On the morning of March 21st, 2008, I started having consistent contractions and woke up around . Not wanting to disturb my husband (in case this was the "real deal") yet unable to go back to sleep, I took a bath.
My husband came to find me and asked what I was doing. I calmly said that I was having some good contractions and wanted to see if they were regular. I relaxed in the tub and was fairly sure that these contractions were not going to fade like the Braxton Hicks ones I had been having for weeks. Once I was done in the bath I got back in my PJ’s and asked him to help me with some chores to prepare for the hustle and bustle of the wave of helpers that were soon to come.
As the contractions grew in intensity and came closer together I decided to rest on the floor of our family room. But as soon as I got on the floor my hubby panicked: "I’m calling the midwife... you are all over the place!!!" I chuckled after the contraction was over and said, "No I’m not, the floor is comfortable." He called the midwife and she said that she was on her way. He then called my sister in laws and the doula that was coming to help support us through the labor.
I decided to take a shower and attempt to relax. When I got out of the shower it was . Right then the midwife entered my bedroom. She was soon joined by my sister-in-laws and the doula. We had our team in place. My sister-in-law asked what I wanted to do. I firmly stated that I wanted to go for a walk and got dressed in some comfy clothes. We got my two sons dressed and got the Power Wheel out (compliments of Santa Claus), secured their helmets and off we went.
It was me and my two sisters-in-laws, the doula and my precious sons off on a mission to get this thing going. We left daddy behind with the midwife to get everything prepared for the delivery. The air was cold and felt good as my body progressed through labor and began working harder. It was comical to see my new sister-in-law chase my sons on the power wheel since normally it’s me toting my super sized belly while ensuring that they don’t run into anything and both remain on the Power Wheel.
We had made a complete lap around the neighborhood when we decided to grab coats for my sister-in-law and the doula. As I passed by the house, my sweet midwife she asked if she could listen to the baby to see how he was tolerating the labor. She checked on his heartbeat and it was perfect so off we went for round two. The boys decide to stay behind this time and have some breakfast, so my sister-in-law, my doula and I went on to finish the mission we had started.
After several tough contractions (breathing all the way) the contractions got to the point where I had to stop and lean on my sister-in-law for support. I decided to stick closer to home by this point and we took a few smaller laps. We approached the house and I decided that it was time to go inside and check on our progress. I had a series of two contractions on the porch and my doula gently applied pressure to my lower back to ease the pain in my back (you are heaven sent, Genny). We walked into the house and proceeded up the stairs to my bedroom. We had to stop on the way for another contraction on the stairs... again my doula applied pressure to my back. My son Ethan saw what the doula was doing and asked if he could help. I replied, “sure” as I was getting off the stair that I was leaning on for support and he gently rubbed my back (sweet moment between a laboring mom and her oldest son).
I proceeded up the stairs to my bedroom... When I entered my room I was greeted by the smell of lavender and Sara McLachlan playing softly in the background. In that moment my fears were lifted and I felt a sense of peace come over me... this was the moment I had dreamt about and prepared for. This was a birth on my terms and I could see my dream unfolding around me. As I reached the foot of my bed I knelt to floor with a strong contraction. At the end of the contraction I stated that I was ready to get into the tub. I was amazed how everyone worked together to help me get my needs met. One person drew the bath as another helped me get into the wrap I wanted to wear through the delivery.
My midwife was making her final preparations. After a few more contractions in the tub, and a little screaming, I told the midwife that I was ready to know where we were at (I wanted to know how dilated I was). She checked me and stated that I was nearly complete (10 centimeters) and asked if I wanted to feel the baby’s head. I nearly shouted "no way... you are pulling my leg... you’re just being nice... how dilated am I, really?" She told me that the baby’s head was right there and asked if I wanted to feel it. I was in a state of shock when I actually felt my baby’s head and I began to sob tears of joy. I found a renewed sense of purpose and again focused on the task at hand.
A few contractions later my midwife checked the baby’s heartbeat: "whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh (Mason in utero)" My midwife stated, "130 perfect!!!"
Then a strange sound entered the room: "reear, reear, reear, reear." Once the contraction had passed I exclaimed, "that’s not my baby’s heartbeat… that’s a saw!?!?" We were having a new deck built and the project was being completed as I labored. Here was yet one more thing to serve as a reminder for myself and my family of the AMAZING experience of welcoming Mason into our home.
Throughout my pregnancy my midwife and I had discussed a plan to avoid tearing open along my previous episiotomy line. We had decided that the best course of action was to refrain from pushing and let my uterus push the baby out. I knew that this would be a hard thing for me to learn to do, but I was up for the challenge.
As the urge to push became greater and I struggled to breath through the intense contraction I heard the voice of my doula: "remember our pushing plan." This clued me in and helped me to remember what my wishes were and helped me refocus on the job at hand. (Thanks, Genny.) I could feel my uterus contracting and my body automatically pushing. I did my best to breathe through the contractions… and soon enough I heard my sister-in-law (now serving as the camera woman) exclaim, "he’s coming, he’s coming."
My midwife told me, "Slowly, slowly… we don’t want a large tear."
With one last contraction Mason joined us. It was . He was welcomed into a room full of people that had worked together to make his entry into the world peaceful and full of love. I was in awe of him from the moment I saw him. He is BEAUTIFUL and has been a blessing from the moment he entered our home. Mason… I love you!!!
In the months proceeding his birth I had many doubts concerning my ability to deliver at home and when all was said and done, all I had to do was focus on the time that I had spent bonding with this little person growing in my womb and think of the sweet reward that was waiting for me at the end of the pain. It was through my own inner strength and through the love and support of a carefully selected team that I was able to make this dream a reality. To all of you that were a part of this journey I thank you for believing in me and providing me with the encouragement and support necessary to lay claim to my own personal victory!!! I will never forget this day…it certainly was a Good Friday!!!
- Linda D.
(www.friendsofMOmidwives.org) as well as individual pregnant couples appealed the ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court, where it was heard in early March 2008. We are waiting to hear the ruling of the Missouri Supreme Court, which will probably be issued by June of this year.
Linda's midwife was committing a felony under Missouri law
as she assisted with her home birth.
(Only her midwife's hands are pictured above to protect her identity.)
Would you consider contributing to this worthy cause? $5, $10, $50, or $200... Whatever you can give will go a long way towards paying off this debt to "Free the Midwives" of Missouri, so that more women can have a birth experience like Linda!
You can donate online or find information for donating by check at: