Peace During My “Worst-Case Scenario”…A Hospital Transfer Story | Part 2

If you read my son’s birth story last week, then you will have read about my transfer to the hospital in labor prior to his birth. The part of that story I had not mentioned yet was that the day after he was born was the beginning of a very long, emotional and gut wrenching 10-days. The hospital insisted he be admitted to NICU for medications. After all was said and done, including my having to leave him at the hospital and go back and forth daily to be with him and provide milk for him, it turned out he was actually healthy the whole time.

Leaving my son in NICU was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It still makes me emotional to this day. Traumatized by those first 10-days away from him and fighting for him, I couldn’t help but hesitate on the decision to grow our family. Once we made the decision, however, I definitely knew I wanted to be a “repeat offender” at The BirthHouse! Even with my “worst case scenario” playing out in my first labor leading to a hospital transfer, I walked away from that experience with a positive outlook and a respect for birth that I only wanted my husband and I to share under the support of midwives! So, with immense courage we tried for another baby and the day we found out I was pregnant with my second  we called The BirthHouse.

At that time Midwife Kira was still a one woman show and was looking to hire another midwife and had limited availability for births. My heart was crushed when I ended up having to be put on a waiting list. I gave this to God, knowing my heart’s desires, and while I waited I did soooo much praying! I established care with Dr. Cudihy and prayed some more for the Lord to make a way. Not a month later, I got the call! Kira had hired a new midwife to join her team and I was in! I felt so safe and relieved. God truly answered my prayers. 

My husband and I met Midwife Jamie and immediately liked her too. I discovered getting to know her was that my nurse I loved so much from my son’s hospital birth was her daughter in law! Small world. I just I felt like this was meant to be. Jamie let me talk out my fears surrounding my first birth and gave me a better understanding of why he struggled to come out- a term called asynclitic. It gave me peace to understand what happened and to have a plan moving forward. My husband and I felt confident that we had the tools to have the best birth possible.

Later in my pregnancy, I decided I needed a doula again for the birth of my daughter. I contacted my old doula who also wasn’t available but recommended the one she personally used- Lexi Perron. I contacted Lexi and it was the best decision possible! (Trust me when I say just do it, girl! Get yourself a doula!!) Spending time with my doula was exactly what I needed as we dove even deeper into my best- and worst-case scenarios. We also spent time discussing comfort measures and what had worked previously- I was set on a water-birth this time. I practiced meditation and mindfulness while praying and surrendering my fears to God over and over again. I had faith. I had courage. I could do this.

Because it was my second baby, I honestly expected to have my daughter early… and then my due date came and went. Every day that went by was torture because I was so ready to meet my daughter! As I passed the week over my due date mark, I started to get worried and disappointed. I let go and took comfort in the fact that only God knew her perfect birthday. I prayed.

I haven’t mentioned yet that my best friend and I were actually pregnant with babies due 2 weeks apart. The day before her scheduled c-section I was timing some mild cramps while we visited and couldn’t help but wonder “what-if” they have the same birthday!  I didn’t want to get my hopes up that labor was near but on Thursday morning while she went in for her daughter’s birth, I went to visit my midwives and said, “I feel like some stuff is happening…”

At my appointment my husband and I talked out our options with Midwife Jamie and we decided together that I would have a cervical check and a membrane sweep. See, Louisiana requires an OB appointment at a certain point past your due date in pregnancy and mine was coming up on Monday. More than likely Dr.Cudihy would schedule an induction for me close to 42 weeks and I truly did not want the pressure of a scheduled birth. I was not looking forward to that appointment.  Much to my surprise Jamie said I was already 60% effaced and 3cm dilated. Thankfully, she was so gentle for my membrane sweep that I barely felt anything. Excited, my husband and I left The BirthHouse and had one more solo lunch together before heading home to rest. I spent the afternoon napping while doing a Miles Circuit to help things along. It didn’t take long before I started to really get crampy. 

As the evening unfolded, we went for a family walk together and came home for an early supper. Each minute of my son being an only child began to feel so bittersweet and I wanted to soak up every last second I could with him.  At dinner I didn’t have much of an appetite but knew I’d need energy if labor were to begin after the membrane sweep. Then while I was cleaning the kitchen I had a contraction that stopped me in my tracks! I contacted both my doula and midwife to give them a heads up. I learned from my mistake from last time- I needed to go to bed! My plan was to stay hydrated and empty my bladder as often as possible. I took a bath to see if that would stall out labor or not and kissed my only baby goodnight. 

Sleep? Ha! Contractions kept coming closer together and I couldn’t go to sleep this time. By 9pm, my contractions were about 8 min. apart.  I was most comfortable in the downward dog position…again. I’d have a contraction, pee, drink water, and rest. Then do it over again. Time seemed to pass quickly and much to my surprise these contractions felt more intense than my first labor. It did not take long for us to realize active labor was kicking in so this time my husband didn’t wait and contacted our doula who was already headed to meet us at home. After laboring a little longer, my husband was convinced I’d have her in the car if we didn’t leave now. I actually didn’t feel ready to leave but then I threw up and knew he was probably right- I was getting close to transition! These contractions took a lot of breath work to get through them and it was happening so quickly (compared to last time) that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. My husband loaded the car while Lexi and I talked about contacting my mom to come be with my son. I threw up again and was hit with a hard contraction. Now I was ready- I said, “It’s time to leave now!”  Thankfully my mom who lives down the road walked up just as I was walking to the car.  Again, I knelt on the floorboard and leaned over the seat for the ride. I couldn’t rest on the almost hour drive because the contractions were close together and relentless. As we approached the last stop light, I told my husband to step on it and was assured by my midwives that they were getting the tub ready at the birth center. Oh man this was intense, and I needed relief! All I could focus on was breathing and the birth tub waiting for me.

We got into the prepared room around 2:30am. Jamie asked to check me and I was 8cm just like for my first!! (Looking back now, my labors were actually very similar.) Jamie said, “She’s asynclitic…” My heart fell. It was the same position my son was in for his birth. My doula stepped right in with confidence and said, “We are going to get her to move.” My entire birth team stepped up and helped as we did some rebozo sifting through several contractions. It was extremely uncomfortable and I certainly didn’t like it, but knew I had to do it even though it was intense because I did not want to transfer again! 

The tub was waiting for me and trust me when I say it was a sweet relief! I was able to catch my breath in the rest and be thankful stage. Next thing I know, my body is pushing!! My doula stayed close and talked me through each contraction while I squeezed my husband’s hands. I felt my water break on it’s own and then the contractions came! I could feel my baby working her way earth side. My husband planned to catch her, so I had to let go of his hand. The sweetest birth assistant, Jianna, took his place.  I said, “I want her to come out! I don’t want to transfer!”

Lexi said, “You aren’t going anywhere! You’re having a baby!” 

Midwife Kira even made it to the birth center in time and encouraged me as my baby girl began to emerge. 

Next thing I know my doula said, “She has hair!” I smiled so big… her head was out! After what seemed like a few minutes went by Midwife Jamie peeked with a flashlight to check on her and the bright light seemed to make the baby jerk. Ouch! I yelled, “Don’t touch her!”, but actually, no one was touching her. I was feeling her move and try help herself to be born! I was told later that baby girl seemed to be having a little trouble on her own navigating her shoulders, which explains why the next thing that happened is that Jamie said, “On the next contraction I want you to get in the runners position.” I had read about this in my preparations and I knew just what to do! When I pushed, Jamie gently assisted her shoulders out and my husband scooped our baby girl right up!!! She was born on November 18th at 4:35am, two hours after arriving at The BirthHouse. We did it!! I did it!!! I felt so proud. So relieved. God was with me and provided these skilled birth workers for the completely natural birth my heart desired! It was everything I prayed for!

I had the most peaceful and healing golden hour snuggled in bed with the newest little member of our family. Jianna helped me and shared so much knowledge on breastfeeding as I latched by baby girl in the calm, quiet birth suite. Later, Kira was beaming in the doorway. I cried out, “Kira! I get to take her home!!”  Tears of joy and relief ran down both our faces. I had the best birth experience yet again….and now I get to take my daughter home with me!

I was home with my baby by 9am with my amazing husband taking care of us. Being home with my family so soon after birth was even more wonderful than I had imagined. The peaceful birth and quiet postpartum time together connected us even more than I had I hoped for. What a healing, beautiful waterbirth experience. I am so thankful for my answered prayers.

Glory to God for giving me the opportunity to trust Him and experience His goodness! 

My husband, midwives and doula gave me the confidence and support to trust myself through this experience and I will never forget that. With The BirthHouse, I have always felt completely safe, secure, completely loved and fully cared for, during both of my birth experiences. I learned fear doesn’t have to be a part of birth. I wish every woman could have access to the information and support to have a truly enjoyable birth and allow their story to be written on a blank slate, free from fear.