holiday road trip, part 3: a race to the hospital

Okay, I’ve been wanting to share this part of our holiday trip, but needed to find the time and space to write it all out. As I mentioned before, my entire family (including my sisters, my mom, and 15 kids between us) drove out to Daytona to spend some time together at a resort by the beach. My sister Kim was due on December 31 but decided to go out anyway, since it was only about an hour from the hospital she where she planned to give birth. 

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Everything was going along pretty uneventfully – we were spending lazy days at the beach and Kim wasn’t having many contractions. But one afternoon I was sitting near the pool with my kids and Kim texted me. “It’s time.” it said. The plan was that my mom would stay at the beach resort with Kim’s kids, while Kim drove to Orlando to deliver baby.  Austin (her oldest son) and I were going to follow her to the hospital and be present at the birth.  Since this was Kim’s 5th pregnancy, she knew things might move quickly, but we all assumed she could make it to Orlando. Although she did bring a home-birthing kit in her car just in case, and all week long we’d been making jokes about how she might give birth on the side of the road.  Kim is a pro at childbirth – she’s done them without medication and in a birthing center, so we had even joked about the jacuzzi tub in our room and how it would be a nice place for a water birth.  But really, we all assumed we’d get back to her home hospital for an event-free delivery.

WRONG.

We only got about 15 miles on the only road between Daytona and Orlando in an hour due to the traffic. The timing was bad – it was just after the work day on a Friday afternoon, and traffic reports were confirming it was bad the whole way in. Meanwhile, Kim was now having contractions every 3 minutes, and started to freak out a bit. We were in bumper-to-bumper traffic.  Austin was driving the car I was in and Kim’s husband driving in her car, and she was texting me in between contractions as we tried to figure out what to do.

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This is the only picture I have, taken before we hit traffic back when I thought this was just a fun little adventure instead of the subplot of an adventure movie. Note: we did NOT stop at Krispy Kreme this time.

It was quickly becoming obvious that we were not going to make it to Orlando, and that we needed to turn around and find a hospital nearby. THANK GOODNESS the car we were in had GPS.

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We narrowed down the local hospitals but we were guessing as to where to go.  Jarrod and Austin were driving and Kim was in active labor, which left the decision-making up to me. Let me just tell ya, I WAS A BALL OF NERVES.  We followed the directions to one “medical center” but it ended up being a sports rehabilitation place, so it became clear we needed to find out which medical center actually had a maternity ward.  By this point we’d been in the car nearly 2 hours. I was trying my best to use google to look at each hospital’s website, but none of the sites were optimized for a cell phone so it was slow-going and my fingers were fast-shaking. I was wishing I could just get my hands on a laptop and then figured, you know? There has got to be someone online right now who is at a computer and could look this up for me.  So I went to twitter and asked if someone could find us a maternity ward.  Within a minute, I had answers.

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And people say twitter is a waste of time! Armed with info on maternity wards and the GPS we were able to figure out a route to the hospital. (Note: GPS photos are a re-enactment because HELLO. I was too busy freaking out and sweating out of my toes).  Kim’s contractions were getting stronger and we really were racing, assuming that if we ran into a cop we could ask for an escort.

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We arrived at the hospital and they whisked Kim into triage. Sure enough, she was at 9 centimeters. NO WAY we would have made it to Orlando.

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It was such a treat to be in the room with my sister and her husband. He was so loving and encouraging to her. My sister was very much like I was in labor – quiet and apologetic. I swear she said sorry and thank you to every person in the room in between every contraction. I remember doing the same thing. I think I was in so much pain that when it stopped, I was endlessly grateful to every person helping me out. The doctor was called, and we waited for her to arrive, assuming it would be any minute. Kim was feeling like she was in transition, and the doctor arrived just as she felt the urge to push.

And then . . .

The doctor did a quick exam, and ordered an ultrasound.

It was probably only a minute before the ultrasound machine arrived, but it felt like an eternity. I knew she was worried about something but I wasn’t sure what. As soon as the image showed on the screen, she called it. The baby was breech, and Kim was feeling the urge to push. The only option was an emergency C-section.

The next few minutes were stressful as they prepped Kim for surgery and she fought the urge to push. I know she was disappointed, but she also knew it had to be done. They quickly wheeled her into the operating room.  Ten minutes later, Sabra was born.

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Sabra came out perfectly healthy, thanks to the swift actions of the team at Florida Hospital. The baby’s little bottom was very bruised because it had begun to squeeze into the birth canal. It is truly sobering to think of how lucky Kim was to get to a hospital when she did.

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The whole thing was such a reminder of how volatile childbirth can be. It’s great when things can happen without medical intervention. That’s the birth experience my sister was hoping for. But THANK GOD we live in a place where medical intervention is available.

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Over the next few days of our trip we got to come by and visit with the new baby. It ended up being an amazing maternity center, and Kim was grateful for how it all worked out.

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The kids are crazy in love with their new cousin.

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Welcome Sabra! And a big thanks to the folks on twitter who helped me figure out where to go.  :)

 

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This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Chrysler. All opinions are 100% mine.


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