Surprise! Baby Arrived Before The Midwife

1st birth was in 1977 in Tx. It was a hospital birth with a total four hour labor. Even at that speed, the OB broke my membranes at the very end to speed things along. I was never asked, nor told what was happening to me. Dh signed all paperwork and was not allowed to accompany me to delivery where I was given a spinal and then general anesthesia that put me completely out. They used forceps to pull the babe from my body, since I was not awake to push. I have no memory of the delivery and only spots of the labor ie. the enema, shave and uncaring, humiliating feelings that I had. I was made to stay in hosp for 5 days as was standard in that hosp at that time. Baby in nursery and I in a ward with four other women.

2nd birth: 1980 Tacoma General Birthing Room. Baby was born with NO intervention whatsoever 45 min after arrival to the hospital. It was a very good birth experience, wonderful nurse but OB was in a hurry to get done and pulled the placenta out rather quickly. After OB left, I kept bleeding heavier and heavier until pitocin was given for this. I was home in 12 hours with oral meds for bleeding uterus.

3rd birth: 1997, it was to be my first home birth with a wonderful midwife. All went well until the week before due date when membranes ruptured with no contractions in sight. In our state, midwives are licensed and must follow OB orders when things don’t go by the book in labor. This particular OB has since retired but his rule was no contractions after 12 hours after water breaking meant transfer to hospital, so off we went. The local hospital here is not midwife friendly. My midwife accompanied me but was not allowed to DO anything but act as my doula. Hospital staff made me stay in bed attached to internal and external monitors with IV’s, oxygen etc. I was not allowed to even get up to go to the bathroom. Not allowed to change position in any way so I would not “hurt” this baby. Pitocin was started and this went on for 24 hours before I finally gave birth to a limp, non-breathing, blue, distressed baby. It took a bit of work on the part of the staff there to get him going on his own. He had been through a lot at the hands of intervention as far as I’m concerned. I felt failure and grief over this attempted home birth, but the midwife assured me I could try again and succeed.

This leads me to my first UC: Baby number 4

I had a miscarriage at 5-6 weeks gestation on March 13, 1998. My first and only so far. It was very hard, of course. I could only think, “What did I do wrong with this pregnancy? Could I have eaten something or used a strong cleaning product or done too much physical activity with my job at the time?” I conceived again just about late April ’98 after only one regular period. I was so happy but scared to death that I would lose this baby, too. I ran to an OB/GYN thinking he could help me keep this pregnancy over a midwife…

At the interview, this OB was wonderful, telling me yes, anything you want. His office staff was great but with each appointment, I felt more and more trapped and pressured to conform to the mainstream of being a good patient and doing what you are told. Questions and concerns were brushed off as if I were too concerned about my own health. I was badgered by the staff over my decision not to prenatal test for Down’s Syndrome. They called me at home over and over and even after I told them to make a note in my chart, I was still asked. I knew it was going to only get worse so I told them goodbye, and headed off for a midwife again. Dh wanted me to use a CNM this time in case we needed to transport and he wanted me to do the birth at birth center. I though this was a great compromise and agreed.

CNM put my due date at 1-15-99 and with her help and guidance we decided I could do a home birth just as easily as birth center. The pregnancy went well, weight gain and b/p were fine. My only gripe was the frequent urination and heartburn.

CNM gave me Charity’s card when I asked about water birth. I think I rented that tub about two weeks before my due date and had it up but not filled for the big day. Braxton-Hicks were a daily thing but never regular enough to get any real work done on my cervix. I would start contracting and then clean my house, make food for midwife and assistant and then my labor would stall. Dh ate a lot of cake those last two weeks. I baked 4, I think. I don’t know why, it just seemed like the thing to do, labor? Bake a cake, we’ll need one. ๐Ÿ™‚

Friday Jan 15th. Due date! NOTHING.
Went to the grocery store and was stopped by a woman who wanted to know if I was carrying twins. I was getting tired of my belly fast.

Saturday Jan. 16th 1999 day after my EDD. Dh decided we should go to the mall to get our minds off no baby so we packed up our toddler and headed off for the after Christmas sales. It was a very good idea, I walked and walked and only prob was having to stop for potty breaks. We shopped from 2pm to 5pm and at that point, I just started feeling tired so we sat for a bit and then headed for home. On the way home, I had no contractions but I felt “odd” like I wanted to get away by myself and have some quiet time. Our toddler was in the car seat in the back and I knew I would not rest at home, I would make him dinner etc so I asked Dh to drop me off at my mom’s for a visit and pick me up later. She lives pretty close so this was not a problem at all. Arrived at moms at around 5:45pm and I ate and I ate and I ate. I had a soft pretzel at the mall but I felt like I hadn’t had food in days. I had two bowls of pinto beans and corn bread, six peanut butter cookies and several glasses of ice tea. I look back now and wonder if my body wasn’t carb loading for the work ahead. They sure wouldn’t allow you to eat like that before or during labor in hospital!

After dinner, I sat in her biggest comfy chair and just watched tv and chatted away feeling a peaceful glow. I had my first contraction at maybe 6:50pm, my first thought was “big deal” this is nothing but then they came faster and harder until it was getting hard to concentrate on chatter going on around me. I asked her to take me home without telling her that I thought I was in labor but on the way home it became obvious when I couldn’t even talk. Contractions were every 2-3 min on the 15 min drive. It’s foggier in my memory from here. I told her I needed a BEER. I think that was my feeble attempt at anesthesia. I didn’t get one. ๐Ÿ™‚
Mom took our toddler home with her, I called midwife and Dh started filling the birth tub. Midwife was at dinner but called back to say she would wrap things up there and be on her way. I tried to help Dh get things ready but my labor was so intense that I could do very little more than concentrate on breathing and relaxing best I could. It was painful but I kept thinking this is good, this is better than the hospital with the very same pain but no control.

A birthing tub, in case you don’t know, holds a LOT of water. I felt the need for some comfort fast so decided to try the regular bathtub for a bit. The pains were so intense that I would get in and get out, sit on the toilet, try anything I could to get comfy. At this point, I started to have some “bloody show.” I had seen this with other pregnancies in early labor so I knew that it was normal but mentioned it to Dh who called back the midwife and told her. She asked him to find out “how much”. This is the only time that I felt aggressive in my labor. When he just sort of peeked his head down to see, I growled it was normal and get away. I was still thinking this was early labor and someone shoot me! I felt by the time I get to late labor when the pain really hits, I would not be able to handle it.

Our midwife called back maybe 10 mins later to say that she was now home gathering her supplies and would be along as fast as possible. She knew how close contractions were and that I was no longer able to talk on the phone through them.

I was still in the other room but feeling guilty for growling at Dh over the bloody show, so I came out to apologize and walk some but as soon as I reached the kitchen, I was gripped with the contraction of the century with an urge to push. My water splashed all over the place and as soon as that one was over, I was hit with another with urge to push. I put my hand down and felt the baby’s head crowning so Dh ran for the birth supplies kit and pads since it was obvious I would be giving birth where I stood. We had a paper that had a list of emergency instructions on what to do/not do if you are alone when giving birth and we just went with what it said. I had maybe two more contractions, hard to remember but Daniel was born into his daddy’s hands at around 8:50. We used a nasal aspirator to suction his mouth and nose and he pinked up and cried like a healthy baby. His cord was too short for me to get too comfy while nursing so I just sat there on the pad hunched over waiting for the midwife.

CNM arrived maybe 10 min after Dan’s birth and she cut the cord, delivered the placenta and repaired the big tear I gave myself from pushing to quickly. Baby wasn’t too big or too small but I popped him out like a cork and my perineum had no time to stretch properly.

What I would do differently now, is use a brand new tarp rather than one of those little blue chux to give birth on. ( BTW, hydrogen peroxide will get blood out of beige carpet. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย ย After the birth, I felt in awe of Dh for his control and for being my rock. I felt a little bit of disappointment for not having enough time to have a proper nesting type labor but glad that the pain was really very short lived. The birth tub was only half full, my birthing ball was untouched. None of the snacks I had prepared were touched.. nothing. I was disappointed that it took my CNM as long as it did for her to get to me.

We are pregnant again and have chosen a close midwife who assures me she has missed only one birth in ten years of practice. We are making preparations for a UC again JUST IN CASE. I’ve since taken Doula courses and Childbirth educator classes so I feel I’m more knowledgeable in the whole birth process and I will of course trust GOD that no matter what happens, he is our ultimate birth assistant.

-Kendra

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