Tag Archives: Childbirth

Having a Home Water Birth – Part 2: Laboring for Brooke

Brooke was born in Flagstaff, Arizona, to proud parents Mark and Clara,

under the care of Mary Ann Baul and Emily Dale of Womancare Midwifery.

March 23, 2013
8:54 pm
6 lbs. 8 oz.
21.5 in. long

Day 1_3 revAnd finally, here’s the story …

At 41 weeks and two days pregnant, I was getting rather impatient! (Not to mention, uncomfortable!) So, we decided to go downtown to walk around and also to look at mountain bikes for future purchase. It was a great distraction and we hoped the walking would help get labor started.

Later, I realized that I was probably already having contractions when we left the house around 3 p.m.! Several weeks before, one of the midwives had cautioned me that many second time moms don’t realize they are in labor because it feels quite different from the first time. I was absolutely sure that wouldn’t apply to me, as I distinctly remembered how my contractions felt the first time around.

Well, she was right! I had shooting pains down my right leg and spent much of our time out trying to get somewhat comfortable – walking, not walking, sitting, standing, massaging – hoping the baby would come!

After a few hours out, I was getting more and more uncomfortable. We decided not to eat out and arrived home around 6 p.m. Mark made spaghetti for dinner, which I gratefully ate while standing at the counter (sitting was too painful!) At about 6:30 p.m., I used the restroom and noticed a bit of blood after wiping. They call it the “bloody show” – it is actually a blood-tinged mucous plug releasing from the cervix when the body is ready for labor. I finally realized those pains for the last few hours were actually contractions!

I called Emily, one of the midwives, at 6:45 p.m. I described my pains and told her I had a bit of blood release. She told me things could be moving along and she would be over soon.

Comfortably awaiting the next contraction

Comfortably awaiting the next contraction

15 minutes later I welcomed Emily in and promptly went upstairs to try to get comfortable. Mark was giving Ethan a bath and putting him to bed. As soon as he was done, he ran upstairs to begin filling the birthing pool for me.

Emily checked my cervix and said I was at a “stretchy” 6 cm already. Being determined to have a water birth, I was not happy to hear that we may not have time to get the pool filled!

By now, my contractions were quite strong. However, because I was having a home birth, I was able to labor in any position, wherever I was most comfortable, with two midwives available to comfort and guide me … and no worry of having to drive to a hospital!

Getting a massage from Mary Ann

Getting a massage from Mary Ann

So, with dim lights and relaxing music, I continued to breathe through the pain while Mark and the midwives worked to fill the pool with warm water from a hose attached to the shower faucet, as well as water boiled on the stove.

My friend, Shauna, arrived to photograph, and managed to catch a few smiles in between the groans!

Finally, at about 8:30 p.m., the pool was filled and warm enough for me to get in. With Mark’s help, I climbed over the side in between contractions, welcoming the soothing warmth and buoyancy the water provided.

I asked the midwives when I should start pushing. Their reply, “Whenever you feel you need to.”

M. comforting me

M. comforting me

I kept waiting for the contractions to be more intense, assuming it would be as painful as labor was with Ethan. It just didn’t seem possible that I was almost ready to push!

After a short 15 minutes in the water, I was feeling the urge. I took a deep breath, bared down, and did my best to move that little baby towards the outside world.

Mark encouraged me to breathe deeply and held my hands for comfort. Another push, and the midwives assured me that I was progressing, as they could see a little head peeking out!

Emily caught Brooke and helped her swim up to my chest

Emily caught Brooke and helped her swim up to my chest

After a couple more pushes, I felt like my skin was going to rip apart. Emily assured me that my perineum was stretching beautifully and Brooke would be arriving soon. I just had to be patient and allow nature to take its course.

With the next push, her head was out. One moment to relax, and then another contraction hit.

I was thankful to have no intervention by the midwives. They were simply watching and waiting, allowing me to push and rest as I needed to. This was quite a different experience from giving birth in a hospital in Mexico, flat on my back (which is ridiculously painful for a woman in labor!) with my feet in stirrups.

Finally, one final push and at 8:54 p.m., Brooke’s body slid out!

Blue baby girl

Blue baby girl

Yes, Brooke came out a wee bit blue, but honestly, I didn’t even notice! I could only see our beautiful baby girl, curled up in my arms. (The midwives reassured us that blue babies are common at high altitudes.)

With help, I climbed out of the birthing pool and onto the bed. Brooke rested on my chest for the next hour while blood pulsed through her still attached umbilical cord. Finally, the midwife handed Mark the scissors and he cut the cord!

It was a beautiful experience. I am so thankful that the Lord allowed us to have our baby in the U.S. in a natural, comfortable home setting. We are enjoying each day with our two amazing children!

Mary Ann getting ready to weigh Brooke

Mary Ann getting ready to weigh Brooke

Mary Ann weighed, measured and tested for her Apgar score (8).

Weighing and Measuring 6 rev Weighing and Measuring 27 rev Weighing and Measuring 24 rev Weighing and Measuring 14 rev

Relaxing in bed before cutting the cord

Relaxing in bed before cutting the cord

Ethan meeting Brooke the next morning ... He liked her!

Ethan meeting Brooke the next morning … He liked her!

A big thanks to Womancare Midwifery for their fantastic support and an incredible delivery!

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Filed under Home Birth, Life Journal

Having a Home Water Birth: My Modern Day Miracle – Part 1

Who says modern day miracles don’t exist? I beg to differ!

The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines miracle as:

  1. an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
  2. an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment

Here’s my miracle …

Less than five weeks before our second baby is due, our plans completely changed, due to what we believe is divine intervention in our lives!

Original plan: Have baby #2 in March in Mexico; sell boat; move to Flagstaff, Arizona, in July

Current plan: Move to Flagstaff in January (done!); have baby #2 in Flagstaff with a midwife at home; sell boat

How did we get here?

Four months ago, we made the decision to leave Mexico and move back to the U.S., intending to have to wait until the summer. But, thanks to God’s blessings financially, we were able to move seven months early! So, after enjoying Christmas vacation with family in Spokane, WA, we came to Flagstaff, AZ, to locate a rental house for our move. Everything went according to plan and we moved in on January 16th.

Now, I am sitting at the kitchen table, watching my son play with his toys and feeling the constant movements of our second baby in my tummy. (Oh, I almost forgot – being able to get pregnant is also a miracle … but that’s another story.)

And I’m anticipating a relaxed, natural home birth for baby Brooke, complete with three midwives and a warm, comfy pool of water to labor and deliver in. This is truly a miracle!

Wait, let me back up again …

Three years ago, when finding out I was pregnant, I dreamed of having a home birth with a midwife. Because we lived in Mexico, I had a very difficult time locating a certified midwife in our area. I thought of several options – going up to Arizona for the birth, finding a traveling midwife, or settling for a Mexican doctor. By the time I located a traveling midwife, they were all booked up for my due date (they come stay with you for two weeks).

So, after visiting two doctors, we finally settled on the third. Still, we felt we had to constantly fight for what we wanted throughout the pregnancy and the delivery – namely, a natural birth (most Mexican births are by c-section); both my husband and our translator in the birthing room; and no medications (unless absolutely necessary).

When finding out that we were pregnant with baby #2, we went back to Dr. Chavez for appointments and moved forward with plans to give birth in the same hospital. We didn’t think we would be living in the U.S. already and also, our insurance has a one year waiting period and will start covering maternity and birth on March 21st, one week after my due date. (I guess we didn’t plan this pregnancy very well!) So, we had planned to take advantage of the very inexpensive medical care in Mexico (Ethan’s birth was approximately $1,300).

Even six weeks ago, we were planning to leave Flagstaff on February 23rd (yesterday) to go back to Mexico for the birth, then return about six or seven weeks later.

So what happened?

After being in Flagstaff for three weeks, I had an appointment with a local midwife. I didn’t think it was wise this late in my pregnancy to wait seven or eights between doctor visits, and I wanted to have a contact here in case anything happened. At least I would’t be checking into the hospital without any kind of previous assistance!

I had a wonderful visit and enjoyed meeting two of the midwives. After a couple hours of being able to discuss my pregnancy and ask many, many questions, I came home hoping that somehow it would work out for us to stay. The midwives assured me that they would be happy to take me this late in my pregnancy as they had room for another birth, and that I am an ideal candidate (having had a natural birth previously without any complications and a healthy pregnancy so far).

I brought home literature from their office and shared my findings with M. Neither of us really wanted to return to Mexico for the birth, so having such a positive experience with the midwives gave us the extra measure of comfort we needed to step out in faith and pray about staying.

Yes, there is the concern that we could end up in the hospital and have a huge medical bill. There are always risks. Just getting pregnant is a risk. But after a few days of prayer and discussion, we decided to stay!

Moving forward …

We have already connected with several neighbors and families at our church and feel that we have the support network that we need. Actually, one of the couples in our small group even gave birth at home in January with the same midwives and had a wonderful experience!

We also don’t want to take Ethan away from his new home and go through the frustrations that travel bring to a little tikes sense of comfort and routine. He is finally adjusting, which is a huge accomplishment for a 1 1/2 year old!

So, we are moving forward. I’ve ordered the birthing pool and am gathering up everything that we need for the big day.

Thank you God for your miracles!

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Filed under Home Birth, Life Journal, Moving to U.S., Pregnant