Sunday, December 02, 2007

When Knitting and Midwifery collide: A Birth Story.

Apologies for the length - but I just got to share this one!

"A midwife should have a good pair of hands and know how to sit on them" says Michel Odent? Or maybe knit with them says I.
I was at O and R's birth the other day - O is a midwife herself and knew exactly what she wanted - a home birth, with a quiet and dimmed atmosphere, with lots of love around. She wanted as few interventions as possible, and wanted to use TENs and for R to use Shiatsu for pain relief. They both had an array of homeopathic and bach flower remedies to hand... O had a long prelabour - she'd been up for two nights before I got there and R hadn't had much sleep either. We'd only met once before, but it's always so much easier for me when a couple know what they want...
I arrived at 11am and she was pleased to be told her cervix was 5cm dilated and the baby was in a good position and his heart was always really reassuring and steady. R has the most amazing smile that lights up the place and great big hands just great for massaging - mine didn't compare and O only wanted R's hands doing their magic on her shoulders and lower back.
I went off to collect the resus equipment and entonox (and grab some lunch). When I got back at about 1pm, O's contractions were still plodding along at about 2-3:10, strong but slightly irregular. Using acupressure would bring them up to speed slightly but they would always drop back to 2-3:10.
Still, O's cervix was 8 cm dilated at 17.15hrs (I'd left it a bit longer to check as I knew that we weren't going to get 1cm an hour!). I'm getting a bit of pressure from Labour Ward by this time - the coordinator would phone and want to know if I was happy and why didn't I do an ARM?!
Again, I can stave off unhelpful advice if I'm backed up by a birthplan!
ho hum, 3 hours later, t'was still the same. But far from getting discouraged O became even more determined. I've called the second midwife who was also really supportive and all the time I'm knitting socks and listening in to baby and checking O and R were OK but they were getting on so well without me doing anything but knit and keep a watchful eye on the slooooow but steady progress. We debate the usefulness of ARM and R gives O caulophyllum (sp?) and SRM happens - wahey! I think the baby heard us. Light meconium staining but we can live with that as junior's heart is still steady as a rock... Contractions are now strong 4:10. so I'm disappointed when O's cervix is STILL the same 2hrs later.
But even as we're arranging transfer for delay, O starts to make that wonderful grunting noise that signifies second stage and there's a show and so, we cancel the ambulance and we say welcome to baby boy just half an hour later. And wait for the cord to stop pulsing and admire the true knot. The placenta only takes 11 minutes to arrive.
Beautiful baby boy is so alert and goes straight on the breast. O has achieved everything on her birth plan - a wonderful normal birth with just a whiff of entonox to get through transition, and R would make a wonderful midwife... His smile lights up the room after its all over. I have such admiration for their love and strength and courage and determination and teamwork.
HA! - I frogged the sock I'd knitted because I'd made it too narrow, but the next day I knitted up a teeny tiny pair of socks in the same yarn for O and R's baby boy, to remind them of that incredible journey - just as O had soaked a silk square in liquor (mec and all) to remind their son of his time in the womb.

I called them I ching socks because the lines remind me of those little pictograms.

If any of my blogland friends have been wondering where I've been - I've been over on Ravelry! What a wonderful place to get lost in. I've also been celebrating my half century - and made my birthday last an entire week - wonderful.


Riggwelter said...

oh, a wonderful story!

Jo said...

Gorgeous socks and a wonderful story, I'd lke to know what they called him though, the little fella!

maylin said...

Thats such an inspiring story. May the next half century be as wonderful as the last.

Terri said...

Happy Belated Birthday! What a wonderful story. So glad it all worked out well and the little socks are so sweet.

kathryn said...

What a lovely story!! Thank you and belated Happy Birthday :)

picperfic said...

such a special story! I love those socks on those skinny little legs...I can feel his soft skin from here! Beautiful..nothing like a new baby. My eldest had her third baby on 19th November. I smile at the vision of you clicking away as the contractions come and go.