A Dad’s perspective
Going into this second pregnancy was completely different that the first. While the first was a “learn as you go” affair, the second one was definitely more of a “perfect the art” type of thing. Having already been armed with raising a daughter for 3 ½ years, trained in Bradley method I felt ready for the next one. But…after 10 weeks we decided to explore the option of birthing at home after a close friend of ours recommended a homebirth midwife. Let me save you the suspense, it was a fantastic experience!
So let's go back to beginning then, the day Colleen told me we would be bringing a life into this world – at home. If anyone knows me, they know I am a calculating scientist whose day job involves making big decisions by weighing risk. My first reaction was obvious – no way we are delivering a human at home, are you insane? Followed by about 20 laps of the kitchen in a frantic pace. After a few days and few more hours of Google the scientist in me started to realize that my reaction was totally based on my lack of education in the topic. This to me is the underlying reason why you get “the look” after you say you are doing it at home.
The midwife we met was Galyn and she is super awesome, very chill lady, definitely my type of midwife. It was a great next 29 weeks, Galyn visited our house for regular check-ups, answered questions - the entire process was from my perspective a smooth operation.
All of the aforementioned was set against a backdrop in my mind of “last time”. Our last pregnancy was 3 ½ years ago and we went the midwife route as well however still “at the hospital”. In San Antonio there is an outfit of midwives based in a Hospital and they are good. After this awesome experience at home I started wondering… could you actually have a perfect natural birth (midwife/no drugs) in an un-natural environment (hospital)? Well my take is NO. Unless you go into something 100% you will never get a pure experience.
I’m a motorcycle guy so lets me illustrate with an analogy. You buy a sport-bike to go fast at a private track - it’s a great thing. Tracks are where you go fast, it is safe, self-controlled and relaxed. This is the natural place for a bike. Now, take that bike on the street and go fast – you will most likely die quickly, this is a un-natural environment for speed, it is not safe, not relaxed and most importantly you have NO control over your environment – your destiny is really in the hands of other people, most of which are not trained in driving bike’s fast. Take the analogy for what it is but for me it sticks, after having had a baby “naturally” in the two types of environments I speak with authority.
So lets fast-forward to the birth. We were due on Sept. 23rd (Tuesday) and gave birth on the 19th (Friday). The entire time Colleen was convinced she was going to have the baby early because she was tracking conception start-time versus her period cycle. Well unsurprisingly it happened as she said – but not without some excitement!
On the 18th, Colleen started having small contractions late evening and overnight - and we got excited. Being in IT I already downloaded my contraction App and was ready. I was prepared to track, and stare at contraction numbers at nauseoum. Well the entire night came and went, and in the morning I could tell Colleen was not happy…things had calmed down… how could it be!? We were going backwards…. So on the 19th we decided to make a drive out to see Galyn to get measured. We got there, measured and more bad news…Colleen was not dilated a lot. When the news dropped, I was watching my wife’s face and could see the effect – it was not going according to plan! Doing what I could, I just said let's take it day by day. We got home; Colleen quickly hit Google and convinced herself that she was in prodromal labor. Colleen was convinced she would be in labor for months to come!
The day went on and we went to see a chiropractor after Galyn told us it could help get things going. Next, we went to our friends place to pick up our daughter, decided to stay, let the kids play and pass the time. Still contractions were 10+ minutes apart and sporadic. We left at 7:30pm and I remember one thing Colleen had said in the car…Wouldn’t it be perfect if we had the baby late tonight, the cleaning lady cleaned our house, all the laundry is done, its Friday, it’s a perfect time. Well it was only after the fact did I realize that what Colleen really meant was “I am getting this baby out tonight!”
8:29pm, contractions started to pick up some, not unusual for nighttime to about 8 minutes. Colleen goes into the tub at 8:45pm. Within 5 minutes the universe goes side-ways and we are at <5 minutes, 45 seconds, consistent. I didn’t know what to do with myself so I paced around the house and studied the contraction app and all of the cool buttons and charts. I was excited. By 9pm we are at 3 minutes, 60 seconds, consistent. Colleen is texting Galyn the entire time, finally she decides to call her and Galyn decides game on! She’s on her way. By the time Galyn gets here Colleen has ventured out of the tub and has found her Spot…2 feet from the bed on all fours, she’s telling me she’s ready to push…I’m sitting there fumbling with the contraction app when I decide my phone is now useless, what do I do? Nobody is here.
Luckily Galyn arrives a few minutes later, and gets setup. Colleen is already in what I believe to be transition. At 10:13pm her water breaks. She hasn’t moved, she’s surrounded by piles of pillows and is breathing through the contractions. Around this time Galyn looks at me and says she’s past transition, I think we’re ready to push. I look at my watch…. only 2 hours has passed. Wow. Colleen is on the floor, in her own Zen universe pretending she is in a Tough Mudder and kicking butt….I doubt here imagination can hide the pain…push…breath…push…
10:50 Scarlett Grace is born. After 18 pushes, with Galyn driving the bus, I caught my daughter with my own hands - that’s right, real men catch babies! Everything went super smooth. I couldn’t believe it. Two hours later, I was in my bed beside my wife and our new baby, our older daughter was still sleeping upstairs and we just had a baby. I was free to grab a scotch if I wanted to, that’s right I was in control, nobody was going to give me sub-standard food and crappy service this time. Never-again.
Anyways, long-story short, if are interested in a smooth, stress free experience that does not involve people prodding your wife, crappy food, long traffic ridden trips to a doctor then give Galyn a call! Everyone’s mileage will vary from standard, hospital, at-home experiences….but like a sports-bike; go to the track for best results - birth at home for best results!
Cheers, Jacek M