Finnian’s Birth Story: Food Poisening in Pregnancy, Asynclitisim, and 43 hour Homebirth

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The birth of our sweet Finnian David Martin as told by his momma.

You were due to be born on March 10, 2019, but God had other plans for you to be here
sooner and for us to have even more time with you. I am so thankful for all the extra
days to hold, smell, and snuggle you.

Well, I was working at Incyte Diagnostics and was planning on working up until the day
that I went into labor. I was so proud of my pregnancy with you. I so enjoyed feeling you
move and I was really healthy throughout the pregnancy.

That Dark Blue Line

We found out that we were pregnant with you on the Fourth of July, which was
incredibly special. Your daddy and I were trying for a month and I’m almost positive that
we got pregnant with you the first try. I prayed to God that if I was to be a momma that it
would just happen, and if it were to take awhile that I would trust in Him and be content
with other ways of having a baby. We have so many friends that have struggled with
infertility and I was just so fearful, but also at peace with the fact that could just as well
happen to us. However, God is in control ultimately and His plan was for you to be
added to our family. So July 4th, I had this feeling that I was pregnant. I didn’t feel sick
or anything, I just had this intuition. We had already talked together and decided that I
would take a test the day after the Fourth of July. However, I happened to have an extra
pregnancy stick lying around, as I would often buy them if my period was even a day
late or so, I was always excited at the prospect of getting to be pregnant. I peed on the
stick and closed my eyes, with Penny our Australian Shepherd 3 year old doggie by my
side, I opened my eyes and sure enough the blue line appeared right away. It wasn’t
even faint, it was super bold and blue. I was about as over the moon as I could be, with
my eyes filling with tears and my heart swelling inside of my chest. I pulled myself
together as giddy as I was. I really wanted to surprise Josh when I told him. This whole
time he was sleeping, as I woke up super early because I was so excited to check. We
were both working in the evenings as well at this time, so it just tells how excited I was

to wake up early on a day off. So I put my creative ideas together and I wrote on a piece
of paper, “you slipped one passed the goalie.” I then grabbed a Bears shirt of Josh’s
(he’s a huge Chicago Bears fan) and I wrapped the pregnancy stick in the piece of
paper within the shirt as well. I then ran into the bedroom and I shook Josh awake,
“Josh, Josh you have to wake up and look at this!” Josh was not a morning person and
so he was mostly dazed and confused at my rampant insistence. He fumbled through
unraveling the shirt and then read the paper and saw the pregnancy test. Josh opened
his blurry sleepy eyes and wrapped me up in a big bear hug and a nice huge kiss. He
told me, “and you were worried you would never be pregnant.” Then he immediately
was a little disturbed that I placed the stick with pee on it onto his pillow exclaiming,
“Your pee is on my pillow!!” Whoops… but really it was such an exciting time for us!

We traveled to Hawaii in August and had a blast, I especially loved it because I was
mostly just tired, like exhausted, throughout my first trimester. It’s so hard too when it’s
a secret at work, because I had to try and keep working as hard as usual, yet I really
needed more help if anything. It’s so funny how you struggle the most in the first
trimester, yet women are still working and expected to keep up at the same level,
because no one knows! Well, maybe I also just held my standards up high because I
love working hard and I enjoy going to work. So basically, it made the upcoming
vacation in Hawaii THAT much more exciting. We had the vacation planned with my
parents prior to knowing we were pregnant, so it was even more fun. I would sleep most
of the day on the sand and after being in the sun and swimming. It was glorious. It was
like my ideal “babymoon”. With only our parents in the know that we were pregnant-oh
wait- my mom told lots of random and not-so-random people that I was pregnant. But it
was so special and fun to think of all the what if’s and for me to get the rest I needed. I
happened to also have a coworker that kept calling out and making work much more of
a task right when I was the most tired, so that was definitely frustrating. While Hawaii
was luxurious for the 10 days we were there, Josh and I reheated some of our 40$ a
plate Mahi Mahi on the last day prior to leaving for the airport. I, shortly after, started to
feel like my stomach was super upset on the way to the airport and was thinking, “this
must be that morning sickness finally kicking in at week 10, darn.” Well, we got to the

airport and got on the plane and it was miserable, I was in the window seat position, of
course, and I just wanted to live in the bathroom, I didn’t even have a puke bag in my
seat! We were about an hour into the flight, and Josh looked at me with the same
nauseous look in his eyes. Oh-no, we both were feeling bad. We landed at our
connecting flight in Seattle and headed straight for the bathroom. Josh would run to the
bathroom and I would watch our bags and then he would do the same and this went on
about 8 times of back and forth puking. Eww airport bathroom puking is just not good…
So it turned out that we both got food poisoning, to be specific I had E. Coli. Just the
worst thing and all while pregnant. I was so upset to go on antibiotics, as I dislike them
and my body doesn’t do well on them. At this time, we were just establishing care at an
OB/GYN. I was immediately told to go on the antibiotics and wasn’t even told what for. I
had to pry and ask for the reasoning, wanting to be informed of my care, finally finding
out it was E. Coli, no big deal- just kidding. I additionally was questioned 3 separate
times on my medical history, repeating myself and feeling like I was just a number, just
another pregnant woman. When I first heard his heartbeat at 12 weeks, I started balling
and the nurse just stared blankly at me like I was an alien. I was additionally told that I
WOULD be receiving my flu shot and TDAP at 20 weeks pregnant. This was so
infuriating as I NEVER receive the flu shot and NEVER get the flu. Essentially,
everything was just not feeling right at this OB. I started to talk to my wonderful sister-in-
love about her midwife I had heard so much about. My sister-in-law had given birth at a
hospital but utilized this midwife in the capacity of a doula. She told me to just meet with
her and get a sense of whether I would want to use her or not and to possibly transfer
care.

Meeting the Marvelous REBEKAH ALICE

My husband and I pulled up to this tiny home and wandered up the steps covered in
adorable plants. There was a little hand-shaped handle on the screen door inviting us to
step inside. It was the first little touch of feeling welcome and comforted. Immediately
Rebekah welcomed us inside to her light-filled home. I could smell the lavender
diffusing and felt cozy in her velvet couch. She met with us for over an hour with a
relaxed demeanor and answered all questions that we had regarding midwifery care
and all the many questions we had regarding home birth. When we ended up leaving

her home, she gave us a pamphlet with all kinds of nutritional information and other
helpful information regarding our baby and my health. I felt so cared for and thought of-
and we hadn’t even made a decision. My husband and I left her cute little home and
were holding hands. I knew he knew that we knew this was what was supposed to
happen and he knew I knew what- okay, we basically got to the car and smiled at each
other and said, “we need to use her.” Now, we didn’t know if we were going to just use
her as a doula or have a home birth. Frankly, we were both super unaware of any home
birth and the logistics of that care. But all I knew of birth was that it was done in a
hospital and every woman just hated it and it was SO painful. Well, Rebekah told us to
look into the documentary, “The business of being born.” We did and we were totally
100% ready to do a home birth. I was so proud that Josh was on the same page as me
and was comfortable with this decision. We immediately texted her and told her that we
wanted to start care with her. Just the fact that I could text her was a huge part of our
care, just knowing she was available for me and my baby. Our first appointment was
thorough and she went over my nutrition that I had been logging over the week. I had
discovered that I was barely having any protein. Completely unaware of the importance
of protein, Rebekah had discussed how important the need for protein was during
pregnancy. This whole time (14 weeks) I had thought that salads and veggies were
most important. It was so refreshing to be instructed and coached into improving my
diet. Sure enough, I felt a surge in energy and was feeling just more confident in how I
was taking care of the baby. I additionally added Vitamin D to my diet as it was brought
to my attention how excellent it was for my sweet baby. Well, Josh and I went to
prenatal appointments together, drinking her homemade tea. My midwife also has an
apothecary business and seriously makes the BEST tea, especially her pregnancy tea.
She was just so well-rounded and experienced and I just could trust her completely with
my care and with our decision to go ahead with a home birth. She additionally was very
attentive to my health after having my E. Coli and I just felt like she actually truly cared
about how I would handle anything in the future.

More Pregnancy…

Spokane Home Birth with Lilac City Midwifery: Photo: Rebekah E Alice

Well, Josh and I went back and forth about whether to find out our baby’s gender.
I wanted to wait and Josh wanted to be prepared in case it was a girl.

Before we were going to find out, though, we had a wedding to go to. I was set to go to my best friend’s
wedding on the East Coast in Virginia. I had already bought my ticket prior to finding out
I was pregnant and picked all window seats, which I normally love. But, that pregnancy
life, I had to pee the whole time and hated making people move. Not the most
comfortable flight for sure, especially from Spokane WA. Additionally, it wasn’t as ideal
being incredibly tired and having my coworker call out repeatedly prior to going to a
wedding filled 6 days. However, my best friend and I have been best friends since we
were 4 years old and I just prayed through those days to have energy to help with
everything. Her wedding was fabulous and she was stunning and it was just beautiful.
My husband met me at the wedding and we flew back together, it was a fun additional
trip, yet I was very excited to not be traveling for the remainder of our pregnancy. Oh,
except for our tiny road trip to Leavenworth for Oktoberfest, where I was 20 weeks
pregnant and likely the only sober person there. Super fun for a pregnant lady, I ate all
the yummy food at least! After that trip we decided to find out the gender and it was so
fun. We went in and were the only people there and our ultrasound tech was so friendly
and sweet. She was examining the baby and it was fantastic. I saw the baby’s sweet
nose and beautiful, perfect lips as she said. She then moved down between baby’s legs
and low and behold she looked at me and I yelled, “ITS A PENIS!!” We were pretty
confident in having a boy, I wasn’t sick at all and Josh is one of seven boys from his
family. During this time, I was still running. I am a big runner and have been running
since 5th grade. I ran in college, how I actually went to college and I just love it so
much. It’s like an addiction. My midwife was on the same page as me that I would stop
when I felt like it wasn’t fun anymore. I ended up running until my 35th week of
pregnancy, with my last run being 4.5 miles. That run left me feeling some serious
round ligament pain and later, sciatica pain for a little over a week. It was hard for me to
sleep and was very painful at work. I work in a histology lab, so I have a lot of sitting and
walking and lifting and moving, so basically anything would be uncomfortable for the
sciatica. At this time my mom came for a visit for our baby shower. It was so glorious.
She took care of me while I was home from work and we got our nails done. We cooked
and got his room ready. It was so much fun to receive packages from baby shower gifts

with my mom as well. That time was very precious to me as I knew the next time she
would visit would be for the birth.

End of Pregnancy

Spokane Home Birth with Lilac City Midwifery: Photo: Rebekah E Alice

I had decided to work until I would go into labor, I love working and I needed a
distraction from just waiting. Throughout my pregnancy I read the amazing Ina May’s
Guide to Childbirth and The Bradley Method and I would practice breathing and relaxing
my jaw while at work. I tried to visualize what my birth would look like, but was also very
at peace with the idea that birth happens and is often not perfectly planned. I had
learned this from listening to The Birth Hour Podcast. That podcast seriously prepared
me for labor, I loved hearing all the different stories and feeling like I knew a wide range
of possibilities for how my birth could go. Ideally, I wanted to have our smooth home
birth to then have him and my husband at home afterwards as we began our journey as
a family of three. When I became 37 weeks pregnant, I began to have contractions after
a special morning with my husband. I had them throughout the day and we decided to
just stay home on this particular Sunday. Josh built a 9 foot tall manly snowman,
complete with large buttocks that I could see out my living room window. All the while, I
kept having contractions. I remember getting the urge to reorganize the baby’s clothes
and wondering if this was real or not? It was slightly more crampy that some of the
“tight” Braxton Hicks contractions I had learned I was having prior. I was told by my
midwife and my mom that those were indeed contractions, not even knowing that was
going on. So those contractions ended up leaving that night and I was relieved because
37 weeks was too early. My husband needed him to come on March 1 or later, as his
school would be in session and his work would pay for his tuition reimbursement only if
he was still working by March 1. My husband is super fortunate and was going to have
2 months of paternity leave, so we wanted him to be able to keep taking classes since
that was such a big gap of a semester. So in my head I just wanted to make it to that
date. This Additionally, I was convinced my whole pregnancy that the baby was going to
be late. I had listened to too many podcasts where the women were expecting the baby
to come early. So I was mentally ready for him to come super late. His due date was
March 10 and my husband’s is March 17 (St. Paddy’s Day), I was secretly rooting for

them to share a birthday. I also was mentally prepared to have a 48 hour labor, thinking
it was better to over prepare than to under prepare.
Last week of Being Pregnant

My shift lead was noticing how very tired I was getting at work. She approached
me on February 22, a Friday, and just told me that I should really consider the following
week as my last week. I was very adamant about working until I went into labor because
I preferred most of my time with the baby, rather than sitting around pregnant. Well, it
was as though divine intervention made it so-I became sick. It started as a sore throat
and progressively worsened to sinus congestion and a bad cough. Let me paint a
picture of me at night: 9 months pregnant with a baby shoved up to my ribs,
uncomfortably lying on my side propped up with pillows, trying to breathe just at
baseline and now- trying to breathe with sinus congestion, and coughing intermittently
throughout all of this. It wasn’t a pretty picture, and my poor husband dealing with all the
strange uncomfortably complaining and sounds that I was making as well, bless his
soul, there is a special place in heaven for that man! My shift lead and good friend
proposed again that I make that week my last and I told her, I think I will, this is just not
getting better. Well, I made it through that week, despite being short staffed at work as
well, it was a long week. On March 1 (Friday), I had what would be my last appointment
with my midwife. Rebekah gave me a lovely homemade tincture and I watched as she
conjured up a healing lemon-echinacea tea for me as well. She checked me for the first
time, and I was 1 cm dilated and 30% effaced. This was exciting, I knew it was getting
closer, but hopefully not too close.
That weekend Josh and I went on a date Saturday, one which entailed Josh
dragging me to the gym for my typical late-pregnancy workout (elliptical and lift). I
begrudgingly did 30 minutes on the elliptical, as Josh advised me, to “sweat out” my
sickness. Yes, I was still just as sick, if not, then more than the previous week, I guess
working evenings and being real pregnant wasn’t helping me get better- go figure! I
additionally did squats with the assurance by Josh that we would get tacos after! On
Sunday, I started going ham on dates and pineapple to help soften my cervix and
prepare my body for starting labor. I had really thought I was going to be late, and my
parents were coming on March 7- so I wanted to be able to give birth WHILE they were

here- oh, the irony. My mom kept nagging me, “I can’t believe you did THAT many
squats, hold off! I don’t want him to come before I get there!” I assured her that I was
going to be late, so I wanted to help move things along, and I was sick, he wasn’t going
to come while I was sick.

Holla-Labor

On Monday, Josh went to work in the morning, and I was still feeling rough. I
washed my towels I had bought for the homebirth, cleaned, cooked, and watched
movies. My definition of a nice relaxing day. Josh came home that night from work, and
we had more special husband-wife time around 9:30pm and at 11 pm I started having
contractions. These reminded me of the ones at 37 weeks and I was able to sleep
through the night with them OK. However, in the morning I noticed they were still going
on. As Josh was getting ready for work I told him that I would let him know if they ever
worsened, but I was fairly sure they were going to leave. I carried on with my day,
starting more laundry and trying to clean more. However, I kept having to stop and
focus on breathing more and more as the contractions continued through the day. I
started timing them and noticed they were consistently 10 minutes apart and about 30-
36 seconds long. By the time Josh was off work, I called him and let him know I just
didn’t feel like making dinner. He came home and I let him know they were significantly
worse than that previous night and morning. We decided on pizza and he left to pick it
up. Meanwhile, I texted my midwife and she let me know I should get in the tub to see if
the contractions would stop. Josh arrived with pizza, and I ate it in the tub while still
having contractions-they were NOT going away. I was like, “um, is this real??” Rebekah
told me to let her know if they got closer together. The rule was 4-1-1, four minutes
apart, lasting for one minute, for one hour. We started the movie, “The Incredible Mr.
Limpet,” and kept timing the surges. They started getting more and more intense but
were still only 30-36 seconds and ten minutes apart. It had been around 3 hours from
my last text to Rebekah, yet they were becoming more and more difficult to breathe
through. I started to get anxious and sort of yelled at Josh, “babe, just turn off the movie,
I can’t focus!!” He did and then sat by me, rubbing my lower back and doing
counter-pressure during my contractions. I started to work more fervently on my deep-
cow breathing, as I’d learned would use less energy and allow the contraction to do its

job. I texted my mom, my sister, and Rebekah about how they were really worsening,
despite the fact that they were still only 10 minutes and 30-36 seconds apart. All had
advised me to get into bed and try to rest. My sister told me, “You got this, it’s the real
thing!!” My mom texted, “Keep that baby in until I get there in a day! It’s probably going
to go away. And Rebekah told me that she believed I might be in prodromal labor. The
one thing I hadn’t listened to a podcast on or read about. Josh and I read up online and
learned that it was real-active labor contractions, but it wouldn’t make any progress
happen and would go away at some point. I keep telling Josh how frustrated I was,
“This is so frustrating, I am working hard. yet nothing is happening.” I went to bed and
lay on my side through the night, still having contractions EVERY TEN MINUTES for 30-
36 seconds, never getting closer but all very powerful and I was constantly thinking, “If
this isn’t real labor, I don’t know if I can make it through actual labor”. I then started
getting the urge to go to the bathroom around 2 am and kept going over and over;
before, during and after contractions you could find me rushing to the bathroom. This
was a good sign I thought, this is a sign of real labor! I was also thankful that my parents
weren’t here yet, as we only have one bathroom. Throughout this time Josh was helping
but then fell asleep around 3 am or so. I had heard on a birth hour podcast to make sure
you let your spouse rest so that they have the energy to help during labor- especially for
homebirth when he was my main support. I let him sleep for a few hours and attempted
to breath as quietly and deeply as I could, I really did get a nice rhythm going and was
not really resting, peering at my phone for the time and counting down to the next
contraction. I thought, “When were they going to stop? Is this really prodromal labor or
real?” During the night, especially while Josh was asleep, I kept praying through my
surges and had “Look Up Child” in my head by the great Lauren Daigle. I kept
envisioning my baby boy coming out and looking at me while singing the song in my
head and humming it, though I know that isn’t probably what she meant while writing the
song. Finally, the damn bloody show appeared at 4 am. HALLELUJAH. I texted my
midwife and she told me to eat something and to try a glass of wine to calm my uterus
down so that I might be able to sleep a bit. I got some almonds and downed them and
then I downed my glass of wine, though I mentioned to Josh, “This isn’t as glorious as I
had imagined my first glass of red wine being…” I miraculously was able to “rest’ from

6-7am. I still was having my contractions, but I was resting through them and it was just
what I needed. Mind you, I was still sick and had the occasional cough/blowing of my
nose throughout the night as well. I will say that day was the first that I was able to
breath out of my nose in 9 days, so there’s that at least.
In the Morning

I ‘woke’ up at 7am and was alive! Wow, I made it through that night and the light
is shining through my bedroom, it is BEAUTIFUL. Man, I was happy to make it through
the night. Rebekah told me to make sure that I ate a good meal, however, I really didn’t
feel like chewing. So Josh made me a glorious protein shake that I would drink between
my surges. I really felt like I was just having an intense ab-cardio-strength workout. My
mother-in-LOVE texted me and asked if I would like her to come over, I had also let her
know when my bloody show appeared. I told her that she could definitely come over.
Meanwhile, Josh moved our coffee table out of the living room and clearing/cleaning up
for labor. By 9:15am, Josh’s mama got here and came into the bedroom. I was nervous
because of how intimate a situation labor truly was, yet I so wanted a mother figure
there. Not-to-mention, his mom had 7 boys all vaginally, the last three of whom were
born at home; talk about the perfect resume for helping me with my first baby. Sure
enough, I grabbed her hand when I started to have a surge and she just encouraged me
throughout it. Afterwards I pleaded, “please, oh please stay with me.” She assured me
that she would and it was just the most comforting thing to my tired soul. Josh’s mom
then suggested that we move into the living room and try me laboring on the exercise
ball for a while. I was super excited about this prospect of leaving the dreaded night-
laboring bedroom finally! It was glorious laboring on the medicine ball, she would time
my contractions and I would hold up a finger (my pointer finger) when a contraction
would begin and she would start her phone timer. She additionally was letting my
sisters-in-love, my mom, and my midwife know of my progress. It turned out that Josh
was sort of timing my contractions wrong-wow. But they were still only around 40-45
seconds. Rebekah had asked if 1 pm would be a good time for her to come over, which
I agreed to, I had felt like I could totally make it on my own till then, I already had made
it who-knows how many hours- I wasn’t doing the math. However, Josh’s mama kept
texting her and I guess my contraction were starting to last longer.

Rebekah told us she was going to come around 12:15pm.

Once she arrived, there was just this
overwhelming calming of the room her presence is like a warm blanket by a cozy fire
while listening to a smooth saxophone on a rainy day, yes, that comforting. She set
some of her things done and gently slid onto the couch. She told me, “You look amazing
Keely, how are you doing.” In my head I was like no way do I look amazing then I said,
“I’m pretty exhausted honestly.” She then asked if I could talk at all between
contractions and without skipping a beat, I began to have one! Afterwards, she plainly
stated, “Wow. That was really intense.” She then talked to me about how she would set
up the bedroom and have me do a clean catch urine sample in the bathroom, and then
she would check me. Sidenote, because of the E.Coli, I was put on Keflex by my OB,
yet it resided in my urinary system, which I handled with garlic and D-Mannose powder
under care of Rebekah throughout my pregnancy, which was much better. She had
wanted to check for sure that I didn’t have a UTI prior to my last appointment, informing
me that she didn’t want me to have a postpartum UTI, which would be quite
uncomfortable. Well the lab let her know that my sample expired, hence me doing a
clean catch while I was in labor. Thanks a lot that lab, not cool people, not cool. Swiftly,
I peed and made it into the bedroom for a contraction. Rebekah then let me know that
she thought our baby just might be asynclitic, accounting for the long, drawn out active
contractions that were not getting closer together.

Labor Progress

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Rebekah went ahead and checked me on my bed and Josh sat next to me
holding my hand. I prayed in my head, “Lord, please let me be at LEAST 2 cm.” She
looked up at me with the biggest most beautiful smile and told me, “Keely, you are
8cm.” I was totally overcome with emotion, I started welling up with tears and was
exclaiming, “This is real, this is happening, last night was all worth it!” Rebekah then
instructed Josh to set up the birth pool and then told me that the baby was indeed
asynclitic, so we would try some positioning, the rebozo wrap, hip stretching, and lastly
manual positioning to help move his head into the correct suture position in my pelvis.
My mama-in-love helped me back to the exercise ball as they laid out the tarp in my
living room. I labored on the ball and used a step-stool to lift one of my legs onto to help
open my pelvis and push the baby into my pelvis with my breathing through contractions.

Spokane Home Birth with Lilac City Midwifery: Photo: Rebekah E Alice

I labored there for a bit and then we moved onto the tarp as Josh set up
the birth tub. Rebekah showed his mom how to use the rebozo wrap around my belly. I
was on all fours and she stood over my hips, straddling me and holding each end of the
wrap, thereby lifting my belly. She then moved the wrap slowly side to side and would
stop during contractions. I loved this part because the weight of my belly was held by
her and I loved being on all fours. Additionally, I was distracted by Josh setting up the
birth pool, which was fascinating to me! Josh then swapped positions with his mom and
she began taking photos and videos-which she did throughout my labor to send to my
mom. I was so sad that she wouldn’t be there, but I was at peace with who was going to
be at the birth. Josh’s mom went ahead and answered a facetime with my mom and
held it while I was on all fours. I had tears in my eyes and my mom had tears in hers as
we looked at one another and knew I was having this baby today. My mom told me how
strong I was and what a good job I was doing. Her best advice was,” Remember to take
one more cleansing breath after your contractions to say goodbye to that surge.” This
was so vital throughout my labor, especially having gone so many hours already. I
needed to keep calm and quiet. After we hung up, Josh’s mom brought out all the
encouraging signs my sisters-in-love made with strong words of affirmation and
applicable verses. She would switch them out under me to read after every few
contractions.

Birth Tub

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The tub was then ready and I got in. This was the most surreal thing of my birth.
It was constantly kept at 100 degrees and was both relaxing and comforting. Up until
then, I had used my heating bean bag, which Josh and his mom would take turns
heating up and placing on my lower back for contractions. But now, as I sat in the tub, I
was covered in heat and looking out to my cute, cozy living room surrounded by people
who loved me. It was at this time that my midwife’s birth assistant, Emily, (who was also
her sister) arrived. She was constantly boiling more water to keep the tub at
temperature. She and Rebekah both noticed that I had not yet made my padsicles and
asked me if they could make some. I mean, talk about the ultimate treatment, and
padsicles are life-changing. I’m convinced that many maternal childbirth deaths were
actually caused by their lack of padsicles. While in the tub, I ate some homemade

chicken soup, yogurt, and an orange. I loved being able to be nourished throughout my
labor. I additionally was constantly drinking water and Gatorade and getting up to use
the bathroom. My midwife told me that if I wanted I could stick two fingers up my vagina
to feel his head, so I did! I exclaimed, “OHHH my goodness!! This is so cool, he is
there!” Rebekah had me get into a “runner’s start” position to help breath the baby into
that pelvic cavity again. This was really intense, she would hold and push into both of
my hips during these contractions and Josh would hold my hands and rub my back. I
did these numerous times, and I had no idea how much time had passed and I loved
that. I was so in the moment and present during my whole birth, I was never rushed or
made anxious, which was so empowering. It was also incredibly quiet during my whole
labor. I would do my deep breathing and it was silent between contractions, I was so
focused and in-tune with my body. After a few more contractions, Rebekah checked me
in the tub and I was still only 8 cm, but the baby’s head had moved a bit. I should also
mention, Rebekah was giving me under-the-tongue homeopathic pills that would help
with softening my cervix more and getting my contractions closer together, both of
which were definitely working. She told me that she wanted to try loosening my
ligaments and muscles around my hips and would need to do so on my bed. So they
helped me out of the tub and dried me off. We went into the bedroom and I laid on the
edge of the bed onto my side in a straight line. Rebekah had me lean into and off the
bed slightly onto her. She then pushed onto my hip and had my top leg relaxed out in
front of my body, off of the bed. We did this for three contractions on each side. It was
the most epic thing, I felt like I was so tough for these contractions, up until then my
whole labor was squatting, on the medicine ball, and on all fours- very athletic feeling. It
was really hard lying still on my side for three contractions EACH side. I just was
mentally thinking, “OK, one down two more to go. Two down, one more on this side!”
During this time, I told everyone that it really helped when they breathed with me, it
helped me keep my breathing relaxed. They helped breath along with me for the last
few. Rebekah instructed me to try laboring with my husband next by walking around my
house. I said, “OK, no problem, sounds great.” I took a few steps afer getting off my bed
and WHOOSH. I felt this overwhelming rush and pull of gravity during an instant contraction. I leaned onto Josh and put my arms around him and he held my body up while I started pushing.

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Rebekah quickly slipped an absorbent pad underneath me and I
could see some blood during my pushing. Clearly, all that uncomfortable pain on the
bed had done it’s job in moving the baby into a better position. I was standing and
leaning on Josh in between these contractions/pushing and his mom would hold up
those signs for me to read between. I later found out that Rebekah is also a ninja, she
somehow managed to get underneath me with a flash light and was checking to see his
head. I could feel this giant water balloon-like pressure and knew that I was going to
break my water soon. Unfortunately, Rebekah had seen his head had indeed moved
significantly more into my pelvis, but still wasn’t quite suture-line status. She told me to
breath softly during the next contraction and not to push. Rebekah then gave me the
next steps that after the contraction we would move back to the bed and she would try
to reposition him. I of-course agreed. “Pshhhhhhh” I went trying my best to ‘softly’
breath through that contraction and we rushed to the bed. She told me that I would feel
some pressure and to let her know if it was too painful and she would stop at any time.
Gosh, she is so sweet! Well, she went ahead and moved him and I felt so relieved, it
was like all this pressure was directed into the area that it needed to be!

Pushing

It was at this time that my midwife told me that she would need to break my water
so that he wouldn’t move back into that position. I was in agreement right away and she
explained that it may be uncomfortable and painful and that afterward things were going
to get even more intense. I told her, “let’s do this!” She broke my water at 5:15pm, and it
was again such a great feeling, that warm water rushing out of me, of course it was
contrasted with the most intense contraction yet. I was on my back for the first time the
whole labor and totally felt out of control for the first time as well. I was flailing about and
Josh grabbed onto my hands as I squeezed and squealed through this contraction,
feeling overtaken by myself slipping more and more out of control until it ended. I was
like, “wow, wow, that was so intense, wow.” Rebekah immediately said, “OK, we can
move back to the birth tub, or you can go on all fours…’ I exclaimed, “All FOURS!”
Quickly, I flipped onto all fours, almost like a child’s pose rather than all fours. It was
around this time that my midwife also told Josh’s mom to text my sister-in-law to come.
She was going to take my birth photos if it worked out and she was the sister that told

me about how much she loved my midwife after using her for both of her births.
Meanwhile, Emily offered my birth ball also on the bed and I said, “sure.” I tried for a
brief moment with my arms up on the ball and hated it. I’m almost positive I chucked it
to the side to get it out of my way. I held Josh’s hands as I began to push with these
contractions and was still not in control of my breathing, screeching between trying to
keep my deep breathing. I remember thinking here, “I am going to die, they are going to
have to cut the baby out…” Rebekah assertively chimed in as if she knew what I was
thinking, “Keely, you are in control this is YOUR labor.” Once she said that, I realized
she was right, I was my own worst enemy here, and I didn’t have time to think about
dying, I only had time to put in the work to push this baby out. By the next round of
surges, I started out breathing strong and when I started to lose focus at the climax of
them, everyone in the room was deep breathing with me to keep me on track. I felt so
empowered and supported, I couldn’t have done it without everyone there. Meanwhile, I
kept pushing and I loved it. I finally could put in the effort to get this baby out and I just
told myself, “you ARE meeting this baby.” While I pushed, Rebekah was using a warm
compress to stretch out my perineum and was cleaning out my butt hole to keep
everything sterile. It was such a satisfying feeling having her rub both, I could envision
where I needed to push, as all I had been practicing was what my mom told me once,
“It’s like pushing out a hard poop, but more forward, focus on forward pushing.”
Rebekah additionally would encourage me, “Yes, Keely that was a good push keep
doing them just like that.” As a runner and athlete, I loved this coaching aspect and
responded so well. While pushing, I was also choking on my mucus and coughing at the
same time, my mother-in-law noticed and gave Josh a dry wash cloth for me to blow
into. At this time, I was rubbing my head forward and back on the bed with my eyes
closed to focus and then blowing my nose and coughing into this wash cloth. I could feel
his head! I could also feel it go forward and back, “no, no, no!” I would think, not
knowing that was normal for it to go forward and then back for momentum. I later found
out by my husband that I yelled, “I am STRONG…I AM A LIONESS!” How
embarrassing. Anyway, at this time I was just about grabbing any strength I had left, I
started to make these primal screams that I have never made in my life. It wasn’t so
much that I was in pain, so much that I had to scream to muster up any remaining energy to

push the baby out. I could also feel myself stretching each time. My midwife
instructed me to, “blow” and not scream through some of the contractions so that I
wouldn’t tear. I then became more in tune with my body and realized that pushing fast
wasn’t the best, but pushing smart was. I keep doing that for a few pushes and finally
concluded that just below my clitoris was likely going to tear if I pushed him out during
the next round, but I didn’t think it would be too bad. I then felt his head so well during
the next round of 5 consecutive pushes. I don’t even remember breathing, I just
remember letting the pushes go before me to get the baby out, I was so ready to meet
him and so exhausted, it needed to be now. I felt his head come out of me stretching
me, and ooh yes, tearing me ever so slightly. His chord was around his neck and I
never knew until later. Rebekah looped the chord off of his neck and turned him
underneath me for me to pull him up onto my chest. I was filled with emotion and
warmth, “My baby! My baby! I can’t believe I did it! I love you! My baby! My baby!” I was
full of tears and just like the Lauren Daigle song, my child looked up at me and locked
eyes with mine. I was swooning over him. All 43 hours of labor were nothing, I was so in
the moment and so incredibly high and in love.

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Post-Birth

Rebekah had me turn onto my back and let me know that I was pooling blood
and that she was going to give me a shot of Pitocin to help stop the bleeding. Without
looking up from my baby, “Do whatever you need to do.” There is this great photo of her
giving me this giant shot and me smiling at my baby without a care in the world.

Spokane Home Birth with Lilac City Midwifery: Photo: Rebekah E Alice

After that shot, she told me to give a little push for my placenta. I remember listening to a
birth hour podcast where a woman was told that the placenta was just a blob without
bones and didn’t have a head! I thought, ‘OK, I can push out a blob I guess.” “Ploop.” I
pushed it out what felt like a second 5 minutes after I gave birth. After, I started pooling
blood again and Rebekah gave me another shot of Pitocin. I happened to look over at
Josh though during this shot and totally felt it, “yawza.” It was at this time I noticed that
Jess, my sister-in-law, was there and apparently was there for all of my pushing taking
photos and I never even noticed because I was so focused! My midwife then checked
for any tears and my perineum was spared! Amazing. I only had a small tear just below
my clitoris, where I thought I had one! It was at this time, while she was checking me,

that I yelled out, “can someone have Brittany (my other sister-in-law) bring me a
chocolate shake now!?!” I also asked to have the baby nursing prior to any suturing.

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Rebekah helped me get him latched and Emily continued to help me and he nursed
while I was being stitched up. It was the greatest. When I got my milkshake, Josh was
feeding it to me and I actually said, “This is just the best ever.” Rebekah informed me
that she had never had anyone tell her that while stitching them up. Josh took the baby
for his first time to hold him so that I could go do my first pee with Emily, she assured
me it would be fine because I was all numb down younder. I also changed and Emily
put my hair up into a better ponytail than my ratchet fluff of a mess with a remnant of a
ponytail holder left it. While she was helping me, Rebekah set up our birth tub as a
herbal bath for me to taking a healing bath with the baby. This was a main reason that I
didn’t actually want to give birth in the tub, so that we could take this bath together.
When I got into it, it was just another surreal moment. My baby boy in my hands and
warm water soothing my exhausted, shaky body. I was on cloud 10, yes I was above
cloud 9.

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Spokane Home Birth with Lilac City Midwifery: Photo: Rebekah E Alice

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I facetimed my mom while in the bath and my husband feed me the Jimmy
John’s sandwich that his mom had picked up for everyone. We then moved into the
bedroom for the baby’s newborn exam and I sat on the bed all washed of the birth and
soaking up my sweet newborn while Rebekah checked him out. Josh and I were on the
same page as well about putting olive oil on his bum to help with the first few diapers
with the meconium poop. However, Josh asked Rebekah, “where all should I put the
olive oil?” Rebekah jokingly told him, “oh-everywhere.” This was the moment when Josh
anointed our son. I was dying of laughter, which was really painful after giving birth, as I
watched Josh rub our entire son in olive oil. Rebekah was also laughing and said, “I
Meant everywhere around his butt!”

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We also finally decided during the newborn exam to
name our son Finnian David. An Irish name meaning “fair, white.” He has us for parents,
we are white and Irish and we loved the name, well Josh loved it and I needed to see
him prior to settling on a name before. His middle name was after Josh’s middle name,
his dad’s middle name, my brother’s middle name, my great-grandfather’s name (who
was Irish), and my dad’s name. We all got cozy in bed while Emily had cleaned our
entire kitchen, pumped out the tub and cleaned up, and started laundry. You would
never know a birth occurred beside the fact that there was now a baby in our house!

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Rebekah went over postpartum instructions and left at 10:19pm. I gave birth at 6:02 pm
on March 7, 2019 to my 6 pound 15 ounce baby boy and him, his daddy, and I were all
cuddled in our bed at 10:19 pm as a new family of three. We ended the night with a
glass of wine in each of our hands and just marveled at our perfect, precious baby Finn.

 

Birth and Postpartum Photos by Jessie Martin

Prenatal and Labor Photos by Rebekah E Alice

Managing Hypertension in Pregnancy

Managing Hypertension in Pregnancy

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Ok ladies, let’s get real about hypertension in pregnancy. I want to cover the very basics about what can cause it and how we can mange it.

Sometimes I feel like every other client I see has some hypertension issue and I hate to see that looming over them for their pregnancy. Especially because we know that being worried about hypertension can actually CAUSE hypertension. That’s just not fair!

There is so much fear when we hear about high blood pressure because we know that hypertension is often one of the first symptoms of the dreaded pregnancy complication preeclampsia. No one wants that! Additionally, hypertension in later pregnancy can often lead to being induced which if you’re of a certain mind, you might not want.

Some women are predisposed to having hypertension even when not pregnant; if that is the case then  it is more likely that they will have hypertension issues in pregnancy. This type of hypertension is called essential hypertension and ideally should be treated before pregnancy with diet and lifestyle changes as well as some herbs if needed. Some women who are not able to control their blood pressure with these natural methods need to be under the care of a physician who may recommend some type of blood pressure medication.

What I have found is that sometimes women enter into my care and they don’t usually have their blood pressure checked outside of pregnancy so they really aren’t aware of what their normal readings are. Naturally in the beginning of pregnancy blood pressure readings are lower because hormonal changes will cause the blood vessels to dilate which causes blood pressure to be lower. Blood pressure readings tend to be the lowest around 16 weeks and then usually increase a bit in the third trimester to about what they would be pre-pregnancy. However, this can sometimes be an issue when in the third trimester we see the blood pressure increasing to the mid to upper 130’s over 90’s. Maybe that is totally normal for that momma pre-pregnancy but that’s starting to get out of the “normal” range for a home birth.

Also, you may be asking “Why is hypertension even a big deal?” For example, maybe you have hypertension and your doctor has done all the tests for preeclampsia and they are totally fine and the ONLY problem is that your blood pressure is elevated. Isolated hypertension can still be dangerous for a few reasons but the biggest ones are…

  • Hypertension can put the baby at increased risk for intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). This is because the blood flow to the placenta is restricted which means that the baby might not be getting everything he/she needs to develop normally which can result in restricted growth.
  • Hypertension increase the risk of your placenta abrupting from the wall of the uterus. This is much less common of course and is usually only seen in situations when the blood pressure is VERY high, but nevertheless it is a risk and a concern with extremely high blood pressure readings.

So, what can be done to stabilize blood pressure and keep things in the “normal” range?

Lifestyle

  • Get a blood pressure cuff and know what your normal readings are pre-pregnancy
  • Exercise regularly! Cardio especially helps to lower blood pressure. This can be as simple as going for a brisk walk a few times a week.
  • Take steps to lower stress levels. Blood pressure is very sensitive to stress levels! Some ideas for lowering stress levels:
    • Meditate each day, even if it’s just for ten minutes a day it can really make a difference
    • Eliminating extra activities or commitments that are causing undue stress
    • Setting healthy boundaries in your personal life
    • Listening to peaceful music throughout the day
    • Diffusing essential oils to calm and center your mind; I love lavender for this.
    • Schedule a prenatal massage

Herbs/Supplements

  • Healthy Heart Pregnancy Tea – This is a tea blend that I made specifically for clients who have had hypertension issues in a previous pregnancy or who’s blood pressure is starting to rise in pregnancy. It has hibiscus flowers, chamomile, Hawthorne berries, red raspberry leaf, nettle leaf, cinnamon chips and lavender. I have seen amazing results in people who have been willing to drink several cups of this tea a day combined with other lifestyle and diet changes. If you want to purchase this tea from me then send me a message! Otherwise you could mix up your own blend.
  • Hawthorne Berry Tincture – Hawthorne is very helpful in stabilizing blood pressure. However, it needs to be taken consistently for at least 6 weeks to see results. I highly recommend this tincture to my clients earlier in their pregnancy before hypertension has become an issue. If you are having elevated readings at lets say 36 weeks this tincture won’t really help you. I also make this tincture and sell it. Send me a message if you’re interested.
  • Calcium Magnesium Supplement – If you’re not already taking a good cal/mag supplement then this would be a good one to add. The one I really like is called CALM and you can find it at most supplement stores like Super Supplements, or follow the link to find it on Amazon.
  • Cayenne Pepper can help lower the diastolic (the bottom number) reading. It works by dilating the blood vessels which is the same thing that exercise does. You can take it in capsules with meals but be careful to not take it on an empty stomach or it might burn your stomach and/or cause acid reflux.

Diet Changes

  • Do an inventory of your diet. I recommend that clients download some sort of app where they can track what they are eating in a normal day and see where there is room for improvement. A healthy diet should include at least 80G of protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and be very low in simple carbs and refined sugars. Oh and did I mention 80g of protein?? 😉 Make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet! It can be surprising how much 80g actually is but it is so essential to find a way to get that into your diet.
  • Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Usually two liters per day. You can replace a portion of this with herbal pregnancy tea which I highly recommend.
  • Salt your food to taste! This is so important. In the past it was thought that salt caused high blood pressure and that still has many pregnant women worried about their salt intake. Your body actually does need the salt for normal blood pressure. So, don’t overdo it but DO salt your food.
  • Include plenty of raw onions and garlic in your diet.
  • Cucumber and watermelon are both known for their ability to lower blood pressure.

There it is folks! There is so much more that can be said about high blood pressure regarding the types and it causes but this is just a basic overview of what I usually go over in prenatal care with my clients.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and may your blood pressure be stable!

 

Rebekah Alice, LM

 

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To Water Birth or Not to Water Birth

To Water Birth or Not to Water Birth

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Hello Friends!

Rebekah Alice here, Licensed Midwife sharing with you some thoughts about water birth. Now, this post is especially helpful if you are my client or are thinking about becoming my client because every midwife is a little different in how they choose to manage births and in this post I will share a bit on my own personal convictions surrounding birth and water birth. So, please don’t think I speak for all midwifery practices or midwives, to the contrary, I am speaking only on behalf of Lilac City Midwifery.

First of all let me start off by saying that I am definitely an advocate of home water birth. I have birth pools that I rent out to my clients who are desiring to labor and/or deliver in the water and I have seen water birth be an absolutely beautiful experience. I have also experienced having to contend with the extra element of having a mom or baby in the water when they need help.

When it comes to water birth I am a huge advocate of not doing it just to do it. Lets be honest! There is an ideal surrounding home water birth. There are the gorgeous photos you see of a mother in the blue birth pool, rose petals floating in the water, surrounded by soft candle light while her hunky partner lovingly strokes her alabaster brow. We all want that kind of delivery, right?! I know I do!

I actually witnessed a birth in which the mother was so absolutely determined to deliver in the water that she got up from a side lying position on the bed while her baby was crowning and waddled over to the birth pool while holding her baby’s head in with her hand, got in the pool and gave birth to her baby who had the cord wrapped around his neck five times. I guarantee you that baby would have had a more peaceful entrance into this world had his midwife and birth assistant not been splashing around trying to unravel his cord while keeping his head above water. Was everything fine? YES! Absolutely. But occasionally I remember that birth and just remind myself that sometimes things unfold just as they should without us projecting our ideals upon the situation.

Lets talk about why I love water birth, two words friends: PAIN RELIEF

I have seen that pool of warm water make the difference between a hospital transfer and a successful home birth. Especially for moms who are experiencing labor and delivery for the first time, I think having a pool there and available is a must. That first labor can be longer and more intense than you think and having a way to mediate the pain is so invaluable. This being said, I don’t always think it’s the best option to actually deliver in the birth pool. This is a concept that sometimes people are surprised by when I talk to them about having a pool at their birth. You can have the pool at your birth and just labor in it!

A few more reasons I love water birth…

Studies have shown water birth to reduce both the need for pain relief and the length of labor as well as maternal transfers to the hospital. Cha-ching! That’s what I’m talking abut ladies. Why wouldn’t we want all those things?

Studies have also shown water birth to increase the incidence of hands off delivery, maternal satisfaction and upright birth positioning.

Now, lets talk a bit about the circumstances that would make me question if a water birth were the best option and would prompt some informed decision making between my client, her partner and I.

  • Concerning fetal heart rate pattern – Throughout labor I am keeping a close ear on baby’s heart rate via doppler. This is totally something that can be done in the water with a waterproof doppler. The baby’s heart rate is what lets me know how he/she is doing. While it is absolutely normal for the heart rate to drop a bit right before birth as the baby’s head is being squeezed, if the baby’s heart rate would not return to normal or if I would detect some other concerning heart rate pattern then that would be an indicator to me that we need to try some position changes to see if we can correct it; or if the baby is going to be born within the next couple of contractions it could be a possibility that the baby would need a little help with breathing which is something that is not uncommon or scary, but it can be difficult to give the baby the help he/she needs quickly and effectively if both mom and baby are in the water.
  • Bleeding – If a momma has some bleeding while pushing then I want to know what is causing it and where it is coming from; also, I want to be able to accurately estimate how much bleeding there is. Both of those assessments are very difficult to make when the momma is in the water. A little bleeding could be normal but there isn’t a completely accurate way to measure blood loss that is happening in the water. It is for that same reason that I usually have my clients get out of the water for the delivery of the placenta if there is bleeding after the baby is born.
  • Meconium stained amniotic fluid – Sometimes when a baby has a period of distress in the uterus they poop into the amniotic fluid, that poop is called meconium. It’s thick and sticky and can make a little bit of a mess of things. There are several variations of meconium stained fluid. If I see it I can know if the period of distress was recent or if it happened some time ago, maybe not even during labor. The thing is that if that sticky tar like substance is aspirated into the baby’s lungs that can cause the baby’s lungs to not fully inflate because of how sticky it is and it can also cause an infection. Additionally, as I said before, it is a sign the baby has been stressed out and although the baby could come out crying and pink, we want anticipate his/her needs and be ready to help him/her get started with breathing ASAP, if needed. I am not saying that if the bay was born out of the water that there is a guarantee that the baby would not aspirate the meconium stained amniotic fluid. Rather, if the baby were born out of the water he/she would in a better position to receive help with breathing if needed.

There are also some situations where a previous history will be a good indicator of whether or not a water birth will be the best option. Examples of that would be if you hemorrhaged after your last delivery, or if your baby seems like he or she on the bigger side and you have a smaller build which could give us an idea that the baby might need a little assistance from the midwife getting his/her shoulders out after the head is born.

When I attend births my goal is to have a safe and peaceful delivery. What I have experienced first hand is that when a complication which could be quickly and peacefully managed out of the water, happens in the water then there can be an element of disruption and sometimes fear that is introduced into the situation which could have been avoided had the client, her partner and midwife made the collective decision to not use the pool for delivery. Now honestly, I debated whether or not to even publish such potentially inflammatory words against the character of water births because I do not want anyone thinking I don’t support water birth or would discourage my clients from giving birth in the water on the basis that some crazy unprecedented complication “might” happen. That’s definitely not true! I have attended countless water births and definitely support my clients in choosing a water birth. However, I also fully support informed decision making and understanding the benefits and risks of each step of pregnancy, labor and delivery.

One thing I love to do as an alternative to delivering in the water is to have mom and baby get into an herb bath in the pool after the placenta is delivered and bleeding is stabilized. It can be such a beautiful and peaceful moment and makes absolutely stunning photos.

There it is my friends! This midwife’s opinion on water birth.

Feel free to contact with with any questions regarding water birth , I would love to discuss further.

Much love,

Rebekah Alice, LM

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