On January 20th, 2012 my husband and I had gone on our honeymoon and like a lot of other honeymooners, not long after, we found out that we were pregnant and the long journey of making decisions that could affect us and our new baby had started. The early question of whom do we want delivering our baby had snuck its way into our lives. We started doing as much research as we could handle and of course stumbled onto the movie The Business of Being Born; it was a life changing moment that had swayed our opinions of having a baby the typical way at a hospital. My husband and I had made the choice of having a homebirth.
In order for us to be comfortable with the homebirth, we wanted to find the most qualified midwife available and the hunt had begun. When we finally found her and set up our first appointment, we were astonished at the comfortable feeling she gave us. It wasn’t the typical white doctor’s office that we all dread, but a cozy place that made us confident in our decision. The prenatal care was great, and we got to know our midwife on a personal level, which is great knowing what was coming in just a few months and the journey we were quickly going through. Week by week came and went and before we knew it, we were 41 weeks pregnant and ready for this baby to join our family.
It was October 22nd, 2012 at 5a.m. when I woke uncomfortably with noticeable contractions. They weren’t painful but more of a sensation. About an hour later I decided to wake my husband, which he claims he was way more excited to meet our daughter, but I have my doubts. We had both attended birthing classes and knew that the best thing to do was to get some sleep to prepare for the coming event, which is easier said than done when your uterus is contracting every 5 minutes. Eventually lunchtime came around and like every typical labor, the contractions were a little more intense, but still not painful. I was feeling confident in how I was coping with everything. I could talk through each contraction and walking was such a relief. My family was a little more paranoid then I was and convinced me to call my midwife. The conversation tone wasn’t much different than any other phone conversation, so naturally my midwife didn’t think much of my progression at this point, but my husband wanted someone to come just in case. Of course my midwife lives 60 miles from me and had another woman showing signs of labor close to where she lived, so she sent out another midwife, who was close to us to come check us out. At 2:45p.m another midwife was knocking at the door not 20 minutes from when we talked to our midwife. She did the usual: checking my vitals and the baby’s heart beat and everything was great. She looked at me and said “Judging by your demeanor, you’re definitely not in active labor, but I can do a cervical exam just to check. We agreed so she did the exam and told us, “Well, it looks like I’m going to be staying the rest of the time, because you’re 5 centimeters dilated, 75% effaced, and in active labor.” This had blown my mind; I had worked myself up to thinking that labor was going to be intense.
A couple of hours passed and my midwife arrived: I was in active labor and I had progressed to 8 centimeters. This was it; we were on the home stretch. At any time we would be meeting our little girl. But then a couple more hours had passed. The contractions had intensified, and I could really feel it now and they were painful! It had gotten to the point where walking was no longer helping, so we tried to just lie on the bed, but the pain tripled while lying down. There was no way I was going to stay there!
It’s now 9 p.m and my midwife wants to do another cervical exam. She informs my husband and me that I’m still 8 centimeters and the baby’s head is crooked in my pelvis or transverse. Typically for a situation like this if you were in the hospital you would be on your way for a C-section, but we are firm believers that our bodies are the best resource we have. The midwife takes my husband out of the room to talk about our options. She told him that they could break the water, which would hopefully move the baby in the correct position and help me to get to full dilation. Our other option was to transport to the hospital. We wanted so bad to experience this tremendous moment in the comfort of our own home and give birth the way nature intended, but at the same time our baby’s safety is our priority. Since the baby wasn’t in any distress, we decided to stay and try to put me in different positions in the hope that would change our baby’s position.
We tried this till 1 a.m, but nothing was working. While in the other room the midwife who checked on me earlier that day when mine was unavailable said “I know a chiropractor who specializes in pregnancy.” My husband, knowing that the hospital was a last resort, said immediately “call her and let’s get her over here.” Being 1:30 in the morning we really didn’t think she was going to answer her phone, but sure enough she picked up and was over in 30 minutes. When she got there I had gotten the urge to start pushing, but the chiropractor needed to do an adjustment on me and check to see where the baby was before I could push. She started poking me around my abdomen and sure enough the baby was crooked in my pelvis. She started to adjust my sacrum and discovered that it was buckled and due to the lack of cartilage I had, it had become unstable and would never stay in place by itself. After the adjustment the chiropractor said, “We need to float the baby.” Everyone in the room looked at her like she was crazy. She had my husband and father carry in an ottoman; at this point I was so exhausted I was willing to try anything. She told me to kneel on the ottoman then put my elbows on the ground, which I did with the help of my husband. I was literally upside down and thus gravity took over and floated the baby toward my ribcage. After I got back up, the baby had descended back into my pelvis, only this time in the correct position. Everyone was feeling pretty relieved, and we are all ready to keep the ball rolling. I had chosen to sit on the birthing stool to see if it would bring any fortune, and sure enough at 3:30 a.m., my water broke. Although the baby was in the correct position in my pelvis, she hadn’t dropped all the way, and her heart rate was too low for comfort. Again the midwives had pulled my husband aside saying that if the baby’s heart rate didn’t go back up soon, we would be on our way to the hospital. Much to our relief immediately the heart rate went back to normal. Before I could push, the chiropractor wanted to adjust my sacrum one last time, so at 4:23 a.m., I stood up to let her adjust my lower back when she mentioned that it would be best to deliver the baby standing up. I’d had my heart set on giving birth in the pool, but at this point I was ready to meet my little girl. After she had adjusted me, and four pushes later I could see my daughter’s head. The cord was wrapped around her neck twice, but with ease my midwife untangled it. One last push and on October 23rd, 2012 at 4:47 a.m., I got to meet the most beautiful little baby with a full head of hair and my labor was finally over.
This was the most extreme, hard, yet rewarding experience. I could not have gone into this without the knowledge from my birth class instructor. She gave us the confidence that what we were doing was right for us. I’m blown away how my three midwife fairies came and took care of me with such grace. All three, so different but complimented each other so nicely. My mom, dad, sister, and mother-in-law could never know how much support they gave me. They each had a very special way of helping me through labor. And my chiropractor “o” my chiropractor this would not have turned out the same if she did not come. I am so blessed she did what she did and thankful. She truly gave me the birth I wanted and in a way saved my daughter and me. Most importantly I could not have done this without my husband. He made some hard decisions while still taking care of me “o” so calmly. I couldn’t ask for anything more perfect from him. He is the best and most loving dad and husband. I’m blessed and honored to have had the experience of a homebirth with the support of my family.
(Dotti’s note: See the video of Lancaster Chiropractic doing an adjustment on baby Myah just days after the birth.)