Ellie’s Birth Story

This is THE funniest birth story I have ever read. I literally was crying from laughing so hard! You will see that it is written by both parents as indicated by the differing colored paragraphs. Enjoy!

Ellie’s Birth Story 

Angie’s Point of View (aka Mama)  Tuesday, January 15, 2013:  The adoption case worker is coming to the house at 7:45pm to conduct the home study required for me to legally become Ellie’s second parent.  About fifteen minutes before she is due to arrive, I experience what I think is an extremely clogged right ear.  It is sudden and severe.  I mention it to Christin and also to the case worker since I feel like I am speaking louder than normal.  The home study goes well and after the case worker leaves at 9:00pm, I have a bite to eat.  The normal, internal sound you hear when chewing is not present on my right side.  So I ask Christin to whisper into my right ear…nothing…no sound.  Christin is worried and wants me to go to Urgent Care right away.  I tell her I will sleep on it and see how it is in the morning.  This is not an acceptable response.  We settle on me emailing our primary care physician.  After I send the email around 9:30pm, I stand up and immediately fall against the wall about three feet from our bed.  Christin says to sit back down.  “I can’t.”  The intense dizziness hits me like a ton of bricks and I am unable to walk unassisted.  Christin calls our primary care physician and he advises that an ER trip is the best care option at this point.  Now, I am so dizzy and also becoming increasingly nauseated at this point, that I am relying on my full-term (as of today!) pregnant wife to get me dressed and ready for the car ride to the ER.  Moving any part of my body, even to speak, is more effort than I have in me.  I know the vomiting is only moments away.  I am unable to even sit and am lying on the bathroom floor.  I feel as though I am paralyzed by a spiral…this is the best way I know how to describe it.  Christin is trying her best to get me up and ready for the trip to the ER, but the dizziness and nausea are debilitating.  I cannot move, can barely speak.  Breathing even seems to make me nauseated.  By now an ambulance is on the way to get me.  I am too far gone for Christin to be able to get me up and in the car.  At about 11:30pm (I only know the time because Christin tells me later), my beautiful, calm, and full-term as of this day, pregnant wife says to me… “Now, I don’t want you to panic…but my water just broke.”  

Christin’s Point of View (aka Mommy) Tuesday night, January 15th: Angie and I are anxiously awaiting the social worker to arrive for our home visit as required for Angie’s second parent adoption of Ellie.  The social worker is running late so Angie and I casually work on the puzzle we started a few days ago.  I notice that Angie keeps pulling at her ear, like one would do after swimming when clogged with water, and she admits that her ear feels blocked.  No big deal though, she must be getting a cold or something.  The social worker finally arrives at 7:45pm and we pass the interview with flying colors and are told that we can now enter the next step of the adoption – filing for a court date and waiting for Ellie’s arrival (my due date is three weeks from today).  The social worker finally leaves around 9:00pm and we are exhausted so we start to prepare for bed.  Angie hasn’t had dinner yet so she is snacking and then tells me that she realizes now that it’s not just that her ear feels clogged but that she cannot hear anything in her right ear.   She asks me to whisper into her right ear and doesn’t hear me…absolutely nothing.  I tell her that we need to go to the Emergency Room as it is not normal to have no hearing.  She refuses.  I finally convince her to contact our family doctor for advice (knowing full well that he will insist she go to the ER or at the very least some late night urgent care clinic).  Angie emails the doctor with her symptoms.  After emailing she gets up to put the computer away and looses her balance and seems paralyzed and unable to move.  She’s grasping the wall.  “Sit back down” I say.  “I can’t” is her response.  Now I’m demanding that we go to the ER but Angie is stubborn and still refusing.  She wants to wait until the morning so I call our family doctor on the phone and he finally convinces her she needs to go to the ER.  Finally! I walk her to the bathroom so I can help her get out of her PJs and dressed.  I tell her I’ve got to run to the bathroom quickly but I’ll be right back to help her get ready.  While in the bathroom, my water breaks – it’s now 10:45pm.  I’m in complete shock!  I text our doula, who we’ve been meeting with for several months in preparation for the birth, and while waiting for a response I go back to help Angie.  She’s now sitting on the bathroom floor so I help her get dressed.  After getting her shoes on, my phone rings – it’s our doula – so I tell Angie I’ll be right back and sneak off to talk to her.  I tell our doula my predicament – Angie needs to go to the ER and my water broke – but unfortunately the doula is sick with the flu and a fever of 1020F.  Really?!? What are the chances my wife is ill and so is the doula?!?  It’s ok, it will all be ok.  Next I call my midwife to report that my water broke.  She tells me that I’m a first time mom and most likely it could be as much as twenty-four hours before labor actually starts so if I want to take Angie to the hospital I can, just keep in touch with her.  OK, I can do that.  So I go back to Angie.  She has gotten significantly worse.  She’s now lying on the bathroom floor and can’t seem to get up.  I tell her that if she doesn’t get up right now and let me take her to the ER, I’m calling an ambulance to take her.  This is my way of seeing how bad she is, as Angie would hate for me to call an ambulance for her.  Yet, Angie can’t get herself up even under this threat and starts to vomit and sweat profusely.  So I make good on my threat and leave her again to call an ambulance.  Now’s the hard part because I have to get her into the ambulance and it’s been almost an hour now since my water broke.   I have to confess to her that I’m in labor.  I return to the bathroom and say “Now, I don’t want you to panic, but my water just broke.” 

Angie’s (aka Mama) Point of View…continued Of course I panic.  I know that there is no possible way Christin is joking with me.  Not now.  She goes on to explain that she has called the members of the birth team and she is cleared to drive to the hospital and wait with me.  I feel awful that I am useless to her at this point and she has to take care of me!  Having attended SEVERAL childbirth classes and conducting a dissertation’s worth of our own research, we both thought we had time.  This was our first child and labor can last up to 36 hours in some cases.  We had time to get me to the ER and get back home for the peaceful, intervention-free, water birth we had planned.  We’ve got this.  I can’t say this… but I am thinking it.  The paramedics arrive and as soon as they move me, I have to vomit.  Any type of movement was just horrible.  I know the 10 minute ride to the emergency room will mean certain death for me.  I’m actually thinking at this point that it would be pretty darn ironic for me to die on Ellie’s birthday.  Internally, I am pleading with them to knock me out before we move an inch.  Thankfully, the paramedics give me anti-nausea medication once we are in the ambulance and then wait for it to kick in before they drive.  I am so very grateful for this.  Christin is following the ambulance…  

Christin’s (aka Mommy) Point of View…continued Of course she now looks completely panicked.  I tell her this is no big deal – we will run to the hospital, get her treated and then we’ll be ready to welcome our baby into the world – no problem.  I calm her down and then tell her I need to leave her for a few minutes to get ready to go to the hospital.  I’m now racing feverishly around the house to catch the cats and lock them in the utility room, open the garage and get my car out-of-the-way so that the stretcher can get in the house, pack a bag for the hospital trip (a pregnant woman in labor needs some snacks for crying out loud!), find Angie’s insurance card, call my midwife back to tell her that I’m going to the hospital with Angie, try calling multiple friends for help but everyone is sleeping without their ringer on, and finally calling my mom to ask for help.  My mother lives in Key Largo, about 4.5 hours away from us, and has just driven home last night after visiting for the weekend to throw us a baby shower.  My conversation with my mom goes something like this – “I’ve called an ambulance for Angie and my water broke, please come I need help.”  It’s now 11:30pm and my mom springs into action and heads for us.  At about midnight the ambulance shows up and picks up Angie, and I follow it to the hospital.  On the way to the hospital I call my mom to give her an update and also give her another shock – you should know before you get here that I’m having a home birth.  “What?!?”

Angie’s (aka Mama) Point of View…continued I believe I am admitted to the hospital around 12:22am.  It is officially Ellie’s birthday although unbeknownst to us at this point.  The hospital is cold both in the physical and empathetic senses.  I am so glad we chose a home birth.  I cannot imagine Christin being in such a foreign, cold place to experience such a beautiful event like the birth of our daughter.  Christin finds me and we wait.  And wait.  And wait.  I think it’s after 2am when the doctor finally comes in to examine me.  During the waiting period, I am trying to lie as still as I can.  If I even move my head a little, vomiting ensues.  I am watching Christin though and can see that she is having contractions.  I ask her how far apart and how is the pain.  She assures me that she is fine and is handling them with no problems.  I am still watching her though and she is pausing while texting and speaking.  There is a look on her face that I haven’t seen before.  She finally tells me that her contractions are close and she has been in contact with our midwife.  I’m stunned again!  I am WORTHLESS to my wife who is in labor!  And here we are in the place we did not want to be on this day!   Christin is so amazing though…I know if anyone can hide labor pains while in the hospital in order to sneak out and have an unmedicated home birth while her wife is incapacitated in the ER, it’s her.  

Christin’s (aka Mommy) Point of View…continued I’m finally reunited with Angie in a room in the ER at about 12:30am.  I’m planning a natural home birth but now I’m in the hospital and secretly in labor.  I can’t tell anyone because I fear they will either try to admit me or make me leave Angie, neither of which is acceptable.  As is typical of emergency care, Angie and I now wait until 2:00am just to see a doctor.  Angie is in bad shape and cannot move her head without vomiting.  She keeps asking me if I’m having contractions and at first I say no, not yet (although they had started at about 12:15am) and then finally admit to having contractions that are about 8 minutes apart at about 2:00am (they were really 4-5 min apart by then – closer than I would have anticipated at this point).  Sometimes a little fudging of the truth is necessary.  We needed to focus on Angie at this point – I was fine and knew I’d leave when I had to.  And after all, I’m a first time mom and had been told to prepare myself for a long labor…

Angie’s (aka Mama) Point of View…continued The doctor has ordered some medication for me and a nurse comes in shortly after him to administer them.  I’m so tired, I am in and out of sleep.  Christin is becoming increasingly more active, walking around and checking her phone.  She has to sneak out of the hospital to speak with the midwife and her mom.  Around 3am, she tells me that she needs to get to the house.  “Go.” I tell her.  We decide to call my mom to come for me at the ER.  My mom lives about 3.5 hours away.  I am medicated enough to speak without vomiting at this point, thank goodness.  When she answers her phone, from a deep sleep no doubt since it is 3am, I explain to her that I am in the hospital and I need her to come down.  Now…here is my chance to speak in code…  I don’t want hospital staff to hear me say that Christin is in labor and must leave the hospital to go have a baby.  So, in my best 007 voice, I say… “Listen…when it rains, it pours.” “What?  It’s raining?”  “No.  Listen…Christin has to go home because when it rains it pours.”  This is completely clear to me in my medicated state that her water has broken.  Completely.  (Not until after the turmoil did I realize that “the dam broke” would’ve been better.)  Now my mother is THOROUGHLY confused.  She probably thinks I accidentally ate a hallucinogenic mushroom and landed in the ER.  I say “Nevermind.  I’ll text you.”  This method proves fruitful.  Mom gets it.  She’s on her way.  Whew.  

Christin’s (aka Mommy) Point of View…continued Approaching 3am I tell Angie my contractions are 4-5 min apart and I need to go home (really they are about 2-3 min apart – again, sometimes fudging the truth is necessary).  The doctor has been in to see Angie and has ordered a bunch of tests but nobody has come to get her for them yet.  We have no idea what is wrong or how long she’ll be in the hospital.  I feel absolutely awful having to leave but I have no choice really.  I suggest that we call Angie’s mom and get her to come to the hospital to be with her since I can’t.  Angie is trying to talk in some kind of code to her mother about “it’s raining and pouring” and getting increasingly frustrated that her mother doesn’t understand.  I’m a part of the mess and it still takes me three times of her saying this for me to understand that she’s trying to discreetly tell her mom that my water has broken and I am in labor – what kind of drugs are they giving in this place?!? I quietly suggest to Angie that she hang up and text her mother instead. This works.  At around 3am I text my midwife that I am headed home and asked her to come.  

Angie’s (aka Mama) Point of View…continued No sooner does Christin leave to drive home (in labor, by herself), than the testing begins.  Brain scan, chest x-ray, urine samples.  All of which require moving and all of which induce vomiting.  Everything takes 3 times as long as it should have due to my overwhelming need to vomit every time I am moved into a new position.  The most comfort I feel after Christin leaves is the brain scan tech, Josh, who keeps a hand on my shoulder while I puke on the scanner.  Man…I hope I don’t get billed for that.  After all the testing, the nurse medicates me again and I am in and out of sleep.  At some point the doctor comes in and tells me that I have not suffered a stroke (good!) and that they cannot find anything wrong with me and that I am being discharged.  What?!?  He says it is most likely Labrynthitis but that I should follow-up with an ENT to be sure.  Uh…okay.  I never see else after this.  No one comes to unhook me or give me discharge paperwork.  At 5:26am, Priscilla sends a pic of Christin and tells me that she is doing great.  I can see from the picture that birth is imminent.  I panic.  Here comes that stroke I didn’t have earlier.  I call for the nurse.  Nothing.  I call again louder.  Nothing.  I yell help.  A woman comes in and irritatedly asks if she can help me.  “I have been discharged by the doctor but no one has come to release me.”  “Ok.  I’ll get someone for you.”  Minutes go by.  I get another text from Priscilla saying that Heidi, the birth assistant, is coming to get me.  Ellie is being born any minute now, I think.  I get out of bed and “walk” into the hallway, leaning against the wall the entire time.  The woman who came to check on me is standing at the desk…ignoring me.  I call “nurse” a few times.  Still ignoring me.  “MA’AM!”  “I’m a pediatrician on call with the hospital.  You need a nurse.”  “THEN WHERE ARE THEY?!?!”  I’m pretty sure I sound like Darth Vader at this point.  I do not care who she is.  I care about my wife giving birth at home.  Period.  I start to make my way down the hall, IVs and all.  I will take it with me if I have to.  Just now, the nurse comes around the corner and says “Going somewhere?”  “Home.”  “With the IVs?”  “If necessary, but I’m leaving.”  She takes me back to the room and unhooks everything, gives me the discharge papers and walks out.  I “walk” out of the hospital.  As promised, Heidi is there to pick me up.  We arrive at the house at 6:30am.  

Christin’s (aka Mommy) Point of View…continued I drive home and arrive at about 3:15am.  My midwife arrives at 4:00am and my mom at 4:15am.  The labor is becoming a bit intense by this point and I have to admit it is a little unsettling to be home alone.  I am so glad my midwife and my mom are here.  My midwife keeps in touch with Angie by text.  At some point, Angie texts us that she is ready to be picked up at the hospital so our birth assistant rushes over to get her and bring her home.  Angie, although seriously drugged up and barely able to stand, finally arrives home at 6:30am.  Angie’s mom, who is seriously disoriented from driving in the middle of the night, arrives at the house at 6:55am.  Ellie joins us at 7:03am – our perfect little girl born in the water at home on January 16, 2013.   

 

713AM After Birth (2)

745AM After Birth 910AM Checkup (8)  

Afterward: Although born 3 weeks early, Ellie was a healthy 6 lbs 8 oz and 19 inches long.  Angie, who was on some serious drugs when she arrived home from the hospital, slept for the next 24 hours straight.  It took her 8 weeks to recover and get clearance from her doctor to drive and return to work due to the vertigo.  She will never recover the hearing in her right ear but hasn’t let this get her down or take away from the delight of getting to know her daughter.  As of March 18, Ellie is 8 lbs 13 oz and 22.5 inches long and a very healthy, happy and content baby.  In the last week, she has started to smile and coo which completely melts our hearts.  What a night we had.  We couldn’t make this story up if we tried.  It’s so crazy that we just had to share it with our family and friends by writing this birth story.

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 A special thanks to Reproductive Medical Group (Dr. Yeko and staff) and Rosemary Birthing Home (Priscilla, Harmony, Ivy and Heidi) for helping to make our dreams come true.  Thanks to Carmela and Cheryl for the great childbirth education – we were prepared and this allowed us to feel confident and at ease with the birth.  And most of all, thank you to our moms who both rushed to be with us in the middle of the night.  Our theme song in the last year as we’ve gone through this process is Little Wonders by Rob Thomas.  The chorus goes like this:

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
Time falls away
But these small hours
These small hours still remain

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