Lacey’s Birth

Lacey’s Birth

I had mentioned a home birth to my husband when we were maybe 12 weeks along and he laughed and told me I would be begging for an epidural. I never posted anything about our pregnancy on Facebook or talked about it much to anyone. I refused to be scared of childbirth. Something so natural and people try and tear you down and terrify you. Some on purpose, some not. I didn’t want to hear people’s opinions because I knew my pregnancy and labor would be nothing like theirs.

At about 24 weeks we had a Dr.s appointment and for the first time I had questions for my Doctor. I could hear her making small talk at the nurse’s station while we sat and waited and waited and waited. Then she came in and after about 10 minutes and was ready to leave. My husband and I started asking questions and she kept walking toward the door half ass answering everything. I told her I wanted to try a natural birth and she said “we’ll just see how it goes.” Chances were that she wouldn’t be catching our baby anyway, it’s whoever is on call. A total stranger.

After that appointment I knew that’s exactly what my birth would be like. My birth plan would be dismissed and I would end up being induced and having an epidural amongst other things. That night I started looking for midwives which was not an easy task. I didn’t care what it costs, I was having a home birth even if it meant I would pay more. I told my husband my intention and he was against it from the beginning. How appalling that someone would even consider to have a baby at home.

What if something happens?? In my mind, something was more likely to “happen” at a hospital. I didn’t want a million interventions. I saw them as unnecessary. I didn’t want an IV or to have to sit in a bed the entire time I labored. I didn’t want things strapped to me so the nurses to monitor me from another room and not have to even interact with me. I didn’t want some random doctor who doesn’t know me or I him. I didn’t want any strangers touching me at such a venerable time in my life.

Then when all home birth hope was lost, I finally found my midwives.  They weren’t your typical prenatal appointments. Our appointments were an hour to even 2 hours at times. They listened to my baby’s heart on their couch and wanted to get to know us and not just about the pregnancy. Melanie’s house was so cozy and welcoming. She offered us something to drink and eat. My husband thought I was crazy. Hell, he thought they were crazy too. On the way home from our first meeting them I said I like them. We can do this. And I am going to do this. Of course, he remain a skeptic until the day our baby was ready to come.

My husband assumed that because they didn’t wear a white coat and work in a hospital that they couldn’t possibly know anything about delivering babies. I finally told him I was done listening to it and I was having our baby at home with or without him.

My due date was March 26th 2019 and I started having contractions the day before but they were mild and irregular so I went to work and went about my day. Her due date came and I woke up at 4am with stronger contractions but nothing I couldn’t handle, however I wasn’t going to deal with people at work so I stayed home. I told my husband to go to work and I dealt with early labor at home and stayed in good spirits. I notified one of my midwives and she told me to take a nap so I did.

About 6pm my husband returned home and that’s when my contractions started getting quite a bit stronger. I asked midwife (Dawn) to come and help me a bit. I didn’t know what to expect but the contractions were getting stronger. I decided to get in the tub and by the time I got out it was hard for me to stand during contractions and my husband came in to help me and held me. I started to break down a little bit but I knew I had a long ways to go so I had to buck up. Then Dawn arrived.

My husband was so glad she was there. He didn’t know what to do. It was alright because neither did I. We were just dealing with it one step at a time. Labor was picking up fast and my other midwife (Melanie) showed up at about midnight. I would cry out and tell them I couldn’t do it and Melanie would tell me “But you are doing it!” God she was pissing me off. Pretty soon I realized I had run completely out of tears. I was on the floor the majority of the time. After a really rough contraction I looked up at my husband and he told me it was hard to watch someone you love in so much pain.

A little after 1am my water broke and I threw up. The contractions were about back to back after that. I was so tired my head would just fall after my contractions and I would doze off. Then boom, another contraction.

At about 2am everyone in the house was trying to rest. I was being vocal and trying moan through my contractions but ended up crying and becoming louder and louder. I did this for maybe an hour. Finally Dawn got up and suggested I try sitting on the toilet. Dear God, she trying to make it worse. I went into the bathroom and had the worst contraction yet. My whole body was affect by it. I asked Dawn to sit with me. We sat there through 3-4 contractions and I had enough. She told me let’s walk around the house a bit. So snail pace I went from room to room.

I finally ended up at the kitchen and felt a contraction coming in so I made a mad dash to the rug by our sink and continued my noise. Dawn brought me a chair to lean on and a ball but I couldn’t be pleased so she let me do what I felt was right. Finally my whole body started hurling like it does when you’re about to puke. I yelled “something’s happening!” Turns out it was my baby moving down. I was on my knees with my hands on my thighs and Dawn called for my husband who was attempting to rest and Melanie. The baby was moving down fast and soon I felt a burning sensation but it didn’t bother me because this part was a relief from the contractions. Dawn asked my husband if he wanted to see his baby’s head and he looked down and started to cry. Shortly after that, in about 2 minutes, my beautiful baby girl was born.  I honestly don’t remember pushing at all. My body guided her out like it’s supposed to.

My body knew exactly what to do. I didn’t do anything until I was ready and it made everything go so much more smoothly. I didn’t strain or rush the labor.  I knew my body was capable but I was thankful to have my midwives to remind me, even when it was hard and I said I couldn’t. I held my baby in my arms and I walked to the bedroom. I was shaking but not from being cold. It was so exciting and I couldn’t even believe we did it!

Lacey was born at 3:40am on March 27. Nobody in our families knew we were doing a home birth. I had sent my husband’s mother a message asking if she could come over at about 10am and help me with a few things and when she arrived she seen we had had our baby. I’ve never seen a look of more surprised and confusion in my life but it was wonderful. We told her we had the baby early that morning at home with 2 midwives and she was completely overjoyed that everyone was safe and happy to meet our newest addition.

I would like to mention since I didn’t rush or force my body to go against my labor progression, I had an incredible postpartum recovery as well. I had no tearing and the swelling went down within the first few days. My body wasn’t sore from having to bare down to push and I had no depression what so ever. My pregnancy was incredible. My labor was natural and my recovery was record breaking.

You do not have to settle during pregnancy and the birth of your baby. I had a birth plan and to a T it was followed. I wasn’t pushed to do anything I didn’t want to do or have unnecessary interventions. I wasn’t given drugs to augment my labor. I literally let my body do what it was MEANT to do. Nobody can ever take away this experience from me and I am so thankful for that. I wasn’t traumatized but empowered. I felt so strong and incredible. The high I felt after I had my daughter was irreplaceable. I didn’t have people I didn’t know watching the most important day of my life. I had friends and my loved one. Birth doesn’t have to be cold and impersonal. It truly was beautiful.

   

 

Interviewing Your Midwife

(This is a rewrite of a client hand out I wrote in the early 90’s. It was funny to change phone numbers into website links. And interesting to note that some of the questions had changed. For example, I had to include ‘how far past my due date may I go?’. -xoxo Midwife Melanie)

You’ve decided you want a natural birth. And you know a midwife is the best person to support that decision during your pregnancy, labor, and birth. But how do you go about finding a midwife? And once you do, how do you know she’s the midwife for you?

In Iowa, there are different types of midwives:
 Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) are the most widely recognized group of professional midwives. They are registered nurses who have gone on for additional training as midwives. After attending an educational program accredited by the American College of Nurse Midwives Certification Council they must pass their examination and then are licensed. CNMs generally work under the supervision of a doctor (but in Iowa they can be independent!) Most carry malpractice insurance and participate in hospital births only. However, there are some CNMs that do attend homebirths and often they accept insurance reimbursement.
 Direct Entry Midwives (also called traditional, lay, independent, or Certified Professional Midwives) are not required to become nurses before training to be midwives. They arrive at their practice through a variety of routes including personal study and experience, formal training programs, and/ or private apprenticeship. Direct entry midwifery is not recognized in Iowa or Illinois, so these midwives might be more difficult to find and do not accept insurance. (My readers in Minnesota and Wisconsin are far luckier!) However they are homebirth specialists!
  A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is a type of direct entry midwife who has had her skills and experience evaluated by the North American Registry of Midwives and passed a written examination.
  The first step is finding midwives to interview. Ask friends who loved their birth experience. Go to the local La Leche League or Crunchy Mama facebook page and ask around. Also, check out midwifery websites like the ACNM, MANA, NARM, and Midwifery Today.
  It is important to interview two or three midwives before you make a decision. It will help if you have an idea of the kind of birth you would like. Do you want to deliver at home? Hospital? Birth Center?Do you want a midwife who will massage and encourage you during labor or do you want someone who will basically sit in the corner and knit, intervening only if there is a problem? Do you want FHTs to be monitored with a fetoscope intermittently or hooked up to an electronic fetal monitor? Do you want to deliver in water? Although midwives are alike in many ways, in many more ways they are very different.
Here is a list of questions you can ask when interviewing your midwife. Don’t be shy, midwives like to know their clients are a good match!
-Why did you become a midwife?
-What kind of training have you had?
-Do you practice at homebirths? Birth Centers? Hospitals?
-Are you certified or licensed?
-Do you belong to professional organizations, attend conferences and workshops, subscribe to        professional journals?
-What basic philosophies guide your practice?
-How many births have you attended?
-How many births do you attend a month?
-What tests do you require prenatally? 
-How far past my due date will you allow me to go?
-Do you deliver VBAC, breeches, or twins?
-What emergency equipment will be available at the birth? What isn’t available?
-What kind of emergency situations have you handled?
-Have you ever given birth?
-Did you breastfeed?
-Who will attend my birth with you?
-How will you monitor my progress?
-How will you monitor my baby’s health?
-May I eat and drink during labor?
-May my other children be present?
-Do you use herbal or homeopathic remedies?
-May I deliver in a birth pool?
-May I or my partner catch my baby? Assuming all is well?
-If we transport to the hospital will you stay with me?
-What is you transfer rate?
-What is your induction rate?
-What is your cesarean section rate?
-What is your episiotomy rate?
-What is your fee and what does it include?
-What kind of commitments are we responsible for; childbirth classes, back up doctor, lab work, hospital registration, birth certificates, new born testing, supplies…..?
-What do you consider your responsibilities as our midwife?
  These are initial questions to be asked at your first meeting. There are hundreds of other questions that you will ask through out your pregnancy. It should be very important to your prospective midwife that you know the complete answer to each question. Try to schedule a special interview visit, so you aren’t sitting on an exam table wearing a sheet.
  It is important to remember that midwives are providing a service to you. As a consumer, you should be fully informed of your options. This will not only help ensure that you feel empowered by your birth experience, but will also change birth, for all women and babies, for the better.