Thursday, 24 July 2008

Hospital Home Birth

It's been a pretty full-on week. Tuesday I did the first pre-natal since I've been back with Earth Mama, and diagnosed Pre-eclampsia - a serious condition characterised by high blood pressure and protein in the urine (she had both, as well as other symptoms).

Wednesday I took her in to see her doctor to get some blood tests done. He confirmed my diagnosis and sent us to Tweed hospital; an hour away, to do further tests.

Thursday we went up to Tweed for the tests. They admitted her straight up and started planning for an induction, which Earth Mama decided to delay for another day.

The doctor was keen to do a chemical induction, which involves using a drug to soften the cervix, breaking the waters and administering a synthetic hormone via IV drip to get the contractions started. It's pretty intense, as the contractions are stimulated unnaturally, and they come on very strong. It's been known as 'natural labour times ten'.

Obviously Earth Mama wanted to avoid this, and at some point we realised the Tweed hospital wouldn't allow any one to stay with her; not even her partner, after visiting hours; the whole place was pretty ugly.

Late on Friday night, she decided to bust outta there and come home for the weekend, to try a natural induction with me. Natural induction is generally doing the same thing, but using herbs, massage, acupressure, etc.03 accupuncture

Saturday things were progressing really well, she responded to my treatments, and was dilated to about 3cm, though still only 50% effaced (thinned out), and getting little crampy pains. We chugged along like that and even had an acupuncturist come on Sunday.

By Sunday evening, Earth Mama made the decision to move somewhere nearer the hospital, and some phone calls revealed that Lismore hospital, which is a little further away, is much less conservative. Autumn called them and they invited Earth Mama to come in and have a birthing suite for ourselves, to do whatever natural practices she wants, and have whichever practitioners she likes to come in - in fact as many people as she likes to come in. They would simply let us be and keep her under observation.

What a revelation!

09 hospital templeSo that's what we did - at 10pm on Sunday night we packed up the house and drove the hour to Lismore. The birthing suite was massive, and we decorated it with lots of rugs and shawls, crystals and sheepskins, even Earth Mama's own lamps. The room ended up looking like a hippie tent, and we spread out our sleeping bags on the floor to get some rest.

What with the hospital folk coming in to check Earth Mama's blood pressure and do tests, rest wasn't much forthcoming, but we kept at our herbal regime and had some good progress.

By Monday, Earth Mama was ripe and getting more toning contractions. At 2pm, the doctor came in saying her blood results were looking pretty bad, and they wanted to speed things up. Earth Mama agreed to the induction, knowing that we had done a really great job of getting her ready.

25 josie in labourSo good, it turned out, she was in hard, active labour just minutes after starting the drip :) We worked really hard supporting her through the intense contractions, and after a while, the hospital midwife agreed to turn the drip off.

Two hours later, the baby started coming down. Earth Mama got into a good position squatting on the edge of the bed, and I got in position to catch the baby, with the hospital midwife standing sentry at the ready by the door.

41 beautiful babyA beautiful boy was born fast and easily, at 9:11pm, breathing on his own and very strong! I put the baby on Earth Mama's belly and checked to make sure he was all fine. We cleaned up a little, made sure she wasn't bleeding too much, and then relaxed for a few minutes.

Just then, the shift changed, and a new hospital midwife came in. She was fantastic! She came to me and said, "Hi, I'm M, I've heard you're Earth Mama's homebirth midwife; I'm happy to stand back and let you handle everything, and I'll be right here if you need an assistant."


13 angel mamaI honestly never would have believed one could essentially do a home birth, with the attendants of your choice, but in a hospital. M was really great, and let me get the placenta out, even when there was complications (a placental lobe that wouldn't detach). 

In the end, it was a beautiful birth, with a healthy baby. Amazing, considering he was 2 weeks early, with a pre-eclamptic mother and his placenta was so deteriorated it literally fell apart in my hands!

After it all, I drove home at 2am, exhausted beyond belief.


  1. Thank you for sharing the story! I wish every hospital was like that!

  2. We need more hospitals with that approach...

    I've given you a little award by the way, it's on my blog :-)

  3. Yay! Great ending to what could have gone the other way. Sticking our necks out and doing what we know to be good and true and right in our hearts makes room to let the divine energies in and move through.


    Welcome new sweet babe!

  4. How wonderful! Its always great to hear a happy ending! My sister in law had an induction at the local hospital and the whole birth was terrible. They gave her an epidural far too late (they told me she was not dilating enough but baby was bearing down, I may not be a midwife but have given birth naturally 5 times and know exactly what it feels like!) She went through 4 shifts of midwives before they finally called a doctor and she had a very late c-section. They then left her unattended after they threw us out and she could not feed the bub. The next day after I had finally convinced her to try again. The silly midwife came in interrupted the feed and stuck a needle in his foot distressing him and his mama. She chose not to breast feed at all after that. I was so sad for her and the baby! I know some people need help but it was all too much interference for me! I do believe if she had not had the epidural she would have been fine.

  5. What a fabulous story! Congrats to Earth Mama & Autumn on their beautiful baby boy!! :-)

  6. That looks like a big baby!
    Congrats to the entire clan.

  7. Wow! What a tremendous experience!

    I had pre-eclampsia with Teagan. I wish they'd been less conservative. I was allowed to have my birth team (including my doula and midwife), but they did chemical induction and admonished me to remain tethered to monitors and only allowed to move from back to side. After several hours of back labor we took the liberty to get on me on my hands-and-knees which quickly allowed Teagan to shift down and complete my dilation from 5 to 10cm in what seemed like an instant. :)

    Anyway, just wanted to send my congratulations to you and EarthMama and baby. Your stories are so inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  8. What a beautiful birth! (from a fellow MDC'r)

  9. Wow, what an amazing story! Just how it should be with a hospital transfer.

    Congrats earth mama/ welcome new baby!

  10. that made my heart sing, your are doing wonderful, special work.

  11. I too ended up giving birth in a hospital (my baby was a 34 weeks premie), but with my homebirth midwife, while the hospital midwife stood by ready to help. It was in Spain, Salt hospital in Girona, a very advanced hospital when it comes to natural birth. And they also let me practice kangaroo method to care for my baby.

  12. All I can say is - WOW! That would never happen in my area.

    It's almost an urban legend - I never would have thought that a hospital or staff could be so supportive and hands-off.

    Congratulations to the family and to you - you all did a wonderful job!

  13. What planet do you live on!?!? How wonderful to birth in that situation!

  14. thanks for all the warm comments everyone :)

    Erin, I live on planet majikfaerie; you should know that by now. LOL

  15. What a great hospital and a strong Mama! (oh, and a great midwife too ;)

  16. This is an awesome story. I have never heard the likes of it thank you so much for sharing!

  17. My oh my, if I had not read it myself I never would have believed this story. I wish there were more hospital and nurses like that...respectful of a woman's choice. And Earth Mama could not have a homebirth, neither did she have to be a statistic and be traumatized further. Thank you!

  18. I love hearing about birthing stories. You have the best job in the world.


Thanks for your lovely words, witty banter and entertaining discussion :)