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She was born in the middle of winter. It was a night so balmy and crisp that you could feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end if you dared venture outside. A full, burnt orange moon traced its way across the sky. At one stage an onslaught of rain slashed down for a few moments before the clouds had parted to reveal that full-bellied moon once again.

It was the stuff of legends. And it was a night that took a turn none of us expected, nor will we forget.

From the very first twinge, everything about my second labour was different to the first. I had been perched on a bench seat at the kitchen table playing a rather exciting game of Monopoly with my niece, when suddenly I felt it.  My baby’s head dropped into place like a giant hand screwing a cork into the neck of a wine bottle. In a rush of excitement I had taken myself off to bed, mistakenly hoping to steal a few moments of sleep before the contractions began.

But I had tossed and turned, unable to find a comfortable position.  I then took myself to stand in the dark, alone on the back verandah.

When the contractions began, there was no stopping them. Within minutes they had reached fever pitch.

I would shuffle slowly from one end of the verandah to the other, pausing at each end to grab the railing for support as each new contraction ripped through my body like a tornado.

Closing my eyes and breathing slowly, I began the self-talk I knew I would need to get through this. After just fifteen minutes, I had called for my sister. She sat stopwatch in hand, like an athletics coach silently and stoically bracing against the cold. Another fifteen minutes and we were phoning the midwife for what was already the second time, explaining that the contractions weren’t yet regular but were now about two minutes apart and excruciatingly painful. This brought no sympathy from the midwife. With the labour and delivery ward fully booked, she explained that I would have to stay at home until my waters broke.



After the third phone call, and having been instructed yet again to “relax and take a warm shower”, I had insisted that it was time to get in the car. As if on cue, one last terrifying contraction had threaded down my spine like a bolt of lightning.

A single drop of liquid, like a bead of sweat, hit the deck. But that tiny drop was all I needed.  My waters had broken. It was my ticket into the labour ward.

I had now been in labour for around forty-five minutes. My husband awoke, groggy and confused as my sister grabbed the car keys. We barely made it around the corner before – feet on the dashboard – I shouted at my husband to pull over. There wasn’t enough time to make it to the hospital. I could feel my daughter’s head crowning as my sister frantically phoned for an ambulance.

The calm voice of the emergency operator instructed my husband and sister to take off any jewellery they might be wearing. I heard her ask if there was anything sharp in the car that might be suitable for cutting the cord.

Panic!

I could see the panic in my sister’s eyes as she fumbled through the glove box. Her hands shook as she tugged off her engagement ring and wiped her hands on the back of her jeans. My husband was a shade of green I had not seen since the days of morning sickness had ended.

I was not prepared for this. Not prepared to deliver a baby in the middle of the night, on the side of the road. Without medical assistance. This was not in my birth plan. What if something went wrong? What if my baby was in danger?

Fear gripped my throat and I did everything I could to resist the urge to push. From the corner of my eye I saw my husband running out onto the road, waving his arms to flag down the ambulance.

Like a voice seeping through a fog, I heard the ambulance officer as he bent down in front of me, asking if I was comfortable delivering the baby in the car or if I would prefer to get out.

I walked slowly, half-naked and completely oblivious to passing traffic. There was a stillness in that moment, as I surrendered  control and let my body take over. One last contraction, and right there, somewhere on the side of the road, our baby girl flew into the world. For a few seconds there was only silence. And then she began to kick and scream at the top of her lungs. Relief washed over me.  She was perfectly healthy.

I held her wet body to mine, whispering to soothe us both. With a mop of wild, dark hair standing on end like a Mohawk, she resembled something of a tiny, outraged warrior.

The onslaught of such a fast labour had left me exhausted and shaking. But as I lay there, tired to the bone, I knew that I would love her fiercely, with every ounce that I had.

Did you have a fast labour?  Was it completely different than you expected?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • I know it’s not very common but her baby could have been born inside the sac.

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  • What an experience! And a well written piece about the nights events.

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  • My first labour was 2 hours and 40 minutes. Surprised everyone having my first so fast

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  • Congratulations on a job well done. I too had a very quick second labour. I felt the contractions begin at 4.30am, woke husband at 5.30am to say they were getting quite strong. Hubby had a shower and sat down to have his breakfast and coffee before we could go anywhere. We lived a 40 mins drive from the hospital. We finally got in the car at 6.20am. Hubby drove to the ambulance emergency entrance and continually rang the bell to get some assistance. One nurse argued with my hubby that I had to be taken around the front to the main entrance and be booked in. All the while I told the other two nurses bub was coming. They placed me on a bed, wheeled me into the elevator where I proudly delivered a 9lb 10oz beautiful baby boy.

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  • Wow, what a story, thanks for sharing!

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  • Wow, what an amazing experience. Both of mine were long and drawn out. I can’t help feeling a little envious of mother’s who’ve had quicker labours, but I can’t imagine how scary this would have been!

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  • Wow, what a quick and hectic experience. Mine went forever so I can’t relate to this one, but can only imagine the panic and exhaustion and overwhelming feeling of being out of control. Glad things turned out fine.

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  • Wow, what a story ! You did really well mumma !!

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  • No matter what at least they were both okay. Congratulations to the lucky couple

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  • This very nearly happened to me! The midwife told me to wait until contractions were two mins long and two mins apart or my water broke. We left home at three mins apart and two mins long. By the time I got to the birthing suite I was ready to go, no time for antibiotics and my daughter was out! If I’d waited for my water to break I’d had delivered at home because it broke on the contraction where her head was birthed!

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  • My first was a similar story but as she was breech I had to have a C section-she was stuck due to being half way down my birth canal, lots of pulling and tugging resulted in a healthy baby girl. After 2 hours of first going into labour and being given drugs to slow down the labour!

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  • Like you it was a fast a furious second labour – nothing like the first – but we did just manage to get to the hospital and then they had the problems as there was no way I could get to the labour ward even in a fast moving wheelchair. But she is my darling girl and she and I are terribly close now. Had two more later, but none as scary as my second delivery.

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  • My labours were a horror story – but the results were simply outstanding and fabulous!

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  • Wow! That is crazy! My two daughters were born by c-section as they were breech.

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  • My 2nd labour was 58 minutes! I had no pain before my waters broke and dilated 7cm in 45mins. I pushed for 5mins and my 2nd little boy was here! Then another 10 or so minutes out came to placenta.. i feel ya when you say the contractions were excrusciating! I much prefer my 1st labour which was 4hours atleast i had time to mentally prepare!

    Reply

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