Posts tagged ‘natural vaginal birth’

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

Deanna and June

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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