I had my last appointment with the residents on Friday, July 31st in which they scheduled c-section at 41 weeks (August 5th, 2009). I naturally panicked and tried a lot of natural induction techniques that day. Something worked... Pressure waves (contractions) started at 1 am Saturday. They were pretty intense but spaced apart every 10 minutes. My doula Becky, arrived at 7:30 am. I had my headphones on listening to my hypnobabies tracks while I sat on a birthing ball and leaned against the bed.
We had some breakfast... eggs and toast. Then my husband went to take a nap...lucky him. Becky and I started a walk around the block at 2pm to try to get things moving. The pressure waves were still spaced 10 min apart and within minutes of starting our walk, the pressure waves were coming every 3-4 minutes. I had to lean on her or the fence. We walked around the block about 5 times. I asked her how far along I might be and she sid she believed I was still in early labor. When I heard that, I thought to myself, "What?!!!" How can I still be in early labor when everything felt sooo intense? How was active labor going to feel?!!!
When we got back home I managed to heat up some veggie burgers. I went upstairs and the pressure waves were still every 3-4 minutes, however they were really intense. After an hour or so, I went in the hot shower and lost my mucus plug almost immediately. I called Becky over and she had a surprised look on her face and said something like, "Wow, that hot water seemed to get things started." Again I thought to myself, "What?!!" Could I barely be entering Active Labor?"
I reached down again and something told me to self examine myself... I did and felt her head! I told Becky and she decided to check me as well. She turned to me and said,"We have to go now!" I freaked out and lost complete focus. There was no way I could make it to my hospital that was 30 min away. We had to go to the VBACbanned hospital a few minutes away.
Whole ride there I was involunterily pushing and then holding her in. We finally got there and they were ready for me. I started pushing and it felt good to push. On the fourth push, I let out a primal scream that my husband still imitates and reenacts, and my daughter Olivia Grace was born. We arrived there at 5:00pm and I had her at 5:30. She weighed 8lbs 3oz, much larger than my first two.
The greatest experience ever. I still can't believe it happened. Well I can... I prepared so much and was completely confident. I think that was key. If only I started that walk earlier on. 16 hours total from the time the first pressure wave started. But maybe that was only early labor the first couple of hours. The walk is what got things started. From the time of my walk to the time she was born was 3.5 hours.
Couldn't have done it without the help of my doula, hypnobabies, ICAN and my family. Thanks to you all! FOR A MORE DETAILED VERSION OF MY STORY GO TO:
Mommy to Benjamin (9-11-04)c-section, Amelia (2-23-06) c-section, and Olivia (8-1-09) VBA2C
Warning this is very long. I tried to get as much detail as possible but i'm sure i left something out. So if you have any questions just ask. Oh and i have to add that the whole time i was in labor i felt like i was doing a horrible job at staying calm and using hypnobirthing but when i said something to Shem he told me i really did do great and i was really calm for the most part. I know my mom kept telling me i was doing great and staying really calm.
Friday the 19th I had my nearly 39 week appointment and decided to have my dr strip my membranes, I was a tight 3cm dilated, she didn’t say how effaced I was. Went home and a few hours later started noticing some bloody show. Didn’t think much of it at first sense I had just had my membranes swept and I knew that it can cause a bit of spotting. Later that night I lost a fair amount of my mucus plug but once again just shrugged it off because with my first I lost my mucus plug and still went another 3 weeks. Contractions never really changed. Saturday rolls around and my contractions seem a little bit stronger but nothing that bothered. They were still very irregular too. But my bloody show was still there. All day long I had bloody show until about 6 in the evening then it just stopped. Sunday rolls around. Contractions are about the same but have started coming more frequently but still nothing regular. Bloody show was still present but once again at about 6 in the evening stopped. So onto Monday we go. By this time I had just given up on anything happening until my due date so I was at peace with being preggo for another week. But I woke up with more bloody show. By this time I was starting to get worried because it wasn’t just a little spotting here and there throughout the day it was a fair amount every time I would have it and it’s going on day 3 of this. So I called my dr and she told us to go into L&D and check on the baby to make sure everything is going okay. Into L&D we go. I get hooked up to the monitors and the monitor the baby for about an hour. Baby does great and the whole time I’m there I have 1 contraction. All day Monday my contractions were very few where as the day before I had between 3 and 6 an hour. So now I’m really thinking I’m going to my due date. That night DH gave me and amazing back and shoulder rub and we did a hypnobirthing session to get me nice and relaxed. That evening I also decided to keep repeating, in my mind to try to tap into the subconscious mind, “It’s time to release the baby, time to open up and let the baby come into the world.” Didn’t know if it would work but I had heard tapping into your subconscious mind can move things along if they are ready. Well fell asleep around 9:30 and was completely out when I was woken up at 11:30 with contractions. My first thought was “great more practice labor, I really want to get some sleep” but then I started paying attention to them and realized these contractions were way different. Rather than starting up front and moving to the back they started in the back and moved to the front. But they were still irregular, but all but one stayed under 10 minutes. I tried to go back to sleep but at 1a.m. Tuesday morning I finally had enough of tossing and turning so I got up and went down stairs. First stop on the way down stairs was the bathroom where I had a ton of bloody show. Though still a bit wary I tried to ignore it. I then proceeded down to the sofa where I had a very intense contraction that I couldn’t move through. After the contraction went away I was a bit chilled, as the house was 60 degrees, so I went and got a blanket. In about 6 minutes time I had another contraction that did the same thing. At this point I’m starting to decide that this is more than just practice labor. As I sit there I have a couple more contractions that were 6-7 minutes apart. So at 1:30a.m. I decided to go back upstairs use the bathroom and check to see if Shem was still asleep. As I walk in the bedroom he very sleepily asks me, “what are you doing?” and I respond with, “probably going into labor.” As I walk into the bathroom I hear him very quickly sit up in bed. While in the bathroom I had another contraction and a ton more bloody show. This is when I decided that I was really in labor. When I came out of the bathroom I sat and talked to Shem and we noticed my contractions going from 6 minutes apart to 3-4 minutes apart and then very quickly going to every 3 minutes. At 2:30 we decided it was time to call our moms and get ready to head into the hospital whenever we decided it was time to head in sense we wanted to labor at home as long as possible. Shem’s mom showed up to watch Shawn at around 3. I continued to have contractions 3 minutes apart, in between contractions carrying on a normal conversation with Shem’s mom while Shem loaded a batch of dishes into the dish washer. A little before 3:30 I decided it was probably time to go into the hospital as my contractions were starting to intensify and continuing to be 3 minutes apart. I called my mom wondering where she was at and she was still at home so I told her to meet us at the hospital. We then got everything ready and in the truck and headed to the hospital. Contractions were still coming every 3 minutes almost exact. We get into the hospital at 3:30a.m. get checked in and the put me on the monitors and check my cervix. It was still a tight 3cm dilated but I was 90% effaced. My mom showed up around 4a.m. In the hour while waiting to see if I would change I have to use the bathroom so I get up and go to the bathroom and still tons of bloody show. After using the bathroom I sit on the side of the bed because laying down wasn’t very comfortable. My contractions were still 3 minutes apart. At 4:30 they check me and low and behold I am now a good 4cm dilated and I have a bulging bag of water!!! They are keeping me! We were so excited. I was a little nervous with the fact that I was only 4cm dilated because I thought I would have a few more hours of labor ahead of me in the hospital. Right after they checked me my contractions started to get a little more intense, never painful just intense. Not long after Shem came back from getting our bags they started coming every 2 ½ minutes and then I started to feel some more pressure so my mom went out and got the nurse. Around this point I kept telling my mom and Shem that I was seriously thinking about getting an epidural. They just kept telling me that I was doing great. This was around 5a.m. The nurse checked me and I was 7cm dilated with a bulging bag of water. She started setting up the room for the delivery of the baby right then, as I had progressed from a 4 to a 7 in a half hours time. While they were setting the room up I went into transition and oh my gosh the contractions were intense, still not painful though, then I had a ton of pressure they checked me again and I was complete with a bulging bag. They very quickly finished setting up the room and told me to let them know when my bag of water broke. My doctor still wasn’t there. A couple contractions later and my water broke, my doctor walked in right as my water broke. It was about 5:30a.m. To prove how relaxed I could make myself, even while in transition, they still needed to put my hep lock in so they proceeded to take care of that, I needed to be as relaxed as possible for this, as they were putting it in while I was having a transition contraction the nurse said my arm was so relaxed it was amazing, almost as if I wasn’t in a contraction. So now it was time to push baby William out. I try a couple pushes and baby isn’t moving, the doctor checks me and finds that I still have a lip that needs to finish dilating. So onto my left side I go and try not to push. Ha ha ha. In the meantime William’s heart rate starts dropping with my contractions, the cord is around his neck. So while trying to relax to finish dilating and trying not to push I distract myself with screaming, it wasn’t because it hurt it was just a distraction. It worked it kept me from pushing but it wasn’t helping my oxygen level so they kept telling me to stop screaming. After a couple contractions the doctor checks me again and I’m now complete for real. So I start pushing, because we know the cord is around the neck I have to get him out fast. That means no breaks. So I start pushing; a few contractions and an episiotomy later William’s head is out and the cord is un wrapped and he is screaming before the doctor can even think about cleaning out his mouth and nose. His body came out in the next contraction without me even pushing. He also had the cord around his shoulder going down around his chest. My doctor gives him to me for skin to skin contact while I deliver my placenta. He is beautiful! When the doctor was stitching me up they weighed him and measured him. He was 5 pounds 12 ounces 20 inches long and had apgars of 9 and 9. He is perfect!
DS1-7/18/08, DS2-2/23/10, DS3 1/18/12
TTC in fall/winter of 2014
Some background: For my first birth, I had hoped to have a natural birth, but
because I made this decision late in my pregnancy, I didn't have time to do a
lot of preparation, and the birth was a little difficult—a pitocin induction due
to ruptured membranes after I had been awake all night with contractions that
only got me to 2 centimeters. It was not necessarily a bad experience, but with
my second pregnancy I wanted to try again. I believe that childbirth usually
goes more smoothly when you don't interfere with the natural process unless
something is going wrong. I been interested in studying hypnosis for my first
birth, and I had read a book about it, but didn't have time to really learn it.
This time, I did the homestudy program from Hypnobabies.
I really enjoyed Hypnobaies during my pregnancy. It includes daily relaxation
practice, which I often used to help me relax and fall asleep. It helped me
bond with my baby, look forward to my hiss birth, had tools for helping me get
rid of my fears, and helped me have more confidence in myself.
For those reading this who are unfamiliar with Hypnobabies, one of the concepts
taught in it is that words have power. Many words commonly used in pregnancy
and birth have negative associations in many people's minds. Hypnobababies
replaces these words with other words, in an effort to help you be more
positive. I will be using these words during my story. Instead of
"contraction," I use "pressure waves." I also avoid using the words "labor" and
"delivery," calling it "birthing" instead, and I try to avoid using the word
"pain" when talking about birth.
For those reading who are studying Hypnobabies, you may or may not need to use
your bubble of peace. I would label my birth "mostly comfortable." Hypnobabies
definitely worked for me, but there were times when I got off track and had
discomfort, and I really struggled a lot during the pushing phase. Honestly,
there were times during my birthing when if someone asked at the time if I was
having "pain," I probably would have said yes, but most of the time I was
comfortable and felt very calm and relaxed.
On Friday, March 5, I woke up around 4:00 am having pressure waves. I tried
listening to my Hypnobabies tracks to see if I could fall back asleep, but after
about an hour, I decided to get up because if the baby was going to come today,
I was going to need to get a few last minute things together for my hospital
bag. I found the charger for my digital camera battery, and I sat on my birth
ball at the computer, printed out some extra copies of my birth preferences, and
plugged in my ipod. I got on the internet and did some stuff and tried to time
the pressure waves with the contraction master website, but they seemed to
weaken while I was on the ball and were sort of hard to time.
A couple hours later, my husband Tiatia got up to go to work, and then my 2 year
old Tehani got up. My pressure waves had pretty much stopped by this point.
Tehani and I had breakfast. I think we ate some of the blueberry muffins we had
made as a project the day before. I put on a few shows for her on the DVR and I
did some cleaning. I loaded the dishwasher and cleaned the kitchen, including
mopping the floor. Then I felt tired, so I sat down and folded a load of
laundry that I'd washed the day before. Tehani and I had some chicken noodle
soup for lunch.
Around 1:00 pm, after starting a load of laundry, I read Tehani some books and
then I put a Hypnobabies track on out loud and I laid down with her and we both
had a nap. I woke once during the nap to a pressure wave but went back to sleep
and then had another one when I woke up around 2:30 and I think one or two more
while I was lying down. My pre-birth waves mostly came at night, so having
waves during the day was unusual for me. They were also strong enough that I
was wondering if hypnosis was going to work. I used my lightswitch and peace
cue and it really helped me feel more comfortable during them. I suspected
that it would soon be time to meet my baby. I got up and put on my headphones
and listened to Birthing Day affirmations while I did some more cleaning and
preparing. I moved the load of laundry to the dryer, straightened up the living
room, and got together Tehani's clothes and things she would need for staying
with friends while we were at the hospital.
Tehani woke up and I think she played with toys for a little while. I hadn't
had any cervical checks from my doctor, but I had tried to feel my cervix
myself. It had felt soft and slightly open about a week before. I decided to
check it again and it felt softer and more open now, if I had to guess, I'd say
about 3 cm, and I could feel how Teio's head was now against it. I had noticed
that he felt lower on Thursday morning, and at my appointment that day, Dr. I.
felt my belly and said that his head was engaged. A piece of brown-tinged mucus
plug came out on my fingers when I checked myself. I started to finish packing
my hospital bag, but all the stuff I needed would not fit in the bag I had
already started to pack. I tried transferring it to another bag, but it
wouldn't all fit in that one either.
I realized the waves were coming pretty frequently, so I decided to time them.
I got on the computer on the birth ball. Pressure waves were about every 6
minutes apart. I knew it was the real thing now. My phone rang during a
pressure wave and I wasn't able to answer it. I was Tiatia. He was probably
calling to tell me he was getting off work and would be home soon. I called him
back, but he didn't answer. I sent him a text saying I thought we'd be going to
the hospital tonight, but I don't think he got it.
The idea of getting in the bath sounded really good to me. I put on a DVD for
Tehani (I normally try to limit her TV viewing, but I made an exception that
day), and I filled the tub and put in a few drops of lavender oil, which I had
been putting in my scent diffuser during my Hypnobabies practice to help with
relaxation. I put my laptop in the bathroom so I could play my Hypnobabies
tracks while I was in the tub. I put on "Painless Childbirth" (which I think is
called "Comfortable Childbirth" in the 6th edition) and lied down in the tub and
I'd brought my phone in the bathroom and Tiatia called again. He could tell I
sounded different and I told him I was having pressure waves that were pretty
intense. He asked when I thought the baby was coming, and I told him either
late that night or early the next morning. I told him I was in the tub. It
turns out he had stopped at the Redbox on his way home and picked up a movie for
us to watch that night. Yeah, that didn't end up happening. He got home a few
minutes later and came in the bathroom to check on me and I told him I was
coping fine. He watched Tehani for a while and I guess he fed her macaroni and
cheese and he also got together a bag with clothes and toiletries for himself
and packed phone chargers, the video camera, the laptop, and the digital camera
with it's now fully charged battery.
I listened to "Deepening" next, and continued to handle the pressure waves very
well. I really wouldn't describe what I was experiencing as painful, and I felt
really in-control. Doing the deep slow breathing and using the "peace" cue
while imagining anesthesia going to my lower belly (where I felt the majority of
the sensation of the waves) really helped. I got into some different positions
in the tub. I sat cross-legged and I also kneeled . After "Deepening" I
listened to "Special Place" and Teio moved around during it, just like he did
the first time I listened to it when I felt so connected to him that I got tears
in my eyes.
Towards the end of the track, I lost my focus during a few waves and they
started feeling really uncomfortable. I called out that I needed help and
Tiatia came in. I told him it was really intense and I didn't know if I could
do it. I almost started crying. I was scared. He asked if I wanted to go to
the hospital, and I said I did. He started making phone calls to get Tehani
taken care of. I got out of the tub and got dressed. I divided the stuff I
needed to take to the hospital between my two bags and put my lavender oil and
my phone in one of them. Then I got my ipod and my headphones, and realizing
that I needed something more than the regular tracks, I put on the Birth Guide.
I regained my focus and was once again able to handle the waves. I sat on the
birth ball in the living room and leaned forward on the arm of the couch. I
told Tiatia I needed a drink, so he gave me a little bottle of apple juice and I
took sips of it between waves.
Michelle came to get Tehani and she was crying and really did not want to go. I
went over to her and gave her a hug and told her it would be okay, but she
didn't believe me. Michelle asked if my water had broken and I told her it
hadn't yet, then a pressure wave started, while I was still kneeling on the
kitchen floor, and I had to close my eyes and do my deep breathing. She asked,
"How far apart are they?" and I couldn't answer her, both because I was still
having the wave and because I didn't know, I hadn't been timing them. Somehow
Tiatia got Tehani into Michelle's car. He came back and asked me how I was
doing and I said I was feeling more in-control now. I told him I wanted him to
help me time the waves.
We went in the bedroom and I turned on a lamp instead of the light so that it
wouldn't be too bright. I sat on the birth ball and put pillows on the bed and
leaned forward on the pillows. Tiatia timed the waves with the stopwatch on his
phone. I told him I also wanted him to use the "relax" cue on my shoulder. I
once again lost focus during a few of the waves and made some noise, but the
"relax" helped me relax and focus and I got back to feeling like the waves were
only pressure and my anesthesia was working. We discovered that the waves were
between 2 and 3 minutes apart and were all lasting over a minute. I was still
able to talk calmly between the waves. We decided it was probably a good time
to head to the hospital. I said we needed to call Dr. I. and told Tiatia where
her number was. At first, he wanted me to call her, but I told him to do it.
He called and told her we were going in and how close together the waves were.
She said she'd meet us there.
Tiatia loaded everything into the car, and I made sure we got the extra pillows
and the birth ball. I also brought my apple juice. I got in the back seat of
our mini SUV and we took the headrest off the front seat put a pillow on top of
it and leaned forward. I continued listening to the "Easy First Stage" track.
I was actually quite comfortable during the 25 minute car ride, which was
amazing because I remembered being very uncomfortable in the car last time.
When we left the house it was around 9:00 pm.
We parked and Tiatia carried a bunch of our stuff in. We walked in and Tiatia
told the receptionist at the ER admitting desk who we were. She called the
maternity center and told us they'd be coming to get us. She asked if I wanted
to walk or ride in the wheelchair, and I said I thought I'd be fine walking.
She put a hospital bracelet on me, during a wave, of course. While we waited
for them to come get us, I was standing there, drinking sips of juice between
waves, and during them I'd lean on Tiatia and he'd say "relax" to me. It felt
wonderful to feel so relaxed and in control. I remember telling Tiatia that
they felt like they were coming right on top of each other now, since they were
so close together and lasting so long, but I didn't say it like I was afraid, it
was just an observation. It seemed like it was taking a long time for them to
come and we started to wonder what the hold up was. The receptionist called
When they finally came for us, they asked again if I wanted the wheelchair and I
decided to get it because I remembered from when we came to preregister that it
was a pretty long way and the waves were so close together I'd have to stop a
lot. Riding in the chair, I was able to keep doing what I had been doing. We
got to the LDRP room (not a triage room like I went to first at the hospital
where I had my daughter, which I was glad of), and they already had the lights
dimmed for us and Dr. I. was there. Once the pressure wave I was having was
over, I got out of the chair and our nurse Dianne gave me instructions on giving a urine sample
and how to wear the hospital gown. I had another pressure wave and leaned
forward on the cabinet that contained the fetal monitor machine. Then I said I
brought my own nightgown to wear, and she said that was fine. I told
Tiatia which bag it was in, and he gave the bag to me. I took the cup and my
bag and gave the sample and got changed.
Dr. I. had me get in the bed so they could put the monitors on me and she could
check me. She said that if I needed to move during waves, I could. It turned
out I was able to use my hypnosis to stay comfortable in the bed (with the head
of it raised) during pressure waves, which is something I couldn't do during the
unmedicated part of my first birthing. Dr. I. checked me and, drum roll,
please…I was 8 centimeters! I looked at Tiatia and said how happy I was to be
so far along. He had a big smile on his face. Dr. I. showed me how big that
was on the dilation chart. She asked Dianne to get a birth ball (we'd left mine
in the car—one man can only carry so much) so I could sit on it, which sounded
great to me. I sat on the ball and leaned forward on the bed.
Dr. I. asked what the results of my GBS culture had been and I said she'd never
told me, so I'd assumed negative. Someone came to take my blood, and I barely
felt it. Then Dr. I. said they were going to need to give me an IV for
antibiotics because it turns out I tested positive for GBS . At first I said
"okay," but then I said I wasn't sure if I wanted the antibiotics because I'd
done reading on it and there are risks to the antibiotic use, too. Dr. I. said
that the antibiotic they use is mild and that it would be to protect the baby.
I agreed to get it, and now I do think that was the right decision because had I
known I was positive beforehand, I would have done natural remedies to make it
less likely for the baby to be infected. Dr. I. said that it was good that my
water hadn't broken yet, since the membranes being intact for longer reduces the
risk of infection, and she said it would be best to (as I'd requested) wait
until it broke on its own.
It took at least 4 tries and 3 different people to get an IV in me. Apparently
the veins in my hands are deceptive—they look great, but when you try to put the
needle in, it doesn't work. They ended up putting it on my left forearm.
Getting stuck multiple times was really uncomfortable and quite frustrating, so
I was relieved when they got it in.
After that, the memories are not completely clear. I remember Dr. I. suggested
some different positions. I know I stood leaning forward for a few waves.
Someone was behind me with their hands on my hips, but I have no idea who it
was. I think after that she wanted me to try kneeling, so she adjusted the bed
so that I could kneel on the foot of it and rest my head and arms on the middle
part. I think that when I went to get into that position is when I vomited all
over the floor, but I knew that was a good sign, a sign that I was nearing full
dilation, and I also had read that the act of throwing up can help your body
open up faster. I remember saying that I felt better after throwing up. I also
remember saying I felt shaky, and Dianne said that meant I might be in
transition. The kneeling position was comfortable, and I was still very focused
and relaxed, using my hypnosis, restarting the "Easy First Stage" track on my
ipod whenever it ended. I think Dr. I. checked me in this position and I was 9
Soon I started to say "Ah" at the peaks of the pressure waves, and Dr. I. asked
if I was feeling rectal pressure and I wasn't yet. Then a few waves later I
said I was starting to feel it. Sometime around this time, "Easy First Stage"
ended again and I let "Pushing Baby Out" start playing. Dr. I. had me get back
in the semi-seated position and checked me again, and she said there was a lip
on my cervix and the baby's head needed to rotate a little more. I continued to
"Ah" all through the waves, and that felt good. I think Dr. I. had me get on my
side. She told me that if I really felt I needed to push at the peaks of the
waves, I could.
After a while, she checked again, and the lip was still there, so she tried
having me push while she held back the lip. That was very uncomfortable and it
didn't work. It was during this that my water finally broke. She told me to
try not to push for a while. Now that I had pushed, I felt like I needed to
keep pushing. From this point on, I was never able to really get back in the
peaceful place I had been before. It also didn't help that I had never actually
listened to "Pushing Baby Out" all the way through to make sure it was okay and
it turns out the track on my iPod was incomplete, so it would just stop in the
middle of something. I felt panicked and very out of control and was not
comfortable at all. As the waves would peak, I'd yell "I CAN'T NOT PUSH!" and
would try to push only as much as I absolutely had to. Dianne had to tell me to
slow down my breathing so I wouldn't hyperventilate. At one point, Tiatia
kissed me (if you're unfamiliar with why this is helpful, read Ina May's Guide
to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin), and that did help me relax some. I was touched
that he thought to do that, that he actually had paid attention to some of the
stuff I'd shared with him from my reading. I also switched from "Pushing Baby
Out" to "Deepening" because I wasn't supposed to push yet, and then I never went
back to "Pushing Baby Out."
Somehow I got past the really intense part of not being able to push and moved
on to the really intense part of trying to push. Dr. I. said I could change
positions if I wanted (I was now back to semi-seated), but I didn't want to
move. Dianne pulled some handles up from underneath the bed and told me I
could hold on to them while I pushed. I started pushing, but the way I was
pushing wasn't working. Dr. I. noticed I was tightening my pelvic floor, so she
and Dianne had to tell me to relax that area and focus on pushing with my
abdominal muscles. Not everyone has to push like that, but apparently I do, or
at least did with this baby. Dianne got right in my face and Dr. I. told me to
look at her. She told me to hold my breath and push. She did count to 10
during some of the pushes, but for most of them she didn't count and I only
pushed as long as I felt I could, and for some of them I did breathe out instead
of holding my breath. Dianne also told me not to start pushing when the wave
started, but to wait until it built. I was not able to relax the rest of my
body while pushing, and as a result, I was very sore the next day. I also burst
a blood vessel in my eye.
At some point during the pushing phase, Dr. I. said something about wanting to
put in an internal fetal monitor because the external one wasn't doing a good
job of tracking his heart rate. At first I said "okay," but then my inner
advocate kicked in and I said I didn't want the monitor screwed on my baby's
head. Dr. I. told Dianne to adjust the external monitor and it picked his heart
rate up better. I was glad I stood up for my baby.
Once I got pushing figured out, it wasn't too long before I felt him in the
birth canal. The feeling when he crowned was very, very intense. It didn't
feel like burning to me, though, it felt like the gentle version of perineal
massage I had done a few times, only about 10 times more intense. Looking back
on it, the feeling was kind of cool, but at the moment I really wanted it to be
over. I wanted to keep pushing, but Dr. I. told me that my perineum would
stretch better if I waited for the next pressure wave. His head was out with
the next wave and I had to keep pushing his body. I remember Tiatia reminding
me to breath in, because I just wanted to keep pushing.
Teio Tiatia Edward was born at 1:47 am. I reached down and pulled him up onto
my own belly, which is something I had wanted to do ever since I'd seen it on a
video. They put a towel on him and I talked to him and rubbed is back. He was
a little purple and not crying. The other nurse, whose name I didn't get, told
me she was going to have to take him. Dr. I. clamped the cord and Tiatia cut
it. Tiatia took a video of Teio getting deep suctioned and being given oxygen.
Dr. I. had me push out the placenta. Then, she and Dianne started doing uterine
massage ,and my uterus wasn't firming up and I was bleeding too much. Teio
wasn't ready to breastfeed yet, so they put pitocin in my IV. A little while
later, I was still bleeding more than they like to see, so Dianne gave me a shot
of methergine in my thigh.
When Teio was ready, the nurse brought him back to me before dressing him or
anything so I could hold him skin-to-skin. He latched right on and has done a
great job nursing ever since. After we had some time to nurse and bond, the
nurse weighed him and he was 7 lbs 10 oz—7 oz bigger than his sister was. She
diapered and dressed him. Dr. I. showed me the placenta, which was really cool.
She showed the maternal side and the membranes that held Teio as he grew. This
was really interesting to me.
I felt amazing after the birth. The hormone rush was really awesome feeling. I
was so proud of myself for doing it unmedicated and for feeling so in control
for much of the time. I really believe I couldn't have done it without
Hynobabies. Dr. I. told me that she thought I should get certified to teach the
program like I had told her I was considering doing if I found it helpful during
my birth. I was up taking a shower soon after. It felt really good to be able
to shower. It was a little difficult still having the IV attached because I
wasn't wearing a hospital gown, so I had to leave one strap of my nightgown
around the IV line, and when I tried to put the nightgown back on, it got all
tangled around the line and Dianne had to help me fix it.
Because of my positive GBS status and only getting one dose of antibiotics
(you're supposed to get 2 doses, 4 hours apart, but I wasn't at the hospital
long enough), they wanted to keep Teio in the hospital for 48 hours to watch him
for signs of infection, since about 80 percent of newborn GBS infections show up
during that time period. I loved that I didn't have to switch rooms at all
during my hospital stay and that, because the same nurses who help with the
births also do postpartum care, on our last night we got to see Dianne again.
Dianne said she had read my birth preferences and I could tell she really made
an effort to follow them. She told us that the reason she left us in the ER so
long was because my birth preferences said I didn't want it loud and she wanted
to do all the noisy room set up before they brought me in. She also said how
surprised she was when Dr. I. said I was 8 centimeters, because I wasn't acting
like it. We talked about how difficult my pushing phase was, and Dianne said
that it looked like I was actually pushing right, and Teio just wasn't coming
down. She said normally women don't need to push with their abdominal muscles.
She said she was actually thinking they were going to need to use the vacuum
extractor, but she hadn't suggested it because she knew I wanted minimal
intervention. Tiatia mentioned that he'd actually yelled "relax" at me when I
was panicking, and Dianne said that caused me to suddenly focus. I don't even
remember that, but I guess my subconscious recognized the cue, so my hypnosis
training did help more than I thought it did during pushing.
Teio is a very cute and so far is a good baby. His birth was an amazing
experience that taught me so much about the capabilities of my mind and body.
Preston's Birth Story
At 2:39am on Saturday March 13 I woke up and had to use the restroom. I went to the bathroom and when I wiped felt something funny so I turned on the light and saw my blood-tinged mucous plug. I had woken up a few times earlier that night to pee and remember thinking each time, "Wow! I've been sleeping really well tonight." It was different because the night before I had been up off and on all night, restless and crampy. After losing my plug I had a feeling maybe there was good reason that my body was getting such good sleep.
I called DH to to let him know what had happened. I remember telling him it could mean nothing or it could mean something. I knew I could walk around for weeks without my plug; I was also very crampy and just had this feeling. We decided that he would call after he loaded his truck and was ready to set out on his route and we'd figure out our gameplan from there. That would be at about 4am. I ended up calling him back in about 15minutes; I was quite crampy and I just really had the feeling that he needed to be home. He called his boss and then got back to me that he would load the truck, his boss would meet him at work, and then they would switch and DH would head home.
About 3:45 I had some loose stools and remember thinking it was good that DH was headed home. After that the cramping was stronger & I had more contractions and blood-tinged mucous off and on.
I texted DH and asked him to pick up some eggs and stuff for breakfast. I knew that if things were going to progress from here I'd need a good breakfast. DH got home from work around 5am. He immediately went out and installed the infant car seat and worked on the mobile he'd been making. I got a few more things into the hospital bag, made sure the camera and cell phone was charged and paid some bills. Alexa woke up pretty early and we all ate breakfast.
By 9am the contractions had pretty much totally peetered out. DH asked if he should go back into work. I asked if he wanted to and and he said no, but he also didn't want to just bail out on his boss. He called, but his boss said not to worry, that by the time he got there the route would be done anyways. Glenn laid down to rest a little and I tried to, but the contractions start coming again. They were very irregular, not strong, and not regular.
I laid Alexa down for her nap about noon and tried to nap too, but as soon as I laid down I had contractions every 10-12 minutes or so. I got up and the contractions completely stopped. At about 1:45 I resigned myself to the fact taht this was probably going to take days, if not weeks. I had many friends tell me they had contractions every day for a couple weeks with their second and I thought that seemed to be what was going to happen with me too. It was hard thinking that things were going to progress, only to feel like things were going absolutely nowhere.
At 2pm I went to the bathroom to urinate. After peeing I felt/heard a "pop" and a gush of fluid. It took a moment for me to realize that it was my water bag. At first I thought I was just peeing again, but then I realized that wasn't it at all. I yelled to Glenn that my water had broken and he called my sis. We had called her earlier to see if she just wanted to come over for dinner and spend the night just in case, but hadn't heard back. I told him just to have her come over now. I was nervous; my water breaking meant one thing to me -- the idea that I was "on the clock."
I called the midwife and relayed what had been happening. We decided that if the contractions hadn't picked up by 2am I would come in and get checked out. She said that most of the time contractions would start within 12hours of water breaking, but did mention the P-word -- a low dose of pitocin if things hadn't started by 2am.
I was a bit anxious. My water had never broken with Alexa (the OB broke it after I was complete). I remembered one thing about my labor after my water was broken -- the contractions were much more intense. Glenn watched a movie, my sister played with Alexa and I turned on my Ipod, listened to Damien Rice and tried to unwind. I grabbed my copy of The Thinking Woman's Guide and read up about pitocin and etc. The music helped me to relax.
About 4pm I was still having very irregular contractions, some were strong enough that I leaned over the counter and had Glenn apply counterpressure to my back, some were a lot shorter and not very strong at all. Nothing regular or progressing still.
I went outside and walked to the mailbox. I cried a little. I was frustrated that things did not seem to be progressing. I knew my frustration was only because of the anxiety I had about my water being broken. I knew I needed to meditate and focus. I listened to more music and did some breathing in the dark dining room. In kung fu there's a technique called chamber breathing, basically you take a deep breath in and then as you breath out you focus on releasing all the air downward from each pair (chamber) of abdominal muscles. There is a huge focus on the downward momentum of breathing out. Instead of focusing on releasing the air, I focused on moving Preston downward.
At about 5:30pm I decided that Glenn and I needed to get outside for a walk. My sister was making Alexa dinner. We walked for 30-40minutes. I had a few stronger contractions. We tried a bit of nipple stimulation when we got home. While walking we had decided that we were going to go in to the hospital before Alexa went down for bed. I knew that if she was having a difficult time lying down that it would make me anxious and unable to focus and I knew we needed to get out of the house before then. I decided to go in to the hospital and see what was going on. With Alexa my contractions were never quite regular and I was 6cm dilated when we arrived at the hospital; since this was our second and my water was also broken I wondered if things could be progressing without me really giving my body credit.
At 7pm we leave the house and I call the MW and said we were heading in in a bit. I told her about my wondering and etc and she said, "I'm not trying to talk you out of coming in." I think I was trying to talk myself into it actually. We stopped at Starbucks for Glenn and we drove around the neighborhood a bit before heading in. I told Glenn I would really need his support and help if we went in and nothing was happening. We parked on the third floor of the parking garage and took the stairs down to the hospital.
We go in to triage. I pee in a cup with great difficulty (surprisingly to me, I had been guzzling water and juice and peeing all day long), do the Amniosure (?) to test if it indeed was my water breaking and get hooked up to the monitors. I was contracting every 4 minutes. The MW was surprised when I said I hadn't been soaking through pads, but I didn't realize until much later that my water bag wasn't completely ruptured. They asked if I wanted a cervical check and I declined. I hadn't had one at all yet and knew that with my water ruptured I wanted to minimize checks as much as possible. They asked if I wanted to stay or go home. I knew I didn't want to go home. The offered to admit me or suggested walking the halls for the next couple hours. If admitted, I would have to have intermittent monitoring. We decided to get dressed and walk.
We walked. And walked. And walked. About 9pm we think of gettig food delivered, but not much was still available (pretty much pizza which sounded like a gut bomb) so we pass. The nurses suggested grabbing food from the nourishment rooms (there is one on each hall of the maternity center) so we grab some sandwiches. As we're eating I feel very hot. We walk a little more and I get three contractions one on top of the other. I decide it's time to go get admitted and check things out. As we go back to triage I get the chills.
About 9:30 or 10ish I get quickly checked on the monitors. I was contracting every 3 minutes. The nurse asked if I'd like a cervical check now. I agree as I really want to know what's going on at this point. She had some difficulty checking (said something about bulging water bag but it still didn't click) and said I was about 6cm dilated and baby was at 0 station. To be honest, I was hoping to be a bit farther dilated, the hot and cold had me wondering if I was getting close to transition. But I knew 6cm was a good start, especially because, although long and somewhat frustrating, the labor had been relatively easy to this point.
We get in our room and get a longer strip on the monitors. I am totally uncomfortable lying down in the bed, so I end up standing next to the bed leaning on it with each contraction while they monitor me and baby. I express interest in getting in the tub so they start to fill it up.
We walk more. I wanted to see if I could get things to pick up even more. With Alexa we had walked a ton after I was first admitted and I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea again. Glenn and I had both been up for a very long time (him about 21 hours and me about 20) so we decided to go back to the room. I figured I could try to relax a little in the tub and maybe he could catch a quick cat nap. The contractions still seemed off and on. I talked to the MW and asked her if she thought getting in the tub would slow things down at all. She said if so she really thought they'd pick right back up again once I got out. I asked her if I was on any sort of timeline and she said no, that as long as I was progressing that she had no timeline for me.
We go back into the room and I get monitored again. I laid in the bed on my side for part of the time on this one. After having a very intese 2 minute long contractions I got up and sat on the birthing ball. I hated being in the bed. The nurse drained some of the water out of the tub as it had cooled off a bit and added more hot water. I ask to be checked again before I get in the tub. I was 8-9cm dilated. I asked if there were any popsicles and the nurse went to grab me one. I had a few licks of it and then went to get into the tub.
I get in the tub and realize instantly there is no way in hell I am going to sit in there. The nurse had said earlier that she had seen a Penny Simkin video where women were on hands and knees in the tub so we tried that. She put a towel under my knees and I grabbed the bar with my hands. Glenn held the shower head over my back and it felt so good. I later learned he was also holding my melting popsicle in the other hand until the MW asked if I still wanted it. I didn't so they threw it out and Glenn no longer had popsicle dripping all over him. Once in the tub the contractions got a lot more intense. Glenn was holding the shower head over my back, the nurse was rubbing my back with each contraction, and the MW was gently rubbing my shoulders (I had a lot of tension in them holding onto the rail) and talking to me. I stayed there on my knees for quite awhile until they started to ache. I really didn't want to get out of the tub though so the nurse suggested trying to stand up for a bit. I did that and it felt pretty good. After getting tired of standing I went back onto my knees. The nurse grabbed two or three more towels so I'd have more cushion under my knees. The whole time in the tub I was more vocal with my contractions. It was new to me; with Alexa I had pretty much been silent through all the contractions and even when pushing. It felt good to vocalize though so I just went with it.
After quite a long while I was ready to get out of the tub. I went back to sitting on the birthing ball and leaned over the bed. Glenn sat on the other side of the bed and held my hands. Again the nurse rubbed my back during each contraction (there wasn't much rest in between at all now) and the MW talked to me. I remember during one very intense contraction I let go of Glenn's hands and threw my hands up in the air....not in frustration but just that it was such an intense contraction that time. Immediately Glenn grabbed my hands and brought them back into his and back onto the bed. I did a lot more chamber breathing, envisioning Preston moving down the birth canal. I was feeling a little pushy but not a lot so I kept thinking of him moving lower and lower. During one contraction the MW started talking about an elevator going down each floor and to the basement. I envisioned him moving downward. During the next contraction I asked, "Can you talk about the elevator some more?" and she did. She mentioned that there was a bit of a forebag above his head and it might help to break it. I thought about it, but declined. This is when I finally realized that my water bag was still (somewhat) intact. I remembered how much more intense the contractions were with Alexa when I had my membranes ruptured and things were already very intense for me. One of the nurses was very "into" having her break my water, but I said no again. (There were 2 nurses the whole time, but only one was really with me for comfort and etc -- the other was more like the popsicle getter, etc). It was the popsicle getter who was so "into" trying to break my waters. I wasn't in a hurry now; I knew things were progressing and, at most, breaking the forebag would maybe help a little, but not much. We talked about how I was feeling and the MW asked if I wanted to be checked again. I said yes.
She checked me right about 2am. This is pretty much the only time-stamp I have after we went to the room, but I know it because we had been talking about how the clocks were all going to shift at 2am for Daylight Savings Time. We wondered about the non-digital clock with the hands on the wall. Were they going to spin around the clock right at 2? I was complete and Preston was at +1 station. I looked at the clock and noted that it still said 2:01 or so, so it hadn't spun around.
I had earlier asked about what position might be best for someone like me (who obviously was hating the bed) to push in. They had gotten the squatting bar out because I thought I might like that, but after the MW checked me I stayed on my side in bed. The nurse said to bear down if I felt like it. I did and it felt great to bear down with these contractions. The nurses helped hold one of my legs back and I tried to hold back the other and open up my pelvis. At this point I had to push with each contraction and it felt good. It was hard though, much harder than I remember with Alexa. I was getting tired, but everyone was so encouraging. And I was almost there, almost about to meet my son.
I think I pushed for somewhere around a half hour or so, I don't really know at all. Preston Xavier was born at 3:43 am on Sunday March 14, weighing 6lb 13oz and 20.5 inches long.
He was put to my chest immediately and was trying to open his eyes and was already rooting. I remember saying, "He looks tinier than I thought," and we all guessed how much we thought he would weigh.
The placenta delivered quickly without any real effort on my part. I tore slightly and the MW did a few stitches while I held my new son.
I asked the MW to see the placenta and cord and everything. I hadn't with Alexa and I was really very curious. She showed it to me and showed me the small tear in my water bag. I asked if that meant Preston had been born in the caul (or at least mostly so). I had always wondered if Alexa would've been if they hadn't broken my water bag and thought it was interesting that he was (sort of I guess) too.
We tried to nurse; he was very interested and alert but just sort of playful at the breast and then tried to rest.
I am so happy that everything turned out just as I had hoped. While I was surprised to have a longer, more intense and difficult labor than with my first, it really was one of the most amazing experiences ever.
Benita’s birth story
Benita was due on April 28th…and from the first day I found out I was pregnant, I was convinced she would be born in May. I actually even felt some kind of an aversion to an April birthday- completely unfounded. The only reason I wanted her to arrive sooner than later is because Joel had a limited amount of time in Michigan, before he had to head back to Angola for work. So, given that, once I hit 38 weeks I started doing everything natural we could think of to encourage my body to go ahead and be ready for labor and birth. I started using evening primrose oil, continued taking long walks, spent time bouncing on my birth ball, and had Joel massaging my feet- paying special attention to spots around my ankles/instep where there are some pressure points linked to inducing labor.
On Friday, April 23rd, I had an appointment for a foot massage with a massage therapist who practices acupressure as well. Mostly I just really wanted someone to massage my swollen, sore feet- but I figured if I was going to be paying big bucks, I might as well have him do some acupressure too. I enjoyed the hour on the table, and didn’t think too much about it otherwise. After that appointment I went shopping- we were having friends (two of my best friends along with their husbands and toddlers) out for the weekend. During grocery shopping I was tired, but, wasn’t really feeling anything special otherwise.
I got home to South Haven just as AW and her family was pulling up. AS and her family arrived an hour or so later. The funny thing was, AW had hooked us up with a discount on a stroller and car seat, and had brought those with her. So we spent the time waiting for AS and her family by putting together the stroller and installing the car seat.
We had a lovely evening that night….Joel and the boys drank beer and talked sports…us girls chatted and both AW and AS asked me periodically if I was in labor. This was an ongoing joke from a couple weeks earlier when AS had visited, and continually asked me this as well. I did actually start having some new sensations…I was feeling a bit crampy, just like period cramps, which was a bit odd to feel for the first time in 9 months! I was also having intense Braxton Hicks contractions. I did answer the “Are you in labor?” question by saying, “I don’t know- I’ve never done this before!”
Eventually that evening I went to the toilet and saw that I lost some mucus plug. I was pretty excited about this, and even ended up showing it to AW because she had never seen her own (what can I say, we’re close!). I tried not to get too excited though, because I knew from my learning about pregnancy/birth that you can lose your mucus plug weeks before you deliver.
So we stayed up way too late laughing and talking that night and headed to bed around 2am. All the cars were parked in the driveway, and of course, ours was in first. We joked that maybe our guests should leave their car keys accessible, in case we had to move the cars. In the end though, they didn’t- we had big plans for breakfast out at our favorite restaurant the next morning, and I was SURE I would still be there for that.
Joel and I got in bed…he passed right out because he’d had very little sleep in the last couple of days, and had had a few beers with the guys that night. He was snoring within minutes! I, on the other hand, couldn’t get comfortable. I kept shifting pillows and rolling from side to side…I guess eventually I reached some level of half awake, half asleep because I started having stronger contractions, and managed to stay in bed for a while…but not long.
Around 3, I decided to get up and stop fighting for sleep. I went downstairs, got online, sat on my birth ball and tried to chill. I decided to check into a website called contractionmaster.com, which times your contractions at the touch of the space bar. I was curious to see if the contractions were as close together as they seemed when I was in bed. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was contracting very regularly every 5 or 6 minutes.
At this point I was still completely fine between contractions, so, I wasn’t getting worked up. I was chatting with my sister-in-law online (she is in Europe, which is why she was online). I told her my situation and she was like, “You should go wake up Joel! You should call the hospital!” I just kept thinking to myself…I’m a first time mom, these things don’t happen so fast for first timers- this probably isn’t even real labor! Plus, I was still fine between contractions, but having to stand up and sway side to side while leaning on the arm of the couch during them. I also kept going to the toilet because it felt like I needed to.
Finally, at just around 4am, I thought to myself, that I was feeling uncomfortable enough during contractions that I couldn’t imagine having to be in the car for the 45 minutes it would take to get to Kalamazoo with worse contractions. Also, contractionmaster was showing that contractions were getting closer to 2-3 minutes apart.
So I went upstairs to wake Joel. The poor guy was sound asleep, and confused when I woke him. He started rushing around a little crazy, and I told him to calm down and go take a shower. We weren’t in THAT much of a hurry. I took the time to pack up a few more items of clothing, my toiletries, etc and then went downstairs to pack a bag of snacks as well. Finally, we woke up our guests and told them we needed their keys- of course, they all ended up getting up and coming downstairs wide-eyed and in disbelief. Lots of hugs all around, I updated my facebook status (“light your candles ladies, this is it!”) and we were on our way.
We stopped to pick up my mom, who was also attending the birth, from her house, and I had a few more contractions there. During these contractions I had to stop, lean on someone or something and breathe. By the time we got in the car and on the road I decided that it was time to call Jessica, our doula. It was 5:10am. My mom talked to her at first, and then I did as well. I had to take breaks in our conversation during contractions. Jessica encouraged me to breathe through contractions, to do low moans and to picture contractions like waves. I had learned about the wave visualization in my birth class with Jessica, and I really liked the idea of myself as a little surfer riding the waves of my contractions- probably the only surfing I’ll ever do. I spent contractions on my elbows and knees in the back seat, head buried in a few pillows. Between contractions I sat up, and kept glancing at the speedometer. It seemed like Joel was driving SO SLOWLY- but it was dark and rainy, so after the fact, I don’t blame him.
We got to my Dad’s house around 6. We had called ahead and told him to start filling up their big tub for me to labor in. When we arrived I got right in, but, the tub just wasn’t quite big enough for me to sit the way I wanted to, the water was making me hot, and basically, it just wasn’t working. I got out of the tub, and went and kneeled on the floor by the bed. Joel kneeled behind me. He tried all of the counter pressure points he had learned from Jessica, but, nothing he or my mom did made me feel better. I stood up and labor danced with Joel a little. During one contraction I felt a big gush. I thought it would be just more mucus or something. I told my mom to get me a new pair of undies and went to the toilet. When I took off the other undies they were full of bloody show- lots of dark red blood! That freaked me out a little bit. Sitting on the toilet actually felt pretty good, so I stayed there for a while. After a few more contractions though, I suddenly started feeling like I needed to push! It seemed like I had only been in labor for such a short time I could not imagine that I was already having these sensations!
Finally, I told my mom I wanted to lay down, so she put a couple towels down on the bed for me. I went and lay down and with the next contraction I felt another big gush come rushing out of me. I wasn’t wearing any bottoms, so this fluid all landed on the towels. I’m pretty sure that this was actually my water breaking, but, because baby was so low, there was no gush of waters- instead the force of the membranes rupturing pushed out more bloody show. Now it was Joel’s and my mom’s turn to freak out because we were still at home, they were both surprised at the amount of blood and they didn’t know what to do.
Luckily, Jessica showed up right at that moment- it was 7am. I heard my mom whisper about the amount of blood and Jessica calmly answer, “That is a little more than usual…” Jessica came over by me and asked how I was. With another contraction coming on, I told her that I was feeling the urge to push. This was not ok! Jessica declared that it was time to go to the hospital NOW. When another contraction started and I involuntarily pushed again, Jessica very firmly told me that if I wanted to drive to the hospital, I needed to stop pushing. Our other option, if I couldn’t stop pushing, was to call an ambulance. Calling an ambulance was the last thing I wanted to do, so I lied and said I would stop pushing. I had no idea if I would be able to, because it felt very involuntary, but, I did not want to call an ambulance!
The only problem now was that I didn’t feel like I could move, but Jessica was dead set on getting me dressed, in the car and to the hospital. Contractions were coming two minutes apart and lasting about a minute, which means my team only had minute long spaces to try to get me dressed. Jessica took charge like a pro (she is one!) and got me decent enough to go in the car.
Once again I was in the backseat on my hands and knees. This time I was staying in that position the whole time. Joel was driving and Jessica was in the passenger front seat. Mom drove Jessica’s car to the hospital. Getting in the car at this point was seriously unattractive, but, it was the only thing to do. Joel drove like stunt driver- he says he broke at least 4 major traffic laws that morning. I have to say, he did a really good job. The drive was relatively smooth and we definitely got across town in record time.
When we got to the hospital, Jessica told me that she was going to get me a wheel chair only because it would be the fastest way to get me up to the 6th floor labor and delivery unit. I chose to kneel in the chair instead of sit- actually sitting at this point would have been impossible! I remember the security guard who wheeled me saying, “Is that the way you’re going to sit?” And I was like, “YES!” We got up to L&D quickly with me still trying not to push with the contractions. Even in the car Jessica kept coaching me to vocalize- to send the energy of the push out my throat rather than through my body. I have to say in the car, with my bum in the air and sending the energy out my throat I was actually able to just breathe through a couple of the contractions- not all of them. When I reached L&D however, kneeling in the chair, I couldn’t not push. I knew the nurse who greeted me, an old friend, Pat- I recognized her by her voice, because I was facing the floor- and I was happy to hear her- but she said she was about to go home. It must have been just before the 8am shift change at this point. I was bummed Pat was going home, because I think it would have been awesome to be attended by her, but, the good news was that my midwife was coming on duty at the same time. This was very happy news.
When I got into the room they wanted me to get in bed- they also wanted me to put a gown on and I growled at them, “I don’t want a gown!” I heard Jessica in the background calmly saying that I wanted to wear my own clothes. I ended up just getting naked because they wanted to be able to do skin to skin as soon as the baby was born. This was fine by me.
At this point I have to mention that I have very little idea what this room I was in looked like because since labor had gotten intense (about the time Jessica reached us at my Dad’s house) I had pretty much closed my eyes and kept them shut. Even when I got in the bed at the hospital I kept my eyes shut.
I refused to lay on my back- I think I got on my hands and knees. This made doing an initial monitoring harder on the nurses, but I was very clear within myself that I was not there to make their job easy (nor was I there to make it hard necessarily), but I was there to do this the way that I felt I needed to do it. So I managed to stay in the bed for 15 minutes, which I know only because they wanted to do a full 20 minute monitoring strip, but I said I needed to go to the toilet. The nurse tried to keep me in bed, saying, “If you can do 5 more minutes now, you can be done with the monitor,” but I was having none of it. I went to the bathroom and peed- maybe for the last time. I know later on I felt a constant need to pee, but, was unable to- and it could have either been that baby was cutting off my ability, or I was confusing the pressure of baby descending with needing to pee.
Things get a bit fuzzy for me here…I must have gone back to the bed to finish the monitoring. I hated that monitor. In fact I hated being checked at all. After those initial 20 minutes on the electronic monitoring, the nurses only used the Doppler to check on baby periodically, but, I hated it anyway. For some reason it seemed every time they checked on the baby, they pushed on me in one way or another that really made things uncomfortable. I know after a while I got in the tub there, and even though this tub was deeper it still wasn’t wide enough for me to get into a comfortable position. I can definitely understand the appeal of a birthing POOL now. I stayed in the tub for a while with someone putting cold wash cloths on my neck and back. After a while though, I was just too hot again so I got out again. I recall that I was still leaking a lot of fluids, including a ton of blood. The bath water was red by the time I got out, and every time I moved I left a trail of blood behind me. The nurse explained later that this was probably because I was dilating so quickly, the capillaries in my cervix were just bursting with the pressure.
After laboring on the toilet for a bit more, Jessica suggested that I get in bed on my hands and knees. I think this coincided with the nurses being desperate to check me as well. I had been at 6cm when I got to the hospital, and had very quickly (37 minutes later) progressed to 8. At this point (9:20am) when I got checked I believe I was pretty much “there” but I had a tiny lip of cervix left. Since I had already been pushing for quite some time, there was a little bit of concern for my cervix getting swollen from the pressure, so, the hands and knees position was perfect anyway for helping take the pressure off my cervix and helping me finish achieving “go mode”.
I stayed on my hands and knees for what seems to me a long time- I was sleeping soundly between contractions. Jessica called this the rest and be thankful stage. My contractions spaced out quite a bit as well. I know the room was quiet and I asked at one point for someone to close the window shade because I wanted it dark too. Joel and Jessica made me drink water now and then, and kept up with the cold wash cloths too. I just kept my eyes closed, and grunted, groaned and moaned through contractions. I was in my own world, and didn’t care at all about what sounds or anything else that I was making.
Finally, I said again that I wanted to go to the bathroom. I felt like I had to poop, and I was still aware of not wanting to do that on the bed. When I got on the toilet I couldn’t pee or poop, but, I could feel that baby’s head was getting really low. I wanted to reach down and check it out, and I regret not doing so- but, in a way, in having closed my eyes, I had shut down my senses- I wasn’t up for anything more than experiencing what was happening in my body, it was too much to ask for me to see or hear or touch something. I did however feel what is commonly referred to as the “ring of fire”- I was starting to get stretched out and it was starting to burn!
When I finally got back in bed I was tired, and chose to lie down on my left side. I know they came at me with that monitor again and I hated it again. My midwife showed up though and wanted to check me again, and when she lifted the sheet to do so, she didn’t have to- baby’s head was right there! So, she was already crowning, and all I had to do was push her the rest of the way out. It was 10:20am.
This is where this birth experience took a little bit of a negative turn for me- I was ready to push and this got everyone all excited. Nurses appeared, my midwife stuck around, I think some lights got turned back on… and people started touching me- NOT what I wanted! They kept putting the monitor back on my belly- but pushing it into me because baby was so low they had to really shove it into my belly to get a reading. And they kept putting their hands on, in or around my vagina which was just really unpleasant too. You wouldn’t think that when you have an 8lb baby coming OUT that a normal sized finger going IN would hurt, but, man, THAT was agony.
At this point I was still side-lying in bed. I was holding Joel’s hand and he was saying encouraging things to me. I was pushing with contractions. The ring of fire intensified. I had the thought in my head of getting into a better position- like squatting or on my hands and knees, but, I couldn’t talk. I had been pretty non-verbal the entire labor, and this was not changing now. Jessica asked if maybe I would want to change positions- but the medical staff kept saying that the baby would be out with the next push (her head was RIGHT there) and something else about if I were to get into certain positions they would have to do something with the bed, blah, blah- it was too much hassle. So I stayed how I was- but I resisted with great force when someone tried to just tip me over onto my back.
I pushed and pushed and things were painful now. I didn’t feel like I was in a position to actually put any power behind my pushes- with the way my body was (too horizontal) I couldn’t engage my muscles. Also, the midwife kept putting her fingers inside of me, and that just really, really hurt. I don’t think this part of labor would have been as painful or taken as long had I been able to change positions.
During this part I finally got vocal again- and for the first time instead of just moaning and groaning was actually yelling words too. My mom said that at one point I did actually yell something along the lines of, “It’s killing me!” I don’t remember this, and neither does Joel or Jessica, but, they all agree that the last few sets of contractions were very intense.
It was during this time that I finally opened my eyes a little bit, just to look into Joel’s eyes. He was right there, holding my hand, and crying- I can imagine it was hard for him to watch me in pain. But it only took a couple more pushes and then the head was out, and then they eased the shoulders out, and then my midwife was telling me to reach down and take my baby (10:57am!). The baby landed on my chest, and someone asked what it was. Joel looked down and someone raised one leg so he could get a glimpse of the right parts… and then he started crying even more as he declared, “We got a girl!” I was in complete disbelief and said something along the lines of, “A girl? How did we get a girl?” And then I promptly apologized to my daughter for calling her a boy for 9 months. It was April 24th, she weighed 8lbs1oz and was 19in long.
We cuddled for a little while, and then Jessica helped me get Benita latched on. She nursed for an hour! Later that day she slept for nearly 7 hours straight! It was a big day for all of us! What a wonderful, natural experience!!!
Mara & Joel, 2009
Caleb’s birth story
It was a Wednesday and seemed like a very normal day. I was 39 weeks exactly but mentally prepared to go 40 weeks or beyond. Adam and I ran some errands, including going to the grocery store. I had been meaning to buy labor snacks for a while so into the cart went some yogurt, Juicy juice boxes, and fruit popsicles. This was the very last thing on my birth to-do list and I was glad to have it accomplished.
My plan for the day had been to take Adam to the library for the storytime they offer there, but he told me he preferred to go home and play, which is unusual, but I respected his wishes. We spent about an hour on the front porch blowing bubbles before coming in for lunch. Then he went down for a nap and I did a few chores, then settled into the couch to listen to the hypnobirthing CD that my friend Julie had just sent to me the week before.
I was in deep relaxation by about the middle of the CD and I decided to let myself drift off into sleep. A few minutes later I woke up to a warm sensation in my pants. It wasn’t very much fluid, and I didn’t feel a pop like I had when Adam’s water had broken, so I thought that I had peed a little in my relaxed state. How embarrassing! I went to the bathroom and was surprised that the fluid was indeed clear and when I emptied my bladder, what was in there was a dark yellow. After some googling and online friend consultation, I decided that my waters were indeed leaking. I wasn’t having any contractions, so I put on a pad and tried to go back to sleep.
But sleep was not meant to be. Adam woke up unusually within minutes of me laying down and wanted my attention. I went up stairs and played with him in his room. He was really happy to have my attention and I was happy to be giving it to him, knowing that soon I would probably be quite busy! Around this time I started noticing some really minor contractions. They were irregular and didn’t require any attention, but I was excited to feel them.
So, while continuing to play with DS, I managed to contact my husband at work and found out what the rest of his day looked like. I still wasn’t sure if labor would pick up that night or not, but since he had work that could be done from home, I asked him to come home. It was also nearing the end of the business day, so I called the birth center and spoke with the midwife on call, who offered to let me come in to see if it was amniotic fluid or not, but I felt sure enough that it wasn’t really worth the trip out. She was fine with that and said casually “well, labor usually starts within two days, and I’m on call until 8 am. Maybe I’ll see you tonight!” So next I called my doula, Karina, and gave her the heads up as well.
Karl arrived home soon after, and by then my contractions were gaining intensity, but still ireegular. They still were not intense enough to require my complete attention, but I began to have the feeling that baby would be coming that night. So I called my mom and told her to start the two hour drive to our house so she could babysit Adam during the birth.
Karl and I busied ourselves with some last minute housecleaning as well as playing with Adam. I was vacuuming and then noticed that the contractions were gaining in intensity. It was almost 7pm. Karl started running around the house with Adam, which was great fun, until Adam had an asthma attack that ended in him vomiting on the dining room floor. Great, I thought. We cleaned it up and then I noticed that I was really starting to feel anxious and annoyed that Karl was unable to let me rest and give me his full attention. I called my doula, Karina, again and told her I was feeling that way, so she said it was time for her to come over.
Meanwhile, the contractions were picking up to the place were it was becoming difficult to stay relaxed. My back was starting to feel crampy, so I went upstairs and took a hot shower with the spray pointed to my back. I told Karl that I needed solitude, but twice Adam managed to wander upstairs and was trying to get my attention while I was in the shower. When it happened the second time I began to cry and told Karl that it was getting really hard for me to stay nice and to please not make me make multiple requests. I sobbed in the shower for a while.
Karina, and my mom arrived minutes apart, sometime after 8pm. I dressed and came downstairs to greet them. Karl busied himself with getting my mom acquainted with all that needed to be done for Adam. Karina sat and chatted with me about how things were going. I was laying on the couch and using contraction master. The contractions were anywhere from 3 to 12 minutes apart, and lasting about 45 seconds, with some longer, more intense ones mixed in. Karina suggested I lay down, drink water, and try to get some rest. I did for a while, and then she had Karl make me a smoothie so I could get some calories in me.
Soon after that, the contractions began to pick up. We practiced breathing and working through them. I called my midwife again to let her know that things were picking up and she told us that we could come in when I could no longer talk through the contractions and they were at about 3-5 minutes apart for an hour and lasting more than a minute. I really wanted to leave before it got intense, but I had no idea how long that would take, so we decided to wait.
Things really picked up quickly after that. I got in a comfortable position on the couch and my doula was coaching my breathing through the contractions, counting in for 3 and out for 3. She lightly touched different areas of my body when she saw tension building up. We also used a rice-filled heating pad on my back. Pretty soon I was having a lot of cramping in my legs and lower back, so she got some lotion and began messaging. I had been wearing an outfit with pants and they encouraged me to changed into a cotton dress so they could massage me more easily. She had Karl time the contractions while we worked. After a while I began to tremble all over. What seemed like suddenly, they told me I had been going around 4 minutes apart, lasting 1-2 minutes, and it was time to go. I was actually surprised because I had lost all track of time.
I really felt afraid then. I was really scared of the 30 minute car ride into the center, because I felt so good when Karina was massaging me and should would be following us in her car. At that point I was just so incredibly glad that we had decided to have her at the birth that I couldn’t imagine laboring without her. Also, with Adam’s birth, the car ride was when I started to panic, so I was really just afraid of a repeat experience. I also confessed to my doula that I thought I had to poop but that I was afraid of sitting on the toilet because my contractions really hurt when I was in that position. She encouraged me to go ahead and try because the poop would have to come out eventually and it would be easier now than later. She helped me to the bathroom and I was able to do it relatively easily. Big relief.
As we walked out to the car, I asked Karina if she thought I was in transition. She smiled sadly and said “no, I don’t think so, but you will be by the time we get to the center, so let’s get going.” I was sad, but motivated to get moving and get in the warm tub awaiting me there. Then they helped me to the car, made sure they were on the same page with driving, and we went. Later they told me it was 11pm. I had lost all track of time.
We put the hypnobirthing CD in the CD player and I listened the birth affirmations. I liked those a lot. I continued to breathe in the in for 3, out for 3 style my doula had been coaching me with. I was also moaning a lot. Karl would occasionally try to remind me to breathe, but I asked him to stop because I was really focused on the sound of the woman’s voice on the CD. Her voice was a lot like my doula’s and that helped me to feel like she was still with me.
The contractions were basically on top of each other and extremely intense. One thing that really surprised me about them was that the pain wasn’t any more painful than the contractions I had experience earlier—they were just intense for longer and closer together with very little rest in between.
When the birth affirmations track was over and the hypnosis color relaxation began, I started to lose focus. I had barely listened to this part of the CD so I wasn’t finding it as helpful. I was also feeling extremely crampy in my legs and back. I started to pray out loud. Part of the reason I desired a natural birth is my belief that God has made my body perfectly for this task. So I started to talk to God out loud, telling him “You made me for this, you will have to get me through it,” and “Jesus, your pain on the cross was worse than this, help me with this small thing.” I also remembered Ina May’s story of having a woman sing to help open her up, and I am a trained singer so I started to sing praise songs when I could. About ten minutes from the center, I started to rock and sway and imagine that my body was underwater while I moaned. After a while I felt like I was going to throw up, but there was nothing to throw up into and I didn’t want Karl to stop the car, so I held it in. Almost my accident I reached up and found the coat hook on the car ceiling across from me, so I grabbed it and hung on. Then I found there was one closer to me on my side so I pulled on that. It was during this time that I really understood the appeal of homebirth. It would have been so nice to not be going over those bumps on the highway. I kept thinking about the warm tub waiting for me and how much relief I would feel in it.
When we arrived at the center, we got a great parking space as close as possible to the door. (It was impossible for Karl to drop me off at the door because the entrance is in a courtyard.) I had to walk about 20 feet to an elevator, and then another 25 feet into the center. Karl went ahead and found the midwife, who was waiting for us at the front door. Karina stayed with me. She told me I was doing great and that she bet I’d be at least a 7 when we got into the center, so let’s get going. (She told me later that she actually thought I was nearly complete, but didn’t want to get my hopes up falsely if she were wrong.) I got out of the car, and only made it to the trunk where I braced myself for a long contraction. When it started to ease I took about two steps before another one would hit me. The baby was really bearing down on my back and Karina was pressing really hard to give me counterpressure. (The midwife told me later that when I took off my shirt, she thought I might even bruise later judging from the intensity of the red marks)
I got within sight of the door and felt like I couldn’t go any further. I saw my midwife standing there, holding the door open. I asked her to please start filling up the tub. (I had in my mind it would take a while, probably because I read so many homebirth stories, I forgot this was a regular tub with high water pressure.) She said she couldn’t until I came in because the door would lock behind her. I told her I didn’t think I could move and she just said the fast I got in, the faster I’d get in the tub. So as the next contraction eased I took a breath and sprinted all the way into the lobby of the center.
I collapsed onto the couch in the lobby. Suddenly Karina was there too and she sat and had me put my head on her lap. The midwife told me the tub was filling and I just had to go into the birthing room, get on the bed for a check, and I could get in.
At that moment, I had another contraction, and this one felt different. I pushed a little and I felt the oddest sensation. It kind of felt good. I exclaimed “Whoa! It’s time to push!” I could tell from everyone’s looks that they didn’t quite believe me. I felt another and I pushed some more and I could feel the baby’s head moving into the birth canal a little. I was surprised that that part didn’t really hurt. I told them again that the baby was going to come and that we didn’t have time for a check and repeated that I wanted to get into the tub. They said OK, just get out of the lobby. I said I didn’t think I could stand, and the midwife said “Susan, I just don’t want you to have your baby in the lobby on the carpet. Please come in.” I didn’t feel like I could stand so I crawled in on all fours. They continued to ask me to get on the bed, but I refused. I said that if I got on the bed the baby would be born on the bed. We agreed then that if I could sit on the toilet, she would try to check me from there.
Suddenly people were taking my clothes off and I sat on the toilet. I heard Karina point out that I had bloody show on my pad when I got undressed. I wasn’t sure why this was so great but everyone seemed glad. I pooped a little more as I was pushing with the next contraction. The midwife was checking me (and cleaning me, I realized later) and said “yes, you’re right, there’s head there!” I reached down and felt the baby’s head, about 2 inches from the perenium. I was so excited, and surprised, because I thought he wouldn’t be so far so quickly. I had only had a few pushing contractions and wasn’t really focused on pushing yet.
They helped me into the tub and it felt so good. The water was perfectly warm, almost hot. I had another contraction and pushed a little. I was in a squatting position and they told me to lay back. I didn’t want to but tried it and it was OK so I stayed.
The overwhelming memory of this part is how quiet everyone was. No one counted. Everyone was just smiling and telling me they could see the head. At first I didn’t really know what to do because I had expected a lot of counting to 10 and telling me when to push. But there was none of that. When I realized that everyone was waiting for me to just do my work, I started. I vaguely remembered from my Bradley book that the thing to do when pushing, was to breathe in and out slowly twice, then to push for as long as I could twice. So I did that and it worked well for me. I could hear everyone encouraging me quietly.
At this point, I asked someone if it was still May 5 or May 6. I thought it would be kind of cool to have a Cinco de Mayo baby since I had been craving hot sauce and Mexican food through the whole pregnancy. Someone checked a watch and said May 6. So I wasn’t in as much of a hurry.
When the baby began to crown, I felt the stinging “ring of fire,” but really it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. I reached down and felt the head again and found that it was really crowning. But what did surprise and alarm me was how much it was stinging in the direction of my urethra. I did not like that at all. I pushed a few times and would stop when I felt that really began to burn. I was afraid it would tear to my clitoris. (I have an epi scar in the other direction which has made sex painful at times, so I was really afraid of having a new injury.) They told me it would be OK and to keep going. The midwife was applying pressure in both directions and assured me it would be fine. But, I do think my fear served me in that while I hesitated, the perineum had more chance to stretch. It didn’t feel much more intense than the perinial massage I had been doing in the last weeks. My doula told me later that as we were chatting in between contractions, I had a very restful smile on my face and that she was so happy for me.
I continued to feel afraid as I pushed. But then I looked down and saw that Caleb’s head was partially out, with his brown hair floating around in the water. As I felt the next contraction come on, I said “Ok, let’s do this” and pushed really hard. I felt him come out and it was such a relief. I felt three distinct bumps—the head, the shoulders, and the hips (or legs, not sure).
The midwife caught him and put him right in my arms. He was crying lustily. He was absolutely covered in vernix. I joked that it was because of all of the Oreo cookies I had been eating during the pregnancy. I continued to hold him and wipe him off a little, but there was just so much vernix. I let him warm up in the water and also help him against me. Caleb was born at 12:20 am, May 6.
I took stock of him and saw how different he was from his brother. His hands and feet looked so big that his head looked small in comparison. I asked if his head was big enough, suddenly afraid that something was wrong with him. They assured me it was plenty big. Measurements confirmed this later, and we also realized that he just has big hands.
I looked down and saw that the cord was blue and not pulsing. I never saw it pulse at all. Soon, the clamp was on and Karl was cutting it. I screamed when the blood came out because I didn’t expect so much and from my angle it looked like Karl had actually cut his knee, but he hadn’t. They assured me everything was fine.
I tried to get Caleb to latch, thinking it would help expel the placenta. He wasn’t into it and I was tired. the midwife said quietly that perhaps he wanted to work on breathing first, and I laughed and said OK.
I asked if I had torn, and they said only a little at the end of the perineum, I had some abrasion on my labia, but no tear at all by the urethra. The midwife said she could put in one small stitch or we could just let it heal. I opted for the latter.
After about 5-10 minutes in the tub after the birth, they told me it was time to get out and deliver the placenta on the bed. We handed Caleb to Karl and I started to get out. I surprised myself that I could actually get up, walk, and climb up! (After Adam’s birth I couldn’t walk for over 24 hours.) They asked me if I was experiencing any cramping, and I said a little, but it wasn’t that bad. They said I would and that it might be intense. I was sad because I realized we really weren’t over. Karl asked if I could start my ibuprofen then and they said yes so suddenly I was taking it.
The midwife was very gentle and told me she could tell from the blood I was shedding that the placenta was detaching. She coached me to push a little and she pulled it out and it was all done! Not painful at all. I asked her to show it to me since I had never seen Adam’s. It was pretty cool! The midwife held up the membrane in the shape it had been in inside my uterus and pointed out the part that was attached.
Meanwhile, the other midwife was weighing Caleb in the little sling scale. 7lbs, 12 ounces. Bigger than Adam, who was only 7lb, 4oz.
Then I tried to get Caleb to latch for a while and eventually we succeeded. The little champ nursed for about an hour!
Pretty soon after, I was sharing a turkey dinner frozen meal with Karl and we were staring at our little prize. They came and checked out vitals every few minutes, and then encouraged me to get up and try to pee. Again, I was surprised that I could do it on my own. I was going to ask for a shower but I saw they had already cleansed the tub, so I asked for a washcloth and sponged myself off where I felt I needed it. I was still bleeding a lot, so the assistant midwife showed me how to mash my own tummy a little and it slowed down considerably. How nice it was not to be forcibly mashed! I also realized that they had not had to give me the pitocin shot they thought they would have to give me. Hooray!
I ended up getting back in my cotton dress because it wasn’t soiled. We said goodbye to Karina. Then we stayed for maybe another hour just to make sure the bleeding was under control, posed for pictures, and said goodbye. The midwife gave us our discharge papers and two homemade gifts from her stash: a pair of knit booties and hat. She knits while she’s on call.
We left the center around 4am. I walked myself out to the car with ease. We drove home and slept in our own bed that night. It was wonderful!
When we woke up the next morning, I bought Caleb downstairs to show Adam his new brother. As far as Adam knows, he may just as well popped out of my belly at home. It was so peaceful.
Later that day, we took a walk because it was so beautiful. You should have seen the looks on my neighbors faces when they asked when the baby was born and I replied "This morning."
Birth Story of Fiona Beatrice
May 10, 2010
At 39w pregnant I woke up on Mother's Day and decided 'today is definitely not a birthday'. I could just feel it, so when little signs started happening I tried to ignore them. Stronger, more frequent contractions. Pink tinged mucous. Not wanting to be caught off guard I prepared just in case. I told Greg that I had a feeling something was up and to prepare himself. I turned up the thermostat. Showered and shaved. Trimmed my bangs and tidied the main floor. I even warned my little brother that I might wind up calling him later that evening, mostly half joking.
At 7pm I was putting Violet to bed as usual but before I was able to lie down with her to nurse her to sleep I felt a familiar gush. My water broke. Immediately excitement surged through me. Expecting a fast labour again I called my sister first, since she would be the first one able to make to my house in time. I barely said more than, "My water boke" before she hung up and was in a cab on her way here. I called Greg to let him know that it was go time and to get home as fast as possible. I was alone aside from Violet and scared that the baby was going to just fall out, considering how fast Violet's birth was. I had to hold back tears but didn't for long cause Em showed up right away. I put a call in to my midwife who asked about the colour of the water, contractions and my temperature. She said to call her back when they got more intense. I called my mom and asked her to pick up Alison on her way out here.
Emily got started on filling the pool as soon as she showed up. So, while I was yet to feel strong contrax, I headed upstairs to put Violet to sleep. She fell asleep fast and soundly nursing to sleep. When I went back downstairs, Greg was home and getting things ready as well. Putting out food and getting my Gatorade in the fridge to chill. Emily asked about contrax and though they were not intense they were close, every three minutes. We called the last two of my birth team to come out for the birth party. Allie and Arty headed out right away.
Waiting for things to kick into high gear seemed long. I was expecting to rocket this baby out. Indeed I would, but not til the next day. Contractions were little more than annoying and we were all just hanging out, enjoying each others company. So, outside for a walk I went. Greg and I did our block a few times. He had had a long day at work, so I sent him to shower and bed so I could have a rested husband for when the baby decided to finally make his/her appearance. Arty did some acupressure on me hoping to trigger things. Then Emily took over walking outside with me. We came back in after awhile though and I realized that if I were to have a calm before the storm I needed to take advantage and get some sleep. I headed to snuggle in with Violet.
My head was racing and it was hard to sleep but I did manage to get a few hours. Coming downstairs a few times to check on my girls who were all camped out in my living room. Mom camped out in the spare room for awhile too. Emily made blueberry and banana muffins. Delish!
By 5am or so I couldn't sleep anymore and got up to socialize some more. Violet woke around 7am and came to join the party. I rocked on the birth ball and bounced on some on it too. I even used my breastpump to trigger contractions. They were not even or strong. Barely noticable really. Which completely frustrated me. Now and then I'd worry something wasn't right, and half figured it was the baby's position. I could tell he/she was not in the best position.
Just before 10am (15 hours after my water broke) Alison became my walking buddy. We went on a longer walk this time and I didn't stop to rest for my contrax. I powered through them. Which definitely made a difference. Upon arriving home they were consistently at 4 minutes apart and getting more intense, finally!! I was hungry so mom made me a delicious fried egg sandwich on a bagel with cheese and tons of ketchup. I noticed that my contractions gave me a break somewhat while I ate. By the time I was done it was time to put Violet down for her nap. I hoped nursing her to sleep would help bring things on again.
Boy was I right. As soon as she was asleep I couldn't lie down through these contractions anymore. They were getting strong. I tiptoed out of her room and went straight into where Greg was sleeping to wake him up. I said things were getting intense and I needed him now. He was up like a shot and went down to prepare the tub- again. Making my way downstairs it felt like everyone was staring at me and I could tell they all knew then that things were different and labour had finally kicked in. The work began.
I leaned over the couch for awhile and that was nice. For a few contractions I stood up. I definitely credit that for helping move babe down some more. We paged Carolynn to come out and she arrived just after 11:30am. I was swaying and vocalizing against the kitchen counter at this point and was zoning out during contractions.
Carolynn checked the fetal heartrate. 136bpm. Excellent. She asked if I wanted to be checked and I declined not wanting to hear if I wasn't close. Within a few really tough contractions I was not wanting to wait any longer before getting in the tub. It was so heavenly stepping into the pool. The warm water relaxed me and I swayed through the more powerful contractions. It soon offered no help though, as this baby was coming rapidly now. I do believe I hollered through the last 20 minutes. It hurt a lot more than Violet's birth. Technically speaking labour with this baby was much faster. From active to birth was an hour and forty minutes. With Violet it was 4 hours. So, even though my water had broken the day before, not much happened until 11am on May 10.
I remember Carolynn telling me to open my legs. I had my hand on the baby's head as it was trying to crown. What I really wanted was to push that baby back up and not actually push it out. That sounded like the best idea. But birth is a force of nature that can't be stopped and I realized at some point that I was going to have to let go and just do it. So, in letting go, I yelled. And yelled some more. And swayed and gripped my sister Alison's hand. I was on hands and knees so Greg and Carolynn were behind me ready to catch the baby at the moment of birth. A few good pushes (and primal screams) and out came our baby into her dad's hands.
Immediately I felt amazing! Funny how that works. I sat back and was handed my baby daughter. So tiny!! I knew the baby I was growing wasn't going to be big. But she was just so much smaller than I expected! We learned later that she was 5lbs 14oz. I rubbed her up and smooched her. She was having a bit of a time keeping warm and was sputtering up foam, so the cord was cut after 10 minutes or so, and she was swooped up to be cared for by Greg and our secondary midwife Jay. I made quick work of birthing the (also very tiny) placenta. Our little daughter was put on the warming bed and hatted and covered in warm towels, fresh from the dryer. She was put on CPAP for a few minutes and pinked up quickly and nicely. A healthy girl, whose APGAR was 8/9 just like her older sister's.
We named her Fiona Beatrice. She came to me on the couch, where I had my exam (no tears, not even any skids). Clearer birth water than with my first birth, which means very minimal blood loss. I nursed Fiona while she had her exam. Head circumfrence, heart rate check, weighing.
What started out slow, boring and long turned into a fast and intense labour. Violet was amazing through the whole thing and cared for very lovingly by her Auntie Emily. I'm told everyone was a big help during my active phase, but I was in labour land, so it was all a blur to me.
My sweet second daughter, born at home in the water. She's a joy and adorable with her dark head of hair and her dimpled chin. And if she's anything like her birth, she'll be a quiet soul but quick to be fiesty when the moment calls for it. I can't wait to get to know her and watch her grow.
I now have my sweet 6-week-old Camille sitting on my lap as I finalize her birth story:
My last belly pic, taken at 35 weeks (two weeks before the birth)
4:10 pm or so on thanksgiving (nov 25th, I was 37 weeks to the day), I was goofing around on the computer and postponing a trip to the bathroom. When I just coudln't take it anymore I stood up to go to the bathroom and I felt a small pop and a small gush- I figured it was CM until I got to the bathroom and realized my undies were soaked and even some of my pants were too. I called to Kenny to let him know I think my water had broken but wasn't sure (two of my friend had suspected their waters had broken only to discover they had peed themselves instead). Kenny got a little panicky and asked what to do, but I decided to go lay down a while and see if a broken water became more apparent, and it did- when I stood up there was another gush. So I put on the depends diapers (ugh) and called the midwife. She told me to rest now and call her when contractions started. I figured we had a couple hours, since with Daniel's labor, they broke my water and two hours later I had real contractions.
We called the family members, I called Cristin and Marissa (my "birthteam"). We had our thanksgiving "feast" of ham steak and Hawaiian sweet roll,then Kenny went to work about setting up the birthtub in the kitchen. He didn't realize there was a liner, so he started filling it with water then we had to drain it out and redo it with the liner. It's a bit frustrating for both of us, but also kind of comical.
We figured contractions would begin at any moment- I was so surprised that they took so long to come. Cristin, my "semi-doula" came over around 8. We watched Business of Being Born while she rubbed my feet with coconut oil, it was heavenly- but still no contractions. She gave me some homeopathy stuff to get contractions going, then I sent her home so I could nap a bit. I went to sleep around 11pm. I woke up at 12:30 just enough to note a rougher contraction, then dozed until 1 when I couldn't sleep through them anymore. I came out to the living room to count contractions and found kenny asleep on the couch. I remember sitting on the floor next to my sleeping husband as contractions started to get more intense and petting the dog. It was very peaceful.
I spent as many contractions as possible on my hands and knees in the hope that the baby would find a good position. My first labor, the baby has been posterior and I wanted to avoid that this time. It seems to have worked.
Around 2 am, I was having enough contractions to call the midwife and birthteam over, so I did. They got there, listened to the baby's heart, checked my blood pressure, and I started needing to lean on the couch while kneeling to get through contractions:
Things picked up quicky so I got into the birthtub and it felt wonderful. The water had miraculously stayed warm in the 8 or so hours since it had been filled.
I quickly resume my kneeling position and leaned on the edge of the tub
Cristin rubbed my shoulders during contractions, that seemed the most helpful thing she could do for me. Kenny helped out too, though his was a less active role (as I expected it would be).
I experimented with making noises through the contractions, mostly settling on "lalalalala oooooooooooo lalalalala" (my French language background coming through, I guess). I never felt out of control and was chatting in between contractions right up until the end.
Around 4 am, I started feeling nauseous. This was unexpected. I never throw up and never felt that way with my first labor. I didn't end up throwing up, but this was a sign to me that I was in transition and the baby would come soon. Within a few minutes I thought I felt the need to push, and told the midwife so. She responded simply "then push, you don't need MY permission!"
I never once had a cervical check, but I trusted my body. I pushed. Within a few contractions I could feel the head in the canal, it was happening so fast (I pushed for 2 hours with my first labor). I had planned on "laboring down" to let myself stretch a bit (hoping to avoid another tear) but in the moment I completely forgot.
I remember thinking "I can't do this!" then hearing my own mind respond "of course you can, you ARE doing it, right now!" It felt like her head must already be out, she was so RIGHT THERE, but they assured me she was not.
A few more pushes and she was! The midwife "caught" her then put in her my hands under water and I pulled her up between my legs. She was covered in vernix but bright-eyed and so sweet.
The time of birth was declared to be 4:17 am, and I realized I had not looked at a clocked once since 2 am. I was so happy- I felt that with my first birth, so much emphasis had been put on how long things took, so I had made a goal of covering all the clocks but in the end there was no need.
The midwife gave me a warm towel and checked her heart immediately as she laid on my chest, where she stayed as I delivered the placenta.
I then got to really look at her for the first time. She had a powdering of brown hair, and dark blue eyes, dainty little hands and feet. So different from my son. Her lips were a bit swollen from the birth process and I remember thinking she looked much like my paternal Grandma (who was in her late 90s when she passed):
They handed her to Kenny while I got out of the tub and dried off a bit. He was so excited:
They set me up on the couch and handed me her to nurse for the first time, she took to it like a champ.
During that time, Danniele set up an herbal bath in our master bath room for baby and I to take together. She was so pretty and pink and was looking a bit less like grandma and I fell in love. She's a beautiful baby.
Afterwards they stitched me up on my bed (4 deep stitches along the lines of my scar from the first birth)- oh did that hurt! I was far more vocal through that then I had been in labor. I had had many many more stitches than that after having my son, but had been anesthetized (which is likely why I tore in the first place) and don't remember them.
While I was being stitched, baby Camille was taken out to meet her big brother, who had just woken up from a normal night's sleep to find his house full of strange people. He seemed to immediately understand that this was the baby from mommy's tummy and his baby sister:
Finally we weighed her- 7 pounds, 2 ounces
After a few hours, we noticed the area around her lips kept going gray- you can see it a bit in this pic:
She'd get pinker while on the midwife's oxygen, then go gray again. This can be a sign of heart problems (cyanosis) so we called around to find a pediatrician to look at her. None were open and the oxygen was running out, so we opted to go to the ER instead.
We were the spectacle of the ER- they never see brand new babies, that all happens upstairs at L&D. Everyone was shocked I was in such good shape and walking around so soon after birth. All the ER staff gathered in the hall to see the "homebirth baby", but everyone was respectful and congratulatory. None of their equipment was meant for little bitty babies, but eventually we could see that even when she was gray, her heartrate and oxygen level were great.
They took an x-ray then took us up to the NICU to await the results. They told me because we were a homebirth we were going to be kept in isolation so as to not infect the hospital babies (I remember thinking "no, we should be kept in isolation sot he hospital babies don't infect MY baby" but whatever). The x-ray showed a potential abnormality (NOT what I wanted to hear) so next they did an echocardiogram. Normally ultrasound techs aren't supposed to "diagnose" anything, but ours was a very friendly guy who, after hearing our story, said "you had a successful homebirth and are walking around 4 hours later... you deserve to hear that everything looks 100% normal". Whew! Then they moved us to our own large room in the pediatrics unit so we could be observed. By this time, she was staying pink on her own pretty well, but they want to keep us overnight for observation (I tried to talk them out of it, but she kept spitting up amniotic fluid and each time her heart did funky things so we stayed around.) I stayed the night alone while Kenny went home to be with Daniel.
The next morning they sent us home with the completely clean bill of health. Though I'm disappointed we ended up at the hospital (partially because of the financial implications), I'm thrilled with how the birth went, and I'm glad to be proof that homebirthers don't take unnecessary risks and go to the hospital when things look questionable. It was relaxed, I felt in control, I feel I kept my dignity, I didn't have to fight to get the birth I wanted. It was an amazing experience, I wish all women could have a birth like that!
(DH's little velociraptor and my sweet eclair)
January 30, 2011 at 6:45am
18" long and 7lbs 4oz
Her birth story really began Friday (January 28th), when I noticed bloody show and had mild cramps all day. Saturday (January 29th) I had more of the same, but no definite signs of progress, so we ran some errands, visited the in-laws, and talked them into watching the bunny for us. (Thank goodness!) DH and I headed home to get some rest, and I made a nest a pillows and blankets on the couch in a vain attempt to get comfortable.
Sunday (January 30th) around 4:30 am, I was awakened by a sharp, stabbing pain in the cervix. I think I actually tried to leap off the couch (didn't work obviously) so I could hop around and swear (it really hurt), when I felt/heard that tell-tale pop. Yup, labor started with my water breaking *again*.
I think I must have had a lot of fluid, because there was a gush on the couch, a gush on the floor, a gush on the way to the bathroom, a puddle on the bathroom floor, and another gush into the toilet. At least it was clear.
I woke DH up to deal with the mess, make a light breakfast (I was *not* going to go to the hospital with an empty stomach, then not be allowed to eat again), and otherwise get us ready to go. I got a quick rinse-off in the shower and fresh clothes, then we were ready to head in.
(I had wanted to have as natural a hospital birth as possible, but with her being so early, my water definitely breaking, and contractions starting, we decided not to wait it out at home. DH had a bad feeling and wanted to go in - glad I listened.)
My contractions started very soon after my water broke (YAY for starting on my own this time!) and went from low cramps to painful and every 2-3 minutes almost immediately. They hurt much more than I thought they would - it actually felt just like the pitocin ones except that I had a short break in-between to refocus. It was amazing to stand and moan and rock through them...I felt like I was really working with my body and not against it like last time.
By the time we were actually at the hospital, I'd been having the contractions like that for about an hour. Then things got a little crazy with the initial assessment... The nurse took my information and went to check my cervix, then yelped, 'Holy ****, that's a foot!'. (She was so surprised, she actually forgot to check for dilation and had to do it again...6cm, with foot.)
(That changed things - with a pre-term, footling-breech baby and broken water (now showing some meconium), a vaginal delivery was out and they started prepping me for a c-section. I was really proud of myself for getting that far on my own, though. I was making excellent progress (6cm after one hour of hard contractions), and had she been head down, I think I could have had a totally natural vaginal delivery.)
It was awful waiting for the doctor, though. After a few more really painful contractions, I started feeling pushy. They didn't check my cervix again, but didn't seem to doubt that I could have finished dilating that quickly. I was a little disappointed about needing the c-section, but I'm glad to know my body *can* and *did* do what it was supposed to. Claire just had other ideas, apparently.
Things were moving extremely fast then (though not nearly fast enough from my point of view), and they were getting me to the OR while the doc was speeding to the hospital. I was getting the spinal while she scrubbed (I don't think she even got into her scrubs, just gowned over her clothes), they fetched DH, and Claire was out at 6:45am.
After that, the mood really relaxed and the team started joking with each other, with me (I was appreciating them now that I was numb and knew Claire was okay), and with DH. Apparently he was sneaking peeks behind the drape while they patched me back together and made a few cracks about my internal organs. They were awesome, and took great care of me and Claire.
Claire did give us a few scares, though, and was transferred to Children's Hospital for additional testing. So far, she's passed everything with flying colors (just had some low blood sugars and a touch of jaundice), and was known as the 'feisty baby' in the NICU.
We're all home now and doing well - getting into a routine, working out the kinks of breastfeeding and toddler-wrangling, getting acquainted and really enjoying ourselves.
March 30, 2011
8 lb 3.5 oz
20.5 inches long
Attempted natural VBA2C but ended in repeat c-section
Well, since my baby is now over a week old I thought I would type up her birth story Here it is:
On Tuesday March 29th at 9:30 am I went to my 39 week doctor appointment. At the appointment he asked me if baby is moving ok and I told him I hadn't felt her the night before as much as I usually do. Usually she was moving all night long and keeping me awake but I didn't feel her at all during the night on the 28th. That morning I had felt a couple of tumbles so I didn't think much about it. He said he wanted me to do a NST to see if everything was ok. On the NST there were a couple of heart decelerations he was worried about so he told me to go right over to the hospital to have a stress test done (give small doses of pitocin to start contractions and see how the baby does during contractions). I was a little freaked out at this point since I was NOT expecting that that day. My friend had been watching my little boys for us while we went to my appointments but for the last couple of weeks I hadn't been having him check my cervix so I had decided to just take the boys with me to this appointment. That meant my husband had to take the boys back home to have them watched by a friend and get all of our hospital bags while I went to start the stress test (we live about 20 minutes away from the hospital).
11:40 am was when they started me on the pitocin for the stress test. My hubby actually made it back to the hospital by the time they started the pit. I had to get 3 contractions in 10 minutes and that happened pretty quickly. After they got the 3 contractions they turned off the pitocin but kept monitoring me. My doctor came in to see me at 1:00 pm. He said the baby didn't do great on the stress test but not horrible either and that she looked fine on the monitor now. He said they were definitely going to admit me and that we either needed to do a c-section right then or they could monitor me overnight and depending on how it went possibly do a soft induction in the morning. I told him I was fine with being monitored overnight but did NOT want the c-section if we could avoid it. He checked me at that point and I was at 3 cm, 75% effaced and the baby was at a -1 station, he did a membrane sweep to see if we could get things moving. Luckily I only had to be on the monitor for 20 minutes out of every hour so we were able to go for some walks, sit on the birth ball, etc. to try to get things moving. My hubby went and got MegaMind from Redbox and brought the kids for a movie night at the hospital. That is a fun memory I think they will have of when their baby sister was born! That night at the hospital I didn’t have a single contraction
In the morning (7:00) on March 30th I had some bloody show when I went to the bathroom. I have never had this with all 5 children so I thought maybe something was going to start. Wrong again!
At 8:30 the doctor came and broke my water and placed an internal monitor (I didn't even know he was going to do that and was not very happy!). He said the baby moved up during the night and was no longer at a -1 station. They even had to push on the top of my fundus to get the baby down far enough to make it safe to break the water. My doula came and we played a card game or two and then decided to try all different positions, nipple stimulation, pelvic rocks, etc to see if we could get the contractions going. My body was not cooperating. At 11:45 the doctor came in again and said we needed to start pitocin to see if we could get things going. Since I was a VBAC they started it at a 1 and only increased it by 2 every 1/2 hour and the maximum they would turn it up to was 20. Every time they would increase the pitocin I would have 3-4 really good contractions and then they would stop completely. It was so frustrating. I was doing really good and able to relax through the contractions. We were trying to do different positions while the pitocin was going but every time I would stand or sit on the birth ball the baby was having late decelerations (heart rate going down at the end of the contraction). She seemed to like it when I was lying on my side and the contractions would be harder also, so I laid in bed.
At 4:30 my doctor came back in and checked me. He said I was at a 4 and 100% effaced but the pitocin was already at a 12 and the contractions were not picking up. He told me he would give me one more hour but that he needed to see some good progress or he was going to have to cut me. He told me he was getting a lot of pressure from the hospital administration all day and that they really wanted him to do a c-section on me the day before but he was fighting them for me and really wanted me to have the chance to deliver vaginally. After that grim news we really ramped things up. I stopped looking at the monitor and just did everything I could think of to get contractions going. I tried more nipple stimulation (ouch!) my husband and I did the hula and my doula tried doing pressure points. Still the same story, 2-3 contractions and then they stopped.
5:40 my doctor came back in and I hadn't changed at all. I was very disappointed at this point because I was doing so well dealing with the contractions even on pitocin but I just couldn't get the contractions to keep going. The doctor said there were still some decelerations and since I wasn't progressing we really needed to do the c-section so I consented. That is when I broke down and bawled. I was so sad that I wasn't going to get the VBA2C that I wanted. I felt like I had done everything I could and it was just out of my hands. My doctor had been good to work with and fight for me but if contractions wouldn't start there was nothing we could do. I had a great nurse that is actually studying to be a midwife and she said she has never seen my doctor do a c-section unless it was absolutely necessary. That information made me feel a little better but just a little.
6:00 they took me into the operating room. The anesthesiologist came in to do my spinal and had a really hard time getting it in. After trying to insert it about 5 times (with me hunched over and my nurses having to help support me) my doctor suggested to him to try another needle. The second needle went in without any pain and the anesthesiologist showed me the first needle. It would take air in but would not let anything out (inject). Those first 5 tries hurt like HELL! Anyway, finally the spinal was done and they laid me down to finish prepping me for the surgery. As I am laying there completely naked the surgical tech says, "Hey, what did you say your last name is?" to my husband. My husband told him and the tech says, "I thought I recognized your voice, you're my cousin!" Great, nice to meet you cousin Jerry! Sheesh, what a place to meet my husbands extended family.
6:50 the surgery begins. I had asked them to not tie my hands down so that I would be able to hold my baby right after she is born. At 7:03 pm Alexandria Fern was born. She was perfect and screamed until they gave her to me After they laid her on my chest she was quiet as can be and stayed that way until her bath 3 hours later. I asked my nurse if I could BF her while they were stitching me up. She said they usually wait until we are in recovery before they try breastfeeding. My nurse was great! My uterus was not going down like it was supposed to (stupid uncooperative uterus!) and was bleeding too much, so my nurse said, "forget it, let's get that baby nursing and see if that will help!" She helped me get her latched on (which was not easy lying flat on my back!) and my little girl was a good nurser right from the start. The doctor asked how the baby was doing and my nurse said, "great she's breastfeeding." He said that's good and continued sewing me up.
After I was all stitched up they took me right to my room where my nurse did her bath, weight and everything right at my bedside. She was over 3 hours old before we even knew how much she weighed because she hadn't left my chest that whole time. She weighed 8 lb 3.5 ounces and was 20.5" long. She beat my biggest baby so far by .5 ounces and 1". She was definitely a big girl. It was so great to not have my baby taken away right after the c-section. This was definitely my best c-section birth, simply for that fact.
I stayed in the hospital until Saturday April 2. We got released at 11:00 am and by the time we got home I was feeling horrible. I had a huge headache that was making me nauseous and dizzy. I went straight to bed and slept for about 3 hours. When I woke up I felt a lot better (just a little dizzy) but after being up for another 3 hours I was starting with the headache again. I decided to call labor and delivery and see what they suggested. The nurse that answered happened to be the same nurse that was in my c-section with me and she said that she thought I had a spinal headache and that I needed to come back into the ER. So at 10:00 that night we headed back to the hospital (luckily Grandma was here and could stay with Alexandria and the other kids). The ER was definitely not fun, I was still bleeding, I was so engorged and my head was killing me and they wanted me to get into a hospital gown. I immediately soaked the entire thing with breast milk. I was super grumpy and did NOT want to get another IV and get poked with more needles. I asked the anesthesiologist if I had to be hunched over to get the blood patch. He said we can do it lying on my side but that it might not work. I thought it would really hurt trying to hunch over with my incision but it wasn't as bad as I thought. In order to fix the spinal headache they had to do what is called a blood patch. They take blood out of your arm (a lot) and inject it into the same space in your spine that they do the spinal. The blood then clots and closes the holes left open by the needles. The reason for the headache is that the spinal fluid has been leaking out of the holes left by the needle (and remember I got poked at least 6 times trying to start my spinal) so there were a LOT of holes. The spinal fluid that leaks out makes it so that there is not enough fluid around the brain to make it buoyant and it causes a severe headache. Anyway, the anesthesiologist told me there was going to be some pressure when he put the blood in and to let him know if it was too much. Oh my gosh that hurt!!! After he got done putting the blood in I had to lay flat on my back for an hour to let the blood start clotting. It really hurt to lie on my back. I would say it hurt more having that blood in my back than the headache itself. After an hour the anesthesiologist said that when I get home I need to spend the next 6 hours flat on my back (meaning no pillow). I do NOT like sleeping on my back but sleeping (trying) on my back with no pillow was TORTURE. Plus, how am I supposed to stay flat on my back with a newborn that wants to nurse? When we got home (at 1:00 am) my baby was hungry since I had been gone for 3 hours. I nursed her and put her to bed and then she cried for the next 3 hours. I was exhausted and supposed to be flat on my back and she would not go to sleep, ugh! I got a total of 1 1/2 hours of horrible sleep that night
The next day my back was still hurting but more bearable and it has gotten a little better every day since. Luckily, the headache was gone for good and my baby started sleeping 5-6 hour stretches at night. In fact last night she slept from 11:00 until 7:00 and is only 1 week old, yes ladies that is an 8 hour stretch. I am so glad I got a good baby!