DawningLife Midwifery

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

Cameron Bogan

Cam
Cameron Bogan Jacobs was born on October 1, 2007 at 41 weeks and 3 days gestation. He was 8 lbs., 15 oz. and 22" long. He arrived peacefully at 11:40 pm in the privacy and comfort of our own bedroom. Here is the story... I'll start with December 2006. Conception, although unplanned, happened. No more details needed there! In January 2007 I did a pregnancy test after being late, and low and behold, it was positive!!!!! My feelings were many... elated (how could I not be, I was having a baby!), scared (after all, I had just returned from Walt Disney World, so this baby rode every ride multiple times), and worried (I had 2 previous miscarriages in the last year). But mostly I was thrilled!!!

Cam
Cameron Bogan Jacobs was born on October 1, 2007 at 41 weeks and 3 days gestation. He was 8 lbs., 15 oz. and 22" long. He arrived peacefully at 11:40 pm in the privacy and comfort of our own bedroom. Here is the story... I'll start with December 2006. Conception, although unplanned, happened. No more details needed there! In January 2007 I did a pregnancy test after being late, and low and behold, it was positive!!!!! My feelings were many... elated (how could I not be, I was having a baby!), scared (after all, I had just returned from Walt Disney World, so this baby rode every ride multiple times), and worried (I had 2 previous miscarriages in the last year). But mostly I was thrilled!!!

So it's time to go in for a prenatal visit. I went to the practice that had cared for me through 2 miscarriages. I had my 8 week visit, with all the blood testing as well as an ultrasound. Everything was great! But we had been here before, one year prior to be exact. So still lots of anxiety.

Between 8 and 12 weeks, I started thinking about having a homebirth. It was hard to think that far ahead, having had 2 miscarriages and all. I remembered back over 4 years ago when I had my son Colin at Kennestone hospital. Although, I feel that his birth experience went quite well for a hospital birth, I wanted more. More control, an even more natural natural birth this time. After 42 hours of labor, I succeeded in having a drug free birth with him (with the help of our awesome doula, Annette Culp), but I knew it could be better. I had considered a homebirth with Colin, but fear took over. After all, I had never birthed a baby before. This time, however, I decided to go to a consultation with Claudia and Debbie, midwives who practice together. They exclusively do home deliveries. I spoke to Debbie on the phone at length, and met Claudia in person at 12 weeks pregnant. The consultation was 2 hours so that I could interview them and they could interview me! They want to make sure that I'm even a candidate for homebirth. Of course, you have to be a low risk mom. Certain conditions and/or diseases can exclude you from a homebirth. I was a very good candidate... a low risk mom (as most are)! I've also had one child, without meds, without complications. My chance for a successful homebirth was about 99%!!! At this visit, we used the doppler to find the baby's heart beat, as my fear was that there was none... there was a healthy heart tone of 160. After the consultation, I was confident that this was the way to go with this birth. (See previous post below "Why I chose to have a homebirth" to see all of my reasons.) I made an appt for the next week to begin my prenatal care officially.

I really didn't tell anyone of my choice yet... I wanted to wait and have a 20 week ultrasound to make sure all was ok. Again, my anxiety kicking in. Many who birth at home, have no ultrasounds. You have to weigh the risk and benefits. Based on my anxiety level, the benefit was great! Having less stress has to be good for the baby, right?

Twenty weeks came, and a good friend of ours who is an ultrasonographer performed a thorough ultrasound. All was healthy and great, and we were having a boy! Side note: I did not find out the sex with Colin, and that was so much fun. This time, however, I wanted to have a more gender specific nursery, and some personalized things ready for the baby. My friends and family were relieved to find out, as no one was a fan of not finding out before! Although, I REALLY missed that part of the birth. It is much more exciting to find out at the birth than at 20 weeks. I know, I've done both.

Now it was time to tell that we were having a homebirth. I wondered how everyone would feel about it. Would my family be supportive? Would my friends think I'm whacky? Most all of our friends and family knew we considered this before with our first child, but did they even remember? How was I supposed to tell? "Hey guess what we are doing? We're having a homebirth!" No! So I decided to wait for people to ask questions like, "Where are you delivering this time?" One friend asked, so we told. Otherwise, the subject never really came up until after about 34 weeks. I did tell my mom and dad soon after 20 weeks. They were ok with it, but understandably a little nervous. They had not done the research about it that I had, but they trust me! My dad was actually born at home. In fact, he and his 8 siblings were all born at home. This made them feel better, I think. I'm carrying on a family tradition after all! David told his mom, who had a home birth herself in 1974. She was elated and wanted to plan to be there. This is pretty impossible since she lives in AZ, and babies come when they are ready. Usually anytime between 37 and 42 weeks. She couldn't come hang out that long! So that didn't work out.

I continued my EXCELLENT prenatal care with Claudia and Debbie throughout the pregnancy. They shared lots of videos of other women having homebirths so that I could see how different women labor and deliver. They were a wealth of information and answered all of my questions fully. Each visit reiterated why I was having a homebirth!

Somewhere in the third trimester, my baby decided to turn... a breech baby. Oh no! I couldn't believe this. I told myself to trust my body, the baby will turn. I intellectually knew that babies turn even very late in pregnancy, but still I was concerned that I may not get the birth I wanted. After doing appropriate exercises, holding odd positions for long periods of time, playing music low in my abdomen with headphones, and going to have the Webster maneuver performed by my chiropractor multiple times (Thanks Dr. Kalb), the baby did turn!!! Yay!

When I got to about 38 weeks, I just knew I was going to have an early baby. After all, Colin was 10 days late, so if average is 40 weeks, I was due a 10 day early baby! No such luck. 38, 39, 40, and even 41 weeks went by. I had an appt on 9/25 (my due date was 9/21) and I was ready to give birth! The baby was engaged, but had been for several weeks. I knew he was coming soon, at least in September! At the 9/25 visit, we scheduled the next appt for October 1st. I never dreamed I'd have an October baby, so I knew I wouldn't make it to that appt. On September 30, I went to bed... NOT in labor, so I was pretty convinced that this baby was coming in October.

Monday, October 1st arrived. I was ready to have Cam. I felt great, but was ready to meet my baby!!! I was also tired of the questions... "When are "they" going to do something?" "How long will "they" let you go?" I had to constantly tell people that we take a more natural approach to birth, and that the baby will come when he is ready. I would also tell them that Colin was 10 days late! People would then say "Oh okay" and seem at peace with the situation because of our confidence in the birth process. But just because I believe in the process, and that it will happen when the right time comes, didn't mean I wasn't READY!!! We went to our noon appt. David, Colin, and I saw Claudia and Nicole (an apprentice who had been at almost all of our appts). We discussed how ready I was to have this baby. We also had company coming to see our new baby in 6 days. I really didn't want to be in labor and worrying about in-laws getting to our house from the airport. What were we to do? At this point, I was exactly 10 days late, exactly the amount of days late I was with Colin. With him, I had my membranes stripped, to avoid an artificial induction at the hospital. It had worked like a charm before. We discussed the possibility of doing this and when. We talked about Wednesday or Thursday (and this was Monday). We would also have some other things to go along with the membrane strip, some herbs shown to help induce labor by working with your body naturally. Then Claudia dropped the bomb. If labor started Thursday or later, there was a slight possibility that a back up midwife would attend my birth. What???? I didn't come this far for that to happen! But apparently, Debbie was leaving for 2 weeks for a training, Nicole was going home to Maine for a wedding, so that left Claudia alone. There were 3 other moms that were to potentially deliver any day. This was all it took for David to ask could we not start the natural induction TODAY! He saw the look on my face... I was about to cry. I was so thankful he asked, because I would have cried if I spoke at that moment. Around this time, Debbie came in... I'm not even sure why, because they are not usually there together. I was glad though, because all people involved in my care were there together to collaborate. We decided to check my cervix to see if it was ripe. It was, I was at 4 cm without any labor pains yet! WOW! It took me 32 hours to get to that point with Colin. Claudia asked if I wanted her to massage my cervix and gently strip the membranes. I said an emphatic "YES!" After doing this, she said I was a 5-6 cm, but would go back to around 5 most likely. She gave me the herbal tincture and instructions to start the home induction the next morning if labor had not begun. We are at about 1:30 pm at this point.

David, Colin, and I went to Firehouse Subs (Yuuuummmmy!) to have lunch before David had to go back to work. We were excited to know that things were happening that would lead to birth soon! We talked for a while about how the visit went and how giddy we were. We went our separate ways. David went to work, and I went to the grocery store to pick up a few needed items. I felt some painless contractions as I walked around, but they felt the same as my Braxton Hicks contractions that I had been having all along. They did seem to be coming fairly frequently though and some were a little crampy. This wasn't real labor though, right? It didn't hurt. I went home, and this pattern continued all day. Painless, sometimes crampy contractions anywhere from 3-10 minutes apart. I didn't really time them much. David came home. We ate dinner. I talked to several people on the phone including my parents. I told them that they could come on, that the contractions had been coming all day now but that they didn't hurt. I told them that they could risk coming and watching me do this for 3 days, but of course, things could pick up at anytime. They had about a 3 1/2 hour drive so after they discussed it, they decided to come on to GA.

We put Colin to bed around 9 pm. During his bedtime routine, I felt that the contractions were a little stronger, but still didn't hurt. We decided to time them. They were around 3 minutes apart and lasting 90 seconds to 2 minutes each. Wow! After 3 like this, David wanted to call Debbie. (She was going to attend me if I delivered before she left for her training.) I told him that we should time them for at least 30 minutes to be sure. David called Debbie at 9:45 pm and told her that things were getting exciting at the Jacobs' house!! She jumped in her car and arrived at 10:30 pm. (After all, I was at 5 cm at 1:00 that day). I had all my birthing supplies organized and ready, and the pool was aired up. However, Debbie and Nicole had supplies, the pool needed more water, etc. So everyone, except me of course, was rushing around getting everything ready. In the meantime, I had begun my more painful contractions around 9:30 pm, during our timing session. The kind you can't talk through. So I'm walking around my house and sitting on the toilet to deal with my contractions. I wasn't surprised that I wanted to sit on the toilet, as that was one of my favorite labor spots with Colin. You can really open up your hips and let gravity take over. I would also vocalize, mostly low moaning sounds.

Around 11:00 pm, I was ready to get in the pool. It was warm and comfortable. Aaaahhhhh! Enya was playing in the background. I had my husband's full attention, and he was a champ. His presence and support was awesome. I loved the feeling of his arms around me. I loved laying my head in his hands. I wouldn't let him leave my side... but I don't think he would have anyway! I had a couple of contractions there in the pool, and then the big one hit! I had about a 20 minute continuous contraction. NO BREAK! This was a surprise to me... Ouch! I think I said, "Is this ever going to end?" David probably thought I meant this labor, but I couldn't explain further. I didn't have the ability to talk anymore at that moment. Around 11:25, at the end of this never-ending contraction, my body began to push. Surprised, I look up at Debbie with a look that said, "What just happened?" I was totally taken back. I didn't expect a 1st stage transition contraction to turn into a pushing contraction. She said to me, "Push if you feel like it. It's ok." How awesome! She trusted me and my body more than I did. I pushed when I felt the urge, no command to push, no counting to 10. Just listening to my body. After that push, I finally had a well deserved break.

During my break, David said a prayer of blessing on me and Cam. He prayed for our safety and to ease any pain. What an awesome husband I have!! Before he could say amen, I was back to pushing! During a push, my water broke spontaneously in the pool. A few minutes of pushing went by and it was quite intense. I was encouraged by David, Debbie, and Nicole to keep up the good work and to push through the pain. I was holding back a little. Then the "ring of fire" came. WOW!!!!!!! How intense. That was a feeling that I don't care to feel again! Finally, around 11:39 pm, Cam's head was out! His little chin had gotten stuck momentarily on my perineum. Once his head was out, Debbie checked for a cord around his neck. There was a tight cord. She told me, and reassured me that all was fine. My face must have told it all... I was worried for a short moment. But back to business... She told me when to push and she helped guide him out. She somersaulted him under water to unravel the cord. The somersault is a common maneuver at homebirths. It works great underwater, so it was great that I was having a water birth. After a total of 15 minutes pushing (probably about 2 or 3 contractions worth), Cam was born at 11:40 pm!!!!!! God's little miracle was here!!!!!!

Debbie placed him on my chest. He was perfect! I can not explain the emotions of that moment. I was instantly IN LOVE with this beautiful baby! He was all scrunched up, and soooo peaceful. I held him close, and he was so beautiful!! I had planned to nurse him at birth, but he was so content. Holding him, he felt like a solid little guy. I felt that he was as big or bigger than Colin was at birth (which was 8 lb 10 oz). I really thought I'd have a small baby because I only gained 20 pounds, but he looked pretty chubby to me and again, felt solid. (He weighed in at 8 lbs. 15 oz. quite a bit later during his newborn exam with Nicole, the midwife apprentice.) We had decided to cut the cord after the placenta was born, so Cam and I stayed in the pool for about 20 minutes, bonding all the while. In the meantime, my parents arrived. They missed the birth by about 10 minutes. I hated it for them, but for me, a quick birth was WONDERFUL!!! After the placenta was born, David used one of his collectible knives that my dad had given him to cut the cord. Cam was free! David will pass this knife on to Cam when he is old enough. We are having it engraved "Cam's cord cutter. 10/1/2007." Cute, huh? David is such a proud dad! He loves both his boys immensely. He's the most awesome dad!! That's my opinion anyway!

I finally got out of the pool around midnight. David got to hold Cam for the first time at this point. After about 5 minutes of getting situated into my bed, I tried to nurse a bit. Then my parents took Cam to enjoy him with my husband while I was being tended to. I took an awesome warm shower... how refreshing! I went back to my bed with my baby to nurse. Later, around 1 am, Nicole did the newborn exam. Of course, he was perfect! He weighed in at 8 lbs. 15 oz., larger than we expected. However, Claudia had predicted this about a week earlier. She felt my belly and said he was probably 8-9 lbs. Anyway, we continued to enjoy our precious one for a little longer. After a while, Debbie and Nicole left and we settled in to sleep.

The next morning arrived... Time to introduce Cam to his big brother. We waited for Colin to awake on his own time. We heard him in the kitchen, so David went in to talk to him. David said, "Guess what happened last night." Colin looked up and saw Granna coming down the stairs. So he said, "Granna and Pop came to our house!" David said, "Do you know why they came?" Colin looked at him, and David said "Cam was born last night!!" Colin's face lit up like it was Christmas morning. Colin asked, "Where is he?" David told him that he was in bed with mommy. Colin said, "Let's go meet him!!!" He came running into our room to see Cam. He kissed him over and over and kept that beautiful smile for quite a while. He was extremely excited! He said, "Cam's here! He's a cute baby!" He told me, "Mommy, you had Cam while you were asleep!" I said, "I wish it was that easy!" Colin recently said, "God made Cam for our family. God gave him such soft hair and a cute little chin." I love how Colin has a heart for the Lord. I pray that he is always that spiritual, giving God credit for life's blessings.

Reflecting on the whole experience, I am in awe of God's plan and process for birth. From conception, to pregnancy, to the actual birth... it is all such a miracle. Our God is truly amazing!!! His plan for my body to know how to nourish and carry a growing baby, to release hormones that cause labor when the baby is ready to be born, to know how to birth that baby, and then to continue to nourish the baby with breast milk... WOW!!! What an awesome God we serve!!!

Why I chose to have a homebirth...
In case you wondered! 1. I believe that birth is a normal, natural process created by God, not a medical problem or disease. I respect the birth process. This time, I wanted a more natural natural birth than with Colin (first son, age 5), if that makes sense. See #2 for explanation.

2. I wanted to have the birth that I wanted. The hands off, not hands on, approach to birth. I did not want anyone telling me what to do and when, doubting me and my body. I didn't want pressure to have cervical checks each hour (what is the purpose of those anyway - no predictive value). I wanted attendants who I know and trust... I wanted the SAME ones the WHOLE time. I wanted no denial of food and water, no forced pushing and counting to 10, no transfer from this room to that, and no taking of my baby. I wanted to nurse my baby when I wanted. Ok, I have to admit, with Colin's birth, the hospital did concede some of these issues. But at home, I didn't even have to ask or insist that things be they way I wanted. I was in full control. No regulations to fight against, no doctors or "med"wives to convince of my desires.

Why not intervene you may ask? Well, there are many reasons. First, I feel that birth should not be interfered with unless medically necessary. Many interventions will slow labor which leads to pitocin which leads to fetal distress (because of the unnatural super strong contractions) or a diagnosis of "failure to progress" leading to a C-section. Now there is certianly a place for medical intervention, such as a C-section. And thank goodness for the medical technology out there that has saved moms and babies from death. I am definitely not anti-medical treatment when needed. The key here, however, is "when needed." The c-section rate in the US is over twice (30.2% and rising) the recommended rate rate of the World Health Organization of 10-15% and is on the rise. Why is that? High induction rate and other interventions that lead to sections.

Obstetricians tend to intervene in a normal birth. Why? Well, that is what they are trained to do. Are they trained in normal birth? Maybe a little. Mostly, they are trained to intervene when things go wrong. In fact, they are well trained, skilled surgeons! If there is no trouble, they are bored. They feel they need to do something. They want things to progress along a nice pace. Many labors are slow however. Intervention is just part of the medical model of birth. Many doctors will give women episiotomies without even asking! One study showed that 73% of women who had episiotomies were not asked! Something is wrong with that. This is the type of thing that would never happen at a homebirth.

In a hospital you are surrounded by highly trained doctors and high tech medical instruments. This makes is easy for a low-risk, unmedicated labor to turn rapidly into a complex surgical case.
Maternal death is rising each year in the US, as well as infant mortality. Among developed countries, the World Health Organization reports, 29 have better infant mortality rates than the United States, including Slovenia and Cuba, and 41 have better maternal mortality rates. Cuba has better birth outcomes than America!!!!??? There is something wrong here.

3. Home is the safest place to birth, when you are a low risk mom, according to research. OK, this is not a research paper, it's a blog. But, I do have to quote some stats here as I did in #2. I'm not going to site everything... you wouldn't look it up anyway!! Studies done comparing hospital and planned out-of-hospital births indicate fewer deaths, injuries and infections for homebirths supervised by a trained attendant than for hospital births. No such studies indicate that hospitals have better outcomes than homebirths. Respiratory distress among newborns was 17 times higher in the hospital than in the home. Maternal postpartum hemorrhage is 3x higher in the hospital. (They rush the birth of the placenta... they help to pull it out causing hemorrhage. Not at home!) Also, in the hospital, babies are 6 times more likely to suffer distress during labor (at least be diagnosed with distress). This is likely because of the use of pitocin and the overuse and misreading of continuous electronic fetal monitoring. Pitocin causes very strong, unnatural contractions that will naturally put more stress on the baby than a woman's own contractions.

4. I could birth in a birthing pool! How cool is that??? This is more comfortable for mom, and a nice transition into the world for baby.

5. It's the most comfortable place to give birth. I There are no interruptions. The environment is pleasant, comfortable, familiar, and peaceful. Colin was able to sleep through the whole thing. I didn't have to pack. I had freedom to move about wherever and whenever I pleased. It caused WAY LESS STRESS!! My first birth was at a hospital attended by a "med"wife. During labor she sat doubtfully by and watched me. She seemed to be thinking, "I'll just wait here and she'll ask for drugs soon." This alone caused me stress.

6. Midwives are trained professionals who "see birth" regularly. They don't just see a baby being pushed out right at the end of the process, they see the whole process. Therefore, they know what issues are normal in natural birth as well as what issues need medical attention. For the mom, they are with you from beginning of hard labor, until the end. I wanted a cheerleader, someone to cheer me to the finish line. I wanted a lifeguard, someone to rescue me and my baby if things didn't go as planned. I didn't need a person who made me feel that without their care, my baby would have been in grave danger, a savior if you will. I needed someone there who believed in the normal process of giving birth as much or MORE than I do. I wanted someone attending to me that understands birth variations and that every birth is different. There is no "normal" or a generic time line to birth.

7. You get the best prenatal care out there! Each visit is 1 hour long... Questions are welcomed and answered thoroughly, clearly, and fully without any condescending tone. You do not feel that you are taking up precious time. The visits are personable, educational, and welcoming.

8. I wanted to give birth, not have a baby delivered to me. At the hospital, they seem to feel that they are in charge of your baby, and they are giving you a baby. I wanted to be empowered to give birth myself!

Having a homebirth was a totally different birth experience than my hospital birth. The key for me to have the experience I truly wanted was location, location, location! My birth was far above what I dreamed it to be. I can't say the same for my hospital birth. At the hospital, I did have a natural birth with no interventions, but so many other factors play into the overall experience. I am blessed to have 2 healthy boys, Colin and Cam, that arrived safely into this world, and I am truly thankful to God for that! I do have to say though, after experiencing birth at home and the hospital.... Homebirth Rules!!! I will now step off my soapbox!

For pictures of Cam’s birth click here.