I went to bed about 10:00 pm, now normally I fall intently to sleep, but this night for some reason the thinking part of my brain would not shut down, so I finally got up about 11:30 and went into the other room to read a bit. I read for a little over an hour and then decided to check my email. It was 1:25 when my cell phone rang and it was an over-due, anxiously waiting, very patient mama. She said her contractions had been going for about an hour and a half at 10 minutes apart, now they were about 8 minutes apart. This was number 6 for this mom, and she has a history of pretty quick labors, so we agreed since she lives about 30 minutes away, I would be on the road soon. I phoned my assistant and my apprenticing midwife to let them know it would be a good idea to head out also.
I arrived around 2:15 am. Mom was truly as beautiful as she could be in a gauze nightgown, and smiling. We were all so excited this day had finally come.
This is an example of how estimated due dates (EDD) are just that…an “estimate”. According to first day of her last menses, she would have been two weeks over due the next day, but she has 35 day cycles, so when this is calculated into the EDD, she really is only 6 days over due. This has been her experience with her other children also; she has gone 5-6 days over every time. Some doc’s will not let you go over your EDD, in fact some want to start inducing at 37-38 weeks depending on their schedule. For this mom, 38 weeks would really only have been between 36-37 weeks. This baby was plenty big enough, and I have no doubt it would have been safe to deliver then, but was baby really READY to come into this world then. I am grateful for patient moms who trust their body, and trust their baby to come in just the right timing for them.
When I arrived mom was worried she had called me out too soon. I assured her that I would much rather get here sooner than be stressed about making it in time or even having to talk dad through it over the phone. (Which I have done more than once). It didn’t take long before contractions picked up and there was no doubt mom was in active labor. This is when contractions are noticeably stronger, lasting longer, and closer together. If I were to do an exam to check for dilation, which I don’t normally do, she would be at least 5 cm.
I listened to baby’s heart rate through my Doppler, and baby sounded great! A strong heartbeat means a happy baby. I can tell it won’t be long now, so I start to set things up for the birth.
Mom wanted a water-birth; this was her first homebirth and her first birth without any medication for pain relief, so water is a great substitute for that. I like to say that a water-birth is like a home epidural. I’m sure this mom would agree. She said the water made a big difference for her. She got in the tub around 4:30 am; she was so relaxed it looked like she was sleeping in between contractions. 20 minutes later her water broke. Her 11-year-old daughter wanted to be there when the baby was born, so my assistant woke her up and just in the nick of time, because 8 minutes later baby is giving a strong nudge that she wanted to be born. Mom slowly with very controlled pushes reached down and received her own baby girl, weighing in at 8 lbs. 14 oz. It was absolutely beautiful. I have been to many births and each one is just as beautiful as the one before, and still another miracle.