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a hypnobabies birth February 1, 2008

Posted by guinever in birth, birth stories, birth story, doula, health, midwifery, pregnancy.
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A big thank-you to Sheridan for sharing her birth story here. Sheridan is a Hypnobabies instructor and a fellow member of Independent Childbirth. Here are some excerpts:

The Hypnobabies Birth Guide CD was amazing. It seemed to be saying exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. Either during or right before Dr. K broke my water, in the CD it said when your water releases you will feel a rush of anesthesia. It was perfect timing and it worked! After my water was broken the pressure waves were no longer painful.

…Luckily the lip was gone after those 2 pressure waves. I was so glad and started pushing. The nurse said, “Stop, we need the Dr. here and we need to break the bed down.”

I was like,

Whatever people, I am pushing, I don’t care if a Dr. is here or not.

I didn’t say this, but thought it. IT was ok to push, so I was pushing. I was a yeller grunter kind of pusher. It was so powerful. I really didn’t choose to do anything, it just happened. I would try to remember to breathe the baby out, but my body wouldn’t have that. But between pressure waves I would sometimes be breathing the baby down. To read the rest of the story, go to Sheridan’s website.

You can submit your birth story too; please click here for guidelines.

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Katherine’s birth story: cervadil induction, natural birth January 21, 2008

Posted by guinever in birth, birth stories, birth story, health, labor, midwifery.
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Thanks to Katherine for submitting her birth story. In her words, she was committed to an un-medicated, un-managed, natural birth, but was also birthing at a big university teaching hospital, albeit with a team of very cool midwives. She and her husband took a Bradley® class, followed the Brewer diet, did yoga once a week, and walked 2-5 miles per day.

41 weeks along in my pregnancy

On Thursday, my 1-week postdates checkup, I had borderline low amniotic fluid levels (which increase the chance for a “cord accident” and are an indirect marker of potential placental insufficiency, which can both be serious complications) with 1 cm dilation and 50% effacement, so the midwives wanted to induce me the next day. As I suspected, they “don’t do inductions on the weekend,” but I didn’t want my son to be born based on the hospital’s scheduling practices. I got them to agree to give me an extra day to research and think and see if labor would start on its own.

After reading in Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth that low amniotic fluid was a reason that Ina and the other midwives who work with her would transfer to the hospital, I decided it might be serious, and I’d better see what I could do to get labor started. I got acupuncture twice, did nipple stimulation, sucked my thumb to stimulate an acupressure point on the roof of my mouth that helps get contractions going and helps them be stronger once they do start, visualized and told my cervix to efface and dilate because the baby needed to come out.

an induction with cervidil

By Friday night when I went in for what I was hoping was just a check, I was still 1 cm, but 75% effaced and having small contractions every 10-15 minutes. I was thinking I’d be told, “Yes, you’re in early labor. Go home.” No such luck. The midwife and nurse weren’t convinced I was in early labor and told me that I needed to start a cervical ripener in preparation for a pitocin induction the next morning. The midwife inserted cervidil at about 8:30 p.m. I was still pressing the acupressure point in my mouth and chanting in my head for my cervix to efface and dilate. By 10:30 p.m., the nurse had decided that maybe it was real labor after all. I remember the nurse kept asking me to rate the pain of contractions on a pain scale, and I went from, “Oh, maybe a 1.5″ to “That was…mmmm, a 3.” to “Um, 4?” The nurse said at one point, “Are you sure that was only a 4?” and I told her that I was trying to save the bigger numbers for later. My husband said I never went higher than a 5, although some of the contractions were pretty painful. For the most part,

I would say that labor wasn’t so much painful as it was all-consuming. It’s like being in the ocean and being carried up and down in huge waves. If you give in, accept it, and ride out each contraction, it’s not so bad. But if you tried to avoid it, I am sure it would be more painful.

I did a lot of ‘vocalizing’, i.e. moaning like a zombie or mooing like a cow, and that helped dissipate the intensity of the contraction and kept me breathing. Or, I would be quiet, but trace the outline of a cabinet door with my eyes or stare at a speck on the floor as a distraction from the contraction. My husband talked me through a lot of contractions too, putting up with me saying, “No touch!” or “No talk!” for some of them. He called our doula to come be with us sometime in the dead of night, but I don’t really remember when…

laboring in the tub, floating like Ophelia

The Cervidil fell out (it’s on a little string like a tampon and is supposed to stay in for 12 hours) at about 2:30 a.m., and the midwife found that I was 6 cm dilated. My first question was, “Do you have to put it back in?” to which the midwife and nurse both started laughing, “No, you’re in labor and progressing well.” My next question was, “So, this means I can go in the tub now?” Thankfully, I was able to have the rest of my labor in the deep whirlpool tub they had in the bathroom, floating like Ophelia and dozing between contractions,then flipping onto my hands and knees for mooing and pelvic rocks when one was starting.

pushing

After some indeterminate time (being in labor is really an altered state of consciousness, and I had no idea about time except when I looked at the clock and marvelled that it was so late at night), my doula recognized that I was getting pushy and asked for the midwife to come in. I had noticed that the contractions felt different, like I was being wrung like a dishrag from the inside out, but I didn’t recognize it as transition. I thought some part of my BRAIN would say, “Wow, I really have the urge to push.” But in a homuncular version of a laboring woman, the head is about the size of a cherry tomato, and the abdomen is the size of a VW bus — there is nothing intellectual about birthing a baby.

The midwife listened to one contraction (think yodeler being strangled, and that’s the noise I was making) and told me to get out of the tub NOW (they are not certified to do water births at the hospital). She checked me and said I was fully dilated except a little lip of cervix that she pushed back.

I pushed in a number of different positions for about 2 1/2 hours, changing when it seemed right to squat or kneel or lunge, made more primal noises, but did the final pushing on my hands and knees, smelling coffee and marvelling that I could see daylight through the venetian blinds. My son came into the world easily and gently with some minimal guidance and lots of encouragement from the midwife, nurses, my husband, and my doula.

analyzing my birth

I feel really lucky that my labor was not too fast, and not too long either, and that I never felt the need for drugs. I am glad I had a midwife who literally sat on the couch drinking a cup of coffee until it was time to catch the baby. And she told me just what I needed to hear, “

You’re doing a great job working with your body. Remember that half of pushing is molding the baby’s head, so even if it doesn’t feel like anything is happening, you’re doing a tremendous amount of work with every contraction.”

I am also lucky that after pushing, I came away with a minor skin tear, but no terrible damage to my anatomy. I think pushing for 2 1/2 hours gave the tissues a lot of time to stretch, and the midwife was really good at telling me to push and hold, push and hold, so the baby came down really slowly.

I managed (somewhat awkwardly) to flip from my hands and knees to sitting up, passing my leg over the umbilical cord and having the baby handed to me, wet and warm, by the midwife. The first thing he did was poop all over me, but I didn’t even notice until later. I was just amazed that he was finally HERE, that he was so big (8 1/2 lbs, 21″ long), but so little, and that he’d just come out of my body, that I’D DONE IT! I’d had the un-medicated, unhurried, relaxed, un-traumatic birth that I had hoped and prepared for!

After the cord stopped pulsing, the midwife clamped it and asked my husband if he wanted to cut the cord. At first, he declined, afraid that he might hurt me or the baby, but the doula, nurse, and midwife all said, “C’mon, neither of them can feel it. Just do it,” so he did. Severing the umbilical cord strikes me as kind of a funny ritual, like the human equivalent of a ribbon cutting ceremony at a library or a new shopping mall. I think new fathers are encouraged to do it so they can feel like they really had their hands in the birth process in some active way. I kind of wished that they had waited longer, but I was in a bit of a daze and not really capable of speaking up at that point. I felt kind of loopy, almost like I was stoned.

After my placenta came out (I’m pretty sure the midwife asked if she could give it a little tug to help it along, and at that point, I figured she knew best what to do), the medical staff got down to business. I had a little 1st degree tear that the midwife stitched up while the nurse helped me try to get my nipples perky so the baby could latch on. The stimuli from the stitching and this motherly but energetic L&D nurse trying to help me was a bit much, but the babe latched on like a champ and the repairs were done soon enough.

Aside from the family practice doctor coming in to check the baby over and take his height and weight, some hard pushes from the L&D nurse on my uterus to make sure it was involuting (shrinking) and checks that I wasn’t bleeding profusely, they left me and my husband and our baby son in relative peace, free to stare at each other and be totally amazed that in just nine months, a being who didn’t exist had come into being inside my body and made his way into the world.

postscript

As it turned out, the amniotic sac didn’t burst until three contractions before my son came into the world, there was plenty of fluid, and the placenta was perfect. I could have waited for labor to start spontaneously… In the final reckoning, though, with all the negotiating between my desires and hospital “standards of care,” I am glad that I got to give my son what I consider the best birth we could possibly have had, given the setting and the small, but real, possibility that we could have ended up with a true complication.

Thank you, Katherine for submitting your birth story for other women to read.

You can submit your birth story too; please click here for guidelines.

unmedicated twins birth, shoulder dystocia, sibling birth and more! December 21, 2007

Posted by guinever in birth stories, birth story, doula, health, labor.
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At the beginning of a contraction, I would lean against Calvin’s chest and, as the contraction came to fullness, I would bend my knees and sway my hips in rhythm to my contraction. He would apply counter pressure to my hips, and, at the conclusion of my contraction, would reward me with a sweet kiss. I remember picturing our baby in our arms and getting those same sweet kisses from my husband – that was my goal for each wave of childbearing.

There are so many things to like about this birth. Highlights include baby’s siblings being present, her husband being an awesome support and coach, the Gaskin maneuver working for shoulder dystocia. She describes this birth as “long, but gentle and easeful.” Read the full story.

Nicole, who calls herself a birth junkie, has given me permission to share excerpts from her four birth stories with you. You can read them at her Bellies and Babies blog. Her births are reminiscent of my own. Not that they were similar to my own labors, but because all of her labors were different from each other, just as mine were.

mom dilates quickly in the relaxing water

This old bitty of a nurse was helping me back to the room and I was peaking and resolving one on top of the other. I told her that the baby was coming and all she did was look at me with this look that said ‘NOW she is starting to feel REAL labor… I told her so’.

Not too long before, the nurse had checked her and she was only 4 centimeters, but after a little while in the jacuzzi, she was feeling a little pushy. Here’s another excerpt from the birth of her first baby:

Well… we got back to the room and she was going to just leave. I basically jumped her and told her to check me. The nurse literally rolled her eyes at me and said, while pulling on her gloves ‘there is no way that you have dilated that much in such short a time… just relax’. Well, she checked me… and her jaw just about dropped to the floor. She told me not to push, that she was calling the doctor. On the phone I heard her say that I was 10cm, completely effaced, and +3 station.

no tearing even when the doctor said she would

The doctor was adamant, because of the level of scarring from my first episiotomy, I would either tear extensively or REQUIRE an episiotomy. I told him I would rather tear. I also asked him about perineal massage and warm compresses… he said he never even tried it as no one had ever asked before. So he and I read up on it together and put it to practice. Read this birth story.

un-medicated twins birth

Dr. V tells me ‘thanks for the bragging rights’ of being the only doc in their office that has delivered twins unmedicated… and one of the few who have delivered vaginal twins. He also told me he is extremely impressed with the un-medicated mother, labor & delivery and to send patient’s his way if I have any friends… that the questions and learning together was ‘fun’.

If you’d like to see your birth story on this site, get the scoop here.

looking for birth stories to be included on my website December 7, 2007

Posted by guinever in birth stories, birth story, doula, family, health, home birth, homebirth, homeschooling, midwifery.
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I am looking for more birth stories for my website. Since I have only birthed five children, I am limited in the number I have to offer, so I’m asking for yours. I will be choosy in the birth stories that I publish. This is a natural birth website. This fact doesn’t rule out births where drugs and surgery were involved if you were well-informed during your pregnancy and labor and made decisions accordingly.

  • What I’m looking for: It doesn’t matter where you gave birth– home, birth center or hospital. Things to include would be what you did during pregnancy to prepare yourself for a natural birth, what techniques helped during labor and what things didn’t. If you chose medical intervention, tell me why and how it helped you (or not.) I’m looking for birth stories that will inspire other women to birth naturally. Keep it positive and upbeat.
  • I’m also looking for HBAC and VBAC stories. If you don’t know what that is, then it doesn’t apply to you. In other words, I want to hear about your journey to vaginal birth after surgical birth.
  • What I’m not looking for: standard induction, epidural hospital births. There are plenty of other places on the web who publish those. I don’t want to hear about how painful or unbearable your labor was until you got the drugs.
  • Do not include the name of your hospital, doctor or midwife
  • Guidelines for submission: Use a spell checker. Have someone else read it for grammar and clarity of thought. I don’t have time to do a lot of editing. Do not type in all caps. There is no word limit. It can be as long as you want provided that everything you include adds to the story and isn’t redundant. Absolutely no swearing or crass language will be accepted. Common birth language like “vagina” is perfectly fine when used appropriately.
  • How to submit: You can cut and paste your story into the comment section at the bottom of this article and it will be sent to me via e-mail (it will not appear on the website here). If accepted, it will be posted on this site in a separate article and be listed with other birth stories.

I look forward to reading your birth story.

the joy of natural childbirth: a birth in pictures November 28, 2007

Posted by guinever in birth, birth stories, doula, health, home birth, homebirth, labor, midwifery, pregnancy.
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With permission from the couple, I am pleased to share with you a birth in pictures. I include these on my website so that you can see the joy of natural childbirth. I have decided not to caption the pictures below, but rather describe them here first.

The mom had been pushing for awhile and moved to the bathroom. Birth was close when I started snapping these photos. In attendance at this planned homebirth of a first baby, were a certified nurse midwife, the midwife’s assistant who is a midwife in training, and me–the couple’s friend, doula and childbirth educator.

The photos begin with the quiet stillness in between contractions, with mom blowing out. Notice how she has her jaw, open and relaxed. The next is the determination of pushing during a contraction. Instinctively, she holds her breath and puts her chin on her chest, pushing until she needs to breathe. She takes a breath and then pushes some more. The baby crowns and is about to be born so she stands up. The father looks on in eager anticipation as his baby is about to born. The midwife supports the baby’s head, protecting mom’s perineum. There’s a little bit more blood than usual because the baby has a compound presentation, meaning an arm is coming out with the head.

The baby is born into the hands of her daddy and lifted into the arms of her mother. See the joy, the adoration, the exhilaration of both parents. This is a tiny peek into the intimacy of the moment of natural birth.

This photo story ends with the babe wrapped in a towel, the new family still in the bathroom. Not pictured: the couple climbs into bed where the baby nurses and the placenta is born.

Enjoy. You are about to witness a birth in pictures.

in-between-contractions3.jpgpushing2.jpgexpectant-father.jpghead-emerges.jpghead-and-hand.jpgshes-born.jpgjust-look-at-dad.jpgmom-and-baby.jpgadoration.jpg