Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

About the Home Birth

Well, here's the story for them as wants to know....

At my appointment on March 1st, the midwife was still concerned about my blood pressure, which seemed to be getting higher even when I was laying down, so she went ahead and stripped the membranes (that's separating the bag of waters from the cervix, for you lay people). We'd planned to start on the castor oil the next day to induce labor, and boy, that just wasn't sounding appealing to me.

At about 11:30 that night, I started having mild contractions every ten minutes. I didn't bother to wake up Darwin or call the midwife because it didn't seem worth it yet. However, at 12:30, during a contraction, I felt a punch on my cervix that made me sit up and gasp, and immediately the contraction became more painful.
"She punched me!" I yelped. And when I moved around, I realized that my water had broken.

Well, then I woke up Darwin and called the midwife, who said she'd pick up the student midwife and be on her way. Things became progressively more painful until finally I was just having one long contraction with nasty peaks every other minute. That's what happens when you go from 3 cm to 10 cm in fifty minutes, I guess. Darwin finally decided that he better call the midwife and check to see where she was, and as luck would have it, she'd just pulled up outside the house. The student midwife got upstairs first, and I told her that I was going to have to push REAL SOON NOW. She went to wash her hands and then came back in.
"Let's get you on the bed and check you," she said.
"No," I replied. "Her head is coming out."

And so five minutes after the midwives arrived, Isabel popped out at 1:20 am and gave a squall. To the extent that one has a coherent thought while pushing out a baby (besides "Please God let it be over soon") I wondered why any sane person would get herself into a situation that involves pushing a head through her pelvis. That's really bizarre, if you think about it. Why would anyone intentionally do anything so painful and absurd?

But then, it was over, and baby was out, and I could lay on my very own bed snuggled up to her and nurse her while the midwives took care of everything else. Note to Amber: the straws in the birth kit are so that the mother can sip fluids while in a supine position -- quite helpful, actually! I did have to have some stitches, which was unpleasant but what can you do? The midwife told me that when a baby comes that quickly, there's no time to stretch out naturally and avoid tearing -- kind of like a balloon that's inflated too fast, if you'll excuse the metaphor.

Then I had a bath (in my own tub!). The midwives left around 5:00, and we all settled back down (in our own bed!) and went to sleep. Baby slept like, well, a baby, and so did we.

And that's how it happened.

Postscript: I opened the freezer the other day to get something, and there was the placenta, bagged up and large as life. I'd completely forgotten about it. We don't plan to barbeque it, just so you know.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations!!! to all of you, and an extra ouch for the balloon metaphor.

Anonymous said...

Is your midwife named Amber? If she is, I think I knew her when she apprenticed to the Magnificent Midwife Susan Terwilliger, now lost (at least pro tem) to the mothers and babies of Alaska.

mrsdarwin said...

Actually, my midwife is named Mary -- she lives south of Town Lake, so it was a bit of a trek to get there for appointments (especially today, coming through downtown at 5:00...) but quite worth it. The name Susan Terwilliger sounds familiar, though I can't place it.

mrsdarwin said...

Hello, Annie dear! Nice to hear from you. I guess my birthing hips have paid off in the end... You'll have to tell me if I'm as interesting now as I was then -- hopefully I've matured :)

Amber said...

OK, I seem to have done something odd and the comment didn't post. I think I closed the window before it was done loading or something. Anyways... my apologies if I end up commenting twice.

That's really funny about the straw, I was thinking it would be something far more creative than that! I'm glad it was useful though. At least my imagination got a bit of a workout from my idle speculations.

Thanks for posting the rundown on how it went. I'm still so amazed at how fast it all ended up happening. Isn't it so wonderful to just go to bed in your own bed after everything is done? I just loved that!

bearing said...

Great story.

We had each of our placentas in the freezer for a while. Occasionally, because of the many casseroles stuffed in there to nourish us through the newborn period, opening the door of the freezer would cause a placenta to clatter to the floor in its ziploc bag.

Eventually each one was transported to Ohio where we buried it under a fruit tree in dh's parents' orchard. :-)

alicia said...

I planted placenta in the garden of a rental house - I have often wondered how the new occupants would have thunk it!
I think that I may have read your birth story from the midwife's POV recently - is your MW on any email lists for MWs? (if she isn't, and wants to be, have her email me and I'll tell her how to sign up).
congrats again on a wonderful birth.