Sunday, July 10th, started off as a lazy Family day. We (me, William – my husband, and almost two-year-old toddler, Oliver) woke up around eight and laid in bed relaxing and snuggling as is our custom on weekends. I was 38 weeks and four days pregnant with our di/di twins. At 8:30 I got up to pee and was surprised at how much I seemed to be going. I chalked it up to the gallon of water I had drank the previous day and went about our morning. My husband was in the kitchen making coffee and the toddler was running around the house playing. As I sat on the couch I felt a small squirt of water. “Oh great,” I thought, “this is what it’s come to. I’m now peeing myself.” I went to change after announcing to William that I was now apparently incontinent.
Ten minutes later, in my fresh clean pants, I sat with Oliver and yet again felt another leak of pee. “What the hell?!” I said in frustration. I walked to my husband and leaned in for a hug – suddenly feeling like I needed his support. “I keep peeing myself. I can’t help but wonder if it’s my water breaking. Is it ridiculous that I can’t tell whether or not it’s pee or my water breaking? Shouldn’t I know the difference?”
I went to go change again and decided to do the smell test – it didn’t look like pee and it didn’t smell like pee. It smelled slightly sweet and I knew immediately that it was amniotic fluid. I sat on the toilet where a little more gushed out. It was clear, with a slight cloudy tinge. Definitely not pee. At this point I became giddy. Finally! We were going to have babies soon! I was so ready.
By then it was 9 am. I sent my midwife Kim a message describing the morning and she agreed that it did indeed sound like my water broke. She gave me a few suggestions to encourage contractions to start since I hadn’t had any yet, and I told her I’d keep her updated. At 9:12 she texted “Well, let’s have some babies today!” Having my suspicions confirmed I told my husband to get ready – they were coming! At 9:15 I then called my mom who was two hours away. While on the phone I had one mild contraction. She and my dad were going to head our way. I contacted my doula, Kelly, and our photographer, Alyson.
At this point, 9:30, my contractions started in earnest. I pulled out my contraction app, sat on my birth ball, and began breathing. William made me breakfast and we started “Nemo” for Oliver, expecting to spend the next several hours laboring at home like we did with our first labor. By 9:45, just 15 minutes after contractions started, I knew things were going faster than with Oliver. My contractions were a minute and a half apart and lasting 45 seconds each. I just didn’t think that could be right. “That’s too close together, too long for this stage of labor.” I decided to jump in the shower for mental clarity. I needed to breathe, relax, and reset. The hot shower felt amazing and I stayed in there for close to thirty minutes, breathing and contracting and preparing myself for the day ahead. When I got out – I reset my contraction timer and started getting dressed. Ten minutes later, 10:30 – barely an hour after my first contraction – I knew things were going fast. Too fast. Contractions were still consistently a minute and a half apart and lasting for 45 seconds to a minute. “Where’s my mom?!” I asked in frustration, as William called them. They could tell from his voice that they needed to step on it. I was sitting on the toilet and rocking back and forth, feeling very uncomfortable. I felt like I needed to have a bowel movement, but sitting still on the toilet was not pleasant. My body was writhing and when I stood up my contractions changed. I should have known at that point just how close we were but it didn’t dawn on me until a moment later. I said “Call Kim.” At this point, my contractions were back to back – double peaking with no breaks in between. I was feeling pressure down really low. “What do you want me to say?” He asked. “I don’t know! Tell her…tell her I don’t know!” The minute the words left my mouth I realized what was happening – transition. We were somehow already at the point of transition and moving fast towards delivery. I was completely shocked – but also completely sure. I knew my body – I was listening to it’s signs and I knew we were very close to having a baby. “We gotta leave now. Get Oliver dressed. We have to get to the birth center.” My husband, trusting me, set off in a panic. As he loaded the truck with Oliver and our birth bag, I took a few minutes to breathe. The contractions had stopped. I felt an uncanny sense of peace fall over me. “The calm before the storm” I remember thinking. At 10:45, as I was climbing into our truck, I first felt the urge to push. I held onto the door frame, threw my head back and let loose a very primal grunt with my contraction. We were so so close. I knew that if we didn’t leave right at that moment we may not make it. I told my husband to drive. We had to get to the birth center right away.
Kim called us as we careened out of our neighborhood, after receiving a text from me that simply said “I gotta push.” I was in the passenger seat on my knees, facing the back seat. As I answered, a guttural moan came out and the urge to push returned. Kim told me to breathe, to not push and get here ASAP. She told William to put on the flashers and drive as fast as possible. As another contraction hit me, I told Kim the obvious – “They are coming!” She asked if we needed to pull over and said she could come to us. She could hear it in my voice – in my moans – they were coming. I took a deep breath and knew I could hold on. “We’ll be there in ten minutes. William drive faster!” Kim told us she’d meet us downstairs and I went ahead and disconnected. Between my startled and freaked out toddler, my speeding and panicked husband, and the overall urge to push Henry onto the seat of the truck I needed to have one less distraction.
Somehow, someway, we pulled into the parking lot of the birth center about 11:10. I saw Kim running to meet us and I took a deep breath and let my body completely relax. We almost made it. As Kim opened my door another contraction hit me and I moaned low and deep and I felt Henry descend. I was stepping down out of the truck as Kim was lifting my dress up to check me. “It’s just a bowel movement – let’s try to make it upstairs!”
As she was saying that, I felt the ring of fire. William had ran around the truck to help me out and I knew he and Kim were right there to catch Henry. I grabbed the handle of the truck and shouted “he’s crowning!” It seemed like sudden chaos around me – Kim was telling William to get my panties off, and telling me to get back in the truck (which was impossible at this point). I don’t even remember pushing – I don’t remember making any noise – I just remember standing on the running board of the truck, holding the handle and suddenly there he was – my beautiful Baby A – sweet Henry. William caught him and was trying to untangle him from my panties. I felt calm, happy, and shocked as I reached down to grab him. “I got him!” I said as I brought him up to my belly – which was as far as his cord could reach. Someone asked if I was sure I had him, and I was. I knew he was perfectly safe in my hands – even as I hovered a foot off the concrete under an already hot July sun. As William supported me on the running board, Kim came around to the driver’s seat to clamp and cut Henry’s cord. He was wailing that beautiful newborn cry as I brought him all the way up to my chest. His cries were mirroring Oliver’s, who at this point was still strapped into his car seat in the backseat. “Someone get Oliver!” I shouted – because somehow in that moment he was the one I was worried about. Because I’m a mom.
I felt full of joy and relief, although it all felt so very surreal. “I can’t believe we just had him in the parking lot. I can’t believe he came so fast!” Someone asked if anyone had caught the time and the reply came back: 11:11. My make-a-wish baby was born at 11:11 in the front seat of our truck less than two hours after labor started, which was a far cry from the 17 hour labor I had with Oliver. My mind was still spinning. William helped me onto solid ground and made sure I was stable before turning to get Oliver. It was in that moment that I realized just how panicked my husband was. His hands were shaking and he was dripping in sweat. I looked around and realized there was blood everywhere – including all over my him. It seemed strange to see him so upset as I was feeling so calm and collected. One of our babies was here! Easy as a breeze! I was full of oxytocin and riding my birth high.
“Let’s get upstairs before Thea comes!” Was the general consensus and as I started making my way to the back door of the birth center, I caught sight of myself in the reflection of a window. My dress was still bunched around my waist. My pink panties that were now red with blood had hastily been slipped back on. There was blood and afterbirth running down my legs, I was carrying a pink vernix covered fresh-as-could-be crying baby and grinning ear-to-ear. I’ll never forget how crazy beautiful fierce I felt in that moment.
(It is to be noted that my parents arrived at the birth center four minutes after Henry was born. By this time we were upstairs in the birthing suite, but our truck was wide open, with the keys hanging in the ignition and the ground, seat, and running board covered in blood. Birth is messy. And my parents thought the worst. They were relieved to rush into the birthing suite to find me smiling and holding our sweet Henry – though my poor mother was trembling and on the verge of hyperventilating from thinking the worst.)
Editor’s note: Part 2 aka Thea’s birth to be posted tomorrow.
Submitted by BreAnn Brown.
Photograph by Aly Renee Birth Photography.