Monday, September 13, 2010

My Journey with a Midwife and a Home Birth

I don't remember how exactly I decided I wanted to do a home birth but I remember I was about 5 months along in the pregnancy.  This was my second pregnancy and I had continued to do research and refresher reading on relaxation through labor.  Maybe that's when I stumbled upon home birth.  I looked into it and thought, "Well, with Meena(my first pregnancy) I gave birth in the hospital with no drugs and I survived."  I also was not 100% impressed with my hospital birth.  The only time I had been in a hospital was when I was 5 years old and I had gotten ill.  With Meena, I had a fetal monitor on, the nurse talked me into Pitocin which I had known nothing about until this pregnancy and am not happy I agreed to it now.  Although, I am grateful my labor went real quick with her.  I was constantly monitored with vital signs after her birth and got no rest in the hospital.  I was forced to stay in that stupid room for two days even though I had an uneventful birth.  No tears, all natural, baby was fine too.  I even awoke the 2nd night to not having my daughter in the room.  The nurse took her and put her in the nursery thinking I'd get more rest!  I was pissed!  I was nursing for Christ Sake!  And the OB- Gyn that "caught" her wasn't even mine!!!  Never met the doctor and I went to a chain of 4 doctors that rotated and not one of them was available at 4:30 PM on a Friday to catch my daughter.  Let's not even talk about the cost they charged through the insurance.

So, this time would be different.  It was very different!  I found myself with no insurance this time around when I found out I was pregnant.  I had to go to a clinic and found a nice OB-GYN in the Chicagoland area where I was living at the time.  Nice doctor, but very impersonal.  "Just the facts ma'am."  When I was a little over 4 months along, we moved down to Arkansas.  I needed to find a doctor but had no insurance and started thinking about a Midwife.  I researched that and found only one in my area.  I talked to my husband the next day to see how he would feel about a Home Birth.  He was all for it and 100% fully supportive.  He agreed with me about the interventions at the hospitals and what I went through with Meena.  He knows I do my homework and felt comfortable about my decision to go with a Midwife and a Home Birth.

The next day, I contacted the Midwife who was at first stand offish over the phone but agreed to meet with us in her home the next day.  So, the next day, Husband, the two kids and me all went to visit the Midwife.  I had no idea what I was in for.  She had a nice office inside her home, and toys to keep the children occupied while she focused on me.  She answered all of our questions and I instantly liked her once I met her in person.  She told me there was another Midwife in another town 45 minutes the opposite direction from me and she would give me her number if I wanted to interview her and make our decision.  I looked over at my DH and said I'm satisfied How about you?  So, it was settled.  We decided to go with Belinda.

Her fee included the rest of my PreNatal visits.  Her being with me during labor, a birthing pool if I choose, she checks on baby and me 12-24 hours after birth, 1 week after birth, 2 weeks after birth, and me 4-6 weeks postpartum.  There was also a 2nd Midwife in attendance to help her during my delivery.  Going to Belinda I wish I had known about a Midwife for my first birth.  She not only treated the pregnancy, but she treated whatever I was going through emotionally.  I had a lot happen to me during my pregnancy and stress definitely was taking its nasty toll on me.  She counseled me and gave me suggestions.  She also borrowed me books and videos on natural childbirth and breastfeeding.  Towards the end of the pregnancy, she called me on a regular   basis to check on me and see how I was. 

So, my due date came and went.  She offered suggestions for natural induction.  Come to find out, baby will come when baby is ready.  I walked so many miles that last week and a half before she was born I was able to eat Ice Cream and still lose a couple pounds from the previous visit.  We had sex and that didn't work.  Poor husband, I told him to make it fast because this is a job not pleasure.  LOL.  I drank black and blue cohosh in my water that reminded me of weak whisky drinks.  I took Raspberry Leaf capsules.  Yep, that baby stayed put.  I was 4 days before my 42nd week.  Belinda called me and said I had to go see a nurse about a stress test the next day and it was $120.00.  My due date was on a Saturday and it was also Labor Day weekend.  All of this meaning, if I didn't have the baby BEFORE or ON the day of the 42nd week, I would definitely have to go see a doctor on that Tuesday(42 weeks and3 days) and have an induction scheduled and I lost my home birth.  Well, $120 I didn't have.  So, the night before that appointment we walked about 4 miles and had sex that night and all morning.  I woke up with contractions for 2 hours but nothing regular.  I called Belinda at 8:30AM (my appointment was at 2:30) and she said well she needed to check me to be sure.  Everything had stopped by the time I got to see her and it was after 2:30. She was now concerned because if I didn't have the baby over the weekend the forementioned would happen.  She told me I needed to relax.  I said, "How am I suppose to relax when you are telling me I need to get this baby out of me?!?"  She made a phone call, and said ok.  We can't do anything until Tuesday now anyhow (this was Thursday night) so just relax and don't think about the pregnancy anymore.

Friday morning, DH suggested I go for a walk by myself and just relax and gather my thoughts.  He would watch our daughter.  It was a great idea.  I went for a 2 mile walk.  By 6:30 that nigh I was beat and so wanted to go to bed but I knew if I put the two kids to bed that early they'd be up at the crack of dawn Saturday morning.  So, I held out for another hour.  I had to take care of something on the computer and did that and was ready for bed around 9:30.  I started getting cramping about an hour later and by 11PM I had noticed they were coming about every 8 minutes apart.  Is this really it?  I called Belinda and told her.  She said she had just had coffee and couldn't get to sleep and do I want her to come over?  YES!  They feel like the real thing and my husband is at work.  Now they were coming about every 4 minutes and I had to use the bathroom constantly.  So, I went to the toilet and texted my husband telling him I believe this is really it.  Belinda got to me about 11:30 PM and Shelby(my husband) got home about a half hour later.  He set the pool up, she checked me and said I was in labor and at 4.5 cm.  I had candles going, my soft laboring music, the kids were sound asleep in their beds.  We went ahead and got my bed ready in case I needed to birth on the bed.  I did pelvic rocks, walked around the house and a lot of deep, cleansing breaths.  I got into the pool and it felt so good and so relaxing.  My contractions were coming fast and hard and I was not getting a break.  I had Shelby cover up all the clocks in the house as I did not want to have a concept of time.  Then, the pool started to collapse.  When I stepped in it I must have popped it in a weak spot.  I still remained calm.  I had my Rosary and continued to pray to Mary for strength and to Jesus also.  In the meantime, Shelby went and sanitized our bath tub.  That was not fun laboring in that tub.  I started to get back labor and he rubbed my back and he poured warm water on me since the tub was so shallow.  The contractions were coming stronger now.  I wanted to get out.  I was done laboring in that stupid tub.  We went to the bedroom and I squatted and chanted and continued praying.  I said The Our Father through some good solid contractions.  I was ready to push.  I knew this.  Belinda said she needed to check to make sure and I needed to lay on the bed.  That was probably the most difficult part of the labour.  Getting onto that bed.  I just wanted to stand and deliver.  We finally got me onto the bed and she said I progressed very well and I was at a 10 and ready to push.  A peaceful calmness came over me.  Shelby was at my side holding my leg up.  Telling me to breathe the baby out they could see her head, Do I want to touch my baby's head?  They were telling me to get mad, get angry push...I was too calm.  I found out later it was 3 good pushes it took to get her out and only 18 minutes had passed from the time I got onto the bed. 

My Saoirse Georgianne was born in the caul at 4:58AM, Saturday, September 4, 2010.  She weighed in at a healthy 8 lbs 12.5 oz and 22inches long.  Born exactly at 42 weeks.  My step son came into the room shortly after, most likely from the sounds I made waking him up.  Shelby went and got Meena and we all sat in the bed admiring our new member of the family.  Belinda stayed with us to about 8 AM by the time we got everything underway.  I ended up saving the placenta which she showed me and explained how it was inside me which was very interesting and cool.  We froze it and plan to plant a tree at our new home in our new daughter's honor. 

There was nothing like going to sleep after that six hour work out I had just had in my own bed with my husband next to me and our daughter on the other side. 


  1. Oh Jennifer that was a beautiful story, thanks so much for sharing! I was hoping you would! You got me all teary eyed, my 4yr old daycare kids is staring at me, lol.

  2. thanks for sharing! i love it! :)