I was only able to see the midwives for the end of my pregnancy and birth, but I had a fabulous experience. Their philosophy was exactly what I was looking for - laid back and non-invasive. I was able to have the birth experience I wanted, and I am confident that was due in part to being under their care, I am looking forward to working with them for my next pregnancy!
Charlotte's birth story
We had Shabbat dinner at my mom's house as usual on Friday night, October 24th. My brother was in town for the weekend, and my sister had invited some other people as well so we were 12 for dinner that night. I lay down on the couch after eating as I always do, and had a few contractions. I didn't pay attention to them however, because I didn't want to go into labor with all those people there. Adam and I got home about 10pm and I went to shower. I noticed then that I was having more regular contractions. We went to bed at 10:30 to see if they would stop, but they didn't. They were coming every 9-10 minutes, lasting for 45 seconds. Thinking that this might be it after all, I called my mom and told her to come over.
I spent the night on my yoga ball and the couch, resting between contractions, and deep breathing and hitting my hips with my fists during them. The waves were coming every 6-7 minutes on average and lasting 1-2 minutes. I also emptied my bowels and my stomach. Adam lay down for a short nap while my mom helped me focus on my breathing. By the early morning the contractions were 3-5 minutes apart and lasting for 1-2 minutes. At that point I was throwing up even plain water, so I knew I should go into the hospital because I needed an IV.
We left the apartment at 6:45am and got to the ER at 7:10. By 7:30 I was checked into the L&D ward. One of the nurses checked me and I was almost 5cm and fully effaced. So I was staying! I was excited to find out that the midwife on call was Shadman, the one I had seen and connected with the most in the practice. My nurse was Stacey, and she was wonderful. I was hooked up to an IV for fluids like I requested. All I wanted was to labor lying on my side in bed so that between the contractions I could fully relax all my muscles. My sister was there to take photos. Adam provided some support, but I think he was nervous and not sure of what to do. My mom was my labor coach. During the contractions I wanted her to rub this one spot on my lower back, and end her hands were really hurting. She helped me slow my breathing down when it got too fast.
At 10 am I felt my water break. At that point I was in transition and the contractions were coming right on top of each other. My midwife was in the room watching my progress. She only wanted to check my dilation once to minimize the risk for infection. I knew though that I had to be there because the contractions wouldn't stop even for a moment, just slow down, and I was feeling a lot of pressure. She finally checked me and I was ready to go. The team started assembling in the room in preparation for delivery.
I started pushing at 11:10am. I pushed lying on my side as I had been since I arrived at the hospital. I was offered to use the birthing stool or to squat, but I didn't feel like I had the strength in my legs and lying down was working for me since I was still able to relax between the urges to push. I made the mistake once of trying to push without a contraction and quickly realized how ineffective that was. When I pushed I hummed. I never cried, screamed or made much noise at all. I kept my eyes closed almost the entire morning, focusing. My sister was taking pictures and getting so grossed out at what she was seeing that the staff asked her if she was going to faint! The midwife used mineral oil to try and stretch my perineum, but I ended up with a 2nd degree interanal tear anyway. I couldn't believe how much it hurt to push her out. I also couldn't believe the feeling of relief when her head came out, then shoulders and body. When her head came out the cord was wrapped around her neck twice and I'm told her face was purple. She was born at 11:59am. The midwife let Adam be the one to announce it was a girl!
They put her on my chest and she was crying of course. It was such a surreal feeling. After a while she was trying to nurse, but the position I was in while being stitched up was too awkward so we had to wait a bit. Adam asked my mom and sister to leave the room for a moment while we discussed our name choices. We always had Charlotte Bluma as the front runner, so it was an easy decision. When they finally took her to measure her and clean her up I couldn't believe that my overdue peanut was only 7lbs!
It's funny that it wasn't how I thought the birth would go (wanting the IV and to labor in bed) but I got the natural birth that I wanted. My mom and the midwife said I did really well, but of course I remember how much it hurt. I think they were just impressed I was so quiet, but I didn't want to waste my energy making noise. Looking back on it, it makes me feel powerful to know I could do it.