The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.
Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy
These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.
Our first son, Alexander, was born at a hospital and it was a horror story that fortunately my wife cannot remember a lot of to this day, which is better, since I can. It involved a disinterested staff and a doctor who had better things to do. We were sent home twice for not progressing and when Cherie finally started to progress the tiniest fraction hospital policy decreed that all and food and drink were to be withheld. It had been a long 2 days and we had had enough and so we signed ourselves out. Finally we returned and Cherie was progressing slowly, but after several hours the staff decided there was a problem being reported to them by the fetal monitor. We were told that since the baby's heart rate was not climbing enough during contractions that an internal monitor was necessary. When we protested the doctor said, "You don't want your baby to die do you?" So the doctor broke Cherie's amniotic sac, attached the fetal monitor and put Cherie on Pitocin. Within 10 minutes (2 contractions) Cherie had gone from 3 cm to 10 not, I believe, because of the Pitocin but more along the lines of what her family history had going for her (Cherie was born on the way to the hospital.) The staff was shocked but said it was OK to go ahead and push, they were not prepared for the result. Within 5 minutes of starting to push Alex's head started to crown. The staff rushed Cherie to the delivery room, demanding she not push (as if.) I tried to take some pictures of Alex being born, but the nurses starting yelling at me for being at, The "Wrong" end of the table. The doctor was busy fiddling and did not notice Alexander emerging, and ended up lunging and catching him with one hand. As soon as Alex was born the doctor panicked and called for the pediatrician "Stat," because Alex was not "Responding properly." The less panic oriented pediatrician gave Alex the once over and declared, "He's sleeping." Obviously Doctor Dopey, had not considered that Cherie was not the only one having endured the 60 hour labor.
Our second son, Brandon, was born at the Familyborn birth center and we were very pleased. I even got to catch the baby. Cool, a must for all real fathers. I was shocked by the lack of poking and prodding this time around. The best part of Brandon Michael's birth was when Cherie's water broke. Cherie had not yet broken her amniotic sac by the time she was ready to push so she had to do it while pushing which was very uncomfortable for her, and a great relief once it did happen. Cherie was in the middle of a full blown pushing contraction when her water was ready to break, and it was quite a show! The amniotic fluid sprayed 6 feet, past the end of the bed and on to the floor. Actually it looked like we were at the bottom of a log flume when the spray erupted. 10 minutes later Brandon was born with the most beautiful blond hair.
As we approached the midway point of our third pregnancy the center
told us that they were closing down their on-site birth facilities and
that we were out of luck. And so we decided on a home birth. Cherie's
labor actually started almost a full week before Grace was born.
Cherie called me to come home at 8:30 am Saturday, 39.5 weeks into her
pregnancy. We were sure this baby was going to be special because
she had stayed in so long, both her brothers had been born at 37 weeks
and were 6lb 10oz and 7lb 1oz. Cherie had false labor twice before,
so we were so worn down that we did not get our hopes up. By Sunday
Cherie was still going steady, but not too strong so her midwife came by
for a check/cheer up and found her to be 1 cm and 50% effaced. So
we unfortunately prepared for the long haul since both of Cherie's previous
labor's had lasted 60 hours. Sunday night and Monday passed without
much fanfare, although Cherie's labor began to take its toll on her sleep,
so that by Tuesday, during her weekly appointment, Midwife Louise and trainee
Martha were concerned, and we created a plan of action. By Wednesday
stress had taken its toll and the midwives rushed up to check on Cherie's
now stronger contractions early in the morning. After setting up
and determining that Cherie was now 3cm 60% they stayed expecting a prompt
arrival, they were to be disappointed. Cherie continued to putter
along the rest of the day, but since she had progressed Louise and Martha
thought it best to let nature take its course. The midwives agreed that
since Cherie was tiring, an understatement, that unless something happened
that, in accordance with our plan of action Friday morning she would take
castor oil to stabilize and stimulate her labor. On Friday at 9:30
am Cherie took the castor oil "Milkshake" as prescribed, and boy did it
ever work. By 12:30 Cherie was into a strong, stable contraction
pattern. Cherie became restless and it was nice to be able to waddle
her around our own block. By 4:30pm Cherie's water finally succumbed
and things became intense. With the first push I could tell this
baby was bigger than we had imagined just by how high Cherie's belly rose.
Louise and Martha gave a constant stream of direction and suggestion, including
having Cherie change positions twice. Shortly before Grace was born
Louise brought in Alex who sat by his mom's head and was the official baby
hat holder and coach. As the baby's head started to crown I warned
Martha and Louise to watch out in case I lost my balance since Cherie had
a tendency to "blast" babies out. Alex had to be caught with one
hand by the doctor as he turned to get something and Brandon had gone from
crowning directly to being exposed up to his elbows with one mighty push.
I knew this had to be a big baby when it ended up taking Cherie two entire
pushes to expel the head and another one to get out Grace's body, which
I happily caught without incident. Grace arrived at 5:19 pm and weighed
in at 9lb 4 oz.
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