This is a FABULOUS birth story! This story is written by Katie's husband, Mike, and I think it catches the joy and excitement and awesomeness of birth.
Katie woke up on Friday morning at 4:20, having to go to the bathroom, which is standard procedure for the 40th week of pregnancy. When she took a little while to return to bed, I groggily asked her if she was okay. She said, “I think I wet my pants.” Waking up a little more, I asked, “Did your water break?” “I don’t think so,” was the reply. “Okay,” I said, believing her, and rolled over to go back to sleep. After a couple minutes, Katie said to me, “These contractions are getting stronger.” Contractions? She didn’t tell me she was contracting! I hopped out of bed and hurried to the bathroom to put my contacts in so I could see what was going on. “We gotta go!” I told her. So we began trying to get dressed, find phone numbers, and round up essentials all at the same time.
I called Pastor Tony and his wife, Jan since we had planned for Jan to come over and stay with the kids should we have to head for the hospital in the middle of the night. A sleepy Tony answered the phone and I asked for Jan. “She’s in the loo,” he replied. That’s odd, I thought. It’s 4:30 in the morning and she’s up getting ready for work already? We came to find out that as soon as the phone rang, Jan shot like a rocket out of bed to get ready exclaiming, “It’s Katie, it’s Katie! I’ve gotta go!” Since Jan had to leave for work at 7:30, we also called Carrie to come and relieve her, not knowing how long we would be at the hospital.
So after I was dressed, the car was loaded, and the calls were made, I went back to see how Katie was doing. I found her bent over the edge of the bed in a contraction, still not dressed yet. So I tried to help her as she fought me off until the contraction let up. So, finally we were ready to go, but Jan had not arrived yet. I took Katie out to the car to get her in, and James, our neighbor, came jogging across the road. Katie must have called him! Thank goodness, I thought. We gotta go!! So I put Katie in the front seat of the car and James went in to watch the kids as we zoomed off to the hospital. I didn’t put Katie in the back seat, because of course we weren’t going to deliver a baby in my new car. That only happens in movies.
I thought it wise to take the A-roads instead of the back roads. I didn’t think that bumpy roads, stop and go, and frequent turns were going to help our situation at all. As we set out, Katie called the Labor & Delivery ward to let them know that we were on our way and that we were about a half hour out. “My contractions are about two minutes apart,” she told them. It might just have been the rush of getting ready in a hurry, but I’m sure they were more like 45 seconds to a minute apart. I’m driving as fast as I dare, without paying for an ambulance ride in speeding tickets. Katie is praying, mostly in tongues but I caught a “Please, Jesus, calm these contractions down a little!” here and there.
As we were coming up on five ways roundabout (over halfway there), Katie’s water must have broke. I heard, “Oh, Jesus!” and Katie later told me that she thought that is when Bethany crowned. I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time, because I wouldn’t have known what to do. The next thing I knew, Katie said, “She’s here…” and I asked her if she wanted me to pull over. I looked at the shoulder, which was about a foot wide on the side of a 70mph highway. No, it was too dangerous to pull over here. I looked up and saw a sign for the rest area at five ways roundabout. I guess we could stop there to have a baby. But when Katie didn’t answer me, I looked over, and she already had a baby in her lap! I glanced at the clock in my car: 5:12am – that made labor only about 30 – 45 minutes. I turned on my hazard lights and sped up a little as Katie scrambled to pull a newborn out of her pants! I heard Bethany crying as Katie cranked up the heat in the car and snuggled her up to her chest. Good, she was crying, and that meant she was breathing, so there was no sense in stopping. Off to the hospital!
We dug our IDs out so we would not have to negotiate with the gate guard once we got to Lakenheath. I pulled up to the gate and handed the gate guard our IDs. “Alright,” was the reply, she handed back our IDs, and we were on our way. That’s odd, we thought. She didn’t even notice Katie had a newborn on her lap. Oh, well. Off to the hospital!
I pulled up to the door of the hospital, and left the car running as I ran inside. I ran up the stairs to the Labor & Delivery ward, thinking that they’d be ready since we called ahead. “We had her in the car,” I said. There was an awkward silence. They must have thought I said “I have her in the car,” referring to Katie, because we just stood there looking at each other. “Is she coming up?” one of them asked. “We had the baby in the car!” I clarified. All of a sudden, the three of them began scurrying about, grabbing gloves and towels and such, and they ran off ahead of me down to the car. They told me to get a wheelchair from the ER.
I went in to the ER and asked if I could borrow a wheelchair, and briefly explained what had happened. The captain working in the ER asked me if I helped Katie deliver the baby. I replied that I was driving and couldn’t have helped without pulling over. He then asked if I at least held her hand. No…I was driving. He then proceeded to give me a hard time for leaving my poor wife to deliver a baby by herself. Then the ER tech came out with a wheelchair and we were off to get Katie. Poor Katie then came out of the toasty warm car into the chilly spring morning air. She sat down in the wheelchair, and the towels weren’t going to keep her warm. Fortunately, I had brought her blankie (heart quilt made by Sarah) with us, and I wrapped her up as best I could in that. So the hospital crew took her up to a delivery room as I parked the car and hurried up behind them.
We obviously threw the L&D staff out of their normal routine, and chaos ensued. A nurse tried urgently to get Katie to birth the placenta as one of the techs attempted to get an IV in her arm. Katie probably didn’t need either one of those things to happen immediately, but I guess they thought that we were a big emergency, and that they had to hurry up and do everything they could. Katie finally convinced them to leave her alone and let the contractions continue. The second attempt got the IV in, which they used to give her pitocin, which she didn’t want in the first place, but there wasn’t any communication about that. And when the on-call doctor arrived, Katie was able to birth the placenta. The doctor cleaned her up, and did not need to do any stitching! Meanwhile, another tech was taking care of Bethany, cleaning her up and helping her breathe better. When things settled down a bit, they brought Bethany over to Katie to let her nurse.
By this time it was just about 7am, and Katie wanted me to go and get Sarah and Cory. When I got home, the kids were still sleeping. I thanked Carrie for coming to watch them, and she and Will left for home. I decided to let the kids sleep a little longer, and I went to post messages on Facebook. Of course, I couldn’t just post a couple posts and be done, and I ended up chatting with my cousin, Sarah for a little while, telling the story of our exciting morning. Katie called and said that they were going to wait to give Bethany a bath until I got back with Sarah and Cory. Since they were not awake yet, I got them up. Cory got up willingly, but Sarah pulled her blanket over her head, wanting to keep sleeping. But when I told her that Bethany wasn’t in mama’s tummy anymore and asked her if she wanted to go see her, Sarah went from sleepy to excited instantly. She was bouncing on her bed and chattering up a storm. So I got them dressed, fed, and back to the hospital we went.
When we got to the hospital room, Katie was showered, dressed, and not hooked up to any medical equipment anymore. She was walking around, and Bethany was asleep in her bassinet. Both kids wanted to hold Bethany, so we let them take turns until the staff came in to give Bethany a bath. Sarah was very excited to help with the bath. After visiting for awhile, I took the kids back home for a nap. When I got home, Katie called and said that she would be ready to be discharged at 6pm – after only 12 hours in the hospital! So, after naptime, I took the kids to collect the rest of my family from the hospital, and we came home at the end of a very exciting day.