It all started on a normal Tuesday afternoon. The Braxton Hicks contractions I was feeling turned into something…well…a little bit more. Kinda achy and crampy plus pressure. It was totally manageable and I was able to talk while having them, so I was NOT worried, even in the little-est tiny bit. Plus, they were short in duration, only 15 seconds, (with the exception of the one that lasted about 20 seconds while I was doing dishes), so that made me feel better also. I had talked to Callie (my bestie up the street) and she said that she had felt the same thing and had gone into labor and delivered her son the next day. We tentatively planned that if I DID go into labor in the middle of the night, she would drive down and stay on the sofa with my boys until my dad arrived to take over.
Then I called my folks and let them know that I might have the baby the next day, and that they might want to let their employees know about the change in plans.
After that, I made plans to go visiting teaching the next morning with Lisa, called my hubby to ask him if he would mind not working overtime and coming home early…just in case.
When he got home, we played a few games of Scramble with Friends, chatted a little about what the next day might bring, and went to bed around 11:30pm.
I woke up to some strong contractions and laid in bed thinking, “How long was that one? I think it might have been closer to thirty seconds.” then, “Wait a second, that one was FOR SURE longer than twenty seconds. Might as well get up and use the restroom since I’m awake and I can time the next one when it hits.”
I stood up and felt the baby kick HARD, and I am sure that that big kick is what broke my water.
I yelled to my husband to wake up (it was about 12:30 am) and that we needed to make a few phone calls and head to the birth center. I called my dad, Callie, and my midwife in the next 5 minutes, and watched my husband scurry around and get all our things together as I got dressed and got in the car.
As we drove down the road, I started paying close attention to how strong and close together my contractions were, and in the beginning, they were about 5 minutes apart and 30-40 seconds long. Gila Man and I chatted and wondered what the morning would bring in between each one.
As we neared the Border Patrol checkpoint, however, I realized that we were still FAR from The Big City and my contractions were getting closer together. There was a semi-truck and an SUV in the ONE LANE open at the checkpoint, and the agent in that lane was not letting us through very quickly. Finally, Gila Man yelled, “My wife is in LABOR! She’s having a baby!” and the agent waved us through.
THIS is where the story gets interesting, because I looked at the clock on the dash, felt the next contraction come, and as it passed, I said, “Um, Gila Man? My last contraction was like, maybe a minute ago, and I can feel another one coming on already. That’s a little scary. I think I should call the midwife.”
That’s right my friends. I was in the middle of nowhere, speeding down the freeway and having contractions that were 45-60 long that were ONE MINUTE APART. My husband’s foot pretty much turned into a brick right at that moment. I had my midwife on the phone, and she said that babies come when they come, and that we might have to pull over on the side of the road and dial 911.
As a mom, (heck, as a human being) I can’t describe the feeling of sitting in my vehicle and looking out the windows of my vehicle realizing that my baby boy was on his way here and I was seeing….nothing. Nothing but the headlights on the pavement and darkness out the windows. Wait, the feeling was…FEAR. And desperation. Mixed with a little bit of self-pity. And some more FEAR.
Now, I recently read an article about women in labor feeling fear, which raises the adrenaline levels in the body and can actually slow down or even stop labor (something about right after we evolved from apes into humans [blah] and started having babies in caves instead of trees and feeling that if we weren’t safe to have the baby, our fear would keep labor at bay until we found another safe birthing place), but I’ll tell you what…It was not adrenaline that slowed my labor, we became the most prayer-filled vehicle you have EVER seen flying down the road at 1:45 am.
Scooting down the freeway at a pretty good clip, we changed to the next interstate and watched with trepidation as the speed limit changed from 75 to 65…and then we ignored the signs and kept on driving. Maybe that’s why in the next few minutes (me breathing/humming through every contraction) we saw the rear-view mirror light up with the all tooooo familiar scene of red and blue lights.
We were being pulled over.
Oh yes, seriously.
Did I mention my contractions were one minute apart? Because by now they are pretty much one right after the other.
Gila Man quickly pulled over, rolled down his window, put up his hands and yelled out the window, “My wife is having a baby! She’s in LABOR! My wife is having a baby!”
The cop cautiously came around to my side of the vehicle and I rolled down my window to see that it was a female.
“I’m in labor!” I said, pointing to my protruding belly, “I’m having my baby and we’re trying to get to the hospital!”
“Oh!” she said, lighting up my face with her flashlight. As she moved the light down to my belly and heard me groan as another contraction started, her eyes widened and she said again, “Oh! That’s why you were going 80!” and she waved us on our way.
While we didn’t get an escort, we did see other highway patrol cars who didn’t give us a second look, so we’re thinking that she radioed ahead to get us off the hook there too.
Now, I don’t believe in coincidences. I’ve had too many events in my life that have worked out because of one tiny comment here, or one itty bitty change of plans there. Like how I had been traveling to the birth center every week for 4 weeks and had taken a different route every time, but none of them were as fast as the route that my dad and brother had come up with and told me about the night before we left. We never would have made it in time if we had tried to go through downtown. Never.
We did, however, manage to get to the birth center after getting one photo radar flash for speeding and then stopping at and rolling through a red light.
As soon as I got out of the car and stood up, I knew it was go time. We went to the door but it was locked. We buzzed in and were told that the midwife wasn’t there yet. We went in and found our room and whoah. It was for sure go time.
Here’s the quick view:
Started to fill up the tub, got on the birthing ball and started rolling back and forth. Realized I was supposed to have some sort of IV and asked for one, only to learn that it was too late to worry about anything like that, and I promptly, VERY promptly, forgot about it. Got enough water in the tub to get in and relax between contractions. Thought I was going to be in labor for 8 more hours and panicked a little. Midwife said that I was just minutes away from meeting my baby boy. That produced the energy to push his head out. Midwife said to push again, but I could feel that something was stuck. She told me to get out of the tub using her “midwife” voice (like a “mom” voice but a leetle firmer). Tried again to push him out but was stuck. Bit my husbands pants because of the pain. Bit my husband’s leg when I missed his pants. Had to be flipped over and tried to push again when the midwife called for help and said, “We’re out of time.”
I screamed. Like, ska-REAMED. Pretty freakin’ loud.
Baby Boy was born at 2:20am.
He was placed on my chest and I held him close and loved on him. I was in shock because Baby Boy has hair. He got a few puffs of oxygen to help with his purple face. I was told to be careful of his left arm. More labor stuff went on. We all got to lay in bed together and snuggle. I got a snack. Baby had his blood sugar tested. He got a vitamin K shot. We still laid in bed and snuggled. More after labor stuff went on. I’m still in awe over the hair on my baby’s head. Baby was weighed. Nine pounds, 7.5 ounces. NINE. POUNDS. (and no drugs, which meant I felt amazing afterwards! I’m tellin’ ya what I heard from my friend Raysha, “More women would do it if they gave it a try”)
Midwife Sandy came and explained what had happened during birth. Baby Boy had shoulder dystocia, which, if you didn’t follow the link, is “one of the most frightening emergencies in the delivery room”. I didn’t know that at the time. I was all, “Oh, he got stuck? Ok. You got him out? Great. Glad we’re all alive and breathing!”
Because Baby Boy was stuck, Sandy had to do something to get him unstuck or risk brain damage or death, so she had to remove the posterior arm in order to relieve the impacted shoulder and allow for baby boy to slide out. BUT, when she pulled his little arm through, it broke his humorous, which meant we had to be admitted to the hospital to take x-rays. It was a really big deal, but I didn’t know it at the time; my midwife was calm and cool and collected and was so amazing through the whole thing. It was so hard to go from that sweet, peaceful, softly lit environment, cuddling in the comfy bed with my new sweet baby boy and my husband, to the glaring white lights and VERY small and uncomfortable bed in the hospital. (oh, but the ambulance ride was fun!)
We got admitted around 4:30am on Wednesday morning, my baby was taken to a warmer (what the heck? I can warm him, thankyouverymuch), weighed again, pricked again, and the two nurses went behind the curtain to whisper to each other. They came back and listened to his heart again and looked at each other for a moment, then turned to me and told me that Baby Boy had a heat murmur.
The pediatric doc on duty came down to examine Baby Boy’s arm and said he didn’t think it was broken. The midwife came in and explained what had happened and that she had heard a distinct “pop” as she got his arm out. The ped. Dr. decided to order x-rays. We got to the nursery around 6am, declined the Hep B shot, and dropped off Baby Boy to get his x-rays.
Five hours, FIVE HOURS later, we got our Baby Boy back and the x-rays confirmed that yes he did have a fractured humorous. It looks a little like this:
Instead of putting his arm through the clothes he was wearing, he had to have his arm inside his shirt, but it still moved around a lot, which made nursing and changing him a HUGE chore. There was a lot of crying, and not just by Baby Boy. The pediatrician on call would not release Baby Boy to a nurse practitioner, so we had to stay a full 48 hours for observation. Gila Man was terribly sick through this whole ordeal and drank DayQuil during the day and NyQuil at night to keep from hacking and coughing and sniffing every 5 seconds. My boys had it too, but they were with Nana and Papa, soooooo….I didn’t have to worry about them toooo much.
Friday, before we left, we got to see the pediatric orthopedic doctor who showed us how to wrap him up to keep his arm immobilized. Turns out that Baby Boy has what is refered to as a “green stick break” and it snapped back into place with no clean break of the bone – that’s good news!! Hopefully it can heal without the aid of pins or a cast (we hope we hope we hope!!) Also, his heart murmur went away on Friday, so that was more good news!
This is what happens every time we take off his diaper, or move his shirt, or pick him up wrong, or try to burp him, or try to nurse him. It’s the most fun a newborn ever had!! Oh wait, it’s the most fun that Momma ever had! Wait…wrong again.
But he’s here and he’s healthy (mostly) and there is a really, really cool part.
All of the birth stuff happened on Leap Day. LEAP DAY! Isn’t that that coolest birthday EVER?!? Well, I think it is. My little Leapling.
We are truly, truly, blessed.