promoting midwives and natural birth

My birth experience with Theo was disappointing.  I am very happy that I ended up with a healthy baby but the intervention that I felt like I was forced into because I was not educated enough left me with a sour taste in my mouth.  The midwife on call wasn’t even there for his birth (no it was not a quick labor).

Two friends advocated for their obgyn/midwife practice when I was newly pregnant with my second child so I thought I should check it out.  I was pleasantly surprised when I read their site and seeing so many positive reviews.

Making the switch to Women’s Contemporary Healthcare (which is right now going through a change and the midwives are moving to OSU to expand their services) was the best choice I made during my pregnancy.  I got to know all three midwives at my appointments and they were all so wonderful, personable and reassuring.

My birth experience with Ira was perfect and everything I had been longing for.  I wrote it down and after some deliberation decided to share it.

I think it’s important that women know that they have a choice when it comes to childbearing.  Seeing a midwife doesn’t mean you have to have a unmedicated birth, although they are very open and helpful with natural labor, but it means that they are there for you every step of the way.  They are caring for you and your needs and they are giving you the knowledge to empower your own decision making.

If you are interested in OSU midwives please check out their facebook page.

Here is the story of Ira’s birth:

3 weeks ago I gave birth to my second son.

I sit here now listening to the birth playlist I intended to play during labor as both of my sons nap upstairs. I find it hard to believe we have created two perfect boys.

I had my 39 week midwife appointment on Wednesday September, 5th. A few days earlier I thought labor was imminent and even timed contractions for a night. However, I fell asleep and woke up the next morning still pregnant.

The anxiety over when this little boy was going to enter the world was beginning to consume me. This was something I never experienced with Theo…he surprised us at 37 weeks and I assumed his little brother would follow suit.

Once my midwife checked me she asked if I would like to have my membranes stripped. I had considered this before going in and I agreed to try it. She told me that if it worked I would have a baby within two days. I was skeptical but went home with a smidgen of hope.

I had contractions on and off that entire day. I didn’t think much of them because I knew that could be a symptom of the membrane stripping. Once evening arrived and they were still coming somewhat steady, however irregular I thought that maybe, just maybe it had worked.

Brad went to play poker with his buddies and I told him to keep his phone close. After he arrived home we started off to bed and I realized my contractions were coming at somewhat regular, although not close intervals. I began timing them at midnight and found them to be around 8-10 minutes apart. I tried to get rest in between and ended up calling my midwife around 2 because I had no idea when I should go to the hospital. My water broke with Theo so I wasn’t sure how bad contractions were supposed to get before I went to the hospital. Everyone told me that your second labor moves more quickly.

She said that it didn’t sound like I was anywhere near coming to the hospital yet and to call back once they hit another level of pain. I spent the night in an out of consciousness, timing contractions as they slowly moved closer together and intensified in pain. 

I woke Brad up around 4 and told him that we should think about calling his parents so they could get Theo. We both took showers and packed the rest of the bags for the hospital. Around 5 Brad called his parents to let them know what was happening but found their phone just kept ringing and ringing. He tried both of their cells but found no answer. I called my midwife back within the next half hour and she told me that I could come to hospital if I wanted to but judging by the sound of my voice she still didn’t think I was too far into labor.

We tried to get a hold of my in-laws until about 7 am. At that point we realized sometime was wrong with their phones and they may not be answering anytime soon. My contractions were getting more painful so Brad called his brother Brian who agreed to come pick Theo up and have my sister in law Jen watch him for part of the day.

We left for the hospital around 7:45 and made our way through traffic and a brilliant sunrise. I considered going to Sharon Woods for a bit before heading into the hospital but decided I wanted to be checked and know if this was real labor.

We found I was only about 3 centimeters but my contractions were indeed “real”. We spent an hour or so walking the halls and area around St. Ann’s in hopes of more dilation.

The next time I was checked was disappointing. I didn’t make as much progress as they would have liked for me to be admitted but Emily, my midwife, still didn’t want to send me home for fear of things progressing too quickly later.

This time she told us we could go to Sharon Woods to walk if we wanted. It was a warm morning and we walked around the pond. I stopped every few minutes to lean on Brad through a contraction. It felt nice to be on my own timetable and to be able to labor in such a natural setting.

The third time I was checked was equally as disappointing. Emily told me I could either go home to continue laboring, she could break my water, or they could start a low dose pitocin drip. Pitocin was my last resort because of my negative experience with it during Theo’s birth. I felt good about breaking my water although that put us on a timetable to get the baby out.

It was lunchtime so Emily told me to go downstairs to get a bagel since it had been a while since I had anything substantial to eat.

Once we came back and got settled in our room Emily came in and broke my water around 1 pm. Almost immediately my contractions intensified and I began to have to moan through them. Until then Brad kept telling me that I should be loud if I needed to in order to relax through contractions but I kept telling him that I just felt like I needed to breath slowly. Wow, did that change quickly. Deep, low utterances became a requirement to work through the pain.

Brad continued to tell me what a good job I was doing through every contraction. I felt so powerful and strong to be able to do this laboring naturally and on my own. Emily was in the room with us the entire time but stepped to the background and offered advice when needed.

I suppose she could tell where my labor was by the noise I was making through contractions and after a while asked if I wanted to get in the tub. I had been waiting for this and I couldn’t believe that I was actually about to have the birth experience I desired.

The hot water was immediate relief to my pain. Brad put Bon Iver on Pandora and I felt as though I were transformed to another place where I wasn’t quite aware of what was going on. I worked through each contraction, Emily reminding me to moan low and deep and Brad telling me how wonderful I was doing.

My contractions were so intense at this point. I remember thinking how grateful I was for my midwife who just sat next to the tub, watching and offering any words of advice she had for me. It was so peaceful and comforting to know that both she and Brad believed I was fully capable of birthing this baby on my own.

I got out of the tub to use the restroom and felt that I needed a change of pace so I leaned on the bed for a few contractions. They really picked up speed and no position felt comfortable or helpful at this point. My stomach began to turn and I vomited up my lunch.

I vaguely remember Emily telling Brad that the throwing up was a result of the hormones and looking back on it I realize I must have been transitioning and nearly ready to push at this point.

I got back in the tub and really started to get loud with each contraction. I am not generally a loud person but could not help the sounds that were coming out of my mouth. I kept wondering if the people in the next rooms could hear this.

Emily told me that when I felt the need to push to let her know. There was no need for checking to see if I was 10 cm., she knew my body would tell me when it was time.

Each contraction was utterly horrible and many times over and over I said how hard this was and that I couldn’t do it. Each time Emily and Brad reassured me that I was doing an amazing job and that I could do it. There were a few moments where I fell asleep in between contractions. It’s amazing that my body knew it needed rest.

Eventually (I have no concept of the actual timetable of things once I got in the tub) I felt a small urge to push with the contraction. After a push or two I realized that this was the most unbearable pain I will ever feel in my life. All I could think about was getting him out at this point and I began freaking out after every contraction. Emily calmed me down and told me to look at her and assured me that it was OK. I just needed to keep pushing and that he would come out.

At some point I just realized that this was happening, there was no stopping it,it was too late for pain meds and they couldn’t just pull him out so I just kept pushing as hard as I possibly could.

I felt like progress was painfully slow but then Emily told me she could see dark hair. That made me smile big.

With one big push Ira Stephen emerged into my hands and into the water at 3:43 in the afternoon.

I cannot explain to you the immediate joy and relief that flooded my body. Knowing that I had birthed my baby boy exactly the way I wanted was the most empowering feeling I have ever felt.