How I Caught My Baby In The Bathroom: A Birth Story


How I Caught My Baby In The Bathroom: A Birth StoryOn July 26th last year, I caught my baby in the bathroom. Even as I write this, it’s still surreal to remember exactly how it came about, but I want to share because my third son’s birth story was a wild and crazy ride. I’d love to tell you about it because I think it can encourage women who are concerned about the potential for dangerous home births.

Let me start with a very brief background before I jump into the story of Donovan’s birth. My first two pregnancies were both pretty normal until the last trimester but developed complications that resulted in early inductions. With my third baby, however, the pregnancy was textbook normal with zero indications of anything going wrong even as we entered the last weeks. 

I had every intention of a hospital delivery and was prepared to be induced on July 27th. Clearly that all went awry when I started having contractions on the Monday before. 

Donovan’s birthday started as a normal day. I was preparing for my induction the next day by enjoying some homemade sweet rolls and washing up linens for the entire family to have clean sheets. I even washed the sheets for the guest room since my parents were coming to town and we had plans for my mom, a former labor nurse, to be one of my hospital support people.

In the early afternoon, I decided to sit down and watch some TV with my oldest son while my husband wrapped up work in the upstairs office. It was around 3:30pm that my first contraction hit, but since I’d had a few contractions over the weekend that went away, I didn’t think much of it. By the time my husband came downstairs around 4pm, though, I’d had three contractions and was feeling a little breathless with each one. I figured I would go take a shower and see if that helped any. 

I got into the shower and was enjoying the hot water as another contraction rocked through my body. At that point, the contractions were pretty bearable aside from making me breathless. I got down on my hands and knees in the shower at one point to relax with my back under the water. While I was down there, I had another two contractions in quick succession and allowed the hot water to help me get through them. Honestly in hindsight, I probably should have just stayed in the shower, but I was also in pretty big denial that I was in labor and just finished shaving, washing, and drying off as usual. 

It was probably around 4:30pm when I got out of the shower, and by then I’d had about seven contractions. I decided to give my OB a call and ask if I needed to go into the hospital just in case, but the office was already closed and the phone system sent me to the on-call operator. They took my information and promised a call back from the OB on call at the hospital. Y’all, I kid you not when I say the call back came within five minutes and my phone ignored the call as spam! 

I decided that maybe the baby was coming after all and called my mom to get her opinion. She knew instantly, y’all, and she insisted I get off the phone and get to the hospital STAT. So I sent my friend a text telling her to get over as soon as possible to watch my kids and hollered downstairs to my husband to get a bag and help pack for the hospital.

My oldest son came upstairs and asked me if I was okay as I was doubled over with my hands on the bed to support me through two back-to-back contractions. They’d gotten closer together and harder to breathe through, let alone move through. My husband came in and saw things were serious and sent my son out of the room. Once my contraction ended, I made a beeline for the bathroom.

Keep in mind that my other two kids were induced and I’d had epidurals. The pain was bearable, and I always figured I’d be out of my mind with pain during an “all natural” delivery, but the truth was that it wasn’t as terrible as I expected. In fact, the worst pain was when I got into the bathroom and hit the infamous “ring of fire.” 

That “ring of fire” contraction had me stuck standing still with one hand braced on the bathroom counter while my husband grabbed his phone to call 911. I shouted in pain and struggled to communicate as my husband was frantically asking what to do. I managed to tell him to help me get my clothes and shoes off because I wasn’t able to move from my standing position, so he helped me strip down. 

It wasn’t a moment too soon as my next contraction hit and I had to push. I was so focused on what my body was doing that it was the most natural feeling. I just let my body do the work and pushed when I felt the need to, and the next thing I knew, I reached down to feel my son’s head come out. 

As I was standing there with one hand on the counter and the other supporting his head, my husband exclaimed, “There’s the head!” I have to admit I find that one of the funniest parts of the whole birth.

He was on the phone with 911 and my next contraction came on. I pushed, and Donovan’s body came out. I was able to reach down with my other hand and catch him before he could fall to the floor. I felt ridiculously empowered. 

My husband was on the phone with the 911 operator while I stood there holding my son. I’m so grateful there were no complications and that he cried almost as soon as he was born. My placenta came out without my noticing, and once I saw it on the floor, I sat down on the bathroom floor with my baby clutched in a towel, trying to warm him up and keep him on the same level as the placenta. My husband went and grabbed a chip clip to use as a makeshift umbilical clamp, and we waited for the ambulance to take me to the hospital. 

While waiting, I called my mom and told her I’d just delivered the baby in the bathroom. I had the biggest surge of adrenaline and felt amazing after delivery. The pain of contractions seemed to disappear as soon as he was in my arms, and despite the bleeding, I had a sense of calm and clarity. 

In the almost thirty minutes it took to get the ambulance there, I enjoyed the surreal experience of having caught my own baby in the bathroom. From start to finish, it was an hour and a half of labor.  

Home births obviously aren’t for everyone, and I would never have chosen one for myself, but I’m so grateful that all the circumstances of my pregnancy and delivery lined up to experience such an empowering and complication-free home birth with my third.


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