by Robin M., Arlington, TX
Mother of Melody (07/09/91), Adam (06/08/94), Olivia (05/13/01), and Sophia (09/08/09) and Stepmom of Brianna (04/28/99)
My first baby was a hospital c-section, my second a hospital VBAC, and my third a homebirth. When I got pregnant the fourth time, I knew I wanted to have another homebirth, but it was a new marriage and something I had to talk my husband Bryan into. He’s an Emergency Room nurse, and because he sees so much crazy stuff going on in the ER, he was very reluctant and very much felt that birth needed to happen in the hospital. I’m also a nurse and knew that the hospital tends to be very rigid with procedures, and having experienced labor and delivery in both settings, I preferred the flexibility of a homebirth. Ginger was the first midwife we interviewed, and she made it clear to us that she would transfer to the hospital if necessary, and that made Bryan comfortable. I also took him to Bradley Method classes with me, so he would feel more prepared.
Then at around seven months, we found that Sophia was breech. My first baby had been breech, and I had to have a c-section. Bryan said he was against the homebirth if she was still breech closer to my due date, but I still wanted to try it. Ginger was confident in her experience, and I knew that if we went to the hospital, they would just do a c-section. I did all the exercises and techniques that we learned to get Sophia to turn into the optimal position, and we thought she had. A day or so before I went into labor, though, I felt her squirming a lot and I was very uncomfortable. I think that’s when she turned back into breech position, without any of us knowing.
About 4:30 in the morning, the day before Sophia was born, I was having a dream that we were down in a game room and my husband was playing ping pong. As a joke, he hit the ping pong ball right in my crotch, and when it hit me, I felt something go “pop”, and I jumped up out of the dream and said, “Why’d you do that?!” Bryan woke up, like, “What?” My water had just broke. I was in labor all day long, and ironically it was the Labor Day holiday.
We watched a marathon of “Dirty Jobs”, and I was text messaging with Ginger back and forth. Since this was my fourth actual delivery, I told her I could wait a while before she came. At around 5 p.m., I go up and started walking around to try to get things moving along, and it worked. The contractions started getting stronger, and Ginger came at about six that evening. It had been 12 hours of labor at this point.
I remember thinking that this labor was a lot more intense than with my other children. And in the heat of labor, most women think it’s the worse, but even looking back now, this was definitely the most intense. Usually you have the head putting pressure fairly evenly and contractions that give you a break in between, but this was like the contraction wouldn’t stop, and it was forcing my bood pressure to go up because I was having a lot of discomfort. I tried the bathtub for about 30 minutes, but I felt like I didn’t have control in the bathtub and it’s hard to move around in there.
Finally we found out the reason for all this discomfort. I had fallen onto the bed in the knees-back position, and had given a couple pushes, when Ginger said she didn’t feel like the baby was in the right position. She told me to stand by the side of the bed and squat. She was examining me, and she said, “I think I just got a handful of meconium, what do you want to do?” My husband was getting very anxious. Then Ginger said, “This is a bottom that I’m feeling.” Surprise, Sophia was breech. Ginger had done a lot of breech deliveries and she said that if we wanted to try it, she thought it would be fine.
She also told us that we could call the paramedics, but that would delay things because they wouldn’t want to deliver the baby until they got us to the hospital. I felt like if the baby was already this close, it would be dangerous to wait, so I said I wanted to try. I felt very confident in Ginger’s skills, but I didn’t want to go against what Bryan wanted to do. He was in agreement that we should just try. So squatting by the bed, I gave one push, and her legs came down, then another hard push and Ginger was able to sweep the arms down. It felt like she put both hands in me, and I gave a third push and Sophia was out. The minute they’re out, all your fears are gone. She was just fine, bright-eyed, 7 lbs., 11 oz., which we thought was funny because we had spent a lot of late nights running to 7-11 getting junk food and whatever I wanted.
The first thing I wanted to do after holding my baby and kissing my husband was give Ginger a big hug. If it hadn’t been for her and her experience, I wouldn’t have been able to do the home birth. Our insurance didn’t cover any of Ginger’s care, but it was absolutely worth every penny out of pocket.