Monday, February 04, 2008

Part 2: After the Birth

Read Part 1 here.

The details of what happened after the birth may be a bit sketchy, so I'll do my best to remember.

After our sweet Genevieve was born, all was well and we were elated. I remained in the tub, with Genevieve resting on my belly, while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing. Once the cord had been cut, we then had to wait on the placenta to deliver. The bleeding at this point was minimal so there were no concerns. Once the placenta was delivered, Genevieve was passed over to Daddy so that I could begin cleaning up. By this time, it had been about 20 minutes since the birth . Just as Janet was helping me to get out of the tub, I suddenly felt strange. My arms felt extremely tingly, so much so that it was quite uncomfortable, then my ears clogged up. The next thing I knew, Janet had her hands on my face and she was yelling, "Candace, Candace!" I had passed out.

At this point, everyone began working quickly to try to get me out of the tub. My midwife determined that my placenta had only partially detached, so I was bleeding heavily! Time was of the essence, so my husband came to my side to assist in getting me out of the tub. As Greg and Janet lifted me to the edge of the tub, I felt that tingly feeling again and my ears began to clog. I yelled, "I have to sit back down!" I lunged myself back into the tub and, again, the next thing I knew, Janet was yelling my name again. I had passed out for a second time.

Once I came to, they couldn't wait any longer trying to get me out of the tub. I remember the other midwife, Holly, getting into the tub and explaining to me that she had to "go in" and pull out those leftover bits of placenta that were causing all the bleeding. I had no idea what that would be like, but I quickly found out. This was the most excruciating procedure I had ever been through in my life....a manual D & C....with no drugs!  After labor, passing out twice, and loosing blood, I had nothing left in me to handle the pain. I am normally a quiet laborer. But at this, I screamed at the top of my lungs, begging her to stop. It took three times for her to get everything out, but once she did, the bleeding stopped almost immediately!

Now that the bleeding was under control, they could get me out of the tub and transfer me to my bed. I was very weak, but it was good to finally be out of the cold, hard tub and into my soft, comfy bed. Over the next couple of hours, the midwives worked tirelessly to stabilize my blood pressure. I would feel fine one moment and then very ill the next, vomiting several times. They kept me on oxygen and tried intermittently to get me to eat and drink. In the meantime, Janet had sent a friend out on a mission to track down liquid chlorophyll. It seemed as if everyone was out of it, so she pretty much drove all over town trying to hunt this stuff down. Thankfully, her mission was successful, because as soon as I began to consume this rather large bottle of green plant cell pigment, I began to feel better almost instantly! Hooray for chlorophyll! It should be a must at every birth.

Finally, I was well on the road to recovery. I was able to sit up and nurse little Genevieve for the first time....two hours after she was born.   She latched on and nursed like a pro! All was well and the midwives stayed by my side for several hours to make sure I remained stable.

This was the first time I had ever experienced a partial placental detachment. All of my previous births had been smooth and uneventful. Of course, this would happen at my first home birth. But God, in His grace and sovereignty, had His hand on the situation and it was certainly no surprise to Him! He gave the midwives all that they needed to handle this emergency. He gave my family and friends strength in the midst of worry and fright. And He gave me the comfort of knowing I was in capable hands and surrounded by loved ones. I also felt a huge peace in knowing that our new baby was near at all times, and in the loving care of family and friends.

With that being said, I understand that this was a very alarming situation, quite traumatic for my husband, my older girls and my mom. From their perspective, seeing me pass out, turn ghost white, and convulsing, was extremely frightening! I'm sure there was a moment when everyone in the room wanted to call 911. Thankfully, the midwives were equipped to handle this type of emergency and would have called 911 if necessary.

My overall assessment of my first home birth: Wonderful! I do not regret in any way having Genevieve at home. Some people have assumed I wouldn't do it again. Why? My placenta didn't know whether I was at home or in the hospital.  Midwives know their craft and I trusted mine to do what was necessary!  And she did!

So this is my story and I'm sticking to it! ;-)

God is good and we give Him the glory for the entire birth! Feel free to ask me any questions regarding the birth, or, if you were here during the birth, to chime in where I may have left something out!

Today, our sweet Genevieve is one month old! My, how time flies!


  1. Hooray for midwifery!!! So glad you were in capable hands and that your baby was able to enter the world in the best possible place: HOME!!

  2. I do have a question about the placenta problem. Why was it partially coming out? Was it because you were in the tub? And can you take the chlorophyll with every birth or when you only have problems? I have my first doc appointment on the 20th and wanted to see if that was something that he wouldn't mind me taking. Thanks for the open floor for questions!

  3. Yeah for experienced midwives! I wonder what they would have done if you were in the hospital?

  4. Adrienne,

    We're not exactly sure why the placenta partially detached, but it can happen. No, it wasn't because I was in the tub. The end of my labor was SO FAST that my midwife thinks that may have been the cause. She said my body could have experienced some type of shock, possibly causing trauma to the placenta. We really can't say for sure, but it does happen on occasion.

    As far as the chlorophyll, you can take it whether there are complications or not. It helps to nourish the blood. Liquid chlorophyll essentially has the same effects in the body as iron, so it builds our blood naturally. Whether you birth at home or in the hospital, it's a good idea to have this on hand, especially if bleeding tends to be a problem for someone.

    Hope this help!

  5. Wow, Candace, thanks for sharing this beautiful experience with us all. I am sure this will be an encouragement to other mothers or soon to be mommies. I am so glad I got to share in this with you. While the complication you experienced was certainly scary, it was wonderful to see that the midwives were ready and capable to act even in a 'not normal' birth.

  6. I can't find the statistics, but I have read that the incidence of partially detached placentas is traditionally HIGHER in hospitals because some - not all - doctors like to "hurry up" the delivery of the placenta by pulling on the umbilical cord to get it to come out. This often causes part of the placenta to come out while the rest is still attached to the uterus wall. I do believe however that this practice is largely being discontinued for this very reason.

    Every OB I have had always checks the placenta carefully after delivery to make sure it is intact. Often you just don't see them doing it because you are taken up in holding the baby and maybe nursing at this point.

    I think the only plus to doing this in a hospital is that IF you have had an epidural the pain meds would still be in effect, something I'm sure Candace would have been grateful for. However, if you have done a natural birth in a hospital, it would probably be up to the doctor as to whether he waits for someone to come administer some pain med before going in after the pieces. In that case, I'd much rather have the midwife doing it!

  7. My doctor in Atlanta does a PCB if that does happen. He calls it a "walking epidural", so you don't get the side effects of the epidural but it numbs just like an epidural would.

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  9. Candace,

    Thanks for your post on my blog to let me know you'd posted the rest of the story :)

    I feel as if I'm getting to *know* you through your blog, and will continue to read... :)

    God is good! ALL the time! So glad everything turned out the way it did :)


  10. Wow! Thank you so much for the rest of the story. When we share our experiences and trials it is always used by God for someone else who needs it.

  11. Boy that's scary. I'm so glad you were okay.

    Thanks for the post. Our last two have been home-deliveries. And both times we've used the same experienced midwife. It beats the heck out of the hospital!

  12. Incredible story, I love the idea of the homebirth. I'm so glad it was such a blessing for you guys. Take care and happy Valentine's day!

  13. Oh wow! Beautiful story! And I'm so glad God took care of you. Your midwives sound amazing!


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