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
The morning of September 15th rolled around. I had been having contractions off and on for almost a month and wasn't sure if "today was the day." I was ten days past my "due date." Starting at 7am, my contractions started getting longer, stronger and closer together. Around 9am, after speaking to me briefly on the phone, Dave concluded that today was indeed the day. He came home and took charge as I was feeling very indecisive. He called the doctor's office to inform them of my situation and alert them that we were headed to the hospital. With Lily in tow and Kathleen and my Mom on the way, we headed to the hospital. Stephanie, one of my midwives was on call that day and was prepared for our arrival. By 10am I was gowned and examined and found to be 100% effaced, 6cm dilated and +2 station. Fetal monitors were placed on me and I tried to rest between contractions. Dave was a great coach and he talked me through my contractions. I could focus on his voice, calm, reassuring and strong. I couldn't have done it without him. Lying on my side, it was difficult to find a comfortable position and contractions started coming one right on top of the other. It wasn't long before I started pushing. Laboring on my side was not part of my plan but once I was down, it was near impossible to get motivated to move. I pushed in this position for about an hour. The baby was still in the posterior position and on the suggestion of my midwife, I somehow found the energy to get on my hands and knees in hopes of rotating the baby. Another hour or more passed with heavy contractions and lots of pushing but still no baby. Finally, around the three hour mark, my midwife suggested that I get up and try to empty my bladder. I wasn't sure how, short of a crane, I was going to get off the bed and walk to the bathroom, but with Dave grabbing one arm and Kathleen, the other, they basically carried me to the bathroom. Every few steps, I squatted and pushed with the contractions. I labored on the toilet for a little while but my legs were feeling numb so I headed back to bed, again squatting every few steps until I made it back to the end of the bed, where I stayed for a little while, squatting and pushing. I somehow managed to climb back into bed and was in a semi-reclined position. I recall Stephanie asking me to breathe through some of the contractions at the end and not push in order to allow the tissue to stretch. The walking and squatting encouraged Kate to finally rotate into position and shortly thereafter, I pushed her out – all 9lbs. 4oz. and 20 1/2 inches of glorious baby!! She nursed right away with a strong and vigorous latch. Not a dry eye in the room as we welcomed the newest member of our family. I am still amazed at how big she is and that I actually birthed her without drugs and without interventions. Miraculously, I only needed a few stitches at the end. I absolutely attribute it all to my Bradley training, prenatal yoga and all the tailor sitting/squatting I did throughout my pregnancy. It was the hardest work I've ever done in my entire life and Kate was worth every second.
I carried our twins full-term, nearly 41 weeks. When the doctor wanted to give me chemicals to induce, I decided instead to try two holistic means to induce labor naturally, in lieu of drugs, I got an acupuncture treatment and took castor oil. Success! On August 27, 2008 at 1 a.m., labor contractions began. I labored at home with my partner, Joe; our doula, Connie; and our nanny, Ana; for 6 hours until my water broke and contractions were 3 minutes apart. At 8am, we drove to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla where they intermittently monitored the babies’ hearts while I labored for 22 hours. I walked the hallways, performed yoga in the beautiful courtyard of the hospital, and took several showers. During this period in my labor, a couple of unfavorable physical conditions unfolded: my contractions grew farther apart, rather than closer; my cervix opened to 5 cm but then went closed to 4 cm; and I developed a fever. After 26 hours of labor and with my partner’s and doula’s advice, I asked for an epidural anesthetic in the hope that my cervix would relax and open—but it didn’t happen. I allowed another drug, pictocin, to foster regular contractions, but it also didn’t work. I did everything in my power to have natural birth, but my body (after a total of 28 hours of hard labor, most of this time with no drugs), the positioning of the babies (both heads down and neither one allowing the other to come out first), and a high fever contributed to the inevitable conclusion that a C-section was required. My doctor was not on call but she came in to assist. She was my “rock” and reassured me that being flexible and finding a place of peace about having a C-section “already makes me a great mom because raising children requires 100 percent flexibility.” I cried with my partner as I made the final decision and surrendered to the fact that major surgery was necessary to give birth. I had done everything in my power to avoid extra medical intervention during 41 weeks of carrying these precious babies; I had eaten 150 grams of protein daily, exercised daily including either prenatal yoga or swimming, and walking on the beach. Blessedly, our Bradley childbirth classes had taught us to be strong and know that a caesarean section can happen in emergency situations. The training taught me that being healthy, both mentally and physically, is the best postpartum remedy. On August 28, 2008, at 6:12 a.m., Isabella Chloe Simac was born, weighing 5 lbs, 11 ounces, and immediately was given to Joe to hold; and at 6:14 a.m., Nikola Josip Simac was born, weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces, and given to me to hold. We looked into their beautiful eyes and now we understand our purpose, which is to care and love these children for life. We immediately understand the meaning of our lives changing for the better. We spent the next two glorious days loving and feeding our babies in the hospital.We have really good babies. They sleep 3 to 4 hours at a time at night! They are on the same feeding schedule and are low-maintenance. All of my prenatal yoga practice paid off as my body is healing really well. I feel super