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 answer is not necessarily! But the reasons you may be experiencing back pain in pregnancy is because your body is producing hormones to enable your joints and ligaments to loosen to make room for your growing baby. In addition to all those hormones are the ever-expanding uterus and growing baby. Your center of gravity is being pulled forward and as your abdominal muscles stretch, they become weaker, this puts more stress on the ligaments of your pelvis and your spine. The result-an aching back!
What’s a pregnant lady to do about her back pain?
As tempted as you may be to lie down and rest and hope it goes away, that’s the worst thing to do. You need to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support your belly, baby, back, and bottom.
These are the best exercises to do during pregnancy:
Prenatal Yoga builds strength and the breathing techniques help you to manage pain. Some poses increase your balance and help you maintain proper body alignment.
“Swimming is great exercise because it uses both large muscle groups (arms and legs). Though low-impact, it provides good cardiovascular benefits and allows expectant women to feel weightless despite the extra pounds added by pregnancy. It also poses a very low risk of injury. “http://www.babycenter.com/0_great-pregnancy-exercise-swimming_7822.bc
“Walking is one of the best cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women because it keeps you fit without jarring your knees and ankles. It's also a safe activity to continue throughout all nine months of pregnancy and one of the easier ways to start exercising if you haven't previously been active. ” http://www.babycenter.com/0_great-pregnancy-exercise-walking_7863.bc
Pelvic Rock: start on your hands and knees. Hands under shoulders. Knees under hips. Tilt your tail bone up then tuck your tailbone under and down. This movement repeated 50-100 times at your own pace stretches ands strengthens your belly and back.
Squat: Move your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. Tilt your tail bone back as you place your hands on your knees, and bend your knees until you are all the way down in a squat. To come up, place your hands on the floor in front of you as you lift your bottom up, then place your hands on your knees again, and stand all the way up.
Kegels: Squeeze and release the pelvic floor muscles, the same muscles you use to start and stop the flow of urine.
Six and a half years ago I headed in for one of my last OB appointments before the birth of my daughter Arden. I was almost 39 weeks and very excited for the unmedicated, natural birth of my daughter. At the appointment I found out she was breech. My doctor “gave” me three days to try some natural ways to get her to turn. We tried but she did not turn and we ended up heading to the hospital for the c-section. My doctor never explained the surgery and I held hope that miraculously she would have turned by the time I got to the hospital. She didn’t. The surgery and the following 48 hours were a complete blur. I was given so many drugs pre and post surgery that I am unable to recall much of the experience. I also did not have the desire during the first 24 hours to bond with my child. After this experience I really didn’t want to have another child because I did not want another c-section.
What happened? My five year old happened! “I want a sister!” So last summer my husband and I changed our minds and decided to have another one. I immediately researched Dr. Cap because I had heard so many wonderful things about him. Specifically that he was pro natural birth and VBAC. After our first appointment with him, my husband and I could not believe the difference between him and my last OB. Dr. Cap genuinely cares about his patients and spends quality time with them too. We knew right away that we were in the best hands possible. He was completely supportive of our wishes for this pregnancy.
At around 30 weeks I started to feel that this baby was breech. How could this be? Not again! I knew that the baby was still small enough to turn into the right position so I remained positive but definitely started doing more “head down” exercises for good measure. Over the next few weeks we confirmed she was breech and got serious with ways to turn her. I did chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, acupressure and various exercises—I even hung upside down from a yoga swing! By 37 weeks my little babe was still close to my heart so we headed in to the hospital for an external cephalic version. Dr. Cap put those big hands on my belly and began to turn my baby. We’ll skip how horribly this hurt and get right to the ending—SUCCESS! We were finally on the right track. Immediately after the version I started having strong Braxton Hicks contractions and some unexplained pain when the baby moved. I thought maybe the version was triggering labor. Our doula thought this could be the case too so we were on high alert. Just about every night for the next five weeks I had what felt like the start of labor—contractions that felt stronger than Braxton Hicks and then some weird, sharp pain when the baby moved that would cause me to lose my breath and double over.
If you’re counting you’ll notice I said five weeks, 37 + 5 = 42. Yep, 42 weeks and no baby. Dr. Cap and I had long discussed that if I got to 42 weeks the best option would be a c-section. I could not believe I was faced with this again. During the last few weeks of my pregnancy I had done it all to get labor going and here I was, a mess of tears, facing my second c-section. Dr. Cap had assured me that he would do everything in his power to make this experience completely different from my first. In my heart I believed him and in my mind I knew the surgery was the way to go. I got to a place during my 42nd week where I had to let go a bit. I had to stop thinking about what I wanted and focus on the end prize, my baby. There was also that unexplained pain that was causing me extreme discomfort. I had done every thing I could to have the outcome that I wanted. I decided to stop thinking about “I” and start thinking about holding that baby in my arms. We wrote a c-section birth plan (and a VBAC one too!) and discussed it with Dr. Cap. He was on board.
When we arrived at the hospital on the day of the surgery I was very emotional. I had been having the same contractions like always but was suddenly hopeful that something may have changed. Unfortunately when Dr. Cap checked me, just like the last few times, there was no change to my cervix. Tears again. My husband and I went into the bathroom and had a serious talk. He asked me to trust my instincts and do what I felt was right. I couldn’t believe my answer, c-section felt right.
We had a long talk with Dr. Cap and the anesthesiologist stressing that I wanted minimal medication. I basically only wanted to be numbed so I didn’t feel the surgery. I did not want anything extra. I reiterated how badly I felt during my first surgery and they listened. In the operating room everyone was super friendly and very supportive. Dr. Cap held me tight while I got the spinal. After that, I actually started to feel happy and excited. I heard Dr. Cap tell the other surgeon that they were going to lower the drape during delivery so that I could watch my baby being born. My husband came in and the surgery began. I was totally alert which was such a change. I had some shakes but that was it. When the curtain was lowered I saw Dr. Cap working to get my baby out. He slowly pulled my baby up and out and let me have a good look at her. We got great pictures. It was such an amazing experience. I finally knew what it was like to birth a child. My daughter was born with her eyes open and it looked like she was starting straight at me. L’Wren Amarie was finally here.
Per our request, the nurses did just the basic tests in the OR and immediately gave our daughter to my husband. A nurse helped me open up my gown to expose my bare chest. My husband unwrapped our daughter and placed her skin to skin. She immediately looked for my nipple and latched on—in the operating room! It was such a fantastic experience. I felt so cared for by everyone but more importantly, because I didn’t have too much medication or complications from the medication, I was immediately able to bond with my child. Dr. Cap came to the hospital every day to check on me. The hospital staff kept commenting on what a special c-section I had.
Looking back, I’ll never know why I had two breech babies. Due to the extreme pain I had associated with her movement once she was head down, I sometimes wonder if she would have gotten stuck. Was all of the starting and stopping of labor my baby trying to get in the right position but never making it? I’ll never know. I will learn to be okay with that. What I do know is that I am completely confident in my decision to have the c-section. Furthermore, I could not imagine having a baby with anyone other than Dr. Cap. He is the most personable, caring and wonderful doctor! I feel blessed to have gotten to know him and his lovely staff!
By Liza Janda, www.yogajanda.com AAHCC, RPYT
Certified Childbirth Educator, Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher
1. What drugs have been proven safe for baby during labor and birth?
1. Epidural Anesthesia
2. Analgesias: Stadol, Fentanyl, Nubain, Demerol
4. 1 and 2 only
5. All of the above
6. None of the above
2. Considering there is no evidence of medical complications, what conditions should be met before a mother is induced?
1. She must be past her due date
2. Her doctor/midwife says she must be induced
3. Her Bishop score must be greater than 6
4. Her baby is too big
5. Her amniotic sac has broken
6. 1 and 4 only
7. 1, 4, and 5
8. None of the above
3. Pregnant women should eat 300 extra calories daily. How many grams of protein are required to grow a healthy baby and maintain a healthy pregnancy?
1. 60 grams of protein
2. 40-60 grams of protein
3. 125 grams of protein
4. 80-100 grams of protein
5. None of the Above
4. When is it time to go to your birth place?
1. As soon as labor starts
2. When my bag of waters breaks
3. As soon as my contractions are 5 minutes apart
4. When my doctor says so
5. When my contractions are 4 minutes apart, one minute long, for an hour
5. To avoid an unnecessary Cesarean during labor, I should:
1. Take a childbirth class
2. Stay home as long as possible
3. Continue to eat and drink during labor
4. Avoid Pitocin
5. Avoid vaginal exams if my bag of waters is broken
6. Avoid using an epidural
7. 4, 5, and 6
8. All of the above
If you got 3 answers correct, good job! But you may still need a childbirth class or you may need to hire a doula. How many answers did you get correct? Chances are pretty good, you need more preparation and education and practice for labor and birth.
Find a childbirth class at: http://www.yogajanda.com/resources/prenatal-parenting-resources/
Answers: 1.#6; 2. #3; 3. #4; 4. #5; 5. #8
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice |
Can you really have a “painless childbirth”? I’ve had 2 students in 17 years tell me they had painless labors. I experienced 45 minutes during the labor of my second child during which I felt no pain, but still had contractions. But most people will tell you they experienced some level of “pain”. There are a couple of programs offering Hypnosis for Labor and Birth that promise a painless childbirth. But are they truly talking about no pain at all? Or are they talking about changing your reaction to pain. Every action causes a reaction and, knowing this, Dr. Robert Bradley was one of the first to help women change their reaction to the intensity of labor and birth. The Bradley Method teaches women to turn inward, to release and let go, using different relaxation techniques. It also teaches mothers and their coaches to understand the emotional map of labor, and the physiology of labor. This knowledge helps take away fear. Take away fear and anxiety, and your experience of pain lessens.
Science is finally beginning to understand that our bodies have an incredible hormonal system, that, if undisturbed, can give us a joyous, rapturous, even an ecstatic birth! During labor and birth, our bodies produce the hormone oxytocin. This is the same hormone humans experience when they fall in love, hug or kiss a loved one, bond, have an orgasm, go through labor and birth and breastfeed. Oxytocin can influence not only our physiology, but also how we are feeling about what is happening to us. Dr. Sarah J. Buckley describes how labor and going through the birth canal is good for both baby and mother. Instead of people dreading their labor, they can look forward to it, enjoy it, knowing that they are doing something good and inherently safe for their baby.
In the early 1900’s James Braid discovered that patients were naturally anxious before surgery and if he was able to use rhythm, and techniques of monotony to induce a sleep like state of relaxation. He could get patients to discuss their fears and help alleviate their fears associated with the surgery before the operation.
The dictionary definition of Hypnosis:
“1. An artificially induced altered state of consciousness, characterized by
heightened suggestibility and receptivity to direction.
2. A sleeplike condition.
3. (Psychology) an artificially induced state of relaxation and concentration in which deeper parts of the mind become more accessible: used clinically to reduce reaction to pain, to encourage free association, etc “The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Learning the techniques necessary to relax during labor is an important element in preparing for the birth of your child. But parents need to know more, much more to ensure the safe arrival of their children into the world. By fully educating themselves, they replace fear with knowledge. In this day and age of numerous interventions and the medical management of labor, anticipating any and all of the possible scenarios and knowing the questions to ask can help ensure safety and comfort. Labor and birth is a normal natural physiological process. When we have a full understanding of all of the hormonal systems, the physiology of what is happening in our bodies, it is much easier to relax, let go, and trust our bodies to do the job of birthing our babies.
While going through this normal process of labor and birth, I can assure you, you will experience pain on some level whether you feel intense emotion, or physical intensity. Some women have even experienced orgasm. You will experience intense emotions as your hormones surge through your body. The oxytocin will cause your uterus to contract, thickening the top of your uterus, opening the cervix, helping to push your baby down and turn your baby into just the right position to leave the womb world. To help you deal with the intensity of contractions, your body will produce endorphins. The more relaxed you are, the more endorphins you will produce. The more you can let go, the faster your baby will be born. The stress hormones that you produce will cause your baby to produce stress hormones, which stimulate circulation, his/her immune system, and help your baby breath outside the womb. “High maternal oxytocin levels during labor and birth also benefit the baby. Research has found that maternal oxytocin crosses the placenta and enters the fetal brain during labor, when it acts to protect brain cells by switching them off,(Tyzio, Cossart et al. 2006) This is beneficial because it reduces the amount of oxygen that the baby’’s brain requires at this time, when contractions can reduce blood and oxygen supply.”3. www.sarahbuckley.com
When you understand that the pain has a positive purpose, then you may accept that it is not the same kind of pain that indicates something is wrong. With this acceptance comes a different perspective on your labor. You may not perceive the contractions of your uterus as painful, so much as an intense feeling. Some childbirth methods call uterine contractions “surges”. They are in actuality a contraction of a large involuntary muscle that come in surges, and waves, building to a peak, then simply going away allowing the mother to rest and regroup. But if you are told you will feel no pain, you will undoubtedly be taken by surprise when active labor kicks in. Even if you do feel pain, it isn't something you can't handle, and it isn't something to be afraid of.
Anticipate that you will have pain with a sacred and safe purpose. Know that it is truly something you can handle without medication, for most women. Labor and birth are inherently safe without intervention. Plan on reacting with deep breathing, rhythmic movement, different positions, low, deep moaning sounds, and a belief that you can actually enjoy this journey. Slow down, and enjoy the sacred experience and journey of bringing your baby into the world.
Although you'll find yoga studios in San Marcos who say they have prenatal yoga, you won't find it on their schedules. But you will find Prenatal Yoga with Yoga Janda right off the 78 at Babies In Bloom, 1988 Hacienda Drive next to David's Bridal.
We are easy to get to-only 12 minutes from downtown San Marcos, 11 minutes from downtown Oceanside, and have convenient times. Babies In Bloom is easy to get to from San Marcos, Oceanside, Escondido, and Carlsbad. We are right off the 78 between Plaza and Emerald.
If you can't make it to class, you can still practice at home with these recommended classes from Yoga Download:
Tags: back pain, Back pain in pregnancy, birthing, pain in labor, pregnancy, pregnant, prenatal yoga, Rancho Bernardo, relaxation in labor, San Marcos, Vista, www.yogajanda.com, yoga
Posted in Backache in Pregnancy, Yoga and Pregnancy |
Thursday June 14, 2012, came and went. However, it was not a typical Thursday. I woke up as usual at 8:30 a.m. to get ready for my cycle class at the gym. At 8:33 a.m. I felt a slight gush of water as I walked around. I didn’t think much of it so I continued to get ready for the gym. Time continued to pass and I didn’t think anything of it since I was not due until June 27th. Even though I was 38 weeks pregnant and considered full term, I told myself it was too early to go into labor or let alone for my water to break. I asked a close friend who had just given birth to her third child a week earlier what she thought it might be. She indicated that it could be my mucous plug. However, I continued to feel gushes of water as time went on. I decided to wake my husband and let him know what was happening. He advised me to call the midwife and not go to the gym (yes I was still trying to get to my cycle class).
Once I spoke with the midwife who indicated that it was not an emergency and it sounded like my water broke she instructed me to make my way to the labor and delivery unit to test the liquid that was gushing out. Since it was not an emergency my husband and I decided to take our time getting to labor and delivery. We cooked breakfast and then I showered to make sure I was nice and relaxed. We grabbed our birth kit and our over night bag and headed to labor and delivery. At that point I was a little nervous because I was not feeling any contractions and I knew that I had 18 hours before I was at risk of getting an infection and I did not want to get induced. During our drive to the hospital, my husband and I had agreed that if everything was ok, we would drive back home to labor as much as we could with our Doula.
Four o’clock finally arrived and we went to check in at the birthing center. We were given one of the big rooms that had a king size four post bed and a tub to labor in. It was 5p.m. when my mother and sisters arrived at the birthing center. At that point my contractions were getting a little stronger, longer, and closer together but they were still manageable and I was still able to have conversations. Around 7p.m. things started to pick up and my contractions were a lot stronger, longer, and closer together, I was in active labor. I tried several positions which included side lying, rocking on the birth ball, walking, and leaning over while holding on to one of the post on the bed (this position really worked for me). As active labor continued things were getting really intense. My contractions were very strong and were right on top of each other. I didn’t have any breaks in between them. At that point I felt like I could no longer do it and my husband reminded me that by saying that I was in transition and I was close to meeting our daughter. Finally I was able to get into to the tub and continue my labor. I had no idea how I was going to get into the tub from the bed because the contractions were killing me. Once I got into the tub it was a huge relief. Laboring in the tub was very relaxing and the contractions felt more manageable. While in the tub I began to feel a huge sensation to push. The midwife was able to confirm that I was dilated enough to push. Once I changed my breathing and was able to establish a good pattern of birthing and curling the pushing sensation became easier to handle. The hospital’s policy did not allow for a water birth so I could only labor in the tub until the baby began to crown (I could remember wanting to curse at the nurse for not letting me deliver in the water). After pushing for sometime the baby began to crown and I somehow managed to get up and walk back to the bed to resume my pushing. I pushed for approximately 45 minutes. On June 15, 2012, at 2:09 a.m. our beautiful Charlotte Aleah Maldonado was born, weighing 6lbs 11oz and 18 inches long.
The joy of watching my husband catch her and then cut the cord was amazing. My daughter was placed on my stomach and crawled her way up to my chest and I embraced her warm little body. The third stage of labor did not go as I planned. Because I had a slight tear and I would not stop bleeding the midwife was forced to give me pitocin or risk hemorrhaging. Delivering the placenta was not a pretty sight at all and I was surprised by its size. After all was said and done both my daughter and I were alive and healthy.
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Tags: baby, birth videos, birthing, Bradley Method, childbirth, contractions, crown, hospital birth, labor, natural, natural birth, nurse, pregnancy, pushing, relaxation in labor, spontaneous rupture of membranes, water birth
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Natural Birth Stories |