In Part 1 I left off my birth story as my husband and I were driving to the hospital. Read on to find out what happened next and what Walmart has to do with Levi’s story.
“I Need You To Pull Over”
About 10 minutes into our drive I started feeling a little bit of pressure and knew that I was going to need to push very soon. Aside from my first labor, second stage has happened very quickly for me so I told Adam that I needed him to pull over. We were near an exit off the interstate so he took the exit and pulled into a Walmart parking lot, being mindful to park at the back of the lot. My water broke as he pulled into the parking spot.
Adam got out of the driver’s seat and came to me. As if it wasn’t obvious I told him that my water broke and he helped me get out of my wet clothes. I didn’t want to move into any other position, but Adam was afraid the baby was going to be born onto the front center console so he encouraged me to turn a little bit. I ended up on my hands and knees right behind the front seats, facing the closed sliding door. Adam had taken off his watch, rolled up his sleeves and made sure his coat was in reach so he would have something to wrap the baby in. He also took out the car seat that was right next to my head so that I would have more room.
Adam called 911 a little before noon to let them know we needed assistance. At first he got an answering machine, then put on hold, and was finally told they needed to know the exact address of our location (which we didn’t know) otherwise they couldn’t get to us. After a minute or two things were sorted out and Adam hung up with them. He quickly called Amanda to let her know we had to pull over and an ambulance was on the way.
I felt so relieved that we were off the road and Adam could be with me. I wasn’t comfortable in the tiny space I was confined to in the van, but at least I wasn’t alone and I knew my baby would soon be here. My contractions had spaced out a bit by this time and although I was not feeling as intense of an urge to push as I am used to, it was still there and I was pushing as my body directed. I got discouraged after pushing during two contractions and seemingly nothing happened. For me, this is odd. I wondered why the baby wasn’t coming and briefly worried that there might be some kind of problem. Then we heard the ambulance sirens as it came into the parking lot and pulled up next to us. I could hear several EMT’s start talking to Adam and the atmosphere completely shifted. Suddenly, what was about to be a sacred moment between my husband and I as we welcomed our new baby into the world, was ruined.
I felt uneasy and didn’t want any of these people around. I could hear them asking Adam lots of questions- my name, age, what number pregnancy this was for me, how far along I was, if I had any complications, etc- and he was having to split his focus between me and the EMT’s. Then one of them came around to the other side of the van where I was facing, opened the door (letting a blast of cold air in!), and proceeded to ask me the exact same questions I had just heard him asking my husband. I was beyond annoyed- does it really matter how old I am when I am about to give birth to a baby, right here, right now, in my van?! I knew the birth was imminent but the EMT’s didn’t seem to realize what was about to happen.
The EMT was trying to encourage me to get up and sit in the seat and I told him that there was no way I could do that. As a contraction began I started pushing as I had before and the EMT told me I needed to turn over and lay on my back. I explained that I didn’t want to do that and he said that I wouldn’t be able to have the baby if I stayed how I was. I replied that that really wasn’t true and stayed where I was. Again I had a contraction and this time I knew the baby was coming for sure. Of course labor and birth involve pain most of the time, but this was probably near the most extreme pain I have ever felt in any of my labors as I pushed the baby’s head out and then his body. Immediate relief followed! I did it, not exactly where we had planned, but the baby was here!
It’s a Boy!
Due to my hands and knees position I could not see the baby or anything that was going on back there. One of the EMT’s had caught the baby and I heard the baby making noise. When one of the EMT’s said “he’s ok, he’s crying”, I suddenly remembered that I didn’t even know if it was a boy or girl and thought it must be a boy, but asked anyway. Adam told me it was another boy (he saw right away, but didn’t say anything because he wasn’t sure how I would want to find out) and then I heard him say “oh we don’t want his cord to be cut right away” so I started stating in agreement that we didn’t want it to be clamped and cut yet and telling them not to clamp his cord. Apparently Adam saw one of the EMT’s bringing over a clamp and so informed them that we didn’t want that done (as it is important for the blood in the cord, which is actually part of the baby’s blood supply and contains many stem cells and other important features, to flow back into the baby before it is clamped).
The EMT said he wasn’t going to do anything but was only handing it to another guy- who then immediately used it to clamp the cord. Unaware of what had happened I kept repeating not to clamp the cord and then was told that it had already happened. As I was feeling angered by this I was helped to turn around and sit in the van and Levi was taken away to the ambulance. I may have had a brief glimpse of him before he went to the ambulance, but I’m not sure. I remember seeing him all wrapped up in a white blanket, with only his head visible and thinking how he had such a tiny head. I hadn’t expected him to be whisked away like this, I had just assumed he would be given to me straight away as has been the case with all of my other babies.
On The Way…Again
I got out of the van and was put onto a stretcher. I misunderstood something I heard one of the EMT’s say and thought for a moment that they were taking Levi in a different ambulance than me and I started to freak out. I was reassured we would be going in the same ambulance and they wheeled me up into the ambulance and put wrapped up Levi into my arms. Adam was invited to ride along in the front so we left our van and he came with us. Adam called Amanda from the ambulance at 12:17 to let her know about the birth, that it was a boy, and that we would meet her at the hospital. The EMT’s wanted to take us to the closest hospital, but we persuaded them to take us to the hospital that we were actually on the way to.
I knew Levi needed to be held skin to skin but it was awkward trying to maneuver around with all of the blankets between both of us. I also wanted him to be able to breastfeed as soon as he wanted to, but felt a little uncomfortable asking for the help of the two EMT’s who were next to me. I wished that Adam was back there and could be helping me. I finally got Levi settled somewhat skin to skin. One of the EMT’s insisted on constant, hard, “massaging” of my belly in order to stimulate the placenta to release. I told him this was not necessary and asked him not to pull on the cord at all, which he did a few times, and I should have told him just to stop altogether and that I was not going to allow him to do that, but I felt like I was already being sort of “difficult” so instead I just dealt with it. He kept asking if I could push a little bit, but I honestly couldn’t because my stomach hurt so bad at that point. The placenta came out easily later at the hospital.
At The Hospital
At 12:38 Adam called Amanda to let her know we made it to the hospital and she was there as well. She came to meet us and went with us as Levi and I were wheeled up to the Labor and Delivery floor. A nurse who had cared for me the previous week during a non stress test- and whom I had asked about what, if any, procedures they follow in the case of an accidental out of hospital birth that is brought in- recognized me as we went by the nurses station and said “wow, you totally called that!”. I guess I sort of did. Some people think that our bodies can be so in tune to things like that, and perhaps they can be.
Although no one knows for sure, we then had to come to some kind of consensus regarding Levi’s birth time. The EMT’s said they received the call to come to us at noon exactly, it took a few minutes to arrive and they had only been there a few minutes before Levi was born, so 12:08 seemed about right. Then the EMT’s handed our care over to the nurses and left. I felt much more comfortable and was able to relax in the hospital bed while they registered us into the system and eventually weighed and measured Levi- 7lbs 5oz and 21 inches long. I was right about him looking tiny, he ended up being my smallest baby! One of the doctors from my practice arrived to assess my condition and give me some stitches. She said the nurses at our usual hospital were asking if I had a boy or a girl- it was so heartwarming to think that they were thinking of me and genuinely cared about our family, I really missed being under their care this time!
I could say that Levi’s birth taught me a few things, but I think I already knew them and just need to remember to be more confident in them. The main thing being that I need to trust in myself- that frantic feeling I get? That’s me in transition, regardless of how long my labor has been or how intense or far apart my contractions are. How my labors occur has varied and most have been on the abnormal side of things, but emotional signposts are huge indicators for what is going on for me.
Oh, and Amazon Prime is fast, but not quite as fast as Levi. His blankets arrived a few days later 🙂