Sunday, October 11, 2009

Samuel's Birth by Rachel

It is hard to say when exactly I went "into labor" with Sammy but the day before his birth I was losing my mucus plug all day, I still thought that it would definitely be a few days, despite the fact that I was 5 days overdue. My first baby was 10 days overdue and I figured this one was following suit! That day I went out shopping for a bridal shower present, and that evening I went over to my moms house to spend the night. my husband was at work and he would not be home until 7am the next day. At my moms that evening, I could not get comfortable, my back was killing me, and the only place that felt good was on my hands and knees. I did many pelvic rocks and tilts and sat in my dads big comfy recliner. I finally decided to give up and go to bed early, I slept well all night surprisingly, but I woke in the morning feeling TERRIBLE!

I got up to walk to the bathroom and could barely make it down the hall. My hips and legs were hurting so bad. (off and on throughout the last weeks of pregnancy I was having trouble with my leg going numb and having painful leg spasms). I was supposed to be going to a funeral that morning, but seeing as how I couldn't walk I decided to settle in the big recliner and watch Regis and Kelly. I stayed there all morning, experiencing a few contractions, probably about 1/2 hour apart and not very strong.

Around 11 or 12 I decided to drive my dads truck home so that my husband could go to IKEA and pick up our new couch. I did not think I was in labor but just in case I brought my sister along with me b/c she was going to be watching my son during the labor. We got to my house and the contractions were about every 15 minutes and still did not hurt that bad. I woke my husband up and told him what was going on and that he could probably go to IKEA still and get the couch. I was up doing dishes and making lunch, my leg was feeling much better. Feeling pretty good despite the contractions that were still coming about every 15 minutes. I called my mom and chatted with her and she was convinced that I was in early labor and she would be right over! (lol) she was going to be my doula for the birth. Once she got there, I put on my Enya CD birthing mix and decided to try and take a nap while Caleb was taking his. I laid down on the couch and my mom gave me a massage, I talked to my sister on the phone (she lives in VA) and just tried to relax for a while. This was probably around 3pm or so, and the contractions were getting closer together and stronger, coming about every 10 minutes or so. Still completely bearable and tolerable though.

We called Family Beginnings and made sure there was a bed available, and there was actually two open so that relieved some of my stress! I rocked in the glider and sipped the power smoothie my mom had made me, I walked around outside on the deck, but had no desire to go further than that! I remember being mad at my husband b/c he was down working on the basement and was not paying me enough attention! Eventually at about 6:30p I decided that we should go ahead and go in and see where I was at. (I wanted to stay home as long as possible to avoid any unnecessary interventions and hopefully the antibiotics since I was GBS positive). We got to the hospital right at 7pm and got checked I was dilated to 7cm and about 70-80% effaced. I did end up getting an IV and the first dose of antibiotics started. I got right into the tub after that, and floated around, then things started picking up and I was feeling each contraction much stronger now and needed support to get through them. I had several loose bowel movements and was very thankful b/c I didn't want to poop in the tub!! Theses contractions were SOOO hard and then I felt my water break, and my baby turned inside me, (he had been posterior which is why they were so hard and why it was taking longer to be "complete)The IV infusion finished and the Dr came in to see how I was. I said i was ok, and he said he had to run an errand and would be back later.... So after several more contractions I was feeling a little "pushy" but did not tell anyone b/c I did not want anyone telling me when and how to push!! I guess my grunts gave me away though and the nurse decided to check me and I was complete! I still did not feel like actually pushing yet, and so I just sort of did "little" pushes through each contraction and felt better doing that. Apparently they had to call the Dr right after he left to come back since I was complete!! I was leaning over the side of the tub on my knees, but the babies heart rate did not like that, so I ended up leaning against my husband and my legs were supported by the nurse and my mom. With each contraction now I was actively trying to push out my baby, and it wasn't easy! After the nurse told me to stop pushing in my face and push with my bottom, I realized that was exactly what I was doing and really started to concentrate pushing my baby out with my muscles that were made to do so! His head crowned and was born, and then the Dr helped get the shoulders out (they were a little stuck) and then the rest of his body came sliding out and he was handed to me and I brought him up to my chest and was amazed at what i had just done (and so relieved that i was not feeling any pain down there) my first son I got a 4th degree tear and was in a lot of pain!! But with this one, I felt great, and we brought his brother in and he looked at him with wide eyes!! and gave him a kiss.

Samuel Patrick was born at 10:56pm 9lb 6oz 22 inches long. And I ended up having a second degree tear but I felt perfectly fine like I hadn't torn at all!! After the birth I was shivering uncontrollably which happened with my first son as well, I got stitched up and nursed my newborn son. and remember those precious first hours in which I got to hold my son skin to skin and really enjoy the bonding time I was able to experience, I will never forget it!

Samuel is Rachel's second son and was born in September of 2008. Rachel is a Dar a Luz chapter leader.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Makayla's Birth by Suzie

Makayla’s “due date” was October 12, 2008. As that day came and went, I quickly realized that she was not ready to make her way into this world yet. We continued about our normal routines at home, adding in a lot of walking to encourage my body to begin labor. In the back of our minds was the concern of my rising blood-pressure. I was monitoring it 3-4 times a day and all was well until Saturday. That afternoon, my blood-pressure rose to 160/100 no matter what position I was in. After delivering a birthday present, we came home and I called the doctor. He was very concerned and said that we needed to head to the hospital to have a BP check and some bloodwork. I called our doula and off we went.
They very quickly got us through to triage and got me hooked up to a BP monitor. No change, so they did a lot of labwork to make sure everything internally was ok and hooked me up to a labor monitor, which showed nothing because I was having very sporadic, minimal surges. All this time, Makayla was doing just fine. The doctor then decided based on the elevated blood-pressure that it was time to have a baby. He knew our intentions of having a natural delivery with hypnobirthing and was very accepting of working with us through the process. I knew at this time that induction was likely going to happen, however, I also knew that right now neither I or Makayla were in any immediate danger and we may have some time to stimulate labor without meds.
After getting settled into the labor room, I asked the nurse if it would be possible to speak with the doctor on the phone. She got him for me and I asked if I could have my membranes stripped to try to encourage my body to start surging and progressing into labor. Also, it was about 10 at night and I really thought that getting a good night sleep would be of great benefit for me and Makayla and Kenny too. He was ok with that so the nurse stripped my membranes and we settled in for the night. My mom, dad, and sister arrived about midnight and after about 2 hours of being real uncomfortable they decided to go home until the morning, it was very obvious that I wasn’t having this baby overnight. Kenny and I both got a good night sleep with the exception of the 20 minute period of the girl in the next room over screaming that “she couldn’t do it anymore”. I pulled the pillow over my ears very tightly to block it out, that was the last thing I needed to hear as I mentally prepared myself for my calm, natural hypnobirth.
Sunday morning we woke up and our new nurse, Teresa came in to introduce herself and talk with us. She was very accepting of our birthplan and let us decide how things were going to go for the day. We decided to break my water in the morning and then to get up and walk around for a few hours. Mom, Dad and Jennifer came back in the morning and took turns walking with me around the hospital. Vicky and Amber arrived later in the morning. Rich, Kelly and Jarrhett visited also.& nbsp; Kenny’s dad and Liz also came for a little while. Our doula arrived in the morning to provide support to me and Kenny.
After hours of walking around with no change in progression, Teresa said to me that it was probably time to start the Pitocin and I agreed. It was obvious that labor was not going to progress on it’s own and with no change in my blood-pressure, it was definitely time to have this baby to eliminate and possible risks to me or Makayla. At 12:30pm my Pitocin drip was started. Surges began almost immediately. With the help of my hypnobirthing breathing and relaxation techniques, I was able to go within myself, relax and move quickly into active labor. I spent a lot of time on the birthing ball early on. As the surges became stronger and I became more relaxed and in my own world, I moved to the bathroom and sat on the toilet. It was a very comfortable position and I had a pillow propped on the wall to lean on. The lights were off and my relaxation music was playing. At one point, I sent everyone out of the room because they were all talking loud and it was becoming a distraction to me keeping my focus off of my labor.
With each surge getting stronger, I would tell myself and Makayla that we were getting closer and closer. I was encouraging my body to open up and encouraging Makayla to move down the birth canal. I could actually feel as she got lower and lower. After about 3 ½ hours, I decided that I wanted to get into the tub. At this point, I had not had any exams to see how I was progressing. Teresa suggested that she check me before getting in the tub because it would be difficult to do once I was in (this was just a standard bath tub, not a nice big birthing tub). She checked and said that I was at 9cm and 100% effaced, it was time to call the doctor. As I stood up to get into the tub, I realized that it was time to have a baby, there was no time to get in the tub, Makayla was ready to make her entrance into the world. The pressure was intense and with each surge I could feel myself bearing/breathing down. I never really felt like I had to push, my body was just naturally focusing down with every surge. Kenny was supporting me with his arms as we walked back into the birthing room. With each continual surge, my legs would give out and he was holding me up with his forearms. He turned to Jamilla and said “I can’t hold her up anymore”. She got him a chair to sit in and I squatted in front of him resting my arms over his legs. This was a very comfortable natural position for me.
Teresa and our doula got everything set up to deliver in this position on the floor. As the surges progressed, Makayla began crowning, with no doctor in sight. Teresa called the nurses station to get his ETA and send in a resident because we were crowning. At this point, there was no stopping us, Makayla was ready and my body was doing it’s job to deliver her. Within a few seconds and 2 surges, Makayla was born at 4:58pm. I reached down and pulled her to my chest and there we sat staring into each others eyes, experiencing those first moment as mother and daughter. She was absolutely perfect. When the resident finally made it into the room, he took one look at the situation, realized that Makayla was already born and turned around and walked back out. Once her umbilical cord stopped pulsating, the cord was cut and Makayla, Kenny, and I were allowed to enjoy our first moments as a family together. Then I had to get up off the floor into the bed so the doctor, who arrived about 5 minutes after she was born, could examine me.
The day was abolutely perfect. Even with a few minor changes because of my blood-pressure, we had the beautiful, peaceful, natural birth that we wanted and in the end, we had the most perfect gift ever, our beautiful daughter, Makayla.
Makayla was born October 19th at 4:58 pm and weighed 6lbs, 12 1/2 oz.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Jonah's Birth by Jen

My son was due on May 5th, a day before our wedding anniversary. I had no expectation that he would be out by then. He was our first child, and first children may very well come a couple weeks after their due date.

I was planning on having a water birth at our hospital’s birthing center. I saw an OB/midwife group that very much trusted nature to take her course, and they were in no rush to induce labor. They did, however, schedule biweekly non-stress tests to keep an eye on things. I have scoliosis and a funky musculoskeletal system, and knew my son was posterior. I was using the rebozo technique to turn him at home, and inserting evening primrose oil at my midwife’s suggestion to try and help soften my cervix.

I had a great NST on Monday, my due date. I would go out and walk a little bit, as much as I could. I have a chronic pain syndrome that flared up during pregnancy and restricted my mobility, to the point where my husband had to help to dress and bathe me. Thursday rolled around, and my usually active son seemed much quieter than usual. I did kick counts, and I just couldn’t tell if he was even moving or not. I drank some cold water, ate a snack, had a Sprite, and lay on my left side for a while in the evening. He moved a couple times, but was definitely not the wild child he generally had been. I considered calling the on-call midwife, but decided to just keep my NST appointment in the morning.

I was shocked to wake up the next morning and find I had slept the whole night through for the first time in nearly 5 months. My son hadn’t woken me with his kicking. I drank another Sprite and had a carb-filled meal before my morning appointment. I was relieved when the midwife found his heartbeat, but it was very flat. We tried all the usual tricks to get him to be more lively, but when I lay in that chair waiting for him to move so I could push the button they gave me to mark his movements on the monitoring strip, I knew something was wrong. My son was not himself, and it filled me with fear.

The midwife felt he was just quieting down in anticipation of labor, but my intuition told me differently. She ordered a biophysical profile for 3PM, just so I wouldn’t worry all weekend, and scheduled me to see the OB for another NST on Monday. I called my husband to go with me to the test, and we stopped at home to get the hospital bag and eat something. Yet again, I had a big meal and a pop, hoping to sugar him up so he would move for us.

I thought perhaps his fluid might be low, but I wasn’t prepared for our son to flunk the test as much as he did. He did not move once- not even a twitch. He scored a 4/10. I’ve worked as a labor and delivery nurse, and knew exactly what would happen. The tech left the room to talk to the doctor, and I turned to my husband and said, “They’re sending us to the hospital now.” And so they did.

On the way there, I called my mother to come to the hospital, worried they would have to get him out, and wanting to be sure someone would be with me and someone with my son the whole time, in case he had some distress. We had no idea why he was not moving.

We arrived in Triage at 7PM. The triage nurse said the doctor reading the BPP had estimated our son’s weight at 10 lbs. She and the midwife felt my belly and laughed, saying, “That kid isn’t 10 lbs!” The OB on-call as backup agreed. They felt giving the vaginal route we desired a shot would be fine, and we would watch our son to make sure he tolerated everything. My cervix was firm and high, only 1 cm dilated, and we decided that using the mechanical means of a foley catheter bulb would be less risky to our already distressed son than a chemical ripening agent.

My midwife inserted the catheter, which would stay in up to 12 hours until it dilated my cervix enough to fall out on its own, and I nearly passed out. Stimulating our son’s scalp made him make one big turn- and suddenly he was himself again, kicking and wriggling as usual. His heartrate suddenly changed from flat to a textbook-perfect one.

I had never planned on an IV or fetal monitor, but suddenly I had them, and wanted to have them. I was terrified he would stop moving again- or even die. We had called our doula Eileen on the way to the hospital, but she was at another birth, and we fully expected the process to take a very long time. The foley insertion had jump-started my labor and I was contracting every 4 minutes, but it was no problem for me. My pain level was consistently high during my pregnancy, and the only way I could tell I was contracting was by feeling my abdomen harden, or looking at the monitor. What I couldn’t stand was the hospital bed. It was too uncomfortable to sleep in. I accepted an offer from the nurse to take a sleep aid, and had maybe 3-4 hours fitful sleep, waking up to watch the monitor and reassure myself by my son’s movements.

In the morning, our doula arrived. The birth she had attended had finally happened at 5AM, and she was exhausted. She took a catnap on the floor of our room, and we walked the halls a bit. At 11AM, the foley bulb fell out while I was relaxing in the shower. Our midwife Margie checked me and I was 5 centimeters. I had lunch, and they started Pitocin. She offered to break my water, which is pretty routine in the hospital, and I declined. I felt strongly that my son already had issues and needed that extra cushion. Margie respected my wishes without problem.

Before too long, I was contracting every 2 minutes. My son was posterior. Eileen offered to put counter-pressure on my back during every contraction, and honestly, I couldn’t tell her when I was having one. It was just like the intense, neverending pain I would feel from my illness, and I usually dealt with that by rocking, listening to music, and trying to daydream myself in another place.

Saturday is a blur for me. The rocking chair was uncomfortable. I couldn’t move far because the FHM did not have telemetry. I wanted to soak in the bath, but taking the monitors off for more than a couple minutes was not appropriate to my son’s situation. I listen to Johnny Cash sing “Folsom Prison Blues” over and over. I remember zoning out in a daydream and hearing a nurse ask my husband and doula if I was unconscious because I didn’t fuss or cry or make any noise at all, and my doula telling her I was just a hypnobirthing mom. I remember wondering what all those laboring patients I had were whining about, because it was totally doable. At dinnertime, I was starving and could smell food. I made my husband sneak chicken fingers and fries from the cafeteria and wolfed them down. My midwife came in a few times and had me try a few positions to get my son to turn. I did them, and he didn’t budge.

At 9PM, Margie came in again and checked me. I was STILL 5 cm. It was so disappointing, I wanted to cry. She and my doula decided it was his posterior positioning, and wanted me to lie WAY over on my left side. I hadn’t been able to lie completely on my left side for more than a brief time for over a decade, because of my crooked back. I tried, and the pain this time was not tolerable. I didn’t cry out, but I told them I wouldn’t be able to do it for long. Both ladies felt he wasn’t going to move down unless I could stay on my side for a long time. I decided on an epidural, so I could tolerate the positioning better, and crank the Pitocin to the maximum, since it was ¾ maxed for most of the day. It was a tough decision to make, but since he had been looking so great on the monitor, I decided it was our best shot at helping him come out. It was in by 10PM.

Once on my side, my son didn’t care for that position either. The night nurse increased the Pitocin, and then had to decrease it due to late decelerations of his heartbeat. I spent most of the night with an oxygen mask and fluids bolusing through me. I declined to have my water broken multiple times. I was never pressured to do so, just given the option. My husband and Eileen turned me every hour or so, and cat-napped on the floor next to me. None of us slept. I watched my son’s heartrate all night, reaching for the call-light every time it would have a big dip. I stared at the infant warmer in the room, feeling a dread come over me, and feeling I would never see him in it.

In the morning, Margie came once again and checked me. Still just 5 cm. The OB on-call and Margie had never mentioned a c-section ever. Not even at this time. I know most OBs I had worked with would have taken me to the OR as soon as we came into triage, or at least after it had been a few hours without progression. I was tearful and told her I had a bad feeling. She again offered to break my water to help move things along. I requested we just go to the OR. My doula encouraged me to heed my intuition, and my husband was supportive. I was never pressured or even offered to have one. That, as well as every other decision, came from me.

My son Jonah was born on Mother’s Day, and my grandmother’s birthday, the first baby born at the hospital that day. 8 lbs 2oz, and 19.5 inches. He had a double nuchal cord and a placenta high in the fundus of my uterus. The cord was stretched as taut as could be between the placenta and his neck. The OB needed the vacuum extractor to pry him out, and he was limp and dusky. The neonatal practitioner worked on him for a couple minutes and he finally pinked up and started crying, peeing on his nurse. His cord, we assume, had been wrapped a 3rd time when he stopped moving, his distress likely from cord compression. The OB told us that my instincts were right, and if we had broken his water, we would have likely had an emergency c-section instead of the unplanned but less scary one we had. I feel very lucky to still have a living child, because I know from my work experience that when a baby stops moving, it is often because they have died. My birth was nothing what I had planned, but because my desires were honored and respected, I don’t feel traumatized by it at all. In fact, my husband and I both agree that we had a great birth- an adventurous one, no doubt- but a great one.

Jen's first son was born on Mother's Day. Jonah weighed 8 lbs, 2oz and was 19.5 inches long.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Myles' birth by Melissa

my first child has hydrocephalus, and was breech, he was born via c- section at 37 weeks@ ohio state university. i had read enough to know to ask for a low horizontal incision so that i would be "allowed" to VBAC later!

i tried to VBAC in evansville, in 2002, in hind sight i had a lot going for me, but when i hit 42 weeks, that was it... they broke my water and gave me no choice to use anything to induce. i was even told NOT to do nipple stimulation! after taking a hot shower, the nurse announced that i had a fever, and the baby's heart rate was in the 170's which is probably distress... since it had been 24 hrs with little change (and very little contractions!) they called for a c- section due to distress ?? and i was cut over an hour later!

in 2004 we moved to cincinnati, i wanted to home birth but mark was uncomfortable with the idea in light that we had a VERY supportive dr who was fine with my birth plan which included intermittent monitoring, letting the cord pulse out, and catching my own baby in any position that i wanted to be in:) (and more crazy stuff that he was o.k. with) At 41 weeks and 5 days i was sent home from an appointment with not even a word about my "pending doom" LOL i made an appointment for the following week which would have been 42 weeks 4 days, and went home.
On the morning of my 42nd week i went into labor, stayed at home and did house work as long as i could, tried to eat lunch... at 1pm i went to the bathroom and when i wiped there was cooked green spinach consistency of mec on the toilet paper! i had suspected that i had started leaking fluid over a week before but decided from my own research that i would keep tight lipped about it:) when i saw the mec, it confirmed in my mind that i indeed had been leaking. shortly after 1pm. i went into active mode then finally called the dr office and told them what was going on. to make this shorter:) i went to the hospital around 4 ish, baby was fine, we did an amnio infusion which limited mobility, and i agreed to monitoring because of the mec too... i was 3 cm at 3 p.m. and at 6 ish when they started the monitoring and the amnio infusion, (what some would call the "lack of progress" didn't bother me in the slightest, and no mention was made to this, just the number, also that was my LAST check until I TOLD them that i was feeling pushy, then i was COMPLETE) i had the baby a little after 10p.m. with maybe 45 minutes of pushing without holding my breath for more then a few sec. at a time which was on my own accord ( NO purple pushing). after his head was out i lifted him onto my chest on my own and he stayed there until his cord stopped pulsing, and then it was cut. shortly after it stopped pulsing he did start to get pale, and THEN they did a little suctioning. He was 1/2 oz shy of 8 lbs! i sarcastically told them to scoop up a bit of the mec when they weighed him, as normally that is still in them and would have been counted as his birth weight:) the nurses didn't think i was funny;) the more women i work with the more i realize that i was fortunate to have the easy going, evidence based practitioner that i had! i have attended many more births with this man, as a doula, and each time i witness his gentle patience of the natural process, and the respect he gives women for their choices (he respected one mama's choice for a lotus type birth and the nurses about pissed them selves to see a baby with a cord and placenta still attached!!! LOL) was my 3rd birth the perfect birth that i had hoped for , um, not really. but i am totally satisfied with how things played out at the time, knowing that had i been with ANY other dr. in the area or back in evansville, in., he would have cut me open any number of times! not only that but had i planned a home birth i likely would have been transferred for the extremely thick/ abundant mec. i like to say that i practice "no regret doulism" based on what my mamas want (not what I want!) and i feel that is how my last birth played out, NO REGRETS! i went with the flow, and used some interventions as i felt was fit at the time.

in the end we had a Healthy baby AND a healthy MAMA!!! most forget about the healthy mama part!!

Melissa is a Birth doula, a stay at home mama, and homeschools 2 of her 3 kids. Dylan is eight, has special needs and goes to public school. Kaya is 6, and Myles is 4. The "stay @ home" part is very misleading, as they are out and about almost everyday!