Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Home Birth

March 13, 2010

Wow. Amazing. I am so grateful. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for God's tender blessings and mercies...
Last night was like any other night. I settled in to read on my bed around 10-11p.m. I read a little longer than normal, noticing the contractions that seemed to come every night as I read. I settled down to sleep at nearly 1a.m., I had a big day Saturday - I was planning on helping at the Highland Stake Preparedness Fair like I usually do - outside, running the payment situation and water barrels and wheat bucket pick up. So, I mentally scolded myself for reading so late into the night and settled down to sleep. Just like most every night for the last month, I was awakened by mild contractions about 3:15 a.m. I used the restroom and settled back down like normal. But, there was no getting back to sleep, I was very uncomfortable and just after 3:35, gave up on the whole bed thing.

I went to the kitchen for a drink of water, and my husband was awake at the computer. I told him, if he was up, I would sure like it if he would go caulk our master bathtub. Another contraction came, attention getting but rather mild, and I repeated my request. He looked at me and asked "What are you saying?" As he came into the kitchen and held me. My honest response; "I don't know, I just think it would be a good idea."

"Are you in labor?"

"I don't know," I responded, "but maybe my water is leaking."

He took a quick peek and announced "Yep, you're in labor; your water is broken. Are you going to call the midwife now?"

"I don't know what to tell her - I'm not sure how close my contractions are or even if they are real ones yet," I responded.

My husband had crashed on the couch in his work clothes and went to use the restroom and take a shower. I was able to record two contractions and set up my laptop to a website I had heard of that helped time contractions at the push of the 'S' key.

I wanted to be near him. I knocked on the bathroom door. "Did you call the midwives?" he asked.


"Well, are you going to call them or do you want me to just deliver the baby?" he demanded irritably.

"I'll go call them." I certainly wasn't trying to irritate him or cause him to feel vulnerable.

About 4 a.m. I woke up Michelle Bartlett, my midwife and apologized for the middle of the night call. "I think I, well, I think my water broke about 10 minutes ago, and I think I might be having contractions - maybe they are 5 minutes apart, but it's hard for me to tell. It seems that I have stronger contractions every 5 minutes and little baby ones in between. I'm not sure..." she started talking... I started breathing. I just remember that she told me she would call back soon; there was another mother in labor at the birthing center - the midwives would need to coordinate who would do what.

I got myself another drink, took a tablespoon of flax oil and a shot of NingXia Red. Now a good old contraction hit, and I felt I was drowning in it. I couldn't breath. I told myself - "get a hold of yourself, your labor is just barely starting - you can do this!" I took a breath. "JASON!" I called. "I need you."

"Can I get dressed first?" he called. He had just gotten out of the shower.

"Yes, I just want you to be by me." I sighed.

Funny thing about mother nature, when she starts to take over, logic and reasoning use an ever smaller amount of your brain. And though I was talking and reasoning with myself, I began to be caught up in the tidal wave of force that she brings to bear as a life enters into this world.

Jason came and walked me to the bedroom. I could hear his blood pressure rising in every word he said. "This is it. The midwives won't make it. You're going to have this baby. Where are the plastic sheets? Where are the towels? (All the supplies had been gathered and placed all together in an extra room). What do you need? What should I do?" His words and sentenced raced away with his calm in tow.

He found the plastic shower curtains and laid them on the bedroom floor. I headed for the phone. I was surprised the midwife hadn't called back yet. It was now about 4:25 a.m. But I knew I needed to call her... I began "I am involuntarily pushing with the contractions."

"Don't push. PANT. I am on my way already."

"Good, I thought, she knew to come with that first strange call. I can do this. I can breathe thru this. I can wait to push, just like last time. No problem." I rallied and mentally encouraged myself. I got down into the same position as 'last time' when I seemed able to hold off the urge to push. But my logically brain was loosing and almost gone... I struggled to let it remain in control. Pant, pant, oops little push. Pant, pant, pant whoa push, big gush of water... uh oh.

Jason was being instructed on the phone to get me to lay down on my side. I knew if I tried to move, the panting thing would be over and I would loose this mental battle. He hung up the phone to try and help me. "On the bed, on your side - she wants you on your side."

"No, no, can't... Okay. I'll try to lay on my side here on the floor-get me my big pillows." I consented. Jason threw my pillows onto the floor and kneeled down by me to help me onto my side for the purpose of slowing down the labor. As I moved myself a few inches to the side - like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, my mind registered something... I could feel something between my legs. "Wait. You need to cut my pants off, I think there's something there." I instructed Jason.

He quickly removed them. And 'freak out' is the only way I can describe his reaction as he said, "It's her leg - SHE'S BREECH! I've got to call 911! Oh, no, I've got to call 911!!!"

I held onto her little foot and said "NO. Call the midwife. C a l l t h e m i d w i f e, Jason." He grabbed and fumbled for the phone, misdialing the number two or three times. He finally got the number right. "Calm down, it's okay," I kept telling him. He wasn't listening to me on that one at all. "Please hold up my leg, it's getting tired," I requested. Now that he could do. The midwife was on the phone and I asked him to hand me the phone.

"I am lying on my right side, on the floor, and the baby's leg is out... and my husband is freaking out." I calmly informed her.

"Give him the phone," she said.

"He is really freaking out," I emphasized. (In other words; I need someone to be calm - I hoped I was communicating to her).

"Give him the phone." I handed it over, and clearly heard her demand to Jason. "Okay, I need you to do two things. First; CALM DOWN. You have got to calm down."

"Okay," he responded, and took a deep breath, immediately calmed.

"Now, the second"... her words faded from my hearing, probably with her volume - or it could have been because I was consumed, once again, and logic and reason were no longer at my command.

Jason took the foot from me. I wanted to hold her foot. I felt alone, pouty. I wanted her foot.

But I knew he was doing what the midwife instructed. "It's her left foot," he reported to the phone. I felt her almost twisting inside of me... but then he let me hold her foot again. The next wave came. Pant, pant, oops push, pant, pant, pant, even faster. My mouth was dry, I needed water, but I wouldn't stop panting - I could pant. Another oops. "The other leg is out" Jason reported to the phone. And he began to follow instructions. I felt even greater pressure, as he began to feel for her arms.

I knew this was right. I knew he was doing it right. Mentally I knew it. I had just finished reading Emergency Childbirth: A Manual, by Gregory J. White, M.D. The text was sure, calm; the section on assisting breech deliveries had clear pictures and precise instructions. I remembered reading it - though I never imagined I would be having a breech - my baby had been head down for the last 12 weeks. So mentally I knew. I knew this was right, I knew Jason was following the correct directions exactly. But the force was all consuming. He was getting her out of me. She would come out... I was scared. I voiced a rather incomplete prayer, but all I could verbalize, at the time: "Heavenly Father, help me!" I said it four times. I needed someone. I needed support. My daughter Ysabel held my hand. Jason relayed the instruction for me to push now... but there was no force, no wave, no help.

"I can't push right now."

"You need to push now, you need to get the baby delivered." I gave two weak little pushes. Weak because there was no force; no contraction; weak because my power over this delivery was minute. Mother nature directed; God oversaw. Or rather, God directed, mother nature obeys.

"I can't push right now."

Jason was directed to help me get up. Ysabel and Anna took my hands to help me get up. Jason held the baby - I knew her arms were out and this was the most important part. And as I began to rise up, maybe only 3 - 4 inches, gravity rocked thru me and it was over. Adellaide Patience Geurts was born into this world at 4:51 a.m. The girls continued to help me into a sitting position and Jason handed me the baby as he grabbed a towel and vigorously began to rub her back.

(Michelle told us later, that the length of time from when he called and told her the foot was out, until complete delivery was about 4 minutes, according to her cell phone).

Still vigorously rubbing her back with the towel Jason started trying to answer Michelle's inquiries as he repeated, "Is she breathing? Is she lethargic?" Answering he said, "She's white. She's white. Her head is blue," into the phone.

"No, Jason, she's pink; she's fine. She's pink, she's fine. She's whining. She's whimpering. She's fine Jason." I tried to convince him. {Covered in Vernix and all pink underneath definitely doesn't count as a white lethargic infant with a blue head...}
(I found out later, this was the time Michelle was most concerned about. Of the few surprise breeches she has delivered, 75% have needed some resuscitation. She also told me that Adellaide got a '9' on the Apgar Test.)

Jason was still listening to directions and trying to assess her. Finally I got louder. "Jason, your hurting her - she's screaming, she's crying - she's fine!"

He eventually stopped, but not because of what I said, I think Michelle could finally hear the baby screaming and told him it was enough. Perhaps this is my one little regret. I had wished to welcome her into the world with kind words and soft touches; not in a bubble of agitated exclamation's. I held her to my chest.

The instructions continued. We were cold. We needed to get warm... Adellaide and I began to shiver.
Lydia was ecstatic.
Anna was in awe.
Ysabel was calm and helpful; becoming my little Doula - as in do-everything-mom-says-very-quickly.
Aaron wanted me to get dressed so he could feel comfortable coming into the room.

Much worse than the delivery itself, the pains began again for the delivery of the placenta. I pushed it mostly out and 5 minutes later the midwife in training, Valarie, arrived. Not even 5 minutes more and Michelle arrived as well.

So... from the time I knew I was in labor (water first breaking in the kitchen) at about 3:50 a.m., until Adellaide was born at 4:51 a.m... how does one hour sound? Proper medical terminology: Precipitous, Traumatic Birth.

It's difficult to think of any of this and not see how blessed we were. How blessed that we switched midwifery practices - there is no way we could have made it to the hospital - and this way, Jason was able to be on the phone with a midwife we both knew and trusted, who was able to almost vicariously and very calmly attend a breech birth. Second, as Michelle said, "thank God we didn't know it was a breech - here is another woman I was able to help save from going under the knife." I am so grateful I did not have to schedule a C-section... but if we had known, and I had scheduled one, they wouldn't have scheduled it before the 13th - time would have made that impossible.

I didn't have to have a C-section. I didn't have to go to the hospital. We had the help and support that we needed, as a family, to be a part of this miracle called birth. We had chosen to learn and to trust - and if any credit can be given for 'saving the day' it is found in knowledge of nature and trust in God.

I feel like Jason did all of the work, and I am so grateful to him. Staying calm, following Michelle's directions and supporting me. I know there was a high potential for harm or danger to both myself and Adellaide if there was any wrong manipulating of the two of us. I am so grateful to Jason for being willing to support my desire to have our baby at home, attend the birthing class, and in the end; deliver our baby safely with his own hands.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise Him all creatures here below... His loving watch care and tender mercies are over all - especially those who will seek His will and follow the inspiration He provides. He is aware of the desires of our hearts. He will not lead us down the wrong path.
May God bless your life this year as he has blessed ours.



    I am so impressed by this entire situation. It shows what a connecting force a new life can bring to a family.
    I pray that Adellaide Patience Geurts will continue to be a bonding force in your family.
    Patience as a middle name seems like a bit of a conundrum - she certainly seemed to be in a hurry to take her first breaths. Perhaps, the name "Patience" will be more of a 'reminder' to her that she needs to be patient through life and not hurry so much. Who knows?

    Idaho Mom - Thank you for sharing the details of this special, special day.
    Idaho Dad - Or should I call you Idaho "Doc" - Kudos to you for taking charge in this situation. Every time you look into your youngest daughter's eyes remember that you blessed her with life. Your very hands sustained her life. I pray that they will continue to sustain her.
    And to the Idaho "siblings" - Be kind to your youngest sibling. One day she will help you wash your cars and she'll babysit your children for cheap payment (a candy bar or two)...She will watch you as you grow. She will observe your behaviors and study your characters'. She will truly learn from the footprints that you leave behind. So, tread carefully.
    And lastly, to that Idaho "God" that blessed those midwives with direction, that provided life for a simple family - living a simple lifestyle - Blessed be your name.
    I don't have any children. I truly don't understand this miracle of life. But, I am watching, observing...learning.

    With much love and many prayers -

    Sincerely -
    Your Texan Brother

  2. Well said, Josh, and well done Jason,, Ang, and girls! My only wonder was why Michelle's phone number wasn't on speed dial! Otherwise, my overall reaction is awe.... Perhaps Jason is considering a shift in career????

    Your Nomad Sister

  3. Sister Guerts,

    Wow. What can I say? I am amazed and was so calm when I read this. It reminded me of your spirit on the mish. I miss you.

    Sister F.

  4. Congratulations to all of you. Proof again that God is in control! Blessings to you all.

  5. Congratulations! You just save a ton of money and did a pioneer birth! I'm glad to hear that baby and you are doing well!

  6. I stumbled onto your blog and love this post! How beautifully written. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Loved reading this and so beautifully written could imagine being there