Strange But True Pregnancy Tales
The scarcely believable stories that you’re sure are made up probably aren’t
Molly MacKay Zacker and her husband, Dave, of St. Charles, IL, never wanted to spend hours in the hospital for the arrival of their second child. But they did want to be there for certain critical periods, like the birth. So when Molly, at home with Dave, went into labor, they called their midwife -- who would be driving with them -- and started preparing to go to the hospital, 45 minutes away. This shouldn't have been cutting it too close: Typically, active labor lasts 3 to 6 hours for second-time moms. Nevertheless, 1 hour and 25 minutes into hers -- and only a mile from the hospital -- MacKay Zacker gave birth to her daughter Abby in the back of the family minivan.
"My water broke when we were still seven minutes away, and I told my husband and midwife that I just couldn't hold it anymore," remembers MacKay Zacker. "The midwife was driving, so she threw the van into park and came back to where I was. I gave one push and Abby's head was out, with no problem at all." Despite the unconventional delivery, mom and baby were both perfectly healthy after a night at the hospital, and back home the next day.
Why was MacKay Zacker's delivery so speedy? Mostly luck, say doctors. "If I could figure out what makes a fast delivery, I could retire," says Dr. Siddiqi. Nevertheless, certain factors -- such as previous births, a maternal pelvis adequately sized for the baby's head, intrauterine infections that can set off contractions -- may hurry things along.
How fast can labor be? Any labor that lasts under two hours from the first active phase (more than four centimeters dilated) to the last push would be considered very quick by doctors, who warn that speed has its downside, including the increased likelihood of tearing tissue. But not always: MacKay Zacker needed only three stitches with her first baby, and not a single one with Abby. "I guess I just have stretchy skin," she says.