Two New Lives

By Allison Sowers

Roadside Delivery: Part 2 

By Laura Battat

My labor started off easily enough. I was at home with my twenty-month-old daughter, with her chanting and dancing with me through the light contractions that came every fifteen minutes. This went on for a few hours. Considering that I labored with her for more than a day, the onset of labor did not concern me. I expected to have several hours to get to the hospital, see my baby’s heartbeat on the monitors, and try to relax the pain away until the whole ordeal was over. After a while the contractions got a little stronger. I called my husband, my doula, and my pre-arranged baby-sitter. Then suddenly it felt like a tidal wave had crashed over me – the contractions were so strong, they gripped my entire body. It felt like an eternity passed by before my husband and my doula came into the house. Taking one look at my face, the doula guessed that I was much farther along than when I had called her. My husband ran outside to drop our toddler off at the babysitter’s.

 

We decided to get to the hospital ASAP. The seemingly simple task of getting into the car took an extremely long time – strong contractions were gripping my body every two minutes, and my driveway seemed much, much longer than I remembered once when I was in transition! Plus my husband had parked the car on the street instead of in our empty driveway, and my toddler’s car seat was still firmly installed in its usual place – it had to go, immediately! I instinctively knew the ride was going to feel like being in a cage, and I wanted as much room as possible while I convulsed with such strong contractions that each one felt like a seizure. Traffic did not work in our favor, and worsened even more once we got on the freeway. At one point, I felt our car running over a bunch of debris and then saw hundreds of smashed plastic bottles in our wake. Apparently, a recycling collection truck had lost some of its load – of all the times to encounter strange road conditions, it had to be then! We made it to the stoplight at the off-ramp nearest our hospital before my  doula looked over at me and said “wait – are you pushing?” I hadn’t had the heart to tell her that I’d been crowning and pushing the entire trip, because she seemed a little freaked out and I knew I desperately needed everyone around me to have calm nerves, otherwise I’d freak out too. So I responded truthfully: “Ooooohhh, the head is out.” The rest of the body slid out just as the light at the off-ramp turned green and my husband turned left onto the road heading to the hospital, just two blocks away. I think he knew even less about what was going on in the backseat than my doula did! While doing his best to drive quickly and safely, he heard our baby crying in the backseat. I collapsed onto my doula’s lap with my baby girl lying sweetly in my arms and looking up at me, bewildered by this whole new world with such strong contractions that each one felt like a seizure. Traffic did not work in our favor, and worsened even more once we got on the freeway.

 

At one point, I felt our car running over a bunch of debris and then saw hundreds of smashed plastic bottles in our wake. Apparently, a recycling collection truck had lost some of its load – of all the times to encounter strange road conditions, it had to be then! We made it to the stoplight at the off-ramp nearest our hospital before my doula looked over at me and said “wait – are you pushing?” I hadn’t had the heart to tell her that I’d been crowning and pushing the entire trip, because she  seemed a little freaked out and I knew I desperately needed everyone around me to have calm nerves, otherwise I’d freak out too. So I responded truthfully: “Ooooohhh, the head is out.” The rest of the body slid out just as the light at the off-ramp turned green and my husband turned left onto the road heading to the hospital, just two blocks away. I think he knew even less about what was going on in the backseat than my doula did! While doing his best to drive quickly and safely, he heard our baby crying in the backseat. I collapsed onto my doula’s lap with my baby girl lying sweetly in my arms and looking up at me, bewildered by this whole new world.