Hey, hey! Happy Friday! I hope your Thanksgiving was fabulous! What are you doing today? Are you a black Friday shopper, or are you home in your PJ pants? We are celebrating family Christmas today since my parents are heading back to Africa next week and won’t be here during Christmastime! I’m sure I’ll have a post all about it up soon!
It’s also birth story friday! Last week, Kelly shared the birth of her first son, Jonah! Today, she is sharing the birth of her second, Karis! Guys…have you ever wondered how someone could give birth in the car? Well….read on! You will soon know!
Please don’t hesitate to follow Kelly on Instagram and make sure you also head to her blog!
Second Birth – Karis Emily Honea
By Kelly Honea
I had false labor this time for three mornings in a row prior to the delivery day. I was waking up having contractions, needing to urgently use the bathroom multiple times, walking around the bathroom, catching up on last minute things, reading my encouragement cards, breathing through some contractions for about 2-3 hours from 2am to about 5am. Then I would finally feel totally exhausted, lay back down, and all signs of labor stopped. This happened Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings, slightly varying in times. It was very frustrating at the time, however I am now certain that those days were probably getting me dilated/effaced and ready for labor ahead of time, instead of putting me through it all in one long whack the way it happened with Jonah, my first baby. I went to a chiropractor Tuesday and Wednesday, and it felt so good to have a lot of neck, back, and hip pain go away. I really wish I had been able to go to him during my second trimester when I was having a lot of strange nerve pain. I walked 2 miles on Monday and Tuesday, and 3 miles on Wednesday. My due date was Wednesday, and I was pretty bummed to have not had the baby yet.
Thursday I just felt tired of trying, tired of false labor, and my feet were sore from walking, so we just hung out around the house and cleaned. I was trying to rest in the fact that the baby would eventually come, and not get stressed that my doctor may try to push me to be induced if I went too far past my due date.
Friday morning I woke up about every hour from 3am onward with one big contraction and needing to use the restroom. I’d get up, clutching my belly, go to the bathroom, then feel better and go back to bed. At 7 am the contractions began for real, and were about 10 – 12 minutes apart. This felt different than the other days because the contractions began to be closer together and some pain wrapped around my back. I kept track of them and did other things for about 2 hours before deciding that this was really going to be the day, so I called our doula, Hannah, and told her. She came over, and I actually felt bad because I realized the contractions were just not that difficult yet. She was very sweet and encouraging, but she did not think I was going into real labor yet. This was around 11 am, and I made us turkey wraps with hummus for lunch. I was having contractions every 7-10 minutes, but was able to squat down and breathe, or stay standing and just sway, or put my hands on the counter and lean forward. I was very calm and happy and pain free between contractions. Hannah prayed over our food and for me and the labor and birth, and we ate turkey wraps. After that, I realized I hadn’t had any coffee yet. Because we were both anticipating this going into the wee hours of the morning, and I didn’t want to get a bad headache, I made us coffee.
Hannah is our doula. A doula is a birth coach. She helps you to stay focused on having the type of labor and birth you want. She is not trained or certified to deliver babies. She made that very clear from the beginning, and neither one of us ever expected that she might have to step into that role. We met several times during my pregnancy to talk about what I was really wanting to do during labor this time, how I wanted it to be different from the last time, and things that I found helpful and relaxing. So she knew, for example, already that I did not want to be talked to while I was having contractions, and that I love the smell of peppermint, and that words are very encouraging to me. She came over with a huge bag of helpful supplies, a birthing ball, and bean bag. She was totally prepared for a long day/night.
Hannah admitted later that she still wasn’t sure if this was false labor or not. John put Jonah down for a nap and she suggested we go walking to “try to get this going.” We put on coats and scarves and walked up and down the road for about half an hour. The crisp fresh air, sunshine, and clear blue skies were so calming. Walking felt really good. I would stop and squat down during contractions and then we’d continue walking and talking. I have no idea why I did not go outside and walk around while I was in labor with Jonah. It was May, beautiful weather, and I am sure that would have helped so much! Walking was definitely speeding things up, and now between contractions my back was sore, and I felt a real heaviness in my belly. We went home because I had to pee. After sitting very uncomfortably on the toilet, contractions got harder and a little closer and I said I was ready to stay inside so I could get on my hands on knees for some of the harder contractions.
Hannah suggested we put on a movie to help keep my mind off of the discomfort. John asked if he still had time to go help with baseball, if I minded, and I felt really good and told him,
“Sure- go for it!” He left around 1:45pm, and I was having contractions about 4 minutes apart. I chose to watch a Tim Hawkins DVD (a Christian comedian), because Hannah had told me that smiling and laughing in labor was a very good thing. However, I had a hard time enjoying the dvd because I kept having to pee and the contractions were getting harder. I was on my knees with my elbows on our bed (our bed is now very low to the ground), swaying my hips, sometimes laying my head down and breathing through contractions. Hannah squeezed my hips on some of the contractions and that felt better. She was so encouraging and kept saying,
“You’re doing a great job. I am so proud of you.”
I liked that and found it helpful. She had brought an oil diffuser and knew that I liked peppermint, so she got that going in our bathroom and it made the bathroom and bedroom smell so good! That was very relaxing and helpful. I felt like it made it easier for me to take nice deep breaths in through my nose. I felt so peaceful. I really credit this to the fact that many people had been praying for me. I also think that in my mind, I felt like I had at least 5 more hours to go, so I just wasn’t stressed yet. I had gotten plenty of sleep, I had energy, I felt good! John and Hannah both have said many times that I did not act like I was about to give birth. It was painful, but I felt like it was still the beginning of the pain, and I was fully prepared for it to get so much worse. Although I didn’t pull out my encouragement cards that day, because I was purposely saving them for the hospital – when I thought it would get really tough – I had been reading them almost every day prior to that.
I was timing my contractions using a baby app on my phone, but I wasn’t really looking at how far apart they were. I think I just liked to push the start/stop button because it felt productive. I had planned to go to the hospital when my contractions were about 3 minutes apart. Here’s what’s funny – they never were. I went straight from 4 minutes apart to 2 minutes and less. Mentally, that did not register for me. I think I was still just waiting to see 3. Hannah looked over at the phone and must have noticed that they were getting closer and she said,
“I think you need to call your husband to come back, and call your mom about getting Jonah, and we need to head on to the hospital.” I agreed and called them both. When I got off the phone with my mom I noticed contractions were getting a little harder to deal with, and I began a little moaning and actually had a few in sort of a yoga downward dog position. I think after that was the first time I said, “Maybe I need to use the bathroom again.” Sitting on the toilet was so uncomfortable though, I gave up. I hadn’t used the big bathtub yet, and I had heard so many wonderful things about laboring in the bathtub, so I said,
“I just want to take a bath.” By this time John was back and poor Hannah was like,
“I really think we need to go to the hospital now.” They both looked at me, as I ran myself a bath, while having intense contractions. In retrospect, I should have listened to Hannah and gone to the hospital as soon as John got home. Hannah was like,
“Ok, maybe you can spend ten minutes in there.”
Oh, but ladies, the bathtub was PHENOMENAL! I think that was when I was in transition, and the warm water felt soooooo good! I was in it less than ten minutes. Hannah made me get out and get dressed when I said,
“I think if I just poop, I’ll feel a lot better.” This was actually the beginning of the urge to push – but since I had never felt that before, I just thought I needed to poop. John got Jonah up from his nap and dressed. We loaded up into the car. Hannah was carrying the coat I had worn to walk in, and asked if I wanted to put it on, but I told her,
“No, but I’ll sit on it just in case my water breaks.”
We left the house and it was the middle of the stinking school zone about 5 minutes out on New Hope’s Main Drive. John had on his flashers and there wasn’t hardly any traffic, but the policeman crossing guard stopped us anyway. We’re very familiar with police stopping us while I’m in labor. However, this guy was trying to be the doctor,
“How far apart are her contractions?…I’ll call you an ambulance…Pull over right here…” It just made me SO mad because I still thought we could totally make it to the hospital! Besides, there is no way an ambulance would have had an easy time getting all the way down Main Drive in little New Hope, and no way I wanted to have a baby in front of a school (Elementary, Middle, and High all right there) letting out. John handled this a lot better than I would have if I was driving. Honestly, I would have dragged the cop with his hand on my car window until he let go because that’s how crazy-in-labor I was feeling. John pleaded,
“PLEASE! We’ve done this before, just let us go!” The cop finally did let us go after at least a 3-5 minute hold up with his hand in the car window, like holding us there. Then, we were behind a school bus the rest of the way down Main Drive. John was really mad about that and I kept saying,
We turned onto the highway, and I had a really hard contraction and was yelling. John said, “Do I need to pull over and call 911?” I said,
“No.” Then, my water broke after we passed Piggly Wiggly, and I said,
“Yes. Call 911, I think I need to push but I’m trying not to.” John’s voice started shaking as he talked and I knew he was freaked out. He kept saying,
“DON’T PUSH!” He answered the operator’s questions, and kept glancing at me, and hollering, “DON’T PUSH!” He arranged to meet the ambulance at the Jet Pep gas station in the middle of Owen’s Cross Roads. We pulled in and I asked John if he saw Hannah’s car. He did – she went right by us, and had not seen us stop. John was about to cry as he said,
“She passed us!” I called her and very urgently said,
“Turn Around! Come Back! My water broke! We’re not going to make it to the hospital! I need you to come back! We’re at the Jet Pep at the red light!”
John was still on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, and I heard him say,
“I can’t see anything, she has pants on!” John told us later that she had told him to look and see if he could see the baby’s head. When he told her I was wearing pants she said,
“Sir, you’re going to have to take her pants off.” John jokingly says he thought, “That’s how we got into this problem in the first place!” He was shaking and pulling my pants off.
We had a Honda Element – the boxy looking car. I was in the front passenger seat, because Jonah was in the back behind the driver side, in his car seat, eating cheerios happily. The new baby’s car-seat was buckled into the other passenger seat. I don’t even know where my legs went when John opened that passenger door, but my behind was on the edge of my seat, hanging out into the open door area. John said something bubbled out (more of my water breaking), and he almost threw up. He was about to cry, when thank God, Hannah jumped out of her car.
The volunteer fire department pulled in about the same time as Hannah, and it was a man who had graduated from High School with John, and his dad. I don’t remember them. Hannah asked if we could go inside the gas station because it was rather cold and very windy and she said she didn’t want the baby to get cold. There was no way I could walk at that point. We were barely pulled into the parking lot, and the door was at least 50 yards away. John knew I couldn’t make it, and we both refused to even try. She said, “OK then we need to turn up the heat and close the other doors and have blankets ready.” The volunteer fire guys had blue gloves on and Hannah asked them, “Have you ever done this before?” They both very wide-eyed shook their heads and answered,
“No.” Someone told me that one of them said, “And I really don’t want to start today!” I never heard that though, because I was mostly focused on Hannah and John. Someone asked if I needed or wanted to lay down and I shook my head no. Sitting upright was a great pushing position! Hannah (seeing that all the men looked terrified) said with confidence,
“Well, I have been to a few births, so I guess I can do it. Do you have any more gloves?” She pulled on a pair and looked down and said, “OK, I can see her head, so this is going to happen. You can do this.” That was all I needed to hear because I had been panting so hard trying not to push up until that moment. John and the men stood behind her or around her or something.
I yelled and pushed really hard once, maybe twice, and her head popped out. I hollered and pushed really hard again and her little body came out. John and Hannah both do not recall me yelling, and they both said that she seemed to fly out so fast. Her tiny body was a little blue, and the cord was loosely wrapped around her neck once. I was pulling my shirt up over my head while Hannah moved the cord quickly and put the baby straight on my chest. John was so scared and said, “Why is she blue? Why isn’t she crying?” Hannah reassured him it was normal and rubbed her little back vigorously, like you rub a wet dog with a towel, and she started crying. She was not nearly as nasty as you would think, I mean not covered in blood or anything! A woman jumped in the car on the driver side with blankets and put them over the baby and I. It was a very nice gesture, although they were covered in dog hair, as John was trying to find the baby blankets we had packed in our hospital bags in the trunk. He brought me her little cute soft pink blanket and I put it closest to her body because I knew I had washed it, while trying to wipe off the unwanted dog hair. We kept rubbing her little red back to make her wake up and cry and breathe. John found one of her hats and we put it on her to keep her head warm. The volunteer guys wanted to cut the cord and Hannah told them they could not do that, we needed to wait until the ambulance got there. She then made sure we closed all the car doors and kept the baby warm. The baby started opening her mouth and rooting around, so I got her to breastfeed a little while we waited for the ambulance.
Karis Emily was born at 3:15pm, in the Jet Pep parking lot of Owen’s Cross Roads, Alabama, on January 17, 2014.
Karis means Grace – and oh how we were given so much grace in her birth!
The ambulance showed up at 3:27pm, and they moved me to a stretcher, leaving the baby on my chest for warmth. I clutched her tightly, and kept rubbing her back. In the ambulance the man was very nice and kept giving the baby oxygen because although her body was very pink, her face still seemed a little blue. She wanted to eat though, so he let me take off the little mask and feed her more. I guess we got to the hospital around 4:00ish. They said the blue on her face was actually bruising from being born so fast, her face must have hit my pelvic bone hard enough to bruise. She weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces, the exact same as Jonah. Although, she had nursed some in the car, and some in the ambulance, and she seemed so very much smaller than Jonah, that I suspect it may have been slightly less.
She is 20 inches long, and has a perfectly round head. Jonah was 21 and a half inches and had a cone head for a long time from being in the birth canal for so long with me pushing before I was ready. Feeling Karis exit my body was really a very incredible, not painful at all, type of physical sensation, of bones and muscles and water gushing out. I did not feel that with Jonah, and I’m not sure if it’s because I had a local anesthetic or if it’s because he did come slower. I know that it’s a sensation I will never forget. Because she was born so fast, she had a lot of bruising on her cheeks and nose the first two days of her life. The bruising on her face contributed to jaundice, so she had to be under the phototherapy lights in between feedings for one last day. We had a photographer who was supposed to come to do “Birth photography,” as part of practice for her she was including it with our newborn pictures, but since I gave birth before the hospital, she just met us there. All of the professional pictures here are from Ashlea Chance, of Southern Made Photography.
I wanted an all natural, medication-free birth, and oh my, I got it! Karis was beautifully protected because my water broke right before she was born, and Hannah was there with more experience than any of us. She had never caught a baby, and was very clear when we signed our contract that she does NOT catch or deliver babies. This was totally my fault, because I just didn’t think I was that close. God protected us, and we are all safe and healthy.
Hannah was such a blessing to our family! Even if we had made it to the hospital and delivered there, Hannah’s encouragement before and during labor was invaluable. She has also provided excellent postpartum support. She stayed with us in the hospital for a few hours, and then came back the next day. She brought a wealth of wisdom on breastfeeding and helped to correct a latch problem Karis was having (which caused a lot of pain, until Hannah showed us how to teach the baby to fix it). She also brought a goody bag for me which included this lovely nursing support tea, and this natural sitz bath spray (that honestly works even better than the Americaine I got at the hospital), and some healing herbs from this company to make an herbal sitz bath at home that gave instant relief. Then she came to visit us after we got home as well, bringing us dinner, helping play with Jonah for a little while, washing our dishes, and being encouraging. She has been a fantastic help to us! This is her personal doula webpage and her facebook page. I cannot say enough good things about this lady and her doula services!
I made this error (having my baby in the car) because I was basing much of what happened on my first labor and delivery experience with Jonah. In a nutshell, the biggest things that happened with Jonah that had a great effect on my outlook were this:
- We went to the hospital too early and got sent home. This time I was determined to not get sent home again.
- When we went back to the hospital SEVEN hours later, and my contractions were about 2 minutes apart and lasting 2 minutes long, I was exhausted, I was still only dilated to 5cm. We were admitted and I requested Nubain, a narcotic drug that gave me some rest and allowed me to sleep between contractions for about 2 hours, and then wore off and I was back to a natural labor. This time I was really set on not having to ask for any drugs, so I was trying to stay at home as long as possible before I reached that exhausted phase.
- As soon as my water broke in the hospital, the nurse said I had dilated immediately from 7cm to 10cm and I was ready to push. However, I do not think I was ready to push, because I did not feel the urge to push at all. In fact, I believe my body was trying to rest a little before delivery. Instead, I followed doctor’s and nurse’s orders and pushed when they told me to push for about 25 minutes. That is not bad for a first time delivery, but because I pushed then, before I was ready, I had no idea what it felt like to actually needto push.
I have to mention the irony of my dad telling me that I should keep an “emergency birth kit” in my car. I was around 36 weeks pregnant and my dad kept telling me how huge I was, and said that he had seen on Dr. Oz that all pregnant women should keep an emergency kit with blankets, scissors, and other things in their car “just in case you have the baby in the car.” He told me this at least twice. I specifically remember telling him,
“Dad, I’m not going to do that. No one has a baby in a car. That’s just ridiculous.” Yes.
Yes it was a little ridiculous. A beautiful, ridiculous, messy, awesome, blessed birth.
Karis’ facial bruising and puffiness went way down, and by the time we got home with her she was absolutely beautiful. We had asked people close to us to pray that I would not have to be induced for going past my due date, because I wanted this labor to go completely drug-free. God answered those prayers in the most unexpectedly exciting way!
OH MY WORD! Thank you for sharing this story, Kelly! I am so proud to now say that I share ANY type of birth on my blog- c-section, unmedicated, epidural and even birth in the car/parking lot!
As always…to submit a birth story, just email me at [email protected]
You can read many more birth stories submitted to the blog by clicking here.