Labor tales: The adventures, surprises and mishaps of delivery


No labor is ever the same. Even with the best-laid plans, things don’t always work out as expected—as these two moms can attest.


Sarah Schumacher Hixson



He just couldn’t wait


Brittany Hayes, Midlothian


I was one day past my due date when I woke up with contractions every four to five minutes. We got in the car, put on a video for our 4-year-old and headed to Naperville in rush hour.


When my water broke, we pulled over. With 911 dispatchers on the phone, I reached down and felt the baby’s head. With the next contraction, he was out. I remember grabbing him underneath his armpits and holding him right in front of me as we both looked stunned.


My husband used my shoelace around the cord and a few moments later, the fire department and paramedics arrived.


My sister-in-law had the van detailed and it only took a year for the heated seat to start to work again. And, yes, we are still driving it.


Doing it my way


Vicky Milligan, River Forest


I wanted to have a natural delivery. I was home taking a nap when I woke up and my water broke.


After texting my midwife and doula, I decided to do all the things I had read about during early labor: bouncing on a ball, taking a bath, being in a hot shower.


At the hospital, after an hour of alternating between the squatting chair and being on all fours, I was only 6 cm. I decided to move into the shower. I was on all fours with Sean spraying me with hot water. After a few contractions, I looked up at him and started laughing uncontrollably!


After 1 1/2 hours of pushing, screaming, moaning and breathing, when they put my little Annie on my chest, it was the best moment of my life and I felt pretty badass for delivering naturally.


Nightmare Chicago traffic


Bekah Kalita, Oak Park


Not many people can say their labor story involves a stalled car on Lower Wacker and a tow truck. I was 37 weeks and had gone for a doctor’s appointment because I was having contractions, but they sent me home.


On Lower Wacker Drive, my car died, blocking an entire lane of traffic in the middle of an intersection at rush hour. I couldn’t even get the windows down and it was 90 degrees outside.


Car after car crawled past me, either honking, giving me dirty looks or both. It was 45 long minutes before the city sent a tow truck, then another hour-long tow truck ride in bumper-to-bumper traffic back to Oak Park. All the while with contractions.


When my water broke at 9:45 p.m, we rushed back downtown. Miles was born at 11:26 p.m.


Dad on the spot


Sarah Schumacher Hixson, Chicago


With my third child, I woke up at 6 a.m. with contractions. They were coming every five to seven minutes, so I called my doctor and told her we would be heading in. As I grabbed my bag and brushed my teeth, a wave of pain came over me. Contractions began coming one after another with no break.


In between the 911 call and the paramedics arriving, my daughter arrived in my husband’s hands right on the couch. I don’t recall pushing at all and my husband claims I just kept shouting, “There is something coming out of me.”


My husband survived, the couch survived, my daughter is healthy, and my 2- and 4-year-olds hardly noticed a thing because they were watching “Despicable Me.”


Nurse shocker


Elise Kern, Palatine


We arrived at the hospital at 8:30 p.m. to start on a low dose of Pitocin overnight. We decided my husband should get some rest at home since we live only five minutes away.


But I soon regretted that. At 3 a.m., the contractions started to get really strong. At 3:30 a.m., I scooted into the bathroom and the moment I sat down on the toilet, I was overwhelmed by the need to push.


Fifteen seconds later, her head was out. I reached down and grabbed her, pushed one more time and pulled her up onto my lap. After hyperventilating for a few seconds, I remembered there was a nurse call button next to me and whacked it.


The nurse came running, and with a very shocked look on her face, said, “Oh, you had a baby.”

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