Ok, so this title is a bit misleading. The baby wasn't actually born inside the car, but rather on the curb of Interstate 5. I was not the doula for this birth, but I was one of the assistants to the midwife. This is how it came about:
I got a call at 10:54 p.m. asking me if I was available to come to the maternity center. A mama's water had broken, and she was on her way there to give birth. As usual, I was eager to go!
Since 11:00 at night tends to be a relaxing time for me, I happened to be wearing one of my husband's comfy "bachelor shirts" (since I find guy shirts to be bigger and more comfortable than the constraining cut of ladies' shirts). On this very manly shirt, there was a picture of a sexy blond waitress posing beside an old car. I am just lazy enough to hate the process of changing clothes, so I thought it wouldn't hurt to cut corners a bit. I kept the bachelor shirt on, put on an old pair of jeans, slipped into a pair of boots, picked up my birth bag with an extra pair of scrubs inside, and ran out the door.
"I can always change when I get there," I thought to myself. "There is usually a bit of extra time between arrival, setting up, and the actual birth."
As I arrived into the dark parking lot of the center, before I could even stop the car, the midwife came running out to me. She saw immediately who I was, and apparently not being the person she had wished for, turned around and ran back towards the sidewalk.
"I knew it, she hates me!" I thought, always the pessimist. It was unusual, however, that she should be waiting on the curb of the parking lot instead of preparing up in her office.
So I called out, "Isn't she here yet?" I thought for sure the laboring mama would have arrived before me. She didn't have as far to come, and she got an earlier start.
"No!" The midwife called back in an excited voice. "She delivered in the car!"
Her voice echoed over and over in my mind as I tried to realize what the truth behind her words meant. She delivered in the car...baby delivered in the car...baby born in the car!
"Oh my goodness, this is awesome!" I thought. I must admit I was a bit envious of these circumstances. I mean, what an incredible birth story to be able to brag about for the rest of your life! (Although I can't think of much worse than laboring in a small, cramped car.)
I grabbed my bag with the scrubs in it, ran up to join the others, and we waited only about 60 seconds before we saw a glowing pair of headlights racing around the corner, speeding right towards us. As the car got closer, I noticed it had two flat tires. (The daddy told us later that he had run the wrong way over the severe tire damage guards.)
The driver screeched to a stop in front of us. As the car doors opened, we crowded around the passenger seat, and there was mama, half sitting, half reclining, cradling a small bundle in a towel. She had no pants on and was sitting on a folded shirt. I saw blood dripping down her leg and across the leather seat. Shamefully, I thought, "At least leather is easy to clean up."
We helped the mom into the wheelchair that had been brought down. The placenta was still inside her, she told us, but she felt it coming soon. "We don't even know what the baby is yet!" She kept saying. "We didn't even look!"
She was shaking furiously from all the energy, but she was happy and lively, and chatted the whole way up to the center. She told us how she couldn't help but start pushing while they were still in the car, so she took of her pants, and left her underwear around her ankles. She said her husband pulled over on the side of the interstate, she fell out of the car, took her undies off from around her ankles and threw them to the side. Daddy came around, saw the baby's head, grabbed a towel he had brought with them, and out came his child, right into his arms. Right on the side of Interstate 5.
"Now I have to go back and retrieve her tossed underwear," the daddy said, calm and collected, "before someone finds it and thinks someone has been murdered or something."
Once in the center, we brought mama and baby straight to the bed, delivered her placenta, and gave the baby clean blankets. Then the big moment came: Daddy and Mama looked at the naked baby and exclaimed: "It's a boy!"
I love it when a baby is born, and the mama and daddy look together to see, for the first time, if they have a new son or a new daughter! It is a thrill for everyone in the room!
Baby was healthy, mom and dad were ecstatic, and within 2 hours we put the new mama back in the wheelchair so she could go home. The grandparents came within this time in order to meet new Baby Boy S, and they had graciously offered the new family a ride home in their clean car.
As we were cleaning up the center, I looked down at my clothes, my husband's provocative shirt and my winter boots, and I remembered that I never had the chance to change into my scrubs. I was a bit embarrassed at my rather unconventional and masculine appearance.
But then I thought, " After tonight, what is really considered 'unconventional'? "
Welcome to the world Baby S!