Reflections on Inga's birth
Additional commentary on resuscitating the baby:
The midwives Penny and Holly watched the birth video while I was resting after the birth. I asked Penny if I reacted appropriately to Inga’s condition—was I too quick to do mouth-to-mouth? Should I have done anything else first? Should I have waited longer? She said I absolutely acted appropriately and that, frankly, Inga looked pretty darn scary for a while. Based on Inga's rapid loss of tone and color, the midwife suspects there was some kind of cord compression/restriction during the birth. Between my giving her mouth-to-mouth and the blood resuming circulation after the birth, Inga recovered quickly.
The other nurse-midwife Holly (who arrived after I was settled in bed) added that it was probably best that they weren’t there for the birth. I knew what to do and was able act quickly and calmly. She guessed it would have been more stressful for me had they been there and stepped in to intervene.
Was I scared? Not really--more focused on the situation at hand. I do remember thinking, as Inga was losing color and muscle tone, "I have NOT done all this work for nothing--come on, baby!" I knew it was serious, but I also knew that I had the appropriate knowledge and skills. I feel strongly that every pregnant woman should prepare herself for how to handle situations such as this, no matter where she is planning to give birth. Had I been planning a hospital birth, I seriously doubt I would have made it on time. And obviously, the midwife won't always make it on time either!
And as scary as the resuscitating part might seem, I'm glad to to be able to share it. It shows how to handle an emergency situation without losing calm.
I was very glad to be in a home setting in this situation. It's very unlikely that Inga's cord would have remained intact during a hospital resuscitation, which would have further compromised an already struggling baby. As it was, Inga was able to receive her full placental transfusion and make a quick recovery.
Regarding the midwife not making it to the birth on time:
Not surprisingly, this didn't concern me at all. In fact, it hardly even registered that she wasn't going to make it. Now I didn't intentionally call Penny too late. In fact, when I called her the second time, I still wondered if it was way too early! She probably would have made it on time, had she not taken a shower after my second phone call. She told me, "I should have known not to get in the shower! After all, it was Rixa calling me!"
As you know from reading my blog, I planned an unassisted birth with Zari, so doing it on my own wasn't at all scary. Plus there's nothing that would have happened much differently had Penny been there. She would have checked heart tones, but otherwise everything else would have been the same. I know this, because Dio's birth that she attended was nearly identical to Inga's. With him, I pushed in the same position for about the same amount of time; I supported and caught the baby myself. Penny was just there to keep an eye on things.
I'd love to dispense with the practice of labeling our births. In my experience the line between a midwife-attended and an unassisted birth was so fluid as to be nearly irrelevant. Now that I've had a planned unassisted birth, a midwife-attended home birth, and an "accidental" or "surprise" unassisted birth, I can say that the labels don't really mean much at all.
There was an OB who was hoping to observe the birth, but he wasn't able to make it out. I know he had a busy call schedule on top of regular office hours. Too bad, though. Maybe next time?
The timing of this birth worked really well in the end. I was well-rested and fully recovered from the stomach bug. The day before I went into labor was incredibly relaxing, even languorous. As with my other two children, labor began at night and the birth happened during the day. And even the time of day of Inga's birth was perfect. It was a sunny morning and we were in an east-facing bedroom, so the light was beautiful. We got everything in order--barely--before I started pushing: house tidied, kids sent off, birth pool filled, etc. And my mother-in-law arrived the day after Inga was born. Couldn't have been better!
Someone asked why I chose not to have the kids present for the birth. It would have been way too distracting to have them underfoot, especially Dio. There was no question once labor started about wanting them around. I really liked the quiet time both before and after Inga was born, without the distraction of happy, noisy, energetic siblings.
By the next day, the events of the labor and birth were already feeling surreal and dreamlike. Did I really go into labor and have a baby? Obviously yes, since I'm holding her right now! But it seems hard to believe that it really happened and that it's already over.
And finally, I am SO happy that we filmed this birth!