Let me preface this post by stating the obvious: the birth of a baby is a messy affair. This post is not for the squeamish or weak-hearted; however, if you’d like to read a birth story with adventure and excitement, continue. You will not be disappointed.
Wednesday, 6:30 a.m.
I awoke to a strong contraction. Mixed thoughts flooded my mind, from: “I’ve had days of strong contractions that simply fizzled out in an hour, so this is not an indication of labor,” to “Today is the 3rd of September, the date we were hoping Abigail would arrive, so maybe today is the day.” Either way, I was not expecting what happened less than 3 hours later.
Daniel asked me if I wanted coffee. My body and mouth said “no” — a clear indication that I was indeed in labor (I do not refuse coffee unless something is wrong.). I lay in bed trying to relax with each contraction.
At 7:00, I knew for sure we would be heading to the hospital, so I tried to convey that information to my husband. He heard, “Okay, I’ll fix another cup of coffee and take a shower.” I waited a few more minutes before telling him that he did not have time to take a shower. We needed to leave soon. I hate to be the bearer of bad news.
By 7:30, we were out the door and heading straight into Nashville rush hour traffic — something we also experienced with two of our other births. Unfortunately, this time the contractions were coming way too close, too fast. When I looked up and saw we were sitting in traffic at least 30 minutes from the hospital and my contractions were hitting every 2.5-3 minutes, I knew we needed to find a closer hospital or get an ambulance. Thankfully, my husband is very clear-headed even in the midst of chaos and called 9-1-1.
The 9-1-1 operator kept him on the line for about 15-20 minutes until an ambulance met us on the side of the interstate near the exit ramp. At that point I was hitting transition — that point in labor when you don’t think you can handle the contractions anymore and you feel like you’re dying. I admit calling out to Jesus a few times.
As the paramedic loaded me onto the stretcher, I was a wreck. They wouldn’t let Daniel come with me. My coach was not allowed to stay with me, and I really began to despair, especially since I wasn’t sure how experienced this medic was at birthing babies. However, he assured me that he had delivered his wife’s second child in an ambulance.
At this point, the contractions were right on top of each other, and I felt an urge to push but was afraid to in case my cervix wasn’t fully dilated. The medic told me to let him know when I needed to push so they could pull the ambulance over. When I told him the baby was coming, they pulled over and with the next contraction, I pushed once and felt her crowning — oh, the ring of fire!
Then, with the very next contraction, I pushed 4 times, and Baby Abigail arrived at 8:45 a.m. Thank the Lord the medic was there to catch her because she was born in the water sac, so she literally slid out and the sac exploded when he caught her. There was amniotic fluid and afterbirth everywhere, and when I looked at my daughter, I was in shock. Meconium came right out too. What a mess! But it was over and relief and thanksgiving flooded over me.
As we headed to the hospital, I held my baby girl, the umbilical cord still intact and the placenta still undelivered. I asked the medic to wait on cutting the cord, and he did. I began to feel intense pain as I needed to push out the placenta but decided to wait and let the midwife help me.
Upon arrival at the LDR (labor & delivery room), my midwife Bethany seemed relieved to see me. Apparently, when we didn’t show up to the hospital, she’d called my cell and wasn’t sure where we were. She delivered the placenta, and I felt loads better — until the contractions began again. Oh, the beauty of afterbirth pains! The nurse gave me a shot of Pitocin and 600 mg of ibuprofren, but I requested something stronger because if you’ve ever had afterbirth pains, you will know that they hurt as bad as a contraction.
I could go on and share with you some other lovely details like the bleeding that occurred when I stood up and made my room look like a scene from a Halloween haunted house, but I won’t. All in all, labor lasted all of 2 hours & 45 minutes — my quickest yet. The paramedic told my husband that next time we’d need to take a class and get a kit for a home birth 🙂 We are very blessed, now, with 4 beautiful little girls.
Contrary to what you might think, I do not have a flair for the dramatic nor do I like center stage. Rather I seem to be a person who strange things happen to, so I’m not surprised that my fourth child should earn the nickname “24” at birth. This event is just par for the course in my life.
Thank You, Lord, for the blessing of children. We are truly grateful for our 4 healthy little girls.
Abigail Lynn Tidwell
Born Wednesday, September 3, 2014, at 8:45 a.m.
7 lbs . 9 oz, 20.5 inches long
If you like birth stories, here are our other daughters’:
Catherine Anne Tidwell (natural)
Cora Jane Tidwell (breech/C-section)
Anna Elizabeth Tidwell (natural/VBAC)