i haven't gotten around to writing out my version his birth story but my husband did his
! here it is..
Home Birth (part 1)
As some of you may know, my wife Laura and I have been doing her checkups and health care at home for the duration of her pregnancy with the intention of delivering at home. It was a lot of work and the decision was not one we made lightly. Laura was diligent in her research and the efforts she made to prepare us for the big day.
I would not say that home birth outside mainstream medical care is the way to go for everyone. However if you have the discipline, courage, and a solid loving relationship with your partner the potential reward is beyond words. Sadly for us in the final hour our plans and intentions did not yield the fruit we had hoped for.
Laura woke me at 2:10 am on Monday the 2nd of March with the news that her water had broken. She was 42 weeks at the time and we had been anticipating the arrival of our second child for quite some time.
We had plans in place and everything was going smoothly, I had been doing her examinations in the evenings to check her cervix but we had agreed that one her water had broken the risk of infection was increased so nothing was going in there until the baby came out. Her labor was progressing well until early afternoon, the timing of the contractions had me guessing a delivery somewhere in the 4-5:00 pm area, her mother who in a phone call timed the contractions made a guess of about 2-3:00 pm. (Her mother has had 6 children of her own)
The hours kept passing and the contractions continued to intensify well past 5:00 pm. We were determined to have this baby ourselves. The idea was that she would deliver and I would clean her up and take care of anything that needed to be done. Mother and child would be comfortable in the home and everything would be perfect.
Time continued to creep by and exhaustion began to take its toll on both of us. Her labor pain continued to increase but the final push urge never came. At about 8 in the evening when everything was starting to get really tough I said a simple prayer.
"Help me get my wife and child through this."
The little prayer was answered but as usual not in the way I expected.
At 10:00 pm I told Laura I wanted my parents to come and be here with Nicholas for the remainder of the delivery. She was reluctant but she knew it was the right choice and she agreed. I made the call to my Mom and Dad who live 20 minutes away and asked them for help. They did not ask a ton of questions and did exactly what we needed them to do, just as I knew they would.
Throughout the day Nicholas was coming in and out checking on his mommy, he wanted to help I know but he was bright enough to know to stay out of the way. My 2 and a half year old son has always been very independent and it really showed on Monday. I was constantly checking on him and making sure he was fed and cared for during the day, but he was able to occupy himself and fell asleep on the couch at about 9:00 pm.
Between the time I called my parents and their arrival Laura and I came to the crossroads. We had to ask ourselves if we could continue. We both wanted to very much, but after 20 hours of labor for her and me tending her and our other son for the day we were spent. I was at my mental and emotional limits, it was all I could do to stay in support mode and not let my wife know how bad I was at that point. I was also fully aware that as bad as I felt and was, that she had to be impossibly worse. I never admired my wife's strength so much as I did in that moment.
We made the choice to go to the hospital and have what was surely going to be the very procedure we had hoped to avoid in this entire ordeal.
I am writing this at 10:50 pm after the longest 3 days of my life, I have to finish it tomorrow. If you are reading this and would like to question or comment on anything at all I welcome them.
please excuse grammar/punctuation/spelling
Home Birth (part 2)
(Continued from Home Birth part 1)
After calling my parents I went back to Laura's side to let her know they were on the way. In the preceeding few hours we had been trying to find a location and position in the house that would benefit her the most. She had been most comfortable in the bathtub so we had returned there after trying to move her to the bedroom.
My wife was a mess. When her contractions would flare watching her deal
with the pain was bringing me to the edge of tears, especially since we had no way of knowing when it would be over. She began to mutter and scream during the contractions and was crying for the most part between them. She had been saying for quite some time things to the effect of :"I am done!" or "I can't" other things too but I think the point is illustrated. I would encourage her as best I could and I would always ask her if she wanted to go on. I could tell she didn't but I knew she was not ready to give up yet.
When my parents were on the way we made our choice to go to the hospital. We knew that by the time we were admitted and the proceedure could be done it would be close to 24 hours since her water had broken. We had given it everything we had and in this situation it was just not enough.
I began running around the house in a frantic, I gathered a few essential items for Nicholas and backed the car right next to the door so she could step out of the house and get right in. I put the car seat in the kitchen and his clothes next to him on the couch. With my wife wearing a bathrobe we loaded into the car, about 5 minutes later my parents pulled up. I gave them a 15 second briefing and we were on our way.
The distance to the hospital is about a mile and a half, there are two traffic lights on the way. Thankfully the streets of our town are nearly deserted at that time of night. The car ride was short.
When we got to the ER there was nobody there! I ran the hallway looking for anybody to get us some help but I could not find a sign of anyone. Just as I was about to load Laura in the car and make the 45 minute drive to Lake Havasue somebody came through the doors. I told her that Laura was 42 weeks pregnant and that her water had been broken for 20 hours. Incredibly she said "We don't deliver babies here", she was about to dismiss us when Laura screamed at her "I need help!" We were admitted after a brief encounter regarding me staying at the counter to fill out paper work. I had not left my wife all day, I was certainly
not going to in the first minute of arrival at the hospital.
The doctor came in to examine her and ask his questions. He had a touch of an african accent, and while he was obvoiusly not pleased with us he was polite and reasonable for the most part. After his initial examination our anxiety over having made the choice to end our attempt to deliver at home was gone.
Laura was dialated to 6 centimeters after 20 hours of labor. The doctor said she could expect delivery in 2-3 hours but I knew at the rate of her progress so far that it would be quite a bit longer in reality. We were both disappointed that we could not fulfill our goal, but we knew we had made the right choice in that moment.
An ambulance had been dispatched to take us to the birthing center in Lake Havasue. The paramedics were a little shocked when we told them we had been doing self care and did not have a doctor. The two of them were friendly and professional, they kept us at ease during the ride. I wish I had my wits clearly enough about me to have made a note of their names.
The staff at the hospital was a little aggressive at first when they found out we had not gone to a doctor. They asked us the standard questions and got a sharp rebuke from Laura when they tried to convince her that shots and immunizations were essential. After this there was a minor standoff regarding them drawing blood from Laura to get her labs run. The staff could not understand why she would not allow them to draw her blood and began trying to explain they would not be putting anything in her body while drawing blood. They rambled on about confidentiality and probably would have gone on and on until I stepped in and told them that Laura was just deathly afraid of needles. She had already had more sticks and pokes in one hour than she had had in nearly 3 years. After I calmed her down I told her they needed blood work done for the surgery, she agreed and things began to move forward again.
I think we were informed enough and were able to answer all questions to a degree that we confused them to the point that they did not push us too hard. Perhaps it was just the fact that we blindsided the whole group so they did not have time to be pushy and superior. Maybe we got lucky and somehow got a medical staff that was just extra respectful. In any case our stance on home care and other issues was not challenged nearly as much as we had expected.
The carted Laura away and started prepping her for surgery. I was left alone in the recovery room with nothing but my thoughts for nearly 45 minutes. I thought about the events of the day and for an instant I felt like the prayer I had said earlier that night had been ignored. Then I realized my wife was just fine. I knew that our child was also going to be just fine. I felt exhausted, but I was totally at peace with everything. I had even been given a few moments of quiet in that room to realize just how blessed we were. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Perhaps a complication was destined in the final moments of the delivery, maybe that is why the labor took so long that we were forced to make the choice to go to the ER. There is no way of knowing for certain, but that time I had with my thoughts was an important step in my mental process. I am thankful. Maybe everything did not go as we had hoped, but we could not have asked for better results. Best of all, we did what we could and took ourselves as far as we were able. We feel that every choice through the whole experience was ours. That is what we wanted all along.
If you are reading this you probably already know Noah William Rather was born at 2:23am on Tuesday March the 3rd. He weighed 8lbs 5oz and was 20 inches long. He was named for my grandfather's grandfather William Noah Rather. We love him very much and are glad to have him home at last.
The staff of Labor and Delivery in Lake Havasue far exceeded our expectations, we are thankful to them for everything they did for us.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.