Jennifer & Olivia

Olivia Rose was born at 3:57 on Wednesday 9/24 after 27.5 hours of labor.  It was very difficult, but I managed to have a completely unmedicated and natural child birth, like I originally planned.

After my water broke at 12:30am on Tuesday morning my labor wasn’t progressing as quickly as the midwives would have liked (concern with infection if birth is more than 24 hours after water breaking).  I was admitted Tuesday afternoon and we tried several rounds of nipple stimulation with the breast pump.  It worked to increase the frequency and intensity of my contractions in the short term, but they would eventually die down again.  By 6:30pm on Tuesday, I was only dilated to 5cm and at around 9pm my midwife and I made the mutual decision to use pitocin (even though I had really wanted to a avoid it).  The pitocin was very effective, but the contractions were intense!  At that point the epidural was looking mighty tempting, but my doula encouraged me to keep going one contraction at a time – I don’t know what I would have done without her and would highly recommend a doula to anyone planning an unmediated, natural childbirth (or really any type of birth for that matter).

I ended up pushing for over 2 hours and it was a real struggle.  It turns out that baby got her hand stuck along side her cheek and I was having to push both a head and a hand out.  I recall you discussing this a couple times in class, so I was at least familiar with the terminology, etc.   The other challenge that I had was that my pelvic floor was too strong – I recall the midwife referring to it as the perineum of steel – and it did want to stretch out for the baby (plus her hand).

All in all I made it through though and I have the most perfect, healthy, beautiful baby girl to show for it!  Feel free to share this in class if you like!  Things didn’t exactly go my way during childbirth, but with a lot of hard work and determination I was still to have the outcome I originally wanted.

My breath work was a huge factor in coping through labor.  I received a lot of complements from my midwife and nurses about how controlled my breath and pushing were – I really attribute it to all of my yoga training.

September 24, 2014 at 12:29 am Leave a comment

Jaime & Nora

Nora was born on October 3rd, 2013 – She was 8lbs 3 oz 20 1/2 inches long…th smallest of my kids. Ethan my oldest was 8lbs 8 oz 22 1/2 inches, Nico was 8.5 oz 21 1/2 inches long. So good size babies.🙂

At 4:30pm I started having very mild contractions. They were not very painful and I could move around – they were just consistent. I left a message for the midwife at 5:30 pm just letting them know that my contraction have been consistent for an hour but have not increased in strength. I got a call back 10-15 min later from the midwife and she started asking me how far apart they were and other questions. While we were on the phone, we timed them – they were about 4-5 min apart and I think 20-40 seconds long. But still not intense.

As I was talking to the midwife my water broke. She asked if I wanted to get my things and head over to the Birth Center. I asked if I could eat dinner first and then come over she said that was fine, but to come over in an hour. So at 8pm, my husband and I got to the birth center. The next two hours were very boring. No increase in strength of contraction and Nora was monitoring just fine.

At 9:30pm they gave me a smoothie with I think cod liver oil, Almond butter and lemon, to help get things moving. I actually really liked it. By 10:30 my contractions started to increase and I had to breath through about 4-5 of them — I used the breath exercise we did in prenatal yoga. I slid into the bath tub where I had one strong contraction that made me feel like pushing, which also made me feel like I had to go pooh.

The midwife was in the room next door and had just caught another baby. I got out of the tub afraid to release a pooh in the tub, sat on the toilet had another strong pushing contraction. Now I felt like Nora ‘s head was coming out as I put my hand down below and could feel her head.

I quickly voiced for my husband to get the midwife. Less then a min later the midwife assistant Micky came into the bathroom right when I was having another strong contraction. Micky quickly ordered me to get off the toilet. She grabbed my arm as my other hand was holding Nora’s head. As I swiftly moved to the bathroom floor, Nora slid into Micky’s hands and she caught her. So three pushes and my little girl made it safely into the midwife assistant’s hands at 10:52pm.

I’m glad the final labor was fast. I was worried that it might take a while because of how long it took for the contractions to become more intense after my water broke. But I have no complaints – Nora came out calm and relaxed and interested in her surroundings. It was a beautiful, relaxed birth. I think my yoga practice helped make this an easy transition.

October 3, 2013 at 10:52 pm Leave a comment

Lila & Kira

A little bit of back story to how my first birth went is needed before I dive right in to the second one…

I gave birth to my first daughter at 41 weeks at a freestanding birth center on Friday, November 21, 2008.  My birth was about 10 hours long.  I was awoken to active labor at 4am.  I labored at home for about 5 hours before arriving to the birth center.  Upon arrival I was checked and was 5 cm dilated and then spent the bulk of labor in the tub.  I ended up pushing through a cervical lip for 2 hours.  Once the lip was gone and I was complete, I birthed Makela about 30 minutes later (at 2:16pm) on the birth stool.  What followed were some harrowing events that I won’t get into too much detail on, but in essence, I ended up being transferred to Evergreen Hospital due to a Postpartum Hemorrhage.  Upon arriving to Evergreen, I was extremely ill; fighting for my life.  They gave me a central line because my veins were not responding.  I spent the night in ICU, needed a large blood transfusion and then had to go into surgery the next morning.  The surgery was to fix the severe tearing I had because upon admission they realized the tearing that had been repaired was not done properly.  They also wanted to explore my uterus to be sure there was no further damage.  My recovery after this birth took many months to heal physically and close to a year of counseling.  I also suffered from PTSD.

Fast forward 5 years and we are finally ready to have another baby.  During the five years leading up to getting pregnant, I set out to become a Birth Doula, and was certified with DONA in 2011.  I spent a lot of time reviewing my charts from both birth places so that I fully understood what went wrong and what could I possibly do to prevent anything going wrong this time.  I saw an ND, did a complete blood panel, had my iron levels checked regularly, and started taking high doses of red raspberry leaf (which is known as a uterine tonic).

My husband and I decided that giving birth out of the hospital again was not an option for us this time.  I absolutely knew I wanted to have the care of a midwife and luckily, the midwives at Evergreen had just recently started offering 24/7 care again.  I was pretty hesitant to give birth in the hospital because I feared unnecessary interventions, but knew this was the best choice given what happened before.  I found myself a great birth doula, met with the head of the postpartum care at Evergreen to come up with a care plan and also made an appointment with the counselor I saw after I had Makela.  I was as prepared as one could be.  The rest I just left in the hands of the universe.

I was awoken at 7am on Saturday, September 28, 2013 to a pop and what I quickly determined was my water breaking.  I was 38 weeks and 1 day along.  I woke up my husband right away and told him to look at my pants to see if he could see what I felt.  We knew we would soon be meeting our new baby girl.  He got on the phone right away and called the midwife on call, our doula and the family member we had lined up to care for Makela.  I knew that labor had the potential to kick in right away so I got the rest of my hospital bag packed and got in the shower.  The contractions started while I was in the shower, but the warm water provided a bit of comfort.  As soon as I got out, things really started to change.  We called our doula back and told her we were ready for her to come.  She was already on her way.  We also phoned the midwife back to give her an update.  I proceeded to have a handful of contractions while we waited for our doula to arrive.  The most comfortable place to get through the contractions was leaning over the ledge to our staircase.  I just swayed back and forth.  The pain was quite intense.  I started dry heaving.  Once our doula arrived, she could gauge that things were moving very quickly.  We made our way down to the car and headed to the hospital.

Once we got in the car, the contractions got even more intense.  The pain brought me to tears.  The hospital is only about a 5 minute drive from our home – we got there about 8:55am.  We pulled into the round about and my husband opened the car door for me.  I could see a group of men in the waiting room looking out at me while I cried in pain as I leaned up on the brick pillar for support.  When we got into the hospital, we checked in with the woman at the front desk entry way to the Family Maternity Center.  She informed us that we would have to go to triage first.  That was something that I discussed prenatally with the midwives and they were onboard with me not having to go through triage if I was visibly in active labor.  She said we needed to wait there for further instruction. Yah right, I thought.  I proceeded to make my way down the hallway, stopping every few moments to lean on the stair railing, tears running down my face.  The pain took my breath away.  A nurse came out to tell us we could go straight to our room.  Shortly after entering the Family Maternity Center, our midwife joined us as we continued the long walk to my room.  I stopped multiple times down the hallway and even leaned on my doula to get through the contractions.

When we got to our room, I leaned over the bed, swaying back and forth.  I began crying even more and used a few choices words to get through the contractions.  The pain was so unbelievably intense, I was really having a difficult time coping.  They started filling up the tub for me.  I asked the midwife to check me – this was about 9:20am.  She did and said I was completely dilated to 10 cm.  She told me there would be no getting in the tub now.  There is no way things were going this fast… I was shocked.  I was working harder than I ever have.  I was hot, sweaty and a bit delirious from the intensity of the pain.

The midwife said I could start pushing when it felt right.  I did one push on my left side and I was not the least bit comfortable.  So, I then got on my hands and knees and that’s where I stayed.  I used the back of the bed to hold on to as I labored down for the next 30 minutes or so.  I hadn’t really felt the urge to push with Makela & spent that time being directed on what to do.  It was really important to me to feel the urge to push this time.  Laboring down was what I needed to do to get into the right zen-like zone to push.  I had a few interruptions by the nurse who wanted to monitor me with the straps and all as well as the tech who came in to draw my blood.  I finally lost my cool with them and with the midwife’s permission, they left me alone.

I remember telling the midwife that I thought it was time.  My voice became primal in tone with a deep groan.  With the support and encouragement of my midwife, husband, doula and nurse, I birthed my baby girl out in about 7 pushes.  Kira was born at 10:17am.  She was born with the cord wrapped around her neck and across her body.  The midwife gently moved the cord away from her body, I got onto my right side and she handed her to me.  I remember thinking that she was so slippery and absolutely perfect.  I looked up at my husband and he had tears streaming down his face.  We were both in awe and immediately in love.  After the cord stopped pulsing, my husband had the honors of cutting it.  I ended up having a couple small gushes of blood, so was given cytotec as a preventative measure.  I also had a 2nd degree tear, which was much better than what I previously experienced when giving birth to Makela.  I just held and snuggled Kira skin-to-skin while I got sutured.  Afterwards, she had her first latch.  I was monitored very closely given my previous history and was discharged the next afternoon.

This birth experience was very healing to say the least.  I had an amazing experience with the midwives at Evergreen.  We are loving our new family of four and soaking up all the wonderful newborn snuggles that Kira is giving us.  Makela is the best big sister – we are blessed beyond belief.

September 28, 2013 at 12:19 am Leave a comment

Emily and Benjamin

At 2 a.m. Monday morning, April 1st, Sky came into our room during one of his regular night time waking’s {still happening at age 3…}. After getting him back to bed, Josh and I lied there awake, feeling frustrated, and wondering if we were ever going to get a full nights sleep again. Josh muttered “I would just like 3 solid nights of sleep before this baby arrives”, and I quickly agreed.

A few minutes later, I felt a “pop”.

OH MY GOD. I think my water just broke.

I laid there frozen, worried at what I had just felt. I was only 37 weeks, 6 days. The nursery wasn’t finished! My bag wasn’t packed! The house was still dirty! I hadn’t had time to get a pedicure yet! I was supposed to work for 2 more weeks!

I decided to sit up to check my suspicion and knew instantly by the amount of fluid that was gushing out of me. This was the real deal. I called my midwife, who suggested I stay at home until morning unless my contractions started coming on heavy. I was nervous that it was only a matter of time before we’d have to leave so I quickly showered, packed, and starting frantically organizing the house to make sure everything was in order. By 4:30 a.m., still not much was happening so I went to sleep until 7 a.m.. By 8 a.m., I was back on the phone with the midwife and we both agreed I’d stay home a little longer and wait for labor to begin but if there still wasn’t action by 1 p.m., I would come into the office to get checked. I was assured I could safely go for at least 12 hours with broken water but they still wanted to make sure Ben was okay and not under stress.

The remainder of the morning was spent getting ready, eating a huge breakfast, and freaking out. It was April fools day so I sent an email to work and a few friends only to get handful of responses about me joking. Not so! Soon, we left for our appointment, car fully packed and ready to go…realizing we might not be returning home empty handed. I was scared and felt a little sad that I hadn’t been able to snuggle and hold Sky much that morning because we were so busy getting ready. Little did I know that bedtime on Easter was my last cuddle session alone with him as my only boy.

At my appointment, it was confirmed I was leaking amniotic fluid and I found out I was 2cm dilated. Because of the heightened risk of infection, we elected to admit me and get started on a very low dose of pitocin to move things along. I was a little weary because of the many horror stories I’d heard about pitocin but in this case, the it was the  right choice to get this baby out sooner rather than later.

While we were waiting to be assigned a room, they monitored me in triage and discovered there was some cord compression happening somewhere {turns out later the cord was wrapped loosely around his neck, eeeeeek!}. Because Ben was recovering differently with every contraction, they decided to monitor me for a while before starting the Pitocin.

Around 3:30/4ish, I got the lowest dose possible and that was all it took.

By 5:30, contractions were regular, strong, and painful. Josh had left to go grab some dinner prior to things really heating up and when he returned, he found me hunched over in the rocking chair, breathing and rocking with each wave.

It was very important to me to have a natural, un-medicated birth in terms of pain management. I had an epidural with Sky and I didn’t want another one. I wanted to see what it felt like withnothing. I wanted to know how bad it would get. I wanted to be able to feel everything and see if I could really handle it.

Each contraction was stronger than the next and between Josh, the midwife, and the doula, we tried a lot of different positions and tactics. Slow dancing with Josh and rocking in the rocker with lots of pillows underneath me were the best. All the others were uncomfortable and seemed to cause more pain.

After a few hours of this, I started to wonder where I was at. The pain was getting really intense and although I wasn’t completely exhausted, I could tell that my body was weakening and I hoped so bad I only had a few more hours left. Around 9 p.m., I was 7 cm dilated. Ok, not much longer, I thought….I can do this.

Progressing from 7-10 was BY FAR the worst. The pain was so powerful I don’t remember looking at anyone or making eye contact. All I could do was grip onto the sides of the bed and moan through each contraction. By that point, I was sure that people in the next room could hear me. I was so sweaty and everything just felt like a complete blur.

A little after 10 p.m., I started feeling a lot of pressure and was sure this was the “urge to push” that everyone talks about. I don’t really remember much after that. I know people were giving me instructions and I followed along but it was really one of those things where you kind of go inside your body and everything around you becomes muffled sounds and movement.

I could feel that my midwife wasn’t in the room and she had been missing for some time. Turns out, the one other patient she was tending to went into labor at the same time! A few other doctors came into the room, introduced themselves, and said they were going to take over in the event my midwife couldn’t make it in time. It was a little bit of a let down but about 10 minutes later, she came running in just in the nick of time!!!!

All of a sudden, I was ready to push and felt a huge wave of relief knowing that everything was almost over! I pushed for a total of 14 minutes and while it was definitely painful, it actually felt more natural and relaxing to be focusing on pushing than it did trying to muster my way through the hard contractions. They were directing me on where to push and I could easily follow along because I could FEEL IT.

At 10:27 pm, baby Benjamin joined us. Perfectly pink and tiny at 6 pounds, 8 ounces. It felt so surreal. They kept him attached to the cord for a few minutes and that was a crazy sensation – he was out of me, but everything else was still inside. It’s just so amazing what our bodies can do!

Overall, this birth experience was SO MUCH BETTER in every aspect. Other than coming earlier than expected, it was exactly what I had hoped for and I’m proud of myself that I made it through. In a way, I feel like it was healing for me to have this type of birth…to know that it can be better than what I had with Sky and that it is possible to manage without drugs or too much intervention.

He’s just delicious. I think we’ll keep him!

April 1, 2013 at 10:27 pm Leave a comment

Jill and William

My third baby was my surprise baby.  Upon discovering I was pregnant, I knew that this child must have a very special purpose because he was clearly meant to be!  I also knew that I would like to try for an unmedicated, vaginal birth this time – something I had not experienced with my first two babies. I was induced at 41 weeks with my first baby because my OB thought the baby would be too big…  Going against my gut, I agreed to the induction and ended up with a c-section after failure to progress past 5 centimeters.  With my second child, I was DETERMINED to have a vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC. After nearly 24 hours of very difficult labor and progressing to 7 centimeters, the baby’s heart rate began decelerating and the midwife recommended c-section.  That experience, while absolutely incredible and one of the highlights of my life, devastated me. I had tried so very, very hard to birth my baby naturally, and I didn’t understand at all what had gone wrong.

Now with my surprise baby number three, I had an opportunity to attempt a VBA2C, having found a fantastic OB and an incredibly knowledgeable and caring doula to support me. My goals for this birth were to have the best experience and healthiest outcome possible, to labor naturally and do everything I could to make the VBAC happen, and not to feel too disappointed by a repeat cesarean if that were the outcome.

My due date was March 29. On March 19, I woke up in the night to uncomfortable, labor-like contractions.  This was the start of five very tiring days of prodromal labor.  On the fifth day, as I was getting ready for bed around 10:30pm, I felt a familiar popping sensation in my uterus.  I thought for sure my membranes had ruptured at that moment, and I prepared for the amniotic fluid to begin flowing, but it didn’t.  I managed to fall asleep but awoke at 1:30am to a quick gush of fluid, and I knew then that I indeed had a ruptured membrane.

I labored in the bathroom by myself for two hours.  I belly danced while singing “Rabiosa” by Shakira to myself, which was really fun and surprisingly effective as an early labor coping technique!  At 3:30am, my husband DJ woke up and we went downstairs to gather the remainder of our hospital items and load the car.  I did a few light chores and began eating and drinking a lot in order to prepare my body for what was to come. Around 5:00am the contractions were ramping up and I listened to music and envisioned myself (I’m a group fitness instructor) teaching a really tough Zumba class during each contraction.  If I could get through the hardest Zumba class, I could get through just ONE of these contractions easily (ha! I find that visualization really funny now!).

I called our babysitter to come over.  I also called our doula, Sharon, because I was already starting to question when we should go to the hospital. Sharon assured us that it was too early.   Labor progressed, and I began relying on DJ’s presence and our Hypnosis for Birth practice to help me get through. I tried different labor positions but really only liked standing up or leaning over the bed.

No longer interested in talking much at this point, I had DJ call Sharon back and ask her and our midwife friend, Jane, to meet us at our house. One of my pie-in-the-sky wishes during my pregnancy was to hire a midwife who would agree to come to my house during labor to check me, monitor the baby, and provide advice about when to go to the hospital.  Sharon put me in touch with Jane, and Jane agreed to help with my rather unconventional request.

While waiting on Sharon and Jane to arrive, I felt the need to begin vocalizing during contractions and tried a new labor position – hugging DJ and slow dancing back and forth.  Oh my goodness – this felt incredible!  I was able to pull down on his neck/shoulders and let my bottom drop in a squat during really intense contractions, and feeling the support of his body was really nice.  This is the position we took for most of the duration of labor.  The intimacy we experienced was strong and comforting.

Around 9:30am, Sharon and Jane arrived. Jane checked me and I was at 4-5cm, and she stretched me to 6 (but said it would likely go back to 4-5).  She also swept my membranes to stir things up.  She listened to the baby’s heart and he sounded perfect.  He was moving up and down in my pelvis trying to find the ideal position for his head.  And he was in the Occiput Anterior (OA) position, which is exactly what I had been hoping for.  I was so HAPPY that things were going just how I wanted!

We went outside for a while, and on the way we passed my kids, who were curious about me.  I reassured them that I was okay and that the baby was coming.  They heard me vocalize during a contraction – and after that contraction subsided, they began mimicking me!  ”Ooooooooooooooohhh….” they said automatically and in unison.  It was pretty funny!

Jane checked me a couple of hours later and I was at 6 centimeters.  So excited – things were going so smoothly!  She said my labor was “textbook” so far!  I began feeling nauseous, and Sharon let me smell peppermint oil to help (which I loved!).  When I did vomit, it felt like the BEST THING EVER.   It was just a great release and I wanted to do it MORE (even though I didnt need to)!  Jane commented on my shaking body and said it was normal.  I hadn’t even realized I was shaking.

Now was the time to head to the hospital. I became very bold at this point and made it clear that I was READY TO GO and we needed to get going right now.  I was excited about moving forward.  I was hugely thankful to Jane before we left.  I loved having her and Sharon together at my house!  I can see why many women feel so comfortable birthing at home with a great midwife and doula support team!

We met Sharon at the hospital around noon and went to triage.  It was then that I sensed a change in energy of things – my feeling of being in a warm, welcoming, loving environment like I had felt at home changed to something a bit more unfriendly, cold, stoic.  The triage nurses didn’t seem particularly overjoyed to see me!  But I wasn’t bothered by that, of course – I simply observed it.

The contractions were very painful now, coming on strong, and sometimes back-to-back with no break in between.  I was expecting to be at or close to transition but planned on delaying any cervical checks for as long as possible.

Once in our room, I felt like I needed to poop.  I knew I was not feeling the urge to push – it truly was the need to poop, or to expel gas.  I made the mistake of saying aloud, “I need to poop”.  The nurse said, “You feel the need to poop? Okay, honey, we really do need to check you now.”  Realizing my mistake, I replied, ”Oh, it was just gas…” But for whatever reason, I let her check my cervix.

This is where things started to go downhill.  The nurse told me I was dilated to only 4 centimeters.  I was stunned.  I looked at DJ, then at Sharon, asking, “Four centimeters? Four centimeters?” I was so disappointed.  Jane said I had been at 6 centimeters a couple of hours ago – and now I’m at just 4???  Sharon tried to reassure me that the checks are subjective – different sized fingers measure differently – and that she didn’t believe the nurse.  I tried to put that out of my mind… and honestly, I think with my the next contraction, it WAS out of my “thinking” mind, because all you can think about during a contraction is getting through that very moment. But subconsciously, I think that this cervical check had a pretty negative impact.

At some point in all of this, the OB on duty (not my OB of choice) came in. I sensed more of that impersonal, unemotional energy.  I secretly hoped that a more smiley, enthusiastic OB would come on duty soon!

Sharon suggested I get into the bathtub. I had a viscerally negative reaction to being in there.  I felt the need to vomit again in the tub, the pain increased a lot, and I did not enjoy the heat and moisture.  I told DJ that I wasn’t sure I could do this anymore – I was thinking of the epidural.  He and Sharon both reminded me just to take it one contraction at a time, and just to get through this part, and said that I was approaching transition.

I labored for a bit longer, but soon began having negative thoughts like I don’t EVER want to go through this again! and I want this to be OVER!   In hindsight, I don’t know where this negativity came from, as I had been looking forward to this journey so much and had been preparing myself both mentally and physically to endure even a very difficult labor (which this was not!).  I am a naturally optimistic person. I had talked such a big game during pregnancy about being pro-natural childbirth and anti-epidural. I had considered myself to be tough and had planned to FIGHT for my VBAC!  Now, here I was in the thick of a beautiful, healthy labor… and I wanted out.  It makes no sense to me now. I am disappointed with myself for having had these thoughts, for opting for the easy road… because maybe I could have had the birth of my dreams if I had been stronger, if I had just kept going naturally.

Instead, I told DJ again that I did not want to do this any longer.  After six days now of contractions, my body was just fed up with feeling pain. I told him that I didn’t care if I ended up with another c-section (*cringe!*) – and that I just wanted to be done with this and wanted to see my baby, and to please don’t talk me down from the epidural anymore.

I received the epidural and was dilated to 6 centimeters, and the OB said the baby was now OP (not the best news!). Sharon was awesome, though – she suggested positions for me to get into to flip him back to OA, which ultimately was successful.

I had the epidural in for about 6 hours, and for several of those hours we were on heart deceleration alert for my baby.  The OB was great about communicating with me about this, though, and I could tell that she was trying hard to help me achieve my VBAC while keeping the baby safe. My opinion of her changed now.  She seemed very compassionate and honest with me.  This felt different than my previous two labors, where the doctor/midwife basically said, “Okay, heart rate is dropping, let’s do a c-section!”.  I was so thankful that this doctor was more open with me.

Next cervical check – dilated to 8 cm.  I was given an oxygen mask, and a fetal scalp monitor was inserted as a last effort to overcome the heart decelerations issue. It was good to see dilation progress, but at this point I felt sure that I would be having another c-section.  I began to cry about that, but still felt a sense of peace and calm, happy about having had a good experience so far.  Sharon tried to remind me that we had not reached the end yet and that a c-section was not inevitable at this point, but I knew what was going to happen.

An hour later, the OB checked me again. I had not progressed past 8 cm for some time and the heart decelerations were not improving.  Who knows how much longer it would take for me to dilate to 10cm, and then to push… She recommended c-section, as I had expected.  I was disappointed, but so excited to meet my baby and to move on to the next chapter.

I was a little nervous about the c-section, and felt myself getting slightly nauseous and dizzy as they prepped me for surgery – as if I were fading out a bit.  But I held it together and tried to stay mentally sharp and focused during the operation.  I began humming songs to myself – “Heart of Life” by John Mayer.  Then, I tried thinking of another song to sing.  The ONLY song, of the millions of songs out there, that I could think of was “Scream and Shout” by Will.i.am and Britney Spears.  LOL!  So I hummed that one just to keep up my positive energy.

William David was born at 9:00pm.  Will’s first cry was the most beautiful sound, and my heart was leaping with joy when I heard it!  I could not WAIT to hold my new little love!  DJ brought him over within minutes of his birth and put him skin to skin on my chest, and he stopped crying. I held a blanket overhead to shield us from the bright lights.  I repeated over and over how much I loved Will, and how thankful I was to God for this precious gift.  I was a very, very happy mama with the most beautiful, healthy little boy to love!

March 24, 2013 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

Amanda and Madeleine

When I woke up on Tuesday, June 26th, I felt contractions that were stronger and more distinct than the contractions I’d been feeling on and off for a couple of weeks. Throughout the day, the contractions continued and were about 15 minutes to a half hour apart.

When I saw my OB in the afternoon, I was dilated to 1.5cm and 50-75% effaced. She stripped my membranes for the second week in a row and ran a fetal non-stress test because I was concerned that the baby had been abnormally quiet for the past several days. Although the contractions continued, my husband and I went out for a burger and gelato for dinner before heading home.

At home, in Kirkland, the contractions continued and began to get closer together and strong enough to really catch my attention. My husband and I took a 2-mile walk, and I suggested that he get some sleep because it seemed like labor was imminent. From about 10pm until 1am, I bounced on an exercise ball while reading a book between contractions. By 1:30am, I’d experienced contractions every five minutes lasting one minute for one hour. It was time to wake George and call the doctor!

I checked into triage at around 3am. Walking into the lobby, tears welled in my eyes upon seeing the night triage nurse. The moment I’d waited for for so long was finally here! The L&D triage nurses checked my progress and determined that I was about 1cm dilated – discouraging news given my earlier OB appointment. We walked the halls of Swedish for two hours and, as I did, the contractions seemed to be getting more painful.

We checked back with triage, and, after a cervix check, the nurse told me that I had not made any progress. I was given the options of going home unmedicated or going home after a morphine shot. Unhappy with either option, I left the hospital in tears. About a mile from the hospital, after having several contractions in the car, I declared that we were going to back to the hospital. Back at triage, my original nurse’s shift was ending and a different nurse checked my cervix. She determined that I had progressed, had a bulging sac causing pressure, and should be admitted to a room.

Around 7am, we were checked into the labor room; we met our nurse, Christie, who would stay with us for the entire day; and my OB checked in with us. I got into a good breathing rhythm, taking progressively longer breaths and then shorter breaths. I moved around the room and spent time laboring on the exercise ball and standing doing big swaying movements with my hips. Thankfully, my OB agreed with my wishes to not have an IV port, and she gave orders that I could have a general diet. After being up for so many hours and without food for more than12 hours, I took advantage and ate some hospital food and snacks we’d packed. Over several hours, I was set in a good rhythm, but the contractions didn’t seem to be getting any stronger, closer, or longer. Our nurse was really happy with how calm and controlled I was, using the breath to get through the contractions, and she showed me where I was getting a contraction and where my breathing was overriding it – pretty cool.

My OB came to check my cervix around 1:30pm. I was almost entirely effaced but had only progressed to about 2.5 or 3cm. We agreed with my OB that breaking the membranes was a good way to get the baby to drop and keep labor moving forward. Almost immediately, the contractions became significantly stronger, longer, and closer together with a great deal of pressure. These very strong contractions continued for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. I tried several laboring positions, including the Jacuzzi tub, none giving any relief. I stuck with my breathing pattern and relied very heavily on my husband to keep me focused and in control. As afternoon turned to evening, I was becoming exhausted and hopeful that transition would be coming soon.

My OB came to check on us when she finished her office appointments, around 6:30pm. She checked my cervix, and I had only dilated to 4cm. Everyone was surprised and disappointed. She gave me the options of continuing labor as is, getting a narcotic to take the edge off the contractions, or getting a spinal epidural. I told her that I could keep going if we thought it’d only be another hour or so to active labor…but that I didn’t think active labor was that close given my mere 4cm dilation. She confirmed that it would be much more than an hour with labor typically progressing at 1cm per hour. I knew that I didn’t want the narcotic; however, I knew that I needed relief if I wanted to have a vaginal birth.

I requested the spinal epidural, which was administered around 7pm – after first getting an IV. It may have just been my perception, but it seemed like the contractions were coming even faster as the anesthesiologist was administering the epidural. Then, almost immediately after the epidural was complete, the contractions faded into the background; I could feel them, but they were weak enough that I didn’t feel the need to respond to them. This allowed my husband and me to catch some much needed rest while the baby and I were monitored continuously.

About two hours later, the on-call OB came in to check me and discovered I was complete and ready for active labor. About 30 minutes of pushing later, our daughter, Madeleine Ngaire, was born…on Wednesday, June 27th at 10:30pm. As the OB was putting her onto my chest, the umbilical cord ruptured because it was exceptionally short (less than 12 inches). This didn’t cause any medical issues for either of us. Madeleine weighed 7 lbs. 4.2 oz. and was 19.5 in. long and continues to be happy and healthy.

June 27, 2012 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

Kelly and Olivia

I awoke around 6:30am on Sunday, June 10, 2012 to go to the bathroom. I noticed that I had a small amount of clear discharge, which was unusual. I had woken once during the night with a fairly strong contraction, but that had been typical for me starting at 32 weeks. Initially thought I had peed my pants but this fluid was unusual, despite feeling no contractions. I wondered if it might be something more significant, but I doubted it as I was only 36 ½ weeks pregnant and thought it was too soon to be going into labor. I decided to wait to see if there was more fluid and went and lay back down. However, by 6:45am, I was feeling more leaking and noticed that I had already filled the panty liner I was wearing. At that point, I woke Ben and told him that I thought my water had broken.

He immediately kicked into high gear, having me call the Evergreen Maternity Center. We called and the nurse suggested that I come down to the hospital to be checked because sometimes there is a fore bag of waters that breaks before the actual amniotic sack. By now it was around 7 am and they suggested that I come down within the hour. Ben had texted our doula, Shelia, to let her know that I thought my water had broken. Ben continued to be high gear, having me get in the shower, pack up some things in case it was really labor, and eat breakfast. I hadn’t even packed my hospital bag because I thought I still had weeks of time ahead of me. I ended up throwing a few things in a bag along with a small bag of toiletries that we typically had stashed for travelling. I eventually learned that I had forgotten underwear in my haste! Fortunately, I had packed a bag for the baby already. During this time, I had a couple of mild contractions and continued to leak fluid. Before we left the house, Ben decided it would be a great idea to mark the occasion by taking final photos of my pregnancy in our front yard. We finally left for the hospital a little after 8 am.

We arrived at Evergreen’s maternity center and checked in. The nurse took us to the triage area where they connected me to several machines to measure the contractions and my blood pressure. After the initial measurement of contractions, which were mild, they had me go to the bathroom to change into a hospital gown and provide a urine sample. However, when I came out of the bathroom, my water fully broke, running down my legs. The nurse looked at us and said my water had definitely had broken and the baby would be coming soon. Ben asked if we could go home to labor since the contractions were really about 15 to 10 minutes apart. The nurse urged us to stay at the hospital and walk around. However, she was going to consult with the doctor and asked us to come back in 15 minutes. Off we went, walking up stairs in the hospital and outside in the court yard. We called Ben’s sister Elaine to let her know we were in labor while we were walking. I started to have contractions a little closer together, but they were not particularly strong. They required me to breathe through them, but we kept walking and talking. We began the discussion of what we would name our daughter as we had not yet decided on a name. This was a debate we had been having for many months. However before we could make any decisions, the 15 minutes were up and we headed back to the maternity triage station. When we got back the nurse informed us that the doctor on call, Dr. Wu, strongly encouraged us to stay in the hospital because they contractions could start to get closer together and it might be too late to come back to the hospital. At that point, I was feeling the contractions more frequently, about 8 to 10 minutes apart and decided we should stay. We were assigned a room and given bracelets. By now it was around 11am. We also called Shelia, the doula and our friend Eve who would be helping with the birth to let them know that we were in checking in to the hospital and agreed they should come around noon.

After getting to the room, I decided that I wanted to walk the halls of the maternity center. I was determined that our baby would be born without any interventions and needed to keep moving to continue labor progressing. Ben and I walked the halls of the maternity center, breathing through each contraction over and over. I had started to become very hot and sweaty, but I didn’t want to stop walking. By 12:30pm, Shelia and Eve had arrived and they continued to take turns walking the hallways with me, encouraging me to drink water between contractions. By 1pm, the contractions were consistently 5 minutes or less apart. We continued to walk the halls until sometime after 2pm as the contractions continued to become more and more intense.

Around 2:30pm I decided that walking was too much. The doctor came at that point and checked on my progress; I was about 5 cm dilated. It was difficult and painful to get up on the bed to be checked. Following the exam, Shelia suggested that I get in the tub to labor. Upon getting into the tub, I found the only comfortable position was on my hands and knees, which didn’t really allow me to gain any benefit of laboring in the tub, but it was warm and a distraction. The doula brought in some electric candles and she began to squeeze my hips through the contractions which were getting stronger. I found myself doing a very low moan through the contractions and swaying my hips from side to side. Shelia and Eve each took turns squeezing my hips as the contractions came. After about a half an hour in the tub, I decided to get out and moved into a kneeling position over an exercise ball. This position seemed to help make the pain of each contraction more tolerable. My husband held my hands, focused on looking into my eyes, and said encouraging words as I worked through each contraction. I would not have been able to continue to focus on breathing and managing the pain without his love and patience that he showed me during this time. I continued to do a low moan through each contraction, almost singing. According to my doula and husband, I was singing through each contraction and would go up the scale as the contraction increased and back down as it subsided. I have no recollection of this, only that my body working very hard. The doula continued to encourage me to drink, but the contractions were causing me to feel quite nauseous. I continued to drink water as I was able. Shelia and Eve helped me several time to get up and try to labor in a supported squatting position. They supported my weight as the contractions came. However I found this position to be very painful and began to have doubts that I could go through the labor without any interventions. Shelia, Eve and my husband continued to encourage me to continue to breath and focus through each contraction. Eventually after several contractions I went back to kneeling over the ball.

After laboring in a squatting position for the second time through several contractions, I began to feel the urge to push. The nurse checked on my labor progress at that point and found that I was 8 cm dilated. The nurse went to notify Dr. Wu, the doctor on call from the OB practice to let her know that things were progressing. They also encouraged me to get up on the bed to continue to labor. The most tolerable position at this point was to be on my hand and knees leaning over the top of the bed, which was in an upright position. I continued to labor in this position for a while, until Dr. Wu arrived and checked again to see that I was 10 cm dilated. I was feeling strong urges to push at this point. The doctor had me lay back on the bed with my feet up on the labor bar and told me to push when I felt the urge to push. The urges came quickly and were very strong. I remember hearing Shelia encourage me to curl around the baby as I pushed her out. For some reason I remember looking at the clock around 5:25pm and wondering to myself how long this would go on and how badly I wanted her out. In between each contraction, I found myself breathing very rapidly and not very deep, almost like I was hyperventilating. I was feeling so exhausted by this point, I just was ready to be done. Shelia helped me to focus on controlling my breathing between contractions by making direct eye contact. As the pushing progressed, I became very focused on pushing her out and channeled all of my energy into doing just that. I think I even said “Get out” at one point. Eventually her head crowned and with several strong pushes, she was born at 6:14pm, almost 12 hours exactly after my water broke. The baby was laid on my chest and my husband cut the cord.

I delivered the placenta shortly after, but have no recollection of doing this. I did have a third degree tear and it took the doctor about 45 minutes to stich me up, but again, I was blissfully unaware.

June 10, 2012 at 6:14 am Leave a comment

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