Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Birth Story

Skip this post if birth stories aren't your thing...

This is the story of the birth of my second son on 8/20/07. It was written by the doula who assisted me during the birth. I went ahead and added my own inserts here and there in italics.

I met Cristina and her husband in February of 2007, when they were looking for extra support for the birth of their second son. They asked me to be their doula, and we had three visits to get to know each other and go over plans for the birth. Cristina was preparing for her birth using the Hypnobabies method, hoping to use deep relaxation as a tool to give birth naturally.

On August 19th, the day after her due date, Cristina called to tell me that she had been having mild contractions (or pressure waves, as Hypnobabies calls them) all day. By midnight, they were getting stronger. She called at 12:40 a.m. to say that they were 3-7 minutes apart, and she wasn’t sure when to go to the hospital. I arrived a little after 1 a.m. and found Cristina up and moving around. The waves were now coming every 3-4 minutes and lasting about a minute. She tried several positions, including sitting on the ball (too much pressure) and kneeling leaning on the couch, but the most comfortable position seemed to be standing and leaning on the table or counter. Cristina was very relaxed but working through the waves. Her father arrived to take care of M (Little Guy), and we started to think about leaving for the hospital.

Cristina wanted to relax as deeply as possible for the drive to the hospital, so we went into the bedroom and she lay on her side in bed, listening to a Hypnobabies script with headphones. [I found that the hypnobabies wasn't really working for me at this point. It was too hard for me to focus.] After a couple of waves, we were ready to go, then decided that we should call the hospital to let them know we were coming in. A comedy of errors ensued (not too funny at the time to Cristina) as we searched for the phone number for labor and delivery, which didn’t seem to be in the paperwork from the hospital, in the phone book, or on the hospital website. [I was so frickin pissed off that we did not have the phone number ready in advance. I think this is when the cussing out of Husband really started to get into gear, poor guy.] Finally Cristina's husband reached a nurse in labor and delivery. The nurse asked a seemingly endless series of questions, and Cristina was ready to go [how did she know I was ready to go? maybe because the contractions were forcing me down to my knees in the driveway...] so he finally interrupted the routine questions and told the nurse that we were on our way. [He interrupted the nurse as I was screaming at him to get the f--- off the phone and drive me to the goddamn hospital.]

We arrived at the hospital around 2:45 and were in the triage room at 3 a.m. [Previous to this, I couldn't believe the insane amount of paperwork they made me fill out while I was in active labor.] A nurse hooked up monitors and left us mostly alone as Cristina continued moving through the waves, leaning on the counter or on Husband. The nurse midwife, Madge, came in at 3:50 and did an exam. Cristina’s cervix was 6-7 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced, with the baby at 0 station (the middle of the pelvis). [Woo-hoo! So much better than with Little Guy's birth when I was only 3 centimeters when I went in.] We moved to a room and met our nurse, Lori, who was very nice and supportive of Cristina’s birth plan. Lori placed an iv and started a dose of antibiotics to prevent group B strep infection. Cristina relaxed well with each wave and still seemed to be her normal self in between. She seemed most comfortable resting her head on her husband's chest, and he stayed close by so she could lean on him when each wave began. [He really was very good in helping me. I guess all those months of telling him he better be there for me during labor this time or else I would kill him really paid off.]

The admissions paperwork [that would be more paperwork than what we had filled out when we got there] took a long time and we were finally able to turn down the lights at 5 a.m. By this time, Cristina’s focus was turning more inward. She moaned softly through the waves and relaxed deeply in between, sometimes dozing for a minute or two. [At this point, I really felt like I was in hell and briefly considered asking for an epidural.] At 6 a.m. she felt nauseated and threw up. [I was SO happy when I threw up because I thought I was in transition. Unfortunately, that was not the case.] At 7 a.m. Cristina decided to try lying on her side so she could rest more in between. The nursing shift changed and we met our new nurse, Tanya, who was also very sweet and supportive. [Both nurses were GREAT. They were both supportive of natural chilbirth and said later that there were other nurses on the floor who hadn't wanted to work with me because I was trying to do it naturally, but that they supported natural childbirth and had been excited to assist.] She did an exam at 7:35 and Cristina’s cervix was 7 centimeters dilated. [I was so pissed! I hadn't even moved. But I tried not to get caught up in it. It was just a number was what I kept telling myself. And I remembered that some women plateau in their labors and then advance quickly and that's perfectly normal so I didn't stress about it.]

Within a few minutes the waves were getting stronger. [I was SO tired at this point. SO SO tired. That was one of the hardest parts about the labor for me. I was literally moaning like an animal. I was afraid that people in the hallway could hear me. It was nuts.]Cristina was ready to try some different positions again. First, she kneeled facing the head of the bed, which we raised up so she could lean on it. At 8:35 a.m. she moved to sitting on the ball and resting on her husband's lap. Tanya started the second dose of antibiotics, and the nurse midwife on day shift, Pam, came in to introduce herself. After the antibiotics were done Cristina got in the shower and Husband changed into his swimsuit so he could support her. [I really didn't want to get into the shower, but my doula said she thought this would speed things up and she was right!] When she got out at 9:25 I suggested spending some time on the toilet, and Cristina was now feeling more pressure. [Again, didn't want to do it, but it totally helped move things along.] Pam did an exam at 9:55 and Cristina was 9 centimeters dilated. The amniotic sac was really bulging and Pam thought that breaking it would cause the baby’s head to move down quickly, so Cristina agreed and Pam broke the water.

By 10:15, Cristina was pushing spontaneously. Pam came back in soon after and suggested that Cristina try lying on her side to minimize tearing. Cristina pushed beautifully and eased her baby out, following Pam’s gentle coaching. Baby boy F. was born at 10:27 a.m. and lifted straight onto Cristina’s chest. He was beautiful and healthy, with apgar scores of 8 and 9. He latched on to the breast and began nursing well at 11:05. F stayed in his mother’s arms until 11:40 a.m., when he was weighed: 8 pounds, 3 ounces. Cristina had a very small tear that didn’t need stiches.

Overall, I had a much better experience with this birth than I did with my first. I was a bit disappointed that the hypnobirthing didn't work as well as I had hoped, but I really think this was more due to my inability to focus on using the program than it was a reflection on the program itself. I would still recommend it to others. I am also happy that I hired a doula to help me through the birth. She recommended positions and had ideas to help speed the labor along naturally, which I wouldn't have thought of myself. I highly recommend hiring one if you are trying for a natural birth in a hospital.


Blogger Mary-LUE said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing all that. It is always interesting to hear someone else's birth story once you've been through it. Your italicized contributions made me smile because of the different tone they took compared to the doula's narrative!

What you describe sounds very similar to what I saw on the Baby Story. The woman who used hypnobirthing did very well up to a point. It was obvious then she was in pain but she did manage. I'm not sure how realistic I think it is to not feel the pain at all, but I think the hypnobirthing techniques probably really help you keep your focus for a much longer time. I think the doula is a great idea, too.

Congrats again on your sweet new boy.

6:21 PM  
Blogger dawn224 said...

I have yet to actually write out my birth story, but we did get one of the hospital volunteer doulas at the last minute - Her name was Angel, and man was she. Every positive thing I have to say about my hospital delivery experience is thanks to her.

8:27 PM  
Blogger JaniceNW said...

My first birth sucked. 18 hours of puking and back labor and an epidural that had to be re medicated every 2 hours(1988). 3 hours pushing out the kids HUGE heas &then a lovely spinal headache. I told hubby we would never touch one another physically again!

2nd boy-3 hours of labor, 20 minutes at hospital and 3 pushes later wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee BBB almost flew outta me. It was the greastest rush of my life.

3rd son c-section breech boy.

I'm so glad your second labor was better. I made lots of noise too. It helped me and I doubt I could have stopped myself.

Kiss both your babies necks for me. I dare not kiss my 19yo and 16yo's neck~they might punch me and already think I'm completely nuts(I am).

Blessings on the entire family.

8:29 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

That was a wonderful birth story! And so cool that you have the memories of the doula (I forgot half the details with each birth so having this perspective would've been nice!) to help you not forget this day.

I'm bowing down to your awesome drug-free birthing, You Rock!

9:12 PM  
Blogger lildb said...

oh oh oh oh oh.


my heart is freaking RACING.

I love you, C. I'm so glad for you. I'm so glad you've already made it through that part. now, here's to making it through all the other hard parts equally intact. :)


10:40 PM  
Anonymous my minivan is faster than yours said...

I think it's great to have plans and great to know that plans change. I went from I only want the least amt. of drug to OH MY GOSH, BRING THEM DRUGS HERE NOW!!

But I do love everyone's right to choose what works best for her. I'm glad your experience was better this time!

11:22 PM  
Blogger Pumpkin said...

I'm so happy your second birth was a better experience for you hun!!!!! You're an inspiration to those women who want to have a natural birth lass and if I ever convinced myself that I'd go through it all again...lol....then I would definitely think about having a natural birth......you rock!

4:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations again.

What a day!!!!

5:54 AM  
Blogger kgirl said...

I love birth stories, and this one was no exception. I'm so glad that everything went well, and that you had such a wonderful network of supporters with you. Though I gotta admit, I was flabbergasted that some nurses didn't want to attend to you because you wanted no interventions. That blows my mind.

5:59 AM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Good for you!! I am so happy you had a good experience! BubTar was 8 lb 3 oz, just like your Littlest Guy. And WOW! You did it totally drug-free! I don't get epidurals, but I do like me some staydol at the very least. ;) I am so proud of you!

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Smiling Mom said...

What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing. I found that a doula really helped me also! I'm glad you had a good experience.

The labor brought back the memory of the pain for me. Uhh, glad I'm not doing it again!

7:14 AM  
Blogger Nadine said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I had a natural birth as well, and I would not want to have an epidural the next time.

I had to laugh when I read your doula called contractions "pressure waves". That makes it sound like a nice thing.

You did very well, congrats again on you new baby!

7:56 AM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Minivan: I totally get where you are coming from about wanting pain meds. Honestly, the reason I was so determined to avoid meds this time was mainly because with my first birth the epidural stopped working after just a short while and they couldn't re-medicate and then they put me on Pitocin (with no pain meds - ouch!) and my labor stalled forever and it was just a horrible experience. I was worried that if I got an epidural this time, I would have a repeat of that nightmare and I thought it would be EASIER (yes easier!) for me to do it without pain meds than to go through that again.

So truly, going without pain meds was just me trying to avoid more pain and a longer labor because of what had happened before. However, I know that epidurals usually work great for people and I don't begrude anyone their desire for medication. If I had had a good epi experience the first time, I would have done it again for sure.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I love these stories. LOVE.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Pinks & Blues Girls said...

It's always amazing to me reading birth stories. Each one is so different, and yet they (mostly) all end in the same result - the ecstatic (and very tired!) mother just happy to finally hold her baby. That and a whole lot of paperwork. ;)

Your doula sounds like she was very thorough and helpful. That is so great. I give you major props for popping an 8-pounder out with no meds!

Thanks for sharing this!

Jane, Pinks & Blues

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great birth story! Crazy that those other nurses didn't want to be with someone having natural labor! People are very odd. I love reading birth stories!! I'll be getting mine posted this week!!

1:15 PM  
Blogger Blogversary said...

Thank you for sharing.

I had doula for my first and she typed up a story as well. It is something that is most moms don't get because of not having a doula. Definitely worth it.

I am due in Dec w/ my second and planning on having another doula.

6:48 PM  
Anonymous chelle said...

awww what a sweet story! It has been almost six months and i have yet to write ours out ... bad mommy!

8:23 PM  
Blogger Fidget said...

Wonderful story! I plateaued at 7 during my natural birth... not fun, I was cringing in sympathy for you.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

C- thanks for sharing your story. I am so glad it went well. Sounds like you trusted your body. I am so proud of you! What an accomplishment. And what a nice 8-lb reward. :)

7:15 PM  
Blogger SAHMmy Says said...

Thank God for Scheduled C-sections! You're one brave woman.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Damselfly said...

How wonderful for you. About being afraid people would hear your yelling in the hallway, with me I think they could hear it outside in the parking lot.

I think it's great you got to push on your side. I wish I had "been allowed" to do that.

And that paperwork?! Sheesh!

Congratulations, again!

11:54 AM  
Anonymous imhelendt said...

YOu know, I tried doing the hypnosis thing with son #2. I had the relaxation tapes and everything. I couldn't focus either. I think there comes a point in labor that no matter what you do, you can't focus and you just have to tough it out. Did the doula too, LOVED THE DOULA! I don't think any normal human can concentrate on breathing and relaxing when it feels like your insides are being yanked out the bottom. Doing it without an epidural is tough. Congrats!

11:34 AM  

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