Heather made sure to stay with us in the hospital room until she was sure that we were comfortable and had the chance to meet Kameron. Once she saw we were settled, she rubbed my back and told me again how strong and capable of birthing my baby I was.
Margot's Birth: From Birth Center to Hospital
Kat, a client of Baby+Company in Nashville, welcomed her first child into the world with her boyfriend, Zack, by her side. Here is their story of Margot’s birth which goes to show that even though birth doesn’t always go as planned it can still be amazing.
As I approached the last weeks of my pregnancy, I tried my best to not expect much to happen on my due date.I had taken a Bradley Method class, and everyone said since this was my first baby, they would probably be “late.” The 40-week mark came and went with no signs of baby deciding to make his/ her appearance. I was walking a couple miles a day, eating spicy food, having sex, and napping as much as I could, knowing the days of sleep were numbered. My mom had driven down from Vermont to try to be with me for my birth, and I requested she arrive on my due date, knowing that it was unlikely for baby to arrive before then.
As April 25th came and went, I began to get nervous that my mom was going to miss my delivery. Zack and I decided not to find out our baby’s sex, to the dismay of both of our families. I was so nervous when they scheduled our post-date ultrasound at 41 weeks that the tech would let it slip, but thankfully, she did not. Our midwife, Margaret, called us the afternoon of our ultrasound to let us know that baby’s fluid levels and movement looked good, and we were free to continue waiting on his/her arrival. By this point, I knew my Mom was going to have to leave in the next few days to return to her nursing job in Vermont. I decided that at our next appointment, I would request that the midwife sweep my membranes to see if it would help to move things along.
On May 4th, at 41+2, my mom went to my 8am appointment. Heather was my midwife that morning, and she came into the birth room smiling and chatting while she hooked me up to the fetal monitor. Baby was having some heart rate decelerations, and there was a moment where I was worried we were going to have to transfer to the hospital. Heather’s knowledge and calming presence helped me not to worry. She monitored baby for another 45 minutes, and deemed everything to be fine, then offered to sweep my membranes. I gladly accepted, and prayed things would get moving, as my mom had to leave that afternoon.
My mom and I left Baby+Company and headed back to go for a walk. I was having some light cramping, but mostly felt great, and didn’t feel like baby was on the way. After a couple hours of walking, my mom drove me back to my house, and I tearfully bid her farewell around 2pm, so she could get on the road home before Nashville traffic got too heavy. I spent the rest of the afternoon bouncing on my labor ball and waiting for my boyfriend to come home from work. I continued to feel crampy, but didn’t think I was in labor. Zack arrived back to our house and we had dinner, then decided to go to an 8pm support group that we are both members of. By the time we left, around 7:30, my cramps were becoming more intense, and Zack was convinced I was in labor. I told him that I was just cramping because of my membrane sweep that morning, I was fine to drive, and that he shouldn’t expect to meet baby any time soon. We arrived at our meeting, and I had to sit in the car for a few minutes to collect myself before walking up to chat with our friends. Throughout the hour long meeting, my cramps became strong enough that I couldn’t quite pay attention to what was being said, and had to squeeze Zack’s hand a little bit. Each time I did so, he gave me the “is this it?!” look, but I firmly shook my head no. I was convinced that I would feel different when I was “really” in labor. Our meeting finished up a few minutes after 9pm, and I said I wanted to head straight home. I had to stop to breathe through my cramps on the walk across the parking lot, but was in denial that I was in labor, and tried to tell Zack I was fine to drive. Luckily for me, he agreed that this probably wasn’t it, but insisted that he should drive, just in case. For most of the ride, I was trying to decipher if this was truly labor, and lamenting the fact that there was no definitive guide or practice run for bringing a life into the world.
When we arrived back at our house around 9:45, I requested that Zack walk around the neighborhood with me. He agreed and we made it almost to the end of our street before I decided I would be more comfortable inside. By midnight, I knew I was in labor and was most comfortable lying in bed resting and breathing through my cramps that I now knew had been contractions all along. Zack called Baby+Company around 1:30 am to check in. He spoke with the midwife Lauren, who reminded us of what active labor would look like, and let us know to keep checking in as things progressed. Around 2:45 am, I began to feel nauseous, and shortly afterwards, had to go to the bathroom to vomit. By this time, my contractions were 4ish minutes apart and we thought we were probably in transition. I was most comfortable at this time sitting on my birth ball resting my upper body on our bed. I threw up again around 5 am, and we texted our doula, Katie, to tell her we thought it was almost time to head to the birth center. Zack called and spoke to Lauren again, who let him know that Heather would be back on call around 7, if we wanted to come in then. We left our house at about 7:20 and requested that Katie meet us at Baby+Company. I had been having strong contractions 4 minutes apart for several hours at this point, and was in a good bit of pain. We got stuck in the morning traffic rush into Nashville and our usual 20-minute ride to Baby +Company took nearly an hour. The car ride was brutal. I could feel every little bump in the road and couldn’t find a single position to sit in that made my contractions less painful. We arrived around 8:30, and Heather asked if she could check me. I agreed, and was so incredibly disappointed to hear I was only at 2 cm. Heather was encouraging, and made sure to remind me that labor is hard work, and my body was doing a great job preparing to bring my baby earth side. I wasn’t dilated enough to warrant checking in to a labor suite, but Heather said we were welcome to stay and see how things progressed. Zack and I decided we would prefer to head back home and labor as long as possible there. We texted Katie and let her know we were heading back home to try and rest, and that she should do the same, and we would call her when we wanted her to come to our house. The car ride home was very uncomfortable, and Zack and I were both on edge from lack of sleep. We got home and tried to rest, but I could not get comfortable lying down and had to sit on the birth ball to try to rest there.
Around 1:30pm, I told Katie that I could use her support, and she drove to our house. Zack woke up when she arrived, and the two of them held my hands and applied counter pressure to my lower back and hips for the rest of the afternoon. I was anticipating being able to talk between contractions, but instead was drawn very into myself the whole time I was in labor. I was very tired, and was falling asleep between contractions. At 3:45, Zack called Baby+Company and made tentative plans to meet Heather there around 7:30 pm. I was dreading getting back in the car and driving to the birth center again, and was feeling very nervous that we would be sent home once more. We arrived around 8:30. Heather checked me once more, and I was thrilled to hear that I was at a 6/7, and we could head to the birthing room! Katie and Heather walked me to our room while Zack went to the car to retrieve our bags.
Almost as soon as we walked into the room, I began taking my clothes off, because I knew that the tub would bring me some relief. As we settled in, Katie started filling the tub and Heather helped me pick out some essential oils to diffuse near the bed. Zack took some pictures of our birth room on his phone, then helped me into the soaking tub, and held my hand as I tried to relax into the strong contractions. Katie left to pick up some dinner for herself and Zack, and he sat with me and controlled the speakers, switching tunes between some of my favorite bands. When my support team finished their meal, Heather suggested it was time I head to the toilet. They helped dry me off and get to the restroom. Once I got on the toilet, I realized it was a very comfortable position to be in and wound up staying there for about an hour, while Katie and Zack sat with me and gave me sips of water and whispers of encouragement. Throughout the evening, I threw up several more times and had a hard time keeping fluids down. I moved from the toilet to the bed to the shower, in a rotation, about every 40 minutes. By 11 pm, I had spiked a fever. Around midnight, Heather let me know that my fever wasn’t going down, and encouraged me to drink more water, because she thought I might be dehydrated.
Katie gently let me know that I might need to be transferred to Vanderbilt University Medical Center if we couldn’t get my fever down. Heather continued closely monitoring my temperature, and around 12:45, requested that I let her check how I was progressing again. She found that I was still around a 6/7, and saw what seemed to be some meconium stained amniotic fluid. At this point, Heather told me it would be best if we made the transfer to the hospital. She explained to me that I seemed to have Chorioamnionitis, an infection of the uterus that can make natural contractions less effective, and told me I may need to have some Pitocin. Pitocin was one of the main things I wanted to avoid during labor and delivery, but after 33 hours of labor and a real medical need for it, I had no objections. I was just ready to meet my baby!
Heather, Katie, Zack and I left Baby+Company around 1:15 am and drove the few minutes to the hospital in our respective vehicles. We pulled into the parking garage and slowly made our way inside, stopping every few steps so I could hold Zack for support through each contraction. When we arrived at the check-in area, the nurse took one look at me and waved us through without having me fill out any paperwork. Heather told me that the hospital midwife on duty was her friend, Kameron, who used to work at a Baby+Company in another state. I was so happy to hear that my new midwife was affiliated with Baby+Company; it made me feel instantly comfortable with her. Several nurses were in the room when we arrived, and they hooked me up to an IV and fetal monitor. Katie asked if they had a birthing ball I could use so I didn’t have to lay on the hospital bed, knowing that that was not a very relaxing position for me to be in. Katie and Zack helped position me on the birth ball at the end of the hospital bed as Kameron came in to introduce herself. I was very focused on breathing through each contraction and relaxing as much as possible, after all the commotion of transferring.
Heather made sure to stay with us in the hospital room until she was sure that we were comfortable and had the chance to meet Kameron. Once she saw we were settled, she rubbed my back and told me again how strong and capable of birthing my baby I was, then headed back to work.
After Heather left, the nurses started me on a Pitocin drip. The Pitocin made my contractions feel about 100 times more intense, and for the first time, I really felt like I couldn’t do this anymore. After about 20 minutes I moved to the toilet to try and pee, and once I sat down I began to feel pushy. I felt like I was beginning to lose control, and requested that they bring in some nitrous oxide. As the anesthesia team came in with the nitrous, Zack and Katie helped move me back to the hospital bed so that the anesthesiologist could explain how to use the nitrous mask. After she showed me what to do, I held it up to my mouth for the next contraction. It helped take the edge off just enough for me to regain my confidence. At this time, I noticed that Kameron was positioning herself near the foot of my bed. She looked at me and asked if I was ready to get this baby out. I nodded yes, and she began to coach me on how to push effectively. She asked if I wanted to use the birthing bar, but I didn’t want to move from the position I was in, so I began pushing, reclined on my back. Kameron instructed me to grab my thighs and tuck my chin and push for as long as my body told me to. With each push, I felt baby moving further and further down. After about 10 minutes, he/she began to crown. The ring of fire is a very accurate description of how it felt, working that head out. On the last push before the head came out, I reached down and felt a head full of hair! It was such a relief to get her head out, I barely felt her shoulders and body on the next push. Kameron caught baby and placed it on my chest. I turned to Zack, joyfully yelling at him to let me know if we had a boy or a girl. He leaned down to look. He looked back up, smiled, and told me that after all of those hours of hard work, I had delivered a beautiful baby girl. Margot Elise made her debut at 4:27 am on May 6th, 2016, a week and 4 days after her due date, weighing 9lbz 7oz. We both had the biggest smiles on our faces, and just laughed about what a crazy experience childbirth is. I delivered the placenta, and Kameron stitched up my 2nd degree tear while I began to work on getting Margot to latch. We both had to stay on antibiotics for 2 days after the birth, but other than that, we were perfectly healthy. Margot and I spent the 2 days at the hospital snuggling skin to skin, while Zack and I marveled at how perfect she was and how amazing the experience of childbirth is. We are both so grateful that Baby+Company exists. Every single person on their staff is so friendly and supportive. I was equally comfortable with the idea of any midwife there delivering my baby, unlike the options of OB’s at the practice where I began my prenatal care. Now that Margot is here, I still drop in often to say hello to all of the friendly faces who helped to give me the most perfect birth experience. Even though we didn’t wind up delivering in the birth center, I still feel such a sense of family and belonging there. I can’t wait until we decide to give Margot a sibling, just so I can experience it all again.