At 39-weeks-pregnant, the only thing I wanted to do was sleep, but with my three other bundles of joy tearing around the house, resting wasn’t exactly an option. I knew that any day could be The Day, so I was frantically squeezing last-minute preparations between my daughter’s dance class and complete strangers stopping to discuss my approaching due date. Milkshake runs, freezing meals, homeschooling my oldest, making dinner, cleaning up. I left the kids with the husband and headed over to a friend’s house for a freezer meal workshop. A few hours in, I bent over to pick something up and felt a slight pop followed by a small gush. Now, at 39 weeks, a lot of thing pop and gush, so I headed to the bathroom to debate whether this was really my water breaking. I decided that at this stage in pregnancy, anything is certainly a possibility, so I headed back out to finish up. Another small gush. As the cramps began, I started shaking, being a bit nervous that maybe my water had, in fact, broken. I finished the last meal, told the host I thought my water may have broken, and apologized for rushing out.
On the way home, I began the phone calls: Tom – the husband – and my mom. Now my mom lives an hour away and had offered to come get my kids when the time came for us to go to the hospital, but I was so unsure of what was happening – I was hesitant to have her drive so far if it was nothing. But as the pressure came and grew consistent, I called her back and asked her to come.
I got home to find Tom upstairs packing a bag for the kids. I ran to the bathroom and finally confirmed to everyone that my water had, in fact, broken. It was time to get moving. My daughter was SO excited and giddily followed me around, riling up her brothers. Cue the strong contractions. The kids tried to hug me, but with the pain, I had to ask them to back off. I felt awful when one of my boys asked me if he would ever be able to hug me again. I fought off a contraction as I pulled the kids in for a big hug and kiss.
As we waited for my mom to arrive, Tom and I started to wonder if the baby would make it the full hour it would take her to arrive, plus the 45 minutes it would take us to drive to the hospital. We called a friend and 10 minutes later, we were in Tom’s truck, cruising down the rural country roads.
Now in my past birth experiences, at least with my two boys, I was able to incorporate hypnobirthing into my laboring process: taking deep breaths with my eyes closed, listening to music, telling my body to relax, all that great stuff. But as my husband was speeding down the back roads – yeah – it wasn’t happening this time. I sat in the passenger seat with my eyes glued out the front window moaning LOUDLY. I tried to find my internal voice to tell me to relax; I tried not to tense up with each contraction; I tried to take deep breaths. None of it was working.
“Do you want me to go to the closer hospital?” Tom asked.
Really? Really? We were way past me thinking anything clearly, so I just shouted, “I don’t know!” and Tom kept driving.
I don't think I once stopped the moaning and groaning. Looking back, I think I was in denial that I was going into transition. I thought we could make it. Still making noise, husband still speeding, we're about to the freeway when things got crazy. The pain was intense. The urge to push hit as Tom asked if he should pull over.
“I DON'T KNOW!!!”
Tom whipped in to the nearest gas station and called 911. Instinct took over as I did my best to prepare to give birth in the front seat of a pick up truck. I heard Tom shout to the operator, “No, I don’t think the head is out yet!” as I shouted what I felt: “Head! Head!”
And suddenly, there he was. My little baby boy, on the seat of his daddy’s truck.
Tom ripped off his shirt to swaddle our newest son and yanked out a shoelace to tie off the cord. I felt every emotion in the world tear through my body. I was shaking, crying, and so very thankful that it was night and there were no spectators. Mixed in with feelings of love and adoration, I felt guilt over the seat of the truck and that Tom had sacrificed one of his favorite shirts. The insanity of it all overwhelmed me as the ambulance showed up, the paramedics assessed us, and we finally made our way to the hospital. It was an incredibly fast birth, and I have no idea how long I pushed, but the midwife assured me that everything happened in the best way, given the circumstances. My son weighed in at 8lbs, 3ozs and after 24 hours in the hospital, we were given a clean bill of health and discharged. Oh yes, and a birth certificate with the local gas station listed as the place of birth.
I couldn’t sleep in the hospital. And I probably won't ever again. But that's what happened! I did not get my water birth or my essential oils with my dim lights and soft music. I had my baby in the car. Sort of makes me wonder about the next time. I just might stay home.
Photo by Kim Anderson and used with permission by the baby's mama : )