I first met B through a homeschooling group. I liked her instantly, though I didn't pursue a friendship other than the homeschooling group (I was always "busy", like everyone is...).
When she was thinking about becoming pregnant for a third time, she asked me what I knew about Gestational Diabetes [her first baby was 10lbs and second pregnancy was heavily managed with insulin, and an early induction horror story]. I gave her lots of information - from articles to books. We talked more and more and when she became pregnant, she asked me to be her midwife.
Throughout the course of her care, we became friends. I loved her sense of humor, her easy approach to life and parenting. She's a remarkable woman.
By the middle of her pregnancy, B had a glucometer and was making changes in her diet to maintain good blood sugars. She looked incredible and was always rosy and positive. Her blood sugars were great - much better, she said, than even her blood sugars with insulin in her last pregnancy.
Around 37 weeks, her blood pressure started creeping up. Not something that is unexpected, as most women's blood pressure rises in the last month of pregnancy. By the time she was a week over, her blood pressure was getting to be on that fence of not being safe for waiting any longer or for homebirth. (One of her last blood pressures the day we decided to induce labor was 146/98.) We knew that we weren't going to our local hospital, as the insurance she has hosts a horrible group of OBs in our own city [B was criticized - and I was criticized - for planning a homebirth by her insurance care providers]. We made plans that if we had to transport, we'd drive 45 minutes north to a better hospital.
We tried everything to bring on labor yesterday: herbs, castor oil, stretch and sweep, nipple stimulation. The week before, she had been trying homeopathics, which I usually have great success with. After seven hours of trying everything - with her blood pressure getting even higher (148/102, it seemed like nothing we did would produce regular contractions. She was in the tub most of the time - since her blood pressure went down to normal in the water. As the night wore on, we had some serious talks about transporting and decided to try breaking her water as a last resort.
I broke her water at 11:45pm. It wasn't long and she began having strong contractions every three minutes. She was so welcoming of the contractions, of the incredible power and pain that was surging through her body. Yes, yes, yes! This is what we had wanted! Before long, she was back in the tub and working hard. I could tell that she was in transition and that this baby was going to be born soon. After one particularly hard contraction, she said, "I felt like I wanted to push". I encouraged her to listen to her body and the with next contraction she began to bear down. As the contraction waned, she said [rather calmly!], "is that the head?" We were all surprised as we looked down and, sure enough, the entire head had been born.
With the next contraction, at 1:30am, her husband received his 8lb 7oz baby girl in his hands. B looked up at me and said loudly, "Oh my god, Pam, that was so EASY!" We all laughed.
This baby was much smaller than we expected, which goes to show that midwives don't know anything.
It was proof that she took good care of herself and kept her blood sugars level. Her birth was really a fight to stay at home and birth her baby the way she wanted to. But, she did it. I am in such awe of her as a woman, mother and now friend.