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I am sooo late in posting this, but life, as always, has been crazy. Thank you to all of MDC!!! You played an integral role in educating me to make the right decisions about Gavin's birth. You are such an amazing resource, and I am so grateful to the people who work hard to keep MDC up and running, and to the people who post on the forums. Here is the crazy long version of Gavin's birth (I should also mention that this was a VBAC! My first birth was emergency c-section with dd for hyperstimulation of uterus caused by potentially unnecessary labor induction with pitocin; general anesthesia):<br><br>
This is the birth story of Gavin Bradlee. Birth story is actually the wrong name . . . birth journey is more like it. This was a 60 plus hour journey that tested everything that I had learned and read about birth over the last two years, and we utilized literally every birth resource we had to make the right decisions on what to do next . . . our doula, hypnobabies, Bradley class, chiropractor, and network of amazing ICAN St. Louis women for support. At the end of the day, I can honestly say that I would not change a single moment of those 60 plus hours, hard as they were. Every decision we made, even though I was scared and sometimes overwhelmed, was an educated decision to do what was in the best interest of our little guy. Not to mention that I have never loved or respected my husband more then I do now and did in those moments after I delivered Gavin. Steve was amazing during the entire journey, stronger that I could have ever asked, never wavering, and he supported me in every way that I required.<br><br>
It all started around 9am on March 30. I woke up thinking, “Well, I guess no baby today,” got in the shower and dressed for work. On my way downstairs, I felt something wet, so I went back upstairs to the bathroom and had that conversation with myself that every women whose water breaks has . . . “So did I pee myself, or did my water break?”. I put on a pad and went downstairs. At the bottom of the steps, I picked Maya up and sure enough, gush gush. Maya and I went to the bathroom and I concluded my water broke. I decided to go on with my morning since I assumed there would be a few hours before contractions started. I told Madi that the baby may be coming today, and that I was going to the office, but I would be back shortly. On my way I stopped at the coffee shop, called my mom, my dad, and Steve to tell them all that baby would hopefully arrive today. I also called my doula S. S said to keep her updated and that she would be by in the afternoon to check on me. At my office, I talked to my assistant, passed off my last few projects, talked to a few friends, and left feeling excited, but a little emotional. I called Steve on the way home and asked him to come home sooner rather than later.<br><br>
When I got home, Madi (our au pair) and Maya (dd) were grocery shopping, so I kept busy packing Maya to go to my mom’s house and getting our hospital bags ready. My biggest problem was that every time I packed Maya’s things, I started crying. Something about my little girl leaving and coming home to a different family dynamic made me very emotional. So I left the packing list with Maya’s luggage, and focused on packing Steve and I for the hospital. All along I kept waiting, waiting, waiting for contractions . . . Steve arrived home and packed Maya. Maya and Madi arrived home, and we got Maya ready for grandma’s house. Once Maya was ready, we had Madi drive her to my mom’s house, because I was afraid if mom came and left with Maya, it would be very hard on me emotionally. Once Maya was gone, I focused on walking around the neighborhood with Steve to get the contractions started. We walked round and round and round . . . but not much in the way of contractions. Just a few gushes of fluid.<br><br>
All throughout the day, I kept thinking that I needed to stay hydrated and watch my temp. In the back of my head, I kept thinking about that 24 hour rule once your water breaks. Even the liberal 24 hour rule which gave me 24 hours before I had to go to the hospital . . . Mid to late afternoon, S came over, and she, Steve and I worked on getting the contractions started. Pressure points, nipple stimulation, all fours in the shower, hip squeezes, walking, etc. We had a few contractions, but nothing to write home about. S checked the baby’s heart rate with her doppler, and baby sounded great. Finally, after dark, she did the one dilation check that day, and I was 3cm dialated and 75% effaced. Good news, but we had nothing to compare it to because the OB had not checked me at any of my appointments.<br><br>
Finally, about 11pm, we decided it was time to rest. S stayed the night, and Steve and I were able to get a little sleep. I was up at 4pm sitting backwards on the toilet trying to get things started. Finally, some “real” contractions!!!!! I started to get excited!!! Around 4:30, I got Steve up, we showered, and woke S up. S checked baby’s heart rate, and it was great. YAY! So, we decided to go for breakfast and then go to the park and walk, walk, walk. I had some great contractions at breakfast, so we sat there for a while. It had started to rain, so instead of the park, we opted for the mall. We arrived at the mall around 7am, and walked with the mall walkers for a few hours. I had several regular contractions, but nothing that I could not walk/talk through. We decided to call my chiropractor and see if she could get me in for acupuncture, and bless her she found time to squeeze me in, even though she was closed that morning. In the car on the way to see the chiropractor, my contractions stopped . . . UGH! At the chiropractor, she adjusted me, and then did the acupuncture. I had two contractions!! YAY!<br><br>
After that, we thanked her profusely, and then headed back to the mall to walk. On the way to the mall, we started taking my temperature regularly to be sure there was no infection. My temp throughout the entire process never made it out of the 97s. At the mall, again, tons and tons of regular contractions, but nothing that I could not walk through. I must have had 500 contractions on Tuesday!!!! After talking with S, we decided to head home and meet up with her to check out the situation. Again, more nipple stimulation, pressure points, and walking . . . again, nothing very regular. S checked baby’s heart rate, and he again was GREAT! YAY! She also did her one cervical check that day . . . no change. :[ But, the good news was that she felt a bag of water around the baby’s head. I was still having the occasional gush, and that meant that the break was most likely a high break/slow leak, which was less likely to lead to infection. That gave me some confidence. That evening, Steve and I walked and walked around the reservoir, up stairs, up and down hills, etc. Still nothing to write home about as far as contractions.<br><br>
At this point, I was starting to get discouraged. When we got home, we talked with S about our options, and what our plan was going forward. We talked about going to the hospital Wednesday mid morning, acknowledging that would lead to low dose pitocin, but maybe that was what was needed to kick my body into labor?? I tried to stay optimistic, but I was starting to worry that the baby was ok, even though his heart rate still sounded great. S went home, and Steve and I tried to rest that night. Sometime in the middle of the night, we had more contractions, and we spent several hours walking and bouncing on the ball listening to my hypnobabies birthing day affirmations. We had been listening to those affirmations in the car everywhere we went, and they really helped focus me on the task at hand. However, early that morning, the contractions petered out again . . .<br><br>
We woke up that morning, and I was feeling beaten. I started really doubting myself and my body, and for the first time ever felt that maybe my body was broken. I started blaming the induction with Maya, and had all but decided that my body just could not recognize real labor/oxytocin because it was forced into labor the last time. I was angry!! But I was also motivated. We called our Bradley teacher K, and she was super supportive of our decision to stay home and try and get things going naturally. She gave us some great suggestions and support. When S arrived that morning, we had a plan . . . 20 mins nipple stimulation/pressure points, 20 mins in the shower on all fours with hip squeezes, 20 mins walking. Again we kept a close eye on baby’s heart rate, and it was strong and steady. Great accels and decels during contractions too. Gavin was so strong and such a trooper! We did that for two hours, and I started contracting again . . . Now, I was not excited this time, because we had been down this road, but I was encouraged. We called my chiropractor again, and she agreed to squeeze us in at 12:30. In my head, after that, we were headed to the hospital regardless.<br><br>
Before S left, she did her one check of the day, and WE HAD CERVICAL CHANGES!!!! The definition of “labor” is not contractions, because those can be “false” labor. The definition of labor is cervical changes, and I was having them. YAY! A stretchy 4 cms dilated, and more then 80% effaced. FINALLY, progress!! So we walked, and I started having to stop and focus during contractions. It became time to head to the chiropractor (30 mins away), and as we pulled away from our house, I wondered out loud if we would go straight to the hospital. I decided we at least should grab the cameras, so we turned around to grab them quickly.<br><br>
I was thrilled because unlike before, in the car, my contractions did not peter out, but instead got stronger. I was moaning through contractions. YAY! We got to the chiropractor, she took one look at me and confirmed I was in labor. YAY!! She did a quick adjustment, and showed Steve a nifty move that came in handy a few hours later. The move entailed curling a finger around my tailbone during a contractions to give it a little “lift”. This helped relieve the pressure, and could help turn a posterior baby. Again, the whole way home, lots of moaning contractions. YAY!!!<br><br>
S met us at home, and I had several more contractions when she got there. We decided to stay home for a little longer, but my contractions got longer and stronger quickly, and next thing we knew I was on the toilet and not wanting to move. At that point, S mouthed to Steve “We need to go now!”. They got me in the car and we headed to St. Mary’s. Steve took me to emergency, and then had to move the car, so someone took me up to evaluation. We all arrived at the same time, and the evaluation unit cleared the way to get me in for evaluation. We had a great nurse and a green resident. The green resident checked me and found me 3 cms dialated (wrong) . . . They asked their questions while monitoring the baby. The resident asked about my previous c-section, and when I gave her a very medical answer, she hissed to S, “Did you bring in a medical professional without telling me?” S laughed and said no. Right about that time, the nurse asked what I did for a living, and I answered lawyer. Steve joked, “and the room went quiet!”. ;} It was true, it did, but the lovely nurse asking the questions joked that I did not scare her!! (Also, between you and me, we may have fudged exactly when my water broke . . . )<br><br>
During this process, the OB that I had seen at my last prenatal visit, Dr. D, stopped by. She was so excited that she was on all night, and when she saw my name she had to stop by. I was thrilled because we had a great connection at my visit about skiing and snowboarding. She was young and enthusiastic, and a great choice given that I could have had anyone in the practice.<br><br>
Once Dr. D left, the clueless resident came back with the VBAC, “You and your baby could die” forms, and then told me that with VBACs, their standard of care was to do internal monitoring, especially since I had some odd heart rates from baby when I first go there. Well, number 1, we knew the “odd” heart rates were because the monitors were not on correctly at first, and number 2, internal monitoring made no sense for a number of reasons (two of which included that they would have had to break the forewaters to do that and baby was still a bit high and also the possibility of introducing infection after my water had broken . . . DUH!). So I said very politely, “Can you please explain the risks and benefits of internal monitoring vs. introducing a potential infection given that my water has been broken for sometime?” The resident looked at me, and very slowly said that she would send a resident into my room once I was hooked up to the monitors there to watch baby’s heart rate, and as long as it looked good, there was no need for internal monitors. WHEW! One battle won, and that in itself made all my education feel worth it!!<br><br>
We got in the room, and immediately they started setting up for birth given that everyone thought I would go fast. Steve gave them my birth plan, and there was a bit of a stink about my request for no residents directing my care, but at that point I did not care. Also at the point back labor set in . . . From about 4:30pm - 7:30 pm, I had terrible back labor with contractions every minute or minute and a half without a break. I labored on the bed, on the toilet, etc., and it was painful. My hips ached, my back ached. I moaned a lot. All of this is a bit of a blur for me . . . Sometime around 7:30, I was on the bed on all fours, and Steve did the tailbone lift technique the chiropractor taught him, and he felt the baby move so much that it pushed his hand out of the way. I am certain at that point the baby turned. Go Steve!!!<br><br>
S checked me and I was a stretchy 6. I labored on the toilet for 20 mins, and that was transition. In retrospect, it is hysterical! I was saying all the classic lines, and I knew what was going on, so I would say . . . “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t” . . . “I know I am only saying I can’t because I am in transition, but I can’t help myself!” I then had a thought that I should leave the hospital, and immediately thought, “I am only thinking this because I am in transition!” Throughout all of this, Steve and S were my rock. They kept telling me to relax and work with the contractions, and that was becoming harder and harder and harder.<br><br>
I started to feel like I was going to split in half!! I stood up, and yelled to S that my body was pushing. I could not help it!!!! My fabulous nurse checked me, and was THRILLED to tell me I was 9 and 3/4 with an anterior lip. YAY!! They called Dr. D, and the room filled with people. I hopped up on the bed, and started pushing. I HATED PUSHING!! I was so disappointed, because I had heard that pushing was supposed to feel great! To me, it was just too intense, and I could not exactly figure it out. It was not intuitive for me . . . I started in a squat, and then pushed in a dozen positions. Finally, I figured out (and remembered from my Bradley class) that if I waited until the peak of the contractions, I pushed much more effectively. My pushing contractions also did not space out like many people’s do in that they just kept coming every minute or two. I was exhausted!!! At one point, we tried my left side, and had the only scare with Gavin the entire labor. His heart rate took a dive, and they popped me up on all fours along with oxygen. I was scared, and flashed back to Maya’s emergency c-section, but unlike with Maya (because no pitocin this time . . . ), Gavin’s heart rate jumped right back up, and the oxygen was off a few minutes later. Turns out his cord was around his neck once and under his arm, and cord under the arm most likely was responsible for the dive in heart rate when I was on my left side.<br><br>
The funniest parts about pushing were the comments and reactions from the people in the room! They were joking about my pushing positions, commenting on how I did yoga, and that is why I could get into those positions, mimicking them to see if they could get into those positions not pg nor in labor. On some level, I was hearing this and smiling. It was great comic relief!! Not to mention that they were amazing cheerleaders, encouraging me and cheering for me after every single contraction!!<br><br>
After what felt like two hours, I was starting to get a little frustrated. I thought maybe I needed to pee, but the toilet was the only place off limits to me. They brought me a bed pan, and I stood with one leg on the floor, and the other in a lunge on the bed and tried to pee. While nothing came out, I had some great pushing contractions in that position. Next thing I knew, I could feel his head. YAY!!! So I tried the other side, and again, some great contractions. YAY!!! But still no baby . . . I again thought back to everything I had read, and decided to try and get up on the bed in a squat and push there. I got my head in the right place, and figured I had at least another 30 mins of this, and I resolved to push this baby out in the next 30 mins!<br><br>
So with the help of my team, I “jumped” up on the bed, stood up, and as the contraction started, got into a half squat and PUSHED . . . and his head came out!!!!! All of a sudden, the room erupted into a cheer, and I think I said, stunned, “What do I do now?”, and they yelled “PUSH AGAIN!”. So I pushed again and his shoulders came out, and then I heard “PUSH AGAIN!” and I did, and the rest of him slid out. OH MY GOD . . . I was in shock! Steve loves to tell the story about how the dr, nurses, and S were trying for a good 20 seconds to figure out how to hand the baby to me given that I was in a 1/2 squat/stand. They ended up passing him through my legs to me, and then the monitors came off and I laid down with him on my chest. They kept saying “it’s your baby!” and I kept thinking, “it can’t be because I had another 30 mins of pushing!” Finally, I came “back into myself” and realized that Gavin was here, and I had done it!!!!<br><br>
Gavin’s apgars were 9 and 9, he was 6 lbs, 14 ozs, and 19 3/4 inches long. Born at 9:41pm on Wednesday, April 1, 2009 (go figure). We only had three small problems after his birth. Gavin had the hiccups on the way out, and he ingested a bunch of amniotic fluid. They ended up draining several ozs out of his stomach because he was a little “grunty” (apparently a sign of fluid in lungs/stomach). After that, he latched on and nursed like a CHAMP, and has continued ever since. I had a barely second degree tear into the perineum, and the OB stitched me up while Gavin nursed. The amazing OB gave me 2 and a half hours to pass the placenta . . . and NOTHING! It was so strange. I had (and continue to have) very little bleeding, but the placenta was stubborn. So finally 2 and a half hours later, the OB went in and found the placenta at the bottom of my uterus, but it just would not come into the vagina. She scooped it out . . . it was painful, but not terrible after giving birth. As an aside, the placenta looked so cool!! The funny part about it was the Steve was so hungry that he had ordered pizza. Well, Steve sat in the corner eating his pizza while this all happened, even though the entire room looked a bit like a episode of CSI. Hysterical!! Totally desensitized after all that we had been through over the last 60 hours or so.<br><br>
They watched us over the next 24 hours to make sure neither of us developed signs of infection since my water had been broken, and we did so great that we went home 24 hours later. Absolutely an amazing experience, and I would not change a single thing!!
 

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made me a little misty <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/happytears.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="happytears">
 

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Beautiful!! What endurance! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">
 
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