Yet, my sweet and short transfer story has been on my mind lately as I write letters, make phone calls and visit our state capitol to discuss why midwifery in Mississippi must be legislatively regulated. Non-emergency and emergency transfers happen and women who opt for out-of-hospital birth need physicians who understand and respect their decision to give birth at home and it is imperative hospitals allow midwives to provide continuity of care for these women.
My homebirth transfer story:
Elizabeth Ophelia was born at exactly 8:05 am on August 7, 2010. Just as I had envisioned giving birth in the hospital on my knees with my arms draped over the back of the bed, Liza was born as I kneeled on our bed and held on tight to Mr. Messy's shoulders. My water didn't break until the final push that delivered her body and I will never ever forget that feeling of release.
She was born. I survived and I was no longer pregnant. She was even still a girl like the 20 week anatomy scan promised. Not only was she still a girl like I hoped, she was the most beautiful baby in the world. I might have been full to the brim with oxytocin but I knew this baby was extra beautiful. Of course, I was right. She really was a beautiful newborn.
Over the next 2 hours, I had a "bleed" quickly controlled with an intramuscular injection of Pitocin, Liza finally decided to start nursing about 30 minutes after her birth, I delivered a beautiful healthy placenta, big brother met baby sister and my midwife determined I had 2nd degree lateral tears extending onto both of my labias. This was not a surprise to me because I could feel the tear as I chose to push through the resting period between contractions as Liza crowned. I was impatient, ready to be done and did not listen to my body as it screamed for me breathe and not push.
So yeah, I tore.
I knew from previous discussions my midwife only preferred to repair first degree tears. This hadn't worried me during my pregnancy. After all, I was going to have a water birth and I wouldn't tear because I would breathe my baby out. Um, yeah. Neither of those grand plans worked out so well.
Mr. Messy called our local hospital's L&D several times and spoke to the same nurse as we decided on a game plan. I knew without a doubt I did not want our newborn daughter at the hospital so I wanted everybody at the hospital to be ready for my arrival to expedite the process and get me home as soon as possible. I was beyond thrilled to hear my ob was on-call. He had shown wonderful and considerate support regarding my switch to midwifery care. At that, we decided there was no need to have my midwife accompany us to the hospital. We knew we would be in good hands.
We arrived at the ER and was quickly ushered to L&D by a nurse who asked me how many months pregnant I was. I laughed and laughed and told her I had given birth that morning. A nurse had us fill out some paperwork and took my vitals as we chatted about Liza's birth. She kept asking me about being afraid of the pain and being afraid of something going wrong. I proudly told her I didn't worry because I trusted my body and my midwife was there to spot issues before they turned into emergencies. At that, she let out a big sigh and told me everybody thought I had an unassisted birth. I distinctly remember thinking how nice everyone was even though they didn't agree with the birth choice they wrongly believed I had chosen.
At this point, my ob came in and began the task of stitching my tears. I told him about Liza's birth and he talked about delivering his own babies. After that, we decided to go ahead and order my RhoGam shot rather than have to type Liza's blood within the next 48 hours so Mr. Messy and I turned off the lights and napped for an hour or so while the prescription was processed and a nurse brought the injection.
I was wheeled out to our car and I went home to nurse my baby girl and ooh and aah about her radiant newborn beauty.
And that was that.
But, I was lucky.
I have heard too many horror stories about homebirth transfers from hell in my very own state to ever take my positive transfer for granted.
I was respected and my decision to birth at home was respected.
And, she really was a beautiful newborn.