A car accident at 39 weeks pregnant – and an uneventful delivery!

Thank you Meg from MyMomsANerd.com for submitting this story. I can totally understand how having a car accident, even one that seems minor can be unsettling especially while pregnant! I’m so glad to hear that everything went so well for you, and congratulations on your little one!

I’m sharing the birth of my first child. Leading up to birth, I read birth stories all around the internet to feel better prepared. I attended a class on breastfeeding and one on how to care for a newborn, but no actual childbirth classes. As my due date approached, I started to worry that I should have!

When I was 39 weeks and 1 day pregnant, driving home from work, I went through an intersection and another driver turned right on red and hit my passenger side in his massive pickup truck. Luckily we were all going slowly so no injuries, no air bags even went off.

His truck had a tiny scratch on the fender. Both passenger doors and the center column were ruined on my 15 year old, paid off car with 35,000 miles. He looked like he was going to faint when he saw how pregnant I was. I called the cops and my husband since I was about 15 minutes from home. The other driver gave me his information and left to pick up his kids from school.

About a million people rubbernecked while I was waiting since it was rush hour! I was shaking from the adrenaline. All I could think about is if the baby is okay and how my car is going to be totaled.

A state trooper showed up and had paramedics check me out. My vitals looked fine, but they offered me a ride to the hospital. I declined since it wasn’t an emergency, and called my doctor. They wanted me to come in for 1-6 hours of monitoring.

So DH went home to take the dogs out and get the hospital bag. I drove my wrecked car home after the trooper finished the accident report. We were also dog sitting for a friend who was at the hospital with her newborn.

We drove to the hospital and got checked in around 8pm. I chose a hospital about an hour away from home because it is the best in the state with a level 4 NICU.

I didn’t have any particular health concerns for myself or my baby during pregnancy, but I learned later that it was well worth it with the quality of nurses, anesthesiologists available at all times, and the responsiveness of the doctors. Knowing my baby and I were in such good hands calmed many of my fears.

We let our families know what was going on too!

By 8:30pm, I was in a bed in the antenatal unit and hooked up to two instruments on my belly. 1 to monitor baby’s heartbeat and 1 to monitor contractions. I was having mild contractions every 10 minutes or so, but they were intermittent.

Since I was having contractions and they couldn’t be certain it was from the car accident or not, they decided to keep me overnight and run blood tests to check for internal bleeding. I was still 0cm dilated. The nurse has to unhook me from the monitors every time I had to pee, which was about every 30 minutes. I at least had my own bathroom.

I was a lot less worried at this point since I knew I was at the hospital – if anything went wrong, I was in the right place!

DH went home to let all the dogs out around midnight. He got back around 2am and slept in the room with me – they had a couch that folded into a bed.

I slept off and on with the monitors strapped to me, and also wore leg compression wraps to prevent clotting. By 5am Thursday morning, I couldn’t sleep through my contractions, which were coming every 4-7 minutes but were still intermittent.

Around 8am, a med student checked my vitals and another one checked my cervix. 3cm dilated! Since I’d started progressing, the hospital recommended I stay and be induced to make sure my baby was fine. They didn’t see any issues from the car accident, but they were concerned I’d go home and have to come back a few hours later, especially with an hour drive each way.

After 12 hours in the hospital, I totally agreed. I’m already hooked up to all these machines and at the hospital, let’s have this baby!

This was the long and slow part. It took until 10:30 for me to be moved to labor and delivery. I made sure to order a good breakfast since I wasn’t sure when my baby would arrive and I’d be able to eat solid food again.

At noon the nurse started the pitocin and came to check if the contractions were progressing every 30 minutes or so. I spent the afternoon napping on and off, playing on my phone, eating jello, and frequently asking the nurse to help me get situated so I could wheel my IV to the bathroom.

Late in the afternoon, they gave me a bolus through the IV to prevent dehydration.

Also, since I was working hard on having this baby, I insisted DH do some work and call insurance so I could get my car fixed.

At some points when they upped the pitocin, I would feel nauseous. The nurse would give me a wipe with alcohol on it to sniff, which helped for some reason.

My inlaws and my sister visited for 20 minutes, which was a nice distraction (sister works 10 minutes from the hospital, and in-laws live 15 minutes away).

Before going to the hospital, I told people not to visit until after the baby was born, and I didn’t want them in the waiting room during delivery. But I was bored, they were close by, and nothing was happening, so I was ok with it.

I did warn DH that he would need to kick them out if anything started happening. It meant a lot to me that my sister came!
My inlaws were super awesome and only stayed in my room for 20 minutes or so. DH and his parents hung out in the hospital cafeteria for a while while I napped.

As for the pitocin, they got up around the max dose by 8pm or so and things were starting to progress!

By 10:00pm, I asked for an epidural. The nurse asked how I rated the pain, I said 6 or 7. At that point, I was grunting or whimpering with the contractions. Later, my husband told me he thought this was funny and that I was that tough to stick it out through those contractions and “only” thought they were a 6 or 7, not like a 9 or 10.

The nurse had me lay on one side, and then the other because the baby’s heart rate was irregular. Changing positions fixed it.

There were 7 women delivering all around the same time, so I didn’t get the epidural until 11:00, even with the anesthesiologist on site.

DH had to leave the room since they require a sterile environment for epidurals.

The anesthesiologist was funny, joking about the process to keep me calm. I had to sit up and the nurse helped me stay positioned the right way to get the needle inserted.

First, they gave me local anesthetic, then put in the epidural. The epidural felt like cold water running down my back, then I felt nothing, except like a buzzing feeling, like my legs were asleep. I could still feel some pressure or cramping from the contractions, but I was able to doze off for about an hour.

And then the clock struck 12! The nurse checked and I was 10 cm and ready to push! She instructed DH on how to hold my leg, and she held the other leg. During each contraction, she had me push for 10 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and then push for 10 seconds. I could rest between contractions.

It was kind of hard for me to feel when the contractions are with the epidural (every 1-3 minutes), but after a few, I got the timing figured out. The nurse was actually too nice and complimented me on every push whether it was good or bad.

DH kindly gave me sips of water between pushes.
I felt like I was pushing and nothing was happening, but I actually was making progress. Another nurse came in to help. She put a bar towards the foot of the bed and tied a sheet around it. I pulled up on the sheet while pushing. And she told me good, better, or best to describe how I was pushing. Just when I got the hang of it, she started encouraging me to push harder.

I’m not a particularly physical person, I don’t play sports or do a lot of intense exercises. This was the hardest I’ve ever physically worked. I was out of breath and starting to run out of energy. I welcomed the rest in between pushes.

The nice nurse told me we could see my baby’s head when I was pushing – she would go 2 steps forward and 1 step back with each push. I asked for the mirror and that helped me see how to push too.

As soon as I finish pushing that time, the nurse tells me to rest for a few contractions. She’s going to get the doctor and we’re going to deliver the baby!

At that point, it was me, DH, and 2 nurses. She paged or something and within a minute, a doctor and at least two more nurses appeared. They got the doctor all suited up and prepped all the medical stuff for cutting the cord and what not.

Then I pushed some more, and my daughter was born at 2:43 am on Friday morning! I didn’t feel any kind of ring of fire (though I did get a second-degree tear requiring a few stitches).

I immediately started crying when they placed the slimy baby covered in vernix on my chest, it was the happiest moment of my life.

I held her while they stitched me up and I delivered the placenta – I don’t remember much. At some point they did the APGAR test and she scored 9/9. After our hour of skin to skin, they whisked her away to finish cleaning her off, and the nurse unhooked me from the epidural and IVs.

She helped me to the bathroom to get cleaned up. I was so shaky, tired, and exhausted that I don’t remember much. She helped me put on the mesh granny panties and giant pad, and put an ice pack to help with pain from the stitches.

We spent Friday and Saturday at the hospital and got to leave Sunday morning. We had lots of visitors at the hospital, which was tiring. If I have another baby, I will either limit folks to shorter visits or not be shy about asking them to wait in the lobby until I’m ready for them.

Being a mom has already taught me a lot about setting boundaries to protect myself and my family!

Going home was scary to me. At the hospital, someone was on hand to help if we needed anything. At home, we’d have to take care of this tiny baby all on our own! But now, almost a year later, everything has gone great and my daughter is thriving!