I never thought as a (soon to be) midwife, that I would get duped into thinking that I was in labor… when I wasn’t. But it happened.
When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I was working on finishing midwifery school with a busy Certified Nurse Midwife in Orlando. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions since about 22 weeks and having tons of contractions after 36 weeks. It seemed as though my baby girl would get excited at births and was trying to communicate with her new friends! Maternity leave started for me at 36 weeks when I took a road trip, to New Jersey for my cousin’s wedding (not that I am condoning this by any means!), with my husband, my mom & her fiancé and my 5 year old daughter, Charli. For the weeks following, I worked on relaxing (but was mostly freaking out about getting my final birth managements for school, too bad I couldn’t count my *own*, right?!), getting everything ready for our newest bundle and enjoying the last remaining time that Charli would be an only child. (Especially those sweet moments where she would rub her sister through my belly and sing her improvised, darling lullabies
There was one day in particular I had awoken to regular, yet mild contractions. I really, *really* thought this was the day! I felt quite different from any other time I was experiencing contractions. While I knew it was prodromal stuff at the time & the desire to have her that *particular* day was strong (my hubby’s birthday and he was so excited at the thought of sharing it with his daughter), it didn’t seem like they would fizzle out later… But they did. I had contractions ALL. DAY. And as it goes with prodromal labor, these contractions weren’t getting any stronger or closer together throughout the day. There I was, a person who by no means was a miserable pregnant woman *desperate* to have her baby, a person who was only 10 birth managements away from completing midwifery training, duped by false labor. If this kid turns out to be a practical joker, it would in no way surprise me ;-)
So the next ten days were pretty uneventful… Bradley (my husband) and I celebrated our 10th year together, but other than that, it was very low key. My mother (who is in school to be a certified nurse midwife) had planned on coming over from Orlando to take Charli to Disney and offered to bring her back & stay with us for a few days. And then, on Wednesday September 30th, at 6:45 in the morning… I awoke to my water releasing… a very strange & noticeable feeling, if you’ve never experienced this before. Her movement was great and I called Charlie (Midwife Charlie Rae Young of Barefoot Birth) to let her know right away. I wandered into the room where my mom was and had her check heart tones with the doppler. And as excited as she was, she knew I needed my space and decided to go to Panera Bread until after the birth. Also to attend was Bradley’s sister, Brittany. She was going to help us with Charli and take pictures with her awesome underwater camera! I just adore her and was so happy she could make it… Wednesday was the *only* day she could come that week. It just so happened that Charlie was also already coming for a home visit that day. Seems to be that Everette knew the most perfect day to arrive! (Fun little side fact, if you subscribe to astrology like I do… She was born during the ‘Week of Perfection’!)
So I had my people with me and knowing that my mom would be around for a couple of days after, I was so comforted… And ready to rock this birth!
When Charlie arrived, a little before noon, I was definitely in active labor. We started getting the tub filled and I was finding my groove. Watching Key and Peele on our laptop and making sure *somebody* was rubbing my back with each surge. The back labor was quite strong this time.
Once I became active, my contractions came on with such a fierce power. I quickly became nauseated and was feeling pressure at the peak of each wave. Charlie asked me if I wanted to get in the tub at some point and I remember saying “it’s just not time yet”. I believe she told me to “get out of [my] midwife head” and I got in that magical Rubbermaid trough shortly after that J I don’t think hot water ever felt as good as it did that day, not in my entire life!
As a side note… One amazing thing about having Charlie as your midwife (one out of several thousand) is that she makes little notes of wonderful little things that happen, outside of just labor progress, charting vitals, etc. For example, about ½ an hour before Everette was born, my daughter Charli came in and wanted to sing to the baby. Charlie charted this and when I looked back in my notes several months later, this brought a small, sweet tear to my eye. As I had no recollection of that happening. It was like I was able to relive that whole wonderful day over again, with all of the details that were so small and ever so important. As a midwife, I strive to do this in every birth now. Those funny little things that could become such a magnificent memory should be notated to look back upon!
Back to it! I remember getting in the tub at about 1pm and lightly bearing down shortly after. Not full on pushing… but just enough to relieve that pressure. The minute that she descended into the birth canal… I thought I was losing it (in my mind)! Brittany asked if she could take a video of the birth (remember that fantastic underwater camera I mentioned?) and I apparently shot that idea down hard. ***reason #310,148 to love Charlie, she quietly encouraged Brittany to take the video anyway. Knowing you can always go back to take stills from the video, but that we’ll all be happy to have the birth recorded. Genius. I’m *so incredibly thankful* for this insanely amazing birth, documented forever.
From water breaking to birth, was 7 hours 31 minutes. About 3 ½ hours of active labor. Bearing down for a little over an hour and actively pushing for a little less than 10 minutes.
This is what natural birth looks like. This is something to brag about. Women who love their birth (no matter how they birth their babies) *should* brag about it. Birth needs to be positive! Birth should be a joyous, healthy & pivotal moment in a woman’s life… in a family’s life.
I hope to have the honor of assisting some beautiful families up here in Hernando County!! So many moms want a safe and alternative birth experience and I’m so happy for the opportunity to fill the out-of-hospital provider void we’ve had in this area!