Jennifer's Birth Story


My due date was March 8, 2001, and I was feeling good and ready before that date approached. On March 11th I choked down castor oil in hopes to bring on labor. I felt contractions late in the afternoon into the evening, but it fizzled out upon going to to bed. The next day contractions resumed around 11:00. I told no one except for my husband that I thought I might be in labor. Contractions were a steady 5 minutes throughout the day, but did not progress in intensity or timing. My midwife suggested that I drink ˝ glass of wine and try to get a goodnight’s rest. We were having a beautiful rainstorm so I took my wine outdoors. When I finished my wine I stood up and my water broke. It was 10:00 PM. We were so excited to have a birth during the night without anyone knowing that we were even in labor. It felt so liberating to know that no one was worrying about us. Our midwife apprentice arrived a little after 11:00. She checked my blood pressure, urine and fetal hearttones. We hung out and chatted and we all tried to go to bed at 12:30. Contractions stayed at 5 minutes but intensity began to build. I told my husband to sleep now before I REALLY needed him. Around 2:00 AM I took a shower and then a bath and I noticed my first show. I was having difficulty relaxing and felt it would be impossible to sleep. Around 4:30 I asked my husband to wake up to help me relax. He was successful. I fell asleep until our 2 year old Isabella awoke at 6:15 AM. When she saw all of the midwife’s stuff in our room she said “all for baby” I said “what”…I could not believe she could really understand…she repeated herself and walked away from the table full of tools. Things were heavy enough that I thought Isabella would be best with her grandparents (who live right around the corner). Kelley and I did some walking and some relaxing around the house. Around 10:00 AM our midwife came. WE were a little discouraged that contractions were still only 5 minutes. We went for another walk at 10:30 and ran into several neighbors who made jokes like better go boil the water. They had no idea that we were having a homebirth, much less that we were actually in active labor. We got home at 11:00 and I told everyone that things were getting tough to relax through and I did not want to do this all day. I said I was ready to get busy with this labor. Kelley and I went to the bedroom and used to breast pump to try to intensify labor. It sure did work. Within 30 minutes I was in the birthing tub.

I could not help but moan to tunnel the energy where it needed to go. The midwives picked up on this and joined the party. I was starting to think this was real labor and was concerned how much worse it would get and for how much longer I would have to endure the pain. By 12:35 I wanted to push. The midwives told me to go for it. I was afraid to push because I could not believe that I could possibly be 10 CM with out things getting a lot worse. I had not been checked for “progress” yet and asked that they do this before I pushed. The agreed to do so after the next contraction. When my next contraction came it was expulsive and I tried to fight it out of fear. The next one I could not fight and I began to push. When the head came it was born in one contraction. It was another 3 minutes before the shoulders and body were born. Dad greeted Todd and he was placed on my back. Todd was born at EXACTLY 1:00 PM on Tuesday March 13th. He did not come to so the cord was cut before it stopped pulsating and Todd was recussitated. Once he began

breathing he stayed under the O2 for about 30 minutes. I was a little stressed, but not to worried because I knew one of the midwives would have been on the phone if we were in real trouble. (The same thing also happened in the hospital with my first birth…only the “respiratory team” forgot to turn the O2 machine to the “on” position.) During this time the placenta came. I got out of the water when Todd was ready to be held by his mother. He had a lot of mucus and his crying helped to clear this out. It seemed a foreign concept to me to want my baby to cry rather than try to comfort him to stop. Low Apgar scores warranted a visit with a pediatrician. We had a neighbor who was a pediatrician. By the time he arrived Todd was in good shape, but his confirmation was a technicality that we needed by law. Both mom and baby stayed “in tact”. Todd nursed for the first time at 3:39 PM..and hasn’t stopped much since.

Jennifer W. Hollowell


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