Mine is not your typical birth story.
It really begins 26 years ago in Amarillo TX. My mother had me (her second baby) at home on a water bed, all ten lbs six oz of me. Because I was such a large baby and the surface on which she chose to labor, mine was a traumatic birth. But regardless of the circumstances we made it.
My mom gave me a paper that had hers and my Father’s expectations of what my birth would be like complete with soothing music candles and a relaxed atmosphere.
Growing up hearing my birth story as well as my sisters (a 9 lbs baby also born at home)
I knew I would follow in my mother’s footsteps, and could not wait to become a mommy.
With my first pregnancy I contacted a midwife and even had my first check up with her only to miscarry in my second month. My body let me down. During a Dr’s visit following the miscarriage I was diagnosed with endometriosis and was told the chances of me conceiving were slim and that I would struggle carrying a baby to full term.
Years went by and I laid my dream of having a baby in God’s hands, only to find that I was pregnant! I set out right away to find a midwife and asked a handful of my friends to recommend a good one and three who did not know each other highly recommended Cathy Rude. I quickly contacted her and we set up an appointment. I knew right away meeting her that she was exactly what Andrew and I wanted in a midwife. She was sweet, gentle, nurturing and knew her stuff. She was also laid back and knew how to laugh (a must for us!)
Cathy walked through the pregnancy with us and proved to be so much more than a midwife. She became my counselor, friend, confidante, nutritionist, accountability partner, and every so often a nudge in the right direction when I wasn’t quite following directions. With her guidance and advice my pregnancy was a breeze, and I learned very quickly that I could trust Cathy’s judgment whole heartedly.
She knew I needed to schedule a version at 34 weeks (my little one was breech) which was a total success and came just in time because at 37 weeks my water broke unexpectedly.
More than anything I was absolutely determined I did NOT want to go to the hospital because I had so many friends that chose hospital births and ended up with unnecessary C sections. In fact, out of 7 recent births only 2 were born vaginally all of which were healthy young women.
I was intent on having my baby at home but I told Cathy if the baby’s life or mine was in danger we could transport and I trusted her judgment if she felt like it was necessary.
September 11 Saturday morning my husband was leaving to hang out with some friends and left his cell phone at the house. Five minutes after he walked out the door my water broke. I called my friend Krystal a registered nurse who was going to be present at the birth and told her about my water breaking. She called my husband and I called Cathy. She arrived shortly after and we began getting the house ready for Hailey’s arrival.
Hours went by and my contractions slowly began to increase in intensity but just weren’t that strong. We went through the day to no avail. Cathy told me to go to sleep and she would be there the next morning to begin IV antibiotics since it would have been 24 hours since my water was broken.
The next morning came and my contractions were increasing though still not bad and very irregular. She checked me when she arrived and I was only dilated to about 1 1/2 cm and 50 % effaced. We began augmenting labor with the breast pump, walking, etc. They helped increase my contractions but they still weren’t regular. As the day progressed my contractions did as well and were getting pretty intense, we thought surely I was further along. By 4 pm I was only dilated about 3 ½ cm so we did more augmenting. By 6:30 pm my contractions had gotten really intense but were still irregular. She checked me in hopes I was getting closer only to discover I hadn’t progressed at all. After discussing the situation with Andrew and some serious thought it was decided I needed pitocin to move my labor along. I simply wasn’t progressing on my own. And with day two of broken water imminent, the life of the baby was at risk.
I was heart broken because my body had failed me once again. But at that point I knew if I needed pitocin I wanted an epidural and choosing to look at the bright side I decided pain relief didn’t sound like a bad idea.
We arrived at the hospital some time around 8 pm, got in a room fairly quickly and began the process of settling in. When the nurse took blood to run tests she dropped one of the vials in the sharps container and had to stick me again (as if I needed more pain). After she checked me and spoke with the Dr. on call she came in the room and told us that the Dr. said I would be receiving a C section. That’s right folks, the Dr. had not stepped one foot in the hospital or seen my charts or anything and had decided merely because (and I am quoting here I “was 37 weeks and (she) had not overseen my care (she) refused to give me pitocin and would only give (me) a C section. The liability is just too great for (her) to take on at this time”
I along with Cathy and my family was absolutely floored. We asked the nurse who we could file a complaint with, and the Dr. came in shortly after that. She had the nurse tell us that the baby had cappit (swelling of the head due to pressing on the cervix) when she checked me (though she did not have it at all). She also told us that my contractions were one on top of the other though some were 4 minutes apart. She said the baby’s heart was dropping though it was perfectly strong.
I asked her if there was any way she would give me pitocin and let me deliver vaginally and she flat out refused. So we decided to go home and wait till the Dr. that Cathy knew and trusted was on call.
I arrived home around midnight and Cathy checked me and sure enough there was no cappit after all. Mean while, Melissa (Cathy’s assistant) began inflating the pool and measures were taken to help me relax and get comfortable; including a glass of wine and two Tylenol pm. I got in the pool around 12:45 am and was finally able to relax. The water along with the wine and Tylenol helped my contractions slow down enough that I could pass out between contractions. I was in there for well over 2 hours and noticed my contractions were increasing and I got to the point where I didn’t want to go on anymore. I asked Connie Blokkum (Cathy’s partner) if there was anything I could take for the pain, because I didn’t know how much more I could take. Shortly after that the contractions were so intense that no position helped and we decided to move to the bed. It was about 3 am and Ms Cathy checked my cervix only to discover that I was 7 ½! After having been 3 ½ cm for much of the day to have progressed that much in 3 hours was a total act of God. Though I was exhausted from laboring for two days and being in pain I was so encouraged because I didn’t think she would ever come out.
While checking me, Cathy realized that Hailey’s head was cocked to the side (part of why it had taken so long thus far) and began a technique called the Ribozo technique that uses a scarf to rock the belly and help jiggle the baby into place. Ms Cathy, Ms Connie and Melissa worked tirelessly for over an hour jiggling my belly. It picked up my contractions so much that I felt the strong urge to push. I told Ms Cathy who after checking me confirmed that I was fully dilated and it was time to push!!! Remembering my Lamaze class that said push as long as you can before taking a breath so you don’t bob the babies head in and out, I garnished all the strength I could muster took a deep breath and began to push. The process wasn’t pleasant but 24 minutes later she came out and I heard Ms Cathy say “Kristyn, take your baby”. It was music to my ears. I felt her hand this rubbery little thing to me and looked down in utter shock and disbelief. This little person was my daughter that the first Dr said I shouldn’t be able to conceive or carry. Born at home the way the second Dr said I couldn’t do. Here in my arms 4 ½ hours after we had been told she was at risk and would have to be cut out of my belly. When I lay on my bed with my precious baby looking up at me completely peaceful, happy, and in perfect health I couldn’t help but think “how great is our God” From her conception, through her flipping into place just in time through her labor to the moment she came out God had His mighty hand on us. She is truly my miracle baby.
I know God gave us Dr’s for a reason and they have their place, but I am convinced that we must take birth back. It is not some freak illness that must be treated with over medication and surgeries! It is a natural God given gift! Women must have the right to labor wherever and however they choose. Unhindered by arbitrary surgeries!
My labor was uncomfortable I will admit, and it wasn’t without its challenges, but we didn’t give up and Ms Cathy, Ms Connie and Melissa stuck by my side to the end. What Dr do you know that would sleep on your couch and massage your back through contractions? Or stay by your side for over 24 hours till you deliver?
None that I know of.
I have been asked by many skeptics and friends after all was said and done, if I would do it again. The answer is a resounding yes and Cathy will be the first person that I call. I praise the Lord for her Ms Connie and Melissa, and consider them to be family and will absolutely (Lord willing) have every child with them in attendance.
Hailey Michelle Cuevas (means Heroin, Who is like the Lord) born September 13 2010 (the day before my 26th birthday) weight 7lb 6 oz, 20 inches long and absolutely perfect.