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Rush Hour

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

It was a normal day. I had awakened refreshed after a great night’s sleep because no one had called to let me know they were in labor over night. One client in particular was already days past her estimated due date. She could literally give birth at any time. I wasn’t too worried that morning, though, because babies like to come in the middle of the night, right?

Well, I went about my day. I got the children off to school and started working on returning calls and emails. Around 2pm my client, a 2nd time mother, called to let me know that she had begun to have some irregular contractions a couple of hours earlier, but they seemed to be getting more regular. We talked for several minutes, during which time she had one contraction. Listening, I could hear that she was breathing through it well and when it was over she recovered very quickly. I affirmed how well it sounded like she was doing and asked how she was feeling. She felt excited and in control and that we had some time to go because her previous labor had been close to 24 hours long. I asked her to start timing her contractions so we could get a baseline and she agreed.

Moments later, I received a text with the data from her contraction app. It appeared that her contractions were 2 minutes apart. But how could that be? I had just talked to her. In my mind there was no way her contractions were that close together. Then, a text message…”PLEASE COME NOW!” I was super confused by this and gave her a call. The phone rings for what seems like forever and goes to voice mail. I’m standing in a grocery store because after our conversation, I decided it would be a good idea for me to go get something for dinner since I wouldn’t be home later, and I’m beginning to panic.

I jump in my vehicle and start driving, calling to tell my husband what was going on, even though I wasn’t sure, myself. I then get a call from her partner asking, "WHERE ARE YOU?!" I was on my way but it is now the beginning of rush hour traffic and folks are not driving like they are happy to be on their way home. What?!?!

We make a plan to meet at the hospital. I keep them on the phone and coach my client through each contraction, all the while wondering if I missed something in the tone of her voice while I was on the phone earlier. We all arrive at the hospital with no time to spare. Her baby boy was born minutes after we entered the room. Whew! That was a close one. It was a reminder that no matter how long I’ve been a doula, I can’t allow myself to assume how any birth is going to go. We tell our clients that each pregnancy is different and each birth is different. Time for this doula to keep that in mind every single time and make a rush hour plan!

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