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
www.sara.embracinglabor.com Nicole and Chris Fortunato hired me as their birth doula several months before their Feb. 9th due date. It was clear from the start that this was a couple who was willing to do what it takes to give their baby the best start possible. Nicole taking breaks from her busy work schedule to take birth classes and educate herself about childbirth, Chris standing by, ready to do whatever Nicole needed to have a successful unmedicated birth. At our prenatal visit we talked about birth plans and relaxation techniques. Nicole stated that her main reason for hiring me was to have someone to help her relax, something she would prove to be great at doing on her own when labor would begin.
Friday Jan. 27th I received a text from chris letting me know that Nicole had began to experience some contractions. He told me that they were still manageable and he would notify my when they became stronger and closer together. At around 11:30pm Jan 27th I received a phone call that Nicole's contractions were getting much stronger and about 3-4 min. apart. Chris told me that Nicole was getting anxious and thinking about going to the hospital. I reminded them that they wanted to stay home as long as possible and told them that I was on my way.
I arrived at the Fortunato home at around 12:30am Jan 28th and was told Nicole was upstairs. When I entered the bedroom Nicole was bent forward over the bed breathing through a contraction. Between contractions she told me she was experience a lot of back pain an was very tired from being up on her feet all night. We spent the next couple of hours walking the halls between contractions. Nicole took several showers and reported that it helped with the pain. As each wave of contractions came Nicole fell into natural rhythmic breathing and opened her palms upward. She later told me she was remembering what she learned in yoga and telling herself 'open palms, receiving grace'. As the morning carried on Nicole reported being more and more tired. She tried laying down and resting for a while and experienced some pretty intense contractions while laying down. She got up to walk around again around 7 am. Shortly after her contractions seemed to decrease in intensity and in length. Nicole used this time to rest in the chair for a while.
When contractions didn’t resume their previous strength and succession we decided to go for a walk outside. Nicole experienced some contractions during the walk but still not like she had overnight. We went inside and Nicole rested on the chair and was able to eat some light snacks and some water. Around 11am when contractions still hadn’t resumed Nicole decided to try acupuncture to help move things along. Chris made an appointment at 'Oceanside Acupuncture Clinic' where they were nice enough to come in on the weekend to help Nicole out. They used points meant to help soften the cervix and it seemed to help Nicole reach a place of calm. After we went for a long walk on the beach at buccaneer park where Nicole continued to experience some contractions about 10min. Apart lasting about 30 sec. When we returned home we talked about why Nicole's labor may have slowed. I explained that while what she was experiencing last night was real labor, her body seemed to be taking a break and would probably pick back up again when it was ready. I suggested that Nicole rest while she could because she most likely would have a lot of work to do that night. We all took the time to rest for several hours. Nicole was able to sleep from about 3pm until around 11pm that night. At 11pm her contractions started up again quick and strong.
At 12am Jan. 29th Nicole reported being ready to go to the hospital and it was clear that this time she was ready. She was no longer talking through or between her contractions and was using all of her energy and focus to breath through each wave. At this point Nicole reported being very cold and shivering. We loaded up the care and headed over to Scripps Hospital Encinitas. When we arrived at the hospital Nicole was so tired and shaky that she took a wheelchair from outside of the hospital into the birth pavilion.
When we arrived at the Hospital we were put in Labor and Delivery room 2. Nicole was given a cervical exam and was already dilated to 6cm! She was then hooked up to external fetal monitors and given an IV and antibiotics for her postie strep B. culture. The nurses reported that Nicole was very dehydrated. Nicole was told she would need to stay on the monitors for 20 min. After 20 min. the nurses reported that they were not able to get a good read on the baby and that Nicole would need stay on the monitor. They also took her temperature and discovered that she had a temperature. They later confirmed that she had a urine infection. The baby’s heart read a little flat and so Nicole was required to stay on the external monitor and IV throughout her labor. Nicole’s Dr., Dr. Zaid was not on call that night she as attended to by Dr. Truong.
During labor Nicole experienced a lot of back pain. Chris did a great job of doing hip compressions while Nicole was laying in bed and seated on the ball. Nicole did a great job moving despite the limitations of the monitors and switched from side to side, sat on the side of the bed and sat on the birth ball. At 4 am Nicole was checked and had progressed to 7cm. We worked through breathing and used tennis balls to help relieve some back pain. At this point nicole was getting very tired and had to be reminded often that she was doing a great job and the baby was coming soon! As contractions grew stronger and closer together Nicole continued to practice her breathing techniques and did a great job of staying focused and centered throughout transition. Her nurse would later comment that watching her deal with her labor had made her consider having her next child unmedicated.
At Approx. 8am Nicole was checked and was still at 8 cm. Dr. Truong suggested that Nicole was not progressing at a fast enough rate and was in need of petocin. Nicole and Chris asked for some time to think about it. Shortly after her cervical check Nicole got up to use the bathroom. She then reported the urge to push! Nicole then moved back to bed and reported that these contractions were different. Nicole was checked and told she was aloud to push at 9:25am. Nicole got into a hands a knees position on the bed and pushed for a while. She did great at continuing her breathing. It was clear that pushing was very intense for Nicole but she handled it wonderfully. She then moved to a squatting position with the squat bar and this seemed to really move things along. It was only 3 or 4 pushes on the bar and the baby’s head appeared. Because Nicole began to tear the nurses ask that she lean back on the bed and breath through the pushing urge to allow her perineum time to stretch. At this point the urge was so strong that I needed to help guide Nicole’s breathing. Chris did a great job of encouraging Nicole along and announced with Joy that the baby was coming and he could see the head. Because of how quickly Nicole went from 8cm to crowning her Dr. was not able to be there in time for the delivery. Dr. Miller was called in. Dr. miller didn’t even have time to change her clothes and threw on a surgical gown over he street clothes and told Nicole she was allowed to push. Within 2 pushes the baby was born at 9:59am at 18.5 inches weighing 6 pounds 10 oz. The dr. placed the baby onto Nicole and and Chris and Nicole admired their new baby boy. Once the placenta was delivered and the cord stopped pulsing Chris was able to cute the chord.
Nicole tore slightly during the pushing and by this time Dr. Truong had arrived. Dr. Truong saw some clots she was concerned about and went in for a uterine sweep. She found some pieces of the placenta left and had to go back in 4 more times. Nicole was very brave and refused morphine even when offered several times because she didn’t want anything to interfere with here awareness as she bonded with her new baby. Once this was over the baby was placed on Nicole’s chest and before long breastfeeding was established.
I was so blessed to be a part of this beautiful birth. Nicole handled her contractions with amazing calm and focus. Chris was so supportive and was always ready with words of encouragement and even the occasional joke. Gianni Angelo Fortunato made a beautiful unmedicated entrance into the world and it was clear right from the start that he is very loved.
Tags: Back pain in pregnancy, birth, birth ball, Bradley Method, breathing, doula, dr treuong, dr. said, full term pregnancy, hospital, labor, Liza Janda, natural, natural birth, pain in labor, positive birth stories, prenatal yoga, relaxation in labor, unmedicated, www.yogajanda.com
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Natural Birth Stories |
A MUST-SEE BEFORE YOU GIVE BIRTH. Order Now!
The story of my third pregnancy is very unique, so let me start at the beginning. Four months after my son, Kaleb was born I started ovulating again. Same thing happened after the birth of my daughter. My husband, Mike and I decided to try natural family planning; although we were pretty sure we were done having children. One day, I realized that I was a couple days late in menstruating. I mentioned this to Mike. That night he did not sleep well because he kept wondering if I might be pregnant. (It is very unusual for me to be late; my cycle tends to run like clockwork.) The very next day, he purchased a pregnancy test. Prior to taking it, I really didn’t think I was pregnant. So next came the test…yep I was pregnant. Shock #1. It took me several days to let it all sink in. And it took me even longer to accept God’s plan for my life. I remember calling my friend Brooke just sobbing and then I felt guilty for sobbing.
See, I’m a person who needs to have control. Both my daughter, Hannah and my son, Kaleb were planned down to the day and it only took one try for us to conceive. I knew what worked best in my schedule and with my plans but now God had totally messed with everything. After several months, I was finally able to accept the new responsibility that God has placed in my life.
I also struggled with the aspect of being pregnant again so soon. After four months, I finally felt like I was getting back to normal. I was back to my original weight. I was getting back into my yoga practice. I was looking forward to a little more freedom and a little more sleep. I was also not mentally prepared to be pregnant again or to give birth again—it was still all too fresh in my mind from my son. Not that my experience with my son was bad but I just wanted to be “normal” for a little bit.
We did not tell our families for quite awhile because we were adjusting to the idea of a third child so soon ourselves. Our son would be only 14 months old when this baby would arrive. We finally told our family through a picture. Hannah drew a picture of our family and then she drew an extra person. I labeled them all and then put ??? next to the 5th person. Our family was totally shocked. Shock #2. When we started telling people they were shocked as well. Shock #3. I had several people say, “Aren’t you still breastfeeding?” And I would answer, “Yes, but you can still get pregnant.” I was amazed at how many people still think you can’t get pregnant if you are nursing. I nursed my daughter until she was about 14 months old. However, with my son I barely made it to 6 months. Nursing and being pregnant was draining my entire body, I physically could no longer do it. Another thing out of my control—not my plan.
My first 2 labors were really fast. One was 6 hours (Hannah’s birth story) and the second was 5 hours (Kaleb’s birth story). I had both of these births at Morning Star Birth Center in Menomonie, WI. I loved the care there, I loved my birth experiences; however, I really wanted to try a homebirth this time. Unfortunately, I lived outside Morning Star’s radius for homebirths. So that led me to search for a new midwife that would do a homebirth. This is when I came across Women Care from Winona, MN. Mike and I met with LeAnn and Brenda and decided this would be a perfect fit.
My entire pregnancy was very similar to my other ones. I didn’t experience any morning sickness, I was gaining the same amount of weight, and I didn’t have weird cravings. At my first prenatal, we noticed I was a little bit bigger than my projected number of weeks pregnant. However, I had only cycled twice prior to conceiving so we weren’t sure if I was on a 28, 29, 30, 31,or 32 day cycle. Therefore, my due date was always a little questionable. We finally settled on February 18th, 2011. LeAnn did discuss having an ultrasound done so we could more accurately nail down my due date. However, we have never had an ultrasound done with our children and didn’t feel the need to really nail down the due date. We felt that the baby would come when it would come. And, we felt that no matter what abnormality an ultrasound showed us that we would still love and care for this child the same way, so why get one done. Now this is an area of control I don’t struggle with. I didn’t need to know that everything was 100% ok and I didn’t need to know what the sex of the baby was either.
About week 36, I mentioned that I felt a lot bigger. My maternity clothes were no longer fitting so I was wearing Mike’s shirts. My fundal height was only 1 to 2 cm different than with my other kids. However, my circumference was a lot different. At 37 weeks, I measured my waist at 42 inches. I was 39 inches with my other two kids the day I went into labor (and with both of them I went 2 days overdue). Everyone just kept telling me that a person is bigger with their third pregnancy.
On the mornings of February 1st and 2nd, I started to have some irregular contractions. I only had sporadic contractions for a couple of hours in the morning on these days and then they would go away after lunch. I thought I was experiencing early labor, which I never experienced with my 1st two pregnancies. My girlfriend, Stephanie had experienced early labor for weeks with her third child. I emailed her and told her what I was experiencing. She said she would start praying for me now because early labor was very frustrating and exhausting for her.
On the morning of February 3rd, I had to teach a Fit City class (an exercise class for people 55 an older), I just prayed that I didn’t have contractions like the previous mornings. And interestingly enough, I did not. That evening, I had just gotten home from running some errands in town and was playing games with my daughter and husband when I had a couple of contractions—very similar to the ones I had the previous mornings. This was about 6:15pm. At 6:30pm, we were down stairs watching Wheel of Fortune and the contractions were coming on a regular basis but they weren’t very long. Mike asked if I was ok and I said yes. At 6:55pm, we decided to call LeAnn and let her know that I was having contractions. We decide to start timing the contractions and LeAnn said she would get back to us in a little while. The timing of the contractions was all over the board. Some contractions would only last 30 seconds and then the next would be over a minute and then they would be back down to 30 seconds. They were only a couple of minutes apart though.
Now, I need to set the stage for what is also happening during all of this. Both of our children were up and Kaleb was getting a little testy because he was tired. Our pellet stove had just gone out and Mike needed to clean it before he could start it again. Now this might not seem like a big deal but our bedroom is downstairs and often very cold. The pellet stove is essential to heating up our room and our bedroom is the room I planned to birth in. We also needed to start getting things ready for the homebirth if I really was in labor, which meant changing sheets and getting out our supplies.
At about 7:15pm Kaleb wanted me to cuddle him but I didn’t even want him around me. Mike decided to take him upstairs to bed. Normally he goes to bed at 8pm. Hannah kept asking me if I was ok and we just said “Momma might be having a baby tonight.” A few minutes after this Mike started stripping the bed, and I walked into our bedroom to help. I had few contractions while lying in bed; they seemed to be getting more intense but not necessarily longer than before. At 7:25pm, I told Mike to call LeAnn because she needed to be here. Immediately after this, I was standing up near our bed and had a huge contraction. During this contraction it almost felt like I needed to push (I think I did push a little) and my water broke. I was still wearing all my clothes and was afraid I was going to get the rug under our bed wet so I started to move off the rug. I told Mike I had to go to the bathroom, which is just a couple feet away from our bed. ( I didn’t mention to him that I felt like I had to push—because that just seems a little crazy.) I was just about to go to the restroom when I had another contraction. This time I stood up and said “Mike the baby is coming.” I reached down and felt the head and gently glided the baby out. Mike immediately grabbed a towel and the baby started to cry. He also got some blankets wrapped around me as I sat on the toilet. Because of the coolness of the bathroom he had to get our space heater and he cranked it up. Shock #4—I just delivered my baby all by myself.
Mike immediately got on the phone with LeAnn to find out what we should do. Now, we did have a sheet titled “What if your midwives don’t make it” but do you think either of us thought to look at the sheet—of course not. LeAnn said to keep the baby warm, skin to skin and just wait until someone got there. However, the baby’s umbilical cord was rather short and I couldn’t bring her up to my torso, so just blankets had to do. After a couple of minutes I said Mike, “I wonder what time the baby was born at.” (Thankfully to cell phone logs we were able to go back through the phone calls exchanged and find out the time of the baby’s birth—7:31pm. ) I sat on the toilet for what seemed like forever. Mike called LeAnn again to ask about the placenta. He wanted to know what he was suppose to do if I delivered it. She told him to catch it. During this call, I started to have a contraction and I stood up so Mike could get the placenta. However, when Mike felt it something didn’t seem right. And then came Shock #5—the biggest of them all. Mike was still on the phone (but by this time he had set it on the floor), “It is another baby.” So Mike delivered baby number 2. I sat back down on the toilet holding not one but now two babies who were wrapped in towels. Mike and I were just stunned. We had NO idea we were having twins. As I waited, I just had to call someone because NO one was going to believe this story. I called my mom. I basically said something like this, “Mom, I don’t have a lot of time. I went into labor. Our midwives didn’t make it so I delivered the baby. And then Mike delivered the second baby. We had twins. (She started crying.) I am not joking. I’m totally serious. Please call Mikes’ parents for us. We are all fine, we are just waiting for the midwives. We will call again soon.” Shock #6!!! A couple minutes later Mike started getting some texts from his dad.
Hannah was around during all of this. We can’t remember exactly what she was doing but she was around. We did ask her to get some towels for us, which she did. I also remember that when I was holding them she wanted to touch the babies but was afraid. We just assured her that she could touch them, which she did. At this point, I wasn’t even sure if they were boys or girls but Mike said they were both girls. Thank goodness one of them was a girl because Hannah wanted a sister so bad!
For about 10 minutes I just sat on the toilet with the babies. I couldn’t move anywhere until the placenta was out. This is when someone came into our house. We figured it was LeAnn but the strange thing was–the person was taking their sweet time. Mike finally went upstairs and noticed it was Erica,
the birth assistant. Mike finally said, “She is on the toilet downstairs” as she handed him her coffee. As Erica came into my view she stopped in her tracks. Shock # 7—she had no idea that I had delivered the baby myself and she didn’t know that I had delivered two babies. Our midwife had not been able to tell her prior to her arrival. Erica came into the bathroom and chatted with us awhile and made sure we were all ok, which we were. At about 8pm, I birthed the placenta and Erica caught it in a bowl. That is when we moved to the bed. We made sure that the girls didn’t get mixed up. Next, LeAnn showed up and was able to cut the umbilical cords. Upon cutting them, we discussed how we were going to tell them apart. Marker on the foot was discussed but then Erica mentioned painting one of their toenails, which is what we did. The girl with the painted toe ended up being Elsa Lynn Mroz, born at 7:31pm weighing 5 pounds, 10.5 ounces and was 18 3⁄4 inches long. The girl without the painted toe was….we weren’t sure, we didn’t have a second girl’s name. The only other name I liked was Ellianna, so we decided to go with that. Then they asked how we would spell it, I got a piece of paper and wrote out 4 different spellings and then Mike and I chose one. Next was the middle name, we had nothing. I told Mike it needed to be short and he said Ruth. Perfect, Ruth is my grandmother’s first name. So the girl without her toe painted was Ellianna Ruth born at 7:41pm weighing 5 pounds 13.5 ounces and was 19 inches long.
At one point during the exam of the babies, Hannah came downstairs with a grapefruit and said “I brought a grapefruit for the babies to eat.” It was so cute. She went to bed at about 9:15pm because she was getting a little too crazy and was a bit overtired.
I can’t remember when, but our second midwife showed up sometime. She came all the way from Iowa and was pulled over twice on that way to my house. She got off both times—they actually believed her story.
Ok, what story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Facebook. At 8:20pm Mike posted the following on Facebook: “Here’s one for ya, Christina and I just delivered twins. All by ourselves in our bathroom downstairs. Two healthy girls, momma is great. She got the first one out and I got the second. UNREAL. What an experience. Thank You God for your help! Contractions at 6, twins at 7:30. More to come when things calm down.” Shock #8—telling other people our crazy story. He told me about the post and then said you will have to read the responses because they are pretty crazy. Some people thought we were joking and some people believed us. (I later learned some people called my parents to see if it was true and my best friend called her husband because she thought we might be joking but the husband totally believed we were telling the truth.)
Around 11pm, I had an herbal bath with both of the girls. My midwifery team commented that there was no clean up—which was very rare. But they did clean my bathroom and put a load of towels in the washer for us. At 11:45pm, our midwifery team all said good night and departed our house. Mike and I were now proud parents of not one but two baby girls.
My friend Megan left me a voicemail that said, “I think Jesus is smiling a little bit.” And she mentioned that it might have been a blessing that I didn’t know I was having twins. She was right on both accounts.
Yes, Jesus was smiling because he really is in control—not me. And yes, had I know I was having twins I probably would have thrown myself a huge pity party.
As I finish this really LONG story you probably have some questions.
How did we not know we were having twins? We never got an ultrasound to start. Second, we never noticed Ellianna. Elsa was the one the midwives always felt and the heartbeat we always heard. She was basically hiding Ellianna. Also, we discovered based on how they were born that both of the babies hands and feet faced my spine. Now it made total sense why I never felt little feet or hands like I did with my first two pregnancies. The only thing that was unusual was my waist circumference. I also had this weird lump right under my ribcage that we could never quite figure out but the midwives thought it was a knee. It was really the back of Ellianna’s head. (Both of my midwives had never misdiagnosed twins before.) I do remember looking at Elsa when she was first born and thinking she was tiny—Mike even said the same thing. No wonder I didn’t feel the “ring of fire”, like I had with my other two births. Also, I remember glancing at my belly once and thinking…boy it is still pretty rounded, I thought it would be more flat and squishy.
Were you scared? Not at all. I have never been afraid of birth. I’ve always known it is something I can do. The only time Mike and I were a little concerned was when Ellianna was first born she didn’t cry right away, but she did after about 30 seconds.
There really is not a way to end a story like this but to say…God is totally in control of my life—I totally got the message God! And, this is one heck of a story!
By Christina Mroz February 2011
Prepare for the Safest, Healthiest Birth for you Baby. Read Ina May's Guide To Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Tags: baby, back pain in labor, Back pain in pregnancy, birth, birth ball, birth center, birth coach, Bradley coach, Bradley Method, breathing, Breathing in labor, childbirth, doula, emergency childbirth, first stage, full term pregnancy, home birth, hospital, hospital birth, Ina May Gaskin, labor, Liza Janda, midwife, natural, natural birth, newborn baby, pain in labor, positive birth stories, relaxation in labor, unmedicated, water birth
Posted in Labor and Birth Advice, Natural Birth Stories |
This is one of the most beautiful birth stories I've ever read. It is a positive family-centered Cesarean experience. Congratulations…
Welcome Cora Lou
On July 24th at 1:15 in the afternoon, we welcomed sweet Cora Louise into our lives. Nothing can fully prepare one for the experience of becoming parents. The moment she arrives feels hurried and fleeting but it is nothing short of miraculous.
Jesse and I had been hoping for a natural birth, with as little medical intervention as pos- sible but our little baby’s head was securely positioned, close to my heart, up between my ribs. We tried everything to encourage her to turn, from Moxibustion to Chiropractic to Massage to a pregnant version of “planking” and although she felt very active and we held out hope she would flip, we had a Cesarean scheduled for the 28th of July.
I had expressed to Jesse on Saturday, that I was disappointed to show no signs of labor
as the 28th drew nearer because I really wanted the baby to let us know when she was ready to arrive. Well, that night, I had an unexpected “bloody show,” which Jesse insists on pronouncing with a British accent, and proceeded to re-read every book on pregnancy we had to remind myself that there was nothing to panic about and to go about life as normal. I was very grateful to baby, though, for the little hint at readiness.
Early Sunday morning, I awoke to what I knew were the signs of beginning labor. Mild, slightly painful, definitely not practice, contractions which were about 10 minutes apart. Our weeks of preparation, of staving off the trip to the hospital for as long as possible, were challenged by the breech situation and my desire to avoid an emergency cesarean.
So against Jesse’s urging, I called the hospital nice and early. My reasoning was, if we checked the position of the baby and she was side- ways or maybe even head down, I could return home to eat my meal and prepare my body to relax for natural labor, but if she continued
to be head up, I wouldn’t eat anything as I would be having major abdominal surgery later in the day.
My midwife, in the last few weeks, had spent a generous amount of time mentally and spiritually preparing me for a cesarean. I had some definite fears and disappointment about requiring medical intervention but we did a lot of work to reframe the ideas and details of a cold and routine surgery to a warm and celebratory birth that would allow me to be brave and present no matter how my daughter should arrive into our lives.
When we arrived at Tri-City around 10:00, I requested to first see the position before a vaginal exam. Our little girl was absolutely, unmovably, head up. The surgeon said that the contracting of my uterus would actually make it harder for her to flip. We discussed waiting until the planned cesarean in four days but my cervix was soft and dilating and waiting put us at the mercy of hospital scheduling. I felt I had done so much work to prepare for the surgery that the less rushed we were, the more present I could stay.
I met with an anesthesiologist, and by 12:30 I was ready for our birth experience. I know that we have spent weeks in Liza’s class educating ourselves so that we can avoid an unnecessary cesarean, but if it is necessary, here is what I can offer that helped me along.
Crossing into the operating room is a big red line, as I walked over it, I took a moment to think that crossing it meant I was going to become a mother. I knew what the spinal block was made of, the position I would sit in to receive the shot and the feeling it would give me as it numbed my lower body. The spinal was not very painful. The needle was small; it burned a little. The midwife held my hands and looked straight into my eyes to encourage me. I was quite scared and close to tears, but tried very hard to just take it all in. This was my own birth story happening.
When they laid me on the table, the lights were very bright and they spread my arms out to the sides. Sometimes they restrain them, but they laid a warm blanket over me instead. Waiting for the medication to set in, I paid close attention to my breathing and tried my best to relax. In the room were two assistants, a midwife, the surgeon, a neo-natalogist, and a nursery nurse. Jesse arrived in scrubs and sat by my head. Everyone wore masks and it was difficult to hear but their eyes were all friendly and encouraging.
Jesse and I wrote a birth plan that included requests for both natural labor and Cesarean. I had requested music and had planned to spend Sunday constructing the perfect Labor- land playlist. Instead, I had to quickly make a playlist on my phone while we waited in triage before the surgery. Jesse, smelling of my requested lavender scent, held the phone by my ear as I tried to relax to a song about a bird in a cage. Having music was an impor- tant detail that my surgeon broke some rules to accommodate. I am grateful because the familiar songs brought a lot of comfort.
Neither Jesse nor I actually watched the surgery, but I constantly checked in for reassurance that every thing was happening smoothly. The anesthesiologist did some very convincing tests that I would feel nothing and the anesthesia didn’t have any of the dreaded rare effects, like headache or shortness of breath. The small incision was made at my bikini line and then the midwife guided little baby down and out. This was quite a feat as she was very high up and very breech. I heard a lot of effortful grunting from behind the drape. When she was out, they lowered the drape, as I had requested, and showed me what looked to be a near perfect little baby. Heavy, at 8lbs 10oz, but proportional. Having been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I spent the pregnancy monitoring and carefully controlling my diet and so I actually argued with the surgeon about my baby’s weight. It went something like this.
“Wow, congratulations, she’s heavy! Maybe nine pounds!”
“No she’s not.”
“Yes she is, I can tell. She’s a very good size.”
“No, I had controlled my diabetes, she’s supposed to be small.” “Well you’re both pretty tall. Anyway, she looks great.”
I remember thinking my midwife would think I cheated on all that food diary business I was keeping for six months. Her blood sugar was thrice checked, though, and she had all the signs of a healthy baby with a well-controlled blood sugar. Not the rolly-polly, smoking youTube baby I had feared!
Jesse then accompanied our new daughter to the nursery where he fielded a barrage of tests and procedures. We opted for no ointment in the eyes and no Hepatitis Vaccine. We did allow the Vitamin K as she had some bruising from being hard to get out from her breech position. The nursery nurse was a little abrasive, so we also opted for no bath until later. We ended up with the best nurse in the world who gave her her first bath a few days later in a loving, calm environment. Cora continues to enjoy having a shampoo, I think thanks to Betty – the greatest nurse.
My delivery of the placenta went unnoticed as I was entirely consumed with new baby. Stitching me up took the most time as they carefully repaired me layer by layer. At this point, I felt pretty dizzy from the morphine in the spinal and also a bit itchy, but still in good spirits.
Jesse brought the baby back to me in the recovery room about 30 minutes later. I had requested for my mom to be allowed to meet me in recovery but you are only allowed one banded person. I actually enjoyed the silent alone time to reflect on my experience and try to calmly relax through the dizziness. When I had Cora in my arms, I set right to work on breastfeeding which has been very successful. I have since had many consultations from the lactation specialists just to double check and continue to encourage what has been going, thankfully, very smoothly.
I spent 3 nights in the hospital. The pain got very bad on the 2nd night as I was really trying to stave off using Ibuprofen and Percocet for pain. I was obviously, very against medication for a natural birth and had a hard time reconciling with using them after surgery. But when the pain got so bad that I didn’t think I could feed the baby, I took them and they helped. Natural delivery isn’t something that needs to be treated and fixed. Surgery kind of is. It has been 10 days and I am down to only an Ibuprofen at night.
We saw the pediatrician on Monday and he congratulated Jesse and me for keeping a new- born baby healthy and happy for a whole week. She is a little person in our lives, surprising us with thoughtful stares and sleepy, unconscious smiles. I would describe my pregnancy as fairly stressful and although I was continuously told none of it would matter once the baby arrived, I didn’t actually understand that until she was in my arms. I plan to use the same advice for any panicked worried mom-to-be I encounter. I totally understand the worry, but I have nearly forgotten the negatives of my journey now that our baby is here. It’s true, I stare for hours and marvel daily. By the way, it’s 5 o’clock and I am still un-showered and in my pajamas. Welcome to baby time!
Tags: baby, beautiful, birth, Bradley birth, Bradley Method, C-section, Cesarean, delivery, doula, family centered, full term pregnancy, hospital, labor, Liza Janda, midwife, positive, positive birth stories, prenant, prenatal yoga, www.yogajanda.com, yoga
Posted in Best Cesareans Possible Positive Birth Experiences |
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 |
November 6, 2008 Dear Benjamin Christopher, On the morning of your birth, God was opening heaven for your arrival. On the car ride to the hospital at 6:15am, we witnessed a thunder and lightening storm. Lightening bolts with definable cracks of electricity were seen along the eastern hills that divide San Marcos from the inland areas of north San Diego County. There were thunderclouds high above that were illuminated with the first rays of morning sun. In the distance we could see that one of the clouds had broken open and warm filtered rain and light were pouring down to the earth marking the direction of our destination to where we would first meet you. As we proceeded to Escondido the sky grew darker and in Rancho Bernardo we drove through our first rain of the season. The drops from the sky fell hard and with determined purpose. The night before your birth we had a home visit from our doula, Trisha Olow. She was there to give your mommy a relaxing foot massage and work on some pressure points to naturally facilitate the onset of my labor. Based on my description of some mild cramping I’d been experiencing on and off since earlier that morning, Trisha told us she thought you were already on your way, even though your official due date was still five days away. I had also had several bowl movements and noticed a slight pink tint to my discharge that day, which were both uncharacteristic occurrences from the previous 39 weeks. Because of these signs, Trisha said she didn’t want to stimulate the pressure points too hard because she wanted you to make your decent in your own time. That night I went to bed at 10:30pm and instantly started to feel light cramping again. Your daddy, Chris, was sleeping in the guest room to give me space to move about, but by 2:00am I woke him because the cramps had turned into stronger contractions and I needed his comfort and assistance in timing them. I took a warm soothing bath and labored with you in the water for a time, envisioning what it would be like to labor in the bathtub once I arrived at the hospital. By 5:00am we called Trisha to seek her advice. My contractions were coming very close together but there was little consistency to the duration of each one. While on the phone with her, I had to stop talking as I felt the onset of each contraction. Then Daddy called Dr. Eastman and she told us to head to the hospital. In preparation I sat on the exercise ball in the loft for a long time staring at a cookbook on the bookshelf entitled, “30 Minute Italian.” The first two words on the spine were printed in red and the combination of the color and the suggestion of just getting through the next 30 minutes had me very focused. I remember letting myself relax in that state of mind, unhurried, for fear that I’d arrive at the hospital and get sent back home for lack of dilation. I knew I’d rather labor as long as I could at home before sitting in the car or feeling confined to a sterile unfamiliar room. As it was, it took me over an hour to move my body and last-minute necessities downstairs and out to the car. On the way out I stopped at the bathroom and threw up (clear and watery), which gave me immediate relief. Meanwhile Daddy secured the house and called Grandpa Al to ask him to pick up Jasmine and Vivien later that morning. When we arrived at Pomerado hospital in Poway at 7:05am, my cervix was already 6-7 centimeters dilated, and 80% effaced. The knowledge of this wonderful progress inspired me to keep laboring without any pain medication. Trisha arrived then too and worked to help situate and make me comfortable. I remember noticing that the room we were assigned to didn’t have a bathtub. I asked my nurse about it explaining that I had hoped to take a bath. The staff quickly shuffled me to the room next door. From that window I could see red tiled roofs in the distance. Not surprisingly, during the entire ride to the hospital I focused on the red taillights of the cars in front of us. The color red was still mesmerizing, soothing and a good distraction from the pain I was feeling. The red roofs were a welcome focal point and reminded me of being home earlier that morning. Within a few minutes I saw that the storm clouds had lifted, revealing the misty morning sun, and just to the edge of my peripheral vision I saw a rainbow! Rainbows have always given me a sense of well-being and a close connection with God. On this important day, He sent one to the earth as a sign to me that you were on your way, that you would be very special, and that we would all be okay because He was with us. For the next couple of hours I labored in our room. I wanted to take a bath, and as Trisha began filling the tub, the jets malfunctioned and made a distracting and loud noise. The nurses were running around trying to fix it and said they might need to get a maintenance man to come turn them off. I was dreading the idea of having a man other than your dad in the room at that point. The next thing I remember was Daddy crouching on the floor with a wrench and screwdriver taking the panel door off the bathtub and manually overriding the jet switch! He is really a handy guy, even through the stress of his wife’s labor! As you grow up I hope that you too will learn about the way things work. (Your daddy will be the best teacher!) So I took my bath and Daddy and Trisha poured warm water down my back for a long time, which helped with the low back pain I was feeling. I was very thirsty and drank water between each contraction. I remember feeling alternately hot then cold in the tub, but when I felt I’d had enough, I got out and continued through the hardest part of my contractions between a standing and squatting position on the floor. At the peek of each contraction I leaned forward on Daddy’s legs and squeezed him hard. By then I’m sure his back was hurting, but just by standing strong he helped me through the transition phase. Trisha noted that my yoga classes paid off, as she’d never seen anyone successfully labor in a squatting position before. However, I don’t think I was handling myself too gracefully because I remember screaming out in pain and begging for pain medication. However, Trisha kept reminding me that I was “about to have this baby, and there was no longer time for medication.” A few weeks before the delivery, Daddy and I came up with a secret code phrase, “Sand Dune,” which we agreed would be a sign to him that I had truly reached my limits, no matter what anyone else suggested. However, during this challenging time of birthing, the words never once even entered my mind, I think because I was so focused on the job set before me. By 10:30am I was put in bed while the nurses converted it to the labor platform. Dr. Eastman and the nursing staff were present, and finally they said it was time to push! After about 30 minutes the doctor said my cervix had swollen and that I needed to stop pushing to allow more time for it to fully dilate. Looking back now, I recall liking the pushing stage of labor because I was actively assisting you to move down the birth canal. I felt that I had some control and I knew you were almost here! You first came into this world at 11:58 am on September 29, 2008. When they put you on my chest I breathed a sigh of relief, for I had just overcome a few major fears in my life. The best part was the reward at the end-sweet little you, whom I was not expecting to be so beautiful, and you immediately captured my heart. It was the conclusion of a very important journey for me (pregnancy), and the beginning of our new life with you. From that moment on I knew things would be different, but I was ready to face the challenges and the times of joy with you in my arms. You will always be the love of your mommy and daddy’s lives, and we will protect and care for you as long as we live (and hopefully beyond). Thank you for blessing us with your arrival. Love always, Your mom, Alexis
Tags: baby, Back pain in pregnancy, beautiful, birth, birth ball, birth center, birth coach, Bradley birth, Bradley Method, breathing, delivery, doula, full term pregnancy, hospital, labor, Liza Janda, midwife, natural birth, natural childbirth, pain in labor, poses for pregnancy, positive birth stories, positive birth story, prenatal yoga, relaxation in labor, www.yogajanda.com, Yoga Janda
Posted in Natural Birth Stories |
Garrett was born on September 26th, 2007. What an angel. And, again, I have to sing the praises of my doctor, Dr. Biter. He was THE BEST! I strongly encourage anyone who is willing to consider natural childbirth to do some research of their own and really give it some thought. And no, that doesn't mean I look down on you if you don't consider it! You don't have to be a super hero, or a martyr – you just have to be a mom. It is the way our bodies were built that helps you deliver naturally. Comparing my first experience (pitocin, epidural, etc.) to this experience, my dilation progressed much faster, the delivery went more smoothly, and my recovery was INCREDIBLY faster without any interventions. I gained a sense of self that I wasn't expecting. I was just trying to do what is best for the baby, but it has made me more confident in myself and in the body God gave me. If I can do this, you can too! I know there are some exceptions, where it isn't possible physically, or emotionally if someone is truly terrified of the process. But for most of us, I believe giving birth naturally is a union of body and spirit in delivering a new little person to the world – it is such a sacred experience! Sooo … here's the story. I had been having contractions for a week or so, regular for 3-4 hours, then stopping, and I felt close to having the baby. Then I got really sick – a deep chest infection – and I knew if I went into labor I would have a rough time. Mentally I think I stopped the process, because my contractions stopped. After taking antibiotics to ensure no bronchitis or pneumonia, I was feeling better. It was about 5-6 days later that I was thinking to myself that I felt good enough to have the baby, that I felt ready. That day, Tuesday the 25th, at 3pm I started having contractions 10 minutes apart, about 45-60 seconds long. We just ignored it as we went about our day, shopping and doing normal things. At about 5pm, they started taking my concentration, and we had the grandparents come pick up our older son Cohen. We waited until after 7pm to drive to the hospital, when contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, at least 80 seconds long, and had been coming that way for at least an hour. When we got the hospital, I was a 5! That was great news, because that meant I was halfway there already! We labored in the shower, walking around, on the birth ball, over the back of the hospital bed, and in so many other positions. I couldn't stay still. I had back labor once again which was very intense, but Cameron was excellent at putting pressure on my back and relieving some of the pain. Hurrah for Scripps Encinitas! The nursing staff was great – they looked at our birth plan and honored every single point! I had no IV, only necessary fetal monitoring (the nurse even listened to the heartbeat while I was in the shower in order to accommodate), and brought us heat and ice packs, ice chips, juices, etc. The heat packs were awesome for my back labor!. Om Sanctuary – some meditational music – also helped quite a bit! Cameron was the best coach, talking me through contractions and helping me release tension, and attending to every need! At 10pm they checked me again and I was a 7-8, and an hour later, I was a 9-10. I was ecstatic, and that is just what I needed in order to get up and move around with the last few contractions. The nurse also said the heartbeat was a little low, and she was slightly concerned, but that the baby seemed fine. Dr. Biter came about 20 minutes later, and broke my water to get the last lip of the cervix to melt away. I was in the supported squat position to push, but it just didn't feel right. Dr. Biter said Garrett was sunny-side up, and to get on my left side with my right leg up in a squat. After pushing that way for maybe 2-3 minutes, the baby turned, and all of a sudden pushing felt great! Dr. Biter helped me ease the baby out with mineral oil, and Garrett was born within minutes, maybe 15-20 minutes total of pushing time. Later I found out the cord was wrapped tightly around Garrett's neck. Dr. Biter had tried to loop it over his head after he crowned, but it was too tight, so he had to cut it right then. Cameron was able to catch the baby's head and helped support the head while Dr. Biter cut the cord so Garrett could slip into the world. Total labor is hard to count, but from early labor to birth it was about 9.5 hours, only 5 at the hospital. It was a full moon, by the way, on the 26th at 12:29am when he was born! Afterwards, I felt fantastic!! This picture is from the day Garrett was born. The only reason we stayed in the hospital was for the 24hour rule for the baby. I am recovering 100000% faster than with Cohen – no tearing, hardly any swelling, and bleeding was very minimal. Everyone that sees how great I feel says, "it must have been a natural birth." Even my nurses told me they were grateful to have attended Garrett's birth because they enjoyed watching the process since hardly anyone delivers naturally anymore. I have to recommend Dr. Biter to absolutely every woman who needs a referral for a doctor! He is a doctor, but really more like a midwife at the same time. He is absolutely the best and most caring doctor I have ever met. When he came into the room, I didn't even notice, because I was in the middle of a contraction, and he knelt by my bed and just watched me relax and breathe. I opened my eyes to see him watching me, and won't forget the care and attention in his face. He is an incredible guy and I felt so well taken care of. I also have a newfound respect for my body and the ability to create and deliver a tiny person. What an experience to feel the rhythm of each contraction and to work with them and appreciate them instead of fearing them. I won't say it was pain-free, because it was definitely the hardest thing I've ever done physically. But I feel so empowered, and I have such a special bond with Garrett, and with Cameron, because of what we accomplished together. Thanks to all those who encouraged us instead of looking at us like we were nuts! And to my yoga teacher, Liza, I know that your encouragement and wealth of knowledge helped to prepare Cameron and I for the most intense yet most rewarding experience ever!! Yoga and birthing go hand in hand … I am so grateful for my background in yoga!! My last comment on natural childbirth is – anything worthwhile demands great sacrifice, and great sacrifice leads to something worthwhile for those who seek it.