It is hard to believe that just two weeks ago I was sitting at home and having my first contraction for what would be a truly wild ride. 14 days later, I’m here with a newborn sleeping soundly beside me as I sit and wonder over the details of the birth story and how God truly had His provisional hand writing the entire first chapter of our baby’s life. I’ll tell it as best I can and let Jeremy fill in the gaps with his own memories of our unexpected collision with Precipitous Delivery.
*Jeremy’s thoughts are in blue!
In case you’ve never heard of it (we sure hadn’t!), precipitous delivery is known as a delivery that occurs within 3-5 hours from onset of true labor. Precipitous deliveries are often marked by extremely intense and frequent contractions immediately upon labor beginning as well as a fast and forceful birth.
Some people may think, “Man, a fast delivery. Score one for you!”
Well, as nice as a speedy labor and delivery sounds, the reality of the situation was quite terrifying! Even though this baby was round 3 for us, we were taken by surprise at every twist and turn. They say every baby and delivery is different, and boy, were they right!
Just a few hours old! <3
Back to two weeks ago.
Around 3pm on Sunday, November 5, 2017, I had my first contraction. It was surely different than my typical Braxton Hicks contractions, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I was 37 weeks and 6 days pregnant. Throughout the afternoon contractions would come and go at random intervals, so I didn’t think much of the situation. True labor is defined by contractions that come in a regular and continuous timed fashion and increase in strength, so I wasn’t convinced that anything was actually happening.
Contractions continued to appear here and there into the early evening, but I decided not to time anything. At my delivering hospital, a Mama has to be at least 39 weeks before any intervention can be made. Meaning if you show up in L&D with contractions at anytime before that, they won’t take any measures to “help” you along. No pitocin. No breaking your water. Nothing.
My doctor was clear at my 37-week appointment that I shouldn’t come in unless I am absolutely sure that I am in labor because they would have to send me home if not.
Point taken. I’d start timing if I was sure.
On Sunday evening Jeremy’s parents came over to dinner at our house, which was a rare occurrence. Usually, our entire family does Sunday dinner at their house, but a few of our family members weren’t feeling great so we changed things up on a whim.
After they arrived, I noticed my contractions were getting stronger and started to feel more and more consistent.
That was probably around 7:00pm.
Throughout our entire dinner, I was quietly enduring contraction after contraction and questioning whether or not this could be the real deal.
After dinner, our two girls wanted to put on a show for Gigi and Poppy and I decided to go lay down to see if the contractions would subside.
They didn’t. So I pulled out my phone and started timing.
I spent about 30 minutes timing the frequency of my contractions and realized something was definitely happening. My contractions were coming every 3 minutes and lasting 45 seconds to a minute in duration.
If you know anything about labor, you know that most doctors recommend you head to the hospital when your contractions are 5 minutes apart and about 1 minute long.
Whoops. Missed that one!
I rang the on-call line and asked what my doctor wanted me to do. The physician on the other line was from another practice and filling in for the evening. She said, “Well, you can’t have this baby at home, so I’d come in.”
I came out of our bedroom and Jeremy said, “Is this it?”
I quietly nodded my head and Jeremy’s parents sprang up to start packing bags for the girls.
During those minutes, the contractions grew to a strong intensity. I could hardly speak through each one that came.
Jeremy’s parents took the girls to their house and we hurried to get our bags in the car.
On the car ride to our hospital, my contractions continued to intensify. I truly thought I might give birth in a matter of minutes if Jeremy didn’t drive faster!
When we arrived, I was put in triage and hooked up the fetal monitors. Thankfully our baby’s heartbeat was strong, and as expected, my contractions were off the charts in intensity at a very regular 3-minute interval.
When checked, I was 2cm dilated. The nurse said she would be back in a bit and for me to sit tight.
I laid in the triage bed for an hour in excruciating pain. About 45 minutes in I begged Jeremy to tell them I needed drugs even though I wasn’t admitted yet. Jeremy suggested I give it 15 more minutes, so I obliged.
The nurse came in right around the 15-minute mark and checked me again.
I HAD NO CHANGE.
I’m not an outward cryer, but boy was I crying on the inside. No change?? NO CHANGE?
What in the world!?!?
Her response hit me like a dagger in the heart.
“You have to go home.”
She went on to tell me that I should go home and take some Tylenol PM and try to calm down. She suggested that since my contractions were so strong and naturally causing me to tense up, that my body couldn’t progress like it needed to. Along with “calming down,” she said to try a warm bath and sleep.
Jeremy and I exchanged bewildered looks.
How were we going to handle this alone? And more importantly, when would we know to come back? I was already experiencing textbook contractions for being at the hospital!
I don’t enjoy confrontation, so I typically try to “stay in my lane” when listening to the advice of professionals, but this just seemed wrong. So, I asked “The contractions have been consistent this entire hour, and I can’t imagine them being any more debilitating than they currently are (Megan couldn’t function during a contraction). How are we supposed to know if/when we should return?!”
The nurse suggested that the next step would probably be for my water to break and to come back when that happened.
In gest, she said, “Go home and try to relax and hopefully we will see you later tonight!”
We walked out of our hospital at 10:30pm.
And we never did make it back to see her.
Instead, the story took a wild turn. The kind of thing you only hear about on TV.
As directed, we pulled into the drugstore on the way home and picked up some Tylenol PM. I took two in the car and prayed that God would either stop my labor or miraculously break my water.
Upon arriving home, we took the “calm down” mission quite seriously! We filled up the tub, put on the essential oils, and threw some bath salts in the water because they were labeled, “CALM.”
I spent some time in the bath until practically passing out from the Tylenol PM. Drowning didn’t seem like a good option. 😉
I got out of the bath and decided to see if I could fall asleep in bed. Jeremy had already laid down thinking he might as well get some rest since he assumed I would be giving birth sometime later that night.
I think I got about 5 minutes of shut-eye before waking up to one heck of a contraction.
In a moment of panic and insurmountable pain, I vividly remember turning to Jeremy and saying, “I don’t understand how someone can calm down when they are in this much pain!”
I figured maybe I should try a shower next.
I didn’t even wait for the water to heat up. I jumped in the freezing downpour and was audibly repeating over and over, “God please break my water. Please break my water.”
All I wanted was a sign that I could go back to the hospital and get help.
I got a sign alright… Just not the one I wanted!
I got the sudden urge to (in no easy ladylike way to put this) go to the bathroom. And not the tinkle kind.
Again if you know anything about giving birth, the urge to go to the bathroom is a telltale sign that the doctor needs to be paged and delivery is right around the corner.
I was in transition (aka the last and most painful major leg of labor before delivery when your cervix fully dilates) and had no idea. I had heard in the past of the tidbit about the urge to go, but still felt like this couldn’t be the real thing since my water hadn’t ruptured.
Jeremy walked in and I must have looked like I was losing my mind because he said, “We need to go back to the hospital.”
I simply replied, “NO!”
There was no way in the world I was going to ride back to the hospital only to be told to go home again.
Thankfully Jeremy wouldn’t take no for an answer.
I caved and told him to grab a towel in case my water broke mid car ride.
Here’s when things really got interesting!
Within minutes of our journey back to the hospital, my contractions were followed by a brand new sensation I had never felt with either of my two previous epidural births: I could literally feel the baby’s head descending.
And it hurt like the dickens!
I went from silently laboring to full-blown huffing puffing and yelling out in pain as I tried to stop my body from giving birth. We were on the highway and I had no plans to give birth in the car we had just bought days before the big event.
As the third contraction ended and the descent began again, I promptly shouted for Jeremy to pull off the highway and get ready to have this baby on the side of the road.
My body was taking over and I knew I couldn’t stop it much longer.
Jeremy tried to remind me that our hospital was a mere 10 minutes away. Could I make it?
“NO!!!!!!!!!!! PULL OFF THE ROAD RIGHT NOW!”
As I was pointing to the right side of the highway, Jeremy realized there was a hospital just off the next exit we were coming up on. (One of those big BUT GOD moments I tell you!)
He quickly asked if he should pull off.
He asked again, “Are you SURE?! Our hospital is only 10 minutes away!”
This part is all a blur. I can definitively say that I was in full-fledged denial. I’m sure there is a Youtube video that could have prepared me, but we’re past that now and I am in no way equipped to help with this situation. So in my mind, every scenario for us having this baby included a team of trained medical professionals. Megan could have given birth in the passenger seat, and I would have said, “Well, the baby’s out now! The best thing I can do for you is get you to the hospital ASAP!” and continued driving (Hindsight, this probably would have happened if I wouldn’t have listened to her). I could tell she was feeling some intense pain, but my (left) brain was thinking that she’s not thinking clearly. She had the benefit of an epidural for past deliveries, so this would be a totally different experience. Also, Megan wasn’t nearly as articulate in the moment. Even though I was there to experience it, I learned a lot of the details listening to Megan tell the story afterwards. Luckily, I knew better than to argue with a laboring woman, and her obvious pain was enough to convince me to pull off the exit (Thank God!) even though I wasn’t convinced it was necessary.
Jeremy then flew off the highway and up to the maternity ward doors.
As I nearly leaped out of the car, Jeremy buzzed up to the front desk to let us inside. Being long after visiting hours had ended, the ward was locked down.
In response to the nurse who answered our call, Jeremy said, “My wife is in labor.”
To which her response was, “Do you need someone to come down and help?”
He said, “Yes!”
Another contraction built and I began yelling for Jeremy to take my shorts off… IN THE PARKING LOT!! Ha!
Every ounce of dignity was gone from my mind and body. I for sure thought this baby wasn’t going to make it inside and was begging Jeremy to strip me down right there on the road! He didn’t.
Still in denial, but when she started asking me to take her shorts off, I knew things were gettin’ real. Even though we are on hospital property, my anxiety is sky-rocketing seeing her reactions. I grabbed the towel from our car with the intention of removing her shorts, but it seemed more important to get her inside, so we jumped back to that task.
He buzzed the nurse’s station again and this time I demanded he say, “IT IS AN EMERGENCY!” so they would get the point!
The doors flew open and I got about 3 steps in.
A ding rang from the elevator and the doors slid open. A nurse was waiting inside and ushering me to join her.
I stood frozen there and let out a yell of sheer terror knowing I couldn’t go any further and this was it.
Without an ounce of trying, my water burst right there in the lobby.
When the water broke, I actually breathed a sigh of relief. I was thinking, “Good! That’s what she was feeling. Now we can get admitted and have a typical (although expedited) delivery”. That thought didn’t last long…
Not even a half a second later our baby fell out. It was fast and forceful, alright!
From the time we walked out of our hospital to the moment I was unintentionally giving birth in another hospital lobby, only 2 hours had passed.
To be honest, I think I blacked out in those fleeting moments.
The next thing I know I was looking down and the nurse from the elevator was at my feet trying to get the baby free from my shorts and calling out for me to sit down. In another one of those but God instances, Jeremy not stripping me down in the parking lot just moments before probably saved our baby’s life. Neither of us were prepared for me to give birth standing up and who knows if we would have caught the baby before hitting the tile floor.
The nurse had been holding the elevator door open for us, and started coming to us when Megan’s water broke. I was holding Megan up, afraid that she might pass out, and not realizing what was happening. I think the nurse was as surprised as I was when we saw the baby! The nurse came over just in time to catch the baby from Megan’s shorts, while I held Megan up. It’s hard to explain the moment, but I was so surprised to see the baby, I don’t know if I would have reacted to catch him if the nurse wasn’t there! Thank God she made it there!
Another ding rang from the elevator and a whole slew of nurses were rushing out of the doors to come to our aid.
They had no idea that we had just ended a nine-month wait to find out the gender of our third child. As they ushered me to sit on an ottoman in the lobby and handed me our baby to hold, I kept saying, “What is it? What is it?!”
I looked down at our newborn child and saw.
I turned to Jeremy and said “A baby boy!”
The rest was an emotional blur of being wheeled up to an actual room to deliver the placenta and ensure everything was okay. I felt like I was in shock and bounced back and forth in between crying and awe and bewilderment and gratitude.
We were safe. We had a baby boy.
And the ride of a lifetime began.
Welcome to the world, Crew Ryan Martin.
We won’t ever forget your grand debut!
Crew Ryan Martin, born November 6th, 2017 at 12:30 am. He weighed in at 6 pounds 12 ounces and was 19.5 inches of pure crazy adorable sugar.
I can only imagine what his personality will be like! 😉
Couldn’t leave without sneaking in a quick iPhone snap of where Crew made his grand entrance! CAUTION! Crew is here and he is not gonna let anyone forget about that! 😉