Being a midwife in Dallas Fort Worth
Last night I laid awake thinking about my midwife experiences here in the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex. I have been truly blessed to be apart of such a great team of midwives in the Dallas and Fort Worth area. These midwives have sewn so much wisdom and knowledge into me. When I first came to DFW I started to work with Gentle Beginnings Birth Center in Hurst. This birthing center has changed my life. I have grown to understand more about the holistic side of midwifery and enjoyed using the tremendous resources all around.
One of those resources is using Chiropractic care during a woman’s pregnancy. Gentle Beginnings is located in the same building as our wonderful Chiropractors, doctors Jim Bob and Cindy Haggarton at Lifetime Family Wellness Center. They have taught me so much about healing the body through nutrition, herbs and holistic care. We are a culture of pill poppers. When we have a problem we go to the doctor for something to cover up the symptoms, not heal the cause. It seems we are missing something if we are not getting to the route of the problem. In this day and age if the symptom persists we will probably just get it removed, such as our gallbladder, appendix or pancreas. Holistic care is about healing from the inside out. We can heal our bodies through better nutrition and a healthier life style. It is crazy to me that we are such a developed society, yet we are suffering from malnutrition from poor eating habits. If McDonalds and Burger King are our Child’s favorite places to eat, it is no wonder we have such a high volume of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and the list goes on. I am sure that some of you are thinking what does this have to do with Chiropractic care or even being a midwife. Well let me tell you, it really does have so much to do with it. I used to think Chiropractors were about bone crunching I soon discovered this is not the case. It may be for some of them, but the ones I have met here in the DFW have been amazing men and women who truly respect the human body and the need for whole foods to begin the process of true healing. I have seen women who were considered infertile by the medical world get pregnant with a change in diet and lifestyle. Children with chronic allergies and asthma were cured in a matter of days with dietary change, usually taking dairy out and just feeding them real foods. Some of you know exactly what I am talking about too! There is so much more! The other side that I have seen is regular Chiropractic adjustments through the pregnancy can really help to make a woman’s labor quicker and more efficient. There have been women in my care that would have ended up with a C-section if it were for a Chiropractor coming to them in labor to adjust their pelvis or sacrum. The DFW is full of great resources! We need to take advantage of these and start spreading the word, so that we can reach a lost generation. I don’t feel like this is common knowledge now days. Somehow the truth feels lost. It seems our grandmothers knew some of the tricks to a healthy diet and lifestyle that our parents didn’t.
It is my hope that I can continue to learn new things. I never want to think I know it all or that I can’t learn something new, for if I did I would miss out on something that may change a generation to come. There are so many aspects to midwifery care. My goal is to bring as much awareness and education as I can to families that I help during their pregnancy and birth. I want it to be a lifetime investment.
Thank you for listening and I hope you will share your knowledge and experience with the rest of us. Please leave your comments below.
Dallas Fort Worth home birth with the Croys
I was planning a home birth with my first baby, William, but towards the end, my midwife was getting nervous about my blood pressure and swelling and said we’d have to have the baby at the birth center. I wasn’t thrilled about that prospect, but I agreed. Then in the last month she started getting really nervous. My baby was presenting breech and would not turn. At three weeks to go we met with Dr. Cummings, the doctor who our midwife used as a backup, who attempted to externally turn William. Unfortunately, his attempts were fruitless as were ours – lying upside-down on the ironing board, daddy reading down low to the baby, trying to make the baby follow a light, using an icepack to try to encourage the baby down . . . Nothing worked! He stubbornly refused to move into the correct position. Our midwife said she was uncomfortable attempting a first-time delivery that was breech, and transferred us to Dr. Cummings’ care. I went into labor two weeks (to the day) early, showed up to the hospital dilated only two centimeters, had my water broken, was given Demerol for pain (which made me unbelievably loopy, uncommunicative, and didn’t get rid of the pain), Pitocin to encourage contractions after the Demerol slowed down labor, and vwa-la! 21 hours later I delivered our son, William Alexander Croy! It wasn’t the birth I’d planned or hoped for, but I do give thanks to God for leading us to a doctor who was willing to deliver a breech vaginally. I would never have had the courage to attempt a vaginal delivery after having a c-section so I am eternally grateful!
So. . . . when I found out I was pregnant again, I wanted to have a home birth. At only a couple of weeks into my pregnancy I started researching midwives in our area. I found that there were lots and lots who went from one end of the midwife spectrum to the other. Nurse-midwives who only delivered in hospitals to midwives who encouraged having your baby with no help outside help at all unless absolutely necessary.
I met with probably half a dozen ladies. Some were too far to agree to a home birth others had a policy where you got the midwife who was “on duty” when you went into labor. No one seemed quite what I was hoping for, and I almost didn’t keep my appointment with Sarah Jones at the Gentle Beginnings Birth Center because I was sure I was going to be disappointed again. But afterwards I saw God’s guiding hand in my choice because I decided to give her a chance and met with her. She was so wonderful. She seemed quite young, several years my junior but very confident and caring, and so very sweet and happy to sit and answer question after question that I put to her. The birth center was a lovely place, and I had a hard time deciding between birthing at home or there because it was so nice (I decided against because I couldn’t imagine driving for an hour while in labor). Sarah was wonderful at every one of my prenatal visits and seemed as excited and full of wonder as I was every time we heard my little son’s heartbeat! We were even able to meet with a sonographer at the birth center and see our little guy. Sarah encouraged me to stay fit and eat well (although I have to admit the food diary just about drove me nuts – as hard as I tried to “get enough protein” and “drink enough water” I never felt like I was quite doing enough – no offense Sarah. ) Again in the last few months my blood pressure started rising, and I started to experience some swelling. Sarah advised me to take Gotu Kola Complex, and I’m here to tell you, that stuff WORKS! When I ran out, my swelling got worse very quickly, but when I started taking it again I saw improvement within a few hours!
I had Braxton-Hicks contractions from about 4 months on out, steadily getting stronger as I went along, but I wasn’t at all concerned because I had experienced the same thing with William. My husband, Alex, and I went on a week and a half “baby-moon” in Maine when I was seven months pregnant. We relaxed and hiked and had some lovely alone time. Sarah went to visit her parents in China for a few weeks when I was at 7 ½ months, and left me in the very compassionate hands of her associate, Christy. It was excellent to meet with Christy because she was supposed to be Sarah’s assistant at our birth. I was very happy to learn that she was a kindred spirit, and we seemed to get on wonderfully at our first meeting.
On Wednesday, December 3, (one week after Thanksgiving, less than a week after my 29th birthday, and more than two weeks before my due date of December 18) we decided to go Christmas tree shopping. Alex said that if we didn’t get it soon I would go and have the baby, and he’d have to decorate it all on his own. So while we decorated our house and trees with multi-colored Christmas lights and shopped for a tree I experienced some very strong contractions. I had to squat down and breathe through several of them in between decorating. I kept thinking, “maybe this is it!” But I didn’t want to jump the gun, and sure enough, the contractions went away with a warm bath. Thursday morning, afternoon, and evening went by without more than the regular Braxton-Hicks, and Friday morning I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular, but just to be sure, I called up my friend who’d given birth a few months previously and asked if she might loan me her birth pool. Several people I know had used one and said it helped immensely with the pain. She said sure, and at about 3:30 in the afternoon she brought it over, and I helped her unload it into the garage. Our bigger boys, who are about the same age, wanted to play, so she stayed for a bit, and I was enjoying her camaraderie so much that when her husband called her to let her know he was on his way home, I told her to tell him to come on over, and I’d fix them dinner. So he did, and I did, and when Alex got home we all feasted on quiche and fresh tomatoes and egg custard!
After they went home we decided it was high time to decorate our tree! So we got to work on it, and by the time we were done, my back was killing me, and I spent an hour relaxing and trying to work the kinks out of my back by lying on the couch. We went to bed, but after several hours of trying get comfortable, I decided those weren’t kinks and no amount of relaxing was going to get rid of them. I woke Alex at 11:00 PM, and told him I thought we’d have a baby tomorrow, and I called Sarah to give her a heads up. She told me to try to get some sleep and called me if things progressed.
I tried to rest. I honestly did! But that baby didn’t have resting on his mind. The contractions kept getting stronger and coming very regularly every 10 or so minutes and at about 1 AM to tell her that I was pretty sure this was it. She said to try to rest between contractions and call her when the contractions got to be about five minutes apart. At about four I called her again and told her I was ready for her to come, and she said she would be on her way as soon as she could get her things together. I called my sister, Paige, who lives about an hour away, and told her I was ready for her to come get William. At about five Sarah showed up. She checked my vitals and the baby’s position and said, “yep, you’re in labor.” Paige showed up and after I gave him a distracted hug and kiss goodbye she tenderly took Liam off with her. Sarah was wonderfully calm and quiet and caring as I paced from our bedroom to the hall then the kitchen and back to our room. She would quietly ask if I was having a contraction and time it. Alex was in the kitchen putting the birth pool together and getting it hooked up to the sink. After a while I couldn’t handle the contractions on my own anymore, and whenever I’d have one Alex would come to me, and we would kneel down together, and he would help me breathe through them. Sarah checked me again sometime in there and said that I was progressing nicely and in good time. Christy showed up around at about 7 or 8. I think I got into the birth pool for the first time sometime around 9ish, after I got to about 7 centimeters, and we were pretty sure it wouldn’t slow down labor. The water felt amazing, and I was still lucid enough, and “modest” enough, that I insisted on putting on my bathing suit. After a bit I got out and Alex and I attempted to walk around the block, and I’m not sure but I don’t think we even made it to the end of the block. It was really cold, and I felt conspicuous when I had to kneel down on the sidewalk to get through my contractions. After our walk I got back in the pool, and around ten in the morning Christy started cooking the after-birth herbs and getting towels and washcloths warm. I was out of it enough that I didn’t realize it, but Alex later said that they were expecting the birth fairly soon at that point. I remember getting a little annoyed with Sarah when she started talking to me during contractions and asking her to quit talking. After the contraction ended I apologized, and she said not to apologize but to feel free to tell her what I needed. If I hadn’t been soaking wet and in pain I would have hugged her. I needed to hear that just then. I also remember asking Christy to take the herbs out because the smell was making me sick. All this just made them more sure that baby was going to arrive soon.
But then . . . Sarah started wondering how things were progressing, and when she checked I was still only at 7 centimeters! Oh, I thought I would cry. She and Christy went off and chatted a bit, and when Sarah came back she said that at this time they had to tell me that we needed to make a decision. I had progressed so little in the last few hours I think by then it was about 2 in the afternoon) due to the baby not being fully engaged in the birth canal (the little stinker had backed up and was trying to come out at an angle) that I could either: transfer to the hospital (near tears), drink a bit of wine and try to stop labor and call them back when I was more rested, or see if I could go to a chiropractor for an adjustment and get the baby moving. I really, really did not want to transfer to the hospital because I was sure I would end up with a caesarian. We couldn’t get in touch with a chiropractor here in our town, and mine was an hour away and off for the day. So we opted for the wine and relaxation. It did help me to relax, and Alex said I slept pretty hard in between contractions, and when I woke up they said they had gotten in touch with Dr. Shane (my chiropractor), and he had agreed to come up and give me an adjustment so long as there was someone here to watch his little boy who he’d have to bring along! Praise God for Dr. Shane and his willingness to come! While he was on his way, I got out of the tub, and Alex helped me do some exercises to try to move baby down and get labor going again. At this point I was at a really low place emotionally. Sarah came into my room where I was laboring (and suffering so much!) She knelt beside me, and encouraged me in her tender way, and then asked so sweetly if she could pray with me. I said, “Yes. Please!” It was such a perfect thing for her to do. I needed that so much just then. I had been praying in my head, but just about all I could manage was, “Dear God, help me!” She closed her eyes and held my hand and simply asked the Lord to be with me, and to give me the strength and courage to continue and to help baby to move so that I could deliver him. It was such a simple prayer, but it was said with such sincerity and love and compassion. It really moved me, and I felt strengthened and encouraged after it.
Not long after that Dr. Shane arrived, and he was so great! When I asked how I should be for the adjustment he said, “You just do what you need to, and I’ll work around you.” So while I stood or kneeled he worked on me a bit. After a while, Sarah checked me, and said I was progressing again. Dr. Shane adjusted me (and baby) some more, and after a while said baby was good to go! Sarah checked the baby and me, and said I was at nine or so, and I was really feeling the urge to bear down. This was a totally new sensation to me. I had not felt it at all with Liam. Sarah said there was still a bit of cervical lip, and I needed to resist pushing if I could. She told me to blow out my lips like a horse to help combat the need to push. I felt like an idiot (even at that stage), but man, it worked! She got the lip out of the way, and for the next 30 minutes or so I knelt on the bed leaning into and on Alex. Thank you, Alex, for you strong arms supporting me and your tender hands holding me, and you encouraging words whispering in my ear! Thank you! Christy and Sarah kept urging me and encouraging me, and finally after what seemed a lifetime they said they could see his head. But then, oh then . . . Christy said I needed to turn on my side because baby couldn’t get out. Oh, my word, trying to turn when baby was partly out was just misery! But I managed, and Christy held my leg, Sarah encouraged, and Alex held my hand, and after a while I started to see my baby’s head coming out! It was terrifying and wonderful all at once. I pushed and pushed, and thought I was splitting in half. And finally with Sarah’s hands pulling him, and my body pushing him with all its might, our baby was brought into this world! They laid him on my chest and tried to get him to nurse. I didn’t care what he or anyone did, I just relaxed. I guess my whole body relaxed because soon (it was really a couple of hours) Sarah said I really needed to try to deliver the placenta. I did what I could to encourage the baby to nurse. Sarah gave me a couple of shots of pitocin, and then threatened to give me a catheter. I didn’t want that, and I guess it was enough of an incentive to get my brain to tell my body to get that thing out of me because it did! Then finally I was in my “mom soup” with my tiny new beautiful son. He was 8 pounds 5 oz and 21 inches long. It was the most wonderful, horrible, exciting, miserable day of my life! But it was so empowering and inspiring! It made me so grateful for a wonderful husband and birth helpers! Thank you, God!