Evelyn Rose’s Birth Story

evelyn rose weisbart 3

I’ll cut straight to the punchline, since it’s what really matters. Evelyn Rose was born May 11th at 8 lbs 5 oz, 21″ long. We named her after my great-grandmothers Evelyn and Roseada and Adam’s great-aunts Evelyn and Rosina. She is happy and healthy and we are completely infatuated with her.

There are all sorts of pithy aphorisms that I could use to introduce Evelyn’s birth such story as “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. Though I had drafted a pretty thorough birth plan that included many different contingencies, Evelyn managed to make her grand entrance in a way that we hadn’t even remotely considered – she was born in the front seat of our car, 10 minutes from the hospital.

On May 10th, Evelyn’s due date, I started to have some cramps that I figured were probably contractions. I could walk and talk through them so I went about my day. I called my doula to let her know that I had probably started pre-labor and that she could expect a call from me sometime in the next day letting her know that it was really happening. The contractions continued throughout the day, but never lasted more than 30 seconds and were about 10 minutes apart (for reference, you’re not supposed to go to the hospital until the contractions are 1 minute long and 4 minutes apart, so I had quite a ways to go. Pre-labor can go on for days, especially with a first baby). Just after 10pm I called my doula again to let her know that nothing had really changed and that I’d check in with her the next morning. While we were on the phone, my water broke in a spectacular gush, like you see in the movies (for reference, it’s rare for water to break before labor has begun and even more uncommon for it to happen as one big gush).

Minutes later, serious contractions started. Active labor had begun, though I was trying not to get excited since active labor with a first baby is usually 8-12 hours. The contractions were over 30 seconds long, 4-5 minutes apart, and strong enough that I was in tears on the floor. I called my midwife to check in, and they told me that I could come in to the hospital if I wanted to and that they wouldn’t turn me away since my water had already broken, but that if I didn’t live on an island they would recommend hanging out at home for while longer. We talked to our doula who said that everything was in the realm of normal, but it couldn’t hurt to make our way to the hospital. Adam gathered our stuff into the car and we went down to the ferry terminal to get the first ferry off the island that we could, figuring it was better to be safe than sorry and knowing that the longer we waited, the farther apart the ferries would be since it was getting late in the evening.

While we waited for the ferry, I labored on the ground next to the car since I was pretty sure I was going to throw up and didn’t want to make a mess in the car (does that count as ironic?). The ferry workers called the paramedics since the official policy is that paramedics have to be called any time a laboring woman rides the ferry since the ferry workers really don’t want to have a baby delivered on the boat. The paramedics talked to Adam and our doula (who was caravanning behind us) and said that they would be happy to transport us to the hospital if we wanted, but they would also be very happy just to have us sign the paper saying that we refused service since there wasn’t anything abnormal about my labor and I probably had many hours left to go. So Adam signed the paper and we got on the boat.

While on the boat, Adam moved our stuff to our doula’s car and made the plan with her that she would follow behind us and if, for some crazy reason, we needed help before reaching the hospital, she would be in charge of calling an ambulance and directing it to us. I felt baby’s head get lower in my pelvis while we were on the boat, and told our doula who said that was a normal sensation and, like every other aspect of labor so far, didn’t actually predict when baby would make her arrival since this was my first baby and first births usually take a long time.

Adam drove as quickly as he (safely) could to the hospital which was 40 minutes away. He stayed calm, cool, and collected while I moaned and screamed next to him. He was a rock, and I’m amazed and grateful that he had the wherewithal to safely do what needed to be done while still offering me words of comfort and support. As we were crossing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge I felt the “ring of fire”, reached down, and told Adam that I could feel our baby’s head.

Adam took the first exit after the bridge and pulled over by the side of the road. Our doula called the paramedics. Adam came over to my side of the car, knelt down beside me, and prepared to catch our baby. That act alone made him my hero. He doesn’t like blood and our birth plan was for him to be by my side, at my head, looking into my eyes and putting all of his energy into supporting me while I gave birth. Again, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

After driving right past us the first time, the paramedics got turned around and got to us with moments to spare. It was too late to get me onto a gurney, so Evelyn Rose was born in the front seat of our Subaru. The young man that caught her yelled at me to “push, push, push” and I started to panic, thinking that it must mean that something is going horribly wrong if he’s having me push even when I’m not having a contraction. (We learned after the fact that it was the first birth that the paramedic had seen (he was being closely watched by the senior paramedic) so it was a sign of his inexperience, not a sign of a problem.) Evie came out with just a couple of pushes and there was another terrifying moment of panic where she was absolutely silent, fortunately followed by tears of relief when she started to scream. They loaded me onto the gurney, into the ambulance, and drove us to the hospital. Adam asked the senior paramedic “No sirens?”. “No sirens.” Then he knew that everything was going to be okay.

We got to the hospital, were brought into a delivery room, and a midwife and several nurses checked on me and Evie – we were both healthy. I needed some stitches, but that was it. Everything was okay. My little girl came into this world a rebel, doing things on her own terms, a trait that we plan to encourage as she grows. All six of Evie’s grandparents were able to be at the hospital the day of her birth to meet her. All three of us have been surrounded by love from friends, family, and community and, despite a traumatic start, we recognize and appreciate how lucky we are to have brought such a sweet, healthy baby into the world.

new weisbart family

(For those that are curious, any labor less than 3hrs from onset to delivery is considered a precipitous labor. Precipitous labor only occurs in ~2% of births and of those, only 10% are first births, so my experience was definitely a statistical anomaly.)

Comments 40

  1. Congratulations on a gorgeous baby! I’m the mother of three girls (single and Twins) and my only advice to impending mothers is not to get too attached to a birth plan – neither of my births went as expected (or hoped), but luckily I still ended up with 3 healthy bubs. Evelyn’s birth on the side of the road sounds like a fabulous origin story for her to tell her friends as she gets older too. Enjoy your time with your tiny girl – they grow so very fast! :)

  2. Wow! That’s an amazing birth story! So glad you and Evelyn are doing well! I delivered my daughter on May 12 :)

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  3. What a trooper! (All of you, actually.) And congratulations! I had a fast labour with my first, about six hours, nothing like you… And a very fast second, induced with a preemie, less than two hours. Enjoy your babymoon!

  4. Wow! What a story! While it may have been fast and not at all as you planned, I’m thankful that there weren’t more serious medical complications and that everyone made it through healthy. I bet before you know it, a lot of your memories from that day will have faded – I know mine did, which is probably a good thing since I’m getting ready to go through it again here in a few months! If they do fade, then all that will matter is that you have a beautiful daughter, a wonderful husband, and a nice island life! We had a couple in our birth class who lived on Vashon Island, and they started spending their weekends in Seattle since they didn’t want to even deal with being in labor on the ferry if they could help it. Enjoy this time as a new mom!

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      We had planned to get a room at the Marriott near the hospital for me to labor in, if necessary, but clearly things went way too quickly for that backup plan to come into play! Best wishes for the smooth arrival of your next baby!

  5. Congratulations on your baby! looking forward to more Posts, but
    for now rest and may God always bless you and your family.

  6. Erin,
    Thanks for your story! I had told Adam it would be fun to hear it from your perspective…When I was teaching 6th grade, students wrote a “all about myself” book, and one of the pieces of writing was to interview their parents and ask about their birth, explanation for their name, etc… I did that after I only found out when I was in my 50’s the reason for my middle name, Lucienne… Your adventure makes me (almost…not quite!) wish I was still teaching 6th grade!
    Congratulations to the three of you, it is a fabulous beginning, and make sure your story and Adam’s are both carefully preserved for Evie when she can read…

  7. So I’m in tears sitting on a packed train. You are amazing and so is Adam. I hope you have been able to recover enough mentally and emotionally from that experience (perhaps the shock more than anything) to be able to focus on your little girl. I too had a precipitous first labour, and was lucky I didn’t listen to the midwife who told me not to come in yet! But I found it hard afterwards to focus on my baby when mentally there was still so much to “unpack” regarding his birth. My second labour was also fast but I was much more prepared.
    If you read the sewing blog “No Big Dill” her second child was also born in the car, I’m pretty sure the story is on her blog in the archives. At least you got an intervention free birth (if that’s what you were hoping for)! All the best for the coming days, weeks, months and years!

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      Thank you. And thanks for sharing about your experience.
      Yes, Adam and I needed to do a lot of processing initially. It was pretty traumatic but processing what happened together helped us to both move beyond the trauma. I think we’ve successfully gotten beyond that and now our life is consumed with caring for Evie in the normal way that a newborn consumes your life.
      And yes, I did get the intervention-free birth I was hoping for, so that was a silver lining :)

  8. Congratulations!! What a story! I’m so happy that it all worked out and that you and baby are doing fine. Great name too!

  9. Congratulations on having a healthy and beautiful baby! I loved reading your story, and particularly was moved by your description of Adam and the picture of the three of you. Had some tears, I have to confess.

  10. This is amazing! You painted such a vivid picture–I could see every moment and got a little misty learning the details. Each birth story is incredible, no matter how many you hear. I’m a mom, too, so I get swept up in the stories about a baby’s first few moments, days, weeks and months. Parenthood is quite an adventure and Evelyn sure started her story off with a bang. Congrats to you and your family, Erin!

  11. Wow! Congrats to you all! What a beautiful little girl. So glad she arrived safely! Your honesty is always refreshing, thanks for sharing this personal story!

  12. Congratulations Erin and Adam, and welcome beautiful baby Evelyn Rose! Oh my goodness, but she’s a cutie!!

    Your. Story. I’ve heard a few dramatic birth stories and yours is right up there. Especially with the ferry aspect! I’ve always got the sense that you and Adam are pretty chill…and yup….you are really are calm in a situation that may have had others panicky!

  13. Congratulations, so very happy for your family. We have a lovely granddaughter who arrived last October in a bit of a hurry herself. Hope your daughter brings as much joy to your family as Willow has brought to ours.

  14. well that is quite a story – obviously you were born to be a mom and your body said “this is the time” Whew! great job by both you and Adam and what a lovely girl you have now. Big Congrats on the new baby and wishing you love and happiness.

  15. Oh my goodness! It is cheesy to say I was brought to tears by this?! So happy for you and your husband – what a lovely and memorable story. I’m sure your Evelyn will be hearing it often and will love what a rebel she is. :D

    Your quick birth sounds just like my sister’s… she lives 10 mins from her hospital and with all babies her midwife never made it to the birth since they were so fast. (The midwife’s office is right across the street from the hospital too!) lol

    Congrats Erin! :D She looks like a sweetie.

  16. Tears of joy for you! Evelyn Rose is utterly beautiful. I can’t find the right words to tell you how happy I am for both of you, and what an amazing journey you are about to begin.

  17. Congratulations! I am glad everything turned out okay. I understand about birth plans not going as planned. As a side note, my mom was in labor for hours before she had me (her third with a number of years between me and my siblings). She even went home and cooked dinner before she was willing to go to the hospital (after being at a Doctor’s appointment).

  18. Congrats! And I thought my 6hr labor was fast. No 2 is due in August and I am scared that this will happen to me (my grandmother didn’t make it to L&D for 2/4 of her kids). Enjoy all the baby cuddles!

  19. OMG, Evelyn’s entrance made me cry. Welcome welcome to Evelyne Rose! A new family is born. :D

  20. Omg birth on the side of the road is every mother-to-be’s worst fear! Makes for a great story after the fact!

    My labor was normal/long-ish (26 hours total) and my contractions were confusing like yours. Not text-book “ready,” but um yeah, let’s go to the hospital because they are weirdly super close together!

    Huge congratulations on a healthy baby and kudos to a strong dada ready to catch her!!! Signs of good things to come I think :)

  21. WOW! I’m glad you wrote down this story for Evie & decided to share it with the rest of the world! I’m glad everything turned out & that you have a beautiful, healthy little girl!

  22. Your story caught my eye – My mother’s name was Evelyn, her mother’s name was Rose. This is a very special girl, indeed.

  23. Wow! What a great birth story with a happy ending – the very best kind! Thank you for sharing it. It’s a great reminder of how nature will indeed take its own course. I was a bio major and did an independent study course where my selected topic was factors affecting the timing of labor onset. the ultimate answer was that despite increasing knowledge and many theories, it was still a mystery, just as each labor and birth and human being are unique. Kudos to you and your husband for your courage and strength, as well as the support systems you had in place. I also taught childbirth classes once apon a time :)

  24. what an adventure it was!!! And a very beautiful story too… Makes me silent and wondering again about how wonderful giving birth is… What a beautiful name you gave her too!!

  25. I’m rereading this again, and it is making me chuckle the part about the paramedic telling you to push. This is a pet peeve of every single emergency birth scene in every movie ever. ugh. Random inexperienced dude does not need to tell a woman laboring with drugs to push. ha!

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