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Category Archives: Birth Center Birth

Birth Story: Hendrik Gavin

January 22, 2013 Birth Center Birth

January 13th was my estimated due date but seeing as this was my first baby, I knew that I would be passing that date but I didn’t think I would pass it by 9 days! Jan. 18, a Friday, I had my midwife Christina go ahead and strip my membranes and I was only at 1cm dilated. I was ready for this baby to come out! I was in a car accident four years ago and my unborn son figured out that one of my ribs moved, so that is where he loved to have his feet to get that little extra stretching room! My husband Peter and I did all the things they tell you to do, ate the spicy food, had sex, and did primrose oil, nothing worked. So Monday the 21st we went back to my midwife she stripped me again and gave me some herbs to take. Went home and I realized there was one more thing that I could try doing but didn’t want to because my breasts were so sensitive, nipple stimulation. Around 7pm I had dinner, got in my bed, put on Netflix and started stimulating! Peter fell asleep in his computer chair but I stayed up mostly watching stand-up comedians so that I was focusing on the jokes and relaxing.

Around 1am I started feeling funny so after 8 hrs of doing nipple stimulation, I got up and went into the shower, waking Peter before so. He came in and started timing my waves, they were 1 minute apart lasting 40sec. Peter went to load up the car to go over to my mom’s. I called my sister Madelyn, told her what was happening but that we don’t know how long it was going to be until we got over there so don’t wake the parents yet. We didn’t get over there until almost 3am because I didn’t want to get in the car. With my wet hair in the middle of January I just wanted to walk around the yard. It felt so good to just walk and that cold crisp air felt amazing! I called my sister and told her to wake everyone up, we are on are way. That car ride felt like it lasted for ever, even though I knew Peter was probably speeding, he was so scared that I was going to have the baby in the car because everything was happening so fast!

Finally getting to my mom’s, she and my sister were loading up her van. All I wanted to do was sit on the toilet, it felt so good to just sit there. In all the rushing I forgot to call one of the key players, my midwife! I yell to Peter from the bathroom to call her and let her know that I was coming to the birth center now. I finally leave my cozy little bathroom to get in the car. By this time I want to say it’s maybe 3:30-4am, I had lost all sense of time. My mom drove so when we were getting off the interstate and two cop cars with their flashing lights pulled up behind us, I started freaking, thinking my mother had sped down here. I start screaming “just keep driving” but thankfully they just went around us.

Finally getting there, Christina wanted to check my vitals, but seeing as all I wanted to do was pace around, it was difficult, but I finally let her do it. She also checked to see how dilated I was, saying I was at 5cm. I asked if I could get in the shower; she said yes. I don’t know how long I was in there but it felt like my waves were non-stop. Christina came in after what felt like a couple minutes asking if I wanted to get in the bathtub. I said yes and Peter got me off my hands and knees at the bottom of the shower. Christina checked me again: I was at 7cm. The midwife assistant had now arrived, I feel sorry for doing this now but the first thing I said to her I kind of yelled at her, she had started to turn down the lights in the room but I told her to turn them back on. I was scared that if it was too dark I would miss something, I guess.

After that, all I remember was I wanted to push and sleep at the same time but Christina wouldn’t let me push, because I wasn’t fully dilated yet. She checked me again: I was 8cm but all I wanted was to push! She said that the baby’s head was caught on my cervices. So I got out of the tub onto the bed where she helped him pass it. She also broke my water. I was now allowed to start pushing! Oh, what sweet relief. Everything was going good, he was coming. Then, right before he crowned, I guess they couldn’t find his heart beat and started telling me to push harder. That’s when I felt myself tearing, that sensation was letting me know that he was minutes away.

Hendrik Gavin was born at 7:40am January 22, 2013. He was 8lbs 10oz and 21½ in. He had a bruise down the side of his cone head from getting stuck. I gave birth to the placenta, then Christina stitched me up. I was in active labor for 6hrs 10mins! Which surprised me seeing as this was my first baby and my mom’s birth lasted 14hrs with my older brother. I thought I would be up there in time.

Mom called my dad and brother to come to the birthing center and to also pick up breakfast. This is when things start getting really fuzzy for me. Before they got there, Madelyn and the assistant cleaned me up but when I went to stand up to go the bathroom everything went gray. I felt like someone put earplugs in my ears and I was dizzy and fell back onto the bed. I sat there for a minute or two. Christina came in and said I had lost a lot of blood and was still losing a lot. She checked my blood pressure: it was 80/60. So she hooked me up to an IV bag. We tried again, my sister walked in front and the assistant behind, so we had a little train going to the bathroom. Came back to bed and nursed Hendrik which it seemed that he had forgotten how, when we had just did it a couple hours ago.

Several hours passed. We had breakfast with my family plus our new little addition. After finishing my second bag of fluids, I needed to go to the bathroom. So we made another train but this time when I tried standing up in the bathroom I got dizzy and my hearing went fuzzy again, so Christina said that she is calling the hospital. An ambulance came and got me. We had decided that my mom and Madelyn would stay with Hendrik at the birth center and Peter would come with me. So with Hendrik being only 7hrs old I left him for the first time. I cried the whole ride to the hospital! I kept apologizing to the EMT for crying, but he said it was fine and it showed him that I was alert and knew what was going on.

Once we got there, the nurse and EMTs fought over me: the nurses were ready to take me up to the labor and delivery floor but the EMTs wanted to check me into the emergency room… the nurses won. As soon as I got to the room, there was a swarm of doctors and nurses. I had people asking questions, others wanting me to sign paper work, one person was doing an ultrasound on my stomach, while others were trying to insert IVs into both of my arms. I had lost so much blood that they had to use ultrasound to find my veins! The doctor found a chunk of my placenta still in me; they were going to have to do a Dilation and Curettage. Peter and Christina had finally calmed me down so I wasn’t crying anymore but when the doctor said that if she could not stop the bleeding during surgery she was going to have to do an emergency hysterectomy, that made me start crying again. After all the hooking up of wires and IVs, they were ready to go. I kissed Peter and told him I loved him and to go ahead and call my grandmothers and mom to let everyone know what was going on. The last thing I remember was looking into the anesthesiologist’s blue eyes and holding one of the nurse’s hands.

I woke up to them pulling the tube out of my throat. It didn’t hurt because I was still pretty numb from the medicines. The first thing I said was I asked the orderly if my husband knew that I loved him? The poor guy didn’t know how to answer then I asked where my baby was and again the guy didn’t know what to say. I went to recovery and finally got the water I was begging for since the ambulance ride, and chap stick. I was there 20 minutes when I was sent to a room. In the hall on the way up Peter, Hendrik, Madelyn, Mom and Madelyn’s fiancé Jason were waiting for me.

I got a four-person room all to myself. It was awesome and I had great nurses. I was there 3 days. The second day I had gotten an infection, so they wanted to keep me an extra day. Peter and Hendrik stayed with me the whole time. I kind of liked being in the hospital, getting waited on hand and foot was nice. I’m glad I didn’t have Hendrik there though; the birth center was the right choice for my little growing family. I feel empowered for being able to have the birth I wanted and finding the strength to have an all-natural birth. I will be doing an all-natural birth for the next baby, let’s see if I can do it in the water this time.

Birth Story: Logan Samuel

December 16, 2012 Birth Center Birth

Beginning at week 37, when you’re considered to be full term, I of course began looking for every possible sign that labor was near. I had been practicing hypnobirthing a couple of months prior through a book and cd that offered positive affirmations and a relaxation hypnosis session. I would listen to the affirmations over and over while driving around. If I had time after work, I’d look forward to listening to the rainbow relaxation hypnosis track and was always amazed at how it never failed to put me “to sleep”… yet I’d wake up right when it told me to. I hoped I was really learning the subconscious messages it intended to convey, and was optimistically looking forward to seeing how this would all play out on my birthing day!

A day or two after hitting the 37 week mark, I woke up at 3:30 in the morning with awful period-like cramps that caused me to rock on the floor in the fetal position. “Could this be it?” I thought, as I tried to see if there were any sort of contractions accompanying the cramping. After walking around for a bit they seemed to subside, and I was able to go back to sleep. A couple of days later my discharge was becoming tea colored, a sign to me that perhaps it was becoming blood tinged. “Could this be the bloody show?” I kept wondering. Yet none of the discharge was ever stringy or snotty. Coupled with these two things were random bouts of crampiness and a few odd sleepless nights. I generally felt symptoms mirroring PMS, so I knew something had to be going on. My instincts kept telling me this baby wasn’t going to wait until the due date, yet people kept telling me it didn’t look like I dropped and that with him being my first I was going to go beyond my due date of December 18th. I won’t lie, a week prior to my due date I began to take evening primrose oil twice a day… I wasn’t in any sort of rush to have him, as I actually enjoyed being pregnant. But I figured “Why not? If anything it’ll help soften things up”.

On December 15th, a Saturday night, I went to bed and did my perineal massage with olive oil as usual…but when I went to wash my hands I noticed a large egg white looking slime on my thumb… wow, this was definitely part of the mucous plug! I told my husband I was losing my mucous plug, but not to be alarmed, as it doesn’t really mean much and still could be days or weeks. But underneath my calmness I was elated. Finally, after all my sign searching here was the first real sign of definite progress! Still, I went to bed thinking nothing of it.

I woke up that same night (or next morning, rather) at 3:30… it was those cramps again! I couldn’t sleep they were so uncomfortable. I plugged in the heating pad and tried to apply heat, but nothing was helping. I figured these were the same false cramps I had a week and a half prior… I was totally in denial because I didn’t want to cause a false alarm. I tried going back to sleep, but the cramps refused to go away. I was even noticing a pattern. Then I had this sudden urge to go poop, so I ran to the bathroom and did my business. But after I was done it seemed like I was still peeing, as there was a constant slow trickle continuing in the toilet. I wiped and noticed blood and a lot of mucous! It was at that point I realized my water had broken. I remembered TACO that we learned in class and noted the time which was approximately 4:30 am. Amount was small but steady, color was clear (yay!), and there wasn’t an odor. My next step was to time the “cramps” which I now realized were surges. I downloaded an awesome contraction counter app and woke up my husband to alert him my water had broken. He asked if I was serious but given my calm delivery of this news he wasn’t too alarmed and went back to snooze for a bit. I woke my mom, who had flown down to be with me for this event, and she popped out of bed right away. I had my husband call the midwife, Kaitlan, but she wasn’t too concerned yet since the surges weren’t quite lasting a minute. She told us to meet her at the birth center at 8:00 am. At about 5:30, I realized my surges were becoming stronger now, and were beginning to last 45 seconds to over a minute and coming in at 3 minutes apart. They were enough to cause me to stop talking, assume a bent over position, and breathe through. My mom became concerned. She knew the signs and was afraid we wouldn’t make it to the center in time. But I assured them we’d wait it out, as the last thing I wanted was to drive 40 minutes to the birth center only to be told to go home and come back later. Everyone loaded up the car as I calmly worked through each surge. I tried the breathing techniques I had learned, but actually seemed to instinctively enjoy a different breathing pattern that came naturally to me and felt better.

The car ride was by far the most uncomfortable part thus far, as I wasn’t able to assume my bent over position through the surges. We finally made it to the center, and as we waited for the midwife I tried to walk around a bit. This proved impossible, as each surge brought me to my knees and I’d wait it out on all fours. For some reason it was just more comfortable for me to do that. Minutes later the midwife arrived, along with 2 assistants and a friend of mine. We went inside and they prepped me for an antibiotic drip (I was unfortunately strep B positive). The surges continued, each seeming to get stronger. My husband would rub my back through each surge, and this really seemed to help. Finally, after the antibiotics were administered and I had yet another bowel movement, I asked them if we could fill the tub. They asked if I felt I was ready for that and wondered if I instead would rather walk around some. I quickly said “nope, I really want to get in the tub now”, so they began to fill it.

The water felt really nice, especially being poured down my back during surges… but I’d say after being in the tub for only minutes I was suddenly feeling a strange urge to begin pushing. I was alarmed, as I really didn’t think I could already be at this stage. The midwife asked to check me, and through my surges I heard her say “his head is right there”. I was 5cm dilated, 100% effaced, and zero station. She asked me if I felt like pushing and I said yes… although for some reason I was fighting the urge (a big no no… I should’ve known better!). She told me to go ahead and push and work with the surges. By this time they were becoming very intense and all I can remember is going within… the rest was like a dream happening around me. At one point I remember them pointing out that the rest of my water had broken and they pointed out the pieces of vernix floating in the tub. I didn’t care… I was becoming oddly louder and guttural with each surge, grasping hard onto my husband’s arms as I worked. I was very shocked at how loud I was being. A very quiet person by nature, I thought for sure I was going to be calm and quiet through labor. Nope! Louder I grunted, but it wasn’t really out of pain oddly enough… it was more like a concentration of power through my voice, much like a weight lifter grunts while lifting weights I guess. Since time ceased for me I’m not sure how long I was in the tub, I just remember them pulling the oxygen tank out and telling me to get on the bed so we could get him out. Apparently he wasn’t progressing with the pushes and his heart rate was dropping (although I didn’t know this at the time), so they moved me to the bed and onto my left side.

After putting the oxygen mask on my face and spreading my legs ever wider apart, they kept coaching me to breathe deep for baby and bear down when pushing. I think at one point I said “I am!”, although frustrated as I was I continued to try harder as per their requests. At one point they made me feel his head, which now was crowning. It felt soft, but that’s all I remember. They told me we have to get him out, and urged me one last time to lean forward, bear down, give it my all, and PUSH. I did, and sure enough his head finally popped out. The relief was immense, and after another quick surge, out came his body. That is when they realized his fist was by his head which is what caused the labor to delay and become a bit more difficult than it should have been. But he came out crying loud, and all was well. Even more remarkable was that I had no tearing other than a skid mark! This I attribute to the perineal massages and probably even my time spent in the water. About 5 minutes later out came the placenta, a piece of cake considering I had just delivered a baby!

2At 11:30 am, Logan Samuel was born at 6lbs 12 oz and 19 inches long… very healthy with a nice thick umbilical cord and healthy placenta. I was in actual labor for an estimated 6 hours, and although it got intense I can honestly say that never once had I wished for any sort of pain relief and never once was it unbearable. Throughout the ordeal I kept telling myself “your body knows what to do” and to me it was all mind over matter. Had his fist not been by his head I’m sure I would’ve birthed him much more quickly in the water as I had intended, but still, given the circumstances I really couldn’t have asked for a better birth! He latched well and at 3:30 PM we were given the green light to go home. I couldn’t believe that when I woke up at 3:30 AM the same morning I’d be home with my new little bundle of joy only 12 hours later! Was hypnobirthing to blame for the short and relatively easy labor? I can only speculate, but I like to think it definitely played a hand in it. Regardless, I really enjoyed birthing in the comfort and coziness of the birth center, and the staff was amazing. I got to leave with a healthy baby and a very positive experience, and that, to me, was priceless.

Birth Story: Eva Nicole

August 28, 2012 Birth Center Birth

A year has gone by with my sweet princess, a year full of joy and new experiences. It is so nurturing to relive the moment of her birth and now I share it with you…

On Sunday, August 26, at midnight, I was awoken by a wave of pain in my lower belly. It only lasted a few minutes so I went back to sleep. I was two weeks away from my estimated due date and was skeptical of labor starting soon. I was a little nervous not knowing what was going on. However, I did not worry much because I had an appointment with my midwife the next day.

At the appointment, I was told that I was progressing and Eva was seating low. My belly was measuring small, so I was sent for an ultrasound, which I did not get to do.  That night I could not stop thinking of my baby. I was anxious to have her in my arms and I had a feeling that I was not going to wait too long.

On Tuesday I went to the office as normal. Around 10 a.m. contractions started, strong enough to not be able to hold a conversation on the phone. I called my midwife and asked if I should go home. How silly! My midwife said “of course!” Around noon John, my husband, and I headed home.

Once we got home, we had a nice meal and I took a shower. Contractions were getting stronger and stronger, so we decided to go to the birth center where Christina, my midwife, met us. I was only 1.5cm dilated; I had a long way to go.  We went back home, which was fortunately only 10 minutes away. The car ride was awful; it was so hard to manage the pain without being able to move. Back home I labored on a birthing ball and on the floor, in fours, position which offered the best comfort. Biggie, our dog, sat confused by my side. By 4:30 p.m. contractions were so intense that I asked John to take me back to the birth center and call my midwife.

Back at the birth center I was only 3.5cm dilated. I went from the shower to the birthing ball, back and forth. John by my side at all times, giving me support. All the massages we had learned in class were not welcomed at the moment, I did not want to be touched! I just wanted the water from the shower to relax me and the movements on the birthing ball to relieve my pain. Around 7 p.m., while I was in the shower, I felt that my water broke and I had the urge to push. John helped me to the room where Christina checked me and I was 9.5cm dilated, it was getting close! John and I were so excited that things were moving along.

I got in the tub and started to push when I felt the urge. I did not want to push too hard to avoid tears, so I took my time. Pushing was the hardest. I remember saying “I can’t do it” a few times and screaming my lungs out. Fortunately, it was just John, my midwife and I, nothing and no one to worry about. I had freedom and privacy to do and say whatever felt good. Poor John, I am sure I scared him enough with my screams. I kept telling myself to let my body do what it is meant to do, to trust the natural process of birth, to be optimistic and strong…

At 8:24 p.m., on August 28, Eva was born at 6 lbs 4 oz., 19.5 in. What a wonderful and unforgettable moment!  Eva was so beautiful and perfect, I fell in love. John and I were overwhelmed with joy. I was so excited that I attempted to give the baby to John before cutting the cord! John cut the umbilical cord once it stopped pulsating and then held his princess in his arms.

It was time to deliver the placenta and I was so afraid to push. I moved to the bed and sat with Eva in my arms. John and Christina were so reassuring that I let go and in few minutes it was all done. All the pain and discomfort was gone. There was nothing sweeter and more fulfilling than holding my baby and seeing her latch right on.

Four hours later we were headed home. Our family was blessed by a precious angel, our Eva Nicole. Thank you princess for all the joy you bring to my life; thank you John for your support and unconditional love; thank you Christina and all the midwives I met during pregnancy for the knowledge and good care. Eva’s birth was an amazing experience, natural and peaceful as I hoped for.

Birth Story: Baby Boy

Second Time’s a Charm

This is the story of my second birth. My first birth was a typical hospital birth. Epidural, episiotomy, separation after birth, ya know… just an average day at L&D. I really wanted a natural birth, but didn’t have the confidence to actually stand up for myself to get it. My experience at Birthways was pretty much exactly what I wanted, and needed, this time around.

I guess it all started on Wednesday morning. I woke up and immediately starting cleaning and organizing random things in our house, doing ALL of the laundry (I mean everything!) and packing my bag for the birth center. There were still lots of things to get done, but I was only 37 weeks and a few days (baby #1 was 4 days late) so I had plenty of time to finish up the old to-do list. Wednesday night we went to the county fair and had a fun family time. We saw lots of people we knew and got lots of comments and questions about when baby was coming. I told everyone we had a few more weeks and I needed at least one more to get everything done… famous last words! It was so special to see our 2 year old daughter enjoy the fair so much this year- even more so since it was our last outing as a family of 3!

I went to bed on Wednesday feeling completely normal and even woke up a few times during the night and mentally noted that all the activity from the previous day didn’t seem to do anything. Around 6:30 I woke up to go to the bathroom. When I got out of bed I had a little leakage and I thought I had peed myself (really?!). After I actually went to the bathroom and continued to leak fluid I realized that my water may have broken! I decided to go lay down for a little longer and see if it happened again. I knew that if I lay down and then stood up that I would have another gush if my water had indeed broken. After about a minute I stood up and determined that my water was leaking! Wow, what a surprise! I texted my husband and let him know what was going on and that our info binder said labor should start in a few hours. As we were texting back and forth I noticed I was having a few cramps so I told him to go ahead and come home around 7.

I decided to get a shower and shave my legs while I was waiting for contractions to start. (Because that’s the obvious first thing to do when labor starts?) Hubby came home and finished cleaning and tidying before we left. I started timing contractions at around 7:45 and they were already 45 seconds to a minute long and 4-5 minutes apart, but not too intense. I was supposed to go the birth center when they were 5 minutes apart and a minute long for at least an hour. It was time! I called the midwife on call (It was Cheryl) around 8:45 and she said to go ahead and head in since it was baby #2 and we lived so far away. We got our daughter situated, loaded the car, and hit the road at around 9:30. By the time we made it to the birth center at 10:45 I wasn’t able to talk during the contractions anymore and I had to focus on breathing through them.

(Times were taken from our labor flow chart because being in labor does really funny things to your perception of time!)

We got everything unloaded and settled and Cheryl checked me at 11:15. I was only 3cm, 80% effaced and -1 station. I was disappointed and a little discouraged that I still had a long way to go as the contractions were starting to get much more uncomfortable. After that I tried the birth ball, got in the shower for a little while, lay on the bed and I finally ended up rocking in the rocking chair. At 1:00 they started filling up the tub and Cheryl and Christina switched out. I got in the tub at 1:15 and by that point the contractions were super intense and I couldn’t talk in between them. I alternated lying on my back and kneeling in the tub. I wasn’t sure what kind of laborer I would be, but I found that I needed to vocalize during the contractions. My husband and Deborah helped during the contractions by pouring hot water over my back and using a rolling massage ball. Deborah also helped me focus on my breathing when I started to feel too out of control and was generous in her encouragement and praises. At this point (which I think was transition) my logical self started arguing with my laboring self. The contractions were so hard and intense that I felt like there was no way I could keep it up for the hours of labor I knew were to come. (Remember I was only barely in active labor when I arrived)   However, logic told me that those feelings were classic transition signs and that the end might be near.   I also noticed that Deborah had changed clothes and that she and Christina were setting up all of their supplies. Maybe it wouldn’t be too much longer?!

As my contractions got closer and closer together, I realized my body was starting to push.   I announced to the room “I think I’m pushing!” and Deborah and Christina said that it was ok. I thought that I might need to be checked again to confirm that it was time because it had only been a couple of hours since I arrived at the birth center. I didn’t feel “ready” to push yet (terrified might be a better word). Christina charted that I started pushing at 2:15, only 3 hours after I was checked and found to be 3cm. To begin with, I only pushed a little every few contractions. I just followed my body’s lead on when to push and when to let the contractions do their work. My birth team was very hands off and only occasionally asked to check his heart rate after a contraction had passed. At 2:40 Christina charted that his head was visible with the contractions and at 2:47 he was born. I delivered him on my knees, leaning over the side of the tub, so when he was born Christina helped me lean back and pull him to my chest. He cried immediately and was covered in a thick layer of vernix. He didn’t cry very long and he spent a lot of time quietly looking around. It was such a sweet and peaceful moment. I checked to make sure he was a boy and we all remarked about how big he was.

After a couple of minutes in the tub we got out and moved to the bed. We nursed a little and lounged on the bed for almost an hour waiting for the cord to stop pulsing. Once the cord was clamped, my husband cut the cord and I delivered the placenta and finally felt full relief. It was huge! After the cord was cut, they weighed and measured him. As Christina was weighing him, she lifted up the scale and said “Oh my gosh! He’s 9lbs 8oz!” We were totally shocked that he was so big that early. Christina assessed the damage to my nether regions and stitched me up. We apparently make big babies with big heads. After that we spent the next few minutes eating (sandwiches for us and milk for him) and marveling at our little boy. We wanted our daughter to be the first to meet him, so after she had seen him our families came in to meet him. He was so laid back and snuggly. He got to meet all of his family members and get lots of love. I got a shower and changed clothes, Deborah went over our “discharge” information and we left the birth center around 6:45… only 4 hours after he was born!

After having a hospital birth, my birth center experience was quite the contrast. The contractions were much more painful and intense (of course), but the recovery was a thousand times better. Just days after delivery, I felt like I hadn’t had a baby at all… more like I went and picked him up from Babies R Us. In a nutshell….#1: labored stuck in bed on my back, epidural, prolonged pushing, failed vacuum attempt, episiotomy, an hour separation after birth, exhaustion and no true rest thanks to a constant parade of nurses and doctors. #2: labored however I wanted, self-guided pushing, uninterrupted bonding, minimal tearing, healing, fulfilling, empowering, and peaceful.   I felt such a sense of accomplishment. Over all it was a fantastic experience. I wish both of my births could have been that lovely, but I don’t regret my first birth because it was the catalyst for seeking change and having a better birth experience. I can appreciate my birth center experience so much more after birthing both ways. If I were to have another uncomplicated pregnancy, I would most certainly choose a natural water birth again.

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