Posts tagged ‘Midwife’

Jaime & Nora

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lila & Kira

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emily and Benjamin

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

A few minutes later, I felt a “pop”.

OH MY GOD. I think my water just broke.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jill and William

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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? 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

Amanda and Ryan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Danielle and Lainey

Lainey finally arrived on Thursday, July 7th at 8:58 pm. She was 8 lbs, 2 oz and 21 inches long. I’d been having contractions off and on every day since mid-June, so we were ready even though she wasn’t due until the 9th! My water started to leak on Tuesday around noon, and fully broke on Wednesday just before 5 am. Contractions were still pretty mild and only really were consistent if I was up walking around. We tried to walk (and squat and lunge!) as much as possible to see if we could get them to keep up and get stronger, but I was just getting really tired and frustrated. Not good! Went to the Puget Sounds Birth Center that night for our routine appointment and found out I was 3 cm dialated and 75% effaced. Ali and Sarah thought things would pick up that night and expected our call. I woke twice during the night with strong contractions, but they still weren’t consistent and I was able to go back to sleep. It was the best sleep I’d had in days!

The next morning, I went and did acupuncture above the birth center and took the birth center’s verbena/castor oil concoction. As soon as I finished the acupuncture (around 12:30), contractions started and seemed a bit stronger. After the gross juice stuff, contractions REALLY picked up (within 1 1/2 hours). I was suddenly in active labor and we were at the birth center at 4:30. I was only 4 1/2 cm dilated and fully effaced when we arrived. I was expecting to be in for a long haul to get the rest of the way. We labored walking around outside, on the bed, backwards on the toilet (AWESOME, I really did actually almost sleep in between, crazy!) and finally went into the tub for transition and birth. The whole thing was amazing and went so much faster than I thought it would. Greg was awesome, helping distract me with massage during each contraction and keeping me focused on breathing (and holding my puke bowl! I threw up every time the contractions felt like they were at a new level of strength, so about five times.) Long exhales (the back of the throat things that you make us do!) were the only thing that made the pain feel better and made me feel in control. I ended up pushing for just under an hour and she was born with the cord around her neck once and her shoulders once, too. She decided to take a gulp of water as she came up (Ali said she’s never seen that happen) and needed a couple breaths from Ali to get her going once she was born. They were so amazing and in control that I literally didn’t know they were stressed about her not breathing until well after the birth. I would TOTALLY recommend the tub even though she gulped, it was AMAZING for the pain and I think helping my tissues hold up 🙂 She really was fine in just a couple seconds.

I realize this was a long write up, but I thought it might be helpful to anyone else who has a long and frustrating early labor. I was really worried that we were going to end up having interventions because my water was broken/leaking for so long (40 hours from the break, longer if you count the high leak that started on Tuesday), but regularly checking my temperature and her steady vitals made us feel like we were doing the right thing. I would totally recommend Susie at Energetic Medicine (above the birth center) and the nasty verbena/castor oil drink that the birth center will give you (they don’t recommend just castor oil, too dehydrating apparently). I know that those two things made the difference in finally getting going.

Thanks again for everything Anna! It was such an amazing experience and I loved that I knew that my body was ready for it because of all of the work we did in your class. Natural childbirth is a totally doable thing, and the pain is manageable if you use your breath like you taught us!

Good luck to everyone else! I can’t wait for all of our babies to meet (hopefully!) at baby yoga!

July 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm Leave a comment

Laura and Charlotte

Charlotte was born on Wednesday May 12, 2011 at 10:10 a.m. It’s hard to tell the story of her birth without saying that we, my husband Trent and I, had hoped for a natural birth laboring at home as long as possible. Charlotte, apparently, had other ideas. At 41 weeks, an ultra sound showed low amniotic fluid levels that persisted and worsened over the course of three days despite my efforts to rest and hydrate. On Wednesday morning, the ultra sound confirmed that my fluid levels had slipped just below the “critical” level. Delivering the results, Sharon, the midwife, said what I already knew, “It’s time to have a baby.” Though an induction, complete with Petocin, IV, continuous monitoring and laboring at the hospital was not what we’d hoped for, I felt very confident it was the right decision. The good news was that I was already dilated 4 cm and 85% effaced. Sharon assured me this was a very good place to begin an induction and promised to help us maintain as much of our birth plan as possible.

We walked down to the Family Maternity Center at Evergreen and settled in to our birth suite. The nurse started the Pitocin drip at 1pm. Trent and I spent the afternoon resting, snacking, briskly walking the halls, lunging and doing down dog on a chair in the waiting room trying to get things moving along. Though contractions started within a few hours it was not until about 8pm that they became strong enough that I had to focus during each one. At that point the nurse said, as she wrote in my chart, “We’re going to call this labor.” I thought it was pretty funny that I’d been at the hospital for more that 8 hours and we’re just now calling it labor.

One of the side effects of Pitocin is that contractions have a tendency to “pile-up” meaning that they can come very close together very early in labor even when the contractions are not particularly intense. As a result, my contractions were coming about a minute to a minute and a half apart from the very start of labor. After a while, it became very tiring because I had little time to rest between contractions. Periodically, the nurse or midwife would turn down the Pitocin drip and the contractions would space out again, but as they built in intensity, the they piled-up once more. For the first four hours, I coped with the contractions by walking the halls and leaning over the counter or bed doing hip circles and vocalizing during contractions. Trent rubbed my back though I found I didn’t like to be touched during a contraction.

Around midnight, the contractions were much more intense and continued to come very close together. I began to feel fatigued. Sharon checked my cervix. It was only 5cm and I began to doubt, for the first time, that I would be able to cope with labor without an epidural (especially if every centimeter took four hours).

Sharon suggested that I try getting in the tub, but I was reluctant to try it. I had a strong urge to lean forward during contractions and felt that would be difficult in the tub. She suggested I try kneeling on the bed over a bean bag instead. I tried it and obtained some relief, but within about an hour the contractions were very intense coming every thirty seconds or so, followed by an occasional break of what felt like 3 or 4 minutes. While this might sound like a good thing, I quickly realized that every “break” was followed by a very intense contraction during which I vomited and peed on myself (TMI?). I couldn’t make it to the bathroom and found myself throwing up in some kind of container, peeing on the floor, apologizing to the nurse in between heaves and thinking I can’t believe I’m peeing in front of my husband. Trent, however, didn’t flinch; he just stood there with a hand on my back holding a container while I puked up the sandwich the nurses warned me about eating. I asked Trent what he thought about this later and he said, “That got real.”

Exhausted, I finally relented and tried the tub. The warm water provided a tremendous amount of relief for the next few hours as the contractions became very intense and came in rapid fire succession. Trent poured water over my belly and took orders while I barked “turn off the water, turn it back on, don’t talk to me, okay you can talk to me again.”

Around 2 am, I was exhausted and no longer coping with the contractions very well. I got out of the tub and Sharon checked my cervix again. I was afraid she’d tell me I hadn’t progressed and I’d become discouraged, but Sharon delivered the good news: 8 cms. I would have thought this news would give me the encouragement to push through, but it had the opposite effect. My immediate reaction was “Oh thank God. Now I can get an epidural.” I felt I could get the epidural at this point and (because we were so far along probably avoid most of the potential side effects I’d worried about. Trent and Sharon were supportive of my decision.

As Sharon and the nurse prepped me for the anesthesiologist, I entered the transition phase of labor. The contractions became extremely sharp and stronger than before. During each one, I doubled over in pain and my attempts at “vocalization” came out more like “owwwwch!” I was afraid they would tell me it was too late to get the epidural, but instead, the anesthesiologist simply said, “Once I start, I can’t stop so you have to hold still.” Afraid of what might happen if I didn’t, I sat on the bed braced against my husband, Sharon and the nurse through two contractions while the epidural was administered. Once it was in, the relief came within minutes and I remember saying, “this is the best thing that ever happened to me!”

Now happily oblivious to the contractions, Sharon checked my cervix again. I was at 9 cms. She broke my water, turned down the Pitocin and encouraged me to get some rest before pushing. She also informed me that the baby was turned slightly to the side, but would hopefully turn on her own as dilation completed. I asked Sharon, “If she doesn’t turn, can she be delivered vaginally in this position?” Sharon said, “I think she’ll turn.” I repeated, “but if she doesn’t?” Sharon replied, “I’m really confident she’s going to turn.” The message was clear and I was now stuck in bed unable to do anything to help Charlotte turn. I worried that I’d opted for pain relief at the expense of a vaginal birth, but tried to share in Sharon’s confidence. Labor slowed and I went to sleep. That was about 4 am.

I woke up around 7am. Sharon’s shift was over and Janice, another midwife, took her place. She checked my cervix and delivered the good news. My cervix was “complete” AND the baby had turned into an ideal face down position. It was time to start pushing. At my request, the anesthesiologist turned down the epidural. Though I still had some pain relief, I regained feeling and movement in my legs and could feel contractions to aide in pushing. I pushed lying on my side, alternating from side to side with help from Trent and the nurse holding my legs. After about an hour and forty-five minutes, I thought there is no way I’m ever going to get this baby out. I really wished I was able to squat or kneel to enlist the help of gravity, but even though I could feel my legs, there was no way I was going to be able hold myself up. So there I am, laying on the delivery table, actually thinking to myself, how can I get out of having to push this baby out? There must be some other way! Considering that an elective cesarean would have been a little drastic at that point, I grabbed Trent’s hand, regained my focus and pushed as hard as I could calling, “Come on Charlotte. Come out and join us.” About 15 minutes later, Charlotte crowned. The longest moment of my entire life was between crowning and waiting for the next contraction to push her out. It finally came and one push later, at 10:10 a.m., Charlotte literally popped out. Trent cut the umbilical cord. The nurses gave her a once over (because there had been some meconium in the amniotic fluid) and then finally handed Charlotte to me. Trent and I cuddled her and after a few attempts she began breast feeding. Trent and I have been totally smitten ever since.

May 12, 2011 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

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