As I write this I’m using one hand to type (hunt-and-peck style) and the other to hold my one day old daughter as she nurses to sleep for the ninth time today. I have to pause and admire her, thinking about how, just 48 hours ago, she was in my womb getting ready to make her grand entrance into this world.
Let’s rewind to last Thursday, July 23, 2015. It was the day before my daughter’s “guess date” (I use this term because only 5% of babies are born on their due dates) and my husband, son Aaron, and I were hanging out at my parents’ house after having finished dinner with my family.
<Please hold while I slide my daughter into the sling so I can type with two hands as she sleeps. Ahhhh that’s much better. Carry on.>
So we were hanging out after dinner and I was complaining about how I was tired of people asking me how I was feeling and saying that I wouldn’t be surprised if I were pregnant for another week or two because, for being nine months pregnant, I still felt great. It was getting late and it was already passed Aaron’s bedtime so we piled–well, they piled. I waddled–into the car and home we went. Aaron got a quick bath, brushed his little teeth, and went down for the night. Nate and I stayed up to watch the latest Big Brother eviction then went to bed. I had struggled with end-of-pregnancy insomnia for the last few nights and I didn’t fall asleep until close to 11:30 that night.
At 12:45am I woke up with some stronger-than-usual Braxton-Hicks contractions, yucky heartburn, and the need to go to the bathroom. I got up, chewed a couple of Tums, went to the bathroom, and tried going back to sleep but those darn contractions wouldn’t let up. After lying in bed for over an hour I decided to take a warm bath and time my contractions using my handy-dandy BabyBump pregnancy app. After four contractions in just 20 minutes I decided this. was. it. The baby was coming. And I’d better call the birth center. I dialed the midwife on call, Kimberly, and during our ten minute conversation I had had three more contractions. That should’ve been my cue to get going. But my contractions still weren’t as strong or painful as I remembered them being while laboring with my son so I thought I had plenty of time left and I’d rather stay home as long as I could.
I called my mom so she could come over and stay with Aaron. She arrived around 3:30am and I finished packing my bag, gathered my essential oils, ate some Greek yogurt with strawberries for energy (all while contracting every 2-4 minutes). We called the midwife again at 4:00am to let her know that the contractions were getting closer and a little bit stronger so we’d be heading into the birth center soon. We live at least 20 minutes away but she lives a good 35+ minutes so she left her home right away and we stayed home for another 10-15 minutes.
Nate and I left the house by 4:30am to make the 20-25 minute drive to the birth center. Side note: we delivered Aaron with a midwife in a hospital but hated it. The entire experience was just not what we had envisioned for our natural birth so when we found out I was expecting again, Babymoon Inn Birth Center was the obvious best choice for us. Second side note: about a week ago this video goes viral. I watched it, forced my husband to watch it, and suggested our family watch it. Why? We’ll soon find out.
Continuing on to the birth story…As we’re driving to the birth center my contractions are continuing to get stronger. I ask Nate to go a little faster because sitting in the car with a seat belt on is pretty much the most uncomfortable position for a laboring woman to be in. I mention that I’m surprised at how many people are on the freeway at 4:30 in the morning. Airport traffic? Construction traffic? I digress.
As we drive from south Tempe into central Phoenix I realize the traffic lets up after we pass the airport off-ramp. I look at the clock. It’s 4:37am. Just ten more minutes and we’ll be at the birth center. Another contraction is coming. Oh, man, it’s a big one.
“Ooooowwwwwww! Honey the baby’s coming, go faster!” I scream, as I can actually feel her moving down the birth canal. The next contraction comes with a vengeance and I feel the need to bear down (not in the Wildcat sense. Go Sun Devils. ASU pride forever.) so I push a little and my waters break. Holy moly!! Good thing we grabbed that towel for me to sit on before we left the house. Ew, it’s all over the car! No time to think about that now. Here comes another contraction and–“Oh, my gosh, WHAT IS THAT?!” I scream, as my husband looks on in horror. Remember, it’s dark outside so we can’t really see what’s going on. I reach down below and feel something. “HER HEAD IS COMING OUT!!!” There’s no stopping it.? We’re in the car and my baby is coming out NOW.
So I did what the instructional video said to do: I unbuckled my seat belt and pulled my shorts down to my knees. And I pushed. Just a little bit. And her head was out. “Oh my God!! ohmigosh ohmigosh ohmigosh what do I do?!” This was the scariest moment. I couldn’t quite see her face and she wasn’t making any noise. Her head is out but her body is still in–wait, here comes another contraction. I push again and her body is delivered. “What just happened??!” She falls onto the vehicle seat and I have to push up my butt so I don’t sit on her. I reach down and lift her between my legs onto my lap. She’s still attached to her cord so I don’t want to pull her up too high.
“Ahhhhhh!” I JUST DELIVERED A BABY IN THE CAR. You’d be yelling, too. Trust me.
“What do we do?!” I asked Nate. “Do we call 9-1-1? We’re still 10 minutes away from the birth center!” At this point, Nate’s driving 95 miles per hour on the interstate. My seat belt is off and I’m holding a baby on my abdomen. (They should revoke my CPST status for something like this. CPST=Child Passenger Safety Technician.) But she’s crying, so I know she’s breathing, and we decide to just keep going to the birth center. If we get there and there’s an issue then we can go to the hospital. Nate now jokes that the only thing that would make our story even better would be if a police officer tried to pull us over. Because there’s no way we would have stopped.
We exit the freeway onto 3rd Street and call Kimberly. “We had the baby in the car!” I exclaim. “We’re still about five minutes away. What do we do?” She told us to keep going and meet her at the birth center. When we arrive she opens the car door and sees the baby in my lap. She runs inside to grab a few blankets and a Chux Pad. We wrap up the baby (and take a quick photo), Kim holds the Chux pad under me, and Nate walks behind me into the birth center to make sure I don’t pass out. I lie down on the bed with the baby on my chest, knowing I’ll have to deliver the placenta soon.
Kim takes my blood pressure and checks baby’s heart rate. We’re normal, considering the circumstances. She takes our temperatures. Normal. Checks to see if the cord is still pulsating. It is, so we wait a couple minutes before cutting it. Everything looks totally normal. Better than normal. Exceptional. The cord stops pulsating so Kim preps it for Nate to cut. He does and I pull baby onto my chest for some skin-to-skin to help regulate her breathing and body temperature. After about 20 minutes I give another good push and my placenta is delivered. It’s done. We did it. On our own. In the car. Wow. WOW!
We were released from the birth center around 9:15 that morning and we went home to introduce Aaron to his “baby sissy” and start our lives as a family of four. We have to give honor and praise to Jesus for keeping us safe and healthy during this incredible ordeal. We know things could have gone very, very wrong in a multitude of ways and we thank Him for His grace and presence during our daughter’s delivery.
We have to also thank the amazing team at Babymoon Inn. Our midwife, Kimberly, stayed incredibly calm and encouraging throughout our stay at the birth center. Our nurses, Heidi and Jolene, were so nurturing and loving. These ladies truly love what they do and it’s extremely evident in their quality of care. Nate and I have been so happy with Babymoon Inn during our prenatal care and I love that I was able to take Aaron with me to every appointment where he was welcomed with open arms. Babymoon moms are truly a family and I’m so blessed to be a part of it. Thank you to Julia, Bettie, Amy, Jennifer, Pam and everyone else at Babymoon Inn for being a part of our pregnancy. We are forever grateful for your kind hearts! Even though I didn’t get the calm, beautiful water birth I dreamed of I’m so happy because I caught the baby just like I had hoped I would–I just didn’t anticipate that that would happen in the front seat of my car. (To all future passengers, don’t worry; we had the car detailed and seat shampooed that afternoon.)
Meet Adelyn Carese Heater. Born at 4:40am (we think) in Phoenix, Arizona. Weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce and 20 inches long. Mommy, Daddy, and Aaron love you so much, sweet girl. What a way to make an entrance! We’re so blessed to be your parents and we’re excited to go on this wild ride with you.