3 moms share their unbelieveable emergency birth experiences

Creating a birth plan is an important part of your pregnancy journey, but your baby may have plans of her own – just as these moms discovered. By Lynne Gidish


“I gave birth in the car”

Both of Evandi Serfontein’s sons were in a hurry to enter the world.

Evandi Serfontein's emergency birth experience

I had a good birth experience with my daughter Danive (8). I’d planned a natural delivery and had gone to the hospital expecting a long labour with my bag packed with all the paraphernalia you’re told to bring. I never got to eat the snacks I brought, because she was born within two hours.

ALSO SEE: 12 essentials to pack in your hospital bag

I was disappointed when my doctor told me that I needed a C-section with my son Zian (5) – I was almost 40 weeks and he said that there were no signs that he’d be born naturally. Before I could call to book the surgery, I woke up in the middle of the night with contractions. As we got to the car to go to the hospital, my waters broke and I gave birth to him right there. He practically slid down the side of my three-quarter pants, and my husband, Louis, caught him before he hit the ground.

I was panicky as we rushed to the hospital. I was so worried that there was something wrong as I held him under my shirt to keep him warm. After a short time in the incubator, we were told he was fine. We decided that was that – we had our pigeon pair.

Then, I fell pregnant with Vanko. This time around, we opted for a water birth at a clinic. We planned everything carefully and decided I would go to the clinic at the first signs of labour – no matter how many false alarms there were. At 37 weeks, I started feeling some numbness in my tummy. I knew it wasn’t a contraction as I’d experienced them before, and I thought it was because I was hungry.

I asked Louis to come back from work and take me to the clinic to check what was happening. By the time he arrived 20 minutes later, I was calmly lying on our bed, chatting to the midwife on the phone. She asked me to time the intervals between the episodes of numbness. As I pressed the start button, my waters broke. I shouted for Louis to take off my pants and Vanko slid out on to the bed. Once again, our baby had made his own plans. A fourth child is certainly not on our agenda, but if God has other ideas for us, we’re having a home birth.

ALSO SEE: The facts about a home birth

“The next thing I knew, my baby was in my underwear”

Heleen Conradie’s daughter was born in the car on the way to the hospital.

Heleen Conradie's emergency birth experience

I had natural births with my first two children, and quite short labours – four hours with Trystan (5) and just over two hours with Xander (3). With my third pregnancy, my gynae wanted to induce me, as he was going away over the festive season, but we weren’t happy as we didn’t want to risk having Isla too early.

ALSO SEE: The pros and cons of inducing labour

I found another gynae who was working during the holidays and saw her on the morning of 28 December. I’d been having irregular contractions, but as a seasoned mom, I knew they were Braxton Hicks and not true labour. The gynae told me that we still had a few days to play with, so we decided to push the delivery to 1 January for school intake purposes.

That night, I got into bed and started to feel contractions. They were initially irregular, but soon afterwards I had a show [discharge of mucus plug] and told my husband, Bruwer, that because of my short labour history we needed to go, as the hospital was an hour away. My waters broke 10 minutes into the drive. Bruwer called the hospital on speakerphone and asked them to get hold of the gynae, but the staff explained that they needed to assess me first.

The next thing I knew, Isla was in my underwear! I was stressed as I held her in my arms, because she wasn’t breathing. The hospital told us to knock her on her back a couple of times, and to our great relief she finally started crying. She also seemed cold, so Bruwer rummaged through the bag on the back seat with one hand and found a blanket to wrap her in.

We arrived at the hospital in record time, and I was in shock. They took Isla to warm her up in an incubator. A few hours later, we were both given the all-clear and sent home, with everyone joking about why we had bothered to come in at all. It was a frightening experience, but what an amazing memory!

“The petrol attendants witnessed our son’s birth”

Yvette Meyer’s husband had to pull into the nearest garage for her to give birth.

Yvette Meyer emergency birth experience

I was in labour the whole day with Darius (7). I was disappointed as I’d planned a water birth, but because there was meconium present when my waters broke, he ended up being born in an empty bathtub.

I was determined to deliver my next child in warm water, and rented a birthing pool, which my doula was going to take to the clinic. I was a little apprehensive, because I’d had a miscarriage and there was a Rhesus factor complication. My last blood test picked up antibodies, so my gynae suggested that we induce at 38 weeks just to be safe. He gave me a week to try the natural induction he knew I wanted.

My midwife sent me to an acupuncturist and my waters broke four days later. Within 15 minutes, I felt as if I was dying. When Konrad arrived back from fetching Darius, he helped me to the car. I knelt on the front seat facing the back, looking at Darius sitting in his car seat waiting for his brother to arrive.

We’d barely done 3km when I realised the baby was coming. Konrad pulled into the nearest garage and I could tell how stressed he was when he told the petrol attendant to call an ambulance – and fill up the car! I was still kneeling on the seat, while the staff held a blanket over the windscreen to shield my bare bottom, and the midwife gave instructions over the phone.

Konrad saw the baby’s head crown, pulled gently on the hand next to it and Luhann popped out into his dad’s arms. He wasn’t breathing, but the midwife told Konrad what to do, and he was fine by the time the ambulance arrived. We were taken to the clinic where they had prepared a bath for the four of us to relax in for the first time as a family. It was a good ending to an eventful day.

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