At about 1:45am on August 29, 2005 (my “due date”) I was awakened by my water breaking! My first thought was, “Oh my word I have wet the bed!” My second thought was, “I have never peed this hard in my life!” I woke Joe up and he quickly helped me to the bathroom and got me settled on the toilet. I could tell my water wasn’t clear and that scared me. Also, I wasn’t having contractions yet so I was worried that I would end up in the hospital on pitocin. I shouldn’t have worried. My contractions started about 2:00am and were quickly right on top of each other. Joe paged Mary Anne about 1:50am and she came right away.
When Mary Anne got here she sat with me through a couple of contractions. She decided to check me since my legs were shaking, which is an indication of transition, but I could still talk through my contractions. I moved to the bed so she could check me. I was 6cm and 100% effaced! (That was the only time she checked me.) Mary Anne said there was meconium present so we would birth a little differently. She told us to stay quiet when the baby’s head came out to keep the stimulation to a minimum while she suctioned the nose and mouth. I remember feeling relieved that I didn’t have to go to the hospital because of the meconium.
I went from 6cm to 10cm very quickly! At one point Mary Anne told me I was doing a good job. I told her I didn’t have much of a choice. She said, “Yeh you do. You could be screaming your head off.” I made plenty of noise when I was having Lena but screaming didn’t cross my mind.
The urge to push came on so fast and strong that I thought something was wrong so I fought it. Mary Anne told me this was not the time to fight my body so I started pushing and it felt so good. Mary Anne told me the baby had hair and I couldn’t believe it. They brought me a mirror and sure enough, there was a head full of hair crowning! I pushed for about an hour to get Lena’s head out. Mary Anne suctioned her nose and mouth then tried to get a shoulder out but Lena wouldn’t budge. Daphne (Mary Anne’s then apprentice, now co-midwife) and Joe flipped me over so I was on my elbows and knees (a tried and true midwifery technique; makes the pelvic opening bigger). Thankfully, Lena was stuck for less than a minute. She cried and pinked up quickly once she was out. Mary Anne lets the Daddy announce “what” the baby is but Joe was so busy telling me what a good job I had done that he forgot to look. I finally asked him what we had. He unwrapped her and said, “It’s a Lena!” My Mom, my mother-in-law (both were in the room and got to see their first grandbaby be born) and I all cried J
As if meconium and shoulder dystocia weren’t enough I also had a severe hemmorhage. The placenta came out very shortly after Lena was born and then I wouldn’t stop bleeding. Daphne gave me a shot of pitocin while Mary Anne massaged my uterus and told me to stop bleeding (another tried and true midwifery technique). They were able to get the bleeding under control quickly. My blood pressure was stable the whole time, I never lost consciousness and Mary Anne didn’t need to give me an I.V.
After I was stablized and cleaned up Mary Anne repaired the small tear that Lena’s 14 ½ inch chest caused. I was surprised I had a tear because I didn’t feel it happen. Even before Mary Anne stitched me up Lena nursed for the first time. I was impressed with how powerful her sucking was! Lena was born at 4:39am so all of this happened in about 3 hours! She weighed 9lbs 5oz, was 21 ½ inches long and scored a 9 on the apgar J
One of my friends said she considers Lena’s birth to be one of the great horror stories. I disagree. Lena’s birth proves how a homebirth can have complications and still be successful if you have a highly trained, highly prepared midwife. Mary Anne carries herbs as well as oxygen, pitocin, I.V.s, etc in her birthing bag.
I felt like I could do anything after I had Lena! Four years later I still feel like Superwoman when I think about her birth because I did it! I let my body do what God designed it to do in my own home, surrounded by people I love and who love me. That was an awesome, satisfying experience and I hope to do it again in August!