Today was a relatively quiet day in my little hippie world, so I was reading birth stories, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t posted Bri’s yet for the world to read. I love birth stories.
Aiden and Ginnie were both born in a hospital and they were delivered by certified nurse midwives. My husband liked the arrangement because he was confident that if there was a problem, I could be in surgery within 10 minutes. He felt like it was a good compromise from having to deal with a male OB who insisted on medicating every woman who walked through the door. I had looked at that option near our new home, and there was a birth center that would fill that option within an hour of us. While I was doing my Internet search though, I also came across a certified professional midwife who specialized in home births. I was a little nervous about the prospect, but decided to meet with her and see what she had to say. The long and short of it was that her model of care was nearly exactly what we wanted, and it cost about half of what the birth center situation would have cost us. We were sold. We were also comforted when she told us that she had delivered over 300 babies and never lost either a baby or a mother. She had also had to transfer care during labor because of a problem, and once even rode to the hospital inside an ambulance with her hand inside a mother’s cervix to prevent a birth and potential placental problem. Even in that extreme case, the mother and baby were fine, and I found it extremely comforting that she had enough experience to know if there was a problem that required medical intervention.
I had some trouble finding people who were supportive of my decision to have Bri at home. No one was openly hostile or said it was a stupid idea, but many of the people whose mouths said, “Oh, neat!” their eyes were saying, “Have you lost your mind?” At the moment, less than 1% of births take place at home. Our society is inoculated with the idea that more scientific equals better, and therefore a hospital is where births should take place. I find fault with that logic, since science seems to get it wrong so much of the time.
I was 40 1/2 weeks pregnant and I woke up just after 4 AM because a contraction woke me up. It was very different from either of my previous pregnancies. I got up to use the rest room, and I was finding it difficult to pay attention to what my husband was saying while I was having contractions. I needed to retreat inside myself and have him stop talking. We called the midwife about 4:25. My contractions were 7 minutes apart, but I couldn’t talk through them. She called her apprentice and got in the car. They arrived at my house about 5:30. They set everything up and changed the sheets on my bed. I was still able to talk between contractions, so I showed them a video on CNN about a doctor who had performed a C-section on a woman who wasn’t pregnant. Every 7 minutes I had to stop talking and try to relax. I rocked on my exercise/birthing ball and slid into a yogic meditative state. Jared put the movie Prince Caspian on the TV. Because my midwife and her apprentice had been up late birthing another baby that day already, I let them take a nap on my couch, and I watched the movie. i went into transition around 7:30. I know it was transition because the contractions went from being additional pressure to actual discomfort. I climbed onto the bed and started doing cat/cow positions and hip circles between contractions. During the contractions I just tried not to move at all. I was having lower-back pain and I wanted to alleviate that as much as possible, so I stayed on my hands and knees. With Ginnie, I had had excruciating back labor and she had bruised my tailbone, even though she presented in a fairly easy position, so I knew I wanted to avoid that if possible. It wasn’t long before I needed to push, and I started making low groaning gutteral noises to that effect. My older two children were awake and having breakfast at this point. We had called another friend, and she picked them up about 8:30. My midwife came in to be with me, and had my lie down on the bed to check my cervix. I offered to let the apprentice feel it as well, but I was having the urge to bear down, so that didn’t happen. I got up on all fours again, but that didn’t seem like the most effective position, so my midwife brought a folding chair into the room and set it up at the side of my bed. The apprentice laid out absorbent sheets on the bed so my water breaking wouldn’t make a mess, and the midwife had Jared sit on the bed holding up my back and head against his chest. I stood on my midwife’s knees and pushed. My water was reluctant to break, so she did that for me. A few seconds later, I was pushing Bri out. My contractions never seemed to get closer together. I bore down without much help from my uterus, and Sabrina crowned. My midwife used olive oil to soften and stretch my perineum. She had me relax and try not to push so I wouldn’t tear. I had read someone else’s birth story, and she mentioned singing Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” in her head. My brain started doing the same thing. I screamed, and my midwife had me redirect that energy into bearing down again. Two pushes later, Sabrina Alice was born and on my chest. The contraction after that, the placenta fell out, and I apologized for not warning the midwife that it was coming. She laughed. Bri was born at 8:55 AM, 9lbs 2oz and 21 inches long. She was two pounds heavier than either other baby, and I didn’t even tear.
It’s been 6 months, and I’m starting to forget what it felt like. I’m getting baby hungry again, even though I have one. She’s so good. If all babies were this easy, I would have had all three of mine at once. If I have another baby, I will have another home birth. This process was meant to be done at home. It was all told only a 5 hour ordeal.