Cesarean Section BirthThere is this nugget of not-so-feel-good wisdom my mom likes to drop on me occasionally which goes like this:
“They say, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” – Unknown
Having a natural birth was something I didn’t have to give second thought to. Naturally, it felt like the right and most perfect thing to do for my baby and for my body. No drugs in. No painkillers. I imagined myself tuning in to my body’s commands, obeying them and birthing a beautiful baby at the end. With that being said I’d like to share my original birth plan, avenue I took to get there and additional thoughts. All of the following plans probably had God rolling on the floor laughing.
First, a quote: “Natural childbirth isn’t when you do nothing to prepare for the birth; on the contrary, it only happens when you do many things to prepare.” – Dawn Freeman
In preparation for having my first born I decided to take a 10-week childbirth education course with instructor, Chantal Wilford at Birthways in Sarasota. My mother was in attendance as well seeing how my husband was/is working outside of the country. My soon-to-be-mommy mind expanded to great proportions each week as I learned new and invaluable information, techniques and my rights as a future breastfeeding mom in America. While topics such as breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and circumcision were all touched upon, I wouldn’t say this is where I benefited most. Topics that really grabbed me were those in pain management during labor, various birthing videos, making decisions (using your B.R.A.I.N.) in both emergency and non-emerg situations and topics that stressed becoming a more informed patient. I won’t cover 10-weeks of lessons here, but I do suggest moms wanting to have a natural birth take some kind of course if available.
Developing a birth plan was one assignment that proved most beneficial. Here is my exact original birth plan minus some of my personal deets:
While at Birthways, I’d like to have the flexibility to try for a water birth if best for baby and mom, but if needed to have the baby outside of the tub. Movement, music, aromatherapy, food & drink, low light are all welcome dependent on my mood. These are things I’d like to go with the flow on at the time of labor. Lastly, in addition to my support team, I’d like for Valerie Joy McClintock-Gipe (Photographer) to be on-site (if available) to photograph my birth story. On the quirky side: I have no desire to keep my placenta, but would like a photograph with me and this amazing organ for keepsakes.
Coincidentally, this action occurred the same day I had gone in for prenatal acupuncture treatments. The acupuncture was to help with spontaneous labor and with thinning the cervix and so forth. The treatment I received has never been known to turn babies breech and I do not blame the care provider. This type of treatment is practiced quite commonly in German hospitals and other parts of the globe outside of America. Again, it could be one strange coincidence.
In order to remedy the big turn the baby had made I visited a chiropractor to try the Webster technique 3x and I continued to work with the acupuncturist doing moxabustion treatments daily. Both of these techniques are said to have a 80-85% chance at turning the baby and I certainly did feel movements when they were performed. It just wasn’t enough movement to make the full flip. My midwife then recommended I see a OBGYN / specialist in performing external versions.
I met with him the week of Thanksgiving and after a review of my ultrasound the Doctor explained the likelihood of the baby turning. He said chances were slim, but that he could try. It was my job to go home that night and think it over. I felt like this was a test, like if I attempted the external version it would prove how stubborn I was and how much I wanted a natural birth. Given the risks involved with the procedure and that it would need to be done the day after Thanksgiving, I decided to pass and plan for a C-section.
Having my mind locked in on a planned C-section with spontaneous labor gave me the opportunity to try to make the best of things. Of course I needed to revamp my birth plan and here is how the new one went for the section:
Thank you for being a part of the birth of my baby. I appreciate your expertise and experience during this incredibly important day – the day I meet my baby. I would like to be kept fully informed of my options and be involved in decision making. Please remember I am hearing impaired and may need you to speak louder at times and/or repeat yourself a number of times. With that in mind, we (my mother and I) have a list of preferences that we would like respected whenever safely possible. Let’s deliver this baby together!
I actually stumbled across a sample C-section birth plan from the local ICAN group here in Tampa and used their sample to guide my own.
[Note: there’s a Facebook group for ICAN of Sarasota too.]
Now that I’ve shared all my plans, let me tell you how it all went down and offer some unsolicited advice.
My water broke shortly after 1:00 AM the morning of Monday, November 28th. I had just gone to bed about a hour before after my usual Sunday evening routine. I had been camping in my mother’s room the last few nights in the event that I went into labor or started feeling funny (this was the final stretch) and woke her to let her know the water had broken. At least I thought it to have broken given the contents in the loo. My mother readied herself for the trip to the hospital as I was slowly gathering last minute items and meditating through contractions. We were at the hospital by 3:00 AM or so.
We checked in at Labor & Delivery, informed the nurses I was in labor and that my baby was breech. This basically meant: sound the alarm and let the Doc know a C-section is needed. One of nurses checked things out with another ultrasound and confirmed what we had stated. I was still feeling the contractions and I felt like water was leaking everywhere. It was not a pleasant feeling. They prepped me for the section, gave me the spinal tap and the Doctor came in shortly after. Before I knew it the baby was delivered. Bada-bang. Bada-boom. I had skipped ‘GO’ and collected my $200 or baby without the trouble of pushing, panting and doing it the natural way. As supremely bummed as I was the last couple weeks leading up to the C-section, I sure wasn’t bummed when they announced I’d had a baby girl.
I wanted to cry, but my eyes were so itchy from the anestesia that the tears didn’t fully form. Still a well of joy filled in my throat. I felt speechless, blessed and beyond words to see God’s latest work of art in my hands. Once I returned to my room for recovery I proceeded to breastfeed and bond with my baby girl skin-to-skin.
It wasn’t how I had imagined it, but things happen for a reason, plans change and it all works out in the end. Just go with it, be prepared, be flexible and and be happy with the outcome. This was the watered-down mantra I sorta said to myself. My advice to self for the next baby and for other moms who are open to it is the following:
That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.
Birth Center Surrogate BirthI was a surrogate for some friends of mine, I’ll call them Momma S and Daddy S. We had a wonderful pregnancy! They were able to come to every midwife appointment, and were in every way involved in the pregnancy and birth of their baby boy.
At 40 weeks gestation, we were still pregnant, so we decided to get a cervical check, just to see if anything was changing. We were at a whopping 1cm, so I started taking some herbs to help ripen my cervix, in addition to Evening Primrose Oil. Two days later, on Wednesday, I went to acupuncture. I was hoping for labor on Wednesday night, but nothing happened. On Thursday, I was having some practice pressure waves – they were about a 0 on a scale of 1-10, and were roughly 10 minutes apart, so I knew that it wasn’t labor. So, I went back for another acupuncture treatment. When I left acupuncture, the pressure waves were slightly uncomfortable, and about 7-8 minutes apart. However, I was still able to do everything I was before. I didn’t have to stop to breathe through any. I was hopeful since they were a bit uncomfortable, so I texted Momma S and told her that I was hopeful that this was it, and to be prepared for a phone call in a few hours. And then they started to space out again. At this point, we were 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant. Disappointed, I texted Momma S again, and told her that they were fizzling out to about 10-15 minutes apart again, and suggested we all get some sleep.
So, I went to the bathroom and found that I had some bloody show, but I still didn’t think much of it. I drank some water, went to bed at just before12:00am, and was laying down playing Words with Friends, and instead of fizzling out, the pressure waves actually got closer together!!!! … first 9 minutes apart, then 8, then 7, then 6, then 5, then 3, then back to 5. And they had some intensity!!! So, at 12:30am I figured, “This is IT”, called my mom, told her to come over, called Momma S and Daddy S, told them to head over, and I got back up. Momma and Daddy S live about 2 hours away, so I knew we had some time before they got here. In childbirth class, we talked about different ways to labor, and I quickly realized how right our teacher was when she told us that we needed to be open to changing what we think we will want! Prior to labor, I was convinced that I was going to have light back rubs, and use the massage roller on my back during pressure waves. Turns out, I didn’t really want anyone to touch me between waves, and during them, I wanted lots of counter-pressure on my lower back. =) I also found it helpful to sit on a birthing ball, and hold onto the arm of my couch and allow the rest of my body to go limp during a wave, just hanging from the couch.
By the time the baby’s parents arrived at 2:30am, I was READY to go to the birth center and get my butt in the tub! We finally got out of the house and into the car at 3:15am, and to the birth center at 3:40am. I was surprised that it took longer than I anticipated to get into the car, but that the ride to the birth center didn’t seem as long as I thought it would. I just divided the amount of time of the drive by how far apart my pressure waves were, and estimated the number of waves that I would have on the way. After each one, I knew we were that much closer, and before I knew it, we had arrived!
The midwife checked me and said that I was dilated to a 5 – YAY! I was pumped… until she told me that she didn’t want me to get into the tub yet – she didn’t want my labor to stall… so she sent me to the shower and my IM (Intended Mother) was great about helping get the water beating on my back and applying pressure where I needed it. She was Wonderful! However, after about an hour, I was OVER the shower…I wanted in that tub!!!
The midwife told us that I could get out and we could get in the tub in about 20 minutes because they had to wait for more hot water, so I stood at the bed, leaned over a birthing ball and demanding counter-pressure with each pressure wave… once I was in the tub, I realized that I was a lot more bouyant than I thought I would be! And it was harder for people to put pressure on my lower back, so I leaned against the tub, and used my legs to push myself back into the wall of the tub to get my much-wanted counter-pressure.
I was having some trouble with focusing and relaxing, so they put my Hypnobabies “Easy First Stage of Labor” track on…and that made ALL the difference!!!! Momma S and my mother both said that they saw a HUGE difference in how relaxed I was as soon as the track came on. I was able to sleep between pressure waves some, had some back labor (he was still posterior), and I KNEW when I hit transition… it was SOOOOO different from the previous pressure waves that I asked my Momma S to go get the midwife. Everyone else knew I had hit transition too because my vocalizations had changed. But, I was still sleeping between pressure waves! =)
I had some trouble with pushing at first because I had a little bit of a lip of my cervix left, and from pushing, it started getting swollen, so my midwife helped move it aside until baby’s head was past it. I pushed for a total of 1 hour and 10 minutes, but once the lip was discovered and moved out of the way, I was only effectively pushing for 31 minutes.
Baby S was born at 8:00am in the water, and was still in the caul! The best part of all of this is that Momma S caught him!!! Daddy S cut the cord, and it was wonderful! Only 8 hours of labor from start to finish. As soon as Baby S was born, he was in his mommy’s arms, wrapped up, and introduced to his waiting family members and my son, who were all patiently waiting in the waiting area. Momma S was able to put Baby S to breast quickly and he took to nursing right away. Momma S was able to do this because she induced lactation during the pregnancy. Then the new family of 3 spent some time bonding while my midwife stitched me up from my small tear. After a couple of hours, we got to measure Baby S. He weighed in at 9 lbs 5 oz and was 21.5” long.
The birth of Baby S was honestly one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had as was watching Momma S and Daddy S see their son for the first time – words just cannot describe how elated I was to see it, and how it felt to be a part of helping them become a family. His birth was so incredibly empowering and I actually felt even MORE empowered when I heard how much he weighed! Within hours of Baby S’s birth, we all left and returned to the comforts of home for recovery, bonding, and being with our families.
My first birth with my son was in a hospital with interventions galore. It was painful; it was scary; it was dangerous for both me and my son. My blood pressure dropped, his heart rate dropped to dangerously low levels, I was cut (episiotomy) without permission; he was *taken* from my body, not birthed. It was traumatic. This birth was everything that I ever wanted (but didn’t get) with my first birth. It was peaceful; it was calm; it was NOT painful… it was intense, but Pain is not a word I would use to describe it. I would choose natural childbirth every time, and I would do this all again.
May 28, 2013 Home VBAC birthI’m kind of a baby when it comes to pain. I stub my toe, I scream; I get a sunburn and I whine until it goes away; I get a paper cut and everyone hears about it. Additionally, having a home birth isn’t for everyone; it’s an uphill battle from the beginning, friends and family often advise against it – they’re only expressing their love through concern, and most other people go to the hospital.
Knowing these things, still, I decide to have a natural at-home birth with my second son. Let me back up a bit, because there is a reason for my difficult decision.
My first son was 2-weeks overdue. My water never broke and I never naturally went into labor; I was induced with (do they have anything else?) Pitocin. I had a terrible time in the hospital, on Pitocin for two days. I took every kind of pain killer offered and it all ended with a c-section. I felt like a failure. I didn’t want to feel that way again.
Since I had a c-section, having the next baby at the birth center is out of the question. Not because I don’t want to, but because FL laws regulate against it. (The men in Tallahassee know a lot more about child birth than anyone else, so I feel good about their decision to forbid me from having a birth center birth.)
We decide to tell next to no one that we are planning a natural home birth. If I can’t control the pain, at least I can control what people think by omitting some of the details. This time around, because I was induced the first time, I, 1. Have no idea what it feels like to go into labor naturally and 2. Assume my second birth will also be 2-weeks overdue and am fearful of another hospital setting.
On Monday, May 27, 2013, only 2-days past my due date, I think there’s a slight chance I’m in labor. Between 10:30-11pm, I ask my husband, Tim, to time my seemingly-regular contractions. At about 5 minutes apart lasting about 1-2 minutes each, I’m still unsure whether it’s Braxton Hicks contractions or labor, and I don’t want to cry wolf, so I suggest we sleep and see if it progresses through the night. This is supposed to be a busy work week for Tim, so I feel good about this decision. He dozes off but I shift and move for several minutes and then get water to see if dehydration is causing Braxton Hicks.
At midnight, my mind agrees with my body that this is labor when the contractions get very intense. I make my way for the shower to help relieve some of the pressure. I can feel the contractions in my back and it hurts, a lot.
When I first met Christina (midwife) at Birthways, she asked if I had any back labor with my first. I’m thinking of her question now, because this back labor masks the pain from the (frontal) contractions and cramps. At the time, I told her I didn’t remember and didn’t think so. Yes, though, yes in fact, now I remember having this exact, same pain with my first. It feels like a 298lb muscle man is squeezing my right Latissimus Dorsi muscle with every contraction. He’s squeezing and shaking. I’m not sure how anyone could forget having back labor and suggest to myself that while I’m a baby when it comes to pain, I’m also generally a little dense. (Okay, in my defense, either a little dense or Mother Nature really does make you forget!)
About 1am, I get out of the shower and make my way for the living room in just a towel. I want to labor as long as possible before waking or calling anyone. I lay down on the couch, but quickly realize the pain is unbearable while laying on either my back or side and so I flip to my front; I’m on all fours. My 2-year old, Charlie, is in the next room, so I try to be as quiet as possible. Me as a quiet laboring woman is like trying to get a dying cat to be quiet. (I can’t say I’ve ever been around a dying cat, but I’ve heard they’re loud!)
At 1:30am, I’m back in the bedroom on my bed, loosely hanging onto the damp towel. I’m fearful that something’s wrong, I mean, my back really, really hurts, and I can sort of feel some contractions and cramping, too. I need Tim’s support, so I weigh different waking-scenarios in my head. There’s the one where I turn on all the bedroom lights, ring the dinner bells and yell out the fact that I’m definitely in labor. I decide that’s a bad idea – I don’t want to have to field his protests after being startled awake, “no, you don’t understand, I really AM in labor!” Also, we don’t actually have any dinner bells. So instead I crawl over to him, and as calmly as any laboring woman can, I gently wake him and ask if we should call the birth center. We decide to time my contractions. At 1:38am it’s 1:17 long, next one at 1:40am is 0:59. This, and my continual wailing, is enough to convince Tim – he calls Birthways.
Kaitlan (birthways midwife) arrives at about 2:30am – I’m kneeling on the ground, the towel is long gone, and I’m banging my hand on the flat surface of the armoire and begging for relief. I don’t think I can do this, but Kaitlan and Tim assure me that I can. Kaitlan is followed by her student midwife at 3am – I’m back on the bed, holding onto the footboard and spitting over the back, onto the floor (I’m having pretty bad reflux). I don’t want to do this, but (the student) and Tim reassure me that I can.
Deb Fuentes (birth assistant and breastfeeding expert) arrives at 3:30am – I’m yelling expletives out the side of the birth tub and suggesting that I’d rather be asleep. “I just want to sleep!” Yes, seriously, I’m really, really tired. (I’ve never been one for all-nighters.) I’ve given up, but Deb and Tim tell me I can keep going.
Each woman that enters is an added force of support. Their and Tim’s presence and encouraging words gives me understanding that I can get through this night, that the pain is only each contraction long, the baby is fine, and the birth is close. “This too shall pass,” something my mom always says, and something Tim reminds me of as I hug, hang off of, and lean on him, for moral and physical support.
From 3:30am-5:30am: I change positions. Tim calls my mom to pick up Charlie. I remember that I haven’t yet prepared the after birth herbs, I’m only 2-days overdue after all, I still have time, right? But I ask Deb to prepare them, just in case. (She kindly agrees!) I get in and out of the tub and bed. My water conveniently breaks in the shower. I labor on different spots on our tile floor. I do a lot of moaning and complaining. My mom, who’s unaware of our having a home birth picks up Charlie. (I find out later she doesn’t hear my noises, something I still can’t believe.) She asks Tim a lot of questions, but he assures her that everything is okay, we’re in good hands, and we want to labor at home for “as long as we can.” (Wink.) (She was totally on to us but trusted our judgement and took Charlie home with her.
At 5:30am Kaitlan says she thinks my labor has stalled from being in the tub and asks me to get on the bed where she can check. I hesitate through a few more contractions, mostly because I don’t agree that labor has stalled. I think I’m doing just fine now and have finally found a way to cope with it, but also because I’m simply exhausted and don’t want to move. I don’t believe it, but she’s correct, labor has stalled, and I am helped onto the bed. I’m on my back, for the first time since deciding that was a terrible position to be in. Kaitlan tells me there’s a bit of a lip at the top of my cervix and moves it out of the way. She says that it’s time to start pushing and I should do so with the next contraction.
At 5:40am I push as hard as I’ve ever pushed.
Oliver Michael-Thomas, born May 28, 2013, at 5:40am, at home in Sarasota, FL, VBAC, OP.
Had I been at a hospital, I would have pleaded for an epidural, at around midnight, since all the back labor was because Oliver was OP. I imagine it would have progressed to another c-section, and so I’m glad to have avoided the hospital altogether.
For someone who is a baby at dealing with pain, I hope my story offers encouragement to others seeking this route since I’ve been in both settings and especially if these services are available. A couple months ago, we moved up to a small town called Truro, in Nova Scotia, Canada, and there are only three centers with midwifery services in the whole province. None of those sites are in Truro. In other words, if we want to have another baby up here, it will have to be in a hospital. No thanks. Good thing Tim and I are enjoying our little family of four. Four is just right… for now.
December 16, 2012 Birth Center BirthBeginning 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!
At 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.
April 16th, 2012 Birth Center/Hospital Birth
Healthy Mom, Healthy BabyThe experience of a laboring mother, father and a grandmother at Sarasota Memorial Hospital
“You have your birth plan, I have mine. When yours does not agree with mine, we will go with mine,” Dr. Abu declared. We were at SMH for a 36 week pre-term delivery. My husband had to fight passionately against unnecessary medical interventions including pitocin before and after delivery, a continuous IV, episiotomy, and immediate cord clamping. The tension in the delivery room was so high that it was a miracle my labor did not stop altogether. We sacrificed a peaceful, joyful delivery for my health and the health of baby Katherine. With the exception of delayed cord clamping, we got the birth experience we wanted. Unfortunately, we had to fight tooth and nail.
April 16th, 2012. 12:50 AM, 36 weeks gestation, my water broke. We knew before calling Birthways, the birthing center where we had planned to deliver our first child Katherine, that we were headed to Sarasota Memorial—Katherine was one week too eager to enter the world.
3:15 AM we were admitted to the hospital. Triage had confirmed Katherine was indeed on her way. Our midwife, now doula, Kaitlan waited outside as two nurses introduced consent forms and performed preliminary exams.
We wanted Kaitlan in the room as we waded through the decisions and paperwork. She had been through this process before, and as doula, would have been able to offer invaluable advice. We requested her presence three times. The fourth time, the nurses finally called her, but she never came. Labor and delivery turned her away, inconsiderate of the fact that she was our hired doula.
4:00 AM found me one centimeter dilated. By this point, I was overwhelmed with the sheer number of things vying for my attention—two nurses asking questions, the paperwork I was trying to read and the contractions just beginning to come. Kaitlan was still not present when Dr. Abu entered the room and we truly needed her input.
“You have your birth plan. I have mine. When your birth plan does not match mine, we will go with mine. You need a continuous IV, and because your labor is not strong enough, I am putting you on pitocin,” he commanded, leaving no room for discussion.
This was not the birth I wanted. I knew the effects of pitocin, and I knew that my situation did not yet merit such a drastic measure. My water had broken only three hours before, and my contractions had been increasing until the nurses and Dr. Abu entered the room. The stress of the current conversation was slowing labor. If time proved that my body was not acting as it should, I would have considered the drug as a means to prevent a C-section, but currently, it was an unnecessary measure whose consequences for baby and I far outweighed the benefits.
Neither did I want a continuous IV. If getting my labor going was a concern, I wanted to use natural methods, namely walking and nipple stimulation. A continuous IV would limit my movement and therefore limit my progression.
If dehydration was the doctor’s reasoning for the IV, the doctor did not take the time to ask about my liquid consumption. I had drunk more than a liter and a half since my water had broken, and I was continuing to drink.
“Give us four to six hours to get labor going. Then we can consider the pitocin,” my husband and I countered. We did not agree to the IV.
“I’ll give you two,” he responded brashly and then tried to motivate us with fear. “Your water broke at 36 weeks. There’s probably something wrong. You may have an infection.”
I broke into tears shortly after his departure, not because I was afraid there was something wrong with my body, but because the doctor was threatening to take what I had spent eight months preparing for with excellent nutrition, water intake and research. I wanted a natural delivery. I knew the pitfalls of the drugs and interventions the doctor was so adamantly pushing.
The nurse began to prepare the IV. “We didn’t agree to the IV,” my husband looked at me. I was willing to take it, but he knew how important my freedom of movement was. We asked the nurses for a few minutes alone. Kaitlan was still not present. Knowing her knowledge and experience would bring peace to the situation, he called her directly rather than ask the nurses, and then he left the room to find her.
Make peace Kaitlan did when she came into the room. “You could come to a compromise. Ask to be connected to the IV for twenty minutes to receive the antibiotic for Group B Strep. Then ask to be removed to allow movement.” The hep-lock we had requested would make this possible.
The nurses agreed to our suggestion and allowed us time to walk the halls. Walking and stimulating my nipples, labor progressed rapidly. Contractions came closer together and stronger. When the nurses asked us to return to the room for the IV, I was satisfied.
6:00 AM. By the agreed-upon time, I was in active labor. The contractions required my full attention, and I was more than moaning in pain. The nurse checked me. I was three and a half centimeters dilated. There was no more mention of pitocin until the baby was crowning.
I am grateful we fought against pitocin. Had I accepted it, my contractions would likely have been too strong to manage. I would have required other interventions.
As labor became more intense, time blurred. The nurse allowed me on a birth ball for a short time before requiring me to lie in bed, once again attached to the fetal monitor. I respected their desire to keep tabs on Katherine’s health, and the nurse said she would detach me after ten minutes.
Ten minutes never came. The monitors would not stay attached long enough to acquire ten full minutes of data. Except for bathroom breaks, I was attached to the monitor and confined to bed for the duration of labor. Thankfully, the nurses were gracious about allowing my movement within the bed.
9:00 AM. I had dilated quickly. Sitting on the toilet, I suddenly felt the urge to push. The nurse rushed me back to bed and confirmed what I already knew. I was at ten centimeters.
“Don’t push!” the nurse directed as she left the room.
‘Don’t push?’ I thought. ‘There’s no way!” I pushed anyway.
The nurse returned shortly and directed my pushing. Her counting was very helpful, and before long, to my surprise, the nurse called for the doctor. Katherine was close.
As Katherine was crowning, Dr. Abu held up the scissors to perform an episiotomy. “I’m going to cut her,” he announced without asking permission.
“You will not cut her,” my husband responded.
Dr. Abu was aggressive, “I’m going to cut her. I need to do it now.” The discussion turned into a full-on quarrel, and the atmosphere in the room was so intense that my mother could no longer stand. Gone was the hope of a peaceful delivery, overrun by the fight for a “Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.” Incredibly, I was still able to focus, and the war raging around me did not affect my ability to deliver Katherine.
“Everyone be quiet,” I groaned, “ I need to push!”
The room quieted temporarily before the volume rose again. “Ask her,” my mother practically yelled.
All eyes turned to me, and between pushes, I made my wishes known. “No! Do not cut me. I’ve done my research.”
“This is not about research,” Dr. Abu negated my hours of study, “This is about what needs to be done.” He and my husband went at it again.
“I would rather tear than be cut,” I interrupted. I repeated myself to make sure I was heard, “I would rather tear than be cut!” I knew Abu heard me, but whether he would comply was another matter. My care was in someone else’s hands, and I was incapable of protecting myself. In the end, Dr. Abu did not perform the episiotomy.
Next came the dispute over cord clamping. The blood in an umbilical cord is the baby’s blood, and research shows that babies fare better when the cord is allowed to stop pulsating before it is clamped. My husband requested multiple times that Dr. Abu refrain from clamping until Katherine had received its blood. Abu refused and clamped the cord immediately, insisting he needed the cord blood to do tests because of her pre-term delivery. I cannot fathom that medical testing outweighs the overall health of my infant. We would have been pleased to have her blood drawn after her cord had finished pulsating. Instead, Abu disregarded our wishes.
I was very pleased that Dr. Abu placed Katherine directly on my chest after delivery. This was one of my greatest desires, and he made it happen.
After delivery, he once again tried to put me on pitocin. “She needs pitocin. Her platelet count is low. She may bleed out if we don’t.” My body, at that time, was showing no signs of hemorrhage. We understood the doctor’s concern, but stood firm against the force of his words. “Give us an hour. If I start bleeding, then administer the pitocin.”
I never hemorrhaged. My platelet count began to rise within 48 hours. The nurses in recovery were surprised at how high the other aspects of my blood count were compared to the norm they encountered in the hospital. Now, only a week after delivery, my bleeding has practically stopped. The pitocin was once again an unnecessary fear-based measure.
We did not need any of the medical interventions Dr. Abu so aggressively pushed. With natural means, labor progressed more than twice as fast as the average of over 20 hours for first-time Moms. Katherine was in my arms nine hours after my water broke. If I had accepted the pitocin, the contractions would have been too strong, and I would have required additional interventions. I did not need the continuous IV to ward off dehydration nor the pitocin to prevent hemorrhage.
Katherine required no interventions after birth except the suctioning of mucus from her airways. With a little coaching from our nurses in recovery, who were fantastic at what they did, we are breastfeeding eight times a day, and a week after delivery, she is only one ounce shy from her birth weight. Her pediatrician at her one week check-up declared her lungs, heart, weight and color excellent.
I am grateful that my husband fought for my health and the health of my baby. I am grateful for the natural childbirth we had as a result of his strength. We did not have pitocin. I was not connected to a continuous IV. I did not have an episiotomy.
“Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.” Though Sarasota Memorial’s labor and delivery team touts this as their end, I would invite them to reconsider their means. A woman’s body knows how to give birth and in most cases, does it naturally.
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.
August 28, 2012 Birth Center BirthA 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.
August 18th, 2011 Birth Center Water Birth
A Mother’s Birth Story of her Second SonI was driving to work on my last day of work. It was two weeks before the baby’s due date. I felt a few contractions on my way to work but they stopped when I got to work. I got off work thrilled that I had two weeks to relax, clean and prepare for the new baby. At least I thought so, but the baby had other plans.
I got home at about 7:30pm and, like any other pregnant woman, went to the bathroom again for the millionth time that day. While in the bathroom, I noticed that I started spotting and knew that the baby will come sooner than I planned. I went to pack my bag with the baby clothes and few items that I needed. I called my midwife and told her that I was spotting so that she would be prepared to wake up at night if I went into labor. I went up to go shower and prepare a few more things while I told my husband to prepare some snacks and call the babysitter for my older son.
Right after I got out of the shower, my water broke and started leaking out. It was at about 11:45 pm and at first I was not sure if it was my water but when the contractions started coming quickly after that and strong, I knew that I was right. After my first contraction, the next one came in ten minutes. The one after that in seven minutes. After that they were coming every 3-5 minutes and getting stronger and more intense with each contraction. I told my husband to call the babysitter and get them to come over ASAP and to call the midwife again. I was lying down most of the time on my side. I still felt like I needed to pee every 5 minutes and was irritated by it but went anyway. I was even more irritated every time I went because I would get a contraction on my way to the bathroom, a contraction while I peed and then another contraction on my way back to the bed or couch. So in other words, if I moved, my contractions came every 30 seconds to a minute and if I was lying down, they would come every 3 to 5 minutes. When the baby sitter came, we left right away to the birth center knowing that the baby was going to make me work extra hard after working all day and didn’t want to wait. So much for relaxing for two weeks, I thought.
We got to the birth center at 2:30am and by then I was moaning to get through every contraction. Before I was in labor, I told my husband that I wanted him to massage me and showed him a list of things that I wanted but once I started labor, all I needed was him to hold my hand. If he tried to massage me, I could not concentate on relaxing during the contractions and felt worse in the process. I told him that he can squeeze my hand and nothing more. Once I was in the birth center at 2:30am, the midwife checked me and said that I was 8+ cm dilated and that I can get in the tub. I thought that when I was in the tub that I would feel better but because my labor was progressing so quickly, I was in just as much pain and it kept getting worse.
My other midwife came to help with the delivery and within minutes told me that I can take my bottoms off. I asked her if she really thought that the baby would come that quickly and she said that the baby could come in the next contraction. I was like WHAT!! I just started my labor! I am so not ready for this!
She was not joking. Within the next few contractions, that were now coming every minute, I felt the baby start crowning. When I had my first son, I was cut and then I tore 3rd degree. It took 45 minutes to stitch me back and it took months for me to start feeling normal again. My biggest fear with my second was that I did not want a tear. I expressed this fear to my midwife during my prenatal visits and she told me that when the baby is crowning it will be intense and it is called the ring of fire because it really feels like it. She also told me that if I feel it, it’s a good sign and that it means I did not tear yet. If I don’t feel it, it means I had a tear. SO, when I felt the baby crown and I felt the ring of fire, I was telling myself that it’s a good thing, I did not tear. I just kept repeating it in my head during the pushing phase till he was born. My midwives kept reminding me to breathe. I knew that with him coming so fast that I should not push hard like they say in the hospitals. I knew that the faster he came out, the higher my chance of getting a tear was. May I say that it was hard not to push hard because all my body wanted to do was push as hard as I can.
I gave birth to my second son at 3:24am in the water and my husband got to catch him. He was a small 6 pounds 6 ounces and only 19.5 inches long. He was born two weeks before my birthday. He was not breathing and his heart rate was in the 50s, my midwife later informed me. The midwives stayed so calm and started giving him oxygen and rubbing him to get him crying. He did and is now the healthiest baby ever.
And guess what, I did not tear. I did get a skid mark because he came out so fast but it healed on its own and it did not need stitches. Boy, was I thrilled. And my blessing was that my labor started at 11:45 pm and I had him at 3:24 am the next morning! The labour was less than 4 hours! I did not relax for two weeks but I did have a very good experience at the birth center with my birth. I had all the privacy that I needed and great midwives. Big brother was excited for his new brother and runs to him first thing every morning. Thanks to my wonderful midwives, Christina and Kristin, at Birthways for making my experience wonderful! And thanks, Chantal, for helping us be prepared!
May 17, 2011 Waterbirth at BirthwaysJason and I found out we were pregnant on August 27, 2010. From that day on we decided that we did not want to find out the sex of our baby. I began my morning sickness at about 9 weeks and it never went away. I actually ended up throwing up my entire labor as well. It was interesting to hear what everyone’s opinion was, mainly that I was carrying all out front so they thought it was a boy. We had our ultrasound on December 14, 2010 and my mom came into town to see the baby on the big screen. Since Jason is a Chiropractor and looks at film all the time, I told the ultrasound tech to make sure and not tell us. He was telling us all about the baby and saying everything was normal but then got very quiet so I assumed he was looking at the genitals and Jason was focusing on the screen because he wanted to know the sex. He said he thought it was a girl because he didn’t see anything sticking out and later on we found out he was right.
My last day of work was April 30,2011 and our due date was May 8. How neat that it was Mother’s Day and my grandfather’s 85 birthday. My mom changed her flight and flew in on April 29 just in case the baby was early. It was my cousin Kyle’s birthday party on April 30 and everyone went over to celebrate. My mom is on chemo at the current time and her immune system is very weak. A plate accidentally fell on the floor and ended up cutting the back of her ankle. We didn’t think much of it but eventually took her to the Dr. on Monday to get antibiotics. It didn’t get much better and on Wednesday we were sitting in Sarasota Memorial ER with masks on waiting to see the doctor. We were there from 2:30PM until about 10 PM. They did an entire work up and thank gosh for Aunt Shelley who brought this extremely pregnant mama some food. At about 9 PM, the Dr. came in and said they had to keep mom because her infection was very bad and almost turned to gangrene. Of course my mom started to cry but I kept myself together. She ended up staying in the hospital until Friday and then she got to come home. The following week, we ran her to many doctor appointments and our stubborn baby had still not arrived. Mother’s Day came and went, and on May 13, my dad said he had a feeling the baby was going to come and drove himself to the airport and flew in from Tennessee. He stayed until May 16. On May 15, Jason was driving to work and a belt on his 2003 Civic ripped to shreds so we had to pick him up and have his car towed. Thank goodness my brother Trevor was in town because we gave Jason his car to take to work. On Saturday night, the air conditioning broke and a good friend came to fix it. My dad left on Monday afternoon, May 16, and I had my doctor appointment this day as well.
My midwife Christina told me that I was 2-3 cm and at -2 station. She tried to strip my membranes but said that she was unable to at this time. She said the baby is very healthy and so was I but that the baby was still slightly posterior which is why she isn’t dropping into the birth canal. We then discussed how if I didn’t have the baby by May 22, I would have to go to the hospital for a non-stress test and would no longer be able to have the baby at the birthing center. I could have a home birth, get induced, or wait until the baby came and have it at the hospital. At this point I started to freak out, I have planned for a birthing center birth with my midwives, have taken all the natural child birth classes and now I am going to have to go to the hospital and get pitocin and a possible c-section. I was 3 weeks late when I was born and if you based Emersyn’s due date off my last menstrual period she would have been 19 days late. Since I ovulate so late in my cycle, the birthing center went off my date, which the ultrasound confirmed as May 8. I called a few friends, freaked out and then called my cousin Casey who was in town for the weekend just in case the baby decided to make an entrance. Since Jason’s car was in the shop, Casey came over and we had to pick up Jason from work. I also took Jason to work that morning and had been up since 8 AM. Prior to doing that, I went home after seeing Christina and was on my hands and knees for 40 minutes and then laid on my left side to try and turn the baby. I did this twice before we went to pick up Jason. When we got to his office, I had him adjust me and he said that my pubic bone was very out. After he adjusted me, I felt a gush and when I got home I tested the fluid and it said it was amniotic fluid. When we got home, Aunt Shelley and Uncle Dennis were here as well as my mom and all 7 of us ate pizza and salad. At about 8 PM, I started to feel contractions that I timed. This was the first time I really had something to time. The Burkes left around 9:30 and Jason and I went upstairs to watch TV and he fell asleep around 11PM. This is when things started to speed up for me, or get rather painful. I sat on the toilet, laid in bed, laid on the floor and nothing was helping. At 1:30 AM I came downstairs where my brother was watching Braveheart and sat on the birthing ball. He kept telling me I needed to wake someone up, and he changed the channel because he said it was too intense for me at that time. I was paying no attention to the TV and he said again to wake someone up, I told him to shut up. I thought I was being quiet but he said I was making some interesting noises.
At about 2AM, I took the birthing ball upstairs and around 2:30 I attempted to wake up Jason. I waited as long as possible because he is horrible with little sleep and was only at about 3 hours at this time and I had had no sleep since the night before. When I finally woke him up, I told him to call Christina and he was freaking out. Where is the number? What do you want me to say? Then he called and ended up giving me the phone in the middle of a contraction. Christina asked if I was comfortable. I said I could handle being home a little longer and she told me to take a shower and call her back. The low back pain was so intense. I had learned in my birthing class that if you have a bad back labor to have your husband push on your low back for counter pressure. He was pushing on my back while my mom, who we finally woke up and was so excited, was rubbing my head. At about 3 I started to throw up but luckily the pizza had already digested. I switched from having the birthing ball on the floor to putting it on the bed and at about 4 we called Christina again and she said to meet her at the birthing center in 30-40 minutes. In my head I knew that the drive was about 20-25 minutes and my contractions were about 5 minutes apart so I got my birthing ball, trash can, and all our supplies as well as mom and Jason and we drove to Sarasota. I had about 5 contractions in the car and was in a lot of pain in my low back when we arrived. Christina checked me and I was 5-6 cm. Kristin arrived shortly after we did and helped out a lot while in labor. They had to hook me up to an IV because I would not stop throwing up. I had an amazing bag of food and drinks that I was allowed to have and all I wanted was ice chips. What is wrong with this situation?
I continued to squat on the birthing ball and lean over the bed but was so weak that my legs began to shake. Jason put a hot compress on my back and that helped. At one point I tried to lie on the bed and jumped up faster than I ever have in my entire life. The pain was so intense I couldn’t handle lying down. I had so many plans of updating my friends and family but the labor was so intense that I didn’t call anyone. At around 5:30 I told Jason I might want to go and get an epidural because of how bad my back hurt and it was at this time that Kristin began to fill the tub with water. It was about half full when she said they were having problems with the hot water. I thought what am I going to do now? My dream was to have a water birth. It eventually started to work again and the tub felt like it took 2 hours to fill up. Finally I was allowed in the tub around 8 (if you get in the tub too early it could slow or stop your labor). Around 6:30 I had Jason text Kelly and Kara who were also going to be at the birth and he told them that I was in labor but not to come yet. Kara freaked out but was excited and called Kelly. Kelly told Kara to calm down that I probably wouldn’t have the baby until around 3 PM. Kelly called in a sub and Kara who was walking out the door told her work that she had to take her pregnant friend to the hospital because no one could take her. Jason also called his mom Peggy who stopped at Publix to get Jason food on her way. For all of you who know Jason, know that he needs food or he turns into a bear. Overall he did awesome for only having 3 hours of sleep and eating about 4 protein bars over the period of time we were there.
When I got into the tub my pain went from wanting an epidural to relaxing and falling asleep in the tub in a matter of minutes. My mom thought they put a relaxer in my IV because it happened so fast. I guess that is why they call it the aquadural. I relaxed for a while but the pain started to get intense again as I turned from lying on my back to a squatting position. The rectal pressure was so intense that I began pushing against it without even knowing. Kristin said I was allowed to push if I felt the need and I told her I already was. She then had me flip over which was very hard to do because of how much pain I was in and she said no wonder, I was completely dilated and my cervix was totally thinned out.
At this point, Jason sent a text to Kara and Kelly that said “ PUSHING COME NOW”.
Kara got there first, she was going about 90 on the interstate, and then Peggy arrived. When Kara arrived, I was in the middle of a contraction and I looked up at her and told her to “Snap Away”. She captured some of the most amazing moments I have ever experienced in my entire life. Christina called Peggy to see where she was at and she was on her way and arrived around 9:00AM. I kept pushing but the entire time in the back of my mind I was wondering where Kelly was. The pushing was intense at times I would start to push take a breath and then make myself push again. Other times I would push and try to relax but my body would make me continue to push about 6 -10 more times. The pushing was a lot of work and I reached down and could feel the top of my baby’s head but she still had the bag of water around her. At some point in the 45 minutes of pushing, my water bag finally broke, which is normal. We thought it would have been neat if it never broke but it did. I could feel that our baby had a lot of hair and felt like I was making progress but when I stopped pushing, she would creep back up. I said out loud “why does this baby keep going back up?” I began to push at 8:45 AM and the baby was born 2 minutes after Kelly walked in the door – she had gotten a speeding ticket. Jason was in the tub pouring water down my back, which felt really good for the back pain. Jason delivered the baby at 9:33 AM and we pulled her out of the water together and discovered the sex. I was so excited that I yelled, “It’s a girl” so loud you couldn’t even hear Jason say it as well. I delivered the placenta out of the tub on the bed because I was bleeding a little more than normal and ended up with 2 stitches.
We named our baby girl Emersyn Mae Fielding, Mae after my grandmother. She was 8 pounds 6 ounces and was 20 inches long . We bonded as a family and had a few visitors come to the birthing center. At 2 we left and went to see Dr. Amy Tafeen, the baby Chiropractor, for Emersyn’s first adjustment. Then we drove home and relaxed. I had the most amazing birth ever, however painful, but you soon forget about all that. I would have a natural birth again and would say it is definitely worth it. I healed so fast and feel like that is because I didn’t have any drugs in my system. We look forward to a beautiful life together and thank our wonderful midwives for such an amazing experience.
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