On October 27th, 2012 one of our own, Mary-Signe Kelly, gave birth to her sweet son at Minnesota Birth Center, just barely. A year later, Mary-Signe shares the story of his birth.
I had 3 extra weeks to prepare for my birth at MBC. I thought my water broke at the beginning of October and I had delivered by first baby at 36 weeks. I don’t remember getting too anxious for baby. I remember hoping for a November baby. I was due the 28th but everything started on the 27th. My brother and wife were flying through Minneapolis on their way back to Green Bay from Germany and unexpectedly had the morning free to visit. We spent the morning hanging out at our house. Our friend, Gabe, and Michael (my husband) had planned on going out to lunch that day, so around 12:30 they were all leaving to get food and drop off my brother and his wife at the airport. My water broke right before they left. I whispered to Michael that my water broke and he needs to answer his phone if I called. My water broke first with my first pregnancy as well and labor started 12 hours after with that pregnancy so I figured we had plenty of time. I called my parents, who are 5 hours away. They started getting ready to come take care of Ivan.
I put Ivan down for a nap early since we were planning on going to the Minnehaha Falls Halloween festival. I laid down with him trying to rest but of course could not. At 2:30 pm, I woke up Ivan and got him dressed in his fireman costume and walked the 10 blocks to the Falls. I started to have contractions on the way. I had one about every block and had to stop and sway with them. By the time we got to the Falls (3:00), I was having contractions every 3 minutes. Michael was meeting us there and parked the car around the same time we got there. I got tickets and met Michael. By the time I saw him I was having contractions that were pretty strong. I didn’t want Ivan to be upset about leaving so let Michael take him around the festival for about 20 minutes, I spent that time leaning over a picnic table, swaying back and forth moaning. I started calling friends to see if someone could watch Ivan. My friend, Nissa, was at a retreat for work but was able to come take him and could be at our house in an hour. My contractions were getting really intense and I was having intense back pain but after each contraction I looked to see how far Michael and Ivan were, wishing them closer. Luckily, they returned quickly and Michael took Ivan to get the car. I went to the bathroom and felt so much better on the toilet. I went outside and waited for Michael. Two very concerned (terrified?) women asked if I needed anything and waited with me until Michael got there. Timing in labor is so difficult to judge and it felt like an eternity.
In the car, I was moaning and Om-ing during my contraction. Ivan was a little confused and I remember Michael saying “isn’t mama a good singer.” When we got home our neighbors were outside with their children and saw me and took Ivan. We got home around 3:45. I went inside, called Martha and started a bath. I kept telling Martha that I didn’t want to come in too early. She said “I think you need to be here now.” I stood in the bath and started feeling nauseous. I remember thinking “I want an epidural.” I knew if I sat down I wasn’t getting out without a baby. I made my way downstairs where Michael was getting things ready. I remember telling him that we had to go and to make sure we got the soup for after birth. He decided he needed to get some candy. I remember standing in the kitchen with him shifting through the bag of candy looking for the good ones. (A side note, with Ivan’s birth, I woke Michael up and told him we needed to go to the birth center and he was taking his sweet time. He started going into the kitchen looking for food. I yelled at him to get going and he said “I need food, the list says I need food.” He is very concerned about eating during my labors).
When we got outside, there were about 20 neighbors in our shared driveway enjoying the beautiful day. I vaguely remember seeing neighbors and Ivan crying. I told them to bring me Ivan since I was concerned he would be traumatized by us leaving while he was sad and then bringing in a new baby the next time he saw us. Michael had latched the car seat in the van and I told him he needed to move it since I was going to be on hands and knees in the back.
We left at 4:15 and drove down Chicago Avenue hitting every red light. I continued to have intense back pain and contractions every 3 minutes. Around Lake Street, I felt another pop and a huge shift down and no more back pain. “Oh no, don’t come yet.” I said. I heard Michael honking the horn and driving faster. Around 28th Street I felt the baby coming. People joked and asked if I was going to deliver my own baby or if I had to deliver my baby if I was on call (which I was). Of course not. I had two great partners to help me. But maybe that would just happen.
Michael sped through the back alley of the birth center and the baby was coming. I reached down and felt his head. I remember thinking “I wish I was in the water- it would hurt less.” Michael jumped out the car in the parking lot and raced to the door, pounding on it and ringing the door bell. Tanya came running out and asked if she had time to get gloves. She looked and said “nope.” She sent Michael to get some towels. I remember trying to keep baby in until Michael got back. (He almost missed the first birth by going to the bathroom. In his defense the midwife never checked me and we didn’t talk much in my birth). The rest of the head came out and the baby followed. The baby came out screaming. “What is it?” “I was wrong.” Michael answered. We had a baby boy at 4:34, only 2 hours after my labor started.
We walked into the birth center. I got to take a wonderful bath in the tub and breastfeed our baby. Michael enjoyed his candy We got home right as my parents got to our house. It was so nice to introduce our baby to my parents and Ivan all at once. We took extra long to figure out his name. We called him TC for the first few days, in honor of his birth place, the Town and Country. I have two interesting birth stories. One in India and one in the car.
Photo Credit: Melanie Painter Photography