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This is the birth story of Kiera Brynn. Born in a Baby Friendly hospital (USA) but we may as well have been at home. No interventions with labor and I was able to do what I wanted how and when I wanted.

I woke up at about 6am for my usual morning pee - thinking to myself that I didn't sleep as well as I usually have been. And then my water broke. Conveniently, Brandon hadn't left for work yet, so that made logistics much easier. I called my midwife and doula (I was slightly concerned by the color, but both assessed it was likely old cervical blood). I laid back down and tried unsuccessfully to rest, so instead started pacing the bathroom. Contractions started (or perhaps picked up... I wonder if that's why I hadn't slept as well) pretty much immediately and within an hour they were ~5-6 minutes apart. Brandon took care of the morning routine with Lauren, kept her occupied, and also started packing the hospital bag.
I'd been doing yoga before and throughout the pregnancy so played around with some movements to help work through the contractions. I found that bending at the waist and leaning/pressing my hands on the edge of the counter worked really well. I could move my hips around and that helped keep things loose. I remembered from Ina May's book a story about a woman who found arm wrestling to help with contraction. I think applying pressure against the counter helped my body focus.
I had a little bit of anxiety about getting things packed up... contractions were getting serious faster than I'd anticipated and I wanted to get everything ready to go so that I could maybe have some down time before I decided it was time to head to the hospital - which I was starting to feel would be sooner than later. (I wanted to get there with time to deal with the paperwork and fuss and get settled before transition.) My doula arrived and gave me a few tips/reminders as I worked through the contractions (she's also my yoga instructor) and we got the packing finished just as my good friend (and doula-in-training) arrived. She helped with Lauren so Brandon could get the car packed up, and she also handled coordinating the logistics of getting Lauren to another friend who would be watching her for however long we needed. The rest of us headed to the hospital (a 4 minute drive, so I was fortunate to have only one contraction in the car.) Oh, I forgot that during the time at home, I'd been in touch with my midwife, and midwife and my doula (Julie) were discussing some potential negativity at the hospital. I heard the name of the nurse that I'd had with Lauren's birth, and piped in that I'd like to request to not have her. That made things much easier for my midwife (Angel.)
We got to the hospital, I did the paperwork while doing the 20 (or was it 30) minutes of monitoring (standing and doing my contraction dance when needed). Angel and Mary (the midwife-in-training who was also a nurse at the hospital) arrived soon after we did. I spoke to Angel and unfortunately we were going to have to do the hep-lock (she hates it, but the doctor she report to is adamant about it, so the option was hep-lock or Angel wouldn't be able to continue with me.) I had already addressed my anxiety about needles and the IV earlier (and in my birth plan), so we came up with a strategy to minimize the anxiety. We finished the monitoring, I went to the bathroom (though by this time I found I couldn't pee) and I got in the tub. Once I got centered, Mary did the IV (in my arm, not my hand) with a small guage needle. She did a fabulous job, getting it done gently and quickly and it was done by the time my next contraction began. It worked... as I didn't even notice it the rest of the time.
I labored in the tub for a while. The warm water felt nice, as did the relief of the weight of the baby belly. It was challenging to get enough clearance to really move my hips though, and after a while I found I was having to stand up and lean over to work/dance through the contractions. Eventually, I decided that was too much of a bother and opted to get out of the tub. I got into my position next to the tub, as the edge of it was just the right height, however a few of the contractions were a bit scary, as my feet would slip on the floor. I'd brought my yoga mat though, so we put that down and no more slipping. Both in the tub and out of the tub there were some contractions that were rough and I had a harder time with. But oddly, contractions afterward seemed less intense, and sometimes seemed to be farther apart. I thought that was nice of my body - to give me a break. (lol... having spoken with my labor support team, it wa mostly in my head, as my contractions had been pretty consistent in timing throughout. Ah the power of natural oxytocin!)
Anyway, back out of the tub, my lower back was starting to hurt and my ankles were starting to ache (I was in a pretty wide stance at this point and periodically starting to get into a squatting position through contractions.) My doula suggested I put one foot up on a short stool, to help with the lower back, but I didn't like that at all. She then gave my thighs a vigorous shaking and THAT worked really well.
I continued laboring at the side of the tub, also using the birth/yoga ball to sit on between contractions - that enabled me to rest my ankles. At that point I had a proximity awareness of about a foot or so around me... I'd ask for the ball and it would appear, I'd stand up and it would go away, I'd ask for ice and it'd appear. Then the contractions were much harder, and on one level I knew it was transition, and on another level I just didn't want to do it. Finally, incredibly, I was through transition and contractions seemed easier and I knew it was time to push. I had a bit of a mental block with getting into position and preparing to push. I think this may actually have been earlier when I wasn't fully complete. I did work through that and then...
this crazy trance/euphoric thing happened where the pain and any mental stuff just went away and everything was just about getting down and pushing the baby out. And so I did. And out she came. (7 1/2 hrs after water broke). Angel was telling me to reach down and feel her, and then catch her, but I just couldn't... at that point it was all I could do to stay upright and I was afraid that if I let go of the tub I'd fall, or I'd drop her if I held her.
Once she was fully out, she was a concerning shade of blue, and didn't cry, so Angel did cut the cord in order to bring her over to oxygen. This was probably the only deviation from if it'd been a homebirth (well, and the hep-lock probably). The oxygen worked and her lungs cleared out (all with my permission first - hosp staff did very well with that). And she was brought back over to me (I'd made it over to the bed so I could rest and deliver the placenta in a more restful position. She just wanted to sleep, but within the first hour had perked up enough to nurse.

All in all it was a perfect labor and birth experience. I wouldn't change a thing. (Which is good... 'cause I'm done! lol.)
 

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That's incredible. I'm impressed with all the different positions you tried. You have given me plenty to think about regarding my upcoming hospital birth, thank you for sharing your story. And congratulations on your healthy new baby
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I hope things are going well at home with the transition to being a family of four.
 

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I hope my hospital birth goes just as smoothly! great job
 
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