Abigail's Birth Report

Birth Report

Parent’s Name: John & Angela Bridgewater… & big sister Lydia (2yrs.)

Baby’s Name & Birthday: Abigail Faith, June 30th 2012

This was our 2nd baby and our 1st home birth.

Why did you choose to have your baby at home?

During my first pregnancy I took Bradley Method classes and was excited to have a natural birth. Lydia was breech though so we had a scheduled C-section. After lots of research and prayer we felt that home birth was the best option for a successful VBAC.

Describe your labor and birth.

I was 41 weeks and had no signs of labor up to the morning she was born. I woke up with very mild back pain. I didn’t really think it was anything more than being sore from going for a boat ride the day before. John, Lydia, and I went out for breakfast and I noticed that the ache came and went, but I still didn’t think it was anything. In fact we told my mother in law not to cancel her plans so she headed 2 hours away for the day! I was convinced that since this was my first labor it was going to be long and I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up…especially mine. I texted Patrice at around 10:45 while walking around Meijers. When we got home I thought I would do some cleaning and figured that if this was labor it was still going to be quite a while before she was born. Patrice and I texted a few more times and she had me call her around 1:45. She said it sounded like the beginning of labor and to call her back at 2:30 unless I needed to call sooner. Luckily I had gotten Lydia down for a nap when we got home because things really sped up after I talked to Patrice. I had this idea in my mind that I would have plenty of time to clean up all the toys in the living room, wash the dishes, and tidy up the rest of the house in between contractions. In reality I barely managed to pay a bill online and get a load of laundry out of the dryer. John came in from the garage and found me sitting on an exercise ball and could tell that things were getting serious. He tried to time a few contractions but I was sure he was doing something wrong because he was saying that they were lasting longer and coming closer together than I thought they should be. I panicked a little thinking that we had no idea what we were doing if we couldn’t even figure out how to time contractions. I called my mom to have her come over and then went to lay down. Throughout my whole labor I kept remembering things that I had read and learned. I thought it was too early to lay down and that I should be walking and moving but the pain started getting pretty intense and laying down with my eyes closed was all I wanted to do. John rubbed my back for me since that’s where most of the pain was. We tried timing a few more contractions. I asked what time it was, it was 2:20. I had John call Patrice because things seemed to be moving so quickly and I didn’t want to talk. I remember getting ready to text some friends and to them start praying for us but I never actually sent them the message. From then on it is kind of a blur but I will do my best to remember how things happened. I labored for a little bit longer before anyone else came over. Somehow Lydia stayed asleep through lots of moaning but when she woke up she kept hugging me, it was so sweet. My mom got to our house pretty quick and then Barb got here. When she came they had me go to the bathroom where I had a couple more contractions. They changed the bedding and got everything ready. We were planning a water birth but it didn’t quite work out. The tub had been set up for a couple weeks but wasn’t full so once my mom and Barb were there John started filling it. He hooked up the hose to the water heater but for some reason it filled with cold water. At that point though I didn’t care at all because I did NOT want to move! In fact it took a lot of convincing just to get me to go to the bathroom. I’m not sure when but Patrice, Dorothy, and my mother in law all came. I have no idea what time or in what order they arrived but I know they all made it. After going to the bathroom I came back and labored in bed on my side. I remember doing things and hitting certain points in labor that I had read about but thought they couldn’t be happening so fast. I kept thinking that I was supposed to be getting little breaks between contractions but they kept coming right on top of each other. My poor hubby was timing right, I was just in denial! I started to get a little discouraged because I thought there was no way I would be able to do this for another 12 hours ( I thought for sure I would have a long labor). Finally I said out loud, “I can’t do this.” Then I remembered that usually when you get to the point where you think you can’t do it anymore you are probably close to the end. I still didn’t want to get my hopes up though. I got hiccups which I knew could happen in transition, but again I didn’t want to get too excited in case I was nowhere near the end. I finally got a break between contractions long enough to almost fall asleep, it was wonderful. Then things started feeling different. I felt a lot of pressure. It felt like I had to go to the bathroom. They had me get up and go which I really didn’t want to do. Things went even faster after that. When I came back to the bedroom I knelt on the floor instead of getting back in bed. At some point I grunted which I knew was a good sign. I started getting excited and nervous. Patrice told me I could push if I wanted but I was so scared that I would poop. Looking back it was pretty silly but at the time it made me cry. Finally I started pushing and my water broke. There was meconium in the water but if I remember right it was fresh and nobody seemed worried about it. After my water broke I got back in bed and started pushing while laying on my side. Dorothy held my leg up while I pushed. These midwives are so awesome and strong! I remember looking up at one point to see that I was about to rip the sleeve right off Patrice’s shirt (sorry again J ). I had very strong pushing contractions which I was thankful for. I was so worried that I wouldn’t know how or when to push but my body pretty much did what it needed to without me thinking about what to do. At this point my mother in law took Lydia outside to play. Up until then she was fine playing in the house and thought that I was just singing mommy songs J but my “song” got a little more intense while I pushed. The worst part of pushing for me was the back pain. I had back labor throughout the whole thing but when I was pushing, the pressure on my tailbone was awful. I think the back labor was a blessing in disguise though. At no point during my labor did I have any fear about my incision from Lydia’s C-section. None of the pain was in that area. Thankfully I had a very short pushing stage. Looking back at the paperwork, I started feeling pushing at 5:12 and she was born at 6:08!!! It didn’t feel short at the time. After one of the pushes Patrice held up her fingers and showed me that she saw about a quarter size of her head. I didn’t find that information very encouraging, I think I said something like, “that’s not very much” or “is that all?!” A couple pushes later John said he could see that she had hair, to that I responded “I don’t care”!  Luckily, those were the only mean things I said. I don’t know how many times I pushed but at one point they had me blow through a contraction, which was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Then she was born. Just like that I snapped back to reality. I finally could see and interact with everyone that was there. I felt so strong and thankful for all the loving people around me. I could not believe what I had just done! I had a beautiful, gooey baby girl laying on my belly right where my old C-section scar was. My body did what it was supposed to. She was healthy. I was healthy. And we were at home!! The whole experience was pretty surreal. It was also the opposite of what I experienced with Lydia’s birth. During that I was totally with it during the surgery and then completely disconnected to everything and everybody once she was born. I spent the first couple hours alone in recovery, so drugged that I don’t even know what the nurse looked like. My mother in law brought Lydia in to meet her baby sister. She also got to help daddy cut the cord. Abigail nursed shortly after that. It was so wonderful to all be home together. The midwives hung around for a while to make sure everything was good. They even started our laundry!! Dorothy helped me to the bathroom. I was very light headed but she stayed with me and helped me get back
to bed. Someone brought me some juice and a snack while they weighed and measured Abigail. I’m amazed and grateful for such caring people that helped during such a special time. After everyone left John fell asleep and I got Lydia to sleep. I still had quite a bit of energy from all the excitement but eventually I fell asleep too, with a sweet new baby in my arms. It has taken me way too long to write this, Abigail is 9 months old ( by the way there was no doubt in my mind that she would be “late”… I think it’s genetic J) and I still look down at her sleeping next to me and think “ what a peaceful way to enter the world”. She has only slept in one bed, the same one she was born in!

What was your favorite part of your baby’s birth?

Not having anyone interfere with the natural birth process. I never even had to be checked once. Everybody was so calm and supportive. Also it was great to have the whole family there. I think it helped transition our 2 year old into not being the only child a lot easier than if we had to leave her while we went to the hospital.

What would you do differently if you had another baby?

Make sure I had the house clean and get everything ready and the way I want it before I went into labor. I figured I’d have plenty of time to do things while I was in labor.

How can we improve our services?

Everything is great the way it is! I’m still amazed at the knowledge you guys have, the attention to detail of me as a person and our whole family, not just my pregnancy, and the comfort and safe feelings that you create. I always looked forward to prenatal appointments because it was like visiting friends or family rather than a medical visit!