At 38 weeks contractions were happening sporadically for the past week or so, I knew labor was nearing. Now with my previous two pregnancies I was full term, Sofia was 39 weeks and Emma was 40 weeks and 1 day. It didn’t necessarily mean that I would make it to 40 weeks with this pregnancy. All I knew is that I was on the verge of going into labor at any given moment. As people always say “every pregnancy is different” couldn’t be more true, so I wasn’t focused on a specific date. I was focused on reading my body for major signs that might indicate labor would be approaching. Since it is my third pregnancy it meant things could happen even quicker, Emma happened so fast I knew this pregnancy could be even faster!
Contractions began Sunday AM
Sunday July 10th at around 3am I woke up with mild and steady contractions. I was keeping time and they were close together just not enough to go. They were around 6 minutes apart for an hour, lasting a minute long. I was given a guideline to follow which was the 4-1-1 rule. I contacted my doula to inform her about how I was doing and feeling at that time. This was closer to 4am, I wanted to keep her up to date and I needed to get her input about when she thought I should head to the birthing center.
She suggested I try to get some rest because it was early in the morning only of course, if they were tolerable enough. So I did exactly that, I fell into a deep sleep until around 8am. Once I woke up the contractions were still happening but had significantly slowed down. From 7 minutes apart they moved to 10 minutes, then to 20 minutes and then they were happening one every hour. I was convinced it was prodromal labor, so here I was waiting for the real contractions to start. Mind you, I was 39 weeks and 5 days, so only two more days until her actual due date. Which meant that the contractions were the real thing, but the timing was really throwing me off. It wasn’t consistent enough to be real labor I thought.
My in laws were kind enough to pick up the girls around 10am so that we could get some rest because they knew we had a long night. We were kid free so that meant we were resting. Although I was still having contractions, I kept on breathing through them, still timing them. Nothing was alarming but now I was wondering if this meant it would be an all day thing? Oh man I was not ready for all day labor, I surely thought this was going to be super quick like Emma’s birth but you just never know what God has planned for you.
Timing is everything
I was FaceTiming my sister around 1pm, and I was keeping my mom updated too. Since my mom wanted to be present in the birth of this baby, I was letting her know how I was feeling. I told her labor was nearing but I couldn’t give her a timeframe, my contractions were super spaced out to every 20 minutes. I didn’t know whether this would go into the next day? Considering how much my contractions had slowed down during the day I just wasn’t certain it would happen this Sunday. Well, by now I hung up the phone with my sister, and I told hubby I was feeling hungry so he decided to bake some chicken at around 4pm (I am still having contractions by this time and they’re around 10 minutes apart), but I’m still able to breathe through them. So I told him I think I’ll add some makeup on just in case this picks up and it is real labor.
I began doing my makeup and hubby was baking chicken. Still timing the contractions, they began to pick up again. Nothing was serious enough to call my midwife. As I was doing my makeup I feel the urge to pee but I had just peed so when I stood up I felt the trickle of liquid rush down my leg. I said I’m calling my midwife this is a major sign! So I called my midwife to let her know that I was having contractions all day long and they were still spaced out at 10 minutes apart. So almost there but not quite at the 4-1-1 rule, even though my water had broken. My midwife instructed me to keep timing them to be closer and more intense, then to give her a call back so we can head to the center in he next hour.
Point of no return
I was not done with my makeup so I decided to keep on working…this should have been my indicator to run! Hubby said no ma’am I’m loading the bags and we’re leaving soon! He wasn’t convinced that I could wait another hour as I was instructed to do. I was still able to manage through my contractions so I was still not alarmed (trust me, read your body and you’ll know). I also had my midwife who instructed me to wait just a bit longer so I was trusting her too. Well let me just say that from the time I called her to the time my water broke, things escalated very quickly, it went from 0-100 real quick!
I was sitting down and as I stood up from my chair I felt this intense pressure and wanting to “poop”. If you’ve had a baby before you know, and I knew that I was not about to have a baby at home, oh no ma’am. So here I am sweating buckets, it is just rushing down my freshly made up face. While hubby is asking me one, too many questions, “do we go”, “let’s go”, “ I think it’s time” “we can’t wait and you cannot go to the bathroom!” He was panicking as much as I was panicking at the thought of having this baby in my very own house. While I’m trying to manage the contractions hubby is texting doula telling her the current status that I was in, I officially couldn’t keep anyone up to date.
The Infinite hallway
When I mean things escalated quickly let me tell you how quickly it all took place. Here we are rushing out of the house as fast as we could because we were not ready to have a baby at home. This was something we both had discussed prior to a birthing center. So here I am drenched in sweat and panicking because I wasn’t sure if my body could hold on to baby any longer. At this point I really felt the urge to push. *Side note, we live in a high rise so we have to walk from our unit to the elevator and that seemed infinite. I was seriously debating going back home and just birthing there, mid hallway. We made it to the elevator, and as we’re waiting for the ding, I was hoping no one would be in the elevator. Well lucky us, someone was there and he was just looking at us super worried for us. It’s quite funny looking back at it now. Okay back to the story, we managed to get into the elevator and safely out to the parking garage. Hubby rushed in the truck back it up to me and helped me load in. I took a towel to sit on because I didn’t know what would come out and it’s best to just protect the car right?! How did I even get to process through any of that before? I don’t know!
On our way to birth!
We’re safe, we’re on our way to birth this baby, or so I thought. We’re rushing to get to the birthing center just like a scene straight out of a movie! On the freeway going as fast yet safe as possible. All of this while I am trying to control my breathing and contractions. I really needed to push but I was going to make it to the birthing center that was the ultimate goal. We have our midwife on speaker phone because at this point I was not able to talk. I am seriously holding on to this baby for dear life! Hubby is helping me by distracting me to focus on breathing through my contractions; and my midwife is telling hubby that in case baby were to come out in the car, he needed to keep his eyes focused on the road and not on me.
We’re about halfway to the birthing center but at this very specific moment, I felt this overwhelming sense of peace and stillness in the middle of the “chaos”. I realized that my body could no longer hold on. So I lower my hand to my pelvic area and felt a bulge, not knowing exactly what I was feeling. However, my body knew exactly what it needed to do, it naturally prepared itself to birth. This is considered the fetal ejection reflex, and my body literally said it’s go time! Let’s birth this baby right here, right now!
The look on his face!
Can you imagine the look on hubby’s face as he looks over to me and I am reaching down my dress to grab what will soon be our little girl. I felt the contraction making it’s way in like a wave, and that only meant one thing, I will have to push this head out! I mentally prepare myself to go slow and gently breathing (I did not want to tear) while I push out baby’s head. I’m asking God to give me the strength, I can do this, I was built to do this, my body is designed to do this. The wave was coming back and I was ready, so I lower my hand and without forceful pushing like in the movies. I grunt and breathe, feeling the head make its way through. I didn’t say a word because I imagined that I would immediately panic my Gio. I kept it to myself, realizing at this very precise moment that I was birthing on my own, in our car, on the freeway. Our midwife is speaking to me (you can see my phone on my chest in the photos below) but it is all going in one ear and out the other, I was focused! She was also on her way to the birthing center and would make it at the same time as us.
Now, the next wave is coming and I feel the urge to push again. I prepare myself to grab my baby so I slowly push out our baby’s body. I place both hands under the arms grabbed our baby girl, gently placing her on my chest. Whoa, what a sense of relief! Hubby looks over and is in utter shock! Our midwife is asking what is going on, is baby out?! I say she’s here! Gio quickly reaches over to the back and grabs a receiving blanket so I could wrap it around baby girl. So now my midwife is asking how baby is doing, how’s her color, is he looking around, is she grabbing on. Just a series of questions to ensure baby was doing well. She wasn’t immediately crying but I wasn’t alarmed, she was fine and she was hearing my voice. At this point Gio grabs his phone and immediately snaps photos, his words “I needed to capture this moment because people wouldn’t believe me”.
We made it, we arrived
Now, we’re still about 7 minutes away from the birthing center and I wasn’t panicking or worried. I had just delivered our baby in our car! I’m relieved and I can finally think and talk again. So we’re now focused on arriving to ensure that everything is ok with baby and I. And just like the scene straight out of the movies, we pull up and park. No one was there just yet but within the next two minutes you hear the tires screech! My midwife Sara and birth assistant Jamie rush to help me. I am still connected to baby so we have to be very careful walking in to our birth suite.
Once we’re in our birth suite everything is good, I know I am in the best hands I could’ve asked for. From this moment forward it was just pure bliss. Soaking up what just happened, holding my newborn in my arms, and seeing my family arrive to meet our newest addition was all we needed to end the night. The face on our girl’s lit up as soon as they came in our room. They were so excited and ready to meet their baby sister.
It was the most eventful birth I could’ve asked for, that’s for sure! I kept praying and planning to have the “perfect birth” set up, with a tripod to videotape the birth, my essential oils, music. I mean, I was ready and really excited about having a natural birth without medication at a birthing center. I was mentally prepared and more than anything I knew that my body could do it. I just never imagined it could’ve played out like this, never in my wildest dreams, did I think I would be capable of having a baby in the car. However, God was with me every minute of the entire day. He was the only one who knew what was going to happen and how. His timing is perfect and that is all that truly mattered. I trusted Him and trusted that everything was orchestrated perfectly according to His plan. I completely surrendered and it was the perfect birth for our perfect little girl Sara Faith Cammarano.