Thursday, October 28, 2010

From - The Stir

Five hospital procedures that are ruining your birth!

Read how things like the external (or internal) monitors aren't always necessary, why lying on your back is a bad position for pushing, and why contraction patterns don't have to follow "the book"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Send me your birth stories!!!!

Believe it or not, I've already run out of the stories I had from friends!!

In the mean time, here are some of my favorite birth stories. These stories helped me find the confident women inside me, and prepared me to go into my first labor a strong and confident woman. I hope that by sharing them through this site, they can reach into another womans soul and find the Birth Warrior with in :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Unassisted Homebirth of Grace

After her unmedicated hospital birth, Laura and husband decided to take their birth into their own hands. Read their calm and gentle unassisted homebirth story here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Unassisted Homebirth of Addison

Again, my friend and fellow CBE, Crystal retells the story of her birth. Only this time, she has taken control of her pregnancy and her birth. Her story includes two clips of Crystal, one when her water breaks in late labor, and then shortly after that as her daughter crowns. Daddy was too busy to get any video of the the birth ;) 

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Hospital Birth of Haden

My friend and fellow childbirth educator Crystal retells the story of her first birth.

Now taking submissions!!

I decided that I would rather not wait to start going on this. I'm too excited!! So I am now accepting your submissions!!

If you already have your birth story online somewhere, I will happily link it, just send it my way!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Surprise Unassisted Birth

My daughter's birth was so very different from my son's birth, which is exactly what I wanted it to be. My husband and I had chosen to have our second child at home long before she was due. I had decided near the end of my first pregnancy that homebirth was much more appealing. My husband was nervous about this idea, so we agreed to birth our first in the hospital. I don't know if that contributed to my pre-eclampsia, or if we were just where we needed to be for his birth. I can't say for certain that I would not have ended up birthing him in a hospital. 

Around 10 weeks pregnant we met with and hired our midwife, she came highly recommended from one of my best friends, who is also a doula, and homebirthing mom. I loved how gentle her demeanor was, and my husband liked the answers to our questions, and I had a decent list! I enjoyed my midwive visits so much, I quickly made arrangements to see her on Saturday's so I could leave my 3 yr old son with my husband and have the visit all to myself. Hubby came a few times, so he could "get to know" our midwife, but I loved her, so naturally he followed that sentiment.

At 37 weeks we had our home visit with the midwife and her apprentice. My doulas were both busy that day, but had already been to my house for a maternity photo shoot and belly casting. I was READY for this baby!! But I wasn't going to rush labor, I was enjoying being pregnant. Her pregnancy had been so much easier on me. I wasn't nearly as sick, and never threw up with her. My back was only sore if I did too much, and I only once had real contractions before 37 weeks. I had been running errands, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, put everything away and then started in on the laundry. It must have been the first wave of "nesting". I started contracting while bending over the washer "ut oh!" I got my husband and son to finish up with the laundry, grabbed a tall glass of water and parked it on the sofa for the rest of the day. The contractions stopped pretty quickly, and I promised to take it easy for a few days. 

September 6th, we headed out to a local fall festival of sorts, Pioneer Days. I admit I was hopeful that all that walking might do a bit to make me contract and maybe start labor. If nothing else it was a wonderful last outing for our family of 3. I slept GREAT that night, but woke up feeling a little icky. My husband felt sick too, for 2 days! I started to feel better around mid-day but my lower body was just achy. My hips, my back, my pelvic floor. I was visiting the toilet frequently from all the 'pressure' I was feeling. In order to make anything happen I had to spend a minute or two in knee chest position before getting on the toilet. 

I gave my midwife a call and let her know what was going on. We assumed the baby was very low, and I was constipated. Yay. Just what I was wanting in the last weeks of pregnancy. Because of all this new found pressure, laying on my side was much more comfortable, so I spent the next few days sitting on my birth ball when I needed to sit, and laying on my side on the sofa the rest of the time.

On the morning of September 10th I woke up with a nasty headache. I decided to eat some breakfast, drink a glass of water and go back to bed. I told my husband I had a big 'to do' list for this day, and asked him to wake me in an hour. He said when he came in an hour later I was so sweet, and looked so peaceful that he let me sleep. I woke up 3 hours after I went to sleep, headache free. Since I was so close to my due date I hadn't wanted to take any motrin, so I was very grateful for the extra time in bed. I got up and ate lunch and then started working on my list. I had quite a bit of energy. I chalked it up to the nap, and didn't give it another thought. 

Later that night after putting my son to bed I headed out for small shopping trip. I was looking for a few things to help ease what I thought was constipation complicated by a very low, engaged baby. I called my midwife while I was at the store, she gave me a few suggestions, and we hung up, and I headed to check out. Now, if you've ever been in a grocery store you know how the check out lanes look, and where they bag the groceries. My lower back was achy again, so I leaned against the check out counter behind me to put some pressure on my sacrum. Once again, ignoring my doula knowledge. 

After I got home, I had dinner, again. I was so hungry! Husband and I watched Sgt. York, and then went to bed. It was around midnight, and when my head hit the pillow I was out! 

39 weeks 6 days, I woke first at 2:05, used the bathroom and went back to bed. I spent the next 10 minutes or so trying to get comfortable, and figured the pressure I was feeling meant I still needed to use the toilet. I got up and went into the larger bathroom, so I could get into a knee chest position and then read a bit while I sat there. Nothing happened, and I gave up. Rather than go right back to bed, I went out to the living room, turned on the computer and the tv. Luckily The West Wing was on, so I got on Fertility Friend and and checked my due date clubs for any action. No new labor or birth announcements. I don't recall posting anything about why I was awake, but I think I remember responding to a thread or two. And then, oh boy, what a contraction. I shut down the computer and tried to take note of the time, 3:03. 

I decided to move to the sofa because I was't *sure* it was a contraction, so I wanted to lay down and time them a bit before I woke anyone up. It didn't take long and before I had even sat down, 3:05, I had another whopper. I got on the sofa and crammed a pillow between my knees, and waited. Again, I didn't need to wait long, 3:07 brought another contraction. (I was using the 'TV' button on the remote to make the time appear on the screen.) The pattern continued, but I didn't wake my husband first. 3:09, 3:11, and then a break. 3:15 (a short break) and I felt a pop, and a very small warm gush. I jumped off the sofa and leapt like some kind of animal to the bathroom hoping not to gush more fluid all over. Stripping off my underwear my panty liner reveled that I had not just peed myself. My water had broken!! (ROM- Rupture of Membranes) Crap! I really was in labor!! I called my midwife first, told her I'd been having contractions only 2 minutes apart, ROM and, the fluid was meconium stained. She asked for color and consistency, and then told me that she thought it sounded like it was fresh, she would be on her way shortly. I had another contraction, and since I was still very present in my brain, it caught me a bit off guard. I vocalized quite a bit, and the midwife asked if it was a contraction. I guess I sounded like I'd seriously stubbed my toe or something lol. I told her it was, and she suddenly sounded like she was rushing out of the house "Call my cell if you need anything else, I am on my way!" I hung up with her and dialed my doula. N was going to call H, my other doula, and they were going to carpool over. When I contracted with N on the phone I grunted deeply, and involuntarily at the peak of the contraction. "Oh God, I hope I didn't just push, I can't sit down, this hurts!" N assured me that I was ok, and likely not pushing yet. She and H would be on their way soon. 

Now I turned to my husband. I had mobilized the rest of my birth team, it was time for some labor support. Unfortunately for him, I had a contraction as soon as I opened the bedroom door. How he'd been sleeping through all my noise you ask? An injury at work had lead to him being home for the previous week on muscle relaxers. He was very asleep, until I threw open the door, and stumbled forward in the dark to lean on the foot of the bed. My husband just about shot out of bed when I announced "Water Broke, In Labor" as another monster contraction rolled over me. He thrust a towel between my feet to catch the drops of meconium stained water that leaked from me with every contraction. 

When it was over I started to make my way back to the bathroom. He asked if I wanted to sit down, or lay down. I said "No, that hurts too much" and I turned on the water for the bathtub. He asked me if I wanted him to start filling our pool. The pool wasn't even blown up!! We didn't have the space for it to be set up and ready for water, and had thought we'd have the time to blow it up in early labor, and then start filling it as labor progressed. I told him we didn't have enough time for the pool, and handed him the phone to call the midwife. I couldn't hear much of what went on after that, the water was loud, and I was in a mad rush to get naked and lay down in the water. I wanted to slow my contractions down and space them out just a little. I wanted to buy enough time for my birth team to get there. Everyone was 45 minutes away when I woke them up. (And that's drive time, not get ready, be packed, and then drive)

I couldn't lay down, the contrast in water to air temperature was too great to be comfortable, and my bathtub is small. The water was just starting to pool around my knees, and another contraction overcame me. I landed on my hands, and immediately started to bellow "OOOOoooooooOOOH SHIT" and I would quietly grunt at the peak. I heard my husband say "I don't know" to the midwife, and then he called to me "D wants to know if  you're pushing" .... "Uh, *pant, pant* Um, yeah a little"

He came into the bathroom, and turned off the water, set the phone on speaker and offered his arm over the edge of the tub. My eyes were mostly closed, it was bright, and had been loud. I was thankful the water was off, it was very annoying to listen to while trying to get out of my mind and into my body for labor. Another contraction, more moaning, and some yelling. I'm sure I was still cursing. When the contraction ended, the midwife reminded us that if the baby was coming this quickly everything was ok. I was thankful we discussed this kind of birth during our prenatal visits. Another contraction, I clutched hubby's hand and pushed down on his arm, and let out almost a shriek. "Keep it low!" D reminded me over the phone. I tore my hand away from my husbands and flung it over my now crowing baby's head. "I have her head!" I shouted, hubby moved quickly to the other end of the tub, and I felt his warm hands over mine. I put my hands back on the bottom of the tub, took a deep breath and pushed, her head was born! The next contraction came quickly, almost no rest in between, I pushed again, and heard my husband announce that a lot of cord had been born. I pushed again, and the baby practically flew out into her father's hands. "SHE'S HERE! I have her!" He shouted. I sat up on my knees and turned around just in time to see my baby girl newly born, startled by her entrance to the world. She already looked pink, and was taking her first breath! 

It took a little maneuvering to sit down, and take my baby, she settled in near my breast incase she wanted to nurse. The midwife asked a few questions about how she looked and sounded before getting off the phone to complete her drive. After getting a towel or two over us to keep us warm, and getting her latched on, I made one more phone call to let N and H know that she had arrived. N answered her cell and I said "She's here" .... at first she thought I meant the midwife had arrived. I asked if they would still come out anyway, and they said they would. The nursing so soon after birth was amazing I didn't feel my placenta detach, but I could tell when I was ready to push it out. I passed the baby to my husband and squatted over a bowl. I must not have been squatting quite right, it took a few pushes and a little bit of traction to get it out. Somewhere before that my son had come in to meet his baby sister, and then decided it was more interesting to go play in his room while we waited for the birth team. 40 minutes after the baby the placenta was birthed, and 5 minutes after that the midwife was coming through the door. My doulas were right behind her! I once again passed the baby to my husband, only this time the midwife had the bowl with the placenta, and they went into the bedroom. H was also there to take some pictures for me, since I didn't get any birth pictures, she went with the baby and took a few while N stayed with me and I took a shower. I was so excited to get back into my bed with my new baby I washed my hair and got right back out. Now I wish I'd taken a little more time, used some conditioner and washed the rest of my body. 

I climbed into my bed and got comfortable, and then latched the little girl on for her second meal. The midwife was asking questions about the birth, and how the baby looked in the first minute, and 5 minutes. She checked my bottom, and said that I had re-opened my episiotomy scar, and had a few little skid marks, but it didn't look like anything required new stitches. That was fine with me!! The newborn exam was fun to watch, and so much more gentle than it had been in the hospital with my son. Around 2 hours after she was born I noticed that her cord was thin looking, and cold. It was ready to be cut, and I got to cut it! 

Kate was 8 lbs 8 oz. Her birth wasn't exactly how I pictured having a homebirth would be, but I wouldn't change it for a second. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Birth of a Mother

The following is my son's birth story. He is now 9 years old. In the 2 weeks leading up to my induction, I was being monitored for developing pre-eclampsia. It's usually a very long story, but I left out all the stuff leading up to this. I will put it all up one day! 

Around 8 am on Monday, after hubby had called in 'sick' our phone rang, it was our regular doctor for me. My lab results had finally come back, and the protein was quite high. After reviewing everything from the weekend, they thought the best course of action was to induce. I was really scared of having an induction, but I said ok, and that we would make our way in to the hospital. I immediately jumped on the computer and asked my pregnancy and birth friends what to do. I called our whole list and let everyone know what was going on that day, and that I would be in touch. Then I woke up my husband, who showered, and then finally set about packing some things that he wanted. Then we packed up our twin/baby kitties and headed over to the Kitty-Sitter's. I didn't get out of the car, I was far to nervous now that we were actually moving toward the hospital. I didn't want to hear another of her birth stories. 

We finally arrived at Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital around 11:20. I wish we had stopped and made ourselves eat! I was too scared, and I honestly think hubby was too. I waited in the waiting room while my husband was trying to find the cafeteria, to know it's hours, and what they had. And he bought some "cigars" made of bubble gum that were wrapped in "It's a Boy!!" papers. Or, maybe they were chocolate? I remember a lady in the waiting room asked if I was in labor. "No, not yet" I said, and then noticing her obviously pregnant belly asked if she was "No, just an NST" I told her I wished her the best, and that they were inducing me. She was jealous, she was 41 weeks and "just so DONE". I told her I was jealous, I had wanted a natural labor. 

Shortly after this we were shown to a room, and I was instructed to take off my carefully chosen, very comfortable clothing in favor of a hospital gown. When I tried to protest the nurse snipped at me that it was necessary that I put on a hospital gown, what if I should need emergency surgery? They would have to cut my clothes off. I told her I didn't care, and had chosen my clothes for labor, and if that's where my labor went, that's where my clothes went. She wasn't about to agree to let me keep my own clothes on, and I didn't know any better. I changed into a gown. Then she shuffled me toward the bathroom and announced it would be "my last chance" before the catheter, and then she shut the bathroom door and started rummaging around the labor room for her tools. 

Once I was situated and sitting in the bed a nurse came in with some IV bags, ready to get things started. I told her I was not interested in having pitocen, or any IV for that matter. Of course, no one had been over the induction procedure with me, and I wasn't too keen on "going in blind" so the nurse went and got whatever doctor was managing my case. I had never met this guy before, and of course MY doctor had been on the hall the night before, so she was at home. He came in and said that I would be having a bag of pitocen, a bag of magnesium sulfate, and a catheter.  I started crying, did no one care that I didn't want ANY of this, nor did I know that "this" stuff was how induction worked. He went to get another doctor to come talk to me, and in came the Head of OB again. I told him my desires for a natural birth, and that I realized it was unlikely to happen at this point, but I still wanted it to be as "natural" as possible. He explained why I needed each medication, and why the catheter was a good idea. He checked me, I was already having regular contractions, and was now about 3 or 4 cm and 75 % effaced. So, at least all of our attempts to get things going had done some good work! 

My IV was started, and the catheter placed, and my husband and I settled in. I don't remember now if we were talking or or just listening to the monitor. I remember talking to my friend Amber, asking her to bring some popsicles and lollipops for me. She was coming to keep me company in labor. Not long after she arrived, and I managed to have one last popsicle the OB was back to check me and see how things were going. I had progressed to 6 cm and nearly 100 % effaced, he asked if he could break my water (AROM- Artificial Rupture of Membranes), and I consented. Labor intensified immediately, and now I needed to focus on breathing or a distraction with each contraction. My husband turned on my Creed CD (Human Clay) and I used the music to distract or focus my attention as needed. Sometimes I wanted my husband touching my hand, arm or leg, other times I wanted no touching. My husband remembers seeing tears on my face at one point, I imagine that this was transition. It was difficult to get comfortable when my options were my sides or my back. I had not been allowed to get out of bed, or use any kind of upright positions due to my blood pressure and the medication in my IV. 

I labored quietly for a few more hours like this, and then I guess my blood pressure started to worry people. I don't know what changed, but suddenly nurses were talking about me getting an epidural. Having not wanted an epidural I was aware of the risks they involved. I was also aware that the risk of "low blood pressure" that was associated with an epidural would be a benefit in my case. After almost everyone in the room singing the praises of the epidural I consented to the procedure. I could see the worry in my husbands face and hear the concern in my friends voice. The nurse immediately wanted to place an internal fetal monitor probe. This was one of the few things I was quite certain I would not consent to unless there was an emergency situation. Having an epidural placed did not seem like an emergent situation. I refused and the nurse was taken aback. Clearly she was not accustom to her patients questioning her or the doctors. She told us we had no choice, that the baby was too low for the external monitor to pick him up while I was sitting. The belts didn't get that low. My husband offered to hold it in place. She scoffed at him and said that the procedure could take as long as 30 minutes. He let her know that he intended to be with me, in front of me during the procedure, and he would gladly keep the monitor over the baby. The nurse tried again to get our consent for the internal monitor and my husband said "no, you're not doing that". She threw down the instrument, slammed a drawer and stormed out. A new nurse and the anesthesiologist came in with her cart and her consent forms. When she asked if I had any questions I asked if she had heard of a walking epidural. She scoffed and said "you won't be walking anywhere." I didn't really have the mind about me to explain that I wanted to still be able to feel my contractions, and feel my baby. I may have tried, and I guess that they don't often get that request when placing an epidural. So  she inserted her needle and her catheter and her drugs into my spine. 

After the anesthesiologist was finished and left the room our new nurse, who we already liked more than the one that had a hissy fit, helped me lay back and try to get comfortable while the medication began to take effect. She wanted to check my temperature, but I was suddenly feeling nauseas, so I asked her to wait a minute. She walked over to the monitor print out and looked at the pattern my contractions had been chasing. She requested permission to check my cervix, and I consented. Her face lit up and she announced I was completely dilated. My husband jumped with excitement, and I exhaled with relief. My hard work had really paid off. I immediately wanted them to come back and turn the epidural off, and wanted my husband to see if my friends were still near by. I don't know for sure if my epidural ever took effect, and I'm pretty certain it was turned off because numbness is not something I experienced in my labor. New, nice, nurse asked me to use an oxygen mask, this would help make sure my blood was oxygenated, and that ensured that my baby's blood would also be oxygenated. I didn't like the way it felt on my face, so I held it in my hand and mostly used it in between contractions, and in between pushes. It felt good to push, even though I didn't have the urge to push. I was finally able to work with my contractions like I'd been wanting to, rather than just letting them happen. The nurse counted for the first few pushes, and then I asked her to stop. She obliged and just encouraged me to push, and gave helpful, short directions. After what felt like only 10 or 15 minutes, people started coming into the room, and setting up the warming table, and preparing to break down the bed. I was introduced to a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), she would be assisting in the delivery, and the head of OB from earlier in the day was with her to supervise. The CNM asks how I'm doing after a push, and I let her know I'm fine. She said "you've been pushing for a long time mom, almost 2 hours, getting tired? we can use the vacuum to help you if you like" Ugh. I was immediately deflated, all that effort, 2 hours and he still wasn't crowning! I consented to the "help" and I don't really know what exactly happened here. At some point an episiotomy was cut, and a suction cup was attached to my son's head. And then, as I pushed with each contraction the CNM pulled. There was no mirror, and I didn't speak up and request one, so I watched as best I could in the tv on the wall opposite the bed. (there was no cable and the tv was off) After a few pushes, and some considerable progress my son was crowing and the vacuum slipped off his head. Rather than put it back on, they let me finish the job. I still had to work hard and push hard to get him out the rest of the way. 

Just before 10 pm our son was born, he was placed on my chest with a blanket and his cord was cut and he was taken over to the warmer. It would be another 2 hours before I would attempt to breastfeed with a nurse with zero patience watching me, with a bottle of formula in her hand, checking the clock every few seconds. He weighed 6 lbs 15 oz at birth, and was 21 inches.