Tag Archives: midwife

Birth Story Part 4: The Birth

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Birth Story Part 4: The Birth

Birth Story Part 4: The Birth

As I mentioned before, I was on bed rest for almost 2 weeks and was told to do basically nothing a couple weeks before I went into labor. I was losing my ever-loving mind! I have no idea how women who go on bed rest very early in their pregnancy do it! I just wanted this baby to get here already! And since I was on bed rest I was nervous that it would slow down the process. I had a large exercise ball I would sit on and do hip circles and figure eights a couple times per day, but other than that I was in bed.

Four months before she was born we bought a television for our bedroom. We just had the one in the living room and since our house was not air-conditioned, except for the window unit in our bedroom, I wanted a TV in our room. It is important to note that once it started getting hot I told Chad I was moving if we did not put a window unit in the living room! Thankfully, due to my complaining he obliged and we got the biggest one that would fit in the window! It was amazing!

Back to the TV…so the evening before she was born I was watching television in bed and fell asleep. I woke up to the smell of rubber burning and realized it was coming from the TV. It was toast. Needless to say I broke down into tears and thought it was the end of the world. (It really is pathetic how upset I got that I couldn’t watch TV in our room!). I really think that’s what sent me into labor (I’m only half kidding!).

I remember waking up at 4:08am and feeling some weird and painful cramps. I tried to go back to sleep but the pains were getting more intense and I was having insane back cramps. It was almost impossible to time anything and my water had not broken. I had been having cramps and pains for a few weeks now so I did not think I was in labor at first. I decided to take a bath, but the pains were getting so intense that I just had to get out. I remember peeing and when I stood up there was a gush, but I thought maybe it was just pee. I woke Chad up and he told me to call my doula and tell her what was going on.

A doula is like a birth coach. She does not deliver the baby, but is there for emotional support. She knows positions to get you into to help the baby get into the right position. She knows ways to speed up labor, and she can intervene when the doctor wants to do something that is medically unnecessary. My doula, Brooke, also taught our birth class. She was insanely educated so I new she would be lots of help. Before going into labor I knew she would be a great asset in the birth center, but when I realized I was having a hospital birth I was even more thankful for hiring her.

When I called her I could hardly describe what was happening. It was all so random and nothing was really where I could time it. The back cramps were getting more severe and it was just constant pain. Since I did not know if my water broke she told me to go lie down for 15 minutes and then get up and see if there was a gush and to call her back. There was no gush but because the pain was so intense she said to go to the hospital. At some point before we left the farm there was a gush so I knew my water had broke.

It’s funny looking back because all the other times we thought we were going to Tulsa and coming home with a baby I made sure the house was clean, I shaved my legs, straightened my hair, put on make-up, etc. This time I did not care about anything at all!  Well, other than getting my baby out!

We pulled into the hospital at 6:54am. The drive there was horrible. It normally takes about an hour and twenty minutes and we got there in less than an hour! I remember the nurses saying they thought that they would see me again soon. Since I had been monitored there twice before we had got to know each other a bit. They put us in a room and I put on a gown.   I thought I would be mad about the gown since I bought a cute dress to wear for the birth center, but at this point I would have been just fine naked! I had never in my life felt so much pain. The contractions were about a minute apart. People kept trying to get me to sign papers and I wanted to punch them in the face. Did they not realize how much pain I was in? How am I supposed to sign anything right now? Geeze!

I was thankful one of the nurses looked at me sternly and told me to calm down and breathe, because changing my breathing really did help. I could not lie down. I had to be standing and holding onto Chad and in between contractions I sat in a rocking chair and rocked. At one point I told Chad I did not think I would be able to do this without an epidural, which is something I was absolutely opposed to before. The nurses checked me and I was 100% effaced and dilated to a 5. I asked the nurse how much longer she thought I would be in labor and she asked if I wanted the truth or a lie. I said the truth. She said it normally takes 2 hours for every centimeter you dilate. That’s 10 hours, I thought!!! I told Chad there was no way on earth I could be in this much pain for 10 more hours. I felt so cold and weak and my eyes were rolling back in my head. I just knew I was going to pass out. I had never felt anything like that before.

Brooke, my doula, walked in and the first thing I said to her was that I could not do this anymore. She said that was good because it meant I was almost done. The back cramps were just as bad as the contractions and they were constant. Thankfully, Brooke brought her TENS unit and put it on my lower back, and it made the world of difference. The exercise ball the hospital had was really small, and since I was used to sitting on ours Chad went to the car to get it. We never even got to use it because by the time Chad came back up it was time to push.

When the nurse came back in Brooke had them check me again. I was a 9. Oh thank God! It had not been very long since the nurse told me 10 hours so I was so relieved. Brooke had me get on my left side and pull my right leg up. I automatically started grunting and pushing. She had me blow through the pushes so the baby would not come just yet. The doctor had gone to get coffee because he thought I would still be a while so they had to call him and tell him to hurry and get back. I remember hearing him outside of the room just chatting. He did not realize I was the patient that needed him.

Chad said he was in boots and shorts and did not look doctor-like at all. I really do not remember what the heck he was wearing! They had me turn over and start pushing. This was the easy part. The contractions were over and all I had to do was push. I pushed a few times. It really was not very long and then she was there on my chest. It makes me cry just thinking about it.

IMG_0973I went into labor at 4:08am, made it to the hospital just before 7am and she was born at 9:10am.   I did not cry when they put her on my chest because I think I was still in shock from the whole experience. It was so fast! Words cannot describe how it all went down. She weighed 7 pounds 9 ounces and was 21 inches long.

Chad was able to cut the cord. A few minutes after they put that high-pitched screaming little girl on my chest she started nursing. That is when I started to cry. I remember saying something like “This is my baby.” Breastfeeding my child is something I had dreamed about and when she latched on for the first time I felt more peace and love in my heart than I can describe.

She nursed for an hour while the doctor sewed me up. I had a second-degree tear. I do not remember much about it, but while I was pushing the doctor wanted to do an episiotomy. It is better to tear naturally than to be cut. When you have an episiotomy nerve endings are cut, but when you tear naturally it tears around the nerves and heals faster. There is a larger chance of long-term damage when nerves are cut. Pushing her out was not as painful as I had thought and I did not even know I tore until they told me. When the doctor had suggested an episiotomy supposedly I told him he could do whatever he thought was needed. Thankfully, Brooke and Chad encouraged the doctor not to do the episiotomy. They gave me a hard time later for even considering it. Hey…I was a little out of it!

We stayed in the hospital for 24 hours and then went home. We were both very healthy. Eden Grace had some bruising on her face from coming out so fast, which most likely contributed to the jaundice she was hospitalized for later in the week.

Earlier in my birth story I mentioned Better Birth Now, where we took our birth class. They offer several services to pregnant women and mothers. My doula actually started the company. One of the services they offer is placenta encapsulation. Many cultures around the world consume the placenta of their child due to the massive amount of nutrients it contains. Instead of eating it, I thought I could stomach swallowing it in pill form. It not only replenishes iron, but reduces the risk of post-partum depression. Since I am considered high risk for postpartum depression due to being diagnosed with anxiety and depression there was no hesitation to have my placenta encapsulated. I am so thankful I chose to do so because I genuinely believe it helped me to recover faster both mentally and physically.

Though I was not able to have Eden at the birth center like I planned, I had a completely natural, intervention-free hospital birth. It was so much better than I could have imagined. I was so proud of myself for being strong enough to say no to unnecessary interventions. I did not have iv fluids, I was not hooked up to any monitors, I did not have an epidural, and they did not even monitor my blood pressure, which is ironic since that’s why I was there in the first place. I could not have done it without my amazing doula, Brooke and my husband there by my side.

I am also very thankful for my midwives. Though in the end I could have had a birth center birth my midwives did not know that. They were cautious and at the first sign of concern they referred me to a physician. I will definitely be thanking them for their care when I see them for my six-week checkup.

I wrote this birth story more for Chad and I than anyone. I know we will look back on this in the future with tears and smiles. But there were also several of you who questioned midwifery during my pregnancy and I hope this gives you a glimpse of what it is all about. I trust the midwives at the birth center. They are very educated and careful. My hope is that midwifery will grow in the United States. I also hope that pregnant women will realize they are in control of their labor and delivery. It is up to us to educate ourselves and use the resources out there.   Being pregnant and having a baby has given me a passion for natural childbirth, and I really believe God is going to grow and use that passion in the future. I believe doctors and hospitals are necessary, but only when they are necessary.

Well, there you have it. I tried to remember as much detail as I could without being too graphic. I’m sure I left out some things. Eden is 5 weeks and 1 day old as I am finishing this birth story and it still does not seem real to me that I have a daughter.

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Birth Story Part 3: The Saga

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Birth Story Part 3: The Saga

Birth Story Part 3: The Saga

As I mentioned before, before week 36 everything was going great! I was always worried I would have a difficult pregnancy. The women in my family do not necessarily have easy pregnancies, I was overweight from all the weight I gained in college, and I just expect the worse I guess. Luckily I was proving myself wrong and my pregnancy so far was perfect.

Well, starting at week 36 my blood pressure starting getting a little high. I was extremely stressed out. Chad works full-time and then comes home and takes care of the farm. I was 36 weeks pregnant and could not help do anything, which kills me. Plus, I’m an emotional hormonal pregnant woman. My midwife had me start tracking my blood pressure at home and she tested me for preeclampsia, but luckily I did not have it.

I was 37 weeks 6 days when I went back to her and my blood pressure was even higher. It was Tuesday July 21st. I had also suffered from a horrible UTI the week before so it had been a rough few days. (That was another time it would have been nice to have a doctor to prescribe medicine!). However, I was dilated to a 1 and since I did have a UTI (which can speed up labor), she said I could go into labor at any time. That got me really excited, but at the same time made me more anxious and impatient. I wanted to meet my baby girl!

She told me to go on bed rest and continue monitoring my blood pressure. My labs were still fine, so it was most likely just pregnancy induced hypertension. If it got too high at home I was to call their emergency line. The details are a little fuzzy right now and it all happened so fast (even though to me it felt like an eternity and the end of the world because I had to lay in bed and not clean my house!).

When I took my blood pressure at home it was high and over the weekend the bottom number was over 100 a few times. I called and talked to my midwife on Saturday (July 25). She was very concerned and said she would call a physician she knew and see what to do. Even though they do not work directly with physicians or hospitals, they have several that they use in cases like these. If anything ever looks concerning they do not chance it, but refer you to a doctor. She told me to pack my bags because he would most likely want us to go to the hospital that night and there was a chance he would induce. Chad had just came home from Farmer’s Market and was exhausted, but since we were waiting back for her call and wanted to be ready if we needed to go we ran around like crazy people trying to get things packed and animals fed. She called back and said he wanted to see us in his office first thing on Monday morning.

This was not what I had planned!!! I was supposed to have an easy pregnancy and an easy labor and an easy delivery! And now the word “induced” is getting brought up and the large possibility of a hospital birth without my midwives at the birth center! When my midwife told me on the phone that this would most likely be a hospital birth I was devastated and brought to tears. This was something I had wanted for a long time, and now it was getting taken from me. I had to keep reminding myself that what was important was my baby. At this point I did not know what to expect. What do I even pack for the hospital? At the birth center they send you home after 5 hours so you really don’t pack a whole lot. “What if this?” and “What if that?” kept running through my head. This was not helping my blood pressure!

During all this a sweet friend told me to make sure I took time to grieve. Everyone kept telling me that all that mattered was the health of my baby, and while that is true it still hurt that I most likely would not get the birth experience I’d always dreamed of. So I am very grateful to that friend for telling me to take time to grieve the loss of that experience.

We met with the doctor on Monday morning in his office. My blood pressure was still very high so he sent me next door to Saint Francis South to be monitored. He said I would most likely be induced that day. It was July 27 and I was 38 weeks 5 days pregnant.

The nurses at the hospital hooked me up to the blood pressure machine and some other monitors and had me lay on my left side. I remember lying there in that dreary hospital room hooked up to all those machines thinking that this was how it was going to be when I gave birth. I would be forced to lie in this bed hooked up to monitors, not free to move about. Tears streamed down my face as I looked at Chad with utter devastation that this was happening. This was not okay!

Fortunately, my blood pressure was absolutely perfect while I was lying down. The nurses thought the doctor was a complete moron for sending us over there. They sent me home. That was the second time we had packed our bags because we thought we were going to have a baby.

Over the next couple days, my blood pressure remained high when I took it at home sitting up, but if I stayed lying down it was fine. Therefore, I stayed in bed and tried not to look at my messy house. Chad was actually wonderful and took good care of me. His boss allowed him to work from home to make sure I stayed in bed.

The doctor wanted to see me again in his office on July 30. At this point I was no longer seeing the midwives at the birth center since I was having issues. The doctor checked my urine each time I saw him to make sure I still did not have preeclampsia, but it was fine. My blood pressure was still really high in his office and I was 39 weeks 1 day so we very seriously discussed inducing. He said there was really no sense to keep going on like this since my blood pressure was high and was putting my baby and me at risk. He also informed us that he was going out of town the next day and would be gone for 10 days. We decided to induce and head next door to the hospital. At this point I had accepted that I was having a hospital birth and things were not going to be as natural as I had hoped. I was still really upset, but luckily I had a few days to let it sink in. I am so thankful I did not have to be transferred to a hospital while in labor at the birth center, and was able to have time to accept having a hospital birth.

The same nurses were there from last time. They knew how badly I wanted a natural birth and thought it was ridiculous that the doctor was going to induce me. They also informed us that all of the rooms were full so they would have to put me in a temporary room and monitor my blood pressure there. Since the doctor had said he would induce me that day we called our family and told them we were having a baby. Though it was not what we planned we were still excited. Chad and I even took a selfie to commemorate the moment. I talked to our pastor and informed her on the situation. She wanted to send out an e-mail to the congregation and for some reason I told her to wait.

IMG_0960Luckily, I made a good decision by telling her that! My blood pressure was totally fine while I was being monitored since I was lying on my left side. The doctor came in and talked with us and again put the ball in our court (I am thankful he was never pushy about inducing me. He always let us make the final decision). Plus, the nurses were advocating for us during this time as well, which I am very grateful. He informed us again that all the rooms were full, but that he could call us over the next few hours before he left on vacation if one became available and we could have this baby. I thought about it for a second and as much as I was ready to have this baby I told him not to call.

He scheduled an induction for when he returned on August 10th (5 days past my due date). If I had the baby before then another doctor would deliver her. Since I was dilated to a 3 and 75% effaced in his office earlier that morning it was extremely unlikely I would make it until the 10th.

It was a God-thing all of the rooms were full in the hospital that day. It was not time for Miss Eden to make an appearance just quite yet. I was very anxious, but so very proud of myself for being strong enough to say no to the induction. Though my blood pressure was high, if I laid down and rested neither of us were in danger. God had his hand on us…that’s for sure! Because 3 days later I was going to get to meet my precious baby girl.

Birth Story Part 2: The Pregnancy

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Birth Story Part 2: The Pregnancy

Birth Story Part 2: The Pregnancy

Why a midwife? Unfortunately, many Americans, especially those in this part of the country do not understand or have even heard of midwifery. “Why wouldn’t you have your baby in a hospital with a doctor? That’s just what you do!” Well that is not what Chad or I wanted to do. Hospitals are were you go when you are sick. I was a very healthy woman with a low risk pregnancy. I wanted to have my baby as natural as possible with as little interventions as possible, and not in a hospital setting. I have several friends who have used midwives and some who have even had homebirths, and they would not trade their experiences for anything.

Even a couple years before I got pregnant we decided we wanted to use a midwife. After talking to people who have used them and after watching the documentary “The Business of Being Born” I knew it was the right decision for me. (Watch it…it’s on Netflix!)

Certified Nurse Midwives are trained to deliver babies, but they can do much more than that. The only things they cannot do that a physician can is prescribe medication and a caesarean. It’s not the Stone Age way of having a baby like some people think. I will talk more about this later.

For a couple years now (even before we moved to the farm) I had been looking at a Birth Center online in Tulsa. There are 2 midwives who practice there. They are both certified nurses. Ruth has been delivering babies as a midwife for over 35 years, and the other, Mary, assisted with hospital births for several years before becoming a midwife at the birth center. You have all your appointments at the birth center just like you would at a doctor’s office. The only thing you do at another location is the 20-week ultrasound if you desire to have one. The birth center has 2 rooms for delivery. One has a large bathtub if you desire to have a water birth. It’s very quaint and cozy. It’s nothing like the sterile environment of the hospital. It’s comfortable and relaxing just as a low risk birth should be.

For some reason I did not think the birth center took insurance and I thought it would be outside of what we could afford (I have no idea why I thought this because it turns out even without insurance it’s WAY cheaper!). Therefore, I decided to make an appointment with the midwives at the OU Physicians in Tulsa. That was the stupidest decision ever! After two appointments with them I decided I did not care how much it cost, but I was not using them! There were five midwives on staff, which rotated out with each appointment. They only deliver during certain hours so if you go into labor while they’re off duty some random doctor delivers your baby. And it was in the hospital too, so it was not any different than if I found an OB to deliver my baby. And at least then I would most likely know who was going to deliver my child. I left both appointments I had with them in tears. It was just not at all how I pictured it and the receptionists were really rude. One time I called them because I was having some issues and the nurse made me feel so stupid because I was concerned. Chad and I were not happy with them at all!

Thankfully my amazing husband encouraged me to call the birth center and schedule a consultation. I am so glad I did because the second I walked into the birth center I knew it was the right decision for the three of us. Mary (one of the two midwives) brought me into her office and answered any questions I had and explained how everything worked. She was great! Since Chad’s dad had to run to Tulsa anyways on that day he came with me to the consultation. He waited in the waiting room while I met with Mary. He was so fascinated by the “hippie” women in there! Supposedly, there was a mom in the waiting room with her newborn and while she was there she wrapped her baby in a boba wrap right in front of my father-in-law. He had never seen anything like that before. And I’m not sure if it was the same woman, but one of the moms in there had been backpacking around the country. Most of the time it’s pretty hippie-free in there, but much to his amusement it was not that day. Oh it was an experience for him, that’s for sure!

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My first official appointment with them was on February 3rd at 14 weeks pregnant.   As I’ve mentioned before, they do everything the doctors and nurses do at all your appointments. They can check your vitals at each visit. They can check your urine for protein. They take your blood and have it sent off for your prenatals. However, they cannot prescribe medication. Part of me was glad my midwives could not prescribe medication, because they introduced me to a lot of natural remedies that most doctors probably do not even know about.  However, when situations arise where you need an antibiotic or an actual doctor it does become an issue.  I do not have a doctor or an OB. Chad and I very rarely go to the doctor and we do not take any medication. I know doctors are necessary at times, but I have a lot of issues with them (which I could write an entire blog about from my own personal experience!). I wish someone had told me to make sure I had a doctor who would see pregnant women since I was using a midwife, just in case I got sick or an emergency happened. Who would have known I would get stung by a wasp and have an allergic reaction and need steroids and antibiotics?! And for future reference if you are pregnant and using a midwife do not see the local doctor because he will make you wait 2 hours then tell you he cannot treat you because you are pregnant and then give you a huge lecture about how you are putting you and your baby in danger because you are using a midwife…all in front of your mother-in-law who is already skeptical about said decision. Oh my goodness…I wanted to move to the most progressive country in the world after that day! I was so over ignorance by that point.

Ya see, I am really good about doing things that are a little different than the norms of society around these parts, but when someone has an opinion about them I freak out and cry like a big baby. So the decision to use a midwife was not easy because I had to listen to people’s opinions (which I did not ask for!) and try to explain our decision to do so without getting defensive and upset (and I am not good at that!).

So after a visit to the ER I got my wasp sting taken care of. The rest of my pregnancy, up until about week 36 was absolutely perfect! I had occasional morning sickness during the first trimester. I continued to do everything around the farm I had done before. I learned from this pregnancy that I probably should take it a little easier with the next one. Lifting 50 pound feed sacks probably wasn’t the smartest thing in the world. I did start having serious lower back pain towards the end of the second trimester. My midwives recommended a chiropractor and gave me the name of one they refer all their patients to. And let me tell you, she is a lifesaver! Even if you are not having back problems I definitely recommend finding a chiropractor who works specifically on pregnant women and going once a week while you’re pregnant. It helps to get the baby in the right position and I genuinely believe it speeds up your labor and delivery (which you will learn more about later!). After seeing the chiropractor a few times and gradually decreasing the work I did on the farm my back and body felt a lot better.

During the first trimester I did start exercising a bit more and eating healthier. I cutout almost all caffeine and soda during my entire pregnancy. Everyday I took a non-gmo prenatal vitamin made with whole-food and no artificial ingredients. I also took Vitamin C, Vitaim D3, Floradix (a liquid iron), and Chlorophyll. I also drank red raspberry leaf tea. Other than that and going to the chiropractor regularly, I did not do anything else super crazy. I was not a health nut or fitness guru during my pregnancy, but I was careful to take care of myself and prepare myself for labor the best I could.

IMG_1184Let’s back up a bit to my 20-week ultra sound. I’m thankful that I only got one ultra sound during my pregnancy. I genuinely believe too many ultrasounds can be harmful to the fetus and these days doctors are doing unnecessary ones at every single appointment. Until the ultrasound we just knew we were having a boy. Chad wanted a boy so much. And I wanted a boy so I would not have to do so much work around the farm (ha ha!). I would rub my belly and call it by the boy name we picked out (which I am not telling you because we are still using it for the next one!)

Well as you all know the ultrasound showed a precious baby girl. With tears in my eyes I looked over at Chad and asked if that was okay. Of course he said it was and I loved him so much at the moment. We were having a baby girl! I think he was freaking out a lot inside at the moment. He didn’t think he would know what to do with a girl. I knew he would be just fine.

20 Week Ultra Sound

My little sister was on Spring Break when we had the ultrasound so I asked her if she would like to come with us. The three of us were able to see our baby girl for the first time on that little screen and as creepy as she looked, she was so precious too! I am so thankful my sister was able to experience that moment with us.

All the way home we gently argued about the name. I just wasn’t able to come up with a lot of girl names. I loved the name Evolette (from the movie 10,000 BC). And so that is what it was going to be right?! Well Chad brought back up a name I had tossed around a few weeks later, but when I learned my cousin and his wife had the exact first and middle name picked out for their future baby I just couldn’t keep it. After we found out it was a girl Chad just could not let go of that name. And after all, the Garden of Eden is very significant to us since we are vegetable farmers. And I love the name Grace so much! So after talking with my cousin we finally decided on Eden Grace. I’m not going to lie, for a few weeks I was still really sad that she wasn’t Evolette, but we’ll have another girl someday I’m sure!

At each midwife appointment I had, my midwives kept telling me how perfect the baby and me were doing. My blood pressure was great. I was gaining the right amount of weight. The baby was great. They do not do ultra sounds at the birth center, but they send you to another location for your 20 week one. They have an old one that was donated to them that they use if they need to see what position the baby is in. They do check the baby’s heart rate at each appointment and they measure the uterus.

Along with my midwife appointments, we took a birth class in Tulsa. The 8-week class is about having your baby naturally, but it also teaches you about any interventions, whether necessary or not that you could have during your labor. It is so important to know all of your options when giving birth. Things do not always go as planned and you may have to do something you did not want. At the end of the day you want you and your baby to be healthy. However, you have control over what happens to you and your baby. The doctor is not the final decision maker, you are. And if pregnant women and their partners are not educated then they may allow a doctor to make a decision for them that is not necessary. I’ll talk more about this later, but my incredible husband listened so attentively in our class that he was able to make good decisions for me and our baby while I was in labor and halfway incoherent. Though the doctor was delivering my baby, we were in charge! Thank God for that birth class and our instructor Brooke at Better Birth Now in Tulsa. If you are having a baby in the Tulsa area look up Better Birth Now. They offer all kinds of wonderful services!

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