Gracie May Burgraff
Before ever becoming pregnant, my husband Adam and I were researching gentle birth options. We read books, articles, spoke with people we knew, and then looked into what was available to us in our area. We made the decision to have our children naturally at Morning Star Birth Center.
Our first pregnancy went very well. I worked up until the day before birth with little to no complaints. At thirty-six weeks, I had the GBS (Group B Strep) swipe and that had come back positive. We received information from Paula and did some more research of our own. We decided to only receive antibiotics if there were other circumstances that would increase the likelihood of our baby becoming sick.
On June 5, 2007, I woke up at 7am and my water broke. I was just at thirty seven weeks. I called Paula and informed her and set up a time to go in and have the baby’s heart rate checked. I called Adam and set up a time to pick him up from the shop because he was working out of town and had been away since the morning before. My first contraction occurred after all of that, around 10:30 am. The contractions were not very painful and not close together. So we got things ready, running errands around town. At approximately 4:30 pm, the contractions were ten minutes apart. We went into the birth center again to check the fetal heart tones. Everything was going great. We went back home to labor some more. We called Paula at 7:45 pm and set up to meet her at the birth center because the contractions were about 5-7 minutes apart.
At the birth center, Paula did a check to see how dialated I was and she informed me that she believed our baby was breech. We were given the option of going to the hospital or to continue to labor at Morning Star. We all agreed that things were progressing well and we chose to stay there. We walked the steps and paced around, then we got into the tub to help the back labor pain I was having.
Paula then asked us to get out of the tub because the baby had passed meconium. Adam jumped out to change out of his swim trunks while Paula, Krista, and Erin were helping me out of the tub. As soon as I was out, I felt the baby coming and said, “Here comes the baby!” I then squatted as Paula and Erin held me while Krista caught our baby. Adam got out just in time to see the baby born bottom first, feet by the ears at 9:32 pm. They sat me down on a stool and handed me our beautiful, healthy baby girl. She was 5 lbs. and 13 oz. and wide awake. We named her Gracie May.
Our second pregnancy was completely different from our first. I was sick on and off at anytime of the day for the first four months. Then I had migraines for about a month. Three times I had urine tests come back positive for GBS. We treated it with 2 treatments of oral antibiotics. The fourth test came back good. I had no other symptoms so we chose no IV antibiotics during birth, unless other circumstances arouse.
On January 6, 2009, Paula noticed that our baby was breech. I was hoping to birth a baby head first. I tried doing flips in the motel pool, and using hot and cold packs on my belly to try and turn the baby. On the 8th we had an ultrasound. The baby was indeed breech. Paula and Dr. Feigal pressed their hands on my belly trying to turn the baby’s head down. The baby’s heart rate was monitored the whole time. The baby still would not go head down. We went to see Dr. Emily Smith the same day to try a chiropractic technique. I continued the hot/cold packs and went to the pool a few more times. The baby still did not turn. The ultrasound had revealed we were having a baby girl so we tried to put a positive focus on finding “the” name.
On January 17, at 11:30 am, my water broke. We called Paula and went in to the birth center to check the baby’s heart tones. No labor yet, so we ran errands and got Gracie ready to go and stay with my parents. We went and walked at the mall, came home and hung out trying to figure out a middle name for our new daughter. At midnight we went to bed with sporadic contractions. At approximately 2:00 am, I was awoken from strong regular contractions. I was excited, it was progress. We called Paula and set up to meet her around 3:30 am.
We met Paula and Amy at the birth center and got everything set up. Adam and I walked around a bit but it felt best to stand and sway back and forth. Adam had his hands on my waist and my arms were on his shoulders. The contractions were picking up pace and growing in intensity at about 5:30 am. We got into the tub where I used the buoyant water to rock my hips back and forth through each contraction.
Paula asked us to get out of the tub and go to the bed. As we stood up to get out, I could feel the baby coming. I got sick at this point and my legs became shaky. Adam helped hold me up as I pushed out two little feet first, a body, and then her head. Paula was holding her body right away and handed her to me as she and Amy cleaned out her airways and gave her a little oxygen as a precautionary measure. It was 6:36 am on January 18, 2009, when Emma Jane was born weighing 7 lbs. 8 oz., both feet first.
Two healthy girls, born breech, with no drugs, no surgery, not even a stitch. Just the knowledge and support from wonderful people who helped me to feel confident in listening to my body. Thank you Adam, Paula, and Morning Star Birth Center Staff for helping me give our daughters a gentle, loving welcome into this world.