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“Everyday Blessings” Part V ~ Book Discussion & Tea Party - Page 3

post #41 of 250
I agree that labor CAN pull you into the moment, but I think many women resist this pull as strongly as we resist mindfulness in the rest of our lives. I certainly tried to, and feel certain I would have had a much more medicalized birth if my earth-mama doula hadn't supported me in giving in to the moments. Here's my story:

A little background on me: I have had somewhat of an adversarial relationship with the medical model for quite some time. I do not take OTC drugs or pain killers, not even for migraines or sinus infections. I instead rely on naturopathic and homeopathic remedies. I have never been a patient in a hospital and could not fathom being in one for my first birth. Even though I received all my prenatal care at a birth center, I had to be very firm with the midwives (all CNMs) in refusing meds (like Tylenol for back pain), unnecessary tests (AFP, STDs), and interventions (stripping my membranes) during pregnancy. The way I explained it to them was that I was more afraid of medicine (aka "interfering with my body") than I was of any discomfort, pain, or ailment. Dh and I reiterated all of this on my last visit on my due date, which was a Thursday night.

The day after my due date I got my first good night of sleep in months -- I slept for 5 hours without waking and when I woke up on Saturday morning, my aching back and hips had temporarily disappeared. I felt so good that I got up at 5 am, ate breakfast, and read my novel. Dh left at 7 am to go play a soccer game (cell phone on, of course) and I got back in bed to read. As I was reading, I started having *really* uncomfortable back pain. And the baby felt like s/he was break-dancing in my uterus (think of that spinning-on-head move right on top of my cervix!). I felt like labor must be far away bc everyone had told me that babies slow down as labor approaches. The only relief I could get was to squat.

So there I am, squatting as I read, back killing me and I think, "Hmm. Could I be in labor?" I decided to call my doula, a former midwife-in-training, to see if a spinning baby could mean labor, but decided to pee first. As I did, I felt that I had passed something, and sure enough it was the mucus plug with bloody show. Hooray!

Well my doula was underwhelmed. I knew from my Bradley class that the mucus plug was the *least* predictive sign of when labor would begin, so I wasn't too disappointed when she encouraged me to relax and not get too excited.

I took a shower and as I was combing out my hair, with a (white) towel between my legs, I felt a gush and was disheartened to see sort-of-green fluid on the towel. Crap! Well, meconium to be precise, but CRAP! I debated not telling my midwives but decided I had better start the process of trusting them. At this point contractions did begin, in addition to the BAD back pain which was still there, but were inconsistent - anywhere from 8 to 15 min. I called dh's cell phone and had him come home, bc I knew the meconium was going to get the birth center's clock started ticking, whether we were ready for it to begin or not. (He had just scored a goal and apparently ran out of the game yelling, "That one was for the Baby!")

We went in to the birth center around noon and midwife #1 confirmed that my water had broken and I had light meconium staining, but a fetal non-stress test showed that Baby was fabulous. This m/w wanted me to go home and take castor oil, but I refused. Instead, that night I went for an acupuncture session to be induced. The acupuncturist felt very confident that it would work, but she did advise me that it would take a good 24 hours to kick in. I knew I had to hold off m/w #1 for another day!

That night I was unable to sleep bc even though the ctx were irregular, they were uncomfortable enough that if I woke during one, I would freak out a little. Oh, and did I mention the back pain? Yep, still there, even tho Baby was definitely anterior. I was a little dismayed (ahem, that's an understatement) to find that ANYONE can have back labor . . . not just women w/posterior babies!

So I sat up all night in the lotus position, breathing cleansing breaths for every contraction. I felt powerful. Strong. Beautiful. IN CONTROL. (hah! know where this is going?!?!)

Sunday morning (24 hrs after water broke) I was exhausted. We went in for another NST and again the baby was fine. (w/no more meconium since the first staining) Now it was m/w #2 on call and she also wanted me to take castor oil. I insisted that I trusted my body's ability to do this without help and she looked into my eyes and agreed to let me. She did, however, strongly recommend that I get some sleep, bc ctx were still irregular and I was "only" 3 cm and fully effaced (that felt like progress to me!). I refused the sleeping pills she was trying to give us, and instead agreed to drink some wine and take some Benadryl. So I cried all the way to the drugstore where dh bought me some Benadryl. I was starting to feel like a failure . . . I made it thru my entire pregnancy without a single Tylenol or aspirin, and now I was going to have to take meds to sleep. (now 36 hrs awake)

The Benadryl did not help. In fact, the ctx started to pick up as soon as I tried to rest. (Several days later, I realized that this timing coincided exactly with the 24-hr mark from the acupuncture, but I think I had forgotten all about that by then!) I got a little weepy and asked for dh's help, but did not feel like he was supporting me the way I needed. (Poor guy!) So I called my doula for "moral support" and she suggested coming over. (All of us at this point thinking I had at least another day to go.) When she got to our house, she watched me and dh working thru ctx for an hour . . . me in lotus position, breathing, breathing, stoic, peaceful . . . JUST like those Bradley moms in the book and videos! Around 11 PM Sunday night, my doula finally speaks up and says,

"Honey, I'm sensing some resistance. With the next ctx, can you go INSIDE the pain?"

I didn't really know what she meant, but I said, "Yeah, I think so. But then it's gonna hurt more."

"Um. Yeah. It's LABOR. It's going to hurt."

So with the next ctx, I let go of my earth goddess act, dropped my head back, sank into that contraction, and HOWLED. And bam! Ctx started coming faster and stronger, about every 4 minutes by the time we got me upstairs and into the garden tub. In the tub I ignored all my Bradley training and squeezed the crap out of dh and doula's hands as I moaned thru every ctx. I just KNEW the neighbors could hear me!

I labored in the tub for about 2 hours, at which point my doula announced that it was time to go. I was in SO much pain that I just KNEW I was in transition, and I felt very scared about being the in the car. So doula and dh had to do some fancy maneuvering to convince me to get out of the tub and we did get to the birth center.

As soon as I walked in (2:15 a.m. early Monday morning - 42 hrs since water broke, 42 hrs w/no sleep), m/w #2 checked me (I had just told doula I wasn't sure I wanted to know) and said, "Good! You're at 5." Well I let out my first expletive of the labor - and LOUDLY. I looked at my doula and started to wimper, 'cause I think she thought I was in transition too (turns out ctx had been 2 min apart for an hour). But my fabulous doula ushered me into the tub and the three of us picked up with our moaning (I made dh and doula moan with me EVERY time!).

After another 2 hrs of feeling like I was in transition, I was ready to give up. I didn't tell anyone, but I had decided that my martyr complex had been stupid and I should stop being so stubborn and accept some help. M/w checked me again and said "You're making progress, you're at 6!" Which just confirmed that I was ready to give up.

But before I said anything, m/w made me pee. As I sat on the toilet, everything stopped -- even the back labor -- THANK GODDESS!!! Dh and doula thought I was asleep, but I was actually thinking about whether to ask to be transported to the hospital (dreaded epidural) or take meds there (feared narcotics). After sitting for about 15 min with no ctx, I suddenly felt like there was a TRAIN moving thru my body. I began to bear down with the ctx and afterward told my doula, "I think I'm pushing."

"No sweetie, you're not pushing. You're only at 6 cm."

"I'M PUSHING!!!!!" I screamed with the next ctx, and m/w came running. She tried to get me to do this ridiculous horsey-face thing so I wouldn't push - explaining that my cervix would swell - but I told her there was nothing stopping me! So she checked me, and sure enough, I was fully dilated (from 6 to 10 in 15 min) with just a cervical lip. After some dispute, I agreed to let her hold back the lip while I pushed (VERY painful), but fortunately the lip was gone after only two ctx.

I pushed on the birthing stool for 15 min and then they lifted me backwards onto the bed. (M/w said she could support my perineum better that way.) After one more push, she told me to "Breathe the baby out," and even though I wasn't really sure what she meant, I did just that. And 48 hrs after my water broke, the baby gently eased out with my little, tiny pushes, and no tearing. M/s swooshed Baby right onto my belly, where s/he gazed up into my eyes. Dh sobbed, but I was just EXHAUSTED. I said, "Hi Baby" over and over, but was disappointed not to be overcome with love - instead I was overcome with fatigue. I did remember to ask Dh to check if it was a boy or a girl and he said he was "pretty sure" it was a boy (!). And sure enough, he was our little Maxwell Cole!

At this point, I get sad about my story. I had just had a natural birth, against many odds, hadn't torn or thrown up or pooped (all fears of mine -- how silly!), and yet I felt *traumatized* -- really, I felt like I had been thru a battle, and even told my doula that that was more than any one person should have to bear. And as I was laying there feeling beaten, m/w and 2 nurses were poking and prodding me -- massaging my belly, taking my temp, taking my blood pressure, inspecting me for tears -- and I was getting increasingly agitated. Dh took ds as I kept saying, "Aren't you DONE yet?!?" (just like CL!) and finally said, "I FEEL LIKE A F-ing SCIENCE EXPERIMENT!!!!"

I was so disappointed in myself for feeling angry at a time when I *thought* I was going to feel emotional and blissed out. There was no bliss, just many doubts about whether natural childbirth was worth it. (Those subsided w/in a few days.)

In retrospect, I realize that ds's entry into the world was very gentle, and that was our main goal. And I did AP him from the start (he nursed for over an hour when he was 20 min old) without my emotions interefering with his care. But I was SO disappointed in the way I handled the stress of labor. I know my expectations were unrealistic (no "ecstatic" birth for me!!!) and hope to be gentler on myself next time. I do still wonder why I couldn't be one of those women who says birth isn't painful?!?! : But the main thing I will focus on next time is putting my energy toward RECEIVING the baby . . . being mindful THEN, when it matters most . . . keeping my eye on the prize, like so many of you did, even with births which were less than what you had desired. What good models you are for me!!

If you're still reading, thanks for hanging in there . . . I do tend to use a lot of words, I know. But then there's nothing I'd rather talk about than babies!!!
post #42 of 250
i think you retrospect is right on el. you did give him the gentle birth you wanted, and you are being hard on yourself in the reaction you had to labor.

i so understand your feelings of being traumatized. it took me a few weeks before i could even think about the birth without bursting into tears. i think it was post traumatic stress disorder, i swear.

reading these stories now, since having read this far into eb, i feel so proud of women and what we go through with our bodies.

honestly, we really should be patient with ourselves realizing we do the absolute best we can, and let go of the regrets so we can be present.

i hung onto regrets from my first, and you'd think with the 2nd, i'd have had the "perfect" birth, and really, it was completely different, even with the total determination to go drug free, hospital free, etc etc.

you just can't know how it will go, but you can do your best and that is what all of you did!

right on sisters!
post #43 of 250

Well, there is not much I enjoy more than a birth story, & I love to share mine, so I am so sad I have only been finding spare minutes her & there to read posts & haven't had a nice stretch in which to write it out.

Thanks to each of you who has, though -- the whole process is amazing to me and they intensely vulnerable place (emotionally, as well as physically) that a woman is in as the process takes over her whole being. It really is like nothing else I can think of except maybe orgasm but even that as we know can be stopped (unfortunately )unlike the TRAIN Breathe described running through her body.

Because of the complexity of emotions & physiology it seems like both the most challenging time and maybe most nec time to practice mindfulness -- I have to go back & see what the chapter says. More later!

post #44 of 250
El, your story made me cry! Thank you.

I have (after a LONG time) come around to accept the thought that I did not fail at labor/birth because I "gave up" and had the meds. I'm sort of conflicted, frankly, about all of the reading and Bradley training we had. Of course I wanted to know as much as possible about the process, about my body, and about what was best for babe, but I wish there had been a way to do so without feeling so much judgement. In addition to the exhaustion, trauma (physical and emotional), and my own expectations (type A personality here), I just felt like a failure - even though ds didn't exhibit any signs of medication - he nursed like a champ right away, was alert (quite!) and active from the start. Our Bradley teacher, though, was clearly disappointed, and our classmates (none of whom was in labor over 12 hours!!!!!!!!) sort of dismissed me with a pitying look at the reunion.

I wish there had been a way for us to afford a CNM rather than having a family doc (although she was WAY better than a traditional OB, and we really did like her a lot), and I wish there were doulas in our area who were strong advocates for natural birth. I wonder if, with help from people other than dh, my friend, and the hospital nurses, I would have been able to get through the last three hours without meds.

The hospital folk were pretty tired of me resisting, I think, and didn't understand why, like 99% of the other women they see, I resisted medication. It was the right decision for me to make, given the support system I had (or didn't have) at the time, but it left me with some powerful guilt.

In the end, of course, we were all "fine," medically speaking, but I am really hesitant to go through it all again, knowing the type of support that is available to me in this part of the country (no birth centers, no CNMs allowed at any of the hospitals anymore - even if we had the insurance coverage, and dh does NOT want a home birth). Anyone want a new neighbor?

post #45 of 250
Thread Starter 
Letting go of guilt and judging myself/comparing myself is not one of my strong suits. However, I do see that it is necessary for healing and to attempt being mindful in life, birth, mothering etc.. Dwelling on what I could do better or have done different has always been a stumbling block for me. Sob, sob, sob!!

May the party continue....CLINK! Loving all the acceptance/nonjudging I'm feeling here with you all.
post #46 of 250
Ahh, guilt! I think that labor was the first time I really had to address this issue head on and accept that control and perfection are not only impossible but also not what I want to model for my family and friends. It's like having a super clean house not only is a hell of a lot of work, but it also makes other people feel inadequate. Anyways, I think that starting to question guilt was for me a big function of the first birth and that it probably doesn't matter how "perfect" my birth was, I probably would have found some reason to feel guilty.

On to the story after I say that I love reading all your birth stories but this isn't helping me in my quest to hold off on the baby lust for a couple more years, LOL!

The short story: Born June 15 at 9:24 am. Weight 7 pounds 12 oz. Height 20 inches. Head 14 3/4 inches

The long story: Almost one week past my due date, I started having mild, yet crampy contractions during dinner. Around 3:30 am on the 14th, I lost my mucous plug and the contractions become more regular, about 10 to 12 minutes apart. Finally woke DH up at 5 am to go for a walk around the neighborhood to see if they subsided and they didn't. We were scheduled that morning to have an U/S and non-stress test to see how the baby was doing, so went to that as normal. Turns out my fluid was somewhat low and the scheduled midwife (who was out of the office b/c she was ill) sent us to the hospital to see if we could get from early to active labor by ourselves (at this point we were about 3-4 cm dilated). If not, she wanted to induce us (very much not what we had wanted at all). So, through some tears, we made it to the hospital by 1pm on the 14th.

We had a great nurse that gave us time to get things going on our own and we made it from 3 cm to 5 (I think) over the next few hours. Finally the midwife arrived around 7pm. She let us keep going by ourselves but was concerned b/c even though they were growing in intensity, the contractions weren't getting closer together. We tried everything: hot tub, shower, nipple stimulation, different positions. They broke my membranes at 1am. Slowly, we made our way all the way to 9 cm, but by then it was probably 3 am. She finally said that she didn't think I'd have any energy left for pushing by the time we got to 10cm (if my rate of slow progress continued). So, we had a little pitocin augmentation (what felt like failure to me and still gets me wondering about "what if") during the end and were ready to push by about 6 am. The labor nurse (our 2nd) scheduled to go off shift at 7 said that we'd have the baby before she left as he was low in my pelvis. Famous last words. 3+ hours later, Finn was born with his arm around his neck (nuchal arm), with me pulling him up onto my chest. I didn't really feel that incredible urge to push like you hear about (next time, I hope!), but nonethless pushing was really powerful. Chris mentioned that he was amazed at how strong I was that my energy would build through the contraction and how he was blown away by how I could still push intensely the third time per contraction.

Had a first degree tear that required a few stitches. At the end of this 30 hour ordeal, I was more than exhausted (and a little bit shocked by the intensity of the whole experience) and took awhile to enjoy holding him in my arms. I was amazed at how big he was because had been expecting somewhere high in the sixes for weight.

He didn't latch on immediately and the nurse wasn't immediately concerned. In the hospital, he was extremely sleepy (I was so glad that we didn't use pain meds, which might have exacerbated his natural sleepiness) and was not interested in nursing. We got so much contradictory advice about breastfeeding at the hospital. It was horrible. The situation at home wasn't much better (suck suck doze). When the visiting nurse came a few days after our discharge, he had lost too much weight and that's when things got scary for me. We used every trick in the book (cup feeding, nipple shields, pumping, finger feeding, even formula (which drove me crazy)) and he is finally at the breast 100% though the latch is a struggle. Took him for another weight check at 10 days and he's gained back quite a bit and looks like he'll make his birthweight by Friday. What a relief! I hadn't realized how anxious the whole bfing thing would be that's where my hormones connected with him getting sleepier and sleepier really threw me off the cliff. I remember telling Chris how could we give birth to a baby that doesn't even want to survive, that he'd rather sleep than eat. I have some seriously mixed feelings about lactation advice and supplementation but didn't want to experiment too much with our Finn.

Ahh, what sweet memories and it's a story that I want to tell Finn every year on his birth (and labor) day.

Cheers to you all
post #47 of 250
Thread Starter 
Time is of the essence nowdays. The weather has been gorgeous here. Wondering if spring rain is coming. I hope you all are having a great spring! I had a really scary weekend from sleep deprivation and life stress, but better now. And actually going to a counselor on Friday.

Thanks Lim. One for sharing your story! I dont have baby envy. I have birth envy.

Just wondering who was your major source of inspiration or mentor toward the birth you wanted to have/did have. Was it your mom, friend, sister? I really didnt have a mentor or any unmainstream books or friends or family members until after ds was born. You all have also been a huge inspiration to me! You really rock and I am so happy to know you all. A LLL friend told me about Mothering. Otherwise I wouldnt be here now. Didn't even know about the mag. until last summer.

Peace and happy days to you.
post #48 of 250
I have the worst birth story. At 10 days overdue DD slowed her movements. She was estimated to be big, so I was induced after the nonstress test. I was 2 cm dilated when I came in. The stuff that is supposed to soften the cervix started my contractions. After 20 hours I was 2 cm dilated. Good contractions too. DH was trying to make jokes and tel me about the baseball game (I love baseball when I am not in labor) I was tired, hungry and tired and dissapointed and I asked for an epidural. I got it. COntractions continued, and after another 7 hours I was 2 cm dilated. I got pitocin and after another 4 hours I was 3 cm dilated. The OB said if I didn't dilate more soon they would need to do a C section. I got a high fever (infection, my water had broken about 12 hours ago) and they kept repeating C section and I kept saying please wait... OR's were full anyway and not an emergency yet, so my pitocin dose was increased. At 6 AM, about 34 hours after I went in, I pushed 3 hours and my DD was whisked away to the NICU after they showed her to me for about 3 seconds. They spent an hour and a half sewing up the tears (No EP) My mom, sister, and DH went home to rest and the nurses ignored me for 4 hours. When the social worker came (they come for all moms with babies in NICU) I was in tears, connected to an IV and I couldnt' see the baby I had been afraid of having for months. I thought there would be no way my milk would come in and we would never bond. The NICU nurse told me (when I finally went) that if I didn't nurse every two hours I would never get any milk.

Home birth is actually soudning really good to me mext time, but I don't think I am really comfortable with it. I just don't want the terrible experience I had before.

OK, I have two freelance projects, my floor is being smoothed (by us) and creating a lot of dust and for some reasin everything is a new opportunity to havea tantrum. Life is good here.
post #49 of 250
Thread Starter 
Wow, Jacq., you did have a tough birth. But you were so brave and strong to keep going even when they kept insisting on a c/s and after all the hours of labor! Way to go. I thought for sure that a hospital in Calif. would have been a little more supportive of bonding right away though. That is so sad that they seperated you both and ignored you after you were sewn up. Hugs to you. Sounds like you have a lot to meditate on. Good luck on your projects!

Well I just got home from my counseling, got ds to nap, ate lunch, talked to dh about the counseling and now I am pooped. But the counseling went a lot better than I expected and feel good about it.

Have a great weekend all...
post #50 of 250
Oh, Jacq, what a story! Congrats on preventing the c/s, that's an amazing amount of endurance, esp. w/pit. ctx.

To everyone: I have joined Al-Anon, thanks in no small part to the support of all you mamas. And you didn't even know I was thinking about joining so you didn't know you were supporting me to join! But thank you and big hugs. It is exactly what I need in my life (and I told them about my mindful parenting efforts)!
post #51 of 250
Thread Starter 
Cool, about the alanon! I have been meaning to start going too. I called last month to see when they were held and I never went. Please PM me and let me know if you think it is worth time after a few meetings.
post #52 of 250
Originally posted by Curly Locks
Cool, about the alanon! I have been meaning to start going too. I called last month to see when they were held and I never went. Please PM me and let me know if you think it is worth time after a few meetings.
Sure thing, Heather. After all, support groups rock! :P
post #53 of 250
Good for you, Analisa!!!! I hope it is exactly what you need.

Jacq - wow! You are one brave mama. Even if you don't have a home birth next time around, think about how much more you will know, and how prepared you will be for the process! You will definitely be able to ask for what you need (babe!) and stick to your guns in a way you weren't able to with dd. And all turned out well, right? You have an awesome dd and you are a great mama!
post #54 of 250
Originally posted by nuggetsmom
My mom, sister, and DH went home to rest and the nurses ignored me for 4 hours. When the social worker came (they come for all moms with babies in NICU) I was in tears, connected to an IV and I couldnt' see the baby I had been afraid of having for months.
Wow, Jacq, thanks for sharing your story. This is really the reason I feel so drawn to being a doula. I don't have any illusions that every complication can be avoided, but just so that whatever happens, there is some extra support there for the exhasuted mama & papa & whoever. It is such a vulnerable time. And to be able to sometimes advocate for alternatives those invasions that can be avoided.

There is a small volunteer 'labor support alliance' where I live which offers doula trainings & then sets up a schedule for the doulas to be at one of the city's large Univ. hospitals to be on call for women who may be laboring with little or no support. I was actually about to join when I found out I was pregnant w/DD. : So it's on hold till she's a little older. At least now I have my own experience to bring to that work.

My experience, which I've been trying to tell you about all week -- honestly, each time I've tried to grab 10 minutes to write my birth story something happens. I'm really struggling with a total lack of time to myself this week.
And DD needs me right now. Maybe during naptime...

post #55 of 250
Originally posted by Megs Mom

To everyone: I have joined Al-Anon, thanks in no small part to the support of all you mamas. And you didn't even know I was thinking about joining so you didn't know you were supporting me to join! But thank you and big hugs.
Analisa -
And Curly so glad the counseling is going well!! Yay for you.
post #56 of 250

Sophie's birth story

Okay, she's napping. Here's my story - sorry it's long but it *was* a 55 hour labor, lol...

I was 39 weeks pregnant and so convinced I would go past my "due" date with my 1st babe that I wasn't even gearing up really. I was babysitting a friend's 6 month old for an hour and she began to cry. We stood up, her balanced on my big belly, and I felt a gush of water.

I was in shock - *never* expected my labor to begin this way. And all that day (Tuesday) went along with no sign of contractions, just fluid (clear) leaking slowly through the day (my 1st use of cloth diapers, lol ) and otherwise felt normal, not a rumble.

This is where I am so grateful I had chosen a wonderful birth center near our home, and was in the care of some great midwives. They had me check my own temp - no fever. We went to the BC and I was checked for infection (none) and had a nonstress test (baby's movements fine). Didn't "check" dilation so as not to introduce higher risk of infection.

So I went home to wait for labor! That was such a gift of a day. [Had I been in a hospital, definate induction at this point.]
Instead we walked in the park, cuddled, (no sex because water had broke), watched silly movies, tried to sleep.

That night (Tues) some contrax began... and went away. Next morning, back to the BC. Tested me for infection (none) checked babies heartrate & movements (fine). We went home again!

Now it's Wednesday afternoon. I'm feeling silly about going home AGAIN with bags packed, carseat strapped in & empty, lol. We try some spicy food for lunch. Walk in the park again & within an hour, contractions finally begin!

They come and go throughout the evening and night Wednesday. So no sleep again that night. DH is massaging my back around the clock. We're trying Bradley-type deep relaxation, it's helping a lot.

Thursday morning we head to the BC for my noon appt for another non-stress test. Things seemed to be picking up, and suddenly on the car ride there, contrax are finally regularly and strong. (Awful to be in a car!!) At the Birth Center I find that the midwife on call had to go to hospital with an emergency! So the midwife seeing patients will come check in with me when she's done.

So I'm now 48 hours into labor. Still no fever or sign of infection (they tested my blood). And I'm walking around the living room waiting for the fetal movement machine to come free, but the nurse keeps looking at me having contrax & contrax and asks, "Honey, do you think your in active labor?"
"No," I say, "I think it's still very early, the contrax keep coming & going." But just after I say that they begin to come one on top of the other....

Dh & I labor alone in the empty birthing suite (just a house, really, with offices upstairs). More massages, more moaning, more walkng. The midwife pops her head in and after watching me for 2 minutes says - let's skip the fetal movement test. For the first time she checks my cervix. I'm at 5 cms! It's around noon on Thursday.

The next hours were very very hard work. (As I don't have to tell you). No position felt good. Now that everything's moving the wonderful nurse offers me a jacuzzi soak. This was the greatest thing ever. Still felt horrible but floating belly down was an incredible relief. The jets right on my back helped the pain sooooo much. I threw up several times in the tub (well, in a special pan, not IN the tub), and had chills. I kept thinking - how funny, that's what's supposed to happen in transition & I'm only 5 cms...

When I got out, got checked for the 2nd time -- I was at 9! I felt awful - pressure, had to poop, sat on the toilet, sat on the birthing chair, birthing ball, all fours. Every position felt worse than the one before it. I can totally see that with a different kind of support I would have given in *immediately* to ANY suggestion anyone made.

But dh was cool as a cucumber and kept massaging. Nurse kept saying affirming things. No none offered any interventions so I just kept relaxing. I felt like pooping so midwife said to try pushing.

This is the part that I found horrible. I lost all sense of calm or confidence. I was exhausted after the 50+ hours & little sleep (thank goodness they let me eat & drink whatever I wanted at least). And I just started to cry and said I gave up. I kept telling the midwife I really didn't know how to push, and was sure I couldn't do it. She kept saying, "You are doing it. Your body is pushing. Your baby is coming. I can feel your baby's head."

Honestly, when we talk about the vulnerability of birthing, I would've taken *any* vacuum or forceps or other intervention offered. The midwife kept just murmuring things like, "You are amazing." The nurse stroked my hair and massaged my feet.

The baby's head was about to crown. I just cried and decided to take a nap. I lay back on the 4-poster bed against dh's legs. I'm not kidding. I slept for 2 minutes between contractions.

Then the hand-held doppler thing they were using between every contrax sounded different -- instead of a steady beat, it was slow and hardly audible.

I sat bolt upright (sort of) in a panic. I actually had the thought "What the hell is the matter with you?!!" I snapped out of my fog of self pity realizing the baby needed to get out. The midwife asked me to change positions. I got onto my side and the heartrate was back up to normal right away. But that was all the jolt I needed. I just started to push down on my bottom with all I had (which wasn't much, lol, but I guess enough).

In 2 sets of contractions her head came out - kinda fast, I had 2 small tears. The cord was wrapped around her neck twice. The midwife just eased out the shoulders and with the next contraction the baby was up on my naked belly, looking right into my eyes with wide-open deep wise baby eyes. Dh, holding me from behind, kissed the baby and checked the sex -- it was our Sophia. We thought she was beautifully calm but I guess she was too calm, not breathing enough, so the nurse took her away & gave her two minutes of oxygen and she was pinking and breathing strong and back with me.
Dh held her on his naked chest beside me while I delivered the placenta - lots of bleeding, pitocin shot to stop the bleeding, little stitch for the tearing.... that entire part really sucked.

But who even noticed when I was looking at my babe?

Hardest thing I've ever done. A little scary moment at the end, but I believe it was for her the gentle birth I'd hoped. I was *so* grateful I had the amazing support I did when it got hard - I wish every woman had that available to her if she wants it.

This was all before I had even found MDC - I have so much more information now, but am glad for the care I got just because I knew at least enough to choose a good birth center. I could really imagine a homebirth now that we've been through this.

Wow that was long - thanks for sticking with it if you did . Now that I've written it, I'm thinking I'll maybe post it in the Pregnancy forum too, since I never did.

love to all, mb
post #57 of 250
OH, mb, I do think Soph had a wonderfully gentle birth! It's a great birth story, thanks so much for sharing!
post #58 of 250
Thread Starter 
Yes, MB thanks for sharing Sophie's birth story. I go into a trance when I am reading these birth stories. They are so interesting no matter how long the story.

I gotta run!
post #59 of 250
Me too, I could read birth stories all day! Thanks, Anne! (And I saw lots of similarities btwn our stories, which kinda makes me feel better about my birth center -- like, they did a pretty good job of leaving me alone.)

You know one thing I have some awkward feelings about was that after my birth, I kept thanking my midwife, and she kept saying, "YOU did it." and I would say, "Yes, but you LET me do it." And at the time I was eternally grateful for that . . . she had sat in the birthing room, a good 12 ft away from me, just observing, and left it all to me, doula, and dh. And I KNOW that most of the m/w's at this birth ctr would not have been that hands-off. But in retrospect (that's me, always retrospecting!), I feel a little foolish for thanking her for "letting" me birth my baby. I mean, how ridiculous that 1) we can't expect to do it ourselves and 2) we have to THANK people for "allowing" us to be as nature intended!! Is that f'd up or what?!?! I think THAT'S the main reason I'll aim for a home birth next time. I don't think I can risk having someone try to take it from me.

Curly, you asked earlier who had inspired us. For me the thought process began about 2 yrs before I conceived. I had an acquaintance who homebirthed, EBF'd and co-slept -- three things I had NEVER seen or really even HEARD of -- and it all must have gelled (sp?) in my brain. 'Cause when I knew her, I thought it was a little weird, and was definitely concerned about the lack of boundaries in her family (which I now know was a separate issue altogether), but somehow those ideas stayed with me. And when I was pg, I just couldn't IMAGINE being hospitalized. I started my PNC with an OB friend of the family, but switched at 20 wks when he told me, "I only do episiotomies when necessary, and in my experience, almost all women need them." : (edited to add: This family friend OB was going to offer us FREE care, so can you imagine how CRAZY everyone in my family thought I was for switching?!?! And we eventually ended up in a place where ins. paid only 70%, so we STILL have not paid for ds' birth!)

I then went to a m/w practice who delivered at a hospital, but when I grilled them about procedures, realized that were tied down by the medical model, too. (Like they said, "Oh your water won't break first. But if it does, we're gonna give you a good 18 hrs before we induce.") So I switched again at 33 wks to the birth center, and man it's a good thing I did, bc my water DID break first and ds was born 48 hrs later!

I will tell you that it was a lonely road. I was going against FIL's wishes -- he's an MD -- and had never HEARD of anyone switching PNC at 33 weeks! My doula was a lifesaver, however, a TRUE earth-mama, WAY more alternative than me, and she made me feel sane and grounded and SAFE. And then magically I met one other woman who wanted a natural birth and we formed a pregnancy support group of other like-minded women and it was so important to me. Even my Bradley class wasn't that supportive -- they were all pretty mainstream in wanting the "husband-coached" thing, which never made sense to me, since dh didn't know NUTTIN' bout birthin' babies.

Speaking of which, Karen, *I* cried when I heard how you felt at your Bradley reunion! How awful for you! I'm so sorry that happened. And if it makes you feel better, only 3 out of the 12 couples in our Bradley class had natural births (all 3 NOT in a hospital). Everyone who went to a hospital had interventions. So you gotta know there's more going on there than just "will power". Like Anne said, when you're totally pushed up against that wall, like ALL of us were, it's simply a matter of what your surroundings are. I wish you had more resources in your area. Yes, it's time for you to move here. Jacqueine's got dibs on one of my neighbor's homes, but you can be on the other side!

Well there . . . I made up for one week of rambling. Oh, Analisa, Congrats on getting the support you need! Very brave, as I've come to expect from you!
post #60 of 250
Thread Starter 
Wow! This birth talk has been so empowering this week. Thanks everyone for all the sharing. I really learned a lot from everyone's stories and retrospects (), which is why I feel so empowered. You dont know how truly thankful I am for each of you. I think it is hard for me not to feel regret, disappointment, and sadness that I was not more open or exposed to alternative births/mothering before ds was born. However, I feel very fortunate for all I have learned over the past year from other moms (like you) just trying follow their heart.

One thing I've come to understand is that I can't sit around and wait for helpful information to land on my lap. I have to search for it with an open mind. Before ds was born I thought that it was everyone else's (doctors, hospital, family, teachers and friends) job to to let me know what I needed to know. I didnt realize how much information is out there waiting to be learned in all aspects of life. I feel like a sponge trying make up for all the years I wasted thinking I was already "educated."

Just to let you know how much I really have to learn~ I have no idea what the Bradley Method is, even though I have heard people talke about it. I dont know what pitocin is either. So much to learn!! I'm glad I am still young.

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