With this being the start of a new year, I’m attempting a new start at keeping this blog more up-to-date. My hopes are to at least post once a month, so we’ll begin with this, and see if I can keep it up! Blessings to each of you in 2014!
Having just celebrated Matthias’ first birthday, I thought you all might enjoy hearing a few of the details surrounding his birth…
They say that being a midwife to a midwife can be a challenge, and I’m afraid I’ve proved that to be true once again. My second pregnancy, while easier during the first half of the pregnancy, was definitely more uncomfortable during the last several months. My friend/neighbor was expecting as well, and since we were due the same day, we joked about who was going to have hers first. In hindsight, I don’t think I was really joking-I thought I should be the first one, as I was certainly bigger and seemed to be more uncomfortable!
However, wouldn’t you know, but 2 weeks before our EDD, my friend calls me at 4am wondering if I’m having my baby, as she thinks hers is on it’s way. At the beginning of her pregnancy (before I knew I was pregnant myself!), she had asked if I would deliver hers, but with our due dates being so close, it was pretty much impossible to commit to it, which was disappointing for me, as births have been pretty few and far between since moving to PA. Once she found out I wasn’t in labor, she said she’d call if things progressed before her midwives arrived (they had 45 min. to drive), and sure enough, things progressed rapidly, and I was soon on my way up the hill and had the sweet privilege of delivering a little boy about 10 min. before the midwives arrived. It really was humorous, me, who was so big and cumbersome I hadn’t cleaned my own tubs in weeks, was leaning over a large tub delivering a baby without any thought at all!
I remember reading somewhere when I was initially beginning my midwifery training about there being strong hormones present at a birth, and how these sometimes made other pregnant women have their babies when they were exposed to a birth environment, so it wasn’t very hard to wish that I would have my own baby yet that day. However, it certainly didn’t work that way, and I began what turned into a very long week. With my first baby, I had no “false labor”, and everything was very straight forward. This time around, I had night after night of timeable contractions, little sleep, and an active toddler to care for during the day. Then Thanksgiving vacation arrived, and Joel was home from school for 4 days-and that would be a PERFECT time to have a baby. But that didn’t work either! By the end of the week I was a basket-case…exhausted, ready to be done, my blood pressure was going up and making me feel sick, and I was ready to do anything to get this baby out. My midwife suggested that I try to get some sleep, and wait to do anything until I was rested…which sounds like something I would have told someone else…but wouldn’t hardly hear myself.
Sunday morning I again had timeable contractions. Strong enough to be uncomfortable, but I wasn’t going to dare miss church, lest all the ladies wonder if I was home in labor, only to show up pregnant again next week. We had a Thanksgiving get-together with Joel’s family, and by the afternoon all my possible labor signs had died down. I hiked up our mountain trail TWICE (really desperate!), and gradually got grouchier as the day wore on (hormones kicking in, in retrospect). By afternoon we had decided to give castor oil a try, so I started chugging, and consumed more than I will recommend to anyone to take again. However, by the end of four hours of hoping something would kick in, it felt like nothing was happening. I cried again…and talked to my midwife …she lived 2 hours away and thought she should go ahead and come “just in case”, but I was just as adamant that there was no reason she should drive all that way only to turn around and go home again.
At 9:30pm I checked to find that was a good 4cm dilated-not much more than a few days before. So I let my midwife know that nothing was going on, and I was giving up and going to bed. Joel and I had a few minutes to talk, and then I had a contraction around 9:45pm. We thought, maybe things are actually going to start…and a few minutes later they did…this time I had a massive contraction, followed quickly by another and my water broke. Joel jumped up and said he’d better make sure Debby was on the way. She assured him that despite my wishes that she would wait, she was already on the road. By the time he came back to our room, contractions were coming so strong and so fast that I thought I was going to go crazy. At that point I asked him if we should go ahead and tell Rose to come (she was a midwife friend of ours who lived close by and was home in our area for Thanksgiving break-we had been hoping she could be there for our birth). He gently told me that I had contractions like this for a long time with Yoanna, so there really wasn’t any rush. To this I replied that if I had to go a long time like this I would just die, and I meant it.
Because he was teaching school, Joel needed to have a sub to take his spot the next morning since it looked like he wouldn’t be going in himself. So he quickly got on the phone to line one up-he had made some tentative plans but needed to make sure they were confirmed. It felt like he was on the phone forever…the contractions were incredible, and I didn’t even have time to move between them…every time I even breathed another one would start, and I never even got up off the end of the bed. By about 10:05, I started calling for Joel…not too loudly, as we wanted Yoanna to stay sleeping…but I didn’t know how I was going to make it. When Joel realized how serious things were, he tried to call Rose…which took longer than it should have, as I had scribbled her number on a scrap paper, and couldn’t tell Joel where to find it! I still remember him finally getting ahold of her, and hearing him tell her that she’d better hurry, as he didn’t think she had 10 minutes to get here (and she only lives 1 mile away!).
Right about then I realized that unless Rose really hurried, no one else was going to be around. This baby was COMING! Thankfully, I had set up my birth kit earlier that day, and everything was ready. Joel had the bowl of immediate supplies handy, and stepped right up to the plate. It was kinda weird…one minute I couldn’t think of anything, and the next minute I’d think, “oh, I need to make sure I…” Guess that’s the strange side of coaching so many other people through their births! Joel did especially well at helping me to slow down and breathe, allowing Matthias to be born slowly…I felt like my body was just pushing him out without me making any decisions. At 10:20pm, Joel caught his son, and handed him to me, and we both looked at each other a bit awed. It was just over 25 min. from the first major contraction! Rose walked in about 2 minutes later, about as surprised as we were to see the baby had already come.
We quickly called Debby, and told her we were in good hands with Rose, so she turned around and went home…good thing, too, as she had a quick one the next morning that she would have missed if she had been at our place. Rose took care of all the remaining things, and Joel said he was really glad to have her walk in and finish the job. We were so grateful for a safe birth, but for the record, my husband says he isn’t going to plan on delivering the next one solo. And we found out why the last weeks were so uncomfortable…Matthias weighed in at 9 lbs., over 1 ½ lbs. larger than his sister!