All the due dates had past and I was thoroughly annoyed that baby was late as well as being incredibly uncomfortable. By chance the midwives were in town and said they would stop up and check on baby and I. Molly offered some herbs that were known to get labor going quickly. It didn’t take me long to decide that “yes, I would love to give them a try.” Black and blue cohash thinned down with some others. With the herbs came a strict warning that I was to let them know if anything happened because they are super potent and work quickly and I work quickly anyways as we found out with the Little Miss.
Go to work, for a long shift, plow snow, do animal chores, haul a little firewood, deliver a baby, make supper. Just a normal Tuesday on the farm.
I know over the years I have unintentionally, we will say “given Mike opportunities” to do things that he never would have guessed he would do. Own a farm, raise his own livestock, tend a garden, deliver his daughter. That’s right, he delivered our little girl last week. The midwife was on her way but baby decided not to wait.
I share a lot of what goes on around here but the stuff that is the most “close to home” I like to keep “close to home”. I want to share this story because I am so amazed and proud of my husband.
I hadn’t been feeling real great Monday night to Tuesday, but by the time it was time for me to go to work Tuesday night I was feeling better, so in I went. I figured it was only a 4 hour shift and not strenuous by any means, there was no reason not to go. I had been there about an hour and a half when I began to feel uncomfortable again. Slight contractions but mostly uncomfortable. A bit later a co-worker asked if I was going to make it through my shift. I had planned to but wasn’t totally sure. A half hour later I headed home, knowing the roads were terrible and the drive would be a slow one. I needed to be able to walk to my car and drive home and if this was labor I didn’t want to be stuck at work. (I can see the hospital from my office window but had no intention of ending up there.)
Mike was working an extra long shift due to the snow we had been getting and wasn’t home when I arrived. I called him to say I was home. Then I called Rebekah, the midwife,
“I think I’m in labor. I know the roads are awful and I would hate to have you come on a false alarm but if you don’t mind, it might be a good idea to head this direction.”
(She was only 1 1/2 hours away. Much closer than when our little boy was born.) She was on her way with her apprentice within 15 minutes and had called a second apprentice to meet her here as well.
I called my dad to see if it was ok that the little boy stayed a bit longer.
“That’s just fine. Call if you need anything; I’ve pulled a lot of calves in my day!”
We had a good laugh. (It’s not the first time I have been likened to a cow. Some might take offense, but hey, if the shoe fits! Haha!)
I decided to try to relax by taking a hot shower. At some point Mike arrived home and checked in to see how I was doing.
He was headed out to plow snow and take care of the animals.
“Flash the porch light if you need something.” (He wouldn’t be able to hear the dinner triangle in the truck.)
When he got back in from chores I headed upstairs. He was getting things from the birth kit (supplies ordered and on hand for home births) ready for when Rebekah arrived. Checking in every little while on me and on the phone with her giving updates.
M:”She said she’s doing good. She hasn’t been able to time contractions yet.”
R:”Has her water broke yet?”
M:”Has your water broke?”
R:”Ok, you have some time then.”
A:”My water broke.”
After that I’m not sure how the conversation went. Mike kept checking in and preparing.
M:”Are you doing ok? Going to make it til she gets here in about 45 minutes?”
A:”I’m fine. I will make it… I’m sorry, I know you didn’t want to catch but you’re going to have to.”
M:”I see that. I’m just looking for gloves.”
A:”They are in the… You don’t need gloves!”
Two quick pushes.
M:”Well do you want to know?” “It’s a girl!”
I held her as he cleaned her up. He called the midwife with the update. We had a half hour or so and used the time to let our parents and siblings know.
The ladies arrived and did their midwife thing and helped clean up. My parents brought up the little boy for a quick visit and brought supper. Mike got that going and the night went on. For how he handled everything, you would think this was just a regular Tuesday night.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, “Everything works out as God plans it is to be and there is never a dull moment on the farm.”
We are very thankful for Rebekah Knapp for her prenatal care and venturing out to help us on delivery night. A thank you to Molly and Karissa too! All wonderful women to work with.
I have had a few people ask about my experience with our homebirth and the midwife so I figured I’d share a little.
I read all sorts of books on homebirth, stories etc. the great majority of the stories the mother talked about how it was such an uplifting spiritual time. After the birth they felt totally changed and angels were singing, blah, blah, blah. I’m not a very “lovey-dovey” person so this is not how I would describe the experience.
Everything went very well. My labor started in the early morning. Not wanting to call our midwife, Paulette Efimenko, with a false alarm I waited a few hours. I did call her at about 8 am to give her notice. She lived a few hours drive from our house so I figured I’d best call once I knew it was the real deal. Luckily she was only an hour and a half away. I had planned to do some laundry and some weeding in the garden while I waited for things to progress. Apparently first babies can be a slow labor from what I read… after an hour I couldn’t walk through the contractions. After talking with Paulette again, she was going to be one her way shortly. I called my husband home from work about 10ish. His mom came over for support, just incase the baby came before Paulette made it. By noon Paulette was there and by 2 the baby was born.
I can’t say it wasn’t life changing. We now have the cutest little boy who’s all smiles and laughter. But the birth itself was just that. Women have been giving birth for millions of years. Yes, it is a miracle, a God given gift. But let’s face it, by the time it was done I counted his fingers and toes, made sure he was whole and then I just wanted a cold shower, a nap and a cheeseburger (which my in-laws delivered, I so very much appreciated that!).
I can’t imagine having to get in the car and head to the hospital during any part of that production and am thankful I didn’t have to. My family was quite concerned about our decision to have a home birth; what if something goes wrong? the hospital has all sorts of special equipment, you’re so small framed, etc.. I really wasn’t worried about it for a few reasons.
– Women have been giving birth without doctors and hospitals since the beginning of time… literally. It wasn’t until very recently did birth move from the home to the hospital.
– The U.S. has a much higher C-section rate and is known for other unnecessary procedures during labor and delivery. As well as putting labor on a time schedule, both making an appointment for a “just in case” induction and how long they will wait before a C-section.
Medical staff are trained to react not wait patiently for nature to take its course. Sometimes this is good, sometimes it does more harm than good even with the best intentions. (Sometimes it’s lack of patience too. A friend of mine had a doctor announce he was going to use suction to remove the baby because he wasn’t going to miss his tee time. I’m pretty sure I would have leapt off the table and punched him!)
– Of course there’s the drugs too. I know you can refuse but I just didn’t want to deal with it at all. I always believed pain is fear and is more mental that anything. I went into this at peace and relaxed and it really wasn’t that bad.
-Most of all, I was at peace with it. I knew that if God wanted us to have this baby we would. If we were meant to suffer a loss, no medical team in the world could change God’s plan. If we needed medical assistance God would get us where we needed to be when we needed to be there.
As with everything in life, trust in God’s plan and everything will fall into place just as it should.