One of the fun things about this site is that we want you to be able to share in the birth stories of the mamas and babies who come through our care. What better way to start than with the first birth story of baby Jackson, my son whom Tracy caught a year ago.
Let’s go back to the very beginning of how Tracy and I met – It was during a PAP smear in 2016. I have had all my babies with our practice and came in for a routine well woman exam. Our Nurse Practitioner, Britt, came in and asked me if her student midwife could do my exam. I was just about to finish school myself and said, “OF COURSE!”. We lost touch for a few months after that, but about a year later I learned that Tracy was still at the practice and was finishing up her births and gearing up for graduation and boards. I was pregnant with Baby#4. Not only was I pregnant, my husband was overseas and I was alone, with no family, three kids (5,3, and 1), and two dogs. I was working part time, but commuting long distances most days of the week, and working some weekends. We had good friends nearby, but everyone has their own lives. I was struggling. I was also embarrassed to let my trusted providers know how much I was struggling, so it took me awhile to realize how much I needed to be in my safe place. No joke, the Holy Spirit woke me up out of my sleep and I showed back up in the office quite pregnant and ready to share the burden . Now, midwives weren’t a thing at this practice yet, but Tracy was blazing trails and would still be getting her birth experience when I was due. Being a student is hard, and I was a perfect midwife patient, so I wanted her there.
I have had three natural, unmedicated births before Jackson. I became a midwife before I was pregnant with him. I knew I could do it. They had all been quick (like, really quick), and each one very different in their own ways. This time I was anxious. I was anxious about everything. My husband had been gone the whole pregnancy, I wasn’t sure he would make it home in time because he was due to come home 5 days after the baby’s due date, and I was so stressed out. I was half tempted to stay home and have a baby in a bathtub. The other half me was not emotionally prepared for another unmedicated birth. I also had never had the experience of an epidural and it took a lot to convince myself and give myself permission that it was OK to get one if I wanted one.
My husband made it home on Saturday night October 7th quite late in the evening. We were all at the airport waiting and as much as I didn’t think I would, when I saw my husband come out of the terminal I LOST IT. I was so relieved he made it. At that point in time I was almost 39 weeks and there was no question about who would help me if the baby came. He didn’t have to go back to his day job for awhile, so we had a few days back at home and on Tuesday he came with me to my 39 week prenatal appointment. Tracy was leaving for Africa in two days and Dr Oland was also going somewhere. It was either try to have a baby today and have my team, or be at the mercy of nature and be flexible with whomever was one call. October 10th just so happened to be the day St Maximilian Kolbe was canonized and my due date, October 17th, was the day he was beatified, and Koble had been chosen as our baby’s middle name on his feast day. So, I thought what the heck, let’s try and have a baby today! I went home convinced I’d be back for my 40 week prenatal appointment next week since like every pregnancy before (by the 4th baby this was a thing).
I was feeling nothing. Absolutely nothing throughout the rest of the day. Our kids were so excited to have Daddy home, but they were also so scared that he was leaving again any time he put his shoes on or they saw him touch keys, or a wallet, or move towards the door. We finally got them in bed, but thankfully not too late, and when I laid down to go to bed I realized I was contracting. I was contracting regularly every 3-5 minutes. I waited for awhile and sent Tracy a message. She said Dr Oland was asking why I hadn’t come in yet. We had a decision to make. There was a chance I could fizzle out, but this was also quite reminiscent of how Amelia’s labor went. Joe told me, “if you want to have time to get an epidural, then we need to go now or you won’t make it.” So we decided to head in.
We changed hospitals literally on the way in so that Tracy could be my midwife. We checked in through the ER and made our way to L&D. I was goofy by this point. I was feeling my contractions, I was afraid they spaced out, but they were there. I’m going to say I do not think the nurses believed I was in labor when they were given my admission orders, but they kept me anyway. Once I was on the monitor my contractions weren’t even picking up. I told Joe if they just broke my water now maybe we’d have a baby before midnight. Joe went and got Tracy and she came in to rationalize with me about what my real goals were here. If I really wanted an epidural then I should get that first and then break my water. So I did. I got an epidural right about the time I was starting to breath through contractions. And it worked really well. It wasn’t too heavy, it wasn’t too light. Within about 15 minutes I felt nothing. They broke my water and then an hour later check me… NOTHING. My cervix hadn’t changed a bit yet. Joe is by the beside falling asleep from the time change and just being wiped out. It was about 1 am and Tracy had to get her parents from the airport in the morning. We agreed to wait a few hours, get some sleep, and reconvene at 5am.
I woke up bolt outright at 4:45 am. There was a baby in my butt. I looked at the clock and thought to myself, “The nurse will be here in 15 minutes. I’ll wait”. My epidural was fading and I was feeling the contractions again. 5 o’clock came and went and no one came. I whispered, “JOE!” to my husband. He didn’t hear me. I thought “Oh, I”ll just wait, it’ll be any minute.” I was starting to breath through my contractions and by 5:15 I was getting anxious. I finally used my outdoor voice “JOE!!” and my husband woke up. He was so confused from the time change he didn’t know where he was. I told him to go get our nurse because I had no idea where my call bell had gone and I could’t really move. She came in, and yes there was a baby right there, so we called everyone back in. I used the mirror to help myself see if I was pushing well. I pushed for probably 5 whole minutes. Dr Oland even told a dumb joke and out came this big, long baby. Tracy said he just kept coming, and coming. A few weeks before Dr Oland and I had had a conversation that went something like this: Him: “I don’t think there’s a very big baby in there.” Me: “Me either”. We were wrong. He was 8 pounds 11 ounces. He was my biggest baby by three quarters of a pound.
Jackson Kolbe was born at 6:05 on October 11, 2017.
Not the expected midwife birth birth story you thought it was going to be, was it? Birth can be many different ways. My take away was I loved my epidural, but I wouldn’t do it again if I have another baby (shhh, don’t let my husband know I’d happily have another).