False Alarm

I had just gotten to that happy place where you can feel yourself drifting off when the jail phone rang. This was the 3rd time in three days! I knew that both of our pregnant inmates that were due soon had delivered, so why were they calling?

A new inmate, arrested on Monday, was in labor and on her way to the hospital. It took a few minutes for me to come to and motivate myself to get up and ready to go, and by then the phone rang again, and they told me that she was being transferred to a different hospital because she was going fast. This made me move faster, too. I grabbed my things and ran out the door, wishing that I had time to stop for a coffee as I usually do, but not wanting to waste any time. I was already sure that I was going to miss the birth.

I called Janice on my 1 1/2 hour drive, and she told me as much information as she had about this new inmate, since we had never seen her, and asked that I keep her updated about what was going on. I got to the hospital, texted her and my husband, as I always do, to let them know I was there safely, and went in.

I showed someone my ID, and they buzzed me back. The nurse asked if she could help me, and I told her that I was the doula for the inmate. "You do know she's not in labor...don't you?" She must have known by the look on my face that I didn't know this. "False alarm...she's not in labor. I am going to monitor her for a bit and send her back. You can go in and see her if you want."

I went into the room and introduced myself to her. It was her second baby, and she had not experienced labor with her first. She was having pains and thought it was labor. The deputy said that she was very convincing in the ambulance.

I asked when her due date was because the woman laying in the hospital bed in front of me didn't look like she was due to have a baby any time soon. She told me that she was 39 weeks, her due date was 10/16. I asked when she had last had an U/S, and she said on Monday, baby measured 2lbs. 11oz, and her heart and lungs were fine, so she was okay. We talked about fetal growth and development and how the longer she could keep this precious baby inside, the better, and how she needed to eat and drink to nourish herself and her baby for the remainder of her pregnancy. She told me that she hadn't been able to eat her whole pregnancy, but she would try. She was trying to wait until Saturday to have her baby because she was going to be released on Friday...Her lawyer was working on it, and she would be out before the baby came.

We talked until the nurse gave the okay for her to go back to the jail. I told her that I would be at the jail on Friday and would come to see her if she was still there, and that if she did happen to have her baby while she was incarcerated that we would be there for her and her baby. She thanked me, and I hugged her goodbye...knowing that I would be seeing her on Friday, and more than likely, be seeing the birth of her tiny baby girl one day soon.