Camille’s whirlwind birth story…
First, though, a bit about DS’s birth so you know my frame of reference going into it this time. With DS I had 5 minute apart contractions for hours 1 & 2, then they jumped to crazy minute-long, minute-apart, double-peaking contractions from there on out. Got to the hospital at hour 8 and was only 2cm. Had an epidural at hour 11, started pushing at hour 22, and finished with a vacuum delivery at hour 25.
So, Sunday night I had 3 or 4 contractions over the span of a few hours in the late evening, but they were super mild and had no pattern. At 10pm we got ready for bed knowing I could go into labor by morning. By 11pm the contractions had fallen into a pattern and were getting a little stronger so DH started timing them (3 minutes apart).
Around 11:30 I decided this was really labor and hopped in the shower to freshen up for the ‘marathon’ ahead. My contractions kept getting stronger and closer, and it all started to feel similar to my son’s birth, I was just hoping I didn’t have another 20+ hours to go. DH called our doula and told her to head over. She called to check in at midnight and was 10 minutes from our house. I told DH to tell her I was feeling lots of pressure. All in all I was feeling pretty good though. The contractions weren’t nearly as painful as with DS and I felt like standing in the shower was letting gravity work to my benefit.
Just before the doula arrived, I got out of the shower because I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. Half way there my body started pushing. As soon as my doula saw me, she said it was time to go to the hospital. It took awhile to get me dressed and downstairs, since the contractions were coming every 30-60 seconds.
We finally got out to the car and in the moments it took for me to think about how to best climb in, I had another big contraction with pushing and said to my doula “something just came out of me”. She told me to reach down and tell her what I felt. To all our relief, it was just my bag of water – bulging out about the size of a small grapefruit. At that she said we’re not getting in the car and told DH to call 911. He later told me it was exactly 1:00am when he dialed.
So with my bulging bag of water and continuing contractions, both the doula and DH urgently wanted me off the concrete driveway and in the lawn. About half way there my water broke. I did a couple hands and knees contractions in the grass (thank goodness it was the middle of the night or the neighbors would have had quite the show). While I was doing that, my parents were putting towels and chuck pads over the carpet in the first room of the house and I somehow made my way in there.
The firetruck and ambulance arrived, brought in the stretcher and had me climb on. As they are putting me in the ambulance they made me choose between having my doula or DH with me – what a terrible choice to have to make! I of course wanted DH, but the still rational side of me knew he was in panic mode and would be of no help, so I chose my doula (looking back, I’m still confident in that choice). DH drove himself and my mom, while my dad stayed back with my still sleeping DS.
I rode for 15 minutes on my hands and knees on the stretcher in the back of the ambulance. My doula was in the front seat and I could make eye contact with her. All along she was having me do my best to breathe through the contractions rather than push, but there was no stopping them at this point. I started crowning right away and then baby hung out there for a bit. With each contraction I could feel myself tearing and I was yelling to my doula. She asked the fireman to help support my perineum, but he checked and said I hadn’t torn. I told them I’m tearing up NOT down!
Just as we pulled up to the hospital her head came out and as the ambulance came to a stop, there was one more contraction and out she came. No one was looking, so I had to tell them she was out. She had slid out of me and onto the stretcher with no one to catch her. DH parked by the ambulance and was there as soon as the doors opened. I told him he had missed the birth by 10 seconds.
The baby wasn’t breathing so they rushed us up to l&d (me still on hands and knees, reaching around behind me to rub her chest and feet). They called twice for oxygen for her so I yanked off my mask and held it over her little face. Once we got to the room, they took her to the other side of the room to work on her (I sent DH to be with her) while the doctor delivered the placenta and stiched the damage from the tearing. Baby finally pinked up and got 7,9 on her apgars, so she was doing really well for as scary as everything seemed. Her time of birth was 1:26am – less than 3 hours from when labor had started.
Several people (EMTs, nurses, doctors) asked why we waited so long to go to the hospital. Frankly we went as soon as we realized baby was so close to coming. Nothing about DS’s birth prepared me for the possibility that I could have such a ridiculously short labor, it wasn’t even in the scope of reality for me. Luckily despite a few judgmental comments, I actually had fantastic treatment at the hospital (which wasn’t even my chosen hospital, just the closest one to my house). On another side note, I talked about the fireman being in the ambulance. The two EMTs who came with the ambulance were young and clearly overwhelmed by the idea of delivering a baby. The fireman had some experience, though, and offered to ride with them. Thank goodness!
Miss Camille is doing great at 6 days old. She nurses well, cuddles a lot, and has absolutely stolen our hearts. She just has a wild birth story.