Birth Stories Family Life

My Accidental Hospital Birth Story

Last year I shared Kay’s home birth story in honour of her first birthday, so this year I thought it would be appropriate to share Tee’s birth story in celebration of her birthday. You know how some women have accidental home births? Well, this is the story of my accidental hospital birth.

My Accidental Hospital Birth Story | This West Coast Mommy

36 weeks and 4 days – 8 days before Tee was born

On March 1, 2010, I was 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant, anxiously waiting to become a mother for the first time. Even though 37 weeks was considered full-term, as a first time mom I was absolutely expecting to go past my due date and to have a L-O-O-O-N-G labour.

So I was a bit surprised when around 10 p.m. that evening, I started noticing some cramps that felt different from the Braxton-Hicks I’d been used to for the last couple of months. Around midnight I lost my mucous plug, and mild cramps began coming regularly every 10-15 minutes or so. We decided to try to get some sleep while we could, but around 6 a.m. my contractions woke me up. I didn’t want to be the mom calling the midwife hours before anything actually happens, so I laid quietly in bed until I noticed my contractions starting to get stronger and closer together.

We waited until 8:00 a.m., then my husband Chris phoned the midwife to let her know what was happening. Anne told us she was already at the hospital with another woman in labour and suggested that I stop by for an early labour assessment. At that point, she’d be able to determine if I could wait until she was done with her current client or if we would need to call another midwife to attend my home birth.

I had planned a peaceful, drug-free, and natural water birth at home with soft lighting and music. I had written out this beautiful birth plan that covered all the details (or so I thought), including having Chris catch the baby. I didn’t actually want to go to the hospital, but I wanted to see my regular midwife and not her back-up, so I agreed to her plan.

By that time, the contractions were about 5 minutes apart and getting stronger. Anne suggested I have something to eat and leisurely make my way to the hospital before lunch time. I laid down on the bed for a while, but the contractions began coming stronger, and I started to feel sick to my stomach. I told Chris I couldn’t eat and we should just go now. It took about 20 minutes to get organized and get in the car. By the time we were halfway to the hospital, my contractions were coming three minutes apart and I was no longer able to talk during them. Between contractions, I told Chris we would not be coming home without the baby. The idea of getting back into the car and going home again to meet the midwife was not something I was willing to consider. I still thought I was in early labour.

My Accidental Hospital Birth Story | This West Coast Mommy

Chris dropped me off at the hospital entrance. He went to park the car and bought a parking ticket at 9:48 a.m. I sat in the main floor lounge waiting for him and just tried to breathe. When Chris came back, we got in the elevator and went up to the maternity ward. A contraction hit me as I was getting in, and I doubled over. A stranger in the elevator reached out and patted my stomach. She said, “Don’t worry, it’s worth it.” If I could have straightened up, I would have smacked her. What on earth makes some people think that a pregnant woman’s belly is common property? The last thing I wanted was some stranger invading my personal space in the middle of all this pain. But I couldn’t even react because of how strong the contractions were.

After what felt like the longest elevator ride ever, we got to the maternity ward and the nurse sent us to the waiting room. I could barely lower myself into the chair, and I just kept thinking, “Oh my god I know they’re going to tell me I’m only 2 centimeters dilated and I’ve got hours to go and I don’t think I can handle it oh my god if this is early labour how will it feel when I’m really in labour I don’t think I can do this anymore…”

Anne and her student midwife, Rachel, met us right away and brought me into an assessment room. Anne talked with me for a couple of minutes then went to check on the progress of her other client. As soon as she left, a really strong twisting contraction hit and I bent right over hanging on to the exam table for all I was worth. At that moment, I gave up and told the student midwife, “I can’t do this. I need drugs.” Rachel agreed that they could get me something, but first she needed me to get onto the exam table so she could see how dilated I was. Hubby helped me undress and get up on the table. Rachel took a quick look and calmly said, “You’re fully dilated, and I can see the head. I’m going to get Anne. Don’t push.” I was in transition! No wonder I was having such a hard time.

Rachel sounded so calm and reassuring. Except that when she left the room, I could hear her running down the hallway to the other room calling, “Anne! Anne!” Hubby reminded me to blow short, sharp breaths (feather breathing). I was so relieved when Anne came in. I was feeling pretty panicky, but she was so calm.

And then I felt an incredibly intense, painful contraction twist my insides. I know they call it the urge to push, but it wasn’t an urge at all. It felt completely involuntary, like a sneeze. I remember seeing my stomach rippling with the contraction. Anne asked me if I could walk to the labour room, and I just shook my head. Was she crazy?

Anne organized Chris and her student to stand on each side to steady me on the two and a half foot wide gurney so I didn’t fall off. She told me that the sac of waters was bulging out and asked if she could break it to help the baby come. I couldn’t talk so Chris told her to go ahead. She broke the sac, and I felt a gush of water and the head descend. Anne helped support my perineum and told me to stop pushing in order to slow things down. I tried, but the pushing happened whether I wanted to or not.

With the next push, the head crowned and Anne urged me to put my hand down to touch the baby. Everything felt so intense that I had my eyes shut just trying to manage. I remember Anne telling me twice to open my eyes to see what was happening, but I didn’t want to. She told Chris now was the time to move down to catch the baby, but he looked at me and said he would stay with me. He told me later that he could see how frightened I was, and he knew I needed him more. That was exactly the right decision.

One more push, and holy smokes they’re not kidding when they call it the ring of fire! Once that head came out, the relief was indescribable. Anne smoothly slid the looped cord over the baby’s head. One more contraction and her body slipped out. Anne scooped her up and immediately put my brand new little girl on my chest. Tee looked up at me and then peed on me. Time of birth was 10:18, 30 minutes after Chris had parked the car. If we had taken just a little longer to get going to the hospital, hubby would have been delivering this baby on the side of the road!

I held my baby in my arms, and Chris cut the cord once it stopped pulsing. Anne delivered the placenta, then she and a nurse wheeled me into a delivery room and transferred me into a proper bed. I held Tee and just marvelled at this tiny little being. She was only 19″ long and 6 pounds, 6 ounces. The student midwife helped me latch my baby on for the first time. Tee caught on pretty quickly and had her first meal right away. Before getting pregnant I had worried that breastfeeding might feel weird, but it just felt right to hold her close and nurse her. I had nourished her inside my body for the last nine months; it was only natural to keep going!

I really wanted to go home right away, but we had to wait as the midwives were busy with the first woman. We were finally able to get all the paperwork and measurements done, and we got to go home six hours later. The first woman was still in labour when we left with our new baby.

The drive home was filled with a stunned, exhausted silence. Neither of us had expected that we would be going home as a new family so soon. As soon as we got home I was so grateful to just get into bed and cuddle together, gazing at this small being that had made us a family forever.

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  • Sometimes things in life just don’t go as planned…I found that out with the birth of my daughter too. I wanted to do the all natural, drug free delivery but things just got too intense towards the end. lol it wouldn’t be a true mommy and baby bonding moment without her peeing on you. I love that your husband was really supportive. 🙂

    • You’re right of course. We all do the best we can with the cards we’re dealt. (And my second pooped on me right when she was born too. I sense a theme here!)

  • Thanks for sharing your story of Tee’s birth, so interesting!! You really are an excellent writer Olivia !!
    Our first two kids were adopted, and Krista was born to us. I remember the doctor telling me she was due on Jan 9th, but, he added, don’t be having her that day as I’m going skiing, and of course, I did have her that day!!

      • No, labour was about 15 hrs, and he didn’t arrive til the last hour, about 2 pm……he could have gone in the morning. Midwives weren’t so common then, at least, I didn’t know about them. Krista had a midwife for all 3 of hers. Lisa was more like you, Dave let her out at the front door of hospital, by the time he parked the car and got up there, he had a son!

  • Beautiful story. My first birth definitely did not go as planned. I had to have an emergency C. The second was right on time…she was a scheduled C LOL

  • Mine was not at all as I had wanted it to be, but it was what it was…and the hospital saved LO’s life. I had wanted a home water birth with a midwife and doula. LO came early though. As in 12 weeks early! She canon-balled her way into existence and came in at a whopping 980 g! That’s 2 lbs of butter! Though it wasn’t how I envisioned my birth experience to be, I’m happy it went the way it did.

    Love your story! Thanks so much for sharing! xo

    • Thank goodness the hospital was there! I used to work in a maternity hospital, and 2 pound premies are frighteningly small. Glad things worked out in the end.

  • What a wonderful story! Maybe not as planned, many things aren’t but you both did an awesome job. Healthy momma and baby 🙂

    • Birth experience matters, but I agree, healthy mom and baby is the most important thing in the end. Glad things worked out in the end for you too. 🙂

  • The most important thing about a birth story is that it has a happy ending. 🙂

    I had planned for a perfect birth the first time around too but things definitely didn’t work that way when she came 11 weeks early. The second time around I knew better than to make big plans and just hoped for a healthy delivery – which is exactly what I got.

    • Glad things worked out in the end. I wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t said anything – she looks so happy and healthy in your pictures. And congrats on the healthy delivery of #2. My second was a lot smoother too. Just knowing what to expect made a big difference to me.

  • IThank you for sharing your birth story with us. I felt that I was watching the whole thing.
    My first birth was relatively easy but took a long time. It wasn’t until no. five that I had a short labor. I have two adult boys and three adult girls and I am so proud of all of them.

  • I love your birth story! Transition is a beast. I totally resonate with the don’t leave my side of your husband during my birth. I am glad they let you go home the same day.