November, 2016 | The Not So Hoity Toity Life

Month: November 2016 (page 1 of 2)

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/!

A Traumatic Birth Story

With my first pregnancy, I was quite naive. I believed everything my doctor told me, I wish I had done more research and gone with what I wanted. I allowed them to talk me into an epidural, despite handling labor for many days and a full day of a high piton labor like a champ. The epidural stalled my labor, it made it so I couldn’t move with my labor and delivery. Mason was in a sunny side up position, with a brow presentation, which is one of the hardest positions a baby can be in to try and birth, and I was stuck on my back, I absolutely hated my epidural. I felt like I was disconnected from the labor and birth, I couldn’t feel what was going on, couldn’t feel my son. When I began pushing I hated that I couldn’t feel when to push, it didn’t come naturally, the one nurse in the room would tell me when to start and stop because she was watching a monitor. Truly mind blowing that something so natural, something our amazing bodies are meant to do was put to what a monitor said, not what I was feeling. I pushed for just about 3 hours, hard long pushes, his head would start to come out and then go right back in. My doctor was only there for the very first and last push, which honestly shocked me, I expected him to be there for me, to be there monitoring our sweet babe, but no he was not there ever. I felt alone, abandoned by my health professional, by the man who told me he would help me bring my son into the world. He checked me immediately after my last push and stopped, he said don’t push again, it’s time for a cesarean now.

Everyone rushed around, they wouldn’t tell me what was going on with my son, or myself. I had a bad panic attack, instead of sitting with me discussing what was going on, per their protocol, without my request, they gave me something to “calm me down” what they didn’t know was I would panic even worse, because I didn’t want to be out of it during the birth of my son. They wheeled me into the OR, people where cleaning it like crazy as they brought me in, which worried me. Then as they tried to transfer me from my hospital bed to the tiny cold metal OR table they shifted me too far to the left and I almost fell off the bed right onto my belly, onto my baby, the anesthesiologist was the one who caught me, he was a true blessing through everything. C-sections are strange, they are cold, they are sterile, they aren’t a beautiful birth, to me they are terrifying. You feel lots of pressure, and tugging, you hear people having conversations and you just anxiously wait to hear the cry you’ve waited for months to hear. Mason came out, he cried before they even pulled him all the way out, and he went straight to the nurses, and then straight to my face, he clung to me, I was in tears but I was also apprehensive because things didn’t feel right behind that sterile blue curtain, things started to hurt, started to pinch. I knew something was wrong when I heard the clicks of the hemostats and felt the pain. I saw the panic on my doctors faces, when they ushered out my husband and baby to the nursery. They kept saying the bleeding wouldn’t stop, and they needed more lap pads, I knew something was wrong. No one would tell me anything. Weeks after my delivery I learned that my uterus tore, from the c section incision down to my cervix. Finally I told my anesthesiologist that I could feel the pinch from the hemostats, I could feel the actual pain from the small pinch, he looked panicked and quickly pushed two doses of fentanyl which put me to sleep. I woke up in a panic as they pushed me down the hall, I was cold shaking uncontrollably and all I wanted was to see my angel. They finally brought him in, but I was so out of it I couldn’t hold him, I hated this! Your supposed to be able to feed your child the first time, instead I was blessed with some nurses who knew I wanted to exclusively breastfeed him, one held my breast to his mouth the other held Mason. A few hours later, I was finally able to hold my son!

My husband who was tired and hungry ran to get us some cheeseburgers and a milk shake, thats when the pediatrician came in saying they needed to take Mason into the nursery to do an ultrasound on his head to see if there was just fluid or if it was blood. He came out with a saggy head, kinda like a water balloon when you held him it sagged over your hand, so scary. The nurses checked me while Mason was gone, and of course I had developed a post surgical fever, and they immediately started me on IV antibiotics. I knew something was wrong with my baby, when the pediatrician came back, without Mason. She told me that the fluid on his head was in fact blood, they told me he also had a fever, they told me they already called the ambulance and hospital in Springfield and that he would immediately be taken to the NICU in a different town, they told me I couldn’t go, this killed me. Our first night together, his first night out of my womb and we would be apart. I frantically called my husband telling him he had to immediately come back and he had to follow the ambulance to the hospital. That night, I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t want to be apart from my new child and my husband. The next morning, I was told if I got up, showered and urinated on my own twice I could leave and go be with my family, so at 6 am thats exactly what I did by 7 am I was ready to go, then they broke more bad news, my fever wasn’t decreasing, it was actually getting worse and I needed to be there for at least one more IV antibiotic, so meaning I wouldn’t be able to leave until 4 pm. As my mom wheeled me out of the hospital to head to see my baby, my husband called, he told me they had to do a blood draw and a spinal tap on our sweet newborn, to make sure he didn’t have meningitis, because his fever kept going up. We rushed to Springfield, the moment I saw my sweet babe just sleeping comfortably in the tiny crib I began to cry, that was my baby, he had already gone through so much pain, I went right in, reunited and held him for hours. The pediatrician on duty came in and discussed what was going on. Mason had a subgaleal hemorrhage, a very rare child birth complication, basically the scalp pulls away from the skull and the space fills with blood, its normally only in babies that were delivered with a vacuum or forcep delivery.  It showed how hard and strong my pushes were, I caused this, which made me feel awful. They also explained how his blood would be cultured to find out what antibiotics would be best to treat his infection. A day had passed and Mason developed jaundice, as a result from his body reabsorbing all the blood that was on his head, he had to be under the UV lights completely for days, we couldn’t hold him, unless it was time to feed him. I sat there all day everyday, just holding his little finger telling him how strong he was, how much we loved him, and praying a lot. That same day, his blood culture results came back, he had a staph infection, which would require him to be in the NICU receiving IV antibiotics for 7 days, we knew it would be a long stay.

The hospital tried to get us to leave Mason, to stay at a home nearby in Eugene, we refused. We did not want to be apart from our sweet boy, we told them if they moved us to a smaller room that would be just fine, but that we would be staying. My husband would sleep on the floor and I would sleep in the rocking chair, they opted to letting us stay in the bigger room, because we were so stubborn. We were by his side everyday, all day. About 4 days, into our stay the nurses talked us into leaving for a few hours, to go to Target to get some food for ourselves. When we returned, Mason was dressed and the lights were off, they wanted to surprise us, I cried then too! I held him for hours, all night actually. We did everything for Mason, we recorded his temperature, we fed him, changed him, bathed him, weighed him, the nurses didn’t know what to do with themselves because we were the most involved parents they had ever had. Finally, on day 8 we were able to go home, and our scary encounter was over, we were taking our sweet boy home! On that day, our strong little boy rolled over for his first time, and he didn’t stop he rolled everyday after that, hitting all his milestones early.

This pregnancy we want a more natural approach, we had birth trauma with Mason’s whole delivery. We found an absolutely wonderful midwife in our area, and we would pursue a completely natural medication free pregnancy and  childbirth. We are planning on a beautiful, natural VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) experience with our amazing midwife, who herself has had 2 successful VBAC’s, and aided women in many. We are so dedicated to this, I want to feel every moment, I want to labor at home, I want a water birth, I want Mason to be apart of as much as possible, while I’m comfortable having him there, I want to do what my body was MADE to do! I am 16.5 weeks pregnant with this baby, we have had visits with our midwife every 4 weeks, since we found out we were pregnant at about 3.5 weeks along, we have heard our babies heartbeat on many occasions, its so strong and steady. We see our babe for the first time, November 9th we find out if we will be welcoming another wild man or a sweet little lady into the world on April 1st 2017. This pregnancy has been so different then my first, I have been so sick, and so painful. What’s so different with a midwife rather then an OBGYN, is that my midwife is helping me through all my pains, and side effects, my doctor with Mason basically told me to deal with it. My midwife prescribed Vitamin B12 injections, which helped a crazy amount with nausea and fatigue. She suggested I try probiotics for my heartburn, I am using Kombucha, 4 oz a day and I have absolutely no heartburn, I’ve had heartburn despite medications since I was pregnant with Mason. She has me on Magnesium for the muscle and joint aches, which took them away, on iodine for some cysts I had and for ache, and of course on a prenatal vitamin. I have never felt so supported by a health care professional, she is always and I mean ALWAYS there for us. We have her cell phone, to contact her day, night weekend if we need to, she replies to messages to her in 1-2 days. I am so far loving this pregnancy and my midwife has honestly helped make this such a positive experience. She has helped me release any fear I had with childbirth, and I am just so excited and ready. I honestly have no fear, my body was made to do this, made to go through the pain, made to be able to push out a baby. I feel empowered. I feel beautiful, I feel confident. I am a strong woman and I know I can do anything!

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I am excited to have a place to document my pregnancy, and my childbirth.

“It is important to keep in mind that our bodies must work pretty well, or their wouldn’t be so many humans on the planet.”
― Ina May Gaskin, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

A Labor and Delivery Story

It was 4:00am January 24th 2014, exactly one week before my due date (February 1st). I got up for one of my many frequent trips to the bathroom and as I had finished up and went back to bed, I noticed I was still leaking fluid. I thought I might have peed a little, but as I got back up and out of the bed to go check a huge rush of water came poring out. The only way I can describe it is a sense of warm liquid and pressure, a continuous flow.

I woke Braydon’s dad to tell him it was time, my contractions had not yet started. We first called my aunt to tell her what was going on and then Jake’s (Braydon’s dad) sister. We called the maternity ward at my local hospital and they suggested we come in right away instead of waiting for my contractions to start since it sounded like my water had fully broken.

Jake’s sister picked us up and we headed to the hospital! I started having mild contractions in the car on the way there and they steadily increased from there. When we checked in, it was nice to see that we were the only ones there. Our hospital was super small and I was the only mommy admitted at the time. Since it was Flu season the nurses informed us that who ever was accompanying us in the delivery room would be our only visitors allowed while we were there. I chose to have Jake, my mom, my sister, and Jake’s mom in the delivery room.

My birth plan was set up to be a “lets see how it goes” kind of thing. I didn’t want to commit to a fully natural or medicated birth, I just wanted to see what my body needed. As my contractions progressed I walked around the hospital a couple times, used a yoga ball, and tried the Jacuzzi tub to labor in. The tub I felt made my contractions way worse and I didn’t stay in there very long. At 7cm I asked for the epidural, and it only worked on one side of my body until they came in to fix it.

Around 1:30pm it was time to push! I don’t recall the specific number of pushes it took but he arrived at 1:59pm so about a half hour of pushing and my baby boy was here! They placed him on my chest right away as Jake cut the cord and I had my skin to skin with him. I can’t tell you what I was thinking or feeling other then full attention on him and an overwhelming sense of happiness. My little man weighed 6lbs and 14oz and was 19 3/4 inches long. I was able to breast feed him in the hospital which was super awesome and the nurse was aggressive but super helpful.2016-08-02_165538000_99234_ios

I had to have stitches as Braydon’s elbow tore me up towards the front. I don’t recall the stitches as I was too busy admiring my baby at the time. I remember being in such a focused state throughout my pregnancy that I honestly didn’t pay attention to anyone or anything. I really couldn’t tell you what the other people in the room were saying or doing. After I had fed baby and had substantial skin to skin with him, Jake gave him his first bath! The hospital staff were so caring and helpful, I will only go to a small hospital for future births!

We stayed two nights in the hospital and then took our sweet baby home. Before we left the hospital provided us with a celebratory breakfast that included mimosas, Belgium waffles,  and fruit! It was probably the most significant experience I have ever had and I can’t wait to do it all over again with baby number two this January! (Yes, thats right two January babies!)

 

This Mama features recipes, DIY activities and Mama Care and Wellness articles on her blog. Check out her blog and follow her on her social media:

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A Natural Birth Story

My sweet baby boy. Oh, how I wanted a baby boy SO bad. I came from a family dominated by girls and my beautiful and sweet firstborn is a girl. I love her to the moon and back, but all my life I wanted a little mama’s boy and on August 30th, 2010 at 11:36 pm he entered this world in a way I would never have imagined.

My pregnancy was nothing out of the ordinary, other than suffering through a very long and hot Minnesota summer and also feeling extremely huge. (Full disclosure, I did gain 50 lbs and was, in fact, huge) By the 9th month, I was getting comments daily about my size. I had been watching my sugars because of a “borderline” gestational diabetes diagnosis, but otherwise had a very normal healthy pregnancy.

At my 34 week check-up, I was dilated to 1 cm. I was surprised and a bit nervous he’d be born a bit early, but my doctor assured me that this was nothing to be concerned about and that I should just be very aware of any contractions and to not over-exert myself. Sounded good to me!

At my 36 week check-up, I was dilated to 3 cm. WHAT! I seriously thought I was having this baby that day. A 3? Really?? The doctor again said not to worry, but to take it easy, a couple more weeks would be a good idea. NO PROBLEM!

At my 37 week check-up, nothing changed.

At my 38 week check-up, nothing changed.

At my 39 week check-up, my doctor tells me I’m at 3 and a half cm. Seriously? Three weeks I walked around dilated to 3 cm, every week my doctor teasing me that it could “happen any day!” and at 39 weeks I gain a half a cm. I’m HALF a cm from going into labor. UGH.

Now, I don’t know how you overdue mamas handled that because I was going bonkers at this point. My doctor offered to “strip my membranes” to try to get things moving along. Despite the discomfort of having this done, I was more than OK with it. He jokingly says, “Let’s do it, I’m on call tonight so If you want to meet up later we can have this baby!”

I love my doctor and saw him for EVERY prenatal appointment, but it was not a guarantee he would be the one to deliver my baby. You get whoever is on call, so now that I knew he would be there that night I was even more determined.

He stripped my membranes and sent me on my way. This was at around 10AM. My mom had driven up to watch my then 2-year-old daughter, while I went to my appointment. I called her right after, told her all the details, then asked if she minded staying with my sweet girl a little longer while I ran a few quick errands. Of course, she was fine with that.

So, I went to the nearest Target store and proceeded to speed walk laps around the interior of the store. I NEEDED to get things moving. It was insanely hot outside, so walking outdoors was out of the questions. I was a little crampy from having my membranes stripped, but I trucked on at full speed for almost 45 minutes. I’m sure people at the store had to have figured out what I was doing and to this day still makes me chuckle a little bit. (Don’t worry, I didn’t leave the store empty handed…wait…Is that even possible at Target?) I was DETERMINED to have my baby that night.

For most of that afternoon, I was kind of crampy and was having a lot of what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions, nothing in a real regular pattern and nothing overly painful, but it was a bit more consistent than normal. I was getting pretty excited!

We had a normal evening, put my girl to bed around 7:30. Hubby was playing computer games and I sat down on the couch to watch TV. I was, at this point, having regular contractions. Nothing very painful and nothing that I could for sure say was actual labor. I didn’t even mention it to my hubby.

My daughter’s labor moved VERY slow, especially in the beginning and I didn’t want to get to the hospital too early this time, so I was just hanging out, doing lots of breathing.

My first pregnancy I went into labor and delivery fairly blind. We did the classes and what not, but nothing was how I thought it would be, which was scary even though she was a very uncomplicated birth. This time, I did a TON more research. I wanted to stay at home as long as possible, I wanted to hire the on-call doula at the hospital and try for a drug-free birth. I did not have a “Birth Plan” necessarily, but I knew what I was going to aim for.

I’d read the Hypno-Birthing book twice and had my soothing music all prepared. I wanted it to be as natural as possible, but still having that safety net of being at a hospital. Since this was my second baby, I was much more relaxed and calm about the whole thing.

About 9:45 that night the contractions became a bit more intense. I still felt good, nothing that I couldn’t talk through, but I felt it was probably time to get going. My husband, of course, was a bit surprised since I hadn’t mentioned anything yet, but he called his parents, who were our stand by babysitters for our daughter, while I called the hospital to let them know we were on our way…

I had about 30-40 minutes until my in-laws would be there, so I decided to take a shower so I’d be clean and refreshed. I still felt really good, so I didn’t really think anything of it. That was when it happened. 5 minutes into my shower I started having the most intense contractions. With my daughter, I had an epidural relatively early, so I never felt any truly intense contractions. Holy bananas, it is INTENSE. I really struggled to finish my shower and get dressed. By the time my in-laws arrived I was on my hands and knees on my living room floor rocking back and forth and breathing very loudly. I absolutely could not walk during a contraction so it took awhile to get to the car because they were right on top of each other.

I’m pretty sure my husband was a nervous wreck, not that I was paying any attention to him, but I do remember, on the car ride to the hospital, asking him if he was speeding. I could NOT open my eyes for anything, but I could just tell we were moving fast. He lied to me and said he wasn’t speeding. We still laugh about that. It was a 30 minute drive to the hospital, we got there in 20. So, by now it’s about 11PM and we arrive at the hospital. This part cracks me up SO much. Hubby decides he wants to bring in all our bags. My first birth was a slow moving one and he wanted to make sure we had things to do this time, so he packed the laptop and a whole bag of snacks and games, plus an overnight bag for each of us. He’s carrying all this stuff and I can barely walk. Literally, CAN NOT walk during a contraction.

There was a super sweet gal who was leaving the hospital right as we were arriving and saw what was happening. (I’m sure we looked hysterical) She runs inside and grabs a wheelchair for me. I’m so grateful to sit down until I realize the wheelchair doesn’t have a footrest! WHAT?! Am I supposed to use my non-existent abdominal muscles to hold my feet up all the way to the 4th floor? YUP! And somehow I managed to do it!

We finally get off the elevator on the 4th floor (I don’t think I opened my eyes once the whole way) and the first person I see is my doctor. I was SO happy he would be delivering my baby! I was very much in pain and could barely talk or do anything other than moan and breath deeply, but I managed a wave and a smile in his direction. He comes over to us and says, “What did your doctor do to you this morning?” I managed a little laugh. It was obvious to him I was in active labor so he had them take me straight to a room and bypass triage.

It took a long time to get to the room because they had me walk. This is what I remember. Walk 10 steps, stop for a 30-second contraction. Walk 10 steps, stop for a 30-second contraction. I did this the entire way to the room, it felt like FOREVER.

My nurse was a super sweet older lady and she helped me change into a hospital gown (Very slowly since I wouldn’t move or let anyone touch me during a contraction.) At this point it’s about 11:15 and she checks to see how far I’m dilated. I’m thinking in my head, it’s gotta be at least 6 cm. PLEASE give me at least 6.

She looks up at me and says, “Honey, you’re at 9 cm. You’re having this baby pretty quick!”

WHAT!!! No way, really? Holy crap. AAAH!

We were waiting for the doctor to come in and the nurse tries with all her might to get an IV started since it’s standard procedure. I don’t remember this, but apparently, every time she tried, a contraction would start and I’d rip my hand away. There wasn’t enough time between contractions for her to finish so she just gave up saying, “You probably won’t need it anyway.” Oh, this makes me laugh too. I didn’t need one, so I was thankful for that. She frantically started setting up the room for the delivery.

At this point, even being dilated to 9 cm, my water still hasn’t broken. So, the doctor comes in a few minutes later and says they’ll break my water and to expect this baby to be born in the next 45 minutes or so! I was still so surprised by how fast things were moving!

They broke my water and he asked me if I wanted anything for the pain, I thought I was so tough, by saying no. Until the doctor left. As soon as he walks out the door I start yelling for pain relief. Oh, how indecisive I can be.

It didn’t matter, though, because maybe a minute after they broke my water I felt the urge to push. I forgot about pain meds and was just completely focused on pushing. They called the doctor and he came back immediately.

I pushed for 5 minutes (Threw up once during this time) and my baby boy was born. 20 minutes after arriving in my hospital room. 8 lbs 13 oz 21 ¾” long, my sweet baby boy was here.

I never dreamed I’d actually have a drug free birth, even though it’s what I really wanted. I will say, though, that I was up and walking around much easier and faster than my experience with an epidural. I had a few stitches but was feeling completely fine other than being a bit sore. I never even needed an Advil I felt so great. It was almost euphoric, I’m sure hormones were surging, but I was alert and had energy. I was laughing and hearing everyone go on about how fun and fast the birth was.

My favorite part was, of course, meeting my sweet sweet boy and sharing our first of many snuggles. He truly is a mama’s boy.

I’m so happy I was able to share my birth story with you all. My boy just turned 6 years old and started kindergarten a few months ago, time moves at lightning speed with little ones. It was such a joy going back in time and reliving such an amazing and memorable day in my life.

I want to thank The Not So Hoity Toity Life for inviting me to share my birth story. It’s something that is a truly special thing that only women can feel and understand, and it’s an amazing gift to be able to hear so many different stories and learn from everyone’s unique experiences.

-Elizabeth

Join me over at SimpleLifeDreamer.com where I blog about living a simple life in a not so simple world. Can’t wait to see you there!

A 2nd Child Birth Story

My birth experience with my second baby was vastly different to my first. With the first I felt very let down by the way I was dismissed as a new mother. How the midwives didn’t explain anything to me or ask my opinion or birth plan. I didn’t know any better. With my second, I was determined not to let that happen again! I can’t really discuss my first yet. I’m not sure why but it’s just too difficult to put into words how that experience affected me or made me feel. My first required a NICU stay for a couple of days. My second I was desperate to have a ‘real’ birth experience and avoid the NICU at all costs.

I made a birth plan involving kangaroo care and immediate skin to skin, with delayed cord clamping. I even arranged to sit down with the head midwife at the hospital and talk it over. Fortunately, she reassured me right away that I would get what I wanted, apparently kangaroo care was the standard now.

Funny how much can change in just three years!

Unfortunately, due to my condition (Obstetric Cholestasis, which I had had with my first and had returned this time) I had to be induced at 37 weeks. This was good in a way, I knew exactly when my baby was coming, we could make arrangements and plan accordingly. But at the same time, as the day approached so did the fear.

My first birth had been difficult, terrifying and had not been handled how I’d wanted. I had not been given skin to skin or delayed clamping (or even asked my preferences) and I had been given an  without asking. My first had started ‘grunting’ which required a NICU stay in case of infection. I have since done research which suggests skin to skin would have prevented this.

So with my second I was induced at 12pm. Along with the discomfort and undignified requirements of being induced it can also be more painful and my second baby had decided he wanted to be back to back, which has been estimated to be about twice as painful as a regular labour.

I started feeling contractions mid-afternoon which progressively worsened until we were convinced they were just going to be stuck at a crappy plateau for a while in the evening, so I sent Husband home to get some sleep and asked for some pethidine so I could nap also. I woke up about 2 hours later and it was clear the contractions were now unbearable.

The midwives called Husband to come in and I asked for an epidural, despite the fact I’d decided against it. They examined me and it turned out an epidural was out of the question, I was 9cm and just a few contractions after the examination I was feeling the urge to push. I was wheeled round to delivery on my bed, during which time my waters broke and the urge to push was overwhelming.

In delivery I was propped up on the bed and put up in stirrups. I had wanted to try being on hands and knees but the pain was so extreme I literally couldn’t open my eyes most of the time, let alone support myself.

I had only the gas and air to reply on and it soon became worse than that. It turns out my little monster had decided to try turning around at the last minute. He was now sideways and his head was stuck. He had somehow pinned a part of the amniotic sack with waters still inside. This wasn’t helping! The midwives manually broke the membrane which exploded all over them due to the intense pressure that had built up! (Which is pretty hilarious, looking back!)

They were concerned that he wasn’t coming fast enough and was in distress, so they started taking my gas and air away from me during the contractions! Their theory was that I’d push harder if I was in more pain, I’m pretty sure it made it harder for me to push at all!

Finally, he was out (without another episiotomy, thank goodness!) and I got what I wanted, immediate, gooey skin to skin, in all his waxy vernix covered glory! It was lovely, having my little baby, so warm and new, cuddled up on my chest.rhyd

We stayed like that for at least an hour as I was taken care of (stitches, ouch!) and the placenta was finally detached after delaying the clamping. Then Husband had his turn to cuddle him and took care of cleaning and dressing him. We were lucky enough to be left to have some time alone for another hour or so as I very slowly got myself up and had a shower. It was slow going and I was still in shock, but it was a huge relief to have my baby in the room with me this time, I didn’t realise how deeply it had affected me last time.

We were eventually wheeled to a bed on a ward where we had a little sleep and he had his first checks and things done. He was born just before 4am and we were discharged at 4pm! All in all, very different, but I felt so much better about this birth. I felt because he was my second I was taken more seriously and given more support, which is sad really, the new mums need it more, but I am grateful for it at the same time.

I was nervous about going home with a newborn and a toddler, but I needn’t have worried, his big brother loved him absolutely. Even now at 9 months, he and his brother still adore each other and are always cuddling and kissing and laughing at each other. I just wish I had been able to have to same aftercare experience with both of them. I feel almost cheated, like a huge experience was denied to me and I’ll never get it back.

img_20160913_091438A friend suggested I get assessed for PTSD. With my awful, difficult pregnancies and horrific labours it is an actual possibility. I am just extremely grateful it is unlikely I have PND given how I’ve been coping well and the focus of my anxiety is very specific, although I’m not sure, maybe it’s connected. I guess I’ll find out at my appointment!

I am waiting to see a doctor this month about a possible diagnosis. I love being a mum of two and feel I’m coping pretty well, we are all happy and healthy. However, since my second I’ve been more focused on the drastic differences between my birth care, I can’t forget the horrific agony I went through with both of them and the thought of getting pregnant again actually makes me feel physically sick with dread, I start to sweat and feel on the verge of panic. I have even done pregnancy tests when I know I’m not pregnant (I am back on the pill; I couldn’t breastfeed but that is a whole other story) because I’m so terrified of going through all that again.

Despite all this and feeling 100% certain I am done with having more, I always try to encourage new expecting mums that I know. I know not everyone has an experience like mine and am grateful for that. I always try to emphasis how worth it it all is when you’ve got that little boy/girl in your arms.

To read more  stories from this Mom, check out her blog at http://www.alifeinpracticeblog.com/! She covers mental health and everyday Mom struggles! She also gives amazing advice and some great recipes!

 

A Home Birth Story

The story of the birth of my first child is something that has taken me quite some time to come to terms with. Although I did manage to have a drug-free homebirth as I had hoped, not much else about it felt according to plan.

 

It was nine days past my due date and I was getting pretty anxious by this time. Here in Austria it is standard practice to induce labour once a pregnancy goes ten days overdue. Having read way too many scary labour stories involving medical induction online, I was pretty terrified of having to do that. It would have meant not only having a medicated birth, but also having to do it in hospital. And I was dead set on doing it at home with my midwife.

Finally, on the morning of the 9th day post-due date (and incidentally, also on the day of my second wedding anniversary), I started feeling little twinges. They were very infrequent, about every 20 minutes and certainly not very intense. I was excited. Finally I was going to be a mummy. And this didn’t even hurt that bad. Maybe all the stories I had read online about the pain of contractions had been exaggerated. They just felt like mild period cramps. (I can laugh now at my naivete.) I texted my midwife to let her know that I thought today was going to be the day. I promised my husband I’d let him know of my progress and he went off to work to tie up some loose ends, while I binged on plums in front of the TV and did some translation work. I know now that I should have taken a nap. But nobody told me how important that was and I was too excited to rest.

By the evening, my husband was home and things had sped up a little. This was getting a little boring. The midwife had given us instructions to call her once the contractions were 3 minutes apart. Even though they weren’t always so painful, by 2am they were indeed about 3 minutes apart, so she came over. She examined me and then told me the awful news. I was only 2cm dilated. After about 18 hours of contracting. She told me to go to sleep and call her again when things were feeling really intense.

So I climbed into bed finally and slept. Almost 2 hours later, I was awoken by truly agonizing pains. I was shuddering with them, almost as if I was trying to run away from the pain, which is of course impossible since the pain was coming from inside my body. Then I fell asleep again for 7 minutes. Then I was woken again by more of the same. This happened several more times with me being awoken by extremely painful contractions and then drifting back into sleep again, until I finally pulled myself out of bed and staggered towards the blow-up birthing pool we had set up in the living room. Once my hubby had added some more hot water, I climbed in and felt instant (partial) relief. Like when something really hot gets doused in cold water and steam shoots off of it.

This part is a little hazy in my memory because I was so tired, but I vaguely remember sometimes labouring in the pool, and sometimes getting out to bounce on my birthing ball. Time passed. Finally, at 2pm (a solid 12-hours since the midwife’s first visit), we gave her a call and asked her to come back. My contractions were back to every 3 minutes and were unbelievably intense. It was going to take her at least 40 minutes to drive over. I couldn’t take it anymore and I cracked. I started crying (a very unusual occurrence for me since I usually have such a stiff upper lip) and I told hubby that I couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted an epidural. I said, “I know I told you to ignore me if I ever ask for an epidural. But I was an idiot and I NEED it.” He was so sweet. He told me, if the midwife examines me and I’ve made no progress, we’ll go to hospital and get me some sweet, sweet drugs. Okay, he didn’t say “sweet, sweet”. That’s just what I heard in my head.

When the midwife arrived, I was secretly hoping she would tell me that I was still only 2cm dilated. Then I could go to hospital, they could make the pain stop and I could finally sleep. No such luck. 9cm!!!! She told me I could start pushing.

In a perfect world, I would have been ten minutes away from meeting my little baby boy or girl. But instead, I didn’t meet little Frankie for another 2 hours. I tried pushing in the tub, I tried pushing on the floor squatting (even though I was so exhausted that I could barely stand, let alone squat), I tried pushing on my back, on my knees and I finally settled onto my side on the sofa. Hubby and the midwife (who looked bored and kept sending text messages throughout the whole ordeal) insisted they could see the head. But they’d been telling me that for over an hour! At one point I yelled in frustration, “how big is this f***ing head anyway!!!!” By this time, 90 minutes had passed and I was completely spent. I’ve since been told that my face was completely grey at the time and I seemed barely conscious, not responding to hubby asking me if I was ok.

Finally, the midwife realized that I was not going to manage this on my own and she started talking about a hospital transferal. Even though I had visited the hospital ward and thought it seemed really nice, the idea of having to take a 30 minute ambulance ride with a baby part-way sticking out of me was terrifying. Hubby stepped in. He called our family doctor, whose practice is only 5 minutes away and convinced him that we needed help, even though family doctors almost never help out with homebirths anymore due to liability reasons. The doctor abandoned a waiting room full of people at his practice and was at our home in 5 minutes carrying two I.V. bags of saline and glucose. I was half aware of how naked I was as this man who I often see at church walked into my living room. He stuck the needle in my arm to give me the IVs and my husband watched as colour returned to my face before his eyes. It felt like a cloud had been lifted from around my head and the cotton wool removed from my ears. Then the wonderful doctor (a.k.a. the hero of the story) told me that he was going to push on my belly with my next contraction. With the next contraction, the head was born. And on the next one, my baby was finally here. A boy!

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Unbelievably, despite my son having a rather large head as it turned out, I did not suffer any tearing. Although it took about a week to regain my strength, there was no other physical trauma. However, it honestly took a good 2 years before I stopped obsessing over the experience and having flashbacks.

Do I have any advice for women preparing for labour?

I understand that there are a million pieces of advice floating about out there for women preparing to give birth to their first child. But I think the two most important things I can impart to you are thus:

  1. Find a midwife / doctor (preferably more than one) who is passionate and not overworked.
  2. If you think labour is starting, but it’s not too intense, go eat a bunch of food and take a nap. You need rest and energy for the big marathon.

I understand that this labour story is not a very nice one but please don’t be discouraged by it. I have since had 2 more children and these births were much more positive experiences.

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About the Mama:  

To learn about the hospital births of my 2 younger children, please visit my blog at thebabybuncher.com and check out some of my other videos on my YouTube channel.

My name is Kay. I am a British ex-pat living in Austria and a 3-time mother to a 4-year old, a 2-year old and a 9-month old. I love organising my home, eating food grown in my own garden and going on adventures with my family.

Although my husband and I always wanted a large family, wanting and having are 2 different things. ‘Baby bunching’ or having ‘Irish twins’ (several children close together in age) is more than a full-time job. Just getting through the day is sometimes a daunting task.

If you are pregnant, have a baby or are dealing with toddler tantrums, or perhaps all 3 at the same time (like me), then this blog is for you. Learn new tips and hacks with me for dealing with demanding little ones, while trying to do it on a budget. I am passionate about sharing what I have learned so far and connecting with a community of amazing, like-minded mummies and daddies.

My “Baby Bunching” adventure is far from over. Join me as I experience the highs and lows of motherhood with so many little ones to look after.

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