Photographer Gayla Thompson, aged 29 and based in Nashville, had her first childbirth experience five years ago, which went smoothly. Her second childbirth, however, didn’t go as planned. Due to a traffic jam, she had to deliver her son in the passenger seat of her Jeep. Gayla had planned to have two or three epidurals for this childbirth, as she didn’t want to experience the pain of natural childbirth again.
Gayla Thompson, a 29-year-old photographer from Nashville, had a birth plan in place for her second child’s delivery, which included receiving two or three epidurals. However, things didn’t go as expected. She didn’t make it to the hospital, and she didn’t receive any epidurals either.
Gayla began having contractions the night before, but she faced two obstacles that prevented her from going to the hospital. First, she had no babysitter for her older son, who was too young to be allowed in the hospital. Second, her contractions were irregular, occurring anywhere from two minutes to an hour apart. She wasn’t sure if these were real labor contractions or not, so she decided to wait and see how she felt in the morning.
Despite her doubts, Gayla’s contractions continued throughout the night, and by the time she was ready to head to the hospital, traffic had become an issue. Gayla gave birth to her son, Carson, in the passenger seat of her Jeep while stuck in traffic, five days before her due date. Gayla’s first birthing experience had gone smoothly, but this one was quite unexpected. Nonetheless, Gayla said she was grateful for the safe delivery of her son, whom she described as “healthy and perfect.”
The following day, Gayla Thompson realized she was going into labor while taking a hot bath. She got out of the bath to blow-dry her hair and prepare for the hospital, but soon the contractions became more intense. She instructed her husband not to go to work and they started packing their hospital bag.
While on their way to the hospital, they dropped off their older son at daycare. However, their journey was interrupted when they encountered a sudden traffic jam less than 10 minutes away from the hospital. “I was in excruciating pain and we were just about eight minutes away from the hospital. Of course, there was an accident and we were stuck in dead-stop traffic,” Thompson recalled. “As soon as we hit the traffic, my water broke.”
To prepare for the possibility of her water breaking en route to the hospital, Thompson had put on an adult diaper before leaving home. However, when her water did break, she struggled to remove the diaper in time to deliver her baby. Her husband tried to navigate through traffic to pull over to the side of the road while calling 911, but Thompson asked him to cut the diaper off. Despite the chaotic situation, Thompson began taking photos while delivering her baby.
During the delivery, the baby’s head became stuck and Thompson was unable to push until her next contraction. With emergency medical technicians (EMTs) still 10 to 15 minutes away, everyone began to panic.
With her husband on the phone with 911 and trying to navigate through traffic to pull over, Thompson struggled to remove the adult diaper she had put on before leaving for the hospital. When she asked her husband to cut it off, she began to snap photos while in labor.
Despite her baby’s head getting stuck, Thompson managed to deliver Carson while in the passenger seat of her Jeep. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her son’s neck, but her husband quickly removed it and the baby made reassuring coughing noises.
At that moment, an ambulance had arrived and transported Thompson and her newborn son to the hospital. She received treatment for blood loss and delivered the placenta. Thompson recalls losing one liter of blood in the car and two liters after that, but she was unaware until the following day. Fortunately, that was the extent of her complications. Thompson’s body has since fully healed, and she has stopped bleeding with no need for stitching or tearing.
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