Duo Ventures

Monday, August 19, 2019

Laila's Unplanned Home Birth Story

Introducing Laila Marie Sabra
June 18th 7:01AM

We definitely could never have anticipated how the birth of our third baby would go.  They say that each subsequent baby you have comes quicker than your last, but if you would have told me it would have only taken 45 minutes for Laila to arrive from the time my water broke - I would have thought you were insane.  So here's how it all went down...

At my 37 week check up I was about 3 cm dilated according to my OB.  The following week she said I was still about the same.  At my 39 week check up, I hadn't really progressed any more.  The next Friday at my 40 week appointment (the day before my due date), I was 3-4cm dilated.  The NP said I was almost 4cm dilated and she could probably stretch me to 4cm with a membrane sweep.  We agreed to do that, and to my surprise it was relatively painless (unlike the membrane sweep I had with Zain).

Over the weekend, I didn't notice any significant contractions - just mild cramping here and there.  On Monday I still didn't have any signs of labor.  Then that night around 9:00, Nader & I were eating a late dinner and I started noticing some very mild contractions that seemed to be somewhat regular.  I timed them, and sure enough, they were lasting about 45 seconds & coming every 5 minutes.  This went on for about 30 minutes before I called my mom and told her labor might finally be starting.  My mom wanted to come over right away, but I told her the contractions were super mild and I didn't want them to come over if it was still going to be a while.  Instead, I said I would keep track of the contractions for another 30 minutes to make sure it was the real deal first.

Wouldn't you know it, after I got off the phone with her & started walking around to finish some last minute packing, the contractions completely stopped.  I called my mom back & told her it was a false alarm.  That night, I slept fine and I didn't notice any more contractions.

Then on Tuesday morning around 6:15, I was startled awake by what felt like a punch to my uterus.  I immediately wondered if my water had broke because the feeling reminded me of when my water broke with Sami.  I laid there for a few minutes before I woke up Nader.  He helped me to the bathroom where I felt a slow trickle of amniotic fluid coming out.  At 6:25 I called my mom & told her my water broke and that they should come over within the next couple of hours.  I think I even said, "no rush though".

Afterwards, I got in the shower and noticed the contractions intensifying right away.  They were pretty strong, but not terrible.  By the time I got out of the shower & went into the bedroom to get dressed, I was really struggling through them.  They got so strong & came on so fast that I never actually had time to get dressed.  I had to lie down on the bed & work through the pain.

At first I was honestly very confused & panicked because I could not for the life of me understand why the contractions were so painful right from the start (of course I had no idea that I was already very dilated).  I remember thinking that they were just like transition phase contractions, but that there was no way I could possibly be that far along since my labor had JUST started.

However, after a couple minutes of those contractions, I finally just accepted the fact that maybe I was much further along than I thought.  At that point I knew I was definitely not going to make it to the hospital and I told Nader to call 911.  He kept trying to encourage me to get dressed between contractions, but it was not going to happen.  Little did I know that at that point Nader thought I said call 911 so that they could transport us to the hospital since I couldn't get up between contractions - he did not realize that I meant CALL 911 BECAUSE I'M GOING TO HAVE THE BABY IN THIS BED RIGHT HERE & RIGHT NOW.

While he was giving the 911 operator some general information, I labored on my right side on our bed.  Just a few minutes into the call I told Nader I had to push.  At this point, he put the call on speaker phone and the 911 operator walked us through what to do.  The urge to push came again so I slowly rolled from my side to my back.  I was not in the best position since I was totally flat on my back, but I grabbed my legs and pulled them back the best I could before I pushed.

Once her head was out, I heard the operator tell Nader to go get some clean dry towels.  I remember lying there alone, like "WTF is happening. Where is my husband.  Why is he taking so long to get towels".  The funny part is that, in addition to running into every wall on his way to the linen closet, Nader said that when he opened the linen closet door he saw a bunch of bright white towels and all he could think was, "Where are all the old ratty towels?!  F&%! Marie Condo.".   In the months leading up to her due date I had gone through the entire house purging everything...including our old ratty towels.

Once he got back with some towels, he got into position to catch her.  Her head was already out, so he just put his hands under her to support her and I pushed a couple more times before she came out.  From the time he called 911, it only took about 6 minutes until she was born.  According to the 911 call time, she was born at 7:01 AM and the paramedics arrived about 5 minutes later.

While we waited for the paramedics, the operator told Nader to keep the baby between my legs and level with my bottom, but I think he handed her to me almost right away.  She was crying and breathing just fine as far as we could tell.  I held her on my chest while Nader tried to find a clean shoelace to tie off the umbilical cord with per the 911 operator's instructions.  Then she asked Nader to make sure our front door was unlocked for when the paramedics arrived.

After he got back upstairs she began instructing him how to tie off the umbilical cord when our house alarm started going off.  He had unlocked the front door, but had totally forgot about the alarm so the paramedics set it off when they got there.

At this point it was about 7:10 and both Zain and Sami were still sleeping.  In a way, it's not actually that surprising seeing as they don't usually wake up until 7-7:30 in the morning anyway.  A lot of people asked how Sami didn't hear me during labor and wake up, but the truth is that I am not a loud screamer during labor.
Meanwhile, my mom and dad got to our house and immediately saw 3 ambulances & a firetruck sitting in front of our house.  My mom said she was freaking out - of course they had no idea I had just delivered a baby in our bed.

Before we were taken to the hospital to get checked out, the paramedics cut the umbilical cord and I delivered the placenta shortly after.  They essentially just made sure we were both in stable condition before we got in the ambulances.  They wouldn't let me walk out to the ambulance so they carried me on a stretcher.  We were transported in two separate ambulances - Nader & Laila in one and I was in another.

Once I was inside the ambulance my blood pressure started dropping so they gave me an IV.  Since baby & I were both in stable condition they did not turn on the sirens & lights, so we sat in morning rush hour traffic all the way to the hospital.

We were brought up to a labor & delivery room, where we were checked out.  I still had some blood clots that the doctor had to remove (feels almost as bad as labor!).  I also tore during the birth, so I needed to be stitched up as well.  Other than that, we were both healthy & had no complications.  With all the things that can go wrong during a birth, it's amazing how incredibly lucky we were.

A couple of weeks after her birth, Nader & I were talking about the whole experience and how we sadly didn't have any videos of her birth like we did with the boys.  Then it dawned on me that we could try to request the 911 audio recording.  After a quick google search I found out they are public record in Georgia, so I got the contact info to request the recording & they emailed it to me the next day.  It was emotional, but also pretty funny to listen to.  I was also able to get the name of the 911 operator so I could send her a thank you card & some pictures.  It turns out she was inducted into the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch Stork Club for this call.  One of these days we are planning on taking the kids to the 911 call center to meet her.  Here is the transcript of the call:

Operator: Cobb 911.  What’s the location of your emergency?
Nader:  ***
Operator: Repeat that for confirmation.
Nader:  Yea.  ***
Operator: Ok. Do you need police or medical?
Nader:  Medical.  My wife is going into labor.  Her water broke already and she’s having really really strong contractions.
Operator: OK gotcha.  Is it a house or an apartment?
Nader:  It’s a house.
Operator: Off of Old Hwy ***?
Nader:  Yea, just across the street from *** High School.
Operator: Ok.  What’s your name and phone number sir and I’m going to start help.
Nader:  Ok.  My name is Nader Sabra. N A D E R S A B R A.
Operator: And your phone number?
Nader:  My phone number is ***.
Operator: How far along is your wife?
Nader:  Ah, she was due on Saturday, but she didn’t have anything happening until like literally this morning when she started having...I guess her water broke this morning and woke her up.
Operator: OK. Stay on the line with me.  I’ve started help.  Just stay with me, okay?  We’re going to help her until the paramedics get there.
Nader:  OK.
Operator: You bet.  One second.  Are you with her now?
Nader:  Yea yea, she’s right in front of me.  She’s going through it right now.
Operator: How old is?
Nader:  She is 33.
Operator: Ok.  Is she awake?
Nader:  Yea she’s awake.  She’s breathing.  The pain is…I mean we would have normally just have gotten in the car and got to the hospital, but she said she can’t even get herself dressed right now.
Operator: Ok.  Can you see any part of the baby now?
Nader:  Uh, no.  She’s actually laying on her side.
Operator: Ok.  And you said that she is having contractions?
Nader:  Yea.
Operator: Ok, we’re going to go over a series of questions so just stay with me, okay?
Nader:  No, I got you.
Operator: Is this her first delivery?
Nader:  No, this is the third.
Operator: Third, ok.  And how many minutes apart are the contractions Sabra?
Nader:  Uh, we’ve got this counter thing on the phone and uh, they’re coming in pretty frequently now.  Every minute, uh…
Operator: So you’d say 2 minutes or less?
Nader:  Yea, less than 2 minutes.
Operator: Ok. Is there any serious bleeding?
Nader:  No serious bleeding. 
Operator: Ok.  Does she have any high risk complications?
Nader:  It looks like she said she has to push.  No, she doesn’t.
Operator: Ok.
Nader:  She feels like she has to push.
Operator: Ok
Nader:  It’s like happening.  Oh Shit.
Operator: Stay with me.  They’re on the way.  Ok, I’m going to give you some instructions.  Tell her to not to try and prevent the birth, ok?  Do not try and prevent the birth.  Do not sit on the toilet.  Allow her to assume the most comfortable position and have her take deep breaths between contractions.
Nader:  Speaker on.  Ok, say that again.
Operator: Ok. Assume the most comfortable position.  What’s your wife’s name?
Nader:  Mel.
Operator: Ok Mel, they’re on the way kiddo.  They’re coming to you.  I want you to assume the most comfortable position and take deep breaths between contractions, ok?  I want her to get on her back in the center of the bed or the floor and I’m going to tell you guys how to deliver the baby.
Mel: AHHH (me in the background dying of pain)
Nader:  OK
Operator: Lay on her back on the center of the bed or floor, ok?  Make sure all the clothing below her waist is removed.
Nader:  Oh my god.  Oh my god.
Operator: Raise her head with pillows, but don’t let her sit up.
Nader:  She’s coming out.
Operator: OK, but listen to me.
Nader:  She’s coming out babe.
Operator: Raise her head with pillows, but don’t let her sit up or go to the bathroom, ok?  I want you to get some dry towels and a blanket to wrap the baby in, and get a string or a shoelace to tie around the umbilical cord.
Nader:  Her head’s coming out!
Operator: Ok.  Alright, just stay with me.  Go get a dry towel and blanket. Go get some dry towels and a blanket and a string or shoelace to tie around the umbilical cord after delivery.  And get a safety pin also if you have one.
Mel:  Ahhhhh.  Naaaader! (Nader had left the room to get towels)
Operator: Sabra are you going to do that?
Mel:  AHHH
Operator: Is she pushing or straining?
Nader:  No she’s not, the baby is just coming out (uh, actually - YES I was pushing & straining lol)
Operator: Ok, can you see part of the baby?
Nader:  Her head is OUT.
Operator: Ok, alright.  With each contraction place the palm of your hand against her vagina and apply firm but gentle pressure to keep the baby’s head from delivering too fast or tearing her.  Do you understand?
Nader:  Ok.
Operator: Ok, as the baby delivers, support the baby’s head and shoulders and hold its hips and legs firmly.  Remember the baby will be slippery so don’t drop it.
Nader:  OK.
Operator: Were you able to get clean dry towels?  Something clean to put the baby in?
Nader:  Yea, yea.
Operator: Ok, is the baby completely out?
Nader:  No, her head is out for sure.
Operator: Ok. Have her push hard to get the baby out.
Nader:  Push push, you got it.  Oh, her shoulder’s out.  Oh my god.
Nader:  Oh, she’s out!
Operator: Ok, alright.  Keep the baby between the mother’s legs and level with her bottom, ok?  Is the baby crying or breathing?
Nader:  Yea, baby’s crying.
Operator: OK, ya’ll are doing fine.  Gently wipe off the baby’s mouth and nose.  Dry the baby off with a clean dry towel, then wrap the baby in another clean dry towel.  You’re doing fine, okay?  Cover the baby’s head, but not its face and without pulling the cord tight, put the baby down between the mother’s legs level with her bottom.  Be sure the cord is not wrapped around the baby’s neck.  Be sure to keep the baby and the mother warm, ok?  You’re doing great, you’re doing great guys.  Ok Sabra listen to me, ok?
Nader:  Yea
Operator: We’re going to watch the baby closely for 3 minutes and then we’re going to tie the cord with a string, ok?  Without pulling the cord, so wait for 3 minutes, ok?  So just make sure now that you have everything.  Wipe the baby’s nose and mouth, ok? And keep the baby warm.  Keep your wife warm, ok?  And we’re just going to hold for 3 minutes and then we’re going to do something with the cord, ok?  Do you have a shoelace?
Nader:  I can get one.
Operator: Ok, if you can do it safely, but don’t do anything with it until I tell you to, ok?  Is it a boy or a girl?
Nader:  I can’t believe this is happening.
Operator: You guys are doing great.  Congratulations.  Is it a boy or a girl?
Nader:  It’s a girl
Operator: It’s a girl.  Congratulations.
Nader:  That’s what they told us, I haven’t even checked.
Operator: OK, if you can Sabra, make sure that your front door is unlocked, ok?  We’re doing fine. We do have time before we need to do anything with the cord, so just continue to keep everybody warm, and if you can, step away to unlock the door for the paramedics.  If you have any pets- do you guys have any dogs or cats go ahead and put them away.
Nader:  Ok, door is unlocked.
Operator: Ok good.  If you have any dogs or cats go ahead and put them away.
Nader:  No, no we don’t.
Operator: Ok, you’re doing great. How’s mom?
Mel:  I’m good. I’m doing really good.
Nader:  She’s good.
Operator: Yea?  Ya’ll are doing terrific.  Congratulations kiddo.  How’s the baby? Doing good?
Nader:  Good.
Operator: Ok Good.  Keep everybody dry and warm. Ok, I’m going to give you some instructions Sabra for the umbilical cord, ok? But we’re going to wait just about 30 more seconds before we start alright?  What we’re going to do is, we’re going to tie a string tightly around the umbilical cord about 6 inches from the baby. Don’t cut it, we’re just going to tie it.  I’ll let you know when you need to do that, OK?
Nader:  Ok, so I need a shoestring?
Operator: Yes.
Mel (to Nader): There, hanging up in that bag.
Operator: Ok, Sabra do you have a shoestring?  Do we have a shoestring?
Mel:  He’s getting one now.
Operator: OK.  Alright, if the paramedics get there in the meantime we’ll let them handle it, but we want to go ahead and tie off the cord if we can.
Mel (to Nader): Can you ask her if it’s okay to deliver the placenta?
Nader:  Should she wait to deliver the placenta because…
Operator: Ok, I’m going to give you instructions on that Sabra.  Do you have the shoe string?
Nader:  We have the shoestring.
Operator: OK, listen to my instructions, ok?
Nader:  I’m listening.
Operator: Without pulling on the cord, tie a string tightly around the umbilical cord about 6 inches from the baby but do not cut it.  Just tie it now and tell me when it’s done.
Nader:  Ok.
Operator: Ok, there are paramedics there now, ok?  Don’t pull on the cord, the afterbirth should deliver soon.  Tell me if this happens or if anything changes.
**House Alarm***
Operator: What’s that noise ya’ll?  Sabra? (Nader ran downstairs to turn off alarm)
Mel:  He forgot the alarm.
Operator: Ok, alright.  Is the afterbirth out yet Mel?  Hey Mel?
Mel:  Yea?
Operator: Did your afterbirth come out?
Mel:  I don’t think so.
Operator: Ok.
Paramedic:  Hold on for me ok? How you doing?
Operator: Ok, I’ll let you guys go.  Good luck to you, ok? Congratulations.

And that's the crazy story of how our little Laila came into the world!  We joked later on that we saved a good chunk of money since we didn't deliver at the hospital.  Unfortunately, we needed to buy a new mattress seeing as we did not have a waterproof cover on ours.  Thank you to my mom for cleaning up that mess while we were in the hospital!

If you're into reading birth stories, you can check out Sami & Zain's births too - they were all so different!  Thanks for reading!


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