The Accidental Midwife: I Delivered a Baby Today
By loraleechoate on September 13, 2010
BlogHer Original Post
I delivered a baby today.
(I know, right?!!!!)
Delivering a baby was certainly was NOT on my “to-do” list for the day, trust me.
And yet, it is exactly what happened.
(See, this is what I mean when I try to tell people that while I certainly make choices that bring oddity, catastrophe, drama and WTH?! into my life, I am also the sort of person that just has UNBELIEVABLE THINGS HAPPEN TO THEM.)
My biggest plan for the day was to write.
Then write some more.
And possibly eat a lot of jumbo-sized marshmallows straight out of the bag.
In fact, this was NOT the post I thought I would be publishing today.
I had a bittersweet epiphany yesterday and it finally gave me the inner permission and freedom I need to write without being hampered by the thoughts, expectations and worry about others and their reactions to what I have to say or chose to disclose to the world and how it will affect them and their life. I was finally going to write about some things that had been going on that have been weighing on me, making me sad, hurting my feelings and that I have been really wanting and needing to write about but haven’t out of consideration and regard. But yesterday I realized that was a little misplaced and I need to do what I need to do to work through it, pick myself up, and progress and try to move on.
Which, for me, includes writing about it.
And I will.
But this story takes precedence, you know?
So, how in the WORLD did Loralee end up in the position of delivering a baby in an emergency birth, you ask?
Well, let me tell you.
My husband’s family was having a big family lunch in a neighboring town.
I didn’t want to go.
It’s not that I didn’t want to see the family. I did. I love seeing them. I just felt…awful. I have been having a really hard time lately. September is such a difficult month for me. And there has been a lot that has happened this month to make it even more difficult. I’ve been kicked while down, if you get my drift.
So, instead of going to dinner with everyone, I stayed behind. I curled up under the covers and slept.
I woke up and like I am wont to do, I wanted a Diet Coke.
But we didn’t have any in the house.
So, as I am also wont to do, I went out with my air-dried bed head, no make up, bra-less, barefoot and sporting my Sweet Moments swag tshirt I got from BlogHer. I know what you’re thinking. And, YES. I was SERIOUSLY STUNNING, people.
I drove to my favorite gas station (which is my favorite because it has a drive thru window and thus it enables my bad habit of going out looking like homeless road kill) and I ordered a Diet Coke, medium ice.
On my way home, I heard a small noise from my car and I immediately thought, “I should drive to my Inlaw’s house and call Jonathan to check it out before I drive home.”
WHICH WAS STUPID.
I NEVER just go to my inlaws. Not without Jonathan or the kids. And they weren’t even there. My house is only about 2 miles from theirs and so the thought to go and wait there when I looked like crap and when I just wanted to go crawl back into bed and forget about my existence for awhile longer was just.not.normal for me.
But as I got closer, I thought it again…“Go to your inlaw’s and wait for Jon to check the car.”
So, I did.
When I pulled up I saw a truck I didn’t recognize. I went inside the house and just as I opened the door, my brother-in-law, Ben, came up the last stair with the phone in his hand. “Is Josh with you??!” I thought it was an odd question. Why would my brother-in-law be with me?
“Amy’s water just broke. She’s downstairs.”
I ran quickly to the downstairs guest room while Ben made a phone calls to get help.
Amy is my sister-in-law. She was due to deliver in a couple of weeks. She and her husband (Jonathan’s brother), Josh, came up for the weekend to visit. They came to our house yesterday night for the last BBQ of the summer and then were driving back to their house about 100 miles away in Heber City. Amy and I had had an extensive discussion about her birth plan, which included a midwife, a homebirth and a birthing tub.
Her plan was about to change.
She was laying on her side in the darkened room and was in obvious pain, but not screaming, horrible pain. I took it as a sign that we had some time for everyone to get there. I put down my keys, soda and phone and got onto the bed where she was laying and started rubbing her back and asked how she was doing.
“Call Kim and Andie. Get Josh.”
Andi and Kim are our sister-in-laws. Andi is a nurse that has a lot of NICU experience and Kim is well…KIM. She is so even keeled and amazing in situations like this and knows about every homeopathic remedy known to man.
Either of them would be SO MUCH BETTER IN THIS SITUATION AND OMG WHY WERE THEY NOT THE ONES THAT WERE HERE????! Instead we had me–a Diet Coke swilling, heathen of a non-medically trained girl that was scared out of her mind and feeling so, so ill-equipped for what was happening.
I hurriedly called Jonathan and asked him if Josh and Andy were on their way that they needed to hurry because Amy was delivering her baby. I assumed that Ben had called and told him what was going on and that I WAS THE ONE DELIVERING THE BABY (turns out he had no clue and was very confused how I knew that when I was supposed to be at home. Whoops. My bad. I was a little distracted.)
“Ok, Amy. Josh and Andie and Kim are on their way. Do you want to go to a hospital?”
“No. I need to get up…”
I helped her up and when she stood over she hunched over and told me she needed to go to the bathroom.
Which if you have ever given birth? USUALLY MEANS THAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO PUSH.
THIS WAS SO NOT GOOD.
I have birthed 4 babies. But in a confession, I have never watched them. (I have issues). And I have never seen anyone deliver nor helped them through the delivery process. Everything I have ever gone through is as the mother.
NOT THE MIDWIFE.
I told her to lay back down right away, “Let me check you.” And as I got her out of her underwear I thought, “LET ME CHECK YOU? LET ME CHECK YOU????!!! WHAT THE FREAK ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO BE FREAKING CHECKING FOR, LORALEE???!!!!! YOU’VE NEVER EVEN WATCHED ANYONE GIVE BIRTH. YOU’VE NEVER EVEN WATCHED YOURSELF GIVE BIRTH!!!!!! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL YOU ARE DOING!!!!! YOU DON’T KNOW NOTHING ABOUT BIRTHIN’ BABIES, MISS SCARLETT!!!!”
But you know…you can’t let the person relying on you to keep yourself together know that you are having an internal mental breakdown. Which was odd for me to know and follow through with. See, I am the flighty, emotional, NOT GOOD IN EMERGENCY one.
The one that always thought I should be the last person put in this kind of situation,ever. Everyone around me are nurses, cops, federal agents, computer people…all with logic and calm and the ability to perform under pressure in an emergency.
I am NOT one of those people, you know?
Until I was.
I focused on what I was doing and checked out the situation.
And that situation WAS OBVIOUS.
“OKAAAAYY…Well, we are going to have a Logan baby! I can see the head! It’s RIGHT here.”
“I know, I can feel him coming…help me turn on my side. I can’t push yet.”
As I helped her turn all I could think is, “Please, please, please do not let me do this alone. I don’t know what I am doing. If something happens to this baby or this mother I will not be able to make it through.”
The baby’s head kept coming further out as Amy tried her very best not to push.
This woman was AMAZING, people.
I have never seen anything like it. She was totally in control and somehow she was able to hold off until her husband raced into the room.
I have never been so glad to see anyone in my whole life. Besides the fact that I was agonizing that my brother-in-law might miss the birth of his child, I knew he had helped in the home birth of their 3-year-old.
I was not longer all by myself and the relief for me was huge.
We had a few very brief moments of updating and assessing the situation and to fling a joke about boiling water and ripping up sheets. Now that I knew someone was there in case the baby came suddenly I was able to RUN and grab trash bags and towels. We just got them under her when the baby started to COME. Josh took over main position and I moved slightly to his left to hold Amy’s leg and help guide the baby out.
In what seemed like the blink of an eye, I watched the sweetest, most perfect little ear I have ever seen come into view.
The baby’s head and half of his shoulder’s were out.
Amy stopped pushing.
I noticed at that point my Mother-in-law had made it into the room, too. she was at the foot of the bed peering over Josh and I.
I looked at the baby and saw one of his hands and arm was out and so was most of one shoulder.
“He’s almost out, Amy! One more push.”
“I’m not ready. I need to be ready and I’ll know when I am.”
I stared at the baby’s face.
He was perfect.
He was beautiful.
He. was. PURPLE.
This part was very difficult for me. I need to explain why.
The last baby I saw that was that shade was my own.
And he was dead.
Longtime readers will not learn anything new, but for those who are new, I am days away from the anniversary of my baby boy’s death.
This is a hugely difficult time for me. On September 23rd it will be 7 years since Mathew, my perfect, redheaded baby boy of almost 4 months, died in my arms in the trauma bay of an ER. It was the single worst, most traumatic moment of my life. I bear ugly, ugly scars and memories from it and they haunt me with a soul-flaying vengence this time of year.
So, I was staring at this tiny little baby, and he was purple. And I kept thinking and flashing back to the trauma bay of the hospital and the color of Matthew’s skin as they were working on him and when he lay in my arms and though I remained still for Amy and tried hard to not show it, I was nauseated with fear and I was almost beside myself with the urge to GET HIM OUT.
LET HIM BREATHE.
DO NOT LET HIM DIE.
OMG, HE. NEEDS. TO. BREATHE.
I heard my mother-in-law say, ‘He NEEDS to come out” and Amy said again that she wasn’t ready and there was something at me that knew she was right to listen to her body, which went against everything my fear was screaming at me.
But if I know ANYTHING is that I know mothers. And I know AMY. And I knew that she KNEW her body.
She was the mother and I pushed down my own fears and listened to her. I kept making sure no fluid was around or in his mouth or nose the best I could and felt in his mouth to make sure there were not blood clots.
And I prayed. And I rarely pray. And my Mother-in-law prayed.
And somehow in all of that there was something that told me that the situation I was seeing was not abnormal. I am not sure why or how I knew this since again, I have never watched a birth, but it kept me calm.
Then Amy was ready and with one push, THERE HE WAS.
It all took about 15 minutes from beginning to end, though it felt like a lifetime.
I had a towel ready and helped Josh put it around the baby and then we united mother and son.
It was one of the most wonderful, beautiful, scary, intensely JOYFUL moments of my entire life.
Josh was amazing. Amy was amazing. Their sweet little baby is AMAZING.
Babies are my favorite thing. Every single one is a blessing and a joy.
And I needed that joy right now.
I took as many pictures as I could with my phone camera. (I felt as scared as I look.)
About a half-an-hour after he was born, Andie and Kim came along with Josh and Amy’s little boy, Adam. He was very excited to meet his little brother.
Andie is so sweet and capable (as is Kim). When I told her later the story of how I happened to be there and how weird it was she said, “I wish I had been here, I ignored a prompting to come!” And then my wise-cracking brother-in-law Ben piped in “I guess when God couldn’t get ahold of Andie he decided to give Loralee car trouble so I wouldn’t have to deliver it.”.
Yes…when all else fails, try calling on the one heathen inlaw with no medical training. You know, because that is the OBVIOUS CHOICE.
Amy looked AMAZING. I have never seen anyone or heard of anyone deliver a baby like she did. She was a PRO. And she looked like an angel. This is her about 30 minutes after delivering:
(I kind of want to PhotoShop a halo around her head and a baby Jesus in her arms and a couple of oxen and sheep around a manger in and put it on a Christmas card.)
As a reminder to you all, this was me when I delivered Butterlump:
I know, I know. I am totally hotter as a birth mom than Amy. I just don’t want to hurt her feelings by rubbing her face in it and stuff.
After it was over, I could take a breath. Much later, I would flee the house with Jonathan to get groceries for dinner and a MUCH needed and deserved Diet Coke. And the overwhelming emotion that I had felt in that room was finally allowed out and I sobbed and shook and cried and felt gratitude that everything was ok.
That we had a new little baby to love on.
I was thrilled that it went as beautifully as it did.
Amy’s after care went fine as well. Andie checked the baby and delivered her placenta. My father-in-law is a medical supply enthusiast and we had every single supply known to mankind there so the baby could be suctioned out properly and monitored and mama could be taken care of. And we called her midwife who had to be in Logan that night, amazingly, so she got very good care.
Since their home and everything they had planned for the baby was 100 miles away, Jonathan ran to our house and grabbed Butterlump’s infant car seat and carrier, some Aden and Anais muslin wraps (LOVE) and then ran to the store for diapers, wipes, onsies and gowns for the little doodlebug.
We called my father-in-law, who is in South Carolina waiting to go over to Afghanistan and told him that he had a grandson that was given his name.
We told him that mother and baby are doing wonderfully and that he is MISSED.
All the family filled the house and it was a hugely joyful night for everyone.
I am so thrilled for the new parents. That is one lucky little baby. He is so loved.
And as for me and how I feel about it all…
I needed this joy.
I needed this day.
I needed this healing.
It was just the single most…unbelievable day.
HOW OFTEN DOES ONE GET TO EXPERIENCE SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN A LIFETIME?!
I was the least likely person in the universe to be worthy to help deliver a baby, but I am so thankful that it happened.
I delivered a baby into the world today.
And it has made all the difference.
David Michael: born September 12, 2010 at 4:05 pm. 8lbs 4 oz.
I’m so glad I got to help welcome you to the world, little one.
May every moment of your sweet little life be filled with as much love as you’ve given us.
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