Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Miracles do happen.

I woke up at 1:00am having contractions. They didn’t feel quite right, so I assumed they were Braxton Hicks (practice contractions). I alternated walking and laying down, praying they would stop so I could get some sleep.

About 3:00 I “felt the call of nature” and while finishing up there felt “something” at the opening to the birth canal. It was smooth and the size of a babies head. I am afraid I sort of panicked! I woke Andy and called the midwife and my mom. After everyone was on the way, I realized it couldn’t be the baby’s head since the water hadn’t broke yet. It must be the water bag formed like a water balloon.

Everyone arrived by 4:30, my parents took the older children to their house, and M and A (the assistant) set up for the birth. They checked the baby’s heart beat and it was 140, very good. M did an internal and said the baby was still high, but I was almost dilated.

I felt the need to walk. I have never felt that strong of the need to move around before. Strange how each birth is different and how our bodies can communicate to us.

Again the call of nature (almost 5:00am). Just as I sat down, the water broke. They got me into the other room and checked the heartbeat. 70 beats per minute. VERY not good. M did another internal and I have read enough midwife material to know what she would find (head high, then water breaks)- cord prolapse.

This is not a fun complication (as if any of them are). 200 years ago it meant the death of nearly every child it happened to.

What happens in a normal birth is the head engages with and presses on the cervix, then the water breaks. The head keeps the cord up by the body where it can continue to supply Little One with oxygen. With a cord prolapse, the head is still high when the water breaks and the cord washes down past the head. Gravity then pulls the head down onto the cord cutting off the baby’s oxygen. In the hospital this now means an immediate emergency c-section with good survival rate for the babies. At a home birth this means transport to the hospital and a c-section. Thankfully, this is a rare complication and most midwives will never see one. Mine has had the misfortune of seeing four now, in twenty years of practice.

M had me flip to the face and knees position and she held Baby’s head up off the cord.

“Time to pray and make decisions.”

I was already adjusting to the idea I was going to have major surgery in less than an hour.

Andy prayed for wisdom for all of us.

M said “Let me try…” and fiddled around. “The cord just went back up!” She had pushed it back up where it belonged! We listened to the heartbeat…140; back to normal.

“Are we going to the hospital or do we push this baby out now?”

“We are going to push.” said Andy. I pray during all of my pregnancies for Andy and the midwife to have wisdom and I determine I will do whatever they say, trusting God to tell them what we need to do.
M helped me off of our daybed and onto a birthing stool, checking the heart beat every 30 seconds. It stayed at 140.

I pushed from the top and M moved the cervix from the bottom. I don’t know how long it took and it was a lot of pain but the cervix moved and I was soon pushing just like a normal birth.

“The head is crowning.”

I pushed it out but something was wrong. In a normal birth you push the head out, then feel a relief at the neck. Another push and the shoulders come out followed by the rest of baby. In a breech, you push the body out (which feels like it takes forever!) then the rest of the neck, and then the head. This time, I pushed the head out but felt no relief at all. We had what is called Shoulder Dytocia. The shoulders were wedged behind my pubic bones. Baby was stuck! Doctors in hospitals have no more tools than a midwife at this point. It is too late for a c-section and no drugs will help. There are a half dozen maneuvers that can be tried and usually will un-stick Little One, but babies do die from this. You have less than two minutes before brain damage begins.

M kept repeating “Push your baby out Betty.” while she began on the list of maneuvers. Usually the top shoulder is born first and the midwife will try to maneuver it out first. If that doesn’t work (which it didn’t this time) she tries to get the bottom shoulder out first. That is what worked.

Jane Kathleen, 10.8 pounds, was born at 5:37 after 37 minutes of pushing. She was blue and white and had trouble figuring out how to breathe for a few seconds, but since the cord was now pumping to beat the band she is fine. In fact, at three weeks she is already learning to smile.

There were five people at this birth: Me, Andy, M the midwife, A her assistant, and God. He is so good to us and had His hand on my baby the whole time.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there Betty!

    I wasn't sure how to comment or where to comment, but I just checked online & saw your birth story!! I am SO SO happy and thankful that God was involved to bring baby Jane here healthy. I am thankful also for you sharing your story. It gives my faith a little boost. :-)

    Hope you and baby are doing well. Take care of you & your family.

    With love,


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