Victor’s Amazing “Driveway” Birth
A little back story…the birth of my first baby Troy was a long and medically induced hospital birth. He was 9 days overdue and after an ultrasound check that showed low amniotic levels I was induced, followed by an epidural, 2 hrs of pushing without progress which resulted in a forceps delivery. From the start of the induction medication (I was on antibiotics for the Strep B) it was 20 hrs but from when my water was broken and I began to feel the pressure waves it was 14 hrs.
I wanted a completely different experience with my second baby which lead me to planning a water birth at the Lucina Birth Centre with midwives. I knew there would be no access to pain medication but I really didn’t want to be in a hospital setting this time. Plus I really wanted to be able to experience a natural birth since I had read that it is so empowering. This lead me to investigate what tools others had used to handle the discomforts of birthing time. That’s how I found the Comforting Hands Doula Hynobabies course.
On Monday April 11th, 2016 at 9am I woke up to my water leaking along with some Braxton Hicks waves which just felt like tightening. They never bothered me and I had been getting them every so often for a few months. So I went to the centre to get checked out and then was sent back home to await the start of my birthing time. I had another appointment for the following morning in case my birthing time didn’t start throughout the day or night. The plan was I would drink the midwife induction cocktail at the appointment to kick start birthing time if things didn’t start on their own. There’s only a 24-48hr window from when the water breaks/leaks that they want you to have the baby due to the increased risk of infection for mom and baby.
Throughout the day I continued to leak here and there but I didn’t notice any change to the Braxton Hicks waves until 11pm. I was in bed listening to my daily maintenance track and “your special safe place”. As I was listening, my husband Kevin came to bed. Kevin’s mom Brenda was sleeping over downstairs since she was going to be watching my oldest while Kevin went to work and I went to my appointment with my Mom. As I was listening I started to feel like I had period cramps in my low belly but they did seem to be coming in waves rather than a constant ache. I wasn’t sure if this was the start of birthing time since I had no idea what non-induced waves felt like. After my tracks had finished I tried to drift off to sleep but I couldn’t help thinking maybe this is my birthing time. So I started listening to “your birthing time begins” and “birthing day affirmations” just in case. After that I noticed the “cramps” were a little stronger so I timed them out of curiosity. They were 6-7 mins apart and 45-60 secs long. My midwife had said to call to come in if they were 4-5 mins apart and 1 min long and I wouldn’t be able to talk through them. I knew I could still talk through mine. I figured this was just the early stage so I started listening to the tracks for early birthing time as I rested in bed. I alternated the sides I was laying on each time I had to go to the bathroom. I sipped on water and nibbled on some snacks. A couple times I went to sit in the rocking chair or I did a yoga child’s pose.
As time went on the “cramps”/waves were slowly getting stronger but they were very manageable as I was listening to my tracks and using the peace and relax cues. I occasionally timed the waves but they remained the same.
Around 2-3am I thought maybe I should wake Kevin up for a little low back/hip rub after each wave but I just did a little self massage and everything was still feeling good. I figured I would let Kevin sleep until his alarm for work went off at 4:15am. I also thought I would let my mom sleep for awhile still too. She was going to be my 2nd coach and had said to call when things started. I thought I would wake Kevin up and call my Mom if the timing of the waves got closer together or if the intensity got stronger and I needed help staying focused. I still thought I was in the early stage.
At 4am Kevin got up to go to the bathroom and I let him know what had been going on. I said “I don’t think you are going to work today”. He went and got me the birth ball to sit on since I was getting uncomfortable and I was starting to lose my focus. I needed to find a comfortable position to regain my focus. He also got me a snack since I was suddenly hungry, almost nauseous. I sat on the ball for 3 waves or so and had a couple bites of banana. I decided to listen to “deepening your hynosis” while I was on the ball. I really liked this track since it worked so well at relaxing me and it would always put me to sleep. As I was listening, the waves were becoming very powerful. Then I suddenly had a very intense wave that I felt in my front and back and at the peak it had actually made me jump up off the ball. I got on the bed into the child’s pose and I decided to call my Mom. I had stopped listening to my track at that point since I became distracted with how quickly things seemed to be changing. I thought I must be getting into the active stage. Kevin timed a few waves as I was talking to my Mom and they had changed to 30-45 sec long and 1-3 min apart and I could not talk through them. We were confused because we expected the waves to be 4-5 min apart 45-60 secs long for active birth time or for the transformation stage to be 90 sec long and 1 min apart. So Kevin called the midwife on his phone and she said to come in (I still had my Mom on speaker phone). This was around 4:30am now.
Kevin went to put our bags in the car and while he was doing that I suddenly had an uncontrolled push wave that felt like I had to do a #2 very badly! My body just started pushing all on its own! At that point I lost my focus completely and started to panic because I sure didn’t want a baby to come at home with no midwife!
On the phone my Mom was trying to keep me calm and get me to focus on my breathing. Kevin came back from loading up the car and his Mom had also come upstairs. I had a couple more push waves and my Mom said to Kevin to check for a head. The head wasn’t there yet so she encouraged us to make our way down the stairs in between waves and try to get to the car. It was really hard to get out of bed. Laying on my left side was the only position that felt comfortable especially for my low back. We slowly made it down the stairs without any waves. I had lost contact with my Mom at that point but she was on her way over. I had one wave at the bottom of the stairs and then another at the back door after we did a slow dance waddle to the door. This wave was very intense and along with belly, low back pressure, feeling like I really had to do a #2, I also felt a pinch like feeling down south. I instantly thought I am going to crown soon! I said to Kevin I can’t sit in the car and I need an ambulance! I didn’t want to end up having a baby in the car. I didn’t think the midwife would make it to our house in time either and I wanted some kind of medical personnel with me.
We waddled to the couch and Kevin called 911. Kevin found me the “fear clearing” track to help keep me calm. He also called the midwife to update her of the sudden change. The ambulance got there in less than 5 min followed by my parents. I was so relieved and I was able to regain my focus and breath through the waves much better. It was amazing how many people came. There were 4 paramedics, the EMS chief, and 2 firefighters and they were all men except for one female paramedic. She was the one who was looking after me while the guys were trying to figure out how to get the gurney through the front door. At one point the female paramedic had said try not to push. I might have snapped at her and said “how can I stop pushing when my body is doing it on its own!” Later I realized she had meant not to actively push along with the push waves haha. I had actually been making sure I wasn’t actively pushing from the start of the push waves since I knew if I had been actively pushing the baby probably would have come in my bed before anyone made it to the house.
The EMS and fire fighters ended up having to carry me out in a sling bag since the gurney wouldn’t fit through the doorway and I couldn’t move anymore. My left side was still the most comfortable. I remember quite vividly that I was incredibly thirsty and very sweaty as if I was working out. I thought it was so weird I’d be feeling this when I wasn’t in control of this “workout”. I thought why would I be sweaty and thirsty when I’m not consciously doing this? It was so odd.
In the ambulance they had Kevin sit in the front because they thought they could get me to the hospital. I had a couple more waves and I could definitely feel the head coming so I tried to tell them. I asked where Kevin was and that he needed to be beside me! Kevin came to the back and I ended up feeling my self for the head. I said to them “hey there’s a head there!” they finally looked and said “yup you are crowning”. The EMS girl said I was doing so well and if I pushed along with the next pushing wave then he would be born. So I did and his head came right out and my body did one more uncontrolled push and he was born at 5:14am April 12th, 2016.
My baby Victor 6lb 12oz, 19.5 inches!
I was so shocked and amazed that I had just had a baby in an ambulance on my driveway! I kept asking “did this actually just happen, am I dreaming?” I never thought I’d have such an adventurous birth. We ended up being the talk of the maternity ward amongst the nurses and even the other patients!
Both baby and I were doing well after the birth. We asked the EMS girl to delay cord clamping as we had planned. The placenta came out on its own shortly after arriving in the labor & delivery room. I did need an oxytocin shot and IV for a bit of extra bleeding but that was just due to a quick birth. I recovered so much more quickly and I was much more aware in the early days following the birth than I was with my first. I wasn’t as drained or felt as hazy. It was amazing!
A huge thanks goes out to Ricky Issler and her hypnobabies course. It helped keep me so relaxed and it was amazing how the power of hypnosis changed the sensations of birth. I think because it worked so well that’s part of the reason why I didn’t think I was as far along in my birthing time as I was haha.
I highly recommend this birthing tool and will be recommending it to my friends and family. I will totally use this again if we decide to have another baby. The thought of having another baby naturally is actually an exciting thought and an experience I would want again. Maybe I’ll make it to the birth tub next time!