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 Post subject: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:24 pm 
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Bathes in Braggs
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People were mentioning it would be nice to have them all compiled somewhere. I heartily agree! It would be really great to have the birth story (cut and pasted from another thread or typed up in entirety) plus a couple of newbie pics, plus any other newborn follow up stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:10 pm 
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Bathes in Braggs
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OK, super dee duper long... typed out about 4 weeks PP.

My pregnancy was really very easy even though I kind of disliked being pregnant in general. I was really active throughout, did Bikram yoga up until the week before she was born, ate well, didn't gain a lot or swell or have any of the common issues. Now that I know what a wonderful result you get from being pregnant, I'm a bit more positive about doing it again (or maybe that's just the lovey-dovey baby hormones talking!). As uneventful as my pregnancy was, our life was in some crazy turmoil. A week after we found out I was pregnant, my husband got laid off and we got used to the idea of leaving the town we'd just moved to 9 months prior. Meanwhile, I had found a great midwife practice and started seeing them... I loved my midwife so much so I was really sad that we wouldn't be completing the pregnancy with her.

My husband was pursuing two jobs in another town, so I started calling midwife practices to try and get in there. Unfortunately, Montreal happens to have waaay too few midwives for the population, but I was lucky to want a homebirth, and already being followed by midwives so the newest practice in town tried really hard to get me a spot and finally were able to. At about 25 weeks, we moved.

Fastforward 10 weeks... We had a busy weekend planned. Being terrible procrastinators, we figured that 35 1/2 weeks was really far enough to be completely unprepared for the baby, so we were planning to paint her room, do our pregnancy pics, and pick up some supplies for her. However, that Saturday I felt really out of it. I had a bit of a backache and just felt off. Around 11am, I went to the bathroom and wiped away my mucous plug. There wasn't any blood, it was just goo. A few minutes later, I realized I'd peed myself a little. woops! About 1/2 hour later, there were more drops of urine in my underwear. Wow, so this was the incontinence of late pregnancy... lovely. I kept on trying to squeeze my bladder empty, but I kept leaking. So I decided to actually try and get something productive done and went out to buy fabric to make a baby wrap and the paint. This was about 3 pm? (I love how in denial I was... there was a nagging little thought in my head that this was obviously my water, but I ignored it). About halfway through my trip, I realized I really really needed to get home. My husband was still out buying supplies for our photo shoot, so I just lay on the couch, leaking away. When he got home, I was getting a little worried, but still didn't say anything, until I got up to use the bathroom and realized my underwear was soaked. I sent him out for pads, and went and sat on the toilet, my head spinning.

Finally, around 9pm, I couldn't really deny it anymore... I was soaking everything I sat on, and feeling odder and odder. I called my midwife, but I guess I downplayed my concerns pretty well, because she wanted to finish up some errands, and didn't arrive until after 10pm. My husband started running around cleaning up the house and throwing things in the laundry. I thought that we would probably be spending the night at home waiting for my contractions to start, and was privately freaking out about how early I was, and what my chances were to have to be induced if labour didn't start in the next day or so.

At this point I absolutely knew it was my water and the midwife didn't even have to check the fluid... she saw how much there was and told us she'd have to consult with a pediatrician about the baby's maturity... she got all the files out on my pregnancy and got on the phone with the hospital.
Meanwhile, I had my first contraction. I don't know if the back pain I'd had all day were actually contractions, but this was not a gentle contraction. This was a full on, knock-my-socks-off, for real contraction. But they felt pretty good and after feeling out of control and overwhelmed by the first two, I recovered and moaned deeply through them. I lose about an hour here, because the midwife's notes say she was on the phone for that long, but it seemed like right after my first couple of contractions, she came in to talk to us. Basically, we could choose to give birth at home, since there weren't any immediate concerns about the baby or me. However, the likelihood was that we'd have to transfer some time after the delivery if the baby had any issues. Given that, and how unprepared we were for a homebirth at that point, we chose to transfer. Here I lose a couple more hours. I know we packed a couple bags and called an ambulance (we didn't own a car), but my contractions were steady and strong and I really needed to focus during them. My midwife's notes say that they were every 2 min and at an intensity of 4 (4 is the highest number on their little charts). The paramedics showed up and were pretty hilarious. They really wanted to put me on a stretcher, but I refused and walked down the 4 flights of steps of our apartment building. Being strapped down in the ambulance was torture though! Here my contractions got bad and I was probably making a whole ton of noise.

At 2 am we were finally in our hospital room. There was absolutely no one on our floor, and my midwife was in charge of my delivery, so we didn't have any nurses or anyone bugging us. I remember yelling at my husband to take down the clock cause I didn't want to know what time it was. I remember yelling a lot for the tub too, but apparently that wasn't actually until much later. All I know was that the contractions were crazy strong, and that my husband was amazing. He really kept me together throughout the whole thing. Once in a while I would lose it, and he would pull me back. Yoga breathing and deep sounds were really helpful.

I think I was on the bed for a while, and I know the midwife tried to check me at one point, but couldn't find my cervix before it hurt too badly and I kicked her out. I had terrible heartburn throughout this too. The last thing I ate before labour started was hummus and celery sticks, and I had burning hummus-y burps all night long. Someone went to find me some Tums, but all the pharmacies were closed (apparently hospitals don’t have 24hr pharmacies!).

Because of the prematurity and because I'd never had a chance to do my GBS test, I consented to antibiotics. This was hands down the worst part of the whole thing. The IV wouldn't stay in, and they had to mangle both veins before they got it working (apparently a new IV dispenser or something). This seriously hampered my progress, because the non-working IV was in for about 30 min before they realized it wasn't working, and it HURT. The whole thing was just really distracting and painful. FINALLY, they were done, and I was only at 4 cm dilated (well, duh... of course I couldn't relax during all that!) at 4 am. After the IV was out, we got back to business and the contractions were heating up.

By 6 am I was in the tub, which was across the hall in another room, but blissfully quiet and dark. The tub was really interesting to me, since I had been planning to give birth in the tub at home, and I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it. It wasn’t exactly a cure-all, but it melted away all the pains and aches in the rest of my body, including my back and really helped me relax into my contractions. I was on my hands and knees with the midwife dozing next to me, just breathing and burping away. I remembered what the midwife had said at our birth class- that every contraction you get through is one you won't have to go through again. I just kept on telling myself that it would be over in a few seconds and then I wouldn’t have to do that one again. Suddenly I started feeling pushy. I tried bearing down a few times, just to test it out. It was a nice distraction from the contractions. I guess my midwife heard the change, and so I had to get out and go back to the room.

I’m not sure how I ended up on my side in bed, except I was really cold after getting out of the tub, so maybe I was trying to warm up? Anyway, somehow I ended up trying to push like this for AGES. It was terrible, but I couldn’t really collect myself to get off my side and into another position. Finally, one of the midwives suggested I try something else. They got me an exercise ball and I pushed on my knees leaning on that. Pushing felt unpleasant still and a bit forced, but slowly the urge got stronger and it felt more and more “right.” Then I got up and sat on the toilet and pushed for a bit there, holding on to my husband’s legs and making a general racket.

Meanwhile, the midwives were setting up the birthing stool in the room. I was so glad that my midwife remembered I had mentioned wanting to use a birthing stool if I didn’t get a tub. Finally I felt like my pushes were getting somewhere, but oh my god, if someone had walked up to me at that point and told me I could just leave everything behind and walk away, I totally would have. Pushing (through the crowning phase) hurt so badly. I could tell that I was tearing, but I didn’t know how to stop it, because I just wanted it to be over. Everyone kept telling me that they could see the head and how I was almost done, so I just pushed with all my might and her head popped out. My husband was practically in tears at this point, which I registered in the back of my head, but I was really surprised that everything hurt just as badly with her head out. Finally, her body came out with a rush and everything stopped hurting. My husband was completely in awe, I really loved the look on his face at that moment. Tziporah Grace was 5lb 10oz and tiny and slippery. Pushing took 2 hours… and it somehow felt longer and shorter than that!

The rest of the story involves a 10 day stay in the NICU and I’m still not completely over it. Over all it was fine and I know we are so lucky there were no serious issues, but really, a lot of the time I just felt like no one cared that we were the parents, they just kept making decisions without consulting us or really giving us any options. We had to room in with her the last night she was there, and it was like we had to pass a test to take her home, and everyone else got to just waltz out the door 24 hrs after giving birth. When I look back at pictures, it really shocks me just how tiny and obviously premature she is! We totally did not get that at the time.

Image
2 days old
Image
going home!


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:08 pm 
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Okay! Mine too! I wrote mine while I was still at the birth center so... like maybe 36 hours after he was born?
---
(Boring failed induction story snipped.) I was supposed to be induced on Saturday night via cervidil, didn't get my induction, went home on Sunday morning very much NOT in labor.

I was understandably pretty upset and disappointed by the whole experience and spent the next hour or so on a crying jag. This exhausted me nicely and I had a great nap on the couch. Then I got up and me and solipsistnation made pie. (Grapefruit curd on top, vanilla rum custard on bottom, all in a graham cracker-citrus crust, for those who are wondering.) Seriously as soon as the pie was in the fridge to set, I started having painful contractions. At first I thought they were stomach cramps, so I took a shower... no dice. Laid down... no dice. Tried to get distracted in other ways, nothing worked.

Around 11:30 p.m., we ended up back at the birth center. They stuck me on the monitor, and my contractions were super close together... we're talking like < 2 minutes... but pretty wussy. (I have no idea what the numbers on the monitor mean, but these were mostly around the 70 mark.) Internal exam revealed that they had done NOTHING to change my cervix. I think the birth center wouldn't have admitted me but it was so late that they were like okay stay for observation.

They got me into a room and gave me another ambien. My who is training to be a doula (note: she is now a doula and has attended at like a million births!) and attended my birth as part of her certification showed up and decided to stay overnight with us, which ended up being really nice... because I kept having somewhat painful regular contractions all night long. It REALLY hurt to lay in bed for whatever reason, but the rocking chair felt okay. So I sat on the rocking chair, rocked through contractions, and slept seriously a minute at a time in between them. Early labor is balls, I tell you, balls.

Anyway, morning came around. The on call doctor for the day came by around 10:30 to check me. We were all a bit depressed to find that I STILL had no cervical changes. Well, more or less. I'd been 1.5cm dilated and 90% effaced since last week, but the on call doctor that morning found she could stretch me to a little more than 2 cm. I was still popping back to 1.5 when she let go, but hey, whatever. She suggested that we go ahead and break my bag of waters... her hope was that it would intensify the contractions enough to get something actually going. I was like YES PLEASE. I was so ready to go. I figured I still had a good 12 hours ahead of me-- both my sister and my mother have LONG active labors and I figured I would too. So I wanted to get started on that.

Okay, so this is the part where I would actually consider labor to have started. Everything before the water breaking? Cake. Seriously. She broke my water at 11 and by 11:05 I had gone from having "can't sleep, have to work to breathe through this" contractions to "you're forking kidding me!" contractions. This is where things get preeeeetty hazy for me. I actually remember the end of labor a lot better than the beginning... I think because it was so sudden that it took me by surprise.

Aside from the increase in pain (which I was expecting, though it was bigger than I was expecting), my contractions got even closer together after she broke my water. They were mostly less than 30 seconds apart for the entire rest of labor. Every now and again there would be like a minute and a half break between two. But boy, aside from that, they were intense and constant.

According to my doula, who was very diligently taking notes throughout, I mostly labored on hands and knees or sort of lunging against a wall for the first hour and a half or something. We tried a couple of other things but everything else just hurt like hell. At some point started insisting that I needed to get in the bath tub. There was some reason I had to wait to get in the tub. My nurse was at lunch or something? And the other nurses weren't sure if I could get in the tub with the wireless monitors on or something? I don't know. My doula ran the water though and at some point my nurse got back and I got in the tub and there I stayed for the rest of the active labor phase.

I had a heplock in my left hand that I wasn't supposed to get wet, so solipsistnation gripped that hand and I laid on my right side in the tub with my head half submerged (this is how I like to take baths, actually), alternating between curling into a ball and stretching straight out. This is the part of labor I really remember, and it seems like it was ENDLESS. During the couple of longer breaks I got between contractions (where longer means like 90 seconds instead of < 30... did I say that already?) I was kind of falling asleep. During the contractions, I was mostly going "aaaaaaaaaaaah!" or "oooooooooh!" I highly recommend both, but the ah was better than the oh My husband & doula were making noises along with me, which I really appreciated... it made me feel a lot less alone, which made me feel a lot less self-pitying.

Which is really good, because at some point during this tub time, I started feeling EXTREMELY self-pitying. This was right around when I hit transition, no surprise. I started asking for pain medication about every fourth contraction in a row. (Interestingly, I NEVER asked for an epidural specifically and remember thinking clearly that I did not want an epidural... that I wanted something I could swallow.) I told everyone that I didn't want to do this natural birth thing any more, that I was suffering and not in pain, that they were ruining our bond of trust by not helping me and giving me what I wanted... baaaasically everything I could think of. It sounds kind of crazy in hindsight, but I think this was almost a kind of coping mechanism in and of itself. My brain didn't want to focus on the pain, so instead it focused on scheming.

Anyway, after x amount of this bad behavior, the nurse decided to check me because she was pretty sure I was in transition. Have I mentioned what an incredibly awesome nurse I had during most of this? She was great. She was like "you miiiight need to get out of the tub to do this" and I was like "then you're not checking me!" so instead she did this crazy thing where she stood on the tub edge and stuff. I remember thinking that she looked like the killer whale feeder at the zoo. Sure enough, I was a little over 7 and in the throes of transition.

Solipsistnation and my doula seemed to think this thought would get me to stop telling them I needed drugs or something and kept telling it to me. No! I kept telling them that I didn't CARE how close to done I was, I wanted that medicine. I stopped short of telling me them they were mean or that they were killing me, which I guess goes to show that I couldn't have been in THAT much pain because I was still thinking things like "that's not fair to say to them." Or else labor just makes you totally crazy, I don't know.

Shortly (maybe) after the nurse checked me, I felt a... pushing sensation. Now, this was different than actual pushing, I still don't know what the hell it really was. (Note: 2+ years after the fact, I'm pretty sure this was the Emperor starting to move down and out.) But it started happening with every contraction. Some time after this, the nurse was about to leave (her shift was over) and was like "congrats, you're ready to push! Let's get you out of the tub!" That was really hard to do and she told me I COULD push in the tub but that it probably wouldn't work very well. "Fine!" I snarled, and started climbing on out. She got me onto the birth stool and helped me figure out the basic mechanism of pushing.

I am SO glad she showed me the birth stool before she left, because damn, that is the way to push. She was replaced by two nurses, one pro and one trainee. They tried to get me off the stool at some point, I don't know why. Oh, I think maybe I told them I was too tired to push and they suggested I push lying on my side. Throughout labor, I really found that lying down was the WORST THING EVER so this really didn't work. I got in a few pushes standing up but they didn't feel as good as the stool, so we went back to that.

Crowning is like transition in that you suddenly think that birthing is the worst thing ever and you just want to say "I quit! You take the baby out for me! I'm not doing this!" I was starting to say more or less exactly that when one of the nurses was like "reach down and touch your baby!" Holy shiitake kids, there was the top of a head poking out down there. SO WEIRD. I yelped exactly that.

At this point, the nurses decided to try to get me to lie in bed again. When I got to the edge of the bed and started trying to climb in, I needed to push. REALLY needed to push. These nurses are like "aaah not yet!" and I'm like "go away, I'm busy." So I got in a few GREAT pushes on semi-hands and knees (one leg was still on the floor) and apparently the baby started coming out a lot faster than they expected. They didn't think the doctor would get there on time! And she wouldn't have except that they did convince me to get all the way onto the bed and flipped over. The ONLY reason they were able to do that is that I heard one of them, her voice full of terror, say "I don't want to try to catch the baby while she's in that position!" Ha ha. She sounded so scared! So I thought FINE and got onto the bed.

The bed sucks. Pushing on my back was SO much worse. The doctor showed up, I pushed twice, baby came out. They slapped him onto me, it was wonderful. Couple more pushes for the placenta, then the doctor went fishing? For pieces of membrane? I guess I had a really tough amniotic sac or something. That's what everyone was saying anyway. I got some stitches, baby started eating, more or less hasn't stopped.

Overall, it was actually a pretty awesome experience. I would say more, but the little emperor is awake and it's time to eat again!

Here I am holding him pretty soon after the fact:

Image

And one of my abiding favorites of him, I think from the next day:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:02 pm 
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Bathes in Braggs
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Thanks for getting this started, littlebird! It's a great idea to have all of this together for referencing.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to birth at home with midwives. Luckily I live in an area where there are three homebirth midwifery offices within 30 miles of us (two with offices right on main street!) We immediately connected with one practice consisting of two midwives, one who was just about to go for her license, and a newly hired apprentice. They welcomed us and helped us prepare for pregnancy, birth, and beyond in so many ways. I had a very normal pregnancy. I did suffer from a mild case of depression throughout however (which only got worse to the point of debilitating after birth). It really started when I got too large for active exercise, so my biggest piece of advice is to get outside and keep moving throughout your pregnancy! That fresh air really works wonders.

Things started on Friday, the day after my due date. I had a pretty bad backache (which was understandable, so lights didn't go off at that point for me) and it was really hard for me to sit in my chair at work. I seriously tried every position imaginable to stay focused on work (including laying on the floor on my back with my keyboard resting on my belly). Around 3:30, it was really too much, and I went home. I didn't feel tired, but for some strange reason, the minute I got home I climbed into bed and slept until my husband got home around 6:30 - which I realize now was my body's way of getting me ready for the long night ahead! I woke up and sat with Nate while he had dinner (I wasn't hungry at all), and I went back to bed at 8:00 (my pregnancy sleepy time).

A contraction woke me up at 9:10 that night. I hadn't had many braxton-hicks contractions, just the occasional annoying tightening. But the moment I woke up I just KNEW that this was it. I laid there in bed though, watching the clock and timing them. They were regular, four minutes apart for a minute each. I woke Nate up at 9:30. He was immediately up and grabbed the stopwatch. We had just had an appointment with the midwives on Wednesday, and they swore that I wouldn't be going into labor for at least another week or two, so our house was a MESS. I told Nate to vacuum while I tried to straighten up the house. After that, Nate got me a piece of toast and a glass of cranberry juice. We sat down at the kitchen table across from each other, waiting excitedly for what was to come that night.

Let me tell you, I was so excited for early labor. I had plans, people, PLANS. I was going to shower, get food going in the crock pot for us and the midwives, clean, light some candles, etc. I couldn't do any of that crepe. By 10:00, I really had to stop everything to get through the contractions (which were still around 4 minutes apart). I was on the rug in the living room doing downward dog and concentrating on deep breaths, which really got me in a good mood. I felt capable in this position - strong. Nate called our head midwife, who talked to both of us and listened to my laboring. She told me to get in the bathtub to calm the labor down a bit and to help me relax. I heard Nate saying something about them not coming over yet, and I cried out that I wanted them here NOW. She had heard me and she said they were on their way.

The bathtub sucked. Our tub is small and I just felt like a beached whale. The water couldn't come up to any body part that needed pain relief, and I couldn't get in a comfortable position. This is where I got frustrated and started thinking that labor is just crepe and I didn't want to do this anymore. I got really down on myself, thinking that I was the weakest person in the world, couldn't even handle early labor (but of course later we realize it wasn't early labor at all) I got out of the tub after 15 minutes and headed to bed. I really wish I hadn't done this - once I was in bed, I was chained to it. I just laid there like a dead fish and moaned through my contractions - I felt horribly unproductive. I feel that if I had stayed up and moved more, things would have been different (I see now that this is the "what if..." of PPD talking. It's just something for me to keep in mind for next time.)

I tried to read. I was on the last Harry Potter book at the time, and I'm realizing that it might have not been my best choice with all the action, made me very anxious. I stopped when Harry, Ron, and Hermione booked it from the wedding at the burrow.

Midwives got there around 11:00, I think. Head midwife, Donna, took one look at me and told Nate to start filling the birthing tub. The midwives got right to work. That part of it still amazes me. For months, they're just friends who we sit around with, talk to, and drink copious amounts of tea. But that night, they were so serious. They were so quiet, just observing, to the point that I was almost like, "What should I DO?! Give me some advice!" Their apprentice, Terri, rubbed my feet through it all, which felt amazing. Very soon after they arrived, our midwife who had just gotten her license, Anna, asked if I wanted a cervical check. I did, I needed to know how much farther I had to go. I was at a 4, and we were all really happy with that progress, and I felt better about not being able to handle labor at the beginning.

I had to pee a lot through the labor. That sucked. My contractions were about 2 minutes apart at this time, so even if I leapt out of bed right after a contraction and ran (all right, waddled) down the hall to pee, I was going to have a contraction either standing up (horrible) or on the toilet (oh hells no). I remember Donna checking his heartbeat on the toilet and it feeling so weirdly awkward as we all tried to fit in our tiny bathroom (and then I farted a lot and made it a whole lot worse. I never felt pretty or like a birthing goddess through this birth AT ALL.) As we were walking back from one of my bathroom breaks, Donna told me that if Anna had put chux pads on the bed while we were gone, we were really close. We peak in and the pads are there. Donna turns to me and says, "Well, what do you know. You're going to have a baby!" I asked them to check me again once I was settled on the bed (it was 30 minutes after the last check). Things were really getting serious at this point (even though I had felt like it had been serious almost from the start). All I could do was hang on to the headboard of the bed and chant, "I can do this, I can do this." and ride through it. I was at an 8, and we were all really excited. It really gave me strength.

This is when it really gets hazy for me. Very soon after this, Donna brought in the oxygen tank. She told me that his heart rate wasn't coming back up as fast as they'd like after the contractions. The oxygen was AMAZING. I felt so powerful at that point, that I could do this and so much more. I started feeling pretty uncomfortable in bed though, starting to have issues coping with the pain. I asked if I could get in the tub. Anna said that it wasn't completely full, but that it would be ok. But just then Donna lied down in bed with me. She told me that the oxygen wasn't helping enough, an ambulance had been called and we were going to the hospital. She was still telling me all this when I could hear the sirens coming down the road. Those who've been in labor know that there isn't much you can do besides labor, so I just nodded and kept doing my thing. She did such a great job of staying calm and telling me exactly what was going to happen so I didn't panic. I was heartbroken at the change of plans but at the same time all I wanted was for this to be over. I had those two feelings a lot that night.

Four EMTs swarmed our bedroom, and immediately our tiny birthing place felt so crowded. I remember seeing Nate pinned in a corner looking absolutely terrified as they strapped me to the board. Donna went in the ambulance with me, and Nate had to drive by himself ahead of the ambulance (a feat I still don't know how he accomplished). I was really panicky to Donna in the ambulance, saying that the people at the hospital were going to hate us and that I was so sorry that I messed everything up (I apologized a lot that night). She told me to just concentrate on my labor and everything was going to be ok. I had a huge contraction and my water broke EVERYWHERE, covering Donna and the two EMTs in the back of the ambulance. They all laughed it off, which made me laugh. It felt REALLY good to laugh. As we pulled up to the ER, Donna warned me that it was going to be pretty chaotic at the hospital, but that she wasn't going to leave my side.

It was crazy. Every nurse was in the room when we got there. Everyone was nice except for one nurse who seemed to have a real prejudice against homebirthing. She spoke to me very plainly, as if I couldn't understand English. She told me that she was going to take my blood pressure, which was something I had probably never had done before since I was homebirthing. Donna promptly told her my last three blood pressure numbers and gave her back the finger when she left the room. The OB on duty was wonderful. She knew the midwives well, and knew the type of birth I wanted. She told me that she was going to do all she could to keep to that desire. I thanked her a lot that night. After consulting with the midwives, I was put back on oxygen and she got me on my hands and knees. She really wanted me to stop pushing, but it's impossible not to. I growled through some, rocking forward and back, wishing I was a bit further up the bed so I could slam my head in the wall. All the wires that they had me on made it so hard for me to function. I felt as though I had gone instantly from one extreme way to birth to the total opposite, and I didn't feel like I coped with it well. Mean nurse tried to cath me four times through contractions, while I screamed "No! No! You're killing me!" (I wasn't joking, that was the worst pain of it all), and she just laughed and said "Oh well, fifth time's the charm!" I peed on her. The OB yelled at her. I won.

The OB did her best to just let me labor and stay hands off, but after a few decels in the 60s, she said she had to get the OR prepped. I just nodded - heartbroken but just wanted it to be over. The mean nurse told me that I could only have one person in the room with me and I had to chose NOW. That's when I broke down. I couldn't make that choice - I needed Nate and Donna for entirely different reasons. Luckily the OB said it was perfectly fine for them both to be in there, and I was able to relax a little. The wait for the room to be prepped was the worst though - it took almost an hour (they needed to call in OR staff, since the hospital is smaller and isn't fully staffed 24/7). Knowing that it was no use trying any more. Two nurses critiqued my pubes for what felt like an eternity, trying to decide if I was shaved enough for surgery. Luckily, my water broke again and soaked both of them, so that was a small comfort.

The surgery went fine. Nate stayed by my head the whole time and Donna stood a bit further down, both holding my hands (I was tied down in a cross, there were lots of crucifixion jokes made since it was Easter). Donna told me everything that was happening down below, I got really comfortable listening to her voice. He didn't cry for over three minutes after being born. That was horrible. They brought him over for a brief second, told me to give him a kiss, but they whisked him away before my lips touched him. He was really beautiful, I remember, but I was too tired to care about him at all (I hope that doesn't sound too horrible).

I slept in the recovery room for about an hour and a half with Donna holding my hand. I was able to go see Ezra after that. I was so confused when I saw him hooked up to so many machines. I had no idea he wasn't doing well. (he had to be revived at birth, apgars were 1 and 5). They got me into a hospital room, where I threw up some black tar-like substance and got cozy under a mountain of warm blankets before the OB came in. She told me I had done great and that she was so proud of me. She said all the nurses were talking about how wonderful it had been to be at our birth - they really liked us. She also said that it looked like what Donna had first thought when the decels started at home: cord prolapse. She said that when she cut in, there was a ton of cord balled up on the side of his head in the birth canal, cutting off his oxygen with every push. He had stopped coming down because he knew he couldn't make it.

Two transport people from Maine Med (our big hospital) came in at that time with Ezra, and explained that he needed to go down to their NICU for more observation. I was given the choice to stay here or be transferred for my own recovery down with him. Of course, I chose to follow him. I turned to Donna and said, "You're not coming, are you?" She shook her head - they felt horrible about it, but they were having quite the baby boom that month and couldn't get away. Before they left though, Donna held me and whispered in my ear that my only job now was to get better and to love that baby. It was going to be rough, but I needed to be well so I could give Ezra all the support he needed to get better. That really stayed with me.

Long story only slightly shorter, we were in the NICU for three weeks. It was hell. I'm still not over it, and probably will never be. You never want to see your child like that. The hospital staff was wonderful though and helped us through it all. Nate and I are closer than we've even been, so that's the silver lining that I cling to.


Fun fact: Anna was feeling my belly at our last appointment three days before the birth, and I asked her to estimate the height and weight. They normally don't like doing that, but it was a good day and she was feeling a bit adventurous. She guessed Ezra's height and weight EXACTLY (7lb8oz, 20.5"). It just gave me such a warm fuzzy when they told me that in the recovery room. For some reason, it reconfirmed my choices on choosing homebirth.

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First picture after transport to Maine Med: 3-4 hrs old

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I think this is my favorite picture ever.

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First time holding him (we had an amazing nurse in the NICU who said she didn't care if the doctors said I couldn't hold him - she said both me and Ezra needed it more than anything!) 4 days old

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Last day in the NICU. 23 days old


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:34 pm 
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Flavabean, your story made me cry


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:03 pm 
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Bathes in Braggs
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littlebear wrote:
Flavabean, your story made me cry


I assure you that my next birth story will be much more joyous. :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:00 pm 
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LittleEnchilada made his debut on Saturday, October 8, 2011! We finally decided on a name Sunday - Ivan (or Vanya - that's the pet name of Ivan like Bobby and Robert), so I got my cutesy name and Papa got his strong masculine name, too :) 6 lbs. 12.5 oz., 20.5 inches long. He was 18 days late but not post-term at all, so the ultrasound just screwed up my due date.

The actual birth was not at all what I expected - 39 hours of labor, most of which seemed like no big deal and I slept both nights (contractions started around midnight Thursday/Friday). My water didn't even break until 10pm Friday! When contractions got to 4 minutes apart Saturday morning I called the midwives and they came right over... and said those were no little contractions, I was ready to push! They got the tub all set up in the living room and after 2 1/2 hours of pushing in there with no baby coming out, they had to kick me out of the tub and put me in the worst position imaginable - on my back, butt in the air, with the assistant midwives holding my knees open. Something about the cord and his head being stuck on my pubic bone (I was a little out of it by that point so I don't remember!) and after 3 more hours (!) of pushing he finally came out. Covered in poop and with his mouth full of it, and with a major cone head from being in the birth canal so long. He needed a few rescue breaths, and spit poop in the midwife's mouth when he started breathing! She thanked him :) He's been pretty easy since then, though, and even after only 3 days the memory of it all is starting to fade (maybe it wasn't so bad? haha!). I just feel so grateful to have had such an experienced midwife who knew exactly what to do... it would have been an emergency c-section situation if I'd been in a hospital.

For now he enjoys sleeping, boobs, yawning, and more sleeping. He pretty much sleeps through the night (he's in the bed with us so it's easy to just give him a boob and fall back asleep), but I know this will probably change soon! We're enjoying it for now, though :)

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Finally got photos done at 41 weeks! Yay for Groupon!

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45 minutes old!

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2 days old!

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2 weeks old! He's not too crazy about his Halloween costumes.

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4 weeks! Tiny cloth diapers and newborn Babylegs are still big on him.


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:28 am 
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Mine are here...I am happy to copy the text into here with some pics if you'd like, although they are old stories and haven't been posted on the PPK (is that okay?).

Beetroot:
http://reallycrabbycrafter.blogspot.com/2008/05/birth-story-caution-vulgar-blunt-and.html

Raygold:
http://reallycrabbycrafter.blogspot.com/2010/12/baby-2s-long-overdue-birth-story.html

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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:13 am 
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The only place I wrote out my birth story like a dummy was the old ppk. (and already, unbelievably, the memories are hazy) Are the old boards available anywhere?

Also...right now I just skimmed this thread but all the tiny baby pics are making me want another one so bad!

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I'm not asking for utopian dreams...just a little peace in this world. That's a logical thing. - Deee-Lite


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:52 am 
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Making Threats to Punks Again
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On Wednesday morning (which was 41 weeks 5 days), I had an appointment with my OB to discuss what to do about the low fluid levels that the radiologist saw on my ultrasound. I was warned beforehand that this probably meant she'd want to induce me that evening between the fluid levels and me being nearly 42 weeks. But, my baby had other plans! My water broke around 12 AM on Wednesday, and we went to the hospital. Unfortunately, my blood pressure was high, and stayed high, so my OB wanted me to be monitored constantly, which really sucked. Having the wear the stupid monitors all the time was annoying since I was constantly getting all tangled up. Since my water had broken, the OB gave me until 4 pm to labor before she wanted to start pitocin if she didn't think I was far enough long. So, that time arrived, and I was 3.5 cm dilated, and since the monitors didn't show that my contractions were getting that much closer together, the OB thought I hadn't progressed enough and she wanted to start pitocin right away. I really really disagreed with that-- the contractions seemed to be getting way more intense to me, so I asked to please give me a bit more time to labor on my own. My OB be said fine, we'll wait until 6 pm, then pitocin unless labor had progressed a LOT.

I'm so glad I stood my ground on the pitocin, because just a bit before 6, things started getting intense. I spent 2 hours laboring in the shower and then on the toilet. Around 8 pm, the pain became almost unbearable, so I thought I was in transition. I asked the nurse what she thought, and the nurse said that she thought I was barely in active labor. At this point, even though I really wanted a natural birth, I didn't think I could last any longer without pain meds if I had a lot of active labor and transition to still make it through. So, I got an epidural sometime around 8:30, and then they checked my cervix immediately afterwards, and I was 9 cm dilated! I guess I should have trusted my own body, because I really had been in transition despite what the nurse told me. If I'd known that I had been in transition, I feel like I could have made it through without the epidural, but who knows. Things progressed extremely rapidly after this even with the epidural, and after 45 minutes of pushing, Lydia was born! She was 7 lbs 3 oz and 19.5 inches with a full head of hair. I had a bit of 2nd degree tearing, so I needed a couple stitches. I bring up the tearing because I think it was my biggest fear about labor. I was SO terrified of being totally torn up, but it's completely true that once the baby was here, I didn't care about any of that stuff at ALL (and the tearing healed up just fine within a month or two). When I put Lydia to my chest, she knew what to do right away, and nursed for a while. Best feeling ever to look at your brand new newborn nursing!

Lydia being weighed right after birth
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Lydia the morning after birth, totally exhausted!
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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:31 pm 
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Bathes in Braggs
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helbury, i just felt so angry for you! did the nurse tell you that you were barely in active labour WITHOUT even checking your dilation first!?!?! that is so shiitake.


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:13 pm 
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Making Threats to Punks Again
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❀madam dahlia❀ wrote:
helbury, i just felt so angry for you! did the nurse tell you that you were barely in active labour WITHOUT even checking your dilation first!?!?! that is so shiitake.

Nope, she didn't. I now understand why people hire doulas....

Still, I'm not too bent out of shape about the way my birth went since we didn't have any major complications from the epidural. If we have another, I think we'll hire a doula and try for the natural birth in a hospital.


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:13 pm 
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I wrote this the day we brought him home from the NICU. Looking back, it is a pretty scary one. I didn't really have time to process it all then.

My water broke at 4am on Tuesday, which was supposed to be my last day of work. I was laying in bed awake and whoosh! Because my amniotic sack was broken and I'd tested positive for group B strep I had to go into the hospital right away to start an antibiotic drip.

I wasn't having contractions so the nurse midwife wanted to start pitocin. I declined and walked up and down the halls instead. I got contractions going on my own, and by mid-afternoon I was in active labor. At 6 or 7cm I got in the shower, which was wonderful. My hospital doesn't have tubs, but the jet of water on my lower back made such a difference.

I was doing well, dilating at a good pace, expecting to have the urge to push by 8 or 9pm. I knew I was in transition when I could barely breathe through the contractions and I was moaning naked on all fours, completely oblivious to everyone around me. I kept telling myself that feeling like I couldn't take it anymore meant I was almost ready to push. I kept telling myself just a few more contractions and I'd be 10cm and want to push. And then I got stuck. I was at 9cm, in mind-blowing pain, for 3 hours. I didn't feel like pushing, I just wanted to die. I couldn't breathe, I was completely rigid. I hadn't wanted any pain meds, but after my 4th or 5th cervical check with no progress, I gave up. I was in so much pain I thought I was going to lose consciousness, and it was totally unproductive. So when the on-call OB said it wasn't too late for an epidural, I caved.

The epidural allowed me to catch my breath and relax my muscles. Unfortunately it also slowed and weakened my contractions. So then, because my water had broken 20 hours ago and they were concerned about infection, I had pitocin. Then, because I couldn't feel my pelvic muscles my pushes weren't effective and Walter's got stuck about 4 inches from the outside world. He couldn't stay there and he couldn't go back up, so the doctor cut an episiotomy and pulled him out with the vacuum extractor. Because he was pulled out so quickly, I tore beyond the episiotomy and had third degree tears. Also Walter apparently raked his fingernails down the inside of my vagina, so I was shredded in there, too. Thanks, buddy.

After he was born he was on my stomach for a minute, but when his breathing was labored they took him away to the NICU and I didn't get to see him until 3 hours later, after I'd been sewn up. We didn't get to breastfeed or be skin-to-skin. I was exhausted and confused and it felt wrong going back to my postpartum room without a baby.

So the first 16 hours of my labor were pretty empowering, but the last 4 and the birth itself were grueling. As unhappy as I am about how things went down, I feel okay about my decisions. Yes, the epidural led to a cascade of other interventions, but after 3 hours of transition I'd reached the limits of my body's ability to cope with pain. I honestly believe I would have passed out if I'd kept going, and then I would have ended up in an emergency c-section. Knowing what I know now, maybe I should have started the pitocin earlier in the day so I would't get so exhausted. But I would have second-guessed myself then, too. So I don't feel bad about anything. I'm on the mend and Walter can breathe well and we are all at home.

Brand-new less-than-a-minute-old Walter with his slimy birth head:
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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:13 am 
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I love reading everyone's stories. Such unique experiences. I really feel for those with NICU babies, it is so tough.


I was 36 weeks to the day, and all day long I was waiting for my usual kicks and punches, but they weren't there. Having gestational diabetes I wasn't supposed to drink juice, so I just kept poking my belly and drinking cold water to try and get the boy to move. I felt the teeniest flutter, and assumed he must just be sleepy. By the end of the day it was really nagging me, so I called the nurse line expecting to be treated like a crazy person. After a few basic questions, the nurse told me to go to the hospital "just in case". So Ken and I headed out, fully expecting this to be nothing. Once they hooked me up to the monitor, we saw the heartbeat and felt way better. We were joking around and watching tv, when the doctor came in and said, "The baby is in distress. He has to come out right now." My ears started ringing and I think I stumbled out some words about inducing labor, and she told me there was no time that I was going for emergency surgery. As soon as I stammered out an "ok", a team of people whooshed into the room and IV'd and cathetered me. Ken was pulled into the hallway, and I was on a gurney in the operating room. The doctor was trying to keep me upbeat with things like, "boys just like to keep you on your toes..." har har.

I barely remember waking up in recovery, and Ken was next to me. He told me that the baby was fine, just a little small (4lb 5oz), and he was in the NICU getting checked out. Then some people came in to take away the empty bassinet that was beside me. A nurse was doing... something painful around my surgery area, then I went back to sleep. The next time I awoke was with a neonatalogist sitting beside me in my hospital room. She told me that Luka was in critical condition with a heart and lung disease called PPHN. I was so high on morphine that I couldn't even figure out what to ask her besides, "will he be okay?" to which she coldly said something like, "It's too early to say". I must have laid there and cried for hours in between going in and out of consciousness.

It was more than 24 hours until I was able to get into a wheelchair to go see him. Before then, I only saw a picture of him on Ken's phone. When we did go see him, we weren't allowed to touch him or even talk to him, as stimulating him would be bad for his high blood pressure in the lungs. So we would just go stare at him for days.

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He was heavily sedated, on pressors and crazy amounts of medication. He had several blood and platelet transfusions. After seven days, he was taken off most of the anxiety ad sedation meds, and we were allowed to hold him briefly.

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By 12 days, the PPHN was completely gone, and Lu was transferred to the less serious NICU with the "growers and feeders". He was was better, now he just needed to learn how to eat by mouth and gain some weight.

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Long story, blah blah, he was finally well enough to come home with us at one month old, on his original due date. It was the craziest thing I've ever been through, and Luka is one awesome little boy. And while I wouldn't wish the NICU experience on my worst enemy, we are very grateful they saved Lu's life.


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:11 pm 
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Hearts James Cromwell

Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:42 pm
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Location: Brooklyn
I've had 2 hospital births and ended up getting an epidural both times but had very different experiences.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I really wanted a natural birth; I had a wonderful doula and practiced hypnosis techniques every day for months. On the day after my due date, I was 1/2 cm dilated and felt sure that baby would stay put at least another week but I had some bloody show that night and around 12 or 1 realized that the crampiness I was feeling might actually be contractions. Very quickly they were 2 or 3 minutes apart and we went to the hospital around 6:45 the next morning. From that point things didn't really go as I'd hoped, starting with my telling the nurses that my birth plan was bullshiitake and to give me the epidural! I was exhausted and really hadn't been able to get into a zone at all and I didn't think I could make it another 12 hours or however long it might be the way things were going. I think this hospital has mostly medicated births because they wheeled that cart in and hooked it up within 5 minutes after our arrival. I was 4 cm at that point and as soon as I got the epi all these monitors went off and they had to give me oxygen and a shot of terbutaline to slow down the contractions, and a little while later pitocin to speed them back up. There was some concern about the baby's heartbeat so they put on the internal monitor and had me lie on my side, which led to extreme numbness in one leg (although after I'd been lying on my back all day they were both pretty numb). After a few hours a resident came in and turned off the pitocin without telling my doctor since the contractions were coming every minute and it was stressing the baby. Maybe around 4 p.m. it turned out I hadn't been making any progress (dr. was furious that the pitocin had been stopped) and I was only at 5 cm, and the baby wasn't descending at all because of slightly off positioning of her head. The doctor was able to shift her position but he and the nurse made it sound like pretty much a done deal at that point that I would have to have a c-section. I'll never forget this as long as I live- instead of addressing me, the patient, to have this conversation, the doctor initially asked my husband to step out in the hall. We asked for another hour to labor and I dilated to 7 cm, and not too long after that it was time to push. It felt like I had 2 wooden legs by then and baby was still pretty high up and would only come down so far. There were 2 OBs, 2 nurses and a pediatrician all rushing around in the room at that point so it was a little hard not to panic. Ultimately the doctor tried to get her out with the vacuum but wasn't able to get the nozzle thing to stick to her head, so she was delivered by forceps. I had to have a bunch of stitches from the episiotomy and recovery was pretty rough, and I had to be wheelchaired to the post-partum wing because of my peg legs. I had had a fever at delivery so Ginger had to spend the next 2 days in the NICU for bloodwork/antibiotics/monitoring, but she was completely fine and was discharged with us. So, we got a healthy baby in the end but I certainly replayed the events in my mind, wondering if at least some of the drama would have been avoided if I had at least put off getting the epidural until our doula arrived and I tried some other techniques.

When I got pregnant again I switched to a new doctor and a more natural-childbirth-friendly hospital, but I was so busy with work my whole pregnancy (and with my now-toddler) I didn't really do any preparation and was just going to wing it. My due date was on a Saturday and I woke up early the next Thursday (can't believe that was just 8 days ago!) pretty sure I was in early labor. I had a doctor's appointment that morning at 11:30; at that point I was 2-3 cm and the contractions were very manageable, although they ramped up a bit after the check. My doctor's office is near the hospital and we had optimistically brought my hospital bag since I really didn't want to have to go back to Brooklyn and then have another ride to the hospital later when feeling much worse. It was a beautiful day so we got lunch and went over to Central Park and walked around slowly for 2 hours. It really helped to be able to move around during the contractions, which were soon coming every 2 minutes and lasting 30-40 seconds (thank you iphone contraction timer app!) so we made our way over to the hospital. Everyone at the hospital was so great; the only tough part was being in triage for what seemed like a long, long time (maybe 2 hours), with my husband back in the waiting area, and with 5 or 6 different groups of people coming in to ask me the same questions over and over and getting me to lie down for various checks, which made the contractions excruciating. I was able to deal as long as I could sit up and kind of rock side to side; eventually I added some loud moaning to the mix, which really helped. I was discouraged to find out that I was 4-5 cm at that point and I caved and asked for the epidural. Given how fast things went after that I probably could have made it without drugs, but I had a great experience this time. My legs were tingly but not numb and I had zero pain and kept contracting strongly on my own. I was checked again and was at 6 cm and stretchy with the bag of waters bulging. They broke my water and when the doctor came back an hour later the baby was about to crown. I pushed for about 15 minutes and my perfect little guy slid out. I tore along my episiotomy scar but never needed painkillers (despite being a big weenie) and a week later feel basically fine. Flynn stayed with us for over 2 hours, awake and alert and latching on great, before they took him to be weighed and checked. We were able to leave the hospital the next day.


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:03 pm 
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Darjeeling, I can't believe that doctor spoke to your husband privately while you were conscious and able to listen. What the fork? Do you mind telling which hospital that was?

I really appreciate everyone sharing these stories!


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:45 pm 
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The Birth of Elliot Jackson

On Monday Nov 7, 2011 I woke up at about 4am to use the bathroom. I noticed I had bloody show. I was excited that labor was probably going to start soon as I was due a week before. I went back to bed and slept until about 8 when I got up to use the bathroom again and noticed a lot of liquid but it was kind of mucasy and because this was my first baby I didn't know what to expect as far as the difference between the mucus plug and my water breaking and just trickling. I had an appointment with the doctor for that morning for a non stress test so I figured since I wasn't having any regular contractions that I could just wait until my appointment and ask him rather than call my midwife so early in the morning for something that I knew was normal.
So we went to the non stress test and everything looked great. I had to wake him up with some crackers and juice but he looked really good. I asked the nurses and the doctor about what had happened in the morning and he told me I should call the midwife on duty and see if she wanted me to come in that day. I called her and left a message. Since we live about a 1/2 hour away we didn't want to go home right away in case she called us back and wanted us to turn right around and come into the office. We decided to take a walk around downtown and perhaps get labor moving. I had a bunch of harder more noticable contractions while walking around but nothing regular and nothing that would stop me in my tracks or anything. After about an hour of walking around we decided to just go home.
Once we got home the midwife called us back. She wanted to see me later that day so I made an appointment for 5:30 with her. She told me to just get some rest before I come in. I was only able to take about an hour nap because I was so excited. Both Rick and I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before so we took a nap together. I woke up to go to the midwife but he had to stay at the house because we were expecting some repairmen to the house (who never showed up by the way!)
I went to the midwives office and she tested a pad I had worn earlier and also did an internal exam. The fluid tested positive for amnionic fluid and because I am group B strep positive she said I would have to go to the hospital soon to make sure I get antibiotics in time even though I didn't feel like I was in labor. She told me no rush, go home, make some calls, eat something, take a shower etc and gave me some ideas on what snacks and drinks to bring to the hospital.
I called Rick from the parking lot and told him that I was coming home to do as such and pick him up and then we were going to the hospital. I also called my mom to let her know we were going in that night and they were giving me 36 hours to give birth. doctors usually only give 24 hours which would be 8am the next morning but the midwives are more relaxed about all of that. So I drove home, ate some rice and beans took a shower and Rick and I layed in bed for the last time as just the 2 of us for a little bit. I called my dad and my cousin and my friend who was going to take care of the dogs and we left for the hosptital.
We arrived at the hospital around 8 I think and got checked in pretty quickly. Angie, my midwife, had called ahead already and had us admitted. They got me set up and comfortable and took my vitals and measured my contractions and the babys heartrate. aparently I was having pretty strong contractions and they were about 2 minutes apart but I wasn't feeling 90% of them. My other midwife Meg came in and looked at what was going on. She thought I was probably dehydrated and that is why I was having all of those contractions and because I had been in labor since 8am and was only 2 1/2cm and 50% that something needed to happen to get things kick started. So she suggested giving me cervidil and then giving me something to help me sleep so I could get some rest before active labor started because I hadn't gotten any sleep. They also hooked me up with fluids because they thought I might be dehydrated.
She inserted the cervidil strip and explained that it was going to ripen my cervix some more and they would be in soon with the sleeping pills and I could get some sleep and Angie or her would be in at 5:30am to wake me up and get things moving. She left the room and not even 10 minutes later I felt like I had immediatly gone into hard labor. My nurse called Meg back in and I think at first she didn't realise how intence the contractions had been for me. I asked if I could go into the tub but Meg was hesitent because she thought it would just slow things down and stop my progresing labor. I begged her and begged her and she told me I could go in for an hour tops and we would see how that treated me and my labor. She had also said she had never seen someone react to cervidil like that before and had to remove it immediatly. She said it either kicked me into where my body already was or it was a really strong reaction to the actual drug.
They filled the tub and it felt like an eternity I had to wait to get in. I finally got to get into the tub and it made my contractions feel a lot smoother and more under control. I felt instant comfort. I was able to get through all of my contractions and I was switching positons in the tub on whatever felt good for that particular contraction. I finally felt like I was going to have the labor I had planned for. Angie showed up while I was in the tub to take over because she was the actual midwife on call but had been rushed to another birth between the time I told her I was going to the hospital and the time I arrived. She thought I was doing great in the tub but still wanted me to get out after an hour of being in to check me and see if I was progressing while in there. If I didn't progess I would have to stay out of the tub for a bit so I could.
An hour had passed and I got out. I got out in between contractions and barely made it over to the bed before the next contraction hit and felt like 50x stronger than they were in the tub. I got into the bed so she could check me and I was 5 cm dialated! They checked me throughout all of this and checked the baby and he was handling everything so well which pleased and amazed everyone. We tried to sit me on the birth ball and all that did was make me puke and pee all over the ball. It seemed as though I wasn't handling my contractions well at all so she agreed that I could go back into the tub. I went into the tub and things were much better. I was still puking though. Angie told me I was doing really good once back in the water and she was going to take a nap and come back at 2:30am. I was perfectly fine with that because I agreed that I was doing great with just me and Rick and handling my contractions with me in the water.
Angie left and things were going ok but felt like they were getting more intence. All of a sudden I found myself staring at the clock waiting for 2:30am to come and it was only about 1:00am. My contractions were feeling out of control again and I felt like I wasn't getting any breaks in between them. I felt really out of control and like there was no way to relieve any of this pain because I could hardly catch a breath in between the contractions which were very hard and steady. I remember staring at the clock hoping I could just make it until 2:30 and then have Angie check me because I had a feeling I had just made a huge leap. Then I got this feeling like there was no way I could handle all of this and maybe I needed to get an epidural. I thought it over for what seemed like an eternity. I told Rick that it was too much for me to handle like a million times and I could tell he really wanted me to just feel some relief or get some sort of break. so I finally admitted to him that I really thought I needed an epidural even though I had been 99% sure I was going to do this without one. It was probably 1:30 or so when I had the nurse call Angie to have her come so I could talk about it with her.
Angie came down and I told her I couldn't handle it and it was too much for my body to handle and I really thought I needed an epidural in order for me to make it through this labor. They called the epidural guy who had already came in to explain every possible side effect of every single drug they could give me and sign all the paperwork. I was really thankful of that when he came in because he could come in and just get right to work without having to go through everything first. I got out of the tub and evrything felt even more unbearable if that was even possible. I got the epidural and it wasn't long until I could feel relaxed. They checked my contractions for a while and the baby's heartbeat. Both were maintaining very steady which both the nurses and Angie were impressed by since epidurals typically slow things down.
One thing I remember is telling Rick that I was 100% positive I made the right decision in asking for an epidural and to not let me beat myself up about it because I had been so set on having a drug free birth. Angie told Rick and I to get some sleep and she would be back in the morning to start pushing. I was only able to sleep for about an hour probably because I was so excited but I relaxed rested really well for the whole time. When Angie came back in the morning, I think at about 6am, I remember her checking me and saying I just had a tiny lip of cervix left and I was going to start pushing soon. Rick was zonked out next to me and everyone left the room. I couldn't move and couldn't reach him so I was shouting at him to wake up. When Angie and the nurses came in I made them wake him up because I didn't want him to miss anything. Little did I know that I had a long road ahead of pushing.
I started pushing at 6:30am. They had to turn down my epidural so I could feel my contractions when it was time to push. They explained that it would feel like pressure. I started to feel it pretty quickly so I started pushing. The baby was still high up I think but his vitals were strong. It took me a few contractions of pushing to really get the hang of it. Angie's shift ended at 8am and Megs had began but Angie had thought I was really close to pushing him out so she didn't want to switch off with Meg. I think she realized he wasn't coming quickly so Meg finally took over. I pushed mainly on my back because I was pushing the most effectivly that way. When Meg came in she realized that the baby was posterior so I pushed on my side for a bit to spin him around and that worked really well. I also didn't have to have anyone holding my legs up while pushing on my side so that was really nice. I did switch to my back eventually because I pushed way better like that. I had the nurse and Rick holding up each leg with my contractions. At one point the epidural wore off in one spot in my back and it was some awful pain and they had to ramp up the epidural and have me lay on my side again. It took forever for that part to feel better but it eventually did.
I pushed for 5 hours and towards the end the baby's heartrate started dropping a bit with each push. They also knew that there was meconium in his fluid. They had to call in the NICU team just in case. My last contraction pushing I think I pushed like 5 or 6 times instead of the 3 I had been because I didn't want to have another one because I felt so much pressure. He shot out and they had to cut the cord right away because it was wrapped around his neck. Meg didn't have time to flatten the cord so when she cut it blood squirted all over the nurses face and all over the wall behind me! Aparently there was more fluid in me than Meg had ever seen too and a whole lot of poop. He had 2 bags of waters which is why my water broke the day before but then I still had a lot of fluid when he was born. They put him on my belly for a very very short time then had to take him to the warmer to suction and revive him before he cried because he had so much poop in his lungs. I could only see him a little bit from where I was and it seemed like forever until I got to hold him. Meg had to push a lot of clots and such out of me and stitch me up while the NICU team worked on him. I was really upset that I had all sorts of stuff in my way and I couldn't even look at him from a distance and see what he looked like. Once he was placed on me for some skin to skin he nursed within 5-10 minutes and has been healthy ever since.
All in all I think I had a really good hospital experience and I am glad that I was in the hospital. The L&D nurses were wonderful and extremely helpful and supportive. Aparently the whole time I was in labor the Dr that works with the midwives had been bugging Meg asking her if he was going to have to come down because he was certain I was going to need a c section. I am glad I had the support of my wonderful midwives and had the guts to suck it up and ask for an epidural or I probably would have needed one.
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first time meeting elliot by atankcalledokay, on Flickr


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:20 pm 
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What an amazing story! Elliot is so beautiful, I live that picture of you guys.


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:43 pm 
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That is an amazing photo tank! Thanks for sharing, and Elliot is gorgeous (need more photos!!!). It does sound like your midwives were great and that your birth had a lot of twists and turns to it. And it sounds like you and Rick are really sweet together <3 Elliot is lucky to have such great parents.

I haven't shared my whole birth story because I felt like it was so different from what is "typical" but its great to remember that every experience could be the key to helping someone else.

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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:02 pm 
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It's kind of a blur to me, it felt like everything happened so quickly and at some points it felt like slow motion, all in all, I feel very lucky that my birth pretty much what I was expecting and went extremely well. The midwives, doula & V were all blown away by how smoothly things went and how calm I was.

On the 19th, V and I went to our midwives appt. We were hoping that I was dialated enough to get the go ahead to try their natural induction. I was 3cm so we were good to go. We then carried on home, stopping at the store on the way to get spricot juice & almond butter to mix with the verbena & castor oil. I was told it could take up to 4 hours to work, to go home, make my drink and try and get some rest.

I got about an hours sleep before the doorbell rang, my holiday swap package from Pinko had arrived. Being that I was so excited, I was having a hard time sleeping but decided to continue trying. At about 4:45, I started having strong contractions. They were anywhere from 45-1:30 seconds long and coming every 1-10 minutes. At this point, V had gone to wash his truck so I called him to come home and he phoned our Doula.

This is where my perecption of time goes completely out the window. I remember Wiley coming to join me on the bed for snuggles which made me very happy. Then Sarah, our Doula was there. Shortly after her arrival, Heather, also a Doula, brought the pool over. I think at this point it had been 2 or 3 hours since my contractions had started. Heather gave Sarah some pointers as it was the first birth she had attended and gave me some tips as well. I recall her telling me to keep my tone very low, and to breath through the easier contractions, saving my voice for later when things could get a little harder. Around hour 4 I asked when I was allowed to get in the pool and was told whenever I was ready, they would start to fill it up. I was ready, all I wanted to do was get in the water. As soon as I did, everything seemed to just melt away. Being in the water was the best thing ever, I felt like I was floating and the pain of the contractions was easier to manage. There were only 2 times where I thought to myself, how am I going to do this? Why did I choose to do this at home? Those thoughts were quick to exit my mind and I got my focus back, I was going to meet my baby soon. Around 8 hours (I am totally guessing) I asked the midwife to break my bag of waters. What a huge relief that was and then things really started moving.

The whole time I was in the pool, V was feeding me water, the midwife was knitting socks, we were all talking between contractions and I was in a good zone. I'm not sure if I got the urge to push or if I just wanted to try pushing. I think I just wanted to try because I felt like that was what I should be doing at that point. At first it felt really weird, like I wasn't doing it right but I just kept trying and soon enough, things felt more like the baby was actually coming. I pushed for an hour and a half. At 4:49 am on Dec 20, Jordan Robert Andrews was born. It was about 10 minutes before they even told me it was a boy but I knew. As soon as they laid him on my chest, I looked at V and said "He's perfect". A few minutes later I delivered the placenta. Then it was V's turn to hold him while I got out of the pool and they checked me over to make sure I was okay. He had never held a baby so new before. I tore in 2 different directions and got 4 or 5 stitches.

Our doula has also written a birth story for me so it will be interesting to see what details she has that I may have missed. It would be interesting to see what the midwives have documented as well.

All in all, I feel like I had the perfect birth. Even though we didn't have an actual plan, it happened how I had imagined it would and and for that I am ever so grateful. Most of all, I am so happy to have this happy, healthy little human that I grew. I am still so blown away by this whole process.

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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:13 pm 
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aww what a great story momo!


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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:44 pm 
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Thanks tank. The only thing I am slightly bummed about is I don't have any great photos of when he was first born. Our doula took a few but they are dark and most of them are blurry :( oh well.

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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:59 am 
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Beautiful Momo!

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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:52 am 
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So yesterday (Thursday), I noticed I was having some regular contractions sometime around noon. I've had prodromal labor off and on since, oh, 34 or 35 weeks in this pregnancy... so at almost 41 weeks, I was just. Not. That. Excited. about these contractions, even though my OB had guessed when she saw me on Tuesday that the next time I started having contractions, things would actually really get going. I figured they would probably peter out fairly soon and set to work doing a couple of things I wanted to do around the house... namely cleaning off the kitchen counter (something I had been putting off for most of my 2 weeks of maternity leave before that... man I hate cleaning my counters) and making pie. Isa's Latchkey Lime in a cinnamon cookie crust, for those playing at home!

That should have kept me plenty distracted but I was still really noticing the contractions, which were about 3 minutes apart. I did a couple of other things to see if the situation would change-- laid on the couch for about an hour, drank lots of water, took a loooong shower. Then I texted my doula and my husband and gave them both the heads up that I thought I was probably actually in early labor for real this time.

And so it went throughout the rest of the afternoon and the evening. The only place I was comfortable at all was standing, so I did that for many many hours. My contractions got closer together... I timed them for about an hour around 10 p.m. and they were coming every 2 minutes, lasting about 60 seconds, and intense enough that I wasn't really chatting through them. I listened to some music on headphones and that was great, it blocked out a lot of the general house noises that make me crazy when I'm in the zone. Finally around midnight, I decided to lay down on the couch and see if I could sleep/if the contractions were going to stop.

I then proceeded to sleep for 2 minutes at a time for 5 hours. Worst sleep ever. I kept having tiny snatches of really weird dreams. Mostly about people in my family. (This reminds me that I need to call my dad still!) Every time I had a contraction I'd wake up. A couple of times I woke myself up moaning. Finally at 5 a.m. I was like "this is pointless" and got up. Checked the PPK, made a big mug of herbal tea, put on my pants and went for a lovely walk in the rain. I walked for about 40 minutes and then came back. By the time I got home, my contractions were closer together still-- a little less than 90 seconds apart, and still lasting a minute.

At this point, the Emperor and my husband were up so we parlayed and he agreed to call my doctor and see if she wanted me to come in to the birth center to be checked. She was like, you've been having contractions for 18 hours and they're 90 seconds apart? Uh yeah I want you to come in and get checked. Ha ha. So in I went. When they checked me on intake, I was between 3 and 4cm dilated and 80% effaced. 2 days earlier I'd been at a 2, so my night of contractions had apparently made some difference. They decided to let me stay, so I called my doula. Solipsistnation took the Emperor (who had come with us to the birth center and was VERY excited to see the inside of a hospital) to a drop in day of preschool and I settled in.

My contractions continued to build in intensity for several hours. I did lots of walking, lunging, bouncing on the birth ball. I talked and laughed with my doula and my husband. We joked a lot about me laughing the baby out. It was so different than my last labor vibe-wise-- so happy and light hearted. I went in the shower a while, and things started to pick up a lot around then... I came back out and though I was still able to mostly keep my happy demeanor, I was really feeling things. It was time to go in the tub.

So, I went in the tub, and pretty soon thereafter the on-call doctor wanted to check me. I hadn't been checked since intake and like I said, things were intense. I was hoping for some pretty good news, buuuut it turned out I was only a 5. All those heavy contractions to go such a short distance! We discussed the fact that I was slightly leaking amniotic fluid and she wondered if I wanted her to break my bag totally-- worked wonders during my labor with the Emperor-- and I was like yes yes yes yes YES even though I knew it meant shiitake was about to get real.

She popped my sac (noting that it was, indeed, quite tough... apparently I have membranes of steel!) and I went back in the tub for like an hour. 60 CRAZY minutes of holy shiitake-ness. Now things were at last resembling my labor with the Emperor. Not much going on for me but a lotttttt of moaning and wanting things to be over. I started to feel a lot of pressure so I got out of the tub and went back to my room.

I was 7 or 8 when I got back to the room and instantly hit transition. Did I tell you I had two goals with this labor? I did. I wanted: 1. to complain less and 2. to push better. Guess what? I did them both. The only time I complained at all was during transition, when I said a couple of times that I had changed my mind and didn't want to do this anymore (truth) and one time I said I wished there was medicine that would make me feel better. And I only let out a couple of really inappropriately out of control screams (sorry, other laboring ladies on the floor! didn't mean to freak you out with a glimpse of what's in store!) before I got back to doing controlled moaning, puffing, etc, etc.

The need to push really freaking came this time. Hey, I now finally understand the pooping analogy. I felt like I needed to poop out a tank. It was truly awful! And it felt like I pushed forever. But in fact, I pushed for 11 minutes. They did not think the doctor would get there on time.

So I had 25 hours of early labor, 1.5 hours of nutso crazy active labor, and 11 minutes of awful pushing. And then he was out!

But our adventure was not yet over. I knew something was up because this hospital is very VERY big on instant skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, etc. None of that this time, they hacked that cord off and instantly whisked him off to be suctioned and stuff. I could barely see him for about the first 5 minutes. Then I could see him four or five feet away in the warmer, having all sorts of stuff done to him just out of my reach. It turned out he was quite floppy and pale when he came out, with the cord wrapped around his neck and poop in his mouth.

It would end up being about 3 hours before I was able to hold him, which I know is a blink of an eye for most NICU babies but holy shiitake what a long time. I had no idea what was going on and was so happy that both my husband and my doula were with me... I could send my husband along with him and not be totally alone. They went off to the nursery/mini-NICU, I pushed out the placenta (one push, ain't no thang) and got stitched up. I tore again, right along the tear that I had last time. But this time I wasn't holding a baby and being distracted while the doctor stitched me up, so I was a pretty big baby about it and got in a little complaining late in the game.

Two incredibly long hours later, I was able to go over to the nursery and see him. My boobs began leaking sheer rivers of colostrum. (Sexay!) I waited an hour while they did a bunch of stuff and then finally got to hold him and nurse him. He had been sucking and rooting like crazy the whole time he was in the nursery, at my husband's fingers and at his own, so it was not so surprising that he INSTANTLY latched on to my boob and nursed like he'd just been waiting for me to come around. He has nursed a bunch more since then.

They had to do a bunch of stuff because of his wild start, so I just got back from the nursery with him about 40 minutes ago. But he's nestled in the crook of my arm right now, making cute little sleepy baby whimpers and dozing away like this is just all in a day's work. I'm going to go to sleep pretty soon too but wanted to write this out while it was still fresh in my mind.

Here he is, Wren Louis. Born at 3:56 pm, 1/20/12, weighing 9 lbs 2 oz and 22 inches long.

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Phew.

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 Post subject: Re: The Great Big Birth Stories Thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:25 am 
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Wow! Congratulations! I can't believe you have the wherewithal to post after just giving birth! Kudos! What an amazing journey! And props for use of the word parlayed :) Wren is absolutely gorgeous after all his travails. I think I can see shades of Grey in him, in that soft curly hair, but its so hard to tell :) Does he look like Grey did at birth?

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