Positive Birth Stories
Women can overcome the fear surrounding labor and birth by hearing or reading Positive Birth Stories. I have asked a number of my Bradley Method® and Prenatal Yoga students to write their experiences down to share with other couples. Most of these stories on my blog http://prenatalyoga.wordpress.com are stories of natural birth. A couple of them are not, but these mothers were able to turn their baby's birth into an empowering experience and bring their babies into the world in the best, safest, and gentlest way possible.
"Women need to hear positive birth stories. Sadly, women who have positive, transformative, challenging but amazing births usually don't tell their stories. They may think it's not normal, or may not want to make other women feel inferior. Women need to share their birth stories, both positive and difficult, and when they're difficult, we should examine why and what could have changed. These stories have the power to transform how society looks at birth, to dispel the myths and relieve the fear." Debra Pascali-Bonaro
These are the Bradley Birth Stories of Another Bradley Instructor
My name is Julie and I am a stay-at-homeschooling mom to six beautiful children. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in the Science of Nursing which afforded me the opportunity to work on the labor and delivery floor as well as the newborn nursery of our local hospitals. Thankfully, in the years before I was married and began having children, I realized a very obvious difference in birthing women: those who were medicated just didn’t have that same twinkle in their eyes that the natural birthing moms had; and, babies were asleep versus alert and bonding.
These realizations lead me to seek out a natural-minded physician with my first pregnancy. She suggested I attend a Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth® class and our first son was born, in a hospital, epidural-free, in December of 1994. Unfortunately, a new doctor joined the group just before our birth, and we had to stand our ground on no episiotomy, no pitocin, etc. to achieve the birth we’d long desired.
After Alec’s birth, I sought out a new doctor practice. It was a blessing since soon after finding our new doctor, I became pregnant with twins. Here is the birth story of our twins, Noah and Nathan, born December 30th, 1997.
I was diagnosed as having a twin pregnancy at just 8 weeks gestation. I began having Braxton Hicks contractions just before 12 weeks gestation; by 19 weeks I was leaking colostrum. Being a Bradley Method® Instructor, I felt very strongly about pregnancy and birth being a natural process. After all, twins are a natural occurrence and there is no reason to believe that a twin pregnancy should be considered any more high risk than a singleton. I stayed away from all those multiple books that talked only of bed rest, scheduling the c-section and visiting the NICU ahead of time to become familiar with the surroundings. Instead, I surrounded myself with my very supportive husband, family, friends and doctor – no mention of bed rest or c-section was ever made. I followed Dr. Tom Brewer’s advice on protein consumption of 125gms minimum.
I had a routine US at 24 weeks and a follow-up at 36 weeks. For the few weeks before their birth, my contractions increased greatly in strength and frequency. On Saturday, Dec. 20th (Alec’s 3rd birthday) my contractions seemed to be staying the same as they had all week – start early in the morning then ease by lunch and pick back up around dinner continuing until around midnight.
Sunday, the 21st, my contractions became 3 minutes apart regularly and were at least 45 seconds long, but I still didn't call my doctor; by late that night my contractions spaced enough for me to fall fast asleep. This pattern continued and I went for my regular check-up on Tuesday the 23rd. I was still having contractions, as he noticed, so he checked me to find that I was 2cm and 30% effaced. He re-affirmed his belief in the natural process. I was happy to have what I knew would be the last few days with my babies safe and happy, warm and comfortable, inside me – yes we were cramped for space, but there was also a lot of love between the three of us.
Sunday, December 28th, I began spotting and contractions continued until bedtime. I awoke on Monday morning with sharp cramping and dark, bloody show. I fell asleep at just about midnight only to be awakened by very active contractions at 2am, Tuesday morning. By 5:30am contractions were 1 minute long and 3 minutes apart. I felt tremendous rectal pressure, as well as back and belly hugs.
We called Dr. at 7:30am to let him know what was going on and that I wouldn't make it into the office for my appt. We got to the hospital around 11:30am to find I was 100% effaced and 5cm. When Dr. got there, not long behind us, he found Baby A (Noah) to be posterior, which I already knew (there's no denying a posterior baby) and he began helping with counter pressure.
By 3pm I just had to push. At this point, my water was leaking and I wanted to push in the bathroom (I was free of everything — no IV's, locks, monitors, nothing — no one argued with me have anything attached at all).
I began pushing very forcefully on the toilet and my nurse, standing in the doorway, was looking quite nervous. She kept looking in at me while I was pushing, then out at my doctor, who was rolling around on the little stool… he told her I could do whatever I wanted and that it would be fine.
I asked where Noah's head was when I had first gone into the bathroom; the nurse asked Dr. and he said +3!!!!! After a couple more contractions, I really felt the need to lie on my side; much to the surprise of everyone – they expected me to squat – I just told them that I HAD TO LAY DOWN, SOMETHING WAS TELLING ME TO LAY DOWN AND TAKE IT SLOW!!
At 4:24pm Noah was born; he had the cord wrapped twice tightly around his neck and once around his chest – this was no emergency, but part of the natural process – by lying on my side, which my body was telling me to do, I was able to give birth slowly and gently. I was able to feel Noah's head emerge – so warm, wet and wrinkly with lots of hair… just so special! I grabbed his wet little body and pulled him up to my breast… his wide eyes looked up at me and he began to nurse immediately.
After about 10 minutes, contractions resumed. I asked how dilated I was and my doctor said 8cm, but that with one push my cervix would open right back up (it's the pressure of the head that keeps it open). The nurses all wanted to do an ultrasound to see if Nathan was breech or vertex, but my doctor said it didn't matter, that he'd be fine.
I began pushing, which was very hard since my stomach muscles were so tired (my doc. likened it to doing 500 sit-ups and then being asked to do a few more). Nathan was born, head-first, at 5:54pm. The boys were exactly 30 minutes apart on December the 30th. Nathan also nursed immediately.
Noah was born December 30th at 5:24pm weighing 5 pounds 2 ounces.
Nathan was born December 30th at 5:54pm weighing 6 pounds 1 ounce.
My birth experience was a great one, as I had a wonderful doctor who NEVER EVER treated me like I was high risk. He, like my husband and I, believe that twins are natural, just as a singleton. Women were meant to have babies; we were born to give birth; we were made to easily feed two babies. I felt completely supported throughout the pregnancy; never any talk of bed-rest, c-sections, or other complications. I remained very active, moving into our new house at 36 weeks and digging in my front yard (you’ve got to have tulips in the spring) at 37 weeks!
I knew that I was doing the very best for my babies by working on having a healthy pregnancy and giving my babies the gift of birth; a natural birth. I turned my pregnancy over to God and felt a great sense of peace. This was, however, the last of my hospital births, as the next three children were born in the comfort of our home attended by myself and their father.
Our twins were exclusively breastfed for almost 10 months. They continued nursing until Nathan was 2yrs. 3 mos. and Noah was 2yrs. 9mos. - which was when they decided to wean themselves (just a week before our fourth child was born).
Nursing babies long enough for them to become good talkers also lends itself to some interesting discoveries. For instance, because I became pregnant about the time of their second birthday, I learned, via their private mini-conference across my lap, that my milk changed during the 18th week of pregnancy with their sister J. This discovery was made when Noah latched on, began to nurse and then quickly pulled off. He ran to get Nathan. They both latched on looking across at each other. Then Nathan pulled off stating, “different” and Noah added, “good!” That, was priceless.
Since the birth of Noah and Nathan, we have been blessed with 3 peaceful homebirths:
Claire was born in October of 2000. She waited till 41weeks to make her grand and beautiful appearance and emerged into our dimly lit bedroom with her daddy catching. She weighed 8 pounds and exclusively breastfed for over 15 months. She self-weaned after 3 years of age.
Aidan was born a healthy 9pounds and 2ounces in August of 2003 after a brief, but intense, 4 hours of active labor; though he’d waited 43 weeks to that point. His big sister just happened to wake up (at 2:30am) in time to see his head crown, followed by that wonderfully warm and slippery body slide out into daddy’s hands.
Claire exclaimed the next morning, when her brothers mentioned how lucky she was to see “the baby come out of mommy’s belly”, that, “He did not come out of mommy’s belly!”
Aidan is still nursing as I type (20 months).
AvaGrace was born in February of 2005. Her birth was witnessed not only by her daddy, but also her three oldest brothers. They spent the day of her labor doing their lessons at the kitchen table and waited until they heard me proclaim, “She’s coming!”
All four boys – daddy included – lined up across the bathtub step to watch as I squatted on the floor and gently birthed our second daughter, this time into my own hands. I immediately sat down, scooped her up close to me and stared deeply into those awesome, love-filled eyes.
Shortly after her birth, the placenta passed and, leaving the cord and placenta attached, I took my baby into the warm bath where she began nursing (of course she is still nursing as she is presently only 3 months old).
There is nothing so special as to be the first to touch and hold your babies; to catch their gaze and stare into those angel eyes, so trusting; to be able to give the gift of birth instead of having your baby “delivered”; to be able to share the joyous experience with the whole family; to be able to cuddle, as a family, in the comfort of your own bed and share a meal in celebration.