This past November, I had an exhilarating homebirth -- it really was everything that I had hoped for in a birth. It did end up being an accidental unassisted homebirth, and my midwife showed up after the baby arrived to do the newborn check and help me deliver the placenta. She also stayed around about 2 hours.
As thrilled as I am about the outcome, there are now several things in retrospect that bother and concern me, and I could use some help analysing and coming to terms with these aspects.
To begin, my labor was about 2 hours long from when I woke up feeling interesting
to when my daughter was born. I woke up at 2am, and had one big contraction accompanied by a "pop" feeling in my abdomen. I went to the bathroom and noticed bloody show. Since I figured things would take a little while, I didn't wake up my husband and just listened to my hypnobabies for about 15 minutes before deciding to walk around the quiet house for a while.
At 2:30, I called my mother to tell her "this is it!" When I got off the phone with her, I called my midwife and told her I was having contractions 5-6 minutes apart. She said "thanks for the heads up!" My mom arrived somewhere right around 3am. When my mom walked in the door, I had a contraction so strong I leaned over my desk and breathed deeply through it. I hugged my mom and exhaled, "Wow... that hurt!" I then walked to the kitchen, a very short walk I should add, and leaned over the counter to sway and breathe through another contraction. My mom was surprised I got another one so quickly. She asked if I had called the midwife, and I said yes. They waves of contractions came pretty quickly, around 1-2 minutes apart, and I got on facebook to update my status (
Around 3:30, I was lost in labor land, and my husband woke up. He paced around doing whatever (I don't know, I wasn't paying attention), and evidently he asked my mom worriedly if the midwife had been called. She said yes, but dug out my cell phone to call again while I ran water in the tub and crawled in to help me relax. When my mom called the midwife, she woke her up. Evidently my midwife went back to bed after my call at around 2:30.
At somewhere near 3:45, I started grunt-breathing at the end of every contraction. My mom called the midwife again and said the baby was going to come very soon. From what I gather, the midwife was still at home getting stuff ready to bring to my house. While I was in the tub, I instinctively "checked" myself and noticed the baby's head was right at the opening of the birth canal. It must have been right around 4 that I crawled out of the tub and waddled about 5-6 steps to my bed, grunt-pushing through the continuous contractions. I leaned over the bed and pushed, crawled up on the bed on all fours, and the baby slid out into my mother's hands. My mom wiped my daughter's face off and laid her on my bare chest and covered us with a blanket.
It was something around 15-20 minutes later that my midwife came and checked me and the baby, both of whom appeared to be in perfect health. About a half an hour after delivering the baby, I delivered the placenta with a bit of difficulty. I didn't appear to have any abnormal bleeding, and just a tiny "skid mark" of a scratch/tear that my midwife said didn't need stitching. My mom fixed us all breakfast and coffee, and after eating and filling out the paperwork, my midwife left somewhere around 6am.
That's the birthstory. It is a precious and empowering memory in my mind.
However... the next morning, I took my newborn to the pediatrician (as is recommended). Evidently I missed my midwife coming to do the first postpartum check. She had not made an appointment, but I had missed a text message on my cell phone from her saying she was on her way over because I was in with the pediatrician. When I got home, there was a note from my midwife on the door saying she would try to come again "tomorrow." She never did come back. Three days postpartum, I got the most horrible body aches I have ever experienced in my life. I hurt everywhere
. Four days postpartum I realized my baby was not having any wet or poopy diapers after passing the meconium. I took her to the pediatrician, who had the lab draw bilirubin levels, which were 16 I think. The ped gave me formula and said the baby wasn't getting near enough to eat. After the ped, I ran by my midwife's birthing center and cried. She weighed the baby before and after a long, drawn out feeding and we ascertained that she was indeed not getting enough. A couple days later I went in for a check up, and my midwife's mom palpitated my breasts and tried to squeeze out some milk, only a tiny drop of which came out. I was still hurting everywhere, in all my joints and my head pounded and my breasts hurt the worst, and my postpartum bleeding developed a very funky odor. Baby lost over a pound from her birthweight and had to have two more labs drawn. When I mentioned the pain to my midwife and her mother, they both responded with a similar. "Hm." As in well isn't that interesting
I lay in bed and rested and drank water and nursed around the clock and pumped after every feeding and took a whole arsenal of herbal galactalogues. By six weeks, we were able to wean off the formula supplements, and my pains subsided.
While the experience of the birth itself is crystallized and cooled into a profoundly awe-inspiring memory, the postpartum period comes back to haunt me on occasion. My baby was nearly failure to thrive and was at one point very close to being hospitalized. My strange and nearly debilitating body aches confound me. The way my milk didn't come in... things just don't add up neatly in my mind. I don't know what went wrong. I don't know what I could have done differently to have a better outcome. I don't know whether to be disgruntled with my midwifery care or not.
My baby is now almost 5 months old, and she is gorgeous and thriving and plump in all the right areas. But it took me every ounce of determination I had to get us to this point.
If you even made it this far... Thank you. Any insight to share?