Renata was pregnant with her second child when she started seeing me. Her first child had been born at home after a quick labor, although he arrived a couple of weeks past his due date. Renata was hoping that this second baby would decide to come sooner, and so we talked a lot in the last few weeks of her pregnancy about natural, gentle ways to stimulate labor should she go past her due date again. As her due date came and went, she began to try some herbs and acupuncture. All the physical assessments were normal at every prenatal visit, so I was happy to wait until the baby decided it was time.
Just past midnight about a week after the due date, Renata texted me to say that she was having some irregular mild contractions. She wasn’t sure if this was the real thing, as she had been having strong Braxton-Hicks contractions for a long time, but she wanted to give me a heads up in case things began to pick up. I almost got in my car at this point to drive to her house about 15 minutes away. My instinct was telling me to just get in the car and go, but my rational brain just wasn’t up to the possibility of getting out there and then having to come back home if it wasn’t really labor. This labor would teach me to trust my instincts!
About an hour after Renata’s text, her husband, Stahl, called me. Whenever I see the partner’s number come up in my caller ID, I sit up straight and take notice. It usually means labor is underway and mom can’t talk at all! Stahl said that contractions were now strong and about two minutes apart. I told him I would be right there. I knew that Renata’s first birth happened quickly, so I literally grabbed my bags and ran out the door. I was in the car and on the way within five minutes of Stahl’s call. As I was passing by the Ithaca Commons (about a three minute drive from where I live), my phone rang and I saw that it was Stahl again. I felt a momentary pang of worry that something wasn’t going well, but as I answered a could hear a thin newborn mewling in the background. Stahl sounded excited, astounded, and euphoric, all at once. “The baby’s here!” he said, “It’s a girl.” I could barely believe my ears, but quickly congratulated him and asked how mother and baby were doing. He said they were both fine. The baby had been born in the birthing pool, and both mom and baby were relaxing in the warm water. I said I would be there within 10 minutes, and put the pedal to the metal as I headed out of town. On the way, I called my assistant, Megan, to tell her the news and ask her to meet me at the house.
I arrived at Renata and Stahl’s house to find Renata sitting in the birthing pool with her newborn daughter quietly and busily nursing in her arms. Renata had a big smile on her face, and for a moment we both just sat there smiling and laughing at the interesting turn of events! She told me everything that had happened and how quickly things progressed after her text to me, and especially after Stahl’s first call to me. She said that she needed to push right after he called, so she climbed into the pool even though it wasn’t full of water yet, and just squatted down a little and the baby came right out with only a couple of pushes. She and Stahl both helped to catch the little one as she emerged and she immediately went right up to Renata’s chest. She sat down and began nursing and then soon after, I arrived, followed a few minutes later by Megan.
Within a short time we had Renata and little Theory tucked into bed and cozy. Renata said she couldn’t be happier, even though Megan and I had missed the actual birth. I kept thinking about the gut feeling I had earlier about just getting in the car, and how I had dismissed that feeling. I’ve learned yet again to trust that feeling and know that my “midwife’s intuition” doesn’t ever lead me wrong.
Welcome to the world Theory! Congratulations Renata, Stahl, and big brother Tilden!
For more photos of Renata and her family, check out the Photo Gallery of BirthRoot Families.