Birth Story: Hendrik Gavin

{first baby, birth center birth with postpartum transfer}

January 13th was my estimated due date but seeing as this was my first baby, I knew that I would be passing that date but I didn’t think I would pass it by 9 days! Jan. 18, a Friday, I had my midwife Christina go ahead and strip my membranes and I was only at 1cm dilated. I was ready for this baby to come out! I was in a car accident four years ago and my unborn son figured out that one of my ribs moved, so that is where he loved to have his feet to get that little extra stretching room! My husband Peter and I did all the things they tell you to do, ate the spicy food, had sex, and did primrose oil, nothing worked. So Monday the 21st we went back to my midwife she stripped me again and gave me some herbs to take. Went home and I realized there was one more thing that I could try doing but didn’t want to because my breasts were so sensitive, nipple stimulation. Around 7pm I had dinner, got in my bed, put on Netflix and started stimulating! Peter fell asleep in his computer chair but I stayed up mostly watching stand-up comedians so that I was focusing on the jokes and relaxing.

Around 1am I started feeling funny so after 8 hrs of doing nipple stimulation, I got up and went into the shower, waking Peter before so. He came in and started timing my waves, they were 1 minute apart lasting 40sec. Peter went to load up the car to go over to my mom’s. I called my sister Madelyn, told her what was happening but that we don’t know how long it was going to be until we got over there so don’t wake the parents yet. We didn’t get over there until almost 3am because I didn’t want to get in the car. With my wet hair in the middle of January I just wanted to walk around the yard. It felt so good to just walk and that cold crisp air felt amazing! I called my sister and told her to wake everyone up, we are on are way. That car ride felt like it lasted for ever, even though I knew Peter was probably speeding, he was so scared that I was going to have the baby in the car because everything was happening so fast!

Finally getting to my mom’s, she and my sister were loading up her van. All I wanted to do was sit on the toilet, it felt so good to just sit there. In all the rushing I forgot to call one of the key players, my midwife! I yell to Peter from the bathroom to call her and let her know that I was coming to the birth center now. I finally leave my cozy little bathroom to get in the car. By this time I want to say it’s maybe 3:30-4am, I had lost all sense of time. My mom drove so when we were getting off the interstate and two cop cars with their flashing lights pulled up behind us, I started freaking, thinking my mother had sped down here. I start screaming “just keep driving” but thankfully they just went around us.

Finally getting there, Christina wanted to check my vitals, but seeing as all I wanted to do was pace around, it was difficult, but I finally let her do it. She also checked to see how dilated I was, saying I was at 5cm. I asked if I could get in the shower; she said yes. I don’t know how long I was in there but it felt like my waves were non-stop. Christina came in after what felt like a couple minutes asking if I wanted to get in the bathtub. I said yes and Peter got me off my hands and knees at the bottom of the shower. Christina checked me again: I was at 7cm. The midwife assistant had now arrived, I feel sorry for doing this now but the first thing I said to her I kind of yelled at her, she had started to turn down the lights in the room but I told her to turn them back on. I was scared that if it was too dark I would miss something, I guess.

After that, all I remember was I wanted to push and sleep at the same time but Christina wouldn’t let me push, because I wasn’t fully dilated yet. She checked me again: I was 8cm but all I wanted was to push! She said that the baby’s head was caught on my cervices. So I got out of the tub onto the bed where she helped him pass it. She also broke my water. I was now allowed to start pushing! Oh, what sweet relief. Everything was going good, he was coming. Then, right before he crowned, I guess they couldn’t find his heart beat and started telling me to push harder. That’s when I felt myself tearing, that sensation was letting me know that he was minutes away.

Hendrik Gavin was born at 7:40am January 22, 2013. He was 8lbs 10oz and 21½ in. He had a bruise down the side of his cone head from getting stuck. I gave birth to the placenta, then Christina stitched me up. I was in active labor for 6hrs 10mins! Which surprised me seeing as this was my first baby and my mom’s birth lasted 14hrs with my older brother. I thought I would be up there in time.

Hendrik with Christina.

Mom called my dad and brother to come to the birthing center and to also pick up breakfast. This is when things start getting really fuzzy for me. Before they got there, Madelyn and the assistant cleaned me up but when I went to stand up to go the bathroom everything went gray. I felt like someone put earplugs in my ears and I was dizzy and fell back onto the bed. I sat there for a minute or two. Christina came in and said I had lost a lot of blood and was still losing a lot. She checked my blood pressure: it was 80/60. So she hooked me up to an IV bag. We tried again, my sister walked in front and the assistant behind, so we had a little train going to the bathroom. Came back to bed and nursed Hendrik which it seemed that he had forgotten how, when we had just did it a couple hours ago.

Several hours passed. We had breakfast with my family plus our new little addition. After finishing my second bag of fluids, I needed to go to the bathroom. So we made another train but this time when I tried standing up in the bathroom I got dizzy and my hearing went fuzzy again, so Christina said that she is calling the hospital. An ambulance came and got me. We had decided that my mom and Madelyn would stay with Hendrik at the birth center and Peter would come with me. So with Hendrik being only 7hrs old I left him for the first time. I cried the whole ride to the hospital! I kept apologizing to the EMT for crying, but he said it was fine and it showed him that I was alert and knew what was going on.

Once we got there, the nurse and EMTs fought over me: the nurses were ready to take me up to the labor and delivery floor but the EMTs wanted to check me into the emergency room… the nurses won. As soon as I got to the room, there was a swarm of doctors and nurses. I had people asking questions, others wanting me to sign paper work, one person was doing an ultrasound on my stomach, while others were trying to insert IVs into both of my arms. I had lost so much blood that they had to use ultrasound to find my veins! The doctor found a chunk of my placenta still in me; they were going to have to do a Dilation and Curettage. Peter and Christina had finally calmed me down so I wasn’t crying anymore but when the doctor said that if she could not stop the bleeding during surgery she was going to have to do an emergency hysterectomy, that made me start crying again. After all the hooking up of wires and IVs, they were ready to go. I kissed Peter and told him I loved him and to go ahead and call my grandmothers and mom to let everyone know what was going on. The last thing I remember was looking into the anesthesiologist’s blue eyes and holding one of the nurse’s hands.

I woke up to them pulling the tube out of my throat. It didn’t hurt because I was still pretty numb from the medicines. The first thing I said was I asked the orderly if my husband knew that I loved him? The poor guy didn’t know how to answer then I asked where my baby was and again the guy didn’t know what to say. I went to recovery and finally got the water I was begging for since the ambulance ride, and chap stick. I was there 20 minutes when I was sent to a room. In the hall on the way up Peter, Hendrik, Madelyn, Mom and Madelyn’s fiancé Jason were waiting for me.

I got a four-person room all to myself. It was awesome and I had great nurses. I was there 3 days. The second day I had gotten an infection, so they wanted to keep me an extra day. Peter and Hendrik stayed with me the whole time. I kind of liked being in the hospital, getting waited on hand and foot was nice. I’m glad I didn’t have Hendrik there though; the birth center was the right choice for my little growing family. I feel empowered for being able to have the birth I wanted and finding the strength to have an all-natural birth. I will be doing an all-natural birth for the next baby, let’s see if I can do it in the water this time.

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