Lynne Marie's Birth

Apr 15, 2014 |
Home Birth Stories,  |
Kellie Moeller, CNM |

Lynne Marie was born at home on April 7, 2008. She was actually my second child. Since Lynne’s birth was a VBAC, I’ll give a quick rundown of Hank’s birth, my first child, since I believe it adds a lot to the story of Lynne’s birth.

Hank was due on February 25, 2006. My OB was nervous about letting me go past his due date since he was going to be a large baby, and had told me that if I did not go into labor before March 1 I would be induced. Well, at about 2 in the morning of February 26, my water broke (so I thought), so I went to the hospital. When I was checked in, the nurses realized that my water hadn’t actually broken, I had just had a high leak of amniotic fluid. It’s unusual, but that does happen. Anyway, since I was past my due date, they ruptured my water bag. After an hour I was still only at one centimeter, so they started the pitocin drip. At about 10 a.m., I got an epidural, even though I was only at two and a half centimeters. By about 2 in the afternoon, Hank’s heart rate was dropping so precipitously with every contraction that they decided I needed a cesarean. As soon as my OB made the call I was whisked away, while I was crying and my husband Mike was just standing there looking baffled. I couldn’t believe how quickly it all happened. Hank was born weighing 8 lbs. 10 oz. I ended up being alright and so did Hank, but it took a while. Anyway, that’s the story of my so-called “emergency” C-section.

Well, it didn’t take long for me to start thinking about VBAC. I just couldn’t accept the thought that I couldn’t have babies the way nature intended. So I started reading. I looked for books that included hard data on the relative safety of VBACs and repeat cesareans. I ended up being convinced that VBAC was a safer option, and that a natural birth was the safest way to pursue a VBAC. During Hank’s pregnancy I had casually thought that a natural birth would be pretty cool. During Lynne’s pregnancy, a natural birth became a mission.

I began to look for the most experienced VBAC practitioner around. To my surprise, a midwifery practice kept popping up. I hadn’t considered that before, but I was so determined to have a VBAC that I was willing to look into it. My husband and I met Kellie and knew she was the person we wanted to deliver our baby. We didn’t really look for a homebirth, at first, it just kind of found us.

Lynne’s birth was, in many ways, set up to be more problematic than Hank’s. My brother was killed in Afghanistan when I was seven months along. My blood pressure became elevated and I stopped gaining weight for a few weeks because of the stress. By the time Lynne was born I was past the point where I was spending large portions of every day staring out the window, but not by much. Those two months between my brother’s death and Lynne’s birth were the most miserable time of my life.

Lynne was also posterior. Her due date was April 1, and around then I started having noticeable contractions. She was positioned in such a way that every time I had a contraction, a nerve would pinch in my leg and I would fall over if I didn’t have something to lean on. The contractions felt strong, but not regular. I thought that this was a sign that the baby was imminent. Silly me. This went on for about a week. At about 11 p.m. on April 5, the contractions started in earnest, about 10 minutes apart. The pain from the contractions themselves was manageable, but the pain from my pinched nerve made me want to vomit. And I did. At 4 or 5 in the morning, I called Kellie. I was just getting scared. She came over for a while, but the contractions were still roughly 10 minutes apart, and I wasn’t going anywhere fast. She stayed for an hour or two, then left for a while. We had some friends come and pick up Hank. The contractions continued throughout the day. Between contractions I would do sudoku, snack, or rest. My husband and I watched a Lord of the Rings movie.

I could not time the contractions accurately because of the pain in my leg, so eventually I just got frustrated and quit. Occasionally I would vomit whatever I had been snacking on. At about 5 in the afternoon I called Kellie. I complained that I was frustrated that I wasn’t making any progress and that I didn’t know what to do. She said she was coming over again, that if I was getting so discouraged she felt she needed to check up on us. She came over and almost right away said that I had progressed a lot, without even doing an exam. I told her I had been standing or walking throughout every contraction because any other position was just too painful. At this point she guessed that the baby was in the wrong position and did an exam. Sure enough, the baby was posterior, but she also said I was at six centimeters. I was thrilled. I had been sectioned with Hank at five centimeters, so I had already progressed further than with Hank’s birth, and without any drugs. However, Kellie said that she could tell I wasn’t going to get much further unless I started changing positions. I said that other positions were too painful. Kellie responded that the painful positions were usually the best. Not really what I wanted to hear, but I was up for anything to get the labor over with.

So, I started sitting on the exercise ball. We did that for about an hour. Then I leaned over the back of the couch, my back parallel to the floor, for about another hour. Kellie told Mike and me to try to take a nap, but told me to lie on my side. I don’t know how long that went on; I think I made it for less than ten contractions when I got up and told Kellie that that position was just too painful. She responded that I really needed to be in that position, but suggested I get in the bathtub. So I did that for a while, and the contractions were more manageable. After that things get sort of fuzzy. I remember I was getting frustrated because I never felt like the contractions were getting closer than three or four minutes apart. I would walk around my bedroom and hang on my husband, and he would put pressure on my lower back during the contractions. That felt unbelievably awesome. I kept expecting the contractions to get closer together. Maybe they actually were but my sense of time was warped; I don’t know. I just remember at one point I said I wanted to go to the bathroom, and Kellie said she thought the baby was coming out. I argued and tried to go the bathroom. Well, my water broke explosively at that point. Kellie told me to push if I felt the urge. I started getting mad. I was tired, I wanted a nap, I didn’t want to do it anymore, nothing was fair. She said the baby wasn’t going to come out until I pushed it out. So I pushed. It seemed like she was constantly checking Lynne’s heartbeat, and every time she checked she said Lynne was doing great. I only pushed a few times, then Kellie checked me and said that part of the cervix was hanging over a bit. She pushed it out of the way. I did not like that at all. But, after that, I could really feel the baby moving with each push. I only pushed for less than an hour, then Lynne was born. I can’t describe how euphoric I felt once it was over.

Mike caught Lynne and handed her to me with the cord still attached. She started nursing right away, and the afterbirth came out pretty quickly. Everything was normal. Lynne was big. After nursing, Kellie and the birth assistant (I think her name was Pam) weighed Lynne. She was exactly nine pounds. They stitched me up since I had a second-degree tear (no surprise with that big kiddo—and I am pretty petite), and helped me into the tub to clean up and relax. Lynne was born at 2:02 a.m., Kellie and Pam left at about six, then Mike and I passed out. We were so exhausted. At about nine, we woke up and had biscuits and gravy for breakfast. I spent the first day of Lynne’s life snuggling her, eating my own food, and just enjoying how alert I was. It was so different from Hank’s birth.

Even though Mike and I definitely did not start out as home birth enthusiasts, we have been so impressed with how everything was handled that I have no intention of giving birth in a hospital again, if I can help it. I remember thinking several times that an epidural sounded nice. However, I would never have been able to get into all of those goofy positions if I had had one. Had I gone to a hospital, I would have had the same outcome as with Hank.

It may sound funny to say that such an excruciating experience was also wonderful and amazing, but it was. I could not have done it without either Mike or Kellie. They were both so supportive and encouraging the entire time. They had more confidence in me than I did, and their support got me through the worst spots. The difference in my level of awareness between Lynne’s unmediated birth and Hank’s typical hospital birth was just astounding. I would not trade that for anything.

Joanna Silosky

Publisher: Joanna Silosky
Original Publish Date: April 15, 2008

Blog Posted: Apr 15, 2014
Posted by: Kellie Moeller, CNM
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