Swollen Anterior Lip. Failed UC - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 28 Old 10-07-2007, 11:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DH and I had planned for a UC waterbirth but had to transfer to the hospital after 18 hours of labor and upon seeing a mysterious piece of purple fleshiness in the canal. I really wanted to have our baby at home but since this was our first we didin't want to take any chances. It turned out that the fleshiness was my anterior lip. Apparently it got so swollen that it came down and actually blocked part of the passage in the birth canal. Long story short I had to have an episiotomy to help my little one get through. The labor and delivery ended up being 22 hrs in total.

Has anyone had this happen to them or have they heard of a similar situation like this? It would help to hear some similar feedback cuz I've been feeling sort of let down and guilty about not being able to give my baby a homebirth.
I was although very happy to have labored at home for as long as I could.
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#2 of 28 Old 10-07-2007, 11:53 PM
 
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Amanda.

I've ocassionally heard of a homebirth transfer (or even a tranfer c-section) and the cervix swelling was cited as the cause.

I honestly don't know enough about anatomy to have an opinion on cervixes swelling. I've never heard of the mom saying she saw it, but then again most women don't own their bodies and births the same way when there is an attendant.

Peace and healing. and congratulations on what you did accomplish!!

maybe ask this in Birth Professionals to get some more opinons, too?

Carrie, The Birthteacher CCE and Doula, real mom to five; and womb-mom to G. born at 23w by emergency C. 12/09
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#3 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 12:08 AM
 
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It's OK to feel negative feelings about a birth that doesn't go according to plan. It's OK to grieve the loss of a dream. We live in a culture that regards pregnant and birthing women as sacred vessels for that precious cargo, our new babies, and assumes that all that's important is a healthy baby. I don't think that's the case

I'm glad you're both well and safe. Yours is the first time I've heard of an anterior lip swelling so much that it's visible, but you're not the first person I've heard of to transfer because of one- the others were both midwife-attended here in the UK, though, so there was help to diagnose a little earlier than you did. I had a small anterior lip myself with DS1, and yeah, it changed the feel of the labour after it was massaged and stretched and pushed back out of the way. Generally, an episiotomy isn't needed, but in your case I can see why it would be.

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#4 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 12:11 AM
 
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i have no advice or experience with this but wanted to lend my support and

and i don't believe there is such thing as a "failed" UC. you aren't in this to win the UC prize, you're in it to bring your baby into the world in the best way you can with the information you have! you can own your decisions, and even if you feel that you made a decision that you would have made differently, now, with more information (not that you do, just saying if...), you shouldn't feel guilty or shameful about that decision because you did what you could.

fwiw, we transfered after ds's birth because his face was blue. turns out it was just bruising. i kick myself so hard for not listening to my intuition which told me he was fine. we had a terrible time at the hospital and i know that i'd make a different decision now. that being said, i don't feel guilty because i know i did what i could for my baby and he is wonderful and happy and beautiful! all you can do is reflect on your particular situation and learn from it, whether you "should" have transfered or not.

you didn't fail at UC, you succeeded at bringing a new baby into the world! GO MAMA!

eta: i do agree with pp about the negative feelings being okay, too. i don't think it's selfish of you to have wanted that "perfect homebirth" [that we all want!], and i don't think it was selfish of you to transfer. i think you're just doing your best for you and your babe.
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#5 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 12:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the support. I have realized that things happened they way they needed to in order to have my little miracle I call Evie.
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#6 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 02:03 AM
 
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I've heard of swelling being a big deal sometimes. Esp. if there is an urge to push before the cervix is done getting out of the way. Trouble is, sometimes even if you're not 10cm, if you push, the cervix may move out of the way. I think following the urge to push is important... but I would say that if there was no progress of baby down the birth canal, I'd advocate breathing through and moving to hands and knees (chest down, rear up) to get the cervix to stop swelling.

I know you can take arnica (homeopathic) and I know there are a few others (to reverse the swelling) but I'd have to go look them up and I can't find that list right now (I searched all of yesterday)...

It's ok to feel sad or even bad - but I don't think you should feel guilty. I was horribly sad we transfered from our homebirth to the hospital with my son - I was exhausted, dehydrated and without good support and was stalled at 7.5cm with transition-ctx for the last 12 hours... it was a good choice in some ways, not a good choice in others. I can say that it taught me a lot and gave me oomph and education for the next births - but we never have that one that is 100% perfect you know?

If you daughter is healthy and happy and in a loving family - THAT is what lasts a lifetime. Give yourself time to process through, but remember that it wasn't failed, it was transfered.

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#7 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 04:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've heard of swelling being a big deal sometimes. Esp. if there is an urge to push before the cervix is done getting out of the way. Trouble is, sometimes even if you're not 10cm, if you push, the cervix may move out of the way. I think following the urge to push is important... but I would say that if there was no progress of baby down the birth canal, I'd advocate breathing through and moving to hands and knees (chest down, rear up) to get the cervix to stop swelling.
I appreciate the information you gave me on cervical swelling. Your right, I believe feeling like pushing before the baby had progressed down the canal had alot to do with it. I did although spend an hour or so on my hands and knees chest to the floor and hiney in the air. I think the slow progression was making me anxious and stalling her progression so I guess I just should've relaxed and did several boughts of hands on knees with just some breathing through the pressure. There is just so much I now know about how I labor.
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#8 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 11:49 AM
 
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I had a UC that was complicated by many things, among them a swollen cervical lip. The cure for a swollen cervical lip isn't an episiotomy. My labor was a good bit longer than yours(29 hours, both labors), baby's do come out. I was very thankful that my very dear friend cam over and kept me from going into the hospital.


Congratulations on your new baby girl!

Non Practicing Midwife, going back to school! Mamma to my 3 loves, living each day to the fullest.
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#9 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 11:58 AM
 
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With my 1st dd, I got the urge to push early and ended up with a swollen lip, too. They had to maneuver inside me to push it back and I pushed for 3 hours. Luckily I haven't had that with either of my births since.

Congrats on the baby girl!

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#10 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 01:31 PM
 
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Amanda, congratulations on the birth of your baby girl- Evie is such a sweet name!

Please don't use the word failure!!! Try not to beat yourself up. Swollen anterior lips happen. I've seen them cause problems at births before. Sometimes they are caused by pushing before the entire cervix is dilated evenly, which usually happens because a baby's head isn't applying even pressure to the cervix with contractions (maybe the baby's head is asynclitic/crooked or the mother is in one position too long where the baby's position isn't optimal). I've seen waiting it out in a position that keeps the baby off of the cervix to work...also I've seen the swollen cervix iced, which mothers do NOT like at all (especially during contractions) but which does work well. I have seen this dealt with at home and followed by fine births.

To be clear, the episiotomy didn't have anything to do with the swollen lip. The swollen lip made it harder for the baby to come through the cervix, but would not effect the actual birth (though sometimes prolonged pushing due to a swollen lip can also swell up the yoni/perineum as well and can make it harder to get baby out so I could see an episiotomy happening in that situation).

First births are such a learning experience! Really, most first births are more "eventful" than following ones. Luckily, the birth learning curve is really steep!!!

JENNY, 38~ preschool teacher, birth activist, sun worshiper, singer, married for 17 years and mom to

Karan 15, Fiona 12, Bodhi 10, Bjorn 6, Devon 3, and Robin Taylor born January 16th!

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#11 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 01:43 PM
 
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My experience last time was so bizarre I just don't even think about it too often. I was pushing, I was dilated, I had a lip - everything stalled out, I closed back up - 2 days later I went in for pitocin, never saw a lip with pit. What in the h-e-double hockey sticks happened? At the hospital, they said I was just never dilated - cause there is "no way" I was dilated and closed back up. But I don't buy it - but it is too bizarre for my head to wrap around, so I don't think about it or talk about it much...

FWIW, I don't think lip is going to be a problem this time. I'm seem to be doing my effacing before dilating at all, so I think labor is going to be straightforward dilating.
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#12 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 02:00 PM
 
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Oh man! Women certainly can dilate, then un-dilate! It happens- I've witnessed it. It seems that anything in labor/birth is possble, though for some reason some people want to keep it all within the textbook guidelines! Yes, un-dilating doesn't hurt anything. Often it seems that when something isn't right- mom is too tired, baby isn't in good position or something- the body will just stop labor, undilate, and then go into labor at a later time. It could be seen as a gift, really- time to correct whatever wasn't right. Probably your baby just moved into a better position so the lip wasn't there when your labor started again.

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Karan 15, Fiona 12, Bodhi 10, Bjorn 6, Devon 3, and Robin Taylor born January 16th!

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#13 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 02:07 PM
 
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Probably your baby just moved into a better position so the lip wasn't there when your labor started again.
I feel that this probably is the most likely explanation. The day after I felt contractions that felt like afterpains, and I felt him move back up rather than stay way down. Our bodies are pretty amazing!

ETA: My story makes a good case for keeping the hands out of the vagina after the water is broken - and to not be trying to manipulate that cervix manually. If there hadn't been the risk of infection, I would have been more comforatable waiting a few more days after labor stalled out. The assumption when you are in active labor is that you will have the baby soon - but I have proven that is not always true!
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#14 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 04:46 PM
 
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I had a very similar UC. Labor progressed well, transition was about 20-30 minutes and then ctx spaced out to one every 5 min for about 30 minutes or an hour . . . then picked up again, but no pushing urge. All of these contractions were incredibly painful and intense, like transition contractions. At 19 hours (after 6 hours of being stuck at 9cm+ in extreme pain), we transferred. MD was able to push the lip of cervix out of the way, I was told to push, and dd was born 25 minutes later. Total 21 hour labor.

It took me a very long time to process the birth and my feelings about UC. It has been an incredibly learning experience and journey. First of all, I don't consider my UC to be a failure. Maybe I needed to transfer, maybe I didn't. I think I did, because I waited so long and I was exhausted and worn and felt that the baby should have arrived by then. In a way, it's a UC success. UC is not about staying home at all costs or under all circumstances. You have to be able to transfer if you need help at some point. There is no shame in that. There's no manual for birth (okay, there are a zillion, but there's no manual for how you'll birth for a particular birth). Birth is unpredictable and different for every woman for every baby. Most of the time, everything goes off without a hitch. Sometimes, something unusual happens, and it's beneficial to have assistance. That's what it's there for.

You waited, you did beautifully, you took care of yourself. You transferred when something unusual happened that you did not feel you could handle yourselves. That's success, not failure. You gave your baby a healthy birth. You gave your baby a healthy labor and a safe birth. You only sought medical care when you needed it. I think you and your dh did a wonderful job.

Take plenty of time to absorb what happened and process the birth. Take as much time as you need. It was 7 or so months until I wrote out my birthstory. I needed that much time to work through it before I could bring myself to write it down. I felt a lot of betrayal and disappointment. I feel good about the birth now - I accept the bad and celebrate the good. I use it to help me plan for the next birth. And I don't feel like a failure, for myself or for my baby. I did what I needed to do (maybe not what the next woman would need, but what I needed) to give her the healthiest possible birth. I'm glad we went the UC route and had the long, unassisted labor at home. I'm glad we made the decision to transfer. I'm glad we had a good backup plan in hand for just such a situation. For a time I second-guessed the decision to transfer and even felt regret, thinking, "If I'd just . . ." But the thing is, I don't know what would have happened if I'd done something else, and neither does anyone else. You can speculate to help you learn from the experience, but I think at the end of the day, finding a definitive answer to a "What if I'd just stayed home?" question isn't really out there. It's one of the mysteries of the universe that will never be revealed. And so you have the birth you had, and you did beautifully, and you have so much to learn from.

Feel free to PM me if you want to talk more. I really do understand. Be gentle with yourself and take as much time as you need to process.
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#15 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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There is just so much I now know about how I labor.
Birth really can be such an amazingly journey of self-discovery ITA with the above mamas....go gentle with yourself. Your feelings are totally valid and emotions very real--whatever they may be at the moment

Congratulations on your sweet Evie

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#16 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a very similar UC.

Feel free to PM me if you want to talk more. I really do understand. Be gentle with yourself and take as much time as you need to process.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. All the feelings that you were having to process in the past are the same ones that I'm processing now. All this loving feed back is definitely speeding up that healing. I don't feel my UC is a failure anymore.

Thank You
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#17 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 11:49 PM
 
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Romana9+2, your story is wonderful and made me realize that someone who plans a UC and then transfers, when talking about it later to people who maybe think UC is crazy , can really put a good spin on it. Because the fact is, you got medical help when you needed it, you did not endanger yourself, there was no disaster as a result of UC.

You know, like someone who thinks it's so dangerous, just tell them your story (or maybe I'll tell them your story ) and point out that there's no reason to go to a hospital without cause when it's perfectly simple to go if cause does arise!

I hope I'm coherent. I think I learned a lot from both of your experiences and I'm happy for both of your successful births!

Diana, homebirthing, homeschooling, homemaking wife and mother of two (plus one more coming this Spring)!
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#18 of 28 Old 10-09-2007, 12:06 AM
 
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My first was a UC transfer. I understand the feelings of it being a failed UC. I refer to it like that all the time. In our case though we went in for pain killer only to have it go wrong. Feel free to pm me as well. I know it's not the same as yours but I had an episiotomy too..so that with the feelings of failure I can relate!

Congrats on your baby! I love the name.

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#19 of 28 Old 10-09-2007, 01:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This has trully been such an up lifting thread. I'm so glad I finally got over my own shame and got around to posting it. I wasn't sure how much it would help me. I hope that the support I've gotten here will help others who have had similar UC's or help those planning their first UC. I feel so much lighter now.

Much Love to all the strong women of the world.
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#20 of 28 Old 10-09-2007, 01:56 AM
 
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you are a strong mama Freelove!

congratulations on the birth of your baby girl Evie!
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#21 of 28 Old 10-09-2007, 08:09 AM
 
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lots of wise words from these loving mamas.

Amanda, I hope you know that I most definitely do not think your UC was a failure. I probably would have done exactly what you did if I were in that situation. Birth is such a trial and error mysterious passage of life that we can't plan or control. The important thing is that as you always said, you were doing it out of love. You planned to stay home as long as it was safe because you loved yourself and your family. You planned to transfer if you no longer felt comfotrable at home because you love yourself and your family. You made your decisions out of love and thats what counts. You made every sincere effort to keep yourself and Evie safe, and look now, she is just gorgeous and so lucky to have such a strong wise mama like you. She will be an amazing woman one day. She is already an amazing little peanut. :

And as Romana9+2 said, you can only go so far with the "what if I had just..." speculations. To this day, I still ponder Every's birth..."what if I had waited longer to get in the tub.." "what if I had just gotten the courage to ask our guest to leave..." "maybe things would have progressed quicker and smoother"...etc. But in the end, you can only do what you can do in that moment, going on your best judgment, and cannot beat yourself up for any outcome that comes of those decisions. You and Chris did amazing and you both are such an inspiration to me. : You can always email me random thoughts as you continue to process. (Ha, processing birth is a lifelong thing, I doubt I will ever be finished processing! )

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#22 of 28 Old 10-09-2007, 08:28 AM
 
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congrats on the birth of Evie mama

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#23 of 28 Old 10-09-2007, 01:17 PM
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i'm with those who have said that it's ok to feel your negative feelings and work through them. it's ok to question what you did and experienced. it is only through this that you'll come to true peace about it and the depth of self knowledge that comes from birth.

i do not think of any birth as a "failed" experience. to me, birth is a sacred rite: one of the initiatory blood mysteries. but it should be noted that these sorts of things--initiations--are rarely "sterile" in the sense of coming through them with ease.

different people will have different processes and experiences--and i think it is important to take stock of the lessons of those experiences. for those who have insanely traumatic births, there will be healing in exploring that trauma and it's origins. And, those traumas are, in may ways, necessary for that particular spiritual initiation.

there aren't any mistakes in this--and yes, it stinks that often we must go through hardship, even great hardship, to get the full blessing of that initiation.

for me, no matter what happens in birth--it is all sacred and all part of the process. even if the "worst" happens, that has value and purpose at every level of being.

so, what is often considered "failure" (and i'm ok with this word, because it also inherently suggests attempting, effort, and strength of will to try!), it a part of the learning process. we take that 'failure' and we learn from it, and when we face a similar circumstance, we try again.

it may be that you never give birth again (whichi s ok, i don' tknow what you want, or what is going to happen. --but this doesn't mean that the lessons don't have value in every aspect of your life.

i feel that what we learn from our failures is probably the greatest gift that we can receive. it is the beginning of wisdom.
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#24 of 28 Old 10-09-2007, 02:43 PM
 
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wow! thanks to all the mamas that responded to her. i really needed to real all this. i'm *still* processing a bit from our birth 2 1/2 yrs ago. (i really could use a computer at home to come to mothering.com more often!) very sweet to read.
fwiw, i took arnica 1m to deal with swelling of my cervix as my body was full on pushing before my son had moved down enough to be pushed. it was torturous. finally a friend suggested we take a walk. it felt so good to walk outside in the cool refreshing air--we live in the woods so we didn't have neigbors seeing us--that might've been weird to me. i relaxed, breathed big full breaths, smiled, woke up a bit, felt some relief from my overwhelming fear of pain. went back inside and though i don't remember the timing exactly (a good sign for a birthing mama), next dh saw a yellow sac between my legs. aha! i crouched like a gorilla on knees and fists over some towels and pushed that cutie on out. gosh i loved pushing!!

my labor was 22 hrs. much of it seemed like pushing/being stuck from fear. i'm so glad i was able to move through it. i'm so glad my friend was available by phone for support (she's an awesome uc-supportive mw)

oh, and i totally understand the idea of getting stuck in what a uc should look like and being critical of ourselves if it doesn't live up to that. we live and (hopefully) learn!

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#25 of 28 Old 10-09-2007, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i feel that what we learn from our failures is probably the greatest gift that we can receive. it is the beginning of wisdom.
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So true! I am definate proof of that.

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fwiw, i took arnica 1m to deal with swelling of my cervix as my body was full on pushing before my son had moved down enough to be pushed. it was torturous.
I used arnica after the birth. It definately helped with all the swelling and bruising of labor and delivery. But I don't know why I didn't think to use it during. Oh now I remember I was in Labor
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#26 of 28 Old 10-10-2007, 10:43 AM
 
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I also transfered... did some involuntary pushing, about an hour, hour and a half and no progress. I was hands and knees because that was just what felt right. We xfered and they said I was 9.5 with a lip when I got there. But it didn't take me long to finish and push her out, less than half an hour. I thought she must've been in a bad position and shifted during the xfer, and that the lip thing was bunk. But now I'm thinking maybe that was it, and that the hands/knees urge was to get her off my cervix to give it a chance to finish. But I didn't go chest/knees for some reason. I don't know. I wonder what the answer to this is.
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#27 of 28 Old 10-10-2007, 04:47 PM
 
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I have not had a UC - but I have had two cervical lips in my two mw attended hbs. Both times the mw "reduced" the lip by holding it "back" while I pushed "past" it. 1st time I don't think swelling was really an issue - 2nd time, it definitely was.

I'm posting b/c I hope the 2nd experience might be useful to the OP in thinking about the swelling/lip.

I had asked the mw not to do anything during the labor unless I asked her to. I had my fingers on my cervix a lot b/c it was a way for me to be aware of how my body was working and besides, I got to touch my baby's head! After a while I realized I had a lip and started trying to massage it away/push it behind baby's head myself. Then it started swelling. I had been laboring hands and knees for most contractions (sitting or standing btw. contractions) the whole time, so I was pretty sure the problem was not me being stuck in one position or anything. I decided to ask the mw for her help. We talked about options: wait, choose a different position, arnica, have her reduce the lip manually while I pushed past it. We did them all, pretty much in that order, b/c I wanted to interfere as little as possible. But - you know - being "stuck" in transition really sucks. And to me, that's what having a lip feels like - like being in transition FOREVER. Waiting didn't do much. Different position (reclining - ow) started to help. Arnica did the trick to reduce the swelling, but I still had the lip. MW reduced while I pushed, after we thought about it and decided it might work better for me to apply effort in one direction while the MW applied effort in the other direction.

DS2 was born 10 minutes later, sunny side up, into my hands.

Just another experience with this problem to put in the old hat.

Here as mama to W (2/04), R (5/06), D (7/09), and J (12/9/12!), co-parenting with my DH

I WOH part-time, am a doula & childbirth educator, home/unschool, and hope we are nearing the center of chaos


 
  

Mamabeakley is offline  
#28 of 28 Old 10-10-2007, 05:12 PM
 
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I just wanted to say thank you to FreeLove for posting her experience. It's not something you read a lot about as a complication during labor. But I'm so glad to be made aware of it.

I'm sorry you ended up having to transfer, and I hope your healing goes well. Congratulations on your baby! Take all the time you need in feeling whatever you need to feel to process your birth experience. No one here would call your birth a failure. You did it!

Mom to DD ('06) and DS ('08)
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