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Following up on my post from yesterday about the option of giving birth at home in our little part of the state, I wanted to share the birth story of a friend of mine who chose that option for the birth of her daughter a few years back. While her journey wasn’t a typical one, it certainly shows how difficult things can be for the mothers in our area who choose home birth over hospital birth. It also shows how very worth it making that decision is for those who feel safer in doing so.

Kristi planned from the very beginning to give birth in a nearby hospital. While searching for a home birth midwife from about 12 weeks on and to no avail, she remained under the care of a local obstetrician up until about 18 weeks, when she says she saw a number of signs that he was not the care provider for her. She sought out the care of another local physician, only to be let down once more, very close to the end of her pregnancy. From the talk of a 40 week inductions regardless of the circumstances and only being given the option of birthing in the lithotomy position, to not being “allowed” out of bed once her bag of waters had broken, Kristi continued her pregnancy-long search for a midwife who would be willing to travel to our part of the state. By this point, she was 35 weeks and considering giving birth at home without the assistance of a midwife. With a sudden turn of events, one of the midwives she had previously spoken with agreed to meet with her at 36 weeks and by 37 she had made her decision. At her 38 week prenatal visit with her current OB, she was thrilled to share the news that she had finally found a midwife willing to make the drive, only to find out that her OB was less than thrilled. Although she was a low risk mother with a perfectly healthy baby and a skilled CNM to attend her birth, her OB immediately released her from her care and that was that. 
 
After a long journey to find the care that she and her family deserved, Kristi gave birth to a beautiful 6lb 12oz baby girl in the comfort of her own home, surrounded by her loving husband and family on March 7, 2008. 

Around 12 hours after her baby girl was welcomed earth side, she experienced an unexplained apnea and was taken to a local hospital for observation. While their sweet daughter was perfectly healthy, Kristi and her husband were treated poorly by the hospital staff for the sole reason that they had chosen to give birth at home. She was talked down to, threatened and mistreated, all the while refusing to leave her baby’s side. Their sweet daughter was transferred to a Level 3 NICU over 3 hours away from the Level 2 NICU at the local hospital, because the staff could not explain the problems she had been dealing with before coming into the hospital. After arriving at the hospital, she had no other episodes and after remaining in their care for a long 3 days, baby was discharged with a clean bill of health. 

Kristi’s birth story is a repost, and is an official Hypnobabies published story. The original post can be found here. 
 
The birth of my daughter began almost unexpectedly. I had just gone to my 38-week prenatal appointment, a few days late actually, and I wasn't expecting to begin my birthing time until closer to 39 or 40 weeks – I was still measuring 3cm. We had just switched care to a homebirth midwife, Donna Galati, CNM and we were still planning to travel to Louisville, KY to pick up my mom (hopefully) before everything started. 

It was Thursday evening, March 6th and I had just put James to bed. I called my mom back around 9:15PM and while I was on the phone for about 40 minutes, I had three or four mild pressure waves. I figured it was just more pre-birth waves that I had been getting after nursing James to sleep lately and they would go away. I went to bed around 11:30 PM or so feeling good, and not really noticing any more pressure waves, but did notice that my baby had turned into the birthing position.

I woke around 2:30AM –ish to more pressures. I had remembered my dream and it was about me beginning my birthing time, I found it odd, but now I thinking I should have paid more attention. I got up, went pee and thought, maybe I should tell Mike to get some sleep. He was still up playing Xbox 360, and didn't go to bed until after 4AM. I went back to bed and woke again when Mike came to bed, this time the pressures would not let me get back to a good sleep. I got up and decided to eat a bit. Apples and peanut butter sounded yummy and I figured it would give me time to see how close the pressures were coming.
As I sat in the living room eating and timing, James woke up. He wanted to nurse, but that just made the pressures stronger. He settled for laying next to me and holding the nursies. I sat there for about 30-40 minutes and the pressures averaged 5-7 minutes apart. Shortly before 5:45AM, James and I went back to bed. I laid down and listened to my Hypnobabies scripts to try to relax a bit, it worked for a short while but I wasn't able to get comfortable. I settled for just trying to sleep through them and I made it until around 7:20AM when the waking every 10 minutes just wasn't cutting it anymore.

I got up, ate a bit of cereal, and started the computer to get the timer program for my pressure waves. I also thought it would be a good idea to wipe down the bathtub. I timed them for more than an hour before calling Donna at 8:49 AM to give her a heads up on what was going on. The pressures averaged 4-5 minutes apart and lasted a few seconds either side of the one-minute mark. Donna said to keep an eye on things and call her back in no more than 3 hours for an update. I sat around, drank water, ate a bit, and James woke up around 9:30AM-ish. I tried to listen to my Hypnobabies scripts, but James needing me was preventing me from getting really relaxed and into Center Switch. I settled for slow, controlled, and relaxed breathing for each pressure.

I called Donna back at 11:38 AM with not much change. At this point I informed Mike that it would probably be a good idea for him to get up and lay on the couch incase James needed anything, because I had to start focusing more on breathing and relaxing though each pressure wave.

At 11:49AM Donna called me to inform me of bad weather in her area. She didn't want to miss anything or make the nearly 3 hour drive and not be in true *labor*. By this time, my pressures had slowed a bit, so I said I would watch the weather and the pressures and call back in an hour.

I called my best friend Ashley that lived out near Donna and asked for her opinion on what I was having. I told her that since she had had three kids already and would know more about this, I wanted her opinion. She said under the weather circumstances and what I was feeling, it would be best to have Donna come out, because it could take longer than 3 hours for her to get there.
 
At 1:13PM, I called Donna and talked a bit more. She listed to me during a pressure wave while we were talking and she decided it would be a good idea to head out here.

While I was waiting for Donna to arrive, I continued to drink water/juice and eat as I felt I needed. I also boiled eggs for deviling as nutritious labor food – I had a craving for them and it seamed as good a time as any to make them. As the pressures progressed, I felt them move from hugging my belly to stretching my hips and lower back. Mike would   press on my lower back each time a pressure wave was stronger than I could handle on my own. It felt so good and made the pressure in my lower back seam to float away! I sat a bit on my birthing ball and rolled my hips around in between waves, and standing while swaying my hips during a wave felt great too.


Donna arrived at about 4:50 PM and I had her do a quick cervical check before she brought everything in. I was surprised to hear that I was 5-6 cm dilated with a bulging bag of waters! Mike helped to being all her equipment in and James helped set it all up and go through it.

Pressure waves continued and I continued breathing through them. Many times, I preferred to be on my hands and knees either swaying or having Mike apply pressure to my lower back. I had a bit more to eat, Mike made me a sandwich, and Donna and I chatted a bit about how Mike and I got together.

After I was done eating, Donna said we could try to get in the tub to see how that worked on my pressure waves. I got in and it was so warm and relaxing. All the positions that I thought would be uncomfortable in there were what worked for each pressure wave. I spent a little time in there but I kept feeling the urge to pee or something. I got out and spent a good hour or so on the toilet, mostly just sitting there with no pressure on my tailbone. I never understood why women talked about how they enjoyed sitting on the toilet so much before giving birth, but now I know! I got up a few times, walked a round a bit and then returned to my birthing *throne*. The pressure had moved from my lower back to my hips and walking around as if I just got off a horse saddle felt ok, but the toilet was so much more comfortable!

While I was in the tub and back & forth to the toilet, my mother in law, Kim, and sister in law, Elaina finally made it to the house to help with James and watch the birth. Things got somewhat loud here and there, and Donna thought there was a ton of commotion. Everything settled down after they got the shhhhhh from me a few times.

At about 15 minutes before 8PM, Donna thought it would be a good idea to check my dilation again. Before a pressure wave, she said I was 8 cm and during a pressure wave, I was nearly 9 and 3/4cm with my waters still bulging. She offered to break my bag of waters to move things along, but I was a little unsure of just how quickly things would progress. As I thought it over, I returned to the toilet. Mike came up to me at some point and looked at me long and lovingly, stroking my face. All of a sudden I was pushing during a pressure wave and *plop* - *gush* went my waters! It was so strange to hear it! However, no mess to clean up!

We worked our way in to the living room where we had decided to have our baby. I chatted with Kim and Elaina on my way there, laughed a little bit, and breathed through a pressure wave. I made it to the living room and crawled around a bit, finding the most comfortable position. I tried leaning over my birth ball, Donna had me try lying on my side with one leg up, but that wasn't for me either. Soon I was on all fours and getting very primal sounding. It was coming deep from with in me. Each  pressure wave brought up a mother lion throaty moan. Just before I began consciously pushing, I got a brief break to lay my head down for a minute or two. I rested my head on my mother in laws lap for that break, and then here came the baby.

As I was pushing, I felt my hips widen and everything stretch to open and move my baby out. As she crowned, I felt a sudden openness – no warmth, no burning. For a split second I remember thinking to myself "what am I thinking, why am I doing this?" Then with two more pushes, she was out! Mike said it took 5-7 pushes to get her out – only around 15 minutes. She seamed to
have come out all at once, head AND shoulders.

Both Mike and Donna were there to catch, but Mike did most of that. I rotated around and sat on the floor, leaning against the couch as Mike and Donna handed me my baby. After an initial rough start in getting a good first breath, she latched on to nurse a few times and passed all her meconium poo before the midwife left that night. 

We weighed and measured her there by the couch. She weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces, 18.5 inches long and head circumference of 13 inches. After nearly three days of life, we named her Valerie Lynn!

Thinking back after being asked if I was in pain at anytime, I can honestly say, "No I wasn't in pain!" This was the most intense activity I have ever done and even though there might have been a TON of pressure in my hips and mild discomfort as my baby
crowned, none of it *hurt* and none of it was un-manageable. I can honestly say my daughter's birth was pain-free!”




 


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