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Jonathan Michael: The Birth Story

“How many hours were you in labor?”

I still can’t figure out what my answer is going to be.

A week?

A day?

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2 hours?

For my first two, labor was much more defined: 13 hours, 5 hours.

Much like with number two, however, my body was preparing for this number three for many days before the birth-day. I remember wondering “is today the day?” for almost two weeks before Leah’s birth in 2008, with a contraction here, a contraction there, some discomfort, etc. I would guess that she “dropped” at the beginning of that time.

Because of that, actual labor was pretty short: we decided it was “the real thing” around 11 or 12 at night, called the grandparents to get big brother Paul around 2:00, sent an email to prayer warrior mommy friends, took a shower, and left for the hospital shortly before 4 a.m.

Upon check-in at the labor and delivery unit, I had to insist that we skip triage because, “I need a room!” and I was right: 39 minutes after checking in, Leah was born, and I was still in my own darn shirt.

My OB seemed very concerned about this “fast labor” and kept reminding me to tell them that when I checked in. I figured we might leave for the hospital a little earlier than planned to play it safe, but I never really imagined Baby Jonathan’s birth story playing out the way it did!

The Long, Confusing Labor (Labor?)

Although I started having a pain here, a pain there, last weekend, I wouldn’t really say I was “in labor” for a week. I recognized the signs as my body simply preparing and expected it to take a week or two.

I also had a ton I wanted to do and a fun playdate Thursday, so I wouldn’t commit and call them “contractions” only “tightness” or “discomfort”. Ha! Smile

I had my weekly doctor’s appointment on Thursday morning, at which time the good doc wanted me to have a cervical check (which I didn’t wish) and schedule both a non-stress test and an ultrasound to see if baby was big enough because I was measuring at smaller than expected fundal height (size of the uterus vertically).

I spent time Thursday hunting down answers and discerning “should we?” instead of playing with my kids.

Sad smile

After getting wonderful encouragement from the community here at KS and looking up the fact that I had the same “fetal growth” questions with both the last two Kimball kids, I felt pretty confident in what I had already suspected: baby was fine, not even overdue, and I didn’t need any more tests. I cancelled the appointment.

On Friday morning the pains woke me up early, and I thought surely it wouldn’t be long before they were regular and we could deem it “real labor.”

Although we weren’t charting on paper last fall, I had a pretty good idea of a week span when conception should have occurred, and “the wheel” had calculated in the spring that the due date would be between the 12th and the 19th of August. When the ultrasound told us “August 8th” I just kind of dismissed that date and never expected Jonathan until the 12th, which was Friday. I wasn’t surprised at all that I was having more contractions that morning!

I had purchased 10 pounds of Michigan blueberries at the Farmers’ Market the day before, so I set about washing and freezing them before the rest of the household awoke. I had to pause every so often for a quick tightening, and I have always preferred to bend over and let my belly hang down so gravity can do its job during contractions.

If I only remember one thing from our Bradley birth classes, it has been this: contractions are the muscles of the uterus squeezing together and down, and when you hold your own tummy muscles tightly, you work against them.

I want each contraction to do its job, so my only goal is to be completely relaxed and get out of their way. I breathe with my belly, rest my arms or shoulders on something (like a kitchen counter for this labor!), and relax.

I was surprised that my husband didn’t come down to see where his wife was when his alarm went off at 6 a.m. to work out. Turns out, providentially I’m sure, his alarm didn’t go off. I think the Lord knew he needed 2 more hours of sleep!

By the time he was leaving for work at 8:30, I wasn’t feeling like things were going anywhere, and if anything, they were slowing down. I told him, “Keep your phone close,” and kissed him goodbye.

A Normal Day

salsa

Since nothing seemed to be happening, I called my husband around noon to ask permission to go to the Farmer’s Market. We were in a house with zero eggs – ZERO! – and I wasn’t sure what to do with myself!

So I drove myself to the market and bought enough produce that people could have healthy food while I was gone, I expected. I even was tempted by the sign saying “fresh chickens!” and couldn’t resist buying one that had been running around the day before. I’m just like that!

I tossed the chicken in the slow cooker when I got home (my mother-in-law wondered what in the world I was doing) and made a huge batch of fresh salsa with my 6-year-old helper who loves to run the food processor.

Although my mother-in-law didn’t initially understand why anyone would make salsa when it’s so easily purchased, I think our taco meal convinced her that when fresh tomatoes are in season, there’s a good reason to put them in salsa! Yummy!

Going to the Hospital?

Friday about midnight, after putting the kids down and telling them that Baby John was getting ready to come, we started timing the contractions. They were so irregular! I had everything from 3 minutes to 9 minutes to 20 minutes – every time I sat down at the computer, I had a 20-minute break, causing me to tweet “Fact: blogging about labor slows labor down.”

Still, I thought surely we were going in that night. I picked the chicken (a great labor project) and put the bones back in the slow cooker to make homemade chicken stock. I figured it could just sit “on” until I returned if necessary. I made ranch so the kids would eat their veggies. I couldn’t even think of anything else in the kitchen I could do (a first!), so it was time. We started putting the cold food I wanted at the hospital in the cooler. (I’ll write a post about eating in the hospital sometime, too!)

I even made a note for the kids so they could be super excited about coming to visit Jonathan in the morning.

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I was certain that by 4 or 5:00 in the morning, it would all be over. It had already been a day full of questions, and I was ready for everything to come to completion.

However.

I kept saying that the labor pains didn’t feel very productive because they were so short and didn’t really hurt that much. Leave it to me to think of something to complain about when I don’t have pain, right?!

I finally tried to go to sleep about 2 a.m. or so, and slept for an hour and a half on the couch. I knew that meant things weren’t really kicking along well. I tweeted my frustration, because that’s what bloggers do (!), and finally went to join my husband in my regular bed and was awakened between 5 and 6 with pains, but still nothing that seemed productive. All the contractions were very short and passing, maybe 15-30 seconds in length and easy to get through.

Another Morning, Déjà Vu

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I still thought we might be going somewhere Saturday morning, and I even decided to publish my “Offering Up Labor” post that I had ready to go, partly in case things picked up quickly and partly to ask folks to pray for me. As every hour passed, the contractions got fewer and farther between. It was more or less just like Friday, but I had already thought we were heading out. Eventually, I gave up and unpacked the cooler.

This was frustrating!

For a planner like me, it’s already hard to not know when something’s going to happen. But when it starts and you adjust to the idea and then it all changes back to a question mark again, the frustration definitely sets in.

One of the safety nets that kept me going was surely the web of prayers formed by women (and men) literally all over the world. I teared up thinking about how many people, some of whom I know in real life, some of whom I feel like I know, and many of whom simply read my work here at Kitchen Stewardship®, were keeping me in thought and prayer for the healthy birth of Baby John.

The support and encouragement I received on Twitter and Facebook kept me laughing, full of ideas, and so connected.

Thank you, thank you all. From the bottom of my heart.

I am glad that people didn’t pray any harder for a speedy birth, though…ahem. Winking smile

We had another fairly normal day. We went for a walk as a family, futzed around, added veggies to the stock, decided I’d be around for dinner and made the stock (thank goodness it was there!) into chicken rice soup, and went to Saturday evening Mass.

I had maybe six or seven contractions during Mass, but I bet hardly anyone even questioned what was going on if I rested my arms on the pew in front of me or knelt down and hunched over while others were sitting.

I was so happy to be able to receive the Eucharist to fuel me through labor with the grace of the Sacrament. I had been hoping to attend Confession that afternoon if I was still around, but somehow it slipped my mind. Phooey on that!

I was really trying to enter into the Mass and was concentrating at the consecration when a good labor pain hit. How appropriate, I thought, that as I meditate on Christ’s suffering and sacrifice, I can truly experience suffering to bring love into the world myself. I teared up for the second time that day.

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At dinner, I had to excuse myself to lean over at the counter a couple times, but I still didn’t feel like I was in heavy labor or that things were really “productive”. As with the fuel of the Eucharist, I admit I was thrilled to have nutrient-dense chicken stock as a labor food and hoped it was sending me to the hospital to have a baby!

Finally, a Change

It wasn’t until nearly 8 p.m. that I said, “These contractions are impressing me a little more.” The intensity had picked up, but my husband was working on bedtime routine with the kiddos and nobody was really timing duration. They didn’t feel like a whole minute…but they might have been. Something had definitely changed, and I found that I also liked breathing through them on all fours or even in a modified sort of “child’s pose” on the floor.

At 8:30 I was saying night prayers with the kids after reading stories with them, and we were getting a contraction maybe every 8-10 minutes or so. I was hoping that by midnight, maybe we’d be heading somewhere.

While my husband finished up the bedtime routine, I went downstairs and – I kid you not – starting working on my computer. I had a task that I knew should be done by Sunday night and figured I might be occupied the next day!

I was glancing at the clock for my own contractions and mentally marked them down at 8:37 (when I was still praying with the kids), 8:47, and 8:57. In the middle of the 9:07 contraction, my husband came downstairs. My mother-in-law had been nervous all day and kept saying, “You guys are still here? Why are you still here? Go away!”

We joke a lot around here, so believe me, even though that might sound harsh, it was just her way of saying, “I’m worrying about you. I really think you should go to the hospital. (And, I don’t want to deliver this baby in the bathtub!)”

Particularly since she had been saying this all day long, we didn’t really pay her much mind. My husband said something about the contractions still being 10 minutes apart and that we probably still had some time to wait.

Seriously. 10 minutes! Nobody thinks they need to go to the hospital when contractions are still regularly TEN minutes apart. (For those non-moms among you, 4-5 minutes for a whole hour is a general rule.)

I credit mother’s intuition, of which I usually have approximately zero, for getting us to the hospital in time for Leah’s birth, and again, something told me it was time to go. Maybe it was that when I went to the bathroom, I had a quick contraction about 2 minutes after the last one and thought that was a little close.

Heading Out

I can’t tell you what did it, but I said, “Let’s get the food in the cooler and get ready to go.”

My husband, who thought I was nicely playing it safe, starting ambling around getting everything organized.

According to my last tweet at 9:22 p.m., my computer was still on half an hour before the little one’s official birth time:

All right…hoping I’m right tonight…heading out to the hospital! Pls pray for wisdom for the team and good communication.

Once it went in the bag, however, I quickly amped things up and got a little pushy – “Get the bags in the car!”

I remember changing my shoes from my favorite sandals to plain old flip flops, thinking that I might not want to get my favs wet if my water broke.

I really hate laboring sitting down, so being in the car on the way to the hospital is usually the worst experience for me. I wanted to get one last contraction in before climbing in the front seat, and as I bent over and breathed through it, I was glad I was wearing those flip flops!

My Water Broke

To give some insight into my immediate emotional reaction, you need some background. I know lots of women experience their water breaking at home, and sometimes that’s even the sign of the onset of labor, but two for two, mine has never broken until I’m pushing.

Now it was time for me to freak out a little bit.

The fun ladies who attended my Twitter baby shower hosted by Renee of MadeOn Lotion probably thought I was joking when I answered the “what is your ideal birth experience” question with “not in the car.” I wasn’t. And I was starting to worry about that actually happening at this point!

We needed to get going, stat, but I made one big mistake at this point and thought I should change my pants because they were all wet. Since my water hadn’t broken at home before, I didn’t realize that the new pants would get all wet again anyway in the car. (Thankfully the Bradley coaching book had “waterproof pad for the car” on their list or we would have been in messy trouble!)

I was still able to talk normally in the van and was just praying and hoping that I wouldn’t have many contractions. In the first minute of driving en route ten minutes to the hospital, we got behind a truck full of stuff going 20 mph in a 35 mph zone.

My husband passed him in the left turn lane. He rocks.

As we were approaching the hospital I was praising Jesus for not giving me many contractions in the vehicle, but I had one big one that I fought by pushing straight up on the seat and door handle and tightening against it – I didn’t really want them to do their job for a while until I was in the right place!

The Arrival

My husband said that we would drop me off at the ER entrance and then park the car and carry in the bags, but that mother’s intuition told me that I didn’t want to be apart from him for that long. (He probably would have missed the birth and/or I would have had no one to get anyone’s attention and I would have birthed John in the lobby on accident.)

We thanked God that there was an empty spot two rows away from the entrance and parked, hustling toward the doors. I had to stop in the middle of the road to get through another big contraction. I don’t even remember if I breathed through it, tightened, whimpered, or what. I was just hoping no cars would hit us!

Once we made it to the sidewalk and I was hobbling along I told my husband to get in there and tell them what we needed. I could feel another contraction coming as I approached the sliding doors and told myself I had to get through them to have something to hold onto.

In a last burst of speed I shot through the doors and grabbed a folded up wheelchair. It seemed like it was one huge contraction from there on out…

What I Remember:

  • Fighting the contraction – this made me much louder than I’m proud of, more like the movies when ladies are yelling in labor. That’s dumb. You don’t need to yell, but when you’re worried you’re going to have a baby on a hard tile floor with sliding doors opening and closing behind you, you get a little loud.
  • I was saying, “Ow ow ow!” but I really meant, “Stay in! Stay in! Stay in!”
  • I dropped my water bottles and they rolled beneath me, and with visions of amniotic fluid dripping on them I yelled, “Ew ew ew! Get them out of there!” Good husband was quick to act. I have no idea how he accomplished that AND getting me into the ER on time…
  • I actually danced on tip toes in those flip flops fighting through one of the contractions.
  • At the same time, some old man was walking by and made a snide comment about me being in labor. I have no idea what he said, but it made me angry!
  • It seemed like there was no one else around except a bamboozled security guard.

My husband told me later that while he was getting help, starting with the security guard standing in the entryway (forget the admissions desk; we didn’t have time for that!) the conversation went quickly like this:

  1. Get a gurney and we’ll take her up to the OB floor.
  2. Call an OB doctor to come down here.
  3. Let’s get her into a room!

They brought a wheelchair and wanted me to sit in it. In the past I’ve refused this sort of thing, but by now I was already saying, “He’s coming! He’s coming!”

I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk wherever they needed me to go. I wasn’t sure I could get the five feet into the wheelchair. I told myself it was the only way to a bed and hurled my poor body across the space, falling sideways into the chair and curling up my legs into the footrests. My husband told me later he was worried I would fall out; I just didn’t want to be sitting…and I didn’t want to have a baby in a wheelchair!!

We flew down the hallway in a seemingly empty ER. I had reminded my husband to tell them that I had quick labors at least twice on the way to the hospital, and when the person pushing the chair said that to a doctor behind a desk, he pointed to a room.

Suddenly there were 500 people around.

Apparently every single person who wasn’t busy came to the room to help deliver this baby or watch the action. The activity in there was intense!

A nurse was telling me not to push, and I wasn’t sure how to answer her. It didn’t feel like it was my choice; my body was going to do this thing with or without me. I just kept warning them, “He’s coming!”

The nurse told me I’d have to get from the chair into the bed.

Right.

Did she know what superhuman effort it had taken to get into the chair? I was done with locomotor movement.

The doctor told her to check me in the chair, and there was the head!

I took control of the situation and said, “PLEASE MOVE ME NOW.” (This is according to my husband, as I had no idea how the decision was made to get me into the bed.)

Finally hands lifted me up, over and onto the bed – backwards. Luckily they didn’t ask me to turn myself around.

I had the presence of mind to kick off the flip flops while at the same time wondering how Jonathan was going to fit out the shorts I was still wearing.

Whether I liked it or not, I was pushing.

(Thankfully someone took my shorts off.)

Once. Crowned.

The “don’t push” nurse finally changed her tune and told me I was doing great.

Thank you, nurse, much better to just go with the flow.

Again. The head was out.

I could tell that the job wasn’t quite finished so I pushed on my own to get the shoulders and body out.

Done.

I bet it was only 6 minutes from that point to when I getting out of the car.

Maybe less.

By 9:55, a mere three minutes after the official time of birth, (I can remember seeing a clock on the wall) I was being wheeled into the hallway with an OB resident and nurse to head up to the appropriate floor.

Looking Back on the Birth

We realized later that we had no idea the name of the doctor who delivered the baby. I don’t know that I even saw his face! My husband said the man probably didn’t say two words to us.

I heard from my husband later that phrases were tossed around like, “Does anybody have any scissors?” and “Here are some cord scissors; give them to the dad.”

One poor nurse tried to start an IV for me, after the baby was already born. If you’ve read my birth plan you know I’m not really into IVs even during labor, but it seemed exceptionally ludicrous as this point.

I’m wanting my baby on my belly and yelling at her like the Soup Nazi, “No IV! No IV!” At the same time, my husband is trying to cut the cord with his trembling left hand and trying to rationally explain to the nurse, who looked thoroughly confused, why his wife might not want an IV hep lock in her arm.

It was crazy.

Totally and completely crazy.

Just thinking about the adrenaline in the room gets my heart racing now!

I did get to sort of have John on my belly while we were transporting upstairs, but the pressure the placenta was putting on my spinal cord was leaving me in more pain than labor. If I ever need a future reference, I’ll want to be on my side until the placenta comes out. It was killing me!

Clearly we didn’t get to discuss the old birth plan with those assisting at the birth, so the perfectly natural delivery I had hoped for – although it was certainly without intervention up until the baby arrived, ha! – was not exactly happening once John was in the world.

As thrilled as I am that I had no IV, no meds, no internal exams, and no triage or fancy monitors, I’m a little sad that I didn’t feel up to bonding with baby immediately. I was begging for him to get back to me once I moved to a different table in the actual delivery room (that was no fun, by the way, to be moving around before the placenta was delivered), and when I finally got him he was all wrapped up. I had to beg again for skin-to-skin contact.

It was impossible to try to nurse on my back with all the pain I was in. I knew that nursing the baby would help get the placenta out and avoid a shot of Pitocin, which I had received with both other children and was hoping to avoid this time.

There was a good deal of stress inside as I tried to nurse to help the pain go away while stuck on my back in pain and unable to nurse. Hmph.

Luckily the placenta did get out of there unassisted and all the pain went away immediately when the darn thing got off my back, literally. I was just disappointed that it was so hard to hold Jonathan at this point.

I was sitting with my legs in stirrups waiting for the OB on call from my doctor’s office for what seemed like plenty long enough for me not to have had to have my feet up the whole time. I would have rather snuggled my newborn while laying on my side, but at the time I was just worried about advocating for a comfortable (as much as possible) leg position.

It took 45 minutes to stitch me up after Leah (number two), and I was in pain for a week afterward every time I went from sitting to standing because my leg muscles were so over-exerted in the stirrups. I had to hold my own legs as they shook like Jello for that 45 minutes and promised myself that I would not let that happen again, that I would insist that someone hold my legs or find a different position for the stitches.

john nursing

It took about 20 minutes to stitch up this time, and the whole time I was wondering when was the appropriate moment to share with the OB on call that I was his oldest daughter’s third grade teacher!

I think my husband was holding the baby while I was getting stitched up, and he had already texted his mom that John had arrived. How different from our first child when someone had to go out to the waiting room to share the news!

The doctors and I chatted about how crazy it was to give birth in the ER and how lucky we were to get there on time. I told them that in fact, we had just moved a month ago from the NE side of town, which would have been a 20-25 minute drive instead of the 10-minute one we had that night.

Doc’s eyebrows went way up and he said, “Wow, you guys would have made the Grand Rapids Press!” for our highway in-the-car delivery, I assume he meant. Zoikes.

When he asked the ages of my other other children, I told him 6 and 3 and then said, “You might remember your daughter’s 3rd grade teacher giving birth right near the end of the school year?” and I waved. “Hi.”

This was an odd moment, but it certainly gave us something else to talk about!

Homebirth Next Time?

I know many readers are readying their fingers to type a comment reminding me that they recommended I look into a homebirth, and see-weren’t-they-right-after-all.

And yes, you all probably were.

There are two reasons I’m seriously considering a homebirth if there is a Kimball number four (which hinges almost entirely on whether John is an angel baby…and toddler…or not. Angel baby = hope for a sibling, maybe; Trying toddler = husband will never go for it).

1. It would be great not to have to get into a car at all, clearly. As long as I can get the midwives to the house in time, a homebirth would have much less drama than this one!

2. I knew that I’d be awakened too early for silly things like checking vitals in the hospital, but at 1 a.m., 4 a.m., 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m., 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., I thought that it was really getting out of hand. Sleep is coveted enough without THAT many ridiculous interruptions. I actually told the poor phlebotomist who came to draw my blood, “Really? We have to do this at 5:30 in the morning?!?” She offered to come back, but I said I was already awake so we might as well knock it out.

I think I’m getting primed to get over my fear of “the mess” and strongly consider a homebirth, if there is a next time.

Otherwise, we’ll be tent camping in the hospital parking lot at the first sign of labor.

Birth-day photos of Jonathan and his siblings HERE.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

61 thoughts on “Jonathan Michael: The Birth Story”

  1. Congratulations on your beautiful baby, Katie, I am so excited for you! I had a midwife for my #3 and 4. They were just wonderful. They both ended in miscarriage, but had nothing to do with where I was, just one of those things. For my 5th I went to the hospital, but only because I was in the middle of a divorce, and pretty much on my own. If I were to ever have a6th, I would definitely do a home-birth. Anyway, so glad everything worked out well for you, and welcome to this beautiful world, Jonathan!!

  2. As a fairly new reader of your website (which I’m thoroughly enjoying), I’d like to comment a bit about hospital L&D nurses. I am one of them and I (most days) love my job. I adore when women come in the hospital ready to push. Yes, there is a LOT to be done as far as legal paperwork, etc but the actual process of delivery is so nice. And we has hospital staff can NEVER force you into anything. You can simply say “no” and it won’t happen. You may be given an explanation as to why the doctor or nurse is doing what they are doing but you can politely still say no. I’m afraid many women recount their birth stories as an experience in which they had no control. If that is true, legal action should be taken.

    It’s frustrating hearing (what seems like) the majority of pr0-homebirth, no intervention birth women are saying about nurses like myself. The tones used to express opinions about hospital staff are quite distressing to me.

    Many women come into the hospital with really sour attitudes and treat me like I have no idea what I’m doing and that I’m all about my-way-or-the-highway. That’s totally not true…for me and for many of my colleagues. I know we all love taking care of ladies about to have their babies and we desire to do what they want. For some women, they want all the interventions I can give them and I’m obligated to provide those interventions. Some want none and I love supporting that. I, personally, see benefits to each side every single day I work. And it’s different for every single women.

    We must not say that birthing without pain medicines and epidurals is “God’s way”. God’s original design involved no pain at all but that design was tarnished when sin came into this world. So, we musn’t confuse the two.

    I know that there is no perfect hospital but I guarantee that the things we do (blood pressure checks, blood draws, etc) are for your good. And you have every right to politely refuse them! I, as your nurse, wouldn’t question you if you seemed to be doing well and not taking a turn for the worse.

    All in all, I really hope that the women on this blog will understand that hospitals aren’t out there to “get you”. I love the concept of a homebirth and do believe that some women have the capacity to successfully do that….but some women will take a huge risk. Bad things happen….and bad things happen quickly with a labor and delivery process. I would love to have my baby at home (minus the mess!) but I just can’t see myself taking that risk knowing what I know and seeing what I see.

    1. Maggie,
      Welcome! I truly appreciate your perspective. I hope I didn’t sound rude or negative about the nursing staff. I didn’t really feel as if anything was pushed on me, and I did discuss and accept the blood draw…I just took issue with the time of day! I suppose I could have in advance refused the blood pressure checks. I never thought of that.

      I also hadn’t thought of, in this light, the “natural” birth as God’s way when of course, you’re right, in a fallen world our curse as women is pain in childbirth – so it’s never really His way. The only birth in history to be God’s way was the Son of God. And I’m no Virgin Mary! 😉 Thanks for calling that “oops” to my attention.

      You have a wonderful job, and I do appreciate all that you do! A great L&D nurse makes or breaks the experience, in my experience. I just didn’t quite make it to the L&D floor this time, heh…

      🙂 Katie

      1. Yeah, Emergency Room nurses are wired differently than L&D nurses…and for a good reason!
        Thanks for “listening” to me rant 🙂 I hope I didn’t offend or upset anyone. That wasn’t my goal. I do think there needs to be a lot of reform within the obstetrical world. There always will be room for improvement. Although, I wish I could have more ladies like you come to my hospital! Most women demand an epidural before I even get a chance to introduce myself 😉

    2. Thank God for nurses like you who are helpful and respectful! Unfortunately, there are some REALLY PUSHY, nasty nurses out there who don’t add a glow to the reputation.

      1. OH yes, I have worked with those nurses before. It’s quite unfortunate. I’m blessed to work in a small hospital now that does not have those types of nurses. It’s great.

  3. Congratulations on Baby John!

    And wow on the birth! This story is the reason I had homebirths for babies 3 and 4. My #2 was very similar to your #2 and so I assumed #3 could be faster and he was(plus I, too, hate riding in the car in labor), as was # 4. But I totally get how easy it is to second guess contractions because I did that even with my homebirths and my main midwife made it about 30 minutes before baby #4 was born and the second midwife(and my husband) made it not even 10 minutes before he was born. It’s hard to decide when contractions don’t follow the “normal” pattern.
    I’m glad everything went well and John was not born in the car, even if things didn’t go according to plan.
    Enjoy your babymoon!

  4. Your story reminds me of mine. We never made it to the hospital and ended up having the baby at home. Labor progressed too quickly and I wasn’t in a lot of pain. We then had EMS show up and transport us b/c we were first time parents and completely by ourselves. It was nuts. Trying to convince my husband for a home birth the next time around!

  5. Congratulations!!! You’re awesome, Mama! I have quick labors, too. My third actually was born in the car so it’s been homebirths for me ever since! Have a very happy babymoon! 🙂

  6. I laughed and cried reading your birth story–it was so exciting! I decided to go with home births for both of my children; I can’t tell you how many people asked me, “Aren’t you worried about not giving birth in a hospital? What if something goes wrong?” But I’ve had terrible experiences in hospitals before and would do almost anything to avoid going into one again. I knew that if pain relief and other interventions were pressed on me during such a vulnerable time, I wouldn’t be able to resist. Instead I made sure that I wouldn’t be tempted at all. After my second birth, where I labored for 6 hours, birthed in water, and homemade chicken stock was the only thing I could keep down, I know that homebirth is definitely the right choice for me. I only wish that the majority of American women could birth with midwives and have the wonderful experiences I have had.

  7. Amy @ Finer Things

    Wowzers. Such a great story! That would have been me with our 3rd, but we lived an hour and a half from the hospital, so we “headed to town” to wait it out at my aunt’s place, only… the car ride intensified everything. No iv, no “checking”. I was walking the halls one minute and had a baby the next.

    WHY oh WHY couldn’t that have been my experience with #4?! 😉

    Enjoy!

  8. Hi! Congratulations! I lurk on here all the time. I’m a Labor and Delivery nurse at a hospital and going to school to become a homebirthing midwife, so of course I was riveted by this post. I am so happy that you have wonderful and quick births! Moms like you give us our adrenaline rush on the floor, that’s for sure! I have AWFUL and LONG labors, so I love when I hear that women have beautiful…quick…experiences. I’ll be rewarding myself with my third pregnancy, and a homebirth, when I graduate from my CNM program in 2013. I think you should do the same!

  9. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing John’s birth story. I do love reading birth stories, especially sit on the edge of you seat ones!

    I was told “don’t push” with #2 who came rather quickly (not as quickly as John though!) while thinking how in the world do I stop what I’m not doing!

  10. Congratulations, what an awesome story—thanks for posting it!

    I have had a hospital birth and a homebirth and, if you are afraid of the mess, I will just say that I never saw a mess at my homebirth! Everything was cleaned up by my midwife and husband. And my husband is not a superstar cleaner—it was just kind of “what you do” after a homebirth.

    Praying for #4 when the time is right!

  11. Angela Costanzo

    Congratulations Katie!
    If it helps you any, I had 4 homebirths and never felt any of them were messy.
    The midwives do a great job of limiting ‘the mess’ and keeping it contained!
    🙂

  12. Beth @ Turn 2 the Simple

    Congrats!
    After baby #2 was born at home (on accident — yeah I didn’t think I was in labor until I started pushing; and then it was only 3-4 pushes), I’m trying to decide what to do for the next one (God willing, I’m not pregnant now). I’m sure I’ll do TONS of research before making my final decision — but my experience and stories like yours make me think home birth might not be a bad idea!

  13. Congratulations Katie! I loved reading your story, as I can REALLY RELATE. I delivered #2 with 1 1/2 pushes 12 minutes after getting to the hospital. We only live 2 minutes away, so they managed to wheel me down to L&D before he was born, but it was all adrenaline from the moment we decided to head to the hospital.
    – shocked security guard
    – wanting nothing to do with the wheelchair, but then deciding it was the best bet
    – The nurse trying to put in an IV (but mine was during the last contraction before Josh was born. I just waved my arm around frantically to keep the thing out.)
    – The birth plan left in the car.
    – The instance that “he’s coming now.”

    Our nurses were fabulous and commented that they LOVED deliveries like this – all adrenaline and no waiting….”though if you have another baby, we would appreciate you getting here a little earlier.”

    Here’s to a restful recovery and a good sleeping baby!

  14. Congrats on baby John!
    I had a three hour labor with my twins (#3 and4) which started with my water breaking in the kitchen. I had maybe 3 or4 mild contractions then wham! Hot and heavy! I would never have gotten into a car to go anywhere! They were born at home and I was so grateful that I didn’t have to go anywhere. A planned homebirth is a relaxing experience. You are ready for “the mess” 🙂 and honestly I never really knew anything about it because part of the preparation is being prepared for that too. The midwives are very good at “cleaning as you go” and by the time the babies were born everything was cleaned up! They even washed the towels for us!
    I’m sorry you delivered in the ER but very happy that he is healthy and you are doing well! And I hear you about the placenta. It took an hour for mine to come out this time and it was WAY WORSE than labor! Ouch! It took away from bonding time for me too. 🙁
    Congrats and happy baby-ing!

  15. Rene @ Budget Saving Mom

    Great story!! Congratulations!!! I am so happy for your family. He is so beautiful. I will be praying for your family’s adjustment to your newest blessing & joy. Hugs!

    PS – Looks like we could have been roommates at SBS after all. (-:

    1. Aw, I know! I thought about how “fine” I was feeling that weekend, although we had just moved, so it would have been an incredibly crazy time to try to leave home. It was ultimately good that I didn’t go, but I was so sad to miss it and all of the great women there!!!!!
      🙂 Katie

  16. Congratulations Katie and welcome Jonathan! Re: homebirth: we had two most beautiful, smooth deliveries at home I wish all women could be blessed with… The first one was quick, the second – was not clear when the labor really started, but both times the midwives were just fabulous…relaxed, attentive, calm, confident and really wise as to what to do… Agree with others that giving birth at home only adds to already magical process. And how nice it is for the baby to enter this world in a peaceful space of its own home.

  17. Congrats on the birth of your son! Isn’t it really weird when labor isn’t well defined? When I had my first child, my son, who was born 12 days after his due date, I was in labor for 15 hours and pushed for almost 4 hrs and then had a forceps delivery–I felt like I had run a marathon, it was so grueling.

    When I had my daughter 4 years later, I truly didn’t know that I was in labor. I had been having very strong Braxton-Hicks contractions for at least 2 months and finally the day before my daughter’s due date, I called the hospital and told them I was having strong BH contractions and the baby was due the next day, but I didn’t think I was in labor; I was just calling for advice (It was really embarrassing not to know if I was in labor or not)–they told me to come in immediately and I was already at 8 cms. I did labor for a few more hours, but only pushed 3 times. How do you know when to even ask a midwife to come to your house if you don’t really know that you’re in labor; especially in my case because my son was 12 days late? And, yes, having contractions strapped into a car is just horrible; and we only had to drive 5 blocks to the hospital! Blessings, Joyce

  18. Kimarie @ The Cardamom's Pod

    Now THAT was a great birth story, Katie! I’m supposed to be canning a batch of chicken stock right now, but… I saw the link and plopped down to soak up the details. 😉

    Even though I didn’t have fast labors, we opted for home birth starting with our third. The initial reason was we were between insurances, so we had to pay out of pocket. I was so impressed with how the midwives handled the “mess” – they used tons of chux pads, they washed laundry, washed me, and I think they even took the trash home with them – it was absolutely splendid. So we had the next 6 at home, too. 🙂

    1. You are awesome, Kimarie! 😉 Sorry I pulled you from the kitchen (but I’m kind of proud, too). 🙂 Katie

  19. Melissa @ Growing in the Son

    Wow that was a “page turner” story! I couldn’t stop reading it even when the timer went off on the oven. 😉

    One of my sisters was born in similar fashion couldn’t wait to make her entrance. lol

    Congrats on your new blessing!

      1. Melissa @ Growing in the Son

        No it just gave the casserole a little extra “browning”…no one knew the difference! haha

  20. Congratulations! Great job! I hope my birth is that easy! (Expecting #1 at Christmas).

    With regards to the “mess” of a home birth…the midwives we work with have you make the bed with whatever you want it to be like afterward, then they cover the bed with a plastic cover and remake it again. So after you give birth and your in the shower, they strip the top part and throw it in the washer, so you have a fresh made bed when you get out!

    Also, I can’t say this from experience, but I’ve been told by many parents with 4+ kids that after the third, it’s practically nothing to add another child to the mix! 😉

  21. Whoops! Forgot the link to the birth story:

    http://thechroniclesofsunukjia.blogspot.com/2009/05/birth-story-contains-spoilers-and.html

  22. There’s something about those third borns… I had some similarities to your birth story and really loved my last two homebirths, so you’re welcome to read my birth story while your nursing. Welcome, Jonathan!

    =), melanie

    PS My kids are Leah, John and Noelle, so we also have some name similarities… =)

  23. I’m mostly a lurker here on your site, I’ve learned so much! But, wanted to congratulate you and tell you how much I enjoyed your birth story! My last little guy was born after just an hour & 20 minutes of labor. Nothing happened til my water broke and then I had to push 5 minutes into our 1/2 hour drive to the birth center! I delivered him, standing up, 6 feet inside the door!

    We are now expecting blessing #5 and are praying for a home birth this time. Yeah, messiness is an issue with me, too, but the Lord provided me with a midwife who birthed lots of Amish babies and there she learned how to contain the mess. I mean, who wants to ruin those beautiful Amish quilts?!

    Thank you for sharing your story and for your work here on your website. You are certainly an encouragement to me and I’m sure many others like me!

    Enjoy those little newborn snuggles!

    1. Jodi,
      Thanks for popping in to say hi! Your car ride must have been just awful…yowza. Glad you at least made it to the center!!! Holy smokes! 🙂 Katie

  24. Thanks for the birth story! Getting into the car is horrid, especially a road full of potholes. Make sure you get enough rest in the coming weeks!

  25. Beautiful, beautiful story! I can relate to so much. When I read, “I was done with locomotor movement” I laughed so hard that tears came. With my third I remember being on the toilet and looking desperately at my midwife’s assistant. Trying to communicate telepathically that this child is. coming. out. NOW. It must have worked because I remember her peeking (somehow) and then magically my sweet dh was yanking me bodily into the air and my midwife appeared and caught ds before he hit the floor.

    My four were born at home, and it does help with eliminating those “No IV” conversations. :~)
    You have a darling baby-enjoy every minute!

  26. We have 4 of those stories ( even down to convincing the hubby its time to REALLY go) and finally decided on home birth for the last two. Which were just as quick only the midwife comes as soon as you call and believes you. No drugs, no arguing, no stirrups, no car…its fabulous! I too was scared of the homebirth but now I truly think it makes the experience even more glorious for people like you and me who have crazy fast births.

  27. Shirley @ gfe

    Congratulations, Katie! From what I can see, Jonathan’s beautiful … of course. 🙂

    Big hugs,
    Shirley

  28. I do hope you consider a home birth next time! My first labor was 16 hours, but then my second labor was 3.5 hours (although I didn’t know I was in labor until I was already an hour and a half in), and the hospital was 40 minutes away–as soon as hard labor hit (like a TRUCK, good grief!), we raced to the hospital and I had her less than an hour later. I’m now 32 weeks pregnant with our third, and we live 30 minutes from the hospital–but that’s only if we go in the middle of the night and we don’t hit rush hour. It is 1-1.5 hours away in rush hour (which there’s ALWAYS rush hour between our house and the hospital), so in order to avoid a birth in the back seat of the car, I’m having a home birth. At my OWN home, no one else’s! That way I don’t have to worry about getting my girls to a babysitter and then driving to the hospital. So I do agree that a home birth would probably be the best option for you next time! 😀

  29. Emily @ Random Recycling

    Congratulations on the arrival of Jonathan Michael. Good luck recovery in the coming weeks and look forward to hearing your thoughts on how life changes with baby #3.

  30. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    Oh yeah, the “mess.” Hardly any. We had one full trash bag of used pads and such. We had a few spots of blood on the (dark) carpet, but hydrogen peroxide and a wet/dry vacuum got rid of them immediately. I really don’t remember seeing anymore mess than that, and midwives cleaned up almost all of it. Definitely not a big deal.

  31. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    I love birth stories! And yours certainly is dramatic!

    If you do have another and go for a homebirth, you will love it. I know you’ve read my birth story but realistically I only called everyone 2.5 hours before baby arrived, and they got here just 2 hours before. If we’d had to go to a hospital and had to get people here to watch the older kids it would have been just as dramatic as yours…if anyone had made it anyway! But instead I got to sit peacefully and quietly in my birth tub while everyone sat around and waited, until things started really happening and baby arrived fast. But it was wonderfully relaxing (for labor!) and my parents even got there 15 – 20 minutes before baby came, so if my older kids had needed anything, no one in the birthing room would have had to worry about it.

    Plus, I don’t know how your kids are doing with John now (how are they doing?), but mine never showed any jealousy or trouble adapting to their new siblings, they were just thrilled. Maybe because there was absolutely no separation or disruption — they woke up and there was a new baby, but mom was still there and they got to celebrate as a family immediately. I think that really helped to mitigate the whole jealousy thing.

    And yeah…no one bugged me! I got exactly what I needed and wanted with nothing else.

    It’s funny…I was so focused on labor this time and doing what I needed to do. I remember being SO thirsty, I told my husband to go get me ice water RIGHT NOW…while I was starting to push. He ran off to get it, but then the midwives said “Go get him back” and he ran back into the room (with the water). Then I was on the birthing stool, pushing, wishing I could talk or reach that water because I was still so thirsty, and just thinking, “As soon as I push this baby out I can get that!” I even remember being concerned someone would knock it over (it was on the floor) and wanting to warn them not to, LOL.

    Oh, the things women think and say late in labor…!

    1. Labor is crazy, eh? 😉

      The kids are doing well – some acting out toward US, but not toward John. They just adore him and want to hold him, kiss his head, and play with his feet (because we won’t let Leah touch his hands or face, so that’s what’s available!) all the time. It’s very sweet. Bedtime has been rough, but it was never a cakewalk before, so I think this is the expected “adjustment”. ‘

      Thanks for asking! 🙂 Katie

  32. Congratulations on the new arrival!!

    About homebirthing: don’t worry about a mess! I actually hemorrhaged, in my own bed, on my favorite sheets (it all happened too fast to even change the sheets), and the midwife handled it so well, and cleaned it up so well afterward, that I never even saw a mess, and they are still my favorite sheets! She actually handled it better than the hospital did when I hemorrhaged the first time (apparently my body works really hard to push out the baby and the placenta, but then just quits, so I bleed a lot. Sorry if TMI). The hospital pumped me full of so many IV fluids that I didn’t allow anyone to take my picture for a week, I was so bloated. The midwife just gave me a protein shake every hour, on the hour, and I felt better much sooner. And at home, no one woke me up to take my blood pressure if I was sleeping!

  33. Oh Katie. You so made me giggle. If I hadn’t had three children myself, I would have thought your story was totally nuts but being through it, I just had to giggle!
    Congrats, what a beautiful little boy!!

  34. Katie you always make me smile but this time I couldn’t help crying with all the excitement and joy and craziness of this story. I WAS one of those reader ready to type HOME BIRTH as I was reading! You would do great – and the Midwives probably would have arrived on Friday pm or Sat AM and just hung out until John arrived – that’s a beautiful thing – some of our best memories are meals with the midwives! God bless the Kimballs!

  35. Love the story, just like my second one minus the breaking water which prompted the ER staff to say “wow just like having a cow” and no doctor, but the nurse was great. My third had no contractions at all and I was very lucky to have had the cervical check at my appointment or I would never have made it to the hospital. Home birth next time here if there is a next time.

  36. Congratulations! In my Bradley class we always said “labor at home, deliver in the hospital.” 🙂 I’m looking into homebirth for God willing our #2 also. God bless you and your family.

  37. What a wonderful story! You sound a lot like my daughter! 🙂 I had quick labors with all three of mine as well – after the first one the doc really listened to me for the other two. Congratulations!

  38. Congratulations! Giving birth in the car isn’t such a bad thing. I gave birth to my second in the front seat of our minivan en route to the hospital.

  39. Sweetie, you need to have home births! Let the midwives do the crazy driving and you make chicken stock and pray with your children! Seriously, the food is GREAT, there are no nasty hospital germs and we are family friendly! My “customers” are 100% satisfied….Congratulations by the way and thanks for sharing your story. I loved it!

  40. Barefeet In The Kitchen

    Congratulations!! So glad to hear that he has arrived safe and sound. Enjoy these first few days snuggling your littlest one.

  41. Congrats to you guys! And what a story you have to tell him as he gets older!

    My sister-in-law gave birth to her 2nd in almost the exact way you did. In triage, on a regular bed with no doctor in sight!! The nurse had checked her when they came in and she was only at a 4 or something! 5 minutes later she was saying “she’s coming” and no one believed her… so my little niece was born right then and there onto the bed.

  42. Yep, I too had an extremely quick labor the second time around. I didn’t even make it to the car! Let’s just say we had an accidental home birth…and I caught my own baby!
    Here’s the whole birth story: http://cantrallperu.blogspot.com/2010/05/ezra-steven-cantralls-birth-story.html
    Congratulations! I just love hearing other people’s birth stories! God is good. 🙂

  43. After really fast labors with my first three, we finally decided on a homebirth with our fourth. I was SO worried about the mess as well…but the midwives took care of it all for us. And it was, by far, the BEST birthing experience I’ve had.
    Congratulations! I’m so thankful baby wasn’t born in the car or on the floor of the ER. 🙂

  44. Congrats Katie! I love birth stories. Ya know, you did most of the work at home anyway so hope you have a homebirth next time (if there is a next time) 😉

  45. Great story! I’m from GR originally. 🙂 I didn’t realize you lived there.

    My Aunt had one of my cousins inside the cab of a Toyota truck in the driveway right outside the ER. We called the baby Toyota for a long time… 😉

  46. Congratulations!! After a super fast delivery for my 3rd in February, I’m strong considering a homebirth too…seems like so much work to just get to the hospital!! So happy John is here safe and sound. Hope you’re all adjusting to being a family of 5! We love it!! Congrats again!!

  47. I warned the nurses with baby #3. I warned them I’m all about Lamaze breathing. I warned them that baby #2 came with 3 hours of labor and 3 pushes. I warned them that my other OB had just enough time to gown, glove, and catch baby #2. I warned them that, if they were waiting for me to make a lot of noise or beg for meds, they were going to be delivering baby #3 by themselves. But did they listen? Nope! Apparently the contraction monitor wasn’t working correctly, as they thought I was barely in labor. When the nurse came in to check on me, DH told her the contractions were about 2 minutes apart, and I told her the baby was coming. She checked me, looked terrified, unlocked the bed, and RAN us down the hallway to Delivery while yelling for someone to get the ER doctor STAT. Too late! Wee Man, all 5 lbs., 11 oz. of him, popped out into her hands after 2 hours of labor and 2 of the tiniest pushes ever–just BEFORE the ER doctor dashed through the curtain, threw up his hands and exclaimed, “Well, there’s nothing for me to do!” DH teased my OB when he finally arrived, minutes later: “Hey, we paid you all that money, and you didn’t even deliver her. We should get a discount!”

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