To say the least, this birth story didn’t turn out exactly as I had envisioned. I wanted my large birth tub and a peaceful water birth just like the first time. Even though that didn’t happen, it worked out perfectly. I still was able to have the natural, intervention-free birth I had hoped for, and my baby and I are perfectly healthy. We are blessed indeed.
My first labor was about 72 hours long all together. I was hoping to labor less than 24 hours with my second labor. I joked my entire pregnancy that if anyone was going to give birth in a car, it would be me. I was in labor so long the first time that I wondered how I would know it was time to go to the birth center. I was NOT going to call my midwives out of bed to meet us there only to tell me to go back home. I would labor at home until I KNEW. Well we saw how that worked out!
On Saturday, October 3rd, Lawson’s due date, I had two bouts of contractions that were 45-55 seconds apart, every 3.5 minutes, for over 3 hours. Then they stopped. At that point I was pretty certain I would be having a baby Saturday or Sunday.
Saturday night I finally went to bed right before midnight. Contractions started immediately and by 12:04 I was getting out of bed and getting into my bath tub. I most definitely do best laboring in the tub.
A little over an hour later I told Ryan he needed to call my mom to head over as she was an hour and 15 minutes away. By the time my mother arrived the contractions were intense enough that I needed someone to be squeezing my foot and with each contraction. I figured out this little trick during my last labor. Having someone squeeze my foot really hard gives me something else to focus on and keep from tensing with each contraction.
Soon my mom was strongly encouraging us to go to the birth center. I made it very clear I wasn’t moving until my contractions were 5 minutes or less apart and at least 1 minute in duration. At this point I had been averaging at about 5:15-5:30 apart and :45-:55 seconds duration. Every hour had 2-3 contractions that would spread out to 6-7+ minutes. Mom finally convinced Ryan to at least call the midwives. They had JUST finished a birth and returned home when he called. They told us it was really up to us at that point. We could stay or we could go. Again, I was completely fearful of getting there and them telling us I was dilated to a 3 and to go home. I didn’t want that discouragement. I didn’t want to know what my progress was. I was in my zone and had my system and I was sticking to it for a bit longer. Ultimately, we decided to give it 30 minutes and call back with an update.
I believe at this point my husband had the foresight to load the car with my bag, food, diaper bag, and such. When he returned we called the midwife again to tell her that we would go ahead and get dressed and head there. While Ryan was speaking with her my water broke. Then everything changed.
As soon as my water broke I had about 15 seconds between each contraction. My mom and husband were trying to pull me out of the tub and get clothes on me while I was contemplating how to fill the tub back up quickly so that I could get back in and have a baby. I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the birth center. I remember my poor towel rack holding just about all my weight during one of those super intense contractions. I realized after it passed how hard I was pulling on the thing. I’m shocked it is still on the wall. There was also a fun moment of me leaning over the bathtub with my naked rear in the air screaming at Ryan to help me. “Help me!” came out easier than “Could you please apply some counter pressure to my hips, Dear?” Thankfully, he knew what I meant. (Bradley Birth training for the win.) My mom later informed me that I hiked my leg up onto the ledge on the tub and began to grunt. She had he hands underneath me ready to catch! They finally got a pair of super attractive Depends panties on me along with a skirt and a tank top. I remember Ryan trying to put shoes on my feet and I just kicked them away.
Very slowly, we made our way to the car. Ryan took the time to lay a towel down in the seat and on the floorboard. I remember thinking to myself, “Honey, my water has already broken and I’ve got depends panties on. Let’s just go!” We get in the car only to realize that we are blocked in. Somehow we Houdini’d our way out. I’ll never forget my mom standing in the garage yelling as we drove away, “If anyone can have a baby in a car it’s y’all!” Before we were even off our street Ryan looked at me and said, “What are you doing? Are you pushing?!” Yup. Yup, I was.
Ryan drove about 90 the whole way. A few days before I gave birth a news story broke about a man who was pulled over speeding while taking his laboring wife to the hospital. He ended up going to jail for not cooperating with police. Several times I mentioned, “Please don’t get pulled over and taken to jail!”
I really don’t understand people telling women not to push in labor. Just don’t even waste your breath on such a statement. It is impossible. It is comparable to telling your eyes not to close when you sneeze. So, of course, I was pushing. I didn’t, however, put any effort into the push. I just let my body do it without helping it along. I would hold myself in the air with the center console and roof handle with each contraction to keep from pushing any harder than my body was naturally doing.
The part I laugh the most about was ryan telling me while driving down the road that I needed to take off my panties. Through a grunt I told him that I couldn’t. My dear, precious husband leaned over, hiked up my skirt, and ripped my depends panties right off my body. Now that’s love.
I asked him to call ahead and ask for the tub to be filled when we got there so I could get right in. He quickly accepted that we weren’t going to make it and told Erin, our then midwife in training, as much instead. He asked if we should pull over but I told him to keep going knowing we weren’t going to make it. I can’t remember exactly where we were but I know that at some point I reached down and felt his head.
As we pulled up to the birth center, Ryan threw the car in gear and raced around to my side. Erin met us at the car. I was still trying to plot a way to get inside, upstairs, and into the tub to deliver knowing that wasn’t going to happen since I was already crowning. Erin mentioned that she would like us to get inside so Lawson wouldn’t be cold but there was no moving at that point. I told her I’d put him under my shirt when he came out. So I reclined my seat, hiked one foot on the dash, and got down to business. This baby was going to be born in the car.
It seems when I am in labor I have strong conversations with Jesus. Mainly just repeating His name over and over. When Erin joined my in my prayers I knew we had the right midwife for us. Ryan was standing right outside the door holding my hand probably doing some strong praying of his own! It’s a good thing he works out because he was my leverage while pushing.
Lawson came out to his eyebrows and stopped. My contraction ended and I had nothing to push against to get him out further. So he stayed there with the biggest part of his head stretching me for a couple of minutes. That was a fun sting. He finally shot out with such force that made me super thankful Erin had a good hold on his neck. Otherwise he would’ve shot straight into the floorboard!
She handed him to me, he opened up his little eyes, looked right at me, closed them, and snuggled in. It was like he was saying, “Oh, hey, Mom! That’s what you look like! Ok, I’m going to snuggle now.” We have no pictures of this time but I have replayed that moment in my head about 1000 times in hopes that I will never forget it.
We put Lawson to my skin and kept him warm with a towel. We got out of the car and made our way inside and up the stairs to the bedroom. I held Lawson with cord still attached to me, Ryan held onto me, and Erin held a towel underneath me while we all walked in a group.
The first picture we were able to get. It was taken shortly after we got inside and onto the bed.
An herbal bath to wash his hair in the big awesome tub in which he should’ve been born.
Shortly after our family started to arrive as well as Miss Ryan. She was so excited to hold Lawson! She fell in love with him instantly and has loved him ever since.
Do you want to know what unconditional love is? Your husband and father cleaning up a car in which you just gave birth. Trust me, it wasn’t pleasant.
A few hours later we were heading home. I joked the entire pregnancy about giving birth in the car because we lived half an hour from the birth center. Lesson learned: don’t make the same joke too many times. Overall I find Lawson’s birth story absolutely hysterical and I still laugh every time I think about it. We were so very blessed with the outcome of our pregnancy and labor and the safety of us all.
Just barely over 24 hours old. Big sister thought her new brother may enjoy some of her stuffed animals. 🙂