[Reminder: This is a birth story. There are some parts that are somewhat graphic, so you may not want to read this if that kind of thing grosses you out.]
I headed back to our room and a contraction hit. It was so strong that I couldn’t stand. I collapsed forward onto the bed. Suddenly I noticed the clear sensation of my water breaking. I had the urge to push. I remember saying something to the affect of, “I’m pushing. I don’t want to push, but I’m pushing.” I knew we were not making it to the hospital. I told Clint to call 911. I think he might have thought I was overreacting a tad. I realized he wasn’t calling and asked him why. He said he wanted to help me through the next contraction first. That was exactly what I wanted him to do earlier in the night, but at this point we didn’t have that kind of time. I expressed to him that he needed to call immediately.
He called, and I heard him telling the 911 operator that I was having contractions a couple minutes apart, or something that did not at all capture what was really happening. So I clued him in: “Pull my pants down, and you will see a baby’s head. The baby is coming now!” Clint cried out, “he’s crowning!” That’s when he finally got it and kicked into high gear. He grabbed towels and had me lay down (I had been on my hands and knees). I assumed he was following instructions from the 911 operator, but apparently they just kept saying, “Make sure the cord isn’t wrapped around his neck.” Very reassuring! I instinctively gave a couple strong pushes, and there he was. Clint swiped his finger through Austin’s mouth to clear his airway and tried to check him over, but supposedly I demanded, “Give me my baby! Give me my baby!” I don’t remember that, but I believe it. I just remember seeing that he was pink and crying and clearly ok. I remember how perfect it felt to hold my precious little boy in my arms. I just stared at him. I couldn’t believe he was here.
The ambulance, on the other hand, was still was not here. They told Clint to unlock the front door, and when he went down to do that he found our friends. He said, “Jennifer just had the baby. Tell the ambulance how to get here,” and handed them the phone. He failed to mention that Austin and I were all right, or fill in any of the blanks, so naturally they were concerned. After all, they thought they were just coming over to babysit. Apparently we created quite the commotion that night. Our dog started running circles around the parking lot, and then the neighbors came out as the firetruck and ambulance pulled up. Moments later a whole stream of firemen filed into my bedroom (seriously– maybe 10 of them). This is a bit awkward when you’ve just had a baby, but fortunately I was too enamored with my new son to be overly concerned about it.
The EMT got the cord ready, and Clint got to cut it. I really wanted them to deliver the placenta because it was uncomfortable still having it in there, and it was causing me to have pretty uncomfortable contractions. They avoided doing so, and I later found out that they are not supposed to deliver it if they can avoid it. After the umbilical cord was cut and they had confirmed Austin was doing well, they were ready to get me into the ambulance. They wrapped some blankets around me and were supposed to put me on the stretcher and carry me down the stairs. However, I guess they were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to do that safely, so they asked me if I could walk. I said I thought I could, so with their support I walked down the stairs and was then put on the stretcher. Clint was horrified that they had me walk, but it wasn’t a big deal to me. As they carried me and Austin outside, I saw my friends, and I reassured them that I was ok. Then I saw the neighbors and just waved. It was a pretty crazy scene. Clint was told to ride in the front of the ambulance. He quickly called my parents and told them I had just had the baby. They were completely shocked, of course. Apparently they pulled into our complex right as the ambulance was pulling out, so they followed us to the hospital. I was in the back with some nice EMT’s who encouraged me to try breastfeeding. With the bright lights of the ambulance and all of the commotion that took place immediately following his birth, Austin wasn’t quite ready to eat yet though.
It was a short drive to the hospital, and as they wheeled me into the ER I saw medical staff lined up all around the entrance– maybe 25 people? I had never been in this back entrance before, so I didn’t know if that was normal. A doctor approached me as we entered and tried to take Austin from me. I knew that wasn’t right, so I asked, “ Why are you taking my baby?” He said it was because Austin had a low Apgar score (see here if you’re not familiar with that term). The EMT’s had discussed his high Apgar score in front of me, so I knew that wasn’t the case, and I told the doctor as much. He did not seem convinced. The doctor tried again and said the baby was having trouble breathing. I said, “No, he’s not.” I then pointed to the people pushing my gurney and suggested he ask them. It turns out that the person who called in our arrival had said, “Two’s all the way down,” meaning a perfect score. However, the operator heard a score of a two, which would have meant my son was in need of serious medical attention– thus all the panic. Good thing I asked before Austin was rushed off to be treated for problems he did not have! These situations are why I strongly recommend being an advocate for your health (or in this case, your child’s health).
Then I noticed a nurse getting a large syringe prepared. I asked what that was for. She said it was pitocin (an artificial form of oxytocin, which is the hormone that your body naturally releases during labor and breastfeeding), and that they were going to give it to me to help with excess bleeding. I did not receive any pitocin when Parker was born, and since my body seemed to be having contractions just fine on its own (the pitocin would stimulate contractions), I saw no need for this shot. I asked if I was having excess bleeding, and they said I was not. I politely requested that we pass on the shot and reevaluate if I started to have a bleeding problem.
We were originally supposed to go home the morning of the 19th, but at the last minute they said they could let us go the evening of the 18th. It was a bit of a mess getting out of there due to a change in nurses at the time we were supposed to leave, and we got home late at night, but it was good for us to be home with both of our boys and for my parents to be able to return to their home as well. Since Austin was born just before Easter (thus lining up well with Spring Break), we were able to enjoy visits from relatives shortly after he was born, such as Clint’s brother and Dad and my aunt and cousin. We couldn’t be happier with our new larger family! Austin has been such a blessing for us all!
I was also pleased that I felt like I was able to really work with the labor this time. My labor with Parker was so long that I was too exhausted to work with it the way I had hoped. At my last doctor’s appointment I had been told that Austin was head down but facing the wrong direction, which could mean back labor. I don’t know if he had changed directions by the time I went into labor or not, but I was determined to follow my instincts and use positioning and movements to help him get in the right position for birth. His birth was such a blur that we don’t know which way he was facing when he came out, but I was pleased that I was able to actively participate in the labor nonetheless. The tearing was less than ideal, but that happened both times. Even with a doctor guiding me, babies seem to come flying out. The nurse I spoke to about it thought it was probably just how my body is and said it wouldn’t limit me in having future children. All in all, it was a crazy but positive experience… I recommend it. 😉