It was Sunday the 1st of February, 2015, and the weathermen were predicting a snow storm that would hit our area. The forecast was that we would not get that much snow, maybe six to eight inches. The snow was already falling when we packed up the family and went to church like normal. After church we came home, rested, and then headed to Grandma and Papa V’s house for dinner. By the time we left for dinner, the roads were getting pretty bad and we probably shouldn’t have left the house.
While at dinner, Vicki had one pretty good contraction, but this was nothing new. She had been contracting on and off for the last couple of weeks. Just like usual, the contraction came by itself and it was back to waiting. At our last appointment with our OB, she measured Vicki and she was a “stretchy 5”. She didn’t know what to say, because Vicki should have been in active labor, but was feeling no pain.
While at Grandma and Papa’s house, the snow storm was still going and the roads had gotten pretty bad. While on the way home we were laughing at all of the poor pizza delivery guys on the road trying to deliver in the snow. It was the night of the Super Bowl and no one wanted to go out into the storm.
When we got home, I knew I did not want to go into work the next day and be so far away from home in a snow storm. I called work and took Monday off. I ran back outside and cleared the driveway again so it would be easy to leave in case Vicki went into labor. We got our four children into bed and asleep. Vicki and I then settled in to watch some T.V. before bed. We went to bed a little later than normal and settled in to get some rest. This is when the fun began.
We were just about asleep and I heard Vicki make a low groan, the kind of sound she makes when she is having a contraction. We have learned not to get excited over one contraction, because she had had so many contractions before that lead to nothing. A couple of minutes later she made the low groan again. After this one I thought that maybe I should start to time them to see how far apart they were, just in case this was the real thing. It was 11:34pm. A few minutes later, she had another contraction that made her shaky, so I looked at the clock: 11:37pm. Holy smokes! Only three minutes apart. Maybe I need to pay attention to her. Vicki then said that she needed to go to the bathroom. As she got up, Vicki looked out the window and sees the mounds of snow. She giggled that there was no way God would have her go into labor in the middle of this epic snow storm.
A few minutes later, I hear that low groan again and go into the bathroom to check on her. She is still having contractions close together and is pretty uncomfortable. Vicki then asked me to draw a bath and put some lavender oil in it to calm her down. She was hoping the lavender would help her relax and hopefully get the contractions to stop. So I put together the bath for her and she got in. This did the job to help her relax. The contractions kept coming, but Vicki said that they weren’t painful.
While this was happening I contacted Devan, our babysitter, to come to the house to watch the other kids while I took Vicki to the hospital. She stated that she was on the way and I began getting the last items into the suitcase to take to the hospital. I also sent our OB a text message to let her know what was going on. The OB stated that she would let the on call doctor know. The contractions continued, but Vicki insisted that they were not painful and she did not think this was actually labor. While this is happening I got the feeling that the baby was probably coming quicker than we thought and I wanted to be prepared if it did. I ran downstairs and unlocked the door for Devan. I also grabbed the bulb syringe that we had previously sterilized for the new baby.
Devan made it to the house and her dad said that the roads were very bad and I would need four-wheel drive if I was going to get anywhere. I thanked him for bringing Devan over and ran back upstairs to Vicki. Vicki was still in the tub and had another contraction as I walked in and she looked at me and said that she thought her body was trying to push on its own. She said that she thought we still had time, because she did not feel any pain or feel the baby’s head coming down. At that point I called 911 and said that my wife was in labor and I needed an ambulance to get her to the hospital. I knew I would not be able to get her there before the baby came. The dispatcher asked if Vicki was ok and I responded that she was as ok as she could be, she was in labor. I then hung up with them and went back to Vicki.
I then told Vicki that the ambulance was on the way and that I needed to get her out of the tub and dressed so we could go to the hospital. I ran around franticly looking for clothes for Vicki to wear. She said that she needed to go sit on the toilet, because it felt like she had to poop. As she got on the toilet I heard a big splash and turned to her to say, “Well, I’m guessing that was your water breaking.” I then watched Vicki arch her back up on the toilet, straightening out her body, at which point I could see the baby’s head crowning. I yelled at Vicki that she needed to get off of the toilet and she stated that she couldn’t. I told her that she had to so I grabbed her by a leg and around the neck and lifted her off the toilet and onto a towel on the ground. Vicki then screamed as another contraction was pushing the baby’s head out. At that point I started to quietly yell for Devan. Devan didn’t hear my quiet calls for help and I realized I would have to do this all by myself.
With that one contraction Vicki was able to push out the head. As I looked at the baby, I noticed that it was very purple. That is when the Holy Spirit told me, “Umbilical cord.” I immediately looked down. I could see the cord over the baby’s shoulder and around the neck. Without thinking, I grabbed the umbilical cord with my finger and pulled it over the baby’s head. Vicki then asked me to give her the baby because she thought that it was already born. I told her that she needed to push to get the shoulders out and that she was not done yet. She then pushed one more time and one by one the shoulders rotated and slid out. I grabbed the baby and lifted him right onto Vicki’s chest. He was still purple and not crying yet so I used the bulb syringe to clear out his nose and mouth until he let out a weak little cry.
I then kept fussing with him, because I knew his cry wasn’t strong enough to fill his lungs with oxygen. I wanted to make him mad and keep him crying. At this point I looked up and saw Devan standing in the doorway holding the phone. She then reached out and handed it to me. I took the phone and found 911 had called back and I informed them that Vicki had delivered the baby at approximately 12:35am.
The dispatchers attempted to give me directions over the phone about clamping and cutting the umbilical cord. I was busy making sure Henry was breathing and knew that leaving the umbilical cord intact while it was still pulsing was the safest option for him. A couple of minutes later I looked up and found a sheriff’s deputy standing in the bathroom doorway. I told 911 that he was there and I was going to let them go. He asked if all was well and I said it was so he went back down to let in the EMS crew.
At this point Vicki asked me to take a picture, so I took a photo of her on the floor of the bathroom holding our baby boy.
EMS then came in and was making a lot of noise so Vicki asked me to tell them that we had four other kids that were still sleeping and if they could keep it down. They then clamped the cord, cut it and then prepped Vicki to leave for the hospital. While all this is going on Henry pooped on Vicki. After they got her cleaned up, she was loaded into the ambulance and I gathered our things and met her out there. Once in the ambulance I gave our baby boy, Henry, back to her so she could have skin to skin contact with him for the trip to the hospital. Henry promptly pooped all over Vicki again. The ambulance drove us to McLaren hospital, because St John Main was too far in the storm. While in the ambulance I let Dr. Gilbert know that I delivered the baby at home and she responded that she thought that might happen and congratulations.
At the hospital there was a mass of people waiting for us to arrive. They immediately looked after Vicki and Henry. Once they found they were both fine, they were sent to the labor and delivery floor for post-partum care. Up there they had Vicki deliver the placenta and weighed Henry. We were informed that he was 9 lbs 6 ounces 21 inches long. They brought him back to Vicki to feed and he immediately latched right on and began eating.
We were visited by a lot of the hospital staff wanting to know the story of Henry’s birth. It took a little while for the shock of having an unintentional, unassisted home birth to wear off. We couldn’t believe that Henry was born in less than an hour of labor and delivered on our bathroom floor! As we look back on Henry’s birth, we can’t believe how it all happened and it seems surreal. We are so thankful that God was there to guide me as I delivered our precious boy on the bathroom floor of our home.