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
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 |
This article is about how to create and set an intention for the birth of your child. Most people don’t even think about this. The majority of American women are fearful of labor, feel the need to be spared expected suffering, assume the doctor knows best, and assume that medication in labor is safe with little or no risks. “ I’ll just do whatever the doctor says. The doctor will know exactly what is best for me and my baby.” Or they may be told, “ Get the epidural as soon as possible. There is no need to be a martyr.”
Each mother and each baby and each birth is different. But the potential for a powerful, transformative, normal, and natural experience is there in each and every birth. “Giving birth as nature intended is not “biting the bullet and letting it happen.”” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595040/
Preparing for the birth of your child takes time, commitment, and education. I’ve been teaching the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth for 16 years. The one thing you can count on in childbirth is the unexpected, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the loftiest goals paired with the ability to be flexible. Read on for steps to set your intention for your birth and create the best “Birth Day” ever.
1. Get clear about the birth you want and write it down. Examples:
· “I want to give birth to a baby who has no drugs in his/her system”
· “I will stay home so that when I arrive at my birth place, I will be completely dilated.”
· “I will be patient with labor and know it can take a long time.”
· “I plan to have a natural birth but I will be flexible since a healthy baby is the ultimate goal.”
· “I plan to stay home as long as I possibly can”
· “I will go into labor at 9 Am and give birth at 4 PM”
· Write down YOUR OWN INTENTION:
2. Share your intention with someone who will support you, but also hold you accountable.
Write it down
· Share it with your doula
· Share it with your coach and anyone else who will be at the birth
· Share it with the medical staff when you arrive at your birth place. Give them a copy of your birth plan and ask,” Can you help me have a natural birth?”
· Write a birth plan. Have your doctor sign it. Have a copy at the doctor’s office, at the birth place, and with you when you arrive at your birth place.
· Say it out loud and talk about it and discuss it with your birth support
3. Do something today to demonstrate your commitment to your intention.
· Ask yourselves if your caregiver and birthplace truly support the outcome you want.
· If you ‘re not sure go to: Questions to Ask Your Care Provider. If you don’t get the answers you want, find another care provider and/or birth place.
· If medication is the usual way of dealing with pain in labor, tour alternatives:
Do a Google search for birth centers, nurse midwives, licensed midwives, doulas, natural birth
· Visualize your birth
· Meditate on it
· Pray about it
· Write your birth story ahead of time and re-read it every day. Include every detail.
4. Acknowledge that you did what you said you would and then, take the next step.
· Write your fears down
· Look at each fear-one at a time, and brainstorm how to get past it.
· Take one small step at a time
“By setting an intention; you make it clear to yourself and others, just what you plan to do. Set an intention to redefine what it means to be serious about your dreams.” Marcia Weider
Tags: baby, back pain, Back pain in pregnancy, beautiful, birth, birth ball, birth center, birth coach, birth place, birth plan, Bradley birth, Bradley Method, breathing, C-section, care provider, delivery, doctor, doula, doula during birth, drugs in birth, epidural, fear of labor, full term pregnancy, home birth, hospital, intention, labor pain, midwife, natural, physician, positive birth story, pregnancy, relaxation in labor
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Yoga and Pregnancy |
A MUST-SEE BEFORE YOU GIVE BIRTH. Order Now!
The story of my third pregnancy is very unique, so let me start at the beginning. Four months after my son, Kaleb was born I started ovulating again. Same thing happened after the birth of my daughter. My husband, Mike and I decided to try natural family planning; although we were pretty sure we were done having children. One day, I realized that I was a couple days late in menstruating. I mentioned this to Mike. That night he did not sleep well because he kept wondering if I might be pregnant. (It is very unusual for me to be late; my cycle tends to run like clockwork.) The very next day, he purchased a pregnancy test. Prior to taking it, I really didn’t think I was pregnant. So next came the test…yep I was pregnant. Shock #1. It took me several days to let it all sink in. And it took me even longer to accept God’s plan for my life. I remember calling my friend Brooke just sobbing and then I felt guilty for sobbing.
See, I’m a person who needs to have control. Both my daughter, Hannah and my son, Kaleb were planned down to the day and it only took one try for us to conceive. I knew what worked best in my schedule and with my plans but now God had totally messed with everything. After several months, I was finally able to accept the new responsibility that God has placed in my life.
I also struggled with the aspect of being pregnant again so soon. After four months, I finally felt like I was getting back to normal. I was back to my original weight. I was getting back into my yoga practice. I was looking forward to a little more freedom and a little more sleep. I was also not mentally prepared to be pregnant again or to give birth again—it was still all too fresh in my mind from my son. Not that my experience with my son was bad but I just wanted to be “normal” for a little bit.
We did not tell our families for quite awhile because we were adjusting to the idea of a third child so soon ourselves. Our son would be only 14 months old when this baby would arrive. We finally told our family through a picture. Hannah drew a picture of our family and then she drew an extra person. I labeled them all and then put ??? next to the 5th person. Our family was totally shocked. Shock #2. When we started telling people they were shocked as well. Shock #3. I had several people say, “Aren’t you still breastfeeding?” And I would answer, “Yes, but you can still get pregnant.” I was amazed at how many people still think you can’t get pregnant if you are nursing. I nursed my daughter until she was about 14 months old. However, with my son I barely made it to 6 months. Nursing and being pregnant was draining my entire body, I physically could no longer do it. Another thing out of my control—not my plan.
My first 2 labors were really fast. One was 6 hours (Hannah’s birth story) and the second was 5 hours (Kaleb’s birth story). I had both of these births at Morning Star Birth Center in Menomonie, WI. I loved the care there, I loved my birth experiences; however, I really wanted to try a homebirth this time. Unfortunately, I lived outside Morning Star’s radius for homebirths. So that led me to search for a new midwife that would do a homebirth. This is when I came across Women Care from Winona, MN. Mike and I met with LeAnn and Brenda and decided this would be a perfect fit.
My entire pregnancy was very similar to my other ones. I didn’t experience any morning sickness, I was gaining the same amount of weight, and I didn’t have weird cravings. At my first prenatal, we noticed I was a little bit bigger than my projected number of weeks pregnant. However, I had only cycled twice prior to conceiving so we weren’t sure if I was on a 28, 29, 30, 31,or 32 day cycle. Therefore, my due date was always a little questionable. We finally settled on February 18th, 2011. LeAnn did discuss having an ultrasound done so we could more accurately nail down my due date. However, we have never had an ultrasound done with our children and didn’t feel the need to really nail down the due date. We felt that the baby would come when it would come. And, we felt that no matter what abnormality an ultrasound showed us that we would still love and care for this child the same way, so why get one done. Now this is an area of control I don’t struggle with. I didn’t need to know that everything was 100% ok and I didn’t need to know what the sex of the baby was either.
About week 36, I mentioned that I felt a lot bigger. My maternity clothes were no longer fitting so I was wearing Mike’s shirts. My fundal height was only 1 to 2 cm different than with my other kids. However, my circumference was a lot different. At 37 weeks, I measured my waist at 42 inches. I was 39 inches with my other two kids the day I went into labor (and with both of them I went 2 days overdue). Everyone just kept telling me that a person is bigger with their third pregnancy.
On the mornings of February 1st and 2nd, I started to have some irregular contractions. I only had sporadic contractions for a couple of hours in the morning on these days and then they would go away after lunch. I thought I was experiencing early labor, which I never experienced with my 1st two pregnancies. My girlfriend, Stephanie had experienced early labor for weeks with her third child. I emailed her and told her what I was experiencing. She said she would start praying for me now because early labor was very frustrating and exhausting for her.
On the morning of February 3rd, I had to teach a Fit City class (an exercise class for people 55 an older), I just prayed that I didn’t have contractions like the previous mornings. And interestingly enough, I did not. That evening, I had just gotten home from running some errands in town and was playing games with my daughter and husband when I had a couple of contractions—very similar to the ones I had the previous mornings. This was about 6:15pm. At 6:30pm, we were down stairs watching Wheel of Fortune and the contractions were coming on a regular basis but they weren’t very long. Mike asked if I was ok and I said yes. At 6:55pm, we decided to call LeAnn and let her know that I was having contractions. We decide to start timing the contractions and LeAnn said she would get back to us in a little while. The timing of the contractions was all over the board. Some contractions would only last 30 seconds and then the next would be over a minute and then they would be back down to 30 seconds. They were only a couple of minutes apart though.
Now, I need to set the stage for what is also happening during all of this. Both of our children were up and Kaleb was getting a little testy because he was tired. Our pellet stove had just gone out and Mike needed to clean it before he could start it again. Now this might not seem like a big deal but our bedroom is downstairs and often very cold. The pellet stove is essential to heating up our room and our bedroom is the room I planned to birth in. We also needed to start getting things ready for the homebirth if I really was in labor, which meant changing sheets and getting out our supplies.
At about 7:15pm Kaleb wanted me to cuddle him but I didn’t even want him around me. Mike decided to take him upstairs to bed. Normally he goes to bed at 8pm. Hannah kept asking me if I was ok and we just said “Momma might be having a baby tonight.” A few minutes after this Mike started stripping the bed, and I walked into our bedroom to help. I had few contractions while lying in bed; they seemed to be getting more intense but not necessarily longer than before. At 7:25pm, I told Mike to call LeAnn because she needed to be here. Immediately after this, I was standing up near our bed and had a huge contraction. During this contraction it almost felt like I needed to push (I think I did push a little) and my water broke. I was still wearing all my clothes and was afraid I was going to get the rug under our bed wet so I started to move off the rug. I told Mike I had to go to the bathroom, which is just a couple feet away from our bed. ( I didn’t mention to him that I felt like I had to push—because that just seems a little crazy.) I was just about to go to the restroom when I had another contraction. This time I stood up and said “Mike the baby is coming.” I reached down and felt the head and gently glided the baby out. Mike immediately grabbed a towel and the baby started to cry. He also got some blankets wrapped around me as I sat on the toilet. Because of the coolness of the bathroom he had to get our space heater and he cranked it up. Shock #4—I just delivered my baby all by myself.
Mike immediately got on the phone with LeAnn to find out what we should do. Now, we did have a sheet titled “What if your midwives don’t make it” but do you think either of us thought to look at the sheet—of course not. LeAnn said to keep the baby warm, skin to skin and just wait until someone got there. However, the baby’s umbilical cord was rather short and I couldn’t bring her up to my torso, so just blankets had to do. After a couple of minutes I said Mike, “I wonder what time the baby was born at.” (Thankfully to cell phone logs we were able to go back through the phone calls exchanged and find out the time of the baby’s birth—7:31pm. ) I sat on the toilet for what seemed like forever. Mike called LeAnn again to ask about the placenta. He wanted to know what he was suppose to do if I delivered it. She told him to catch it. During this call, I started to have a contraction and I stood up so Mike could get the placenta. However, when Mike felt it something didn’t seem right. And then came Shock #5—the biggest of them all. Mike was still on the phone (but by this time he had set it on the floor), “It is another baby.” So Mike delivered baby number 2. I sat back down on the toilet holding not one but now two babies who were wrapped in towels. Mike and I were just stunned. We had NO idea we were having twins. As I waited, I just had to call someone because NO one was going to believe this story. I called my mom. I basically said something like this, “Mom, I don’t have a lot of time. I went into labor. Our midwives didn’t make it so I delivered the baby. And then Mike delivered the second baby. We had twins. (She started crying.) I am not joking. I’m totally serious. Please call Mikes’ parents for us. We are all fine, we are just waiting for the midwives. We will call again soon.” Shock #6!!! A couple minutes later Mike started getting some texts from his dad.
Hannah was around during all of this. We can’t remember exactly what she was doing but she was around. We did ask her to get some towels for us, which she did. I also remember that when I was holding them she wanted to touch the babies but was afraid. We just assured her that she could touch them, which she did. At this point, I wasn’t even sure if they were boys or girls but Mike said they were both girls. Thank goodness one of them was a girl because Hannah wanted a sister so bad!
For about 10 minutes I just sat on the toilet with the babies. I couldn’t move anywhere until the placenta was out. This is when someone came into our house. We figured it was LeAnn but the strange thing was–the person was taking their sweet time. Mike finally went upstairs and noticed it was Erica,
the birth assistant. Mike finally said, “She is on the toilet downstairs” as she handed him her coffee. As Erica came into my view she stopped in her tracks. Shock # 7—she had no idea that I had delivered the baby myself and she didn’t know that I had delivered two babies. Our midwife had not been able to tell her prior to her arrival. Erica came into the bathroom and chatted with us awhile and made sure we were all ok, which we were. At about 8pm, I birthed the placenta and Erica caught it in a bowl. That is when we moved to the bed. We made sure that the girls didn’t get mixed up. Next, LeAnn showed up and was able to cut the umbilical cords. Upon cutting them, we discussed how we were going to tell them apart. Marker on the foot was discussed but then Erica mentioned painting one of their toenails, which is what we did. The girl with the painted toe ended up being Elsa Lynn Mroz, born at 7:31pm weighing 5 pounds, 10.5 ounces and was 18 3⁄4 inches long. The girl without the painted toe was….we weren’t sure, we didn’t have a second girl’s name. The only other name I liked was Ellianna, so we decided to go with that. Then they asked how we would spell it, I got a piece of paper and wrote out 4 different spellings and then Mike and I chose one. Next was the middle name, we had nothing. I told Mike it needed to be short and he said Ruth. Perfect, Ruth is my grandmother’s first name. So the girl without her toe painted was Ellianna Ruth born at 7:41pm weighing 5 pounds 13.5 ounces and was 19 inches long.
At one point during the exam of the babies, Hannah came downstairs with a grapefruit and said “I brought a grapefruit for the babies to eat.” It was so cute. She went to bed at about 9:15pm because she was getting a little too crazy and was a bit overtired.
I can’t remember when, but our second midwife showed up sometime. She came all the way from Iowa and was pulled over twice on that way to my house. She got off both times—they actually believed her story.
Ok, what story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Facebook. At 8:20pm Mike posted the following on Facebook: “Here’s one for ya, Christina and I just delivered twins. All by ourselves in our bathroom downstairs. Two healthy girls, momma is great. She got the first one out and I got the second. UNREAL. What an experience. Thank You God for your help! Contractions at 6, twins at 7:30. More to come when things calm down.” Shock #8—telling other people our crazy story. He told me about the post and then said you will have to read the responses because they are pretty crazy. Some people thought we were joking and some people believed us. (I later learned some people called my parents to see if it was true and my best friend called her husband because she thought we might be joking but the husband totally believed we were telling the truth.)
Around 11pm, I had an herbal bath with both of the girls. My midwifery team commented that there was no clean up—which was very rare. But they did clean my bathroom and put a load of towels in the washer for us. At 11:45pm, our midwifery team all said good night and departed our house. Mike and I were now proud parents of not one but two baby girls.
My friend Megan left me a voicemail that said, “I think Jesus is smiling a little bit.” And she mentioned that it might have been a blessing that I didn’t know I was having twins. She was right on both accounts.
Yes, Jesus was smiling because he really is in control—not me. And yes, had I know I was having twins I probably would have thrown myself a huge pity party.
As I finish this really LONG story you probably have some questions.
How did we not know we were having twins? We never got an ultrasound to start. Second, we never noticed Ellianna. Elsa was the one the midwives always felt and the heartbeat we always heard. She was basically hiding Ellianna. Also, we discovered based on how they were born that both of the babies hands and feet faced my spine. Now it made total sense why I never felt little feet or hands like I did with my first two pregnancies. The only thing that was unusual was my waist circumference. I also had this weird lump right under my ribcage that we could never quite figure out but the midwives thought it was a knee. It was really the back of Ellianna’s head. (Both of my midwives had never misdiagnosed twins before.) I do remember looking at Elsa when she was first born and thinking she was tiny—Mike even said the same thing. No wonder I didn’t feel the “ring of fire”, like I had with my other two births. Also, I remember glancing at my belly once and thinking…boy it is still pretty rounded, I thought it would be more flat and squishy.
Were you scared? Not at all. I have never been afraid of birth. I’ve always known it is something I can do. The only time Mike and I were a little concerned was when Ellianna was first born she didn’t cry right away, but she did after about 30 seconds.
There really is not a way to end a story like this but to say…God is totally in control of my life—I totally got the message God! And, this is one heck of a story!
By Christina Mroz February 2011
Prepare for the Safest, Healthiest Birth for you Baby. Read Ina May's Guide To Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Tags: baby, back pain in labor, Back pain in pregnancy, birth, birth ball, birth center, birth coach, Bradley coach, Bradley Method, breathing, Breathing in labor, childbirth, doula, emergency childbirth, first stage, full term pregnancy, home birth, hospital, hospital birth, Ina May Gaskin, labor, Liza Janda, midwife, natural, natural birth, newborn baby, pain in labor, positive birth stories, relaxation in labor, unmedicated, water birth
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Natural Birth Stories |
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
Posted in Natural Birth Stories |
Growing Number of Women Want Birth to Be a Natural Process, Not a Medical One
By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES
July 28, 2008
Pregnant with her first child, Julie Speier prepared to deliver with the help of a midwife at a New York City birthing center. But in June — three weeks before the due date and 600 miles from home — her water broke.Women who want a natural childbirth – a vaginal delivery without pain killers – are as lone voice among doctors and friends.(ABC News Photo Illustration / Getty Images / AP Photo)Speier gave birth at a Cincinnati hospital, where she and her fiancé tried desperately to keep the birth natural — a vaginal delivery without pain medication”I believe in the power of nature and that creation is next to perfect,” said Speier, a 34-year-old yoga teacher. “I knew what I wanted and I had the confidence.”But as labor pains increased and Speier asked about breathing techniques, the doctor replied, “How do I know? I’ve only ever done two [natural childbirths].”Today, natural childbirth is a medical anomaly in the United States, so much so that doctors are often thrown off guard by a determined woman like Speier.
A small but growing number of women who seek to avoid aggressive medical techniques like induced labor, epidural blocks and Caesarean sections find they are a lone voice among their friends and doctors.”All of my friends think I am a little nuts,” Speier said. “They say why would you do it natural?”Speier said her own mother told her traumatic stories of her brother’s breech birth. “Everyone I know has an ‘I can top you’ gory birthing story.”Pre-planned Caesareans are also in vogue. Women want to avoid future complications of multiple vaginal births, like uterine or bladder collapse. And today’s body-conscious women worry needlessly about loss of muscle-tone.
‘Too Posh to Push’
With the latest feminine plastic surgery rage — so-called “pimping the vadge” — some women prefer what the British call the “Posh push,” referring to the planned Caesarean births of soccer celebrity David and Victoria Beckham’s three boys.
Like the generation that pioneered the first wave of feminism in the 1970s, women like Speier want to take an active role in their health care. They view childbirth a normal, healthy process that requires time, patience, strength and endurance.
But in the decades since, new technologies, the rising cost of malpractice insurance and even the changing attitudes of women have all contributed to the near-demise of natural childbirth.
“It’s a little tsunami,” said Dr. Ben Sachs, chief of obstetrics at Tulane University in Louisiana. “All these forces are coming together at the same time.” Read more:http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ReproductiveHealth/Story?id=5462833&page=2
Tags: baby, Back pain in pregnancy, birth, birth ball, birth center, birth coach, Bradley birth, Cesarean section, hospital, labor, midwife, natural birth, natural childbirth, pain in labor, positive birth story, pregnancy, prenatal yoga, water birth
Posted in Uncategorized |
November 6, 2008 Dear Benjamin Christopher, On the morning of your birth, God was opening heaven for your arrival. On the car ride to the hospital at 6:15am, we witnessed a thunder and lightening storm. Lightening bolts with definable cracks of electricity were seen along the eastern hills that divide San Marcos from the inland areas of north San Diego County. There were thunderclouds high above that were illuminated with the first rays of morning sun. In the distance we could see that one of the clouds had broken open and warm filtered rain and light were pouring down to the earth marking the direction of our destination to where we would first meet you. As we proceeded to Escondido the sky grew darker and in Rancho Bernardo we drove through our first rain of the season. The drops from the sky fell hard and with determined purpose. The night before your birth we had a home visit from our doula, Trisha Olow. She was there to give your mommy a relaxing foot massage and work on some pressure points to naturally facilitate the onset of my labor. Based on my description of some mild cramping I’d been experiencing on and off since earlier that morning, Trisha told us she thought you were already on your way, even though your official due date was still five days away. I had also had several bowl movements and noticed a slight pink tint to my discharge that day, which were both uncharacteristic occurrences from the previous 39 weeks. Because of these signs, Trisha said she didn’t want to stimulate the pressure points too hard because she wanted you to make your decent in your own time. That night I went to bed at 10:30pm and instantly started to feel light cramping again. Your daddy, Chris, was sleeping in the guest room to give me space to move about, but by 2:00am I woke him because the cramps had turned into stronger contractions and I needed his comfort and assistance in timing them. I took a warm soothing bath and labored with you in the water for a time, envisioning what it would be like to labor in the bathtub once I arrived at the hospital. By 5:00am we called Trisha to seek her advice. My contractions were coming very close together but there was little consistency to the duration of each one. While on the phone with her, I had to stop talking as I felt the onset of each contraction. Then Daddy called Dr. Eastman and she told us to head to the hospital. In preparation I sat on the exercise ball in the loft for a long time staring at a cookbook on the bookshelf entitled, “30 Minute Italian.” The first two words on the spine were printed in red and the combination of the color and the suggestion of just getting through the next 30 minutes had me very focused. I remember letting myself relax in that state of mind, unhurried, for fear that I’d arrive at the hospital and get sent back home for lack of dilation. I knew I’d rather labor as long as I could at home before sitting in the car or feeling confined to a sterile unfamiliar room. As it was, it took me over an hour to move my body and last-minute necessities downstairs and out to the car. On the way out I stopped at the bathroom and threw up (clear and watery), which gave me immediate relief. Meanwhile Daddy secured the house and called Grandpa Al to ask him to pick up Jasmine and Vivien later that morning. When we arrived at Pomerado hospital in Poway at 7:05am, my cervix was already 6-7 centimeters dilated, and 80% effaced. The knowledge of this wonderful progress inspired me to keep laboring without any pain medication. Trisha arrived then too and worked to help situate and make me comfortable. I remember noticing that the room we were assigned to didn’t have a bathtub. I asked my nurse about it explaining that I had hoped to take a bath. The staff quickly shuffled me to the room next door. From that window I could see red tiled roofs in the distance. Not surprisingly, during the entire ride to the hospital I focused on the red taillights of the cars in front of us. The color red was still mesmerizing, soothing and a good distraction from the pain I was feeling. The red roofs were a welcome focal point and reminded me of being home earlier that morning. Within a few minutes I saw that the storm clouds had lifted, revealing the misty morning sun, and just to the edge of my peripheral vision I saw a rainbow! Rainbows have always given me a sense of well-being and a close connection with God. On this important day, He sent one to the earth as a sign to me that you were on your way, that you would be very special, and that we would all be okay because He was with us. For the next couple of hours I labored in our room. I wanted to take a bath, and as Trisha began filling the tub, the jets malfunctioned and made a distracting and loud noise. The nurses were running around trying to fix it and said they might need to get a maintenance man to come turn them off. I was dreading the idea of having a man other than your dad in the room at that point. The next thing I remember was Daddy crouching on the floor with a wrench and screwdriver taking the panel door off the bathtub and manually overriding the jet switch! He is really a handy guy, even through the stress of his wife’s labor! As you grow up I hope that you too will learn about the way things work. (Your daddy will be the best teacher!) So I took my bath and Daddy and Trisha poured warm water down my back for a long time, which helped with the low back pain I was feeling. I was very thirsty and drank water between each contraction. I remember feeling alternately hot then cold in the tub, but when I felt I’d had enough, I got out and continued through the hardest part of my contractions between a standing and squatting position on the floor. At the peek of each contraction I leaned forward on Daddy’s legs and squeezed him hard. By then I’m sure his back was hurting, but just by standing strong he helped me through the transition phase. Trisha noted that my yoga classes paid off, as she’d never seen anyone successfully labor in a squatting position before. However, I don’t think I was handling myself too gracefully because I remember screaming out in pain and begging for pain medication. However, Trisha kept reminding me that I was “about to have this baby, and there was no longer time for medication.” A few weeks before the delivery, Daddy and I came up with a secret code phrase, “Sand Dune,” which we agreed would be a sign to him that I had truly reached my limits, no matter what anyone else suggested. However, during this challenging time of birthing, the words never once even entered my mind, I think because I was so focused on the job set before me. By 10:30am I was put in bed while the nurses converted it to the labor platform. Dr. Eastman and the nursing staff were present, and finally they said it was time to push! After about 30 minutes the doctor said my cervix had swollen and that I needed to stop pushing to allow more time for it to fully dilate. Looking back now, I recall liking the pushing stage of labor because I was actively assisting you to move down the birth canal. I felt that I had some control and I knew you were almost here! You first came into this world at 11:58 am on September 29, 2008. When they put you on my chest I breathed a sigh of relief, for I had just overcome a few major fears in my life. The best part was the reward at the end-sweet little you, whom I was not expecting to be so beautiful, and you immediately captured my heart. It was the conclusion of a very important journey for me (pregnancy), and the beginning of our new life with you. From that moment on I knew things would be different, but I was ready to face the challenges and the times of joy with you in my arms. You will always be the love of your mommy and daddy’s lives, and we will protect and care for you as long as we live (and hopefully beyond). Thank you for blessing us with your arrival. Love always, Your mom, Alexis
Tags: baby, Back pain in pregnancy, beautiful, birth, birth ball, birth center, birth coach, Bradley birth, Bradley Method, breathing, delivery, doula, full term pregnancy, hospital, labor, Liza Janda, midwife, natural birth, natural childbirth, pain in labor, poses for pregnancy, positive birth stories, positive birth story, prenatal yoga, relaxation in labor, www.yogajanda.com, Yoga Janda
Posted in Natural Birth Stories |
On Thursday, I went to the midwife and I was 4 cm dilated, 90% effaced. After a bit of bleeding and a hospital check-up on Friday to make sure things were OK, I went into active labor around 10 p.m. on Friday night. My contractions were waking me up 45 minutes apart and soon became intense enough for me to wake Louis up around 1:00 a.m. He was the best coach and helped me through 4.5 hours of contractions at home until they were 3 minutes apart. We were waiting for the doula at our house, but decided to head to the hospital and meet her there. When I got to the hospital around 5:30, I was 8 cm dilated and 100% effaced. After checking me and getting situated in L&D, I labored through transition for another few hours and then was ready to push after about 10 hours of labor! My bag of waters remained intact through a bit of pushing and I was so happy for that. I pushed for about an hour through some heavy contractions and an emotional surge that I had to work hard to get through mentally. My doula and Louis were amazing at helping me to remain focused and to realize I could get through the birth. After they reassured me, I said, “I can do this…” and a few pushes later, Whitney’s head was out, followed quickly by the rest of her. There was some meconium in her amniotic fluid, so they worked on her while I was stitched up and delivered the placenta and then returned her to me a few minutes later. It was an amazing experience and almost directly after she was born, I knew that I’d have another natural birth in a heartbeat. I felt so good after her birth, alive and in touch with the experience. Our midwife thanked us for sharing our labor with her, saying that she used to do a lot of natural births but hasn’t done many since being at this hospital. She watched out for us and made sure we got the birth we desired and I couldn’t thank her enough for being so supportive.
Here is my doula’s version of my birth story if you’re interested.
Emily called about 3AM on 11/17/07 to let me know she was contracting. She was at 40 weeks and 6 days. I asked how she was doing and if she needed me yet, and she answered she was doing OK so far. She had been having contractions earlier but thought they hadn’t been very strong or regular until now, and were probably about 7-10 minutes apart. I asked her to call as soon as she felt she needed me, and I would come right away. A bit before 6AM they called to say the contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and they had decided to go to the hospital. I replied that would meet them there.
I arrived at 6:45AM, and she had just been checked. She was already at 8cm, 100% effaced and –2 station! She was managing the contractions very well, staying on top of the breathing. We moved into the room, and she was anxious to get out of the confining bra and “stuff”! I set up the music, and fixed a lavender washcloth for her to smell and cool her forehead. Colleen was her nurse, and Sheri was the midwife. Sheri checked her again at 7:01AM, and in only 16 minutes, she had already progressed to 9cm! Sheri and Colleen were fabulous, very supportive of Emily’s desire for no medical interventions. She was being monitored for a while and she couldn’t wait until they got her off so she could move around! It drove her crazy that they kept on asking the same questions over and over again, too! It was because she was in transition, and she was doing amazingly well in spite of all of it!
Once off the monitors, I helped her change positions, and we tried the birth ball for a few contractions. She did some lunges, but her best position seemed to be leaning into Louis while I did the double hip squeezes. When a position or technique stopped “working” we would try another. Emily was progressing very fast, finding it difficult to make decisions due to the intensity of the contractions. Louis and I encouraged her a lot. She used the bathroom, and found sitting on the toilet felt good for a while. Then Emily leaned against the birth ball while it was up against the wall. That wasn’t so successful, and she leaned against Louis instead! She even tried the shower, but she cried, “I don’t like it in here!” So, Louis and I got her out, dried her off, and helped her back into the bed. We set the bed up like a “throne” with her feet down and her back sort of straight and supported. That was successful, and then she was checked again about 7:41AM because she was beginning to feel a lot of pressure. She was still 9cm and 100%, but the baby had dropped to –1 station, Yaay! She was feeling very hot, and asked if she could take off the gown, of course she could! Louis and Emily worked very well together and he was so very supportive of her. In just a few minutes at 8:05AM, Emily was already 10cm!
At about 8:08AM Emily began pushing because she felt the very strong urge to do so. Colleen got the squat bar, and Emily used it while still in the “throne” position. Then her arms started to tire, and I suggested changing positions a little. I said we could raise the foot part of the bed up, and lean her head back a bit, then she could hold herself up better and still use the squat bar. She was reluctant to try it. When Sheri came in a little while later, she suggested the same thing! Emily decided to go ahead and give it a go. She began to push much more effectively as she had more leverage. Colleen gave her a sheet to hang on to while she pushed, and shortly thereafter baby’s head crowned, so she called Sheri in for delivery! Sheri was a little skeptical, but Emily showed her with just one push how well she was doing! Her water broke shortly thereafter, as well. When Louis told Emily he could see the head, that gave her much more incentive, even though she was getting tired!
Emily pushed for about an hour, and little Whitney Kate was born at 9:17AM, weighing 7lbs 3oz, and 20½ inches long. She was just beautiful, so pretty and pink! Her APGAR scores were 7 and 9, and she loved nuzzling at her Mommy’s breast. The fingers and toes were all accounted for, pictures were taken, and tears were shed! Emily did a wonderful job of birthing her little one, and Louis was an excellent coach…was so proud of them! They were also successful in fulfilling their birth plan wishes, including the desire for no medication …Emily was amazing, and it was a wonderful birth!
Tags: baby, birth ball, birth coach, Bradley Method, breathing, doula, first stage labor, labor and birth, natural childbirth, pain in labor, prenatal yoga, relaxation in labor, second stage labor, www.yogajanda.com, Yoga Janda
Posted in Natural Birth Stories |