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I Am Strong Because I Am FREE!!

I Am Strong Because I Am FREE!!

I am strong because three months after my husband and I got married, we found out we were pregnant, and at 12 weeks, we lost the baby.

I am strong because after three months of waiting to try again, we found out we were pregnant for the second time, but at six weeks, I miscarried again.

I am strong because that very next month, I got pregnant for the third time. My doctor put me on progesterone supplements to help prevent another miscarriage, and soon we had a healthy, growing baby.

I am strong because on New Year’s Eve, I went in to be induced, and after only a few hours, my doctor told me I needed a c-section. She said my pelvis was too small and that I would never be able to give birth vaginally. Not knowing much about birth at all, and being totally unprepared, I had a c-section, and our beautiful son was born a few hours before midnight.

I am strong because even though I was in excruciating pain from the surgery, I continued to breastfeed my son and refused to give him formula.

I am strong because at 2 weeks old, my son’s pediatrician said that he was too small and told me to start supplementing with formula. Not knowing much, and being a scared first time mom, I listened.

I am strong because even though I supplemented, I kept nursing as much as I could. I started researching everything I could about breastfeeding and how to up my supply. I bought an SNS to help wean him off formula so that he could nurse exclusively again. I was prescribed medication to help increase my supply.

I am strong because when my son was a month old, I developed double mastitis, was put on antibiotics and was in so much pain, but I still continued to nurse.

I am strong because twice a week, I had to take my son to the pediatrician to have weight checks, and every time, I just heard about how small he was, until finally, his pediatrician said that my milk wasn’t good enough, didn’t have enough calories, and that I needed to stop nursing. Without running any tests, she decided that my milk wasn’t suitable for him.

I am strong because I went home that day and refused to stop nursing. I knew my son was fine and that he was growing like he should. I started looking for new pediatricians who would be supportive of my desire to nurse.

I am strong because when my son was 2 months old, I found a new pediatrician and canceled my appointment with the previous pediatrician.

I am strong because the next day, Child Protective Services came to my house and took my 2 month old away from me. I could do nothing but watch them take my baby. They said that we were an immediate danger to our son and that we were neglecting him because he was so small.

I am strong because CPS never told us where they were taking our son. We found out later that night that he was admitted to a hospital, but we weren’t allowed to know which one, or if he was okay.

I am strong because over 24 hours after they took our son, they called and told us to come to the hospital where he was, and that they had kept him overnight to run tests on him. They found nothing wrong, and encouraged me to keep nursing. They said that the previous pediatrician had called and said that we were starving our son, and that he was in danger with us. The hospital said that they would be reporting the pediatrician for lying to CPS and causing us so much distress.

I am strong because the hospital offered to test my milk and they found that I was producing an average of 60 calories per ounce! Way above average! I continued to nurse my son, and used donor milk from a friend to eventually wean him off formula.

I am strong because when my son was 9 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. Another boy!

I am strong because at my first prenatal appointment, my OB told me to not even consider a VBAC because I would never be able to do one, I was “too small.” She encouraged me to schedule my repeat c-section that day.

I am strong because shortly after I found out I was pregnant, my husband got orders to move to South Korea. We decided to move there with him and I would give birth there.

I am strong because even though my milk had almost dried up from being pregnant, I continued to nurse until my son’s 1st birthday!

I am strong because I started researching VBACs. I got my operation report from my previous OB and learned that the c-section was unnecessary, and that I COULD give birth vaginally if I wanted to! I immediately told my new OB that I wanted to try. I hired a birth doula to help me through the process.

I am strong because at 41 weeks, my doctor said that he had to induce me (per hospital policy) or give me a repeat c-section. Because this was the only military hospital in Korea, I didn’t have a lot of options. I chose the induction.

I am strong because even though I was in immense pain from the pitocin, I went eight hours without any pain medication. six hours later, I gave birth via successful VBAC to my second son!

I am strong because in the birth canal, he had swallowed meconium, and I wasn’t able to hold him until he was over 45 minutes old.

I am strong because I still haven’t been the first to hold either of my babies.

I am strong because my second son has never had anything but MY breastmilk! He is now 16 months old and still nurses four times a day, and yes, he is just as small. We just have small babies!

I am strong because I knew my mothering instincts were right and I protected my right to nurse, and my right to have the birth I wanted, even when I was told I’d never give birth that way.

I am strong because I was so inspired by my birth and my experiences, that I decided to become a labor Doula and am planning my next birth (not pregnant yet!) to be at a birthing center.

I am strong because even though I have never shared this story publicly, I am ready to help someone else out through my experiences.

I am strong because it has taken me years to trust people and doctor’s, but I am slowly starting to trust my children with other people, and to have faith in doctor’s again. I am slowly letting go of the past and looking to the future.

I am strong because I am FREE.

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Ladies & Gentlemen, Husbands & Wives, Mothers & Fathers: We Are Strong

Ladies & Gentlemen, Husbands & Wives, Mothers & Fathers: We Are Strong

I am Strong because I waited until the age of 32 to have my first child.

I am Strong because I saw our would-be son one day looking up at me holding onto the knee of the man who became the love of my life at the age of 28. Dream became Reality.

I am Strong because as the youngest of my home growing up, and the youngest in our family’s generation, I was not around young children much, so everything was new and exciting/frightening.

I am Strong because my husband made it home from his last deployment for the Army in 2010, and we made the happy decision to try and start a family.

I am Strong because five weeks into trying, the hubby and I went to the ER due to me having severe abdominal cramps. We found out after eight hours of waiting that we were less than 48 hours pregnant and in danger of losing the baby.

I am Strong because we also made the decision to do what it took to have me become a Stay-At-Home Mom; the call and eventual resignation from being in Property Management for almost a decade was bitter and sweet.

I am Strong because my pregnancy was filled with obstacles and unknowns, from start to finish.

I am Strong because our pregnancy took, and I was able to carry full term.

I am Strong because when we moved from Texas to Virginia, our insurance was suspended due to an employee’s typo, and we were forced to go without insurance for over 4.5 months of the pregnancy.

I am Strong because we had to ask a local 4D ultrasound locale for a session to find out how many and what we were having during the middle of the insurance nightmare.

I am Strong because our sweet baby boy blew a kiss to us on the ultrasound, one of at least three prior dreams that have become reality. (The DVD shows this amazing gift)

I am Strong because the pregnancy was high-risk from start to finish.

I am Strong because the natural hormonal surges that occur in pregnancy were so great that my hip and shoulder joints were prone to dislocation, making it hard to walk, sit, lift anything, or be comfortable.

I am Strong because despite all my efforts to consume the healthiest of things – the only true craving I ever had was for beer, not a winning scenario as it went unsatisfied – I gained over 50 pounds during the pregnancy.

I am Strong because we made a birth plan, but due to complications with my joints, had to settle for induction/possible csection as a backup.

I am Strong because at 41 weeks, I began having contractions. They lasted an entire week, but to no avail as I did not dilate.

I am Strong because we went into the hospital to be induced, only to have the first induction fail.

I am Strong because after the second induction was administered, my joints could no longer handle the hormonal surge and my right hip dislocated, causing me excruciating pain.

I am Strong because I was scared to death of having an epidural but made the decision to do so as my cervix was still not cooperative.

I am Strong because I had two extremely intense contractions during the administering of the epidural, but managed to stay still enough with the help of my husband so as to not incur any nerve damage.

I am Strong because the only progress the epidural produced was my water breaking.

I am Strong because after 72 hours from being admitted, our son’s heart rate began dropping with contractions. It was decided a csection was eminent.

I am Strong because I sang hymns while being rolled into the OR, strapped to the table, to calm my nerves.

I am Strong because it took over five rounds of pain blockers to get my body to cooperate to have the procedure.

I am Strong because upon delivery, it was discovered our dear son had the cord wrapped around his neck twice.

I am Strong because after being wheeled into the recovery room while our son went to be tested/weighed, the nurses had turned the television on in the room.

I am Strong because our son was born the morning of the tsunami in Japan, March 11, 2011.

I am Strong because I felt at the same time immense joy for his new life, and ultimate sorrow for the tens of thousands of lives who were washed from this earth that fateful day.

I am Strong because we finally had a healthy baby boy!

I am Strong because I found out through two sessions with a domineering and condescending lactation specialist that I had inverted nipples and would eventually not be able to produce enough breastmilk to meet our son’s needs. I was not able to experience the deep bond with our son that so many others are blessed to have.

I am Strong because I left the hospital weighing more than I did while pregnant due to the amount of fluids and medications administered during these events.

I am Strong because the first week of having our son home also involved suffering through a reaction and withdrawal from a medicine the nurses gave me that I had previously admitted being allergic to on top of recovering from the surgery.

I am Strong because though our son was healthy, we noticed him having consistent tummy troubles. At the age of 2, he began having the same symptoms I have experienced as an adult with IBS, but at such a young age.

I am Strong because we had many trips to the doctor and even the ER but to no finite clarity on how to help our sweet boy.

I am Strong because our son suffered open sores for seven months during this ordeal.

I am Strong because I made the decision to attempt fixing his troubles through an elimination diet. It took over a year to find the source of the problem, mainly being all grains, but within a week of a completely benign diet, his sores healed and we began to enjoy watching him be a little boy with no more pain, only joy and curiosity.

I am Strong because our family is now on a modified paleo – low FODMAP lifestyle, with all of us having seen significant improvement in our health.

I am Strong because I only discovered Birth Without Fear through an acquaintance’s chance post on Facebook.

I am Strong because I wept with grief and relief to see how not alone I am in this world of traumatic births.

I am Strong because I’ve been able to lose all the weight I had gained and be more healthy now than ever before.

I am Strong because my Husband never left my side, from start to finish. He is my Rock, and I will Love him until my last breath.

I am Strong because we want a daughter.

I am Strong because we may not be able to have any other children.

I am Strong because I rejoice in the glorious secret world that is our happy home with my husband and son.

I am Strong.

Ladies, Gentlemen, Husbands, Wives, Mothers and Fathers:

We are STRONG.

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From the Grocery Story to Unassisted Home Birth in 15 Minutes

From the Grocery Story to Unassisted Home Birth in 15 Minutes

My daughter, Aisha Skye, was born on the 19th of February 2013 weighing in at 8 lbs 11 oz, after an unexpected homebirth.

I had my first daughter, Avalon, two years previously at our local hospital. She was born naturally after a few complications and six hours of active labour and pushing.

I was expecting a similar delivery as my first daughter so I was ready to be “in it for the long haul.” I was in “active” labour with Aisha for a total of two hours. My contractions were never closer than 15 minutes together. I spent most of it in my Mother’s spa bath. I was actually in Woolworths 15 minutes before Aisha was born, getting “supplies ” (reading material, snacks, etc.).

I returned back to Mum’s and jumped straight in the bath after almost pooping my pants in Woolworths. After calling for my sister and Mum and telling them that I needed to poo (while in the bath) they got me out. They placed me on the toilet where I felt my daughters head. Literally seconds passed and my waters popped on the toilet. My sister pulled me up off the toilet. I then placed one leg on the step of the bath and after one push my daughter Aisha was born. My Mum literally had to dive between my legs to catch her. We don’t know the exact time but we guess she was born around 8.23 pm.

The ambulance was called and we were taken to our local hospital. Aisha spent eight days in SCN as she has complications with her breathing and a few other issues. She is now a beautiful 6 month old. We still have a few issues regarding her breathing but she is a trooper and never ceases to amaze me.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story with all Mothers and families alike.

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One Woman’s Successful Frank Breech Vaginal Hospital Birth

One Woman’s Successful Frank Breech Vaginal Hospital Birth

Let me rewind a little bit…At 37 weeks, we found out via ultrasound that Everett was frank breech. We tried everything we could to turn him. Everything was totally unsuccessful in turning him. He was stubborn and comfortable in his breech position.

Typically, a breech baby these days means a c-section. But I was being told by my midwives that I was THE perfect candidate to attempt a vaginal breech delivery…if I could find an experienced doctor willing to do it. Immediately after that 37 week ultrasound, I started calling every OB in our city (we live in a big city). After dozens of phone calls and lots of No’s, I found someone willing to meet with me to discuss it. We met and after a thorough health history discussion and an extensive examination, we all decided I was a good candidate and we’d do a trial of labor and see how things went.

However, delivering with an OB in a hospital setting meant having to compromise on some things that I wanted. In the mean time we tried everything we could to get him to flip. I saw a chiropractor who used the Webster technique. I saw an acupuncturist for moxibustion acupuncture. I did the spinning babies protocols at home. I shined a bright flash light on my lower belly multiple times a day. I took a homeopathic supplement that’s supposed to encourage flipping. I drank 100+ ounces of water a day to up my amniotic fluid levels, hoping to give him more room to move. And last of all, we tried an EVC (External Cephalic Version).

Then about 39 weeks, the priority went from turning him to encouraging labor to come on it’s own since inductions are not allowed with a breech. My doctor was scheduled to leave the country on September 3rd, so we had a scheduled c-section for September 1st. If he wasn’t here to deliver, I’d end up with a cesarean anyway. I had a deadline for getting this baby out naturally!I had contractions on and off starting around 38.5 weeks, but nothing stuck around (much like my pregnancy with #2). On Thursday September 28th at 39 weeks 3 days, I saw my doc and he did an internal exam to check for dilation. I was 3-4cm but not very effaced. Baby was engaged in my pelvis, but we think not having the pressure of his head on my cervix probably kept me from thinning out like I normally would.

I had some crampy contractions after the internal check (which was at 4pm), but I figured my cervix was just irritated, and they’d go away. We went for a long walk after my appointment to try to get things moving. By 7pm I was still feeling them and they were definitely painful. In the back of my mind I knew they were the real thing, but I didn’t want to jump the gun. I took a long shower after the kids went to bed, did some cleaning, and a little laundry.

By 11pm they were spacing out quite a bit to just a few an hour but still pretty painful. We decided to go to bed and get some sleep. I said a prayer and asked the little boy in my belly to allow me at least a few hours of sleep. But I kind of knew that wouldn’t happen. When had he cooperated up to that point?! I maybe slept 30 minutes before a hard contraction woke me up. Then maybe another 20 minutes and another 15 before I gave up and couldn’t stand to be laying down any longer.

I grabbed my phone and sat up in bed timing them and trying to distract myself from the slight anxiety that started to creep in. Around 2am I decided I was truly in labor with contractions 7ish minutes apart and it was time to pack the last minute stuff and wake up my husband, Corey. I let him know what was going on and decided to take another shower because I was having terrible back labor and the water on my back sounded nice.

I paged my midwife at 2:15am, and she thought it would be a good idea to come to the house and do an internal exam and see where I was at. We called Corey’s mom to come over and sleep on the couch until the girls woke up. I started to get a little nervous that it was a false alarm because my labor pattern was so weird and different from anything I’d experienced before (strong contractions further apart with multiple small ones in between). By the time both of them were here, my midwife determined I was 6cm and my water was bulging. And as soon as everyone arrived, my contractions were picking up in frequency and intensity, so we decided to head to the hospital since my labors move fast. By the time we got there and got into a room, it was almost 4am.

Despite my history of quickly progressing labors and the fact that I was once again GBS positive and needed antibiotics, the L&D nurse completely ignored me. She got me in a room, asked me for a urine sample, and left. We didn’t see her again for 45 minutes (she was too busy chatting with the ladies outside). And she only came into the room at that point because my water had broken and I still didn’t have an IV line inserted, and I was definitely going through transition.

I was incredulous when she told me I had to SIT in the bed while they monitored my and baby’s vitals for 20 straight minutes to make sure he was tolerating labor well before I could go ahead with a breech delivery. HELLO!! Why didn’t she tell me that and get that going the second I got in there?!?! Now I had to sit there for TWENTY a minutes while going through TRANSITION????? I was ready to scream and bite her head off and I made sure she knew I was pissed.

She then proceeded to try to get an IV going. The first time she couldn’t get the vein. The second spot she tried my vein blew and there was blood gushing and dripping down my arm. If I had not been in terrible labor pain and distracted as a result, I’d have definitely passed out. Then she stuck me a THIRD time and was only able to get the needle in half way, but it was enough to get stuff in me so she left it. She was very vocal about how long it took to get a vein since I refused to let her stab me during a contraction (which were coming every 90ish seconds at that point). It was clear early on that this lady and I were not going to get along. I was just SO glad my midwife was there to support me, help me stay sane, and be a mediator between me and this awful nurse.

By the time she had me hooked up, she said if they didn’t get me moved to a delivery room ASAP I might end up having the baby right there. But due to the intensity and frequency of my contractions, it took me 15ish minutes to even get out of the bed and into a wheel chair for her to move me. Which she was clearly annoyed by and also very vocal about. Once I got to a delivery room they were prepped and ready to go. My doc checked me and I was 10 cm, but had a lip on my cervix still and was told I could NOT push yet. Because he was bottom first, it was very important to be fully effaced so we didn’t risk head entrapment.

I had THE worst back labor I have ever had. The level of pain I was experiencing (I assume because of his position) was in another realm from what I’d experienced with either of my girls. I wasn’t able to labor in water because I was so close, and a water birth was out of the question this time around. I started to lose my cool in a way I’ve never done before in labor. And then I was involuntarily pushing and could not stop. They checked me again but I still had a lip and wasn’t supposed to be pushing.

It was at that point that I did something I never thought I’d do, I asked for an epidural. I got THE rudest most disapproving glare and shake of the head from that awful nurse. I was ready to bite her head off! I was in so much pain that I was actually starting to go crazy and I knew the only way I’d be able to not push was to not feel the contractions. I was feeling guilty, but my midwife assured me that it was TOTALLY reasonable to want an epidural this time around and at least I had made it almost the whole way without. She said I likely would not have the drugs in my system long enough for them to cross the placenta and affect the baby. It’s not standard practice to give a woman an epidural at 10 cm, but this was a special case.

There was a chance of needing an episiotomy to make room for baby’s head as well as the possibility that the doc would need to stick his hand up there to flex baby’s head or use forceps for the same reason if baby wasn’t flexing his head on his own. And I didn’t want to feel all that going on. They had an anesthesiologist on standby in the room in case I wanted it for these exact reasons, so as soon as I said the word, they got to work. He was pretty quick, but it was still agonizing to try and sit still through those contractions while he placed the catheter.

Let me just say, one of my biggest motivating factors for natural drug-free childbirth (outside from the whole idea of it’s better for baby to not be doped up) was my fear of needles and the idea of getting one put in my SPINE. Well…it wasn’t bad. AT ALL. I don’t even know why I was so scared (of course, in the moment, all I wanted was that needle in there to start the drugs flowing). And within 5-10 minutes of that being put in, I started to smile and sat back and said “so THIS is why people get these things!!” Hahahaha! It was SUCH a relief. They gave me a low enough dose to still feel the contractions a bit so I knew when to push, but enough to be totally numb in my lady regions. And because I was able to finally relax a little and take some deep breaths, that lip on my cervix was gone in minutes.

It was time to push.Throughout my laboring at the hospital, I’d had several nurses and doctors ask my permission to witness the birth (since a breech delivery is pretty rare). And I said ok to everyone who asked. I figured, it was a learning experience for all, and if it resulted in more women being able to do a vaginal breech delivery, than I was happy to pave the way and be the guinea pig. Corey was really tempted to take full-room selfie but wasn’t sure everyone would appreciate it (particularly that evil L&D nurse). I think it would’ve been pretty funny though!

So with an audience of four doctors, three midwives, and another four or five nurses plus my own midwife and husband, I pushed with all my might! It was pretty weird to feel/watch him coming out bottom first. Once his bottom and legs were out I kept pushing to his shoulder blade. He was just kind of sitting almost cross-legged on the bed waiting for his head to come out, moving a bit but not frantic or anything. Kind of strange and really cool all at the same time.

I think it was at that point that the doc gave me a very small episiotomy, but I can’t remember for sure. It might have been earlier. All I remember is that I was pushing this baby out like my life depended on it. Because his did. Once he was out to his head, I had 3 minutes to push his head out before he’d run out of oxygen since he cord was compressed. I remember the doctor telling someone to watch the clock and said out loud to me “ok Amber, we’ve got 3 minutes. Plenty of time. You’re doing great. Let’s just finish up the job.” He then used forceps to flex his head as he was not flexing on his own, and about 30 seconds later, he was out! I think I pushed a total of 5-10 minutes from start to finish. He had zero breathing problems and apgar scores of a 9 and 10. He was immediately placed on my chest while I delivered the placenta and got stitched up.

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I’m not a crier. It was the only time I’ve ever cried at one of my childrens’ births. Not because I’m not emotional or ridiculously happy, I just don’t express my feelings with tears usually. But this time I was just SO relieved and happy that he was here safe and sound that I couldn’t help it.He was born at 6:25am. He was gorgeous. It was weird not seeing a cone-shaped head on him. He nursed almost immediately like a pro.We were somewhat like celebrities among the hospital staff during our stay but in a good way. “Oh!! YOU are the breech delivery????!! Congrats and way to go!!!” Recovery has been tougher with the episiotomy. I had one with my first baby, but I wasn’t chasing two toddlers around while trying to heal. But I wouldn’t trade the vaginal delivery for anything. Sooo glad we did it and so thankful we found a doc willing to do it!!I want my experience to help empower other ladies to have breech deliveries if they’re the right candidate for it!

by Amber Hansen

Our Twin Miracles

Our Twin Miracles

My husband and I got pregnant right after we were married. I was told I would probably have a hard time conceiving because of ovarian problems so we decided to start early. I guess I didn’t have any problems after all.

A couple weeks after we found out I was pregnant my husband left for boot camp for the Army. The pregnancy started out well. I was shocked that I was having twins and had to tell my husband in a letter since he couldn’t talk on the phone.

When I was 6 months pregnant my husband started Advanced Individual Training and I decided to move from Oregon to Georgia to be closer to him and so he could be there when the twins were born.

When I was 28 weeks I went to the hospital for cramps and didn’t know I was in labor. They were able to stop it but I was so far along I needed to stay on bed rest at the hospital. At 30 weeks I went into labor again and this time they couldn’t stop it.

Since both babies were breech I had to have a c-section. Both girls were taken straight to the NICU and I had to wait a day to see them and then another few days to hold them. Both girls were 3 pounds. Besides being small they had no health issues. They stayed in the NICU for 7 weeks.

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The whole thing was very traumatic and stressful but they are now healthy, beautiful two year old’s. They are my little miracles.

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Birth Of Elsie {Homebirth Story With Siblings}

Birth Of Elsie {Homebirth Story With Siblings}

We were just waiting for the Braxton Hicks contractions to turn into the real deal so we could get our daughter here.  Sunday morning was spent with the church family and then the afternoon was spent with Greg’s family celebrating his mom’s 55th birthday.

I was feeling pretty good and honestly didn’t feel like I’d see my daughter anytime in the next few days.  I was nervous that when it was finally time that Greg would be late getting home and I’d labor alone, that the midwife would barely get there in time, and that everything would happen so fast, I wouldn’t hardly remember the experience!  Needless to say, that was not what occurred.

Greg decided to go ahead and get the pool set up and ready. That way if I did start my labor before he got home, I could easily start filling the pool up on my own.  We all nestled into bed pretty early and I was sleeping pretty sound until 1:43 AM.

I was awakened by an uncomfortable contraction and spent the next hour and a half pacing about trying to be sure if I was really in pain before I bothered waking up Greg.  I got out a journal and start writing down times and lengths of contractions, and finally decided about 3:30 to wake him up and call in the midwife and my parents.

Everyone arrived about five that morning. Danette and Caroline, her sweet apprentice, began monitoring Elsie’s heartbeat and my blood pressure.  My BP was slightly raised, so after a homeopathic dose of calcium and magnesium, I returned to my left side to relax through some more contractions.  That all worked, as my blood pressure lowered, and the more relaxed I stayed, the more intense the contractions were.

My mom got to work fixing some biscuits and gravy from scratch, and my husband quickly decided we needed to do this more often if it meant eating my mom’s cooking for breakfast!  I got to enjoy the fruits of her labor and spent most of the morning just nestled into my room breathing through contractions.

(Remember me talking about The Sphincter Law before? I honestly wasn’t worried this would effect me in the privacy of my own home.  I pretty much figured I have enough control over my mind and body that once labor started, I would get in the zone and be good to go.  Well, that was not the case.)

By the afternoon, with contractions still 10 minutes apart, and losing intensity at times, we thought a walk around the neighborhood would help. It did not help at all.  In fact, I felt as though everything was being put on hold.  I stayed out in the kitchen chatting with everyone and went almost 30 minutes without anything happening.

So, with Danette’s encouragement I went back to my room with my headphones in, music up, and only the company of my husband, and at times Emma.  As long as no one else was around my body would allow contractions to come up to eight minutes apart and last over a minute.  However, oddly enough, even if my sweet mama would come into the room, everything would stop.  I really got to experience how little control I had over my body’s birthing plan.

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 So, with the afternoon turning into the evening, my body slowly worked on getting Elsie lined up for her big debut.  For years Greg and I had told Emma that if/when we ever had another baby, the new little one would be in between us instead of her, and she would have to be prepared for that.  So, with the last few hours of her being the baby dwindling away, she nestled in between us to make the most of it.  We chatted about what Elsie would look like as she drew pictures, and then Greg would hold her really still as I would hum through my contractions.

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Everyone was pretty tuckered out after an eventful, yet still uneventful day.  The kids camped out in the living room with my parents and Danette and Caroline made themselves at home in the kids’ beds.  And that is how it was, still and quiet, until around 12:30am on Tuesday morning.

Finally, the contractions were coming on nice and strong!  Hooray!  I was up pacing back and forth, and then every eight minutes or so, I would bend over the bed to hum through what was now what I would consider active labor.  I woke Greg up and Danette heard us stirring around.

It was time to start boiling water for the cooled off pool and a wardrobe change as I got ready to get in the water.  Danette had told me we would hold off on getting into the pool until I couldn’t get comfortable any other way. I was at that point.  I crawled into the birth pool around 1:15am Tuesday morning and prepared myself to crawl out of it when no longer pregnant.

As soon as I got in the water, a contraction came on super strong. Then about two minutes later, another one, and that was the pace for the next two hours. My body was so relaxed in the water that I was completely out of control and the human ejection process had begun!

The water definitely helped me handle the intensity of the pain, so I just hummed away as my mind kept repeating things like, ‘and this too shall pass’, over and over.  The last 30 minutes were totally overwhelming.  I felt completely out of control during the contractions and proclaimed I felt like I was suffocating and couldn’t catch my breath.  Danette reminded me to relax and not let my contractions get ahead of me, so back to the humming and focusing.

This entire 25 hours of labor, Danette did not “check me”.  We did not know how dilated I was at any point in time.  My body was completely in control of the process, and although I felt helpless for those last few minutes, the empowerment I felt when it was all over was totally worth it!

I threw up my yummy snacks from the long day of labor as I transitioned through those last few centimeters, and started shaking as my body prepared to deliver my beautiful little girl into her daddy’s awaiting hands.  Danette gave me some ginger candy to help with the nausea, and I was really thankful, even asking for another piece to get me through the end.

Danette had a pitcher and would pour water over my back through my contractions while my husband was sitting on a stool in front of me holding my hands, and I was bent over the edge of the pool on my knees.  My mom and Caroline were patiently awaiting the progression, and my dad and kids were still fast asleep.

I remember looking over my shoulder once and finding my mother shedding big tears as she tried to deal with her baby girl being in so much pain, but the midwife was quick to comfort her and assure her all was well.

With all the controversy surrounding our decision to birth at home, I want to make it clear that I never once had any worry about my health, or the well being of my baby through the entire process.  My mind never once wandered into those dark thoughts, and I praise the good Lord for bathing the entire ordeal with His wonderful grace.

About 10 minutes before Elsie found her way to daddy’s hands, Danette told me I could check to see if I felt her head.  My water still hadn’t ruptured, and it was obvious I was feeling her sac cushioning her head in it’s descent.  With the next contraction I exclaimed that I felt like I could push.  So, I did.

On the second push, I felt my water break. Seconds later ,I announced her head was out.  Greg was scurrying around from being in front of me to getting behind me and Danette was getting the flashlight on so they could indeed see if she was on her way out!  Her head had been delivered, and with ease her little body followed just in time for Greg to reach down and lift her up out of the water.

They carefully helped me roll over onto my bottom where I stayed for the next hour.  Greg laid my sweet Elsie right onto my chest as I expressed my sheer delight that my baby girl and I had worked so hard together, and now here she was!  She immediately began to root and kick, lifting her head and bobbing around to begin suckling.  My sweet girl latched right on and has been an expert nurser from the beginning.

The after pains were pretty harsh. We waited 45 minutes for the cord to finish its beautifully engineered job, and then Danette clamped it for Greg to cut it.  Then miss Elsie got to go cuddle with her papa as they helped me get out of the pool and into my robe so I could get in the bed to rest.

Jamie Buckland 3-2

Moments later, it happened. As Emma looked on from her daddy’s chest, little Elsie took her place in between mommy and daddy.  And like that, the process I had anticipated for so long was over. My little babe who I’d dreamt about for years was finally lying here in her home, in my bed, in the blankets I had washed just weeks before.  We were complete.

And now Emma seemed so much older and much more mature.

 Jamie Buckland 4-2

The Big “E” seemed much bigger as he nestled the new little “E”.

Jamie Buckland 5-2

Elsie will be a few weeks old in just a few hours, and I’ve gotten to share our experience with some of our close friends and family. Some have been curious about how I felt afterwards.  I can honestly say it was a much easier recovery than with Ethan or Emma.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised at just how good I have felt.  I did have a small tear, but never had any discomfort from it whatsoever.  Danette had made me a brew up of some comfrey root, which worked wonderfully.

Some have asked now that it is all over, will we be trying to conceive again, and if so, will I birth at home again? The answers are yes, and yes. We plan on trying for #4 when Elsie is a little over a year old, and yes, I plan on inviting my new favorite midwife, Danette, back into my home to attend the birth of our next child.  Looking back, I am so thankful everything went just as it was.  Even with labor lasting just over a day, I feel so blessed Greg and I got to spend that time together as we waited for her arrival.

A big thanks to all of you who have supported us through this journey! And of course a huge thank you to BIRTH WITHOUT FEAR for all the information and stories that helped me along this journey.  If you want to read more about why we chose a home birth, you can read about my first two pregnancies and why I felt so passionate about sharing this experience.

{By Jamie Buckland}

The Birth of Sicily Rose {Postpartum Hemorrhage, Vanishing Twin Syndrome}

The Birth of Sicily Rose {Postpartum Hemorrhage, Vanishing Twin Syndrome}

Had it not been for your blog and all the  amazing women behind the stories you share, I might not of had the courage to go through what I endured. But, looking back now, I made and I’m a stronger mother and women for it.

This past February, we welcomed our second daughter, Sicily Rose to the world. I didn’t know it at the time of writing her birth story, but we found out a short time later that she was a twin. In my blog post, I write about hemorrhaging during our home birth, but I didn’t find out until I was 4 weeks postpartum it was because her twin was left inside of me. I hemorrhaged again at 4 weeks postpartum and almost lost my life. After being rushed by ambulance, getting a D&C, and a blood transfusion, we learned that our princess wasn’t alone in my womb.

(Side note, we thought our daughter was a twin at the beginning due to finding out about the pregnancy very early on and suffering from HG. I bled at 6 weeks pregnant and went into the emergency room. We again suspected twins when my HCG levels were off the charts but that was not confirmed nor denied by the hospital. During my D&C, they removed a 6 cm piece of placenta that was firmly attached to my womb. It was an entirely separate placenta from my daughters because I encapsulated her placenta. In the lab write up, we learned it was a vanishing twin. Vanishing Twin Syndrome occurs in 1 in 10 pregnancies on average. He or she may have “vanished from my womb”, but my baby has never vanished from my heart after learning about him or her.)

In my post, I write about dilating to a 10 twice. I dilated all the way to a 10 one week before our baby girl actually decided to arrive. And looking back now, I find it kind of symbolic. It was as if I was birthing the twin I would never hold or meet.

So in honor of our babies here is the birth story of Sicily Rose:

The Birth of Sicily Rose

Our Sicily Rose has finally arrived! She was indecisive about coming at first, but when she was ready, she was READY! On Sunday February 9th, we planned a birthday party for our Audrey Girl. She just turned 3 on the 7th so we all went to Dave and Buster’s to eat lunch and play some games. I had contractions start up that morning at about 10 am. By 11:30, we were at the party eating lunch and they were still coming on pretty strong. I couldn’t eat a whole lot, because they just kept growing in intensity. Christian and I decided to leave the party and head for home because it was snowing pretty hard and we didn’t know how fast I was progressing. Nana stayed behind so our Audrey Girl could finish up her games.

I called my midwife about 5 pm and just let her know I had been contracting all afternoon, they weren’t letting up, and that I felt like today was the day. She asked Christian to check my purple line for dilation, so she could get an estimate at how far along I was. (If you don’t know the purple line trick…Google it.)

We guessed I was about 5-6 cm dilated, so I told my midwife to just hold off on coming for right now. I kept contracting, tried to eat some good protein so I would be ready for what was to come, but I felt too nauseated and what I ate did not stay down. I called my midwife about 8 and gave her the green light to head this way. She got here and checked my dilation. She said I was at an 8. She listened to Sicily’s heartbeat and I went ahead and got in the birthing pool. My contractions weren’t horrible, but the water helped ease any discomfort that I had.

After an hour and a half, I got out of the water. My midwife wanted to see where I was with dilation. I was finally at a 10. I decided to rock on the birthing ball for a while to see if I could persuade Sicily to burrow down. She was right at the edge, to the point where I could feel her head, but she was getting hung up on my pubic bone on the right side. I did some stretching and then began feeling overwhelmed. 10pm turned into 3am and still nothing. My Midwife, Sarah, suggested I lay down and rest so when it was time to push, I would have the energy to do so.

I slept until 5am and woke up to find my contractions had died down. I got up and decided to just walk, walk, walk. I did circles in our living room around the birthing pool. Sarah told me I should eat something, so I had my mom cut up some deer sausage and I ate that. It was so good in that moment. I remember that being all I wanted to eat.

I was so flustered at this point, because I had been contracting and had progressed all the way to a 10 and then nothing. The contractions just stopped. The walking didn’t stir them back up again. I was so tired. At 7am, I found a pillow and laid down on the living room floor. Christian slept on couch beside me. At 8am on February 10th, I could hear Sarah tell Christian to get me into bed, so I could sleep more comfortably and that she was going to head home to do the same. She said she would come back over later to check on us.

I was so bummed. Here I thought “this is it”, made it all the way to 10cm, and then nothing. Everything just stopped. I slept a little while but when I woke up, all I could do was cry. My baby was supposed to be in my arms by now. Christian worked until noon that day and then came home to help comfort me. He called Sarah and had her come back over to talk with me. She came right over without hesitation and suggested I see our chiropractor. She thought that would help Sicily get in the right position and not get hung up on my pubic bone anymore. It was worth a shot to me, so off we went. I was glad I did because it really helped me settle down and relax.

After my adjustment, we went home and I fell back asleep. My mom took Audrey home with her so I could have a few day to myself to recuperate and see how things progressed. I woke up Tuesday morning to my phone ringing off the hook. Everyone wanted to know “is she here yet?” It was so hard for me. I think I cried most of that morning. Christian came home from work and told me to get dress because we were going out. He surprised me with dinner at BeerKitchen…my favorite place to eat chicken and waffles and then we rented Bad Grandpa from Redbox. It’s been a long time since I laughed that hard and it was a treat to get a last minute date night with him before we became a family of 4.

Audrey came back home Thursday night. I was more than ready to have my big girl in my arms. Nothing beats snuggles from your child when you’ve had a rough day…or week. Friday I went back to the chiropractor for another adjustment. She suggested acupuncture and I was all for it. I didn’t get anxious and told myself whatever happens…happens. Saturday was spent relaxing at home. I was tired and indulged in a nap or two. Sunday, Christian did some painting around the house, so I decided to get out and get a pedicure with my BFF, Mallory. I thoroughly enjoyed some much needed girl time. Little did I know, this would be our last day as a family of 3…

Monday morning I woke up about 4:45. I had the urge to pee but I didn’t want to get out of my nice and warm bed. I laid there for a few minutes, then I felt this wet, warm sensation. I didn’t know if I had just peed myself or if my water had finally broke. I got up, pants soaking wet, and went to the bathroom. Sarah told me that if I was ever unsure to just smell it. A broken water bag doesn’t have a smell, but urine does. Mine didn’t have a smell and I was able to then go pee so we were all good. 🙂

I changed my clothes and Christian rolled over to see why I was up making so much noise. “I’m pretty sure my water just broke,” I told him. I wasn’t having contractions at this point, so I got on my phone and googled to see how long I could possibly be waiting for my labor to really start….it said up to 3 days so after all I had just went through, I was expecting the worst. I texted Sarah around 5am and told her my water broke. Since my contractions hadn’t started up yet, we decided there was no need for her to come over. I texted our birth photographer, Rachel to give her a heads up too and then I laid back down.

By 6:00am, the contractions were coming. Christian got up and decided to make me some eggs so I could eat, set up the birthing pool, and see how things progressed. He brought my plate into our bedroom to me where I was standing over our bed rocking through the contractions. They were coming fast and strong. As much as I wanted to eat, I just couldn’t. The contractions were getting intense and I wanted to get in the water so bad. My birth pool wasn’t filled up all the way just yet so I went into the bathroom and kneeled by the bath tub. I had to tell myself to just keep breathing through it.

At this point, I knew this was the real deal and Sicily would probably be here sometime today. I told Christian to call Sarah and Rachel and tell them to get here now. I had called my mom when my water broke and I knew she would already be on her way. Sarah got here around 6:45am and just as soon as she listened to Sicily’s heart rate, I was in the birth pool. The warm water felt good and the contractions kept coming about 2-3 minutes apart. My mom got here soon after. She sat next to the pool on our chaise lounge and asked me what I needed her to do. At this point, there was nothing no one could do for me. It was just me and Sicily…working in sync with each other and trusting each other.

Sarah’s birth assistant walked in as I was laboring in the pool and I could vaguely hear Sarah tell her to get her gloves on and get ready because things were about to go fast. I smiled to myself when I heard this because that meant “this was it”…our girl would be in our arms today!

Rachel got here and then things went fast. I didn’t say a word to anyone as they arrived. I just kept breathing and focusing through the contractions. I remember thinking to myself, “When is it going to really hurt?” This pain was bareable to me. It was a good pain, because I knew in the end I would have my baby to hold. (Kidney stones hurt worse than child labor incase you wanted to know. I would birth 10 babies in a row before I would ever deal with another kidney stone.)

Audrey woke up and went to sit with Nana on the chaise lounge. She really impressed me that morning. She was so calm and spoke softly. She just laid in Nana’s lap and they watched me together. Christian came to the edge of the pool and held my arms as I sat in a squat in the water. I wanted him there. Right there holding me up. He was so cute. He kept giving me encouragement and telling me how strong I was. Sarah helped me remember to keep breathing. “The ring of fire” was felt just as Sicily was crowning and I knew we were getting close.

Sarah got behind me and put a mirror in the water to see where she was at. Feeling her head crown hurt. I was in the moment, I needed to bite something and Christian’s arm was there. He pulled back just as I realized what I was doing so I grabbed a towel and bit it instead. Just then, the ring of fire was over and out came her little head.

Sarah and Christian helped me lay back so I could push her the rest of the way out. I wasn’t in pain anymore. I was just breathing trying to muster up enough energy to get my girl here. Sarah’s assistant said, “it’s been two minutes. We need to move things along.” And just then I pushed and out into the water came our girl. I picked her up and brought her to my chest. She had inhaled a little bit of water and she wasn’t crying. Sarah told us to just keep talking to her as she patted her on her back. It worked because she let out the cutest little squeak. No crying. Just completely content laying on her mama’s chest in the water. All I could do is stare at her in awe and say, “I did it….I did it.”

Our story doesn’t end there, but how I wish it did. I wish I could tell you that I laid there in the birth pool holding my sweet girl and the rest of the day was just spent snuggling my little family of 4.

I felt the urge to push again and I knew it was my placenta coming. Sicily was still attached to her cord at this point and laying on my chest in the water. I told Sarah I needed to push and I did. Blood just shot out. The pool turned pitch black. Sarah, her assistant, and Christian helped lift me out of the pool and onto some towels on the floor. I remember Sarah sternly telling me, “Stop bleeding. You have got to stop bleeding.” And Christian told my mom to take Audrey into the other room.

Everything was happening so fast. I glanced down at Sicily still laying on my chest as I felt my placenta escape from me. The blood still flowing out much faster than it should have. I don’t really remember how but my birth team managed to get into our bed. Sarah examined me and said I had 2nd degree tearing in 3 different places. I was so glad I birthed in the water, because I can’t imagine how it would have felt if I didn’t.

My bleeding still hadn’t subsided. I was soaking the blue puppy pad looking sheets every few minutes. Sarah felt my uterus as we tried to get Sicily to latch on to eat. She examined my placenta that Sicily was still attached to, to make sure there wasn’t any leftover in my uterus. There wasn’t, thank God.

My options were running out, so Sarah did the last thing she could think of to stop my bleeding. She cut a piece of my placenta and told me to put it in my cheek and suck on it. I didn’t care. I would do anything at this point. I just wanted my bleeding to stop. I did not want to be rushed to the hospital. Christian turned white as a ghost. I’ve never seen him look so scared in all my life. The way he looked at me was terrifying. I asked him to leave the room and get himself something to eat.

Sarah’s little trick worked. My bleeding stopped and she was able to stitch me up. Her assistant fed me eggs and juice and mothers milk tea as Sicily laid on my chest still attached to the placenta. I kept trying to go to sleep but Sarah wouldn’t let me. She was afraid I would go unconscious and no one would know. Every time they moved me I started to faint. Christian came back in and helped feed me. Sicily latched on and Sarah gave us the green light to just snuggle skin to skin as we had been. Christian cut the cord and Sarah kept my placenta to encapsulate it. Another hour or two went by and Sarah continued to monitor me. She went over her concerns with Christian and came back in to tell me goodbye. She said she’d be back over later that evening to check on us again.

I spent the rest of the day laid up in bed snuggling with my babies. I was asked later if I regretted doing a homebirth because of the bleeding episode…I absolutely do not. I am glad I had a homebirth. If that had happened to me in the hospital, things would have gone a lot differently. Would I do it all over again? In a heartbeat. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience….and “I did it!”.

Birth of Sicily Birth of Sicily 2

Our birth photographer, Rachel was amazing. I can’t tell you what these images mean to me. I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to have her there to capture these moments. I highly recommend Tripp Over Love Photography.
www.photosbyrtripp.com

Finally, Relief! {A Painful Pregnancy, Spinal Injury}

Finally, Relief! {A Painful Pregnancy, Spinal Injury}

This is Tammy’s story.

May 13, 2011 (Friday the 13th), I picked up my two children from school, (ages 7 and 4) and was a block away from my home when I was in a terrible accident.

I was rushed to the ER where they found I had a collapsed spine, and I underwent surgery. A few weeks later, I found out I was pregnant at the time of the accident. PREGNANT?? I thought I couldn’t be, as I had Mirena, but God had other plans. I was not far along- only about two weeks. So, they had done the emergency surgery without checking to see if I was pregnant.

I am strong because my entire pregnancy was a nightmare of pain. The surgery was unfortunately not a success, and I went through my entire pregnancy with a collapsing spine (as if our back doesn’t have enough pain with a normal pregnancy).

For seven of the nine months, I had to have trigger point injections into my spine  to try and help with the pain. These injections are usually done under x-ray and take only a few minutes. Since I was pregnant they used a sonogram machine, which made the procedure last over an hour. I had to lay on my stomach each procedure and the pain was unbearable.

Doctors told me I would need to have a c-section because of how badly damaged my spine was, but I was determined to have a vaginal delivery as my others were.

My doctors also prescribed me Vicodin my entire pregnancy, but I refused to take it.  Although the pain was unimaginable, my baby’s health was more important.

image

Finally on 2-21-2012, my perfect angel FINALLY arrived. I went into labor at 2am and was determined to have my vaginal delivery.  After just one push my 6lb angel was in my arms. I felt EVERYTHING and when it was finally over, I had never had so much relief in my life. This picture shows that. Out of 3 pregnancies, this was the worst; not only was I in pain, but I vomited the whole 9 months. But he was still perfect.

image 3

When he was 8 weeks old I had a fusion done to my spine, and it’s been a tough road but we survived, and I couldn’t be happier.

image 2

The Story Of My Birth Without Fear

The Story Of My Birth Without Fear

To say I wasn’t the slightest bit afraid would be a lie. I had mentally prepared myself the past nine months to be brave and not doubt my strength or be afraid of what was to come.  But there was still this little itch deep in the back of my mind telling me I should be afraid, telling me I couldn’t do it and most of all telling me that something would go horribly wrong. No matter what I did I could not scratch it.

My pregnancy wasn’t planned. It was one of those things in life that comes suddenly and unexpectedly but not without want. I was so happy when we found out for sure that I was pregnant. Not going to lie, when I girst found out I was slightly worried. I wanted to keep it to myself not because I didn’t want a baby or wasn’t happy but because two years prior I had a miscarriage. My miscarriage had occurred during my 8th or 9th week, so honestly I was terrified that if I got my hopes up then the same thing would happen to me again.

Finally after a week of worry I fessed up to my husband about what had been bothering me. He comforted me and ensured me that I was worrying for nothing and that things would be different this time around. A week before thanksgiving I took a pregnancy test and it came back negative but I KNEW that it was a false negative so I waited until Friday November 29th, the day after thanksgiving to retake the test. This time it came back positive. I took two tests that time just to be sure. After going and getting the pregnancy confirmed I began the process of planning exactly how I wanted the birth process to go. We were given a due date of August 23rd, 2014. That gave me all winter, spring, and summer to get the details of exactly how I wanted the process to go ready. I had planned on having a completely natural birth, no medical interventions and no pain medicine, not even an epidural. I was determined to make that birth plan a reality.

At my 21 week sonogram they told me we were having a boy. This made us happy because we both felt that boys were slightly less of a handful then girls. We eventually want a baby girl as well but we were happy that we were having a boy first. That way if we had a girl second then she would have a big brother to guide and protect her. From 21week until 36 weeks my pregnancy progressed as it should have. No major problems at all just some slight hip shifting due to my joints preparing for birth. This was a little annoying but manageable.

At my 36 week doctor check we found out that I was already almost 3 centimeters dilated which was awesome news because it potentially meant I would have a slightly shorter early labor, or so we thought. We also found out I was Group B Strep Positive which honestly kind of upset me. I had planned on going at things 100 percent natural with no medical interventions at all. Finding out that I was GBS positive meant that I would have to get antibiotics pumped into my system every four hours after my water broke until the birth. I talked to my doctor and told her I wanted to try a Homeopathic treatment to try and clear my system of the GBS and then retest before the birth. She agreed to allow me to try my best to clear it and then she said she would retest me at my 39 week appointment. I began drinking Burdock root tea twice a day, eating an extremely large portion of fresh garlic with every meal, and eating a large serving of probiotic yogurt every day.

The morning of my 39 week appointment (August15th, 2014) I began having contractions that were about 14 minutes apart and 45 seconds each. I went to my appointment and spoke to my doctor. We both decided that it would probably be best to do a membrane sweep to see if we could move things along since I was already having signs of early labor. This also meant that it would be pointless to retest for GBS at this point because chances were that I would have the baby over the weekend. I was bummed about this but more excited at the fact that the time had finally come for me to meet my son. My doctor proceeded with the sweep and then not even an hour later my contractions picked up. They were about 8 minutes apart and 45 seconds to a minute long.

Later that night I got what is referred to as “a bloody show,” it was extremely unpleasant but was a good sign that things were progressing. I waited through the night and things didn’t pick up. I then continued to wait throughout the weekend. Sunday came and still no baby. At this point I decided to call triage and see if I could come in for a Non-stress test just to ensure that everything was still okay. I went into the hospital and they immediately hooked me up to fetal heartbeat and contraction monitors. After two hours of constant monitoring they confirmed that I was in early labor with contractions 8 minutes apart, was 4 centimeters dilated, and the baby’s heartbeat sounded perfect. At that point they offered to induce me or even try break my water. I declined the offer and said I would rather wait things out. After all I knew that if they induced me it could change everything as far as my birth plan went. So I went home to wait things out. I figured things were bound to pick up and the baby would come maybe Monday or the next day. He didn’t come and I stayed in early labor all week.

Friday of that week I went in for my 40 week appointment. My doctor did a check and sweep and nothing had changed. I was at the same point of early labor as I had been in since the previous Friday. My doctor did a sweep and then sent me back to triage because she was concerned that something might be wrong with the baby because during her reading of the heart it sounded like it was skipping. I went to triage where they said everything was fine and apparently I was already 5 centimeter. So again they offered to help move things along. I again declined and decided it was time to try my own methods. I started by trying all the old wise tails; sex, spicy foods, an entire pineapple and even castor oil. NOTHING. The castor oil didn’t even upset my stomach which I found strange because I had three LARGE shots of the stuff.

Early Sunday morning at like 4am I woke up and decided to try having sex one last time just to see if it would help. Then afterwards I went back to bed and woke up around 9am. At this point I was so frustrated with being in early labor so long that I had been ignoring the contraction pattern since the night before. I stopped timing them and decided I would just go about the day. The other thing that was annoying me about the contractions was that I had an extremely high pain tolerance so I really couldn’t tell the difference in intensity, this made mentally blocking them out fairly easy to do.

I decided since I was awake I would make myself a burger, (burgers were my number one pregnancy craving). Around noon I perkily woke my husband up and told him I was bored. He asked how I was feeling and I told him I felt bleh. We went out in the living room and I went back to sitting on my medicine ball, that was my daily routine from 36 weeks on since apparently it was supposed to help push baby down and prepare him for birth. After about an hour or so I started to get grumpy and would very crankily answer my husband’s questions.

Finally after another hour my husband looked at me and again asked if I was okay. I was so annoyed with him asking me so I snapped a response to him. He had a look of surprise on his face and then looked at our friend Emily. They both turned to me and asked how far apart my contractions were because they could tell that something was clearly wrong. I thought hard for a second and responded by telling them I didn’t know how far apart they were. This was an honest answer, I really didn’t know. I had been so focused on ignoring the contractions that I forgot to pay the slightest bit of attention to them. I told them that the contractions were annoying and kind of felt constant. I am pretty sure I said it in a very disgruntled tone because not even ten seconds later my husband forced me to sit down and told me to let him know when my contraction began so I did.

About a minute in I guessed and said I thought the contraction was finishing, I guessed because like I had said before they kind of felt constant. He then stopped the clock and told me to tell him when the next one began. I agreed and waited until the start of the next one. He pushed the start button the second I told him a contraction was beginning and then looked up at me with a dumbfounded look and said “What the hell Michelle your contractions are a minute and a half apart! Come on get ready we need to go otherwise you are going to have this baby on our floor!”

I got all my bags ready and we headed out. I had decided several weeks before that no matter what I was going to be a trooper and take the subway to the hospital. That is exactly what I did too. I just sat there at the edge of my seat with a grouchy look on my face and every now and again would let out a sigh as my husband and friend Emily would crack jokes at me.

When we got to the hospital I was hesitant to tell the doctors that I was having contractions 1 and a half minutes apart because I knew they would give me crap since they had just warned me 2 days prior that I needed to come in with a contraction pattern of 4:1:1. I was slightly embarrassed that I had waited so long to come into the hospital so I chose to tell them that the contractions were about 3 minutes apart. They hooked me up to the machine for about ten minutes before deciding that I needed to be admitted right away.

At this point it was 4:30pm on Sunday. I immediately contacted my two doulas and let them know I was being admitted and that they needed to come in. Upon being admitted they did an ultrasound to confirm the baby was in the perfect position, which he was, and also did a dilation check. Nothing had changed from Friday except the contraction pattern. I was still just as dilated and the baby was still at -1 station. I informed the nurses and doctors that I wanted to have a completely natural birth and wanted to remain mobile throughout the active labor. They said this was okay but that sadly I would need monitoring occasionally because their MONICA portable monitor was broken. I hesitantly sighed and told them fine. The thought of staying hooked up for 20 minutes at a time bugged me. I even convinced them to let me have a heplock instead of a constant IV. They said they could accommodate that since I was choosing natural and would only need the heplock so they could give me the antibiotics every 4 hours.

They got me all hooked up and began me on my first dose of the antibiotics. They told me they would prefer I didn’t eat so I told them that was fine. I lied. I had every intention of eating. After all there numerous studies that prove that woman eating in labor helped to boost their energy levels and actually led to shorter labors. I had a lovely bag packed full of small energy boosting snacks that I would sneak every time my nurse left the room. I had no intentions on having medical interventions so I knew me eating would not impact anything.

While my husband and I were waiting for my doulas to arrive we began to walk up and down the halls of the labor and delivery floor. We had the most gorgeous view of the Hudson river from the end of the hall window. I looked at my husband and told him that if two hours from now I was still in labor I wanted to walk over to that window and view a beautiful NYC sunset over the Hudson right before birthing our son. He agreed that that sounded like a nice idea. I started to walk back down the hall towards our room. As we approached one of our lovely doulas Svea arrived. I went with her into the room and gave her an update on the situation.

From there we continued to wait. The contractions began to pick up a bit in intensity and at this point were fairly constant. We stopped timing them because we figured what the hell we are already IN THE HOSPITAL, what’s the point. My second Doula Danielle arrived a few minutes after Svea. At this point it was about 530-6 o’clock. The nurse came in and told me she needed to monitor me for a bit so I sat on the bed and let her monitor me. Eventually she said everything was okay and told me I could walk around again.

I began to walk up and down the halls again. When I got to the end of the hall I sat down in a little chair they had placed by a window. At that moment I had a really strong contraction. My husband told me to get up and said I should walk it out. I told him no and waited for the contraction to finish before getting up again. Upon beginning to walk back to the room I started to feel like something was wrong. I started to get slightly dizzy and I got this queasy feeling in the bottom of my stomach. My husband asked if I was okay and I muttered the words “back to the room” and then as quickly as I could waddled back to the room.

I didn’t make it to the bathroom. I walked through the door of my room and spewed on the floor and then quickly went over to the toilet and continued to throw up. The nurse walked in happily and said “YESS that’s what we like to see!! This means you are getting closer!!” Afterwards I sat down on the corner of the bed and took a break from walking. I didn’t want to throw up again, I’ve ALWAYS despised throwing up. A couple minutes after sitting, another nurse walked in. Not the nurse I had previously, apparently the nurse I liked, Melissa, went on break. This new nurse was very rude. She grouchily told me to lie down so she could monitor me. I bit my tongue and just looked at my doulas with a face of disgust for this nurse. I have never been one for confrontation so even in labor I decided to keep my mouth shut. She left the monitors on for a long time.

Eventually I really had to pee so I made my husband grab her and take the monitors off. She angrily told me she was still monitoring me and that I needed to wait. I told her I couldn’t wait and that I really had to pee. She scoffed at me and took the monitors off. She told me I needed to hurry. I went into the bathroom and sat on the toilet. Sitting on the toilet felt sooo much better on my tailbone then sitting on the bed did. I sat there for a couple minutes because peeing was extremely hard to do through constant contractions. Plus I’ve always had “shy bladder” issues so peeing while under pressure or during stressful situations was hard for me. Didn’t matter how bad I had to pee if someone is rushing me It isn’t going to happen.

After about 5 minutes of waiting the nurse annoyingly knocked on the door and told me to hurry up now and lets go. I told her she needed to wait so she angrily left the room. As soon as she left I was able to pee. I finished up and went back into the room. She came back in and grumpily put the monitors back on and told me she had to keep monitoring because the heartbeat of the baby kept dropping. In all realness though the heartbeat was NOT dropping. The heartbeat would be PERFECT and then every time a contraction would get really bad I would bend forward a bit and in doing so the monitor would slip down off my stomach. We showed this to her but she didn’t care. She was obsessed with the monitor. Because of her persistence with the monitor I sadly had to miss a the beautiful sunset I had wanted to see.

At 8pm I was STILL hooked to the monitors and I was angry about it. The whole plan was to be able to labor while moving around and this wench of a woman was standing in my way. The doctor then came in to check me again. Apparently after several hours of active labor I was STILL only 5cm dilated and my water had not broken. She said she wanted to wait until after my second dose of antibiotics at 9pm and then she wanted to break my water to move things along. I agreed.

9pm came and I receive my second dose. The doctor came in about 2 hours later and set me up to break my water. She informed me that It wouldn’t hurt but the contractions would immediately intensify. I nodded to her and squeezed onto my husband’s hand. The doctor had a bit of trouble breaking my water. Apparently it was pretty hard to penetrate because It took her a few tries before she was actually able to break it. As soon as she was able to break it I felt a huge flush of water that went everywhere and then immediately the contractions quadrupled in intensity. They were so strong that my whole body tightened up with each contraction rendering me immobile. The doctor wished me luck and left the room.

My two amazing doulas at this point ran to my side and began to comfort me. Since the grouchy nurse still had me hooked to the monitor I couldn’t really move so the girls took turns placing a heating pad on my back and massaging right near my tailbone which felt amazing. The pressure from their massages helped ease the pain a bit with every contraction. Finally the nurse came in and took off the monitor.

Not even thirty minutes later she returned and told me she was putting me back on. She said it in such a bitter tone that I very very angrily shot a face to my husband who was also making a face back at the nurse. I was so sick of her attitude but I let her put the stupid monitor on. Right before she went to put it on I got a really strong contraction, the strongest thus far, and it left me hanging off the side of the bed for about two minutes. The contraction was so long and hard that she began to yell at me to sit back now so she could monitor me. I, of course couldn’t move. I was paralyzed from the shock of the contraction, something she obviously didn’t care about. She snapped at me and started yelling at me saying to sit back now. I muttered that I couldn’t and my husband told her she needed to wait. I tried to force my body up into a sitting position and painstakingly allowed her to place the monitors on. As she was putting the monitor on I had another crippling contraction and my body immediately began to bend forward. She freaked out at me and held me back and finished placing the monitor and then angrily walked out of the room and said I am documenting that In my chart! I angrily responded back “DOCUMENT IT THEN” and went back to having my contractions.

From that point forward my contractions continued to increase in intensity. The nurse kept coming in the room and every time she saw me crippled forward would try to push the epidural on me. I kept telling her no. It was actually annoying me that she kept asking. I really was persistent about NOT getting an epidural. I had so many people tell me that I was probably going to want one but I was determined to do everything all natural so I stuck to my word.

Eventually my nurse Melissa came back and I told her about the other nurse and said I no longer wanted her around. She said okay and agreed to stay with me. She also took the monitor off me finally which was nice. Around 12:30am the doctor came in to check me. She said I was already at 7 to 8 centimeters. She said she would come back in an hour to check on me. At around 1am I felt like I really had to pee again so I went to the bathroom. At this point my contractions were beyond crippling. I sat down on the toilet and was nearly screaming in pain. After a few minutes of sitting there freaking out inside my head I called my husband into the bathroom. He came and kneeled down in front of me. I looked him in the eyes and started to have a panic attack. He knew right away that that was what it was because I’ve often suffered from anxiety attacks. I freaked out and started to panic telling him I couldn’t do it and it was too much for me to handle. I freaked out so much that I even wound up telling him to get the doctor and make her do a c-section right then.

He chuckled and told me I was fine and I was just freaking out in my head. It was that point he knew that I had to be at 9 centimeters and entering transition into pushing. Apparently the sudden urge to give up was the sign everyone needed to know for sure that this baby was almost out. He coaxed me into leaving the bathroom and went to get the doctor. She came in and checked me. She confirmed that I was 9 centimeters.

It was around 1:30am. She said she would come back in half an hour and see where I was at. She added that if I felt the urge to push I needed to call for her. I sat on the edge of the bed and let the extreme contractions continue. I continued to mutter to my husband the words “I can’t do it anymore.” As a kid whenever I got hurt or saw blood I would hold my breath and pass out. I thought that part of my life was over but apparently at that point of the night I was so overly exhausted that in between contractions I would physically faint and fall onto my husband’s shoulders and then at the start of the next contractions would come to screaming. I of course did not find that out until the next day when my husband told me. I couldn’t even speak at that point.I wouldn’t have been able to get by without my doulas and my husband. They were there shoving ice and water into my mouth every few seconds. Every time I’d even gesture towards anything they would come rushing over to help. I loved having them there for support.

Not even ten minutes after the doctor left the room the “urge to push” became very real. I could feel the baby moving down and I could not help but push. I screamed in pain. and everyone called for the doctor to come. She leaned me back on the bed and checked. She could see the baby’s head. She removed the bottom half of the bed and propped me up to prepare me for delivery. She told me it was time to start pushing. She said it would probably take anywhere from about a half an hour to an hour from that point to push the baby out. Apparently that was “standard” for first time deliveries.

I very quickly did my first big push, it moved the baby’s head almost out. The nurse ran over and put an oxygen mask on me and told me to get a few deep breaths in to give the baby oxygen. I took the deep breaths in and then began to push for the second time. The doctor then told me to push hard on the start of the next contraction so I waited for it to begin. While waiting she told me I needed to wait a second once the head was out so she could unwrap the cord from the baby’s neck. I said okay. That didn’t happen. I did one more push and couldn’t stop. The baby very very quickly came out and the doctor very quickly was able to react and remove the cord from around his neck.

They immediately placed him on my chest. It took me ten minutes of pushing in total to get the baby out. I looked at him and kissed him on the top of his head. My mood very quickly changed from cranky to extremely happy. My baby was finally here. I looked at him with such love and happiness. I couldn’t believe I had done it. I immediately forgot about the past 8 days of early labor, nine hours of active labor and ten minutes of pushing and just focused on my pure happiness. I couldn’t believe it. I had done it. I had managed to go about my pregnancy and delivery without any pain medicine at all. Not even a Tylenol.

I had never before felt the amount of happiness I felt while holding my son. A couple seconds after they did the delayed cord clamping they removed the baby from my chest and brought him to the Infant warmer to check him. He was having trouble breathing. They very quickly got to work on me. They had me push out the placenta with one big push and then they began stitching me up. Them doing the stitches weirdly hurt more then pushing the baby out so I gripped on to both Danielle and Svea’s hands. I held their hands so tight that I felt like I was going to break them so I immediately apologized to them. They chuckled and said it was fine and that they could take it.

The whole time they spent stitching me up I just stared over at my son lying on the table having trouble breathing. Fear rushed over me because I didn’t want anything to happen to him and I didn’t want them to take him out of my sight. The pediatrician came over to me and told me that he needed to stay in the warmer for a bit but there was a chance he would have to go to NICU. I almost started crying. I asked if my husband would be able to accompany him if he did have to go and she said he would have to watch through a window until they had everything set up. I almost had another panic attack inside my head. I was so worried for my little boy. I just wanted to hold him. I wanted so badly to experience the skin to skin. I wanted that bonding that everyone talked about.

After thirty minutes in the warmer the pediatrician passed him back off into my nurses care and said he was okay for now and wouldn’t have to go to the NICU. I was so happy to hear this. I still couldn’t hold him though because the doctor was still busy stitching me up. I told my husband to take his shirt off and do skin to skin with the baby so he did. It made me so happy seeing him hold our baby. He looked so happy to be holding our son. My husband had never been one to show much emotion but when I saw him hold our son I could see the happiness and love in his eyes. Seeing that made my tear up. I started crying because I was so happy.

Shortly after, the doctor finished stitching me up and said I could hold my son. My husband brought him over and placed him in my arms. I was so happy that I was crying more and kept saying “Arttie it’s our son, he is so beautiful.” Saying I was happy to have my son would be an extreme understatement. There are no words to describe the feelings I had upon seeing my son and holding him for the first time. It was an experience that I will never forget. It changed my life completely. I will never be as happy as I was the day I laid eyes on my Little Artorias Loki Mouthapong. ♥

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