With so many women (myself included) thrown the "big baby" card these days, it is extra special when a mama really "proves her pelvis" and pushes out a 10lb 12oz baby AT HOME, SAFELY. Most of the time we keep our midwifery skills in our back pockets. We are ready for anything, anytime but rarely need to actually DO anything. We are just good girl scouts keeping watch. This is one of those births where our skills did come in handy and it is great that this mama was able to have the beautiful birth she desired. While we have obstetrical emergency skills, as midwives we like to handle things with a more traditional approach. You won't see an obstetrician in an hospital setting moving a mama with a possible shoulder dystocia- usually just lots of yanking and probable clavicle breaking. This story and accompanying photos depict how we take a "hands on only when necessary" approach that helps get a baby out in the safest way possible with the least amount of trauma for mama and baby. Very special thanks to our previous client and now doula sister Chrystin (who's own birth she shared here) who photo documented this birth beautifully.
"When I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I knew I wanted a home birth from the start. I applied for medicaid and while I waited to be approved, I asked around for recommended midwives who take medicaid. I got a few names, but before I could even call anyone- I woke up early in the morning Christmas Eve in a large amount of blood. I frantically woke up my husband and told him we have to rush to the hospital. I sat there in the bathroom shaking and crying for 30 minutes while my husband got our son, Noah, up and ready to go. We were at the hospital for several hours, the whole time I couldn't shake the thought of losing my baby. An ultrasound showed that the baby was fine. They said if I have more bleeding to come back. I did. I went back the day after Christmas with cramps along with the bleeding. Still, they said everything was fine and it was probably my low placenta moving up. Relief.
My application for Medicaid was denied. I got denied with my first child too. The reason was that I didn't give them enough information, so we re-sent everything, along with the hospital records. Still denied based on my "immigration" status. I cried. I knew this meant I couldn't have the birth I wanted. No way could I afford to pay out of pocket by 38 weeks like most midwives ask. I didn't call any midwives and I went through my pregnancy having no prenatal care other than those few hospital visits. I sadly got prepared for another hospital birth. Honestly, I was depressed over it. Every time I thought about giving birth in the hospital, I started to cry. I thought about having to fight for everything I wanted. I thought about who would stay with my son if I gave birth in the middle of the night. I thought about having to get those IVs, and not being able to give birth in the position I felt comfortable. I thought about all the things that happened with my first birthing experience, and I hated it. Around 38 weeks pregnant my husband looked at my Medicaid status and it said I had Medicaid pending. I instantly messaged my sweet supportive friend, Chrystin, about what she thinks I should do and if anyone would take me this late in the game. She said I should call Charlie Rae Young - one of the midwives I was recommended at the beginning. I was nervous, but when I went into one of my mommy groups on Facebook, I saw Charlie's Facebook page. I felt like it was a sign that I should call her, so I did.
I was scared Charlie would judge me and look down on me for not having prenatal care... I mean, everyone else did. But she didn't. From that first phone call, Charlie was amazing. I wish I called her sooner - and I felt stupid for waiting so long. But she was sweet and worked with me so that I could have the birth I wanted, even though we found out I didn't actually have Medicaid. She requested my hospital records and we had our appointments. I enjoyed having her there for me, she made my family feel comfortable with her. At 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant, Charlie finally got my records from one of the hospitals. She called me and said that one of the hospitals wrote on my charts that I had partial placenta previa, and if it's true then I may need a c-section. No one told me that! I called my husband in hysterics and we rushed to the hospital, again, for an ultrasound. After one hospital sent me home refusing to give me an ultrasound (they said it wasn't an emergency.... really?), and waiting hours at the second hospital to see an obstetrician- we finally knew I didn't have previa. I was on this roller coaster ride this entire pregnancy that I felt would never end.
June 18th, 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant- I woke up at 4:30 in the morning with contractions. They were pretty close together and weren't subsiding. I waited two hours before waking up my husband to ask him if I should call Charlie. He suggested I shower and see if they go away. So I did.. and they got stronger. When I called Charlie, she told me to call her back when the contractions are consistent. I hung up and called back 5 minutes later telling her I got a bloody show (I never had this with my son and thought it meant the baby was coming any minute). She chuckled, she said that it was okay and a good thing. Around 9ish, I called Charlie back and told her my contractions were closer together and consistent. She said she is on her way! I was so much more calm knowing Charlie was on her way. (I'll be honest, I was a bit nervous that I would progress quickly and end up having this baby alone).
Since we kept the sex a surprise, it was much more difficult this time to wait than it was with my son. It was also really hard to contain my excitement that I would finally find out if we are having a boy or a girl! Having had such a difficult and emotional pregnancy, not knowing the sex was something that kept the whole journey fun and exciting. When Charlie arrived a little before 11 am, she was at my house for about an hour checking on baby while I contracted. She said she thought I could have been in false labor because I kept talking, laughing, and joking around during my contractions. Apparently, I seemed too joyful. That made me laugh because I was in a lot of pain, but I was in such a great mood. I had her check me- she laughed and said I must have been a really good faker because I was at 7-8cms. She called Mary Catherine Hamelin, a Doula, and Charlies assistant. I called my friend Chrystin, my birth photographer and also a Doula. I also called my amazing friend Lisa and her daughters to come hang out with my son while I gave birth.
Charlie had me go walk off my contractions in my neighborhood, that's when Chrystin showed up! I was so happy to see her! Mary Catherine and Lisa showed up soon after. I was getting so pumped to see everyone. Every time some one walked through my front door, I got this overwhelming feeling of relief! While I was contracting, everyone was super wonderful, they whispered and left me alone so I could focus on breathing through it. We all joked around, talked, and just hung out waiting for this baby. My husband, Pedro, was there with the heating pad any time I needed some help relieving the pain. I had major back contractions, and it helped a ton! When Pedro finally needed a break after a few hours, Mary Catherine switched with him. Now let me tell you, this woman has some magical hands. The pressure she put on my lower back was just incredible! Around 2pm the contractions were almost unbearable. I was exhausted by this point, but I was also super nervous. I got the urge to push, but I just kept thinking of how scared I was. I was on the birthing ball and kept rolling down, but I psyched myself out and rolled back up instead of pushing along with my body. Charlie and Mary Catherine kept encouraging me to work with my body and that I was doing fantastic. No one ever told me I was doing anything wrong, and no one ever told me to push when I didn't feel ready. The physical support was great, but their encouraging words really helped me trust my body. Something else that truly made things easier on me mentally was hearing my son laughing upstairs. I finally got off the birthing ball, sat back against my husband on my living room floor with Charlie in front of me, and I started to slowly push. I felt myself stretching. I felt the ring of fire after only a couple moments and my baby was crowning! My husband was petting our baby's head while I was between pushes (He did this with our son too... maybe it's our weird tradition). It was quite funny. Everything was going so fast, because before I knew it-- I completely pushed out my baby's head! I asked for a mirror to see my baby, and the only thing I was able to get out of my mouth was "oh my gosh... that is a giant head!". We all laughed because it was totally true.
Charlie asked me to push again whenever I felt ready. But I couldn't. I have given birth before, but this time it felt so different. Several minutes went by. My stomach muscles felt numb and I wasn't getting the urge to push anymore, but I tried anyway. My baby's head wasn't moving anywhere. The energy in the room changed, and so did Charlie's voice. She told me I had to move onto my hands and knees. I knew this meant my baby was stuck, and I got scared. Terrified actually. I tried to move, but everything felt so weak. Everyone told me I HAD to get up and get on my hands and knees. I can't quite remember who helped me, I'm almost sure it was Mary Catherine and my husband, but I was finally on my hands and knees. Charlie, Mary Catherine, and my husband were behind me and Charlie told me I needed to push, her voice was stern. I tried to push, but it hurt. It really hurt. I felt the most pressure I've ever felt in my life. All I could do was close my eyes and push as hard as I could. My head was spinning at this point and I don't remember exactly what happened, but I remember hearing everyone's voices happy again and the pressure subsided.
At 2:29 pm, my sweet baby was born into my husband's arms. With the help of my birth team, my baby was brought safely into this world in the best way I could have ever imagined. Naturally, at home.
While everyone was behind me admiring my baby, I just kept repeating "please don't tell me the sex!", I wanted to see for myself. They asked me if I was ready to be handed the baby... and though I don't recall this, Chrystin told told me I said "No, not yet... I need to breathe". I just remember feeling like jello, and was afraid of dropping the baby. When I was finally ready, they handed my baby underneath my legs and into my hands. I was still a bit dizzy, but I looked down to see that I had a beautiful girl! My eyes started to tear up and I kept telling everyone it was a girl, as if they didn't already see. I requested for my husband to help me take off my dress so I could have skin to skin with my new daughter. Charlie helped me lift my baby girl onto my chest and put a towel over us. While holding my child in that moment, my heart felt so filled. I truly felt a natural high and I didn't want the moment to end. It was simply so perfect in every way. We named our daughter Mayah Natalie Campos.
After I pushed out the placenta, I was bleeding a lot. Charlie asked Mary Catherine to get the Pitocin. I immedietly looked up and asked why. "Why would I need Pitocin?" I thought, "My baby was already born!" Charlie explained that Pitocin will help my uterus to clamp down and slow my bleeding down so I wouldn't bleed out and have to be rushed to the hospital. I started to cry silently and said okay. Mary Catherine gave me the Pitocin in my leg, it hurt a little... but I didn't care. I was devastated about it. But looking back, it was worth it to be able to avoid the hospital.
I nursed Mayah for the first time and things just felt so calm. Noah came down stairs to meet his little sister. He instantly wanted to kiss her and pet her ever so gently. Before Charlie weighed and measured our new little (BIG) girl. We took our guesses on what we thought she would weigh. We all guessed around 9-10 pounds, but we weren't expecting 10 pounds 12 ounces! We were also pretty surpised to see that she was 22 and a half inches long. No wonder when my husband caught her, his arms weighed down and he yelled out "woah!". I was so happy to be able to have both my babies together in the comfort of my own home, surrounded by the people who made it all possible. I had such a supportive, loving, and strong birth team with me that day. I just couldn't have asked for a more amazing way to bring my daughter into this world."