Planned Hospital Birth Happens In the Van In the Driveway

by January Harshe on January 30, 2012

I’ve been meaning to write my daughter’s birth story to share but it never happened.  I’m a photographer and am lucky to have some amazing photographer friends who captured my pregnancy, birth and newborn.

My first baby girl was born at 41 weeks in the hospital with no intervention except an IV with fluids.  The next time around I was prepared to go 41+ and labor at home longer.

1 day before my EDD I started having real contractions around midnight – 11 days after my husband, a Marine, came home from a deployment to Afghanistan.  My photographer, Anne, just made in in from Illinois to our home in North Carolina the night before.

Around midnight, I called my mom in Maryland and she started driving and my best friend, Tressa came right over.  After mild labor all night joking with Tressa, my mom arrived around 7:30am.  I decided to go take a shower and by the time I got out I knew it was time to head to the hospital only 1 1/2 miles away.

I got down the stairs and noticed Anne was there ready to take pictures – my husband helped me out to the van.  I knew we would barely make it in time – by the time he pulled out of the driveway I told him the baby was coming NOW!  I was trying to take my sweatpants off as he was yelling to stop – he thought we were still going to the hospital. LOL.

Anne jumped out of the back seat and another friend and home birth mama, Ashley, arrived out of no where.  She caught Madeline’s head and let us know there was no cord.

In another involuntary push, her body emerged and she was pink and crying on my chest.  My husband had called 911 and the paramedics arrived minutes later – they were blocked from doing anything until the cord stopped pulsing in 10 minute or less 🙂 The placenta was delivered on the seat 😛

In the transport to the hospital (which I shouldn’t have even done.  I should have just stayed home and made an appt. the next day lol!) Madeline nursed happily. She was perfectly healthy and 8 lbs. 2 oz.!  There are many details left out here, but I knew if I didn’t just get down some of the facts I would never write anything at all.

So, after 9 1/2 hours of peaceful, comfortable labor our baby was born in our driveway.  She’s now a chunky 5 month old!



The maternity photos are taken by Megan Sokolowski.

The birth photos are taken by Anne Meintrup.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Reannan January 30, 2012 at 11:48 am



Shannon January 30, 2012 at 11:52 am

beautiful story and would love to see the pic’s (none of them showed up except one)


Mrs. BWF January 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Should be fixed…


Christina January 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Jacksonville/Camp Lejeune EMS sure do see their fair share of accidental homebirths! My daughter was accidentally born in our guestroom on base housing back in 2009 🙂


Jillian January 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm

I think this a beautiful story. I am truely inspired that I wasn’t the only one whom delivered their daughter on the seat of a vechile. 🙂 So happy. My daughter is quite embarrassed by it now….as she is 11.


I think that it is “pretty sweet” that we have the same name and birth stories. I wonder if we have anymore similarities or things in common-hmmm? You’re an amazing woman….remember that!


Imelda January 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm

What a wonderful story. Your story and the photos have just made my day. Thank you for sharing your miracle 🙂 xoxo


stephanie January 30, 2012 at 9:59 pm

I read the intro to this story and said “That sounds like my stepcousin Jill!”, and sure enough it was! lol! I didn’t know she was a BWF mama too! I can’t wait to meet Madeline in person. Gorgeous photos and an amazing birth story!! ((hugs))


Crowmama January 31, 2012 at 10:48 am

Although I love the birth photos, I adore the “siblings” photo. It is too gorgeous. Congratulations on your lovely family… 🙂


Katy January 30, 2015 at 9:29 am

I love your story Jill!


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