Sunday, April 1, 2012

Two Equinox Babies; Part 1

    I was blessed to attend two sweet births last week, within the three days around the spring equinox.  Both families were repeat customers of mine.  Their darling toddlers know that I helped them into the world as well.   I will share these beautiful birth stories in two posts.   
    Vanessa went first...she called me at 3:30 am on March 19th.  I rolled out of bed and was off.  She was having her third baby so I knew there was not a lot of time to spare.  I arrived at her house where she was laboring in the tub, her husband Adam by her side.  She has quick, intense labors, and goes deeply inward during the process.  I peaked in on her, and then went to set up my equipment for the birth.  Her two daughters were asleep in their beds and her mother was making a quiche in the kitchen.
     A half hour later she got out of the tub,  and I noticed some red bleeding .   It was a small amount, but noticeable.  Vanessa had had a marginal placenta previa (the edge of the placenta was located over the cervix) at the beginning of her pregnancy and had some bleeding from it at 18 weeks.  The placenta moved out of the way of the cervix as the pregnancy progressed, which we had confirmed by ultrasound recently.   I put my doppler on her belly to listen to her baby's heart rate and it was low, in the 60s, and then climbed back up to normal, 120s.   Hmmmm, I wondered if the ultrasound was incorrect and the placenta margin was being exposed as the cervix opened.  The more common reason for some bleeding and a drop in the heart rate is that the cervix is opening quickly and the baby is suddenly moving into the birth canal.   We listened again through a contraction and heard the heart rate drop down again for a minute or so.  Adam looked at me.  "Should I call 911?"  "Okay" I answered, not convinced this was an emergency but playing it safe.
   Vanessa flipped over to her hands and knees and we continued to listen to the baby, whose heart rate soon returned to normal.  The bleeding  stopped.   The heart rate dropped a little bit during the next few contractions, and then didn't drop at all.  When the paramedics arrived, they peaked into the room where Vanessa was laboring on her hands and knees on the bed while we listened to the baby's heart rate.  The head paramedic assessed the goings-on in the room, and said to me, "I see you have everything under control, just come out here in the hallway and tell me what is going on."  I was pleased with his respectful, hands-off attitude.  I stepped out of the room and gave him report; what had happened and how my concern was quickly diminishing.  He had a student paramedic with him from the community college, who was taking all this in like a sponge takes spilled milk.  "Look,"  our head paramedic said, " I can see you are making sure mother and baby are safe.  Why don't we just wait on standby in the other room while you monitor the baby a little longer, just in case."  "That sounds fine", I agreed, delighted they had not insisted on touching Vanessa, coming into her labor room, or anything.  So they hung out watching Grandma make the quiche for a half hour, then had Vanessa and Adam sign a form, and left.
   The moment they left the house, Vanessa felt an urge to push.   She put her hand over her yoni and pushed against her baby's head as it was born.  Then, pink and squawking, Baby Jackson slipped into this world and was placed on his mama's chest. His apgar scores were perfect 10s at one minute and five minutes. (meaning, he was full of oxygen and energy and vital life force)  Vanessa was thrilled and relieved, and told us later she hadn't been afraid, and hardly noticed the paramedics' visit, she was so deep in her labor.  Adam felt reassured by their presence at first , and then was relieved when they left.  I was grateful to know we have respectful, timely emergency services available to help if we need them, that are also willing to just step aside when we don't.  I called the 911 dispatcher to tell the news of the healthy birth and praise our paramedic team.  The dispatcher sounded excited, like she had heard all about this case, and promised to tell the paramedics right away.  The quiche was delicious - goat cheese and spinach.  The two older children , Kayla and Addie, woke up at their usual time and were delighted to find a new baby brother Mama's arms.   Happy Equinox!