Isabella’s birth story is written with fresh memories unlike Kate’s birth story that was written two years after she was born when I started my blog. Although I remembered every detail of that day I didn’t, however, remember the pain as much because I had baby fever and by that point nobody remembers the pain. So Isabella’s birth story may be written a little more raw and less fairytale haha!
As you may know from my previous blog, I went far past my due date. One week and four days to be exact. I thought I would never go into labor and highly anticipated finally getting to meet my baby girl. If you missed my previous blog or are currently past your due date and need to relate, you can read about it here. Also, I’m going to try not to “compare” birth stories on here, but if you’d like to read Kate’s birth story to compare how different one labor from another can be click here.
Okay, lets get started! (This is a birth story you don’t want to miss so bear with me and all the details. It’s not your typical birth story…or should I say birth place?)
Isabella’s due date was May 2, 2019. I decided to start my maternity leave a week early. Even if I didn’t have Isabella early I knew that week could be used to get some last minute things ready and spend some extra one on one time with Kate. That week turned into another week which then turned into 4 more days… By that point I was scrubbing base boards and organizing closets, because what else was there to do when impatiently waiting to go into labor… Kate and I did get some fun outings and I will remember those times for years to come.
Mothers Day this year was May 12.. It was a tough day for me. Leading up to that day I really started to develop an attitude about it. I told my husband that if I didn’t go into labor before then I wasn’t celebrating that day. I didn’t want to go to church or celebrate with family. Honestly, I was just tired of talking about not having a baby yet. The closer the day approached I started to feel guilty. God has given me the gift of being a mom to Kate and even to my unborn child so there is a huge reason to celebrate. On Mother’s Day morning I was fighting tears. On the way to church, I received the sweetest text from a coworker and could no longer hold them back. I knew it was going to be a water works day with people telling me Happy Mother’s Day and our church always doing the sweetest tribute to mothers. While at church, I was talking to another coworker about it being a hard day and she said “I know it’s hard. You’re still a mom, you just thought you would be a different kind of mom today.” She was so right. I just had to be reminded to count my blessings.
Anyways, I made it through that day and was happily woken up at 4:00am the next morning!!
I was woken up by a slight cramping. It didn’t really hurt, just uncomfortable. I knew if it was something strong enough to pull me out of sleep it was probably something so I decided to look at the time just to see if it happened again how much time had passed.
Another cramping sensation. I looked at the time and thought “That’s 25 minutes apart. Even if it is labor I have a while until it gets to be ‘active labor'”.
Another cramping sensation. “Okay this might actually be something but I’ll wait a little longer until I wake up Joel. Next time it happens I’ll stand up to see if it gets stronger or at least stays.” (the difference between a Braxton Hick and contraction is while having one, if you change position and it doesn’t go away then it is a real contraction)
At this point I forget the exact time of the contractions but they were still about 15-25 minutes apart so I wasn’t worried. I decided to get out of bed and sit on the toilet(gravity is your best friend when in labor). Scrolled on Facebook, Instagram, emails, all the phone stuff..
Okay this has to be the real thing so I decided to go ahead and tell my husband I might be in labor. I wanted my mom to be apart of this birth as well, because her and Joel made a great team for me the first time. This time I wanted her to ride with us. I went ahead and called her first seeing that she had a 45 minute drive to our house. I had no sense of urgency for her to hurry and leave because my contractions were still very mild and far apart, but she said she would start getting ready and head my way just in case.
I stop keeping up with time at this point so from now on its going to be an estimate. Joel started using an app called “Contraction Timer” that he downloaded to time my contractions. I wanted to take a shower before leaving, but other than that we were never more prepared for the day of labor ha! All Joel had to do was put our bags in the car.
While I was in the shower my contractions started getting closer together so we went ahead and called my midwife. After explaining my contraction pattern, she said it was time to head her way.
All of a sudden it took a drastic turn. My contractions are anywhere from 3-7 minutes apart. Active labor. Fast. They have started to get a little more painful and back labor……again…… I didn’t think I would have it again, because Isabella’s position was different from Kate’s so I have no answers there. I texted my mom letting her know how quick they were becoming and she said she was on her way. My husband’s parents were going to keep Kate for us so while he was getting things in the car he called them to come get her.
Kate wakes up due to the noise happening so early and comes into my room where I am trying to get ready while dealing with contractions. I explain to her that her baby sister is going to be born today!! By now, some contractions feel pretty mild and then some are more intense. Kate starts to get excited and jumping up and down and an intense contraction comes. When you are in a lot of pain, nobody can be happy around you so her hyper activity was too much for the 30 seconds that contraction lasted haha!
Joel and I realize we need to go. The contractions were getting more frequent and becoming more intense. Mom was still about 15 minutes away and I wanted to wait on her so bad.
We took Kate to daycare (in our neighborhood) until his parents were able to get there to get her and we came back home to get my mom.
Finally we were heading to Chattanooga. An hour and 45 minutes away. My contractions slowed down to about 8 minutes apart which was fine with me for two reasons: we had a long drive and sitting down with back labor is not an ideal position. No position is ideal for back labor, but sitting or laying on your back is the worse.
My contractions are back to 3-5 minutes apart lasting about 30 seconds to a minute and hurting a whole lot more. I climbed into the back seat with mom so I could be on my knees leaning over the seat. It escalated pretty quickly from here. Like I said, gravity is your best friend. It wasn’t my intentions to speed up my contractions. We still had about an hour left until we got to my midwife’s house, but it was the only way that eased my contractions by a fraction.
Joel starts to speed it up a little knowing I might not make it. We ran into some road construction that slowed us down and I got so irritated. If we got under 90 mph I was immediately like why are you slowing down?!? Doesn’t everyone know I’m in labor and to get out the way!! haha!
My contractions got to be under 3 minutes apart and my mom didn’t think I would make it. Joel called our midwife and she asked him if I was moaning yet during contractions. He said yes and she said “we are packing our things and coming to you.” Knowing I would probably be delivering in our car didn’t even phase me. The thought of having contractions for another hour sounded impossible, so knowing I would deliver in less than that was the only thing that kept me going. At this point, I was ready to go to the hospital and have an epidural… (Just because I choose a birth with no drugs does not mean I don’t think about it often. Having a home birth practically forces me to have the birth I want without giving in haha!)
Joel and our midwife talked on the phone until they found a common place we could both pullover to. It happened to be an exit with nothing but a gas station/fireworks building. Thankfully there was a shaded area to pull under. Joel got everything out of the back of our car and by that time our midwives pulled up and started laying out towels and pads. I then climbed, again, over the middle seats to the very back. They wanted to check to see how dilated I was.. not a fun situation when your contractions are two minutes apart and you don’t want to be touched. She said I had no cervix left, which I didn’t really know if that meant fully e-faced or dilated, but my mom leaned over to me and said “Did you hear that? You’re 10 centimeters!”
They told me I could start pushing. Pushing is like the best mental feeling. Knowing that the pain is about to end and you get to meet your sweet baby is the only thing you can think about. One thing I wanted to do differently this time, while pushing, from my first birth was to be patient and push slowly to prevent tearing. Thankfully I stuck with that plan, because I didn’t tear! I pushed for 20 minutes. My water broke on one of my first pushes. I’m so thankful my water stays intact until the end. I’ve always heard the contractions are harder if your water is broken and honestly I don’t think I could have handled anything more painful.
Sweet Isabella Raine Cothran was born, happy and healthy, in the back of our car off Interstate 24 at Exit 161 in the parking lot of Big Daddy’s Fireworks/Gas station somewhere in Tennessee. We were all more calm than you can imagine given the circumstances. My midwives made everything seem so normal and calm. Joel, myself, or my mom didn’t have to think about how to deliver a baby or watch for any unusual signs, because we were in the hands of professional midwives who knew exactly what to do. I just happened to be in the back of a car instead of a comfy bed.
**Pause cute baby pictures for our real life birth place.**
(The last time my midwife had to deliver a baby in a car was 4 years ago. Her daughter who is finishing up midwifery school and taking over her practice at the end of this year had never been called to deliver a baby in a car, so I was able to give her some extra practice!)
After using a whole container of COLD wet wipes to clean both me and Isabella up some, we just laid there waiting for the placenta to be delivered.
About 30 minutes later, after delivering the placenta, we packed everything back up. Isabella and I stayed in the back laying down cuddled with each other as we drove back to my midwife’s house to rest and finish up the rest of the after birth process. This was such a relaxing time. I was able to just lay down and rest with Isabella. The midwives continued to monitor us and check temperatures, blood pressure, heart rate, etc. but mostly we just chatted about me giving birth IN A CAR, ate some food, and rested.
After weighing and measuring Isabella at 7 lbs 14 oz and 22 in long, we were able to pack our things and go home! This is one of the best parts, in my opinion, of having a midwife home birth; getting to go home 4 hours after giving birth. There is nothing better than just being able to go home and recover in your own bed.
They gave us my placenta (which I never know what to do with). One thing I found to be very interesting was the size. Isabella’s was about half the size that Kate’s was. After delivering it, I heard my midwife say it was a 42 week placenta and after seeing it I assumed it was because of the size. Most people know it can become dangerous to exceed 42 weeks pregnant with one of the reasons being the placenta deteriorating and not providing the proper nutrients anymore to the baby. She was also super dry, which they told me is common for post term babies.
From my first contraction to her birth was 9 minutes shy of 5 hours. She made me wait 11 more days, but when she was ready she came quick! I have no doubt this sweet girl of ours will continue to keep us on our toes in life and I’m so excited to have a front row seat.
My little sister gave birth to her 3rd child in the back of her car, because she couldn’t make it to the hospital.(I wrote about her birth stories that you can read about here.) And my grandmother was born in a taxi. I would say my family doesn’t have a great track record of making it to our birth destination!
Did you have a crazy birth story? I want to hear! Share your story in the comments below! Thank you for reading!!
Newborn session pictures photographed by 2B Photography! She seriously made it impossible to pick favorites and I am so thankful to have these for the rest of our days.