Ex­pe­ri­ence

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I gave birth in an Uber

It was my last day at work be­fore ma­ter­nity leave and I was feel­ing a lit­tle un­der the weather. I’m a com­puter sci­en­tist and I was do­ing pre­sen­ta­tions in the of­fice but, af­ter lunch, I de­cided to go home early. Then I felt my first con­trac­tion.

My hus­band Richard and I stayed at home un­til my con­trac­tions were five min­utes apart – we didn’t re­alise that, be­cause this was my sec­ond birth, we weren’t sup­posed to wait. We don’t have a car so, when it was time, we or­dered an Uber to take us to the hos­pi­tal.

We had to wait 20 painful min­utes for the Uber to fin­ish its pre­vi­ous trip and ar­rive.

I was hav­ing con­trac­tions the whole time and Richard was track­ing the car – it was frus­trat­ing, to say the least. The taxi fi­nally ar­rived and Richard, our two-year-old son, Se­bas­tian, and I all piled in. Five min­utes later, my body started to push by it­self. I was try­ing to hold it back, but the labour had be­gun.

The taxi driver, Priesh, was amaz­ingly calm and col­lected. He was telling me all about his wife’s birthing ex­pe­ri­ences, and ad­vis­ing me on how I should breathe. There was traf­fic on the road and, al­though I was pretty out of it, I knew we weren’t go­ing to make it to the hos­pi­tal. We de­cided to pull up out­side a med­i­cal cen­tre that, luck­ily, hap­pened to be en route.

As soon as the taxi stopped, my hus­band ran to get help. Se­bas­tian be­gan to cry: he could see I was in pain. Richard re­turned sec­onds later with three doc­tors and a wheel­chair, but by the time they ar­rived the baby was al­ready crown­ing and I couldn’t be moved.

The next mo­ment, I felt I had to push again, and the baby started com­ing out. The doc­tor helped me take off my trousers, and sec­onds later lit­tle Michael was born, right there in the front seat of the Toy­ota Prius. Ev­ery­thing hap­pened so rapidly. The only thing be­tween me and the car seat was a ma­ter­nity pad.

Straight away, the doc­tors took me in­side, where they cut the um­bil­i­cal cord and called an am­bu­lance. It was a clear Oc­to­ber day in Manch­ester – with no rain for a change – but the air was slightly cool and Michael’s body tem­per­a­ture be­gan to drop. To keep him warm while we waited for the paramedics, I put him un­der my T-shirt – there were no blan­kets. About 10 min­utes af­ter the birth, while I was still in the med­i­cal cen­tre and we were wait­ing for the am­bu­lance, my hus­band scrubbed down the taxi. Luck­ily, Priesh had wipe-clean leather seats – he even man­aged to pick up other cus­tomers later that day.

I was 36 weeks and six days preg­nant when Michael was born, mean­ing he was tech­ni­cally pre­ma­ture by one day. When he came out, he hadn’t cried much, so when the paramedics ar­rived, they de­cided to call an­other am­bu­lance. They took Richard, Se­bas­tian and the baby in one, so they could open up Michael’s air­ways; I had blood loss, and went in the other am­bu­lance on my own. As we left the med­i­cal cen­tre, the peo­ple in the wait­ing room ap­plauded us.

Uber gave Priesh some money to deep-clean the cab, and later they re­im­bursed us the fee for the trip and sent presents for the baby.

I had left my clothes in the car, and the next day Priesh turned up with them, all washed, plus some gifts for the baby. Bless him – I’m pretty sure Richard gave him a five-star rat­ing. Ev­ery­body was so kind – the driver, the doc­tors, the paramedics – I can’t thank them enough.

When I com­pare this birth to my first one, I ac­tu­ally think it was more bear­able. The labour in the Uber was hon­estly more pleas­ant, and eas­ier. My first birth took two and a half days

– this one was over and done with in two and a half hours.

Our fam­ily and friends were shocked when we told them the story. The whole ex­pe­ri­ence was in­tense at some points, of course, but I’m just so happy that ev­ery­thing ended so well. Thank God there were no com­pli­ca­tions.

Would I call an am­bu­lance in­stead of an Uber next time? Prob­a­bly, but I do think that this way it’s a nice story to re­mem­ber. I’m glad it hap­pened as it did

Anna Lavy­gina

Luck­ily, our driver had wipe-clean leather seats

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