I was at the kitchen counter Thursday night, attempting to fix my Garmin that was broken in my car accident a few weeks ago when Ginnie got home from tutoring at around 9:00pm. We said our hellos, and as usual, Ginnie’s next stop was the bathroom. She doesn’t get, as she put it, “many miles to the potty stop” over the last several months. Because the cats were meowing loudly, I asked her if she’d use the bathroom upstairs and please feed the cats while she was up there. She headed up stairs, and I went back to concentrating on my Garmin.
A few minutes went by. I heard Ginnie scoop the cat food out of the container and then poor it in their dish. It was one of those things I heard, but didn’t register. Then out of the blue, I heard “uh-oh”. I paused, waiting for Ginnie to tell me that one of the cats had gotten sick upstairs or something. I said, “uh-oh what?”. She didn’t answer. I heard Ginnie walk back to the bathroom, and then I heard, “Um…I think my water just broke.” Thinking she probably wet herself because she had just bent over to feed the cats, I asked, “are you sure?” On my way upstairs, it occurred to me that I had heard the toilet flush before I heard her feeding the cats. That’s when I realized she could be right.
I grabbed the pH paper that Mary Anne Richardson (our midwife) had left for us, and sure enough, it turned from green to navy blue in color. Immediately, I paged Mary Anne. She called us back about 2 minutes later and we explained everything that had just happened. Because Ginnie hadn’t had any pressure waves (“contractions” for you non “Hypno-Moms”), Mary Anne wasn’t overly concerned at this stage. She emailed over some information on safe ways to encourage labor progression. Ginnie and I read over the papers and decided that I needed to make a Kroger run.
Before I left for the grocery, we started getting things in order. Ginnie gathered all of the stuff the midwife had instructed us to have for the birth…peroxide, bleach, Gatorade, Chuck’s pads, etc… Meanwhile, I was inflating the birthing pool. At about 11PM, I left to go to the grocery store. While I was gone, Ginnie called her sister, Katie, and told her that the birthing time had begun and to come on over. On my way to Kroger, I was worried that Ginnie wasn’t having any contractions…and I kept thinking to myself, “we are going to end up in the hospital tonight…” I never said that to Ginnie, of course.
When I returned home, I found Ginnie changing clothes. I asked, “what are you doing?” She replied, “we never got any maternity pictures…let’s do some real fast!” You see, we had planned to do some pretty, outdoor maternity photos on Sunday April 3rd. Obviously, that wasn’t going to happen, so we headed upstairs where I have a backdrop setup and did some very basic, very FAST maternity photos. Sadly, I’m not in any of them.
After that, Katie arrived. The three of us sat in the kitchen and ate a snack. Ginnie had been instructed to eat a substantial, high carb snack…topped off with a “castor oil cocktail” made of 2 oz. castor oil, 6 oz. of soda, and a big scoop of ice cream mixed together in a blender. (insert gag reflex here)
At about midnight, we all went to bed. Ginnie and I tried listening to her Hypno-Babies CD while attempting to sleep, but when Ginnie laid down, her pressure waves started to come on more quickly. I laid on my side of the bed with a small flash light, pen and notepad keeping track of her pressure waves. “Start”, she’d say. I’d glance at my watch, then wait……”Stop”. I’d note the start time and duration of each pressure wave…watching them get closer together and longer duration as I went down the page.
1:30am clicked over on the clock, and Ginnie was experiencing some discomfort. She asked if I would fill the birthing pool. I made absolutely sure that she REALLY wanted that because I knew it would pretty much drain our entire water heater and I wasn’t positive it could recover if she needed more hot water later. Again I called Mary Anne and told her that Ginnie was asking to get into the pool. She said I could go ahead and fill it, and that she’d be at our house in about an hour. I called Terri Cannon (our photographer) and let her know that she needed to head our way.
At 2:00am the pool was filled with soothing hot water, the lights were dimmed and candles lit. Ginnie became much more comfortable.
Katie woke up and joined us in the living room. Mary Anne arrived at 2:30am, and saw that Ginnie was experiencing more intense pressure waves. She called her assistant Lindsey, who is a midwife in training. Lindsey arrived at about 2:50am, and our photographer followed behind at about 3:00am.
What happened from 3:00am until 4:27am is a bit of a blur for me, although I’m certain that Ginnie can give vivid details of this period of time. Mary Anne and Lindsey did their thing, recording Ginnie’s vitals, and using the doppler to listen to Cora’s heartbeat during the pressure waves. I stayed close to Ginnie, helping to comfort her. Katie would step in when I had to get something for Mary Anne.
At about 4:00am, Ginnie really started having intense pressure waves. A grunt here. A moan there. Each pressure wave increased with intensity. By 4:15am, we were approaching the birth of our daughter. Lindsey took the lead as Mary Anne stood by. At 4:21am, I texted Mom saying “Head almost out”. Two pushes later, Cora’s head was out. Lindsey asked Ginnie to get up on her knees in order to get Cora out more easily. Ginnie gave one more push, and I heard Lindsey say, “Ok Ginnie, reach down and take your baby.” I sat back and just watched as Ginnie marveled over our little Cora.
Ginnie sat down in the pool and brought Cora up to her chest. Cora began to cry almost instantly as Mary Anne suctioned her mouth. I sent Mom another text saying “She’s here!!”. They moved Ginnie to the bed, and Cora started to nurse right away.
2 hours later, Ginnie and Cora had been tended to, the living room was cleaned out and everything was back in its place, and Mom and Dad showed up with breakfast for us all. I am so thankful that Cora’s incredible birth went as well as it did, and that we were able to be at home. Home births are amazing on TV, but to be there in that moment was awesome, in the truest meaning of the word. It was so peaceful and intimate. In my eyes, Ginnie is a rock star. I cannot begin to express my appreciation, admiration, respect and love for her. Ginnie and I encourage anyone thinking of having a family to educate yourself on a midwife assisted home birth.