Elijah’s Birth: AKA, How I came to give birth on the kitchen floor

by Jessica Grace Lagomarcino

My little girl, Mia was born 18 months ago by pitocin induction (but no pain meds!) after my water broke, and I was about a week away from my due date. So, with this pregnancy, as the end approached, I assumed that I would not be pregnant very much longer, as surely my second baby would come even earlier than she did. Or so I thought. That 39 week mark passed and though I was 2-3 centimeters dilated, I was definitely still pregnant.

On a Thursday night a few hours before bed, I started feeling very pregnant (every pregnant woman knows what I mean here.) I became especially uncomfortable and went to bed hoping it wouldn’t be much longer.Well, a couple of hours later, contractions awakened me. They weren’t exactly painful, but definitely strong enough to wake me up. I was awake for a couple of hours like this and my mind got going, wondering if this was going to be it. Well, I fell asleep and woke up the next morning. I was both disappointed thatI wasn’t in labor, and simultaneously happy that I’d gotten another night’ssleep.

Friday night I went to bed wondering if I would have more labor that night, and sure enough, I was awakened later to contractions. But this time they were more painful. The two hour mark from the previous night’s experience came and went, and I was still contracting. They hurt enough for me to get up and take a bath, twice. The baths helped with the pain, and though Iwas afraid it might stall out my labor, things kept on going. I laid in bed, tried to deal with the pain, and timed the contractions on an app on my phone. They were not very close together for the most part — usually 8-10 minutes. Eventually I was so exhausted that I started falling asleep for a few minutes between each contraction. It wasn’t a very fun way to spend the night and I was glad when morning finally came! I halfway expected that things would just begin to stall out again once I was up and out of bed. However, the morning continued, and the contractions did too. They seemed to be getting more intense, but not really closer together. We had breakfast, and for the rest of the morning, I more or less was in labor upstairs and trying to rest while Lee and Mia played downstairs. I just kept thinking, increasingly as the morning went on, that these contractions were really painful—approaching as painful as the contractions I went through while on pitocin. But these were almost mentally worse because I had the time in between to anticipate the next one. I couldn’t figure out how these could be so painful, but I still had quite a long time to go and to progress since they were only 10 minutes apart.

I started to talk with my wonderful doula on the phone and ended up just crying, not knowing if I could last as long as my labor seemed to indicate that it was going to last. I started to think that maybe I should just go to the hospital and get an epidural. Lorie suggested that I should try doing the Miles Circuit, a series of positions that can be helpful in repositioning a baby that may be malpositioned. I spent an hour and a half working through th ecircuit and then headed down to see Lee and Mia (who were watching football, haha.) I paced the kitchen in circles and started talking to Lee about what we should do.

I started to instinctively feel like I wanted to go to the hospital. I knew that it didn’t make sense to go in with contractions so far apart, but I also still felt like I wanted to go. We called my friend Erin and it was decided that Erin would drive over to pick up Mia, and then we would head to the hospital. I told Lorie to plan on meeting us at the hospital, rather than her coming to the house.

As we walked and made plans, I commented to Lee that the contractions had seemed more or less constant since I’d been downstairs and walking. He agreed with me, and he started to run around the house to make sure we had everything we needed. He walked outside to get Mia’s car seat out of the car, and just then, my water broke. It was a big gush and I think I just started saying “Oh gosh, oh gosh.” I went to the bathroom and sat down, and immediately felt like I needed to either go to the bathroom or push. The sensations are very similar, as I’d learned from my previous labor, and so I immediately got worried. I got up and headed to the kitchen. Lee was outside and so I just started yelling “Honey! Honey! Help! Help!” It didn’t occur to me to go open the door and yell for him, but I’m not sure I could have made it that far anyways. He came running (though it felt like an eternity of me yelling) and when he got inside I told him that he needed to call 911 and that the baby was coming.

He started calling and I headed back to the toilet. The 911 operator told Lee to gather up some towels, blankets, a shoe lace and a safety pin. (We used everything but the safety pin—still don’t know what that was for!) He is running around the house and then comes into the bathroom to check on the situation. He can’t see the head immediately (and I’m relieved that maybe my baby won’t fall into the toilet J).The operator tells him to get me to lie flat on my back on the floor. I reallydon’t want to, but Lee is forceful and tells me I need to. I step into the kitchen and lie down on a pallet of towels and blankets and just start to let my body do what it needs to do.

Lee is balancing the phone between his shoulder and head, Mia is walking around crying some, and the dog is wandering around the scene aswell. I feel an urge to push and can feel that the head is crowning. Lee  confirms this, and has one head under the baby's head, supporting his forehead. I look down to see my sweet Mia clutching her pouch of food and just turning her head, bewildered, trying to figure out what is going on and happening to Mommy. Lee is a little pale faced, but focused and calm, listening intently tothe 911 operators instructions. He later tells me that he was really stressing at that point, wondering if the baby was going to be okay. None of this has crossed my mind. I am so happy and so relieved, mentally rejoicing that I’m not in any more pain and won't have to spend any more time having awful contractions. I’m flat on my back, staring up at the ceiling fan and I think I’m just smiling. I know the baby is only halfway out and I’m not contracting at the moment and so I remember telling Lee “Just pull him out!” The operator is saying that this is not something he should do and then another contraction comes, and the baby slides the rest of the way out! He is here! He doesn’t cry right away, but I’m not really concerned—just happy. After a minute we hear agood cry, and he puts the baby up on my belly. Dr. Lee did an amazing job, andI’m pretty grateful he didn’t just pass out from the whole ordeal. It was quite the family affair—with both Mia and our dog, Layla right there, a part of the scene. I’m quite thankful Mia is not old enough to be scarred from this!

After we hear a good cry out of Eli and confirm he is breathing (though he is a little blueish in color) everybody relaxes a little bit more and proceeds with the next steps. Turns out, the shoelace is for tyingoff the cord, so Lee’s neon yellow shoelace out of his tennis shoe gets tied around the cord. Right in the midst of all this, Erin walks in. Lee meets her at the door and says something about the baby being here. She is like “Baby? What?” and walks in to see me lying there with Eli on my belly. I remember herpicking up our crying Mia and just sitting down slowly on the couch near me with a look of complete shock on her face saying “Jessica!!” I think I make a joke or two back to her, and share in her disbelief. I even joke to Lee,  “Hey, at least our hospital bill will be lower!” Lee is like “I don’t care about that!” Poor guy had just been through the shock of his life and his wife is making jokes!

Within a couple of minutes, the paramedics arrive and come in to the scene. It was 19 minutes from the time Lee called until the paramedics arrive — so from the time my water broke until the baby arrived was10-15 minutes, maybe. They cut the cord and eventually loaded me onto the stretcher. We head to the ambulance, and they bring Elijah in to ride with me.We head toward the hospital, and Lee stays to drive our car, and he and Erin clean up the house a little bit (sure didn’t want my in-laws to arrive to that lovely scene!) The ambulance ride is a long one because they have the exit from 71 to 264 shut down. There is tons of traffic, and they won’t even let the ambulance through! Eli and I try to do a bit of nursing while strapped in to the stretcher and cruising down the highway. The middle aged paramedic man riding in the back with me was a really nice guy—but it is slightly awkward to nurse in front of him. At one point he asks “Is he doing it?” Ha. We go the long way around and finally arrive. I was quite the celebrity as I was wheeled in to Labor and Delivery. Everybody’s heads were turning to look at the girl who they’d just heard delivered on the kitchen floor!

We headed to a room where I delivered the placenta and then I got stitched up from my second degree tear. He was weighed and measured and we found out he was a big boy, weighing in at 8 pounds and 10 ounces and 21 inches! His little face had some bruising from the quick delivery, but his head wasn’t really misshapen—there wasn’t any time for it to get molded! The atmosphere of the labor room was jovial—jokes all around. We were just in complete shock over the whole thing! Thankfully Lorie was there at the hospital and took some photos for us. Lee was still stuck in traffic, but made it to the scene before much longer.

As I was wheeled through the hospital on the way to our recovery room, I proudly held my new bundle and made sure to let the occasional stranger know “I just delivered a baby on the kitchen floor!” Everybody was laughing at me—but I was pretty darn excited and proud!

Eli is now on his seventh day of life, and we are figuring out life with him on this side of my tummy. Big sister Mia is adjusting to not being the center of Mom and Dad’s universe, but she’s had lots of family and friends to shower her with love and attention. One week old, but it seems likeI’ve known him longer. We are really so in love. I know I am biased, but I really think he is a beautiful newborn. We are also wondering if he will have adramatic personality—he certainly made his entrance with gusto!

As we reflected on the crazy situation we just kept thinking about how incredibly blessed we were and how thankful to God we were that He protected us in so many ways. Initially we had thought that Lee could take Mia to Erin’s house by himself (in which case I would have been alone during the delivery). We’d also considered dropping her off at Erin’s on our way to the hospital. Given the crazy traffic situation, he definitely would have been bornon the side of the road. Furthermore, Eli came out in just a couple of pushes, was in the correct position and began breathing on his own. There are so many things that could have gone wrong and didn’t. We are so, so thankful. God has given us a good gift, and we pray that we would live in a way, parenting Eli and otherwise, that brings glory to Him.