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
This is one of the most beautiful birth stories I've ever read. It is a positive family-centered Cesarean experience. Congratulations…
Welcome Cora Lou
On July 24th at 1:15 in the afternoon, we welcomed sweet Cora Louise into our lives. Nothing can fully prepare one for the experience of becoming parents. The moment she arrives feels hurried and fleeting but it is nothing short of miraculous.
Jesse and I had been hoping for a natural birth, with as little medical intervention as pos- sible but our little baby’s head was securely positioned, close to my heart, up between my ribs. We tried everything to encourage her to turn, from Moxibustion to Chiropractic to Massage to a pregnant version of “planking” and although she felt very active and we held out hope she would flip, we had a Cesarean scheduled for the 28th of July.
I had expressed to Jesse on Saturday, that I was disappointed to show no signs of labor
as the 28th drew nearer because I really wanted the baby to let us know when she was ready to arrive. Well, that night, I had an unexpected “bloody show,” which Jesse insists on pronouncing with a British accent, and proceeded to re-read every book on pregnancy we had to remind myself that there was nothing to panic about and to go about life as normal. I was very grateful to baby, though, for the little hint at readiness.
Early Sunday morning, I awoke to what I knew were the signs of beginning labor. Mild, slightly painful, definitely not practice, contractions which were about 10 minutes apart. Our weeks of preparation, of staving off the trip to the hospital for as long as possible, were challenged by the breech situation and my desire to avoid an emergency cesarean.
So against Jesse’s urging, I called the hospital nice and early. My reasoning was, if we checked the position of the baby and she was side- ways or maybe even head down, I could return home to eat my meal and prepare my body to relax for natural labor, but if she continued
to be head up, I wouldn’t eat anything as I would be having major abdominal surgery later in the day.
My midwife, in the last few weeks, had spent a generous amount of time mentally and spiritually preparing me for a cesarean. I had some definite fears and disappointment about requiring medical intervention but we did a lot of work to reframe the ideas and details of a cold and routine surgery to a warm and celebratory birth that would allow me to be brave and present no matter how my daughter should arrive into our lives.
When we arrived at Tri-City around 10:00, I requested to first see the position before a vaginal exam. Our little girl was absolutely, unmovably, head up. The surgeon said that the contracting of my uterus would actually make it harder for her to flip. We discussed waiting until the planned cesarean in four days but my cervix was soft and dilating and waiting put us at the mercy of hospital scheduling. I felt I had done so much work to prepare for the surgery that the less rushed we were, the more present I could stay.
I met with an anesthesiologist, and by 12:30 I was ready for our birth experience. I know that we have spent weeks in Liza’s class educating ourselves so that we can avoid an unnecessary cesarean, but if it is necessary, here is what I can offer that helped me along.
Crossing into the operating room is a big red line, as I walked over it, I took a moment to think that crossing it meant I was going to become a mother. I knew what the spinal block was made of, the position I would sit in to receive the shot and the feeling it would give me as it numbed my lower body. The spinal was not very painful. The needle was small; it burned a little. The midwife held my hands and looked straight into my eyes to encourage me. I was quite scared and close to tears, but tried very hard to just take it all in. This was my own birth story happening.
When they laid me on the table, the lights were very bright and they spread my arms out to the sides. Sometimes they restrain them, but they laid a warm blanket over me instead. Waiting for the medication to set in, I paid close attention to my breathing and tried my best to relax. In the room were two assistants, a midwife, the surgeon, a neo-natalogist, and a nursery nurse. Jesse arrived in scrubs and sat by my head. Everyone wore masks and it was difficult to hear but their eyes were all friendly and encouraging.
Jesse and I wrote a birth plan that included requests for both natural labor and Cesarean. I had requested music and had planned to spend Sunday constructing the perfect Labor- land playlist. Instead, I had to quickly make a playlist on my phone while we waited in triage before the surgery. Jesse, smelling of my requested lavender scent, held the phone by my ear as I tried to relax to a song about a bird in a cage. Having music was an impor- tant detail that my surgeon broke some rules to accommodate. I am grateful because the familiar songs brought a lot of comfort.
Neither Jesse nor I actually watched the surgery, but I constantly checked in for reassurance that every thing was happening smoothly. The anesthesiologist did some very convincing tests that I would feel nothing and the anesthesia didn’t have any of the dreaded rare effects, like headache or shortness of breath. The small incision was made at my bikini line and then the midwife guided little baby down and out. This was quite a feat as she was very high up and very breech. I heard a lot of effortful grunting from behind the drape. When she was out, they lowered the drape, as I had requested, and showed me what looked to be a near perfect little baby. Heavy, at 8lbs 10oz, but proportional. Having been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I spent the pregnancy monitoring and carefully controlling my diet and so I actually argued with the surgeon about my baby’s weight. It went something like this.
“Wow, congratulations, she’s heavy! Maybe nine pounds!”
“No she’s not.”
“Yes she is, I can tell. She’s a very good size.”
“No, I had controlled my diabetes, she’s supposed to be small.” “Well you’re both pretty tall. Anyway, she looks great.”
I remember thinking my midwife would think I cheated on all that food diary business I was keeping for six months. Her blood sugar was thrice checked, though, and she had all the signs of a healthy baby with a well-controlled blood sugar. Not the rolly-polly, smoking youTube baby I had feared!
Jesse then accompanied our new daughter to the nursery where he fielded a barrage of tests and procedures. We opted for no ointment in the eyes and no Hepatitis Vaccine. We did allow the Vitamin K as she had some bruising from being hard to get out from her breech position. The nursery nurse was a little abrasive, so we also opted for no bath until later. We ended up with the best nurse in the world who gave her her first bath a few days later in a loving, calm environment. Cora continues to enjoy having a shampoo, I think thanks to Betty – the greatest nurse.
My delivery of the placenta went unnoticed as I was entirely consumed with new baby. Stitching me up took the most time as they carefully repaired me layer by layer. At this point, I felt pretty dizzy from the morphine in the spinal and also a bit itchy, but still in good spirits.
Jesse brought the baby back to me in the recovery room about 30 minutes later. I had requested for my mom to be allowed to meet me in recovery but you are only allowed one banded person. I actually enjoyed the silent alone time to reflect on my experience and try to calmly relax through the dizziness. When I had Cora in my arms, I set right to work on breastfeeding which has been very successful. I have since had many consultations from the lactation specialists just to double check and continue to encourage what has been going, thankfully, very smoothly.
I spent 3 nights in the hospital. The pain got very bad on the 2nd night as I was really trying to stave off using Ibuprofen and Percocet for pain. I was obviously, very against medication for a natural birth and had a hard time reconciling with using them after surgery. But when the pain got so bad that I didn’t think I could feed the baby, I took them and they helped. Natural delivery isn’t something that needs to be treated and fixed. Surgery kind of is. It has been 10 days and I am down to only an Ibuprofen at night.
We saw the pediatrician on Monday and he congratulated Jesse and me for keeping a new- born baby healthy and happy for a whole week. She is a little person in our lives, surprising us with thoughtful stares and sleepy, unconscious smiles. I would describe my pregnancy as fairly stressful and although I was continuously told none of it would matter once the baby arrived, I didn’t actually understand that until she was in my arms. I plan to use the same advice for any panicked worried mom-to-be I encounter. I totally understand the worry, but I have nearly forgotten the negatives of my journey now that our baby is here. It’s true, I stare for hours and marvel daily. By the way, it’s 5 o’clock and I am still un-showered and in my pajamas. Welcome to baby time!
Tags: baby, beautiful, birth, Bradley birth, Bradley Method, C-section, Cesarean, delivery, doula, family centered, full term pregnancy, hospital, labor, Liza Janda, midwife, positive, positive birth stories, prenant, prenatal yoga, www.yogajanda.com, yoga
Posted in Best Cesareans Possible Positive Birth Experiences |
Day of The day started out with Sarah getting some much stronger contractions (around 4AM) than she had been getting for the last week or so. She was able to breathe through them though and in the morning when I got up for work she seemed pretty much the same emotionally and physically as the night before. This happened to be my first day of work back in the office after working from home the entire previous week. Off to work I went and the day proceeded on as usual. At about 9:30AM I received an IM from Sarah asking what my work schedule looked like today and tomorrow. I was immediately suspicious of the question and began to get excited! I told her I had 1 appointment today and one appointment tomorrow. She then said, “You may need to cancel your appointment for tomorrow”. Which I then was super excited and responded with, “Really?!” She told me her contractions were now 5 ½ minutes apart and the same intensity as the early morning ones. She also said that she wanted to take a walk and needed a walking buddy, so she drove up to her mother’s house in Vista. (We live in Escondido.) They walked all over a local park but things didn’t advance any further. I was anxiously awaiting an update as I continued working throughout the day. Sarah decided that she wanted to go get a trigger point and reflexology message from a friend of ours. I highly recommend this to anyone as long as they go to someone who knows what they are doing. You’ll see why in a minute. After a few more IMs throughout the day, it was decided that I would not need to come home early as she had not progressed any further. Sarah finished her “massage”, I say “massage” because it is not a pleasant massage as one typically thinks of. This “massage” is designed to trigger contractions and get things moving down there. Sarah left from her “massage” at about 5:50ish PM. She called me immediately on her way home and said that her contractions had become even more intense but still at about 5 ½ minutes apart. While we were on the phone I hear “oh s*%t, my water just broke”! Two weeks prior Braxton Hicks contractions have now turned into steady actual contractions. Doctor’s visits are weekly now and during our regularly scheduled visit we stated to the doctor (Dr. Langley is awesome!) that Sarah had been having actual contractions now but that they were not consistent yet. The doctor checked her cervix and to our surprise Sarah was 2cm dilated and 60% effaced! What joy! Hold up. Don’t get too excited yet. The next few days roll by and contractions went from 10 minutes apart to 7 minutes apart. Sweet! She is making more progress! Her cervix is checked this week and she is at 3ish cm dilated and still 60% effaced. I just kept telling myself and Sarah “Hold it together and don’t get discouraged”. We are so close! Also, I think we walked about a bazillion miles over the next couple of days, to include lots of stairs! Over the following weekend we continued with normal plans. We got up on Saturday morning and Sarah ran some errands while I did some long needed house work. On Sunday we went to church as usual and then off to hang out with a friend of ours who just had a baby. I’m telling you, we pulled out all the stops to get things going. Day of continued… Recap: “Oh s*%t, my water just broke”! Immediately contractions were much more intense. She needed help cleaning up the truck, so I met her in the drive way to help cleanup. I started gathering the last minute things that we needed to throw in the truck and head to the hospital. Sarah said, “Just because my water broke doesn’t mean we need to rush off to the hospital”. Which I knew but was very worried with how intense her contractions were. They were veeeeeery strong at this point and seemed to be probably about 2-3 minutes apart. I wasn’t tracking with my contraction app at this point. I was too busy trying to help Sarah through another contraction. By the time we got in the house she was starting another contraction and said she wanted to get in the shower. (Ladies, I highly recommend a nice hot shower. It was amazing for Sarah.) The water felt great and it helped the pain be more manageable but at this point the contractions have now kicked up another notch. Then I hear, “I really feel like I need to push”. What?! “Don’t push” I kept telling her. To which she would respond with “No push” as this was all she could manage at this point. At this point I have to leave her in the shower and pack up as much of the last minute things needed as much as possible in between contractions. Now they are right on top of each other and I’m not getting a chance to really do anything. So finally I tell her, I’m sorry love, I have to get this stuff out to the truck and then we are going to the hospital. She said OK then I am going to stay in the shower. I quickly pull together the last few things and go flying out to the truck. I run back into the house and Sarah is out of the shower and getting her robe on so that we can get on the road. She is still having contraction after contraction with only about maybe a minute break in between. On the freeway now from Escondido to Scripps Encinitas, this was the longest car ride in history! We couldn’t get there fast enough! Why are there other cars on the road now?! Argh! So it is now 6:20ish PM and I’m breaking just a couple of laws with hazards flashing and me waving people over like a mad man because they won’t move out of the way. I drove fast but safe. By the way, if you ever see anyone with hazard lights flashing and driving fast down the highway, move out of the way! You are supposed to turn on your hazards when you have emergencies and other drivers are supposed to move out of your way, but I digress. So, Sarah is hanging on to the door and the handle trying desperately not to push. She just kept saying “No push” over and over. I kept encouraging her. “You are doing so great baby. I love you. Don’t push.” We finally get to the hospital and it is now 6:45PM. We get to the counter and I said my wife is in labor, we are already registered in your system and we need to get into a room ASAP. I had called in ahead so I knew they had one for us. ☺ I highly recommend everyone do this as well. We get into the room and the nurse hooks Sarah up to fetal monitor and checks her cervix. At first she said “oh wow, she has no cervix”, but then checked again and said that she was at 9cm and baby is at 0 station. Sarah is now having a serious urge to push and shaking uncontrollably trying not to because the nurses told her she can’t yet until the cervix is all the way gone. The nurse called the doctor to come over because things are obviously about to go down. The whole time this is happening (maybe 10 minutes) they are still trying to get babies heartbeat. They got a week signal and wanted to use the internal monitor instead. To which we both said “no, we want to do this natural”. The nurses response was then “that has nothing to do with natural but OK”. Looking back on it now, she was correct but we knew what we wanted and we just said the wrong thing. Sarah did have to get an IV due to the precipitous labor with electrolyte fluids and an oxygen mask because she kept saying she felt like she was going to pass out (focused on breathing out, no so much the breathing in). The doctor comes in and it’s now 7:15 PM and he starts filling out all the required paper work that you typically do prior to delivery. Little things like consent forms. The nurse checks Sarah’s cervix again and I hear “oh…. That’s babies head”. “Doctor you need to get over here to catch”. He is getting his scrub top on and Sarah yells “No push”! The doctor asks why “no push”? Sarah said “I’m not allowed to”. Then the doctor said that she was cleared to push and that it was actually “highly recommended at this point”. Sarah gave a couple of grunts with some decent pushes with a good yell and the head came out up to Jasmine’s (our baby) eyes. The nurse quickly grabbed the head to get ready to catch as everyone was caught off guard due to how quickly it all happened. The doctor said, “please don’t scream, we are about to bring your child into the world” (which was meant to be funny and we laugh about it now) and came over and said “when you are ready, go ahead and push again”. Sarah gave one more good push and our babies head was out! The whole time I’m encouraging Sarah and giving her a play by play of what is happening. I told her I could see the head now and that she was almost there. “Keep pushing.” She pushed one more time and our beautiful baby girl was born at 7:42PM on 8/22. If you are doing the math Sarah was only in active labor for 1 hour and 42 minutes. Insanely fast for a first time baby. Coming in at 9cm was waiting a little too long but we think it worked out in our benefit because Sarah was concentrating so hard on not pushing that she barely even tore when it was finally time to push. All in all it was a truly amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Jasmine Marie 7lbs 15oz : 19.5 inches
Posted in Natural Birth Stories |
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My contractions started on Sunday night after a long day with the family @ Sea World. Even though Garrett pushed me around in a wheelchair all day, I was still exhausted when we got home and started having contractions around midnight that were every 5-7 minutes apart. I woke up on Monday morning and the contractions had pretty much died down, maybe one an hour off and on throughout the day. This continued on until Wednesday afternoon when I had my prenatal appt. @ Dr. Cap's office. He checked me and I was 3 cm dialated and contracting about 4-6 times an hour. We discussed how I could start labor at any time but it may takes days or even weeks. We decided that he would just "stretch" my cervix a little bit and see if it helped moved things along. I was OK with this idea because it had been a long week already and I was VERY ready to get the whole thing going. Dr. Cap assured me that if the baby wasn't ready to come out, then the "stretching" wouldn't do anything, but if she was…. then we might have a baby soon By 9:00 that night, my contractions were getting stronger and more regular. I was able to download a contraction app. on my sister's I-phone (highly recommended!!!) and could soon tell that things were progressing along and that I was in the first stages of early labor. I was able to relax through them and began packing my bags and preparing the house for the baby's arrival. I tried to lay down and sleep from about 11-2 AM and was able to get some rest in between the tightening in my uterus. At around 2 AM I woke Garrett up and told him that I was definetely in labor and that we should probably get out all of our worksheets and handouts from class (which I had organized in a binder and put in the suitcase for the hospital). I was surprised at how well I was able to relax through each contraction and how minimal the pain was compared to what I thought it was gong to be. My doula and i texted back and forth all night and she offered to come over to help me but I was totally fine and told her I would call her when we felt it was time to go to the hospital. Now this is when it got a little tricky….. we kept going back and forth about when we should leave the house!!! The most helpful thing to us in making our decision was the hand out you gave us early on in the class that described the physical and emotional signs of true labor. Even though my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, I was still talking, laughing, and was even able to braid my hair! We decided that we could probably hang out at home at least until I couldn't talk through the contractions so I hopped in the bathtub. I was probably in the tub for about an hour and Garrett was massaging my back when my water broke. Immediately after that, things definitely started to pick up and I could feel myself getting more serious and unable to form complete sentences! the contractions were getting stronger but I was still definitely able to handle them and relax through them by leaning over the counter and kind of squatting my legs (not sure if that's an official Bradley position but it worked for me!). We headed for the hospital around 6:00 AM and the car ride was NOT FUN! I ended up sitting backwards on the seat holding onto the headrest with a pillow under my rear end for support. You were right when you said that there is no way to be comfortable in the car! Every bump intensifies labor but my race car driver husband was able to get us there in no time and I made it through. By the time I got to the hospital, my doula was waiting out front for us to help us get our things and get checked into labor & delivery. She took one look at me and knew that we didn't have much time! I had 4 contractions on the way into the hospital and was cussing like a sailor in the hallways probably scaring all of the other patients. I have to say that the last hour was really the only part the threw me for a loop. The contractions were bearable but everything seemed to get much more intense in that last hour. I got into the delivery room and the nurse hooked me up to a few monitors while I sat on top of the bed on all fours. She checked me and I was already @ 9.5 cm! I have to admit, I still begged the nurse for an epidural My doula reminded me that I was in transition and that it is very common to doubt yourself at this point in the labor. I really didn't believe her but didn't get much of a chance to argue because it was time to push! The only problem with pushing was that my doctor wasn't there yet! I totally forgot to mention that in all of the time I was at home, I was in constant communication with my doula. I even let her know when we were in the car on our way to the hospital. We were about 10 minutes from the hospital when I realized that we forgot to call Dr. Cap. and let him know that we were on our way! Luckily for us, he lives less than 2 miles from Scripps Encinitas and came in just as I started to push. This was probably the scariest part of the whole labor for me because it was something my body was doing on it's own that I really seemed to have no control over. The only way I can describe it is that it is the most REAL LIFE feeling in the world! The intensity of the whole thing scared me and each time I had a contraction, I remember thinking how there was no way that I could do this! I guess I kept saying it out loud, because my doula kept reminding me that I was already doing it! My husband was amazing through the whole process and was such a great support. He held my hands, rubbed my back, and just kept telling me that I was doing a wonderful job and that the baby would be here soon. Garrett held my hands while I pushed little Brooklyn out into this world and it was the most amazing feeling in the world to hold my beautiful baby girl!!!! Thank you Liza for helping me change my whole birth experience 180 degrees!!! I will always be greatful for finding you and for the wonderful information you provided to help us make the right decision for our family