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
Here is the courageous story of one of my couples who were determined to get the best, safest birth for their baby. With education and support, they did it. You can too!
Birth Story of Rose Ellice Woods
Heather: Just hours away from my first Motherʼs Day, and a few days shy of her 9 month anniversary, Iʼd like to finally tell the story of my daughterʼs birth.
" Our baby was “due” August 19th. On the 15th around 1700, I began writing a birth story that in my head was perfect. Everything I wrote down was perfect, the way I envisioned it all going needed to come out. I had been feeling really low and stressing about what would happen. We discovered that the baby was breech at my 38 week check up, which came as quite a shock because up to that point baby was vertex. We tried everything possible to get baby to turn back around, from an ECV (version) the Friday two weeks before her due date, to moxibustion, summersaults and headstands in the pool, headstands off the bed and stairs, rebozo prescribed by our wonderful Doula, the Webster technique at the Chiropractorʼs office, to prenatal massage with the hope of increasing the blood flow to the uterus to give baby more room. Nothing worked! Our Doctor at the Naval Hospital told me that although he was very experienced with breech vaginal deliveries and he was the only staff member there that was, I was not a candidate for such an attempt. It was my first childbirth, and therefore my pelvis was “untested,” so there was an allegedly big risk that I wouldnʼt be able to push the head out. He insisted that a Cesarean was the only way to go, as anything else was “outside the standard of care.”
" After going thru the Bradley Classes with Liza, we felt our dreams of having a natural childbirth dissipating. I sent Liza an email that afternoon explaining our predicament and begging for advice and links to research. She came through for us immediately with a slew of suggestions and encouragement. Getting back to the good doctor, he failed to speak with us after the unsuccessful version attempt, but we did go in the following Monday morning for the growth scan that had been scheduled for 38 weeks because of the gestational diabetes. I called that afternoon to the OB clinic to see when our next appointment was, and was told the 18th! Our Doctor was on leave for two weeks and we were scheduled to see a midwife a day before the due date. I knew this was wrong, obviously the baby being breech had to change the plan, but apparently the word hadnʼt been passed. After some ribbing from my Mom, who was yelling at me all the way from Chicago, I knew Iʼd have to make a scene. It was now or never.
" We had researched a ton since we got the news of our breech surprise and after much thought, prayer, and discussion, had decided on having our natural breech birth. The only question was how. I entertained thoughts of driving up to LA to try and see Dr. Stuart Fischbein, whose many articles and evidenced-based research on breech births gave me the confidence I needed to speak intelligently with any Doctor who would listen… Then I thought how wonderful it would be to go to the Farm and ask Ina May to deliver our baby! Being in the military definitely eliminated some of these more extreme fantasies, and we knew we were stuck with the Naval Hospital, which until this point hadnʼt seemed so bad. I called the OB back Monday afternoon, and demanded to speak with my midwife, Ms. Moran. I explained what had happened, and about why I didnʼt have another appointment that week, and told her I needed a chit to get me off work completely as I was now 38 plus weeks and things were so complicated. She told me to come in the next day and pick up my chit, no problem getting that, which I was grateful for. We went back to her office and sat down and laid out how I felt, which was that I needed to be seen to make sure baby was doing well, and not put on a back burner. She set me up with an appointment for Wednesday morning with a Doctor we didnʼt know but one she said was very good. I was glad we were making a little progress, but still wondering how this could work out.
" As we drove to my Company Office to drop off my chit, I got a phone call from the clinic. It was Ms. Moran, and she did not have good news. She said that she had just spoken with our first Doctor, the one who was supposed to be on leave. He had scheduled us for Cesarean that Friday morning, the 12th! The shit hit the fan. Greg was driving, thank God, and I had to fight not to lose my mind on the phone. She was quick to say that she hadnʼt known anything about this either, and we could talk about it with our new Doctor the next morning. I made it clear there was no way in hell we would be there that Friday for that major operation. I was livid. I would be 39 weeks Friday, but we had decided even in the event we were unable to go for a natural birth, we would at least wait for labor to start spontaneously, that way we knew baby would be ready. I was furious that that smug Doctor could just throw us on a schedule for a major (and life changing) operation without so much as talking about it with us. We went in the next morning.
" I paced the floor and snapped at the Corpsman taking my vitals. My blood pressure was high and Greg kept trying to get me to calm down. I wore my 1/5 Marines T-shirt like a flak jacket, geared up for the fight. I couldnʼt swallow the anger that had built up any longer. Someone was about to get an earful. Then we met Dr. Kelly Elmore. She was young, and the minute she walked in she asked how we were doing. Big mistake. I told her exactly what was on my mind, I let her have it with both barrels, while Greg sat dutifully not trying to soften the blow. I was sick of not being heard, sick of having major decisions decided for me based on a standard of care and what was considered normal. We wanted more than that. After I got everything off my chest, I felt a weight lifted. Dr. Elmore looked me in the eye the whole time and listened to what I had to say, and she responded so gracefully, that we would go to her office after she checked on baby and we would sit down and talk. I knew she meant it. I immediately lightened up, I felt my demeanor change. Something about her was comforting in a non-condescending way. Babyʼs vitals were strong and I was 2 cm dilated, not in labor by any stretch but starting to open slowly. We followed her back to her office and got to have our talk. I explained how we had been researching and desperately wanted a natural child-birthing experience, we felt that was the safest and healthiest way to go. I told her our other Doctor had told us he was the only one there on staff that had any experience and was comfortable delivering the breech births, but we needed someone to give us a chance. We also asked about the results of the growth scan, since we never did hear anything from it. She then informed us that there were in fact two Doctors on staff with breech experience, and she was the second one! She explained her criteria, which matched Dr. Fischbeinʼs almost exactly, and as long as we could agree to that she believed that it was her duty to let us go for it! The growth scan had baby between 5 and 7 pounds, and I had lots of fluid so there were no worries there. She explained that she was a Christian lady, and she put a lot of faith in God to lead her with her work, and she suggested we pray about it and she would too. She was a miracle to us, the answer to our prayers. It was such a rush hearing her tell us this, she put the wind back in our sails.
" There was just one problem. Sheʼd only be around from that day until the next Thursday. Then she was going on leave. So basically we got this awesome news that our dreams might be saved, and then a minute later were told I would have to go into spontaneous labor, and progress with no back tracking or slowing, within a seven day window! It wasnʼt perfect, but it was a hell of a lot better than having a Cesarean two days later. We left there feeling elated, we had hope. We continued all the exercises we had been doing to get baby to flip, but we were ready for her to come the way he/ she wanted.
" We came in Friday morning for a non-stress test, to make sure the placenta was still in good condition and see that baby was not stressed at all, Dr. Elmore wanted to do that twice a week until baby came, but as time was short we scheduled one for that Friday and another for the following Tuesday, both days she could make sure to be there. I really appreciated her willingness to be there for us, instead of letting whoever was on the labor deck that day take over. She made the effort to give us some continuity of care which made a huge difference. Everything went well with the NST, baby and womb looked great and we went home to hit the pool.
" Over the weekend we went to the chiropractor again and did round two for the Webster Technique. We kept up with the moxibustion and walking, I made sure to keep tracking my blood sugar levels closely because of the Gestational Diabetes, and just spent time at home trying to relax. I had been reading Ina Mayʼs Guide to Childbirth, a gift from Doula Rosie, and that helped me a lot as well. I was trying not to focus on when baby would come, but the more I tried the more I focused. I was feeling very anxious. Doubt began to creep into my mind. I felt alone, even though my husband was there with me. Ultimately it was I who had to answer the consequences of our decision.
" That brings us back to Monday, when I felt my worst. I couldnʼt get out of the rut I was in mentally, and I got so sick of my negativity that I finally finished a Bradley assignment we had been given weeks earlier. I wrote out the best birth story I could think up. I went step by step, detailing how I felt and what we did each step of the way. Ultimately I wrote that I went into labor that night, we walked and did our nightly routine, and I had the baby the next morning! After I finished writing, I laid down and tried to take a nap, I felt really tired. It was around 1800, and I noticed that my back was aching, so much that it was becoming impossible to get comfortable and snooze. I remembered I needed to call Rosie and remind her about the NST we had scheduled for 0800 the next day. I got on the phone with her and she asked about the strain in my voice. I told her my lower back was hurting but that it wasnʼt that serious. She seemed to think it might be something, and told me to try and sleep and just go about the evening normally. Eat something and sleep. She insisted that I call her back in a couple hours to let her know how I felt. She felt pretty sure it was more than a backache. I just kept brushing it off and trying to nap, then around 2000 we had dinner. " Greg made rice, beef, and veggies. I ate about half but wasnʼt hungry after that. Then we took our nightly walk. I felt like walking would loosen up my back, it was feeling so tight. I still thought it was just odd pain, nothing big. Normally we just did two or three half mile circles around the whole apt complex, but that night I felt adventurous.
My Gunny was in the habit of telling me to “find a hill” and how good that was for pregnancy, so I figured it was a good time to test a nice big hill just across the street from our usual path. We dubbed it “Riveraʼs Ridge” in honor of my Gunny, and Greg joked that I better not go into labor or Iʼd have to tell him he was right. We walked downhill first, and I was feeling great. After the walk back up the hill, which took about 30 mins total, we crossed the street and I had to stop and lean into Greg because there was such pressure all of a sudden in my lower back. I asked him to press on it and he did, we stayed that way there on the corner for a couple minutes I think. We were just a couple blocks away from home and we made it back without having to stop again, but I finally was starting to think maybe there was something different going on.
" After we finished our walk we set up the outside balcony with our usual assortment of things. We lit the tiki torches, brought out the rocker for me to sit in along with the heating pad for my back, had the candles lit as well, our glasses of white wine, and Beethoven playing inside. It was a really cozy set up, and the temperature outside was perfect thanks to the coast a mile and a half away. We were on day 9 of 10 with the moxi, and I thought we better try to do it. Greg kept trying to get me to use the contraction timer to time my back pain, just to see if there was any kind of pattern. We had learned about back labor in our Bradley class. I grudgingly agreed to play around with the timer, and figured out to my surprise it seemed as though I was having contractions, as the pain kept coming and going. They were coming between 6 and 10 minutes apart, and lasting for 50-70 seconds! By this time it was around 2300 and I thought it best to text Rosie instead of calling, I wanted to let her know about the contractions but not wake her just yet, I knew there would be time before it got serious. Rosie didnʼt text back, and I was glad we hadnʼt waked her.
" At midnight after we brought everything back inside, we laid down to try and get some sleep. I had Gregʼs phone and paid a bit more attention to timing the contractions, although I still had doubts in my mind about if this was really it. For the next hour they came from 6 to 8 minutes apart and lasted 50-80 seconds, and I told Greg to get some sleep. He did just that and around 0100, I put the phone down and closed my eyes, intending to get some sleep myself. Iʼd heard of women sleeping right through labor and thought I might get lucky. I laid there for over an hour trying to force myself to relax and sleep, when I finally gave it up.
" At 0230 I went into the front room and began googling what to pack for the trip to the hospital. We never did pack our bags! I started timing again, and by this time they were 3 to 5 minutes apart, lasting from 40-60 seconds, and I accepted the fact that this was really happening. I got excited and nervous together, and had all this energy. The contractions were manageable, and I worked around them packing up our bags and getting everything weʼd need together. Sometimes Iʼd kneel on the carpet with my butt way up and sway through the wave, but then I figured out that leaning over the kitchen counter with my legs spread wide swaying worked best. I had Tom Petty playing as loud as the computer would play it, which was loud enough to wake Greg up. He saw me swaying and knew exactly what was up. He got excited and wondered how the hell I had packed our bags. He wanted to call Rosie, so around 0300 he gave her a ring. She said sheʼd be over within the hour, and I got in the shower. The great thing about that apt building was unlimited hot water. And it felt great on my back. I brought the computer in and put it on the sink so I could sing along with Tom.
" In our Bradley class we learned to relax and just breathe through the contractions, but I felt like being up and singing along with Tom at the top of my lungs. Rosie arrived right after 0400, and wanted to know what she could do to help. Greg didnʼt really know what to do, I was in the shower with Tom the whole time! Rosie loved it, she sang a little with me too and said I was doing great. Around 0500 I filled up the tub and laid down on my side. It felt much better under the water and I wished I had more room. I was still laughing and having a good time with it all, and Rosie and Greg were so helpful. I told them I wanted to go to the beach and walk along the water, we lived just 5 minutes away. They thought that was a real good idea so at 0630 I hauled myself out of the tub and got dressed.
" The amazing part is that it was the morning of the 16th, and Dr. Elmore was on the labor deck that one day, every other day that week they would have had to call her in…it was perfect timing. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible and I wanted baby to wait until at least 0700 when Dr. Elmoreʼs shift started. At 0700 we got to the beach and it was all ours. We walked right along the water next to the Oceanside Pier and it was such a perfect moment in time. It was overcast as always in the early morning on the coast, and Rosie walked with Greg and I and snapped a few precious pictures. The contractions were coming now 2 to 4 minutes apart and lasting 50-70 seconds. Each time they came I just leaned forward into Gregʼs chest and he pressed on my back. It felt surreal. I felt so blessed to be able to have the ocean right there at our feet, I had to soak them of course but Greg thought the water was too cold so he stayed farther back." After half an hour there we had to decide where weʼd go next. I didnʼt want to go back to the apt, we had everything loaded up and it seemed like a waste. I wasnʼt sure I wanted to go to the hospital either though, so we decided to meet up at Lake Oneil, just two minutes from the Navy Hospital. I wondered aloud if maybe I would skip the “serious signpost” we learned about, because though the pain was intense, I was still joking and smiling and thinking of things not directly related to the task at hand. Then in the car, it was just Greg and I, Rosie was driving separately, they started to come 2 to 3 minutes apart and lasted 50-70 seconds. It was so uncomfortable in that car I finally got serious, there was nothing else I could think of but each one coming. I told Greg to just go to the hospital. He let Rosie know the change of plan and I began moaning with each one. It seemed to take forever getting to the Hospital, but really was only 20 minutes at most. We parked and I wanted to wait outside for Rosie. I had to pee really bad so I went in to pee and came right back out. We were nervous Rosie would have problems at the gate but she told the MP her duties and charmed her way through. I was walking back and forth in front of the hospital and when Rosie got there I still wasnʼt ready to go inside. I got really nervous all of a sudden but I didnʼt want to tell either of them, just wanted to get my head together. I walked off a little ways and wanted to cry. I felt like a baby, but I knew once we went inside that was it. The weight of it all hit me and I did cry, thinking about how Iʼd be a mom when we left. It was a very sobering moment. I was glad it was gray outside. After a couple minutes I told them I was ready. They asked if I wanted a wheel chair, hell no!
" At 0800 we checked in on the labor deck. They sent Greg to the third floor for my record and Rosie and I went into the triage room to get checked out. I was so thankful for Rosie, sheʼs the sweetest woman we could have found to share this experience. As soon as we walked into the triage room I started having a monster contraction. I leaned over the sink and felt warm water going down my leg. It looked like pee and I didnʼt know what to think. Rosie went to get the nurse after she told me my water must have broke. There was brown stuff in the liquid and I got really nervous. The nurse came right in and said we were going to the labor room, no time for triage. I asked her if I could wear my own gown and got changed.
" A midwife came in and started getting my vitals, she told me they need to prep me for the OR. I sat right up and informed her that I wasnʼt going to the OR. She fired back asking if the baby was still breech. Yes, now go get Dr. Elmore and tell her we are here! I was mama bear and this lady better get on with it if she knew what was good for her. About five minutes later she came back in, said that Dr. Elmore was really happy we were there and that I was going to do great! She did a complete 180 and it felt really good to hear her say that. I knew how important it was to have positive vibes going out from reading Ina Mayʼs book, and thatʼs just what we had. Pretty soon there were different nurses and midwives coming in and telling us that they were rooting for us, we were going to do great and stuff like that. Everything was coming together so perfectly I could hardly believe it.
" At 0900 Dr. Elmore came in with a huge smile on her face. We all knew this was divine intervention. She checked me and I was 3 cm dilated. I felt kind of terrible because Iʼd been laboring for quite some time and hadnʼt made much progress. I just buckled down and knew it was going to be rough work from there, and Rosie and Greg were amazing. For the next two hours it got really intense, there was no break in between the contractions, they were on top of each other. Greg and Rosie took turns pushing on my back with all their might and I went from side lying, to walking around a bit to getting in the shower. The shower was super weak but at least the water was hot and it felt really good being in there, while Greg stood just outside so I could lean on him and let the water hit my back. I was hooked up to the EFM every 15 minutes so I was free to move around and try different positions, that helped immensely. The only other attachment I had was a hep lock just in case, but I didnʼt want them hooking up the IV as I was fine drinking on my own. We brought granola bars and snacks with us and by this point I was feeling drained, I ate a fiber one bar just to keep up my strength but it was hard getting it down. At 1100 Dr. Elmore came back and check me again, I was 5 cm open but feeling the urge the push. I was so sure Iʼd be almost fully open so hearing her say 5 was crushing.
" At that point I started to wonder whether I would have enough power to push the baby out when the time came. It was such a marathon. There were sounds coming from somewhere way deep within and it all felt so primal. I was grunting and growling and low moaning, while my power team kept the steady pressure on my back. It was really a team effort. I was fighting the urge to push, itʼs dangerous to push when youʼre not fully open because the cervix can actually tear, which will lead to Cesarean, and because a breech babyʼs head is the last and biggest part to come and if youʼre not all the way open it could get ugly. Rosie taught me how to “keep the feather in the air” and it was one of the hardest things Iʼve ever done. My whole body was bearing down, this incredible force just taking over and I had to fight with every ounce of strength and discipline I had in my body to counteract that force. By 1300 I was at 7 cm, and again, couldnʼt believe it still wasnʼt time to push! This was getting insane. Rosie told me not to think about it, she could tell we were right there. She promised it wouldnʼt be long and I prayed to God she was right. I figured I could only go on so long, but I knew I would see this through or literally die trying. I can be a bit dramatic at times. I wanted to go back to the shower. Babyʼs heartbeat had been great the whole time, and even though I leaked water and meconium the whole time after we left the triage room, the DR wasnʼt worried because it was normal with breeches. Theyʼre little butts get squeezed with every contraction and mine was no different.
" Another great example of what an Angel we found in Rosie, she followed me around making sure to clean up so I wouldnʼt get disgusted. I made it to the shower and all of a sudden I couldnʼt fight it any longer. My body was pushing and grunting and I tried with all my might to stop it but it was like I was on auto pilot. I told Greg and Rosie this baby was coming, to get the Dr. now! My biggest fear was that Iʼd run out of strength halfway through getting baby out and the little head would be trapped. I knew from my reading that it was important to get the head out pretty fast once the cord had passed through, it gets compressed in the birth canal and restricts the oxygen to baby so it all needs to happen relatively quick. Somehow none of that was important now, nothing else existed outside of my own body. I got back to the bed and didnʼt have time to put my gown back on. I was on my knees facing the head of the bed and Rosie sat it all the way upright and had me lean on it with my elbows.
" The anesthesiologist showed up, he was supposed to prep me for an epidural just in case we had to have an emergency Cesarean, I was also supposed to give birth in the OR as a precaution. Greg leaned in and told me that the Anesthesiologist was there and I growled at him what for! Then there was this incredible force that just totally consumed me, and everybody sort of disappeared.
" The noises got more and more raw. The midwife checked me and a minute later she was whispering the sweetest words into my ear… “You are fully dilated, you can push now.” I never heard anything so welcome. Greg was there at my side, encouraging me all the way, and Rosie too. I started pushing and they told me to stop!
Wait for the DR! I thought, you have got to be shitting me! I felt this insane pressure and burning, this weight bearing down. Then she was there, but still they said wait! The babyʼs butt was crowning! She has to get her gloves on! I wanted to scream how fucking long does it take to put gloves on?! Iʼm proud to say I was able to hold that back to a low roar and then finally I got the green light. The midwife or Rosie, itʼs a blur now, told me I could reach down and feel my baby.
" For a second everything slowed down, and I reached down with such trepidation, afraid of what Iʼd find. Then I felt that tiny butt! My mind whirled, all I could say or think was Oh my God, Oh my God. It felt holy in a way, it was surreal. The second passed and I was pushing again, pushing with everything I had left to give. I heard when her legs and arms were out, and then from voices all around me I was told to push! Greg said, “If youʼre ever going to push you have to push now!” The DR, the midwife, Rosie, everyone was telling me to push, get that head out! For a moment there was doubt, there was fear greater than anything Iʼd ever felt, I had nothing left. In that moment I didnʼt have to pray, my heart was an open book bleeding out to God… I closed my eyes and concentrated every effort, every thought on this one thing, and I knew we were being prayed for in that instant, and I let go without even feeling any more… Just willing this baby out of me. And then it was done. The pressure and the burning were gone. There was this huge release, and then nothing.
" I was facing the head of the bed, and I had birthed the baby on my knees so I didnʼt see when it was finally over, I was suddenly staring at the wall. There was no noise then, it was silent, and I was scared again. Why wasnʼt my baby crying? I looked behind me and there was Greg, staring at me in disbelief. I yelled at him to see the baby, he snapped out of his trance quickly. Then Rosie told Greg to announce the sex of the baby to mom! He looked from our tiny baby to me, I still couldnʼt see because there was a 5 man team of DRs and nurses just for the baby blocking my view. He tried to say something but tears just filled his eyes. Then he mouthed, “I was right.” We had a little girl! She was okay, just needed a little help getting started. They handed her to me wrapped in a blanket with a little hat on, she was alert and wide eyed. I was stunned at her beauty, she was so tiny and perfect. I counted ten tiny fingers and toes, they were blue but getting pinker. I couldnʼt believe it was over. I couldnʼt believe we had a daughter.
" What an incredible honor, what a powerful trip it was seeing her into this world. I am forever grateful for the people we were surrounded by, for sweet Rosie, and my awesome husband. For our angel Dr. Elmore and the whole staff that morning. To God for bestowing this precious treasure upon me, Iʼll never understand why sheʼs been given to me. But Iʼll fight every day for the rest of my life to keep her safe, to take care of her, to be there. My precious baby girl was born on August 16th, 2011 at 1521 at the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton. She was 6 pounds 7 ounces and 18.5ʼʻ long. We named her a week later, Rose Ellice Woods.
Tags: 2cm dilated, Active Birth, acupuncture, baby, Birth Emergency Skills Training, Bradley Method Classes, breech, Breech Birth by Benna Waites, Cesarean for a breech, Chiropractor, Christian, contractionsDr. Elmore, doula, Dr. Stuart Fischbein, electronic fetal monitor, Elizabeth Davis, external version, Gestational Diabetes, Heart and Hands, Janet Balaskas, Los Angeles Obstetrician, moxibustion, Naval hospital, Non-stress test, NST, pregnant, primipara, Rebozo Due date, Rosie Peterson, turn a breech, vertex, Webster technique
Posted in Natural Birth Stories |
Lily's story started on new years day (Sunday) when I lost my mucus plug…I then noticed my first contraction early Tuesday morning around 4:30 am but nothing intense. I took it easy on Tuesday and noticed that the contractions were more intense but still totally manageable on Wednesday when I ran errands most of the day (chiropractor, lunch with a girlfriend, hair appointment, dinner with Brian)…Wednesday night their intensity continued to increase as I frequently woke up throughout the night and moved to an all fours position or got up to walk around to breathe through them…this continued into the morning as I attempted to fold the baby clothes I had washed for hours without accomplishing much – I continued to change positions and breathe through the contractions wondering how intense they would get. At this point (around noon or so on Thursday) I decided to take a bath and listen to one of the meditation CDs from yoga class. This definitely helped me to stay in the right mindset and relax. I was in the tub for about an hour and it definitely took the edge off. Once I got out, things kicked in quickly and I had Brian call the midwife. She wanted to talk to me and I quickly realized that I was no longer able to talk when a contraction hit…My contractions were definitely about 4 mins apart at this point and I was starting to feel the urge to push…She told us to come in and we made our way to TriCity in the 2 o'clock hour…By the time I was checked in, changed and was checked by my midwife, Mimi, it was close to 3:00. She told me that the baby's head was right there and that I could push when I was ready…Once I wrapped my head around the fact that it was go time, Mimi, Brian, and the nurse coached me through pushing and Lily was born at 3:58 pm naturally in a calm environment. The lights in the room were dimmed for me and all of my requests for her birth were totally supported by the midwife and nurse. There were other hospital staff in the periphery standing by during the delivery as Lily was over a month early, but they did not disrupt the serenity of the environment. I was pleasantly surprised by such a positive experience as I had been reluctant to birth in the hospital setting. I had been hoping to have the baby at Best Start Birth Center – but this was not an option once Lily decided to come early (you have to be at least 37 weeks to give birth there and I was 35 and 1/2).
Lily was totally alert and was on my chest immediately after she was born. She weighed 6 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19 inches long…10 weeks later she is doing awesome and getting so big!!!
I don't think I could have had such a such a calm, peaceful birth without your prenatal yoga and Bradley classes! Turning inward, listening to my body and using my breath to manage contractions definitely helped me be able to have the birth I was so hoping for
Carrie's Advice for you:
1 What was the most challenging part of your labor or birth?
I would have to say pushing or knowing how to push – that is when I felt like I really needed coaching and support/encouragement the most…having my midwife, Mimi, to guide me through what to do at that point and Brian next to me for support was key. That was the only point when I questioned whether or not I would be able to do it. I also believe that the techniques Mimi used during delivery was the reason I did not tear.
2. What was the most helpful thing either you did or someone else did for you? Taking a bath and listening to that Anugama CD helped me to relax and create the space to prepare myself mentally for birth. I also believe it was helpful to not have someone checking to see how dilated I was so I never got caught up in the mindset that labor was not progressing – it truly moved at it's own rate.
3. What advice would you give another pregnant mom?
Take the time to relax and create the space for labor to unfold as it will however that looks for you. Also, as much as I love my family, I also knew that I did not want them around during my labor and delivery. When the time came, it was just Brian, Mimi (midwife) and a nurse with me and it was a very peaceful, calm experience (in a hospital)!
4. Would you do anything differently?
I probably would have experimented with a squatting or all fours position to push as I feel like it would have been a more natural position to give birth. By the time I got situated, I found myself in a side-lying position and was not inclined to try another position once I started to push. However this position did work out well in the end, so I'm not sure I would have changed that
Tags: baby, Best Start Birth Center, birth, birth ball, birth center, Bradley Method, doula, hospital, labor and birth, midwife, natural birth, pregnancy, prenatal yoga, relaxation in labor, squatting for birth, unmedicated, www.yogajanda.com
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Natural Birth Stories |
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 |
www.sara.embracinglabor.com Nicole and Chris Fortunato hired me as their birth doula several months before their Feb. 9th due date. It was clear from the start that this was a couple who was willing to do what it takes to give their baby the best start possible. Nicole taking breaks from her busy work schedule to take birth classes and educate herself about childbirth, Chris standing by, ready to do whatever Nicole needed to have a successful unmedicated birth. At our prenatal visit we talked about birth plans and relaxation techniques. Nicole stated that her main reason for hiring me was to have someone to help her relax, something she would prove to be great at doing on her own when labor would begin.
Friday Jan. 27th I received a text from chris letting me know that Nicole had began to experience some contractions. He told me that they were still manageable and he would notify my when they became stronger and closer together. At around 11:30pm Jan 27th I received a phone call that Nicole's contractions were getting much stronger and about 3-4 min. apart. Chris told me that Nicole was getting anxious and thinking about going to the hospital. I reminded them that they wanted to stay home as long as possible and told them that I was on my way.
I arrived at the Fortunato home at around 12:30am Jan 28th and was told Nicole was upstairs. When I entered the bedroom Nicole was bent forward over the bed breathing through a contraction. Between contractions she told me she was experience a lot of back pain an was very tired from being up on her feet all night. We spent the next couple of hours walking the halls between contractions. Nicole took several showers and reported that it helped with the pain. As each wave of contractions came Nicole fell into natural rhythmic breathing and opened her palms upward. She later told me she was remembering what she learned in yoga and telling herself 'open palms, receiving grace'. As the morning carried on Nicole reported being more and more tired. She tried laying down and resting for a while and experienced some pretty intense contractions while laying down. She got up to walk around again around 7 am. Shortly after her contractions seemed to decrease in intensity and in length. Nicole used this time to rest in the chair for a while.
When contractions didn’t resume their previous strength and succession we decided to go for a walk outside. Nicole experienced some contractions during the walk but still not like she had overnight. We went inside and Nicole rested on the chair and was able to eat some light snacks and some water. Around 11am when contractions still hadn’t resumed Nicole decided to try acupuncture to help move things along. Chris made an appointment at 'Oceanside Acupuncture Clinic' where they were nice enough to come in on the weekend to help Nicole out. They used points meant to help soften the cervix and it seemed to help Nicole reach a place of calm. After we went for a long walk on the beach at buccaneer park where Nicole continued to experience some contractions about 10min. Apart lasting about 30 sec. When we returned home we talked about why Nicole's labor may have slowed. I explained that while what she was experiencing last night was real labor, her body seemed to be taking a break and would probably pick back up again when it was ready. I suggested that Nicole rest while she could because she most likely would have a lot of work to do that night. We all took the time to rest for several hours. Nicole was able to sleep from about 3pm until around 11pm that night. At 11pm her contractions started up again quick and strong.
At 12am Jan. 29th Nicole reported being ready to go to the hospital and it was clear that this time she was ready. She was no longer talking through or between her contractions and was using all of her energy and focus to breath through each wave. At this point Nicole reported being very cold and shivering. We loaded up the care and headed over to Scripps Hospital Encinitas. When we arrived at the hospital Nicole was so tired and shaky that she took a wheelchair from outside of the hospital into the birth pavilion.
When we arrived at the Hospital we were put in Labor and Delivery room 2. Nicole was given a cervical exam and was already dilated to 6cm! She was then hooked up to external fetal monitors and given an IV and antibiotics for her postie strep B. culture. The nurses reported that Nicole was very dehydrated. Nicole was told she would need to stay on the monitors for 20 min. After 20 min. the nurses reported that they were not able to get a good read on the baby and that Nicole would need stay on the monitor. They also took her temperature and discovered that she had a temperature. They later confirmed that she had a urine infection. The baby’s heart read a little flat and so Nicole was required to stay on the external monitor and IV throughout her labor. Nicole’s Dr., Dr. Zaid was not on call that night she as attended to by Dr. Truong.
During labor Nicole experienced a lot of back pain. Chris did a great job of doing hip compressions while Nicole was laying in bed and seated on the ball. Nicole did a great job moving despite the limitations of the monitors and switched from side to side, sat on the side of the bed and sat on the birth ball. At 4 am Nicole was checked and had progressed to 7cm. We worked through breathing and used tennis balls to help relieve some back pain. At this point nicole was getting very tired and had to be reminded often that she was doing a great job and the baby was coming soon! As contractions grew stronger and closer together Nicole continued to practice her breathing techniques and did a great job of staying focused and centered throughout transition. Her nurse would later comment that watching her deal with her labor had made her consider having her next child unmedicated.
At Approx. 8am Nicole was checked and was still at 8 cm. Dr. Truong suggested that Nicole was not progressing at a fast enough rate and was in need of petocin. Nicole and Chris asked for some time to think about it. Shortly after her cervical check Nicole got up to use the bathroom. She then reported the urge to push! Nicole then moved back to bed and reported that these contractions were different. Nicole was checked and told she was aloud to push at 9:25am. Nicole got into a hands a knees position on the bed and pushed for a while. She did great at continuing her breathing. It was clear that pushing was very intense for Nicole but she handled it wonderfully. She then moved to a squatting position with the squat bar and this seemed to really move things along. It was only 3 or 4 pushes on the bar and the baby’s head appeared. Because Nicole began to tear the nurses ask that she lean back on the bed and breath through the pushing urge to allow her perineum time to stretch. At this point the urge was so strong that I needed to help guide Nicole’s breathing. Chris did a great job of encouraging Nicole along and announced with Joy that the baby was coming and he could see the head. Because of how quickly Nicole went from 8cm to crowning her Dr. was not able to be there in time for the delivery. Dr. Miller was called in. Dr. miller didn’t even have time to change her clothes and threw on a surgical gown over he street clothes and told Nicole she was allowed to push. Within 2 pushes the baby was born at 9:59am at 18.5 inches weighing 6 pounds 10 oz. The dr. placed the baby onto Nicole and and Chris and Nicole admired their new baby boy. Once the placenta was delivered and the cord stopped pulsing Chris was able to cute the chord.
Nicole tore slightly during the pushing and by this time Dr. Truong had arrived. Dr. Truong saw some clots she was concerned about and went in for a uterine sweep. She found some pieces of the placenta left and had to go back in 4 more times. Nicole was very brave and refused morphine even when offered several times because she didn’t want anything to interfere with here awareness as she bonded with her new baby. Once this was over the baby was placed on Nicole’s chest and before long breastfeeding was established.
I was so blessed to be a part of this beautiful birth. Nicole handled her contractions with amazing calm and focus. Chris was so supportive and was always ready with words of encouragement and even the occasional joke. Gianni Angelo Fortunato made a beautiful unmedicated entrance into the world and it was clear right from the start that he is very loved.
Tags: Back pain in pregnancy, birth, birth ball, Bradley Method, breathing, doula, dr treuong, dr. said, full term pregnancy, hospital, labor, Liza Janda, natural, natural birth, pain in labor, positive birth stories, prenatal yoga, relaxation in labor, unmedicated, www.yogajanda.com
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Natural Birth Stories |
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 |
The Internet has become a place where we can learn skills and acquire vast amounts of knowledge. I learned how to make homemade Christmas ornaments, my daughter learned how to finger crochet and one of my former high school students learned how to do a back flip all from watching YouTube videos. Many couples these days are even learning about how to give birth from articles on the Internet, instead of attending childbirth classes.
So what is the big deal? If you can learn it all from the comfort of your own home, why not learn about the different stages of labor from online articles, or better yet, why not take an online pregnancy class? Well, speaking as a mom and a childbirth educator, I have some strong feelings on this topic.
First of all, let me tell you what students have said after taking a series of childbirth classes. A mom-to-be said, “This class helped us through so much not only by teaching us what to expect with our pregnancy and labor but by also providing us with resources for after the baby was born! When we were expecting our second baby, we took the class again for the wonderful experience and because we loved the idea of having time each week dedicated to our baby on the way.” And a dad-to-be shared this, “I learned so much! I came into this clueless. Now I can help because of what I learned.”
When my husband and I were pregnant with our first baby, we were fairly uneasy and somewhat frightened by thoughts of labor and delivery. We chose to take natural childbirth classes that were recommended to us by a friend. Boy, are we ever glad we signed up! The childbirth classes were packed with information that was enormously helpful. The class focused on the stages of labor, skills to handle the sensations of labor, and how to avoid interventions and unnecessary pain. Once the 12 weeks were over (yes, our childbirth class was three months long!) we were empowered, confident and ready for the amazing experience of birth. Because of that class, I decided to become a childbirth educator myself.
I have come to love the information I share with couples, but when I look back on our childbirth education days (nearly seven years ago, now), my most treasured aspect of the class was the friendships I formed. Tracy, Tori, Jamie and Nancy became a magic foursome that later included Jenna, our “adopted” friend who didn’t take birthing classes with us, but shared many of the same parenting ideas we did; we were “The Mommas and Babies.” Because of those three months—the special months of preparing to be mothers—a special bond was formed between us. The focus in pregnancy can be so geared to the day/s of birth, that once you have that little baby in your arms, you think “Now what?” That group of women helped me with the “Now what?” questions that came with parenting our little bundle of pink.
Yes, childbirth education is a necessary step in preparing yourself for the birth of your baby, but forming a community with other parents in the same stage of life is important, too. The Mommas and Babies have dispersed due to job changes that resulted in moves, but we still keep in touch and look back on those first years of motherhood together with so much joy and thankfulness. My birthing experience and the first years of my daughter’s life were so much richer because of the dialogue, friendships, information, and person-to-person experiences that came as a result of our childbirth class.
Nancy Halseide is the managing editor for Midwifery Today and mother of two beautiful little pearls. Nancy is also a childbirth educator and co-owner of Eugene Birth Education.
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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 |
My contractions started on Sunday night after a long day with the family @ Sea World. Even though Garrett pushed me around in a wheelchair all day, I was still exhausted when we got home and started having contractions around midnight that were every 5-7 minutes apart. I woke up on Monday morning and the contractions had pretty much died down, maybe one an hour off and on throughout the day. This continued on until Wednesday afternoon when I had my prenatal appt. @ Dr. Cap's office. He checked me and I was 3 cm dialated and contracting about 4-6 times an hour. We discussed how I could start labor at any time but it may takes days or even weeks. We decided that he would just "stretch" my cervix a little bit and see if it helped moved things along. I was OK with this idea because it had been a long week already and I was VERY ready to get the whole thing going. Dr. Cap assured me that if the baby wasn't ready to come out, then the "stretching" wouldn't do anything, but if she was…. then we might have a baby soon By 9:00 that night, my contractions were getting stronger and more regular. I was able to download a contraction app. on my sister's I-phone (highly recommended!!!) and could soon tell that things were progressing along and that I was in the first stages of early labor. I was able to relax through them and began packing my bags and preparing the house for the baby's arrival. I tried to lay down and sleep from about 11-2 AM and was able to get some rest in between the tightening in my uterus. At around 2 AM I woke Garrett up and told him that I was definetely in labor and that we should probably get out all of our worksheets and handouts from class (which I had organized in a binder and put in the suitcase for the hospital). I was surprised at how well I was able to relax through each contraction and how minimal the pain was compared to what I thought it was gong to be. My doula and i texted back and forth all night and she offered to come over to help me but I was totally fine and told her I would call her when we felt it was time to go to the hospital. Now this is when it got a little tricky….. we kept going back and forth about when we should leave the house!!! The most helpful thing to us in making our decision was the hand out you gave us early on in the class that described the physical and emotional signs of true labor. Even though my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, I was still talking, laughing, and was even able to braid my hair! We decided that we could probably hang out at home at least until I couldn't talk through the contractions so I hopped in the bathtub. I was probably in the tub for about an hour and Garrett was massaging my back when my water broke. Immediately after that, things definitely started to pick up and I could feel myself getting more serious and unable to form complete sentences! the contractions were getting stronger but I was still definitely able to handle them and relax through them by leaning over the counter and kind of squatting my legs (not sure if that's an official Bradley position but it worked for me!). We headed for the hospital around 6:00 AM and the car ride was NOT FUN! I ended up sitting backwards on the seat holding onto the headrest with a pillow under my rear end for support. You were right when you said that there is no way to be comfortable in the car! Every bump intensifies labor but my race car driver husband was able to get us there in no time and I made it through. By the time I got to the hospital, my doula was waiting out front for us to help us get our things and get checked into labor & delivery. She took one look at me and knew that we didn't have much time! I had 4 contractions on the way into the hospital and was cussing like a sailor in the hallways probably scaring all of the other patients. I have to say that the last hour was really the only part the threw me for a loop. The contractions were bearable but everything seemed to get much more intense in that last hour. I got into the delivery room and the nurse hooked me up to a few monitors while I sat on top of the bed on all fours. She checked me and I was already @ 9.5 cm! I have to admit, I still begged the nurse for an epidural My doula reminded me that I was in transition and that it is very common to doubt yourself at this point in the labor. I really didn't believe her but didn't get much of a chance to argue because it was time to push! The only problem with pushing was that my doctor wasn't there yet! I totally forgot to mention that in all of the time I was at home, I was in constant communication with my doula. I even let her know when we were in the car on our way to the hospital. We were about 10 minutes from the hospital when I realized that we forgot to call Dr. Cap. and let him know that we were on our way! Luckily for us, he lives less than 2 miles from Scripps Encinitas and came in just as I started to push. This was probably the scariest part of the whole labor for me because it was something my body was doing on it's own that I really seemed to have no control over. The only way I can describe it is that it is the most REAL LIFE feeling in the world! The intensity of the whole thing scared me and each time I had a contraction, I remember thinking how there was no way that I could do this! I guess I kept saying it out loud, because my doula kept reminding me that I was already doing it! My husband was amazing through the whole process and was such a great support. He held my hands, rubbed my back, and just kept telling me that I was doing a wonderful job and that the baby would be here soon. Garrett held my hands while I pushed little Brooklyn out into this world and it was the most amazing feeling in the world to hold my beautiful baby girl!!!! Thank you Liza for helping me change my whole birth experience 180 degrees!!! I will always be greatful for finding you and for the wonderful information you provided to help us make the right decision for our family
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 |
These are the Bradley Birth Stories of Another Bradley Instructor
My name is Julie and I am a stay-at-homeschooling mom to six beautiful children. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in the Science of Nursing which afforded me the opportunity to work on the labor and delivery floor as well as the newborn nursery of our local hospitals. Thankfully, in the years before I was married and began having children, I realized a very obvious difference in birthing women: those who were medicated just didn’t have that same twinkle in their eyes that the natural birthing moms had; and, babies were asleep versus alert and bonding.
These realizations lead me to seek out a natural-minded physician with my first pregnancy. She suggested I attend a Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth® class and our first son was born, in a hospital, epidural-free, in December of 1994. Unfortunately, a new doctor joined the group just before our birth, and we had to stand our ground on no episiotomy, no pitocin, etc. to achieve the birth we’d long desired.
After Alec’s birth, I sought out a new doctor practice. It was a blessing since soon after finding our new doctor, I became pregnant with twins. Here is the birth story of our twins, Noah and Nathan, born December 30th, 1997.
I was diagnosed as having a twin pregnancy at just 8 weeks gestation. I began having Braxton Hicks contractions just before 12 weeks gestation; by 19 weeks I was leaking colostrum. Being a Bradley Method® Instructor, I felt very strongly about pregnancy and birth being a natural process. After all, twins are a natural occurrence and there is no reason to believe that a twin pregnancy should be considered any more high risk than a singleton. I stayed away from all those multiple books that talked only of bed rest, scheduling the c-section and visiting the NICU ahead of time to become familiar with the surroundings. Instead, I surrounded myself with my very supportive husband, family, friends and doctor – no mention of bed rest or c-section was ever made. I followed Dr. Tom Brewer’s advice on protein consumption of 125gms minimum.
I had a routine US at 24 weeks and a follow-up at 36 weeks. For the few weeks before their birth, my contractions increased greatly in strength and frequency. On Saturday, Dec. 20th (Alec’s 3rd birthday) my contractions seemed to be staying the same as they had all week – start early in the morning then ease by lunch and pick back up around dinner continuing until around midnight.
Sunday, the 21st, my contractions became 3 minutes apart regularly and were at least 45 seconds long, but I still didn't call my doctor; by late that night my contractions spaced enough for me to fall fast asleep. This pattern continued and I went for my regular check-up on Tuesday the 23rd. I was still having contractions, as he noticed, so he checked me to find that I was 2cm and 30% effaced. He re-affirmed his belief in the natural process. I was happy to have what I knew would be the last few days with my babies safe and happy, warm and comfortable, inside me – yes we were cramped for space, but there was also a lot of love between the three of us.
Sunday, December 28th, I began spotting and contractions continued until bedtime. I awoke on Monday morning with sharp cramping and dark, bloody show. I fell asleep at just about midnight only to be awakened by very active contractions at 2am, Tuesday morning. By 5:30am contractions were 1 minute long and 3 minutes apart. I felt tremendous rectal pressure, as well as back and belly hugs.
We called Dr. at 7:30am to let him know what was going on and that I wouldn't make it into the office for my appt. We got to the hospital around 11:30am to find I was 100% effaced and 5cm. When Dr. got there, not long behind us, he found Baby A (Noah) to be posterior, which I already knew (there's no denying a posterior baby) and he began helping with counter pressure.
By 3pm I just had to push. At this point, my water was leaking and I wanted to push in the bathroom (I was free of everything — no IV's, locks, monitors, nothing — no one argued with me have anything attached at all).
I began pushing very forcefully on the toilet and my nurse, standing in the doorway, was looking quite nervous. She kept looking in at me while I was pushing, then out at my doctor, who was rolling around on the little stool… he told her I could do whatever I wanted and that it would be fine.
I asked where Noah's head was when I had first gone into the bathroom; the nurse asked Dr. and he said +3!!!!! After a couple more contractions, I really felt the need to lie on my side; much to the surprise of everyone – they expected me to squat – I just told them that I HAD TO LAY DOWN, SOMETHING WAS TELLING ME TO LAY DOWN AND TAKE IT SLOW!!
At 4:24pm Noah was born; he had the cord wrapped twice tightly around his neck and once around his chest – this was no emergency, but part of the natural process – by lying on my side, which my body was telling me to do, I was able to give birth slowly and gently. I was able to feel Noah's head emerge – so warm, wet and wrinkly with lots of hair… just so special! I grabbed his wet little body and pulled him up to my breast… his wide eyes looked up at me and he began to nurse immediately.
After about 10 minutes, contractions resumed. I asked how dilated I was and my doctor said 8cm, but that with one push my cervix would open right back up (it's the pressure of the head that keeps it open). The nurses all wanted to do an ultrasound to see if Nathan was breech or vertex, but my doctor said it didn't matter, that he'd be fine.
I began pushing, which was very hard since my stomach muscles were so tired (my doc. likened it to doing 500 sit-ups and then being asked to do a few more). Nathan was born, head-first, at 5:54pm. The boys were exactly 30 minutes apart on December the 30th. Nathan also nursed immediately.
Noah was born December 30th at 5:24pm weighing 5 pounds 2 ounces.
Nathan was born December 30th at 5:54pm weighing 6 pounds 1 ounce.
My birth experience was a great one, as I had a wonderful doctor who NEVER EVER treated me like I was high risk. He, like my husband and I, believe that twins are natural, just as a singleton. Women were meant to have babies; we were born to give birth; we were made to easily feed two babies. I felt completely supported throughout the pregnancy; never any talk of bed-rest, c-sections, or other complications. I remained very active, moving into our new house at 36 weeks and digging in my front yard (you’ve got to have tulips in the spring) at 37 weeks!
I knew that I was doing the very best for my babies by working on having a healthy pregnancy and giving my babies the gift of birth; a natural birth. I turned my pregnancy over to God and felt a great sense of peace. This was, however, the last of my hospital births, as the next three children were born in the comfort of our home attended by myself and their father.
Our twins were exclusively breastfed for almost 10 months. They continued nursing until Nathan was 2yrs. 3 mos. and Noah was 2yrs. 9mos. - which was when they decided to wean themselves (just a week before our fourth child was born).
Nursing babies long enough for them to become good talkers also lends itself to some interesting discoveries. For instance, because I became pregnant about the time of their second birthday, I learned, via their private mini-conference across my lap, that my milk changed during the 18th week of pregnancy with their sister J. This discovery was made when Noah latched on, began to nurse and then quickly pulled off. He ran to get Nathan. They both latched on looking across at each other. Then Nathan pulled off stating, “different” and Noah added, “good!” That, was priceless.
Since the birth of Noah and Nathan, we have been blessed with 3 peaceful homebirths:
Claire was born in October of 2000. She waited till 41weeks to make her grand and beautiful appearance and emerged into our dimly lit bedroom with her daddy catching. She weighed 8 pounds and exclusively breastfed for over 15 months. She self-weaned after 3 years of age.
Aidan was born a healthy 9pounds and 2ounces in August of 2003 after a brief, but intense, 4 hours of active labor; though he’d waited 43 weeks to that point. His big sister just happened to wake up (at 2:30am) in time to see his head crown, followed by that wonderfully warm and slippery body slide out into daddy’s hands.
Claire exclaimed the next morning, when her brothers mentioned how lucky she was to see “the baby come out of mommy’s belly”, that, “He did not come out of mommy’s belly!”
Aidan is still nursing as I type (20 months).
AvaGrace was born in February of 2005. Her birth was witnessed not only by her daddy, but also her three oldest brothers. They spent the day of her labor doing their lessons at the kitchen table and waited until they heard me proclaim, “She’s coming!”
All four boys – daddy included – lined up across the bathtub step to watch as I squatted on the floor and gently birthed our second daughter, this time into my own hands. I immediately sat down, scooped her up close to me and stared deeply into those awesome, love-filled eyes.
Shortly after her birth, the placenta passed and, leaving the cord and placenta attached, I took my baby into the warm bath where she began nursing (of course she is still nursing as she is presently only 3 months old).
There is nothing so special as to be the first to touch and hold your babies; to catch their gaze and stare into those angel eyes, so trusting; to be able to give the gift of birth instead of having your baby “delivered”; to be able to share the joyous experience with the whole family; to be able to cuddle, as a family, in the comfort of your own bed and share a meal in celebration.