Friday, September 30, 2011

100 Births

    A few weeks ago I attended my 100th birth as Sacred Ways Midwifery.  This is the first business I have ever owned, and I still remember how nervous I was six years ago when I took this leap, letting go of receiving a steady paycheck to pursue my true passion..  Fortunately, Chico was ready for more homebirth options,  and the beautiful families came to seek my assistance and keep on coming.
  One hundred births feels like a milestone in my practice.  When we talk about birth,  we often talk about risks of things as "x" in a hundred.  Now looking back I can see what has happened  in 100 births.  For example, I've had 1 baby who wouldn't turn to head down and was born at home as planned breech.  (We had a whole team of midwives for that amazing birth) .  I've had three other babies  who were breech at 36 weeks that we turned to head down before labor. 
   I've had many women in their forties, and one of them had a  baby born with Down's syndrome.  I've had one baby born with a cleft lip and palette, whom we syringe fed with breast milk overnight until we could get the special feeder in the morning .  The baby arrived before me a couple times, mama in labor less than an hour.  I've had one baby that required several minutes of help starting to breathe, and three others who just needed a couple breaths.
  I' ve enjoyed many repeat customers.  What a joy to see a family through the birth journey more than once!  I've had many women come to me after having hospital births, wanting something different.  I've had many first time mommas.  Not a single set of  twins yet but at least a third of all women ask me at the first visit, "Could I be carrying twins?"
  My 100th baby belongs to Heather.  She is a repeat client, whose strapping toddler Conner I saw into the world two years ago. Her sister- in- law Sarah has also had two lovely births with me.  Heather lives an hour away, and I drove  swiftly to her home on a hot August afternoon,  remembering that she was ready to push by the time I arrived with Conner.
    Sure enough, she was ready to push again when I arrived.  She pushed and then said that something doesn't feel right.  I decided to check her and see what was going on.  When I did vaginal exam I found that she was completely dilated but it was not a head I was feeling!  " The baby is breech " I said.....then I checked again.  Well, maybe it is a head... but not the right part of the head.  I felt around and felt a soft mound ....of....maybe it is the baby's privates?     No, it really feels like head...  Eyeball?  Nose?    In a hundred births I have NEVER been unable to tell what part was coming down!.  In the hundreds of other births I've attended as nurse or hospital midwife I've never been unsure like this!.   I didn't want to hurt anything so I withheld from poking too much.  Heather rested on her side while we talked about her options.  I knew that this not-knowing needed to be taken seriously.  We were a good 25 min from a hospital, down winding country roads. After another brief try at pushing, we decided to go in.
    When we arrived at the hospital,  the OB checked her and said " the baby is breech!"  Then he felt again...."the anus?  The nose?  Oh!  It bit me! It is the mouth!"
   Heather's baby had decided to come out MOUTH first.  This is what that looks like:

   The odds of this happening is about 1 in 600.  Doesn't look very comfortable for the little one, does it?  In fact, pushing in this position puts strain on the neck and can damage the head, neck and spine.  Peyton was born by cearean section to save her little self and courageous Heather took it all in stride,  grateful that we transported  when we did and that her baby was safely in her arms.  She was back home within two days, baby nursing like a champ.
  One hundred births and never a dull moment.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Your uncertainty made me certain of what you would write next. Though I have never witnessed (or felt) a face presentation myself; two of my aunts, my mother's sisters, birthed their babes face first. I have listened to their birth stories countless times and I hoped that when it came my turn to give birth their would not be a family tradition with little faces appearing first!
It was lovely to read your centenary of births post, may your statistics remain as woman, and midwife, friendly.