It was 1 a.m. when 34-year-old Erica Bovino went into labor, and she figured she had plenty of time to get to the hospital. Her labor had taken 30 hours during the birth of her first son, so she saw no reason to hurry. Shortly before 5 a.m., she called her husband Paul Sulzicki and told him she was doing fine, and that he shouldn't hurry home from his duties as a police officer.
You can guess where this story's going, can't you? Yep: twenty minutes after that phone call, Bovino's water broke. Moments later, she was on her bed on her hands and knees, racked with relentless contractions. And before anyone managed to arrive in time to help her, Bovino was in the bathroom delivering her baby ... all by herself.
Bovino said that when her labor started, she hadn't seen any reason to rush to the hospital or ask her husband to leave work:
I didn’t want my husband to come home early if I was going to labor for another 10 hours. I figured I’d do it myself for a while until I felt like it was unbearable.
Her water broke at around 5:20 a.m., and that's when she knew she didn't have enough time to make the 40-minute trip to the hospital. In fact, she didn't have time to do anything other than what came naturally:
In that moment, I was like, this baby is coming and I’m going to have to deliver her myself. (...) There was no time to be scared. You get into a primal mode. If I had an ounce of fear, I wouldn’t have been able to have a healthy outcome.
Bovino got on all fours on her bed and rocked back and forth before her instincts told her to move to the bathroom and squat.
I remember saying, "Come on, Baby. Come on, Baby." I was kind of trying to breathe her out and do deep moaning to get her out and not be fearful of the pain. I went inside myself.
Minutes later, Bovino delivered baby Stella (while all the while, her 3-year-old slept in the next room!) and lifted her newborn daughter up as her husband arrived home just in time to hear the sound of a baby crying. At that point, mother and child were finally taken the hospital for monitoring, and although the umbilical cord had been severed during delivery, everyone was perfectly healthy.
What fascinates me about this story is how Bovino was able to stay calm and essentially do what came naturally since there was no time to become gripped with fear. Not that anyone wants to have this sort of childbirth experience, but it's a good reminder that our bodies are capable of so much if our brains don't get in the way.
Of course, it's not always possible to "just RELAX!" as labor drags on, and every birth comes with its own set of unique circumstances. Just because one woman gave birth under emergency conditions doesn't mean that everyone's perfectly capable of a home birth (or should choose a home birth), but Bovino's story is still pretty inspirational. It's amazing what we can accomplish when there's no room for second-guessing.
Do you think childbirth would be easier for women if we didn't normally have so many hours leading up to the main event?
Image via NBC