For Matt and Ashley's first and second babies, I had the privilege of coaching them through the wild ride of labor here in Northern Illinois. After baby #2, they relocated to a super remote village in Northern Canada, which is where they found out they were pregnant with #3! I was so excited for them, yet also sad for the distance that would keep us from working together again! Hoping that Ashley would be able to have another smooth birth experience, I emailed Matt some documents with info for helping him to be the sole support person for Ashley this time.
A couple of weeks after I sent those documents, on February 9th, I received wildly frantic and excited texts and Facebook messages from each of them describing how their third daughter had come into the world!
Here is Ashley's story:
Living in the remote North of Ontario we flew to be near the hospital and were staying in our friend’s home as our third daughters due date approached. The early morning of February 9th around 2 AM mild contractions kept disrupting my sleep and I realized I could be in early labor. I woke Matt and told him, “I think we might meet our baby today” Contractions were not happening regularly so, thinking we had a full day ahead of us, we went back to bed to get whatever rest we could before things picked up.
Around 5:00 AM I was awoken by a strong contraction. Upon hearing my grumbling, Matt came to be at my side and when the next contraction hit I told him I felt nauseous. After the contraction subsided I walked to the bathroom. Another contraction hit and I doubled over onto all fours and called to Matt, “Something changed, we need to go to the hospital NOW!!”. “Now?” He questioned. From his vantage point I had just been sleeping, how could I possibly be ready to go to the hospital. But, no, this was different. Something changed. “Start the car!” And so he went upstairs to get the car ready. As I heard him walk outside my water EXPLODED all over the bathroom floor! An intense urge to push followed along with an involuntary deep moan.
When Matt came downstairs I frantically told him, “My water broke, the baby is coming NOW.” He said “We have to get upstairs, you NEED to get in the car!” I told him I couldn’t as another contraction washed over me, he pleaded with me to not push. As soon as the contraction was over he said, “Now is your chance, you need to get up those stairs!” In my head I thought, my husband has no clue what is actually happening. “Okay”, I said and I crawled my body toward the stairs. Another contraction came and Matt said, “Shh! You are going to wake the kids.” (Birth coach level expert.) So I kept as quiet as I could (whilst a child attempted to exit my body). As soon as it was over he encouraged me to go upstairs, “Now! Go Go Go!” and I climbed the stairs steadily on hands and knees. Not a move I would recommend to any woman in pushing stage - and certainly was not in my birth plan. When we reached the top of the stairs I immediately had another contraction. Matt was absolutely begging me not to push. My poor sweet husband had no category for what was happening. I screamed, “Call the paramedics!”
Our hosts, Frank, who was just about to head to work before his living room turned into a birthing center, and Cheryl called the paramedics. Matt still adamant about driving me to the hospital coached me to the front door. After another contraction, however, Matt realized the baby really was coming which meant he was now Dr. Matt. As soon as the next urge to push came Ava Faith was born into his arms. Relief was mixed with panic as we saw our perfect baby girl for the first time. She was motionless and not yet breathing. Drawing from his medical knowledge which apparently was gleaned while watching 101 Dalmatians, Matt patted and rubbed her back with a towel. We could feel her quick little pulse. Within thirty seconds she made her first respiratory noise, another 30 seconds later she took a full breath and her skin quickly became pink, those were the longest 60 seconds of our lives.
Meanwhile, the emergency operator instructed to tie off the cord with a string and Cheryl quickly came back with green yarn and tied the umbilical cord. Ava arrived in the entryway, I will never be able to look at a welcome sign the same way again.
I absolutely love this wild story and am so thankful for their happy ending! I love Ashley's sense of humor (she is actually quite the jokester even while in labor!). I love this sweet family and am so happy to have been included in their journey.