Birth Stories from Around the World | The Not So Hoity Toity Life

Category: Birth Stories from Around the World (page 1 of 2)

An Birth Story from an Airplane

Every single airline in the world has rules. Some of them seem stupid – no more than 3 oz. containers, no hockey sticks (seriously, that one is detailed in print). But some, believe it or not, are actually there to ensure passenger safety.

What does this have to do with a baby, you might ask?

Most airlines do not let pregnant women fly in their third trimester, and women who insist on flying in their last month of pregnancy must get a written letter of approval from their OB/GYN.

This is a rule I did not listen to.

I was 36 weeks and 6 days pregnant. It was June 30th, and I was due July 21st. I was at home in Ohio, excitedly anticipating my beautiful baby girl – but not rushing it. No bags were packed. No thought of an early arrival entered my mind.

I thought Rose would be textbook, 40 weeks. She was absolutely flawless in every ultrasound, every test. Through the whole pregnancy, I had had not one complication. Not the slightest pain, ache, swelling, sickness, aversion, craving, you name it. I guess there is something to be said for 20.

My wonderful boyfriend (now fiancé) was in Coast Guard A School for Maritime Enforcement in Charleston, South Carolina. He was graduating on the 1st of July, and wanted me to be there. I wanted to be there to support him, as well.

I had an extra appointment with my OB the day before I left. He said there were no signs of labor, and since the flight was only an hour and 45 minutes, I should be fine to go.

So I did.

No one said anything to me at all as I went through security, boarded the plane, took my seat. From the back, you would never know I was pregnant, although because of my short torso, baby girl – who was measuring large – had no where else to go but out. Which, now that I think about it, may have contributed to what happened next.

The plane took off, and about 15 minutes in, it started.

No pain. No leaking. No cramping. I thought it was another gentle round of Braxton-Hicks. The only difference was, after an hour, these contractions still hadn’t stopped.

I timed them, and got even more paranoid. They lasted one minute. They were coming every 4-5. And I know I didn’t pay the best attention in that mommy class, but I think I remembered that that was the time you were supposed to go to a hospital… I tried to calm myself down. After all, there was absolutely no pain. And I’d also paid enough attention to know that it would hurt.

I tried to change positions and take deep breaths, but that economy class seat was not good enough. I saw the flight attendant eyeing me, and when she inevitably came over to ask if I was okay, it was all I could do to reassure her.

Labor? This? No. Are you crazy? Just some pre-landing stress, that’s all, ma’am; I promise I’m fine.

And really, I was fine at that moment. It really didn’t hurt at all. I was just scaring myself, I thought. And it seemed like an eternity, and everyone was staring, and the flight attendants were all on high alert, but it was ultimately unnecessary. We finally landed, and I waddled uncomfortably off the plane, to the relief of everyone in the cabin.

My boyfriend and I rushed to the hotel, very happy to see each other after his 10-week-long school. I told him immediately, of course. The contractions still had not stopped. And something was starting to feel different about these – still no pain, but the pressure. It felt like my abdomen was still 15000 ft. up in that airplane.

So when we got to hotel, I called my OB immediately. He informed me that it was probably just the plane, said to drink lots of water and walk around. If they still hadn’t stopped, I should go to the nearest hospital, explain to the nurses what was going on, and get checked out. “If you’re in labor, you’d know it,” he said. And I definitely didn’t know it yet.

Another hour went by. No changes. It was around 5pm now, and I told my boyfriend that we’d better go see what was going on with me. We explained my situation to the nurses, and they appeared relaxed enough. “We don’t have a room clean right now, so just sit tight and we’ll call you back when we can,” they said.

Great.

Finally, at 6pm, we got into a room. At 6:30, a fantastically brilliant nurse named Becky came in and told me she’d check me out. She went in to see if I was dilated, and gave me a funny look. She took her glove off and said, “Let me get the doctor in here.”

I exchanged glances with my boyfriend. This didn’t sound good.

The doctor, a no-nonsense lady from Cuba, repeated the same test as the nurse. She shook her head and laughed. “You’re 4 and 100, sweetheart. We’re going to break your water to speed this along, and you’re staying right here.”

Shock, that’s the only way to describe it. I thought it would’ve hurt before I got to this point. I laughed, said “Alright then,” and called my family to let them know. My mother had our car seat at their house; they started the 10-hour drive from Ohio that second.

My boyfriend ran back to the hotel to get our things, and I waited for another half an hour before he and the doctor came back in. After they broke my water, things moved way too fast. Another hour and I was 7cm. At 10pm, it started to hurt bad, and I asked for an epidural. That slowed things down somewhat – I didn’t get to 10 until midnight.

Pushing only took 30 minutes. It was 33 minutes into July, and Rose was finally here. They practically threw her, still cheesy, right onto my chest. She wasn’t crying, but she was breathing fine, so they let her stay there. I looked at her beautiful, swollen little face, so happy. It was a few more minutes before she could open her eyes past all the vernix, but once she did they locked right onto mine. She was home!

Babies have a funny way of knowing things. If Rose hadn’t decided to come that weekend, her dad wouldn’t have gotten to see her come into the world. She even gave him enough time to make it to graduation. 

We are beyond blessed with this little girl, and so excited for all our adventures to come!

 

Check out more stories from this amazing Mama on her blog!

 

A High Risk Pregnancy

Having a baby is no walk in the park. Not for anyone.

My experience with my first child, Riley, was a tough one. I was young and about to embark on a journey that I could never have prepared for. It was hard and it was scary, but I think it sheds some light on some of the unspoken parts of pregnancy – what happens when it’s not normal?

I was nineteen years old when Matt and I found out we were expecting. We had literally just moved into our first apartment together and here we were about to be parents. It would be my first child, his second (he had a three-year-old son from a previous relationship).  I remember being scared to tell my parents, but I did, and they reacted how I should have expected – disappointed that it was happening so soon, but grateful for a baby nonetheless.

It was at our gender ultrasound that we found out my pregnancy was not normal. I didn’t realize it at first. I was a young, eighteen-year-old, soon-to-be-mom just waiting to hear whether it was a boy or girl. And being so naïve, I didn’t think anything of it when the ultrasound technician left the room to get a second technician to confirm we were having a boy. I still didn’t think anything of it when they grabbed a third tech to look at the screen. How hard is it to find a stick-like object poking out of a big blob??

It wasn’t until my follow-up appointment with my doctor that I found out Riley’s body was not forming the way it should have been. I sat there, listened, nodded my head while my doctor apologized, told me I would be going to a specialist, and sent me on my way. It still hadn’t hit me when I drove back from the doctor. I still didn’t get it. It wasn’t until I googled the term he had given me, gastroschisis, that I realized what exactly was going on. What does that mean? It means that the baby’s stomach hasn’t closed completely when forming, and the intestines were developing outside of the body.

I got home, made some calls to share the unfortunate news and scheduled an appointment with the new doctor later that week. The next few months became a big blur, honestly, I remember little, to be honest. I know we toured the hospital we would be delivering at. I know I had bi-weekly ultrasounds to check on the intestines and see how much, if at all, they were swelling – which would indicate when I would deliver. I remember meeting with a pediatric surgeon who explained what we would be experiencing after delivery – I would have a c-section – not required but given that I broke my pelvis a few years earlier I chose not to risk breaking it again due to the impact of vaginal delivery. Riley would be in the hospital maybe four weeks. They would wrap his intestines in a silo (using gauze or a gauze-like material) and slowly place them back in. Not too bad, right?

I am someone that likes to ponder situations before fulling dealing with the emotions that go along with it. I take things in slowly, so I never had any big meltdowns over the process initially, not during the pregnancy stage at least. Since I can remember, I have always been someone who has to find solutions right away. If I have a problem I literally feel sick until I get a solution. I don’t have to have the problem solved necessarily, but I need to at least have a plan to solve it. That’s how this whole situation with Riley was. I didn’t like what we were dealing with. It was scary, but I felt comfort in the plan I was being given by doctors. And I had a great support system between my family, friends and co-workers. I was told what to expect and so that’s what I expected. Why dwell on it right? Let’s just get through this.

Unfortunately, what we were told to expect didn’t happen. Not at all.

 

In October, two months before my due date, we found out it was time to deliver Riley. During one of my bi-weekly ultrasounds we saw that his intestines were starting to swell which meant he needed to be delivered. I received a call that afternoon with details on my scheduled deliver and that was that. It was time.

The night before delivering Riley I remember being more scared than I had ever been in my life. Matt and I went and stayed the night with my mom. We got up early the morning of delivery (after a night of zero sleep) and made the drive to the hospital. When I arrived, I realized that my doctor whom I had been seeing since we found out my pregnancy was considered high-risk was not going to be present. She was not working that day so I had another doctor in her place. Unfortunately, he wasn’t made aware that I was having a caesarean. He actually tried to convince me to have a vaginal birth, even after I explained that I wasn’t comfortable given Riley’s condition and my own pelvic history.

After a lot of back and forth the doctor finally accepted that I was going to have a c-section and left to prep the room. Confrontation isn’t an area I am strong in. I find that I stick up for others much better than I do sticking up for myself, so having to put my foot down in this situation was pretty tough, but I’m extremely happy I did. I found out years later during my second pregnancy why opting for a vaginal delivery was a TERRIBLE idea for him to have at all so it definitely worked out for the better.

Going through the c-section was a new experience – one Matt made certain to get photos of. Don’t worry, I won’t share those! The hospital I was out is one that med students train at regularly, so there were many people present during my surgery and lots of conversations explaining what was going on. At one point, I kid you not, my doctor said the words “Oh, shoot!” I remember immediately looking at Matt and thankfully he was able to remain calm and keep a straight face. Had he not I probably would have started freaking out. I never found out what that remark was about.

Within an hour Riley was born. Being only four and a half pounds it was pretty easy to get him out. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get much time with him before they would have to take him away to get his intestines wrapped and secured, so I wasn’t surprised for him to be taken from the room quickly, but as I was in the recovery room I was given a phone by one of the nurses. Apparently, the doctor needed my approval for surgery. Huh?? What surgery? Apparently, there was some sort of complication and Riley needed to go back to surgery asap. I approved the surgery, he was rolled into my recovery room and I was allowed to touch his hand for a brief moment before he was carted off to surgery. I was numb. Both physically (from the surgery) and emotionally. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t tell anyone what was wrong. I was taken back to my room and had family all around me wanting to know where Riley was. And I didn’t know what to say. I could not wrap my head around the situation. I ended up getting on the phone with the doctor about 20 minutes later because I needed answers. I needed clarification.

I ended up finding out that Riley’s intestines had somehow gotten twisted. How or when I don’t know. But it caused every plan we had made go completely out the window. Our stay in the hospital was no longer four weeks. When Riley’s intestines became twisted a portion of them stopped working completely had to be removed. I don’t remember how much exactly, but a good portion was cut off. Riley was no longer a baby born with gastroschisis. He was a baby with short bowel syndrome.

Our very first nurse told us he would never eat normal or lead a normal life. This was crushing to us. I understand being honest about the outcome of certain situations, but this just felt harsh, unnecessary, and quite honestly inaccurate.

I don’t write this to scare people. I don’t write this to worry you about pregnancy. My pregnancy with Riley was extremely rare, like many high-risk pregnancies are. But I realized by having a baby who was hospitalized several times how hard it must be for those families who deal with it much longer than I had to. I had never thought about the families who have children with serious diseases or life threatening illnesses that cause them to live in hospitals a large part of the year. I never thought about women who think they are having a normal pregnancy, but then find out that it’s now a risk to even give birth.

Having a child who is hospitalized brought to light so many areas of parenting that I never spent much time thinking about. Those families have such strength and resolve.

It took Riley almost two months before he was able to come home for the first time, but it wasn’t permanent. He was admitted back to the hospital at least three times over the next year for various illnesses attributed to a weak immune system and the ability to dehydrate very easily. He had two major surgeries (one being to connect his intestines at around 7 months old) and at least three outpatient surgeries. In total, Riley probably took a bottle for all of two months. The rest of his first year and a half was on a feeding tube and with a central line in his chest. He had to taught to eat food. But even with all of that, I am still so lucky. Riley is eight years old now. He plays baseball and basketball. He loves math and reading. He has an incredible sense of humor. The nurse who told us that he would never lead a normal life was so incredibly wrong.

If you take anything away from this article I hope that it’s the fact that we all have struggles. You are not alone. We all go through obstacles that at times feel impossible to overcome. Rely on your friends. Rely on your family. Cry if you need to. Really, you are not alone. There is a light. I now have a happy, healthy eight-year-old who has taught me that strength comes in all sizes. He has been through more than most people will have to deal with in their who lives. Just remember to take a moment to think before you judge. We are all in this thing called life together. 

 

Please check out more stories from this amazing mom on her blog! You can check it out here!

A Preeclampsia Birth Story

I remember it like it was yesterday. The day I went in for what I thought was a routine prenatal checkup turned out to be one of the most emotional, scariest days of my life. I certainly never expected to end up in the hospital in tears. The remaining five weeks of my pregnancy thereafter were much of the same.

The Diagnosis

Thirty-two weeks pregnant and feeling somewhat okay, I headed to the doctor’s office on my lunch break for a routine checkup. I told my coworkers I’d be back soon and left my work on my desk. I hadn’t been experiencing any major issues at the time so there wasn’t any reason for me to think I wouldn’t be returning. Although there was a bit more weight gain than I was expecting, I wasn’t overly concerned. I knew many women who gained more weight than they’d like during their first pregnancy so I figured that’s all it was; however, I was starting to feel uncomfortable. I remember thinking that I shouldn’t be feeling that uncomfortable yet. I still had several weeks to go. It was one of the questions I was going to ask the doctors while I was there. I figured they’d let me know if it was a problem, but I assumed there wasn’t. On I went.

My appointments were normally quick, just simple measures like blood pressure and urine samples. I had no clue that these two tests were about to turn my entire world upside down. My BP readings had always been normal prior to and during my pregnancy.  This day was different. It had skyrocketed. I thought to myself, “Was work stressing me out to cause this?” “Is it a false reading?” The nurse checked it again. Still abnormally high.  I was starting to get a little worried but not so much just yet. She started asking me questions about my vision and headaches. I answered no to all of them and told her that I had been feeling okay. The next step was to test the urine sample. This was the ultimate indicator that led to my diagnosis. There were high levels of protein found. The doctor said you have to get to the hospital now. I, obviously in disbelief or denial, (not sure which),  told her I couldn’t because I had to get back to work. Her response was, “You aren’t going back to work anytime soon. You have preeclampsia.”

What is Preeclampsia?  

Preeclampsia is diagnosed by high blood pressure, proteinuria (protein in the urine) and edema (swelling) during pregnancy. It’s a dangerous condition for both mother and baby and can become life-threatening if not properly managed. (You can find more information here about the condition.)  

I couldn’t believe it. I had researched so much about pregnancy, what to do and what not to do. I thought I was fully prepared; however I was not prepared for this.  What I failed to research were pregnancy complications. I always ignored those chapters in the pregnancy books. I recall reading briefly about preeclampsia but I also read it was rare. I never assumed it would happen to me.

Surely enough, this just added to the already-difficult pregnancy I had experienced in the earlier months. The first five months were hard, with extreme nausea. I had even ended up in the hospital once for dehydration. In my sixth month, the nausea had dissipated and I was finally feeling better. But now this? I couldn’t catch a break. Not only was the beginning of my pregnancy tough, the end is going to be tougher than ever.

The doctor had explained that the only cure for preeclampsia was delivery of the baby and that the goal is to get me to 37 weeks to then be induced. She explained the danger to my baby and myself if I didn’t watch my blood pressure and stress levels, which could result in an even more dangerous life-threatening situation. Preeclampsia places great strain on major organs such as the kidneys, liver, and brain. I was put on bed rest for the next five weeks. I went outside and called my husband. I cried and cried, a lot, and I told him he needed to meet me at the hospital. I was scared for myself, but more so for my baby. How did this happen and what is causing this? I have always been healthy so this really caught me off guard.

The next five weeks were grueling. I could only go up or down the steps once a day. My husband had to make me lunch before he went to work and bring it up to me to keep me from pushing myself. I’m one who loves to move, needs to move, always working, always accomplishing something. It was extremely difficult for me to do nothing at all, but I had to for myself and my baby. My husband and mom were so supportive during this time. I appreciate all that they had done for me. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

More Worry and Weight Gain

I was gaining weight much too quickly. (Sudden weight gain is a symptom of preeclampsia.) I was so swollen and I was extremely uncomfortable. Every day, I was scared. I was scared I’d develop eclampsia, a severe complication of preeclampsia which causes seizures. I thought of my baby every minute of the day, praying that everything would be ok. Did I move too much today? Is my baby getting enough oxygen? Am I going to wind up in the hospital again? These were just a few of the questions I asked myself on a daily basis. There was not a moment that went by where I didn’t worry about my baby boy as well as my own health.

Many stress tests, hospital visits, and 24-hour urine samples at home were warranted.  I was pricked by needles and given ultrasounds more than ever at this point. I never lost sight of the 37-week goal and I couldn’t wait until that day. I wanted my baby safe, with me.

My original due date was May 12, but was now scheduled for April 22. I was trying to keep as positive as possible, but I was worried, really worried.

Delivery Day is Finally Here: 

After a lot of doctor’s visits, occasional hospital stays, urine samples, blood pressure readings,  tears and worrying, I had made it to 37 weeks. Looking back at the below picture with my mom at the hospital reminds me of how uncomfortable I was, how much weight I had gained, and how difficult the entire journey was.

I couldn’t wait to have my baby. I was induced at 11:00 a.m. My BP remained stable and my beautiful healthy baby boy was born at 4:00 a.m. the next morning, 6 pounds 11 ounces. It was long, tiring and scary. There weren’t any issues at birth, and I’m very grateful for that.  I’m thankful for a great team of doctors to provide me with support, good care, and careful monitoring. It does break my heart, however, that may baby didn’t get to come when he was ready.

It took me two years to feel like myself again. I had finally lost the weight and my body felt like it used to. The condition itself definitely leaves its mark. I did go on to have another baby years later. I thought long and hard about it. It wasn’t an easy decision. Once you have preeclampsia, you are more at risk of developing it again, but doctors had told me it happens often with first pregnancies. I thankfully had a very easy pregnancy the second time around, no issues, no preeclampsia, but I can safely say I am done with pregnancy. I have been blessed with two beautiful boys

The Impact of Preeclampsia 

I will never know why I developed preeclampsia and I worry about the toll it has taken on my body. Although delivery is the only “cure,” it doesn’t end there. Recent studies have shown that women who have had preeclampsia during pregnancy are at double risk for heart disease and stroke later in life. 

Raising Awareness:

It’s important women are made aware of this condition so they know the signs and symptoms. Sometimes you don’t even know you have it, like me. I luckily kept my doctor’s visit that day because if I had gone any longer it could have been much worse. I’m not even sure how long I had been walking around with the condition.

Last year, I raised funds for The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia. Many of my family members donated and my mom and stepmom joined me in the walk. I was so happy to take part in such a great cause and have family by my side

I will continue to be an advocate for further research and education on this condition in which there is still uncertainty as to its cause. Too many women and babies have lost their lives to preeclampsia. Raising awareness is important. Acknowledging and showing support towards women with this terrifying illness is necessary.

 

Check out more stories on motherhood and parenting at this Mama’s blog: http://www.macchiatomom.com/

A Birth Story

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I also had a sister and a sister-in-law who were pregnant.  We were all greatly anticipating having these three babies all so close together.  We lamented our pregnancy aches and pains together, and planned for what life would be like for these cousins.  I was due March 24, my sister-in-law was due on April 15, and my sister was due on July 21.  It was an exciting time in our family.

On March 11, my sister-in-law, went into labor.  She had texted all of us (it was the middle of the night) to tell us that she was in labor.  Because I obviously had to go to the bathroom during the night, I was awake when she texted us, and I immediately started sobbing.  It sounds so silly now, but at the time, when I had been pregnant for 37 weeks, and when I had hormones going crazy in my body, it was a HUGE deal that my sister-in-law, who was due 3 weeks after me, was going to have her baby first.  I HAD BEEN PREGNANT LONGER!!!  I was actually so jealous that I couldn’t even look at pictures for the first few days.  I’m really embarrassed about all of this now, but as any woman who has had a baby can attest, it is easy to be irrational when you are THAT pregnant.  (I have since apologized to my sister-in-law for being so insanely jealous.)

When I was about 30 weeks along, I started having contractions every 10 minutes.  They never got any closer or any more painful, but they were very consistent.  I finally went to the doctor after about 2 days, just to make sure everything was still okay.  He said that I was dilating very slowly, but it wasn’t really anything to be concerned about.  I did that for the rest of my pregnancy.  When they got worse, I would take a bath (usually in the middle of the night), and that helped them calm down a bit.  But almost 10 weeks of contractions every ten minutes does get old after a while!

I was teaching full-day kindergarten when I was pregnant, so it was actually kind of fun.  My students were SO excited that I was having a baby, and my belly was CONSTANTLY being touched.  I got so used to it that I didn’t even notice.  The kids would tell me that they could hear my baby crying, or that she had just kicked them in the head, or that they heard her talking.  That last one is a little bit creepy… Just sayin’.  They also came up with a pretty fabulous/weird list of names for the baby, and voted for which gender they thought my baby would be.  Some of them were so disappointed when I had a girl, even though they had voted for a boy.  I had to burst their bubble and tell them that their vote actually couldn’t change the gender of the baby.  And thank heavens for that!  I would NOT want a kindergartner to have that much power.

I went into labor at around 11:00 pm on March 20th.  I am pretty convinced that what put me into labor was playing with my kids at recess that day.  I played basketball and soccer with them…  And then, in the end, I ran races.  I’m sure I looked like such a dork, but I was SO desperate to go into labor.  I was 39 weeks and 3 days along at that time.  There was one little boy who was SO concerned about me running around.  Ha.  He kept saying, “Ms. Keddington, you need to rest!  You can’t run around!”  But, it worked.  I felt the baby drop when I was walking back inside.

It still took a while for the labor to actually begin.  At one point that night, my husband asked, “What do you want to do tomorrow?” and I longingly said, “Have a baby!!!”  I knew that my wish had come true when I was trying to calm my contractions down a bit by taking a bath at around 4:00 am, and they just kept getting worse.  I started bleeding a bit, too, so I realized this was the real thing.  I actually then tried to go back to sleep for a bit, but it didn’t work too well, because my contractions were now 5 minutes apart and getting rather painful.  So, around 5:30 am, I finally woke my husband up to take me to the hospital.

On the way to the hospital, we called his aunt, who is a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital I was delivering at, so she could meet us there.  We also called my sisters so they could meet us at the hospital, too.  The rest of the time, I had Jeff distract me from the pain of the contractions by having him talk in detail about…  well… I have no idea.  Ha.  I just needed to have something to focus on besides the pain.

We checked into the hospital at about 7:15 am.  They had a nurse check me, and she said I was dilated to a ten already.  I was pretty shocked, and thought, “This was it?  That’s not bad at all!”  But apparently it was her first day on the job, and when another nurse checked me, she said I was at a 3, not a 10.  Darn!

I didn’t really have a birth plan when I went to the hospital.  I figured that I would try and go without an epidural, but I wouldn’t be heartbroken or disappointed if I ended up getting one.  So, we did it the old fashioned way.  My sister had told me a bit about hypno-birthing, and my husband’s aunt showed my husband how to really calm me down and support me.  I honestly did not anticipate how much of a bonding experience it would be to go through labor with my husband by my side.  He helped me SO much.

At around 10:00 am, they checked me, and I was told that I was still only at a 4.  By then I had been in labor for 11 hours, and was afraid that if I didn’t get an epidural, and things kept progressing as slowly as they had, I would not have enough energy to push when the time came—especially considering I had not slept at all the night before.  I decided to get an epidural, although the anesthesiologist was busy for a couple of hours.  I wish they had checked me before I got the epidural, because when they checked me just after, I was at a 7.  I think I may have been able go without an epidural at that point.  But I still feel fine about it.  There is no right or wrong way to give birth.

When the anesthesiologist finally came, he told me that due to my small size, it would probably be a little difficult for him to place the epidural, but that it would likely be fine.  He told me to tell him if I felt my heart race, heard a ringing in my ear, or got dizzy.  As soon as the epidural was in, all 3 of those things happened.  So, he had to pull it out and do it again.  Everything went well the 2nd time, and I actually got to take a bit of a nap.  It was a great decision for me, because a couple of hours later, when I was at a 10 and ready to push, I had enough energy and strength to do it.

When the time came for me to push, I only had to do it through 2 contractions, and then my baby was out.  My husband’s aunt was kneeling on the bed next to me, encouraging me (in her adorable southern accent) to dig deeper and push harder.  My daughter cried right away (and to be honest, she didn’t stop for several months ;).  Ha.  I tore quite a bit, so I got a few stitches, and it was painful to sit for at least a week.

One thing I learned from this experience was that each birth is a little bit different, and there’s no one right way to have a baby.  You just have to do what is right for you, in your circumstance.  I am so grateful I had the experience to give birth.  It was one of the most beautiful, wonderful experiences of my life.

A Repeat C-Section Birth Story

I’m Cambrea, 36 year old mother of four c-section babies! I blog, inconsistently, about living life outside of normal over at www.cambrealynn.com. This is the birth story of my fourth and last baby, my favourite birth story.

After having a c-section due to complications with my first I opted for repeat c-sections with the other three. I went through a phase of shame over not giving birth the “real” way, but with my last baby I decided to embrace the special way that I give birth. All births are different and enchanting in their own way.

Henrietta’s was my most magical birth. I had a scheduled c-section after much prayer and advice from the best obgyn on the planet. I went in for an additional ultrasound to check to see if I had a placenta accreta. (Where the placenta grows into the uterine lining. This can happen with repeat c-sections.) I did not have an accrete, but the doctor really thought it would be safer for us to have a c-section with extra blood on hand just in case. My husband is rarely concerned about anything and asked that I would go ahead with the c-section so we did.

We got to choose her birthday, another perk of having a scheduled c-section. I think birthday’s on minor holidays are really fun, and the dates lined up, so we chose St.Patrick’s Day! We even gave her an Irish middle name, Saoirse (pronounced seer-sha) means freedom in Irish. It definitely embodies all that I want for her in life.

The night before I had her we went to Chili’s, I ate a bacon cheeseburger and chips with queso. We went home, put the other kids to bed, played FFXIV, and washed all her tiny things. My sister stayed over to be with the other kids in the morning. I went to bed well after midnight, having babies is so exciting for me.

We left the house at 5am and headed down to the hospital. They buzzed us in and two nurses took us to a room to fill out paperwork. Jimmy pointed out the name of one nurse, Svetlana, it’s one of my favourite names. The second nurse, though equally well intended, was not my favourite. She attempted to give me an IV while Svetlana filled in paperwork. After three tries and telling me I was moving too much she took a break from stabbing me. I don’t understand why they tell you not to eat or drink then are surprised that they can’t get an IV in you! Fourth time was the charm, but it felt like the needle was going into the bone on the top of my hand! Luckily, the IV was the worst part.

After a relatively short wait I went right across the hall into the operating room. My husband went to prep and wait, for some reason they don’t ever let him in until after they give me the spinal block. I discussed previous births with the anesthesiologist. I was really nervous after having such a terrible time with the IV. One of the nurses stood right by me and held my hand while they put the needle in. It turned out to be my least painful spinal block yet.

While that set in I talked with the doctor and listened to the nurses. Having a baby is such a happy surgery, everyone seems excited and in a good mood. Someone brought me a warm blanket and wrapped it around my head and arms.

My husband came in and the doctor started the procedure. It seemed like a long time, but it was only about twenty minutes until they were ready to push her out. There is a lot of pulling and pushing around, but it didn’t hurt in any way.  My husband was in charge of capturing the event, he turned the video off and back on and it messed up the camera settings so we got a picture but no video. I have said picture, but I will spare the queasy among you.

In a comedic turn of events, Henrietta pooped on the doctor as he delivered her! I heard her tiny cry and they checked her real quick before handing her over to my husband to bring to me. I did get nauseous at this point but the anesthesiologist was right on it and I only gave the doctor a little bit of a hard time by retching while he was stitching. I was so apologetic and he laughed and was very kind and patient.

After we were all done, they handed Henrietta to my husband and we walked back to the little room across the hall. Usually I have to wait in post-op, but this hospital lets you stay with the baby the entire time, just no visitors! The nurse asked if I wanted her to wash the baby and I forgot my plans and said yes. Then they asked if I wanted to nurse, “Oh yes!”

My girl latched right on and was a rockstar at breast feeding all the way up until 23 months when she was over it. We nursed and snuggled and took selfies and texted everyone while they waited to be let in to see us. My husband napped in the chair by my bed and it was so quiet. The light in the room was warm and beautiful. It really was magical. 

A Hypnobirthing Birth Story

A Birth Story

By: Paige Rodriguez
www.crunchykisses.com

When I imagined bringing my son into this world, I wanted to experience it fully.

I knew it would be intense.
I knew it would push me to my limits.
I knew it would undoubtedly show me what I truly am capable of as a woman.
It was everything and nothing like I imagined. It was incredible.

To any woman out there who is nervous, or anxious, or afraid. I tell you now: don’t be.

Don’t be afraid.

I want you to take a deep breath even before you read my story and know with complete certainty, that even if you’ve only heard traumatic stories. Even if your past births have been anything but easy. You are fully capable of having the birth of your dreams.

Release those fears. Tie them to a balloon and let them float away.

I am convinced that our mindset and emotions going into labor has a huge impact on the outcome. I am convinced that our mind has more power over our bodies than we even realize, and I am convinced that our babies are just as much in tune with our emotions as our bodies are.

Be confident. Be calm. Embrace this moment and welcome it with loving, open arms.

You are strong. You are woman. You are a walking miracle. And you are about to accomplish the most amazing gift on earth. You are about to bring your baby into this world. You two (or three or four—or however many beautiful souls you have knitted inside of you right now!) are about to learn how to work together in the most incredible way and embark on this journey that will last a lifetime.  

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This is my story–or rather the story of a sweet baby boy, and how we worked together in order to make his entrance into this world an unforgettable one.

 

PART 1: The Start of Labor

It was a cold February evening around 8:00pm—a Tuesday.

My husband and I had just finished a late dinner. He was sitting at the table as he talked on the phone with a colleague and I started to clean up the kitchen.

I tried to navigate around my giant belly, trying not to bump into countertops as I wobbled back and forth from the dishwasher to cabinets. As I stood up on my tippy-tippy toes to put away some plates, I felt a POP inside. It was the kind of sensation you experience when your ears drain or start to pop–it sounds loud to you but no one else can hear it. Not painful, not startling in a scary way, just different. Not like anything I had ever felt before in my pregnancy. My husband noticed me grab my tummy and asked if I was okay.

“Yea! I don’t know what that was, but I’m fine.” I said with a smile.

I continued on with the dishes. For a minute I thought about the entire mango that I ate all to myself just before dinner. I had heard that tropical fruit can induce labor but was sure this couldn’t be it.

I had been experiencing Braxton-Hicks surges for the past two weeks. The last time it happened, I was convinced that it was labor. My husband was at work and I tried to remain calm. I stood on all fours on the bed, stretching out my hips, rocking back and forth, breathing slowly, visualizing, and humming to myself as I submitted to each wave. Then, it just stopped. Nothing happened. And right now, I felt no intense surges.

When bedtime arrived, my husband and I climbed into bed together. I remember us both exhaling as we did, melting into the covers with a sigh of relief…That feeling you’ve been waiting for all day long. He had worked a full day, rising before the sun and coming home just before dinner. He was ready to rest.

He snuggled in behind me, spooning me just the way I like and he rubbed my belly tenderly. I felt so much love in that moment. So lucky, so relaxed, so at peace.

Suddenly, I started to feel a steady rush.

I ignored it, I was too tired. It will stop.

Another rush. My eyes popped open, wide and curious. I felt like I needed to change my underpants. Did my water just break? There’s no way.

In the movies, the woman is always standing on a tile floor in a dress as her water pops and it makes a loud splat as it hits the ground. It’s a huge ordeal! That’s what I was always imagining, anyway. Apparently, this isn’t always so.

“I’m not sure, but I think my water just broke, honey.”

My husband looked at the time: 9:50pm.

We ran to the bathroom together half smiling in anticipation…I sat on the toilet and discovered that my undies were indeed soaked and my pajama pants were getting there too.

Another rush. Clear, but slightly pink.

We called the midwife and she confirmed that this was indeed my water breaking. She told us to rest while we could and to take our time coming to the hospital. Since this was our first, she said that generally things move slowly and since I wanted to do this naturally, to prolong coming into the hospital as long as possible. She said that if things didn’t start progressing, to call her back.

 

This didn’t worry me. I was confident that everything would be fine. I trusted my body and my baby. We were excited.

The sense of calm that consumed me was incredible. We had been preparing for this moment for months. Just about every day of my pregnancy I had taken an hour to soak in warm lavender Epsom salt baths, rubbing my tummy, talking to my baby and visualizing a healthy, peaceful birth. When my son was still rightside up late into the pregnancy, I talked to him and asked him to flip his little body for mommy, that soon it would be time for us to meet and it was time for us to get ready. A couple of days later he did so. Maybe coincidence, but I do believe in the strong innate connection between mommy and baby and practiced this with him for the duration of my pregnancy.

My husband and I studied Hypnobirthing. I didn’t take a class—we couldn’t afford it, but I have a sister who did and she coached me for months. I read the book The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing (3rd Edition) by: Marie F. Mongan. This truly was helpful and increased my confidence and positive impressions surrounding the birthing process. It was always my plan to have a natural birth. People would laugh at me and mock me and tell me how excruciating the pain would be. I didn’t care, or at least pretended not to. I would tell myself that for generations women had been delivering babies without intervention, sometimes even alone, and I knew in my heart that I could too.

It takes a lot of confidence to make that decision, but it also takes a lot of self-love and acceptance. I knew that if I couldn’t do it I would still love myself and not be disappointed—after all, I would be receiving my baby either way. This released any pressure on myself. However, after a certain point, I no longer imagined a birth that had any type of intervention at all. I only visualized it the way that I wanted it to go and if anyone started to tell me about their delivery “horror stories,” I’d gently stop them and say with a smile, “Sorry, we can’t hear this. The baby is listening.” (My sister gave me a hypnobirthing t-shirt that said that and I borrowed the expression often.)

The whole basis of hypnobirthing revolves around the mind-body connection– that any stress and negative attitudes surrounding birth cause stress reactions in the body, which in turn creates pain. This involves everything: physical, emotional, spiritual stress. I was able to do a lot of healing while preparing for birth about things that had nothing to do with my baby and my body. However, I had to release anything that could possibly find its way into my mind during my most vulnerable moment and in turn create distraction or tension. I had to remember to relax my facial muscles, hands, feet, mouth—all of which help to relax your pelvic floor and open yourself up for delivery. The more you are able to relax, the more your body is able to work at ease, rather than working against its natural rhythm, resulting in minimal to zero pain. (Is this true? Well, we’ll touch more on this later.) My husband learned techniques to calm me, how to gently stroke my back and arms and assist me in any way I needed. He knew I needed quiet, I needed calm, I needed him there.

Soon, my surges began to surface. My belly would get tight and square-like and they became more and more intense. I would be in the middle of a sentence and have to stop talking in order to close my eyes and just breathe slowly.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

I embraced this, knowing that this was one step closer to my baby. My husband made me a fruit and spinach smoothie, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to eat once we got to the hospital and we wanted me to stock up on as many nutrients as I could at home. My sister said that you should look at this as though you are preparing for a marathon—which in retrospect is completely true. However, very soon I couldn’t even drink that. I stopped helping with the hospital bag and my husband lit candles and ran me a warm lavender bath.

I soaked and stroked my belly. The surges kept coming and my husband wrote down the times and lengths of each so that we could keep the midwife updated.

He watched me lovingly and in silence. We put on my soothing music and hypnobirthing mantras. I would close my eyes and concentrate on calming every inch of my body, submitting to each wave and riding them with my baby. I’d peek my eyes open every so often to see that my husband had stuck post-it notes on the bathroom wall with encouraging words on them. Each time I’d open my eyes, there would be a new one:

You’re doing great, babe.

Pressure not pain. 

Breathe him out, baby. 

I love you.

You’re so beautiful.

You’re so strong. 

I was smiling through surges, breathing deeply and slowly, rubbing my belly in anticipation and excitement. We watched my plug release and knew things were moving along now, that this was real.

When the surges became really intense and the pressure started building rapidly, I asked him to drive me to the hospital. The midwife thought it was still too early, but I followed my instincts. I knew that if we waited any longer, I wouldn’t be able to move and we would be having this baby at home. So off we went.

There was snow on the ground, I remember. A couple of inches. I was wearing my husband’s PJ pants—the only ones that fit, some bath slippers, and a T-shirt with his oversized sweatshirt on top. Already I didn’t want anything on me, but with the weather so cold I had to bundle up—just enough. I trudged through, stopping every minute or so to breathe. A woman passed us on our way to the car and already knew what was happening. She had been watching my belly grow for months. She wished us well with a smile and told us “God bless.”

 

PART 2: To the Hospital

In the car, every bump felt so exaggerated. Each contraction brought another awful rush to my pants and they were completely soaked by the time we got to the hospital. I didn’t want to walk but I leaned on my husband and we made our way inside.

I remember the bright lights were so intense. I already missed the calm ambience of our home, the candles, the coziness. I wanted to go back.

A man who worked at the hospital helped to wheel me into the triage and he talked the entire time. I couldn’t speak because the surges kept coming and were very intense but I remember the chatter and laughter, as well as the bright lights, were just too much stimulation for me. I wanted him to stop. I wanted to tell him to shut up and I wanted my husband to read my mind and to tell him to shut up.

The nurse asked me to try to pee before the midwife came in but I couldn’t. I can’t even remember what she did in there. I concentrated so hard. I know that I wasn’t able to pee, and she said that it was okay and that I could try later. I asked my husband to have her whisper to me. She was so kind and sweet and had such an upbeat tone, I must have seemed like such a miserable wretch, but the pressure in my womb that was radiating to my lady parts was building with such force that anything above a whisper seemed like nails to a chalkboard to me.

When the midwife arrived, she was both surprised and delighted to find that I was already 7cm dilated. It was about 3am at this point and she said that things were moving along beautifully.

We had gotten very lucky that night. If I remember correctly, there was only one birthing tub in that entire hospital at the time. We had requested it but there were no guarantees of receiving it, of course. Another mommy could have gone into labor before me and claimed it. But that night it was ours. It was such an incredible relief to learn this.

The room was huge. We handed the midwife my birthing plan. Lights were dimmed, LED candles were scattered around me, and the birthing tub was filled immediately. My husband added lavender and I sat in the water.

All I can say is WOW. What an immediate relief of pressure as soon as my body touched the warm water. The surges were still intense but I could manage them a lot better. I felt my entire body relax and it was true what the books said: when I exhaled and fully submitted to my body, the surges weren’t so powerful.

I put my headphones in and listened to the mantras.

I don’t know how long I listened, maybe 5 minutes before I wanted to tell that lady to shut up because this was getting REALLY difficult. I switched to my calming music instead.

At some point I ripped the headphones out of my ears and asked my husband to take them. I couldn’t hear anything. My sister said that cyclical music helped her, but I needed silence. I would listen to my breathing and the swishing of the water as I moved about and that’s it. This was calming.

Everyone said that I looked so calm and collected. The midwife was convinced that I would deliver the baby myself, I looked so in control.

On the inside? I was concentrating so hard. Keeping my face calm, my expression blank, my breathing consistent, long, deep breaths. When I knew that I was 7cm I figured it would be so fast. I thought in another hour or two I’d be done, our son would be in my arms. Not so.

Part 3: Transition

During transition, like most women, I got sick. I couldn’t stop throwing up. My husband held the bucket for me and I couldn’t care that it was so gross. Every time I puked I could feel the baby push further down and as a reflex I would clench. I couldn’t help it. It’s like when you sneeze and you clench your kegels so you don’t pee yourself.

I couldn’t control anything. I kept pooping in the tub, too. The nurses had to use a little net to fish it out, which we laugh about now but I was mildly embarrassed about it. I apologized to them and they said that truly it happens all of the time and not to worry. I’m only telling you this because I didn’t expect it at all and want you to know that if it happens, it’s okay and seriously, you couldn’t stop it if you tried.

At one point someone asked me to try to get out of the tub. The contractions were coming one after another now and when they occurred, it hurt to move. I stood up and any pressure the water was lifting off of me came crashing down like a ton of bricks. I felt like my butt was going to fall off and I would fall back into the water.

This is when things get spiritual. I found strength inside of myself that I didn’t know I had. I would rest my head on the side of the tub and breathe and when a contraction would end, I would rest. It would feel like an hour nap when really it would be mere seconds. It’s incredible what our minds can do.

I was stuck at 9cm forever it seems. Every time the midwife would check me, I’d be expecting her to tell me I was fully dilated, to no avail. I started to think that I couldn’t do it. I started to feel doubt. I started to pray. At one point I lifted my head from the tub and looked up to see a simple cross hanging on the wall.

Peace. Strength. Love. Affirmation.

I could do this.

This is around the time that my husband came to my rescue. I truly would not have been able to do it without him—he was the most incredible labor companion. I couldn’t have asked for more.  

I drew strength from him. I stared into his eyes and borrowed his calm. He inhaled slowly and deeply, as I looked into his eyes and mimicked each movement he made. He wouldn’t say a word, he only showed me the way.

I fell deeper in love with my husband during that time.

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My cousin was one of the labor and delivery nurses by my side that morning (another blessing) and she encouraged me to get out of the tub at this point. I was so grateful for her. I needed someone to tell me what to do because nothing I was doing was working. I was getting discouraged.

When I got into the bed, I laid on my back. My midwife told me to push. I had tried to push in the tub, but everything I read about in hypnobirthing talked about breathing the baby down. This didn’t work for me; I didn’t know how.

My cousin leaned down next to my ear and said, “It’s just like taking a big ole’ poop.”

Lightbulb moment! I had been resisting the urge to release like that, I had been feeling the pressure build in my butt for hours but since this was my first child, I had no idea if that was normal. (It was. That’s how it’s supposed to feel.)

And so I did. My husband had one of my legs held up with one arm, and my cousin had the other. With his other hand, my husband held the IPod and recorded the whole thing.

Part 4: Delivery

Lord, I uttered sounds that I didn’t know I could make. I yelled the most guttural, animal-sounding shrieks. Watching that video is so hilarious now because I didn’t realize I sounded like that, I didn’t even realize I was yelling. It’s like when you watch those competitive body builders lift 1000 lb weights and they make those obnoxious yelps. I get it now. I know why they do that.

When people refer to the crowning as the “ring of fire,” it’s true. It feels like fire. I know that sounds awful, but it doesn’t last forever. As soon as I thought that I couldn’t take anymore, he was out and in my arms. You feel this intense, innate inclination to just keep going, with all of your might, until forever if you have to. You need this. You’ve made it this far and you need this. And you can. And you will. And you do.

It was the most incredible, gratifying, sentimental, spiritual moment of my life. I did it. I did THAT. I did what other people doubted, what some thought was impossible, at certain points, I thought was impossible. But I did it.

Our sweet boy was here. At 10:08am, 7 lbs 7 ½ oz, 21 inches long. He was perfect.

He was so calm when he came out. He didn’t cry right away, until they gave him a good rub with the towel and laid him on my chest. He looked right up at me and I cried. My husband kissed us both and he cried too. It was the most amazing moment of my life. Magical even. The amount of love that filled that room was insurmountable. Our family was complete.

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We ran into trouble soon after delivery because I was too exhausted to push any longer—my body completely shut down. I hadn’t delivered the placenta yet and I started to lose a lot of blood. My midwife asked if she could administer Pitocin to encourage contractions but even this didn’t help and so she had to pull it out manually.

Things got a little crazy after this, I must admit. I don’t want to discourage any momma’s reading this because it was a very traumatic experience for me for a long time. I want you to know that everything turned out okay. I am okay, my son is okay.

I now know the importance of resting directly after birth and the prolonging of visitors. I know the importance of rehydrating and eating after birth, and have also researched measures that can be taken in order to prevent hemorrhaging (such as drinking a nettle tincture during and after labor) as well as taking an iron supplement after labor (such as Floradix, which is easy for your body to absorb quickly and doesn’t cause constipation.) I know that jaundice for newborns is more common than we realize and that a little time under some lights is okay. I know that my milk supply will sustain and I know that my husband and I can endure just about anything together.

I have healed both physically and emotionally from this birth. The labor and delivery was perfect. The moments just after did not go as planned, such is life. And that’s okay.

I’ve made peace with all of it. For a long time I was afraid to have a second baby at all, in fear that I wouldn’t survive it. However, I have great faith that I will be more than prepared for baby #2, whenever that is, and believe I will be able to have another beautiful, healthy birth when God says it’s time.

For now, I simply feel incredibly blessed that I was able to experience this gift at all. That I was able to grow life inside of me and learn how to become so in tuned with my body and my baby, as we worked together in bringing him earthside. Thank you God and thank you universe.

To any mommies out there rubbing your tummies in anticipation, I want you to know: I believe in you. I’m sending so much love and light your way and you are going to be amazing. Here’s to an extraordinary birth!

Xoxo

Paige

An Epidural Birth Story

  On April 22nd around 3am I had my first contraction. I remember being woken up by it thinking “was that what I think it is?”. Sure enough the contractions continued to come every 10-20 minuets. I was able to go back to sleep and when my husband John and I woke up around 7am my contractions had gotten closer together, coming every 5-10 minuets. At this point they were mild but definitely contractions. I actually had an appointment with my OB that morning so I went ahead and got ready to go. Soon I realized my contraction were coming every 5 minuets! I stood there thinking “I think this is it?!? This is going SO fast!” I always imagined myself laboring at home for awhile but it seemed like we should be going ahead to the hospitable! So that’s what we did. I still wasn’t sure if I should go to my appointment or go to labor and delivery so I called and asked hahaha. Of course they advised me to go to labor and delivery. We got the hospitable, went to the door and buzzed the receptionist and I finally said those words I have dreamed about saying for months now, “I’m in labor?!”, still not sure how this could possibly be real, it was all happening so fast! After being put in an exam room we waited for about three hours, anxiously waiting. My contractions were getting stronger and still coming every 5-7 minuets so we all thought the baby would be here by the afternoon! Once we got into our room my contractions were getting very intense. I don’t remember a whole lot of what was going on but I do remember being in a lot of pain and being unable to get comfortable. My nurse who was also pregnant was amazing! She helped me through many contractions and had a ton of great ideas. After a couple hours of intense contractions, still 5-7 minutes apart I was totally miserable. My nurse suggested getting in the tub. I sat there for what seemed like forever. John stayed by my side and was such a great support through my whole labor. After the tub I tried rocking on the birthing ball and a few other positions on the bed at this point I had been laboring 12 hours and nothing seemed comfortable. I couldn’t open my eyes and was in a ton of pain. I wasn’t really getting any rest between contractions and I started worrying about pushing since I was already so exhausted. Around 8pm I decided to get the epidural and boy am I SO glad I did. Once it was in it was like a night and day difference. I could open my eyes, relax and actually have a conversation! Praise God for epidurals haha! I still hadn’t progressed very much and was only around a 4. After that everything came to a stand still over night so we all tried getting some sleep. The next morning, April 23th, the nurse came in and checked me, to our discouragement, I was only at a 6! The Dr. came in and said he was going to start me on pitocin and if I wasn’t at a 10 in three hours I would most likely be getting a c section. The three hours came and went, when he checked I was almost ready to push, thankfully he gave me an additional hour! Shortly after that I began feeling a lot of pressure and was definitely ready to push! Everything after that point seemed like a whirlwind, suddenly everyone was in place and I was pushing! I remember John saying “I see him! He has hair!” after 12-15 minuets he was out! Holding him for the first time, all brand new and completely perfect, that was the most incredible experience of my life. My heart instantly grew and was filled with more love than I ever imagined possible. For him I would go through it all 100 times again. 

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A Twins Birth Story

When I look back on giving birth to the twins I can only laugh, I had a healthy uneventful pregnancy but I was huge. All my weight was in my belly. I went to my doctor appointment where I was supposed to be scheduled for Induction, only to find out the doctors decided it wasn’t in our best interest and to let labor begin naturally.  I was devastated! I couldn’t move very well, the lack of sleep, and pain in my hips, I was OVER IT!

I came back to my parents house, where I had been staying, to get ready for dinner and I laid on the floor and said to my father “I want this to be over, I’m ready”.  Well one of the little ones apparently shared my sentiments. I was having probably one of the best night sleeps of my pregnancy, I should’ve know something was up.   Some time after 4am I heard a pop sound. Loud  enough to wake me up from a sleep. Is that even normal?  Well I heard it! So I jumped up and ran to the bathroom..  and my water broke at the toilet!  Only I wasn’t sure if it was actually my water breaking or something else, I called my mom in to confirm.  Sure enough “it was time.”    I threw something on I could “fit” and sat waiting for my parents while they got ready.  It took them forever. In their experience the labor process takes a while, especially for first pregnancy.  Well, I will never forget mom came downstairs with a fully made up face and hair done.  Dad was looking as fresh as one would at 9am they were dressed so nice. Did I mention it was after 4am?  Anyway, I had started having contractions.  Hard ones!   I still managed to laugh and utter an “Are you kidding me!”

Upon arrival at the hospital, I was met with a wheel chair at the ER and began throwing up non stop.  The person wheeling me said “Oh, you are in active labor.”  Somehow, however, I was left to labor in triage! Every single contraction was so strong I didn’t know what to do.  I remember the nurses always tried to hold a conversation during a contraction.  I asked why, they said to distract me.  I’m assuming they hadn’t experienced labor themselves yet.  Or at least not non medicated labor.

Well, I finally made it to labor and delivery. And was prepped for my epidural. Too little to late maybe, I was barely getting comfortable when, a nurse peeked under the blanket and said “oh your 100%” and I was whisked away. I got to press the medicine button one time.

Hospital policy was that multiples were delivered in the OR. So it wasn’t a great experience. A bright white room, cold and unwelcoming. I sort of felt like the bride of Frankenstein, and since I gave birth in an education hospital, and was giving birth to multiples more staff is required for delivery. Can you picture it? I’m laying there with my feet up and bare bottom out, with about 16 people in the room, that I was meeting for the first time. I just closed my eyes and pushed!

Surprise! I actually felt the first baby come out! He had a head full of silky hair.  I wasn’t given any skin to skin though unfortunately.  I remember being shocked at how big he was.

Next they broke the water for the next baby.. a gush of hot water splashed .. and 20 minutes later I pushed out my little girl! She was even bigger than my son!  And no one warns you, about afterbirth..  you deliver that too.. Yay! So technically I pushed 4 objects out in one morning.

I had given birth to two healthy babies, from my water breaking to giving birth to the last baby was only 5.5 hours! No NICU, no C-Section. My son weighed just under 6lbs and my daughter weighed  just over 6lbs they had beautiful thick dark curly silky hair. I was so tired, but that was only the beginning.

Check out more from this Mama and catch up on the twins:

Spiltmilk.mom

Twitter.com/spiltmilkdotmom

Instagram.com/therealmzcoffee

A Two Day Long Labor and Delivery

My due date was July 31st. I was going to be having a beautiful baby girl by that day. That day came and she wasn’t ready to come out. Almost two full weeks later I gave birth to my baby girl.

I was called in for induction on Monday August 8th at 6am. I arrived at the birthing center around 7 am and was given Cervadil right away to try and avoid being given Pitocin. I had the Cervadil in for 12 hours and absolutely nothing happened but a lot of pain and discomfort so it was taken out around 3 am August 9th then I was given an hour to shower and eat something then the Pitocin started. I started having contractions only a few hours later.

I’m not sure about the times but I dilated to 4 by the middle of the day.  By that time I needed the epidural so the anesthesiologist was called in to give it to me. He missed my vein and went into a blood vessel so I had to have it all over again then only about 4 hours later the epidural stopped working and I was thrown into my contractions at 7cm. After not being able to feel anything that was extremely painful. I was given another shot of the epidural  which didn’t help at all so I had to wait the 45 minutes for the doc to finish up a c section before he could come redo my epidural one again. The third epidural was successful for another 4 hours but right after getting it my blood pressure dropped extremely low and I was given a dose of (I forget the name epi something ) something to try and bring it back up. It didn’t work very well. The baby’s heart started going haywire and I was in and out of consciousness and put in oxygen. I don’t even know how long it was before they finally leveled it out. After that I had dilated to a 9 then back down to a 7 so after waiting a few more hours they broke my water, my epidural began to once again wear off and I was ready to give birth.

After about and hour of pushing I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl Nora at 12:42 on August 10th. Weighing 7 lbs 10 oz and 21 inches long. But it doesn’t stop there. Nora inhaled fluid while traveling out of the canal so she didn’t cry only grunted. So the doctors had to do procedures to get the fluid out and get her breathing. It was gut wrenching to watch and not be able to do anything for your child but now she is almost 3 months old and weighs 13 pounds and is perfectly healthy.

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An Induction and C-Section Birth Story

I’d hoped to have Henry naturally, in the birthing unit at my local hospital, and had planned to labour, and possibly give birth, in a birthing pool. I’d listened to hypnobirthing CDs, written my birth plan, read Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth, and had been seeing a pre-natal yoga instructor in the months leading up to my due date.

My midwife warned me in the weeks before Henry was due that he wasn’t ‘going to be a 6 pounder’, and after a couple of stretch and sweeps (how I hate that phrase) around the time he was due she told me that he wasn’t ready, and that I’d possibly need to be induced. I remember feeling devastated (although now I’m not really sure why) and tried not to cry on the way home from the doctors, before bursting into tears as soon as I saw my partner.

As my due date came and went I tried curries, pineapple, raspberry leaf tea and acupuncture, but it seemed Henry was just too comfortable where he was, and so 14 days after he was due I went to hospital to be induced. I was given a Prostaglandin pessary and we waited. I remember walking the hospital grounds that afternoon feeling odd twinges, but dismissing them. Later that evening, I was experiencing period pain-like cramps, but didn’t really think anything of it. I ran a bath with lavender oil (I’ve since heard lavender oil can actually start labour or contractions) as I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep, and as I stepped into the bath my waters broke.

I called the midwife and the next part felt unreal. I was hooked up to a belt that monitored Henry’s heartbeat and my contractions (it turned out the mild cramps I’d been experiencing all day were contractions!), and a student nurse sat and chatted to me, but I couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying or my replies because of the contractions. She led me to the delivery suite, which was slow progress as I had to keep stopping, and I called my partner to come back in to the hospital.

I laboured through the night. Two midwives stayed with us throughout, and I remember the room being dim and everything feeling very calm. Everything feels a little muddled now I’m thinking back, but at some point I was given a pessary as labour wasn’t progressing quickly enough, followed by a hormone drip. I’d read that you should try to go to the toilet every hour whilst in labour as a full bladder or bowels could slow things down, and I remember the midwife and my partner having to help me to the toilet, along with the drip stand. Every time I was checked I wasn’t really progressing, so just before dawn the midwife turned the drip off to allow us both some sleep.

The following day I was hooked up to the drip again, and the rate of the drip was adjusted again and again throughout the day, and eventually a doctor was called in to increase the rate of the drip above the midwife’s authorized limit. Induced contractions have a reputation for being more intense, and relentless, than natural contractions, and although we didn’t know at the time Henry was back to back, so each time a midwife advised that my cervix wasn’t dilating it was really upsetting. By late afternoon I knew it was likely I would need a cesarean section, as it had been almost 24 hours since my waters had broken and there’s an increased risk of infection. Henry was doing brilliantly, but his heart rate was dipping a little with each contraction, and he’d been working so hard. I was upset as I was so tired and had been through 20 hours of labour, for nothing. My partner cried, as he hated the thought of me having to have a major operation.

We were taken into the theatre and the team were brilliant, there was lots of laughing and joking, which really lightened the mood. I was given a spinal block (until that point I had just used a TENS machine for pain relief, which I would really recommend for a natural birth) which made me feel sick, but the feeling in my legs went quickly. I was so tired I could barely stay awake during the operation, so my partner made me go through our chosen baby names (we’d decided not to find out the sex beforehand) to keep me awake. I’d heard that a cesarean felt like someone doing the washing up, or rummaging around in a handbag on your stomach, but we were surprised by how physical the operation was. I couldn’t feel anything and healed really well, but the operating table was literally rocking from side to side as they pulled him out. We later found out that he had been partly wedged under my ribs and weighed 9lb 6oz (I’m tiny), which is why I’d needed to be induced followed by a cesarean section – I wouldn’t have been able to birth him naturally.

The surgeon told us we’d had a boy, and he was passed to the midwife to be checked over before being passed to me. He had a full head of hair, was very calm (and still is) and was utterly, completely perfect. We were taken to the recovery suite and one of the lovely midwives helped me to feed him for the first time.

If I’d known in advance what would happen I would’ve been terrified – it was so far removed from what I had hoped for, but ultimately it was such a positive experience. I felt so supported by the hospital staff and in particular two midwives – I’ll never forget them. And the weird thing is, although the contractions were intense and I was sore after the operation, I didn’t feel any real pain. I’m due our second baby in April and I’d like a planned cesarean. I really hope the experience will be as positive as it was with Henry.

 

I’m so honored to share this Mama’s story! She has the most beautiful blog that you absolutely must check out! She has parenting, pregnancy and even some fashion advice! You can visit her site here: http://afterhenry.com/!

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