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
These were comments I gathered by sending out a survey. These comments answered the question, "What is the most important thing an expectant mother needs to know about labor and birth?" Here are the answers:
1. That birth is something you do WITH your child –and that making informed, thoughtful, open choices about the way she wants to experience birth with her child is the first step in building a relationship of respect, trust, and communication.
2. Don’t worry when everything doesn’t go as planned.
3. Having a support to advocate for your wishes/birth plan is necessary! Also- your body is amazing & can get you through so much
4. That things don't always go as planned so keep an open mind.
5. How to be empowered by birth and not afraid.
6. Be informed. Practice yoga. Ask for help. See a lactation consultant if breastfeeding.
7. Home birth is a safe option.
8. Cannot be controlled. Give in to the experience. Have support!
9. It is a natural process that you are equipped to do. It is important to understand all the options and possible turns your birth can take and make sure you are in a safe (emotionally and physically – medical support available) and supportive environment for your choices.
10. It hurts! But that the contractions hurt the baby too (note from Liza: contractions don't hurt the baby at all. They actually stimulate the immune system, the circulation, prepare the lungs for breathing, turn baby and help baby descend into the correct position for birth. Labor is actually good for your baby.If you want to know more about this see:http://www.sarahbuckley.com/pain-in-labour-your-hormones-are-your-helpers/ ) and you're both in it together and it's helping to get them out of there. And not to lie in bed! Use gravity.
11. Your choices.
12. Be informed. If delivering at a hospital, get a doula!!
13. Even if you don't want to C-section strongly sometimes happen so be prepare any worse situation so you don't panic. Also get support as possible as you can.
14. Medicated birth is harmful to you and your baby and should be avoided by all means possible. True emergencies take place is 3% (or less) of births and midwives are trained to handle them safely or get you the help you need to keep you and your baby safe.
15. Having a birth plan and trying her best to stay with it, allowing flexibility for the best and safest outcome for Mom and baby!
16. It is going to hurt, but it is only temporary! It is a marathon. Think about how amazing the finish line is!
17. Do not get talked into anything but ask lots of questions before consenting to things
18. To keep an open mind, sometimes birth plans do not go accordingly and to listen to the doctor's
19. Know your choices!
20. Relax, get out of the way and let your body do what it was made to do.
21. That her body was built to do it and to trust what her body tells her.
22. Be informed about ALL labor and birth options available. Understand the different procedure options, medications, and know your rights as a mother AND patient.
23. Natural birth was the most incredible experience, and my midwife, nurse, and most importantly my husband made it that way. Having a detailed birth plan that my midwife supported and defended the day we were birthing was critical to making sure that our birth went the way we had hoped it would.
24. Labor and delivery is doable and very empowering.
25. Breathing is very important. So your nerves can stay calm and the contraction won't be so intense. The more you tense up on a contraction, the more of each contraction will be as painful.
26. Your body was made to do it, you CAN do it!
27. Prepare for your labor as much as you can (with classes, information, working out), but be flexible because it will not go according to your plan
28. Expect the unexpected, no matter how well you prepare or how you imagine your birth experience will be your body and the baby has it's own plan.
29. Real facts and happenings about/in labor and birth.
30. It's not a medical procedure. Your body is made to do it.
31. Say what you want/need regardless of whom it upsets. Stay focused and remember to keep breathing.
32. Have a good support system and be prepared for anything. You don’t always get what you want.
33. Your body knows what it is doing. Don't stress out about it…let things progress naturally!
34. TO be prepared for the unexpected and to be open to what needs to be done for the safety of the baby.
35. To be well informed off all possibilities and options
36. That the mother makes the decisions, not the nurses, and that staying calm and relaxed is the key to a better experience. Have a great support person with you.
37. It doesn't always go the way you plan it to.
38. I think it is just important to be informed about the process and options available. The more you know, the less room there is to be fearful.
39. Your care provider is the number one factor in determining your birth outcome. Choose wisely and change if you don't feel supported in your decisions.
Get educated. Good luck! Happy Birthing!
Get educated. Good luck! Happy Birthing!
Tags: body, breathing, child, communication, expectant mother's advice, home birth, hurts, informed, labor and birth, medical procedure, natural, normal, pain, relax, respect, support in labor, trust, unexpected, use gravity, yoga, your choice
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, VBAC |
This article is about how to create and set an intention for the birth of your child. Most people don’t even think about this. The majority of American women are fearful of labor, feel the need to be spared expected suffering, assume the doctor knows best, and assume that medication in labor is safe with little or no risks. “ I’ll just do whatever the doctor says. The doctor will know exactly what is best for me and my baby.” Or they may be told, “ Get the epidural as soon as possible. There is no need to be a martyr.”
Each mother and each baby and each birth is different. But the potential for a powerful, transformative, normal, and natural experience is there in each and every birth. “Giving birth as nature intended is not “biting the bullet and letting it happen.”” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595040/
Preparing for the birth of your child takes time, commitment, and education. I’ve been teaching the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth for 16 years. The one thing you can count on in childbirth is the unexpected, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the loftiest goals paired with the ability to be flexible. Read on for steps to set your intention for your birth and create the best “Birth Day” ever.
1. Get clear about the birth you want and write it down. Examples:
· “I want to give birth to a baby who has no drugs in his/her system”
· “I will stay home so that when I arrive at my birth place, I will be completely dilated.”
· “I will be patient with labor and know it can take a long time.”
· “I plan to have a natural birth but I will be flexible since a healthy baby is the ultimate goal.”
· “I plan to stay home as long as I possibly can”
· “I will go into labor at 9 Am and give birth at 4 PM”
· Write down YOUR OWN INTENTION:
2. Share your intention with someone who will support you, but also hold you accountable.
Write it down
· Share it with your doula
· Share it with your coach and anyone else who will be at the birth
· Share it with the medical staff when you arrive at your birth place. Give them a copy of your birth plan and ask,” Can you help me have a natural birth?”
· Write a birth plan. Have your doctor sign it. Have a copy at the doctor’s office, at the birth place, and with you when you arrive at your birth place.
· Say it out loud and talk about it and discuss it with your birth support
3. Do something today to demonstrate your commitment to your intention.
· Ask yourselves if your caregiver and birthplace truly support the outcome you want.
· If you ‘re not sure go to: Questions to Ask Your Care Provider. If you don’t get the answers you want, find another care provider and/or birth place.
· If medication is the usual way of dealing with pain in labor, tour alternatives:
Do a Google search for birth centers, nurse midwives, licensed midwives, doulas, natural birth
· Visualize your birth
· Meditate on it
· Pray about it
· Write your birth story ahead of time and re-read it every day. Include every detail.
4. Acknowledge that you did what you said you would and then, take the next step.
· Write your fears down
· Look at each fear-one at a time, and brainstorm how to get past it.
· Take one small step at a time
“By setting an intention; you make it clear to yourself and others, just what you plan to do. Set an intention to redefine what it means to be serious about your dreams.” Marcia Weider
Tags: baby, back pain, Back pain in pregnancy, beautiful, birth, birth ball, birth center, birth coach, birth place, birth plan, Bradley birth, Bradley Method, breathing, C-section, care provider, delivery, doctor, doula, doula during birth, drugs in birth, epidural, fear of labor, full term pregnancy, home birth, hospital, intention, labor pain, midwife, natural, physician, positive birth story, pregnancy, relaxation in labor
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Yoga and Pregnancy |
A MUST-SEE BEFORE YOU GIVE BIRTH. Order Now!
The story of my third pregnancy is very unique, so let me start at the beginning. Four months after my son, Kaleb was born I started ovulating again. Same thing happened after the birth of my daughter. My husband, Mike and I decided to try natural family planning; although we were pretty sure we were done having children. One day, I realized that I was a couple days late in menstruating. I mentioned this to Mike. That night he did not sleep well because he kept wondering if I might be pregnant. (It is very unusual for me to be late; my cycle tends to run like clockwork.) The very next day, he purchased a pregnancy test. Prior to taking it, I really didn’t think I was pregnant. So next came the test…yep I was pregnant. Shock #1. It took me several days to let it all sink in. And it took me even longer to accept God’s plan for my life. I remember calling my friend Brooke just sobbing and then I felt guilty for sobbing.
See, I’m a person who needs to have control. Both my daughter, Hannah and my son, Kaleb were planned down to the day and it only took one try for us to conceive. I knew what worked best in my schedule and with my plans but now God had totally messed with everything. After several months, I was finally able to accept the new responsibility that God has placed in my life.
I also struggled with the aspect of being pregnant again so soon. After four months, I finally felt like I was getting back to normal. I was back to my original weight. I was getting back into my yoga practice. I was looking forward to a little more freedom and a little more sleep. I was also not mentally prepared to be pregnant again or to give birth again—it was still all too fresh in my mind from my son. Not that my experience with my son was bad but I just wanted to be “normal” for a little bit.
We did not tell our families for quite awhile because we were adjusting to the idea of a third child so soon ourselves. Our son would be only 14 months old when this baby would arrive. We finally told our family through a picture. Hannah drew a picture of our family and then she drew an extra person. I labeled them all and then put ??? next to the 5th person. Our family was totally shocked. Shock #2. When we started telling people they were shocked as well. Shock #3. I had several people say, “Aren’t you still breastfeeding?” And I would answer, “Yes, but you can still get pregnant.” I was amazed at how many people still think you can’t get pregnant if you are nursing. I nursed my daughter until she was about 14 months old. However, with my son I barely made it to 6 months. Nursing and being pregnant was draining my entire body, I physically could no longer do it. Another thing out of my control—not my plan.
My first 2 labors were really fast. One was 6 hours (Hannah’s birth story) and the second was 5 hours (Kaleb’s birth story). I had both of these births at Morning Star Birth Center in Menomonie, WI. I loved the care there, I loved my birth experiences; however, I really wanted to try a homebirth this time. Unfortunately, I lived outside Morning Star’s radius for homebirths. So that led me to search for a new midwife that would do a homebirth. This is when I came across Women Care from Winona, MN. Mike and I met with LeAnn and Brenda and decided this would be a perfect fit.
My entire pregnancy was very similar to my other ones. I didn’t experience any morning sickness, I was gaining the same amount of weight, and I didn’t have weird cravings. At my first prenatal, we noticed I was a little bit bigger than my projected number of weeks pregnant. However, I had only cycled twice prior to conceiving so we weren’t sure if I was on a 28, 29, 30, 31,or 32 day cycle. Therefore, my due date was always a little questionable. We finally settled on February 18th, 2011. LeAnn did discuss having an ultrasound done so we could more accurately nail down my due date. However, we have never had an ultrasound done with our children and didn’t feel the need to really nail down the due date. We felt that the baby would come when it would come. And, we felt that no matter what abnormality an ultrasound showed us that we would still love and care for this child the same way, so why get one done. Now this is an area of control I don’t struggle with. I didn’t need to know that everything was 100% ok and I didn’t need to know what the sex of the baby was either.
About week 36, I mentioned that I felt a lot bigger. My maternity clothes were no longer fitting so I was wearing Mike’s shirts. My fundal height was only 1 to 2 cm different than with my other kids. However, my circumference was a lot different. At 37 weeks, I measured my waist at 42 inches. I was 39 inches with my other two kids the day I went into labor (and with both of them I went 2 days overdue). Everyone just kept telling me that a person is bigger with their third pregnancy.
On the mornings of February 1st and 2nd, I started to have some irregular contractions. I only had sporadic contractions for a couple of hours in the morning on these days and then they would go away after lunch. I thought I was experiencing early labor, which I never experienced with my 1st two pregnancies. My girlfriend, Stephanie had experienced early labor for weeks with her third child. I emailed her and told her what I was experiencing. She said she would start praying for me now because early labor was very frustrating and exhausting for her.
On the morning of February 3rd, I had to teach a Fit City class (an exercise class for people 55 an older), I just prayed that I didn’t have contractions like the previous mornings. And interestingly enough, I did not. That evening, I had just gotten home from running some errands in town and was playing games with my daughter and husband when I had a couple of contractions—very similar to the ones I had the previous mornings. This was about 6:15pm. At 6:30pm, we were down stairs watching Wheel of Fortune and the contractions were coming on a regular basis but they weren’t very long. Mike asked if I was ok and I said yes. At 6:55pm, we decided to call LeAnn and let her know that I was having contractions. We decide to start timing the contractions and LeAnn said she would get back to us in a little while. The timing of the contractions was all over the board. Some contractions would only last 30 seconds and then the next would be over a minute and then they would be back down to 30 seconds. They were only a couple of minutes apart though.
Now, I need to set the stage for what is also happening during all of this. Both of our children were up and Kaleb was getting a little testy because he was tired. Our pellet stove had just gone out and Mike needed to clean it before he could start it again. Now this might not seem like a big deal but our bedroom is downstairs and often very cold. The pellet stove is essential to heating up our room and our bedroom is the room I planned to birth in. We also needed to start getting things ready for the homebirth if I really was in labor, which meant changing sheets and getting out our supplies.
At about 7:15pm Kaleb wanted me to cuddle him but I didn’t even want him around me. Mike decided to take him upstairs to bed. Normally he goes to bed at 8pm. Hannah kept asking me if I was ok and we just said “Momma might be having a baby tonight.” A few minutes after this Mike started stripping the bed, and I walked into our bedroom to help. I had few contractions while lying in bed; they seemed to be getting more intense but not necessarily longer than before. At 7:25pm, I told Mike to call LeAnn because she needed to be here. Immediately after this, I was standing up near our bed and had a huge contraction. During this contraction it almost felt like I needed to push (I think I did push a little) and my water broke. I was still wearing all my clothes and was afraid I was going to get the rug under our bed wet so I started to move off the rug. I told Mike I had to go to the bathroom, which is just a couple feet away from our bed. ( I didn’t mention to him that I felt like I had to push—because that just seems a little crazy.) I was just about to go to the restroom when I had another contraction. This time I stood up and said “Mike the baby is coming.” I reached down and felt the head and gently glided the baby out. Mike immediately grabbed a towel and the baby started to cry. He also got some blankets wrapped around me as I sat on the toilet. Because of the coolness of the bathroom he had to get our space heater and he cranked it up. Shock #4—I just delivered my baby all by myself.
Mike immediately got on the phone with LeAnn to find out what we should do. Now, we did have a sheet titled “What if your midwives don’t make it” but do you think either of us thought to look at the sheet—of course not. LeAnn said to keep the baby warm, skin to skin and just wait until someone got there. However, the baby’s umbilical cord was rather short and I couldn’t bring her up to my torso, so just blankets had to do. After a couple of minutes I said Mike, “I wonder what time the baby was born at.” (Thankfully to cell phone logs we were able to go back through the phone calls exchanged and find out the time of the baby’s birth—7:31pm. ) I sat on the toilet for what seemed like forever. Mike called LeAnn again to ask about the placenta. He wanted to know what he was suppose to do if I delivered it. She told him to catch it. During this call, I started to have a contraction and I stood up so Mike could get the placenta. However, when Mike felt it something didn’t seem right. And then came Shock #5—the biggest of them all. Mike was still on the phone (but by this time he had set it on the floor), “It is another baby.” So Mike delivered baby number 2. I sat back down on the toilet holding not one but now two babies who were wrapped in towels. Mike and I were just stunned. We had NO idea we were having twins. As I waited, I just had to call someone because NO one was going to believe this story. I called my mom. I basically said something like this, “Mom, I don’t have a lot of time. I went into labor. Our midwives didn’t make it so I delivered the baby. And then Mike delivered the second baby. We had twins. (She started crying.) I am not joking. I’m totally serious. Please call Mikes’ parents for us. We are all fine, we are just waiting for the midwives. We will call again soon.” Shock #6!!! A couple minutes later Mike started getting some texts from his dad.
Hannah was around during all of this. We can’t remember exactly what she was doing but she was around. We did ask her to get some towels for us, which she did. I also remember that when I was holding them she wanted to touch the babies but was afraid. We just assured her that she could touch them, which she did. At this point, I wasn’t even sure if they were boys or girls but Mike said they were both girls. Thank goodness one of them was a girl because Hannah wanted a sister so bad!
For about 10 minutes I just sat on the toilet with the babies. I couldn’t move anywhere until the placenta was out. This is when someone came into our house. We figured it was LeAnn but the strange thing was–the person was taking their sweet time. Mike finally went upstairs and noticed it was Erica,
the birth assistant. Mike finally said, “She is on the toilet downstairs” as she handed him her coffee. As Erica came into my view she stopped in her tracks. Shock # 7—she had no idea that I had delivered the baby myself and she didn’t know that I had delivered two babies. Our midwife had not been able to tell her prior to her arrival. Erica came into the bathroom and chatted with us awhile and made sure we were all ok, which we were. At about 8pm, I birthed the placenta and Erica caught it in a bowl. That is when we moved to the bed. We made sure that the girls didn’t get mixed up. Next, LeAnn showed up and was able to cut the umbilical cords. Upon cutting them, we discussed how we were going to tell them apart. Marker on the foot was discussed but then Erica mentioned painting one of their toenails, which is what we did. The girl with the painted toe ended up being Elsa Lynn Mroz, born at 7:31pm weighing 5 pounds, 10.5 ounces and was 18 3⁄4 inches long. The girl without the painted toe was….we weren’t sure, we didn’t have a second girl’s name. The only other name I liked was Ellianna, so we decided to go with that. Then they asked how we would spell it, I got a piece of paper and wrote out 4 different spellings and then Mike and I chose one. Next was the middle name, we had nothing. I told Mike it needed to be short and he said Ruth. Perfect, Ruth is my grandmother’s first name. So the girl without her toe painted was Ellianna Ruth born at 7:41pm weighing 5 pounds 13.5 ounces and was 19 inches long.
At one point during the exam of the babies, Hannah came downstairs with a grapefruit and said “I brought a grapefruit for the babies to eat.” It was so cute. She went to bed at about 9:15pm because she was getting a little too crazy and was a bit overtired.
I can’t remember when, but our second midwife showed up sometime. She came all the way from Iowa and was pulled over twice on that way to my house. She got off both times—they actually believed her story.
Ok, what story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Facebook. At 8:20pm Mike posted the following on Facebook: “Here’s one for ya, Christina and I just delivered twins. All by ourselves in our bathroom downstairs. Two healthy girls, momma is great. She got the first one out and I got the second. UNREAL. What an experience. Thank You God for your help! Contractions at 6, twins at 7:30. More to come when things calm down.” Shock #8—telling other people our crazy story. He told me about the post and then said you will have to read the responses because they are pretty crazy. Some people thought we were joking and some people believed us. (I later learned some people called my parents to see if it was true and my best friend called her husband because she thought we might be joking but the husband totally believed we were telling the truth.)
Around 11pm, I had an herbal bath with both of the girls. My midwifery team commented that there was no clean up—which was very rare. But they did clean my bathroom and put a load of towels in the washer for us. At 11:45pm, our midwifery team all said good night and departed our house. Mike and I were now proud parents of not one but two baby girls.
My friend Megan left me a voicemail that said, “I think Jesus is smiling a little bit.” And she mentioned that it might have been a blessing that I didn’t know I was having twins. She was right on both accounts.
Yes, Jesus was smiling because he really is in control—not me. And yes, had I know I was having twins I probably would have thrown myself a huge pity party.
As I finish this really LONG story you probably have some questions.
How did we not know we were having twins? We never got an ultrasound to start. Second, we never noticed Ellianna. Elsa was the one the midwives always felt and the heartbeat we always heard. She was basically hiding Ellianna. Also, we discovered based on how they were born that both of the babies hands and feet faced my spine. Now it made total sense why I never felt little feet or hands like I did with my first two pregnancies. The only thing that was unusual was my waist circumference. I also had this weird lump right under my ribcage that we could never quite figure out but the midwives thought it was a knee. It was really the back of Ellianna’s head. (Both of my midwives had never misdiagnosed twins before.) I do remember looking at Elsa when she was first born and thinking she was tiny—Mike even said the same thing. No wonder I didn’t feel the “ring of fire”, like I had with my other two births. Also, I remember glancing at my belly once and thinking…boy it is still pretty rounded, I thought it would be more flat and squishy.
Were you scared? Not at all. I have never been afraid of birth. I’ve always known it is something I can do. The only time Mike and I were a little concerned was when Ellianna was first born she didn’t cry right away, but she did after about 30 seconds.
There really is not a way to end a story like this but to say…God is totally in control of my life—I totally got the message God! And, this is one heck of a story!
By Christina Mroz February 2011
Prepare for the Safest, Healthiest Birth for you Baby. Read Ina May's Guide To Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Tags: baby, back pain in labor, Back pain in pregnancy, birth, birth ball, birth center, birth coach, Bradley coach, Bradley Method, breathing, Breathing in labor, childbirth, doula, emergency childbirth, first stage, full term pregnancy, home birth, hospital, hospital birth, Ina May Gaskin, labor, Liza Janda, midwife, natural, natural birth, newborn baby, pain in labor, positive birth stories, relaxation in labor, unmedicated, water birth
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Natural Birth Stories |
NEW YORK (AP) — One mother chose home birth because it was cheaper than going to a hospital. Another gave birth at home because she has multiple sclerosis and feared unnecessary medical intervention. And some choose home births after cesarean sections with their first babies. Whatever their motivation, all are among a striking trend: Home births increased 20 percent from 2004 to 2008, accounting for 28,357 of 4.2 million U.S. births, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released in May. White women led the drive, with 1 in 98 having babies at home in 2008, compared to 1 in 357 black women and 1 in 500 Hispanic women. Sherry Hopkins, a Las Vegas midwife, said the women whose home births she's attended include a pediatrician, an emergency room doctor and nurses. "We're definitely seeing well-educated and well-informed people who want to give birth at home," she said. Robbie Davis-Floyd, a medical anthropologist at the University of Texas at Austin and researcher on global trends in childbirth, obstetrics and midwifery, said "at first, in the 1970s, it was largely a hippie, countercultural thing to give birth outside of the hospital. Over the years, as the formerly 'lay' midwives have become far more sophisticated, so has their clientele." The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which certifies OB-GYNs, warns that home births can be unsafe, especially if the mother has high-risk conditions, if a birth attendant is inadequately trained and if there's no nearby hospital in case of emergency. Some doctors also question whether a "feminist machoism" is at play in wanting to give birth at home. But home birthers say they want to be free of drugs, fetal monitors, IVs and pressure to hurry their labor at the behest of doctors and hospitals. They prefer to labor in tubs of water or on hands and knees, walk around their living rooms or take comfort in their own beds, surrounded by loved ones as they listen to music or hypnosis recordings with the support of midwives and doulas. Some even go without midwives and rely on husbands or other non-professionals for support. Julie Jacobs, 38, of Baltimore, who has multiple sclerosis, said she "chose midwives and hypnosis because I wanted to surround myself with people who would support me as a birthing mother, rather than view me as an MS patient who would be a liability in need of interventions at every turn." Her first two children were born in a freestanding birth center operated by midwives. After the center closed, her third child was born at home in 2007. "If I had been in a hospital I probably would have had C-sections for all three," she said. "With the first, I would have been terrified to try a home birth. After the second one I was like, hey, I can't necessarily walk in a straight line, but I can do this." Some home birthers cite concerns over cesarean sections. The U.S. rate of C-sections in hospitals hovers around 32 percent, soaring up to 60 percent in some areas. In some cases, there's a "too posh to push" mentality of scheduled inductions for convenience sake (Victoria Beckham had three). Gina Crosley-Corcoran, a Chicago blogger and pre-law student, had a C-section with her first baby and chronicled nightmarish pressure from nurses and doctors to abandon a vaginal birth with her second. She followed up with a third child born at home in April. "I do think there's a backlash against what's happening in hospitals," she said. "Women are finding that the hospital experience wasn't a good one." In Portland, Ore., acupuncturist Becca Seitz gave birth to both her children at home, the first time in 2007 because she and her husband were without insurance. "It was never on my radar, until we couldn't afford otherwise," she said. "I'm granola, but not that granola. It cost us $3,300, as opposed to over $10,000 in a hospital." Her midwife was prepared with the drug Pitocin, oxygen and other medical equipment. "They were both born over the toilet," she said. "It was a nice position. It's a way that we're used to pushing." Dr. Joel Evans, the rare board-certified OB-GYN who supports home birth, said the medical establishment has become "resistant to change, resistant to dialogue, resistant to flexibility." "Women are now looking for alternatives where they can be treated as individuals, as opposed to being forced to comply with protocols, which however well meaning, have the impact of both medicalizing childbirth and increasing stress and anxiety around delivery," said Evans, founder and director of the Center for Women's Health in Stamford, Conn., and an assistant clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. By some accounts, in 1900, 95 percent of U.S. births took place at home. That slipped to half by 1938 and less than 1 percent by 1955. Today, most midwife-attended births take place in hospitals in the U.S., and many midwives are licensed nurses. But there are also close to 1,700 midwives who practice outside of hospitals, said Davis-Floyd. In 27 states, so-called "lay" midwives who lack nurses' training but are licensed and certified as professional midwives can attend births legally. Some women chose home births after learning about it from TV shows or documentaries. The show-all "House of Babies" on Discovery Health Channel from 2005 to 2009 was filmed at a Miami birth center run by a midwife. Actress Ricki Lake screened her movie, "The Business of Being Born," around the United States in 2007 after giving birth at home to her second child. The film also showed Lake's filmmaking partner, Abby Epstein, documenting her own frantic taxi ride to a New York hospital after abandoning her home birth because the baby presented feet first, with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. Michael Robertson, 27, of Poulsbo, Wash., knew nothing about home birth before watching the TLC series. "I just really had my mind set on a water birth, like on the show," she said. "It looked so cool, so relaxing." She had two babies at home, but opted for a planned hospital delivery for her third child due to complications. She's glad she had the choice. "If you don't know your options, you don't know what's out there to begin with," she said. "I don't think an OB will say to you, 'Hey, did you know there was this thing called home birth.'" Most studies of home birth have been criticized as too small to accurately assess safety or distinguish between planned and unplanned deliveries, according to researchers Kenneth C. Johnson and Betty-Anne Daviss. In 2005, they published a study in the British Medical Journal based on nearly 5,500 home births involving certified professional midwives in the United States and Canada. The study, considered one of the largest for home births, showed 88 percent had positive outcomes, while 12 percent of the women were transferred to hospitals, including 9 percent for preventive reasons and 3 percent for emergencies. The study showed an infant mortality rate of 2 out of every 1,000 births, about the same as in hospitals at the time, Davis-Floyd said. "Women who are truly educated in evidence-based maternity care understand the safety and the multiple benefits of home birth," she said. Leanne Italie can be reached at http://twitter.com/litalie
Tags: Business of Being Born, drug-free, home birth, intervention, LC, medical, midwife, natural, Ricki Lake, risks of medication, safety of homebirth
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Natural Birth Stories, VBAC |
I woke up at 6am on the 21st and felt pretty awake and starting have contractions. Take in mind I’ve been having contractions since I was 4 months pregnant. I for sure thought that I wouldn’t know when I actually went into labor because I had SO many contractions that I thought I would blow them off as more Braxton Hicks contractions. But I heard over and over again that I would just “know” and my contractions would be “different”. By 7am I “knew” I was in labor and indeed the contractions were “different”. These contractions left me speechless during the peaks, but not in complete pain. Morgan was getting ready for school and I told her that I was in labor and she could stay home from school. Her biggest concern was that I would wait too long to call her and she wouldn’t make it to the birth on time. (Her school is literally across the street and takes her 7 minutes to get across campus to home) But I figured it would be great to have her there for the whole process. After all, part of the purpose of going natural was to show the girls that we as women can do it! I had Morgan text everyone around 7:30am letting them know I was in the beginning stages of labor. Garrett was still sleeping and although I really wanted to wake him, I knew it was more important that he be fully rested for the big day. I called my midwife and let her know I was starting and she advised me to try and lay back down for a nap and to conserve my energy. Well, I tried that. These contractions were enough to wake me up and get me off the couch- to my knees and leaning over the seat of the couch. Oh yeah, don’t forget to breathe. The midwife let me know what her schedule was for the day but assured me she would cancel it all whenever I gave the word. I told her I was fine to be on my own for a while and that I would call her later when things got going. I heard Garrett get into the shower around 9:30am and I went upstairs to fill him in. “Well, I’m in labor” “Great!” he says, “We’re gonna have a baby today!” I half heartedly grinned with a fear in my bones. Garrett got busy setting up the pool, lying plastic down, moving furniture around and general set up. I hit all fours about every 5 minutes and took each contraction one at a time. We took a little walk to the end of our cul-de-sac and walked into the wooded area and back. We would stop for each contraction and hug and sway and then continue walking. The sun was out, the breeze was nice. It was beautiful. Garrett’s mom came over and hung out waiting for her first grandchild to show up. She was very excited. The midwife called as I was in the middle of a contraction- so I put her on hold. By then the contractions were 4 minutes apart and more aggressive. Enough for me to moan through the intensity. She asked me if I wanted her to come and I told her I was still fine for now and I would call her in a bit. About 20 minutes later, around 12noon, I asked Garrett to fill up the pool with warm water. He asked if I wanted him to call the midwife and again I told him I was fine. Then I had him call my mom and ask her to pick up Carlie from school and head over to the house. I got in the pool which helped to relax me quite a bit and again the contraction got a little more intense, now putting the pressure into my low back. I would lean over the side of the pool, grip the towel and moan through the contraction all the while chanting in my head, “Surrender, breathe, opening up, letting go” I asked Garrett to call the midwife, but he had already gone behind my back and called. He said they were already on their way. Between contractions I was talking and laughing with everyone. Mom and Carlie came sometime around this time. I continued to labor in the pool for another hour or so, it’s hard to recall as time was irrelevant as I was laboring. The midwife and her assitant came sometime around 2:45 and started setting up all of their gear. When I say gear, I mean 4 large packs full of medical equipment. Vickii, my midwife and her assistant Derenee assumed I wasn’t as far along as I was because of my demeanor. Vickii suggested Garrett give everyone chores to keep them from staring at me creating a slower labor. Mom and Morgan took off to go get a pizza and Garrett’s mom, Mary, and Carlie headed to Mary’s house to let the dog out. My back pain continued to increase. Vickii suggested I get out of the pool and take a trip up in down the stairs; she assured me it would get things moving. I was reluctant to say the least. I didn’t want to get out of the warm water. Garrett helped me out of the pool and to the bottom of the stairs. The stairs looked a mile high! I made my way up the stairs having 3 contractions on the way up. Each one getting more and more intense. I stopped, squatted, grabbed the railing and tried to get my legs open as far as possible. The pain my low back was getting stronger. We walked in to our bedroom and I came to rest at the foot of our bed. There is a wood frame around the bottom of our bed that allowed me to hold on, yet rest my face on the mattress while in a squatting position. Garrett asked me if I wanted to journey back down the stairs and I said I was going to stay put right where I was. The midwives set up some drop cloths and chucks pads under me just in case. The midwives left the room and gave Garrett and me some privacy and time to be together. This was an amazing time for him and I to be in this process just the two of us. Garrett continued to coach me and reassure me that I was doing great and stay with it. The contractions were almost unbearable and I could feel changes happening in my hips and pelvis. This is where is got tough. Each contraction felt like someone pulling my hips apart, yet I felt I couldn’t open them wide enough. It had reached an intense point. My inner dialogue at this point was very interesting. There was a duality. One part of me is analyzing each moment and has a complete understanding of what is going on, while the other half of me is screaming and freaking out!!!! To consciously witness both inner dialogues was a very surreal process to me. I continued to try and get comfortable but there was nothing I could do to escape the ever increasing pressure. The next contraction I turned to Garrett and said, “I don’t think I can do this” This is when they, the experts, say “transition” is happening. Garrett said, “Yeah you can, he’s almost here”. Then the next contraction I said to Garrett, “I changed my mind, I don’t want to do this.” About 10 senconds later my water broke. Right then I got the feeling that I had to take the hugest poop of my life and needed to get it out. The feeling to bear down was strong. In my mind I was thinking, “I have to shit and I don’t care.” The pressure was a strange feeling. It felt like it was in my rectum, yet different. I squatted and pushed and Kai’s head crowned. Garrett cried out, “I can see his head, baby!” Garrett called Vickii into the room and she told me to slow down. The feeling now was what they call “the ring of fire” which is exactly what it sounds like. It is when your vaginal lips start to stretch when the baby crowns. Kind of like an Indian burn on your arm. It burns, yet it feels so good to finally push. I wanted to keep pushing just to get him out but I took a deep breath, sat back. Vickii told me to slow down my pushing and take my time so I wouldn’t tear. I sat back on my right leg while I kept my left foot planted on the floor so I could elevate my rear off the ground. I reached down and could feel the top of the baby’s head protruding out. Right about then Mom and Morgan came back from the store and Vickii called them upstairs. Mom grabbed the camera and started filming. Morgan grabbed the still camera and snapped some shots. I kept pushing and his head was just about out. It felt like everything stopped. No matter how hard I pushed, nothing was happening. Vickii had me lean forward onto all fours and continue pushing. Still nothing. Kai was stuck at the shoulders. I didn’t know this until after the birth. Vickii had to reach up inside me and turn him to let him come out. I let out a scream and continued to push. Vickii yelled, “Keep pushing he’s almost out!” With all the vigor and energy I had left inside of me I let out a roar. Literally. And he was out. I sat back in awe of what I had just accomplished. Kai was breathing, but not taking in deep breaths. The midwives worked on Kai to get him stimulated to take the first deep breath. But he wasn’t. They gave him CPR to help him expand his lungs. Then he finally let out his first beautiful cry. I looked up to see tears streaming down moms and Morgan’s face. The fear was still written all over Garrett’s face. Morgan cut the umbilical cord. Mary and Carlie never made it back in time but Morgan assured me that she was glad Carlie had not witnessed everything. She said it was almost overwhelming for her to watch. Kai is doing great now and growing like a weed. As of yesterday (5/5/09) he was 10lbs 11oz. I have to say this was the most intimate experience I have ever had with a man and the most empowering thing I’ve ever done as a woman. This has given Garrett and I bond that I will cherish forever. It was simply amazing! If you are thinking about having children in the future and want more information about home birth/natural birth, I highly recommend the documentary by Ricki Lake- The Business of Being Born and also Orgasmic Birth. They both helped me to overcome some of the fears of going naturally. Toree Nies
Tags: baby, Back pain in pregnancy, birth, birth center, birth coach, Bradley Method, breathing, C-section, delivery, full term pregnancy, home birth, labor, labor and birth, Liza Janda, midwife, natural birth, poses for pregnancy, positive birth stories, positive birth story, prenatal yoga, water birth, www.yogajanda.com
Posted in Natural Birth Stories |
Here is another positive birth story from one of my Prenatal Yoga students, who is also a childbirth educator. I went into labor at about 10:30pm on Sunday night 04-06-08 (the day after my last yoga class!). We had taken a huge long walk that day, and I spent about an hour in the afternoon visualizing and telling the baby that it was a good time to be born. At my midwife appointment the previous day (40w 3d), La Shel had mentioned that if I was still pregnant the next weekend, she'd want me to go in for a NST. I did NOT want to do this, so I became very focused on having this baby before that became an issue! My contractions were almost immediately 2-4 minutes apart. They weren't too long, only about 30-45 sec, but I had to vocalize through them from the start. I had a ton of bloody show, and knew that things were happening. I was still convinced that I could get some sleep in 'early labor' but I honestly don't think I had early labor- I had to work through contractions from the start. Ian got going getting everything set up, and around midnight he called our doula to have her head down. We texted La Shel a few times to keep her apprised. Around 12:30am, my water broke while I was on the toilet. I had been spending a lot of time there because of the bloody show and I felt better there. Our doula arrived around 1:30 or so and I was full out in what I think was transition. I felt really nauseas during each contraction, but only threw up once. I alternated between the toilet, leaning over the bathroom sink, and all fours on the floor. When our doula arrived, she encouraged some squatting and gave me light massage on my back, which was about all the touch I could handle. She helped Ian get the tub up to temp. and I got in about 3am or so. The water felt miraculous! Ian called La Shel, and she arrived about 3:45am. I was convinced that I was only at a 2 or 3, so I didn't want her to check me, but she insisted. She barely reached in and told me to feel for myself. The baby's head was about an inch up- I could hardly believe it. Around 4:30am, I started pushing, or really my body did- I didn't have any control over it. I was squatting in the tub. I have no recollection of the time passing at this point, but it felt like I only pushed for a few minutes before La Shel asked me to get out of the tub to try using gravity. In hindsight, I think it had been about an hour or so. From that point on, I pushed in every position known to man- squatting, toilet, leaning, etc. I was yelling so so loud and cursing a ton (so much for my gentle peaceful birth)- it was like an animal took over. Ian said he's never heard a human be that loud. I was vaguely aware that I was pushing for a long time. I had a hard time getting out of my head and I was thinking that I wasn't doing things the 'right' way (this is where all my education hindered me, I think!). The baby's heart rate stayed totally steady and calm through the whole thing- she didn't seem fazed at ALL about being there in my birth canal for so long. There was never any drama or tension- they kept encouraging me and having me try different positions. Even though I knew it was taking a long time, I never once thought about transfer or that something was wrong. Jamin played 'bad cop' a bit- having me eat, try new positions, and especially having me stand up straight in between contractions, which at the time was the most impossible task I had ever encountered- I just wanted to lean over! Even though I remember being pissed at her during it, I needed that from someone, and she provided. I pushed on the bed with my feet pressing against my doula and La Shel's chests, I pushed on the birth stool, it went on and on. It became daylight and I was so so tired and worn out. Beyond belief. This is where the yoga really helped me- they kept commenting about how strong I still was (as I bruised their chests) and I was able to be in some pretty difficult squats and positions. The yoga practice got me ready to use my body in ways that were unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable but in the long run satisfying and important. At one point towards the end I felt bones grinding inside me- bizarre! The baby's head was visible for a while, but she never really crowned. I was squatting, and finally I just sat down for one push. I went from everyone seeing a tiny circle of head to the entire baby out in ONE PUSH at 9:09am on 04-07-08 after 4.5 hours of pushing! She was asynclitic, and apparently decided to tuck her chin and when she did I was still pushing full force as I had been for the previous hours and she literally shot out of me like a champagne cork! La Shel almost missed her, and we all were shocked that a baby had just shot out! She didn't cry, but was wide awake and alert and coughing. I held her against me and after a bit I looked and saw we had a daughter. After about 15 minutes, I passed her to Ian, and I delivered the placenta. Her cord was super long- like 18 inches or more, and wrapped all around her body. I got a shot of Pitocin since I was bleeding quite a bit, but it wasn't all that bad after all (most of the blood was from tearing). I tore a lot since she shot out so quickly, and got about 12-14 stitches. We waited to clamp or cut her cord until about an hour after her birth. Ian just held her attached to the placenta while I was getting stitched up. I was very sore and stiff and swollen and bruised for a few days because of all the pushing, but within about a week was feeling much more human! I spent the first few days in bed with Zephyr, and the first time we left the house was when she was one week old and we went to the pediatrician. She has nursed like a champion right from the start, and I have a ton of milk. Things are going really well, and I am so so lucky that Ian is home with us- I don't know how people do it who don't have a supportive partner! Overall, it was definitely NOTHING like what I'd been picturing for the past 4 years as I planned my ideal homebirth. I didn't get my waterbirth (maybe next time!) and I was loud and crazy and didn't focus the way I thought I would. Ian or I didn't get to catch her, I had a ton of directed pushing (which I didn't think I wanted), etc. But I certainly got the birth I needed to have to learn that I can't plan everything and that things work out the way they need to. We are so thankful we planned a homebirth. I know that she would not have entered this world the way she did if I had been in the hospital. I would have probably ended up with a cesarean because they would have never let me push for 4.5 hours, and at the very least I would have faced vacuum or forceps and/or episiotomy. As it was, she did great and entered the world as gently as possible. She never left our arms, and never had any procedures done to her. What a beautiful thing. She gave me a very easy pregnancy and a very fast labor, she just made me work a bit to finally meet her. Time will tell if this is indicative of her future personality- doing things her own way and only giving in when she feels like it! I know this is long and wordy, but I figure a fellow childbirth educator appreciates the details in a birth story! I want to sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you gave to me during my pregnancy. I have spent the entire pregnancy telling people how awesome [www.yogajanda.com] prenatal yoga is, and I will continue to do so. I firmly believe it is one of the very best things I've ever done for myself and my body. I have never loved my body more than while I was pregnant, and your classes really contributed to that. I only gained 19 lbs and am easily back in pre-pregnancy clothes, and while perhaps genetics have something to do with that, I think we can also thank yoga. I loved spending time in your Prenatal Yoga classes[ at Blue Raven Yoga], and am so sad that I won't get to be there each Saturday.