Presleigh Evelyn Olson-Buehler
My husband Alex and I were expecting our first baby, a girl, who was due March 23. We knew that we didn't want a hospital birth but thought due to insurance reasons that we would have to have one. It wasn't until around 33 weeks that we learned otherwise and started seeing Paula at Morning Star. During our first meeting with her we both knew that this was a better option for us.
Around 7:00 pm on Friday, March 21 my husband Alex pointed out that my practice contractions seemed a little more frequent than usual. I had been having Braxton Hicks for several weeks now but they were not usually in a pattern of any kind. We thought with the change this evening that we could pay attention to them for awhile. We started timing contractions at 8:30 and after an hour and a half or so we saw that they were all between 3 and 9 minutes. None were very strong and I was sure this was the kind of thing that women anticipating labor go in to get checked for and then get sent home because their labor isn't productive. I called our doula Amy who, after hearing what was going on, asked me to call Paula and run things by her. We did and both women said to keep an eye on things and let them know if contractions became more regular. After another 2 hours the contractions were all under five minutes and had gotten stronger, although I was still doing ok. We called Paula who now asked if I felt that I needed more labor support with me and I said yes. We called Amy and said it might be time for her to come over. She said she would be here within an hour.
During the time between calling Amy and her arriving, the intensity of the contractions really grew. When she arrived around 2:00 am I was in a lot of pain and couldn't really talk. The contractions had changed--there was no clear beginning or end to them anymore. I was completely preoccupied with the process my body was going through. Things quickly picked up in the next 30-45 minutes--I was having dry-heaves and my water broke--the pain was incredible. I was so scared because I thought this was the start of labor progressing. Although I hadn't been checked by anyone, I was guessing I was at around 4 centimeters and I didn't know how I would keep this up for hours. Amy kept assuring me that I could do this and wanted me to breathe through the contractions. I told her I couldn't. My water broke and I felt like my insides were being wrung out like a wet towel. I thought I needed to use the bathroom and Amy walked with me to the bathroom. Amy and Alex were talking in the other room while I was in the bathroom and they agreed it was time to head to the birth center as soon as I was done and got dry clothing on. We had a wonderful, gentle water birth planned that I was very excited about!
During the time that I was in the bathroom I had a few super strong contractions and something seemed...different. I reached between my legs with my hand and felt something. I didn't think that it was the cord so I called for someone to come. Amy asked through the bathroom door if I needed some help. I said "Yes, something is coming out of me!". I didn't think it was the cord but I KNEW it couldn't be the head! Amy crouched on the floor in front of me (I was on the toilet) and looked. She told my husband it was time to call Paula on her cell phone. Alex went to find the phone and somewhere in my head I knew things were not going as we had planned but I was not freaking out...in fact, everyone seemed calm. Looking back, we all seemed too calm. I slowly came to the awareness that this was it--my body was pushing this baby out and we weren't going to make it to the birth center for our planned water birth. Alex reached Paula on the phone and she was put on speakerphone on the bathroom counter. I remember Amy telling Paula that she saw some...bulging...between my legs. Paula (on speaker phone) asked me not to push and to pant through contractions...but I couldn't stop what my body was doing. I was not trying to push but the baby was coming! With Amy on the bathroom floor in front of me standing over the toilet our baby's head came out. Paula's voice asked Amy to check for the cord around the neck and she said that there was no cord. I could hear Paula say that I needed to relax through the next contraction and that the body would come out then. She did! Our doula who had never delivered a baby caught her and my husband was right there, in our bathroom, watching it all! Paula and Erin arrived about 30 minutes after her birth and took care of everything over the next few hours. I needed stitches and lost a lot of blood, but everything else was fine. The baby looked great and after the cord was cut and placenta delivered we were able to get some cuddle time in on our bed.
We were so thankful to have amazing women to assist with (and after) this birth. Although it wasn't our plan, it turned out to be an amazing home birth. We are planning on a home birth for our future children, as we loved being in our own place with complete privacy. Thanks Paula for all of the house calls!
This was not at all how we had planned her arrival but it was an amazing experience!
8 lbs, 1 oz
20 inches long
3-22-08 3:00 am.
My Story and Recollection of Presleigh Evelyn Olson-Buehler's Birth
Ok, it all started on Friday evening, March 21st 2008. I had been working at Koch Logistics in St. Paul, MN on that day. I was off work by 5 p.m. and in traffic by 5:05. My drive usually takes me anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours on Friday nights (usually the latter). When I arrived at our home in Eau Claire, WI everything was as usual on a Friday night. Toni was making dinner, looking as big and beautifully pregnant as usual. She was just 2 days away from the due date, but convinced she was going well over the pre-determined date. Not too long after I had been home Toni casually mentioned that she was having some smaller contractions a little more frequently then what was occurring normally the past few weeks. I don't think either of us thought much about it, since it wasn't too much out of the norm. Within in an hour the contractions started to get a little more intense. They were very sporadic, but nevertheless, more intense then Toni had felt previously.
I believe it was somewhere between 8 and 9pm that we found a contraction counter on-line and started timing her contractions. For a few hours we monitored them and they stayed inconsistent, but they were definitely more intense. Finally, Toni called – well, maybe if you look at Toni's version there will be an answer because I flat out cannot remember who we called first. It was either Amy, our doula, or Paula, our midwife. I guess I don't remember, because we made a total of 4 calls that night, (pre-water breaking) and I only remember the last 3. So I guess I will stick to the ones I remember. Anyway, Toni called Paula and Paula asked her numerous questions about the timing and intensity of the contractions. They were still inconsistent, and while painful, not intolerable. Toni was told to try and relax and continue to monitor her body. By about midnight things seemed to have progressed. Toni's contractions were closer together, but still seemed far from intense labor. Either way, we decided to call Paula again to update her on the contraction times. Paula thought that the time to head out may be coming soon, but thought we should call our doula, Amy, over to help labor. I think the idea was, with Amy's eyes and experience; she would have a good idea if we needed to go to the birth center. Oh yeah – I guess I never mentioned the actual plan for Presleigh's birth. Maybe I should do that.
Presleigh was to be born at the Morning Star Birth Center in Menomonie, WI. In the "purple room" with the big tub. The plan was for Toni to labor in that tub. Presleigh had other plans. So, anyway, I called Amy and asked her if she could come over as Toni's labor was most certainly progressing, but still not enough to go to the birth center…or so we thought. Amy said she could be at our house within about an hour give or take. This was at about 1am, now Saturday morning, March 22nd 2008. During that hour before Amy arrived, Toni was obviously in much more pain. Her back was in the most pain I believe. I tried to comfort her as best as I could, but there was not a lot I could do but be there. Just after 2am Amy arrived. She immediately went to Toni's side and offered her words of encouragement as she went through the contractions. For about 20 minutes she coached Toni through multiple contractions. Around 2:30 Toni started feeling sick. I went and got the garbage can for her to get sick into if she needed it. She was in obvious intense pain. It was hard to see her like that. She dry heaved into the garbage can. I didn't notice until Amy said something to Toni, but her pants were wet. Amy asked her if her water broke, and because of the heave, Toni wasn't sure if her water broke, or if she had urinated. She was able to get to her feet and go into the bathroom. She asked to be alone in the bathroom to clean up. While she was there, Amy and I started talking about getting ready to head out to the birth center. I started to gather some things and even put on my shoes. Amy said she just wanted to check with Toni one more time after she came out of the bathroom. We both heard Toni say something from the bathroom, but we were unsure what she said. From outside the bathroom door, Amy asked Toni if she needed some help. Toni said yes I think something is coming out of me. At that point I didn't follow Amy in right away. I remember as soon as I heard Toni say that – a small rush of adrenaline kicked in. As soon as it did, I quickly dismissed it. There was no way whatever it was could be the baby! Whatever it was, I determined, we better get going to the birth center I thought. Then I went in.
When I entered the bathroom, Toni was in kind of a half squatting, half standing position, over the toilet. Amy was kneeling or squatting (not sure which) on the bathroom floor in front of her and looking at her vagina. When I looked I had no idea what I was seeing. There was definitely something there, but it didn't look like a baby, at least not to me. What the hell was it I remember thinking. As I was still processing what I was seeing, Amy asked me to call Paula on her cell. I quickly left the room and realized both Toni and I only had Paula's home number programmed in our phones. I am sure I said damn-it or stupid or something, but I don't remember. Then I remembered her cell number was in the tote bag we kept the birthing documents in. Of course, I couldn't find that either. (Toni had packed it in our bag) Feeling a little rushed and maybe even early panic, I went back into the bathroom to ask if Toni new where the tote was. I don't think she ever heard me ask. Amy told me to get her cell – it had Paula's cell number on it. It took me longer than I wanted it to, but I finally found Amy's cell over on the ledge by our front door. I dialed Paula's number and walked back into the bathroom and handed the cell to Amy. It was then that I looked again. What I was seeing looked exactly the same as a few minutes earlier – except bigger. I think at that moment I started to realize that it was most likely the baby's head.
Paula answered her cell and quickly asked Amy to describe what she was seeing. Amy, who was definitely choosing her words carefully, mentioned the word "bulging" many times. Paula was now on speaker phone and tried to carefully give us the option of calling an ambulance if we wanted. I don't think any of us thought there was time. At that point she told me to get the speedy delivery worksheet she had given us in one of our pre-natal visits. Of course, I drew an immediate blank – where the hell was that at, I thought. Toni, who has been in serious pain through all of this, somehow saves me and immediately says it is in the bedroom on the nightstand on the other side of the kick counter page. Thank god for her – I totally blew that one. As I run to get it – I start realizing that this is really happening. This baby is coming now. When I got back to the bathroom Paula was both trying to comfort Toni and get information from Amy. Suddenly, Toni started having a contraction and about thirty seconds into that contraction the baby's head came out. I remember glancing down quickly, but didn't see much. I looked at Toni and tried to hold her up and giver her support. Paula was giving Amy directions to check the baby's neck for the cord. Once Amy determined there was no cord around the baby's neck, Paula started to talk to Toni and prepare her for the next contraction, which she thought would probably bring the rest of the baby out. Amy asked for some towels and I quickly grabbed them from the closet. Toni started having another contraction, and as quickly as it started the baby came out. I had been watching the whole time. I watched my beautiful baby girl be born – in our bathroom. It was absolutely surreal. Amy had the baby in a towel and was wiping her off. Toni was obviously in shock - asked if she was breathing. I could see that even though she was crying a lot - she was definitely breathing. I will never forget her little face and the sound of the first little squawk she made. Toni, obviously delirious – had me fetch the camera. It was amazing to me that she had just gone through all of this and still had the wherewithal to take pictures. She is an amazing woman – and will be an even more amazing mom. Our daughter was born at exactly 3 am on Saturday march 22nd 2008.
Paula with her assistant Erin, made it around 3:20 to help take care of Toni and the baby. I was able to cut the cord and also view Toni's amazing placenta. (I will save the placenta story for another time) As we all spent the day primarily in bed and at bedside with Toni and the baby I can't help remembering how it didn't feel real. It was so amazing, with a little scary mixed in, it just took some time to set in. It has been a great story to tell and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am sure I may have left out some parts, because to be honest, some parts are a little foggy. Hopefully, between what I remember and what Toni remembers it all makes sense. No matter what, one thing is for sure – Presleigh Evelyn Olson-Buehler did it her way!