Passionate About Genesee County
and the Moms Who Live Here

Insider Tips for Birthing Your Baby in the Car

I kind of have a thing for birth stories. Not the kind that are forced upon you as soon as you’re visibly pregnant. (Those are usually worst-case scenarios and {hopefully} exaggerated to scare you. I will never understand women’s desire to scare soon-to-be moms, but there you go.)

No, instead, I love the birth stories about mamas who stuck to their birth plan, or who had curve balls thrown at them and made the best of a stressful situation. Stories that will inspire you and show you how strong women can be, and how they can endeavor even on the most trying day of their lives. I love that no matter how we get there, we all go down this road to motherhood.

As birth stories go, two of mine are pretty run-of-the-mill. My girls were both born in a hospital, in a delivery room, with no drugs but with lots of screaming. There were nurses present. I was wearing a hospital gown. It took too long.

But between the two, there’s my boy.

Ol’ Blue Eyes, they call him.

He came in unforgettable style.

Zero to Baby in Two Hours

On his official due date, in March of 2013, I made the huge gaffe of issuing an eviction notice on Facebook. Oops.

Praise the Lord he was my second. If I had never been in labor before, who knows how traumatic this might have been.

As it was, we were pretty hopped up on adrenaline, and with the absolute unreal quality of the morning, we were laughing pretty hard. Once it was over. And it was apparent that everyone was okay.

So, here are some really great things to keep in mind. You know, if the craziest should happen.

1. Car Births Are Not Planned!

If you plan to have your baby in the car on the way to the hospital, A) if you’re successful that’s astonishing, and B) you need to have your head examined. It’s not glamorous. It’s definitely not fun. Yes, it’s over fast, but it’s about 100 times as intense.

When Baby is coming, Baby is coming. But obviously the optimal scenario is that you are surrounded by medical personnel who assist women in this huge life-changing event every day. With an operating room just a gurney-ride away, in case anything should go wrong.

2. Driver: Don’t Make Small Talk

“So, how was our toddler yesterday?”

You know what? There is something epic going on in my midsection, and it hurts like the dickens, and I don’t feel like telling you how my day was, and how Soon-to-be Big Sister fought me tooth and nail over every bite of food yesterday.

Instead, I’ll just scream. But it’s not you. It’s me.

As an aside, one immutable rule for any birth, anywhere, anytime: DON’T TELL ME NOT TO PUSH! It’s like telling a drowning person to just breathe. It makes no sense. You can’t just not push, once you have gotten to this point. I always hear this in the “I had my baby in a car!” YouTube videos. Not okay. Find a different mantra. (You should take a long, hard look at “You’re doing great, beautiful!”)


3. Wardrobe Malfunctions Will Happen

Without going into too much detail, those maternity pants that were so comfy yesterday are just going to get in the way. Of course, when you’re hurtling toward the hospital your intention isn’t to have to disrobe in a moving car because player three has entered the game. So really, just do you. It’s not hard to pull down pants. You have bigger things going on.

4. Pull Over!

In our case, my husband was on the phone with 911 dispatch when Baby made his surprise entrance, so we really didn’t have a choice. We were all of 1.4 miles from the hospital, so it seemed silly, but it really is the safest option. An ambulance took us the last 3 minutes and my amazing husband followed. (It was also a relief to have the paramedics check him out and make sure we were both going to be okay.)

What a mess!

5. No One Is Checking Your Progress

This may seem like an obvious one, but when you’re in the situation, it’s huge. Terrifying.

When my first child was born, I kept waiting and waiting and waiting to be told I had dilated to ten. You live and breathe and cry by that number, when they check you. (With my third child, I was apparently dilated to 3 for about 3 hours, then, with no warning, I was fully dilated.) When you’re sitting in the front seat of your husband’s car, hurtling down I-75 just before five in the morning, and you get the urge to push, it’s terrifying. Can I really push? I don’t know how dilated I am! What if I hurt myself?

You have to trust your body like you have never had to before. And never mind the nay-sayers. (See someecard above.)

6. Look At The Clock

Here’s a fun tip: You will need to have a time of birth to tell the hospital when you get there! Because when you have just done something as savage as birthing your baby in the front seat of the car, still in your seat belt, holding a squalling brand new person, figuring out what time the baby was born is going to be foremost in your mind.

7. Call Your Mom In The Ambulance

She’s going to want to hear about this!

The hardest part’s behind you, anyway.

8. Baby Will Likely Be Bruised

Here’s the unvarnished truth: If Baby came so fast that you couldn’t make it to the hospital, the odds are that he will come out looking like a prizefighter who just had a really bad round in the ring. Babies don’t typically go down the birth canal that fast, and apparently it’s a little jarring.

The good news: The bruises fade away in a day or so. (Maybe some artistic black & white photos are in order for before then!)

9. Grow A Tough Skin

This is an unexpected side effect of having had my baby in the car. When people hear that this happened, you would not believe the number of people who look at me condescendingly and say, “I guess you waited too long to go to the hospital, huh?”

Um, no. My water broke at 3:30 AM. I called my husband, who left his midnight shift, came right home to get me, and we left right for the hospital. Tanner was born a few minutes before five. He was bound and determined to come out, and there was no time to have done anything else.

So, be prepared for haters. Some people must be superior in every situation, and if you have a neat story, they have to have some way to tear you down. Haters gonna hate, yo.

…And all that jazz.

Naturally, there are precautions you should take to make sure Baby is breathing. Ascertain if you’re bleeding too much. Maybe tie the umbilical cord with a (clean) shoelace. Wrap baby in something, because it’s a lot warmer in your belly than on the outside. If you didn’t find out Baby’s gender during the pregnancy, you get to make the call yourself! Oh, and your baby won’t have an Apgar score.

Are you in this club?

Comment below if this sort of craziness has happened to you! I have met more women with similar stories than I ever thought possible. A MOPS friend had her baby in the car in the ER turnaround. Another friend went to get in the car, realized things were progressing faster than expected, and had her baby at home. This doesn’t include all the women who have purposely had a home birth.

It’s kind of a crazy club to belong to, but it’s so fun to compare notes!

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8 Responses to Insider Tips for Birthing Your Baby in the Car

  1. Rochelle
    Rochelle March 28, 2017 at 8:29 am #

    Look you beautiful! The picture of you holding your son literally brought tears to my eyes!
    And ps I love that you’re still wearing your seat belt haha!

    • Rochelle
      Rochelle March 28, 2017 at 8:33 am #

      Or you look beautiful is what I meant! Waiting for coffee to kick in..

    • Mary c
      Mary c April 2, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

      Ha! Thanks, Rochelle! My husband took a grand total of two pictures at the “scene” that morning. And I’m so glad he did!! Also, I still have that shirt. It’s my baby-birthin’ shirt.

  2. Melissa March 28, 2017 at 6:02 pm #

    You are a superstar! That’s an amazing story.

    • Mary c
      Mary c April 2, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

      Thank you, Melissa! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 😊

  3. Kristin April 9, 2017 at 10:07 pm #

    Baby #1 came so fast for us that all the nurses were telling me I’d have my next one in the car. 😳 I’m currently half way through pregnancy number 2 and feeling a bit anxious over those comments!!

    • Mary C
      Mary C April 10, 2017 at 11:25 am #

      Oh no! Don’t let my story scare you! (Buuut, if the nurses were saying that, maybe you should not stall in going to the hospital! 😉 )

      The good news is, if it’s that fast, then you’re done. And as an additional pointer, if when you arrive at the hospital they don’t seem to believe you that it’s going to be fast, be firm with them! Tell them how fast your first one came! They didn’t believe me with my third, either, even after THIS happened! The doctor was doing a C-section and my poor nurse had to flag down the first doctor she could find.

    • Mary C
      Mary C June 10, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

      Kristin, any news? You must be approaching your due date. If you have Baby #2 in the car, maybe you can write a guest post with your viewpoint! 🙂