Emily's precipitous [15 minutes!] labour story
I believe you can never fully prepare yourself to bring a baby into this world. Every birth is different, and things may not go to plan.
When I had my first baby in February 2020, I spent countless hours googling everything I needed to know about giving birth, watching other people’s experiences on YouTube, and going to birthing classes.
I honestly thought I was prepared, but when I woke up one morning with blood, I started to panic and called the birthing suite. They explained it was probably my ‘show’ and labour may begin soon, but I should come in to get checked to make sure everything was fine.
On my way to the hospital, I started to get contractions, the pain wasn’t bad, but I just felt uncomfortable. When I arrived at the hospital, I was monitored for over an hour and then checked to see if I was dilated. To the midwife’s surprise, I was 7cm, so she moved me into the birthing room.
After not progressing for 4 hours, my midwife ruptured my waters, and about 3 hours later, it was time to push. I pushed for nearly 2 hours and then had my beautiful baby boy in my arms. It only took 11 hours from when I had my ‘show’ to holding my baby.
When we found out I was pregnant with baby #2, we decided to keep the gender a surprise, as baby #1 was supposed to be a girl! My pregnancy started with no complications, but once I got to 34 weeks, I started getting regular tightenings with no pain. I ended up in the hospital three times to be monitored because the tightenings were less than 5 minutes apart and lasting for 1 minute.
The doctors said I probably have an irritable uterus, and this will continue until I give birth. At 36 weeks, I started to develop symptoms of Symphysis pubis dysfunction. The pain was excruciating. I struggled to walk, sit, roll over and even get dressed. Nothing I did helped with the pain, and I just had to deal with it. At 38 weeks, my midwife offered a stretch and sweep, which I happily accepted and to her disbelief, I was 3-4cm dilated.
I became extremely excited, thinking I would go into labour very soon, but unfortunately, I didn’t. I had another stretch and sweep at 39 weeks, and the midwife mentioned that bub is VERY low and the shoulders are starting to descend into the birth canal. I became excited, but again, I still didn’t go into labour.
On Thursday at 40+3 weeks, I noticed I hadn’t felt many movements, so my midwife had me come in to get monitored. After being monitored and making sure bub was fine, the doctor checked and confirmed I was now 4-5cm dilated, which was a shock to her.
She asked if I was positive that I wasn’t in labour, to which I replied, ‘I don’t think so’! We discussed being induced, and I was booked in for Sunday.
On Friday night, I jumped into bed and started excitingly ticking off my list to make sure I had everything packed and ready for Sunday and once I was done, I snuggled in under the blankets. I was woken up by the worst pain I had ever experienced and instantly knew I was in labour. I woke my partner up because I wanted to be prepared if we needed to go to the hospital, as we live almost an hour away and we needed to drop our son at his grandparents on the way.
Shortly after, I had another contraction, and it was so intense I knew I needed to call the birthing suite. My midwife told me to come in, and as I was on the phone, I had another contraction, but it felt different to the others. I couldn’t tell if it ended. Whilst I was getting dressed, my partner woke up our son and strapped him into his car seat and started loading all the bags into the car.
I started to make my way out the door when I knew something wasn’t right. I ran straight into the bathroom and sat on the toilet. I had an overwhelming amount of pressure, so I stood up and pulled my pants down and reached my hand down when all of a sudden my waters broke, and bubs head popped out.
I screamed out to my partner that the head was out and to call the ambulance. He comes racing into the bathroom on the phone, and as
I’m looking at him, terrified. I hear him say, ‘baby is out’… I look down, and to my disbelief, I see my baby on the floor on the bath mat.
Our baby BOY was born on Saturday morning, 17 April 2021, at 1:10 am after a 15-minute labour. As I am standing there in complete shock, my partner is grabbing towels, making sure his airway is clear and keeping him warm.
I managed to get down on the ground, and my partner passed him to me, and he went out to the car to get our other son and wait for the ambulance. Once the ambulance arrived, my partner cut the cord and baby, and I were loaded into the back of the ambulance.
The drive to the hospital felt like an eternity, and once we arrived at the hospital, the midwife met me in the birthing room. As it had been over an hour since I gave birth, I had developed a clot behind my placenta and haemorrhaged as it was delivered.
Everything was a bit of a blur for a while until the paediatrician came in and told us they would need to take bub to the NICU as a precaution to be monitored because he landed on the floor, and they will need to do a few tests.
I made my partner go with him, so he wasn’t alone and hopefully to give as much skin to skin as possible.
Bub was in the NICU for 6 hours, and everything was perfect until his oxygen levels dropped dramatically, and he was placed on oxygen and was given antibiotics. The doctor explained that due to how fast the labour was, there wasn’t enough time for his body to transition from breathing fluid to air.
After a few hours with no improvement, he was placed onto the CPAP machine to give him the extra help he needed, and plans were being made to have him transferred to a different hospital.
Luckily after a few hours, he was stable enough and would no longer need to be transferred. He eventually came off the CPAP machine and went to high flow oxygen, and then went to low flow oxygen and on day 5, he no longer needed help, and we were able to go home and settle into being a family of 4.
I have never heard the term ‘Precipitous labour’, and nothing could have ever prepared me for it, but I am so lucky to have my healthy little boy and a crazy story to go with!