My oldest son (Little Man) told me I was pregnant even before the stick turned pink, said the baby was a girl, and picked Sunday for the birth of “his baby.” He was right on all three.
I woke up Sunday morning 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and OVER IT. The August heat was getting to me, I couldn’t sleep, and just felt all around miserable. I knew the baby would come when the baby was ready, but I was ready. I dreaded going to church because I knew the “You're STILL pregnant??” comments would start. But I also knew if I skipped church, my phone would blow up with people thinking I was in labor, so off to church we went.
After church we came home and I managed to have a nap. I remember taking a nap the afternoon that my second child (Little Miracle) was born, so I was still hopeful. I had a feeling about that night.
When Little Miracle got up from his nap we headed down to Atlanta to see my father-in-law. He had undergone kidney surgery a few weeks before and was not well. He had been slowly improving and my husband Stephen wanted to see him again before he had to go to work on Monday.
I was having contractions all week the week before. While we were at the hospital they were gaining in intensity, but still random and not strong enough, so I ignored them. After Stephen visited his dad we headed back towards the house to run some errands.
When we got home the contractions had slowed down and spaced out. I still had a feeling about that night but I was becoming less hopeful. We took a short walk around the neighborhood and then got the boys in the bath and Little Man off to bed. I thought maybe after we got the boys to bed that the contractions would pick up.
(Sidenote: The entire pregnancy I was praying for my body to give me a sign when it was time. Little Miracle was an unassisted unplanned home birth. I wanted to make it to the hospital.)
Just before 9 p.m., Stephen was downstairs putting Little Miracle to sleep. I was upstairs and the contractions got stronger. I was still thinking “Maybe?” I was back and forth between the bathroom and my bed, questioning myself and wondering what to do. I went back to the bathroom and had a very loose stool and a bit of a bloody show. AH- HA! A SIGN. I immediately called my mom to come over to watch the boys and called my doula. I remember telling my doula that if nothing else, we could walk around the hospital. I guess I was still thinking I had a long labor ahead of me.
I walked halfway down the stairs to tell Stephen what was up and that everyone was on their way already. My mom was there within minutes. I met her outside because Stephen was putting Little Miracle to bed. I had two contractions while I was outside. Stephen got back downstairs and my mom and I came inside. I grabbed my last minute items and we were off. I called the midwife to let her know what was going on.
I put my iPod earphones into my ears so I could have music while I was contracting. I needed to focus on something. The contractions were not that bad and they seemed to be well spaced, so I thought I was still in early labor. I was talking between the contractions and could have walked through them if I wanted.
We got about half way to the hospital when I started thinking “I am not ready for a third child, what did we do? Can't I just go home and not have this baby?” I thought that way for a second and then realized that the irrational thoughts meant I was in transition. I did not tell Stephen this, but glanced over at how fast he was going. Ah, 90, that’s good. Contractions had picked up and I was doing all I could to stay calm through them.
When we reached Atlanta there was traffic. A bridge over the freeway had fencing fall off it, and was being repaired, so traffic was stopped on the freeway. I told Stephen, “Just get off, the GPS will reroute us.” As soon as we got off we realized the traffic was moving again, so we had to drive around the block to get back on the freeway. This entire time I am praying and saying loudly “Please God, get us there.”
Back on the freeway and then off at our exit. “Almost there,” I told the baby.
The final turn before the hospital was a left with a light. It always backs up. This night was no exception. We were the third car back when the light turned red. I told Stephen to “get over and turn from the straight lane”. He did just that.
When we finally pulled up to the hospital I told him to drop me off at the ER and to bring my bags. I walked into the ER in full transition mode and really ready to just be up in labor and delivery and have my baby!
(Now the story gets fun. The hospital was doing construction, so things were not how they usually are, and the hospital was in a … um … not so safe area of town, so they lock things down at night. Just remember that.)
I walk into the ER and there is a security guy sitting behind a desk. I pointed to my belly and said all I could manage to say at that point “… Labor.” He then told me to go back outside to the security desk and they would have a wheelchair to take me to labor and delivery. The woman in the transition part of labor (me) yelled at this poor man “You have to be kidding me!” He said he was not, so I walked back outside.
I got to the security desk and the guy looked at me like he had no idea what I needed. Isn’t it pretty obvious that a woman with a massive belly looking like she is in pain needs LABOR AND DELIVERY? I did not see the wheel chair that I was told would be there, so I just asked him which way I needed to go. I figured I would birth a baby on the sidewalk if I stood around and waited for a wheelchair, so I took off walking.
I went through the first set of double doors, then went to the next set, and they would not open. I stood there for what feels like forever when a group of three or four men came up behind me and wanted to open the door, too. I yelled at them, “Go see why this door is not working!” Then one of them pushed a button and it opened. Oh, I see. Rational brain does not work this late in labor, I guess.
I walked past a set of stairs and decided stairs might not be the best option. (Maybe my rational brain WAS working.) I made it to the elevators—four of them to be exact. Three of them said they were on the ground floor. Awesome! I pushed the up button for both sides hoping one would open. Nothing. Minutes passed and I realized I was alone in a hallway about to give birth. I screamed as loud as I could, “Why aren’t these (enter choice words that I am not gonna type) elevators working?” Just then the one that was originally on the 7th floor opened. Thank you God!
I got on and pressed 7 and the door close button at almost the same time. I was thanking God for finally getting the elevators to open. When it dinged to let me know I was on the 7th floor I was SO thankful to have FINALLY made it to labor and delivery where someone could help me get this baby out! The doors opened and I realized it was another long hallway to walk down.
Now, it was a full moon this night, so I expected the place to be packed. It was DEAD. Like, you could hear a pin drop on the floor dead quiet. And no one to be seen in any direction.
I started walking down the hallway and saw a nurses station. YES!! Someone to help me. I got to the nurses station and a huge contraction hit. I leaned over the desk and the lady told me which direction I needed to go. The contraction was taking forever and she said, “As soon as it is over you need to go down the hall.” I don’t think she realized where I was in labor. I half-squatted and half-bent over. Before I did this I saw a tall man walking towards me. He appeared to be a doctor from his lab coat and scrubs. He yelled from down the hall, “Are you ok?” and the nurse sarcastically said, “She’s in labor.” Gee, thanks, Captain Obvious.
He walked over and held me up. I was assuming he was an OB/GYN since he was on the labor and delivery floor, but he seemed to know nothing about a laboring woman. He asked me who my doctor was and I told him. The nurses station finally realized that I was NOT walking any farther and grabbed a wheelchair. They wheeled me to another station where they wanted me to fill out paperwork. I got it in my hands and then said, “I can’t,” and threw it back at them. At this point they asked if I was Lisa Strickland and when I said yes, they said they knew I was coming and finally I was off to my room.
The nurse wheeled me into my room all while asking questions:
“Has your water broken?” No.
“Are you feeling pressure?” No.
“Do you need to use the restroom?” Ah yes, I need to pee.
We got to my room and she wheeled me straight to the bathroom. I got up and sat to pee. As soon as I peed I realized something else.
“I need to poop,” I told her.
“Honey, that’s not poop,” she said. Ah yes, pressure! She asked me if I could make it to the bed. Not happening. I was NOT moving.
“No,” I told her. Then my water broke. I announced this.
At this point several other nurses joined in my party. One checked me and said “Oh honey, the baby’s head is right here, you need to get off the toilet.”
I was still not moving and one of the nurses ran next door to get my midwife who was with another patient. They came running in and the next thing I remember is blue towels and such being thrown on the bathroom floor.
My midwife wanted me off the toilet, and I knew why. I lunged forward onto my hands and was half-standing, half to my knees while pushing. The baby came sliding out into my midwives hands. At this point I remembered the ONE thing that I knew I could control in my labor and delivery was looking to see the gender and announcing it myself. So I started screaming, “Don’t tell me the gender, don’t tell me the gender!!” Someone in the room said, “We won’t, honey.”
My midwife told me whenever I was ready to sit down and take my baby. I sat down and tore off my shirt and bra. She handed the baby over to me. The baby had its sack over its face still, born in the caul. My midwife pulled the sack off of the head and the baby started to cry.
I peeked between the legs. A GIRL. OMG. It’s a girl!! I couldn't believe I just had a baby girl on the bathroom floor. I asked my midwife if I saw that correctly and then checked again. Yup, a girl.
At this point I looked around. Where was my husband? Oh yeah, he was parking the car. I asked for my phone to see where he was. I called him and discovered he was on the 7th floor looking for me. He could hear the baby cry from the phone. I knew he was close so I didn’t tell him what we had just yet.
He came walking into our room and to the bathroom.
(Me, my midwife and Little Miss. I had Stephen take this pic after he found us.)
He just smiled at me and the baby. I asked him if he wanted to know what the baby was, and he said yes. I told him “You have a daughter.” His smile widened.
I did manage to make it to the bed to deliver the placenta. My doula walked in a few minutes after the baby was born. She told me she was walking in when she heard “Happy Birthday” playing (they play it after every birth) for my baby. She almost made it.
Another super fast labor. If you count from the time I was wondering if the contractions were real it was 4.5 hours. If you count from the first real “This is labor” contraction, it was less than an hour. I think, IF there is another baby, it will be a planned home birth!