By Julie Rosen
Hi Sister Doulas,
Several months ago, I posted about attending a birth on my birthday — it was a very quick one (a multip), we barely made it to the hospital (the mom had the urge to push at home and we transported in the car), and I sought your sage advice about whether the right decision was to go to the hospital or have called 911 and waited for the paramedics.
Well, to paraphrase what Bonnie Bedelia said in the second “Die Hard” movie, “Why does this keep happening to me?”
My latest Eve was walking around at 3 cm with her 3rd baby for the last few days. Her first two labors were about 24 hours long each. She lives about 45 minutes from me. Last night at 2 AM, she called me and woke me (from my one hour of sleep). She was contracting mildly every 15 minutes but concerned about some bleeding she was having. It sounded like bloody show and I reassured her while she awaited a return call from her midwife about it. I told her to call me back after she spoke with her midwife. At 3 AM, she called, still contracting mildly and far apart, but she asked me to come down to be with her. I got there at 4 AM. Her two girls, ages 3.5 and almost 2, were up and having a blast watching mommy in the tub. Her contractions were now moderate and coming every 3 minutes, but only lasting about 25 seconds. She was interacting with her kids, breathing nicely through the short contractions and not nearly displaying the emotional signpost of transition. She even said she was not ready to go to the hospital. 20 minutes later, she looked at me and said calmly, “I think I might have to push a little.” The hospital where her midwife catches was 25 minutes away. I told her to get out of the tub – we were going right away. When she sat on the toilet to pee, the urge got immediately stronger. She stood up and I helped her put on her pants. I asked her rhetorically, “Do you really think you’ll make it the 25 minutes to the hospital” and she answered no. I told her I was taking her right now to the local hospital (5 minutes away) and she said “fine.” We got down the stairs and her water broke. She yelled and said the baby was coming right then. I called 911 and told them to come NOW! I got her on her hands and knees with her butt in the air on the living room hardwood floor (that was where we happened to be), pulled down her pants and sat behind her. I told her to blow out and try not to push yet — the ambulance was on the way. She asked if I had ever caught a baby and I said “no” but I would know what to do if necessary. She said she was scared and I reminded her about the millions of years women have been doing it this way and that everything would be fine. During the contractions, I could see the big bulge in her perineum, but the head wasn’t crowning and so I reassured her (and myself?!) that the paramedics would arrive in time to catch the baby.
It was only about 7 minutes after I called 911 that two men walked in and put on gloves. I assumed they were paramedics but it turns out they were cops. I sat next to Eve’s head and they sat by her tush, put down some blankets that her husband had gotten and waited for the baby. With her next contraction, she asked, “Is someone gonna catch this baby?” and I told her that the paramedics were right behind her to catch. The baby’s head popped out within seconds. The husband was standing behind the cops with their two daughters in his arms and sooo excited for them to be witnessing the birth. I realized the two guys were cops and looked new at this so I checked for a cord around the neck and there was none. I put my face right next to hers and told her she should push GENTLY with her next contraction. About 2 minutes later, she birthed a beautiful baby boy, her first boy! Seconds later, the volunteer EMTs and paramedics walked in the door and the room was suddenly filled with about 8 or 9 men, a few of whom she knew from around town and synagogue, who walked in to the sight of her tush and the two cops holding the baby. We covered the baby as much as we could. She stayed in that position for about ten minutes until they clamped and cut the cord and got her on a cot and into the ambulance with her baby. I rode with them to the hospital. She delivered the placenta about an hour after the birth and says that those contractions were harder than her labor contractions. I have never seen such an alert baby — when we got up to Labor and Delivery, he was put under the warmer because his temp was low and he flipped himself over from facing the wall to face his mommy! As soon as she was able to hold him, he latched on like a pro and gazed all around, wide-eyed. He was born on his due date, and shares a Thanksgiving birthday (although on a different date) as his proud papa.
The story doesn’t end there. About a month ago, I also posted about a 21 year old au pair of my cousin’s who went to the hospital with what she thought was food poisoning and ended up having a baby — no one noticed the pregnancy, including her host parents, Chani and Steve, who themselves are the parents of 8 children. I remind everyone of this story because the crazy coincidence is that last night’s birth happened in the same house in which the au pair and Chani and Steve had been living until the family moved to Israel just a few weeks ago. My Adam and Eve are renting Chani and Steve’s house and moved in JUST YESTERDAY! The baby arrived amid a room filled with still-packed boxes.