My first two birthing experiences were with Nurse Midwives that work in a hospital. My experiences were not at all what you expect when the term Midwife is used. Both times and with two different Nurse Midwives at two different hospitals they used Pitocin to start my labors because my water had spontaneously ruptured at home and my labor did not progress. Nurse Midwives still follow a 24 hour guideline even if they are slightly more loose about it than Obstetricians.
Because of my size they had a hard time monitoring for a heartbeat and therefore never allowed me to be without the monitors which inhibited getting comfortable. With my first labor and delivery things were very painful and long so I gave up and asked for the Epidural. With my second labor and delivery, even though I had tried to get myself pumped for natural childbirth again, I chickened out fast and asked for the Epidural as soon as I arrived at the hospital. I came away from the first experience traumatized and came away from the second hating my hospital experiences.
Then came my third pregnancy, due March 16th. I knew that I had to find a new Midwife and that my body had reacted badly both times to the Epidural and that I wouldn’t take any more chances with another Epidural. I just wasn’t sure that I was ready for a home birth. I found a Nurse Midwife that I liked well enough but still there were things that we didn’t see eye to eye on. Then 2 months before my due date I learned that she would be relocating out of state and I found myself back at square one and with very little time left. I called a friend who had had three babies at home and asked for some references, one of which was Amber. I gave Amber a call, gave her some history and asked if she would take me on as a “Mama” despite how far along I was. She agreed and we had a meeting. After meeting with Amber and asking many questions all of which were satisfied we decided to finish out the pregnancy with Amber as our new Professional Midwife. She was so kind, personable and available. THIS was what I had expected when I chose a midwife in the first place. She knew more about me in one visit than my other Nurse Midwives after months of visits. We were thrilled.
Finally came the night my water broke. It was Tuesday April 3rd @ 6:30pm and after weeks of false labor I was glad to have a sure sign that the end was coming. Amber came by and checked mine and the baby’s stats. All was good so she went home and waited for me to call her back and in the meantime I was to practice extreme hygiene. The next evening we were still waiting, I had had contractions on and off all day but nothing to write home about. Amber came by Wednesday evening and checked our stats again and everything was fine so she headed home. Finally at 10:30pm on April 4th my contractions got on pattern and came fast. They were 8 minutes apart and causing quite a bit of low back pain. Amber had already established that baby was posterior and I knew that if I could get baby to turn things might speed up. At 12:00am Erik called Amber and gave her a heads up, we agreed that she would call back in an hour and see how things were progressing. At that point I tried an inverted position during a contraction and that did the trick, baby turned and the contractions went straight to 5 minutes apart lasting 1.5-2 minutes in length. At 1:00am Amber called back and said she would head over. Around 2:00am the tub was all set up and I got in to continue my journey there. Erik was by my side the entire time and did a great job at coaching me through the contractions. He rubbed my back and head, kissed me and encouraged me. And when Erik was gone to take care of whatever was necessary Amber was there to take his place with coaching and encouraging me. Sometime around 3:00am (though time was not something I was aware of) Amber told me that I had been in the water over an hour and that it would be a good idea to get out and walk or go to the bathroom through a couple of contractions and then I could get back into the tub. I told her that I really didn’t want to get out but she was certain that it could really be beneficial. Amber said that she would leave the room for a little while and let me think about it. Erik and I agreed to try things her way and he helped me to the bathroom. A moment or two later my bowels emptied! Amber popped her head back in and asked “did I hear a push?” Amber suggested that after the next contraction I should get back into the tub. After I was cleaned up I headed back to the birthing tub and as soon as I hit the water the pushing began with intent! I don’t know how long this took but it seemed to me as if it was only a few pushes. As the contractions were coming I could not control my sounds and each time Amber would gently remind me to make low tones. That helped a lot but still I needed the reminder with each push. I tried to slow down the pushing but I had no control over the intensity and soon decided that I wasn’t going to hold back. Amber caught my baby and then handed my new little gem to me after I was seated. I was so thrilled to have had my baby naturally and at home. April 5th at 4:25am, (after 41 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy) our little girl, Zelie, was here and she was left to me to hold and tend to. She latched on in those first few minutes and she knew just what to do. She was so alert and strong. My boys had been cut from their cords within a minute after birth. My little girl was allowed to get every last drop of blood from her cord. I knew in no time at all that we would never plan to go back to the hospital for a birth. My husband and I loved everything about our home birth experience. I came away from the experience loving childbirth! I am excited to share my experience and am actually looking forward to the next delivery!