Ok, so first of all, a little love for my beloved midwife Tara. She is just... the best. I couldn't have asked for a better person to journey through both my pregnancies and births with. She is kind, compassionate and so full of wisdom. Writing this from her perspective was actually her idea. How awesome is that?
For those that may have missed it, you can read Audrey's birth story (from my perspective) HERE (Part 1) and HERE (Part 2). Also, just to add to the birth story fun, you can read Elliott's HERE.
Ok, here we go... Audrey's Birth Story from the perspective of my midwife, Tara
One of my favorite parts of being a midwife is being able to walk alongside a repeat client for her next pregnancy and birth. Melissa is someone who engages fully in her care and self-educates, and her first birth had been a straightforward, uncomplicated event, and a delight. We midwives tend to see a trend towards second babies being faster and more efficient than first babies, and because Melissa’s first baby had arrived a week before her due date, I expected that this second baby arrival early was a distinct possibility – meaning we were all on tenterhooks for the week or two prior to her due date. However, the mind is a powerful thing, and the baby seemed to know it would be best to delay her arrival due to the difficult circumstances surrounding Melissa’s dad’s accident.
Finally, it was “time”. Given how well Melissa had coped with her first labour (from an outsiders perspective!), and given my distance to her house, I was planning to go in labour as soon as it appeared that there was any progress in the contraction pattern. Melissa called around 5:30 to let me know that things had begun around 2am and the contractions were a little over 5 minutes apart. Almost every mom doubts that this is the “real thing”, so I encouraged her to get up and move around, try eating some breakfast, etc. No matter what happens, energy from food is usually a good thing. She was very calm on the phone, and I didn’t get the sense that things were particularly imminent, so I got up, dressed and ate something.
In the middle of that, Melissa was texting me to figure out how to fill the pool (which told me her contractions weren’t yet demanding her full attention), but by 7:30 was reporting that the contractions had now moved closer to 3 minutes apart and were hurting “substantially more”. I was on my way at that point, and was privately a tiny bit worried to hear she was alone since Chris was dropping off Elliot. My sense was things were definitely picking up and I didn’t think we’d be waiting until the afternoon to meet this baby.
I arrived at 8:15am to a very peaceful house, with Melissa blissfully enjoying the now filled birth pool. I asked a few questions – no, she didn’t think her water had broken, yes, the pool made things better, no, she didn’t want a vaginal exam (I didn’t recommend it). I got my equipment set up by 8:45 and tried to get a feel for where we were at with this labour. The baby’s heart rate was great, and all appeared to be progressing normally.
Like I had noted with her first labour, Melissa copes VERY WELL with her contractions and it was a bit tough to determine when to call my backup midwife due to how chill she was. Dilation of the cervix doesn’t happen uniformly, so even if I knew how open her cervix was, it wouldn’t have told me exactly when the baby would be born. I encouraged her to tell me if she was noting any increased pressure in her bum (she was not), and started to apply counter pressure on her lower back, which seemed to help. By 9:20 I was starting to feel very “antsy”, I just had this feeling she would be pushing within an hour or so and I called Heidi (my backup midwife) and told her she should probably start heading over. Melissa wasn’t feeling any rectal pressure, nor had her water broken, plus she was still super chatty and concerned with logistics with Elliott in between contractions but …. I just KNEW. Heidi was in the middle of dropping off some items at home and I remember telling Heidi that I was “pretty sure” she’d make it, but that she should probably come directly there, as she lived a fair distance away.
Sure enough, at 9:35, Melissa verbalized a SUDDEN and STRONG pressure in her bum.
And that’s when I knew Heidi wouldn’t make it, lol.
She was not yet spontaneously bearing down with her contraction, but started vocalizing for the first time. Melissa was making “that sound”. That sound that women make when there is a baby descending through their vagina. It is a Very.Distinct.Sound. I hurried through the kitchen to the side of the pool where I knew the baby would be coming, and Melissa was DEFINITELY pushing. Nope, no time to get gloves on, but it didn’t matter. I was not going to be the one to catch this baby, as it turns out!
And, with literally one push, at 9:36, Audrey entered the world, vigorous, and delivered completely by the hands of Melissa. She brought the baby up to her chest, and the baby had great tone, was pinking up quickly, and was breathing/crying. I could only laugh at the fact that it had all happened so fast! I never look to see what the gender of the baby is, as it’s fun to watch the parents discover on their own, so I suggested Melissa check and see – a GIRL!
I called Heidi back and told her not to worry about driving all the way out – the excitement was done. Melissa’s placenta came easily, there was no suturing needed, and Audrey was in perfect health. What a beautiful example of how it is the WOMAN that delivers her baby – I’m just keeping watch. It was such a blessing to witness, and a joy to be there.
Stay tuned friends! I've convinced Chris to write his perspective too. It just might take a little while before he gets to writing it...