DawningLife Midwifery

Experienced homebirth midwives serving Metro-Atlanta and North Georgia families for over 35 years!

Sophia's Homebirth:The Day I Met My Grandmother

Sophia
The connection between mother and daughter cannot be described in words, you can try, but only nature knows the secret of this beautiful connection. July 17th, would be the day that would connect me, my daughter and granddaughter forever. We would be guided by instincts and love.

My daughter Jody was 11 days overdue, according to the calendar, but nature and God had a plan. Thursday, July 17th, Jody had an appointment with Claudia to start encouraging this child, already with a mind of it's own, to come out and play. At this visit, Jody received reassurance, comfort, cervical massage, blue and black cohosh and was instructed to start nipple manipulation. Jody returned home, with a new hope that this child would finally come out!!

Sophia
The connection between mother and daughter cannot be described in words, you can try, but only nature knows the secret of this beautiful connection. July 17th, would be the day that would connect me, my daughter and granddaughter forever. We would be guided by instincts and love.

My daughter Jody was 11 days overdue, according to the calendar, but nature and God had a plan. Thursday, July 17th, Jody had an appointment with Claudia to start encouraging this child, already with a mind of it's own, to come out and play. At this visit, Jody received reassurance, comfort, cervical massage, blue and black cohosh and was instructed to start nipple manipulation. Jody returned home, with a new hope that this child would finally come out!!

Jody started to have slight cramping and insisted that it was from the internal exam Claudia did that morning. So we made lunch and went to the pool to swim with the kids. This would be the beginning of me watching my daughter prepare to give birth. As I played with the boys at the pool, I quietly kept an eye on Jody. She was quiet, moving slowly through the water and keeping to herself. I, being her mother, was now keeping a watchful eye on her and concerned about any need she may have. I was very careful to give her her space. As for Jody, her birthing instincts were coming to the surface and nature was completely taking over.

We left the pool and headed home. Jody was now moving slowly and speaking very little. We would now communicate without speaking and I would watch for signs from my beautiful daughter as to what she would need next. She took a shower and a nap and then came downstairs for dinner. During dinner Claudia called. Jody at this point felt fine, no real progress and lead Claudia to believe that there were hours to spare before delivery time. But shortly thereafter, Jody's cramps became more intense. I suggested that it would be a good idea to call Claudia again, but Jody wanted to wait to make sure she was in "real labor". Peter, her husband, was now caught in the middle between calling and Jody saying not yet. It was amazing how my instincts were now working overtime, I was convinced that things would move along more quickly than Jody and Peter expected. I started to clear away dinner when Jody called from the bathroom after talking to her Doula who was now on the way. At this point Jody's water had started to leak. She wasn't sure what it was because she had a water birth with her son and never felt her water break. While we were in the bathroom cleaning up and changing clothes Jody had her first big contraction. Again, I suggest we call someone so Jody called Claudia. Not even two minutes later, contraction number 2. They were very intense. At this point, Jody said she wanted to go upstairs.

Meanwhile Peter is trying to get everything for the birth ready and also be on the phone with Claudia and Carla (doula). He kept Claudia filled in as she was driving to the house. With Peter's help I get Jody upstairs. The minute we get to her room her water breaks completely (thank God Peter was able to get the tarps down). Jody is standing next to the bed with her hands on the edge and Peter talking on two phones at the same time. Peter is trying to cover all bases. Peter is also filling the birth pool as they still think they are going to get in it. I am thinking forget it!!!! Jody still in the standing position with hands on the side of the bed, does not want to move. Even though I have never assisted in a birth before, my instincts say this is it. Claudia is still on the phone with Peter ready to coach long distance. Jody screams that she feels the head. So I softly place my hand between her legs to feel my grandchild’s hair and tender, soft crown. Two seconds later, Jody looks at me, a little scared and tentative, with the most beautiful little girl face and says Mom what do we do, Claudia isn’t here. I calmly and quietly looked at her and said, you know what to do, just do it. I moved behind and under her. At that moment my grandchild’s head and neck were in my hands. As I was wondering how the shoulders would be delivered, the baby corkscrewed to the right and pushed herself out. She was crying even before she was completely out. Claudia, on the phone with Peter, explained exactly what the baby would do. I guess Claudia really does know her stuff!! Claudia coached Peter on what we should be looking for and doing. She also had the presence of mind to write down the time of birth. She had also called Debbie to come over since she was closer to our house. I stand there holding my granddaughter behind Jody with the cord between her legs!!! So Peter and I both guided the baby through Mommy's legs (slippery!!) and up to her chest.

Jody is so excited and I think in shock, that her dream of a home birth has now come true. Debbie finally arrives exhausted but happy to be there. She just came off a 36hr labor and delivery. Debbie proceeds to deliver the placenta and get Jody in bed with baby girl on her chest. Jody and Peter now share in the joy of their new baby girl. I am so excited I can barely talk and am still covered with birth slime. Claudia soon arrives and Debbie leaves for some much deserved sleep. Claudia's calm has now entered the house. She proceeds with business in a quiet and unintrusive way. She is happy for Jody and sad that she missed the actual delivery. But she was there. She and Debbie prepared Jody mentally for this day. They reassured her, comforted her and supported Jody's beliefs that nature and women know how to birth babies. They supplied the calm that Jody needed during the long 9 months of pregnancy. They reassured Jody that she was strong and her body was meant to deliver babies, easily and without drugs. As a grandmother who lives 1,000 miles away from her daughter and grandchildren, I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. It gave me great peace of mind knowing you were there to guide her.

Claudia observes like a mother hawk - watching, observing to make sure all is well with baby and mother. She quietly gives instructions, letting mother and baby bond, while preparing to cut the cord. Claudia, always the teacher, explains why we do not bathe the baby too soon and why we wait to cut the cord. Baby is now nursing like a pro.

Finally everyone that was trying to get there arrives. Uncles, aunts, cousins, friends and big brother Andrew all come in to see the baby. The baby is weighed and checked. Jody is showered and dressed. I am amazed as I watch Claudia and her apprentice Natalie take care of Jody's and the baby's needs. They treat and help Jody with such gentleness. I feel like a butterfly, fluttering around the house, so happy I can't speak. The champagne is opened and we toast the new addition.

I missed out on the joy of home birth and natural birthing with my two children. I was the young woman being lead by the medical community not knowing any better. I have been given a second chance to enjoy the experience of birth. My daughter has been my teacher. She has encouraged me to learn and experience this joy. With Andrew, my first grandchild, I watched the beauty of a water birth. With Sophia, my second, the beauty of home birth. Jody is always patient with my questions. If she doesn't have the answer, she researches for me. I have been able to pass on birthing information to the women I work with. I have found it interesting that these women, to no fault of their own, really don't know how the process works. Thank you, Jody, for all the love and two beautiful grandchildren you have given me. Thank you, for letting me share this experience with you and participate. It is wonderful, at age 56, to go on a new journey and learn so much.

My daughter has taken our family full circle. Her maternal grandfather was born at home as were all his 8 siblings. His mother, Jody's great-grandmother, was a midwife for the entire farm community. She also delivered at least 10 of her own grandchildren. Needless to say, her grandfather was thrilled to hear she had a home birth.

Birthing is so simple, but so complex. Birthing is hard work, but easy if you listen to nature. I hope the medical world will start to listen as women like Claudia and Debbie work to educate and enlighten all women. Jody, Peter, Claudia and Debbie; and my two beautiful grandchildren, Andrew and Sophia — Thank you for including Grama in the beautiful wonder of birthing.

Love to all.
Grama Glenda