Annmarie Schulte and her husband Matthew had planned on a natural birth for their fourth daughter. They had also planned the perfect name for the babe. What they didn’t plan on was Annmarie reaching down and delivering the baby while stuck in rush hour traffic on the I-43 near Milwaukee.
Annmarie shouted to Matthew at 7:48 a.m. after she felt her baby crowning,
As we all know ad nauseam, OBs generally warn against a vaginal birth after C-section, or VBAC. And in this case, it would be a VBA3C; all 3 of the Schultes’ daughters were born by cesarean. This time, to ensure they’d get the natural birth they wanted, the couple worked with two doulas, a midwife, and a physician throughout the pregnancy.
The Schultes were told that a VBAC could be dangerous. OBs generally warn that the uterus could rupture. (However, there is recent evidence that a second C-section is actually worse for baby.)
The couple was told this time to wait until necessary to leave for the hospital. With all 3 older daughters, they were at the hospital, failed to progress, and along came the C-section. yada yada yada. She’s not doing it on our time schedule. Let’s get this over with. You know the drill.
At 1 a.m. Monday, Annemarie woke her husband. Labor was progressing. By 3:30, when contractions were 2 minutes apart, they called the doulas. At 7, she was fully dilated and kicked out of the house to meet the midwife at the hospital.
They didn’t quite make it.
Cecilia, the I-43 baby, completely freaked out her father. Born quietly, she settled in to sleep right after birth. But something didn’t seem quite right to Matthew. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
He looked at the baby and felt the deepest sense of terror he has ever known. He let out a primal scream. He pulled over into the distress lane at the Plainfield Curve on I-94/43. The doulas (Wendy Kogler and LaNette McQuitty)pulled over after him.
He ran from the car, still screaming. Words finally came. He frantically waved and yelled for the doulas to come out of their cars.
Kogler called 911. McQuitty checked on the infant. The baby turned a bit purple.
McQuitty gave her a breath and rubbed her back. The newborn turned pink again, letting out a tiny mewl.
Everyone cried. Annmarie wrapped her daughter in a towel and held the 7-pound, 4.8-ounce baby to her chest.
When the paramedics arrived, everyone was well. They gave her a clean bill of health, and Matthew even got to cut her umbilical cord.
And that name they had planned on? They kept their daughter’s name Cecilia; Cecilia Freeway Schulte.
Annmarie sounds pretty empowered by her experience,
Each one of my kids is an amazing blessing, but this baby, I delivered – not only vaginally but on my own, With the help of my husband and the doulas, I did it. I feel awesome.
Image and story: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.