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
I woke up at 6am on the 21st and felt pretty awake and starting have contractions. Take in mind I’ve been having contractions since I was 4 months pregnant. I for sure thought that I wouldn’t know when I actually went into labor because I had SO many contractions that I thought I would blow them off as more Braxton Hicks contractions. But I heard over and over again that I would just “know” and my contractions would be “different”. By 7am I “knew” I was in labor and indeed the contractions were “different”. These contractions left me speechless during the peaks, but not in complete pain. Morgan was getting ready for school and I told her that I was in labor and she could stay home from school. Her biggest concern was that I would wait too long to call her and she wouldn’t make it to the birth on time. (Her school is literally across the street and takes her 7 minutes to get across campus to home) But I figured it would be great to have her there for the whole process. After all, part of the purpose of going natural was to show the girls that we as women can do it! I had Morgan text everyone around 7:30am letting them know I was in the beginning stages of labor. Garrett was still sleeping and although I really wanted to wake him, I knew it was more important that he be fully rested for the big day. I called my midwife and let her know I was starting and she advised me to try and lay back down for a nap and to conserve my energy. Well, I tried that. These contractions were enough to wake me up and get me off the couch- to my knees and leaning over the seat of the couch. Oh yeah, don’t forget to breathe. The midwife let me know what her schedule was for the day but assured me she would cancel it all whenever I gave the word. I told her I was fine to be on my own for a while and that I would call her later when things got going. I heard Garrett get into the shower around 9:30am and I went upstairs to fill him in. “Well, I’m in labor” “Great!” he says, “We’re gonna have a baby today!” I half heartedly grinned with a fear in my bones. Garrett got busy setting up the pool, lying plastic down, moving furniture around and general set up. I hit all fours about every 5 minutes and took each contraction one at a time. We took a little walk to the end of our cul-de-sac and walked into the wooded area and back. We would stop for each contraction and hug and sway and then continue walking. The sun was out, the breeze was nice. It was beautiful. Garrett’s mom came over and hung out waiting for her first grandchild to show up. She was very excited. The midwife called as I was in the middle of a contraction- so I put her on hold. By then the contractions were 4 minutes apart and more aggressive. Enough for me to moan through the intensity. She asked me if I wanted her to come and I told her I was still fine for now and I would call her in a bit. About 20 minutes later, around 12noon, I asked Garrett to fill up the pool with warm water. He asked if I wanted him to call the midwife and again I told him I was fine. Then I had him call my mom and ask her to pick up Carlie from school and head over to the house. I got in the pool which helped to relax me quite a bit and again the contraction got a little more intense, now putting the pressure into my low back. I would lean over the side of the pool, grip the towel and moan through the contraction all the while chanting in my head, “Surrender, breathe, opening up, letting go” I asked Garrett to call the midwife, but he had already gone behind my back and called. He said they were already on their way. Between contractions I was talking and laughing with everyone. Mom and Carlie came sometime around this time. I continued to labor in the pool for another hour or so, it’s hard to recall as time was irrelevant as I was laboring. The midwife and her assitant came sometime around 2:45 and started setting up all of their gear. When I say gear, I mean 4 large packs full of medical equipment. Vickii, my midwife and her assistant Derenee assumed I wasn’t as far along as I was because of my demeanor. Vickii suggested Garrett give everyone chores to keep them from staring at me creating a slower labor. Mom and Morgan took off to go get a pizza and Garrett’s mom, Mary, and Carlie headed to Mary’s house to let the dog out. My back pain continued to increase. Vickii suggested I get out of the pool and take a trip up in down the stairs; she assured me it would get things moving. I was reluctant to say the least. I didn’t want to get out of the warm water. Garrett helped me out of the pool and to the bottom of the stairs. The stairs looked a mile high! I made my way up the stairs having 3 contractions on the way up. Each one getting more and more intense. I stopped, squatted, grabbed the railing and tried to get my legs open as far as possible. The pain my low back was getting stronger. We walked in to our bedroom and I came to rest at the foot of our bed. There is a wood frame around the bottom of our bed that allowed me to hold on, yet rest my face on the mattress while in a squatting position. Garrett asked me if I wanted to journey back down the stairs and I said I was going to stay put right where I was. The midwives set up some drop cloths and chucks pads under me just in case. The midwives left the room and gave Garrett and me some privacy and time to be together. This was an amazing time for him and I to be in this process just the two of us. Garrett continued to coach me and reassure me that I was doing great and stay with it. The contractions were almost unbearable and I could feel changes happening in my hips and pelvis. This is where is got tough. Each contraction felt like someone pulling my hips apart, yet I felt I couldn’t open them wide enough. It had reached an intense point. My inner dialogue at this point was very interesting. There was a duality. One part of me is analyzing each moment and has a complete understanding of what is going on, while the other half of me is screaming and freaking out!!!! To consciously witness both inner dialogues was a very surreal process to me. I continued to try and get comfortable but there was nothing I could do to escape the ever increasing pressure. The next contraction I turned to Garrett and said, “I don’t think I can do this” This is when they, the experts, say “transition” is happening. Garrett said, “Yeah you can, he’s almost here”. Then the next contraction I said to Garrett, “I changed my mind, I don’t want to do this.” About 10 senconds later my water broke. Right then I got the feeling that I had to take the hugest poop of my life and needed to get it out. The feeling to bear down was strong. In my mind I was thinking, “I have to shit and I don’t care.” The pressure was a strange feeling. It felt like it was in my rectum, yet different. I squatted and pushed and Kai’s head crowned. Garrett cried out, “I can see his head, baby!” Garrett called Vickii into the room and she told me to slow down. The feeling now was what they call “the ring of fire” which is exactly what it sounds like. It is when your vaginal lips start to stretch when the baby crowns. Kind of like an Indian burn on your arm. It burns, yet it feels so good to finally push. I wanted to keep pushing just to get him out but I took a deep breath, sat back. Vickii told me to slow down my pushing and take my time so I wouldn’t tear. I sat back on my right leg while I kept my left foot planted on the floor so I could elevate my rear off the ground. I reached down and could feel the top of the baby’s head protruding out. Right about then Mom and Morgan came back from the store and Vickii called them upstairs. Mom grabbed the camera and started filming. Morgan grabbed the still camera and snapped some shots. I kept pushing and his head was just about out. It felt like everything stopped. No matter how hard I pushed, nothing was happening. Vickii had me lean forward onto all fours and continue pushing. Still nothing. Kai was stuck at the shoulders. I didn’t know this until after the birth. Vickii had to reach up inside me and turn him to let him come out. I let out a scream and continued to push. Vickii yelled, “Keep pushing he’s almost out!” With all the vigor and energy I had left inside of me I let out a roar. Literally. And he was out. I sat back in awe of what I had just accomplished. Kai was breathing, but not taking in deep breaths. The midwives worked on Kai to get him stimulated to take the first deep breath. But he wasn’t. They gave him CPR to help him expand his lungs. Then he finally let out his first beautiful cry. I looked up to see tears streaming down moms and Morgan’s face. The fear was still written all over Garrett’s face. Morgan cut the umbilical cord. Mary and Carlie never made it back in time but Morgan assured me that she was glad Carlie had not witnessed everything. She said it was almost overwhelming for her to watch. Kai is doing great now and growing like a weed. As of yesterday (5/5/09) he was 10lbs 11oz. I have to say this was the most intimate experience I have ever had with a man and the most empowering thing I’ve ever done as a woman. This has given Garrett and I bond that I will cherish forever. It was simply amazing! If you are thinking about having children in the future and want more information about home birth/natural birth, I highly recommend the documentary by Ricki Lake- The Business of Being Born and also Orgasmic Birth. They both helped me to overcome some of the fears of going naturally. Toree Nies
Tags: baby, Back pain in pregnancy, birth, birth center, birth coach, Bradley Method, breathing, C-section, delivery, full term pregnancy, home birth, labor, labor and birth, Liza Janda, midwife, natural birth, poses for pregnancy, positive birth stories, positive birth story, prenatal yoga, water birth, www.yogajanda.com
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