I had a wonderful experience with my first pregnancy and birth with a Certified Professional Midwife but decided to switch to a Certified Nurse Midwife with my second because I wanted someone who could prescribe medication when and if needed. I’m so glad I chose Dinah!!! I have had babies number 2,3,4,5, and 6 with her practice as of now, and plan to go with her for any more that I may have. What better recommendation can a person give than that?
During my second pregnancy I had a chronic yeast infection (I finally had to take Diflucan for 2 weeks to get rid of it – see, it was nice that Dinah could prescribe that for me), a chronic cold, and morning sickness and nausea the entire time. Overall it was a healthy pregnancy, though unpleasant, and I didn’t even have swelling.
I wanted to labor in water but not have the baby born in water because that just seemed weird to me, because I am not a fish. I also really wanted to let labor come on its own and not using castor oil, herbs, or drugs to try to induce. My first baby was exactly 14 days past the “due date” and of course I was hoping that this time I would go into labor earlier.
From week 36 I had very strong Braxton Hicks contractions, some of which kept me up at night. My due date was December 20, 2007 and that came and went. I was taking evening primrose oil, red raspberry capsules, walking 45 minutes a day, doing squats, you name it. I was 1.5 cm dilated on my due date and 50% effaced. A week later I was 1.75 cm and 60% effaced. Dinah stretched me to 2 cm and I had some bloody show for a couple days after that, but then it dried up. At 14 days past my due date I had bloody show again, which was a good sign especially since it happened by itself. I had a weekly appointment on the afternoon of January 4, 15 days past my due date, as well as a sonogram to make sure the baby was doing fine. The sonographer gave the baby an A+. The fluid levels, movement, etc. were all perfect. After that I saw Dinah at 4 PM. She had just delivered a baby a few hours earlier and they were still there in the birth center. She found me at 2 cm and easily stretched me to 3 cm. She said I couldn’t be more ready to have a baby because if I was any more dilated I would be in active labor.
I got home from that appointment at 6 pm (we lived an hour from the birth center and had gotten stuck in traffic) and I was having very uncomfortable contractions that felt like menstrual cramps. But I ignored them because the entire past month was filled with strange sensations and me wondering if I might be in labor so I had gotten to the point of assuming I would never be in labor and tried to ignore it all. I washed dishes and made dinner and as I was sitting down to eat dinner at 6:45 my water broke! It was a huge gush and soaked my pants. The water was clear, no meconium. I rinsed off in the shower and put on adult diapers (I couldn’t recommend them more! They are also great for a few days after birth when the bleeding is heavy) and a change of clothes and by that time I was having real labor contractions. They were coming every 3 minutes and lasting 35 seconds. I called my husband, James, to come home from work and called Dinah to tell her what was happening. James got home at 7:45 and we told Dinah we’d meet her at the birth center at 8:45. This was Dinah’s original birth center on Lovers Lane in Dallas, not the current Richardson location.
We were on the road 15 minutes when we got into a car accident. A car had suddenly stopped on the highway causing a 4 car pile-up and we were the 4th car. I had been lying in the back seat and bumped my head and knee when it happened. It took 20 to 30 minutes before any cops showed up. My husband, James, didn’t want to tell anyone I was in labor because he was afraid they would freak out but it was taking so long that I was desperate to just go. I really didn’t want to stand on the side of the highway in the cold winter wind any longer! So he told them we needed to go have a baby and yes, everyone did freak out and I started crying because I hate having people make a fuss over me. Plus it’s just not how you want your labor to go. Just then a fire truck and ambulance showed up and they insisted that I sit down on the stretcher to get “checked out.” Next thing I know they are wheeling me into the ambulance. They said they would drive me to the birth center and James could follow in our car, which was still drivable.
The firefighters did their best to freak me, James, and Dinah out about the bump on my head, saying that I could have a stroke during labor and the baby and I would die. They had an automatic blood pressure cuff on me that was turning my arm purple and showing my blood pressure to be through the roof. I didn’t believe it though, especially since I have very good blood pressure. They also kept insisting that we didn’t have time to get to the birth center and that the baby would be born in the back of the ambulance, even though I kept telling them that my contractions were not strong enough yet and that I was in labor for 11 hours with my first baby. As far as I knew, I still had 9 hours to go! Despite their best efforts to scare me to death and take me to the closest hospital, we finally got to the birth center, which they promised they would take me to in the first place. They rolled me in on a stretcher, to the amusement of Dinah. I hopped off the stretcher and walked to the birthing room while they gave Dinah the third degree about whether she was an RN or not (she’s a Certified Nurse Midwife, and you can’t be one of those unless you are first an RN). They also wrote up a statement for her to sign. This was about 9:20 and James got there about 10 minutes later. I felt really bad for him because they wouldn’t let me talk to him on the phone when I was in the ambulance (they talked to him instead of me) and the whole time he didn’t know what was going on. (Note to self: NEVER sit down on a stretcher again unless you want to go to a hospital and not be able to talk to your next of kin!)
I finally got to relax and focus on working through the contractions again. Kneeling with my head on the bed worked best for me and James rubbed my back and then my ankles and feet during contractions. There were candles lit and music playing and I had a peppermint candle lit (I had craved the scent of peppermint during the whole pregnancy). The contractions were getting progressively stronger and James and I kept up our energy with apple juice and yogurt smoothies. James was shaking a smoothie to mix it when a contraction started, and I commanded “Stop shaking!” because it was distracting. We laughed about that afterwards – it was the closest I got to being rude during labor. After a little while James held me up while I squatted and we “danced” through the contractions. In spite of the pain, it was actually a very soothing and romantic atmosphere. At one point we were ending each contraction with a kiss.
At 10:15pm, after 3.5 hours of labor, Dinah checked me and I was at 6 cm. James and I couldn’t believe it! We were both expecting a much longer labor. I asked to get in the tub and Dinah started to fill it. It took 30 minutes to fill because the hot water ran out and I was getting impatient! In the tub I was kneeling and resting on my haunches with my head on James’ leg. He was sitting on the side of the tub and supported me through each contraction. It was getting more intense and it felt like each contraction didn’t come to a full stop but instead just eased off until another one hit. I had been moaning through them from the beginning and James and Dinah moaned with me. Sometimes my moaning started to climb into a whine and Dinah reminded me to keep it low, match her tone, and let myself open up. When I said it was really hard she reminded me that strong contractions were good and each one brought the baby closer to being born.
At 11:15 I asked Dinah when she was going to check me again and she said she wasn’t planning on checking me again. I didn’t understand this but was too busy focusing on contractions to ask her what she meant. After maybe 10 more minutes I was really curious where I was at centimeter-wise and started to want to push so I checked myself. To my shock I felt my baby’s head only about 3 inches up! I told Dinah this and she said if I couldn’t feel any tissue around the head then I was completely dilated. I checked again and was pretty sure I was complete. I couldn’t believe it – I didn’t think transition had even started! Dinah said I could push if my body was telling me to. After a couple more contractions I couldn’t keep myself from pushing anymore and I gave one push. I gave another push with the next contraction and reached down and felt my baby crowning! I told Dinah and had James feel the head emerging. Dinah had me stop the pushing with that contraction and with the next one supported my perineum and the baby’s head came out! One more push and his body was out! Dinah immediately had me flip over to a sitting position and handed me my baby, who was crying loudly as soon as he came into contact with air. I had a water birth after all and it was amazing!
At a post-natal checkup I asked Dinah why she didn’t check me more – at my first birth checking dilation seemed like a big deal so I didn’t understand why it wasn’t this time - and she said for two reasons:
I’ve given birth naturally before and most likely would know when the right time to push was. She was right!
With her experience she can tell by the mom’s noises and movements whether they are pushing at the right time and in the right way.
Dinah’s assistant came in just as the baby was being born, in the nick of time! Ten minutes later the placenta was out and presently I was stitched up (I had a second degree tear) and the baby was measured. He was 9 pounds, 22 inches long, with a head and chest circumference of 14.5 inches. My first one was 9 pounds and 22.5 inches, and the assistant made the comment that I must have a huge pelvis. I assume she said this because the baby was able to come out so fast in spite of being large, and I took it as a compliment.
James and our sweet baby and I rested on the bed, ate some food, the baby started nursing within the hour, and he and I then took an herbal bath to help with the swelling and healing process. We all left for home at 3 AM.
The baby was born at 11:39 PM, just under 5 hours of labor! I couldn’t ask for a more amazing birth. Other than the car accident, ambulance ride, and tearing, this was a perfect birth experience! My first one was 11 hours long and I was scared the whole time (don’t ask me what I was scared of, I have no idea). This time James and I weren’t scared at all, we were just taking contractions one at a time, and I had no idea that transition had even started until it was all over! Nobody even knew how long I was pushing for because it was so fast – probably 5 minutes. I can’t express how amazing it was to feel my baby’s progress with my own hand and being entirely in control of his birth.
It might sound weird but I think it was the best day to get into a car accident. Any other “normal” day, smashing our car would be a huge bummer, but we were so happy to have a healthy baby, healthy mom, and of course I was high on the “love cocktail “of birth hormones, so the car and other material things seemed so unimportant. We are so blessed to have our family.
I now understand how some people can say that labor and birth is a spiritual and sensual experience. It truly was! There is nothing to compare with feeling the entire process of your baby being born and sharing each moment with your partner. It really has brought us closer together and we appreciate the blessing of our children even more!