We had a hard time deciding what status my labor was at, because my contractions were kind of all over the place. They were super intense - enough to make me cry by about the 5th contraction. I was in the bathtub for that one, and I looked at Brian and told him I didn't know if I could do this. Here we were at the beginning of my labor and I was already having contractions more intense than I remembered ever having.
We called my midwife when the contractions were between 8-15 minutes apart. She said to lay down and try to stop them since I was only just barely 37 weeks. But if we couldn't stop them, that's fine, and plan on coming in to the birthing center when they were about 3 minutes apart - or even as close as 90 seconds.
I went to bed and rested on my left side. Sure enough, we made it past the 15-minute mark, and even past 20. So we figured that perhaps this really was false labor and things would start slowing down. But then just as quickly as they slowed down, they sped up again.
By 2:00 AM we were calling my step-dad to come over for childcare. Contractions were 5 minutes apart and we figured we would be leaving soon.
I was rotating between laying in bed, kneeling against the bed, and standing in Brian's arms. Brian was a great coach for helping me through my breathing. A lot of the contractions I could manage with my focal point and steady breathing, but some of them quickly got so bad that I would lose control and start to panic and nearly hyperventilate. Brian was great at getting me back on track. And oh - the back labor. Some times having Brian rub my back or apply pressure would help, but sometimes it would make it worse. And I couldn't talk, so other than grunting or making some other noise, I offered no helpful advice. I did, however, drop the occasional "f-bomb", so I'm sure that was helpful.
By 4:00 AM things still weren't progressing past 5 minutes apart, and poor Brian was delirious. I told him to give me the watch and the paper, and that I would try to monitor my own contractions while he got some rest. From 4:00 - 5:00 I labored in bed, timing my own contractions, which had now slowed to 8-10 minutes apart. But boy were they doozies. But at least I got some rest in-between.
I woke Brian up at 5:00 because my contractions were too intense to handle on my own. They were also back to about 5-6 minutes apart. I couldn't sit or lay down any more, so I mostly stood and held onto Brian. Even though the contractions were still technically too far apart, the pain and pressure between them was so intense that I told Brian I thought we should leave soon. When they finally got to about 4-5 minutes apart, we called the midwife and said we were coming in. Brian lied and said we were "about 3 minutes apart".
I hobbled down the stairs and to the car while Brian grabbed the last of our stuff. Trying to sit on the car seat was about the cruelest joke ever. Hurt. So. Bad. We pulled out of our neighborhood and onto the road, and I immediately lost control of my contraction and started yelling "I think I need to push!", but started frantically blowing as Brian shouted "don't push! blow it away!". I had one more contraction like that before we pulled up to the front door of the birthing center.
As Brian was turning the car off, he quickly fiddled with the CD player, as the music he knew I wanted to listen to during labor was still in the car. But he couldn't figure out how to eject the CD, and I think I mentioned something along the lines of "eff it", so he hopped out and started to come around to my door.
Suddenly I started screaming that I couldn't get out and that I needed to push RIGHT NOW. Brian turned around, ran inside the birthing center and yelled for the midwives.
It was during this moment that I looked down and realized that the CD had ejected. So I thought, "hmm, don't want it to go back into the player, so I better grab it" and I reached down and grabbed the CD and placed it on the center console.
Before Brian could even get back outside (and it's not a big place - he was gone maybe 9 seconds) I started screaming bloody murder. "THE BABY'S COMING, THE BABY'S COMING NOW, I CAN FEEL IT'S HEAD." Through my sweat pants I could feel the head starting to bulge.
Right then the midwives got to my car door and asked if I could get out of the car. "No, I can't move. The head's already out." The midwife pulled my pants down and said that the head wasn't out yet, and that it was cold outside, and could I move inside? "No." And just then the head popped out.
The other midwife ran in and got towels to put under me and to catch the baby with. When the baby's head was out we could see that it was still fully inside the still-intact sack. A few seconds later and the body was out, and the midwife was peeling back the sack.
There I was, sitting in my car, pants around one ankle, shoes on the gravel, holding my baby in a towel. I was of course worried that the baby was okay, but the midwife kept checking him and saying it was fine, despite its purple color. We needed to get inside where it was warm.
It wasn't until we were in our room, situated on the bed, checking over the baby that we even thought to check to see the gender. Honestly, by then it didn't really matter. I had a beautiful baby in my arms, still attached by umbilical cord, and I was completely in love.
Every thing else went completely well. I felt great. Baby was doing amazing. And Brian and I just kept looking at each other, laughing and saying "I just had a baby in the car".
There were so many little miracles along the way that had God's hand all over them. Even just little things, like the fact that I had "let go" of my desire to have someone in the room with us, photographing the entire birth. Also, since I hadn't yet made it to my 37-week appointment, we hadn't tested for Group B Strep, so we hadn't decided whether or not we would treat for it. But since the baby was born in an intact sack, there was virtually no risk of contracting GBS. Oh, and not to mention the fact that Brian was originally scheduled to be flying home from Singapore later the same day the baby was born. I also keep thinking to myself, what if we had waited at home for just one more contraction? We would have had the baby on the side of the road.
God's hand was all over every little detail. Everyone's fine. And now we have a fun story to tell.
Pics to come. But not of the delivery...