Drake Fitzgerald Morris
I switched insurance companies during my prenatal care. I ended up starting at Health Partners West and then moving to North Metro Midwives. I wanted to deliver my second son, Drake, at North Memorial Hospital as that was where I had delivered my first son, Lucien. But NMM were no longer allowed to deliver at North, so Abbott was the option. Driving farther away from my home initially discouraged me from this option, as did Abbott's high intervention rate. I did not want to be subjected to birth interventions at a time when I was susceptible to caving in to fear or panic. A friend on Facebook suggested Morning Star Women's Health and Birth Center. I had never considered an independent birth center, nor had I heard of Morning Star. I went to their website and decided to contact them. It is amazing what a good website means: the transparency shared there was the first step in building trust that I would be safe at their facility.
My husband and I took an orientation tour and on the way home from the tour we decided we would choose Morning Star. I was reluctant because of the out-of-pocket costs. Was this how I wanted to vote with my dollars when a hospital birth would cost less? Eventually I said yes. At 36 weeks pregnant, we switched care to Morning Star. Jeremy attended the first appointment and I couldn't believe how much information was shared, how procedures and tests were explained, and how much literature was available for me to review. They had a full video and book library that I could use. I still researched recommendations at credible mainstream medical community websites- Mayo Clinic, American Academy of Pediatrics, Center for Dieses and Control, etc.
At 37 weeks I asked for my first internal exam since my initial testing at 8 weeks. I was so proud that my baby was protected against unnecessary intrusion. I was low risk for any birth complications so it was a blessing to be able to proceed with what felt natural for me. I was 80% effaced and 0 cm dilated. I knew that didn't mean anything about when I would deliver, but it felt like safe progress that I would have an easy delivery.
On Friday I turned 39 weeks. It also was my last day at work and I made it through! I had been having Braxton Hicks for weeks. Sometimes I thought I was starting labor because I had regular contractions for over an hour. But then they would stop. It was completely different than my first birth experience- no contractions until they started, and didn't stop for 30 hours.
Sunday morning I woke up at 2:30am and noticed I was having contractions. I got up and used the bathroom, but nothing made the contractions stop. At 3:29am I called Morning Star and hit 1. Finally! I was grateful to hear Catherine's voice, but regretful it was soooo early in the morning. I wanted to ask permission to start the Hibiclens treatment to less invasively combat my GBS (Group B Strep) positive status. A week earlier I found out I was GBS positive and it sent me into a tailspin that had me envisioning terrible situations for my newborn. I needed Catherine to tell me I could start this labor and treatment to welcome my baby to our home. At 3:45 am, Jeremy helped me with the Hibiclens. I continued to labor on my knees, leaning over the edge of the bed. I put my head on a pillow and tried to sway and rotate my hips. I never once used my Hypnobirthing CDs. I thought I would, but I was too excited. Jeremy coordinated care with his mother to come watch our 21 month old.
At 4:40am I called Catherine back and asked to come into the Birth Center. I was concerned it was too early, but something in the back of my mind knew I needed to move. At 5am, Jeremy's mom arrived. We left shortly thereafter. Jeremy had packed the car with video, camera equipment, our chicken enchiladas that I had made on Friday (I envisioned an evening baby), snacks, paper scripts of Hypnobirthing relaxations, two robes, and a spare outfit for Drake and me.
We had a nice drive to the birth center. I really enjoyed hitting the stop and start button on my contraction timing app that I downloaded to my smart phone. We arrived at the birth center by 5:30am. Catherine and Dana were there to welcome me. I was thrilled to cross the threshold, knowing I could go down the ramp and into the suites instead of the prenatal rooms. It felt real and exciting. I walked into the gorgeous black and white room and heard the Jacuzzi tub faucet running. It was such a perfect setting to welcome my little cutie.
I kneeled on a pillow on the floor in order to lean over the bed while they checked my vital signs. Catherine could tell (without doing an internal exam) that it was okay that I was there. I hesitated about getting in the tub. But when I got in, I fell in love with the freedom to move and shift positions. This proved to be a fantastic laboring option. I was in the tub until 7:45am. Then we did another Hibicleanse treatment, and I got out of the tub and hung over a labor sling from the ceiling. By then I was saying all sorts of crazy statements of fear- I can't do this, I don't want to do this anymore... blah, blah, blah. At the same time I knew I was in transition. I knew I was close, and I knew it would be over soon. Deep down it made me very excited and happy. That joy gave me the energy to get out of the tub and try a new position. I asked for my first internal exam and Catherine said I was 9.75cm. I heard 7 and freaked out that I was only at 7, but was overjoyed when she corrected me. It confirmed to me that knowing your cm dilation is far too powerful for the mind to fixate on. Let go of those numbers and you can focus on just welcoming your baby.
They tried to get a reading on Drake's heartbeat, but I was in an awkward position. So I moved to the edge of the bed. Catherine said I could go ahead and push, but I didn't feel it. Eventually I pushed. It started at 8:08 and after a lot of groaning, yelling, and screaming, Drake was born at 8:09am. By 8:30 I was leaning on the bed with my baby nursing. It was absolutely fantastic to get the placenta out and start the recovery.
Catherine was amazing- in the birth video you can see her patiently and quietly rocking on her heels while I was having an intense contraction. She was rubbing her hands together and I can see her feeling my emotions. It is so powerful to have someone that empathic in that moment. When I was done with my contraction, she resumed prepping the room for Drake's birth. Watching that video reassures me I was in the best hands possible. Drake's APGARs were 9 and then 10. I had so many questions about his condition, but he was gorgeous. It was amazing that he never left the bed, there was no rush to do anything. I was euphoric. I felt so good. I refused the tea bath that Catherine brewed as our first family bath (what an amazing option- room and healing water and tea for all of us!). We took it home and I used it later. It was amazing! It smelled so good, and truly healed me. I think the uva ursi is really powerful- especially with all the other herbs.
Jeremy stuck the enchiladas in the oven, I ate some. It was a fantastic four hours of talking about the baby, getting ready to go home, and realizing how healthy I was! No tears, no real pain, no stitches, no dehydration, nothing! I was on the road to a very fast recovery. I can't help but attribute a lot of my easy birth experience to Morning Star Birth Center staff and model of care. We were sent home with Stephanie, a breastfeeding class teacher, and postpartum doula. My dad was at our house to greet Drake. They both left and Jeremy, Drake and I napped in bed until Beth brought Lucien home to meet his big brother. The first week was a blur, but we were a family and we were starting a very exciting new life together. I love my boys.