a nice homebirth of a third baby February 19, 2008Posted by guinever in : birth, birth stories, birth story, home birth, homebirth, midwifery, pregnancy , comments closed
After having an “accidental” homebirth for her second baby, Sarah and her husband decided to plan a homebirth for their third baby. This is Sarah’s birth story:
I’ve heard many times that third babies are unpredictable. My first two had come right before their due dates, and within four hours. I expected this one to be a week late, missing the whole definition of unpredicta
ble. Nothing quite prepared me for the experience of Sabrina’s birth.
Our due date was December twenty-first. Sabrina had already begun to drop in November. By the beginning of December I was having some painful Braxton Hicks fairly often. We speculated a possible early delivery. I tried not to get my hopes up.
just some pre-labor
Thursday December thirteenth, I felt particularly sick. The nausea was just awful, and I was having contractions every eight minutes. When I went to the bathroom that morning I noticed a lot of bloody show. I was so excited I called my husband Chris at work and interrupted his meeting to tell him he needed to be ready to run if I called again. I spent that entire day waiting for the contractions to pick up. They never did. By that night I was in tears. After a good cry I fell asleep.
We both woke up around five-thirty the next morning, the fourteenth. I began to time the contractions that hadn’t stopped all night and they were four minutes apart. I was stumped. I’d experienced so many false alarms with this baby, and my last one, that I just didn’t know what to think. I hated the idea of having my midwife drive an hour to our house for labor that wasn’t really going anywhere.
Chris decided he didn’t want to be alone if this baby came as quickly as our last one, and called our midwife. My contractions picked up as we waited for her to arrive. I still couldn’t bring myself to believe this was it.
3 centimeters dilated
She arrived and quickly checked me, only to find that I was three centimeters dilated and fifty percent effaced. She told me to try sleeping and she would check me again in an hour. I couldn’t sleep a wink. My head was whirling. Chris however, was sawing logs in a matter of minutes. After an hour I had not progressed at all. We decided to stop the labor by “knocking me out”, so I could get some sleep. I took two Tylenol PM and slept for three hours. When I woke up the contractions were back to eight minutes apart. The boys were awake and doing their thing, running wild and making messes. I timed contractions for awhile and then began to clean… again. Chris knew I was truly agitated when I began washing dishes. I hate washing dishes.
I called my mom to let her know what was going on. She suggested I take zinc to speed the labor. She’d done it when I was born and said it worked. So I took two zinc, and sat down to rest. I decided that I had all weekend to have this baby so I was just going to chill out and try to stay positive. This was around five 0’clock. At five-thirty I had eaten half my sandwich, and suddenly felt so nauseated I couldn’t finish it. I decided to lie down. My contractions were three minutes apart. I was still not sure if this was really it.
Chris made a quick call to the midwife again and our friend Maryellen to come over and watch the boys. I got up to walk and refused to lie down again because I didn’t want the contractions to stop. I became very determined to make this baby come if it took all night. I was even massaging my abdomen because it made my uterus contract.
My midwife arrived again around six-thirty and began setting up. It was fascinating to watch her. She was so organized. In just a little while she had all her tools laid out on a cookie sheet and new sheets on our bed covered by plastic and another sheet with disposable pads on top of that. We were set to go.
The three of us talked in between contractions. We shared stories, swapped jokes, and quoted comedians. Bill Cosby’s account of his wife’s first birth had me cracking up when a really big contraction hit and I leaned against Chris who was sitting on the bed in front of me. He was pretty tired too, and rested his head on my belly. It actually helped with the pain!!! For the next several contractions that was our stance. I rested my hands on his shoulders as he pressed his head against my belly while giving me a hug and rubbing my back. I know we probably looked silly, but I certainly didn’t care.
Around a quarter to nine I told my midwife that I was really confused. I’d never had a labor last so long, and the contractions were so strong. She thought that perhaps Sabrina had turned posterior, and that was slowing things down. I asked her to check my progress, and she said I was seven centimeters. The baby wasn’t posterior, but she did notice some scar tissue on my cervix. We assumed it was from Clark’s speedy entrance into this world three years ago. I was so tired that she asked if I wanted her to break the water to speed things up. I said, “Yes” without hesitation.
breaking the water
She began trying to break it with her fingernails but it wouldn’t budge. We started to chuckle at its strength. She tried again, but could only pull on it. By that time we were in hysterics. Chris didn’t get the joke so much, so I told him the bag was so strong it wouldn’t break, and it felt like she was pulling a water balloon out of my vagina. It took her several attempts with an amniohook , but it did finally break. It wasn’t until that moment that I accepted the fact that I was going to have a baby that day.
I got up to go to the restroom, and had three powerful contractions in a matter of a few minutes. “Wow”, I thought, “Transition already?” I got back to my room and sat on the side of the bed. The contractions came so fast and so strong I couldn’t quite think straight. Suddenly I was pushing. Chris and the midwife were making a last attempt at prepping the pool that our son had poked a hole in days earlier. We had planned a water birth, but it was not to be. Chris quickly sat down in front of me to help me breath through the contractions. When asked if I was pushing, I kind of whimpered, “Yeah.”
“it’s a head”
My midwife put her gloves on. I stood up and leaned against Chris so she could change the wet pad underneath me, and out came Sabrina’s head. Chris said,”There’s something down there.”, and I screamed, “It’s a head!” to which my midwife calmly replied, “Well so it is.” She placed her hand on Sabrina’s head, and it was a good thing too, because the very next second her body just shot out. She said, “Grab your baby!”, and we did. I held her arm, and Chris held the rest of her. Somehow I ended up lying back on the bed with Sabrina on my chest. Judah and Clark hovered over us, fascinated by their new little sister. My midwife still had a glove half on, just flopping all over the place.
That was my first bare handed catch, she said and we all laughed.
I noticed the cute little birth mark on Sabrina’s chest, and her blonde hair. She was so beautiful. Suddenly, as in every birth, I forgot all about the nausea, headaches and exhaustion. For such a miserable pregnancy it ended so perfectly. My labor was long, emotional, and tiring, but it was also sweet, and casual; even fun at times. I loved the way I laughed my way through it. “This is how babies should be born.” I thought, quietly and casually with laughter and tears.
Chris dressed Sabrina while I bathed. When I came back to the bedroom, Judah was holding her with the biggest grin on his face. We all crawled into bed for a family picture. We were so glad our baby girl was finally here. Our family felt complete.
an unplanned homebirth February 19, 2008Posted by guinever in : birth, birth stories, birth story, home birth, homebirth, midwifery, pregnancy , comments closed
This is the birth story of Sarah’s second birth. With her first birth, she was sent to the hospital from her doctor’s office after they checked her and was found to be 6 centimeters. Overwhelming contractions started once they artificially ruptured her membranes. Both she and the baby required oxygen. She felt out of control. Sarah’s hope was to not be induced and to have a much more peaceful and gentle birth than the first time. Her birth story follows:
I’d had several episodes of pre-labor for a month, and began early labor eleven days before he was born. I’d never heard of prodromal labor before that, but became very familiar with the term after eleven days of contractions ten minutes or less, apart. We went to the hospital twice with contractions three minutes apart, and me in a very serious frame of mind. However, each time, no progress was made past three centimeters, and so we went home. I was very fortunate this time to have a doctor and midwife who didn’t believe in induction unless it was absolutely necessary. They just calmly kept telling me that he would come eventually, and boy did he.
Around 11 o’clock on the 16th my contractions got noticeably stronger, but I didn’t make a big deal over it, because they’d been there twice before. I drank a big glass of water and went to bed. I was extremely restless for the next six hours, finally getting up to walk around at 5:00. My contractions were five minutes apart when I woke Chris up at 5:30. My back hurt, and I needed a rub with each contraction.
We went downstairs so I could lay on my birth ball. After a few hard contractions I decided to go through the Bradley test for “real” labor. I got up to make a bagel w/ cream cheese. I took one bite, and a contraction hit me so hard and quickly that I thought I would throw up. The contractions had moved to three minutes apart. Chris suggested I get into the tub to help me relax. I told him I thought this was definitely it, and he should call the sitter to come get Judah. He says he was still skeptical because I was still being so nice to him, and smiling in between contractions.
I had three hard contractions while walking from the table to the kitchen door,(About five feet) and told Chris I thought I was going through transition. He suggested we leave. I told him I wanted to go to the bathroom before we left. It took me five minutes to get there. My contractions were double peaking at this point. Somehow, Chris managed to run around the house getting ready to go, and still be there to rub my back during every contraction. While on the toilet I had the urge to push, and pretty much knew at that point that we weren’t going to make it.
My poor mother, who had arrived the day before, was having a nervous breakdown, and kept saying we should call an ambulance. The hospital close to us was less than desirable for having a baby, and I ended up screaming at her that we were not calling an ambulance. That I would have this baby at home and we would drive him to the hospital further away if we had to.
Chris kept saying we had to hurry, and I kept saying we weren’t going to make it. I finally looked him in the eye and said, “Honey, you’re delivering this baby in the car on the way, or here at home, and I’m more comfortable here.” He still wasn’t convinced we didn’t have time, but helped me to the bathroom to change my pants because with the previous push I had peed on myself. Not my most dignified moment. While sitting on the toilet my water broke, and there was no holding back the pushes after that.
Chris just looked at me and said, “Well you can’t have him in the toilet.” He had to drag me into our office, because the baby was crowning and I couldn’t walk. The sitter whisked Judah away right about then. I was moaning quite a lot, and he was a bit scared. Ten minutes and a few pushes later Clark was born. Chris caught him of course. We placed him on my bare belly, and he nursed beautifully. He was so warm and toasty.
We wrapped him up with his placenta, and got to the hospital two hours after his birth. Everyone was buzzing. I had a second degree tear, mostly because of the speed of his birth, and from having to push on a carpeted floor.
Read the story of her third birth: this time a planned homebirth.
sing during labor: an inspiring, beautiful video especially for my pregnant friends January 14, 2008Posted by guinever in : doula, health, homebirth, labor, midwifery , comments closed
a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice
a quiet birthing at home
a reminder that the Lord will help and guide us through labor
When I saw this, I immediately thought of Karla, Erin, Rebekkah, Kate, and Kellie who are pregnant now… and of every other woman
surely, surely goodness and mercy will follow me
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
close by His side
I will abide
in His lovingkindness
unmedicated twins birth, shoulder dystocia, sibling birth and more! December 21, 2007Posted by guinever in : birth stories, birth story, doula, health, labor , comments closed
At the beginning of a contraction, I would lean against Calvin’s chest and, as the contraction came to fullness, I would bend my knees and sway my hips in rhythm to my contraction. He would apply counter pressure to my hips, and, at the conclusion of my contraction, would reward me with a sweet kiss. I remember picturing our baby in our arms and getting those same sweet kisses from my husband – that was my goal for each wave of childbearing.
There are so many things to like about this birth. Highlights include baby’s siblings being present, her husband being an awesome support and coach, the Gaskin maneuver working for shoulder dystocia. She describes this birth as “long, but gentle and easeful.” Read the full story.
Nicole, who calls herself a birth junkie, has given me permission to share excerpts from her four birth stories with you. You can read them at her Bellies and Babies blog. Her births are reminiscent of my own. Not that they were similar to my own labors, but because all of her labors were different from each other, just as mine were.
mom dilates quickly in the relaxing water
This old bitty of a nurse was helping me back to the room and I was peaking and resolving one on top of the other. I told her that the baby was coming and all she did was look at me with this look that said ‘NOW she is starting to feel REAL labor… I told her so’.
Not too long before, the nurse had checked her and she was only 4 centimeters, but after a little while in the jacuzzi, she was feeling a little pushy. Here’s another excerpt from the birth of her first baby:
Well… we got back to the room and she was going to just leave. I basically jumped her and told her to check me. The nurse literally rolled her eyes at me and said, while pulling on her gloves ‘there is no way that you have dilated that much in such short a time… just relax’. Well, she checked me… and her jaw just about dropped to the floor. She told me not to push, that she was calling the doctor. On the phone I heard her say that I was 10cm, completely effaced, and +3 station.
no tearing even when the doctor said she would
The doctor was adamant, because of the level of scarring from my first episiotomy, I would either tear extensively or REQUIRE an episiotomy. I told him I would rather tear. I also asked him about perineal massage and warm compresses… he said he never even tried it as no one had ever asked before. So he and I read up on it together and put it to practice. Read this birth story.
un-medicated twins birth
Dr. V tells me ‘thanks for the bragging rights’ of being the only doc in their office that has delivered twins unmedicated… and one of the few who have delivered vaginal twins. He also told me he is extremely impressed with the un-medicated mother, labor & delivery and to send patient’s his way if I have any friends… that the questions and learning together was ‘fun’.
If you’d like to see your birth story on this site, get the scoop here.
the joy of natural childbirth: a birth in pictures November 28, 2007Posted by guinever in : birth, birth stories, doula, health, home birth, homebirth, labor, midwifery, pregnancy , comments closed
With permission from the couple, I am pleased to share with you a birth in pictures. I include these on my website so that you can see the joy of natural childbirth. I have decided not to caption the pictures below, but rather describe them here first.
The mom had been pushing for awhile and moved to the bathroom. Birth was close when I started snapping these photos. In attendance at this planned homebirth of a first baby, were a certified nurse midwife, the midwife’s assistant who is a midwife in training, and me–the couple’s friend, doula and childbirth educator.
The photos begin with the quiet stillness in between contractions, with mom blowing out. Notice how she has her jaw, open and relaxed. The next is the determination of pushing during a contraction. Instinctively, she holds her breath and puts her chin on her chest, pushing until she needs to breathe. She takes a breath and then pushes some more. The baby crowns and is about to be born so she stands up. The father looks on in eager anticipation as his baby is about to born. The midwife supports the baby’s head, protecting mom’s perineum. There’s a little bit more blood than usual because the baby has a compound presentation, meaning an arm is coming out with the head.
The baby is born into the hands of her daddy and lifted into the arms of her mother. See the joy, the adoration, the exhilaration of both parents. This is a tiny peek into the intimacy of the moment of natural birth.
This photo story ends with the babe wrapped in a towel, the new family still in the bathroom. Not pictured: the couple climbs into bed where the baby nurses and the placenta is born.
Enjoy. You are about to witness a birth in pictures.