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
Lily's story started on new years day (Sunday) when I lost my mucus plug…I then noticed my first contraction early Tuesday morning around 4:30 am but nothing intense. I took it easy on Tuesday and noticed that the contractions were more intense but still totally manageable on Wednesday when I ran errands most of the day (chiropractor, lunch with a girlfriend, hair appointment, dinner with Brian)…Wednesday night their intensity continued to increase as I frequently woke up throughout the night and moved to an all fours position or got up to walk around to breathe through them…this continued into the morning as I attempted to fold the baby clothes I had washed for hours without accomplishing much – I continued to change positions and breathe through the contractions wondering how intense they would get. At this point (around noon or so on Thursday) I decided to take a bath and listen to one of the meditation CDs from yoga class. This definitely helped me to stay in the right mindset and relax. I was in the tub for about an hour and it definitely took the edge off. Once I got out, things kicked in quickly and I had Brian call the midwife. She wanted to talk to me and I quickly realized that I was no longer able to talk when a contraction hit…My contractions were definitely about 4 mins apart at this point and I was starting to feel the urge to push…She told us to come in and we made our way to TriCity in the 2 o'clock hour…By the time I was checked in, changed and was checked by my midwife, Mimi, it was close to 3:00. She told me that the baby's head was right there and that I could push when I was ready…Once I wrapped my head around the fact that it was go time, Mimi, Brian, and the nurse coached me through pushing and Lily was born at 3:58 pm naturally in a calm environment. The lights in the room were dimmed for me and all of my requests for her birth were totally supported by the midwife and nurse. There were other hospital staff in the periphery standing by during the delivery as Lily was over a month early, but they did not disrupt the serenity of the environment. I was pleasantly surprised by such a positive experience as I had been reluctant to birth in the hospital setting. I had been hoping to have the baby at Best Start Birth Center – but this was not an option once Lily decided to come early (you have to be at least 37 weeks to give birth there and I was 35 and 1/2).
Lily was totally alert and was on my chest immediately after she was born. She weighed 6 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19 inches long…10 weeks later she is doing awesome and getting so big!!!
I don't think I could have had such a such a calm, peaceful birth without your prenatal yoga and Bradley classes! Turning inward, listening to my body and using my breath to manage contractions definitely helped me be able to have the birth I was so hoping for
Carrie's Advice for you:
1 What was the most challenging part of your labor or birth?
I would have to say pushing or knowing how to push – that is when I felt like I really needed coaching and support/encouragement the most…having my midwife, Mimi, to guide me through what to do at that point and Brian next to me for support was key. That was the only point when I questioned whether or not I would be able to do it. I also believe that the techniques Mimi used during delivery was the reason I did not tear.
2. What was the most helpful thing either you did or someone else did for you? Taking a bath and listening to that Anugama CD helped me to relax and create the space to prepare myself mentally for birth. I also believe it was helpful to not have someone checking to see how dilated I was so I never got caught up in the mindset that labor was not progressing – it truly moved at it's own rate.
3. What advice would you give another pregnant mom?
Take the time to relax and create the space for labor to unfold as it will however that looks for you. Also, as much as I love my family, I also knew that I did not want them around during my labor and delivery. When the time came, it was just Brian, Mimi (midwife) and a nurse with me and it was a very peaceful, calm experience (in a hospital)!
4. Would you do anything differently?
I probably would have experimented with a squatting or all fours position to push as I feel like it would have been a more natural position to give birth. By the time I got situated, I found myself in a side-lying position and was not inclined to try another position once I started to push. However this position did work out well in the end, so I'm not sure I would have changed that
Tags: baby, Best Start Birth Center, birth, birth ball, birth center, Bradley Method, doula, hospital, labor and birth, midwife, natural birth, pregnancy, prenatal yoga, relaxation in labor, squatting for birth, unmedicated, www.yogajanda.com
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Natural Birth Stories |
My True Loves
My husband, Demian, and I met 10 years ago and he quickly became the love of my life. When we found out we were pregnant, I knew our love would only grow for our little one. Many mothers told me to get prepared to meet true love upon meeting your child, a sentiment that brought me close to tears while pregnant as I dreamed of our little girl. I didn’t realize then that our birth journey would not only introduce our daughter into our lives but intensify the true love I felt for my husband.
I knew that I wanted to give natural child birth a long time ago and also knew I couldn’t do it alone. After taking prenatal yoga classes with Liza and reading about the Bradley method, her Bradley class seemed perfect! Demian and I would gain information on natural childbirth and become our own advocates while not feeling pressure or blame if it didn’t go that way. Also, Demian really wanted to be “my person”, the one who would help me through the birth of our child.
From prenatal yoga, I was able to better center myself during pregnancy. Liza’s classes helped me wipe away the worry that I found to accompany the medical model’s view of pregnancy. Weekly classes helped me focus on taking care of myself, listening to my inner voice and calmed me throughout the week. I was very ready to start the Bradley classes as we approached 32 weeks of pregnancy and they were great. At times we struggled to keep up with the reading J and I worried about being ready, while Demian reassured me that “we’ve got this”. Looking back, man did they prepare us.
On the eve of my 38th week of pregnancy (with two Bradley classes left to go), I started having contractions at 12:30 am. I rested and watched the clock and for the first hour I had one every ten minutes. I let Demian sleep (I’m glad they specifically told us to do this in class otherwise I would have woken him up!) and I went to walk the house and get something to eat/drink to see if they would continue. The second hour the contractions were one every six minutes. As my labor progressed, I felt a sense of calm and that my body knew what to do and our little girl did too. At 3:00 am I could no longer time the contractions myself. I woke Demian up, he quickly sat up and said, “What do I do?” to which I responded, “Take a minute, breath and wake up,” and then he was ready! He started to time my contractions, they were about 5 minutes apart. I was still very talkative, upgrading my Pandora (highly recommend Spa Radio without commercials), reading about different relaxation positions we could try, etc. Demian ran back and forth between pushing on my hips and timing my contractions to packing the bag, printing the birth plan, making the bed (a great idea for when we came home), etc. At around 5:30 am my contractions were between 4 and 5 minutes apart so I decided I wanted to take a shower before we left for the hospital. I never really hit the serious emotional marker we were waiting for and we really didn’t want to be turned away at the hospital. The shower is where it really picked up. I was able to stand for one contraction and then immediately went to my hands and knees and my low moans turned into guttural screams. Realizing it was time to go, Demian threw everything in the car amidst my proclamations of not wanting to leave and we could just have the baby at home (oops – probably should have left by now). I had a brief moment of clarity in which I said, “We REALLY need to go!” To which Demian responded, “I know babe, let’s go.” Working between contractions (which were now about 2-3 minutes apart), he got me out of the shower, dressed and leaning over the front passenger seat – no way was I sitting upright.
We drove from Oceanside to Sharp Mary Birch, felt like a long ride but Demian kept talking me through one contraction at a time and reassuring me along the way. We arrived to the hospital around 7:30 am and left the car in the emergency round about (it would stay there until our friend moved it two hours later). The nurse in triage examined me and said, “You are at 10 centimeters, wait let me check again, yes 10 centimeters,” and I asked, “ Can I push?!” and she said, “No, no, let us get you a room.” It was at that moment when they started to wheel us up to labor and delivery that I recognized my intense connection to Demian. It was the first time I felt like I couldn’t touch him easily enough so of course I yelled for him to be at my side (a little squished in the elevator) and he took my hand the whole way. It was then that I knew I couldn’t be without this man, in this moment, in this place. Having always been in control and independent, I knew it would be difficult to not feel in control during labor. But what I found was that I could now wholeheartedly trust Demian to take care of me and advocate for the three of us – he knew what to do and was doing it even before I recognized it.
Our labor and delivery nurse was awesome, we told her we wanted an unmedicated birth and she supported us 100% (of course we left everything in the car so the birth plan was not with us J). My water hadn’t broken and when the OB wanted to break it to help things progress, I said no. I just knew I didn’t need to progress any faster and didn’t want any intervention. The nurse reassured me that this was a good decision as even though the pushing would take longer (as it was creating a balloon type effect), it would help me tear less as the baby eased down and out. As each contraction came on, I was cheek to cheek with my arms around the shoulders of Demian on one side and the nurse on the other. After about 2 hours and a good 10 sets of pushes (I had about 6 minutes in between to rest and occasionally drift off to sleep), Rowen, our little girl, was born at 10:16 am. She was placed immediately on my chest. As I reveled in her beauty, I was overcome with love as I looked from her to Demian.
I was so proud of us, we did it and we were on the same page the whole time, I never felt a sliver of doubt or fear or anxiety. I can honestly say that the “pain” I felt was not as bad as I thought it would be and I attribute this to our learning how to relax and having both Demian and I in tune with what I needed during each contraction. The other thing I was impressed by was the different sensations I felt throughout labor, the beginning contractions were different than those in transition which were completely different from the urges and power I felt during second stage.
But most of all, I was grateful for the birthing preparation we had gone through in Liza’s classes. We were so well prepared that we both knew what to do when the contractions started. It helped us be on the same page and as Dr. Bradley said, only intensified the relationship I have with Demian. I can’t imagine not looking into Demian’s eyes after Rowen was born and feeling the gratitude, love and appreciation of the man I married. It is a beautiful thing to be able to rely on your husband so entirely that he becomes the one and only in the wondrous moments of having the child you share together. I can’t think of a better way to start the journey of parenthood, falling even deeper in love with your partner and starting a new beautiful shared love of your child. Labor and Birth Advice from Mom & Dad:
Tags: advice for labor, advocates, amniotomy, anxiety, baby, Back pain in pregnancy, beautiful, beauty, birth center, birth coach, Bradley classes, confidence, Cynthia Gabriel, doctor, fear, first stage, Ina May Gaskin, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, inner voice, labor and delivery nurse, Liza Janda, medical model, mothers, natural birth, natural hospital birth, pain, Posh Push, pregnancy, prenatal yoga, proud, sensations, sleep, stay home in labor, transition, true love, trust, Unbound Birth, Yoga Janda
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Natural Birth Stories |