We do our best to prepare for labor, with three page birth plans and husbands, doctors, and midwifes who all know our wishes. We read up on every labor technique we can find, and we come into the hospital (or the home-birth tub) with every pain distraction technique that exists on stand-by. But, sometimes no matter how you prepare, labor throws you a situation that changes everything. If you wanted an epidural it turns out you can't have one, if you didn't want a C-Section it becomes necessary, or if you planned for some amazing back massages from your husband, it turns out you don't want to be touched at all. What happens if your labor starts at work, or if the urge to push hits you in the car? The women we're going to tell you about know all too well about a sudden change of plan.
Every labor is unpredictable, and each birth story is as unique as the little one who resulted from all that fuss. So, here are some of the wildest birth stories around, all hinging on the to-be mother's birth plan being turned upside down (one of them quite literally doing somersaults). Sometimes this magical experience starts off more like a nightmare, but don't worry, each of these stories has the perfectly happy ending of a healthy mom and baby united face-to-face for the first time.
15 Epidural! Stat!
Every labor is different, but sometimes basing your decisions on your past labor experiences is a smart move. One mother had previously had two very quick labors and her third was trucking along as well. When she arrived in the hospital she explained that she's always wanted an epidural but her last two labors had been too quick for her to ever have one. The nurses assured her that they would be able to provide her with an epidural this time, but when they checked out her cervix they found that she was only two centimeters along. They wanted her to go home and wait for a little more before they could give her an epidural.
She reluctantly agreed, packed up, and headed out the hospital door, but her pain got so bad in the car that after a few minutes she and her husband turned around and drove right back. The nurses were surprised to see her and took awhile before they came in to peek at her cervix. By the time they did she was too far along to get an epidural! Despite extraordinary pressure to push this amazing woman held on until the nurses could grab a doctor and then delivered a healthy baby girl.
14 Home-birth Help
When you're planning a home birth you have to carefully prepare for your midwife to be nearby and you have to make sure that emergency transportation to the hospital will be easily accessible-- just in case. One couple was surprised when they called their midwife to alert her that the wife's contractions had begun, but she apologized and said she was at a party a few towns away and would be over an hour getting there!
This veteran couple was on their third child and figured they could hold it together for an hour, the last thing they wanted to do was to go to the hospital if there were no complications or warning signs. However, while they waited for the midwife the wife's labor progressed quickly and the husband ended up having to catch the baby before the midwife got there! The surprised midwife arrived only in time to cut the cord!
13 Four Days of Labor
One to-be mother had a horrible time with prodromal labor, which is when you experience contractions but your cervix isn't dilating (at least not much) and your water hasn't broken. Painful? It was excruciating for one mother who arrived at the hospital when her false labor contractions were about one minute apart. She was surprised when she was told that her cervix was only a centimeter and a half dilated and was only fifty per cent effaced (or thinned).
So on her "false" labour went - for four days! When her cervix finally reached eight centimeters she returned to the hospital--only for her contractions to die down! At least this poor mother had a few hours of rest in the hospital bed before her contractions finally picked back up. Her water broke moments after the contracts began again and her baby was safely delivered after only five pushes. What a champion!
12 Irregular Contractions
When you're pregnant with twins you always have your eye out for the signs of labor, knowing its likely to come early and that you'll almost certainly need the support of the hospital staff. But what to do if you're constantly having irregular contractions? One mother experienced mild, and very irregular, contractions all day and figured she had exerted herself too much that day.
After trying to rest for a few hours she realized the contractions were getting fairly intense, and though they were still wildly irregular her intuition was telling her she should get to the hospital. When she did the nurses were happy to report that they could see her first twin's head, and asked if she wanted to try delivering it vaginally? No, she did not, so the nurses prepped her for a C-section. In that time twin number one was born vaginally anyway! Thankfully, nurses still kept with the mother's plan for the second twin, who was born by C-Section.
11 I'm Just Going to Take a Peek...
Twin births in some hospitals are always done in the emergency wing, just in case an emergency C-Section is needed. But that doesn't mean mothers have to start their labor off in the ER. One laboring to-be mother of twins was sitting on an exercise ball, waiting for the nurse to arrive and check her out before she got to go into the ward's Jacuzzi (which, we strongly recommend you enjoy during your own labor). The nurse says she's just going to take a peek at the to-be mother's cervix, until, suddenly the nurse is in the hallway calling out to her co-workers to help her.
Before the poor mother knew it she was being prepped to head to an emergency room so she could begin pushing! The medical teams all met her in the emergency room and after her very first push her first twin was out! The second one came a few minutes later after a few more pushes. We really hope she got to enjoy the Jacuzzi while she was recovering!
10 School Birth
If you go into labor weeks before your due-date you could find yourself giving birth just about anywhere. For example, one pregnant primary school teacher's contractions began just after the first school bell of the day rang. Instead of teaching her students that day, she called for the help of other staff who called the woman's husband and brought her into an empty room. When the teacher's colleagues realized the labor was moving too quickly for the her husband to get her to a hospital they called an ambulance, but the labor was too quick even for the paramedics! Only twenty minutes after the start of the school day little Jonah was born and he and his mother were declared perfectly healthy. The family now jokes that little Jonah was late to his first day of school.
9 Inducing Trouble
If you're past your due date but don't want to be induced you can usually tough out a few more days of pregnancy until your little one finally changes their mind and the ball starts rolling with broken water. But what if your womb still doesn't want to co-operate? One woman was faced with this unfortunate situation. Her water had broken but her contractions wouldn't start, even after hours, so she had to be induced.
Her birth plan was to avoid being induced if at all possible, but the risk of infection to the baby and mother is too great after the water has broken to wait for natural labor. Despite being on small doses of labor inducing drugs this mother's womb wouldn't settle into a regular pattern for contractions, which is needed to really progress in labor, so doctors had to stop the medication for a few hours so she could rest. Luckily on the second attempt labor really did start up and mom and baby were happily face-to-face a few hours later.
8 Do Not Touch Me
In sports, its called "the zone": where you're so focused on the game and you're doing so well that everything else seems to melt away. During labor, it can be a source of confusion for your partner. Women who are "in the zone" say that any touch, talk, or even sometimes lighting is a big distraction from their labor. They just want to sit down and focus on their body.
Partners who were prepared to offer endless back rubs, talk, and distraction techniques are sometimes confused at their partner's sudden withdrawal. They might even think they're failing their partner and double-down on their efforts. One poor husband admits that his wife had to yell "do not touch me" for him to figure out that she just needed some space instead of the foot massages she'd planned on. At least he remembered the golden rule: do whatever she says. Their son was born four short hours later to the happy couple.
7 Walking and Water
While some mothers find that sitting still and focusing is the best thing for their laboring bodies, others find that with each contraction comes the urge to get up and walk. For one mother who felt this urge the car ride was the worst part of her labor, as it was the only time that she couldn't move around.
When she arrived at the hospital she paced around the triage room, the maternity ward, and her room, which got some odd looks from a couple of visitors. Although this mother wanted as few interventions as possible in her labor, she allowed the nurses to break her water. She felt that it had begun to leak earlier in the day, but for some reason hadn't quite broken completely. Just after the nurse broke her water the mother's labor progressed until she felt the urge to push. A few minutes later her daughter was born!
Doctors told this woman that likely her water had broken at the top, and the descending baby's head might have been corking up the amniotic fluid, preventing her labor from progressing. It just goes to show that you should trust your intuition, even when it conflicts with your birth plan.
6 Car Baby
Worrying that you'll have the baby in the car on the way to the hospital? It's the classic fear, isn't it? It happened to one woman whose intuition had been ringing all day, before contractions, that today would be the day. Her husband, friends, and family were all a little skeptical, seeing as mom-to-be wasn't experiencing contractions yet. Low and behold, the contractions started up that afternoon and she and her husband packed into the car shortly thereafter to head to the hospital.
The to-be mom insisted her husband drive to the closer hospital, which wasn't the one she planned to go to, but she was worried that her contractions were coming too hard for her to make it. She was right! Her husband realized things were dire and pulled over in time to catch their little daughter and help her up to mom's chest. They called an ambulance which escorted them to the mother's preferred hospital, where it was determined that both baby and mom were in perfect health.
5 Audience Help
While many women are eternally grateful for the relief that an epidural provides, some women decide that it's just not for them. One mother had been looking forward to her epidural, but felt it made her a little loopy. She surprised herself when she allowed a class of medical students to come witness her labor, and then was even more surprised when a doctor told her that it was time to push. The epidural had left her with no feeling of contractions whatsoever, but the monitors indicated to the doctor when to instruct her to push. It was slow going and eventually the doctor instructed nurses to prepare a C-Section room.
The doctor told the mother that she only had one more push to get the baby out, or he would be forced to give her a C-Section, and amazingly, that was the push that did it! The mother remembers vividly the grins on the faces of the observing students, and feeling this energy of encouragement from them that helped her. The new mother allowed each student to walk up and say hello to her new daughter.
4 Blood Pressure Nightmare
One pregnant woman was unlucky enough to develop preeclampsia, a highly dangerous condition that forced her to stay in the hospital for the last six weeks of her pregnancy. Doctors were trying to control her blood pressure and keep it low enough to get her to the 38 week mark, when they could perform a C-Section. A few days away from her C-Section date the woman woke up horrified that she couldn't see properly. Soon after alerting medical staff about this, she passed out. Later she was told that she had developed full-blown eclampsia and as a result suffered a seizure and heart failure that necessitated an emergency C-Section and then defibrillation.
Her son was perfectly healthy after being delivered via C-Section, and the mother herself regained consciousness three days later. Thankfully, she recovered fully under medical supervision. High blood pressure is usually the first sign of preeclampsia, and you should always, always, seek medical attention if you're pregnant and have high blood pressure!
3 Valentine's Day Denial
Who would want to deliver on Valentine's Day? One mother was due on February the 15th and was adamantly against giving birth on the nearby 14th. She felt like a birthday on Valentine's Day would be annoying for her child, whose friend's would celebrate Valentine's Day as well, and who would have trouble making restaurant reservations. So when this mom felt her first contraction very early morning on Valentine's Day she was in complete denial, insisting it must be prodromal, or false, labor.
Her husband wanted to be prepared just in case, so he packed up their hospital bag, called his workplace, and helped his wife shower. After the shower, the to-be mother's water began to break, at which point, she got too excited about the baby to worry about it being Valentine's Day anymore. They arrived at the hospital before sunrise and was admitted to a room with an east-facing window. With the beautiful pink sunrise, a nurse commented that it would be a perfect day to have a baby girl. Several hours later, this mom did indeed deliver a healthy baby girl.
2 Apple Juice?
One woman's adoring family lived countries away and couldn't take a trip to visit before she went into labor. The couple had planned to keep the family updated with a Facebook feed and posts during the process from the husband. After a slow labor that failed to progress the fetus suddenly had signs of distress, so the mother was rushed to a C-Section. Afterwards the husband posted a picture of the happy mother and baby cuddling, much to the family's relief. They chimed in with support, but one younger cousin, the comedian, asked about the bag of "apple juice" hanging down from the woman's bed. It was a catheter collection bag! The mortified husband apologized for not cropping the photo, but the happy mother was too over-joyed to be upset. Instead, they shared a laugh with each other and the rest of their family.
1 The Gymnast Baby
One to-be mother's baby was happily in the head down position for days before she went into labor. Yet, by the time the mother was in the hospital with strong contractions, the baby had done some kind of gymnastics and was sitting transverse, blocking the cervix and the flow of amniotic fluid. The pressure was unbelievable for the poor woman, who was still having major contractions that couldn't move a thing in her blocked up womb. Hospital staff rushed her out to get a C-Section, but during transit this little guy flipped around again, resuming head-down position. In the emergency room the woman delivered baby and amniotic fluid all at once, dosing the catching doctor with a wave to the face. Luckily, she was wearing a mask!
Sources: Reddit, The Huffington Post