Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Birth Story of Sorts

Ok, if you are a birth story reading junkie, this likely won't be like most of the stories you read.  Just not in me I suppose to write like that I think.  But a few folks have asked for a story so this is the best I can do.  Yes, this is my opinion, thoughts, whatever.  So, um, please don't gripe at me if you don't agree with something.  Please.

Anyway, for years we have been doing everything in our power to get away from hospital births.  I am the type of person who really truly mourns when I hear of someone who ended up with a c-section.  Especially all the first time moms who end up with a c-section for failure to progress.  Yes, I realize they are life saving operations and a wonderful thing to have available to us at this point.  But I also realize they are so over used now and many folks end up with them who did not need one for life-saving reasons.  I realize that my own c-section would have likely been avoided if I had delivered in my hospital with my doctor rather than out of town.  I realize that with every single pregnancy since that first one, my c-section has left me with more "risks" and a harder labor experience.  I also realize that it helped induce post-partum depression and that it was very traumatic not only for myself but for Alan. He told me shortly afterwards that we could never have any other kids because he simply could not go through that again (yes, he's changed his mind) and counsels other expectant fathers who have asked to simply never ever ever look up or beyond the screen during the operation.  Enough said. So since then we've been trying to find a better solution.

I've experience inductions, epidurals, natural birth in a hospital and everything in between.  I've delivered in hospitals that welcomed a VBAC patient with open arms and in hospitals where it was against their rules to allow a VBAC.  Done that 3 times now and it's never fun because you do truly have to fight for everything in most cases.  I've had incredible doctors and midwives and those who have no business being in the business of delivering babies.  So several children ago we decided we'd had enough.  We tried to use a birth center for the first time with Abby but the laws in Florida quickly risked me out of that option because I'd had a c-section and too many other babies.  We tried a homebirth with both Gabe and Robert but since they decided to arrive at only 35 weeks, we were forced to go to the hospital for their own safety.

With this pregnancy, we tried everything possible to keep her from coming early.  Not too easy since we did not have a set reason for the other two arriving early.  This is where I love the care I received from the homebirth midwives. Rather than waiting for a problem to occur, they helped me do research and find proactive things I could do to make a difference.  We changed my diet a bit, added 3 or 4 different vitamins and herbs, operated under a strict policy of reducing/limiting stress (ok, as much as possible) and resorted to bed rest near the end.  Whatever we did seems to have worked.  I passed the 37 week mark and was cleared for a homebirth.

On December 1 my water broke.  Called the midwife and then went back to bed.  Woke up in the morning and nothing had happened.  This is where I love the difference in care.  When I was seeing an OB and had my waters rupture without imminent labor, I was told to go to the hospital to be induced because "it was dangerous" otherwise.  This time I was told simply stay hydrated, eat normally, rest and watch for signs of a fever or a problem.  We called a friend to come out and hang out with her kids to keep everyone distracted so the kids spent the day playing and having a blast.  About 23 hours after my water broke, contractions actually started.  Alan was sound asleep on the couch and I let him sleep for another 2 hrs.  I called the midwife after about an hour to come out.  Maybe I should have called her earlier since it was snowing and all.  Around 4:15 I finally woke Alan up to help me.  25 minutes later Miss Ellie made her entrance to the world.  Quietly, peacefully, absolutely no work on my part.  I told Alan the baby was coming and he runs out to grab a towel.  I suppose he was thinking we had as much time as we did in a hospital or maybe he was thinking new couch, new rug.  Who knows.  But I delivered her before he returned.  Poor guy. But we were able to spend the next 45 minutes alone before the first midwife arrived.  It was 2 hours before the baby was taken away from me and that was only so I could move upstairs and get a shower before the older kids woke up.  I did have to convince Alan that it was totally ok not to cut the cord and to just leave the baby alone.  The only thing that went "wrong" was that the baby got a bit too cold because the house was cold that night but that was quickly corrected and she's been fine every since.

The midwives hung around for the morning to get everything cleaned up and make sure the baby and I were doing fine.  At one point Alan walked into our bedroom and found all 4 of us either sprawled on the floor or sound asleep.  It was overall an incredibly peaceful and wonderful experience.  The kids got to meet their sister when she was only a few hours old.  The midwives came back several times to do newborn checks and make sure everyone was fine.  I have to say that if I could have them all that way, I'd happily have 10 more kids.  It was an amazing experience and I am so grateful to have had things work out for us this time.

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