Our Background Story
November 2013 our first baby and first planned home birth turned into a c-section (read Blake’s birth story here). June 2015, 19 months later, planned HBAC (home birth after c-section).
About my Midwife
- Name: Sizzly M. Auer, Midwife and owner of Childbirth Options.
- Licenses & Certifications: LM, CPM, NRP, and CPR. Legally licensed by the state of FL.
- Education: 3 years for midwifery. 5 years with an associate of business and medical billing.
- Births in 2014: 89
- Hospital transfers in 2014: 23
- VBACs in 2014: 37; 18 at home, 7 at a hospital. All successful VBACs.
- 12 VBACs were transfer and had a repeat section because they didn’t pass scar u/s or diagnosed failure to progress.
- Mortality rate: 0
- Equipment brought to birth: birth kit previously purchased by client, homeopathic kit (essential oils and tinctures), IV kit, Medication bag (Pitocin, methergine, and antibiotics), suture kit, amnicots, lubrication, alcohol pads, non-latex gloves, alcohol, ear cover, epi pen, delee, cath kit, sterile instruments, newborn pulse oximeter, baby scale, stethoscope, lancet for PKU, thermometer, eye ointment and drops for alternative, oral and vitamin K shots, venipuncture, doppler, blood pressure cuff, urine test strips, ear thermometer, oxygen tanks, autoclave to sterilize instruments.
- Vitals (bp, heart rate, etc.): Vitals are checked every 15 minutes while in active labor, every 10 minutes during a transition, and after every push. After birth vitals are checked every 15 minutes until the first hour, every 30 minutes until the second hour, and every hour until discharge.
I am writing a second birth story for Houston (read the first one here). A second point of view, from the medical perspective. I will try not to repeat myself entirely, but there will be times I do because well, this is the same baby’s story. For those who have no experience with a home birth midwife, I’d like to also share some of my experiences at my prenatal appointments first.
I had my first appointment at 7w 5d. I thought I was closer to 10 weeks but at that first appointment I had an ultrasound to measure and calculate my due date, and it was determined Houston was 2 weeks younger than I had thought. Sizzly usually does an u/s at first visits, for this reason, of course, you could decline but in my case I really wanted the most accurate due date to give me the most accurate amount of time. Other routine things that were done at each of these appointments were: checking weight, urine, blood pressure, temperature, my heart rate, and baby’s heart rate. Sizzly would ask me a long list of routine questions regarding pregnancy symptoms, my diet, exercise, and overall health. You’ll quickly realize I say Sizzly’s name a lot and that’s because I saw her at every single appointment. There were a few times where her assistant would come in and check vitals and ask questions first but 90% of the time I only saw Sizzly at my appointments.
At my first appointment in this pregnancy, when I entered the room Sizzly excitedly said “oh, I have something for you!” and gave me a bag of “VBAC tea”. She said when I called to make my appointment just a few days earlier she ordered it for me right away. I already knew she was very supportive in my decision for a VBAC, after all she is the one that said to me in the hospital right after Blake was born that I could VBAC, but this simple gift of a bag of tea was just another thoughtful reminder that she was going to do whatever she could to make it possible.
As Houston (and my belly) grew Sizzly measured my uterus at every appointment. Other routine things that were done: 20w anatomy u/s, GBS test, glucose test. For the glucose, I didn’t have to drink that horrible sugary drink I’ve heard of. I was to fast from all sugar for a week and then the morning of my appointment consume 50 grams of sugar. I picked a cup of grape juice (grape juice has the highest sugar content among other juices) some other options are a bag of skittles or a candy bar. At my 35w appointment, an u/s was done to determine the thickness of my scar from my previous c-section. This can be a very controversial thing as some people feel that if your midwife or doctor requires it that they’re not VBAC supportive because some women with a thin scar still successfully go on to VBAC. Sizzly said I could refuse it if I wanted, of course, but I trusted her reasons for doing it and also wanted to do it for reassurance myself.
Now that everything was lining up for my birth I was to start preparing my home. Sizzly gave me a list of supplies I was to have at my house, things that she doesn’t bring. Most of these items were in the birth kit listed above. There were a few other things on her list I needed to buy, like arnica, heating pad, cotton balls. But honestly, I didn’t use any of these things. I also stocked up on orange juice, ‘third trimester’ iced tea and some high protein foods to have during labor; cliff bars, beef jerky, pistachios. I didn’t end up eating during labor though besides splitting a cliff bar with Blake earlier in the afternoon.
Fast forward to my 39 week (39w 4d to be exact) appointment.. First I’d like to say, I know some of my friends may shake their heads at some parts of this story while others won’t even bat an eyelash, but, on a personal note… I struggled with fear throughout this pregnancy quite a bit, not really fear of something like a uterine rupture or pre-e (although those did cross my mind at some points) my biggest fear was not going into labor again, failing at giving birth again. As I got closer to “the end” and the more I prayed I felt that I needed this baby to come earlier than Blake did. Normally I would love to stay pregnant till 42 or 43 weeks, but this time I needed to know I could do it, and with each passing day leading up to 40 weeks I had more doubt and stress taking over. SO with that being said… At this appointment I allowed Sizzly to do a dilation check, she said she would only do a membrane sweep if I was dilated. I was 2 cm & 60% effaced. She did the sweep. She told me I would experience cramping and bleeding, and we went on our way. If you want to read about my labor, which was a total of about 16 hours from the first contraction I woke up to Wednesday morning till Houston was born Wednesday night, please read his original birth story.
The Big Day
After keeping in touch with Sizzly throughout the day via texts and calls, she arrived at my house around 5:30 pm. She went upstairs and unpacked the birth kit, set up all of her equipment and everything she needed. I had already prepared my bed as instructed with a set of nice sheets (for after Houston was born) topped with a plastic cover and sheets to throw away (for the birth) and I went one step ahead and put on another mattress protector and set of sheets on the top that we would use until labor, which we would then take off as to not mess them up. Only problem was in the midst of labor I remembered at the last minute to take off our comforter, but completely forgot about this top layer of sheets.. Oh well.
While I walked around upstairs letting contractions pass and Stefen set up my birth playlist, Sizzly prepared the bed with lots of protector pads to break my water on. Once I was ready I got in bed, Stefen beside me, and with the next contraction she broke my water. Then we sat till the next one came. Sizzly told me at first I would just do a few “practice pushes”. I still didn’t have the strong urge to push that I was expecting. I felt pretty confident in how to push since I had witnessed quite a few births and Sizzly assured me I was doing everything right. Houston still needed to work his way down a little bit, so these pushes were doing that. Sizzly encouraged me to move around and try different positions. She never left our upstairs bedroom the whole time.
During each of these contractions she would check where I was at and how I was doing, how Houston was. During one of them though I remember she was writing something down, so as the contraction came I just pushed through like I had been doing. This may seem like a weird thing to point out but I remember feeling so empowered at that time, like ” I am the one doing this!” Not someone else telling me what to do or when to do it, I was just listening to my own body, and Sizzly was right there if I needed her. Around this time her assistant arrived. I had never met her before and I remember thinking, “Well this is an awkward way to meet someone for the first time with my legs spread open.” And then I thought back to Blake’s birth and the countless people who “met me” in similar awkward positions. She also fit right in and was very comfortable to be around, sharing stories of her own family, and joking around with ours. Sizzly was checking mine & Houston’s vitals, once her assistant arrived she took over checking them, as well as writing down info, handing Sizzly supplies she needed, and preparing my herbs for after birth. With every contraction and push Sizzly was massaging my perineum to help me not tear. Stefen asked me afterwards, “Do they do that much in the hospital?” I thought about it for a little while, and then told him, “No. They usually just do an episiotomy”. Once I finally had the urge to push that so many had told me about, Sizzly was pushing both of my feet back as far as she could. Stefen started helping her and that is when I told them to have my mom come up and help, because I knew Sizzly needed her hands free, but when she pushed on my feet it felt so much better. With just a few pushes Houston was out! Sizzly placed him right on my stomach and I pulled him up on my chest.
Everything was sort of a blur at this point because I was consumed with holding my new baby. Sizzly massaged my uterus and was monitoring my bleeding. After about 5-10 minutes when Houston’s umbilical cord stopped pulsing Stefen cut it. She massaged my uterus a little more until I birthed the placenta. Since I did tear a little with my back to back pushes I needed a few stitches. Sizzly gave me numbing medicine and quickly stitched me up. She told me to eat something (which I wanted to because I was so hungry now!) So my Mom toasted some of her bread with peanut butter and made some hot tea. I remember thinking that toast was the best thing I had ever eaten! I held Houston and fed him for over an hour, but looking back it all went by so quickly. After this time, Sizzly weighed and measured him right beside me. While I got up to go to the bathroom and change into clothes Sizzly helped me and then cleaned off the bed, my family took off the bedding to be washed so when I came out the bed was made. About 2 hours had passed by now, everything was cleaned up and we were all upstairs admiring Houston. Sizzly had cleaned everything that needed to be cleaned up, packed all of her equipment up and she and her assistant left. Stefen, Blake, Houston, and myself all went to sleep shortly after.
After The Big Day
I didn’t leave our bedroom till the next day and that was just to go sit downstairs instead of upstairs. If you’re used to a hospital setting you may think it’s crazy that we were just left alone after a few short hours of giving birth. I’ve had multiple friends tell me that they signed out of the hospital after a few hours of giving birth though so it is not as uncommon as you may think. Sizzly came back to check on me a couple days later and had us fill out Houston’s birth information, but we kept in contact texting back and forth often between then. I was then scheduled for a 2 week follow up appointment at her office to check the healing of my stitches (which had completely healed and was “back to normal”) and to talk with her about how we were doing as a new family of 4. My next and last appointment was my 6-8 week follow up appointment which is always kind of sad for me knowing they’re coming to an end. She checked all my vitals, asked questions about myself and Houston, but mostly we just chatted and joked about how soon she’d be seeing us again. There are no other “doctor” or medical visits that I have ever enjoyed being at and am sad when they end. After I had Blake and wanted to get pregnant again Stefen always jokingly said that I just wanted to get pregnant again to be pregnant because I enjoyed it so much, and while I have enjoyed both of my pregnancies so much I attribute a big part of that to the time spent with Sizzly and at her office.
I hope this has given some of you more insight to what a home birth is actually like. Of course every midwife isdifferent, every single birth is different, but this is my story and I wouldn’t change any of it. It’s not all candles and peaceful music, but if that’s what you want your story to be then make it happen.
Thank you so much, Sizzly for all of your help answering my questions, messages, and continuing to be there for me!