“When you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change.” -Marie Mongan
My little sister had to experience birth a lot sooner than most of us. She was 17 when she had her first child. She didn’t know what to expect. She didn’t know the full extent of having a child. She didn’t ask questions. All she knew was she was scared of pain, and everyone always made it sound so awful. She knew she wanted to be a mom, though, and that was enough for her… at the time.
She had an easy first pregnancy; no sickness, no complications. They scheduled to induce with Misoprostol (Cytotec) to see what that did first. That kicked her into labor in about an hour. Epidural followed not long after and never felt anything else. However, during birth she developed a blood clot in her ovarian vein. This is a very rare occurrence and most doctors don’t know to look for the signs. Jessica knew something was wrong right away, because she walked bent over and couldn’t stand up without extreme pain. She had major chills and high fever. The doctor that delivered was a partner of her doctor she planned on having present. He shrugged the symptoms off and sent her home. After one week of still a lot of pain she went to see her doctor and after hearing her symptoms, he immediately sent her over to be scanned and she was admitted an hour later for a week to make sure the blood clot went away and did not move to a place that could cause immediate death. However! Cameron, her newborn, was born 4 hours after the pill insert and was healthy and strong. Jessica recovered fully! Praise JESUS!
Her second pregnancy went pretty smoothly as well. A little morning sickness in the beginning and then it was smooth sailing. She scheduled and planned for the epidural. They used Misoprostol again and her son was born 2-3 hours later!! (Her and my mom got the quick labor gene apparently). The epidural didn’t take full effect, so she felt all the contractions and got a little taste of natural labor! However, because of the epidural, she was not able to move around or get up to work through each contraction so it ended up being miserable laying half way on her back and halfway on her side. Conrad was completely healthy and she had no complications afterwards!
This is where her life gets a little more exciting….
She started to entertain the idea of having a natural, non medicated birth. During this pregnancy, my sister-in-law(her birth stories are coming soon) had just had a home birth attended by a midwife. She spoke so highly about her experience to Jessica. Jessica started doing some research.. Her insurance wouldn’t cover a home birth and midwifery was still illegal in the state of Alabama, so she found a doctor with high recommendations for natural births.
Her third pregnancy wasn’t quite as easy. She didn’t have any complications during birth, but was sick most of the time. She dealt with nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, and blackouts. She started going into consistent labor around 8:00 P.M. at their house. Her two older kids were already down for bed when she told her husband they needed to go. Their plan was to have my mom come stay with the boys while they went to the hospital, but my mom lived an hour away…. Jessica knew they couldn’t wait. Tj, her husband, was determined that she could LOL! Through fierce pregnant-mom-in-labor requests, Tj got the boys up to put them in their car seats and have my mom meet them at the hospital.
This story seriously cracks me up. Sorry sis. I know it was a pretty hectic night in your eyes. (They laugh about it now, too!)
Just imagine my sister on their back porch hunching down trying to hold her baby in when she knew it was time. She is yelling at Tj to come deliver their baby, because she wasn’t going to make it time and he is yelling back at her to keep him in while he got the kids and bags in the car. Then, He literally forces her to the car and gets her in the front seat. During all of this, Tj is on the phone with my mom explaining the new plans to meet them at the hospital.
Screaming wife in full dilation labor, toddlers in the backseat, trying to give my mom directions to the hospital, going about 100 MPH, hanging up the phone to help keep Jessica calm, calling Mom back to see if she can calm Jessica down… getting a good image yet? If any of you have ever been 10 centimeters dilated and ready to push and someone tells you to hold it in, you can probably relate to her pain. This isn’t the kind of labor pain that most women have though, because when it is time to push we are able to deliver.
I can’t remember fully how she finally convinced Tj to pull over, but he did…into the Burger King parking lot. He called 9-1-1, and the fire department that answered happened to be right across the street. Her water broke as they were pulling in and Tj got her out to put her into the back of their Expedition. The firemen pulled up at this time and had just enough time to deliver Coby as he was being born. She was soon surrounded by 5 firemen, 5 policemen (all men!) reading a MANUAL of what to do and what not to do. She said at one point she heard the guy reading the manual say “It says here, to not pull on the umbilical cord”. I am literally trying not to laugh out loud right now. Phew, I can not imagine!
Coby was perfectly healthy and neither her or baby had any complications. He was born at 10:30 P.M. Y’all…. all of this happened in 2 1/2 hours!! The ambulance took them to the hospital. They knew it wasn’t necessary to stay at the hospital if they were fine, but because of insurance coverage, they would not cover their hospital bills if they checked out early, so they stayed for the 2 days required. A nurse told her that they should have just gone home and taken him to the pediatrician the next morning.
We had to go in and get him a Burger King crown. It only seemed necessary.
This may not sound like a great birth story, but at the same time they have quite the story to tell of a birth that, even out of a facility, the mother in labor knows what she is feeling and her body takes its natural course of birth and delivers without complications. Plus she wasn’t traumatized too much because about 6 months later, she was expecting again!
After the experience with Coby and going natural, she mentioned to Tj that they stay home the next time. With his approval, she started researching information about the birth process, possible complications, and how to prevent and fix or maintain until help could get there. She bought all the supplies that she read was needed in a delivery (half of them weren’t used).
You might be thinking she is crazy by now. Unfortunately for women in Alabama, and other states where midwifery is illegal, women are taking these approaches of having unattended births at home. Our thought process by now, however, is that it is NATURAL.
Once she started going into labor, they set up the bed and table of supplies. Tj called 9-1-1, when they knew it was too close to be transferred for delivery, for a peace of mind for my mom “just in case”. The firemen came and observed after seeing that Tj could handle it, because by law if the firemen caught her baby they would have to turn them over to the ambulance, which was made very clear in the beginning that they would not be leaving. She was able to move freely around the comfort of her own home and help keep labor moving steadily. She labored for 5 1/2 hours before delivering her 4th son safely and no complications of birth.
Unfortunately, again, she developed another blood clot this time, but it was caught in time and she is safe and healthy! Her last pregnancy was her most difficult. She had extreme nausea and had to stay in bed most of the time. But she explains her home birth experience as perfect and was so glad she chose to do that!
Jessica and Tj did not go in to the unattended home-birth situation blindly. They searched and studied as much information as they could find. She found peace knowing that women all over this world give birth in unattended situations and have healthy babies. She knew she could too and wanted to experience the joy and exhilaration of birthing naturally in a comfortable environment.
Once again, these four births by the same woman were all COMPLETELY different, but Jessica said they were very happy with their home experience. The calm, rest, no intrusive visits, and just continuing life in the comfort of their own home made it all the more special to bond with their new baby without interruptions.
Oh and by the way….. Jessica is 23 with 4 handsome boys and killing it as a mom!
More power to Us Women,
** I do not recommend an unattended home birth. I share her story in hopes that midwifery laws will be passed to practice freely in ALL states, to give women an alternative SAFE option of birthing.**