Birth Story: I gave birth in an elevator

Breech birth story

At 35 weeks pregnant, Shelby Klemm was planning a day of activities before preparing for the last month of her pregnancy. Feeling full of energy, she played with her friend’s children and took a dip in the local river before heading home after a big day.

Little did she know later that evening her breech position baby girl would make her grand entrance … in the hospital elevator.

A final catch-up

Shelby decided to have an active day before she settled in for the final few weeks of her pregnancy. “My plan for the day was to take a friend’s kids out for some fun and to catch up with me before I go isolate for a few weeks to recoup before bub is due,” Shelby told Mum’s Grapevine. “With approximately four weeks to my due date, I’d always planned to stop everything excessive at 36 weeks. At 35 weeks and five days, I was relishing in the fact I still had energy and time to get stuff organised.

“So I’m up at 7am like usual, thank you body clock and baby. Feeling like I needed to pee, I quickly rushed to the toilet. Nothing out of the ordinary, just a pregnancy bladder. Time for a shower! With slightly aching hips from how I laid down, I thought nice warm water would ease me up a bit. Three steps before the shower and I pee myself. Not excessive or anything but freaked that I didn’t actually try to pee, it just happened. An hour later and I realised that my peeing was because of some incontinence issues, so straight to the Depends. Box was empty. Quickly call my father up and ask him for assistance. Tena Men’s pants are great in a pinch (thanks to the seniors’ club for the samples to dad that he never used). With two period pants tucked in my bag, it was time to go hangout with friends.”

The expecting mum had an amazing morning with her partner and her friend’s children. She then dropped her partner home, before heading off to take the kids back home to their mum. “Arriving in the countryside, we stopped to pat the wild horses and prove that they are attracted to pregnant people. (I was mobbed by a herd when I got out of the car, calling this old wive’s tale true). At this point I was still incontinent, was getting anxious cause I still had a maternity photo shoot to attend and I didn’t want to wear pull ups if I could help it.

“Leaving the horses, we see the photographer drive past! Oh well, c’est la vie, her loss. With the slight heartbreak of not having the photos taken, I breathed a sigh of relief. Next weekend would work out perfectly for photos too, no stress. I really wasn’t feeling sexy or energetic for photos at this point, nothing more than just being a little upset amongst everything, so I decided we would all go swimming. I still had kids in tow, with their mum joining us just before the horses.

“Swimming time proved so relaxing, I just didn’t want to leave. The water was so calming and I was finally enjoying my day without too much concern. Sun was out, a couple scattered clouds and the river running nicely, couldn’t ask for a better day. Leaving the swim spot at 4pm, I dropped everybody home and headed to get some rest of my own (the sun really takes it out of you). At 5:15pm I arrived home and went straight to pee. Nothing unusual still cause I’m only 35+5 and this little baby has spent the last 12 weeks minimum jumping on my bladder.”

Constipation or baby?

Breech baby born in hospital elevator

Shelby hopped into the shower, feeling good but tired. She decided to have a lay down before eating dinner with her partner and dad, so heads to bed just before 7.30pm. But it wasn’t long before her partner joined her and Shelby found herself very uncomfortable.

“I was so good till the partner disturbed my body and I just felt extremely constipated. Not a feeling I have liked but a feeling I’d become accustomed to. With my feeling of constipation set in, I was on the toilet for a good 15 minutes of waiting. Shower time! I wasn’t in pain, I was in discomfort. This baby of mine felt like she was just grinding my bowels. Laying down on the shower floor, I regulated my heat with one foot in the shower and an ice pack on my head, it worked wonders. So if you asked me at this point what’s going on, I’d have said she has caused me grief from sitting on my bowels and she should move soon.

“Well I relaxed on the floor for a good hour before my partner came to check on me. I let out one horse’s breath to take the edge off the discomfort. Now I say discomfort cause I wasn’t hurting, I was really uncomfortable with finding a position. That horse’s breath prompted my partner to call an ambulance (seriously why would you? I was uncomfortable!), which in turn resulted in me getting out of the shower. The ambulance operator on the phone was adamant about me getting out of the shower. I obliged and said I’ll go to the hallway and lay down. 10 minutes of resting in the hallway, and the paramedics arrive.

“I feel great, just still not comfortable. They don’t think I’m labouring but they wanted me checked out due to the incontinence (in case it was a UTI). So with a bit of encouraging words, I picked myself up off the ground and power walked and bent over straight to the ambulance gurney. I turned on my side to get comfortable for the journey and was buckled in for safety. Just as we leave my street, the corner turn caused me to move slightly and that feeling had returned.

“At this point I felt like I should just ask for an enema or something just to get some relief for my bowels. A couple minutes later (I know we are about halfway to the hospital as I only live eight minutes away) there was a weird feeling. I think my bowels are going to make me poop myself. Poop in pregnancy is good, the mantra going through my head on repeat just to give me some anxiety relief. The lovely female paramedic looked highly concerned and a little lost at what she was watching, and asked me if I needed to ‘push’. I told her no, if I did that I would probably make a huge mess on her bed. Another couple moments later and I feel the jolt of going into the ambulance bay at hospital.”

‘She’s coming!’

Breech baby birth story

Shelby says it was at this precise moment that her baby decided it was the perfect time to be born. “I looked at the paramedics as they came to a complete stop and said, ‘umm I think she is coming now’. Paramedic, without missing a beat, asks to see if I’m dilated. As soon as I spread my legs, my hand grazed over something that wasn’t mine! She didn’t even need to touch, she just said, ‘it’s coming’.

“I put my hand down and held what I could inside of me as I am wheeled through hallways of waiting patients. Can you believe up to this point I hadn’t screamed or shown that I was completely uncomfortable? I looked like I probably shouldn’t have been in the hospital to begin with, big smile on my face as I go past everyone.”

Knowing that her baby was breech, Shelby began mentally preparing for an intense birth. “At this point I was just breathing through everything. It was only three days prior that I found out bub was still breech so I knew that this was going to probably be intense when I get to the maternity floor. Time to breathe. The door closed and my cervix must have opened cause not even three seconds later I said, ‘She is coming NOW!’ The male paramedic quickly suggested rolling on my back and tried to shove a pillow under me. Without missing a beat, my instincts just kicked in. Mother lion was not giving birth on her back! Straight to all fours! One push when I felt a slight roll and I watched the whole thing. The feet and bum coming out nearly perfectly together, and her back sliding down till she touched the bed.

Breech birth story

“Realising straight away that she was still head deep in me, my body automatically helped me with a gentle push that I tried to assist gently push. A deep breath and I screamed, ‘She’s here!’ Still in the elevator too. The paramedics quickly grab the sheet off me and were just speechless, even the poor nurse caught at the elevator doors looked shocked. At this point I was rather oblivious to a lot of stuff as I was still staring at my baby on the bed between my legs, waiting for someone to grab her.

“The midwife from the elevator followed us into the first empty room they had and quickly grabbed me from behind. It was at this point that I realised the paramedics still hadn’t adjusted the gurney from leaving the ambulance so I was completely raised in the air, tilted sky high.”

‘My birth plan went out the window’

Australian birth story breech

The super quick labour meant that Shelby’s partner just missed witnessing the birth of his daughter. “No-one was expecting a five-minute delivery (probably would have been quicker if I didn’t hold her in manually going through emergency back room). Thankfully one of the paramedics said to my partner to pack a hospital bag and come up ‘just in case’. Really wish he had just came with me, in the end, a hospital bag isn’t a huge necessity guys!

“So my birth plan went out the window, not much I could do about that, but the doctor and nurses were amazing at every point. They delayed clamping at my request, I really wanted my partner to cut the cord and who knows where he was or when he would arrive. Twenty minutes later and they need to get her off the cord and into special care. I felt a little defeated but asked if I could cut the cord instead, they agreed. Just as they clamped her cord, the knock of the door paused everyone.

Shelby's breech birth storyBreech baby birth

“My partner walked in a second later and had no clue what had just happened. The nurse handed him the scissors before he even saw me and said congratulations. He made his way to me and his first born, the look on his face told a million stories but they all had great endings. He had no clue I had even birthed before walking into the room and was still in shock for a good couple hours afterwards. With baby released from me, it was time to get her checked over. She was perfect with a slight increase in her HB levels. Weighing in at a MASSIVE 2.02kg and a length of 41cm!

“So next step was birthing my placenta, did you know it is roughly one third the size of your baby?! The lovely midwife gave me an hour to naturally birth my placenta before she would intervene. It’s funny how the body works, the moment everyone left the room except one person, I pushed my placenta out like a slippery bag and informed the nurse. She looked at me and said, she didn’t think so but she will check in a minute. Well five minutes of having the placenta against me, I actually asked if she would remove it. Once lifting the sheets, she realised I wasn’t joking and quickly removed it. Turning back to say that she didn’t believe me the first time.”

“My labour was perfect for my body’

Elevator breech birth story

After an hour, Shelby had a shower and rested while baby Korra headed to to the special care nursery with her dad. “Finally a room in the ward opens up and I’m taken down immediately to get some rest. I didn’t want to rest, I wanted my baby. Without too much convincing, they allowed me to walk down to the nursery to see my baby. Well she was just perfect in my eyes, in her incubator with a really pink glow to her skin.

“Honestly everyone is still in a bit of shock at the hospital and little bub has become slightly famous as the Elevator Baby, I honestly haven’t come to terms with this all still. With multiple midwives telling me that other mums might hunt me down if I keep telling people it didn’t hurt, I just can’t believe how fortunate I was.

Elevator birth story

Baby Korra birth story

“I discharged myself as soon as I could, I felt great five min after birthing and it has continued up until now. I still had to wait the six hours of mandatory care, and took a bit of convincing the nurses that I was completely fine. The many stories are coming out of how things should have gone down or what shouldn’t have happened but in the end, my labour was just perfect for my body. Everything was physically ready, even if I wasn’t mentally.”

Read next …

Want to read how other mums birthed their breech babies? Head to these birth stories next: