I love birth stories.
I did a lot of listening to birth stories when I was pregnant. Birth terrified and fascinated me all at the same time. It’s like you know what to expect but you also have absolutely no idea. It turned out to be pretty awesome, and very spontaneous – in true Humphrey fashion!
It was a Friday afternoon on June 3rd. I was 36 weeks pregnant. My due date was June 31st. Plenty of time before baby comes.
Joe and I had packed up for our big double header wedding weekend (we we’re shooting 2 weddings, Saturday and Sunday) – food, snacks, gear – everything was done. We laid out on the deck in the blazing sun – I was so uncomfortable and huge. But the sun felt so nice. I had Joe take a picture of me so I could remember how huge I was. No that picture will not be included in this post because the internet does not need to see extremely pregnant Bri in a bikini.😂
We we had been so busy after moving into our house in February – between working, our business, and just trying to get our house somewhat together. The weekend prior we had just gotten back from shooting a wedding in Wyoming. This really was the first day in a very long time where we got to just hang out with each other and relax. Now we know it was for a reason!
We went to bed that night as usual.
Around 2am I got up to go to the bathroom, and then laid back down. Shortly after I felt and heard what was like a small water balloon “pop” and a lot of water rushing out.
I immediately said “Joe! Joe wake up! I think my water just broke?!”
Joe turns over in and feels the wet bed sheets, saying “oh it’s probably just discharge….”
I said “No! This is for real!!!!” I was shaking. I couldn’t believe it.
He finally understood, and I ran to the bathroom to call the midwife. She was very confused for a second and said … wait, you’re not even on my radar?? After the initial shock, we had a conversation that unfortunately since I’m only 36 weeks along we’ll have to go to the hospital to give birth instead of the home birth like we had planned.
Our midwives do not do home births until baby is 37 weeks which is technically full term due to a higher chance of having lung issues, etc. Thankfully, they still helped us through the entire process. I had no contractions at that point so the midwife said we should go back to bed and try to get some sleep, it will probably be a long day tomorrow of laboring.
Of course Joe and I were freaking out. We hadn’t expected this for another month. How were we supposed to go back to bed?! We didn’t even have like any baby supplies (for real). Thank goodness I randomly bought depends a week before because I definitely needed them after my water broke. It seemed like there were multiple galloons of water that just kept coming out. I was planning on doing all the baby prep after these two weddings were over.
Speaking of the weddings!!! We had a wedding in 7 hours! And another one the day after! There was a fleeting thought I had that maybe I could still shoot the wedding if my contractions didn’t start. Your brain goes through wild things while in labor. I got my computer out and started furiously typing emails to our backup photographer – emails that had all of the details for both weddings of the weekend. Thankfully, she was able to cover both and everything turned out great. God was most certainly looking out for us!
Around 3am right when I finished the emails, I started to feel just a little crampy, nothing crazy. We decided we should try to sleep, it’ll probably be a very long day ahead of us. We laid down and I immediately had to get up. My contractions were suddenly getting very intense I couldn’t even lay down. And I had to go to the bathroom NOW.
This is when it got real.
I went to the bathroom, and all of a sudden it hit me like a freight train. I started … emptying out from BOTH ends, if you know what I’m saying … and my contractions got extremely intense. Joe called the midwife to update her. She said that since I was already vomiting, make sure to hydrate and eat if possible because I’ll need the energy. She said be ready to leave for the hospital just in case.
Joe didn’t even know what hospital we were going to! To be fair, we were supposed to talk about a backup hospital 2 days later at our prenatal appointment. We knew it was in Baldwin but we didn’t know the address or the name or anything.
Between going to the bathroom, puking, and trying to walk and get through these huge contractions, I attempted to tell Joe what to pack for the hospital bag. I was supposed to give birth at home. I didn’t even know what people put in hospital bags?!
I couldn’t even find pajamas before another huge contraction hit. They were coming so fast now I could barely tell them apart. I was getting through them by very loudly mooing (like a cow) and going into baby’s room and hanging onto the pack n play. It was the darkest spot in the house at the time. I was freaking out our dog Scout with the crazy noises I was making which is hilarious looking back. It’s funny, they say that animals will literally disappear and labor for like three days in a dark and quiet place, and that’s exactly what I wanted to do! I didn’t want to be around ANYONE during a contraction – not even Joe! It was a weird thing that I guess I wasn’t expecting.
It’s funny, I was so worried that I’d feel stupid being loud or making weird noises while in labor – let me tell you, I did not care at all. Not one bit. There’s something that really just gets you to another level of thinking and it doesn’t matter.
Between contractions I was just pacing and pacing. I couldn’t stop moving.
I told Joe we should start recording the contractions – here’s a screenshot of what he sent our midwives!
He also added – “and I missed a few in between these”
Haha! If you don’t know, the closer your contractions are, the closer baby is to coming out! The midwife called us and said ok you need to go NOW. She had to send us the hospital address because we didn’t even know where we were going. She told us she’d meet us there and she will also leave right now.
On our way out the door, I made sure Joe grabbed some snacks and of course an entire jar of peanut butter, because, why not. I guess I was thinking that’s what a laboring woman needs for fuel!
It was a chilly morning, still dark out, I was pacing and pacing up and down our front walkway while Joe got the car ready, absolutely wailing. Like, YELLING. I was thinking in the back of my mind what my neighbors probably think – either an animal was dying or something is giving birth. Thankfully we only have a couple neighbors….. 😉
Getting into the car and going to the hospital was not easy.
It took me a long time to muster up the courage to sit in the car. I almost was in tears thinking “how I’m gonna sit down” when all I felt like I could do was move to tolerate the contractions. Joe coaxed me into the passenger seat and we geared up for a 30 minute drive to the hospital.
A 30. minute. drive. It was a rough one.
Honestly, I felt so bad for Joe. Here he is, trying to drive his wailing wife to the hospital on Wisconsin backroads, nothing going according to plan. We saw at least three groups of deer on the side of the road. He was saying Hail Marys and I told him to keep going because I needed something to focus on. I know our doula called and was on speaker at some point, but I don’t really remember. Later she said I sounded “calm” at this point. I think she was just being nice. 😉
Every time I had a contraction I pulled up SO hard on the little handle above the door. It was so irritating being in that position. I remember thinking how does anyone NOT get an epidural?! At this point. I also was trying to shove my face with granola bars and water because the midwife had told me to keep eating since it’d be a long day. I had to keep up my stamina. Well I didn’t want to burn out, I wanted to have this baby naturally! So I listened.
Little did I know, looking back, I was definitely in transition at this point – if you don’t know, typically this is the most “intense” part of labor – when your contractions go from moving baby down to actually pushing. Attempting to eat a granola bar while in transition. Kind of hilarious.
We had about 20 minutes left in the drive (I know because I kept watching Joes GPS, and it seemed never-ending) and suddenly with my contractions I started pushing. I was SO confused.
Me: “WHY AM I PUSHING?!”
Joe: “WELL TRY TO NOT!”
If you know anything about birth, you know that you can’t just STOP! 😂 You can’t exactly hold the baby in!! I was trying though, it was extremely weird and it was SO uncomfortable, especially being in the car. Also extremely weird not knowing why I was pushing so early on.
We had so much time left in our drive, it seemed like the time on the GPS time just was NOT going down. I was still just so confused how I’d already be needing to push that I thought I was losing my mind. There’s no way my labor went that fast. I had been told so many times it’d be a long labor with my first.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, pulled up into the hospital parking lot. I didn’t know how I was even going to move honestly, but somehow I stood up and I was leaning over hanging onto the car.
We made it.
Joe said that he was going to go get me a wheelchair and I said “NO, DONT LEAVE ME!” Like they do dramatically in the movies. I couldn’t walk. But I didn’t want him to leave. Later I found out I couldn’t move because a baby’s head was literally almost out….
Here I was standing in the hospital parking lot in a *not very long* t shirt dress, Depends, and slippers absolutely wailing like a cow, about to push a baby out of me. I truly did not care one tiny bit in that moment what I looked like or who saw me.
I don’t even remember what happened but somehow I ended up in a wheelchair at the check in desk. This hospital is very small and rural, so there was no one in the waiting room. Just the one guy at the front desk.
We told him I am going to have a baby. Our midwife called ahead for us.
He said “Okay, go wait in the waiting room, they’ll be out soon.”
I couldn’t really talk at this point, but in the back of my head I thought it was absolutely hilarious that he sent us to the waiting room. I was going to have another contraction, and he was about to find out REAL QUICK that I should not be going to any waiting room. Luckily, the “room” was right next to the guy.
I had a huge contraction/push and was literally yelling/grunting extremely loud, and I immediately hear a “ding, ding, ding” overhead like an alarm.
I thought, “Good job dude, you are making this the emergency it is lol…”
A bunch of staff ran out to the waiting room and whisked us away.
They got me into a hospital bed and I was laying on my side in fetal position. I felt like I literally could not move because it hurt so bad.
The doctor asked if he could check me, and I agreed – he barely had to even check and he said “YEP! Head’s right there!”
Wow, I’m not crazy. I thought.
I knew I had to get off my side but I couldn’t muster up the courage to do so. It hurt SO bad.
Thankfully, the very kind nurse basically read my mind and asked if I wanted to change positions. I saw somewhere that a good position in a hospital bed is to face the head of the bed and put the head up 90 degrees, get on your knees, and hug where the pillow spot is, if that makes sense. She helped me very carefully get to that position and it was instantly a million percent better than being In the fetal position.
Next came the real pushing. Every time I had a contraction I pushed and pushed. I pushed SO hard and prayed every time that the baby would just come out! I could feel his head right there and let me tell you – not a great feeling. I think they even said that I can reach down and feel baby’s head if I want. I was just thinking, I honestly don’t care right now I just want him OUT. I did feel his head though because I thought I might regret it later if I didn’t and it was pretty cool.
A few things that really bothered me in the short amount of pushing, that kind of make me laugh now:
- The doctor telling me I was pushing “right when I should be” acting like he was surprised – I thought, “No duh. My body is doing what it’s supposed to. Thank you captain obvious.”
- The VERY bright light overhead. It was driving me nuts but I kept thinking “well, maybe they need it to see to catch the baby.” Looking back, no, they didn’t.
- The nurse was trying to monitor the baby’s heart rate but she was on the wrong side of the bed so she was literally touching and reaching across my entire belly and I just wanted to tell her to get away from me and don’t touch me but she was very kind so I didn’t want to be mean to her.
I think these things happened partially because I didn’t even know the doctor or have ANY time to tell them anything about what I wanted for my birth plan. Between pushes I was literally saying “I need 2 hours skin to skin time right after birth!” and “I want delayed cord clamping!” just shouting my birth plan and thankfully they were very respectful. Everything I said they kept responding with “Yep, that’s our standard procedure!” At least I didn’t have to worry about that.
Joe was trying to comfort me and he was saying how great I was doing, but I literally couldn’t stand anyone touching me. I told him (very nicely, for real) to please don’t touch me because even him talking near my face I just couldn’t handle it. I literally wanted to be zero percent touched.
The doctor asked if Joe wanted to catch the baby, I said “YES” before he could answer – I know he’d think it was so cool once he did it. Joe was very hesitant but after me, 3 nurses and the doctor encouraged him to do it – he agreed!
Another push and baby’s head was out! ONE. MORE. PUSH. and all of him! Joe caught him – (we hadn’t found of the gender) and he yelled – “It’s PJ!!!!!”
“YAYYYYYY!” I was SO happy baby was here but I think in that moment I was so happy he was out. So much relief. Thank goodness that was over.
We had gotten to the hospital at 5:20am and he was out at 5:56am. It’s so funny looking back because once we got to the hospital, I pushed for about 30 minutes and baby was here. I think that was the longest 30 minutes of my life. Like time weirdly expanded into a series of events that felt like 4 hours to me.
Baby boy was placed on my belly and he was so perfect. I honestly think I was in shock because I was absolutely not expecting him for another month! That and the fact that labor went so fast, I just didn’t have time to process any of it. It was crazy.
Our midwife, who left her house when we left ours, showed up when he was already born. Needless to say she was shocked when she walked in and he was already on my chest! It definitely was classified as a “precipitous birth” which basically means it was extremely fast.
He was healthy and so beautiful and looked exactly like his daddy.
The minute Joe laid eyes on him he said he’s never loved anything more in his entire life.
I said, “this is the best day of my life,” about 20 times that day. So much fun.
He was 7lbs 2oz and 21 1/2 inches long. Pretty big for being 36 weeks!
We named him Patrick after his Grandpa – Joe’s dad – that so tragically passed away during my pregnancy. Patrick was his middle name. And Joseph after his daddy. Our little PJ. 🙂
We love him so much and it really was the best day ever!!