Positive Birth Stories
Women can overcome the fear surrounding labor and birth by hearing or reading Positive Birth Stories. I have asked a number of my Bradley Method® and Prenatal Yoga students to write their experiences down to share with other couples. Most of these stories on my blog http://prenatalyoga.wordpress.com are stories of natural birth. A couple of them are not, but these mothers were able to turn their baby's birth into an empowering experience and bring their babies into the world in the best, safest, and gentlest way possible.
"Women need to hear positive birth stories. Sadly, women who have positive, transformative, challenging but amazing births usually don't tell their stories. They may think it's not normal, or may not want to make other women feel inferior. Women need to share their birth stories, both positive and difficult, and when they're difficult, we should examine why and what could have changed. These stories have the power to transform how society looks at birth, to dispel the myths and relieve the fear." Debra Pascali-Bonaro
This 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 |
This is one of the most beautiful birth stories I've ever read. It is a positive family-centered Cesarean experience. Congratulations…
Welcome Cora Lou
On July 24th at 1:15 in the afternoon, we welcomed sweet Cora Louise into our lives. Nothing can fully prepare one for the experience of becoming parents. The moment she arrives feels hurried and fleeting but it is nothing short of miraculous.
Jesse and I had been hoping for a natural birth, with as little medical intervention as pos- sible but our little baby’s head was securely positioned, close to my heart, up between my ribs. We tried everything to encourage her to turn, from Moxibustion to Chiropractic to Massage to a pregnant version of “planking” and although she felt very active and we held out hope she would flip, we had a Cesarean scheduled for the 28th of July.
I had expressed to Jesse on Saturday, that I was disappointed to show no signs of labor
as the 28th drew nearer because I really wanted the baby to let us know when she was ready to arrive. Well, that night, I had an unexpected “bloody show,” which Jesse insists on pronouncing with a British accent, and proceeded to re-read every book on pregnancy we had to remind myself that there was nothing to panic about and to go about life as normal. I was very grateful to baby, though, for the little hint at readiness.
Early Sunday morning, I awoke to what I knew were the signs of beginning labor. Mild, slightly painful, definitely not practice, contractions which were about 10 minutes apart. Our weeks of preparation, of staving off the trip to the hospital for as long as possible, were challenged by the breech situation and my desire to avoid an emergency cesarean.
So against Jesse’s urging, I called the hospital nice and early. My reasoning was, if we checked the position of the baby and she was side- ways or maybe even head down, I could return home to eat my meal and prepare my body to relax for natural labor, but if she continued
to be head up, I wouldn’t eat anything as I would be having major abdominal surgery later in the day.
My midwife, in the last few weeks, had spent a generous amount of time mentally and spiritually preparing me for a cesarean. I had some definite fears and disappointment about requiring medical intervention but we did a lot of work to reframe the ideas and details of a cold and routine surgery to a warm and celebratory birth that would allow me to be brave and present no matter how my daughter should arrive into our lives.
When we arrived at Tri-City around 10:00, I requested to first see the position before a vaginal exam. Our little girl was absolutely, unmovably, head up. The surgeon said that the contracting of my uterus would actually make it harder for her to flip. We discussed waiting until the planned cesarean in four days but my cervix was soft and dilating and waiting put us at the mercy of hospital scheduling. I felt I had done so much work to prepare for the surgery that the less rushed we were, the more present I could stay.
I met with an anesthesiologist, and by 12:30 I was ready for our birth experience. I know that we have spent weeks in Liza’s class educating ourselves so that we can avoid an unnecessary cesarean, but if it is necessary, here is what I can offer that helped me along.
Crossing into the operating room is a big red line, as I walked over it, I took a moment to think that crossing it meant I was going to become a mother. I knew what the spinal block was made of, the position I would sit in to receive the shot and the feeling it would give me as it numbed my lower body. The spinal was not very painful. The needle was small; it burned a little. The midwife held my hands and looked straight into my eyes to encourage me. I was quite scared and close to tears, but tried very hard to just take it all in. This was my own birth story happening.
When they laid me on the table, the lights were very bright and they spread my arms out to the sides. Sometimes they restrain them, but they laid a warm blanket over me instead. Waiting for the medication to set in, I paid close attention to my breathing and tried my best to relax. In the room were two assistants, a midwife, the surgeon, a neo-natalogist, and a nursery nurse. Jesse arrived in scrubs and sat by my head. Everyone wore masks and it was difficult to hear but their eyes were all friendly and encouraging.
Jesse and I wrote a birth plan that included requests for both natural labor and Cesarean. I had requested music and had planned to spend Sunday constructing the perfect Labor- land playlist. Instead, I had to quickly make a playlist on my phone while we waited in triage before the surgery. Jesse, smelling of my requested lavender scent, held the phone by my ear as I tried to relax to a song about a bird in a cage. Having music was an impor- tant detail that my surgeon broke some rules to accommodate. I am grateful because the familiar songs brought a lot of comfort.
Neither Jesse nor I actually watched the surgery, but I constantly checked in for reassurance that every thing was happening smoothly. The anesthesiologist did some very convincing tests that I would feel nothing and the anesthesia didn’t have any of the dreaded rare effects, like headache or shortness of breath. The small incision was made at my bikini line and then the midwife guided little baby down and out. This was quite a feat as she was very high up and very breech. I heard a lot of effortful grunting from behind the drape. When she was out, they lowered the drape, as I had requested, and showed me what looked to be a near perfect little baby. Heavy, at 8lbs 10oz, but proportional. Having been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I spent the pregnancy monitoring and carefully controlling my diet and so I actually argued with the surgeon about my baby’s weight. It went something like this.
“Wow, congratulations, she’s heavy! Maybe nine pounds!”
“No she’s not.”
“Yes she is, I can tell. She’s a very good size.”
“No, I had controlled my diabetes, she’s supposed to be small.” “Well you’re both pretty tall. Anyway, she looks great.”
I remember thinking my midwife would think I cheated on all that food diary business I was keeping for six months. Her blood sugar was thrice checked, though, and she had all the signs of a healthy baby with a well-controlled blood sugar. Not the rolly-polly, smoking youTube baby I had feared!
Jesse then accompanied our new daughter to the nursery where he fielded a barrage of tests and procedures. We opted for no ointment in the eyes and no Hepatitis Vaccine. We did allow the Vitamin K as she had some bruising from being hard to get out from her breech position. The nursery nurse was a little abrasive, so we also opted for no bath until later. We ended up with the best nurse in the world who gave her her first bath a few days later in a loving, calm environment. Cora continues to enjoy having a shampoo, I think thanks to Betty – the greatest nurse.
My delivery of the placenta went unnoticed as I was entirely consumed with new baby. Stitching me up took the most time as they carefully repaired me layer by layer. At this point, I felt pretty dizzy from the morphine in the spinal and also a bit itchy, but still in good spirits.
Jesse brought the baby back to me in the recovery room about 30 minutes later. I had requested for my mom to be allowed to meet me in recovery but you are only allowed one banded person. I actually enjoyed the silent alone time to reflect on my experience and try to calmly relax through the dizziness. When I had Cora in my arms, I set right to work on breastfeeding which has been very successful. I have since had many consultations from the lactation specialists just to double check and continue to encourage what has been going, thankfully, very smoothly.
I spent 3 nights in the hospital. The pain got very bad on the 2nd night as I was really trying to stave off using Ibuprofen and Percocet for pain. I was obviously, very against medication for a natural birth and had a hard time reconciling with using them after surgery. But when the pain got so bad that I didn’t think I could feed the baby, I took them and they helped. Natural delivery isn’t something that needs to be treated and fixed. Surgery kind of is. It has been 10 days and I am down to only an Ibuprofen at night.
We saw the pediatrician on Monday and he congratulated Jesse and me for keeping a new- born baby healthy and happy for a whole week. She is a little person in our lives, surprising us with thoughtful stares and sleepy, unconscious smiles. I would describe my pregnancy as fairly stressful and although I was continuously told none of it would matter once the baby arrived, I didn’t actually understand that until she was in my arms. I plan to use the same advice for any panicked worried mom-to-be I encounter. I totally understand the worry, but I have nearly forgotten the negatives of my journey now that our baby is here. It’s true, I stare for hours and marvel daily. By the way, it’s 5 o’clock and I am still un-showered and in my pajamas. Welcome to baby time!
Tags: baby, beautiful, birth, Bradley birth, Bradley Method, C-section, Cesarean, delivery, doula, family centered, full term pregnancy, hospital, labor, Liza Janda, midwife, positive, positive birth stories, prenant, prenatal yoga, www.yogajanda.com, yoga
Posted in Best Cesareans Possible Positive Birth Experiences |
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 |
The birth of Sofia Alexandra, November 8th, 200710:08 PM
8lb 10oz, 21 inches long
Here is the story of how Sofia made her way into the world:
On Wednesday evening November 7th I went to seeour midwife, Jasmine, for my 40 week checkup. We had discussed the option ofdoing a procedure called sweeping the membranes once I reached 40 weeks if Ihad not yet gone into labor to help get labor going. When Jasmine checked tosee how I had progressed she found that I was 3 cm dilated and 75% effaced. Wedecided to go ahead with the stripping the membranes
On Wednesday night, November 7th, I started tohave some menstrual like cramping that was uncomfortable enough to use a hotwater bottle on my lower back to help relieve the discomfort. After resting allevening, I went to bed early with the hot water bottle to try to get some rest.I woke up frequently throughout the night, as I had been in the previous fewweeks, with cramps and mild contractions. As I had been having strong,uncomfortable, and frequent Braxton Hicks contractions for about 4 weeks, Ididn’t think too much of it. I finally got out of bed around 6:00 am andEduardo and I had some breakfast. Eduardo decided to work from home, thinkingthis might be the real thing and he didn’t want to be too far away.
Duringbreakfast I started to feel the contractions a bit stronger and started towrite down the time of each one around 6:45am. At this point the contractionswere irregular, some quite strong, some almost unnoticeable. This continued forabout another hour when I decided to take my morning bath (a morning bath hadbecome a routine since I was waking up with very sore joints). The contractionscontinued to get stronger and closer together in the bath. Once I got out, Icontinued to time the contractions and noticed that they were more or less 8 –15 minutes apart. Every now and then one of the contractions would come on sostrong that it would send me to the toilet needing to get sick. By 9:30am Iknew that this was really labor and not more Braxton Hicks contractions. But Iwas still feeling ok and kept busy doing things around the house. I ate a smallsnack, pausing to lean over onto the counter when a big contraction would comeon. I continued to get sick when a very strong contraction would come, but Itried to continue to drink water and some juice for energy. When things started to get moreintense, I started trying out the different positions we had practiced in ourBradley class. Eduardo would rub my back when the contraction would come on. Wetried the drunken prom date, squatting while leaning against the wall, therelaxation pose, lunging etc…but what seemed to work best for me was leaningover on a big stack of pillows on the bed while Eduardo rubbed my back.
Around 1pm we decided to call the midwife on call at UCSD tolet them know that the contractions were about 5-7 minutes apart and that wewould be coming in some time that afternoon. Eduardo finished packing thehospital bag and got everything in the car. The contractions were gettingstronger and I definitely had to stop and concentrate through them. We didn’twant to get to the hospital too early so I first went to take a shower andspent some time in the shower with the hot water spraying on my back.
At 3:00 we called the midwife on call at the birth center toreport that the contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and Jennifer, the midwifeon call, told us to come on in. We arrived at the hospital at 4:00pm I was 5cmdilated, 80% effaced, and -1 station. I immediately asked if there was avolunteer doula available (UCSD has a volunteer doula program through Heartsand Hands). Doula Erin arrived within 30 minutes of being at the hospital. As Ihad been vomiting much of the day and was feeling a big dizzy, the midwifesuggested giving me an IV with saline and sugar water to help keep me fromgetting too dehydrated and to keep my blood sugar up. Although I was hesitantabout getting an IV, I decided it was the best decision. The midwife reassuredme that I could still move around, get in the shower, the tub, etc…
Once settled into our room, I immediately started using thebirthing ball. The best position for me was to put the ball on the bed (theyhave queen size beds at the birthing center), with a pillow on top, and leanover onto the ball, rocking forward and back when a contraction came whileEduardo and Erin rubbed my back and shoulders. Doula Erin had brought somearoma therapy with her and she gave me some lavender to smell which reallyhelped me relax. When the contractions started to get unbearable Erin wouldsuggest trying a new position. I was resistant at first to move because I wasin so much pain, but Erin convinced me to give the new position a fewcontractions to see if I could get into a rhythm with that position. This strategyreally worked for me, as there were several positions where at first I wouldhave turned away immediately, but I ended up finding a comfortable way to usethe position. I used the hot shower for a while, but that was not ascomfortable as only one person fit in the shower and I really wanted thesupport of Eduardo and Erin right there with me. The large soft sided bath tubwas great!! I stayed in there for about 60-90 minutes, leaning over on pillowson the edge of the tub. It was in the tub when my water broke. The nurses cameto check that it was clear and let me stay in the water a bit more.
From the tub I tried the ball again and then moved into therocking chair with a stool. Eduardo turned off all the lights and asked thenurse to keep it dark in the room. Sitting there in the dark rocking myselfthrough the contractions enabled me to enter a very deep relaxation, so much sothat I almost fell asleep in the 30-60 seconds between each contraction. Thecontractions were VERY strong at this point and the only way I could managethrough them was to count while breathing, knowing that I could certainly makeit to the next number but not sure of anything beyond that.
The midwife came in and checked me while I was sitting inthe rocking chair and told me that I was 8cm dilated. I was very disappointedby this, as I was sure that I was in transition and must be getting closer. Iwas starting to feel like I wasn’t sure how much more I could take and doubtingwhether I could make it through.
Finally Erin suggested we get up and go for a walk to try toget things going. At this point, standing up, much less walking sounded likethe most awful idea in the world. But with Eduardo and Erin each at one side ofme so I could lean on them, I managed to walk down the hall about 30 feet. Thecontractions were so strong that I couldn’t really hold myself up and I was notable to stop myself from clenching at least one part of my body. Eduardo kepttelling me to relax and not to strain my face of my hands, but at this point itwas impossible. On the walk back to the room I felt a sudden need to go to thebathroom. I sat on the toilet for a few minutes thinking I was going to have abowel movement, but the nurses kept assuring me that it was the pressure of thebaby’s head and not a bowel movement. I was feeling a very strong urge to push,but the nurses were telling me not to push, as I couldn’t yet be fully dilatedsince I was only 8cm about 40 minutes earlier.
Throughout all this time, Erin was having me vocalize withmy breathing through the contractions rather than push. This gave me somewaythat I could expend some energy and something else to focus on rather thanpushing. Finally I got up from the toilet and decided to try squatting. Thenurse brought in the birthing stool and I tried squatting on that, leaning intodoula Erin behind me. In this squatting position, all my body wanted to do wasto push, but they kept telling me not to. I told the nurses that I needed topush now! The midwife came running in at the point after having just deliveredthe baby next door, check me, and said the head was right there and that I wasready to push. With the next contraction I pushed with all my energy and themidwife, nurses, and Eduardo all started exclaiming “ooh, oh, there it is!”that they could see the head start to come out. I couldn’t believe that it wasfinally the time for the baby to be born! With just two more pushes the headcame out and then one good hard push and the body slithered out. They put thebaby on my chest immediately, wiping the face as they lifted the baby out ofme. I felt as though I had just run and won a marathon, feeling such a sense ofexhilaration and accomplishment, holding the beautiful little being. Themidwife commented that “he” looked like a big baby. It was not until this pointthat I realized we didn’t know the gender yet. I asked if it was a boy, and shesaid she didn’t know, she just called him a boy. So I lifted the blanket andfound that she was in fact a girl!! She was perfect in every way and the momentshe was born I no longer felt even the tiniest bit of pain. It was as if thepain of the contractions were years away.
With the preparation we received from the Bradley childbirth class with Liza Janda and the support of the doula once we got to thehospital and the nurses and midwives at the birth center we never lost thefeeling of confidence that we could do this nor did we ever feel like we had tofight for the birth that we wanted. Eduardo was an amazing coach and was ableto provide even better coaching to me with the support of the doula. I wouldsay that to have a natural child birth every couple should take a goodnon-hospital class such as the Bradley method and have the support of a doula.
Thank you Liza, for a great class!!
Alison, Eduardo, & Sofia