Saturday, March 7, 2009
9 Months of Preparing -- A Last Minute Change in Plans
I was joking in the last post about having another homebirth from this class, but low-and-behold, Rachel and Andrew decided in the middle of labor to have a homebirth. Let me back up a bit:
According to her LMP, Rachel's due date was Feb. 18. Her ultrasound said a week later. I always tell everyone, and you've heard it here before, to fight for the latest date possible because it literally buys you more time. The midwifery group she was to birth with at the hospital would not allow her to go more than 10 days. They wanted to induce her yesterday, a Friday, even though that was day 9, but more convenient for them. She refused, insisting that she was taking every day she had been told she had. Good thing she did...
She had been contracting all week long, thinking it was the "real thing", several times. I see this a lot, where the mom finds it hard to believe it when she is actually in real labor. They tend to become obsessed with not doing things that will possibly stop labor. And so it goes...
Their doula, Hannah, was nervous for them to be induced, so she went to their house Friday afternoon and worked with Rachel on several different positions to help bring the baby down into a more favorable position. She also applied several acupuncture and pressure points which really got things going, to the point that the contractions were consistent and not stopping. Really, if the nurses could/would do this at the hospital, there would be no "need" for pitocin!
About 5:00 in the afternoon, Rachel started mentioning the homebirth midwives and by 7:30, they were at their house. Her cervix was almost 100% effaced and she was dilated to a 4 or 5. They announced that a baby would likely be born that night, and they were correct! Eventually, there were 2 midwives, 3 apprentices, and their doula in their home. Rachel said that the more people that showed up, the more confident she felt. It is so important for a laboring woman to have other supportive women around her -- women who believe in her abilities to birth her baby.
Their baby girl was born in their bathroom at 11:47 p.m. Baby weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces, and was 21 inches long. Baby did have to be resuscitated with oxygen and even CPR, but she is doing fine. According to Hannah, the midwives were incredibly calm and never appeared to not know what to do. The reason I include this in this story is simple: this would have happened no matter where their baby was born, including the hospital. But it would have been handled entirely different. The baby would have been rushed to the NICU, where she likely would be kept for many hours, maybe even days, for monitoring, meanwhile, racking up a huge bill. Breastfeeding and bonding would have been drastically affected. Rachel and Andrew knew the midwives knew what they were doing and had absolute confidence in them. In fact, when I talked to them this morning, this was a very minor part of their story. I got more of the details when I talked to Hannah, who found those moments a little more intense than the new parents. I thought that was interesting. Fear was not present at their birth. Baby has a strong suck and is breastfeeding well. Everyone is happy.
Rachel said this entire week she kept thinking, "As long as the baby is still inside me, I have choices." She is a true example of this statement I am always making. I am so proud of them for taking control of their birth experience and making it their own. She really listened to her body, not just in pregnancy, but in labor. She was not reckless in her decision making. She was educated and fought for the birth she wanted. In the end, she knew the hospital was not where she wanted to give birth. And she did something about it! This took a lot of courage -- hats off to Rachel and Andrew. You have set a wonderful example of being educated, prepared, and willing to do what it takes to have the birth you want.
There have now been 4 homebirths from this class -- unheard of! I like to think that I have instilled the safety of birth, and homebirth, in my couples. The fact that I have birthed with an epidural in my spine with a C-section-happy doctor, and then with a CNM in a hospital, followed by 2 homebirths, my experience with birth is vast. I believe home to be a better place to have a baby. I am truly happy these couples have all chosen homebirth -- even Nancy and Frank, who did not choose it, but it certainly chose them!