Sunday, January 17th, Kevin came to me saying he had found the most incredible deal on a John Deere 5520 tractor with a loader bucket AND four-wheel drive.
We packed up and headed out Wednesday, Jan. 20th. We were not expecting baby for another 2-4 weeks, but I went ahead and packed the car seat, a diaper bag, birth supplies and extra things for myself.
The tractor was just what Kevin had been wanting! We sealed the deal and then headed towards Georgia to spend the weekend together as a last trip before baby arrived.
Friday morning, I woke up and found that I was losing my mucous plug. Okay, labor can happen today, tomorrow or a week from now! I did NOT want to have a baby in Georgia.
We enjoyed our breakfast then packed up and headed towards home (10 hours away). At this time, we were racing the Winter Storm Jonas. It began in the South and swept North. We made it about 40 minutes north of Charlotte, NC when we realized the roads were just too dangerous. We passed so many cars that had slid off the road. (SCARY!) Up to this time, I had very little feelings of labor.
12:40pm Some tightenings in my back and some low back pain that lasted only 30 seconds and came every 30 minutes. NOT labor.
We stopped at a Wendy's and I got a burger. (Hungry mama!!) I remembered that taking Benadryl might be an option to discourage contractions which was definitely my #1 goal as I wanted badly to have my peaceful homebirth back in Lovettsville, VA.
2:37pm Contractions 7-20 min apart but not at all intense.
3pm Kevin stopped and got me some Benadryl and just before taking it I called our midwife who we had been in touch with. "Should I take this? It will make me sleepy, right?"
"No way, you are past that point."
Now, the back pain was coming every 5-7 min and I needed to really focus to get through it.
At 3:09pm, I texted my sister-in-law that I thought I was in active labor (the real deal). Up to this point, I still knew there was the possibility that we would make it home and have a baby 15-20 hours later :) You know, like most first-time moms!
At 3:17pm, our midwife (back in Maryland) convinced us to turn around and go back to Charlotte. It was a bigger city with better hospitals and the roads headed North were becoming increasingly dangerous. She told us she had a brother and sister-in-law in Charlotte who would let me labor at their house before going to the hospital. Her sister-in-law would be happy to be my doula (childbirth coach).
In case it needs mentioning, admitting to myself that I was NOT having the peaceful homebirth that I had so well planned, was not easy. I cried. "I'm not crying because I'm in pain," I told Kevin. It was taking some serious processing. You know so much better than me, Lord. I have every reason to trust you. Lord, I believe - help my unbelief.
Forty minutes later, we were at my midwife's brother's house. It was heavenly. Soft music playing, simply decorated and a big rug on the floor that just begged me to get hands and knees and labor!
Betsy, the SIL, had never been a doula before but between her and Kevin, I felt so well-supported.
Things were intense.
We moved to the bathroom because I thought I had to go. I had told our midwife that over the phone when we were headed back to Charlotte. It sounded funny to my ears then because I always knew with my Doula clients that meant baby is not far away! But of course I was surely not that progressed! Labor had just begun.
Squatting felt so good! Earlier, I had asked Kevin to open the window (it was sleeting by this time). Betsy used imagery telling me to let the cool air wash over my body. This helped immensely and I was able to melt into Kevin's arms. The air was very cool coming through the screen and I could feel cold bits of ice on my face. Pure bliss.
At this time (4:55pm?), Kevin and Betsy really wanted to get me out the door. I was bearing down pretty hard with contractions. (STILL did not understand why I was doing that!)
We moved into the living room again and contractions were coming every 2 minutes. My eyes were closed and I was letting Kevin hold me up. All I wanted to do was stay where I was and sway and squat. Everything was working so well!
They got me out the door and Kevin got in the car. I got in the floor of the front seat and squatted. And bore down pretty hard. THEN I KNEW. I was PUSHING. And it felt so good and so right!!!!
We only got a block down the road and I told Kevin, "Kevin, you tell her (Betsy) that she has to get in this car RIGHT NOW."
I knew baby was coming and didn't want to be just the two of us when it happened, especially since Kevin was driving. We took off again and headed for the hospital. Betsy was incredibly calming - although I did not feel the least bit panicked. I think I was having the most fun out of everyone. There was NO pain in pushing. It felt amazing. At this point, I had begun to make a "roaring" sound with pushes. I told Betsy, "I'm pushing and I like it. It feels good. I make a sound and I like making that sound." I wanted everyone to know that I was not afraid or in pain.
We totally would have had a car baby if it had not been for Betsy. She said, "Jenni, it is TOO COLD to have a baby in the car. You can not have a baby in the car."
She had me there. "You're right, I can't," I admitted.
But with each contraction, the urge to push was overwhelming, PLUS I enjoyed it so much.
"You can not have a baby in the car. A car birth is not an alternative to a homebirth."
"Convince me, Betsy!!"
"It's TOO cold!!"
"Okay, you're right."
It took a THOUSAND hours to get to the hospital.
When we pulled up, an ER nurse opened my door and said, "Ma'am, we need you to get out of the car."
Huh? My hand was keeping his head inside. "There's a head!!"
"What number baby is this?," someone asked.
"She doesn't know what she's talking about," someone said.
"It's burning!!!!!!" I yelled. In birth world, that means baby's head is emerging. I thought they all would know. (most of the 25 people who were standing around watching were from every department BUT labor & delivery even though Betsy had called ahead to tell them I was giving birth right then.)
I remember they kept wanting me to get out of the car. I couldn't move. They lifted me out of the car still in a sitting position. Once on the stretcher, they pulled my pants down and exclaimed about the baby, "Oh look at all that hair!"
Yeah. You guys. I was TRYING to tell you - There's a HEAD.
We went into the ER and off to the first room just inside the door. I said, "Dad is catching baby!"
Kevin never left my side. I could always see him. He was the same as the moment he woke up to my crying because I didn't want to have a baby in Georgia. His energy never changed. His affirmations were there. His hands were touching me.
He caught our little baby and brought him to me. I shouted right away that we had a boy!! So incredible.
I was SO HAPPY to have that child on my chest. I did not let go of him. Precious baby.
5:27pm - two hours and 27 minutes after things got real and I knew that labor was happening.
Praise the Lord for his infinite wisdom and provision.
We never could have made it home simply because little man came FAST. If we had made it home, we would have possibly given birth without our team because everyone was snowed in. There wouldn't have been postpartum care after wards. So many blessings in retrospect.
One of my biggest blessings was having Betsy at our birth. She was the MOST incredible support I could have possibly asked for! She complimented Kevin perfectly.
I so wish I could have her at all future births.