We met Judith when we were pregnant with our fourth baby. This was our first baby with Judith (our first two births had been hospital inductions after rupture of membranes, and our third had been with a different midwife at home), and I was eager to see if my body would do what God had designed it to do on its own.
My water broke at 37 weeks so Judith came on over that morning to make sure Baby had good heart tones, check head position, and see if there were any signs of labor. My contractions piddled around until 8 p.m. Right after my husband and I tucked our three little sons in bed, my body got serious. Judith smiled and said that this was common as mothers labors often kick in after responsibilities wind down for the day.
Things progressed nicely, but then we came to a standstill. The baby wasnt really descending, though I was dilated to 10 cm. Judith looked at my stomach, felt for babys head position, and said to Paul and me, O.K., during this next contraction, I want to hold your left knee to the left side of your chest. This will help rotate Babys head so it is lined up with the birth canal. After one contraction, the angle of babys head had lined up and a couple contractions later, sweet little John Daniel was born around 10 p.m. that night. He was so quiet, still, and alert! It was a wonderful birth, and during the hard part when I was wanting to give up, Judith said softly, I can see your babys hair! Feel Babys hair! Knowing that we really were close to the end was an encouraging boost.
Judith did a newborn exam and could see that John was having trouble maintaining his body temperature, so she had us heat baby blankets in the dryer to wrap him in to help him out the first few days. It is always so fun to snuggle your new little one those first few tender days!
This birth was made so much easier by Judiths observations and little adjustments here and there. Id had two hospital births, and had been left to just push past malpresentations and an overly full bladder caused by IV with no voiding or catheter, which damaged internal tissues and left me in pain for months.
Our relationship with Judith continued for sixteen years beyond our fourth baby. Judith has delivered five more of our children, and Ive appreciated her experienced observation and helpful supervision that have smoothed a road that had been much rockier under the care of other medical and hospital providers during our first pregnancies. Her kind interactions with our children have been a blessing, also.
Mary’s Stories (cont.) – Libbys Birth
When we found out I was expecting after our eighth birth had ended in a C-section out-of-state, I was more than apprehensive. We had moved twice and now lived quite a bit further from Judith, so I tried to find midwife care closer to our home. I could not find anyone who would consider me for a home VBAC due to my age (39 and premenopausal), number of previous births (eight), borderline anemia, and that the most recent birth had been a Cesarean. I contacted Judith for advice, and she agreed to be my midwife once again, noting that nutritional support, not those other factors, was the main indicator of positive birth outcome and uterine strength. My back-up doctor was supportive, so I followed Judiths high protein guidelines and did what we could to correct my unresponsive anemia.
We almost lost Elisabeth, we call her Libby, at 20 weeks or so into the pregnancy. I began having hot flashes (and with it a marked decrease in babys movement). I thought it was a little humorous, since I WAS nearly 40 years old, but when I mentioned it to Judith, she realized I was having a hormone imbalance or placenta-damaging progesterone deficiency that was potentially life-threatening for the baby. We took the necessary precautions with the help of my back-up doctor, and the hot flashes (and other symptoms) went away.
After several days of stop-and-go labor (complete with snow and ice storms), we had a wonderful home water birth (my first water birth). Little (or not-so-little!) Elisabeth Mae was finally here at ten pounds 1 ounce! The warm water was so soothing and relaxing, and the buoyancy enabled me to shift and rotate my pelvis to help Baby rotate from posterior to mostly anterior presentation. Judith and her daughter were such a cheerful, helpful blessing for this birth.
During our prenatal visits, Judith always answered my many questions thoroughly and always had a smile for each child present, encouraging them to be excited for and helpful to Mommy and Baby. She is not only our midwife, but a true friend of the family.