This week on the Mommy Labor Nurse Podcast, I have a really exciting birth story to share with you guys! I actually had a personal friend of mine, Tess Camp, come on the show to tell the story of her three very different deliveries, with an emphasis on her extremely precipitous labor and second birth!
It’s a story I’d heard in passing and bits and pieces of from Tess and other friends of ours at parties and get-togethers, but it was such a treat for me to get Tess to sit down and really lay it all out from start to finish.
What I always love about birth stories is the way it highlights how truly unique and different every single birth is – especially when I get to chat with a mama that’s had more than one baby. You can really never know how things are going to go down. It varies from mama to mama, and even birth to birth!
Tess’s mad rush to the hospital with baby two is a very clear illustration of this. So, to hear how it all went down, and whether or not she made it to the hospital, you’re going to have to listen in. So, let’s get right to it!
Tess’s first pregnancy and birth
I always like to start at the very beginning of mama’s stories into motherhood, so I asked Tess to go back to her very first pregnancy. You’ll hear her share about how her first pregnancy ended in a loss at 10 or 11 weeks, and how that impacted her hormones and lead to her seeking fertility support to ovulate.
But when Tess did get pregnant with her first baby, it was totally smooth sailing! In her words, she felt amazing and said that she was totally made for this. Her first birth was quite fast – it only took 9 hours from the moment her water broke to when she was holding her baby!
She shares about how her provider said that any birth under 12 hours is considered quick and that she should expect subsequent births to be even faster.
Tess’s second birth
Because of her history of a fast first birth and based on the position of her baby when she went in for some of her final checks before labor, her provider gave her some very specific (and foreshadowing!) advice ahead of her second birth,
“I don’t want you to wait till five minutes contractions getting five minutes apart. I want you to come to the hospital at seven minutes apart. She said if your water breaks, you need to get in the car immediately.
And she said I don’t want you delivering a baby on the side of the road. Literally told me that so I went home, and I told my husband – she kind of freaked me out a little bit”
Again, she talks about how her pregnancy was very easy all things considered, and she says that she really does love being pregnant!
Then on the day of her due date, she woke up a little achy, and it kind of progressed to this small section of her low back. It was pain that kind of came and went – but when she tried to track it, it seemed irregular and came and went without any regularity.
At this point, Tess had no idea that she was in labor! It felt nothing like her first labor, and she truly had no clue what was going on. In her mind, she’d know it was labor when contractions were regular, consistent for an hour, and intensifying in pain. And none of that was going on!
Everyone around her was suggesting Tess you could be in labor, saying, “Tess this is probably it,” and she was in complete denial!
When you tune in you’ll hear her talk about where her head was at, why she didn’t think it was labor, and just how different it was from her first labor.
It was time!
As the day went on, Tess’s not-labor-like back pain started coming at more regular intervals. It was first every 10 minutes, 7 minutes, 6 minutes, etc. Finally, at every 4 minutes, she called and they confirmed that yes – that does count as labor.
Tess was immediately concerned that she had waited too long, and after chatting with her mom decided to head right in. In that exact moment, she felt a strong contraction in the front, her water broke, and she knew they needed to go right then! Once they were in the car, the pain went from 0 to 100, and when she looked at the GPS she had 28 minutes to get to the hospital.
About another 100 yards up the road, Tess told her husband to change the plan and go to the much closer hospital, which was only 10 minutes away because she knew they weren’t going to make it to where she planned to deliver.
The car ride of her life
Here’s a bit of a rundown of what was going on in the car at the time,
“So he was just panicking, like, and he’s like, do I need to run this light? Do I need to run this light? Yes, go, you have to go. And I’m like screaming in this car. Because the pain is just horrific. And I’m terrified.
Again, we’re maybe two miles three miles from the house. And I start feeling like I’m pooping on myself. And I remember from talking to you…that’s the last thing that happens before [baby]!”
They continue racing to the ER of the closer hospital, her husband was driving up a median laying on the horn trying to get there in time, and Tess knew baby was coming. She got her pants off, and her son’s head just popped right out! As they pulled into the ER, her son was coming!!
When you tune in, you’ll hear her crazy delivery right in front of the ER, where her son was caught by a security guard!
Baby is out!
When Tess’s baby came out, he wasn’t breathing. An ER nurse came running out of the hospital, and with no equipment was doing breaths of air and compressions to get him breathing. You’ll hear Tess describe in detail the way that nurse was screaming for back-up, and how she felt in that moment.
Her husband ran into the ER to get more people’s attention, and finally, a team of people came pouring out of the hospital. By that time, the amazing ER nurse had got her son breathing. Tess shares about how she was hyperventilating and losing her vision, and the way another nurse brought her back to life, and down to earth at that moment while she was still sitting in the front seat of her car!
Then they got her all cleaned up and actually brought her inside to deliver the placenta in a delivery room. All I can say is that this is one you just have to tune into to hear ALL the crazy details and emotion!
Tess’s third baby
When Tess got pregnant with her third baby she knew from the start that she wanted to plan an induction to avoid another crazy delivery. Her pregnancy was more challenging than her others, with a lot of nausea, pelvic pain, and bad anxiety surrounding delivery beginning at about 34 weeks.
She describes the way her OB helped her recognize that her second delivery was a traumatic birth and that she was recovering from real trauma. She helped Tess realize that her anxiety and feelings were totally valid and understandable because of her extremely precipitous labor!
She made it to 37 weeks, and she started having contractions. She felt them in the front this time and right from the start they were a perfect 3 minutes apart. She timed them for 10 or 15 minutes – and her husband was out on a bike ride. Tess was home alone with her kids, and she called her doctor. The nurse on the phone said she needed to come in right now.
Her husband got home, and they all got in the car with the kids – her mom met them there!
She made it to the hospital and felt really calm because she was admitted! Tess was calm and relieved, and then against all odds, contractions completely stopped. At 1 am, they actually let her go home! She was at 2 cm, and nothing was happening.
Luckily she didn’t have any other bouts of false labor, but you’ll hear her talk about the way that those final weeks were filled with anxiety. She put herself on bed rest, watched lots of movies with her kids, and just kept that baby in.
She ended up getting induced at 39 weeks, and when you tune in you’ll hear all about how that went down. Again, she didn’t feel much happening but she was progressing and she opted for an epidural to avoid that crazy. The spoiler here is that she pushed for *literally* one minute!
Wrapping up the episode
At the end of the episode, you’ll hear Tess share a little more about her postpartum and breastfeeding experience after each of her babies. She opens up about her decision to supplement and switch to formula, and how she came to peace with that decision.
This was such an amazing episode, and I was thrilled to get to sit down and chat with Tess and hear all the details of her three very different and amazing births.