by Amy K., X, TX
Mother of Rachel (’98), Sarah (’00), Rebekah (’02), Deborah (’04),
Baby #1 – Rachel… I was two weeks overdue and somewhat depressed. I’d gone to get a sonogram earlier that day at the birth center where Ginger was studying and they said that since the baby was still “breathing” she probably wouldn’t come out for the next 24 hours. However, I had also had some “bloody show” that morning and Ginger found I was leaking amniotic fluid, so we knew I would give birth soon. So, my husband and I went to get some food and see a movie.
I had been feeling contractions off and on for the past several weeks. I didn’t think anything of it when I felt several in a day. However, by the time we got to the movie in the evening, they were starting to get pretty strong. We stopped by a rather large store that’s part of a chain mentioned fairly often nowadays for its “everyday low prices” and got a watch to time the contractions. We also decided to go home so I could rest. After all, nothing had happened earlier that day and I had contractions all the time it seemed.
By the time we got home at the other side of the Metroplex, the contractions were five minutes apart. We called Ginger and she told us to go back to the birth center. My husband raced into action and within a couple of minutes, the car was packed and we were heading all the way back to the center.
The birth went like clockwork and Rachel Amelia was born not long after midnight (my husband helped catch her). The only thing that was annoying was how nauseated I was toward the end of active labor. Ginger was a great support to me through the pregnancy. I really appreciated it since this was my first birth and I was terrified of all the possibilities
Baby #2 – Sarah… Once again I was two weeks over. I went to bed, tired and ready to be finished with this pregnancy. Suddenly, I woke up and the bed was getting soaked. It took me a minute to realize my water had broken. I shook my husband awake and it didn’t register at first what I was saying. Once he felt how wet the bed was, he jumped straight up and called Ginger, suddenly fully awake.
She came by to check me out and told me labor needed to start in the next 24 hours. She gave me some recommendations but no matter what I did, the contractions just weren’t happening. I would start to go into active labor, but then my body would back down. We tried everything we (all the midwives there) could think of. At the end of 24 hours, I was starting to get tired and the midwives were talking about transporting me (I was at the birth center by that time).
One of the midwives, Bonnie Kitchen, asked to check my dilation. I’ve since forgotten what the number was, but we discovered the baby was posterior and it was keeping the baby’s head from pressing down fully on the cervix. Bonnie had spent many years in England as a midwife and had experience with doing external versions during labor. While I was on my hands and knees with my head on the same level as my knees, she carefully pushed the baby back in, then Ginger (following Bonnie’s directions) rubbed my belly in an attempt to roll the baby around. We found out we had 36 hours instead of 24 and that calmed us (meaning me mostly) down enough to let the now turned baby work her way out.
In about an hour I was ready to push, even though I was only at 9cm. Ginger made sure the cervix stayed out of the way during the initial pushing, and soon Sarah, our second child was born.
Baby #3 – Rebekah… I went to bed that evening with menstrual cramp-like sensations. They were painful enough that I woke up about one in the morning from it. I decided to watch some TV out in the living room and see if they died down or got worse. I told my groggy husband who nodded and promptly went back to sleep.
I had just waddled to the couch and sat down when I got hit by a huge contraction. It was so hard and sudden that I cried out in surprise. My water broke just before my husband came running out to the living room to see how I was doing. From that point on, I tried to time the contractions while my husband quickly got the kids dressed and ready for the sitter.
Our original plan was to drop the kids off at the sitter’s then drive to a birth center we had used for our other births. By the time everyone was ready to go (about 20 minutes later), I didn’t feel like we had enough time. It was more than logic. It was almost as if someone were saying in my ear over and over, “You don’t have time to go to the birth center.” I didn’t really trust that voice until we were actually walking to the car. The contractions were becoming hard enough it was very difficult to concentrate on the world around me. I told my husband I didn’t think we had enough time. Our other two had taken their sweet time getting into this world, so neither of us really took it seriously.
We dropped the kids off at the sitter’s (about ten minutes away) and I felt the first small bit of panic. The contractions were 4 to 5 minutes apart. That voice was getting more insistent. I told my husband we didn’t have time and he said that if we reached this one particular street (which would be about five to ten minutes drive time in total) and the contractions got to 2 minutes apart, we would turn around and go back since the birth center was an hour or two away. Sure enough, they were at 2 minutes just as we got to the street. My husband turned the car around and we went back.
At the apartment, I had to pause a couple of times on the way to the apartment. When I finally managed to get inside, I kneeled down in front of the couch while my husband called Ginger, our midwife. She was already at the birth center with another midwife, Molly Roe, and a couple of assistants who worked for the center. She jumped in her car along with the assistants and Molly. While they raced to our apartment, Ginger gave Rob instructions in case he had to do an emergency delivery. What would have taken them an hour ended up taking 20 minutes. They got there just as I started to feel the need to push. Everything was quietly set up while I pushed.
When the baby’s head came out, I heard Ginger calmly say, “We’ve got cord,” which meant the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. So, they did a technique called a “jackknife”: one midwife held the baby’s head close to the vaginal opening while the other supported the body as it slid out. Except for that one complication, the birth went off without a hitch. Rebekah had a high Apgar rating and took to nursing just fine. It was a great experience all around.
Baby #4 – Deborah… I was a few days past my due date when I woke up with really strong contractions. Thinking this would be like Rebekah’s birth, I waited for that really strong contraction. Nothing happened. Eventually the contractions went away. When Ginger came by to see me the next morning, she said the baby was posterior. I was terrified this would become a long and difficult labor like Sarah’s had been, so I spent most of that day on my hands and knees, trying to get the baby turned around.
By that evening, I was having strong contractions in pockets. They’d be five minutes apart for 20 minutes, and then I’d go 45 minutes without anything. That went on for several hours. It was late in the evening when I called Ginger, hoping she’d be able to help me get into active labor. We’d decided to have a home birth because of the speed with which Rebekah came into the world, so she met me there.
Not long after she arrived my body went into labor by itself. Ginger, Molly Roe, and Ginger’s assistant Erin quietly set up and waited. When I needed to push, they all went into action quickly. I ended up pushing for only seven minutes. It felt like I just couldn’t hold back. Deborah came out blue, but quickly changed to a healthy pink. She took to breastfeeding just fine and has been growing fast, just like her sisters.
Baby #5, #6, & #7 – Stories Coming Soon!