Posts tagged ‘Doula’

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eve and Aria

I passed my due date (March 4) with a sense of incredulity and frustration, and then made peace with the fact that the baby was going to wait for my mother to arrive on Monday the 7th (she was supposed to be there a few days after the birth. Look how well I planned!)

Monday arrived, and with it a huge snowstorm in Vermont that prevented my mother’s departure till the next day (and even that wasn’t a forgone conclusion till the last minute!) So, more waiting. During this time, I was experiencing lots of achiness in my low back and increasingly frequent Braxton-Hicks contractions during this time, but nothing that felt like labor had actually commenced. I was also stressed about my mother digging out from the storm and actually making it to the airport, so I had a feeling that labor wouldn’t really get underway till all of that was over.

My mother arrived late on Tuesday night, the 8th, and we all stumbled into bed around 2 am. Wednesday arrived, and with it a desire to stalk up on some last-minute food items. She and I also decided to enjoy the weather and the fact that she was around to help me wrangle the dogs and take a nice long walk with them. One of our dogs ran off in the middle of the walk and got stuck in someone’s backyard, so we had an even more eventful time than anticipated, and did more running than I had intended…

After such an exhausting walk, I needed to rest my back at home, so my mom did some impromptu massage on my neck and low back/hips while I rested in child’s pose on my bed. It was divine. That night, I finally remembered to watch the Babies documentary (4 babies from around the world over the 1st year of their lives). It was adorable and sweet and fascinating, and left me in the mood for birth.

I tried to get into bed early-ish – maybe 10:30 – and slept pretty soundly till 3:30 am on Thursday morning, the 10th. I then had some rather crampy contractions (which I still thought were B-H) wake me up and I had to use the bathroom. At this point I did the first thing that indicated I was indeed in labor – Dave told me that when I got up I threw the covers off the whole bed, uncovering him as well as me. I’m usually very careful not to uncover him. I didn’t bother with the light but thought that maybe I noticed some bloody show when I wiped. I ignored it and climbed back into bed.

I slept fitfully until 5:30, when I had to get up to use the bathroom again. As I went, I realized that I was having a bloody show in addition to loose stools and pee, meaning I was definitely in labor. I went back to bed, hoping to sleep a bit more, but immediately began laboring more intensely and had more bloody show in the bed (which I thought was my water breaking – it was dark!). Given the sudden change in feeling, I woke Dave up just before 6, and then got my mom up as well.

At this point, we started tracking contractions. They weren’t at regular intervals, but after a few that were 5-7 min. apart, they started consistently being much closer together (2-4 min.), so I had a feeling things were getting more serious (the fact that they were kinda irregular still made me take them less seriously, though).

We called the Doula (Rebecca) and asked her to come over, and paged the midwife on call. My mom started breakfast and Dave jumped in the shower. I started to pace a bit through the contractions. I spoke to midwife Sharon at 6:40. Since I could still talk through contractions (as I could the whole way, actually), and they hadn’t been regular for that long, she said, “I’ll tell Janice, who goes on call at 7, and you should call us again later.” It felt dismissive, but also calm. She also asked if I had felt the baby moving. I panicked a bit at this point when I realized that I hadn’t felt her move in a while, but also realized that maybe I hadn’t been paying attention to that. About 10 minutes later, after heading back to the bathroom and my bed, I felt her kick and yelled out “I felt her kick!” with great relief. It was the last time I noticed it, though!

In any case, I was able to eat some eggs & toast and fill up on water (the first thing that both Rebecca and Sharon told me to do was drink fluids!) I began to need to pace in circles around the house or sit on the toilet through each contraction (I didn’t know I had that much to empty out…). I was also beginning to use a rhythmic Lion’s Breath – tongue out and mouth wide – to help me through each contraction. I kept wanting to get into bed because I was cold in between contractions, but they were so close together that it required too much effort to keep getting up.

Rebecca arrived around 7:30 am. I was pacing through a contraction by the front door as she arrived, and opened it with some huffs and a grin. She immediately suggested that I get in the bath, so she and my mom ran one while I continued to pace and Dave quickly got our labor bag fully packed with last-minute items.

When I stepped into the bath I couldn’t imagine folding or bending down, so we quickly transitioned to the idea of a shower. I marched in place in the shower to the same pacing rhythm I’d been using before, hands braced on the back wall. I still had the presence of mind then to point out that we had to open up the drain again, or we’d have “the great labor flood of March 2011.” Then I suddenly felt nauseous, poked my head out of the shower and threw up in the toilet. I also noticed a bunch of blood. I told Rebecca, who said, “good, that’s dilation right there.”

At this point the water started getting cold (we now know that our hot water heater is less powerful than we’d thought!), so I had to get out. This may have been a really good thing. My mom and Rebecca helped me get dressed and I started to labor for a few contractions on my bed on forearms and knees, with the dogs hanging out around me. Then this got too intense and I started to pace again. I found myself flicking my fingers and shaking my hands, but also smiling through the contractions—I could just tell that this was happening in all its glory and if I celebrated that, it would be easier. It was actually kind of exciting! My mom helped by breathing and moaning with me – helping set a tone for me. I started to moan differently at this point – vocalizing like Liz demonstrated when talking about transition – which cued Dave that it was time to go.

He called the midwives again. They were apparently very skeptical that I was that far along, and told us to come into their offices in the professional building by the hospital. He told me it was time to go, and I took a moment, then had a contraction that I realized would be hellish in the car, and said, “If this gets any worse, I don’t want to do it in the car.” So, we headed out at about 8:45 am. We were all a little frustrated that they missed all the cues, apparently figured Dave to be a nervous first-time dad, and dismissed the idea that I could be as far along as I was.

I kneeled on the front seat facing backwards, with my mom behind me, and Dave drove. Rebecca followed in her car. I weathered each contraction by rocking back and forth, grasping at the air and seat, and pulling on my hair. It sucked. Dave kept a hand on my hip to make him feel better about the fact that I wasn’t using a seatbelt (to that I had said, “there is no way in hell.”), to which I said, “like that’s gonna help in an accident.” Luckily the drive over there is only 15 minutes, tops, so this torture didn’t last long.

Dave dropped my mom and I at the hospital entrance, and we raced up to the office (I couldn’t believe we had to go there first!) In the waiting room, I continued to pace through contractions, at this point needing to grab at my pelvic bone and moan through each contraction. There was a newly-pregnant couple in the waiting room, and I remember thinking, “Oh my god. I can’t believe they have to witness me in this state at this point in her pregnancy.” The minute the staff saw me (it was now 9 am), they raced me into the triage room and had me get up on the table. Once Janice was able to examine me, she asked, “do you feel any pressure?” I breathlessly responded, “oh my God. So much.” To which she said, “good, because you’re 10 centimeters.”

Wow. OK! We basically ran downstairs to the maternity ward at Evergreen, where they were waiting with walki-talkies and an open door. (first I signed the world’s messiest signature on my admission form.) In the room, I immediately stripped (I did put on a gown for a bit), and leaned over the bed to labor. The nurse and midwife started hooking me up to a monitor to get a 20-minute strip. I was pissed, but they were insistent. I didn’t want anything on my body at this point! I found the position OK, though, and soon said, “I really want to push.” No one responded – at this point it was clear that it was time to do so! Eventually someone hooked me up to the wireless monitor, but I was too far gone to really notice, and finally after 15 minutes, they gave up on trying to get a full strip and I just climbed up on the bed on my hands and forearms (the back of the bed was raised slightly) to labor.

With each contraction, I would rock back towards my heels and bear down strongly. I was kind of screaming/roaring through the contractions, and during one my water broke. Between contractions Rebecca started to lay warm hands on my shoulders and slowly stroke down. It felt awesome. I quickly felt tired, though, and turned to lay on my left side. My mother held up my right leg and Janice took a hot washcloth to my bottom between contractions, which also felt awesome. I found myself reaching up towards the top of the bed while I pushed, almost trying to pull in some strength and energy from the room to push the baby out.

They set up a huge mirror at the end of the bed. Janice and Bennett, the nurse, continued to try to pick up the baby’s heartbeat with the monitor. When I asked if she was moving down, Janice said, “yeah, can you tell that I have to move the monitor with each contraction?” Eventually she asked me if I could feel the baby moving down, and when I said yes, she told me to put my fingers into my vagina to see if I could feel her head. I could! I got a burst of adrenaline and energy and got a huge grin on my face. Oh my God. It made the intense pressure more bearable. I found myself reaching down to put my hand over my vagina, and could feel the pleasure that some women describe as “orgasmic,” but that abated as the stretching got more intense.

A few more contractions later, someone said, “there’s the head! Wow, look at that hair!” At this point I started feeling a lot of stretching and burning, which progressively got more and more painful. It was the only point during labor when I felt like it might be too much. This is when I let a few choice words fly. I feel like I kept making eye contact with David during this time, but he was stationed to my back, so I’m not sure what I’m remembering (I also turned onto my back right at the end – no one remembers quite when at this point – so that might be when I turned to Dave). In any case, the baby’s head came out after some horrible burning feelings, and then Janice said, “you can birth the rest of her with just one more push,” and I did.

It was amazing and I was flabbergasted and in love. She came out silent but alert, and there was silence till she let out a cry (and didn’t stop for about 30 minutes!), and then everyone exclaimed together. I cuddled her for a while, and then Dave and kicked my mom & Rebecca out while we talked about her name and Dave gave her a bath (and promptly fell entirely in love).

In the end, my labor lasted 7 hours, and I pushed for about 40 minutes. Aria Stella Edery was born at 10:20 am on Thursday, the 10th of March. Her name means lioness in Hebrew – a fitting tribute to the roar with which she made an appearance. I was blessed to have an easy AND fast labor that never overwhelmed me – I just kept remembering that I could do this, that my body knew what it was doing, and that if I let it happen, it would happen.

Aria was healthy initially, but the irony of the fast birth was that she came out so fast that some of the fluid didn’t get squeezed out of her lungs, and she started breathing fast and labored, and had trouble latching during day one because of the breathing. Eventually, on Friday morning, she was admitted to the NICU for observation and then put on an IV and monitors for about 30 hours. She improved quickly and it was a relatively uneventful NICU stay, which was really another blessing, but we all could have done without the extra day in the hospital!

March 10, 2011 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

Annie and Bailey

“No matter how your labor and delivery go, that day will be carved in your heart as the incredible day that you meet your child for the first time. It will be your birth and it will be special.”

I remember our doula, Jennifer, saying this to me during the labor of our first child as I was contemplating receiving an epidural for what at the time felt like insurmountably difficult contractions. This put my mind at ease and I decided to “wait a few more out” until eventually she turned, it was time to push, and out came Tori – warm as can be and ready to nuzzle into our arms and hearts forever.

This crossed my mind again last week, as my water broke and a surge of adrenalin left me shaking and completely terrified of the unavoidable process that stood between myself, my husband Ed, and the grand entrance of our second baby girl.

It comforted me again, because it was completely true. Natural childbirth was our Plan A. If we needed to move on to Plan B (medical pain management) or Plan C (interventions due to unforeseen complications) it would still and always be the day that we met our beautiful daughter and began our journey as a family of four.

After my water broke, we both scurried around the house making final preparations, contacting the midwives, our doula Jennifer, and Ed’s sister Ashley who would be watching Tori during our hospital stay. Tori is 16-months old and still nurses about twice a day. She woke up as I tried to sneak a few diapers from her room to tide me over on the way to the hospital. Going into “mom mode” was the best thing for settling my nerves. We had a very peaceful and cuddly nursing session and I choked up looking down at her long and lean frame stretching around my round belly and her sweet curls that fall in every direction. I knew in that moment that my sweet baby girl was growing up and would be a big sister the following day. It was a “tears of joy and sadness” moment that comes with all great changes in life – when you realize that you are so excited for where you are headed and that not moving forward isn’t an option.

We arrived at Evergreen Hospital around 11 pm and got settled into our birthing suite. The midwife on call, Shana, and the nurse were welcoming and we got all of the paperwork taken care of quickly. Since my water had broken, we decided not to do a cervical check, as it wouldn’t change a single thing in our course of action. We walked the halls for a bit, and then decided to take a rest. I won’t forget the image of my hubby, my belly and I curled up in that small hospital bed – if anything we were going to crowd the baby out of her comfortable home in the womb.

My contractions slowed a bit after laying down, giving me nice ten minute breaks between each, although the strength and duration of each contraction continued to grow. Eventually my position/breathing technique was no longer effective in getting me through on my own, and I was up and ready to try something new. Again we walked the halls, pausing for each contraction doing nice big hip circles while holding the railing and listening to Ed lead me in guided breathing. Even though we weren’t always in sync (his lungs are bigger than mine!) it was so nice to hear his voice and I felt very loved that he would get right in there with me, which he did every step of the way. Jennifer would touch my shoulders when they started creeping up and help me “breathe the baby down” as the contractions ended – once again I had my amazing team in place and we were going to do this!

When we tired of the walking, we returned to the birthing suite and I labored for a long while in a wooden rocking chair padded with pillows for my back and bottom. Ed sat across from me and held my legs as he gently rocked the chair and continued to breathe with me through contractions. One funny thing about labor is the time in between contractions. It is just casual conversation and life as usual and discussion about movies, children, and wise cracks ensued. I told Ed that two was a nice round number. He mentioned that 4 and 6 were as well. Nice try, buddy! Jennifer continued to coach me through body relaxation and reinforce how well I was doing after each contraction. Her presence as a place to go when a contraction got ahead of me or fear set in was invaluable. She could offer new positions, sounds, and breathing techniques for us to try – which passes the hours while the baby makes her great journey downward and into position. With Jennifer coaching me in one ear, Shana focusing on pressure points to press during contractions, and Ed in front of me, I felt very well taken care of and capable of what laid ahead.

The first time Shana did a cervical check I was dilated to 4.5 which was encouraging because in theory dilating from 0-4 takes the longest amount of time in labor. I knew the next “half” would be more intense and much harder, but I also had a sense of excitement that we were making great progress and nearing the actual arrival of our baby girl. The next few hours were spent in “labor land” where I just used the different sounds that came naturally to me to endure contractions. Ed followed my lead with making all the “yayayaya” and “mamamama” sounds and having his big voice present made mine just feel like background noise which I loved. I began to feel the urge to push around 6 a.m. so I tried to get myself positioned on hands and knees with the support of a bean bag on top of the bed. This wasn’t a good position for me so I tried laying on my side for what felt like transition and preparation for pushing.

When our second midwife, Sharon, arrived around 7 to relieve Shana, I was side-lying and enduring long and strong contractions while the pressure on my perineum continued to grow. She did a cervical check and let me know that while I was dilated to a 9, there was a bit of swelling beginning and we needed to get moving. Now Sharon delivered our first baby and I knew that she ran a tight ship. I knew that I could trust her implicitly and she would see to it that mom and baby would soon be united. So, goodbye side-lying and hello standing, let’s get this baby moving! It’s not easy to change positions at this point but again, I did what I was told and knew that this team had been through a bit more of these than I had. Transition came on strong and hard at that point and boy did I want to give up. I said several times, “I can’t do this” and I meant it, it simply felt too hard. I was exhausted having thrown up several times in response to the adrenalin pumping through me. I was administered an IV of saline and salt water has never felt so good.

At that point I knew that baby had done her work and now it was my turn. Like it or not, I needed to get in position, get strong, and prepare to push. I loved the strong and deep “Maaaaaa” sound for this stage because sentimentally, it said to me: “You are the mom. Your baby trusts you to know what to do and guide her through this. She can trust you. You can trust your body. This will be over soon.”

I listened closely to my coaches and communicated to them when contractions had begun and were ending. I accepted their guidance on when to push, when to hold, when to catch a breath, and when to push harder. The baby had the cord loosely around her neck which Sharon detected and corrected immediately. She had shoulder dysplasia, meaning she was a bit lodged at the shoulder level, and Sharon let me know that contraction or not, it was time for this baby to be born. I could tell that tension had heightened in the room, but like any good leader, Sharon took control of the situation and simply moved us through it. I pushed as effectively as I could and with Sharon’s help both at the perineum and externally on my belly, I felt the unmistakable “whoosh” of childbirth and knew we had done it. Our beautiful baby Bailey, warm, tiny and perfect, came onto mama’s belly for the first of a lifetime of snuggles with her parents.

I return to where I started, in saying that no matter how you birth your baby, it is the irreplaceable day that you and your partner come together and deliver on what you created together just less than a year before. That said, we have been blessed with two incredible births and two incredible little girls and I am so grateful for each person who had hand in their arrivals. I wish you all the best of luck and leave you with this: ““You are the mom. Your baby trusts you to know what to do and guide him or her through this. Your baby can trust you. You can trust your body. And yes, this will be over soon!”

March 9, 2011 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Luba and Adrian

My water broke on Monday, January 17th, at 3:35 am, which woke me up. The amount of water wasn’t very significant, but I was sure it wasn’t something else. I went to the bathroom where I had my “bloody show”.

I paged both my midwife and my doula to inform them, and went back to bed per my midwife’s suggestion. Falling back to sleep wasn’t very easy because I was so excited, I could feel my knees shaking 🙂 I decided to try using my slow breathing techniques from Hypnobirthing to calm myself down and try to get some rest.

About an hour later, in my sleep, I felt the baby move and next thing I knew, there was a gush of water rushing out of me. It felt like there was nothing stopping it! 🙂 The amount of water released this time was shockingly large – my clothes were soaking wet and so was my blankets and sheets. I cleaned up and went back to bed.

I continued to release water (though in much smaller amounts) as well as blood throughout the day. Knowing that labor doesn’t always start right away, I continued with my day as if nothing happened. I started doing house chores – vacuuming, doing laundry, etc., and then went for a 2 mile walk with my husband and the dog. I then talked to my midwife and gave her a status update on where I was at, and subsequently kept in touch with my doula providing her with quick updates on my progress.

Around 3 pm that day, I started to have some mild contractions and around 4 pm, I thought it was time to give my husband’s contraction tracker application a try and started tracking my contractions using his Windows Mobile 7 phone. I also started to practice my hypnobirthing breathing as I knew the earlier I started, the better chances I would have coming in and out of my hypnosis later on, when the pain became severe.

I continued to do house chores while tracking my contractions and also communicating with my family in Russia as well as my friends here.
I kept updating my doula on my progress, and finally around 10:30pm when my contractions became 3.5 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute long, we agreed that she should come over. I continued to do my hypnobreathing and listening to my meditation music with candle lights around, which was very relaxing. I also started to have lower back pain so my doula kept giving me hot compresses which helped relieve the pain. The one thing I did not know would happen is that I would continue to have bleeding (clot kind) throughout the entire process, so I was a little surprised, but the doula told me that was normal and was a sign of dilation.

Pretty soon, the contractions got a lot stronger and I actually started to feel sick to my stomach. We paged my midwife to prepare to go to the birthing center. By the time we ended up leaving the house which was around 2:30am, I was vomiting pretty frequentl as well as trembling. At the same time, I began to feel somewhat excited though, thinking all of that could be signs of transition, hopefully! 🙂

We got to the birthing center which is 2 blocks away from my house (thank God:-)), they checked me there and to my surprise, I was only 4cm dilated! I was shocked.

I got into the bath tub which felt like a heaven-sent after all those hours, and helped me get back to my hypnobirthing techniques and actually get into a deeper relaxation. I tried various positions in the tub, got out and relaxed on the birthing ball, did cat and cow and other “all four” poses, and eventually got back into the tab. After several hours of doing all that, the contractions became unbearable and I started to lose my focus and could no longer control pain with hypnobirthing techniques. At the same time, I became very dehydrated – I couldn’t keep anything down, and every time I would get out of the tub (they told me to try to go to the bathroom), I would be shaking uncontrollably so I wanted to go back in immediately.

When they checked me again, they told me I was only 6cm, which was discouraging to hear after all those efforts, and as a result made me want to get transferred to the hospital for pain relieve with epiderral or have a C section, I don’t think I careed at that point! 🙂 The midwives tried to talk me out of it, of course, and told me I was so dehydrated, it would be best to put me on IV right away, and hopefully see how things go afterwards. I insisted they start the transfer process but agreed to get an IV and “stick around” for a couple hours, as it was going to take time to get transferred anyway (find a doctor, an available room, etc.). They didn’t want me to get back into the tub and wanted me to move around instead, but I was shaking so much, I just had to be in warm water, so as a compromise, they had me take a hot shower. That was such a relief and actually made me come to my senses (I literally couldn’t see straight up until that point), so I told myself I would give it another try and attempt to deliver as originally planned. A few hours later, they checked me again, and I was STILL at 6 cm! I said to myself “that’s it, it’s time to go”. It turned out I had also developed a fever, so at that stage everyone agreed a hospital transfer was the right decision after all.

We arrived at the hospital at 10:30 am on Tuesday, there I received an epidural as well as pitosin, since apparently my contractions hadn’t been strong enough and they needed to be, in order for me to make any progress. The epidural worked well and I was able to get some sleep. Hours later, around 3-3:30 pm, they checked me again, and (guess what), I was still at 6 cm…

The doctor said I was 100% efaced, -2 station, but the baby was ROP (Right Octiput Posterior) and facing up. Also, because he was a good size baby, the chances of him turning at that point were very slim. Because of that and because I had made absolutely no progress after so many hourse, the decision was to do a Cesarean…

I took me a few minutes to try to “digest” what I had just heard and attempt to keep my composure but unfortunately I wasn’t very successful at that. But then my logical side of me kicked in and I started analysing the whole situation, and there I knew that I had tried everything I could have, and given all the facts, surgery was the only way to go.

Additionally, they were concerned that my water had been broken for so long and that I was feverish; I myself finally started to feel pressure from the fever in my eyes, so I knew it was time to do what I originally dreaded the most.

They took me to the OR about 20-30 minutes later, and at 4:21pm, little Adrian finally made his appearance. 8.8 lbs and 21.25 inches long. Poor thing had a cone head from trying to get out somehow but it was just not meant to be. The surgeon also said he was too high up in my pelvis after all.

We stayed at the hospital for 3 days and went home on Friday morning.

I must say the whole labor experience as well as the surgery was quite something, but at the end of the day, when I look at this tiny little guy, it somehow makes it all worth it 🙂

January 18, 2011 at 6:33 am Leave a comment

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