From Memphis to Doorstep

Jenn* and family!

What a delight it was to work with you! You met me early in your pregnancy and let me know that you were looking for someone who believed in HVBA2C completely. I  knew in my heart that you would have the best chance at the birth you wanted at home, and knew you would get it only with people who completely and unequivocally supported your choices.

I was definitely on board!

Your other pregnancies went past your estimated due dates, so your midwife and I both completely anticipated you to do the same with this pregnancy. In fact, we all did!

I had plans to visit family in Michigan until the 16th of July, and weren't planning on seeing you in labor until at least your estimated due date of August 1st.

On July 15th, you called to let me know you were feeling mild contractions. You planned on taking a bath, drinking 4 oz of wine, and  0 some mild cntx, tried baths and wine to calm things. I didn't hear from you again until 9pm, when we were rolling into our half-way point for the night, Memphis. *Joel contacted me to let me know you were trying to rest after mild cramps all day.

I woke at 2am on July 16th to a call from Joel letting me know that you were having contractions since 1am that you were unable to talk through and shivering. They were still sporadic, but 'heavier' feeling. Not painful. I recommended calling your midwife and taking a warm bath if you wanted to try to rest.

I also talked to Joel about how to 'check without checking' if he was worried that you were progressing toward birth faster than what your midwife and I thought. Both your midwife and I were trying to get back into town for your birth!

At 6am we were on the road again, heading toward home and I was able to talk with Joel again. The bath allowed you to rest for the remainder of the night but the contractions did continue. Your husband also had me in stitches when he mentioned he had no luck with the 'crack thermometer' - his translation of the Bottom Line.

Your midwife and I had our backups on standby in the event that once you got up and around things picked up. But, when we talked at 10am, you let me know that, although your contractions were more frequent, they had ebbed off in intensity even more and were, more or less, simply constant cramping and mild bloody show.

By 1pm, we were barreling toward the Louisiana state line when you called to let me know that they were getting more intense, but had spaced out again to around 3-6 minutes. I recommended, at that point, asking your midwife to come see what your cervix was doing. And I called my back-up to let her know she would most likely be called for a birth.

Your midwife sent her back up to check in on you. You learned around 3:24pm that all of your hard work had opened your cervix to 3 cm and made it very soft. You texted me to let me know your progress. I recommended that Joel call my back up to let her know to head toward you.

At that point you walked the stairs and was about to walk by the kitchen when a very strong contraction brought you nearly to your knees and made you yell out 'in a primal growl'.

1 hour after your first cervical check, I received another text from Joel telling me your cervix was now 8cm. I asked him if my back up was there. He gave me no response, so I knew things were getting busy at your home. So I called my back up doula and asked her to high tail it to you.

Nicole showed up shortly after that and I was able to arrive 15 minutes after that. We drove straight to your doorstep and my family went to a nearby movie and out for dinner.

When I arrived you were in the tub, feeling an urge to push but not a strong one. Joel was on his laptop in the living room and trying to rid himself of a headache. Your midwives (yes, your midwife had arrived by that time too) were encouraging you while your two older children played at a neighbors house.

I approached and encouraged your noises to get lower and in your bottom. One of your midwives encouraged you to use the wall of the tub to push against while you pushed your baby downward. When you really began progressing toward birth, I snuck out to let Joel  know it was time to come into your birthing space. I found him laying on the couch but unable to sleep because of his headache, which still hadn't gone away.

Once Joel was at your side, you reached inside yourself and felt your babies progress. Joel did too and you were both awed that you were so close. Your pushing came in earnest at this time, and, in between contractions, you whispered encouragement to yourself and your baby. Your birth team echoed your words - you were doing this, you were safe, you were strong, and you could finish this race.

As your baby crowned, I encouraged you to look down and see your baby, to reach down and feel your baby. You began to flip over in the tub, and you broke into laughter! While you caressed your babies head, you exclaimed, "Joel! It's a babies head between my legs! You have no idea how long I have waited to see a babies head between my legs!".

Your baby slid from your body shortly afterward, directly into Joel and your hands, and you claimed your baby to your own chest with a triumphant yell.

While seeking a home birth early in your pregnancy, your doctor had said that some women simply couldn't go into labor on their own and couldn't birth their own babies.

Now that you had your fresh beautiful little baby on your chest, you announced, "screw you Dr. ____!" We all laughed, and together you and Joel lifted your babies leg to see what gender it was.

A boy! You birthed a boy from your own baby, in your own time, with your own strength. You did it. A triumphant VHBA2C.

Congratulations Jenn and Joel - congratulations family R!

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