Ep 28: MaternityWise’s Anne Croudace Shares Her Birth Stories

Generously Sponsored By: Hatched at Home-Midwife Carrie LaChapelle: www.hatchedathome.com https://www.facebook.com/MidwifeCarrieLachapelleLMCPM/ 864-907-6363 Show Notes: 
    Anne is a mother of 6 children who range in age from 25 to 3 She has been a doula/labor support person for 25 years (before the term really even existed!) In 1999, Anne trained formally as a doula. She trained a second time with another organization the following year, and found that the two organizations had rather opposite methods and beliefs.  One was very medical, the other was almost medically antagonistic.  Anne felt she was lacking training from both organizations, so she set out to do something about it. She and a group of women started a business called Maternity Wise, and she’s been training doulas since 2004. With her first birth, Anne had a doctor who she says was more like a midwife than a typical doctor. At the end of her labor, she did use some narcotic pain relief at the end of her labor (though her doctor did discourage it), which she attributes to having a more difficult pushing phase.  Anne mentions how it made her feel drunk and slow- unable to move the way she wanted to. Once the narcotics wore off, Anne was able to push more successfully and baby came out quickly at that point. “What I’ve learned throughout the course of my births is that I’m one of those moms who does a lot of early work.” Her births are fast, but she does a lot of laboring off and on in the weeks beforehand. “I do a lot of laboring off and on during the weeks beforehand… and that sort of thing makes everybody nutty!” With her second child, she was actually put on bedrest several weeks beforehand. She had both of these babies 2 weeks before her due date, and both were over 8 lbs! As soon as they took her off bedrest, she went into labor. When she went to the hospital, the nurse checked her and her water broke. The nurse left, saying that she had quite a ways to go.  As soon as she left, Anne begins feeling the “poop pressure” The nurse ran back in, lifted the blanket, and caught Anne’s baby as he came “shooting out”! All in all, her second labor was 55 minutes long. Between her second and third birth, her amazing doctor stopped practicing. She was referred to an OB who she very much liked, but in 1999, doctors were now working in groups, so she was not necessarily going to be attended by her own doctor. At 37 weeks Anne went in because she was experiencing potential labor. After being there for several hours and having everything die down, she wanted to go home. The doctor said, “Let me just check you one more time and we’ll go from there.”  What she didn’t know is that the doctor had an amniohook in his hand, and he broke her water without her permission. After the baby was born, Anne felt he looked far too small and young. She’d been studying for quite some time at this point, so upon assessment, she felt confident that he was not 3 weeks early, but closer to 5 weeks early. “I think of all these moms whose due dates could be miscalculated- and how they induce and how they hurry things up and how they have these itty bitty babies who are just not ready.” In 2002, Anne decided to have her first homebirth (baby #4). With this baby, she went 3 days past 40 weeks- much further than she’d ever previously gone! Anne’s sister in law came to stay with her because her husband was working an hour away, and they knew that might be too far to make the birth! Of course, her baby waited until the day her sister in law left to be born! She began feeling slight contractions, but they very suddenly made a turn and got very strong. She called her midwife, who said she was on her way, but was 45 minutes away.  She had been in the tub, but got out because she was uncomfortable. As she got up, her body started pushing. She walked to the bed, and with the next contraction, her baby was born. Anne’s husband caught her, juggled her around a bit, and put her on Anne’s chest.  The baby took a good breath, but then went limp, which very much scared Anne at the time. Anne mentions that as a toddler, this daughter would faint if she were surprised or scared… she now thinks that’s what happened at her birth! This daughter that she had alone- Ruth- is very shy. On the other hand, her next daughter is the life of the party.  And for this birth, Anne needed all of her people there!  She had plenty of women around her, as well as her husband, and her kids were in the other room “eatin’ triscuits”. Her midwife was about 10 minutes out, and her water had yet to break. With the next contraction, she felt a big, warm gush.  This contraction was particularly difficult. She assumed her water had broken, but when she opened her eyes, she saw that everyone around her looked concerned.  She looked down and realized that this was not water, but blood. One of her friends, who is a lay midwife, was with her and supporting her. She prayed over Anne, then looked at her and said, “You need to push the baby out.” At that time, Anne’s midwife arrived. She grabbed a Doppler and checked baby’s heartrate, which was good, so everyone felt reassured.  However, she was still bleeding copiously, so there was great concern.  Her midwife checked her and told her that she had a cervical lip, which she was going to hold while Anne pushed through the next contraction.  Her midwife kept saying, “You have to push harder.  You have to push harder.” Anne remembers thinking, “They can’t help her if I can’t get her out.” So she pushed with what she felt was her last bit of life force (she was weakening with each contraction, as she was losing so much blood) and her baby came out screaming. Once her baby arrived, Anne’s perception of what happened vs. the reality of what happened were very different. She says she wouldn’t have believed it had it not been video taped. Anne is in a state of delirium at this point, but suddenly something amazing occurs. Her two-year-old daughter Ruth, who is incredibly intuitive,   comes up beside her mother’s face and touches her. Her midwife later diagnosed that Anne had had a marginal placenta previa, which is what caused the tremendous bleeding. A piece of Anne’s placenta actually came out before her baby, but it broke off on her cervix.  This was a serious complication. Between the next two babies, Anne gets divorced and remarried. She has been traveling all over the country and the world training women as doulas.  To her surprise, she finds herself pregnant!  At 40 years old, Anne is considered “advanced maternal age.” Once again, Anne is experiencing lots of prodromal labor. All of her babies had been born in the evening up until this point, so when she would feel signs of labor in the morning, she typically ignored them.  One morning, she was having a consistent feeling of, “Oh, if I could just go poop, I’d feel better…” This turned into her walking around, getting in different positions, and continuously thinking, “If I could just do this (insert activity), I would feel better.” Anne had her husband fill the tub with water. She sat on the toilet while she waited, and had several very intense, uncomfortable contractions there.  She gets into the tub and tells her husband that he should call the midwife.  In the meantime, she’s thinking, “Oh, if I just get my tummy in the water, I’ll feel better….” Anne gets on her hands and knees, and the next contraction was more manageable. The next contraction happens, and Anne does “the big Moo”.  Her midwife was on the phone at this point, hears Anne and heads for the door.  Apparently she had been nursing her toddler—she threw her toddler at her husband, ran out the door without a shirt on, and drove straight to Anne.  This was the first birth her midwife ever missed! With the next contraction, Anne’s baby’s head was born. She was still en caul (her water had not broken) “For good or bad, I think we define ourselves as women by our birth experiences- and that’s why when you have a bad birth experience you’re more likely to suffer from postpartum depression or anxiety.” “Birth works all on its own- We just interfere with it so much.” Anne on MaternityWise: “One of my favorite things to do is help women birth their business.”