At 3 am on the morning of October 31st, my wife Zuzana delivered our second child: Karisma Sarah Elizabeth Sneed. To everyoneâ€™s amazement, the baby arrived while we were still at home, before we had the chance to get in the car and go to the hospital! In fact, she arrived even before the paramedics came on the scene, leaving it to myself and Delilah, our birth assistant (called a â€œdoulaâ€) to catch the baby. When Zuzanaâ€™s water broke and her contractions were coming about every 3 minutes, I asked her to get in the car and leave. But, recalling the length or her first labor, she refused, and the doula was backing her up.
Outnumbered two to one, I acquiesced. Finally, when the contractions were growing more intense and lasting over two minutes, I issued an ultimatum: we are leaving NOW! She was in the bath tub, so I opened the drain plug to let the water out. As we were lifting her out of the tub (she could not get up on her own strength), she exclaimed, â€œBaby!â€ Sure enough, the babyâ€™s head was starting to come out. I immediately called 911. Then as I looked down, I saw the babyâ€™s whole head pop out. Before I knew it, the doula caught the baby and we both lifted her up, placing it on Zuzana so she could bond and start breast feeding.
The 911 dispatcher had me tie off the umbilical cord with a shoe string. By the time the paramedics arrived, Zuzana was sitting with the baby in her arms on a small ledge inside our bath tub (itâ€™s a large garden style type). The baby was crying and Zuzana was doing fine, relieved that the whole thing was pretty much over. The paramedics allowed me to cut the umbilical cord with a scalpel. Then they loaded her on a gurney and into the ambulance. After a about a 20 minute ride (averaging 70 mph), we arrived at the hospital, Medical Center of McKinney (Texas), where our doctor was waiting for us. Even with all the commotion, I managed to click off a few photos using my cell phone.
Although unexpected, the experience was not as traumatic as I thought it would have been. Iâ€™m just grateful we did not have to deliver the baby in the car! All in all, a home birth was a refreshing experience. However, I would recommend at least a midwife. That said, our OB-GYN, Dr. Jennifer Allen, did a great job with the latter parts of the delivery and repairing the minor injuries Zuzana sustained as a result of the fast delivery. After a day of recovery at the hospital, Zuzana, Kerrigan and I are looking forward to integrating Karisma into our expanding family.