Birth Story: The Unintentionally Unassisted Birth of Beck Zavier

{second child, intended birth center birth turned unassisted home birth}

Saturday, October 6, 2012: I started cooking dinner around 6 pm. I had been having contractions all week, including the previous Friday (September 28th) in which contractions were consistently 10-12 minutes apart. I decided to start timing them after having a few in an hour. At the beginning, they were anywhere from 7-15 minutes apart lasting 30-45 seconds. Every hour, the contractions seemed to pick up and then slow down but stayed between 7-10 minutes. Around 10 pm, contractions picked up to between 3-8 minutes apart lasting 30 seconds to 1 minute. We decided to call my midwife at this point to find out when we should “make our move” to the birth center.

She told us to call her back when contractions were consistently 4 minutes apart, lasting 1 whole minute for an hour. Between 12 and 1 am (Sunday, October 7) the contractions picked up to 3-5 minutes apart, lasting at least 45 seconds to 1 minute. We called my midwife again. She asked whether or not I had had my “show”- I had not. She said call when that happens and I reach the 4-1-1 point. *Sidenote: my labor with Luca was 21 hours long – which included Pitocin & epidural.

At 1:45 am, contractions were between 2-5 minutes, very strong and lasting about 1 minute. I started to doubt myself and begged Andrew to take me to the hospital so I could get an epidural to ease the pain. Andrew reassured me that I could do it and called my midwife again. I was in the shower on and off throughout the process because it seemed to be the only way to find relief. My midwife decided that we should meet at the birth center at 3 am. The “show” happened and my water broke at this point.

At 2:20 am, van was all packed and I asked Andrew (from the shower) to call my midwife and have her come to our house. I knew I could not handle the 25-30 minute drive while having these contractions every 2-3 minutes. He called and she asked if I felt the need to push- at that point, I did not. So she said, “just head up now, I’m almost there.”

At 2:25 am, Andrew woke up Luca while I showered again and my noises started to scare him, so I asked Andrew to just go put him in the car. The moment Andrew walked out the door, I felt the urge to push. At this point, I was standing over the toilet & Beck’s head came out. I did not feel comfortable delivering the rest of him at the angle I was standing so I waddled to the shower & stepped in and pushed out the rest of his body.

I heard Andrew come back in the house to get me, so I loudly called to him. He came in, pulled back the curtain and saw me squatting and holding our new son. Not yet knowing the state I was in, his initial thought was to call 911, but I asked him to call my midwife instead. Beck was pink & crying and seemed healthy so I wanted to leave that up to her. Andrew dialed the number and went out to get Luca out of the car. While he was outside, I realized my legs felt weak. I sat down in the tub holding Beck to my chest. He came back in talking to my midwife & giving her directions to our house. I asked him to get me a clean towel so I could keep the baby warm. Finally, Luca broke his silence and asked, “is that baby Beck?” It definitely lightened the mood!

The midwife was on speakerphone and could hear Beck’s cries.  She asked whether the umbilical cord was still pulsing. It was. In fact, everything seemed to have gone “normally” other than the location, so she said she would just come check him out. Andrew asked the midwife if there was anything he should do in the meantime, and asked me if there was anything I could do for me. We decided to simply wait in the bathroom, taking the opportunity to bond as a family. The midwife arrived within 30 minutes of his birth and helped me to my bedroom to deliver the placenta. Andrew was able to cut the cord. She assessed Beck at this point and was extremely happy with everything. He was healthy, had clear lungs, great color and movements. We estimated his time of birth to be around 2:28 am.

From Sarah:

I NEVER thought something like this would happen to me. Luckily, I had taken a Natural Childbirth class as a requirement to deliver at the birth center. One of the topics discussed was the basics of what to do in the event of an unassisted childbirth. Knowing even the basics helped me to remain calm during the ordeal.

There are so many “what ifs” and “what abouts” that come up. This delivery was the extreme opposite of what I had experienced at the hospital with Luca. No monitors, no blood pressure cuff, no oxygen, no medical interventions, no one counting to 10 while I pushed…NOTHING. We didn’t even get any pictures of labor or delivery.

We realize how lucky we are that everything turned out well in the end. I decided to share my story- not to scare anyone, but- maybe encourage women to thoroughly educate themselves. Again, I NEVER thought this would happen to me and I’m very blessed that my pregnancy was a relatively ‘normal’ one and Beck was very healthy.

I have found myself apologizing to Andrew because he missed the birth of his second son. And he continues to apologize to me because he feels bad that I was completely alone for the delivery. The fact is though, we both feel very blessed to have two happy, healthy little boys and their health & happiness means more to us than anything.

I should also mention that I ended up needing to go to the hospital (around 5:30 am) because I needed a surgeon to repair my lacerations from the birth. I had to ride in an ambulance (for the first time in my life) up to SMH, but was only there for a couple hours. And other than a “2nd degree tear”, I was in pretty good shape for just going through childbirth.

I do not mind answering questions, so please feel free to ask away! And to my friends/family who plan to give birth in the future; remember to try and stay calm, whatever the situation. Every birth is different, and my story will not be exactly the same as yours, but it is always important to educate yourself. Love to all.

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