Eve Aria Keller—Birth Story
Things are a bit of a blur right now. I’m going on little to no sleep and every time I go to write Eve’s birth story I am interrupted. That’s life with a toddler and a newborn. I want to start with a funny tidbit. Early in my pregnancy I remember joking to Levi that I was probably going to have my baby at home with the Kent Fire Department responding. Levi works for the Tukwila Fire Department but went to the academy and did training with the Kent department so we know some of the Kent department. I was joking that she would come out so fast I wouldn’t have time to get to the hospital and she would be welcomed into this world by first responders. One of Levi's captains gave him a birth kit that they keep on their rigs for out of hospital births, to have at home, just in case. We never ended up using the kit as in the moment all I could do was grab a towel. But it sure would have come in handy. When we toured the birth center I even said to Levi, “I probably won’t get to enjoy these amenities but I really hope I am here with enough time to use the tub!” Little did I know how right I was in these predictions! I also had this feeling I was going to have her before 40 weeks. I was having Braxton Hicks throughout my pregnancy and had a decent amount of signs that labor was coming after the 37th week. I think it was somewhere around 36 weeks that the Braxton Hicks became a little stronger but I would still classify them as Braxton Hicks. I couldn’t shake the feeling she would come early but I started trying to convince myself otherwise. My Mom had twins a couple days before her due date (which is long for twins), 3 days late with me, and 2 weeks late with my younger brother. I was induced at 40 weeks plus 2 days with Lily (due to my water leaking and not starting labor soon enough) so there was a good chance I would have this baby late, though I really did not feel like it. I chalked these feelings up to what most pregnant women experience at the end, feelings of just wanting to be done. You are so uncomfortable at that point. I didn’t want to get my hopes up and mentally it is better to prepare for a longer pregnancy than a short one because every day you go over at that point, feels like an eternity.
I told my midwife at my 38 week appointment I had been having feelings of popping and stretching and thought things might be opening down there. She said it was very likely my body was getting ready to have the baby. The baby was head down and fully engaged in my pelvis. My midwife told me it wasn’t a surprise I was getting sharp, jolting pains in my cervix, as baby was so low if she was any lower she would be out!
I was in a constant state of “nesting” the last few weeks. Organizing and reorganizing things, cleaning, etc. The week before I had Eve I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the hard wood floors and wiping down all the trim in the house. I even vacuumed out the floor vents. Seems crazy, but as a pregnant woman it seemed perfectly normal in my mind.
The end of my 38th week I was becoming a wreck emotionally. I was so ready to be done. I couldn’t sleep, peed every hour, and was in a constant swinging state of fatigue and restlessness. When Levi was at work on his 48 hour shifts it felt like a week. I would count the hours until he got home, feeling stir crazy. I told him I needed to get out yet there really wasn’t much I could do, as I was so uncomfortable. He was set to be done with work when I was at 39 weeks so I figured I would get out of the house and do a bunch of walking when he was off. I knew having him home and being able to interact with another adult would help me mentally and make time go by faster.
September 13th, 2015 I woke up to a few texts from Levi. He was asking me about an overtime shift at work and whether he should take it if it went mandatory. I wasn’t up in time to give him an answer but he sent me a text saying it went mandatory and he took it. I would have told him to take it if I had been awake, even though I was really looking forward to his company. I took a deep breath and said, “You can make it one more day.” Meaning, I could make it one more day without driving myself crazy waiting for him to get home. One of my texts to Levi Sunday afternoon was, “I’m soooooooooooooooooo bored.”
I had my same small contractions randomly throughout the day. Over the past two weeks I knew they would be classified probably as contractions and not Braxton Hicks as they had a slight pain to them, but so slight it was only noticeable if I really focused on it.
After dinner I went for a walk to the park with Lily. It felt good to get outside. We played at the park, went to see the Panda Cows and made friends with a kitty on our way home. The rest of the time between then and putting her to bed was uneventful.
|(Lily's Kitty friend)|
I lost some of my mucus plug in the evening but it was clear. At 7:40 pm I sent Levi a text asking him if he kept his phone on at night. He said yes and asked why. I told him, “Just in case I go into labor. I am having more light contractions but nothing very long or consistent or painful…I’d be shocked if it turned into anything.”I told him I thought it was just pre-labor and that it could last awhile as I had been having tiny contractions for awhile during the 3rd trimester. I told him about my mucus plug and about 45 minutes later it was a little darker brown in color. I then drank a bunch of water and noticed the contractions died down. I texted Levi that they were coming every 6 minutes lasting 50 seconds but since drinking water they weren’t anymore. They were probably 10+ minutes apart and not painful. This may seem like something but they honestly were not painful and easy to ignore.
I took a warm bath at midnight and noticed some more blood colored mucus in the tub. For some people this can mean labor is coming really soon, others can lose their plug and not go into labor for a week. I took note of it but still didn’t think much of it. I knew labor was coming “soon” and was guessing within the next 24 hours. This is going to sound silly, but I really didn’t want to have to call Levi home from work. I figured I could make it until he got off at 8am and was bound and determined to do so.
Around 1:30am I called Levi and told I was having more contractions. He told me to lie down and try to sleep. I told him I would call the midwife soon for advice. Again, these weren’t that painful. But it’s hard to know what to compare them to as my with my first I was induced and that was extremely painful. I was laying in bed, focusing on my breathing, and staying as relaxed as possible. I was viewing each contraction as a good thing, and was positive about having them so I think that helped with pain management.
At 2:17am I texted Levi, “Roughly 5:30 apart now. Waiting for a midwife to call me back.” He asked what that meant for a timeline and that he didn’t want me to have to go in too early and have them rush me. This was a big concern of mine, though I knew the midwives wouldn’t rush me. I just didn’t want to end up at the hospital too early or not be admitted and have gone in too soon. Plus the longer you are at the hospital the greater your chance for intervention. I told Levi they tell first time moms to come in when contractions are coming every 4 minutes, lasting for a minute, for one hour but that it may be sooner with second time moms (like every 5 minutes). I told him I agreed about not going in too early. I told Levi I was probably just nervous about him not being there and not having a vehicle or anything. Oh yeah, we sold our car Sunday morning so at the moment I was carless. Not that I would be driving myself to the hospital it was probably just a feeling of being stuck.
Levi texted me that we could have someone drive me to the hospital and he could meet me. He also didn’t think I would give birth before he got off work but told me I would know better than he would. Judging by the tone of my voice and what I was texting him I can see why he thought this. However, as the midwives pointed out to me while in the hospital after having the baby, I am a bit of a “down player,” meaning I tend to down play things when they pertain to me. I don’t want to make a big deal out of something. In the middle of the night there were times I was thinking my contractions might amount to something but when I said it out loud to others I would talk myself out of it to them. When I was in labor I kept thinking that it’s probably nothing. I told myself just relax, don’t make a big deal out of it. That definitely does a disservice to those trying to figure out how far in labor I am! I was able to stay very calm when talking so I am sure that threw everyone off.
I called the midwife and she told me once I can’t talk through a contraction is the time for Levi to come home and take me in as it would be a 30 minute drive for Levi to get home and another 30 minute drive to get to the hospital. I called Levi to tell him this. I told him I could still talk right now but the contractions were painful. I advised him to get to sleep and rest up because I wanted him to be rested if labor happened that morning and I would keep him posted. The problem with judging my pain by talking is when a contraction hit I would say out loud, “Can I talk through this? Yes. I don’t want to. But I physically can.” I took another bath sometime around 3 or 3:30am to see if things slowed down. I remember laying in the tub looking at the clock at 3:50am thinking, “I can make it 5 more hours.” Then a voice would pop in and say, “No you can’t.” I tried to ignore this.
4:07am I called Levi and didn’t get an answer. I texted him asking if he was on a call, he said no and called me. I think I told him my contractions were getting stronger and I really had to focus through them. Levi called me at 4:14am probably for an update. At 4:17am I texted my neighbor, “I’m definitely in labor. Contractions are coming every 4-5 minutes lasting 60+ seconds and are more intense. I’m trying to figure out from Levi what to do as he may have to wait for someone to come in before he can leave.” This was one of the first times my contractions were consistent but even still they weren’t “textbook.” There were times they would be somewhat consistent then not come for 10 minutes. I would have some that lasted 2+ minutes with only a minute break then it would be longer again. My neighbor asked if I needed a ride and I told her it was looking that way. At 4:20am she texted me, “Should I get ready and take you now?” I told her to let me call the midwife but that we should get ready as they were getting very intense.
4:21am I called the hospital to tell them I thought I was in active labor. They were paging the midwife to call me back.
4:24am I called my neighbor and she told me she would get her kids up and we could get Lily’s car seat in the car and head to the hospital. I told her to wait 20 minutes for me to call Levi and get things ready. The thought of her having to wake her kids and Lily made me rethink this option. I didn’t tell her that but I really didn’t want to bring the kids or inconvenience everyone by waking them up.
4:25am, I called Levi. This time I start crying. I tell him I am stressed and don’t know what to do. I blubber on about having to get car seats in the car and wake the kids and that I don’t want to do that. I tell him the contractions are really painful and I want him home. He tells me he is waking his captain and is on his way. He later told me when he heard me crying he immediately got worried and knew I would be having a baby soon.
4:26am my midwife calls me. I don’t remember exactly what I told her but basically that Levi was on his way home and would be taking me. She told me she would be on her way and meet me at the hospital.
4:28am I call Levi to tell him I am going to tell my neighbor not to drive me.
4:29am I call my neighbor and tell her Levi is on his way and not to wake the kids. She tells me she will be over to get Lily’s things as she would be watching her. I hang up the phone and immediately dial 911. While on the phone my neighbor comes over and I start handing her some things for Lily. I don’t remember if she left and came back but at some point she heard my murderous screaming from outside the house and didn’t want to leave me alone.
During my pregnancy Levi told me if I think I am in labor to always tell the dispatcher something along the lines of “labor is imminent” or I have a strong urge to push, etc. that way they will let the fire fighters know and then they will dispatch the medics as well. I got a copy of my 911 call and was amazed how calm sounding I was on the phone. I was really quiet and it took me some time to answer their address questions but if I were on the other line I would not think this lady would have a baby within 12 minutes. All the crazy screaming started after I was transferred from dispatch to Valleycom. Another Kent fire fighter later told me the fire fighters on call didn’t think labor would be “imminent” as they were driving over but after walking towards the house and hearing my screaming they knew right away it was.
The 911 operator told me to unlock the door if I could, and to lay a towel down. I had already unlocked the door and was climbing my way up stairs, screaming uncontrollably as I walked, to get a towel. I got a towel and for some reason thought I needed to get back downstairs as that’s where the medics and firefighters would come in. The operator told me not to go back downstairs. I quickly looked around trying to decide where I wanted to lie down and ended up throwing my towel on the floor of my bedroom in front of the bathroom door. I was on my hands and knees. The operator told me to get on my back. Through screams I told her I couldn’t. There was no way I could get onto my back nor did I want to. I know it is easier to catch a baby if a woman is on her back but it’s also the worst labor position possible and nature took over and wouldn’t even let me get in that position. The contractions were one on top of the other. It is all a blur at this point. It was extremely painful but my body could handle it. Nature is kind. It’s weird to describe because it was very painful yet when looking back I didn’t feel completely out of control like when I was induced. It was a good type of pain as it had a purpose and my body seemed to know how to work with it. It was also short lived.
During this time my 2 year old daughter Lily woke up crying. I am sure she was very frightened to hear her mom screaming. I am so thankful my neighbor was there. She went into Lily’s room and comforted and held her. She said she didn’t know what to do but she did the best thing she could and the one thing that was so relieving to me. There really wasn’t anything she could do as far as my labor was concerned. My body was doing everything and I was so internally focused the world around me was nonexistent.
I remember screaming to the 911 operator that the head was crowing! The baby is coming! I feel the burning! Is anyone coming? Maybe a minute after this the door opened, and my neighbor called to the fire fighters that I was upstairs. They came just in time to catch the baby. I don’t think they had time to set much up, maybe a couple minutes. Shortly after the fire fighters arrived the medics were there along with Tri Med.
At 4:41am Levi was calling me. I tried to hit answer, I have no clue why, as I was just screaming. This was a minute or so before the baby was born. I missed his call. I had pushed her head out and they instructed me to keep pushing to get the rest of her head out. I told them I couldn’t, I was trying but couldn’t. Then a few seconds later another contraction happened and she slipped right out. It was crazy how fast the contractions happened and how fast I went from “I’m in labor” to “I had a baby.” Levi called me back (this is within minutes of the missed call) and I told him, “I just had a baby!” He replied, “You’re having a baby?!” I said, “No. I HAD a baby.”
The medics got me turned over, leaning against the door and I was able to hold my daughter, Eve Aria Keller. She cried right away and looked so healthy. Without any hesitation I took my shirt off and laid her right on my bare chest and tried to see if she would nurse. I guess all modesty goes out the window in labor! They called the time of birth 4:44am. Maybe 5 or 10 minutes later I got another urge to push and pushed out the placenta. The medic instructed the fire fighters to wait to cut the cord until it was done pulsing. I said, “Oh good I get my delayed cord clamping!” That was something I wanted in my birth plan. The medic smiled and agreed saying they wanted her to get all the blood in her body. After the cord was cut they took her to the bed to clean her up a little and assess her. They filled out the Apgar score and she was a 10! They brought her back to me and covered her with warm towels from the dryer. Levi called me again and told me he was a few minutes away. I really wanted him to get there before getting in the medic unit. I told the crew he was a fire fighter and was on his way as he had to leave his shift.
When Levi arrived he later told me he was shocked how after I had the baby I stood up, put on my underwear and walked down stairs. I could hardly stand after my first birth. He was amazed at the difference. He also told me he was both upset and pumped. Upset that he didn’t get to me sooner but pumped I had the baby naturally and how well things went at home. He told me he was impressed with my strength. That made me feel pretty good as I feel Levi is a hard man to impress! The fire fighters got my hospital bag and we were on our way.
The medics don’t typically transport patients who aren’t in need of life support but I guess that is a perk to being married to a fire fighter. The medics drove me all the way to my hospital which was out of their district. Levi followed behind in our truck.
After that everything was pretty straight forward. I called my midwife to tell her I had the baby. She was just as shocked as everyone but was so glad I called 911 when I did. I made a quick phone call to my Dad as he would be up that early getting ready for work and knew he would start passing the news on to my family. When the nurses saw me come in their first question (not to me) was what went wrong? As they thought I intentionally wanted a home birth. The medics told them nothing, it was an unintentional home birth.
|(A little sleep deprived but feeling amazing)|
I was brought into a labor and delivery room an hour after delivery to check for tears, check my bleeding, etc. But everything looked fine. They weighed Eve and she was 8 pounds 7 ounces and 21 inches long. She had a diaper on and a long umbilical cord as they keep 6 inches of it attached when born out of the hospital in case any emergency IV lines are needed. So I’m guessing her actual weight to be more like 8 pounds 5 ounces. We got moved to a postpartum room and Levi brought me a chicken salad sandwich and fruit from the hospitality room. It tasted amazing at 6am.
|(Eve with her long cord. They cut it shorter at the hospital)|
When the pediatrician came to see baby Eve she was told the story. She walked into the room and exclaimed, “That is not a tiny baby!” She told me after the nurses told her the story she figured she would come in to find a small baby as in her experience most that come out a little early and in that fast of a manner are small. Word spread quickly about my labor and I retold the story several times but I didn’t mind. I was still in awe over the whole thing. I would look at Levi and exclaim, “I just had a baby! Can you believe I just pushed her out in a few minutes?!” Levi was in just as much disbelief as me.
The medics and midwives later told me that I had precipitous labor, which according to Google is the “expulsion of the fetus within less than 3 hours of commencement of regular contractions.” If I have any more kids they said I will need to go in as soon as I feel a contraction. No more unintentional home births.
We stayed in the hospital just over 24 hours. I was amazed how great I felt, minus the sleep deprivation. I think I was up almost 40 hours straight. I must have had a lot of adrenaline in my system. The after birth pains of my uterus contracting were very painful. I remember my Mom telling me that they are much more painful with each kid and that nursing will really make them strong. She wasn’t kidding! Some of these contractions were worse than those in my early labor. After about three days they went away which was a nice relief.
|(Levi working hard on the blood stain. We tried "Awesome" from the Dollar Store and it is a lot better now.)|
|(Eve being held by Adam, the man who caught her!)|
|(Eve Aria Keller)|