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
It was Thursday morning, July 10th and Kellee had been experiencing some minor contractions for that last few days. One major difference between today and the days prior is she had started experiencing leaking of water. She woke up early Thursday morning about 4AM with some water in the bed. From that point on, there was a slow and steady flow of water that continued to come out. We started the day like all others leading up to the birth; we wanted to get some things accomplished before the baby was born so we set out on our tasks for the day. Before we left on our errands we called Dr. Biter’s office and spoke with his nurse’s assistant and told her what Kellee had been experiencing. The nurse was convinced that Kellee’s water had broke and asked us to call her back at 3PM to update her on Kellee’s status. She also said that Kellee would have to be induced if she did not start experiencing some serious labor signs by the end of the day. I got on the phone and said, “So you are telling me that we are going to for sure have a baby in our arms in the next 24-48 hours?” She said, “Yes”. WOW J The nurse said she would notify Dr. Biter and it would not be too much longer. We headed out and kept the errands pretty light, going to the bank, the post office, getting some frames from Aaron Brothers, shopping at Albertsons and then finally getting a pizza and salad from Flippin’ Pizza to bring home. All throughout our errands Kellee was experiencing the minor contractions, they were becoming more consistent and her water was still leaking steadily, so much that she had to use washcloths to absorb all of the moisture. Kellee had thought that the baby was going to come early and we had heard that many first time mothers that have minimal weight gain during pregnancy tend to deliver about 2 weeks early. But our wedding date falls on the 17th and we were really hoping for that to be the date. In addition, while we got more of the important items checked off the list for preparation of his arrival, we still wanted to wrap up a few odds and ends. After Kellee and I got home from all of our errands, we had a nice late lunch of pizza and salad it was somewhere between 4 and 5PM. Kellee had already made the call the Doctor’s office to let them know there were no signs of serious labor. We had also called our doula, Rosie, to let her know of Kellee’s condition and to be ready since the Doctor’s office said it would be anytime that Kellee would be going in the hospital, willing or not. Both the assistant from the doctor’s office and Rosie suggested Kellee to go on a walk, get in a warm shower, go in the pool, relax on the beach, etc. Rosie also reminded us of the natural methods to induce labor; things that Kellee and I would laugh about during her pregnancy making jokes not to do them as it could induce earlier than we wanted. Now, however, it seemed mandatory on our end that we do them as we did not want any medical drugs intervening for the induction of this labor. Kellee and I went to lie down in bed about 5PM and did some natural induction recommendations. She started one of them, which was to push her thumb to the roof of her mouth, and I started to do light nipple stimulation through her shirt. Again, we were joking and wandering whether this could or could not actually work. About 6PM Kellee noticed a contraction that was a more intense and lasted a bit longer. In the days prior to the birth Kellee had been experiencing so many that almost all of them were false alarms to us. I broke out the stop watch, the Bradley student workbook, a pen and started noting the contractions. 7PM is probably when Kellee was officially in the last part of the 1st stage of labor; her contractions started to become more intense and closer together. She started to get more uncomfortable and we started to feel that this was it. I called our doula and told her what was going on and she said she would come over in about an hour or so. From that point on, Kellee was fully in labor. Her contractions became more and more intense and closer and closer together. I used most of all the techniques I learned in the Bradley class. I did the following: did relaxation techniques, helped keep her hydrated, reminded her to keep going to the bathroom, gave her soothing touches and encouraging words – all of these things really helped. Our doula arrived about 8:30PM; Rosie started to change the whole ambiance by closing the blinds, putting on music and breaking out the massage oils. Rosie’s first reaction was “Oh, we are in some hard labor, that is great” she could tell by Kellee’s actions. Kellee was not talking much by this point; she was concentrating on preparing for the next contraction. We got Kellee on the birth ball and put her on the corner of the bed to use it to lean on. We took her through about an hour and a half of labor. Kellee started to show more blood and she started to feel more comfortable being in the bathroom. She finally said, “We have to go to the hospital, the pains are really strong.” Rosie took over while I packed the last minute items in a bag. I was packing for about 5-10 minutes, trying to make sure not to forget anything, then we started on our journey to the hospital. Along the way I called Dr. Biter and Kellee’s mom. It was not easy getting Kellee from our place to the hospital, to say the least – it was a serious process. She had to stop many times along the way to concentrate on dealing with the immense pain from the contractions. As we arrived to the hospital, the nurse station wanted Kellee to sign some papers before they admitted her. I can’t imagine how hard it was but judging by Kellee’s demeanor she was in no mood to sign the papers but she somehow managed to sign them. Magdalena was our nurse and we immediately got in a room. We gave the nurse our birth plan and told her we wanted to no intervention. The nurse asked Kellee if she could check for her dilation. Kellee was 5cm at about 11PM; however, our doula was quite certain, as were we, that Kellee was probably about 7 or 8cm just before we started the trek for the hospital but the car ride, etc. made her dilate back down. So there was more work to do. One of the difficult things now was that we had no idea how long Kellee would have to go through these painful contractions, and they were painful. There were times when both Kellee and I had doubts. Kellee expressed it to me a couple times, saying “I don’t know how long I can do it.” But never once did I tell her how I was feeling. Although around 11:30 p.m. I was starting to get worried, I did not want her to suffer and hurt herself. The nurse asked if she could put on an external fetal monitor to check the babies heart rate. She said she could get it from any position Kellee was in, so we allowed her as we all went about our business getting Kellee in different positions on the bed, then moving to the ball, then to the bathroom on the toilet and then she took a quick shower, but she was shivering and I felt so bad for her. The nurse then got some really hot blankets; they were nice, as it was very cold in the room. The thermostat seemed to have 2 temperatures hot or cold, so we had to take cold. Interestingly enough the nurse seemed to get a bit concerned by Kellee’s sounds of pain and said “I am just going to give you a local IV to keep you hydrated.” We all said, “NO WAY” she had been drinking plenty of water. Kellee especially does not like needles and that would have surely slowed down her labor. Even though we gave them the birth plan that specifically stated no IV’s or intervention unless requested, they still wanted to medically intervene. It was about 12AM and Kellee said “I feel like I want to push”. We all were a bit scared as sometimes it could be a premature feeling and she could risk tearing if she was not truly ready, so after sitting in the bathroom and Kellee pushing a couple of times, the nurse asked if she could check her again. We agreed, Kellee really felt that she was ready to begin pushing and hoped that it was in fact time. We were thankful that she was, in fact, fully dilated and the nurse said “She’s ready” and ran out of the room to get the doctor. The nurse came back in and with Rosie and my help we all guided each push, and made each one count. Dr. Biter came in the room about 25 min before the birth actually occurred and he was clearly a pro at this, taking his time, knowing that all would be great. They set up the table and Dr. Biter told Kellee she was looking and doing great, that it would not be long. Kellee got a lift immediately when he arrived, he brought in a calm, positive energy and his presence assured her that the time was finally near. Dr. Biter then got her in a birth position; she was in a reclining position with legs spread as wide as possible and back. I held one of her ankles to help. Dr. Biter’s started to coach Kellee on her pushes. As it got closer he told Kellee, “There is going to come a time when I am going to ask you to push, and I want you to push but then I am going to ask you to stop pushing. You are going to want to keep pushing but you MUST not push, or you will tear, ok” – at this point if Dr. Biter told Kellee to speak in French she would have found a way to. So she readily agreed. Some of Dr. Biter’s words were, “I want you to push pass that point, push your pelvis towards the ceiling, you are doing great”. Then it was time, the baby’s head was surely crowning and the doctor gave her the order not to push. She listened intently and he kept eye contact with her to help her as she really stayed focused and did deep breathing to get through this next part. The nurse asked me to look and I was not quite ready as I was holding a leg and coaching, making the moaning sounds with Kellee, telling her to breathe deep and just basically praying in the spirit. I did see the baby’s head starting to come out, I was blown away, she was going to do it; all of the Bradley classed paid off. After the baby had his shoulders out, the doctor gave Kellee the option to pull him out herself, he said, “Here he is, go ahead and pull him to you”, so she grabbed him by the underarms and finished the job herself puling him out and bringing him to her chest. SIMPLY AMAZING! She was in shock for a moment, she was not planning on doing that and couldn’t believe what just happened and that it was over, she had done it naturally. The baby stayed on her chest for a good while, I then cut the cord and he started to breastfeed. The birth of our son was perfect, no pain medication, totally natural and what a blessing to have a healthy baby in our arms. Levi Daniel Ybarra was born at 12:50AM, 7 pounds 3 ounces, 21 inches long, with about 1 hour of intense pushing. Praise God! Blessings, Steven & Kellee (Levi & Diesel too) J
Posted in Natural Birth Stories |
My due date was Sunday, May 25, 2008. My parents got into town on Friday and we spent the weekend waiting for Lil B to arrive. Things felt a bit tense to me, as I felt like the pressure was on to have the baby so my parents could be here for her birth. Then Sunday night after we all had dinner, we sat around laughing about funny names we could give B. Some of my faves were Elefante, Ella for short, Bob Bob Berardi (say it fast) if she were a boy. I laughed so hard I cried. Then I laid down on the couch and we just watched some TV. Around 9pm I had a few contractions within an hour. When I'd had contractions in the past, I typically just had one and then it would go away, so I knew something might be different this time. Looking back, I'm amazed at the power of laughter. I think joking and laughing with my family got me to relax so much that my labor was able to start. I wasn't entirely sure these contractions were a sign of actual labor, so I decided not to tell anyone and just go to bed. I woke up around 3:30am by my contractions and realized then that I was probably in labor. I woke Marc up and we started timing them. They were 10 minutes apart and not very intense. By 5:30am I was starving and asked my lovely husband to please get out of bed and make me eggs and toast. After eating I spent a lot of time on our exercise ball. The contractions were easier in that position and I thought it might help things progress. I also made sure (with Marc's frequent reminders; thanks Liza!) to drink lots of water and go to the bathroom frequently. If I was standing when a contraction came, I found putting my hands on the counter for support and swaying back and forth helped. As the morning went on my contractions ranged from 5 minutes to 10 minutes apart. I ate some more…I think I had a waffle with syrup. I took a short nap late morning and woke frustrated that I hadn't had a contraction for 20 minutes. Marc let my parents know I was in labor and to please be very quiet. I was hibernating in our bedroom. I didn't come out until around 1pm. By then Marc had called his parents who were staying in Anaheim with family and they drove down. At this point I remember feeling bored and frustrated that my labor wasn't progressing faster. My mom gave birth to my brother in about 7 hours, so I was expecting things to move quickly for me as well. Just before lunch, I went outside and threw the frisbee for our dog, Sierra. I needed some fresh air and had wanted to go for a walk but wasn't sure I could handle my contractions if I was out and about in the neighborhood. My contractions were getting more intense but were still somewhat inconsistent, 5 to 8 minutes apart. I ate a veggie sandwich for lunch with Marc while our parents ate lunch on our back patio and drank homemade Italian wine. I told Marc I didn't know how they were going to drive to the hospital if they were all drunk on dego wine. It was pretty funny. Then Marc and I decided to go ahead and go for a short walk, which was great. When we got back I sat on the exercise ball again and remember starting to cry for absolutely no reason. It was funny because Marc and I both knew from our class that emotionality is part of the labor process and meant things were progressing, but it was also a strange feeling to start crying for no apparent reason. That quickly passed and Marc and I laid down for about an hour nap. When I woke up my contractions were very intense. At that point I couldn't stand when having one. We timed them and they were consistently 4 minutes apart for about 45 minutes. I thought we had only been timing them for about 15 or 20 minutes. I think I lost track of time and everything else because they were so intense. When Marc told me it had been at least 45 minutes since they were 4 minutes apart, I said "we have to call Dr. Biter and get to the hospital." We got to the hospital around 5:15pm. I was frantically texting friends and family on the way there between contractions, trying to let everyone know this was it! As we were walking up to the hospital entrance I had to stop walking for a contraction and was able to get in a few final texts J We got checked in and Dr. Biter examined me. I was 8cm dialated and 100% effaced. Lil B was at station -1. They put in an IV for antibiotics (I was GBS positive) and hooked up a fetal monitor, which I was told would only be for a short time. Laying on my back (although at an incline) was extremely uncomfortable for me. I had a strong contraction and threw up. Then the antibiotic was in me, so they disconnected the IV and monitor and I was able to sit on the birthing ball. Dr. Biter brought me an orange saying the smell would help with the nausea (he's so awesome!). He and Marc and the nurse convinced me to get up and go into the shower with the birthing ball. The warm water on my back felt really good, but walking in there and then getting out was a major challenge. I got out of the shower and Dr. Biter examined me and said I was ready to push if I wanted to. I didn't have the urge to push yet, but was glad to hear my body was ready. I threw up again while waiting for Dr. Biter and the nurse to make things ready for the baby's arrival. I laid down on my side (my contractions felt too intense to be able to hold myself up in a squatting position) and Mariella was born about 30 minutes later. Dr. Biter was so great in telling me how much to push and was so calm. Oh, I forgot to mention we had the lights turned down very low in the room and had Jack Johnson playing, which helped me to relax more. Marc was amazing through the day as well. I didn't want him to leave my side. Everything he said and did was so helpful. I'll never forget seeing Ella for the first time, cuddling her on my chest, and hearing the loving, proud words of a first time father.
Posted in Natural Birth Stories |