Jennie Rosemary's Birth Story
My name is Jennie and I wanted to share my birth story with those who are reading the First Light Midwifery website, home of our wonderful Betsy Robinett.
The comments in (( )) are from Ian, my husband.
Went to bed, started to feel “funny”, menstrual cramps? Haven’t had them in forever.
Morning – woke up to “brown” stuff on my liner. Told Betsy, she said “any day now,” and I’m like “What!”
Evening – started to feel the cramps again around bed time, stronger. Looked at paperwork about birth and I was convinced they were the “false” labor kind. They go on all night, had to get up to pee, thought my water had broken (was so wrong BTW) used the tester that Betsy gave me – water not broken. Went back to sleep with peace of mind.
Morning – called Betsy with update. She says, No those ARE what contractions feel like, you will deliver soon. Get excited tell Ian, but labor stalls because Ian is sick ALL day. We don’t get to set up birth pool because of that.
Evening – sleep well, small twinges.
Morning – call Betsy, we agree no news is good news and plan to meet at our scheduled appointment the next day (Friday) if nothing happens – labor can naturally stall for days or sometimes a week or so.
6-ish = my contractions start back up, I walk around a lot.
7:20 = Ian can tell when I start to have one, I have to stop and breath through it.
9:00 = I have been sitting on a “birthing” ball (exercise ball) for just under 30 min, Ian has to go get the laundry with the car because it is raining.
9:02 = my Water starts to break, no question this time, I am able to run to the bathroom I have a split second and my brain yells at me “Jump in the tub stupid”.
9:04 = Ian comes back with laundry – “Ian, my water just broke.” He goes nuts, calls texts and Facebooks people. ((I was excited, not ‘Nuts”, honey. I did have the fore-though to call the midwife first. – Ian))
9:09 = I leave the bathroom walk into bedroom and then back into living room – Stop dead, wrap my arms around my NAKED self and jump back into the bathroom. “IAN, the front door is wide open!!” “Well you told me your water broke.” ((Excitement makes me forget sometimes. Funny story to tell in the future. – Ian))
9:30-ish = we are told to time the contractions and that it could be a good wile before she needs to be there.
9:45 = turns out they are close enough, the midwife starts on her way. ((They were 4 minutes almost precisely on the dot. –Ian))
10:45-ish (time is starting to run together for me) = Betsy is there and she and Ian are starting to set stuff up (i.e. birth pool). ((Fresh Bread in the Oven at that point as well. We are trying to be courteous and prepare for the long haul. We spent all day cooking for the eventuality. – Ian))
12:30 = first time I notice the clock in a while, contractions are strong but I am managing by walking around some but mostly I’m sitting on my couch with one leg under in a half Indian pose, get through contractions by clenching my butt – feels like I did 1000 squats. I am quiet during my contractions, Besty has to look at my face to time them.
2:30-ish = the birth pool is ready for me, I get in and it is wonderful. Had figured I would spend the rest of my labor there, but knew that many women sometimes get out for one reason or another. Long story short mine was reason “#2”. As wonderful as the water was, the first “contraction” was not a contraction, my body was already telling me to push. I freaked out a little at first, I should be hours away from pushing. This was good and bad, I just couldn’t take the bio matter that was part of the process sharing my tub. The good was, the tub kicked me from the end of the first phase of labor to the third phase, saving me at least 5 to 6 hours of labor. Worth the extra money for the pool. I don’t say this to put people off of the pool, if my body had given me a chance to have contractions in the pool first, I don’t think the bio matter would have deterred me. It was just too fast, I didn’t have time to adjust to the possibility.
3:00-ish = I had gotten out of the pool to try to just use the restroom and maybe get back in the pool, started to push in the bathroom, didn’t want to do that either. So I finish and walk to the hallway, one way leads back to the tub and the other to the prepped bedroom. Betsy gently asked me what my choice was. I go with bedroom. The whole time I have been laboring, I have been picturing myself tucked into a ball, so - strange as it may sound to most. I get on the bed on my knees and elbows, and start to push in, forgive the phrase, “doggie style” ((Birth on hand and knees….yes this is a weird, but effective choice of words -Ian)). This position just worked for me. I barred my face in a pillow and pushed when and only when my body told me to. Toward the end, after I would do a good push I would add some I was not ready for, but not so many that I hurt myself.
NOTE: My midwife Betsy is with me all the way, supporting me both verbally and physically. ((An amazing woman that. I stood there, waiting for the assist the entire time, sitting and standing. I watched as my wife pushed our daughter from her womb into life. I suppose the freakiest part was when her head appeared, then next the arm. Next thing I knew, POOF, she was out and having her first cry. Yes there was blood and discomfort, but I can’t say I was not prepared for this. We had been waiting for this moment for over 10 years. It was scary, and I heard every pop, inhalation and sound of pain. I prayed, focused, and kept a solid eye. When our daughter was born into the world, it was not only a blessed relief, but also a true miracle. God be praised. –Ian))
4:03 = my daughter – Jennie Rosemary is born. I can hear all the excitement, but if you remember, I am facing the other way with my head buried in a pillow. I can’t move for two or three min and while I try to get myself together Betsy is doing all the awesome things midwives do. I do get to hold her after I roll over, and a few min later we cut the cord and I rotate and prop myself up on my wall – still sitting on the bed with my legs out strait, I can now see some of the residual mess that Betsy has already started to clean away. I hold my daughter, and start to try to feed. She is too excited but does latch a few times but gets distracted ((the baby at this point looks, and is, healthy, with only a slight bit of distress…, but what could be better than a successful home birth? And anyway, the baby just came in. After I cut the cord, I see my wife and child together, which is most gratifying. And the cord still hanging out of my wife….which is kind of freaky, but not unexpected –Ian))
4:25-ish = Forth stage of labor, birthing the placenta. I had just met a woman days before who had had a good but fully medicated hospital birth, she didn’t know about the placenta birth and being a rushed medical event that stage was more painful for her than the rest. This information gets me a little keyed up about it, but when the time came, Betsy said “push one more time, it should feel good”. I believed her, and it did and it popped right out. (We dried and powdered the placenta and I am now taking it like a supplement. For those who want to know, I did NOT use capsules, I am adding the powder to some hot water and drinking it like a Chinese herbal tea. The trick is that you have to drink all the dregs – it’s not too bad, but I hope you like the taste of liver.) ((Blech! And I’m the one who dried and ground it! –Ian))
4:35-ish = I see Ian dress the baby for the first time in the onesie that my oldest and best friend gave me. To all the ladies out there, there is nothing sexier than seeing your loving husband try (and succeed) to dress a newborn for the first time. After this, he holds her and I take a shower. We all get into bed together. I successfully breastfeed my baby. We are all supposed to go to sleep as Betsy tidies up, I can’t sleep. ((I did! –I))
Long story short – I would do it again, and almost wish I had done it earlier if I knew it would go this smoothly. But it only did because of God’s timing.
JOVIE NOEL’S BIRTH STORY
I’m not much of a writer, but will try to capture some of the things I remember from Jovie Noel’s birth.
It was December 26th, 2009. The day after Christmas and we already decided to take down the tree and all decorations. I think it was mostly because the tree was already dead. Plus we wanted to start getting the house ready to put on the market. Our move, to Florida, was quickly approaching. I remember feeling some uterus twinges throughout the entire day. One even made me stop while leaving Wal-Mart.
Around 3 pm Michael and I decided to start timing these “twinges,” as I noticed myself kind of stopping to feel these sensations. Around 5:00 we decided to call our midwife, Betsy Robinett. I told her what I was feeling and the consistency and timing of the contractions. After rescuing her kit from a frozen-over car she and her assistant, Amy, were on their way, from De Leon. Our doula, Laura Smith, whom I had been texting with my body updates all day, was on her way also. She was coming from Ballinger.
At around 6:30 Laura arrived at the house. Prior to that Michael and I took Inara across the street to John and Lorie Philpot’s house. Her bag had been packed for over a week. I had 3 contractions at their house and one in our driveway on the way home. When Laura arrived we gave her directions on using the camera. We also got the bed prepped with sheets and shower curtain. Michael had a beautiful fire in the fireplace. I lit candles and had my music ready to play. Of course Michael thought it would be appropriate to mention him wanting to play a video game. I don’t think that ever happened. And I don't think I ever thought that comment was funny, either. Laura had brought with her a Christmas card/Birth art that she shared with both Michael and I. It was beautiful and I have it to share with Jovie one day.
By 7 pm Betsy and Amy were at the front door. As soon as I saw Betsy I had another contraction. She said this typically happens. They both were prepared with their equipment. I remember worrying about them slipping on the ice at the front door. We had an unusual snow 2 days prior.
Betsy proceeded to warm herself by the fire and then got all things out to do my exam. She took all vitals which were slightly elevated above normal. I believe I was 70% effaced, 3cm dilated and my cervix was slightly posterior.
We all sat around the living room, chatted and had some snacks. This included peanut butter bread, yogurt and cranberry juice for me. With every contraction the room became silent. Laura gave me a foot massage at one point. Michael rubbed my back off and on while sitting on the birth ball. We shared some funny stories for awhile until the contractions became a little more intense. I remember yelling at Michael at one point. I also remember saying, “I'm done with the storytelling!”
I gravitated towards our bedroom and everybody eventually followed, Michael being the first one. I tried different positions, as the contractions had really gone into my legs. I was on the bed, laying over the ball, while Michael massaged my hips. Then I was on the ball, on the ground, while Betsy and Laura took turns massaging my legs. It seemed to help a bit through some of the contractions. Not all were felt in my legs. Michael did a wonderful job of reminding me to relax my shoulders and to let go. He was a great support and gave a wonderful massage while I obviously started transition pretty quickly.
It was obvious because not only was I was yawning between contractions, but I was also hot and cold off and on. I wanted our heater on, then off. I wanted a blanket on me, then off. I had to be reminded to release my legs and and shoulders over and over. I was starting to hold the tension in those places, which really allowed me to be in more pain. Transition now even more apparent because I began to cry. Betsy went ahead and checked me again and I was definitely at 7cm.
Time passed, and things kind of became a blur until I was 9cm. We decided to have Betsy break my water. We thought maybe things would go a little bit faster. Unfortunately the only thing keeping me from going to a complete 10cm was a little lip of cervix. It took a pretty long time to get rid of this “lip.” At this point I was in a side lying position on our bed. My eyes were either closed or focused on Michael. I remember moments of opening my eyes to each person involved in the birth. Everyone was so calm and focused. All eyes were soft and caring. There were many moments when I cried out for Betsy. Just knowing she was nearby gave me a great peace of mind. I often cried out for prayers also. Having not only Michael, Betsy, Laura and Amy there to support me, but having God also got me through each contraction.
I started to feel the urge to push and Betsy said that I could a little bit. I still wasn't at 10cm. That last little piece of cervix was really making me work hard. The contractions were very intense and often piggy backed. As I got closer and closer to the end I became extremely focused on Michael's voice, words and occasionally his face. I ended up holding on to his shirt and not letting go until Jovie was born. Betsy never really once told me how or when to push. What an awesome thing! I got to completely listen to my body and push when I felt the urge. Jovie and I worked together until the very end.
After one push I could feel Jovie's head moving down and then receding a bit. With each intense contraction I pushed and screamed as hard as I could. I remember feeling Jovie's head crown and hearing Betsy say she was “checking for cord.” All was well and with another push, I delivered Jovie's shoulders and the rest of her body. I felt Betsy help me with that. (total of 4 pushes and in 15min)
As soon as Jovie was out, Betsy put her on my belly and I got to hold my newborn instantly. I think I cried. I was so overwhelmed by emotions, I'm not sure what happened, other than feeling much joy for finally seeing my Jovie. She came out pretty blue, like most babies, and quickly pinked up. She was beautiful with these beautiful pink lips and this gorgeous, strong and warm body. Betsy did her routine things that needed to be done. I was still in awe and remember thanking every person for their help and telling Michael that I loved him.
We allowed the cord to stay attached until it stopped pulsing. It took almost 45 minutes for me to deliver the placenta. Betsy had given me 2 herbal tinctures (mistletoe and angelica) to help the process. Soon after that Michael got to cut the cord. The placenta was delivered and I got to see what our baby had been living in for the past 9 months. Pretty neat! Betsy even said how healthy it looked because of my good nutrition throughout pregnancy. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the cord had a complete knot in it. Very unusual.
10 minutes after Jovie was born she wanted to nurse. No problems for this 8lb 6oz, 20½ inch long child! She latched on perfectly and quit intently. Jovie was very, very alert.
Amy prepared an herbal, healing bath for Jovie and I. It was such a wonderful thing so soon after birth. Jovie nursed again and got to get semi clean. Betsy recommended leaving some of the white vernix on her body because it's supposed to be moisturizing to the skin. We also took her advice on leaving her cord alone and not putting anything on it. Within a week it fell off! Alcohol acts like a pickling agent that allows it to stay around longer. Needless to say her belly button is very cute!
After I got changed and cleaned up Betsy did the newborn exam. Michael got to weigh her. I sat back and watched and rested. It was great talking with everybody about the birth. Laura soon left after we got settled in. Betsy and Amy left around 5:30 am for a long ride back to De Leon. We all snuggled in our bed to rest. Of course Michael and Jovie slept wonderfully and I laid there wide awake. I was reliving the moment over and over in my head. Because I couldn't settle myself I decided to text everybody the good news!
Reasons I chose homebirth:
1. I didn't want any interventions and wanted labor to unfold naturally
2. I believe in God's design of the female body and its purpose in birth
3. I wanted the comfort of my own home
4. I wanted the power of choosing positions, movement, foods to eat and my surrounding environment
5. I wanted to choose the people who would attend my birth
Betsy had me on:
1. Gentle Birth Formula to allow labor to be a little slower and not as aggressive as I had experienced with Inara. It is also supposed to help minimize bleeding during and after labor.
2. Grape Fruit Seed capsules for my Group B Strep because its believed to be a natural cure for the colonization of strep B-causing bacteria.
3. Probiotics to help keep the good bacteria in my systems.
Keith's Home Birth: "Our Story"
May 6, 2008
Amazing Breech Birth
November 3, 2006
Note: As a midwife, when I attend an out-of-the-ordinary birth like this one, every detail has to be perfect. If at any time something had not been right at this birth, we would have gone to the hospital. Breech births are not very common, so midwives don't attend very many of them. I am not advocating that every breech baby should have a vaginal birth with this story. But every breech baby should have the option of birthing vaginally, something that is not offered at many hospitals. I take every pregnancy seriously, and weigh all the options with the parents, before making my recommendations to them. I do not lightly advocate a home breech birth.
God did an amazing thing today. He took me (the midwife) and my apprentice (the mother of the baby) through a very rare type of breech birth: a footling breech.
There are many types of breech births. The footling is the type in which the feet descend through the birth canal first. It is a birth that may be more hazardous than the complete breech or the frank breech, in which the breech (the bottom) of the baby descends through the birth canal first. The baby’s bottom, being bigger around than her feet, dilates the cervix more effectively and there is less danger of the aftercoming head being caught in an incompletely dilated cervix.
My apprentice and friend just had a footling breech baby at home with no medications and no medical interventions. And by the way, she was a first-time mother, and over 30 years old.
Cora's Beautiful Feet
It was incredible to watch the baby’s feet being born first. They were beautiful! The baby was in a squatting position, with her feet right by her bottom, so she dilated the cervix very well. (This is nearly like the complete breech position, in which the baby is sitting cross-legged.)
But before we could see the feet…before I would even let the mom push…I had the mom pant through many, many contractions that she wanted to push with. This was in order to make completely sure that the cervix was out of the way and all the way open. This was the hardest part of the birth. Once I was completely sure that there was not even a tiny bit of cervix anywhere, I let her begin pushing. She was so grateful to begin pushing. During the panting, one of the other midwives (there were two other midwives in attendance) panted with her and kept eye contact with her through every contraction, so she wouldn’t lose her concentration and give in to the temptation to push. This was invaluable.
Midwives with Baby Cora
After both of the baby’s feet were visible, I realized that the bottom of the baby was wedged in with the feet. Since this was probably going to be too much volume for the mother to birth without tearing, I gently pulled one leg, then the other, out to the thigh. At this point, the baby looked like she was crossing her legs! This picture will stay with me forever…
Mom then pushed the baby out to the belly button. I pulled a loop of cord loose so that the cord wouldn’t be pulling on the belly button during the rest of the birth. As I did this, I felt the heart rate of the baby through the pulsing of the cord. Mom continued to push, and soon we saw the shoulder blades of the baby.
I hooked one arm out, then the other. Then we allowed the baby to dangle for a few seconds to bring the head down far enough to be able to deliver the head. I took the baby by the ankles and pulled her body up enough that her mouth became visible. Her mouth was born! She immediately started to breathe, even though she wasn’t born yet! It took about a minute and a half before the rest of the head was born, but all the time, the baby was breathing through her mouth.
When her head was born, the mom said “ouch,” or some such thing. (Imagine that!) After one minute, the baby’s Apgar score was a perfect 10!!!!! This means that she was pink all over her body, breathing, her heart rate was normal, she had good muscle tone, and reacted when stimulated.
And best of all, the mom birthed her first baby breech without tearing or having an episiotomy or a C-section performed on her.
What a high! Surely God has created our bodies for giving birth. He was there every step of the way, helping me, helping the mom, helping the baby. What an amazing miracle. Many people were praying, and their prayers were answered.
Thank you, O Lord, that You are the Creator. You have created our bodies so amazingly that I can only shake my head in wonder. Every birth is a miracle, and You have called me to be a midwife; I am so grateful that You allow me to see You at work so many times. I get to see new life, I get to feel babies begin to breathe, I get to see their eyes look at their moms for the first time ever.
Many firsts took place on this birth. It was the first breech I managed as a midwife. It was the first breech that one of the other midwives had ever seen. It was the first baby for the mom. It was the first footling breech for all of us!!!
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Thou anointest my head with oil.
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
This was the prayer I prayed as I peacefully drove to the birth of this baby. God honored our trust in Him. He led us down the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Praise His holy name!
Betsy Robinett, LM, CPM
New Happy Family!
Cora at 3 1/2 months.