After hearing too many times that my bouncing off the walls, never stop, energizer bunny son was “all boy”, I was determined that my next child would be “all girl”.
Two years before she was even born, I painted our spare bedroom pink. With my first child, I had read the book, “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weischler, where they explain how to conceive a boy or a girl. It took about four months to conceive with my second because I was determined that it was a girl or bust.
The day we conceived was 5 days before ovulation if anyone is familiar with the Fertility Awareness Method. A shoe in for a girl! I never had an ultrasound, but we named her Baby Lynsey already and I had her closet lined with pink clothes. I was due on July 16th.
I knew I wanted another homebirth, but with my first birth not going so well, I wasn’t sure what that was going to look like. I didn’t know of any other midwives in the area. I heard about Dr. Mayer Eisenstein and read his book, “The Homebirth Advantage” (not the best written book in my opinion). He had a clinic 30 minutes from me. They were a group of doctors who delivered you at home. I thought that sounded good.
So, I went for a couple of appointments. What I found was that they were similar to a regular OB. You wait to see the doctor, then they see you for about 5-10 minutes. Each visit you were supposed to meet a different doctor, because you would be delivered by whatever doctor was on call that day. The visits were impersonal.
At my first visit, I met the receptionist who stated that she was also a doula (labor assistant) and also happened to be a Christian. After my first birth, I thought having a doula might be a good idea. So, I decided to hire her. She charged $750. I don’t know why I didn’t check around, but this is a very high fee for doula services. The average should be around $250.
But, I wanted things to go smoothly this time, and I liked the fact that she was a Christian. At my first visit, I also asked if they were part of my insurance. They said they were. They would be charging over $6,000 for the delivery, possibly more, but I assumed they were in network, so I figured I wouldn’t be paying any more than the $1,800 I paid for my first homebirth without insurance.
When I was around 16 weeks pregnant, I called my insurance for some reason. I found out they were not in network, and they would probably only cover a very minimal amount for a homebirth, if at all. I was devasted. I had a huge bill already from them for the first two visits, and my insurance wasn’t covering it, because I needed to meet my deductible out of network first. I called the doctor’s office, and they apologized and said that the girl at the desk was brand new and gave me the wrong information. They were not in network. I started balling after I hung up. I didn’t know what I was going to do. There was no way I was going to pay over $6,000 for a homebirth from doctors that I didn’t even care for. From reading Dr. Eisenstein’s book, it seemed like he understood how homebirths should be, however, he no longer delivered, and the people he hired were just like all the other doctors, except that they came to your home to deliver instead of going to the hospital.
My sister told me about a midwife that her sister-in-law worked with in the area. She had just left her practice as a CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) for a prominent doctor to do all homebirths on her own. I called her and met with her. She was busy but could squeeze me in for July. She was also a Christian and lived only 20 minutes away. She charged $2,000 for everything and would still charge insurance and insurance would usually pay because she was a CNM, and legally licensed to practice homebirths. (I ended up paying about $600 out of pocket). What a blessing from God she turned out to be!
She would spend about an hour or more with me at each visit, talking and educating me about health and birth. She taught me a lot and got me interested in the “all natural”. There was not one ailment that she could not come up with an all natural remedy for.
At one visit, I told her how my son got his thumb jammed in the van sliding door and had a huge bruise, etc. I took him to the doctor. They did nothing. She says to put aloe juice on it from an aloe vera plant.
She introduced me to herbal tea. I never ever drank tea before. It amazed me how many things we could treat with the herbs and plants that God gave us. I had never realized that before.
Anyways, I met with my doula once or maybe twice before delivery to go over what we wanted from our birth experience. She worked for the doctor’s office that I left, but I didn’t hold that against her. She seemed nice.
July 16th came and went. Everyone said the second one won’t come any later than your first. When I was a few days overdue, my midwife put some oils on my cervix to try to naturally induce labor (probably evening primrose oil). She said the oils would only work if my body was ready, but that most of the time, women would go into labor within 24 hours. Yea! Days past and nothing.
I went to see her again and she tried some different herbs. She said some women react to certain herbs, and some other women to others. A few more days past and nothing. 12 days past due came and went. Now I was starting to get really depressed. How could I go later than 12 days? Then July 31st past. Now I was into August, and thinking I was going to be pregnant forever.
I went to see my midwife again on August 1st. This time, she gave me some tinctures (water like drops under my tongue), and put a LOT of oils on my cervix. I believe it was black cohosh this time. This was in the morning. I went home to wait.
On the way home, I felt sick. I pulled over because I thought I was going to throw up. Then I felt better and went to the grocery store (to stock up for the umpteenth time of course). When I was checking out, I felt like I was having hot flashes and felt dizzy. I went home.
My mom had taken my son out to Santa’s Village ( a kiddie amusement park) for the day. Around 2 pm or so, I was in the bathroom, if you know what I mean. I called my midwife, and she said that was a good sign, that sometimes right before labor, that is what the body does to prepare itself for labor. She said to try to take a bath to relax. I wasn’t really having any contractions yet though.
My son came back home and around 3:30pm, I started to have some very mild contractions. I called my husband at work and told him I thought I might be in labor. I wasn’t very hungry for dinner so I snacked on some Apple Jacks (mmm, lots of dyes and artificials). I made dinner for my son, and got out the playdough for him to play with.
Then, later while I was cleaning up the playdough, he went into the den and decided to jump off my husband’s weight bench that was in there, and hit his forehead on the corner of the desk. He was screaming, and got a gigantic goose egg on his forehead. To this day, he still has a small bump there. I didn’t know if I was going to have to bring him to the ER. I thought, “No! I’m in labor! The last place I want to go is the hospital!” I didn’t take him and he calmed down. In all the pictures, you can see his big bruise on his head.
My husband got off work at 5pm, and it’s about a 45 minute drive home. He came home around 6:30pm. I was kind of annoyed and asked him why it took him so long to get home. He said he drove another worker home. Hello?! I’m in labor! But, with my last one taking 22 hours, he didn’t feel he needed to be in any hurry.
When he came home, I went upstairs to our bedroom to try to time contractions. I hadn’t really done that yet, because one I didn’t want to, and for two, I was too busy taking care of my son. I was glad he was home to watch him now. My contractions started picking up but were still much milder than with my first. At first, I thought I might be a while, but once I could concentrate on my labor, I realized they were a little stronger than I thought.
I looked downstairs (we had a tri-level) and saw my husband cutting up melons. I thought, “Why in the world is he cutting up melons when I’m in labor?” I said something, and he made some kind of comment about how it was going to be a while. I didn’t want to waste any of my energy on being angry at him, so I just went back into the bedroom and timed the contractions. It took me by surprise that they were sometimes about 2-3 minutes apart because they weren’t very strong contractions.
I told my husband to call my midwife. I talked to her and told her the contractions were about 2 minutes apart, but I couldn’t understand why because they were still bearable. I knew that when contactions were that close, it usually meant baby was near, but I was baffled and thought that couldn’t be. She said she was going to take her dogs out and then she would be on her way over.
My husband called his mom and told her I was in labor and to head over. My husband left to go next door to drop off my son. She was our regular babysitter. It was about 7:30pm. He had just started filling up the birthing pool (Picture above. We rented this from my midwife) and paused to take him over.
I had just called my doula, and let her know what was going on. She lived an hour away and was on her way into Chicago. She said she’d call her back up who lived closer and send her over till she got there. I told her the pool was no where near being filled (it takes at least a half hour to fill). She suggested I get in the bath in the meantime to relax. So, I started the bath.
My husband took what seemed like forever to drop off my son. Then he came back and started filling the birthing pool again in our bedroom. When the bath was not even half way full, my water broke and I immediately felt the need to push. My husband was trying to figure out how to turn the water off from the hose so he wouldn’t spill water everywhere. He finally just let it go and came into the bathroom. I told him to call the midwife right away. He called and she didn’t answer.
I told him I needed to push. He didn’t know what to do. He tried calling the midwife’s cell number again. I pushed and her head came out. As that was happening, he had gotten my midwife’s voice mail, so she had the audio of our birth on her voice mail. 🙂 She said all she could hear, was “Oh, baby! Oh, baby!” (from my husband). I pushed a second time and the rest of her body came out.
I helped my husband lift the baby to my stomach and I checked and said, “It’s a girl! Thank you Jesus!” (I did not want to have any more kids but really wanted a girl.) It was 7:56pm by my midwife’s cell phone message. We didn’t think to look. My midwife’s phone had fallen in the car and she didn’t want to stop to pick it up as she wanted to get to our house as fast as she could. She hit a lot of traffic.
My husband got the camera and took a few pictures and video taped a little bit. We patiently just waited for my midwife to arrive as we wrapped towels around the baby and stayed in the bathtub. About 10 minutes after her birth, the back up doula walked into our bathroom and said, “What’s going on here?” She was not trained as a midwife, but wanted to become one some day. I don’t even think she washed her hands, but for some reason, she reached inside to tug on the cord and scratched me with her super long fingernails. Gross.
Later, my midwife had checked me and said I hadn’t torn at all, but I had a strange scratch that she couldn’t figure out. I told her what happened and she said that’s exactly what that was. We told the back up doula that my midwife was on her way, but she wanted us to cut the cord right away. I don’t know why. She said her feet were blue so we should cut the cord. She had no business acting as a midwife.
But, we didn’t know what we were doing either. So, she told my husband to go look for some string and some scissors so we could cut the cord. My midwife had all of her supplies in the baby’s room already, but I had forgot.
So, my husband is looking around the house frantically and comes back with our meat scissors! So they cut the cord. My mother-in-law then shows up next. I asked her what took her so long. She said she stopped to get coffee. She said she thought it was going to be a long night.
My midwife arrived minutes later. She was not happy that the doula had cut the cord. Normally, you leave the cord until it stops pulsating so that the baby gets all the blood and nutrients from the cord, and in a homebirth, you never cut the cord right away. You can wait up to 45 minutes I believe.
She checked the baby out and did an Apgar test. She scored a 9. She weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces. Around 10pm, we went next door to get my son. He was excited to see Baby Lynsey. We called my mom and my sister. My sister came over (she lived a couple miles away). My mom said she’d come over in the morning.
About 11pm, we were all tired and ready for bed so everyone left and we all went to sleep. Lynsey did not nurse very well. She seemed a little floppy. I kept trying to nurse and she would barely latch on, then stop. We decided to let her sleep. She slept well that night. I woke up once in the middle of the night and looked in on her in her bassinet next to my bed. She was awake but not crying, just laying there wide eyed. I thought that was a little strange.
It took about 16 hours before she really nursed. If I was in the hospital, they would have probably tried to force me to give her a bottle. My midwife came over the next day and had some oil that she could put on me made of flowers that makes babies want to nurse but I believe by then, I didn’t need it. She had already started to nurse.
It took her a few weeks to really nurse well though. Her first day of life seemed to fit her personality for the rest of her baby days. She was VERY laid back. When she cried, she would let out a few short cries, then wait. If I didn’t do anything, she would let out a few more weak cries. I thought, this little girl is so smart and polite. She’s not going to waste her energy wailing like a wolf. She will patiently wait for me to get her.
Unlike her brother who screamed his head off till he got what he wanted. I could also lay her down in her crib at any time and she would be fine with not being held constantly. She would just lay there and wait for me to come back, but wouldn’t fall asleep on her own.
Little did I know then, that these were signs of mitochondrial dysfunction that have continued throughout her life. But anyways, I digress!
Shortly after the birth, I requested a refund from my doula, as she didn’t make it to the birth to assist with labor, which is what I was paying her for. I had already paid her in full before the birth. My midwife told me she should refund me so I sent her a letter requesting a refund. She never responded to me.
I called her about 3 weeks later and she told me she never got the letter. She then told me some story saying that about 3 weeks ago, a bunch of the mail on her street was stolen and burned. What? OK. Nice story. So, I told her what the letter said.
She said she could not refund the money because she already paid her back up doula $250, and the other $500 she had already donated to charity. My midwife was really mad. She said she saw her at some midwifery conference and she confronted her and told her she should refund me the money.
I got a note from her with $150. She said that was all she could afford to refund because she had just bought a new car, and she didn’t have any more money to give me. What??!! How unprofessional.
So I paid $600 for doula services that never took place. She never even offered to provide post-partum doula services. She did show up about an hour after the birth and took a few pictures. She stayed about an hour then left. Her argument was that I should have called her earlier and she was mad that I didn’t let her know that I was in labor earlier.
Well, after my first birth, I had no idea I would go so quickly and I didn’t want people over when I was only having mild contractions, and to have them just stare at me for hours on end. It blew my mind that a woman who claimed to be a Christian could keep that much money for work she did not do.
But, I tried not to get too upset about it because the outcome was exactly what I wanted and had prayed for. After my first birth, as soon as I got pregnant, I prayed every single day, often several times a day, for a “quick and easy birth.” God certainly answered my prayers, and for that, I was very grateful. 🙂
Click here to read Cody’s homebirth story.