My main concern when selecting where to go for prenatal care during my second pregnancy, was that I wanted the person who would deliver my baby to be the same person as the one who did my prenatal exams. Most obstetricians are part of big practices, and chances are that the doctor delivering your baby will never have met you before. Since the birth of my first child had been difficult (he was over 10 lbs, born by forceps), I felt it was important that the person delivering my new baby be aware of my history.
Frankly, I was biased against using a midwife because I was concerned she would not support my decisions to use pain medication during delivery. I had used an epidural during the birth of my first child, and I felt it allowed me to get a much-needed break when I felt too exhausted to continue. While I didn't know what this new birth had in store for me, I wanted the option to use drugs if I felt the need. To my relief, Jeri was open to the idea and discussed with me the pros and cons of each medication, and the best time to use them. It was clear that this was my birth, and that she was here to facilitate it, in whichever way I chose.
In the end, I didn't need any pain medication. It was a great birth. It all went very fast.
I woke up to my water breaking, around 3:30 a.m. The contractions started right away, 4 minutes apart and and coming on strong. By the time my doula arrived to our house an hour later, I was already 6 centimeters dilated! She told us to get in the car right away. We arrived at the hospital by 5:00 a.m.; they took one look at me, grunting and squatting, and they rushed us to a delivery room. By the time Jeri arrived, I was in transition and things were VERY intense.
I started pushing at 6:30 a.m. I had a fetal monitor strapped to my belly (which did not bother me at all). The monitor showed that the baby heart rate was dropping. Everybody was urging me to push this baby out as fast as possible, and I gave it all my might, but damn, it was hard. Jeri said "the heart rate is getting really low, I am giving you one more push, and then I will need to do an episiotomy". I pushed pushed pushed, but not quite enough. "okay, you get one last final push, and then I am going to pass you over to the doctor, who will use a vacuum... the heart rate is dangerously low now, this baby needs to come out NOW". I pushed pushed pushed. I heard the snip of the episiotomy. And pop! Out he came! I looked down and saw my baby erupt between my legs, face up. Hello, little star gazer! The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, hence the dropping heart rate. Jeri quickly unwrapped his cord and put him on my chest. He was so wonderfully alert. As we gazed into each other's eyes, I marveled that less than 4 hours earlier, I had been fast asleep in my bed. The next half hour was spent enjoying each other's warmth, while Jeri and my doula shooed nurses away, delaying vitamin K shots, eye drops and other procedures for a little while longer.
I give credits to Jeri for keeping her cool when faced with my baby's dropping heart rate. I felt like like she knew exactly how much I could push, urging me when I wasn't given it all I got, and stepping in when I needed help. She knew when to use medical procedure when absolutely necessary (my episiotomy, which saved me from a vacuum birth). Jeri found just the right tone of voice to give me the important information (the baby had to come out as soon as possible) while somehow not stressing me out at all. We were in control, working as a team, even amid chaos. Milo's birth was a very positive experience.
mother of Milo, born 07/24/04, 9lbs 2oz