Thursday, September 23, 2010

Maximo's birth

Maximo's birth story, as told by his mom, Megan White.


The birth of our son Maximo was very much anticipated the last few days before his official due date. Due to Josh's line of work it was a lot of "hurry up and wait". We would try to get him to come while he was in town and as soon as Josh left for work it would be wait time. The weekend of his due date Josh was supposed to have a show in Las Vegas, which was ironic because Josh was in Vegas when Olive was born. He didn't make it home for Olive, but this time we were determined that he would be at the birth.

January 29th: Max's Due date.Friday morning I woke up determined that I would have this baby that day. I had been dilating for a few weeks and was more than ready to go into labor. The day before I had done some home remedy self inducing tricks. They all started contractions but nothing that continued on. This was a bummer. So, that morning I woke up 5 cms and 90% effaced. I decided that before the snow storm that was supposed to hit around noon I would make it to Target for a few laps around the store. As we were walking we realized that snow was coming down heavier and starting to stick. I decided to call the Susie and discuss her coming to the house to hang out due to the weather.

We got home and contractions stalled. I was so bummed but waited to try to make things happen in case the midwife didn't make it there any time soon. A few hours later around 1:00 PM Susie and Cindy arrived. We got contractions started and I waited them out. I was super prepared for the birth this time. I had been doing weeks of relaxation technique exercises. I made CDS full of music that encouraged me to feel relaxed and breathe. Josh and I began to just hang out and work our way through each contraction. I was very hopeful. Olive's delivery was hard and fast, it had a point where is stalled out but overall went extremely well. So far, Max's labor was going SO easy I began to worry something wasn't right. In the back of my head, I was very aware that if we had to get the hospital, the only way would be by ambulance and I don't even know how fast that would have gone since it was snowing and sleeting.

4:00 in the afternoon contractions had taken me to about 7 cms. So far so good, but I was starting to feel a little bit antsy for the labor to progress faster. Time started to blur around this time, but from here to around 9:00 we just kept encouraging contractions and keeping them going along with herbs and the breast pump. These techniques were working and it was fairly painless, but it wasn't taking me to the end.

Around midnight, I was starting to get completely exhausted physically and mentally and was really frustrated at the direction the labor was. I was desparate to hear that I had progressed enough to break the water. I was at 9 CM. I was getting closer... but Max's head was still not right. I think by now everyone probably realized (short of myself) that Max was posterior in the womb. Then my water broke and contractions hit the roof. They became intense and fast, very much like Olive's whole labor. Emotions were completely taken over, but the one thing that was keeping me going and strong was Josh. He was by my side the whole time and though he didn't say a thing, he gave me the encouragement to not give up. On top of this I had my amazing team. I felt surrounded by encouragement and love and despite my desparate calls for please just kill me : ) I knew that we could get through this. Honestly, we HAD TO GET THROUGH THIS.

3:00 am-- I was 9.5 cms and NOT progressing. The baby was obviously posterior and NOT turning. I was exhausted. So much for second babies being half the time of the first or easier. This was work. Hard hard work. Then Susie manually helped start the pushing process even with the 1.2 cm not complete. Pushing began. I tried pushing him under my pelvis for an hour or so. It was a constant push. No avail. Finally, he got through. Not sure how, but it was time to get him out.
4:45 AM
Born 1/30/2010 4:45 AM
9 lbs 7 oz 23 inches long

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lazarus-Another Grandbaby delivered at home

Contractions had been coming and going for weeks by the time they became more regular last Sunday night. When we left the Jensen's house after scones, I had hopes of meeting little Laz by Monday morning.

So many of my friends' second babies came much faster than the first and although I didn't want to be naive, I hung on to that possibility. Dan and I tried to sleep as much as possible between the contractions that came 10 minutes apart. We welcomed the morning with baggy eyes and discouraged hearts.

Determined to get things going, we took the kids to the sprinkler park. The boys doused each other in water while I walked around. By the time we left the park, contractions were coming faster and harder.

By 1pm, contractions were 5 minutes apart and more painful. After lunch at the Jensens, we headed home with high hopes. By 5pm, my friend Jen came with the camera and pizza. Vicki and the other midwife Linsey showed up, too. This was when I thought to myself "wow-it's really going to happen. I'm going to do this again!". A couple hours passed while I labored in the kitchen between bites. I really enjoyed laboring during the day-less sleepy and therefore more fun!

Between 6pm and midnight, I labored with various people by my side. God's timing was so perfect. My sister (who came into town on Saturday) was able to stay until Tuesday afternoon. We had all hoped and prayed that Lazarus would come before then, and it looked as if he would! My mom delivered all her ladies just in time to come for the birth, too. I was very thankful to have them there.

As well, my friend, and professional photographer, Jen had just come back from an 8 week internship with her family. I was worried she would miss the birth. Vicki got to be there with us,too which was really special. She's known me since I was 9 years old and is our St. Louis family. A few others stopped in to pray with me but didn't stay the entire night. I appreciated all the love and support. Childbirth is such hard work. I truly believe women shouldn't be alone during such a difficult yet special time. It was such an encouragement to me to have so many loved ones around, all wanting to be part of the miraculous occasion.

Around 8:30pm, the kids were put to bed in Eljiah's room, right next door. It took a while for the boys to settle down, but once they fell asleep, they stayed asleep. I knew that Elijah probably wouldn't be there for the actual birth, since it was getting so late. I was a little sad to let go of the fantasy I had of all of us being there together as a family, but got over it pretty quickly. I had work to do and needed to stay focussed!

By midnight, my contractions were so intense, I was sure I was nearing the end, but had only gotten to 8 centimeters. Things were progressing so slowly and my mom was convinced that if she broke my water, everything would speed up. Lazarus became very active, kicking and pushing his way down. We think he was trying to get his head in the right direction. My mom had me do a few contractions in some difficult positions to help turn Laz around. It was so incredibly painful. I'm sure it was hard for my mom to hear me say "mom! it's hurts!! please, no!" but we all knew we were doing what had to be done in order to get the baby out. Finally, my water broke and I immediately jumped in the pool and went into transition.

On August 24th at 2:14am, after just 45 minutes of pushing, Lazarus William Wayne Robbins peacefully entered the world. He barely made a peep although he did look pretty grumpy. We all cried with joy, so thankful for this new life.

After checking the little guy out, Grandma and Grandpa weighed their new grandson. Lazarus weighed 7 lbs. 12 oz. and was 21 1/4 in. long.

Dan and I were finally tucked into bed around 4:ooam. Dan passed out, but I couldn't take my eyes off Lazarus. A little after 7am, we woke up to the sound of the other kids playing. Dan took Lazarus out to show Elijah his new little brother. I heard Eli exclaim "Lazarus come out the big belly!!!!". It was hilarious. The rest of the morning was spent oohing and aahhing over Laz. The kids loved talking to him, especially Elijah.

My mom and dad stayed until Saturday afternoon. My mom took care of me while I recovered and they both helped so much around the house. It was great to have them spend time with Elijah, too.

Last night while eating scones at the Jensens, we all reflected on what a week it had been. It was great to sit there at the table with a scone in my hand and the baby in Rick's hands. It had been a week since it all began and I was thankful to be on the other side of things.

Labor was much longer than I had hoped, but God brought me through it. I feel as though I had more control this time around. My biggest fear was that I would loose my focus and freak out, but whenever I felt scared, I would pray and leaned on my birth team for support. Like my pastor's wife Stephene said, the presence of God was there the entire time. The birth was blessed from start to finish. I am amazed at how God answered every single prayer surrounding the birth. I had a water birth and everything came out that was supposed to. Lazarus stayed strong the entire time and came out with 10 fingers and 10 toes without a big birthmark on his face (another strange fear of mine). My mom delivered another one of my babies and my sister was there to help (without a camera in her hand!!! thanks Jen!). God gets all the glory. He worked all things out according to His will and for our good. I am so grateful!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sammy's birth

Here is Sammy's birth story, written and told by his mother, Kathryn.


My birth story begins at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon. I had been having contractions the day before, but nothing that could be timed. Susie suggested I go to the chiropractor to get adjusted and to have any pregnancy acupressure points hit to induce labor. By the time I got home, my contractions started coming every 15 to 30 minutes. I laid around the house the rest of the day watching HGTV and the Food Network.

By the evening, my contractions had shortened to 10 minutes apart. I had my mother, father, and husband with me. I held my mother and husband’s hand every time a contraction came, and my father wrote down the time. We called Susie by the time my contractions were around 5 minutes apart. Susie came in around 2:30 AM. Cindy, her assistant, came in soon after.

My contractions were very strong, but I didn’t know how to breathe through them. Susie immediately stepped in and showed me how to breathe properly to lessen the pain of the contraction. At this time, I went into my bathtub to labor. It really helped me to focus on the comfort of the water than the actual contraction. I stayed in the bathtub until the early morning hours. I then went to labor on the bed and attempt to “sleep” between contractions. I was obviously unsuccessful, but it was still comforting.

Susie checked me and I was around 6 cm. I needed to get up to 8 cm before they could break my water. My water was bulging, and we were hoping I would break on my own, but even through walking up and down the hallway, sitting on my balance ball, and squatting on my toilet, I was unsuccessful in breaking my own water. When I finally got up to 8 cm, Susie broke my water.

It was a relief to feel my water break. I was thinking to myself, “This is finally it. This is finally the moment. All I have to do it get to 10 cm, and he will be here before I know it.” Getting from 8cm to 10cm was the most difficult. The pain of the contractions were not unbearable because I fancy myself to handle pain better than most individuals, but they were pretty close to it. The only real pain I have felt in my life and remember quite clearly was when I had a horse fall on my foot and crush all the bones, some of them were powdered. When the nerves re-fired in my foot, it was an unbelievable pain, and something I would not wish on anyone. The re-firing nerves felt like my contractions, but the contractions radiated over my entire body and were not just centralized to an area on my body.

As I labored on the bed, Susie checked me again and had news that she could get my cervix over
Sammy’s head. I had made it to 10cm! The feeling after that was unbelievable; it was the feeling to push. It’s like your body knows exactly what to do. I had hardly eaten anything the past two days because I had not felt like it, but my body was able to find enough energy to push. I pushed during each contraction. The most difficult and discouraging part was trying to get Sammy past my pelvic bone. I would push as hard as I could, but I felt nothing would happen. Susie, Cindy, my mother, and husband were there the entire time as I pushed Sammy into the world.

After Sammy made it pass my pelvic bone, I pushed several times and his head would start coming out, but then after the contraction was over, his head would go back in. Finally, I was able to push enough and keep his head from going back inside. Slowly, I pushed his head out entirely. Susie told me to hold him there while they suctioned his nose and mouth, then with one final push from me, his shoulders and the rest of his body made it into this world.

They immediately laid him on my chest; he was perfect. His ten little toes, his ten little fingers, and his little body all radiating life, a new beginning, a new journey.

Babies are truly God’s greatest gift.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Flannery's Birth

Flannery is almost 5 weeks old now, but her birth seems like it happened yesterday. Here's her birth story, one that I love telling...

On Saturday, Feb. 6th, I (realize now) that I had gotten into nesting mode, flitting around the house, cleaning and organizing. Around lunch time, I leaked a bit of fluid and then started cramping. The cramping wasn't consistent in frequency or length, but it was there for sure. After a little bit of this, I called my mom, sister, Nathan and my friend Jen (who was our backup doula) to let them know what was happening. Nathan was able to come home around dinner time, from work, which was a huge help, since the cramping had turned into contractions that were about 10 minutes apart and I was having a hard time caring for Amos, getting ready to be ready to go to the hospital and get through contractions at the same time. Around 10 that night, my parents and sister decided to get in their cars and drive to our house from their respective cities. Thankfully, it was not snowing, as it had the day before, and the roads were quite clear. They all arrived in the middle of the night--Bethany, with Eli in tow and both my mom and dad. My contractions had pretty much slowed down, or stopped, so we all just went to bed hoping for a baby the next day.

We woke up Sunday morning with no real change. Nathan stayed home from church anyway, and my mom got out her bag of tricks to see what we could do. I won't go into detail, but there were many things we tried before we all finally headed out for lunch and then Beth, Mom and I walked around (and danced in) Old Navy and then Borders, hoping to get labor going. It did help to walk around--it seemed that walking around was one of the only things that helped keep the contractions coming consistently. But I couldn't walk around all day---my feet eventually started to hurt!

Monday morning, I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep from feeling stronger contractions that were coming about every ten minutes. So we did more tricks and more walking, in hopes of having a baby that day. When my mom checked me that afternoon, I was only at 1 cm and the baby hadn't yet dropped. So things were going slow! By dinner time, my contractions were getting harder, but still not super consistent.

And by bed time, we tried to sleep but they were getting still harder and it was now necessary for Nathan to put pressure on my lower back for me to get through the contractions. So that's what we did all night, got through harder contractions that were about 15 minutes apart. At some point that night, my mom checked me and I was at 3cms, which was very encouraging, but she still had not come down any further.

Around 6 on Tuesday morning, my mom felt that it was nearing time for us to go to the hospital, as the contractions were harder and she wanted me to get on the monitors. Because we were attempting a natural birth after a c-section (VBAC), it was going to be necessary for me to be at the hospital soon and to be constantly monitored in case anything happened with my uterus or placenta. Thankfully, during those few days of camping out, my mom was using her doplar radar to hear Flannery's heart beat and was also taking my blood pressure, so we knew that she was ok through it all.

So we got in the car and drove through the snow storm that was arriving (a prediction I had made all along, that our baby would come in the middle of a snow storm!) and made it safely to the hospital which was just a few miles away!

After we got to the hospital, our nurse, Courtney, checked me and I was at 4 cm. Yay!! Progress.
**I should stop and say at this point, that I felt tremendously anxious that my labor would stop all together and that everyone would have to go home and come back at some other point. The whole time, since my labor was so inconsistent, I never knew if I was going to have our baby that week and was hesitant to even say that I was in labor.

So I was happy when, around 1 pm, Tuesday, our Doctor came to check on me and broke my water, in hopes of speeding things up a bit. At that point, I was going to have a baby in the next 24 hours by hook or by crook, and that was an encouraging thought to me. That was the upside. The downside was that my contractions became much harder and stronger and because I was so tired from not sleeping well and hungry, I would have mini-meltdowns after every contraction. It became difficult for me to focus and relax, so much so, that I started really considering getting an epidural, just so I could rest for a bit. The thought of getting through 6 more centimeters and then pushing a baby out was so overwhelming and I really thought I couldn't do it. So the plan became for me to try to make it to 5 cm so I could get into the tub and then see how things went from there.

It took me all afternoon to get to 5 and by 4 that afternoon, we moved to the tub room and I got in. Unfortunately for me, the tub was too awkward of a shape for me to get into a good position to get through contractions. By that point, the best thing I could do was to put my arms around Nathan's neck and do squats or just hang, to get through a contraction. Laying in bed, though relaxing in between, was the worst and most painful way to get through a contraction and the pool proved to be the same.

I was very discouraged and angry that the tub didn't work like I had thought it would and finally got out. Bethany arrived at that point, too. She had been at home all day with the boys, and then was able to come to the hospital when friends were able to get to our house to take over care of Amos and Eli.

My mom thinks that the tub did work to help relax me in between contractions, as I progressed to 7 cm in just an hour. Because I was so angry about the tub not working like I thought (I thought it would help ease the pain of the contractions, which were so so hard and intense and the most painful thing I had ever physically felt), I really wanted an epidural and was practically begging Nathan to let me do it. I was still so tired and overwhelmed with the thought of getting through the contractions and then pushing that I just wanted relief. After all, it had been four days!

So we went ahead with getting an epidural, but first, I needed to get a bunch of fluids into me. I think that they helped so much in giving me a boost in blood sugar and sustinance. By the time the fluids were done, I was in transition, at 9 cm, which basically made getting an epidural pointless.

**This whole time, I was having the conversation with myself about the epidural...I knew deep down that I would be disappointed that I had gotten one and not gone the whole way naturally, which was our original birth plan and deep desire, but I was so tired of being in pain and so overwhelmed, that I just wanted relief.

Soon, I was feeling the urge to push and when she checked me, I was 9 1/2 cm and almost totally thinned out. I was having to fight that urge, as well as get through a contraction and it was even more painful and difficult! By the time Dr. Soper made it in, I was ready and she gave me instructions to push. It took me a few contractions to get the hang of it, as all through labor, I was having to take constant deep breaths and now suddenly, I was having to hold that breath! It was also so anti-intuitive to push and as I pushed, feel more pain and essentially, push into the pain. It was funny because all around the bed, there was our nurse, Nathan, Mom, Dr Soper and Bethany (who was taking pictures) and each time they would all say something different. Looking back now, it was comical but I appreciated all of their support!

At some point, my mom traded places with Dr. Soper and she got ready to "catch" Flannery as I pushed her out. After a half an hour, I finally pushed her head out and then her body slithered out. I will never forget seeing my mom hold her up with such a look of joy. She got to deliver her namesake and that is such an amazing gift and blessing and moment that I will always remember.

As Flannery was placed on my chest, all I could say was "It's over! I can't believe it's over!" There was no better feeling in that moment, but to feel her little chubby body and hear her loud cry. It was an amazing moment--so satisfying, making all of the pain worth it. Things went well after that and soon, I was ordering dinner and watching Nathan and my mom give Flannery's first bath. Bethany was still taking pictures and we were all on our phones, calling family and friends with the good news !!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Elijah's Birth

Bethany is my sister and one of Susie's daughters. Elijah's birth was the first to take place in the home where we grew up and was the first time that Susie got to deliver one of her grandchildren...

My husband and I moved to Malawi in August of 2007. We had committed to 2 years of teaching at an international school and having a baby was no where in that plan. As you can imagine, we were very surprised and nervous to find out that we were pregnant by October. There was a short discussion about having the baby in South Africa. We could very well have made that happen, but it didn't make sense to me. I figured if we were willing to travel to SA and be gone from our work for months, we might as well go home and have the best midwife deliver our little one. When all was said and done, I knew I needed my mom.

By mid March, I was 30 weeks along. We moved in with my parents in the house I grew up in. We spent time with friends and family, Dan did a lot of reading and I nested in my mother's home (sorry mom!!! but you DID need it!). My due date was May 27th. Almost two weeks prior, I had been having false labor on and off. I kept myself distracted with trips to Old Navy, dance parties and redecorating my mom's home office. On May 26th, I began having more real contractions. Dan and I stayed up most of the night timing the contractions which were 4 minutes apart. When morning came, there was no progress and we were wiped out.
On May 27th, I went to see a chiropractor (one of my mom's former clients) to have an adjustment. By the time we got to the Franklin Chop House for dinner, labor had kicked in. Despite the contractions, I still ordered my favorite dish to go- the crispy chicken salad with extra honey mustard. By the time the waitress came out with the food, I was having contractions hard enough to be embarrassed about. We jumped in the car and got through many harder contractions during our long ride home through the country side. Soon, everyone met us at the house and people got busy. Everyone had a job to do-lay out sheets, getting towels, heating up water on the stove. My brother in law Nathan and my nephew Amos helped get the tub ready. It was truly a family affair.

My dear sister Sarah kept our blog updated throughout my labor. We had friends from Malawi and other places reading it all through the night keeping up with my progress. It was so encouraging to know that people were praying for us all around the world.

Here is an update Sarah posted on my blog:

At 7:15, she was at 2 cm and 90% effaced. My mom was so excited because she got to feel his head!!At 10:15, Beth was at 4 cm and 100% effaced. It's official, he's coming!!At 11:26, Beth is at 5 cm and is ready to get into the pool!

Once I was able to get in the pool, I felt much more relaxed. With the help of my team (My mom, her assistant Cindy, Dan, and sisters Abigail and Sarah) we got in a groove and time seemed to speed along. With each contraction came a heat wave hotter than I could handle. My requests were short and clear: "COLD RAG!", "FACE", "BACK", "FAN". Any member of the team would be right there with exactly what I needed. It was wonderful.

Labor continued and my team held up. Dan was my rock throughout. Sometimes, I fell asleep between contractions and would wake up with sharp pains scanning the room for Dan's eyes. Once focussed on his eyes, I felt like I could get through anything. My water finally broke somewhere in the late hours of the night. God had carried me through so much pain, but I didn't know what pain was until I hit transition. I spent most of transition in the pool and had trouble breathing at times. When I was finally ready to push, I couldn't get a good grip and so I moved to the bed.
I faintly remember my mom saying how beautiful it will be for Elijah to be born in the early morning. The sound of the crickets were fading away and the birds began to sing. Light was coming in through the windows and the fields were heavy with mist. Within 30 minutes of pushing on the bed, Elijah came into the world healthy and beautiful at 6:16am. He weighed 7 lbs 4 oz. The room erupted with cheers and cries of joy. I couldn't believe I had done it. It was all too unreal.
For a long time afterward, my mom, Cindy and I worked on delivering the placenta. For reasons only God can understand, it just wouldn't come out. After a beautiful successful home birth, I left Elijah with my sisters and went to the hospital. Honestly, I was too tired and hungry to be disappointed about it. I just wanted to get back to Elijah, and I didn't care what it took. We spent nearly 6 hours at the hospital, but by the end, my sweet and gentle doctor was able to deliver the placenta with much pain but thankfully without any medical intervention. I was finally able to be home with my little guy.

I will never forget giving birth in my parents' bedroom. It was the room I would run to during scary thunderstorms and the room we all gathered in on Christmas morning to pray. My mom was very professional throughout the entire thing. She never lectured me or made me feel like I was in trouble-these were slight fears I had, being her daughter and all. Instead, she kept me focussed and coached me through the harder times. I hope and pray she can make it to my second birth in August.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Hi friends,
I'm Sarah, Susie's daughter. Susie Meeks is a Certified Professional Midwife and doula in the Middle TN area.
Recently I had the amazing experience of giving birth to our daughter. I was so blessed to be able to have a VBAC and to have my mom there.
In sharing my birth story, it seemed that so many people were encouraged and inspired, something I honestly did not expect. I know that others have birth stories that could be shared to also encourage and inspire. Hopefully this blog will be a place for us to share our experiences.
I'll be the one posting the stories. They might be from former clients who want to share their story or a current client who has recently had their baby. The stories might be annonymous, but hopefully the emotion and experience will still come through.
Feel free to email your story if you'd like to be part of the blog.