Savannah Rayne Wells
                   June 15 2007

Before I became pregnant my husband and I began our quest to find a 
doctor who would care for us by delivering our precious baby and help 
usher us into the realm of parenthood. We began to interview different 
practioners and Cathy Rude was on our list. In our church community, 
several women had their children with a midwife and their stories of 
birth were so beautiful. I also had two family members deliver with 
Cathy. Their testimony of homebirth vs. the difference of the care 
received in the hospital on previous births was shocking. So my husband 
and I decided we should meet this special woman.

We were so impressed by her professionalism, wisdom, and grace. We were 
equally impressed with the knowledge she shared and the time she took 
to answer our millions of questions. Cathy also provided us with 
resources to further investigate homebirths for ourselves. In our fast 
paced medical society, it was so refreshing to meet with someone who 
would offer us so much information and time.

Before our meeting with Cathy my husband was very skeptical of 
homebirth. After our meeting with Cathy he became open, and after some 
time doing research, he became committed!

Our prenatal care with Cathy was excellent! She spent an hour with me 
each visit and I felt tremendous trust towards her. We talked about all 
the details of my pregnancy. She always listened with empathy and 
offered such great insight and advice. My labor with Cathy was awesome! 
Not that it wasn't painful, but that I received such brilliant support 
and care. I would not change one aspect of my homebirth. I loved 
birthing would Cathy and will do it again and again! After our sweet 
baby was born, Cathy continued to check on us and offered the highest 
quality of care we both will probably ever receive. My only request 
would be that Cathy would become our general practioner as well so that 
we could continue to receive care from her!

And now for our birth story as told by my husband.

It all started around 3:30 pm Thursday. Jamie called me at the office 
and in a panicked, excited voice told me that she thought her water had 
just broken. She was in the car when it happened. At first she thought 
she wet herself (apparently this is common late in pregnancy) so she 
pulled into the Whataburger to use the restroom. When she got out of 
the car she realized that it probably wasn't just an accident by the 
drenched car seat and gush that came when she stood up. Needless to say 
she headed straight home. As soon as I got off the phone at the office 
I had all my programs shut down within five minutes. (That has to be a 
new record for me) Just for fun I peeled out when I left the parking 
lot - if you don't do it then, when will you, really?! I rushed home 
and was there by about 4.

We really were not sure if her water had broken or not. We couldn't tell 
if it was the water or just urine. We looked at many different websites 
trying to glean some wisdom on ways to tell at home short of taking 
litmus test. She was having cramping and ice pick contractions about 
every 2-3 minutes that lasted about 45-seconds to a minute and a half. 
I rushed around the house getting all the very-last minute things ready 
and cleaning up the house. We were not sure what to do and after giving 
it some thought and talking with our midwife we made a plan: we would 
go for a walk around the neighborhood to help progress labor, go out to 
the Outback, then drive out to Katy and have Cathy Rude, our midwife, 
check Jamie's fluids. Jamie was doing well mentally at this point, she 
was reservedly excited and really just wanted this to be it and not 
have it be a false alarm. I think she was feeling silly not knowing for 
sure if this was it, but how was she to know? My eduction was quite 
scientific: if it walked like a duck, looked like a duck...

We went out the door and noticed some ominous clouds steadily 
approaching. No more than a foot outside our back gate and it started 
pouring, yes pouring, and it wasn't about to let up any time soon. (For 
those of you who live in Houston, you probably remember this storm) We 
retreated back inside and crossed the walk off our plan. Jamie's 
contractions began to get a bit more intense.

The storm outside intensified and seemed choreographed to her 
contractions. She was passed the "ooh, honey I think I felt something" 
to the "shhhhh - you. No talk. Mmmhh." The lightning was hitting close 
by and the power flickered on and off, rain was pounding our house. I 
went to gather our birthing candles and lit the room in case the power 
stayed off. I was closely monitoring the weather and checking different 
radars for the Houston area - the entire inner loop was a dark red blob 
on the Doppler moving our way. Jamie begged me for a peanut-butter 
sandwich. Dinner plans were off and it became more and more apparent 
that this was labor and it was progressing pretty quickly. In between 
running around and helping her with her contractions I made a little 
excel spreadsheet to track Jamie's contractions so that I could give a 
report to Cathy next time I called her. I used a combination of the 
stopwatch feature on my ipod and a website called contractionmaster.com 
which times and charts the contractions. (Amazing how technology 
infiltrates so deep in our lives isn't it?) It was killing me doing all 
this because all I wanted was to be next to Jamie coaching and 
supporting her but for the first part she insisted that it be only her 
and I until she was ready for others. I called Cathy and gave her the 
report; she freed me up to stop tracking and to help Jamie labor.

Jamie was laboring all over the house, in the bath, the bathroom, on 
the toilet backwards, in the shower, in the bed, on the floor, on the 
ball, sitting on my hands, sitting in a chair, squatting on the stairs, 
standing in a hat, ok - well you get the point, just about everywhere. 
I was trying to help her through her contraction as relaxed as 
possible, keeping her drinking water, listening to music, watching a 
slideshow of images she picked on our Mac, helping her move, etc. At 
about 10:30 she came and said - I'm ready for my mom. I called Jamie's 
mother, Bonnie, who had been anxiously waiting, and told her to come on 
over. Soon after she was ready for our midwife Cathy who brought 
Connie, her assistant who is also a RN and a lactation consultant. 
Jamie's cousin, Lauren who has 4 children and has home birthed most if 
not all of them, came at some point during the night and was praying 
for Jamie in the dinning room. Having some people there was very 
helpful as I was able to devote 100% of my attention to Jamie.

When Cathy first arrived she checked Jamie and she was about 50% 
effaced and dilated to about a 3. Jamie was really hoping she would be 
further along by this point and I think to avoid discouragement she 
wouldn't allow Cathy to check her the rest of the night all the way up 
until it was time to push.

By this point it was probably around midnight. Jamie had been nauseous 
and vomiting a good amount up to and a bit beyond this point. Cathy 
noticed right away that Jamie's temperature was getting high which in 
turn was making the baby's heart rate fast, which she attributed to 
dehydration, and Connie immediately administered an IV. Within 30 
minutes Jamie and the baby's vitals were doing much better.

I was helping Jamie during contractions by having her squat down on my 
hands so that I could press up and out on her sit bones to help her 
pelvic bones open up to allow the baby's head down. We knew that she 
has a narrow pelvic opening from the pelvic mapping we had done 
beforehand. If she was laying down I would look over her body and go 
through a mental checklist of all the tension signs to watch for, 
knowing which areas in her body were most prone to carrying stress, I 
would touch somewhere to help her focus on relaxing those muscles. By 
keeping her body relaxed during contractions it reduced fatigue, fear, 
stress and ultimately pain. We went through the Bradley classes as part 
of our preparation and also went through a DVD work kit called the Pink 
Kit (ordered online out of New Zealand), both of which we highly 
recommend. All of this really helped us know what to expect and what to 
do throughout the labor. During labor, it was very helpful for to know 
what was going on with her body at different stages and also because we 
practiced so many different birthing positions in the classes, it made 
the process of trying to alleviate discomfort and pain a bit more 
bearable.

I felt like my role as her coach and her husband was to be there by her 
the entire time. Its sort of a silly analogy, but I related it to a 
coach who wouldn't be off doing something else during a championship 
game that his team had prepared so hard for, but rather would actively 
be there for his team until the very end. I've never been connected 
with Jamie in this way before. I didn't realize how focused I was on 
her until about three in the morning where at one point she actually 
opened her eyes while lying in the bath and looked me right in the 
eyes. When she looked at me, which lasted maybe five seconds, it was 
such a fervent moment that I suddenly realized how deeply connected we 
were. It's amazing how you can be so intently focused on someone 
without making any eye contact. It was like we were having this 
metaphysical communication where I could sense what she needed and be 
able to respond sometimes without her saying a word. This also proved 
helpful when translating her grunts (requests) and moans (statements). 
Whenever she would say something everyone would look at me to 
translate. I know this makes the second strange analogy in one 
paragraph, but in a strange way our communication at times reminded me 
of this FedEx commercial where two cavemen are grunting back and forth 
in a sensible conversation. You can watch it here and you'll see what I 
mean: http://youtube.com/watch?v=HlZGBYcitUM


From about midnight to seven it was pretty slow going and very 
peaceful. We had constant worship playing and tried putting Jamie in 
the bath to ease off on the contractions a bit and get a small "break". 
Cathy and Bonnie rested, Connie and I watched over Jamie. A few weeks 
prior we had a couple friends over who are both very talented musicians 
and singer/songwriters. They were playing music and that night we ended 
up recording a short "album" on our Mac book pro for music to listen to 
during the birth. Even though these songs were only recorded on a 
laptop with no external mic they were the most soothing and peaceful 
songs to listen to during this time. Jamie had me repeat one of the 
songs by our friend Jill called "TisSo Sweet (to trust in Jesus)" for a 
good four hours at one point. I was watching the clock waiting for 
Starbucks to open at 5:30 so that I could refuel to keep going. Bonnie 
went on a coffee & breakfast run for everyone.

For the next few hours Jamie's labor progressed pretty quickly and she 
labored all over the house with the majority actually being on the 
stairs. (One of the many benefits of home birthing!) Around 9 am she 
felt the urge to start pushing; Cathy checked her and soon afterwards 
allowed Jamie to begin pushing. The IV was removed, (albeit reluctantly 
as Jamie had fallen madly in love with the IV bag) to give more freedom 
to move around the room. After the stairs we tried the bed and I sat 
behind her and pulled back on her legs while Bonnie and Connie would 
push her feet back, but this position was not working for Jamie she 
wanted to move to the floor where she could sit in a birthing chair. 
Second stage labor lasted roughly just under two hours and we all 
labored with Jamie as she pushed. The spot she chose to birth was next 
to the bed on the floor, between the wall and in front of the 
nightstand. It was crowded, to say the least. Really it was a tiny 4x4 
foot area. I had to sit inside a cedar chest.  Cathy was lying on the 
ground trying to get a good view and help massage and prevent tearing. 
Bonnie was behind Jamie whispering prayers in her ear. And Connie was 
somewhere in the mix. It was like we were playing twister during the 
birth of our baby!

Cathy and Connie were checking the baby's heart rate about every 2 
minutes. By this point the baby's head was showing and Cathy informed 
us that the baby had a ton of dark hair. After about 20 minutes of 
beautiful primal pushing, Jamie brought our baby Savannah into the 
world.  It was 10:57 am on Friday morning that our world would be 
forever changed!

Savannah was immediately placed upon Jamie's chest. Cathy and Connie 
worked all around her, bulb-sucking fluid from her nose and mouth, 
rubbing in all the vernix, and checking her vitals. That was one of the 
most surreal moments of my life, to see this miniature human open her 
eyes for the first time and look up at her mommy and daddy. It would be 
hard not to believe in God in that moment even if you tried. I'll never 
forget that face. She was just beautiful! She had the most beautiful 
eyes. She connected with us and was looking deeply into our souls!   
Jamie and I were in utter amazement. I've never been more proud of 
anyone than I was of Jamie in that moment. The look on Jamie's face was 
indescribable... exhaustion, relief, focus, pure and uninhibited joy.

Jamie received stitches in three different places and was able to lay 
in bed with Savannah and rest while all Savannah's vitals were checked. 
Savannah was very healthy. A herbal bath was prepared for mom and baby 
and they soaked and bonded with each other for a long while. After 
about two hours, everything had been cleaned and packed up. Jamie and I 
were left to get some much-needed rest with our new baby. That first 
nap with this baby only hours old laying between us was extraordinary. 
We will never forget that feeling. Here was this tiny, perfect 
representation of our love for each other, made in God's purest image 
laying next to us sleeping soundly after a long hard journey into this 
world.

 Thank you God for our greatest blessing, the child you created just 
for us!