Friday, November 9, 2012

Birth Story Friday: My Easiest Birth - Chicago homebirth in the 80s

For a long time HomeFirst in Chicago attended births at home, and my mother-in-law had most of her births through them. They stopped their maternity practice in, I believe, 2010, eliminating the most popular legal option for homebirth in the state.

This is the story of my husband's birth

Kevin was born in May of 1982. Prior to his arrival, I had birthed three daughters (two at home) and then, in December of 1980, I miscarried. This induced paranoia to the extent that I ate and drank huge amounts of very healthy food during Kevin's gestation. Naturally, I was late! Although the practice I was with was noted for homebirths, they apparently did not put much stock in a woman's knowledge of her own cycles. I had a non-stress test when I was, by their reckoning, one week overdue. As I approached the two-week mark (and a second test), they began to talk of hospitals and inductions. I was freaked out. One day before the test, I prayed to my deceased grandfather (who had always hated hospitals) and asked him to help me. Early the next morning, I dreamed that my grandfather leaned over and kissed me. I woke up in the early stages of labor.

Early labor continued very peacefully for about four hours. At noon, I called the practice and breathed through a contraction (over the phone!) for the midwife, who said that she and the doctor would be over shortly. When they arrived, we were all prepared, and I was still rocking in a chair in the living room. My mother had come over to be with our three-year-old. A few hours later, the older girls returned from school. I was becoming very uncomfortable by then and moved to the bedroom. As the contractions got more intense, the doctor, upon examining me, said that the water bag had not yet broken; he encouraged me to "give a little push" with the next contraction. The bag then broke and labor sped up!

I was soon in a semi-seated position in bed, braced by my husband. A few pushes later, the head was born but suddenly, there was a problem: the shoulders were stuck! The doc immediately said, "Hands and knees" so my support team gave me the old "heave-ho, over you go" and the shoulders came right out. Kevin was born at ten pounds, one ounce, at 4:35 p.m. The doctor later told me that if that had happened in the hospital while I was in stirrups, the delivery team would have dislocated the baby's shoulder to deliver him the rest of the way. Wow! I was so glad to be at home!

I subsequently had two more home deliveries, both big boys, without having to do a last minute position shift. But to this day, Kevin still reminds me, in many ways, of my dear grandfather. Thanks, grampa! And thanks to my knowledgeable delivery team!

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