Austin’s Birth

This was written by Jennifer Cameron, CNM, of Transitions Women’s Wellness Center about a birth center birth she and I attended!

It was Abby’s second pregnancy. She had a little trouble deciding where she wanted to receive care and where she wanted to give birth so she didn’t come to Transitions until about half way through her pregnancy. She and her husband Jon both had daughters from previous relationships, but this would be their first together. They were super excited.

Abby’s previous pregnancy and birth were a bit complicated and quite traumatic. She’d had a cesarean delivery the first time that she doesn’t really feel was necessary. As a result, she had lots of fears and concerns about the current pregnancy and upcoming labor and birth. That’s what led her to me… a different kind of provider and a whole different atmosphere.

I took lots of time at each appointment reassuring her and answering her questions. I allowed her to express concerns and opinions and stay in control of all decisions regarding her care. I did not necessarily agree with every approach she opted for, but nothing that she was doing or hoping for was unsafe, just not main-stream…. just controversial. And if you know me at all, controversial should be my middle name!

The other thing that you should know about me is that I always protect a woman’s right to self-determination. I will never make her do something she does not want to do or deny her something that she does. I communicate openly and honestly and express my concerns while hearing the woman’s concerns with open ears and open mind. I believe that this sort of open and respectful relationship between patient and provider can lead to healing after previously traumatic experiences. I believed that this type of patient – provider relationship was exactly what Abby needed.

Healing was the goal for Abby. She needed to regain trust…. in her provider, in her body, in her ability to give birth normally, in her own inner strength.

Labor started with rupture of membranes (her water broke) around 10pm. No contractions at first and she tried to get some rest. She got a little…. but not much. Contractions were regular and painful by 4am and she was getting ready to head in to Transitions!

Abby, Jon and their girls arrived and settled in. Abby moved around, sat on the ball, got in the tub, laid in the bed, ate fresh fruit and drank juice and water. She did what she felt she needed to and flowed easily from one coping mechanism to the next. She was hurting, but she was working through the physical discomforts beautifully. Jon and her girls were at her side, eager yet gently supportive.

Abby was coping but she was tense. She was inside her own head…. allowing her previous trauma to infect her thoughts, inflict doubt and fear. I could see she was over thinking her labor, worried the pain meant something was wrong. I tried to reassure her…. that it was normal, that she was feeling signs of progress and her baby descending, that she was safe, that she and her baby were doing great!

She settled into the tub, with Jon behind her for support and soon began feeling the need to push. Initially she looked scared, still worrying something was wrong, doubting her body and her ability to birth normally. In time, with reassurance, she settled into her groove. She pushed hard. She was determined. The fear and the doubt faded and her inner strength rose to the surface.

The girls were close by and quietly taking in every detail. Jon was in the water behind her, supporting her with all his love and strength. With a renewed sense of self trust, Abby mustered all her strength and she pushed her son into the water and immediately pulled him up to her chest.

His cries filled the otherwise quiet room, then Abby’s cries joined his. “We have a son!” She exclaimed as she sunk back against Jon’s chest and leaned her head against his. Her relief, pride, joy and sense of accomplishment shone in her eyes. Then she looked up at me and mouthed the words “thank you.” That’s when my cries joined hers.

I always wonder why new moms thank me…. I should be thanking them. They do all the work to bring a new tiny human into the world and they allow me the privilege of witnessing it all. I definitely should have been thanking Abby!

Congratulations, Abby and Jon…. welcome to the Transitions family, Austin!