Posts tagged ‘deliver’

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.

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

Tennile and Lennon

As you know I was given a Doppler ultrasound on Thursday when they determined that my placenta was not providing enough for my baby and my fluids had dropped from Monday. That afternoon they placed a balloon catheter in to stimulate my cervix to open. When I arrived at the hospital Friday for induction at 11:30 am I had to receive antibiotics for 4 hours before I could have my baby (because I tested positive for Group Beta Strep, which can infect the uterus during delivery since the uterus is open.) At 12:30 pm they began a low level of pitocin at 1:30 pm they removed the catheter and broke my waters to find I was already 6cm.

Contractions were slowly getting more intense and closer together, they then said that anesthesia was most likely going to get busy and if I thought I wanted the epidural to get it at that moment, so I did. I remained at 6cm until 5:30 pm when they started really increasing the pitocin. At 6 pm the Epidural stopped working on my right side and in between contractions they were fixing it – it was at that point my body wanted to push and I had a hard time keeping it from pushing.

They were frantic and really insistent that I stop pushing as they were trying to get the medicine to work which is was not. I kept telling them he is coming I have to push – they they paged the doctor and began setting up for delivery. My doctor arrived and began getting her gown on when I began pushing the second they said OK push your baby to the doctor, it was 2 pushes to get him out. Lennon David Jones was born at 6:20 pm 5 lbs 17 in.

Overall it was a fantastic experience – I got to feel real labor this time and feel blessed by the whole process. He latched on right away. He is happy and healthy, just small. We were asked to stay until Sunday due to his size which was perfectly fine for me as I was pumping like crazy to get my milk in. It came in at 36 hours after which has been vital in his growth. He is amazing. So different from Lilah. He just rolls with things. I am truly blessed and have a beautiful family.

Thank you for all your support and teachings as I am pretty convinced yoga makes life easier and more enjoyable and having such a caring, knowledgeable and strong teacher with such compassion as yourself is blissful!!

December 17, 2010 at 3:56 am Leave a comment

Stephanie and Spencer

Well, it looks like you’ll be losing one of your “Stephanie’s” in your prenatal yoga class! I gave birth at 37 1/2 weeks to Spencer on Saturday! My birth went really well – here are some details:

Wednesday I went to the doctor for my weekly checkup and everything was good – 1/2 cm dialated, 50% effaced. All day Friday at work I was having some pretty mild contractions but more than just braxton hicks…these ones had some cramps with them. So I called and got an appt at 1:30pm. After being hooked up to the monitors for a non-stress test as well as an exam they said I was in pre-term labor at 2 cm and 80% effaced! The doctor said that I should expect a delivery within the next 12 hours!! They said to continue to walk around and try and make things progress. By this time it was 3:30 and time to pick up my 3 1/2 year old Cameron to take him trick or treating around my office. So we walked around the halls getting candy and sharing the news with my co-workers. Very exciting!! After that I even took both dogs to their vet appointments at 5pm (long day)! I continued to have the contractions all night but really wanted to get one last good night’s sleep in my bed and see how I felt in the morning.

When I woke up on Saturday the contractions were still there so we dropped Cameron off at my Aunt’s and went to the hospital to see if things were still progressing. When they checked me I was already 6 cm! The nurses couldn’t believe that I was just walking in there and not in a ridiculous amount of pain and already at 6 cm. 🙂 (I guess the prenatal yoga really paid off). Since Cameron’s birth went so fast my doctor told them to give me the epidural (since I knew I wanted one) and then she’d break my water. They thought it would be pretty painful to break my water anyhow since the baby was still pretty posterior, so i thought getting the epidural first would be a good idea too! The hospital was pretty busy for my doctor (she had 4 other patients delivering that day too). Since I wasn’t in much pain or in a hurry she kinda put me on the back burner taking care of 1 other delivery and 2 c-sections first. So we hung out for most of the day with family in my room (including my first born, which was really nice). I was continuing to have contractions, but kinda stalled around 8 cm so they started 1 drip of petocin. And boy did that work! The contractions were way stronger and the epidural was wearing off…totally hurting! YIKES! But after an hour on the petocin they checked and I was 10 cm dialated and the baby was in the perfect position. So with each contraction I started pushing and after 5 pushes Spencer Ryan was born!! He was born at 4:39pm, weighing 8 lbs 2 oz and 19 1/2 inches…big boy! He would have been huge if I went full term!!

October 30, 2010 at 3:22 am Leave a comment

Angela and Benjamin

Saturday I enjoyed our last prenatal class before the studio’s vacation, spent the day with the family and went to some friends for dinner. Both Friday and Saturday evenings I noticed some slight cramping – but figured I had just over-done by pushing my daughter to the park in the stroller and doing too much during the days.

Sunday morning I woke up at 5:30 (after waking up at 2:30 and 4:30 to pee) and was a little annoyed that I wasn’t sleeping! Then I went to the bathroom and discovered the “bloody show.” I couldn’t remember what this meant, but knew it meant something was happening. I tried to lie back down and get some sleep, but was having regular contractions. I grabbed my “Pregnancy, Childbirth and Newborn” book and headed to the kitchen to get something to eat. The book told me the bloody show meant things were definitely moving forward – but didn’t guarantee anything immediate. I still was experiencing regular contractions, about 5-10 minutes apart, totally doable just by breathing. This was my due date – what were the chances? My parents were out of town cheering my brother on in his Ironman Canada, and my doctor wasn’t on call… but I knew I couldn’t cross my legs and hope it would go away!

At 7am my husband woke up and could tell something was up… we hung out for another half hour in bed and then he got up and showered. My daughter woke soon after, and then we started getting things rolling – breakfast, in-laws on their way to pick up my daughter, last minute items into our hospital bags, etc. I called the hospital around 8:30 and they suggested we come in since my first labor had progressed quickly at the end. My contractions at this point were about 3-5 minutes apart… deep breathing and swaying back and forth really helped.

We arrived at the hospital about 10am with contractions consistently 3 minutes apart. I was having to concentrate more on my breathing to get through them. But my biggest fear was that they’d send me home! (I should have trusted my body!) They took me back to triage and my nurse checked me – I was 4-5 cm. The nurse asked us what time we thought the baby would be born. I said I hoped soon… my husband guessed 12:30pm

They took me back to the room – ironically the same room my daughter had been born in! The next couple hours were spent bending over the counter and swaying, using the exercise ball, “hanging” over the upright bed, lots of hip squeezes, on all-fours, and eventually in the tub. My husband and cousin were there as my support team, as well as my awesome nurse. She would have us move positions every so often to keep things moving along. I think that really helped.

They checked me again and I was at 7cm… we decided to try the tub. At this point I could tell things were moving more quickly. I had one contraction standing in the tub, and then after I laid back in the water (which felt amazing). The next contraction I felt a pop and my water break. I immediately felt more pressure, so they got me out of the tub and back on the bed. I was lying on my side and going through those last contractions until it was time to push. I think I pushed for five contractions and he was out… at 12:30pm Benjamin joined the world! A healthy 8lb 5oz and 21-1/4 inches. I was able to reach down and pull him up to my chest as he came out, and he was nursing within the first five minutes. I was very relieved to be all done and have my little guy!

Thinking back on what helped me from the yoga classes – the breathing and concentration on the breath helped me focus, and standing firmly and powerfully – especially in positions like warrior – helped me to remember that I am powerful and capable. I also used some of the positions (or similar variations) that we discussed in the Couples Yoga for Labor class.

August 29, 2010 at 1:51 am Leave a comment

Sarah and Andrew

I was admitted to Evergreen Hospital at 12:10pm. I liked my nurse, Carole, immediately. She had experienced hands, Bugs Bunny scrubs, and a healthy disregard for how “certain things work around here.” She mounded our stuff onto a big cart and wheeled it to room 2150. “I feel like I’m going off to summer camp or some weird slumber party,” I told her.

When got to the room, Carole nodded to black case Mika was carrying. “What’s in there?” She wanted to know. “The other nurses are taking guesses. They think it’s a violin, but, I said, ‘No way. Not this couple. It’s going to be something much more…unusual.’” (Her suspicion might have been aroused by the fact I had requested dog sledding and mountaineering metaphors in my birth plan.) “You’re right!” Mika said. “I’m a violinist, but this is my ukulele.” We explained how Mika has been playing a special lullaby to my tummy during pregnancy, and we wanted to play the same song for him once he is born. “I figured,” Carole said with a good-hearted smile.

Carole hooked me up to a drip IV for antibiotics since I tested positive for strep B. Then, she strapped two plastic monitors around my tummy – one to measure the fetal heart rate and one to monitor my contractions. Next, she took my blood, “for typing – in case you need a transfusion later.” Finally, she hooked up a drip tube for Pitocin. I looked like a poorly engineered appliance with wires and tubes sticking out in every direction. So much for my vision of a “natural” labor. Carole set the Pitocin meter to “1” – its lowest setting – and pushed a button. Drip, drip, drip. No turning back now!

“Eat if you want to eat,” she told me, bringing me a big lunch tray. “Most doctors don’t let you eat anything other than Jell-O and clear liquids in case you need a need for C-section. But, you’re a midwife patient, and they let you eat anything you want.” As she was leaving, she turned and added, “But, my advice…don’t eat anything you really like.” “Why not?” “Because chances are, you’ll be seeing it again a few hours from now. And that’s enough to ruin your love of any favorite food.” Ah, sage advice.

When Carole went on lunch break, another nurse came to check on me. First, she tried to take my food tray away. I hadn’t eaten anything, but, when she said, “Oh…you’re not supposed to be eating that,” I suddenly felt hungry. I was like that dog who lies next to a juicy bone, not chewing it until someone threatens to take it away…Then, I growl. “I’ll have to verify with your doctor,” the nurse said striding out. I ate a few spoonfuls after she had left – and because gelatinous barley soup isn’t on my favorites list, I figured I would be fine re-visiting this meal down the road.

While the younger nurse was out verifying my permission to eat, I realized that instead of having clear liquid dripping into me, I had blood running out of me. I watched a line of red leak into the IV tube and begin spreading slowly up, up, up toward the IV bag. “It looks like your IV bag has run dry,” Mika noted. I pressed the nurse call button. Without pleasantries, the nurse returned, clamped the tube, drained the blood into the sink, and hooked me up to a new bag. As she headed for the door, she turned and said, “Carole says you can eat.” Then she disappeared.

EARLY LABOR – WAITING AND DISTRACTIONS

I had time spare, so I made two phone calls. The first was to my longtime friend, Briahna. She was almost 14 days past due and scheduled to be induced sometime this week. But, she hadn’t told anyone the exact day/time. I left a message. “Guess what? You know that balloon you told me about? Well, I can sympathize. I’m being induced, too. Right now, in fact.” Soon thereafter – right in the middle of a light contraction, my cell phone rang. It was Briahna. “I’m being induced at 4pm today,” She said. It felt so good to hear her voice. We have been close friends since we were 2.5 years old. I couldn’t believe that we were both being induced today – within hours of each other.

Next, I called my Mom. “I’m packing my bags and heading across 520,” she replied. Mika also left a message with our doula, Matilda White, letting her know that I had started Pitocin and that we’d call her later to check in as the labor progressed.

Then, I lay back and listened the whoosh-whoosh-whoosh of my baby’s heartbeat. I could feel mild contractions skip through my abdomen once in awhile. Nothing painful. Nurses kept coming by to smell the rose.

Carole returned, and I was delighted to see her. “On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?” Hmmm…I have the hardest time answering questions like that. I mean, is it a linear scale temperature and weight, or an exponential scale, like the pH and Richter scales? Isn’t it all subjective anyway? “Well, what’s a ten?” I asked. “Ten is like having your arm ripped off.” Really? Is that what labor is going to feel like? Somewhere between painless and having my arm ripped off? That’s another reason I hate those kinds of questions. “Okay,” I said at last. “This balloon is getting darned uncomfortable, so I’m calling it a 2.3.” “Good,” Carole said, looked at the clock, and turned the Pitosin up to a notch.

I decided to go for a walk. It’s not a small proposition when you are connected to an IV pole and heart/contraction monitor by a jungle of cables. But, because my pole and I were going to be spending a lot of time together, I decided to name it Aesop. So Mika, Aesop, and I walked up and down the halls. Things were moving gently along, and I was in good spirits. This was the part of labor that’s all about waiting and distraction. I had imagined spending it at home with Mika, strolling around the neighborhood, scratching dogs, watching a movie, and maybe even baking our son a birthday cake.

After much strolling in the hallways, Mika and I rolled our yoga mats in the room and did some stretching together. Around 4pm, my balloon popped out. 3 centimeters. Progress!

We decided to watch one of my favorite movies – Amalie. Mika futzed with the remote, but we couldn’t get it to work. Instead, the TV got stuck on some kind of teen horror movie. Not exactly relaxing. When Carole bustled back in, and we asked for her help. “It takes an engineering degree to operate this thing,” She said taking the remote. “I have one,” Mika said. Apparently, it takes a nursing degree instead, because Carole cued it right up. I had forgotten that Amalie starts with images of sperm wriggling up to an egg and a baby being born. Hmmm…I thought as another light contraction rippled through my body.

As my contractions grew stronger, Mika called Matilda and asked her to join us. She arrived at 4:30. My midwife Janice popped down occasionally to check-in and answer questions. Carole had been transferred to the ER, left in the hands of a nurse named Pat and a student named Laura. Pat immediately announced to Mika, “I’ve only had four hours of sleep!” She then sat on the corner of my bed and started asking, “What is this movie? Why is it in French? Do you speak French? Why is she doing that?” Oh boy, I thought…This is going to be a long night. Laura was quiet and sweet. She seemed excited to be there. And although I had specifically X-ed out the permission to allow students at my birth in my contract with Evergreen, I thought that having a second pair of less sleep-deprived eyes might come in handy.

Suddenly, my hospital room felt very full. I had imagined having such a private, intimate birth. Now, I had two nurses, my mother, a doula, and occasionally a midwife. We sat around laughing, talking, walking the halls together. Mika got out his ukulele and played Autumn Leaves while Matilda, a jazz singer, added the vocals. She also sung a lullaby to my belly. I was almost embarrassed by levity of the experience and the quality of attention I was receiving from this entourage of caregivers.

LABOR KICKS UP

I could watch my contractions come and go on a monitor and paper print out. They weren’t following a standard pattern. Instead, three or four contractions would come almost back-to-back, and then there would be a several minute pause before the next cluster. The nurse explained that my body had kicked into labor on its own, and that it was duplicating the effects of the Pitocin, which was why my contractions were coming almost on top of each other. On the screen, the contraction graph looked like a picture of the Cascade Mountains. I told Matilda and the nurses about how I liked thinking about climbing Mt. Rainier as a metaphor for labor. There was the early labor, which was the cheerful, brisk climb up to Camp Muir. Then, at 10,000 feet, you rope up in complete darkness and start relying on your team to help you make progress. You walk over glaciers and crevasses. That’s when you are heading into active labor. It gets harder and steeper, and by the time you get to the jagged precipice of Disappointment Cleaver, you’re wondering if you can actually make it. That represented the Transition phase. Then, at around 13,000 feet, the sun comes up, you look down on the tops of clouds, and you get a second wind. You know you can do it, but you still have to make the final push toward the summit, which in my case, would be literally be pushing out the baby.

It was now 8pm. My Pitocin level had gradually been bumped up to 8. I was crossing Muir Glacier on my way to the summit. By 9pm, I had to start concentrating on breathing to get through contractions. My mom left the room. Mika took my hand and began helping me focus with the counting breath.
1, 2, 3, He said in a steady, calm voice.
3, 2, 1
1, 2, 3, 4,
4, 3, 2, 1…
My contractions were still piling on top of each other like the Cascades pushing their rocky shoulders together against the sky. Mika offered me coconut water and special fruit sodas. He gave me sips of water after ever contraction. “You’re doing great,” he told me.

My body was taking over now. The nurses began to inch down the Pitocin to try and give me a bit more breathing room between each contraction. The room was dark, with just a few dim lights and illuminated buttons on various machines. I was tired of walking, so I decided to lie down in bed.
I asked Mika for Twilight Turtle. He placed it near my bed and turned it on. In a wink, a projected sky of stars spread across the ceiling.

“Your so strong,” Mika said as I breathed through an intense series of contractions. They were still coming in clusters, sometimes with only seconds between the end of one and the start of the next. “It would be so much easier if I had more space to rest between each one,” I remember saying. By 10pm, the nurses had turned my Pitocin level down to 6. Mika kept me focused.
1, 2, 3,
3, 2, 1…
I concentrated on his voice and felt calm and controlled despite the somewhat surprising intensity of the contractions. I began wondering what birthday our son would have.

ACTIVE LABOR

Around 11pm, I started shaking involuntarily. It crept over me like a massive shiver, and made things even more uncomfortable. They turned my Pitocin down even more. Matilda offered me a cotton ball scented with grapefruit oil. It smelled wonderful, but didn’t agree with me in that moment. Someone suggested I try using a beanbag. They placed it on the bed, and I got up on my hands and knees. I leaned over it, letting it take some of the weight and pressure of my back and tailbone. It helped for a while until my knees got achy.

Around 11:30, Mika and Matilda helped me crawl out of bed, wheel my pole of IV bags and monitors to the bathroom, and climb into the shower. They brought me a plastic stool to sit on turned the water. Matilda held the hand shower against my back. Mika brought me a cherry popsicle in a Dixie cup. “You always said you wanted a popsicle in the bath,” he said. He took my hand and continued counting slowly as I breathed. I felt incredibly loved and supported. I was still shaking, but the shower felt warm and soothing on my back.

I let Mika know each time a contraction started by taking a big breath.
1, 2, 3,
3, 2, 1…
I signaled the end of each contraction with a big cleansing sigh. “You’re doing great,” Mika kept saying. Then, just as that contraction was ending, another one would start building. I was getting exhausted. “I’m so proud of you, Sarah.” Mika said, leaning in close to my face.

At some point, I could no longer keep breathing in rhythm with Mika’s counting. I started shaking again. I started vomiting. We decided to switch my breathing to the lighter “Hee hee hoo” pattern we had learned in a labor and delivery class. It helped that Mika and Matilda both chanted it along with me. I couldn’t drink water, but someone offered me ice chips, and Mika began spooning them to me between each contraction.

I continued vomiting and shaking. The contractions were incredibly intense and coming so close together now. I had reached Disappointment Clever. I needed something to focus on. I started staring at the orange stopwatch hand on Mika’s watch. “This is the watch you gave me for an engagement present, remember?” he reminded me.

It was past midnight, and the excursion and pain was starting to scare me. I needed to know how far along I had come. Janice came in, and I got out of the shower. Mika and Matilda dried me off with towels. Janice said examined me and said, “You’re at 6 cm.” I was also 100% effaced and the baby had dropped to a station -1 or zero. I knew transition supposedly started at 7 cm, and I couldn’t believe I wasn’t there yet. The first three had been so relatively easy. These last three were excruciating. Still, between the shaking, vomit and intensity, I couldn’t believe that transition – the hardest phase – lay yet ahead. “You’ve already come 6 cm!” Mika said encouragingly. “You’re getting there – only four more to go.” I re-focused on his optimism and committed to the task of getting up the mountain.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how much pain are you in?” The nurse wanted to know. They had been asking the question all night, and right now, it was the last thing I wanted to contemplate. It was like asking me to think analytically about something that can only be felt on a raw, physical level. And for the first time, I started wondering if having my arm ripped off would really be that much more painful than the pileup of the last three contractions. Janice saw me struggling to answer. “You don’t have to answer that question.” she said calmly. “You can request they don’t ask you anymore.” “I guess I don’t want to be asked that question again,” I said. It didn’t please the nurses, but it got them to stop asking.

TRANSITION

“Now’s a good time to try the tub,” Janice suggested. It was 1:30. I wanted to save the tub to the very end, since I had heard it was the most effective coping tool, but only helpful for an hour or so. They had turned my Pitocin down to 3. My body was running on its own now. It was an effort to make it from the bed to the tub, and I had to stand in the bathroom and hang off of Mika’s shoulders to make it through a contraction. A nurse brought an inflatable pillow for my head. But, I couldn’t get the temperature right – I was way too hot during contractions and shivering uncontrollably in between them.

“You’re in transition now.” It was Janice’s voice. Her words gave me renewed determination.

Hee hee hoooo
Hee hee hoooooo

I couldn’t help but groan on the last syllable. I arched my back and put my power into saying it. “You’re doing great, Sarah. You’re so incredibly strong.” I heard Mika’s voice in my ear.

Hee hee hooooooooo

“That’s right, Sarah. Just listen to your body,” said Janice.

At 2:10, Janice asked if I wanted to be checked again. I nodded. “You’re 9.5cm.” A number never sounded so sweet. It was time for the summit.

Hee hee hooooooooooo.

“Good, Sarah.” said Janice.
“When do I start pushing?” I was desperate to know.
“You’re already pushing.” She said.

She was right. As every contraction subsided, I had been bearing down involuntarily. I just hadn’t realized that was the “official pushing,” that would get the baby out.

After every groan on the hoooooooooo, Janice would say, “Good, Sarah. Listen to your body. Good.” It was a tremendously reassuring mantra. The pressure and strain of each pushing contraction felt anything but safe and positive. But, her voice and that of Mika’s let me know my body was doing exactly what it was supposed to be doing.
“Three more contractions in the tub, then let’s get to the bed,” Janice said.
Another contraction hit me getting out of the tub. I clung onto Mika like we were slow dancing at prom to get through it. As the contraction faded, I sat down on the toilet to push. That’s when I felt a big pop and knew that my bag of waters had broken.

Walking to the bed, I felt the baby’s pressure between my legs. I knew he must have dropped into the birth canal. Janice positioned me on my side for pushing. All I could think about was getting my son from the inside of my body into the world. I could feel my support team draw close around me. Mika held my right hand. Matilda held my left.

“Good, Sarah, good.” Janice kept saying.
Hee hee hooooooooooooooo!
“Slow your breathing.”
Hee hee hoooooooooooooooooo!
“Good.”

BIRTH

“If you want to catch the baby, Mika, now is the time.” Janice said. He looked at me. I shook my head. I couldn’t imagine having him leave my side. He smiled. “You’re so strong, Sarah.” He kept saying.
Hee hee hooooooooooooooo!
“The baby’s crowning,” Janice said. “Want to feel his head?” Someone took my hand and moved it over a soft, wrinkly bulge. I immediately drew my hand away. I was too consumed by the effort to think about anything other than getting through that one contraction. Not even my baby. But, I watched Mika’s face. In it, I saw the richness and depth of emotion he was experiencing. His expression connected me to the emotion of the moment. But, I couldn’t yet feel it myself. All I could feel was the overwhelming urge to…

Hee hee hooooooooooooooo!
“Good, Sarah. You’ll push him out on the next contraction.”

I could feel him coming. One last hard push. I felt his head slip through, then his shoulders.

In an instant, he was on my chest. Crying. Soft. Beautiful. Perfect.

The midwife suctioned his airwaves and toweled him off as his warm skin pressed against mine. He smelled so sweet.

The pain that had been almost insurmountable a moment before evaporated. All that was left in its place was our son, Andrew Owen Waller. Born 2:58am, May 21st, 2010. And with him, the capacity to love more deeply than Mika and I ever thought possible.

May 21, 2010 at 12:58 am Leave a comment

Anna and Zoe

We had a birth plan going into labor, but we quickly learned that you have to be flexible. The most important part is that everyone came out healthy and we finally got to meet our baby. With that said, here’s Zoe’s birth story:

I knew that Zoe was going to arrive within a day or two when I woke up on Monday, November 3rd. Some pre-labor signs had started and I went through the whole day having on and off contractions. They weren’t heavy and definitely weren’t regular or progressive, but everyone was on alert. My mom came over and spent the day with me just in case, but evening came and Vadim made it home from work and the contractions hadn’t formed a pattern yet. That night, we ate dinner for what would be the last time as a family of two and went to sleep.
I slept well that night, amazingly enough. I only got up a few times, which was pretty good for me! At 5:40 am on Tuesday, November 4th, I woke up to use the bathroom – that is when I suspected that my water broke. It wasn’t a huge gush like you hear about in movies – just a slow trickle that was very hard to figure out. I suddenly got very excited and woke Vadim up. We then called our Doctor and they told us to come into the hospital so that we could make sure that it was definitely my water that had broken. You see, I needed to have IV antibiotics administered while in labor and as soon as my water broke to make sure that the baby would be fine passing through the birth canal.

We couldn’t believe that the time had come! We packed up the car and grabbed the dogs and headed out. By the time we left the house, it was around 6:00 am and we were somewhat competing with the morning commuters. But, we never got stuck in any traffic and things were going smoothly. We stopped off at my parent’s house to drop off the dogs and then headed straight to Swedish Hospital in Seattle.
We got there before the meters were running and the main parking lot had opened, so we parked across the street from the emergency entrance and proceeded to go up to Labor and Delivery Triage. Once there, they confirmed that my water had broken and started the IV antibiotics right away. They also checked my progress and I was only about 2 cm dilated and about 60% effaced, so I had some work to do! We then got assigned a room and a Labor and Delivery nurse, Tina, who was going to help us through the process (and who was great by the way!). By the time we had made it to the hospital, I started to have strong and regular contractions – I knew at that time that labor had truly begun.

Once we were in the room, we started to try and help the labor progress. Everything from walking up and down the halls to working with the fitness ball and breathing. My contractions started to get stronger and stronger and we knew it was time to call Sindea, our doula.

I felt that my labor was progressing quickly, which made me happy! The contractions were getting stronger and more closer together and when Dr. Johnson, our doctor, came in, I was sure she would be reporting some great progress. However, when she checked, I had only dilated an additional cm in 5 hours. Unfortunately, things were going slower than I thought and Zoe seemed to have moved higher up instead of heading down. Dr. Johnson also told us that she was posterior (this is when a baby is face up, instead of the optimal position of being face down in the birth canal. This causes extra painful back labor and can also drastically slow progress down). But, I stayed positive, still able to manage the pain with help from Vadim as well as the breathing techniques that I had learned in yoga and hypno-birthing classes.
By the time Sindea arrived, I was feeling a lot of pain, but still managing even though the back pain was really strong. We walked around the hospital some more in between needing to be on the fetal and contraction monitor. Finally, they suggested that I get into the birthing tub. This is usually a very soothing place for women who are having painful labor – unfortunately, the tub wasn’t long enough for me to stretch out my legs and sitting was very painful. I was also trying to not get my IV wet, which was limiting my positions. Finally, after about a half hour of trying the tub, I had to get out because it was just too painful.

By now, it was getting to be late in the afternoon. Our doctor was only working until 6 PM and more and more it was looking like she wouldn’t get to deliver Zoe. She checked in with us at about 5:30 PM and still very little progress. Zoe had moved down a bit, back to where she was, but she was still not faced the right way. In fact, she was sideways, which was making the pain hit my back and my front at the same time. The pain was starting to be too much to handle after 12 hours and at that point I had only dilated about 6 cm and it felt like I should be in the last stage of labor. Unfortunately, I wasn’t even close. After the doctor left, I tried to get into the shower to try and relax and let the labor progress faster. Unfortunately, the shower didn’t bring me much relief – in some regards, the pain seemed to double.
I had hoped to have a natural, vaginal birth without medication. I had gone 13 hours without medication through some really strong contractions, but I was starting to not be able to handle the pain anymore. The breathing wasn’t working and I was starting to lose control. This is when Sindea, Tina and Vadim started to reason with me about getting an epidural. They knew that I had hit a wall and that I would still be laboring for quite a while. I knew they were right and finally agreed. So, I had the epidural after going through 14 hours of hard labor. 15 minutes later, I was having a leisurely conversation with Sindea, Vadim was taking a nap and life was good! It’s amazing how much relief I got and I was hopefully that since I could finally relax, that we would be meeting Zoe soon.

Tina, our nurse, tried to work overtime so she could stay. She was joking about how we should name our baby Zoe because it was her favorite name. Vadim and I couldn’t believe it – we had to tell her that that was the name we had picked and that she definitely had to stay to help deliver her. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to stay and that’s when we met Lily, the nurse who took over and ended up attending at Zoe’s birth

They kept monitoring both Zoe and I closely while on the epidural. Zoe didn’t like it when I laid on my back or left side, so I had to lay on my right side. Because of that, my right side was very numb, but my left side still had some feeling. I was having huge contractions according to the monitor and I could feel them a bit on my left side. However, I was so thankful that I had agreed to have the epidural because I knew that those contractions would have been just too much for me to bare.
The on-call doctor, Dr. Kimmelman, came in to see me at around 9:00 PM. She told me that I had made good progress, that the baby had moved down a bit more and that my cervix had dilated to about 8 cm. She would be back at 10:00 PM to check again. By then, my cervix hadn’t dilated any more and my contractions started to subside and the pattern started to change.

They decided to put in an internal monitor and see how things were moving along. The baby still seemed to be fine, so they weren’t too concerned even though I was running a fever on and off despite all of the antibiotics that they were pumping into my system. The internal monitor confirmed that my labor was starting to stall, so they started me on Pitocin. That really kick started my labor and things started to move along again.

At midnight, the nurse checked my progress and determined that I was only at 9 cm. The doctor said she’s come back in an hour and hopefully by then we’d be ready to push. We then knew that Zoe would be born on Wednesday, November 5th.

Unfortunately, when the doctor came back at 1:00 am, I hadn’t made more progress. She had me try to push to see what would happen, but they were afraid that my cervix would tear since I wasn’t fully dilated She started to talk about a Cesarean Section, but I begged her to wait. She was willing to wait another hour, but not too much more since I had already been in labor for 21 hours. Before she left, she wanted to try one more thing – she tried to manually turn Zoe to help her get through.

Unfortunately, that was the last straw – Zoe didn’t appreciate being handled like that! She started to go into distress and that’s when the doctor said that she had to deliver her via C-Section as soon as possible. I was devastated! I really wanted to have a vaginal delivery and I worked so hard! But the health of the baby was the most important thing and we really had no choice.

Both Vadim and Sindea were able to be in the operating room with me, which was a great help. They increased my epidural dose with a spinal block so that I wouldn’t feel the surgery, but I was still awake and had feeling from the chest up. Unfortunately, because of how I was laying on my right side, I still had some feeling on my left side and could feel some pain during the surgery. The anesthesiologist did her best to help me during the procedure.

Zoe Raquel was delivered at 1:55 am on Wednesday, November 5th after a long day of laboring. Thankfully, she was healthy and we were both fine. I was hard not to get to hold my baby right away, but Vadim brought her to me and I got to at least touch her while they finished my surgery.

So that’s how Zoe came into the world and changed our lives forever!

November 5, 2003 at 10:01 pm 1 comment


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