When I first moved to Chicago I wanted to find like minded women to be friends with and find a way to join the home birth community for my business. I joined a home birth group in Evanston and met Laura. Laura is the very talented, chill and honest owner of Crème Crafted Parties & Catering. Laura approached me with interest in my photography services for her home birth in May. Of course I said yes!
The below images are of her home visit with her amazing Nurse Midwife Sarah Simmons, when she was 36 weeks pregnant.
At 1:38 am on Wednesday I got the text:
We’re in active labor.
Midwife is heading over.
I packed all my snacks and camera equipment a few days before, so all I had to do was get dressed and hail a taxi.
Laura was doing really well. She was maneuvering an exercise ball into different positions for all her contractions and her wonderful husband was there to give her water and relieve lower back pain by applying pressure.
Soon her nurse midwife and her team of a student midwife and another midwife arrived to Laura’s two bedroom apartment. Within minutes she was checking for dilation progression and she was a 7 out of 10 (10 meaning the baby will be emerging shortly.)
Birthing tub was filling and hot pots of water were boiling. Laura was on schedule.
So Laura’s due date was May 24, but just last week her midwife didn’t like how high her blood pressure was, so Laura’s mucus membrane was scraped to encourage labor and prevent Preeclampsia.
Laura’s blood pressure stayed high throughout labor, but baby’s heart rate was right on target. Around 6:30am the main midwife was starting to get concerned because of lack of progress and Laura’s high blood pressure. Laura was told that if the baby wasn’t born by 7am they were going to head to the hospital.
You could tell that Laura and her husband were worried and disappointed. They moved to the bed to try another position to move things along. After a few contractions Laura’s baby was starting to crown.
The progress was still very slow and Laura was getting tired. After more birth positions and finally returning to the bed to labor on her side the baby’s heart rate was falling and their were signs that the baby was in distress. Mom found a second wind and pushed her baby out around 7:50am.
When the baby’s head emerged she was purple and the cord was wrapped around her neck. The cord was quickly removed.
Everything went so fast after that. There was no breathing or heartbeat coming from the baby. The midwives grabbed the oxygen tank and started CPR. Next thing I know the main midwife was ordering someone to call 911, while the other midwife is pressing down on the baby’s chest chanting “breathe little baby, breathe little baby…”
All I could do was close my eyes and pray. Lord, breathe into this baby’s lungs. Please let this baby live. Over and over and over. I thought skin to skin. That can bring babies back to life.
There was no change.
Laura was asking questions, but not hysterical. Laura is a very even tempered person. Her husband assured her everything was going to be OK. I mustered smiles and said the same in between prayers.
The EMTs arrived in less than 5 minutes. Midwives were throwing furniture out of the way for a clear path and I just got out of the way and prayed.
Baby and midwife were out the door and headed to the hospital. A second set of EMTs arrived to take Laura. I texted my close mom friends and begged for prayer for this poor baby and family. I asked for a miracle.
The next morning I received this email from Laura:
“So sorry about yesterday. Not at all how I saw that ending. I’m feeling better already (physically) and will be released today. Rue [baby] in a few days. Her vitals are great, her kidneys and lungs are working well, but she’s still on a ventilator (down from using 100% oxygen to only 23%!) and very sedated and under a cooling cap for another 2 days. After that, they’ll warm her for 6 hours and run an EEG and MRI to check for brain damage, etcetera. After that I’ll be able to hold her.
Just wanted to reach out – that was a very dramatic end to a long day and I wanted u to know we’re all recovering well.
Thanks for everything. It meant the world to me to have such a supportive team there and catching your reassuring smile from across the room during the hardest moments really truly helped. I’ll never forget that!”
This event hit so close to home for me because of when my baby was in the hospital for a case of bacterial meningitis. It’s not fun to have to go to the hospital every day to see your child and then leave every night without knowing if they will ever be completely healthy or when they will come home.
But the good news is that Rue is perfectly fine! She is alive and well and I was able to visit their family again for a in home lifestyle session a month later.
Isn’t Rue such a cutie? I love this little family and I’m sad that they are moving to Nashville, but also really excited for them to be closer to music opportunities for Marty.