WARNING: not reccomended for expecting mothers.
sequence of events-
thursday, may 28th- i met with my MEDwife (P). its 6 days past my edd, and she is insisting on an NST and ultrasound to check amniotic fluid. i dont want a machine telling me what i already know, which is that my babe is just fine. P feels that my refusal is indicitave of my overall loss of trust in her, and feels that since i trust her so little, she is unwilling to deliver my babe at home, as this lack of trust could lead to problems in my labor. i agree, and she refers me to another midiwfe. it is a friendly and loving parting, but heartbreaking too, as i LOVE this woman and she was awesome at dd's birth. she is not even practicing at this time, but had agreed to catch my baby as a special favor. i am dissapointed and feel i misjudged her.
saturday, may 30- new midwife (L) is home and avaliable to catch my baby. i am thrilled and feel so very safe. 12 am, 6 hours after talking to her, my water breaks. ( how is that for proof of a woman's need to feel safe?) i am up all night trying to get comfy, having very mild contractions and having a hard time figuring out how to stay dry enough to sleep as i leak amniotic fluid.
sunday, may 1- my one and only pre-natal appointment with L, still a very slow labor in progress. i love L and her assistant. i trust them. they spend nearly 3 hours getting to know me.
i am a bit annoyed because appearently, P's boss, C, has called to check on me and told L that if i need to go the hospital, she would meet me there, since she could advocate for me as a CNM with hospital privledges. i feel that C is trying undermine my confidence in my ability to homebirth.
all night i labor. little short contractions. very manageable. sometimes close, sometimes 30 minutes apart. not really getting anywhere, i can tell, but i cant sleep because if i lie down they come fast and hard and in my tail bone. so i spend all night moving around , using my birth ball and squats to try to get it all going in the right direction. no sleep.
monday, may 2- i am baffled. my first labor was 8 hours of intense contracting and 14 minutes of pushing. why is this labor so different? i just keep reminding myself all babies are different. i trust my baby and my body to give birth. dh and i walk around on the property and enjoy the beautiful day. i hear birds singing and am so happy to be having my baby. when contractions come, i hang from dh. i squat and hug my statue of mary. everything i need is here at home. i call L. she thinks it is a positional issue, and has me lie on my side for an hour, even though it hurts, we are trying to amp up the labor and encourage this baby to turn (assuming he is posterior.) i can hear dd in the kitchen laughing at the noises i am making. i am glad she is feeling safe. still nothing really changes.
L and her assistant come. it is so wonderful to have them here. i am reminded why i like to have women to labor with. dh is sweet and all but- they are so soothing. they are breathing with me, and holding my foot and encouraging me in low tones, massaging my back and working acupressure points that increase the contractions. still, things are not quite MOVING. the contractions are short. and the timeless, mindless labor state is not coming. i am stone cold sober.
L asks if i would mind if she checked my cervix. we were trying to avoid this, and i dont want to hear what i expect will be discouraging news. i just want to labor and have my baby. but i think at this point we need some clues, so i consent. first the assistant checks me. her hand is there for a very long time. gentle and deep in thought, but a long time. something about the way she pulls her hand out and and her glove off so deliberately, i know something is up. there is a gentle quiet. and she says, 'you are four centimeters. and this baby is breech.' L checks and confirms. we are all quiet. i am lying on the couch. dh is out of the room. dd and my best friend are in the yard. how can this be? i have worried off and on the whole third trimester that this baby was breech or unstable lie, becuase he is so active. but everytime i see a midwife she says head down. 3 midwives, all said head down. how can he be breech? i want to have him at home. i want to do it. i am scared of the time and the pain, but i want to. i dont want to be wimp. i dont want a cesarean.
and then a contraction comes and i just want to be done. i am so tired i havent slept in 48 hours and i have been contracting for 18. at least as many to go, probably. dh comes in. we tell him the situation. i am begging the midwives- if you let me dilate completely, if you dont pull on the baby, that is all right? we can do it? how long? they are quiet. dh asks how many breeches they have attended. none. they have attended none. because L is newly freelance, and the birth center she worked at before always transfered breeches. the midwives say they are going outside to give dh and i time to think. i tell dh i am scared of the pain. i need him to be strong. it could be a long time. i think we are going to do it. the midwives come in and ask how we are. i say i want to try. dh says he isnt sure, which surprises me because we are both terrified of hospitals, but dh more than me. my midwife says she isnt comfortabe. i know now that i must go to the hospital, where they do not deliver breech babies vaginally. i am full with terrible grief. and i am relieved, because i will escape this pain and exhaustion.
on the drive to the hospital, contractions suddenly are long and hard and close togeather and pushy. i want to scream and loose it, but i keep my tones low and do my work, which seems pretty futile now, since, what am i working for if they are just going to cut me open anyway?
we get to the hospital and medwife C is there. at first i resent her, but then i love her, because she has gotten me the ob i want, and my last chance at a vaginal birth, an external version. i am crying out for drugs. i am giving up. i feel weak. i am terrified to be at the hospital. please, just choose something that is safe for my baby and take my pain away.
the wait for the anesthesiologist is forever. and they make me lie on my back to do the sonogram to confirm breech. finally i get the drugs. L and assistant are sitting sadly in the corner. my birth was supposed to be so easy, that is what everyone predicted. C turns gentle all of a sudden (she had been all business before) and leans close and says P is here. i am so moved. i look toward the door to see her and she comes to my head, with her baby on her hip. she has come because she loves me anyway. and i am so grateful. i can feel the beauty in the room. even though this is not what i wanted, i am surrounded by love. i am blessed. i have my wonderful CNMs, who could have harbored resent and let me be here without an advocate. i have my wonderful homebirth midwives, i have dh, and i have a caring, humble OB.
i choose the external version because i think it will be best for my baby to be born vaginally if at all possible, and becuase OB will only do it if it can be done gently. all my physical pain is gone, and they have replenished my amniotic fluid, and my baby flips easily. and they check his heart tones. 58. no biggie. it will go back up. pause. 58. pause. 56......and the room is a commotion of rushing me to surgery. oh no. oh no. get my baby out please. please. be faster. the baby has flipped back breech and still as we are rushing his heart does not come back. this cannot be happening. not to me.
they ask if i can feel anything as they poke at my gut and i say no. there is tugging like someone is unraveling my intestines and why is it taking so long? P is at my head. someone says he's out. dh says "there's his balls!" i reach out for my baby. why are they not giving him to me? ahh. damn this curtain. i am waving my arms, trying to move the curtain outa my way, i am going to grab my baby from them. but i cant move. only my arms, and they dont even reach the blue paper curtain. just let me see him. why cant i even see him?
the room is full of people. i can hear but not see them. the curtain blocks my view. call your baby's name, i am told. i call ember again and again. so does dh. but nothing is happening. they are trying to save my baby. dh is kneeling with his head resting next to mine. i have never seen him pray before. P and C are back and forth between me and the baby. giving me updates. he is pink now, they say. his heart is back, they tell me. still he is not breathing. they are using some kind of machine. what about his brain? i ask. P and C just look at me. what about his brain? i start crying out for everyone to let him go if he isnt meant to be here. please just let him go. dont force him if he is trying to leave. i only want a child who can fully live and love life. no one is listening.
i am short of breath and my arms go limp. the deepest sleep imaginable keeps drawing me in, and i think i am dying. so great is my fear of hospitals and epidurals, i think they have killed me. and now i am trying to fight off that sleep that is so tempting. i am crying because dd needs me. i cannot die. i do not think of my son anymore, i have given up, believe he is gone. i need to stay here, though, for dd.
they take my baby away and P tells me dh has gone with him, holding his hand.
i lay in recovery very lonely. sometimes P or C comes around to let me know my baby is living still. when they wheel me out of recovery, they take me past the NICU window. i see my baby. he is covered in tubes and wires, but he looks big and strong and he is screaming like any good baby would. 10 seconds. i have seem my baby, through glass, for 10 seconds.
i wake up in my room, with dh in the other bed. when can i see my baby? finally, at 12 pm (ember was born at 4) a nurse puts me in a wheelchair and takes me to him. he is beautiful and perfect, not looking sick at all. and in this moment, i know he will be fine. and i realize now why we knew so early in my pregnancy that this boy had to be named Ember. his glow and vitality are undeniable, and they are exactly what he needs to get throught this difficult beginning.
true to all this, he recovers ahead of schedule. even after needing 20 minutes on a machine that breathed for him before he would take his first breath, and spending 3 days fed by IV, he nurses like a pro by day four, and goes home on day six. he is ten days old now, and i dont believe anyone would ever guess what an ordeal he had been through.
those first few days in the hospital were full of confusion and pain for me. it is so strange to go from pregnant to not, without that clear process of feeling a baby come down through me, without having that brand new wet little person placed directly on my chest, whithout that perfect homebirth that i was so sure would mark the journey from pregnant to mother of two.
less than 24 hours after ember's birth i had a stream of visitors- all my midwives, nurses, ember's doctors, my ob. all wanting to know if i had any questions. yes. two questions,
everyone of them admitted they werent quite sure. we will never know. the guess is that the cord was somehow compromised. maybe the version caused it, or maybe it aggravated a problem that was already there. my ob apologized and wished aloud that she had never attempted the version. my medwives thank god that i came to the hospital, certain that if the version damaged the cord so seriously, that a vaginal breech birth would have done the same. my homebirth midwives are less clear, but can only suggest there is probably a reason it all occurred this way, that perhaps, for some reason, spiritual or practical, ember william got himself to where he needed to be, which was the hospital. what i do know is that each of us made the descions that we thought would be in ember's best interest.
and the more i question the sequence of events, the more certain i become, that it cannot all be random. that ember and his angel chose and assembled all the people who would be involved in his first days, ensuring that he would be surrounded by only the most loving and loyal helpers. he made sure i was in with some top quality medwives with hospital privledges and an in with the best ob imaginable. then he waited to be born until i switched to a super homebirth midwife, so that i felt i had choices, not pressured into things i did not want. he waited to reveal his breech position untill i was in labor, so that i hadnt gone searching for a midwife who would deliver him at home and screw up his big scheem. :LOL he waited to be born until 4pm on monday, 30 minutes after the hospital's PM shift began, so that the nurses he got were the most intensely devoted, out-spoken, goofy, rebels that nurses can be- perfect for our family. really, the synchronicities are too numerous to be random.
we have gained so much. we have seen beautiful intentions in those we would have regarded with suspicion. we have been reminded that nothing is black and white, that we can never know for sure if desicions were "right" or "wrong". we have a new appreciation for the birth of a living, healthy child. we have had two very different experiences of birth, and even though i grieve for the loss of my ideal birth, somehow i am proud of my cesarean scar, and wouldnt trade away this experience for anything. it is ember's story.
Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013. If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!
I am so very happy for you, and while this was not what was expected, it was what was appropriate and right, for the best outcome. You've expressed yourself so very clearly and well in your story.
Happy belated birthday Ember! Happy Earthly Path! You have chosen your parents wisely. They love and respect you and that is the BEST birthday present I can think of. May your way be gentle and blessed, Ember.
baby...May your recovery from surgery be swift and smooth. May the strength that came through in your expression of Ember's story continue to support your Life as you step forth.
We all know in our hearts that there is good and bad and everything in between out there in all aspects of the world, so I am not surprised in the least that you were supported in your birthing in a hospital by capable, responsible, gentle, and good folks. They ARE out there.
Nothing is black and white. There is a real time and place for use of every medical technology and procedure to appropriate advantage, when absolutely necessary. That cannot be denied. I'd like to see all the choices on the Birthing continuum, from UC to Homebirth to Hospital-based birthing collaborate to bring about a Birth Culture based on trusting and respecting: Birth as a process, Choices as rights and Options for best outcomes.
baby your story demonstrates a process that expresses all of that...and more.
Many Happy Days Ahead...
Joyce in the mts.
Blessings to you and your children. May your intuition and Ember's wisdom continue to guide you both.
Courtney and Cree, baby made 3, added one more then there were 4, sakes alive, then we had 5, another in the mix now we have 6!
A Momma in love with her Little Women-Jewel Face, Jo Jo Bean, June Bug, and Sweet Coraline.