My Unplanned Home (or actually, minivan) Birth
Our third beautiful boy was born in the back of our mini-van on Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 10:21 PM. It was a cold, snowy night, and the experience has changed me forever. I secretly always wanted a home birth, but I was chicken because I thought my babies were just “too big” to be born safely at home. But I used to visualize, over and over, that my labor was so easy and so short that my baby would just accidentally pop out before I had time to get to the hospital. I read as many stories of accidental home births as I could find. My sister told me about her friend, who had given birth in the bathtub after a painless labor in her sleep. I LOVED that story. Well, all my visualizing must have worked!
Sunday afternoon I had been having mild practice contractions (Braxton-Hicks), and being my impatient self, I wanted to go to the hospital just to see if anything was happening. I was 8 days before my “guess date”, but I knew I was already dilated to a 3, so I just wanted to be sure. They monitored me for a couple of hours, but there was no cervical change and no consistent contractions.
Because my previous two babies had been so large, 10 lbs and 9 lbs each, my care providers offered to induce me that night, but I wanted to hold out for my natural birth. We went home to relax and see if we could get labor moving along.
That evening, contractions started. I thought they were still practice contractions because I felt no pain at all. I told my exhausted husband to go take a nap for a couple of hours just in case we were up all night birthing our baby. I sat on the couch, watching TV and using my HypnoBirthing breathing techniques durin each surge. In between contractions, I ate lightly and stayed hydrated. Each time I felt a surge coming on, I dropped into total relaxation and just listened to the sound of my breath. I felt no discomfort at all, but was beginning to feel some pelvic pressure.
I woke my husband up and told him things were definitely progressing. He suggested I get in my beloved bathtub to relax, but I worried it would slow my labor down. The surges were still painless. Little did I know, labor was almost over!!!
My husband drew a bath and as I stepped in, I just melted into a totally relaxed state. It felt incredible. Twenty minutes later, things intensified. I suddenly felt a huge amount of pelvic pressure, like I needed to have a bowel movement. This freaked me out because I was in my tub, and well, you know…
It wasn’t a bowel movement. It was a baby. My mom and sisters showed up at this point and helped me out of the tub. As soon as I stood up I realized I needed to push, so I squatted down on the floor and just went with what my body told me to do. I didn’t really have a choice at this point. We were all in total denial that the baby was actually coming and thought I could still make it to the hospital. As I walked from my bathroom to the car, I dropped down to my hands and knees with each pushing contraction and just let the surge take over.
I had a huge surge on the garage stairs and my water broke. My husband was on the phone with the midwife, and she told him to call 911. Still thinking I had time to get to the hospital, I tried to climb in the car but couldn’t do it. I found myself squatting, wearing nothing but my husband’s bathrobe, in the snow on our driveway. My husband realized the baby was coming immediately, and somehow got me into the back of our mini-van. Our new neighbor across the street heard the commotion, and, being a doctor, came outside just as the baby was starting to crown.
The paramedics arrived, and two minutes later, on my hands and knees in freezing weather, I birthed my little boy easily into the world. He was 9 lbs 12 oz and an Apgar 10. Despite the incredible circumstances, everything went very smoothly, and it was my easiest, fastest birth yet. A couple of hours after the birth, I was up walking around and feeling amazing.
That night, as I held my new sweet little son and we looked into each other’s eyes, I thanked him for the beautiful experience we had just shared. I will never forget it.
Lauralyn Curtis, USA