Posts tagged ‘yoga’

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

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

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

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

Nancy and Gavin

Gavin was born January 4th, 2011, 9lbs 10oz and 21 1/4 in long.

I was induced at 39 weeks due to my family situation, stress level and mother’s availability to stay and help this week. The Dr. did say that stress hormones can shut down the labor process, so the few times my body was acting like I was in labor, it probably was the beginning. She was shocked I hadn’t delivered by the 4th anyway. However, with the size and super fast delivery, it was almost safest for me to be in the presence of someone who could deliver Gavin.

Tuesday I arrived at Evergreen at 5 am where I was starting the process at 5 cm dialated, 100% effaced and 0 station (which didn’t matter as much because there was so much excess amniotic fluid the Dr could push Gavins head and he’d float up and down). After being checked in and settled, the pitocin was started around 6:30 am, the Dr broke my water at 8 am, I cruised the hall once, got in the tub where I did most of my laboring (which was fantastic! My husband poured warm water over my abdomen during contractions and it really helped) and Gavin was born naturally via vaginal birth at 9:50 am. Very busy morning we had!

My husband is enjoying telling everyone the story of me asking the nurse if she was holding the head in and her saying, “No” all the while she was really holding the head in until the Dr. could get gowned. He thinks it’s hilarious, I on the other hand not so much…….. The contractions really did their job and I could feel my body doing all the work. My body was literally kicking Gavin out and I had no say in the matter. With the final contractions I had, after I’d gotten in bed I turned on my side with my top leg in the open clamshell position remembering it opened the space for the baby to come through, and did it ever! I was afraid to roll on my back until I could push because the contractions literally started from the top of my abdomen and pushed the baby down, I could feel his head coming. They told me to take short exhalations to help slow the contraction and pushing, I did my best but yeah right! When the Dr. was ready, I rolled on my back and four pushes later Gavin was in my arms. I felt controlled, collected and empowered. I had done it, I had a natural birth using natural elements such as water and my own breath and strength. No screamng this time! It wasn’t until I heard the, “Oh my God, he’s almost 10 lbs” that I lost it and started crying.

Because Gavin was so big, he ended up getting a severe bruise (causing extra breakdown of red blood cells under skin/bili that needed to be flushed out through peeing and pooping) on his face which the Dr’s think contributed to his jaundice and that his intake wasn’t enough to flush the excess bili so we went home on Wednesday afternoon on phototherapy, but it wasn’t enough and so Gavin was admitted to Evergreen Hospital for intense phototherapy which is going well. He got an IV fluid bolus and remains under the lights. I get to nurse him and hold him for 30 minutes every 3 hours, which isn’t much but I’ll take all I can get!

I hope you are doing well. Tell everyone Hi for me and I’ll be missing prenatal yoga!

January 4, 2011 at 4:04 am Leave a comment

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