At around 1:30 pm on May 11th I got up from the couch to grab something from the office. I am still not sure what I was planning to get since I was derailed by the need to run to the bathroom, thinking I had wet my pants. Though I am a birth worker, I was in total denial that my water had broken. I was not even planning on calling my midwives right away, but after my husband was unreachable, I wised up. They asked me to come in in 45 minutes, so I got my toddler ready and then didn’t know what to do with myself. I tried my mom, but she didn’t answer, so I called Chelsea, my SMDP partner, so she could calm me down with her birthy wisdom – it worked, at least temporarily!
By 2:30, my midwives confirmed that my water had broken and we talked about next steps. I was Group B Strep positive, and planning a homebirth, so, ideally, would go into active labor within the next 24 hours. My in-laws came to pick up our toddler and as soon as the house was empty of family, labor really started moving – I could see I would not need to worry about time.
I labored at home for several hours. It was wonderful being at home, knowing where all the most comfortable places are, laboring in my birth pool, looking over and seeing my cat, having one of my midwives knitting on the couch and the other looking through my books. My contractions were close together from the start, but in the moments between them, I was happy to be home.
After about 5 hours of pretty intense labor, with contractions about 2 minutes apart, my midwives began detecting a slight, intermittent, dip in the baby’s heart rate. They monitored it regularly, it would come and go, but as things starting getting more and more intense, the dips became more regular. My midwives asked me how I would feel about going to the hospital. Though I was absolutely dreading having contractions in the car, it became clear that this was the safest choice and we headed to the hospital. The car ride was miserable, but also kind of a blur – my husband told me next day that the dress I put on – the easiest, most comfortable thing I could find – was inside-out and backwards!
Apparently I dilated 3.5 cm’s in the ten minutes it took to get to the hospital – a miserable car ride was exactly what I needed to get the baby moving. Being in the hospital was so different from being at home, especially since everything was, and needed to be, moving quickly. There were many more people, brighter lights, etc., but everybody was amazing. I focused on my husband and the homebirth midwife who was now acting as my doula, and listened to what the hospital midwife was telling me to do. There was no time to share our birth plan, but my husband was the perfect advocate, calmly telling everyone our hopes for skin-to-skin, cutting the cord, etc. Within about 15 minutes I was ready to push and 10 minutes later, at 10:28 pm, I met my new baby boy, Fritz Theodore Lipschutz. Of course, he was perfect. Adorable and strong and healthy.
I believe in birth plans. I believe that an important part of writing them is planning for the unknown, being flexible, or even being able to let go and throw out the plan all-together. While there were aspects of Fritz’s birth that were obviously less-than-perfect, it was an experience that ended the way everyone hopes theirs will, with a healthy mom and babe. I am extremely grateful to my homebirth midwives who were kind, calm, and expertly professional, and was so happy to have one serve as my doula at the hospital. The midwife who received us at the hospital did so with such grace. She calmly talked me through everything I needed to do, which I can only imagine is a hard task when mothers are laboring hard. And you see a lot of nurses during a hospital stay – they also have been sweet and kind.
I am grateful for all of the support I had during my birth experience and am eager to take the extra strength I gained into the next few months and years.