The birthing center experience

12 09 2008

OK, my daughter is over 3 weeks old now, and I still have not blogged about the birthing event itself.  For those of you following this blog, you know from previous posts that we planned to have the baby at a birthing center.

Well, here is my account of the event followed by my editorial comments on the birthing center experience.

When I woke up on the morning of August 19, my wife informed me that she had been having irregular contractions since the wee hours of the morning.  When I asked her if I should go on into to work, she replied that she didn’t know and it was up to me.  I decided to stay home.

It just so happened that we had a bio-physical exam (sonogram on steroids) scheduled that day at noon.  Since she was having these contractions, we weren’t sure if she should cancel the appointment or not.  So, my wife called the birthing center.  They asked us to come on in for an exam and they would make a determination on whether or not the bio-physical was necessary or not.

So, we went in at about 10am.  By this time, the contractions had gotten pretty regular and were starting to pick up some steam.  The midwife checked her out and said she didn’t think the bio-physical would be necessary because it looks like we might have a baby today.  Although, she emphsized that she didn’t think it was going to happen within the hour.  She encourged us to go get something to eat so our energy would be up (so my wife’s energy would be up, who am I kidding?) and told us not to go to far and to come back if things started intensifying.

Nothing sounded good to my wife, but she forced down half a roast beef sandwich from Arby’s.

After being home for maybe a couple of hours, my wife decided things had escalated to a point where we better go on back to the birthing center.

We got back there at around 2pm (if memory serves me) – maybe a little earlier.  They had the room all prepared for us, so we slowly made our way up the stairs to the room where we would have our baby daughter.  While we waited for our midwife to come back and re-examine her, my wife asked me to go ahead and call her mom at work to come and join us.

My wife laid on the bed for a while as I massaged her lower back (my main role for all three of our babies).  Pretty soon, my mother in law arrived.  The midwife said my wife could get into the big hot tub whenever she liked.  My wife put it off for a little while because she wasn’t sure if she would like it.  But, after a bit, she got in the warm water of the tub.  (I transitioned back rubbing duties underwater).

After being in the tub for half hour maybe, I asked if I should get my swim suit on and join her.  She said yes.  (FYI – at the birthing center, the mom can wear anything she wants or nothing at all…not so for the dad ;))

Soon after I got into the tub with my wife, the midwife examined her again and said she was dilated to a 7.  My wife and I were dissappointed to hear this because in our hospital experiences, we knew she had to get to a 10 before they will even allow you to start pushing.  The dissappointment must have registered on our faces because the midwife said not to worry because that can all change with one contraction.

Boy, she wasn’t kidding.  On the next contraction, the midwife just told my wife to do whatever her body was telling her to do.  She started pushing…and boom (to use the words of the great John Madden)…our daughter was born.

I couldn’t believe that she had arrived.  The time was 3:58pm.  I expected to be there for several more hours before the birth.  It caught me by such surprise that I shed a few tears even (not so with our sons).

That’s the story of the birth of our daughter.  One of the best days of my life.

OK, now for my editorial comments about the birthing center itself.  As you may know from previous posts, I was extremely skeptical about having a baby outside of a hospital.  I only agreed knowing that there was a hospital right across the street.  Well, let me tell you, that I could not have been more wrong.  This experience was by far the smoothest of our deliveries so far.  They allowed (encouraged) my wife to eat something to prepare…not so at a hospital.  They last checked her at a 7cm dilation…hospitals will not let you push until 10.  We had the baby in a tub which my wife later told me she wished she hadn’t waited so long to get in…not an option at most hospitals.  My wife had the baby in her arms before the umbilical chord was cut…not normal at a hospital.  They didn’t even weigh or measure her prior to her first breath-feeding…not typical at a hospital.  All in all, it was a terrific delivery.  Both wife and baby are in wonderful health.  And, best of all, we were home by 8pm.  We spent the next week or so having visitors come to our home instead of to a hospital…much better for the visitor and the visitee.

So, if you are considering having a baby using a midwife either at home or in a birthing center, I would highly encourage you to go for it.  I certainly don’t regret it and I don’t think you will either.  If we have another child (if being the key word) we will definitely have it in the birthing center again.  No doubt about it.


Birthing Center

3 05 2008

Everytime my wife has been pregnant (she is pregnant for the third time now), she has insisted that she is going to have the baby naturally.  And, everytime, I have supported her in her endeavor.  That is, until the moment of truth when someone at the hospital mentions drugs and my wife waivers just a bit in her steadfastness.  At that moment, when I should be her rock, her encourager, instead, I am all about the drugs…bring em on and bring em fast!

Well, this time, my wife has decided she needs more than just my support to be successful.  So, she has decided to have our next child at a birthing center using a midwife.  Her thinking is that if she has the full support of staff and facility that she will be able to battle through successfully.  In other words, no one will be there trying to sell her on something she doesn’t really want.  And, truly, what they are actually doing is trying to make the process easier for themselves and, more importantly, trying to add unnecessary items to the final bill of sale.

I have been asking her a lot lately why it is that she wants to have a natural birth so badly.  I mean, in my way of thinking, why put yourself through an extreme amount of pain and agony when there is really no reason to.  She hasn’t waivered in her responses.  First, there can be negative side-effects to the drugs up to and including death.  And secondly, as a strong woman, she knows she can do this and she wants to prove it to herself and to others.  Third, women have done it the natural way for thousands of years and if they can do it, so can she.  Plus, this is the way God intended it.

I try to argue that women have had headaches for thousands of years too, but she still takes an aspirin once in a while to remedy hers.  But for some reason, this argument never holds water – something that still doesn’t make sense to me.

Regardless, I really do want her to know that I am her closest and strongest supporter.  And, I AM committed to doing whatever is best for her and our kids – No matter what.  But, we still carry on the debate.  She has even asked me talk to some friends of ours at church that had their last child at a birthing center.  So, I did talk to them.  And, I tried to ask them the right questions to get them to explain to me why this method is so much better.  And, honestly, I don’t feel that I got any closer to understanding.

This is all on my mind now because she and I just came from a class at the local Birthing Center where we plan to have our third child in August.  It was just a simple class to go over logistics and ask questions, etc.  But, I did sort of leave feeling a little better about things.

I am still scared to death about doing it this way, but I can certainly acknowledge a few positives.  I certainly agree that with our first two babies, the hospitals and doctors really did nothing to show that they cared about our wishes.  I think they were just interested in shuffling us in and out as quickly as possible and at the highest possible price point.  Additionally, I understand that this is something that is truly important to my wife.  And, if it makes her feel stronger and somehow validates her as a strong woman, then I can support that.  And, lastly, I can see how the recovery time for her and the baby could possibly be easier.

So, this should be an interesting journey.  I am excited to have a third baby and, yet, petrified not to have the safety net of the trained medical staff and facilities in close proximity.  But, I know my wife is a strong person.  I just have to be strong too.

Juno movie review

2 05 2008


Ok, this is definitely not what I expected to be the topic of my first real post.  But I watched a movie last night for the first time in a long time.

Side note – my wife and I used to watch movies all the time…then…kids.

But, at my wife’s request, I rented the movie Juno.  I had no intentions of watching it with her, but it just so happened that I had a few minutes free time last night after getting the boys down to bed so I told her I would give it 15 minutes.

30 minutes later, I looked over at her and said that I was hooked for the duration.

I found the movie entertaining from start to finish.  Here’s my brief review of the movie.

The movie is about a young teenaged high school student who gets herself pregnant.  After getting freaked out at the abortion clinic, she makes the decision to adopt the baby out to a worthy couple.  The rest of the movie is about her relationships with that couple, with her family, with the baby’s father, and with the rest of her little high school world.

The movie is fresh and fun in style.  It is extremely witty.  I don’t know if it’s just because my wife is pregnant now or not, but we found ourselves laughing out loud many times throughout.  But, more than just witty, the film is deep in a not so deep kind of way.  What I mean by that is that the movie gives you fresh perspectives on pregnancy, on adoption, on family, and on the way society looks at these things; but at the same time, it keeps things light and fun and does not try to force any ideas or any hidden agendas on you.

Ellen Page is either a very good actress or she was just born to play Juno.  I kind of think it’s the latter but that is by no means an insult to her…she was just absolutely perfect in this role.  One moment she has the face of a 12 year old girl, and the next moment, the face of a 21 year old woman…which is a perfect match for the experiences that Juno is living out in the movie.

So, if you have time for a witty movie with a great central character living out a complex but real life situation, go rent Juno.

Would love to hear what you think of the movie…