This last couple of weeks were unmercifully crazy. We were out of town at a state midwifery meeting, and were on call for two mothers. One right at her due date, another at 38 weeks. The mom who was due, was having her 9th child, and had fast labors. The other mama was a first timer, very sweet, very young newly wed. We made sure everyone knew we would need extra driving time, and to call early.
Our meeting ran late and we sat up kibitzing with other midwives until about 2 in the morning. Then we went to bed. At just after 5 am my phone rang. It only rang once, but in actuality two calls came through at precisely the same time (one went to voicemail). BOTH mothers were in labor. We threw our stuff in the car quickly and hit the road, again in the wee hours. Grabbed coffee at the drive through and then made the 2ish hour drive to the first mother's home. We arrived at about 7:30, assessed mother and baby, and got to making ready for birth. Mother sat on the edge of her sofa, breathing softly once or twice with each contraction. Between contractions we chatted as we had done for months in my office at prenatal visits. Once everything was ready, we slipped our shoes off and settled in to wait for baby. I listened to the baby again, and she sounded perfect. Now the waiting game.
By behavior I would never have guessed that this mother was in labor. She didn't look uncomfortable or even working much with her contractions, and she was very social. 8 minutes after I slipped my shoes off, mama drops to one knee beside the couch and grunts. Her water breaks. There was meconium in the fluid and A LOT of it. I listened for baby again, and could not find heart tones no mater where I listened. Just as a wee bit of anxiety started to creep up in my chest, fter about half a minute of listening, the mama sort of croaked my name, and I looked down to see the baby's entire head out. I quietly asked Haylea who was sitting on the birth stool charting, for a towel and she handed it to me without even looking. She assumed it was for the fluid on the floor. She glanced up at me to ask what heart tones were, just in time to see the whole baby slide out. Baby number 1... check.
We cleaned up, did the newborn exam, made plans to see mama the next morning, and dashed out the door. We were there 2 and a half hours total.
We had been keeping up with the other mama via text, and knew she was truly in labor, so we grabbed breakfast and coffee and went directly to mama #2. We walked in the door at about 11am. Her water had broken on the commode just as we pulled in the driveway. Again, I did a quick assessment of mother and baby and we got to the work of setting up, which was more complicated this time because we had to set up the birth pool as well. In about an hour or so we got everything set up, listening to baby every 20 minutes or so. We could tell this sweet girl was really beginning to be uncomfortable, but still, she had the softest demeanor, no sounds of distress did she utter.
She got into the pool, and was instantly soothed. We don't call the birth pool the aquadural for nothing! She began whistling through her contractions. Not a song, just a long slow whistle with each breath. We listened to baby and gently encouraged mama, loving the energy in the room. This sweet couple were newly married and very young. The sister of the papa had just had had a homebirth herself and was there since early in the morning, just praying with them and doing whatever they needed. She was an amazing doula. Just a sweet, sweet family.
Before long the mama's whistles started going up in pitch at the peak of the contractions, and I was noticing a bit of a dip in the baby's heart rate with them as well. I asked if I could check her, and she said yes. I was surprised to find that the baby was nearly crowning. How this mama had no gut wrenching urge to push I cannot figure out. We discussed pushing, she tried it on for size a little bit, and then she decided she wanted to get out and go to the bathroom.
On the way back from the bathroom she stopped and sat on the birth stool for a contraction. She was so comfortable there, she just stayed. She started pushing all on her own. This awesome, first time mama, who had really only labored about 8 hours total, pushed about 15 minutes in earnest. She was a little afraid of tearing, and was holding back a little. I tried to coax her back into the pool, but she didn't want to move. Finally the urge overtook her and she got to the business of pushing our her baby boy. She was amazing!
At 1:30pm on November second, the second November baby slid into the world. He too came out bawling and was just perfect. Baby #2, check! The mama experienced a pretty significant laceration which bled a good deal. We ended up transporting her to the hospital for a repair and fluids. Overall, it was a beautiful birth and an awesome learning experience for us, in transferring to a different hospital than we normally use, and the chaos that ensued when we showed up with the mother and NOT the baby. But in the end the hospital has become an incredible ally for us.
So the rest of the week was back and forth, an hour out and an hour back, twice a day to the mama who was admitted to the hospital, and then to the first baby who had developed jaundice and needed frequent bilirubin checks. It was exhausting, BUT, I feel like I have a family there. Not just a family in the sense that all of my clients become family, but I had actually grown quite close to both sets of parents of the young couple, and in the hospital staff who were amazing.
Oh yeah. We never did meet the papa of the first baby until the 24 hour visit.