A hospital transfer isn’t something that anyone who is planning a birth center birth wants, but it was way smoother than I imagined it would be, even as the manager of the center! I was shocked by how supported I was the whole time. I was never alone, and I never felt alone.
When Birth Plans Change: Micah's Birth Story
Lauren’s birth story is truly a lion’s tale, as she calls it in this sweet letter to her newborn son, Micah. As the Center Manager of Baby+Company in Wheat Ridge, she’s familiar with the pain, love, surprises, and unexpected turns that labor and delivery can take. After a difficult experience with her oldest child, she was looking forward to something a bit easier. Unfortunately, her labor and delivery of Micah was anything but easy. As Lauren says, “Every baby has its own way of coming into this world.” This was Micah’s.
Your oldest child was born in a hospital, right? Why did you decide to do something different for Micah?
Abby was a high-risk pregnancy, and she was born prematurely. She was just four pounds, twelve ounces at birth. Although I couldn’t have her at a birth center, I did work with midwives in the hospital. They were so incredible during what was such a scary situation that I was actually inspired to quit my job as a teacher and become a certified doula.
When I became pregnant with Micah, I was excited to give birth in a birth center with the same kind of support team I had had the first time around.
How did you feel about giving birth a second time, after such a difficult first experience?
The midwives at Baby+Company really helped me process what had happened the first time around, and that’s something that set them apart. The midwife would ask me, “What’s the lion in the room? What fears are still with you?” and we’d discuss them. Obviously, I’m very familiar with the birth center world, but I’ve never had a staff of midwives care so much about all aspects of my health – how my family was, my marriage, my emotions. Births are unpredictable, but I wasn’t afraid. I was excited to experience it again, and in a different way.
What happened on the big day?
I woke up at about ten at night in a puddle of water – my water had broken. I was relieved because I’d been in preterm labor for almost four weeks before that, and there had been a few false alarms. When my water broke, I knew it was the real deal.
Things progressed really quickly, just as they had with Abby. We left for the birth center at 10:40, and by 1:30 I was fully dilated. Labor was totally different this time. It was much more intense and very painful. I struggled to cope – the water in the soaking tub felt amazing. Once I began to push, we realized that Micah was stuck.
For the next five hours, I pushed in every position and used every single tool at the birth center. Finally, my midwife said that although I was as powerful a pusher as she’d seen, it was time to transfer to the hospital. His heart rate was steady, but he kept crowning and coming back in. I was reaching my limit and was very dehydrated by this point.
How did the transfer go?
A hospital transfer isn’t something that anyone who is planning a birth center birth wants, but it was way smoother than I imagined it would be, even as the manager of the center! I was shocked by how supported I was the whole time. I was never alone, and I never felt alone. The extremely short drive was the most miserable three minutes of my life, but my midwife coached me through it in the backseat. When we got there, she rushed me in and I was immediately led into a room. The birth center had called ahead to prepare them for my arrival.
How was the experience at the hospital?
It was definitely the typical hospital environment – bright lights, loud noises, nurses checking up on me. But everyone was so kind, and Tracy was right there with me. Her face was one of my anchors the whole time. My husband was there, as well as my doula and birth photographer, who are my close friends. I had this community of people, and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without them. Truthfully, I was amazed with my care. The hospital staff was so respectful of the fact that I had wanted a birth center birth, and they didn’t push anything on me that I didn’t want.
What happened once you arrived?
Micah was stuck. I did three pushes with the vacuum, and pushed his head out with the first contraction. But when I saw his head, he was facing the wrong way and he was totally blue. The nurses jumped on top of me and put all their weight on my belly to push him up under my pubic bone. The OB rotated his shoulders so he was in a better position, and when he fully emerged he cried out with this little bleat that sounded just like “Mama!” It was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. I knew at that moment he would be okay.
How did you feel afterward?
The midwives at Baby+Company helped me process the fact that this birth didn’t go as I had planned. I went back to the birthing suites, and even took a bath with Micah as my birth photographer took pictures. I could live out some of those moments that I had wanted to have with him, but didn’t get a chance to experience.
I didn’t leave the hospital feeling ashamed or regretful. I feel like I’m superwoman – like I can do anything. And I’ve discovered even more of a passion for my work as the center manager at Baby+Company. I want every woman to feel as powerful and empowered as I did.