I woke at 4:17 am with some contractions. They were not bad at all but got me excited so I laid in bed timing the contractions at 8-10 minutes apart. Around 4:45 I got up and did some laundry. I finished packing the bags, got ready for the day, plugged in the camera, video camera, and my cell phone… meanwhile tracking my contractions with the iPad at around 6 minutes apart. I had arranged with Christy (sister in law) to tape the birth so I texted her and she was ready to go at the drop of a hat. When I had Micah, I started contracting at 4:45 am and lost my plug around 7:00 am I was waiting for my plug to come before I got too concerned about heading up to the hospital.
By 8:30 the contractions were consistent. I was busy around the house and would yell to Tyler “START!” and he was clocking them at 2-6 minutes apart. I called Dr. Clifford (who was on vacation) to tell him but felt ridiculous because as soon as I hung up the contractions came to a dead stop and he was in Yellowstone so it wasn’t like he could have done anything anyway. Christy showed up and still no contractions.
We (Christy, Tyler and I) took Micah to daycare then headed to some stores to get supplies for our mutual activity that night. I figured the walking would help get the contractions going again. Still nothing. I asked Tyler to take me to work so I could finish up some stuff I had been working on the day before. He asked if I wanted him to stay with me but I didn’t because I already felt like him and Christy had been following me around like I was on suicide watch or something.
My boss had us employees come in for a powwow since we figured the baby was coming soon. I ended up stepping out of that meeting a couple of times to have contractions out in the hall. I would step out, stand in the hall feet shoulder width apart, and rock. Breathing in for three rocks, breathing out for three rocks. The contraction would end and I would step back into the meeting. A couple times I was mid sentence and I would just stop turn and go into the hall. I wasn’t timing them so I wasn’t aware of how close they were coming.
My biggest fear always has been and always will be, that I will be that woman who comes running into the hospital yelling, "I’m in labor! This baby is coming! Why isn’t anyone doing anything?!" Then they will check me, lean around my stirrupped spread legs and say, “Mrs. Gilbert, you are at a one. We are just going to have you head home for a bit, you poor excuse for a child bearing woman, and try to walk around till you get a little…or a lot more dilated. Alrighty mmm hm okay?” *snap off gloves* Due to this fear I tell myself, "It’s got to get worse, suck it up woman, you are not going in yet, your baby will be prettier if you wait three more contractions." You know, encouraging things like that. Anyway…
Tyler asked if I wanted to come to lunch with him, Christy, and Travis. I told him that the contractions were starting to make me sick to my stomach so I didn’t want to go eat and be contracting in a restaurant. As soon as I said “Just go without me and come get me when you are done” the contractions seemed to step it up a notch. I would rock and dig my finger tips into the small of my back to relieve some of the pressure.
I got scared at this point. I had gone through a lot of mental preparation to have this baby natural and pain free but these were hurting and I felt like I was losing focus. I was tired because I had been up since 4 and I started to get weak and think about how easy it would be to get the epidural. I had to remind myself that my discomfort was worth it to give this little girl a drug free entrance into this world.
I texted Tyler again asking him to come get me ASAP. When he got there, the contractions were really painful and coming every few minutes in fact I got in the car then got right back out again to have a contraction. While I was contracting, Erin (my sister) called. So just as a point of reference, I work at Gateway Financial on the corner of Cedar and Pole Line. I started talking to Erin while Tyler headed down Pole Line to Tammy’s house to drop Travis off. We got out of the parking lot and I started explaining to Erin that I had not lost my plug yet so I must not be that dilated. She told me that not everyone loses their plug in one big mass. Good thing I have sisters to educate me.
We had only gone one block when I started another contraction so I got off the phone with her as Tyler pulled into the V1 propane on the corner of Pole Line and Alameda. I finished the contraction then straightened up. I heard a popping noise and water came gushing down my leg. I felt her drop down and her head hit my pelvis.
I said, “My water just broke this baby is coming NOW! We need to go to the hospital!” Tyler said, “Travis can you walk the rest of the way?” Travis jumped out and I think was more than willing to get out of the situation. Ha ha! I kneeled on the front passenger seat facing backward. Tyler pulled out of the parking lot and headed down Alameda. Before we even reached the grade school I felt another contraction and I felt her head pushing down between my legs. I said “Tyler her head is RIGHT there!” I felt him speed up.
Another contraction, I put my hand between my legs and encouraged her head NOT to come out. When a contraction came, I would bury my head in the head rest try to will her not to come. Christy said she thinks I bit the headrest at one point. Ha ha! When I was not contracting I was planning and thinking about how best to deal with the situation. I could feel Tyler swerving around cars and hear him talking about lights being red. I was hugging the head rest and thinking about what will happen when we get to the hospital because there is no way I will be able to stand up.
The contractions were coming fast and I was trying to resist the urge to push but at a certain point your body takes over and does what it needs to do in order to accomplish the goal. Another contraction, the fact is made know to me that in the next contraction her head is coming out. I told Tyler, “You’ve got to pull over this baby is coming out and I need your help.”
Tyler told Christy to call 911 and she was right on it. I pulled my shorts down around my knees and put my hand between my legs in time to feel her head come out. Tyler got into a parking spot and I said, “I have her head in my hand” He ran around the car and ripped open the door as I heard Christy giving the address to the 911 operator. I thought to myself “How on earth did Christy just KNOW the address of where we are!?” Then my thoughts were ripped back to the situation at hand…or literally, IN hand.
Christy was instructed to give the phone to Tyler so the operator could talk Tyler through the delivery but when Tyler saw her head and the rest of her body coming out he threw the phone back and said, “I can’t talk right now, she’s coming!” Then with my hand on her head and Tyler’s hands on her body with one last contraction she made her grand entrance.
|Labor and Delivery gown|
They had me hold onto her until the ambulance and paramedics arrived minutes later. I just rubbed her, stroked her nose, and tried to keep her warm. It was such a beautiful thing to be able to be the very first person to touch her, to hold her. Mine was the first voice she heard and I wasn’t screaming or swearing or telling Tyler this was all his fault. Tyler and I were there as husband and wife with the newest member of our family. We had done it together and grown stronger as a couple because of that. He trusted me to listen to my body and I trusted him to not wreck while speeding and running red lights and I trusted him to catch her.
I was able to flip over in the seat so I was laying down. They took my vitals and brought the gurney over. The guy said, “Ok we are going to move you over to the gurney so we can load you into the ambulance.” I didn’t even think about it I just wrapped the towel they had cleaned the baby off with around my waist and got out of the car and over onto the gurney. The paramedics were like, “Well, WE were going to move you over, but that works.”
They buckled me in and said, “So what are we going to name this baby?” I didn’t think about it and just said, “Her name is Oakley”. I heard some approving sounds then I heard clapping. They loaded me into the ambulance and Tyler came in with a phone saying that Officer Marchand insisted on a picture of the baby because he’d been doing this for 28 years and never seen anything like this and everyone was going to be asking if he’d gotten a picture.
Christy drove the CR-V, Tyler sat next to me in the ambulance, and Oakley was at my head in the paramedic’s lap. I felt calm and in control the entire time. At no point did I feel that dreaded sinking feeling of “what if” that people often talk about. I knew that between my preparation to have the least invasive natural birth and the protection of the Lord that we had done fine and we were going to be fine. I am sure the adrenaline flowing through my veins like cocaine was also helpful in this euphoric feeling.
We arrived at the hospital where they asked how we were doing and decided to bypass the ER because everyone seemed to be good so we headed straight up to labor and delivery. On Monday night Tyler and I had come to the hospital to attend a maternity social. The class was instruction on where to come into the hospital when you were in labor, how to check in, they showed us the rooms we would be in, etc. Needless to say, that was NOT the route we took to get to labor and delivery. Ha ha!
Since Dr. Clifford was out of town, Dr. Burton was the on call doctor for the office. He arrived--a bit flustered it seemed--but soon settled into routine and was joking around as he assessed the situation. They announced Oakley’s birth weight as 7 pounds, 13 ounces and birth length 20 inches. I asked her to repeat herself because if I had heard correctly she was more than a pound lighter than Micah and 2 inches shorter. I hadn’t expected that.
I still had to deliver the placenta and was more then ready to get that process started. Dr. Burton was allowing the resident OB to do this until he saw how much pain this inexperienced student was putting me through. I think the resident was used to working with women who had had epidurals and had no feeling below the waist. I could definitely feel each harsh aggressive movement as he pushed and poked and even dug to get the placenta out. Finally Dr. Burton took pity on me and took over. Within minutes he told me to give a big "heave ho!" and we got it out. Then he sewed me up. I didn’t tear as bad as I did with Micah but there was still some reconstructive work to do. While they were sewing me up someone said, “Did we happen to get a time of birth for this baby?” Uh…no. We looked at what time we called 911...1:14 and added five minutes to that. Time of birth: 1:19 pm.
The nurse brought Oakley over and said her temperature was a little low and they wanted to do skin to skin to get her warmed up. I looked down to take my shirt off and realized what a mess it was. One of my favorite maternity shirts and it was covered in blood and birth. I took it off and realized, Oh my gosh! Our car! The seat! This warm day…heating up the car! Oh yuck! I started talking about it and the nurse said, “Now don’t you worry about that. You have this little baby and she is perfect. Just worry about that later.”
A nurse came in and said she had a funny story for me. She had been down in the ER when a patient said to her, “Did a woman just have her baby in the City Hall parking lot?” The nurse said she hadn’t heard anything about it at that point. Just after that they received the call that the ambulance was headed in with a mom and baby that was delivered in the City Hall parking lot. The nurse went back to the patient and asked how he’d known about it. The guy said someone heard it over the police scanner and posted it up on this Internet news site, then it sent him as a notification on his phone of the most up to date news. The nurse thought it was pretty funny but I was just in shock. It is odd how quickly my personal life can travel without me knowing or having a say.
Tyler came and told me he’d just gotten off the phone with Mom and she sounded like she was on the verge of tears. I guess she had texted me and stopped by the office and couldn’t find me. Then within minutes, she received a text from Tyler saying "we’d had the baby, mom and baby were fine, baby born in car". Ha ha! Needless to say, Mom was a little concerned. She came into the room minutes later and started to cry. She came to my bedside and said, “Don‘t do that to me!” It was good to have her there. In surreal situations, mom always seems to ground me and bring me back to Earth.
She asked if we had settled on "Oakley" and I said, “Yep, 'Oakley Deena'.” I don’t think we had told Mom we were thinking about naming our daughter after her so she started to cry again and was waving her hand in front of her face like she was swatting flies. I heard Tyler talking to Christy and asked what was up. Apparently his mom and Nicole did not believe that Oakley had been born in the car. Tyler was trying to convince them.
We were told we had some visitors and in walked Officer Marchand and Officer Johnson! They said they had just come to see how things were going and make sure we were good. He said there was already an email going around telling the story. He complimented me on how calm I had been and talked about how so much bad stuff happens in his job it is really nice to see something good happen. He told us that someone back at the office told him to let us know they thought we should name the baby "Justice". Good thought…but not gonna happen.
We took some pictures with them and let them hold the baby. I asked if either of them had known Officer Dan Gilbert. Officer Marchand said he had worked with him for a while. I pointed to Tyler and said, "This is his son." Officer Marchand held Oakley up and with a bit of emotion said, “So, this is Dan’s baby granddaughter.” I looked over at Mom and all the sudden she was "swatting flies" left and right!
The Portneuf PR lady came into the room and said, “Well, news travels fast! Now this is totally up to you and my job is to support your decision and help protect you if need be. I have four news sources that would like to come get your story.” I just laughed out loud and thought, Wow it must be a slow news day for Pocatello. Tyler and I agreed to have them come around 4 pm. Mom ran to get Micah from daycare and I ate some lunch.
|Photography by Idaho State Journal|
After the interview we all just sat in the room for a while soaking everything in. Then we moved to recovery, Room 226. I looked at my phone and had eight texts from different people asking what was going on and what happened. Including one from Dr. Clifford that said, “You bad girl!” I had to call Kay to let her know I had gotten the stuff for the Young Women's activity but she said they were probably just going to head up to the hospital to see us. Natalie Houghton (a friend from the ward) stopped by. I made some other phone calls to family. Travis came, then Tammy and Shayla. While they were there, Dad came.
Nursery stopped in to get her for a bath so Tyler and I kicked everyone out and went to watch. Her short dark hair turned into long light hair! So, so much hair! The young women came and gave me a blanket they had tied. When they left I ate dinner. Rachel Thomas came around nine. We watched the news story then visited til ten. The nursery came to take her away for her hearing test and said they would keep her until she woke to eat. Tyler headed home.
Alone…Alone for the first time in what felt like eternity! I was so tired yet the second I rolled over to sleep the day started reeling though my head and I was wide awake. I laid there for what seemed like forever but was only about a half hour and I fell asleep.
The whole day was crazy. Looking back now, I realize those contractions that I was suffering in silence in the hall at work, that were making me sick, that was transition labor. I realize now, that my body doesn’t do "false labor". It may take a break but it isn’t giving up. I realize that not all laboring is the same, even in the same woman. I realize that with my next baby, when I feel pain in my back, I am having am likely having a baby within six hours. I realize that some people really think me foolish for even going in to work when I was feeling contractions, but they had stopped and I am not the kind of person to sit around waiting for a baby to come. I have things to do.