Did you enjoy Geneva’s birth story last week? (Click here if you missed it!) This week I am featuring her sister Nicole’s story.
Just one month after my sister had told me she was pregnant I was very excited to discover that I was expecting as well. This would be my eighth baby and my previous seven had been uneventful hospital births.
I had been in midwifery care with my seventh pregnancy but was risked out due to high blood pressure in the last month of pregnancy. This time around I was a little apprehensive about what caregiver to choose. I had heard good things about a family practice clinic that provided ob care so I scheduled there. My doctor and I hit it off really well right from the start. He was really easy going and supported me making my own decisions about my care.
As my pregnancy progressed I kept getting more and more mixed signals from him though. He would question things that he had already agreed with or suggest things he knew I wouldn’t want. He wanted badly to do a first trimester ultrasound and I didn’t see any reason for it. I said I would be happy to do the 20 week anatomy scan but he wanted to be able to do dating as well and convinced me to have an ultrasound at 16 weeks instead. This ended up being a really stupid idea as it was too late to accurately do dating and too early to do a full anatomy scan.
I had gestational diabetes in one of my previous pregnancies and when I hit 24 weeks he suggested we do a glucose tolerance test. I said I would be happy to do it but it might be a better idea to wait until I was at the other end of the window for testing because my sugars would be more likely to test normal this early. He felt we should do it at 24 weeks so I consented and passed with flying colors. My pregnancy was progressing normally for me, my blood pressure was a little high and instead of gaining weight I had lost. This still left me well within the obese category unfortunately.
When I reached 30 weeks I had a mandatory appointment with an OB. I was a little nervous about it and assumed it would be unpleasant but over with quickly. When I met with the doctor she was a little confused about why I was seeing her and seemed to settle on the conclusion that I was transferring into her care. I did not realize she thought this. I briefed her on how my pregnancy was going and everything seemed normal. Then she started her spiel and informed me that she would like me to start weekly biophysical profiles because I was obese, had high blood pressure and was on my eighth baby. She felt it was just too many risk factors to not keep a close eye on the baby. I disagreed. I listened to all the things she had to say and kept my opinion to myself because I would rather discuss it with my real doctor.
As the appointment was winding down she said they could probably fit me in for an ultrasound that day and then schedule the BPP for the following week. I was trapped. I had to make a stand. I told her that I would not be scheduling any of those things and I would discuss what she had said with my real doctor.
I then left the clinic and contacted my doctor and left a message asking him to call me back to discuss how the appointment went. I was very shaken but hopeful that my doctor would see it my way. He called the following day and started the conversation by saying, “I thought doctor so and so had some really good points!” It felt like a gut punch and I was so upset. I made it very clear how I felt about the whole thing and he quickly backtracked but the damage was done. He tried to bargain with me and said if I just got one ultrasound and another GTT we could move forward.
No way. I was done. I told him I would think about it and get back to him.
What I really needed to think about was who I would choose to be my new care provider. Geneva had been seeing Dionne for over a month now and I had gotten to know her while sitting in on Geneva’s appointments. I decided to ask her if she would take me on as a client but I was very aware of the fact that I had been risked out of homebirth with my last pregnancy and really didn’t want that to happen again.
I contacted her and gave her all the pertinent information and asked what she thought. She said that looking at the information I had given her she didn’t see any reason why I wouldn’t be a candidate for homebirth and she would be happy to officially take me on after looking at my mediical records. I was cautiously excited. Giving birth at home would be a dream come true but I was still very nervous about being dropped at the end of the pregnancy for blood pressure. Dionne recommended I drink hibiscus tea and supplement alfalfa to help with my blood pressure and I started that right away and it was very effective. When Dionne finally received my medical records I had been in her care for quite some time and it was a huge relief to hear there was nothing in them that concerned her.
By this time Geneva had seen her due date come and go and tensions were running very high. As Geneva went further past her due date I got closer to full term. All of my babies were born before their due dates and I fully expected this baby would come early as well. I had contractions frequently and it started being a question of which one of us would give birth first. Geneva won the race 🙂
I was so glad for her when it finally happened and it was such a relief to know that she was done and now I could go any day. The end was in sight.
As I got bigger my grandma grew sicker. The days turned into weeks and Easter rolled around and I was still pregnant. I couldn’t believe I had made it this far. 39 weeks wasn’t unheard of for me, but it was certainly one of my longer gestations. At Easter there was some upset because my grandma had fallen that morning and required assistance to get back up. Most of her children felt she was okay but my mom knew she was not doing well. It was a rough party made rougher by the fact that I was still pregnant.
A few more days went by and I was now 40 weeks. Uncharted territory for me. The furthest I had ever gone. I wanted to go back. It wasn’t fun here. I was so ready to be done and asked Dionne to strip my membranes in the hope it would get something going. She was happy to oblige and it was a very effective stripping. I had some contractions that evening but come the next morning nothing was happening and I was losing hope.
When I woke on the morning of 41+4 weeks I went to the bathroom and discovered bloody show. Bloody show!!! This might mean something. I checked my cervix and discovered I was about 5 centimeters. That was progress. I was so excited. I knew it probably wouldn’t happen during the day but trusted that if it didn’t things would pick back up that night. I went through the day like usual and Geneva watched me like a hawk jumping at the slightest twinge. I made it all the way to bedtime and got kids settled down. I assumed that once they were asleep my contractions would start back up. I laid down and waited and nothing happened. Seriously?!
I thought long and hard about what could be holding me back and finally decided I needed to re-evaluate my name choices. I went through my lists and finally settled on a name for a boy and a name for a girl. By this time it had gotten quite late and I was genuinely tired after so many sleepless nights up with contractions. I decided to use the bathroom and then go to sleep. As soon as I laid down and shut my eyes I finally had a contraction . It was 11:30. I didn’t even care about that contraction. I was still going to sleep. It was probably nothing anyways.
I tried to fall asleep but the contractions kept coming and it was difficult to drift off. After about an hour I got up to use the bathroom and discovered more bloody show. This might actually be it! I decided to lay back down and see how far apart they were. I tried to time them for about a half an hour. They were not regular ranging from 5-10 minutes minutes apart. I decided I would get up and do a couple things downstairs and see what happened.
While I was downstairs the contractions continued and were quite intense so I decided to call Geneva in and let her help me decide when to call Dionne. She didn’t pick up the first time I called so I tried again. The second time she answered and I told her I thought it was time for her to come over. I think she tried to ask me some questions after that but I didn’t hear them because I had hung up. I woke my husband Rick and told him I thought I was in labor and I would wake him when I called the midwife. I decided to take one more bathroom break before settling down in bed. While I was on the toilet I had a very intense contraction and more bloody show. I decided to check my cervix and see if I had made progress. I had a huge bulging bag of water and my cervix was a 7-8. Whoa. I needed to call Dionne.
I called her phone and she didn’t answer. Really? Why does this keep happening? I called a second time and she picked up and asked very casually how I was doing as though it’s normal to make social phone calls at 2 in the morning. I told her it was time to come and she said she was on her way and let me go. I tried to lay down and breathe through my contractions but it was very uncomfortable. Geneva arrived and I asked her to tell Rick I had called the midwife. While she did that I went to the bathroom again and then settled onto an exercise ball.
Geneva took some pictures and we talked about what was going on. I told her it sucked really bad and she agreed that it looked sucky. I kept trying to get my body in just the right position so my contractions wouldn’t be so painful but nothing was helping. I speculated aloud if maybe laying down would be better than the ball and Geneva asked me to stay on the ball until Dionne got there. She thought the baby was just going to come out any second but I knew better. It would be hours yet.
As I sat on the ball I felt a warm rush of fluid and told Geneva either my water had broken or I had peed myself. She reasoned that I had just used the toilet so it was probably water. I personally didn’t care either way at that point. Dionne arrived and said she would like to listen to the baby so I moved to the bed to make it easier for her. As I laid on the bed for what felt like a million years she kept moving the Doppler and never getting a heartbeat from what I could hear. I was sure that my baby had died but I couldn’t voice it because I was in too much pain with my contractions. In reality she spent less than a minute getting a heartbeat and had a little trouble getting a good read because the baby was moving so quickly…downward.
I then felt a sudden urge to push and announced it to the room. Within seconds of this announcement my baby was born in three pushes. Rick walked in the room just after the baby came out. In all eight of my children’s births this was the only one he had missed. I was so happy to be done!
I was so excited to finally meet Philip and couldn’t believe we had a baby boy. He was absolutely beautiful weighing in at 8lbs 12oz and arriving just three hours after my first contraction.
I brought him to meet my grandma the following day and visited with her while she held him. I was so glad he arrived before she was gone. She passed away one week after he was born.
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