Friday, June 15, 2012

Thank You, Suzanne

I found out today that my midwife, Suzanne, has decided to close her midwife practice in Kansas. When I read it, at first I thought she was mistaken. But, after reading it 3 times, I figured that I was reading it right.

There seems to be a bond, that is created, when a woman gives birth. There's the bond between mother and child, and that can't be broken. But, I think there's another bond that is created, between the woman who gave birth and the one who was there helping her. I knew that I wanted a home birth, with my last child, and knew that I could handle it. There's just something about the security of having other people helping you fulfill that potential. So, with alot of emotion going on, I would like to share my birth story. As much as it is my birth story, it is also a testament to the peace and strength that Suzanne lent me, so that I could have this birth the way I wanted.

"When I heard that I was pregnant, I was excited to be having my last child. Then I started thinking about the labor and delivery part, and my heart sunk. My first 2 children were born in a hospital, with me having to be induced. With my oldest, it took 2 epidurals for the pain meds to kick in, with my 2nd child, I had 2 epidurals, and they never took effect. So, I was stuck lying on my back, feeling every Pitocin contraction. I later found out that I have a curved spine, and that epidurals are hit and miss. That would have been nice to know ahead of time! I really didn’t want a hospital birth, and the fear of being induced again was fresh in my mind. Fortunately, my sister encouraged me to look into a home birth, with a midwife. As soon as I saw the movie, “The Business of Being Born” I knew that was what I wanted to do.

After researching midwifes around the area, I found Suzanne Ryan. I had my consult with her, and immediately felt comfortable with her. She treated my pregnancy as something normal, something to be celebrated, not a medical procedure. She was able to answer every question I had, calm any fears, and put me at ease. She genuinely cared about my health and my baby. As the time grew closer to have my baby, I grew more excited knowing that I was in excellent hands, and that my last time to give birth would be everything that I wanted it to be.

On September 20th, about 8 pm, I started having a few contractions, but nothing unusual. I had been having contractions off and on for the past week. My due date was September 29, so I knew I had a little ways to go. I went to bed about 11pm to try and get some rest. At 11pm, my contractions were about 7 min. apart and not strong at all. At 2 am, the contractions were a bit stronger and closer together, but still not that painful. It felt like I had eaten some bad Chinese food, and my guts were cramping a bit. But, the contractions were close enough that it made sleeping difficult, especially while lying down. So, I got up, moved around and just breathed. At 3, the contractions weren’t lessening at all, so I thought maybe sitting in a warm bath would help, and if it was false labor a bath would help them to go away. The warm water felt so good, and immediately helped ease some of the cramping. But the contractions were still there, closer together. They still weren’t painful, like the contractions I had when I was induced with my first 2. I was waiting for my contractions to get super painful, to tell me that I was in labor. They never did.

At 3:30, I got out of the bathtub, and just rocked my hips back and forth for the next half an hour. By the time that 4am hit, I knew that I was in labor and that could have this baby any minute. So, I woke up my husband, and had him call Suzanne, and tell her what was going on. He told her that my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, only lasting about 30 seconds, and they weren’t that painful at all, but they were constant. She said that she was on her way and to get everything set up. After he got off the phone, he got the birthing tub blown up, and filled up, while I got everything else set up. At 4:45 am, the doula arrived and started setting up all the medical stuff she would need and my husband finished setting up. The contractions were nearly on top of each other, but they weren’t that painful. I was able to walk and rock thru them, and keep talking. Everything about the contractions were odd for me. I had always heard that you’re not in true hard labor until the contractions are so bad that you can’t talk thru them. Well, I could talk thru them, and did.

At 5am, Suzanne arrived, and checked to see if I was dilated enough. About 5:10 she had me get into the birthing tub, and my contractions just felt lifted. They were still there, but it felt like they were not on my body at all. She had me get on my knees, with my head over the side of the tub, holding onto my husband’s hands. Immediately, I felt the need to push, and I did. Suzanne said to just listen to my body and push when I felt the need. In about 5 min, she had me feel where the birth sac was coming out. In the next push, my water broke. It honestly scared me, because it felt like a balloon was popped inside of me. I had never had my water break naturally; I had my water broken at the hospital for my 2 oldest. After that, everything happened so fast. I felt the head descending, and I felt like I needed to push. I tried to get into a different position, to make it easier for the baby to get out, but I couldn’t stand any position other then on my knees, with my bottom in the water. My husband was so calm and collected. He kept whispering that this is what I wanted, that I was doing a wonderful job. And wouldn’t you know it? My daughter woke up right in the middle of a contraction, as the baby was coming down! As I pushed, it started to burn a bit, but just as it started to burn, my baby came flying out. I tried to slow down, but that wasn’t happening! This baby wanted out and now! My son was born at 5:23 am, in a warm birth pool. He cried a little, when I first held him out of the water, but calmed right down once I had his back in the warm water. My daughter came downstairs and her eyes looked like it was Christmas! She refused to leave her baby brother’s side! After holding him for about 15 min, in the water, I cut his umbilical cord; we got him dried off and in his daddy’s arms. When we weighed him, he was 8 pounds even and 20 inches long. This birth was everything I could have hoped for. I had a wonderful experience that I will never forget; I only wish that I would have had my first 2 children at home too!"

I know that you are on to your next adventure in life, Suzanne, but thank you for being a part of our lives for awhile. I hope you know how loved you are, how empowering your presence is for those in labor, and how grateful I am that you were there to help me have my dream birth. I am so thankful for everything that you've done for me and my son, and I wish you the best.


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