Posts tagged ‘Couples Yoga for Labor’

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.

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

Teresa and Adam

While falling asleep late on the night of February 5th I felt a strong Braxton Hicks contraction. Since I had many of these throughout my pregnancy, and sometimes along with menstrual-like cramping, it didn’t alarm me. However the cramping this time felt a little stronger than usual. I decided not to think about it too much and to try to get some sleep.

I was able to get several hours of sleep and sometime between 3 and 4 am I felt another light contraction. Around this time I also experienced stomach cramping and loose bowel movements, which I remembered were common symptoms in early labor. Over the next couple of hours the contractions, along with the stomach cramps, became more frequent and intense and it was hard to tell at times which was which. This made me question if I had truly started labor so I decided to wait to call my midwife.

Around 6 am, however, it became clear to me that I was indeed in labor and when my husband and I started to time the contractions, as suggested by our midwife, they were coming every 2 to 3 minutes apart. By this point the pain was so intense, the only thing I could do was get on my hands and knees and rock my hips back and forth. I wanted to scream with each contraction but tried hard to moan loudly instead allowing the sound to come from the back of my throat.

The next 2 hours were chaotic as my husband and I ran around the house gathering last minute items and arranging for our 2 year old to be picked up by a sister-in-law. All the while I was crawling around the house on my hands and knees with each contraction. I also tried to take a shower to help relieve some pain but the contractions were coming on too fast and too strong.

I was able to do 2 down dogs on the shower wall before rushing out because I had the overwhelming sense that it was time to leave for the hospital as soon as possible. It wasn’t until after the shower that I remembered to try the TENS unit and kept it on until we got to the hospital. I can’t say whether it relieved any pain or helped by serving as a distraction from the contractions. It probably would have been more effective had I tried it earlier in my labor.

We arrived at the hospital at 8:30 am and I was relieved to discover that I was already 8 cm dilated and that the feeling I had of being out of control was transition. For the next 30 to 40 minutes my husband held me in a standing position from behind (the way we learned in our Couples Yoga for Labor class) and we swayed back and forth with each contraction. I asked the midwife to check me again when I started to feel like pushing with the contractions and she found I was just about at 10 cm but had a small lip of cervix in the way. On the next contraction she pushed it aside and I was fully dilated.

When I started to push I got on my hands and knees because I wanted to give birth in a upright position, but the pain in my back was so intense with each push that the only comfortable position was on my side in the bed. After pushing for a while, my midwife broke my water in the hopes of speeding up the process, but it did little to move things along and I ended up pushing hard for an hour and a half. Everyone kept assuring me that they could see his head and that he had lots of dark hair but my husband told me later that it felt like an eternity since they could see his head in the same position with little progress.

I knew the end was close when I started to feel the “ring of fire” but felt like the stretching lasted for an unusually long time. It almost felt like the baby was stuck! The long, hard pushing as well as the intense pressure on my back all made sense when Adam’s head popped out facing up. In retrospect I’m glad that no one realized he was OP because I’m sure I would have felt discouraged and therefore less confident—ignorance is bliss!

Adam Dominic was born on Sunday morning February 6th at 10:46 am. He was 8 lb 9 oz. (a big boy!) and 21 inches long. When I held him in my arms for the first time, I was overwhelmed with feelings of love and in awe of one of life’s great miracles. I also felt strong, powerful, and proud.

February 6, 2011 at 10:46 am Leave a comment

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