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Riding the Waves – The Birth Story of Hailey Faith Part 2

Riding the Waves – The Birth Story of Hailey Faith Part 2

To read Part One of Hailey Faith’s birth story, click here

All of the sudden my body began pushing and I could hear myself sounding much more deep and guttural than before, almost angry. I remarked to the room that it felt like throwing up and it was the weirdest sensation ever. It’s so odd that during a contraction, it is extremely painful and violently strong yet moments later there is no pain and my head is clear and calm. At this point, the pain was unbelievable and I would have for sure demanded drugs if I’d been in the hospital. I’m so grateful that it wasn’t even an option because my body was doing great work and progressing quickly.

As the intensity and frequency of the contractions reached a peak, I could hear God calling my name. He had given me a verse before this birth: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine,” and I’d carried it in my heart for the last several months. At this time, I could hear Him matching my volume and calling my name, urging me to keep going, to stay strong.

I made eye contact with Tracy and told her I just wanted the baby to come out now. She maintained eye contact with me and said, “I know,” in a way that was so comforting because she did know. She’s had five kids of her own and has been attending births for 10 years. In between contractions, I marveled at feeling Hailey move down. I kept reaching down to see if I could feel her head because I could tell she was so close. During one particularly strong contraction, my bag of waters popped underwater and it felt like I had burst a giant balloon! Finally, when I reached down I could feel her head and I was very excited! She went back up slightly and I tried to control my pushing a little bit so as not to tear. It was about two or three more pushes and she was out at 12:06am! I did feel myself tear slightly but couldn’t have cared less. I know in books and birth stories they always talk about the “ring of fire” as being pretty bad but honestly I didn’t care about that either because it was so brief and she was out the next second.

Tracy was right there at the tub and she helped to guide Hailey between my legs and up into my arms. Hailey came out crying and covered in vernix! I thought beforehand that I would be grossed out by the vernix but I wasn’t at all. It was more like lotion all over her skin than anything disgusting. I was able to hold her and rejoice with Jim. I did it! She’s here! She’s so little and cute. She lay on my chest and I looked at her, both of us shocked and exhausted. She was getting cold being half in and half out of the water and so we decided that I should try to deliver the placenta and move to the bed. I gave a few arbitrary pushes and Tracy guided the placenta out. I got to look at it and see the broken bag of waters and where the umbilical cord attaches.

Then, this birth took a turn. I hadn’t put much thought into the third stage of labor and was surprised when I didn’t feel calm and safe anymore. I felt panicky and detached from my baby. As I lay down on the bed, I told Tracy. She checked my uterus and it didn’t seem to be clamping down well. Due to this, I was still losing quite a bit of blood. Quickly, the room became busy and serious. Jim held Hailey as my midwives moved me to the toilet to try to get me to pee as that could have been causing my uterus to continue bleeding. As I sat down, blood gushed into the toilet and I felt woozy. We moved back to the bed and Melissa gave me a shot of Pitocin in the thigh and an IV bag of fluids. Kyla gave me doses of two different tinctures as Tracy massaged my uterus. She put in a catheter to empty my bladder and gave me misoprostol suppositories. I told Jim to pray. All of this, and my bleeding was still not stopping. As a last resort, Tracy scrubbed up and manually scraped my uterus of any partially retained placenta. The assistants checked my placenta but could not tell if a piece was missing. This process was understandably extremely painful and terrifying. As she finished, she told Kyla to call the ambulance so that I could go to Legacy Emmanuel. She couldn’t be sure if she’d gotten everything and my uterus still wouldn’t clamp down. In only moments, the EMTs helped me out on a stretcher into the ambulance; Tracy rode with me. Jim stayed with Hailey at the birth center and I was assured that she could wait to eat until either I came back or Jim brought her to the hospital.

I believe that God lead me to Tracy and Melissa. I am not exaggerating when I say that these two women acted as angels to me during this time. Tracy never left my side and continued massaging my uterus to control the bleeding. I tried not to panic and the EMT was very friendly explaining that I was doing well, not in shock and still maintaining good pulse and blood pressure. When we arrived at the hospital, they wouldn’t let me go to Labor and Delivery. They instead insisted that I go to the ER despite the fact that we’d called ahead and that my midwives have a good working relationship with the OB hospitalists. At this point, I don’t feel out of line in saying that the hospital was atrocious and negligent in my care. They were asking me every arbitrary question to admit me and they would not allow me to be seen by an OB. Rather an ER doctor came by and in my panic I started demanding to be seen by an obstetrician. These doctors and nurses must’ve been having a really bad day because instead of responding to me with medical care and attention, the doctor left saying that I was refusing to be seen. A nurse came in to give me a second IV and tell me to “stop it,” and that they could give me a transfusion if I needed more blood. At this point my pulse was around 150 bpm and I was losing my ability to hear. I pleaded with them to get me a doctor, as I could still feel myself gushing blood and I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to keep myself from full on losing my mind.

I have to say it again, Tracy and Melissa are angels. They never left my side even for a minute and Tracy massaged my uterus for an hour as we waited in the ER. Melissa put her face right above mine and talked to me calmly about her life and her ambitions to become a midwife. I knew that Jim had called my dad to pray and he’d texted my dear friends in Texas to pray as well. I was distraught because this was very similar to the scene of Amelia’s birth, only it was a botched epidural/spinal and a traumatic c section the last time. My midwives continued to listen to me and reassure me. Tracy was advocating for me and trying to get a doctor to come examine me. As I felt my panic reach its breaking point, I laid my hand across my abdomen and I said aloud “In Jesus name, bleeding stop. In Jesus name, bleeding stop. I am not afraid.” I heard Tracy agree with me. As I’m writing this, tears come to my eyes because I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and my pulse began to drop. An OB finally came in and she was attentive and concerned. Her name was Wendy Smith and she wanted to take me to the OR to do an exam and possibly a D&C because everyone was fairly sure that I had some retained placenta. Tracy and Melissa accompanied me to L&D so that I could meet the anesthesiologist and be prepped for the OR.

As I got up to L&D, I began to feel much better. My bleeding slowed and my hearing was returning. I no longer felt terrified but instead I felt calm and able to make decisions. We decided on sedation and I headed back with a really caring OB and team of L&D nurses. One of them was named Anna and I was so glad that they were all making eye contact with me. As I headed into the brightly lit OR, I wondered if I would feel terror or have a flash back of my c section but instead I felt God’s love. I felt the weight of His immense love for me and I started to blink back tears on the table because there is no way to bear even a small portion of that love without overflowing. The anesthesiologist did a great job because I spent about an hour having the most real hallucinations! I told the room afterwards that I was going to make him cookies and it reminded me of both the Lego Movie and the sci-fi movie Lucy at the same time.

In the end, the cause of my bleeding was undetermined because the OB could find nothing wrong! She stitched up two minor tears and I awoke to Tracy and Melissa. They had stayed right outside the OR waiting for me for me. Again, angels. The L&D staff said that I had lost a significant amount of blood but that as long as I felt able and my vitals looked ok, they would release me back to the birth center that morning. So, Jim packed up the little baby and drove to the hospital where I could feed her and then we could recover for the next two days at the birth center. Funnily, I left the birth center completely naked so Jim brought me some clothes but he forgot shoes! At 10am I slowly walked barefoot out of the hospital and gratefully into the arms of the postpartum midwives at the birth center where I received nothing short of excellent (even luxurious) care for the next two days enjoying my baby and husband.

birth center, midwife, midwives, birth

Overall, what can I say? Neither of my birth experiences have been “normal.” I’m assured that the third time’s a charm! Some might say that because of this birth, I regret not being in the hospital to begin with. But nothing could be further from the truth. It was always our plan to treat birth as non-emergent unless it became so. And in that sense, everything went according to plan. I feel that my midwife is highly educated and trained to respond to an emergency and that’s exactly what she did. I’m so grateful that she let me labor uninhibited and deliver my child in the way that my body knew how to do and yet she stepped in when her hands-on attention was much needed. Some people will decide that hospital birth is best for them, and I’m totally on board with that! But for me, I know that God guided me to make the right decisions about my care. I know that He was not surprised by anything that happened and He did not leave me or Hailey at any point.

Tracy thinks that I did retain part of my placenta; she said that it looked “shreddy,” when she checked it out later. Her opinion is that when she manually swept my uterus, she got the placenta out but that it took a while for the bleeding to stop. The hospital said that it was my first degree labial tear that caused so much bleeding, but truthfully that doesn’t seem plausible to me because of the way my uterus was reacting. Ultimately, I don’t know what caused the bleeding and the failure of my uterus to clamp down but I believe that God heard my prayer in the ER. I believe that God heard Jim’s prayer, and my dad’s prayer, and my friend’s prayers.

In many ways, this birth has been healing because I went through the fire and yet wasn’t burned. I birthed my baby on my own without surgery or drugs and God held me through the complications. He replaced my disempowerment and fear with strength and peace!

Hailey is perfect and lovely in every way. She has a peaceful and accommodating nature. Amelia loves her and gives her kisses all the time. I am grateful, for my daughters, my midwives, my husband, the L&D team, all the people who prayed, all the people who supported our family, and the plan God had for our lives at this time.

hailey

Submitted by Anna Ryan. 

A Healing Home Birth After a Fourth Degree Tear: Part One

A Healing Home Birth After a Fourth Degree Tear: Part One

I always knew I would have natural childbirths. My mom had four very fast labors and delivered naturally. My sister followed in her footsteps. Childbirth wasn’t something that I feared. It is a normal bodily function that women have been doing for thousands of years! I would just be another one of those women…

When I got pregnant with my first son, I read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. It confirmed for me that childbirth is a normal thing, but it also introduced the idea of homebirth. Before reading it I had already chosen an OB practice that was part of the hospital group that I worked for, so financially it made sense to me at the time to just deliver with them at the hospital. I knew that my mom, who has over thirty years of experience as a labor and delivery nurse, along with my husband would be with me for delivery. So even though I liked the idea of a homebirth, I thought I would just go into the hospital and stick to my guns about having an intervention free birth.

Well the day after my due date, I woke up to my water “breaking” – it was more of a slow leak than a gush. It was a Saturday, so we spent the day doing normal Saturday things. I bounced on my birth ball, went to our friend’s son’s first birthday party, just waiting for contractions to pick up. Around 4pm I had my first decent “gush” of water, so I called the OB to tell her my water had broken. She advised me to go to the hospital, because I was GBS positive and would need to have antibiotics, especially since my water had broken.

We got to the hospital around 6pm. I told them that my water had broken at 4pm, because I wanted to give my body more time for labor to start on its own and I knew I was going to be getting antibiotics anyway, so the chance of infection was greatly reduced. Since it was a weekend my doctor was a first year resident and my OB, who had I met once or twice during my whole pregnancy, was on call for when labor picked up. This wasn’t a huge deal to me, because like I said, I had only met my OB a couple of times; I wasn’t really attached to her. Plus, the nurses are the ones you spend most of the time with anyway.

BUT this resident lost my respect quickly. The first time she came into my room she told me she wanted to start Pitocin immediately, because they wanted babies to be delivered within 12 hours of the water being broken. That did not go over very well with me, or my mom. We knew that the most conservative recommendations are 24 hours, some even going to 48 or 72 hours. She had nothing to say when we pointed out these recommendations. This pissed me off for two reasons – first, because she lied to ME and lost all accountability as my provider, and second, because she has most likely lied to a lot of other mothers who trusted her at her word. Not every woman in labor has a mother with them who has over 30 years of experience in the field.

So I was able to hold off the Pitocin until 6am the following morning when I was only 2cm dilated after walking the halls of the hospital all night long. Luckily labor progressed very quickly after that. I was checked a little before 10am, after contractions got really intense, and was 5cm. About ten minutes later I was pushing! What a relief pushing was! It felt great! It was absolutely exhausting and took all of my energy to push, but it also took away the pain of the contraction.

I had coached pushing. The nurses were counting to ten while I pushed and did that three times during each contraction. Around 7 or 8 I wanted to stop pushing. Every. single. time. It did not feel natural to me to push like that and looking back I wish I would have just yelled, “SHUT UP AND LEAVE ME ALONE!” But I didn’t.

Unfortunately, I just think nurses/OBs/even some midwives just don’t know any better. They think that’s the way it’s supposed to happen. My nurses were wonderful and were not rushing me at all. And my mom, who like I mentioned was a labor and delivery nurse for decades, was even counting, too. With so many people in hospitals having epidurals or pain meds, I don’t think nurses or OBs see a lot of natural childbirth, so they don’t know how it could be if a woman just listened to her body. I pushed and pushed like they were telling me to do for three and a half hours. His head was just not coming. I tried all kinds of positions – side lying, all fours, squatting, squatting while pulling on a rope…I was exhausted. I’m talking like I was falling asleep between contractions, then waking up to push, then falling back asleep exhausted.

4thTearPart1

The OB came in and said she knew I didn’t want a C-section, but he just wasn’t coming. She thought using a vacuum was the best thing to do. Did I mention I was exhausted? Honestly if she would have walked in the door and said, “We need to do a C-section.” I would have said, “OK.” That is why it is so important to have a birth plan, a provider you trust, and loved ones who know what you want, because in labor, especially at the end, you don’t have the strength to do anything else but labor. I’m not saying I did not need a vacuum at that point, because I did. I had exhausted myself too much to push him out on my own. I was three and a half hours too late for that. If I could go back and change one thing about his birth (there are many, but this is the biggest), I would not have had coached pushing. I would have just listened to my body and pushed with its urges. If I had done that, I don’t think I would have needed the vacuum.

The OB gave me a pudendal nerve block, episiotomy, and used the vacuum to pull him out. I didn’t feel a thing. Nothing. I had my eyes closed while pushing and they had to tell me to open them when he was born. It was 1:26pm. Abram Jonathan (AJ) was 7 lbs 8oz and 20.5 in. I don’t even remember seeing him after he was born. I had asked for immediate skin to skin and delayed cord clamping, but because she used the vacuum she said she had to cut it right away so he could be taken over to the NICU team on the other side of the room to be examined. Again, I was exhausted and had no fight in me, so I said, “Ok.”

4thTearPart2

It took about thirty minutes to stitch me up because of the 4th degree tear that I had, and almost all of that time, my son was laying in the little plastic box thing, being cleaned, weighed, etc. I’m pretty sure my mom and husband held him before I did. At that point, I honestly didn’t care. I was so exhausted that I was barely awake and I think I might have been in a little bit of a state of shock. It wasn’t until after my second son was born that I really realized how awful my experience was. I mean don’t get me wrong, I knew it wasn’t great, but I didn’t realize how traumatizing it really was.

Emotionally I was somehow fine after his birth. I had such a great support system with my husband, mom, and in-laws that I didn’t go through any postpartum depression. Physically, I healed very well. I think my OB did a great job of stitching me back up, so that really helped with my healing. They had me doing Kegels right away to help the blood flow to the area and promote healing. I also had my mom with me for two and a half weeks after his birth to help around the house. It still took nine months to feel completely “back to normal,” but compared to other moms who have had a 4th degree tear, that isn’t very long at all. Some moms have permanent damage and need multiple surgeries after. Some are still not able to have sex even years later, because it is too painful.

Something that I wish I would have done after his birth was see a pelvic floor specialist and start pelvic floor therapy. I was never referred to a specialist and looking back I think it should be routine for all women who have had a severe tear to see one, and to do therapy. Even though I may feel great now, there is always the thought in the back of my mind about how I might be in a couple of decades. All of our pelvic floors weaken as we get older, so what kind of problems could I be facing later in life?

After my son was born, I knew that I never wanted to have another birth like that again. Even before I got pregnant a second time, I was researching homebirths. A C-section never crossed my mind for my next birth, because I knew that there were things that I could do differently. I trusted my body. I didn’t feel like my body had failed me.


Please visit tomorrow to read part two of this story.

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.

Everett 1-2

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

Wyatt’s Birth Story {Fast Birth Story}

Wyatt’s Birth Story {Fast Birth Story}

“This is the story of my middle child, Wyatt’s birth, as told via email September 2010. A treasured memory I will relive in my heart many times over. Many thanks for all you support & inspire!” -Kristin

So, any of you that know me at all, know that the fact that i’m emailing you at 5:30 am could only mean one thing- BABY WYATT IS HERE!!!! He was a bit late, but it would seem he was waiting to make a bit of an entrance. I will give you the short version because, well, that’s the only version there is!

We were set to go in 7:30 Thursday night to be induced, so I was spending the day fussing about, cleaning, etc. I was having the same Braxton Hicks contractions I’d been having for months, so nothing out of the ordinary. At 3pm I get Stephie off the bus, at 3:30, I start getting sharp pain with my contractions, but it only lasted 15 seconds. I call my doctor, and we conclude it’s gas, since a normal, productive contraction lasts 60 seconds or longer. At 3:45 the ‘gas’ pains are unbearable. I call my doctor, and she tells me to call Tom, and get to the hospital ASAP (We live one hour away from the hospital). My amazing neighbor comes to sit with me, get Steph together, help me into the car, and several verses of “Where is he?” later, Tom flies in the driveway. It is now 4:15. I now have to breath , and make other un-godly noises, to get through the contractions, still only 15 seconds long, 2 minutes apart.

It’s pouring, school traffic is backed up, my husband is driving 70 mph, running red lights, my daughter is unsure whether to be happy or terrified, and while we are on the highway my water breaks. We call 911, they tell us to pull over. Tom “politely” informs them that he is NOT delivering a baby in our minivan, and we decide to drive towards the ambulance. I am now having the urge to push. We meet the ambulance where there is a head-on collision up ahead, and there are paramedics scattered about, looking a bit flustered. They ask me to get out of the van (such comedians!). Tom hoists me out, they get me on the gurney, push me down the rumble strip, and TRY to get me in the ambulance. Two bangs and Tom shoving a paramedic out of the way later, Tom had me all loaded in. I scream “I love you!” to Tom & Steph and then scream “I’M PUSHINNNNNNGGGGG!” to the paramedics, and off we go!

After being told NOT to push for the whole ambulance ride (again, so funny, right?) we arrive at the hospital. Doors open, screaming woman on the gurney, into the elevator. Elevator goes up- oops, wrong floor! FINALLY make it to maternity. Transfer beds as our doc runs in- “PUSH! PUSH! We have his head!” (No, I do not want to see it! Get it out!) “PUSH! PUSSSSHHHHH!” At 5:29 pm Wyatt Henry arrived at 7 lbs 13 ounces, 20 inches long.

Tom arrived at 4:15 in Montague, and Wyatt arrived at 5:29! True story! He was the 1,000th baby to be delivered by our doctor. I got my three wishes: The “Honey, it’s time!” phone call, my water breaking naturally (could have done with that happening outside my car) and no drugs (not that there was time to have them!).

fast hospital birth

And most importantly, I got something that was far more than I could have ever wished for: a beautiful, healthy baby boy. He happens to be quite the snuggler.

Birth of Twins {Baby B-Birth in OR before CS}

Birth of Twins {Baby B-Birth in OR before CS}

A few days after finding out I was having twins, I began mourning the loss of my birth experience. Dramatic? Probably. But as a Doula and at the time, prospective, Childbirth Educator, and someone who’s frankly quite terrified of needles, I knew that medication, needles, scalpels and augmentation were not for me.

Coming to terms with the possibility that my birth was most likely going to be filled with things I didn’t want was very difficult. I agonized, cried and had panic attacks over it for weeks. After seeking the advice of other doulas and doing some serious soul searching, I finally started to feel peace about the possible ways I would birth these babies. However, I was very prepared to make informed decisions and fight for what I wanted and needed during my birth experience.

I knew that in order to have a birth that somewhat resembled the ideal I had envisioned, I would need to have a doctor who was ok and on board with at least some of my desires. Home birth was not an option for me so I chose a practice I was familiar with through both personal experience, and experience as a doula, who I knew would give me the best chance at a vaginal birth of twins in the area. That being said, out of the four doctors in the practice, only two were ok with the fact that I didn’t want an epidural or even want the catheter placed but only one of those two was ok with doing a breech extraction if needed, should baby B turn breech after baby A was born. While I knew I could make the decision to refuse any procedure, I also knew it was probably going to be an uphill journey and one I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to climb.

34 Weeks with twins

On the day I went into labor (around 34/35 weeks gestation), the doctor who didn’t mind if I refused the epidural but wouldn’t deliver a breech baby B was on call, but I felt at ease. We arrived at the hospital when I was 5 cm and 100% effaced. Within an hour, I had progressed to 6 cm and was hardly uncomfortable, despite the air conditioner in L&D being broken, and it being 82 degrees in my room. The rest of the labor progressed quickly, with minimal discomfort, and without any mention of pain meds, or epidurals from the nurses and the doctor.

At 9cm I was not feeling the typical transition-like contractions I had felt with my previous 2 labors and wasn’t quite sure what was happening with my body. I had prepared for something so much more intense! I had also prepared to defend my choices with the medical staff every step of the way, but none of that was necessary as they were in awe that I was completely in control of my contractions and pain management, and was willing to listen to and think about the choices I was presented with and decisions I had to make.

There were a few things I did agree to and ask for after making conscious and educated decisions, but they were MY decisions. I did ask for a bag of fluids when I arrived at the hospital, so I had an IV and I did ask for pitocin to be turned on during pushing if it was needed. Staying in the labor room to birth my babies was not an option because of hospital policy, but I was ok with that and we did move to the operating room at 9cm. Though it wasn’t a climate controlled, dimmed room, I was able to maintain my focus and feel at peace with being there.

Immediately after being checked and found “complete” I felt the urge to push, and 5 pound 13 ounce Baby A was born after a few pushes, 5 hours after arriving at the hospital.  Not one nurse counted or yelled or told me how to push, which was exactly what I had asked for.

When Baby A was born I remember thinking she was tiny and had a great cry, but I didn’t get to actually see her face. She was passed to my nurse who started checking her over, who then had to passed her to the NICU nurses because the doctor needed her help. Baby B had flipped transverse as soon as her sister was born and she did it fast too.

Everything I had read about twin births said that the worst pain you would ever feel would take place if you had to have a version during labor without an epidural. And there I was, facing a version without an epidural. When I made the decision not to have an epidural I was very much aware of the possibility of the pain but I figured I would rather endure 5-10 minutes of intense pain than all of the risks and side effects associated with an epidural through a labor.

Somewhere between both the doctor and me “talking” to Baby B and begging her to turn and the doctor and nurses beginning the version, I went into a trance like state. I didn’t feel pain, just a lot of pressure. I spent the last minutes of labor fully aware of everything that was happening, but It felt like  it was happening to someone else and I was just watching.

During the version there were about 5 hands on my belly, some holding the space where baby A had been, others turning baby B. They were able to turn her to be head down, but she then turned transverse again and her heart rate became rocky.  The doctor decided it was best to do an internal version to try to get her into position to be born. He was holding the ultrasound transducer with one hand and internally moving the baby while trying to keep her cord from prolapsing with the other. He was able to move baby B into position to be born but then she moved her hands above her head. So we sat, and waited. Waited for her to move, waited for something, anything that would allow me to push for her birth. And we waited while the doctor still was holding her cord and her in place, internally.

After roughly 13 minutes of waiting, her heart rate plummeted and wasn’t showing any signs of recovering. She needed to be born right then, but that wasn’t going to be possible to do vaginally. I will never forget the look in the doctor’s eyes when he looked at me and told me he had to do a c-section. He knew how much I didn’t want one and how hard I had fought for this birth. I knew that he didn’t want to do a cesarean and had tried everything possible to get Baby B to be born vaginally. There just weren’t any other options.

Because I had chosen not to get an epidural I was going to go under general anesthesia, which I had never been under before. The anesthesiologist who was standing by quickly started preparing the anesthesia while the nurses were racing to put sensors on my chest. The pitocin was turned off, and the room was switched from a birthing room to a fully functioning operating room in less than 45 seconds.

Right before I was put under general anesthesia, the doctor saw on the ultrasound screen that Baby B had moved her hands, and yelled for me to push. And in the confusion and haste of the OR, I pushed twice and our feisty 5 pound 8 ounce Baby B while the doctor guided her into the world, just 17 minutes after her sister was born.

I will forever be grateful to my doctor for trying so hard to give me the birth I wanted and what I needed. He respected me and my knowledge and trusted me and my body to do what it needed to do to birth these babies. Never once did he look down on or question my choices, he never made me feel like naive or pressured into anything. He went well outside his comfort zone and fought for me and fought for birth and in those 17 minutes, admittingly learned a lot.

Edited To Add:

Even though it’s been nearly seven years, the story of the birth of my twins will sometimes hit me and cause me to pause. I’ve never shared this picture before- I wasn’t ready to. I was honestly scared to. This picture captured and froze a moment so personal, and intense. The intensity and emotion are still fresh, even after all this time.

My sweet Baby B, being born into the hands of our extremely patient and incredible doctor. Her umbilical cord coming before her, after a nearly 15 minute internal version (without pain meds), seconds before I was going to be put under for a crash c-section. This moment, with our baby girl halfway between my womb, and the beginning of her life outside, before she’d even taken her first breath, was captured by my husband as he stood next to me, praying desperately for his wife and baby. He will tell you this moment defined and shaped him more than any single moment before, or since. And I don’t doubt that because it did for me too. But I can only imagine what he felt watching our baby’s birth unfold from his vantage point: the unknowns, the joy, the confusion in the chaos. Truly needing to trust, have faith, and let go.

Seven years later my perspective is changing. Instead of the uncertainty and a moment hanging in the balance, I am starting to see a joyous beginning, a triumphant entrance into the world and the perfect start to the life of our feisty Baby B.

twin vaginal birth

The birth of my twins serves as a reminder of strength and courage that I hold within. If I can get through a nearly 15 minute internal version without pain medication, I can handle almost anything. I look back on that day with peace and a sound mind, knowing it went exactly the way it was supposed to go, with nothing to regret.

GGTwins Mom

gg twins 2

GG Twins sleeping

gg twins

Hospital Water Birth with a {Supportive} OB

Hospital Water Birth with a {Supportive} OB

I’d like to share a story that includes a birth story.

I want to share with you the way that the right doctor can have influence. I will start by saying I didn’t have an OB, I didn’t have a midwife, I choose to use my family medicine general practitioner as my doctor. He was my grandma’s doctor, he is my mom’s doctor, and he is the doctor for me and my siblings and about half of our relatives. He knows my whole family. Since he has known me since before I was born, I choose not to have to find someone else.

So almost immediately after that test said positive I was in his office. Here is the first effect he had on this pregnancy. He thought something was wrong and sent us immediately for an ultrasound. While it was nothing, him sending us for that ultrasound netted my child her first nickname, Speck. Because at only 4.5 weeks pregnant that is all my baby was, that speck there on the screen. And to this day you will only find her online referred to as Speck, and half my friends call her Speck on a regular basis.

I went to my doctor for all my appointments. He encouraged me not to take any medicines while pregnant, even if it meant 35 weeks of throwing up. He got his water birth credentials, even though I am probably the only patient he will ever have used them on, since we are pretty sure he will be retiring here in the next year or two. He listened to exactly what I wanted the whole time. Even though he thought I was kind of weird for wanting what I did and questioned why I made the choices I made. I felt comfortable and cared about at each visit and you might ask why I did even though he questioned me, but his questions made me think and ask myself why. If I couldn’t answer him why I wanted that…did I really want it?

He also provided me with the closest thing to the birth I wanted that I could probably have gotten. I went into labor at a convention. I was 40 weeks and 5 days along and walking around. Looking back, walking around with all that excitement is probably why I went into labor. I can honestly say I thought it was fake. I labored 6 hours in the oddest way possible; I made beaded hair sticks, watched movies, I played cards, and walked around the hotel, before the blood on the toilet paper finally made me ask, blood means not fake right? {my poor husband}

I spent another hour laboring at home in my bathtub upon advice from the hospital and my mom. I declared it was time to go to the hospital when each contraction brought on the dry heaving/throwing up that I had already suffered through for 35 weeks, I just wanted to go long enough for them to make the throwing up stop, then I wanted to come home and go to bed.

I got to the hospital and walked in, albeit very slowly. The security guard decided that a wheelchair was beyond necessary. And much to my dismay, the nurses’ station stated that they needed paperwork filled out because while I had been there earlier in the day for the non-stress test it was now past midnight and a new day hence time for me to fill out the same stinking forms again. After getting to the room and getting in the gown and all hooked up, I declared that just 10 hours ago I was only dilated to a 1 and I just wanted the throwing up to stop and to go home. I let them check me, and was already at a 6, at which point they said I would not be going home tonight. The went out to call my doctor and get me a few things, came back and I was near a 7!!!

So they went and prepared the water birth suite. I walked over there myself, only stopping once. They got me on the bed just as my doctor arrived. And arrive he did complete in his bright red swimsuit! They checked again and I was complete {only 2 hours after walking in at a 6}! Speck was still at a station 0 though. So they decided to break my water. At this point my tailbone was killing me, and I was still getting 2 contractions a big and a little. I asked for IV drugs. {Which only took 3 IV’s to finally get in}

After they broke my water it was determined that it was filled with meconium. But I was still allowed to get in the water birth tub, which apparently was debated. In the tub I felt wonderful. I was told I could start pushing at this point. So push I did. It was so odd, I floated along, pushing away. Speck made it down a bit, but after 1.5 hours of pushing, I still didn’t have a baby. At which point…I was told I had to get out of the tub. That was the worst!!! I was SOOOOO COLD! I was shaking and shaking. I tried another position on the bed. I pushed like that for a bit. They decided that wasn’t working either, and I was getting SOOOO tired. They had me try the squat bar. I didn’t like it, but they said it was helping, so I kept at it.

This whole time my doctor and nurses kept going just out of sight and whispering. I began to fear that I was never getting her out and I wondered how long they would let me keep going, I was sure they were over there talking about how to take me back for a C-section because I just wasn’t getting her anywhere.

They came back and started me on pitocin and sugar water because I had pushed for 2 hours and was exhausted. I got a 4th needle stick then. I was at that point sure I couldn’t do it. I cried, I wanted a nap, I told them I can’t do this anymore. My awesome husband told me I could, the nurse was there telling me I could.

So I got in the traditional position and pushed some more. Finally they said she was crowning, but she was getting hung up on skin. They told me an episiotomy would reduce my pushing a half hour. I said yes instantly. The next contraction they told me to push hard. So I did, I pushed with everything I had left {not much at that point} and out her head came, and her shoulders, and the rest of her too; 3 hours of pushing! They flopped her up on me instantly, and she was crying. Oh the joy!!!!

Apparently I was told to stop pushing, well I didn’t hear them, and it was all just one push to get her out. Turns out she was posterior the entire time, hence all the pushing and the odd big little pattern on my contractions. It also explains my level 4 tear! Yep, they cut me and then she tore me the rest of the way. After they called a specialist in, an hour of stitching, and more drugs than labor had netted me, I was again one whole person with a 7lb 8oz 20.5″ long picture prefect little girl.

Now you might say, well, your doctor didn’t sound helpful at all. He showed up in a swimsuit and thinking about it looking down I remember seeing flip flops on his feet. Pretty sure my birth suit was his idea of a beach! But no one noticed that she was posterior so it’s not his fault that no one tried to turn her. It was entirely his doing, though, that I was allowed to continue to push until Speck came out. The nurses were behind that curtain, telling him that too much time had passed, that I was too tired; that the Pitocin wasn’t doing enough, that a C-section was the only way that baby was going to come out. And he stood his ground for me, and said, “no… she’s a tough lady she’ll get her out.”

Without my doctor instead of a scar below I would have tummy scar. And while recovery for that might have gone quicker. I know that I wouldn’t have been anywhere near as happy with the birth of my first child. So I want to encourage everyone to find the doctor that will stand there and tell the nurses… no she’s a strong lady. Because, heck, we are all strong ladies.

Speck

Me and my Speck, 8 hours after she was born. The first time we BOTH got some sleep.

Birth Story of Ace {Homebirth Transfer to Cesarean}

Birth Story of Ace {Homebirth Transfer to Cesarean}

My birth story begins well before we even conceived Ace. My sisters both had cesareans for various reasons. I began to question everything about birth and I knew I wanted something better for myself. After all our research we decided a homebirth with a midwife would be best. We planned to give birth at my husband’s mother’s house because our house wasn’t suitable for a birth.

I was getting fearful and anxious because it was Wednesday and I would reach 42 weeks by the weekend. I felt like the clock was ticking on me and I did not want an induction. I kept telling Ace that I was ready any time he was. I was thrilled when I lost bits of my mucus plug on Wednesday. Thursday morning, Thanksgiving, I woke to sporadic but strong contractions. This was early labor for me. I knew it. I was freaking out because Thanksgiving dinner was being held at the same place my birth was. I didn’t want people to know I was in labor so the thought of having to kick them out didn’t go over well with me. Fortunately early labor lasted for a few days.

Friday we went out to eat as a family; my father and grandmother were in town. I had the hardest time riding to the restaurant and sitting through the meal. No one knew what was going on. It was very apparent that I was uncomfortable though. We called my friend who was going to photograph the labor and told her to head our way since she was 3 hours away. I told my father and grandmother that I was in early labor and would likely have a baby this weekend. They could stay but they were advised to keep the information to themselves. My mom was so mad when she later  found out my dad knew all along. My dad kept telling me I needed to go to the hospital. I just said “OK Dad.” I did everything I could to get it to speed up but I was not having any success. My friend showed up and we entertained her and spent time together for an entire day.

home birth

Saturday night I told her we felt it would be best if she returned to her family after we ate. I put the lasagna in the oven and within 15 minutes I was flooded with contractions. They were hitting hard and strong at less than 5 minutes apart and about 1.5 – 2 minutes long. I started throwing up and freaking out. I knew we had to make the 30 minute drive to my mother in law’s. My midwife reassured me that this was just the beginning and we would be OK. I was really struggling because everything I read hinted that you threw up in transition. Well for me you just throw up, whenever. A lot. (The contractions here were as intense as my later transition contractions. Lesson: labor where you will be most relaxed!)

We all packed up the car and headed on our way to my MIL’s. Our driveway was a mile long and we had to stop just outside the driveway because things were getting bad. I prayed and asked God to get me there quickly with no contractions. I had read someone’s birth story where she had done that. Well, it worked. I made it all the way there and they picked back up after we arrived.

Here is where I lose track and focus. I did notice that my underwear were constantly wet after my midwife arrived (she came because I was freaked out.) She tested my fluid and it was indeed amniotic fluid. So we didn’t do any vaginal exams. She watched me and said I still had a long way to go. She drove back to her house, about 2.5 hours away, poor lady! Once she got almost home I begged her to come back. I really just needed the peace of having her nearby. From here I labored in and out of the tub, went on walks, took castor oil, homeopathic remedies, etc. My labor just kept turning off and on and off and on. I would have a solid hour of back to back contractions and then another 2. I remember crying so much because I didn’t know what I was doing.

husband support during birth

My birth team consisted of my husband, my mother in law, my photographer, and 2 midwives. The amount of support and love that surrounded me was amazing. I recall asking to be checked for the first time. I was at 6cm and paper thin! Yay EPO! For hours and hours I was stuck between 6-8cm. During one of the checks my midwife let us know that my water was still intact and I must have a high leak. That news made me feel a lot better. At some point I sent my photographer home. I was worrying about her and felt like it was negatively impacting my birth.

After what seemed like hours of being stuck at 7cm my water was bulging. My midwife talked about breaking my water and before she even reached the bag it burst and sent gushes of water out all over the towels we had laid down. I had thought my contractions were difficult before but that was nothing compared to after the water was gone.  Somewhere during my pregnancy I had pulled a muscle in my groin on my right side. I’m telling you this because if there is anything you get from my story it is do not pull a muscle! Every single time I had an intense contraction my leg would get this burning shooting pain radiating from the muscle and down to the toe. I frequently said that if I could just numb my leg I would be OK. I couldn’t concentrate at all because of the pain in my leg.

A few more hours past and nothing was happening. I was contracting but I wasn’t dilating. I was stalled around 8.5-9cm. I wasn’t dilating any further. After this I started pushing. I tried to push and push with all my might for about 4 hours. I was swelling really bad and had developed a cervical lip. My midwife worked to push my cervix open, get the rest of the lip out of the way.  I was squatting in the sumo position and I could feel Ace inch down as I pushed and immediately move right back up when the contraction stopped. His head was there but for some reason he wasn’t moving past that one point. I took a rest and laid back on the floor. I heard whispering and I knew what was being discussed. It was time to go to the hospital. I had been in labor for 32 hours, 4 hours of pushing, and so much swelling that I couldn’t close my legs. It was time. I was OK with that. We were all OK with that.

We got into the car and drove to the hospital. It was somewhere around 2:30am. We had clear roads and a straight path to the hospital. It was an excruciating 15 minute drive.  I asked my husband what he thought was about to happen. He said he wasn’t sure. I said I’m probably going to get a cesarean because I am so tired and can’t push anymore. He said that was OK because we had done every single thing we could do. My care up to this point was amazing.

home birth

We walked into the hospital and told them what was going on. They attempted to wheel me up to the L&D floor but I let the nurse know I wouldn’t be using a wheelchair since my baby was stuck in my pelvis. She asked me if I had any pain medication. I laughed and replied no I was having a home birth and that wasn’t an option. She almost lost her mind at this point. I don’t think she knew what a midwife was or that homebirth was something people do.

When the on call OB walked into the room one of the first things out of her mouth was how she knew I had GD because my belly was so big. She asked my midwife a thousand questions. She then asked me to try to push the baby out a few more times. Without warning she shoved her arm up inside me. I mentioned I was swollen right. Yes, I think my husband decided at this point there was nothing she could do to redeem herself. I pushed a bit to no avail. Ace was stuck and would need a cesarean. They strapped monitors to me and I rolled onto my side. The machine went crazy and now it “was a matter of life or death.” I realize that they do ]really have life or death situations in hospitals but I don’t think this really was one. I was already prepared to have the surgery.

They wheeled me back into the OR. At first I was going to be put under but I was so thankful they were able to give me a spinal. I relaxed the moment relief from the pain came. I kept asking for my husband. It seemed like they were going to operate without him. My husband came in and moments later my baby boy was brought into the world. Monday morning November 29th at 4:02. Ace started crying, so did we. I remember the look on my husbands face. I will never forget it. They brought Ace to me and as soon as he heard our voices he stopped crying. Daddy and baby went off to the nursery moments later.

Once they pulled Ace out, mind you it took a bit because he was very stuck, my doctor joked about how big he was. “Wow, no wonder he was stuck. He’s a toddler!” After everyone left and I lay there being sewn up I said “You know, natural labor isn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be.” She replied with “Oh honey, you weren’t even to the hardest part yet. The ring of fire is by far the worst.” I was crushed. Not only did I endure a physical assault (remember my swollen parts and her arm) but a verbal assault, too. My 32 hours was nothing apparently. But you know what, because of how that one doctor mistreated me I have risen above it and have pushed for change. I’ve told everyone I know about how they can take steps to better care, not just maternity care. Too often we let healthcare professionals common courtesy and respect just slide. The OB called the nursery to see how big Ace was. She asked me to bet. I think I said 9 1/2 to 10 lbs. She laughed and said no 11lbs 1oz!

Back in recovery I was out cold. Fast asleep. My husband and son joined me about an hour later. I later found out that my husband and son were doing skin to skin in the nursery while I was in recovery. I believe that my husband and my son had a great bond because of this and I would recommend it to any time the mother is not able to do immediate skin to skin. It also really made me cry. It made me realize that my husband really does listen to all the facts that I spout off to him about birth.

Boy, I wish I knew about family centered cesarean birth back then! I also totally forgot to ask for my placenta. A very sweet nurse helped me breast feed Ace. My midwife left shortly after the birth and she came back the next day to see me. I asked about VBAC. She said definitely! We talked about Aces size and how I’d want to keep a better diet next time. We knew he was going to be big. We both have large babies in our families and he was 42 weeks and 2 days.

In the end I have peace over his entrance. His size and his position, OP, made his journey a little tougher than the average (You can birth big babies in any presentation! Don’t let fear tell you otherwise!). Recovering from 32 hours of labor and a cesarean is very rough. It took me about 3 to 4 weeks to even feel remotely normal again. I had to overcome many comments about how I was not going to be able to breast-feed my son without supplementing with formula. I’m so thrilled to say that we breast-fed without a lick of formula for a whole year and half.

Photography by Jessica Hamilton of Timeless Treasures by Jess.

Breech Birth Story {Frank Breech}

Breech Birth Story {Frank Breech}

In 2009 I became pregnant with my second child. I was very excited. My first birth had gone very well, easy, no complications, no interventions. After birthing an 8 lbs. 1 oz. posterior baby boy after only 4 hours of labor and 30 mins of pushing, I decided the second would be out of hospital.

We hired a great midwifery team. My pregnancy progressed normally, although I felt very tired and nauseated through most of it. We changed our birth location from birth center to home after talking to our midwife about the two options, and realizing that it made more sense to stay home to welcome our baby girl.

In late 2009 my husband accepted a job transfer to Houston, Texas (we are Canadian and were living in Edmonton, Alberta at the time). We decided that I would stay back with our soon to be 4 year old son, and he would make the move to Texas alone for the first few months, so I could continue my care with my midwives and our daughter could be born at home, in Canada. He left at the end of January 2010, our daughter expected to arrive mid March.

At 36 weeks, I went to my midwife appointment as normal. As my midwife palpitated my belly, she seemed to be taking longer than normal… “No, no, no baby”. My heart sank for just a moment and I said “Is she breech??” My midwife told me she thought the baby was breech, but she wanted me to have an ultrasound to confirm. She told me she would refer me to an OB, who would be able to confirm and if she was breech, we would go over options. She gave me some exercises to do (Breech Tilt, etc) and suggested a Webster Trained Chiropractor close to my home. She was very supportive.

I went home that day and called the Chiropractor to make an appointment. I attempted the breech tilt, but with my husband away I found it difficult to get into a good position. I researched ways to turn a breech baby, and tried ones I felt I could do on my own. The night before my appointment with the Chiropractor I got a call from the OB’s office saying they wanted to see me the following morning. I cancelled the Chiropractor and went in for my ultrasound. My husband was back in town for the appointment the next day. We went into the hospital, they hooked us up to an NST and I waiting for the OB. He came in, put the Ultrasound wand on my belly, and confirmed that my baby was breech. She was easily moved with the wand, and the OB said he was sure she would turn on her own. We agreed to come back in 2 weeks to check on things.

At my 37 week appointment with my midwives, my daughter was transverse. I thought that must be a sign that she was moving back into a good position, and I didn’t need to worry about it anymore. I continued to do what I thought would help turn her, but I never did go to the Chiropractor.

I went back to see the OB at 38 weeks. Breech. Again! He talked about the possibility of trying to manually turn her, but when he felt to see he position, she was engaged in my pelvis, and he was not able to move her. He told me I had some options to consider. I could opt for a cesarean or I could try a vaginal delivery with him in the hospital, knowing that if there were any signs of complications, I would have an emergency cesarean.

I cried on my drive home that day, this is not what I was expecting to hear. I was completely devastated. When I got home I immediately started researching, and continued to do so hours a day for about 4 days. I talked to my midwife, she assured me that whatever I chose they would be there to support me. In the end, I didn’t feel right about just signing up for major surgery if there was even a slight possibility that I could do this vaginally. We lived an hour and a half away from the hospital where the OB delivered, and with my first labor being only 4 hours, I talked to the OB about inducing. He reluctantly agreed, making sure to tell me that induction went against my own beliefs in natural child birth. I realize now how rare that kind of OB is.

I was due for the induction at 39 weeks, 4 days, on a Friday. Wednesday, I had my midwives sweep my membranes, in hopes that would be enough to start labor and be able to avoid the medical induction. They swept me 3 times on Wednesday, and I spent much of the day walking around, contracting every few minutes. It never amounted to anything. We dropped our son off with friends and stayed in a hotel close to the hospital for the 2 days prior to the induction in case labor did start.

On Friday morning I got up about 6:30am, ate breakfast, had a shower, and headed over to the hospital. We got there about 8am. They offered me a brochure on breech delivery, and told me that the OB had ordered the induction be done with Cervadil. They talked to me about what it was, how it worked, etc and then inserted it. I was 1-2cm. Contractions came every few minutes for hours, but they were not very strong, more annoying than anything. I walked around the maternity floor, and hung out with my husband for much of the day, just chatting, trying to sleep, etc. My midwife told me to call her when active labor started, so I had them check me about 5pm and I was 5cm!! They removed the cervidal at that point, and I labored on from there. I called my midwife and she arrived about an hour later.

Active labor continued as normal. At one point, I can’t really recall at what point, they told me my baby was no longer engaged and was sitting transverse. At that point they hooked me up to an IV incase an emergency cesarean was required. I felt very limited by the IV and I spent much of the next few hours, sitting in bed. They checked me at 7cm, and a few hours later, still 7cm…..the OB came in and offered some additional augmentation. I declined and he agreed to give me 2 more hours. That was 8pm. My baby had turned again and was frank breech. At that point my midwife suggested that I get out of bed, empty my bladder and try to get mobile.

I got out of bed, emptied my bladder and tried to walk around. Contractions were very strong at that point, and I could feel my legs shaking under me. I leaned on my husband, but quickly requested a birth ball. I sat on the ball at the end of my bed, rested my arms and head on the bed, and swayed slowly. My husband sat on one side of me and my midwife on the other. They were so supportive, rubbing my back, and just sitting quietly while I went through the most intense experience I have ever had. I was getting hot flashes and was shaking uncontrollably, my midwife was so wonderful at reminding me to relax my shoulders and breathe.

About 10pm, right about the time my OB was going to come back to check my progress, I felt my water break. I felt the warm gush of fluid and stood up. Water flowed out of me at what seemed like record amounts. I felt intense pressure and knew that it was almost time to push. I made my way to the bed, because I felt too weak to stand. Once I got into the bed, I started pushing. I heard someone yell “She’s pushing, 10:05pm, get the doctor.” My OB came in, I don’t think he said anything, if he did, I don’t remember. I felt a lot of bodies in the room, I knew there would be, but I didn’t expect to feel it. The urge to push was strong and uncontrollable. I had remembered that same feeling with my son. I tore badly with my son, and tried to push gently to avoid that this time around. I heard the OB say that her feet were out. One more push and I had my daughter. 10:13pm. I felt her body on my chest and looked up. I only saw her feet. Moments later they took her from my chest and moved her across the room to the warmer. It seemed like it was miles away, but I could see her, and she was beautiful.

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It wasn’t long before I had my baby back in my arms, all 7lbs of her. My midwife told me that after her feet were out, the OB let go, and while he was waiting for the back of her head to emerge, the strength of my push sent her flying out of my body, and he caught her mid air.

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I am a doula now, thanks in no small part to this experience. I was not a doula then, and didn’t know everything I know now, but I knew enough to trust my body and my baby. I knew enough to ignore the negativity around me, and the all the people telling me I was stupid for even trying and to just get a cesarean. I owned my birth, I did it on my terms and I will forever be able to tell my story, without regrets.

C-Section Without Fear {Baby Reaches His Hand Out from the Womb}

C-Section Without Fear {Baby Reaches His Hand Out from the Womb}

I went in for an induction due to having preeclampsia, after 24hrs I showed absolutely no progress. Our baby was still doing well so we decided to go ahead with a c-section while it was not yet an emergency situation. I believe my hypno-birthing techniques helped me tremendously through my induction. On  9/1/10 our son Zander Knight was born  The C-section (besides the recovery) was awesome: no worries, no fear, the staff was amazing, and I felt so comfortable. I cried when I first heard my son cry 🙂

hand cesarean

baby reaches csection

newborn

cesarean family

 

 

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