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
Below is another natural birth story with some valuable opportunities to point out lots of things Michelle did right that helped her achieve the natural birth that she wanted.
I want to thank you so much for the great Prenatal Yoga class that you offer at Babies In Bloom. I took your Wednesday and Saturday classes to help with my varicose veins in my left leg, and consequently, I also found out how much I enjoyed yoga and all of its benefits. I had pressure and pain in my leg due to my pregnancy related varicose veins, until I discovered your prenatal yoga class.
I felt improvement after the first class that I took and the pain went away after the second week of classes. There was one week that I had to miss two consecutive classes and I could feel the pain and pressure in my leg come back due to being on my feet all day at work and missing those classes. It was really amazing how the stretches and breathing practices helped my circulation.
Your prenatal yoga classes definitely helped me with the actual natural birth of my daughter, as well. I used your breathing techniques to ease and get through my contractions, your helpful natural birthing advice gave me knowledge and confidence to reach my final goal of a natural birth. And your pregnancy-catered yoga positions gave me the strength in my legs to squat during the actual birth. We had an amazing birthing experience with the help of you, Dr. Nick Capetanakis and the Scripps Memorial Encinitas staff!
Liza- Prenatal Yoga allows expectant mothers to relax and explore their emotional selves. By getting in touch with our emotional selves in preparation for labor and birth, we can learn how to view pregnancy and birth in a less factual or rational way. It opens the door to the idea or concept of trusting their bodies to not only grow their babies but also to birth their babies. Give my free 25 minute yoga class a try. The physical benefits are a nice bonus too.
Here is a short version of my birth story… I woke up at 2:30am with menstrual-like cramps and the contractions progressed from there. We labored at home as long as possible and we checked into the hospital at 8am.
Liza-Dr. Sarah Buckley says a laboring woman needs three things to progress in labor. She needs to be in a private place, like home, where she feels safe, and she is unobserved, yet supported. As you’ll read in the next sentence, Michelle was able to relax at home and let her body open up so she could birth her baby girl.
Dr. Cap was already there and checked my dilation right away. I was 9cm and he broke my water while checking. The nurses grabbed a squat bar for the table and I had our baby girl exactly eleven minutes after checking into the facility!! I barely had to push, since gravity and the natural contractions guided her out. Dr. Cap was amazing and coached me through that final pushing stage. He helped me to slow down and massaged me with mineral oil so that I would not tear like I did during my first labor. I only had one tiny minor tear that healed within a couple of days. Dr. Cap was patient and let my husband, Jeff, catch our daughter and hand her to me right away.
Liza-What a thrill and honor for a father to be able to “catch” his own child, and be the first person to hold her…He did not have Jeff cut the umbilical cord until my placenta was out and the nurses let me hold and bond with our daughter for a couple of hours until they finally took her vitals in our labor room. It was amazing!
Here is a picture of Anna Mary Raiatea Logandro (I mentioned to you that we were going to give our daughter a Tahitian middle name…we gave her "Raiatea" because of its significance to us. Jeff and I went to Raiatea on our Honeymoon and my friend, Riya ("Raia"), introduced us on a blind date.). Anna was born on April 26th at 8:11am. She weighed 8lbs 2oz and was 18-1/2" long.
Below is the natural birth story of Emily, Tyson, and Cambria Lee Perez. I've added comments, highlighted, to emphasize things they did that were very helpful in achieving the birth they wanted for their daughter. If you want t learn more, click here.
I baked cookies for the staff and cleaned around the house. (This is a wonderful thing to do to help you ignore your labor and to get the staff support you'll need in labor) Throughout the day the cramping slowly became a little more intense and closer together. Nothing painful, just annoying. The Stage One App(This a good reason to practice relaxation in many different positions and scenarios)
laying on my exercise ball,
leaning against Tyson, and standing in the shower. Tyson was SOO good at getting me to change to different positions at this point and keeping my energy up. ( If you want to be as good a birth coach as Tyson, read:The Birth Partner, Third Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions (Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, &)
(Sometimes in situations like this, having a doula to support the mom in labor can be helpful so mom feels supported and dad can handle decisions, questions, anything that needs to be handled.)
(If you get a nurse who doesn't see things the way you see them, ask for another nurse. It's a simple solution)
Thank you again!
You definitely need a birth plan if you are planning a natural birth, a planned Cesarean, or if there are particular things you know you want that may not be the norm for your birthplace. You need to make it clear to the staff and you need to talk about it with your doctor or midwife in advance.
Have you ever heard the acronym K.I.S.S.? Keep it simple sweetheart!
You need a birth plan to give to the busy hospital or birth center staff. The nursing staff is usually very busy taking care of more than one laboring mom at a timYou definitely need a birth plan if you are planning a natural birth, or if there are particular things you know you want that may not be the norm for your birthplace. You need to make it clear to the staff and you need to talk about it with your doctor or midwife in advance.
Here are some important points to remember:
You birth plan is just that…A PLAN. The definition of a plan, in this case, is a well thought out, and written program or procedure in order to achieve a particular outcome.
BUT…a birth plan isn’t written in stone, nor is it a binding legal document.
So envision your intention and goals for your ideal birth, write them down, hope for the best, but plan to be flexible. If things don’t go as planned, don’t abandon the entire birth plan, just make whatever adjustments you need to get back on the road to your goals.
Make sure you have at least three copies of your birth plan:
1. One copy signed by your doctor and placed in your file at the office
2. Another signed copy to take with you when you pre-register at your hospital or birth center
3. Another signed copy to hand to your care providers when you arrive at your birth place in case they misplaced the one you gave when you pre-registered. Feel free to bring more copies of your birth plan to hand out in case there is a staff change while you are still in labor.
Keep in mind these categories in your birth plan:
· Comfort techniques
· Pain management
· People present
· Positions for 1st stage Fetal monitoring
· Interventions: ie: medications for pain relief, augmentation of labor,
· Whether you want to continue to eat and drink
· Music playing or not
· Cervical checks
· Positions for second stage
· Care of perineum
· Cord cutting
· Placenta birth
· Cesarean section
· Contact with baby and after care
There are many resources on line for birth plans. Just make sure to start writing your birth plan by the beginning of your 7th month. You should have already started a childbirth class by then. If you haven’t it is NEVER too late to start. Good luck and have a wonderful, joyful birth day!
See more articles by Liza Janda
1. You’re doing so well.” You can’t praise or encourage a pregnant woman in labor enough.
2. “You’re amazing!” Pour on the praise and keep it coming.
3. “Imagine what is happening inside your body. Visualize your cervix opening with each contraction.” Imagining the changes that are
4. “Think about the baby. Each contraction is like a hug of love from you for your baby.” Each contraction in labor and birth really is a surge of the love hormone known as oxytocin. This is the same hormone we all produce when we fall in love, when we have an orgasm, and breastfeed our babies.
5. “All this hard work is stimulating your baby’s breathing, and circulation, and preparing the baby for life outside your womb.” Studies show that hormones the laboring mother produces that help her deal with the pain of her contractions, cause her baby’s adrenals to produce high levels of catecholamines or stress hormones that help baby adapt to all the changes coming his way.
6. “Trust yourself. That incredible strength is YOU. You’re doing it! “ Turn her fear around and encourage the laboring mother to accept that great power is coming from her.
7. “You’re doing everything right. We’re here for you.” Standing right next to her, supporting her both physically and emotionally will carry her a long way through all that hard work of labor.
8. “We know how hard you’re working. I’m so proud of you.” Showing compassion and empathy can help. Just acknowledging that yes, it is hard work, but “You can do it and you are doing it.”
9. “Breathe in and breathe out. That’s right deep slow breaths!” Deep slow abdominal breathing helps to stimulate the relaxation response in labor.
10. “Let’s hear you make some noise. Keep it low and deep. Take a deep breath in through your nose and just moan all the breath out.” The vibrations the laboring mother makes when she moans affects the pituitary gland which then stimulates the relaxation response every pregnant woman needs to tap into in labor.
11. “Take a deep breath and just LET GO with your exhale… One contraction at a time… Stay focused on this one contraction and see how relaxed you can get.” For everyone helping the laboring woman it’s helpful to stay focused on the moment. Don’t think about the contractions to come and the ones that have passed. The body knows just what to do and the laboring mother’s job is to let go and get out of the way.
Remember that the woman in labor must have complete trust in her body’s ability to bring her baby into the world safely. She must find assurance and confidence from those around her. Just like you will tell her, “You Can Do It!” and so can she with your help and faith in her.
Thursday June 14, 2012, came and went. However, it was not a typical Thursday. I woke up as usual at 8:30 a.m. to get ready for my cycle class at the gym. At 8:33 a.m. I felt a slight gush of water as I walked around. I didn’t think much of it so I continued to get ready for the gym. Time continued to pass and I didn’t think anything of it since I was not due until June 27th. Even though I was 38 weeks pregnant and considered full term, I told myself it was too early to go into labor or let alone for my water to break. I asked a close friend who had just given birth to her third child a week earlier what she thought it might be. She indicated that it could be my mucous plug. However, I continued to feel gushes of water as time went on. I decided to wake my husband and let him know what was happening. He advised me to call the midwife and not go to the gym (yes I was still trying to get to my cycle class).
Once I spoke with the midwife who indicated that it was not an emergency and it sounded like my water broke she instructed me to make my way to the labor and delivery unit to test the liquid that was gushing out. Since it was not an emergency my husband and I decided to take our time getting to labor and delivery. We cooked breakfast and then I showered to make sure I was nice and relaxed. We grabbed our birth kit and our over night bag and headed to labor and delivery. At that point I was a little nervous because I was not feeling any contractions and I knew that I had 18 hours before I was at risk of getting an infection and I did not want to get induced. During our drive to the hospital, my husband and I had agreed that if everything was ok, we would drive back home to labor as much as we could with our Doula.
Four o’clock finally arrived and we went to check in at the birthing center. We were given one of the big rooms that had a king size four post bed and a tub to labor in. It was 5p.m. when my mother and sisters arrived at the birthing center. At that point my contractions were getting a little stronger, longer, and closer together but they were still manageable and I was still able to have conversations. Around 7p.m. things started to pick up and my contractions were a lot stronger, longer, and closer together, I was in active labor. I tried several positions which included side lying, rocking on the birth ball, walking, and leaning over while holding on to one of the post on the bed (this position really worked for me). As active labor continued things were getting really intense. My contractions were very strong and were right on top of each other. I didn’t have any breaks in between them. At that point I felt like I could no longer do it and my husband reminded me that by saying that I was in transition and I was close to meeting our daughter. Finally I was able to get into to the tub and continue my labor. I had no idea how I was going to get into the tub from the bed because the contractions were killing me. Once I got into the tub it was a huge relief. Laboring in the tub was very relaxing and the contractions felt more manageable. While in the tub I began to feel a huge sensation to push. The midwife was able to confirm that I was dilated enough to push. Once I changed my breathing and was able to establish a good pattern of birthing and curling the pushing sensation became easier to handle. The hospital’s policy did not allow for a water birth so I could only labor in the tub until the baby began to crown (I could remember wanting to curse at the nurse for not letting me deliver in the water). After pushing for sometime the baby began to crown and I somehow managed to get up and walk back to the bed to resume my pushing. I pushed for approximately 45 minutes. On June 15, 2012, at 2:09 a.m. our beautiful Charlotte Aleah Maldonado was born, weighing 6lbs 11oz and 18 inches long.
The joy of watching my husband catch her and then cut the cord was amazing. My daughter was placed on my stomach and crawled her way up to my chest and I embraced her warm little body. The third stage of labor did not go as I planned. Because I had a slight tear and I would not stop bleeding the midwife was forced to give me pitocin or risk hemorrhaging. Delivering the placenta was not a pretty sight at all and I was surprised by its size. After all was said and done both my daughter and I were alive and healthy.
ADVICE FROM GINA:
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Tags: baby, birth videos, birthing, Bradley Method, childbirth, contractions, crown, hospital birth, labor, natural, natural birth, nurse, pregnancy, pushing, relaxation in labor, spontaneous rupture of membranes, water birth
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Natural Birth Stories |
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 |
My True Loves
My husband, Demian, and I met 10 years ago and he quickly became the love of my life. When we found out we were pregnant, I knew our love would only grow for our little one. Many mothers told me to get prepared to meet true love upon meeting your child, a sentiment that brought me close to tears while pregnant as I dreamed of our little girl. I didn’t realize then that our birth journey would not only introduce our daughter into our lives but intensify the true love I felt for my husband.
I knew that I wanted to give natural child birth a long time ago and also knew I couldn’t do it alone. After taking prenatal yoga classes with Liza and reading about the Bradley method, her Bradley class seemed perfect! Demian and I would gain information on natural childbirth and become our own advocates while not feeling pressure or blame if it didn’t go that way. Also, Demian really wanted to be “my person”, the one who would help me through the birth of our child.
From prenatal yoga, I was able to better center myself during pregnancy. Liza’s classes helped me wipe away the worry that I found to accompany the medical model’s view of pregnancy. Weekly classes helped me focus on taking care of myself, listening to my inner voice and calmed me throughout the week. I was very ready to start the Bradley classes as we approached 32 weeks of pregnancy and they were great. At times we struggled to keep up with the reading J and I worried about being ready, while Demian reassured me that “we’ve got this”. Looking back, man did they prepare us.
On the eve of my 38th week of pregnancy (with two Bradley classes left to go), I started having contractions at 12:30 am. I rested and watched the clock and for the first hour I had one every ten minutes. I let Demian sleep (I’m glad they specifically told us to do this in class otherwise I would have woken him up!) and I went to walk the house and get something to eat/drink to see if they would continue. The second hour the contractions were one every six minutes. As my labor progressed, I felt a sense of calm and that my body knew what to do and our little girl did too. At 3:00 am I could no longer time the contractions myself. I woke Demian up, he quickly sat up and said, “What do I do?” to which I responded, “Take a minute, breath and wake up,” and then he was ready! He started to time my contractions, they were about 5 minutes apart. I was still very talkative, upgrading my Pandora (highly recommend Spa Radio without commercials), reading about different relaxation positions we could try, etc. Demian ran back and forth between pushing on my hips and timing my contractions to packing the bag, printing the birth plan, making the bed (a great idea for when we came home), etc. At around 5:30 am my contractions were between 4 and 5 minutes apart so I decided I wanted to take a shower before we left for the hospital. I never really hit the serious emotional marker we were waiting for and we really didn’t want to be turned away at the hospital. The shower is where it really picked up. I was able to stand for one contraction and then immediately went to my hands and knees and my low moans turned into guttural screams. Realizing it was time to go, Demian threw everything in the car amidst my proclamations of not wanting to leave and we could just have the baby at home (oops – probably should have left by now). I had a brief moment of clarity in which I said, “We REALLY need to go!” To which Demian responded, “I know babe, let’s go.” Working between contractions (which were now about 2-3 minutes apart), he got me out of the shower, dressed and leaning over the front passenger seat – no way was I sitting upright.
We drove from Oceanside to Sharp Mary Birch, felt like a long ride but Demian kept talking me through one contraction at a time and reassuring me along the way. We arrived to the hospital around 7:30 am and left the car in the emergency round about (it would stay there until our friend moved it two hours later). The nurse in triage examined me and said, “You are at 10 centimeters, wait let me check again, yes 10 centimeters,” and I asked, “ Can I push?!” and she said, “No, no, let us get you a room.” It was at that moment when they started to wheel us up to labor and delivery that I recognized my intense connection to Demian. It was the first time I felt like I couldn’t touch him easily enough so of course I yelled for him to be at my side (a little squished in the elevator) and he took my hand the whole way. It was then that I knew I couldn’t be without this man, in this moment, in this place. Having always been in control and independent, I knew it would be difficult to not feel in control during labor. But what I found was that I could now wholeheartedly trust Demian to take care of me and advocate for the three of us – he knew what to do and was doing it even before I recognized it.
Our labor and delivery nurse was awesome, we told her we wanted an unmedicated birth and she supported us 100% (of course we left everything in the car so the birth plan was not with us J). My water hadn’t broken and when the OB wanted to break it to help things progress, I said no. I just knew I didn’t need to progress any faster and didn’t want any intervention. The nurse reassured me that this was a good decision as even though the pushing would take longer (as it was creating a balloon type effect), it would help me tear less as the baby eased down and out. As each contraction came on, I was cheek to cheek with my arms around the shoulders of Demian on one side and the nurse on the other. After about 2 hours and a good 10 sets of pushes (I had about 6 minutes in between to rest and occasionally drift off to sleep), Rowen, our little girl, was born at 10:16 am. She was placed immediately on my chest. As I reveled in her beauty, I was overcome with love as I looked from her to Demian.
I was so proud of us, we did it and we were on the same page the whole time, I never felt a sliver of doubt or fear or anxiety. I can honestly say that the “pain” I felt was not as bad as I thought it would be and I attribute this to our learning how to relax and having both Demian and I in tune with what I needed during each contraction. The other thing I was impressed by was the different sensations I felt throughout labor, the beginning contractions were different than those in transition which were completely different from the urges and power I felt during second stage.
But most of all, I was grateful for the birthing preparation we had gone through in Liza’s classes. We were so well prepared that we both knew what to do when the contractions started. It helped us be on the same page and as Dr. Bradley said, only intensified the relationship I have with Demian. I can’t imagine not looking into Demian’s eyes after Rowen was born and feeling the gratitude, love and appreciation of the man I married. It is a beautiful thing to be able to rely on your husband so entirely that he becomes the one and only in the wondrous moments of having the child you share together. I can’t think of a better way to start the journey of parenthood, falling even deeper in love with your partner and starting a new beautiful shared love of your child. Labor and Birth Advice from Mom & Dad:
Tags: advice for labor, advocates, amniotomy, anxiety, baby, Back pain in pregnancy, beautiful, beauty, birth center, birth coach, Bradley classes, confidence, Cynthia Gabriel, doctor, fear, first stage, Ina May Gaskin, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, inner voice, labor and delivery nurse, Liza Janda, medical model, mothers, natural birth, natural hospital birth, pain, Posh Push, pregnancy, prenatal yoga, proud, sensations, sleep, stay home in labor, transition, true love, trust, Unbound Birth, Yoga Janda
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Natural Birth Stories |
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 |
I started mild contractions on Wednesday. On Thursday the contractions were stronger and I had bloody show. We went to bed early that night and I woke up Friday morning, around 3:00 am to much stronger contractions and could no longer sleep. I putted around that morning, we dropped our son off at a friends house and headed down to UCSD in Hilcrest, mainly because we were unsure of how traffic would be. We stopped at the mall to walk around. When my contractions were 4 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute long, for about an hour, we called the hospital to let them know we'd be coming in. As soon as we got into the car, my contractions slowed to 8 minutes apart. So when we got to the hospital, we decided to wait before going in and walked around until they picked up again. We were ushered into triage and the midwife came in–she seemed pretty skeptical about my readiness–I was talking freely and just got quiet when I had a contraction. But I was 4 centimeters dilated and fully effaced. They told me to walk around the hospital for 2 hours before coming back to be admitted.
After walking around for an hour, my demeanor completely changed. I couldn't really walk through a contraction anymore and could not help myself from making a guttural moaning/groaning noise while hanging off of Ryan and swaying. After doing this for an hour, we headed up to the labor and delivery floor. I burst into tears–I'm not sure why–it wasn't because of the pain, but perhaps the whole emotional-ness intensity of it all.
In triage they discovered I was 8 centimeters dilated and progressing quickly (the walking made a major difference, I think). They sent me to my delivery room at 3:15 pm and at 4:44 pm Ingrid was out in the world.
They wanted the continuous fetal monitor on me the whole time, so I stayed on the bed, but I kind of made my "nest" there and didn't want to leave the bed anyway. I found being on all fours to be the only position I could tolerate, but I kept arching my back the wrong way (opposite of a C)–for some reason it was hard for me to round it out. We finally brought the birthing ball up on the bed and I was able to round my body out on the ball–which was a HUGE help and I birthed the baby that way.
I thought pushing was by far the hardest part. Transition was intense and I was certainly making animal noises and half crying through that time, but pushing was the time when I thought I was going to give up. There were a few times where I just didn't push through a contraction because I needed to gather myself together and take everything. But finally I resolved to do it and pushed Ingrid out. Pushing lasted for, at most, 30 minutes. I had no tears, no stitches, no episiotomy. They brought Ingrid to me right away, allowed the cord to finish pulsing before clamping and cutting, and I nursed right away.
All the nurses were impressed with the birth; which was nice. We're thrilled to have our little girl in the world. She was born 6 lbs 9 oz, and 18.5 inches. Her APGAR scores were really high and we were discharged from the hospital less than 24 hours later.
Tags: baby, back pain, Back pain in pregnancy, birth, birth ball, birth center, Bradley Method, breathing, C-section, Cesarean section, first stage, full term pregnancy, hospital, in labor, midwife, natural birth, natural childbirth, pain in labor, pushing, relaxation in labor, second stage, UCSD, UCSD birth center, unmedicated, VBAC, yoga
Posted in VBAC |
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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 |