Declan Asher's Birth

Despite two previous hospital transfers for different reasons, I wanted to try for another homebirth. I loved the midwives I used for my second birth (Midwives Cooperative) and I was excited to perhaps have the homebirth I had been dreaming of. However, at 10 days past due, I was facing a possible induction at the hospital. I talked to my husband and we decided to take a day to try and do as much as possible to get things moving on their own. I had my membranes stripped by my midwife and scheduled an appointment with a chiropractor. After having my membranes stripped I definitely noticed some mild contractions, but after a couple of false alarms in the previous weeks I decided to just wait until they made me pay attention to them.

After visiting the chiropractor, almost immediately my contractions picked up. They were crampy and much more noticeable. I was so excited; this could be it! I went home and laid down to try and nap or rest before things really got going, and called my midwives to let them know it was possible I was in labor. I rested some, but I found myself too excited to sleep. Around 6pm, my mother in law arrived to care for the kids and I asked my husband to come join me as I wanted more support during contractions since they were starting to get stronger. I sat and rocked on the birth ball, and got in a hands and knees position leaning over the ball with my chest while Matt did some good counter pressure on my back. At 7pm we called the midwives, as my contractions were about 6 minutes apart but really long, about 1 minute and 30 seconds. My previous birth was about 4.5 hours from start to finish, and I was worried this one might be even quicker. She told me to call back when they were closer to 5 minutes apart. It didn't take long for them to get to that point.

The midwives arrived just before 8pm. I asked if we could set up the birth pool, but my midwife asked if she could check me first, because I was contracting pretty close together and she was worried I might not make it in the tub. I agreed, and she encouraged me to empty my bladder first. I did, and as I was sitting on the toilet, I started having a contraction. I heard and felt a "pop" and a gush of liquid that was not urine came out. "My water broke!" I said. My midwife said, "Great! What color is it?"

I looked in the toilet and it was green. I said, "uhhh it definitely has some meconium". They came in to look and both midwives stepped out to chat for a moment. Then, one of them broke the bad news to me. "That is classic particulate meconium. You have to transfer to the hospital." I was so disappointed. She asked if she could check my cervix so we could see if there was time to get to the hospital, and I was 3cm. Plenty of time. Unfortunately, they had to call an ambulance again, because that is the best way to bypass triage and get into a delivery room. The midwives stepped out for a minute to call and to let me talk to my husband. I cried a few tears, packed a bag, and walked into the ambulance when they got to my house.

The EMT was a woman, and made small talk with me while we drove to the hospital, and I breathed through contractions. When I got to the hospital, I was pushed upstairs in a wheelchair, even though I asked if I could walk. The nurse told me to sit, and then told me to please not have the baby in the elevator. We got set up in the delivery room and after having a few contractions in the bed I said, "if I have to be here, strapped down to this bed, I want an epidural". My midwife laughed and said she understood and would probably say the same in my situation. The OB checked me and I was 5cm, so they sent in anesthesia. I went to relieve my bladder again, and then sat on the edge of the bed while the anesthesiologist cleaned my back. My contractions were right on top of each other and I was moaning loudly with each one. My husband looked at me and said "this is the last contraction before relief comes". I nodded in agreement and at the end of the contraction I had a very strong urge to bear down. I screamed, "I'm pushing!!"

The nurse was shocked, because it was 9:25 and I was 5cm just 25 minutes before. She said "what?" And my midwife said, "that sounded a lot like transition. The baby is coming." She said, "well stop pushing! We need to get the doctor in here!" If I could have laughed I would have, because telling a woman who is giving birth and having precipitous labor to stop pushing is ridiculous. I sat back onto the bed, and he was already crowning. Another contraction came and my body did all the pushing for me, and his head was out. The OB came running in, still putting her gloves on, and gently unwrapped the cord from his neck. One more push and he was out, crying, and completely covered in meconium. I mean everywhere, green in his eyes, ears, and the folds of his skin. But he was crying, so they let me hold him.

He was perfect! The pushing was so quick; I literally did not feel any pain in that part. He came out so smoothly and perfectly, I was amazed. The anesthesiologist looked at the OB and said, "I'm so glad you got in here when you did. It's been a while since med school and that's the last time I delivered a baby". His face was priceless. We all laughed and I held my baby while he searched for my breast and nursed for the first time. We had a wonderful hour of skin to skin time before they weighed and measured him. Declan was 8lbs 11oz and 21.5 inches long, born at 9:30pm. Only 2.5 hours of labor! I was glad, in the end, that I didn't get the epidural.   I wish I had been able to stay home, but I understand the concern about aspirating meconium- thankfully, Declan did not aspirate any meconium! I consider that a miracle, considering how much meconium he had on him! He has been such a blessing to me ever since.

Alex Holding Newborn Declan