hospital in time. He asked if he should call 9-1-1 and I said “I don’t know!”. I waivered back and forth… call 9-1-1, don’t call, try to get to the car, screw it stay right here, “grab towels!” (the only piece of my EMT training that surfaced during this whole debacle). Finally Kevin just said “executive decision… calling 9-1-1” and I was thankful that the decision was made. Sweet Kennedy was so worried about me… she kept coming in the bathroom to rub my back or pat my hand and say “it’s ok, mama. Don’t cry”. Then Kevin would ask her to go play in her room and she would sit on her bed with a doll, pouting. She is so incredibly sensitive and was no doubt scared.
The 9-1-1 operator told him to make me get off the toilet immediately. I was mad, but in retrospect, it was definitely the right thing to do.
So there I was… laying on my bathroom floor (which is *about* the size of a small closet) in nothing but my bra. My loving husband had one phone up to his ear talking to 9-1-1, a second phone in his left hand texting the sitter to tell her to come straight to our house asap, and his right hand applying “gentle pressure” to somewhere down there per the 9-1-1 operator’s direction. <I need to interject here and remind everyone of my idea of a home birth… with the whirlpool tub, candles, soft music, my husband massaging my back during contractions, my dignity still intact. Yeah that.> Anyway, a few contractions later, my water broke and I felt like I had to push immediately. Gulp.
Just then, I heard the ambulance crew announce their arrival at our front door (and I’m pretty sure Kevin heard angels singing). They ran up the stairs and Kevin dove for safety as the paramedic donned his gloves. Less than a minute later, our sweet baby was born. A feisty little baby girl.
Kevin cut the cord and took her to meet her big sister while the paramedic and EMTs checked me over. They did make me sit on a stair chair to exit the house (mortifying!) then hop on the stretcher (with half of the neighborhood rubber necking, awesome) and baby girl and I enjoyed our first ambulance ride together to the hospital where we were given a clean bill of health and a few dozen “wtf”s.
So that’s it. That is the story of how our sweet, spunky Delaney Grace came crashing into our world. She was born Friday September 5, 2014 at 1738 at home, in our bathroom. She weighs 7 pounds 13 ounces and is 21.5 inches long. She has a full head of dark hair and beautiful long eyelashes, just like her big sister. Kennedy is just smitten by her baby sister and my super awesome, multi-tasking husband (so proud of him!) is listed as the official delivery “attendant” (kind of cool, right?) on her birth certificate. We all now have a story to laugh about for years to come.
So… if you ever hear about someone delivering a baby in an awkward, less-than-desirable, unplanned location and wonder “how the heck does that happen?”… now you know.