In my group of friends, I was the first to become a mum at just 21 years old. As a 21 year old mother, I was just as clueless and scared as you probably are imagining. I learned a lot along the way and several years later, when one of my oldest friends fell pregnant, she asked me (as one of her few experienced and trusted mum-friends) to come along and support her through the labour and birth.

I agreed without a moment’s hesitation, and have now been present as a support person at 4 births, 3 of them supporting this same friend! All of them have been different and amazing and all of them have had moments of utter hilarity. Yes, hilarity. This story makes me laugh now, but at the time, I was trying to maintain a calm exterior… This would be the second birth and labour I’d been at,  supporting that same friend who has asked me to attend the birth of all 3 of her children.

The Labour Story.

overdue

To set the scene, she was around several days past that mythical “estimated delivery date” and facing a potential induction for the second time. To take her mind of her “still extremely pregnant” status, we decided to go wander the local shopping centre. We hopped in the car and she drove us the 10 minutes it took to get there, because at this stage, I still hadn’t gotten my driver’s license (I was only 30, you can’t rush these things).

We began aimlessly strolling, stopping at this shop and that shop, when I noticed something was happening. As we walked and chatted, my friend would stop talking periodically and wince, taking a deep breath before continuing what she was saying. She didn’t even seem to notice that she was doing it; she didn’t acknowledge it at all. After a few of these, I asked if she was okay. She muttered something about Braxton Hicks but I knew better- those are uncomfortable, but they shouldn’t be so painful that you stop talking. I should also mention that this friend of mine is a prolific talker. She could talk underwater and she knows it, so for these pains to even pause her conversation made me feel sure that something else was going on!

A few more pains in and I gently suggested that it was time for us to go home. By now, I was acutely conscious of the fact that I didn’t drive and had only a vague notion of where the taxi-rank was. My friend, however, wasn’t ready to go. “Can we just duck into Myer? I really wanted a new perfume for my hospital bag,” she said, so I hustled her into the Myer perfume counter where she told the salesperson what she was after. The sales lady couldn’t miss the full-term belly in front of her and my friend explained she wanted a new scent before the baby arrived. “When are you due?” she asked. On hearing that she was several days overdue and was actually having a few pains, she stuffed the perfume in the bag, thrust it at us and wished her luck. If she could have shoved us out the door, she would have.

scared

The terrified eyes above the fake smile gave away her thoughts exactly, she knew that if she didn’t get my friend out the door she’d be mopping up amniotic fluid before too long.

On leaving Myer, I turned towards the exit but my friend had other ideas. She was, she said, in desperate need of a McDonald’s lunch. A McFeast meal. Now. No, we couldn’t get takeaway. Let’s just eat here. Okay. I steered her to the food court and sat her down. While in the queue at McDonalds, I downloaded a contraction timer app and keep an eye on her. I bought our lunches and quietly timed the contractions I was sure she was having. She’d eat, stop, hunch forward and breathe, then continue. From memory, they were about 10 minutes apart at this point. I figured we had enough time to get home, grab her bag and go to the hospital. I suggested she, or I, ring her husband to come home from work as he was a good 40 minutes away.

My friend, in the middle of a shopping centre, panting slightly through contractions while finishing her french fries, looked at me as if I had completely lost the plot. I was the unhinged one, in her eyes. There was no getting between her and her lunch; baby or no baby.

dinosaur fries labour

I again suggested we leave and she rolled her eyes and said she was sure it was just Braxton Hicks. I quietly pointed out how overdue she was, that it was a second baby that might come faster than the first, that her “Braxton Hicks” seemed to be causing her considerable discomfort and that I thought she was, in fact, in labour- at least in the early stages. I reminded her that I couldn’t drive. She reluctantly agreed that we should leave, just in case I was right. However, before we went, she just needed to go and get some jam donuts. NEEDED to. From the donut shop that was literally on the other side of the shopping centre. She just needed them, okay?

I calmly walked with her, pausing with contractions, while my mind raced. I was, by the time we got to the donut shop, pretty sure I would have to deliver the baby myself, right there at the shops. I wondered how clean the floors were if I couldn’t get her to a seat in time. Would my cardigan do to the wrap the baby? Someone would help me, surely? Inside, my panic was mounting. I insisted my friend call her husband to come home, so, to humor me, she rang him and said it was time. Time for what, he asked? My friend stood there, looking slightly confused. I remember grabbing the phone and almost yelling “It’s time to come home and go to hospital-NOW!”.

donut mindy kaling labour

For the record, the jam donuts? She didn’t even eat ONE of them!

My friend got her jam donuts while I confided my concerns in two total strangers, a young pregnant woman and her sister. I thought they might help, if the time came. They did help convince my friend to leave and finally, we made it back to the car.

The road Gods smiled on us and each contraction happened at a red light and we made it home shortly before her husband, who promptly went outside to shovel some recently-delivered garden pebbles while my friend paced the house. I wondered if they’d both gone mad.

I threw a towel on the passenger seat of the car, and asked her husband to ring the hospital- contractions were down to 5 minutes apart. At my insistence, they both got in the car and were were off. By now, my poor friend was in the thick of hard, painful labour. She and I were dropped at the door while her hubby parked the car.

Getting her up to the birth centre was an adventure in itself and her baby was born, safe and well, less than an hour later. I take no credit for that- she did all the hard work, for sure.

But I do take credit for one thing: the fact that that baby was not born in the middle of a shopping centre. That was almost all down to me.

 

#FYBF @ With Some Grace

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  • LydiaCLee

    My labour with number 2 started at work. I finished the day, much to everyone’s alarm, as I’d pause midsentence for every contraction. I was completely in denial, as I was meant to have a week to go…heh heh

  • I had visions of the baby being born in the Food Court, swaddled in your cardigan for a minute there. I love a happy ending! Did you learn to drive quite quickly after that? I’m also a big believer in not rushing things, I’m 44 and still can’t drive!

    • A year or so later I got my P’s! (At 38 weeks pregnant myself hehe)

  • Being a second baby you’d think she’d know when she was in labour! She is lucky she had you with her to insist she go home and then to the hospital! Imagine the baby could have been born in MacDonalds otherwise – “Congratulations, now would you like fries with your baby!”

    • Nope, she was convinced she’d have to be induced, utterly convinced!

  • Haha. Could have been a very interesting birth there Amy. It would have been very educational!

  • Your friend is a legend. It’s a wonder she wasn’t sick delivering a baby after all that food though.

  • TeganMC

    You’re a braver woman than I. I would have been rocking in the corner when she refused to leave!

  • Wow, so young! I was in my mid 30s before I started panicking about the biological clock thing and early 40s when I tried getting pregnant. Kinda serves me right for thinking I’d meet the man of my dreams. Or you know… a man full stop. (Am now 48 and still yet to do so!)

    Your friend is very brave. Or silly… not sure!

    • She is brave 😀 48 isn’t too late- you never know 🙂

  • Oh wow, you were lucky you made it to the hospital and not on the nightly news! Although that would have been a story to tell the child when they grew up.

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    I would not have been as calm as you Amy – I would have been in major panic mode in the same situation! Glad to hear you were not forced to help deliver a baby in a shopping centre!!!

  • Oh my goodness my heart was racing reading that…thank goodness she made it. Phew. Lucky to have you… and by the way, do you have your licence? Denyse

    • I do now, Denyse- Got it when I was 38 weeks pregnant myself- the testing officer was slightly nervous 😉

  • Wow! How on earth was she so calm through the whole thing!

  • Hahhaha – this was GOLD. I like a woman who’s pretty relaxed in labour. Her hubby’s reaction reminds me of a very good friend who was in early labour and about to get into the car when her husband asked her to quickly make him a cup of tea before they left. You can imagine how that went down! (I also waited until 30ish to get my license).

    • Oh good gref, a cup of tea? I know what I’d have told him to do with his cuppa (that’d he’d have been making HIMSELF!!) LOL!

  • Lisa Shearon

    THIS IS THE BEST STORY EVER. Perfume! McDonalds! Donuts! Your friend is insanely and wildly brilliant, and so are you.

  • When my waters broke with my second, my husband told me that I had just wet my pants and proceed to go to bed like normal. At midnight, I called the hospital with contractions that were 4 minutes apart and they were like ‘GET IN THE CAR’ – by the time my husband finished fluffy around and we dropped off my eldest, labour was well underway. 20 minutes of pushing and we were holding our little guy.

  • Blimey, I would have been dragging her out if that was me! I remember walking around Big W for ages while in labour with Punky. A family friend was there and saw us and came over to have a chat and I had to walk away so that he wouldn’t notice I was having contractions every 10 minutes. It was awkward! And a friend of mine was at Blacktown Shopping Centre on a Thursday night, and had just stepped off the escalators when her waters broke. And not just a little trickle but with a loud pop and gush of fluid everywhere, loud enough for people to stop and look. She was mortified and more than happy to get out of there asap, no hanging around for her!

  • Lozzie@MessyRainbows

    Oh my gosh!!! Great story, but yes if not for you it might have had a very different ending… I can’t believe how calm & oblivious about it all your friend was. Gotta get her Maccas & donuts- I love that she didn’t even eat one!! Apparently when mum was in labor with me & said to my dad it’s time to go he said ok I just have to have a shower first!!

    • So calm- she was positive it wasn’t happening!
      A shower first! *snort*

  • Oh wow! Kudos to you for getting her out of there! I hope you had some jam doughnuts for your reward! And seriously? They didn’t grasp the enormity of the situation??? You know what? It’s good your friend has a friend like you. If it had been me, I’d have no clue whatsoever! Then we would be ringing the ambulance while trying to deliver a baby in the shops.

    • I think she had literally convinced herself it wasn’t happening and she’d need an induction, so her calm rubbed off on her hubby!

  • Omg I would’ve been panicking for sure. My contractions went from 5 mins apart {they started at that} to one and a half minutes apart in 45 minutes. Pretty sure the next time I’m due to have a baby {if it happens again} I’m going to be staying at home for the last 2 weeks just incase.

  • Oh my goodness – I thought I’ve NEEDED Maccas before, but never quite as much as your friend! I love this story.

  • I think she just wanted to put it off as long as possible. Do you want fries with that?

  • Ha! Hilarious. Macca cravings are real though. I get that!

  • Grace

    Woah! What a story, Amy! You also need to take credit in helping her get those god damn donuts. Nothing should get in the way between a woman and her donuts. LOL!

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