I Gave Birth In A Car During A Pandemic

by Missy Baldwin
Originally Published: 
I Gave Birth In A Car During A Pandemic
Courtesy of Missy Baldwin

On May 4th, 2020, I gave birth to my son at 6:07 a.m. in my Toyota RAV4 in the Speedway parking lot right off the highway on the way to the hospital.

For a week prior to his birth, I had prodromal labor. For those of you who do not know what prodromal labor is, it’s real labor that never progresses. It is not the same as Braxton Hicks contractions. You continue to have labor contractions which show up on the monitor and are very painful, but you do not dilate any further. I stayed only 3cm for a full week! I had gone to the doctor’s office and hospital a total of three times, but they continued to send me home. The bad part about this is that we live 45 minutes away from the hospital.

On May 3rd, 2020, our darling daughter had her third birthday. We went about our day as usual and tried to make it as special as we could. I had been going for walks, eating pineapple, and trying basically every trick in the book to go into active labor since his due date was May 4th. We took a break from this to celebrate our daughter’s birthday since I was determined to give our children their own birthdays.

Courtesy of Missy Baldwin

After spending an incredibly busy day doting on our daughter, baking cupcakes, and spoiling her with presents, we went to bed that night. I don’t remember feeling any differently that night, which really surprised me.

At 4:30am on May 4th, I dreamt that I was having labor pains. After a few minutes, I had another one and realized I was not dreaming. I blew it off as more prodromal pain and thought I would wait to wake my husband. After a couple minutes, another pain came, and I decided to start timing the contractions on my phone. My phone said they were about seven minutes apart, which was common for the past week, so I decided to wake my husband and take a shower. He came downstairs to check on me and my contraction timer said my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart. I thought maybe I was mistaking some pains for labor pains, but told my husband to call his mother to come over to watch our daughter.

Courtesy of Missy Baldwin

Fast forward to 5:30am and I was in severe pain waiting for his mother to arrive. The bags were in the car and the moment his mother arrived, we left. My wonderful husband had a 45-minute drive ahead of him and I was timing my contractions about 2-3 minutes apart at this point.

I had called my OB’s office on the way and the after-hours answering service answered. I talked to the girl between very painful contractions and when she asked me if I was in labor, I told her, “No I just feel like talking like this for no reason.” Apparently, I thought using humor would make me feel better; it did. I did tell her I was joking, but I don’t think she thought I was very funny.

Courtesy of Missy Baldwin

After about 20 minutes of driving, I had pulled my pants down so my husband decided to call 9-1-1. He told me afterward that it was at that moment when he knew he would be using his first responder training and delivering a baby. Thank god for his training! The 9-1-1 operator told him to pull over where he could, and he would have the ambulance meet us there.

The moment he parked the car, our baby decided to make an entrance. Three pushes later, and our beautiful baby boy was in his father’s arms. He beat the ambulance by just a few minutes. They arrived just in time to clear out our little man’s throat and cut the cord. My husband did know to do these things, but he was able to step back and let EMS take over so he could focus on being a new daddy.

Every single emergency services employee we spoke to, from the 9-1-1 operator who was so calm and kept my husband’s head clear to deliver the baby, to the EMS who made sure my baby was healthy and breathing and that I was okay, were all a critical and important part in this. They kept us calm the entire time and we were so incredibly blessed that everything went as smoothly as it did. My son and I had no complications and we are both healthy and happy.

Courtesy of Missy Baldwin

I always look back on the moment and remember how much my daughter’s birth helped with my son’s birth. I had an unmedicated birth with my daughter because I have a 40-degree scoliosis curve and the doctor was pretty sure I was unable to have an epidural; plus I ran out of time for any drugs at all. I remember every word my obstetrician said to me to keep me breathing and focused to push when I had to. She told me when to push and how to focus on my body, and not to push unless my body told me to. While delivering my son, I didn’t have a doctor there to walk me through this, but I had her voice in my head guiding me through everything; for that, I am very thankful.

I was nervous to labor in a hospital with a mask on and focus on my breathing when I had something covering my face. I know the mask wouldn’t affect my breathing, but I just did not want that to be my experience. Everyone teases me now and says that I got what I wanted — a birth with no mask on!

If I could do it all over again, would I give birth in my car …? Absolutely! It was such an incredible experience with only my husband, and something we can cherish for the rest of our lives.

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