Lidia and Melody

After calculating that I had a good 60 hours of work to do before leaving for maternity leave in 2 weeks, I wrapped things up at work and met my husband at Anna’s Couples Yoga for Labor workshop. It was Friday so I was tired from a busy work week. But on top of being tired, I was also feeling a strange tightness in my lower back and abdomen, which Anna also noticed while adjusting me during one of the poses. The workshop was very informative, and after doing all of the poses I went home feeling much more relaxed.

The next day, on Saturday, we had our first meeting with our newly hired doula, Lissett, who had also been our hypnobirthing instructor. During her visit I mentioned that I had been feeling some tension in my lower abdomen and that I was having some difficulty emptying my bladder completely which led her to suggest that perhaps the baby had dropped. It was 3 ½ weeks prior to the due date so I quickly discarded this possibility since this seemed like something that should happen closer to the due date. After Lissett left a couple of friends arrived from out of town to spend the weekend with us. We had a pleasant evening and tucked in for the night.

Sunday morning I woke up surprisingly rested but starting to feel like I had menstrual cramps. This was strange but I got up and got ready to go to a place nearby for breakfast. I still hadn’t mentioned the “cramps” to my husband but at the restaurant, as we talked, I felt the pain intensify. We left the restaurant and once home I told my husband, Jason, that I wasn’t feeling well and that I would call the midwife to see if she could help me understand what was going on. The plan for the day was for Jason and his friends to go shopping for the day while I stayed home to do some work. So, still hoping that I would have a normal day, I told Jason to go shopping and I would call him if necessary. As he left our room and walked down to the living room I started realizing that the “cramp” wasn’t necessarily intensifying, it was coming and going. Immediately after this realization I suddenly felt overwhelmed so I called him back to the room to let him know of the change of plans: He needed to call the midwife and the doula to let them know some major was happening.

At this point I was still in denial about what was happening. I was not ready to accept that I was in labor because I still had a lot of work to do both at my job but also at home. We had made the decision to have the baby at home but we weren’t quite ready with all of the supplies needed for a home birth. But it wasn’t long until I had to accept that this was it. After Jason reached the midwife and the doula, the conclusion was that I was in labor and, at that point, an active one.

A couple of hours later, Lissett arrived and relieved Jason of his post so he could start to gather the supplies and make a few phone calls. One of the phone calls was to the couple that was staying with us for the weekend to let them know that I was in labor and to ask them to bring a few remaining supplies. After another couple of hours the midwife, Loren, arrived with the news that she had checked the result of the group B-strep exam I took earlier that week and that I tested positive for the infection, which meant that I had to be injected with the antibiotics before the birth. This proved to be very difficult because at that point I was already having the urge to push but I had to be still for what felt like an eternity until the entire bag of the IV solution was administered. The antibiotic was also supposed to be in my body for 2 hours before the baby was born which ended up not happening. Once the antibiotic was administered, I got into one of the poses I had just learned at the yoga workshop and I stuck with it through the rest of the labor.

At 17:03 after a little over an hour of pushing (and a fair share of screaming), Mel was born. She was a healthy 6 lbs 14 ounces at birth and as soon as I had her in my hands all the memories of pain were replaced instead by an extreme feeling of joy. What a day! When I woke up that Sunday, I could not have in my wildest dreams guessed that later that same that same day she would be in my arms. It was a crazy and wonderful day which we also got to share with our friends who arrived back from a day of shopping just a couple of minutes before they heard Melody’s first cries. Our baby girl scored 9 points in the Apgar system and is doing great. I am thankful to all that helped us in this process including Anna, Lissett, and Loren.

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May 20, 2012 at 5:03 am Leave a comment

Deanna and June

It was 5:15am and I was lying in bed with mild contractions that would not go away so I decided to get out of bed. They felt like the Braxton Hicks contractions I had on several occasions so I didn’t think too much of them, other than they were not going away. I thought walking around would help and also went online to see what other tricks I could find to make false contractions go away. I drank a cup of peppermint tea, ate a bagel and took a shower. I started timing the contractions just in case they were real. I had a hard time telling when one contraction started and stopped because the intensity varied with each contraction. I had stronger contractions every 7 to 10 minutes and several smaller ones in between. My online sources told me that real contractions steadily increase in strength and are consistently spaced apart so I continued to believe I was in false labor, but since they were not going away, I decided to call the hospital to speak with a triage nurse. She told me that I should wait until my stronger contractions were 5 minutes apart. She also asked if the baby was moving around but I was so busy focusing on the contractions I didn’t recall if I felt the baby move at all that morning.

I called back 15 minutes later and asked if we could come in and make sure the baby was ok as I was very emotional and worried that something might be wrong. I also told the nurse that my contractions were coming every 1-2 minutes, but they still were inconsistent when it came to the strength/pain. I vomited right before we left our house and at this point I was pretty sure these contractions were real. The pain was growing more intense with each contraction and I knew I’d want an epidural as soon as we got to the hospital.

The 15-minute drive to the hospital seemed to take forever and the contractions were getting stronger and stronger. I no longer had mild contractions in between. My husband dropped me off in front of the hospital entrance and there was another couple in front of me checking into the maternity ward. I had several contractions waiting in line and was trying my best not to make a scene but at this point the pain was intense. After we checked in, a nurse greeted us and could see how much pain I was in. She thought we were just checking on the baby and decided to skip the triage room all together and check me into a room right away. I had a few more contractions on the walk to the room and the nurse put me in a wheelchair, but it was unbearable to sit through the contractions so I walked and the pain was intensifying with each contraction.

We finally arrived to the room and the nurse quickly pushed the call button and said she needed help. I am so thankful that this nurse had experience and insight to see what was going on and took action quickly. She checked my cervix and said, “let me just verify what I’m feeling….yep, you are at 9cm.” To which I frantically replied, “Is it too late for an epidural?” I knew it was probably too late and she confirmed that it was because the baby would be here in the time spent trying to get the epidural. My biggest fear just came true. I NEVER in a million years would have wanted to have a baby without pain relief. I was terrified because the pain was so intense and I had no idea how long it was going to last or how much worse it was going to get. There was a lot of commotion in the room as several nurses were helping to get everything set up, starting an IV in my arm, and calling my doctor. I was screaming and moaning with each contraction and squeezing my husband’s hand (I’m surprised I didn’t break any of his bones) while a nurse was telling me to look at her and slow down my breathing. They were calling the on-call doctor when another nurse said “get the hospitalist in here right away”. I thought she said get “hospice” in here and that freaked me out as I thought something must be wrong. Then she explained that the hospitalist is a doctor that they have on staff at all times to deliver babies when the woman’s personal doctor cannot be there. ☺

I felt the urge to push just as the hospitalist arrived. My water was still intact and as the doctor was turned around to get out an instrument to rupture my membrane, I had a strong contraction that broke the water and shot it across the room like it came out of a fire hydrant. An unlucky nurse happened to get a nice soak and I guess that is an on-the-job hazard. Two pushes later, June came out and all of the pain was gone!

My husband and I were in shock how quickly June was born and how close we were to having a baby at home or in our car. It was about 30 minutes from the time the nurse came out to greet us until June was born at 8:18am. Everything happened so quickly, but after she was born there was calmness in the room and we were so happy to meet her. She arrived 10 days early and weighed 8 lbs and was 20 inches long.

March 23, 2012 at 8:18 am Leave a comment

Chrissy and Rylan

On Thursday January 12th at 9:30 a.m., my water broke. I was in the laundry room putting clothes into the dryer. I wasn’t completely sure, but I knew I hadn’t involuntarily peed my pants. A few minutes later, I felt a smaller burst, then I decided to go sit down and read my pregnancy book to make sure this was really happening. I should have known since I was already 6 days over due. As I was sitting there reading, I felt a larger gush. Yep, that’s it!

I called my husband and told him the news and he came home from work. I then called Puget Sound Birth Center, my doula, Mom, then Dad. Nicole was the midwife on duty. She told me to eat a lot of calories, drink a lot of liquids and get rest. My husband and I both took advantage of that. By this time it was about 12:30 pm, so I had my husband go to Kidd Valley and get us burgers and fries. He added in milkshakes.

My contractions started at about 1:30 pm and were about as strong as period cramps. My mom came over to pick up our dog at about 3:30 pm and my contractions had picked up a bit. She had also helped with my calorie intake by bringing cupcakes from Cupcake Royale, so I had a cupcake. Nicole checked in with us a little before 7:00 pm and had told me to eat another meal before my contractions became more frequent, so I did, then I finished it off with my chocolate peanut butter shake.

From 7:00-8:00, my contractions went from tolerable to pretty painful. When we talked to Nicole earlier, she had said that I should try to get some sleep and even get into bed early because it would be beneficial later. She had said she’d probably see us the next morning. My doula, Summer, said the same thing. Well, they were both surprised to get the call that my labor had sped up drastically.

Summer got to our house at 9:00 pm and I labored at home until 10:45 pm when we left for the birthing center. By this time, my contractions were back to back. I had 3 from my doorway to the car. We arrived at the birthing center at 11:15 pm. Nicole and her midwife in training, Katy, checked me out and I was dilated to an 8. I then got into the tub and continued to labor with my backside on the wall of the tub. They had me turn around and put my arms on the edge of the tub to get my IV in (antibiotics for group B strep). The IV was in for 20 minutes and it was the longest 20 minutes ever!

I continued in child’s pose and suddenly got the sensation to push. Katy had to help manually with moving the last part of my cervix so I could push. I pushed for about an hour. I could hear Nicole commenting on all the hair on the baby’s head when she crowned, then her head came out and on the next push her body.

Katy pushed her towards me in the water between my legs and I caught her, turned around and put her to my chest. She was alert with her eyes wide open and didn’t make any noise right away, then let out a big yell.

She was born at 1:09 am on Friday the 13th. My husband cut her chord (which was very short) and they had me hand her to him. He held her skin to skin while I delivered the placenta. I got out of the tub, dressed and laid down on the bed with her to feed her. The midwives weighed her and measured her. She was 7lb. 6oz. and was 20.5 inches long.

My dad had brought home made croissant sandwiches for everyone, so we all ate our meals, packed up and were on our way home in no time. We were home and settled by 4:00 am with our beautiful baby girl, Rylan Amanda Jones.

That’s our story!

January 13, 2012 at 1:09 am Leave a comment

Rachel and Evan

Prologue:
Some background, my first was an attempted homebirth, but ended up with a hospital transfer because she was asynclitic and posterior and I just couldn’t get her out. She was a c-section, 8lbs, 14oz, after around 50 hours of labor. Next baby was a successful homebirth. He had shoulder dystocia, and was born completely unresponsive and required resuscitation. He perked up after a minute or so, and then was completely fine, no hospital transfer needed. He was 10lbs 2oz.

Here’s Evan’s Birth Story:
A little before midnight Tuesday night I started having “interesting” contractions, but I wasn’t getting too excited since every night for the last 2 weeks I’d have a handful and then they’d go away. But these were stronger and took a little more focus so it did make me wonder. I decided to start timing them. 14 minutes.. 4 minutes.. 2.5 minutes?! SERIOUSLY?! I called my midwife at 1 am to tell her what was going on, and she said to call back with an update in half an hour. We called back at 1:30 to let her know that these contractions are *not kidding*, this definitely feels more like active labor than early labor. I skipped over early labor altogether (or maybe early labor was every night for the last 2 weeks, on the layaway plan). I called my doula and my mom and told them it was time to come over!

One thing that was cool is on some contractions, I swear I could feel my cervix opening. By the time my doula arrived, probably within a half hour, I was already hitting transition. I spent some time draped over the birth ball and my doula did some counterpressure in my back. The midwife and her team (assistant and apprentice) arrived just a few minutes later and started boiling some water for the tub. We only got a few inches in before the hot water ran out. I could tell I was in transition because I stayed “checked out” even between contractions. I looked up at one point and said, “hey, I think this is transition already..” and they were like, “yeah, I’d say so!” I started pushing a teeny bit at the end of contractions. Not so much with an urge, but because it felt good so I went with it. They got the pool filled and warm so I moved in there. The combination of the water and having my doula and husband switch off pressing on my low back felt really good, and I pushed a bit but the urge wasn’t super strong yet.

My midwife offered to check me, and I was curious if I had a bit of a lip or something holding me back, so I accepted. I didn’t even need to get out of the water. As suspected, there was a thin rim of cervix holding his head back – she described it like a rubber band.

After a bit I wasn’t feeling like I was very effective in the water and decided to get into bed for a while. The rim was so stubborn! My midwife kept holding it back so I could push the head past it, but then it would just slide right over. So frustrating. The water bag was bulging in front of the head. We decided to break it since I make crazy strong bags anyway, and figured that would help the head drop down a little more. That definitely helped, and of course, made the pushing urge that much stronger. I kept switching around locations and positions for pushing, toilet, back in the water, kneeling leaning on the birth ball, and then settled onto my back in bed. I was getting pretty mad while pushing, since it felt like I was making no progress!

After a while, I could see the head in the mirror and just kept thinking to myself, okay…almost done, almost done! But what really surprised me was just a contraction or two later the head was fully crowning, and just a few more contractions got the head all the way out. Last time, I spent a good half hour trying to get the baby’s head from crowning to out, and this one just popped right out. I was kind of on edge at that point, wondering if the shoulders would be stuck again. But then I heard, “okay, shoulders restituting..” and I was thinking, oh, cool! Since that meant no dystocia. But then she starts really messing around down there while telling me to push really hard, and I heard the..assistant? apprentice? ..one of the two asking if she needed to do suprapubic (a maneuver for resolving shoulder dystocia) and I thought, oh crap, here we go again! But then the shoulders came out and the baby was brought right to my chest. Eyes open, alert, making noises right away and crying a few seconds later.

After a minute I took a peek and found out we had a boy! I found out he had an arm up and behind his head so his elbow was sticking out funny. My midwife had to reach in and sweep it to the front and out and then he came out no problem. He nursed within 20 minutes, and we waited for the placenta before cutting the cord. After some more snuggles we did the newborn exam. 11 lbs even, 23 inches long, 15 inch head! And I have to mention, since most assume otherwise given his size, no tearing! He was born at 5:48am so start to finish, labor was only about 6 hours.

November 16, 2011 at 4:48 am Leave a comment

Erin and Hazel (with wonderful C-Section tips!)

Hazel June was born at 38.5 weeks on Tuesday, September 27, via c-section. She weighed in at 6 lbs 4 oz and was 19 inches long. A c-section was required because she was breeched and my amniotic fluid was low.

Hazel is doing amazingly well with her adoptive family, and her 14 month old sister Olive has really taken to her. Olive already tries to comfort Hazel when she cries and – according to her parents – is trying to say Hazel’s name. Hazel is very healthy and immediately took to breastfeeding. I’m fortunate that I get to see Hazel every few days since I’m pumping breast milk for her, and I know she and I will always have a very special bond.

On the recovery front, at 10 days after the c-section I still look about 24 weeks pregnant, but I feel really good. At 5 days after my c-section, I was still on narcotics day and night and had only lost 6 lbs. The weight really bummed me out considering a 6 lb baby plus all of the supporting fluids had come out of me. In the 5 days after that I was able to get off of the narcotics altogether, and I dropped 8 more pounds (likely water, inflammation, and constipation related), settling in at 8 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight.

I miss our class and the amazing energy we shared each week, I thank everyone for their concern and well wishes, and I wish you all the best of luck! While the c-section wasn’t what I had hoped for, I’d like to share some tips and things I learned the hard way in case it helps others.

What I learned in the OR:

1. There are a lot of people in the OR, and once they start, it’s a whirlwind. They don’t tell you when they cut into you, and then there are many people – in my case 8 – moving around behind the drape that they put up in front of you who are quickly talking in very abrupt tones and words. Don’t worry. This doesn’t mean anything is wrong. It’s just how things work in the OR.
2. Remember to breathe. Once they are ready to start taking the baby and placenta out, they suddenly tell you that there is going to be a lot of immediate pressure on your stomach. They aren’t lying. This is the most uncomfortable and indescribable feeling I’ve ever had in my life. Typically your nerves kick in and you feel pain before you would feel something like this, but since you are numbed up, all you feel is this weird pressure that you’ve never felt before. Luckily, my friend who was with me in the ER kept reminding me to breathe, because I was unknowingly holding my breath during this time.
3.Distractions are good – Don’t hesitate to ask the person who is coaching you to distract you. If you’re paying attention to what the nurses and doctors are saying, you might get nervous or upset. Being distracted won’t keep you from being able to see your baby coming out. The doctors will let you know when it’s time and will ask you if you want to see the “birth”. They also put the baby to the side of you several feet away once she/he is out, so you’ll be able to see her/him moving and being cleaned up, which is the best distraction of all.

What I learned after the c-section:

1. Deep Squatting is your friend – I almost started bawling in the hospital bathroom when my underwear dropped to my ankles and my gown fell to the floor in one fell swoop. I felt very vulnerable. How could I possibly pick those up on my own without having to call someone to help me? And then I remembered the squats Anna taught us in class when we didn’t have abs to help us. I gingerly tried them, and – voila – it worked! This is also the best way to get on and off of the toilet or anywhere else you sit down. A very wide legged squat is the best position to help you go to the bathroom (with your underwear around your ankles so it’s not putting pressure on your legs pulling them together, which then puts pressure on your core and your abdomen). While it didn’t seem as necessary during the pregnancy, I found walking my hands up or down my body like Anna showed us was really helpful as I moved in and out of a squatting position.
2. Modified Tree/Piriformis stretch pose with a Half Squat is also your friend. This is similar to the piriformis stretch we do at the wall in class with Anna and is the best way to get your socks (or non-slip on shoes) on and off, to get yourself in and out of the shower, and to wash (or shave) your legs and feet. Make sure there is something nearby to hold onto or lean on in case you need it.
3. Modified Downward Dog “on the counter” combined with Cat / Cow is your friend. According to the doctor and nurses, Day 2 is the toughest pain day. They were right. I woke up at 2 a.m. that night and couldn’t sleep due to the pain, despite being on narcotics. I walked up and down the hall for about 3 hours, with 5 to 20 minute breaks leaning over doing a pseudo-downward dog with my arms or hands on the counter (not the wall) combined with a lot of cat/cow in this position. It relieved the pain in both my abdomen and my back, and I still do this very frequently during recovery at home to relieve my pain and loosen my back up. Anna also recommended Apanasana once the stitches are out/dissolved, but at 10 days after the c-section I’m not able to try that yet.
4. Getting out of bed is not impossible – The nurses will tell you how to get in and out of bed, but likely the first few times will be pretty miserable. It’s ok to cry, yelp, plead that you can’t do it, and feel fearful of it. At the hospital, make sure the back of the bed is as vertical as you can handle for this, as that allows the bed to do quite a bit of the work for you. At home, I propped pillows behind me when I slept that helped me with this. I would recommend practicing what Anna shows us at the end class on how to get down to the mat and then get back up. This will be your lifesaver for getting in and out of bed after the c-section. I would also recommend sleeping in a low bed for a week or more after the c-section, making sure there are solid objects close to the headboard that you can grip onto to help you push yourself to a seated position with your legs hanging over the side of the bed.
5. Don’t be afraid of the catheter or the staples – When they put the catheter in, I felt only a small amount of pressure because I was already drugged up for the surgery. However, I was very afraid of the catheter being removed due to the large amount of fluid I kept seeing them dump from my body during the first 24 hours after the surgery. Given how hard it was to get out of bed, I couldn’t imagine having to get out of bed that often to go to the bathroom. Don’t worry. Since they pump you up with a lot of fluids that first day (and if you were retaining water during the pregnancy), that’s why so much fluid leaves your body during the first 24 hours. Luckily, after that point – at least in my case – it wasn’t painful to have the catheter removed, and the number of bathroom trips wasn’t exorbitant. And getting the staples out before I was released from the hospital was completely painless.
6. Constipation – When a “doughy belly” is something you covet. Half the battle I faced after the c-section was soreness, healing, and inflammation. The other half was a week of painful constipation and bloating caused by the surgery, having given birth, and the narcotics. The nurses will tell you to take Miralax once a day when you leave the hospital, but I had to switch to twice a day for several days to get anything moving. I can’t tell you how much better I felt once my system started moving again and I had a “doughy belly”. You’ll also be taking stool softeners, and there is a prune/raisin/fig paste that they might give you a recipe for that seemed to help as well. I understand that constipation is common for both natural and c-section births, and I’m unclear why they didn’t start me on the Miralax at the hospital.
7. Colostrum collection – Tell the nurses to use a soft flexible tip. If the nurse has you pump colostrum at the hospital to save for the baby, make sure they put a soft bendy tip on the syringe they use to extract the colostrum from the pumping cones that are placed on your breasts. I had 4 different nurses who tried to collect the colostrum using a harder flexible tip on the syringe and kept stabbing my nipple. My nurse on my last day was the only one who used a soft tip.

Now to the good parts:

1. Despite some of my experiences above, the nurses do know their stuff. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help or advice, or to ask them to watch your baby for you if she/he is crying and won’t let you sleep. They’re happy to help and are great at comforting babies.
2. Your friends want to help, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. They really mean it when they say it feels good to help out! Have someone set up a meal train for you for food delivery and then you won’t have to worry about cooking: http://www.mealtrain.com
3. No more heartburn. Enough said.
4. Your wardrobe may expand significantly, as many of your early pregnancy clothes might fit now.
5. You can sleep on your back again, though you might not be able to sleep on your side for a while so that’s an adjustment.
6. 1 week out you feel worlds better, and I’m told 2 weeks out is the next major milestone.
7. And of course the best part of all – your baby!

September 27, 2011 at 1:58 am Leave a comment

Amanda and Ryan

Tuesday August 30th, the day before our due date my friend Vanessa invited us to a Mariner game. I was joking with her that we would be in labor on the way home from the game that night. We arrived home and got into bed. Ryan was feeling my belly and Benjamin’s kicks when I felt a pop. Right after that at 11:30 PM my water broke in our bed.

Ryan quickly got some towels and I made my way to the bathroom – it was definitely a gush. Adrenaline kicked in and I changed the sheets on the bed while Ryan took a shower. I called the midwives and texted my friends and family and told them to go to bed, we would let them know when we were on our way to the hospital.

My contractions were about 8 minutes apart at the beginning and lasted 40 seconds. I liked hugging pillows and standing on the edge of the bed for these. I was able to keep laying on my side in bed when I wasn’t having a contraction and I really liked the hot pad on my back because I would have chills after each contraction.

At 3 AM I ate an english muffin because my friend Kim said I should eat something if I could and Ryan went to install the car seat in the car and pull a sleeping bag out of the loft in the garage. By 4 AM my contractions were 6 minutes apart and they were lasting 2 minutes. I said to Ryan, “maybe we need to talk about this natural birth. Maybe I want narcotics but I don’t want an epidural.” Ryan said, “Are you sure?” and I said, “no.” Ryan reassured me by saying “I don’t think the contractions are going to get more painful, they are just going to come more often.” This made sense to me and we continued to labor at home.

I really liked the slide breathing – Ryan would say 3 breaths and I would take a deep breadth and let it out in 3 breaths. This gives you something to think about besides the pain. I spent this time in the slow dance position and it was difficult to rest. At 5 AM I liked to sit on the edge of our high-backed office chair with my feet up on the bed 3 feet apart and a cold wash cloth on my forehead. I told Ryan I might vomit so he brought me the garbage can and I did vomit around this time. At 6 AM I was still having my 2-minute-long contractions every 6 minutes but in between I was having a 40 second contraction and I vomited again – this time only water. I could not get comfortable in any position so we called the midwife back at 6:30 and told her we were leaving for the hospital.

We are only 5 minutes from the hospital and I had 2 contractions in the car. The agony was waiting the 5 minutes for a nurse to come pick us up at reception. I was laboring in the lobby in the slow dance position in front of another pregnant woman who was not in labor (poor girl was probably scared). The nurse (Nancy) walked us straight to our room and I told her I was feeling a lot of pressure on my tail bone. Our midwife Sharon showed up a few minutes later. I changed into my nightgown that I brought for labor and Sharon checked my cervix.

Sharon told me I could push anytime. “What?” I said. This is when I got really scared. I thought that I would have to labor at the hospital a little more. The pushing part was what scared me the most. I told Nancy and Sharon that I didn’t want to feel rushed into pushing so they told me just do a small push to practice.

I was on my back with Nancy holding one of my legs and Ryan holding the other. Sharon was in the middle stretching my perineum and putting hot compresses on the area. She was showing me with her hands how much of Ben’s head she was seeing when I pushed and telling me that he has brown hair. You definitely feel and urge to push during the contractions and they were telling me pushing helps so you don’t feel the contraction which is true.

When the head was out I just kept pushing (and screaming involuntarily) and after 2 hours of pushing, Benjamin Thomas was born at 8:51 AM. Sharon put the baby on my chest while she prepared the cord for Ryan to cut. I delivered the placenta shortly after and Sharon started on my stitches. The stitches didn’t hurt – the shot to numb the area hurt.

They gave me a shot of Petocin in the thigh to help contract my uterus and slow the bleeding. Benjamin was 8 lbs 2 oz, 19.5 inches long, and his head was 14 inches around (that’s right ladies I pushed that out with no drugs).

August 31, 2011 at 8:51 am Leave a comment

Krista and Hanna

My husband and I welcomed our baby girl, Hanna Linnéa on 8-9-11, one day ahead of her due date. We had a regular check-up with our OB that morning and I had been experiencing mild contractions, about 15-20 minutes apart since 5AM. At our appointment, we had our OB ¨sweep the membranes’ as I was 2 cm dilated. We then checked the baby’s fluids and found she was running low, at 5 cm, so decided to go in for an induction and checked into labor and delivery within the half hour. Well, it didn’t take much to get us going as I quickly moved to 4 cm after the sweep and was in full labor by 10:30AM, having contractions 3 minutes apart.

We felt pretty strong about having a natural birth, so I was glad to avoid pitocin to speed up labor. The contractions were strong, but manageable early on so my husband had time to run back home to pick up our hospital bags. At around 12:30, we were measuring at 5cm, so they broke our waters to keep things going. Shortly after, the intensity picked up pretty quickly and it was time to get more mobile.

I took a quick bath, but decided that wasn’t delivering a lot of comfort so I moved onto squats and lunges. For the next 4 hours, I alternated between plie squats at the bed and single leg lunges at the window seat. I took small breaks on the bed, but found the pain much stronger when I was lying down. I think the combination of squats and lunge definitely helped speed up the opening and I was really thankful that I had practiced these regularly throughout my pregnancy. My husband and I didn’t rely on alternate breathing techniques, it was more comforting to just keep taking deep breaths and break each contraction into sets of either 15 squats or 15 lunges.

I wanted to keep the labor natural, but admit there were several times throughout those final 4 hours that I questioned whether my body was going to take much more. The adrenaline rush and fatigue made my muscles tremor and I was less and less able to relax in the 30-45 seconds between contractions. My husband was a huge source of comfort throughout though, massaging me and providing a lot of encouragement. I also reflected back on the birth stories I heard in this class for motivation to keep to our natural plan, and I’m extremely thankful for that.

Finally, after 4 hours of strong labor we reached 10 cm. and it was time to start pushing. I actually found this phase of labor to be least painful, and was able to get good rests between the contractions as the body relaxed a bit more. I squatted through the first 30 minutes of pushing, but then became too tired to keep the position once the baby’s head started to emerge. It took another 45 minutes to finish delivery but all pain was forgotten the moment Hanna entered our world.

I’m really glad that I took the time to practice yoga throughout my pregnancy and felt that this experience definitely helped me have the smooth, natural delivery that was important to my husband and I. I look forward to continuing my practice in baby yoga next month and would definitely return to this class for future pregnancies.

August 9, 2011 at 2:15 am Leave a comment

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