Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and birth experiences matter. This post is part of our ongoing series of birth stories featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences.
Kimberly’s fourth baby (her third VBAC) arrived the day before Halloween. Boo’s birth went quicker than anyone expected, only 15 minutes between leaving home and delivering her at the hospital!
If you would like to share your own birth story, visit this post to learn how.
I knew my fourth baby Boo would be a quick birth because the previous two had been very quick, and they came quicker with each birth. I had a three and a half hour spontaneous VBAC with her older sister Bug one day before I was scheduled to be induced at 41 weeks 1 day, and then an hour and a half induction birth with her second older brother at 41 weeks 4 days. They only needed to break my waters. Boo’s eldest brother Buddy was a twenty hour labor plus three and a half hours of pushing that ended up in a c-section.
So when I hired my new doula when I was around seven months along I had warned her that Boo would come quickly. Since my family didn’t have a vehicle and no family near enough to help, she was the one who was going to drive me to the hospital when it was time. For the last two VBACs I really didn’t have any strong contractions until I was in transition. You could say that I had quick transitions.
Boo was a surprise baby and team green for the second time, though I had a feeling with all four of my children anyway and I was always right. Boo was due November 4th and because my last two births had gone a week over, I figured she would too. Maybe she would be born on her eldest brother’s birthday!
I ended up with gestational diabetes which was managed with diet, monitoring and exercise, but they really didn’t want me to go past my due date. I was hopeful that it would be like my last induction where I would just need to have my water broken. That ended up not even needing to happen. October 26th, 2021 was my last appointment at almost 39 weeks. During that appointment they offered to check my cervix and to sweep my membranes. Curiosity got the best of me and I allowed the cervix check but not the membrane sweep. I figured I might be at least at two or three centimeters because my body opens a little bit before I have contractions (or at least ones I can feel). I was actually at five but didn’t have any contractions, so I was sent home.
October 27th was my husband’s birthday, and on the 29th we went for a family walk. I was having no issues until around 8:30 that night when I started getting lower back pains but no tightening around the abdomen. I just figured it was pain from lifting up my two younger kids and walking up lots of hills at 39 weeks or just general pregnancy aches. I took some acetaminophen and went to bed.
When I woke up on October 30th I was feeling fine — no pain, no contractions, nothing. It wasn’t until around 10:00 am that I started getting back pains again. I tried walking, swaying, and took some pain medicine for it. I fed my kids, took a nice soak in the tub, and emailed my doula around 11:00 am. I told her I wasn’t having any pains except for my back hurting, but I felt that something was going to happen and I would like to get checked out just in case.
We figured the nurses would either say I wasn’t ready yet and send us home, or they would break my waters and it would be maybe 45 minutes to an hour before Boo was born. My husband was also at work so I called him and told him that I felt something would happen today even though I wasn’t feeling contractions or pain except for my back and pressure in my pelvis. He said he would come home right away. I think it took him about 25 minutes.
I started lunch for myself and the kids, then went upstairs to the kids’ play room. Bubba was two years and eight months old at the time. While he was playing with his toys, I laid down on the floor on my side and he came and climbing up on me. As he was playing on me I heard a pop and thought, “Oh maybe I should get up because that could be my water breaking.” I felt a little trickle. At that point, my husband was downstairs and getting lunch finished up.
At around 1:00 pm, my doula arrived. I skipped down the steps. At that point I really had no pain. I said, “I think my water broke about five minutes ago.” She said, “We will get going.” While my husband packed my food, I ran as much as a heavily pregnant woman can up the stairs, quickly grabbed my bag, and threw in last minute things. I chose to throw in a Halloween outfit for my baby just in case, as well as a girl outfit and a boy outfit.
I skipped back down the steps, grabbed my food from my husband, gave him and the kids a kiss, and told him I would call him when we got settled. We thought he would have time to find a babysitter for the kids. We got outside and I happily walked across the street to her vehicle talking and excited and really not feeling anything except for that pressure down below.
The ride was about five minutes to the Emergency Room entrance. About halfway there I had my first contraction which to me wasn’t bad but enough to say, “Oh things are happening!” I had a second contraction as we were pulling in, and my doula asked me if I wanted her to slow down or if I needed to take a break. I said, “Nope. I just want to get there.” Because it was the weekend, we had to go in through Emergency. We were waved through and took the first elevator up to the main floor. I walked for a bit until I had to stop at the bench for another contraction, then got up a second or so later because I didn’t want to stop.
At that point, my pants were soaked. As we stopped at the elevator to go up to Labor and Delivery, I said, “I can’t stop it anymore.” I was still not feeling a great amount of pain. Certainly not like with my last two. We got to the check-in, and I had to fill out the paper work and sign it. The nurses were getting a room ready for me, and I was leaning against the desk, one nurse said, “We should get her in. She looks uncomfortable.” I said, “Yeah, a little.”
They knew I would be quick. I got in and checked out the room then paced back and forth a minute or so. Someone asked me if I wanted to use the bathroom. I paced back again and went in the bathroom to use it and basically rip my clothes off. Someone handed me a robe and I tried to tie it, but I couldn’t. I left the bathroom still trying to tie the robe and got on the bed on my hands and knees. Someone checked me. I was at ten centimeters, and Boo had passed meconium.
I got back on my knees, still not feeling that much pain. I pushed once, and that’s when the ring of fire started – the only real pain I felt beside the afterbirth. I took a breath, looked up, and said to myself, “Okay, let’s do this.” I pushed again and Boo came right out. For Boo’s birth I had asked that no one tell me the gender. I wanted to know myself. I turned around to look and said, “It’s a girl. It’s a girl, right?” I was still in shock. Boo became her nickname because all my kids have B nicknames (Buddy, Bug, and Bubbas), and she was born the day before Halloween.
She had a short umbilical cord so in order to hold her and get comfortable, we had to cut it sooner than I had originally intended. The doctor asked me if I wanted to cut the cord, but I was still shaking so I declined. I kind of regret it, but it is what it is.
All in all, from leaving our home to Boo’s birth, it was about 15 minutes. The staff all said it was the quickest birth they had seen. They called me Super Mom and Wonder Woman! It was probably about an hour after everything had settled before my doula left. She never ended up using any of her relaxation techniques or essential oils, but she let me use her phone to call my husband.
I called my husband and said, “Well, it’s a girl.” He said, “Wow, really?” He was expecting to be told that they were getting me ready to be induced, not that I had already had our fourth and final baby. He was shocked when I told him how quickly things had gone. In some ways I wished I had had a little bit more time in labor. I wished that she had waited maybe one more week. But I know I was lucky and blessed to have had such an easy and nearly painless birth naturally. I was just happy to have my beautiful baby girl in my arms.