Tuesday, June 29, 2010

S's Birth Story - Graphic pictures

I spent a good bit of time getting to know S and her husband during her pregnancy. I was thrilled when she went into labor while I was on call! The following is her pictorial birth story with some light commentary from me. I thought it was awesome that S's friend and family members were very interested in capturing every aspect of her experience so I asked permission to post, what turned out to be some wonderful photos. GRAPHIC PICTURES ahead!!!!!

The happy (or not-so-happy) couple arrived earlier for a labor check. After walking for a bit and being re-evaluated, it was decided that she should go home. If I remember correctly, she was a couple centimeters dilated at this point.

Once S returned, she got serious about laboring :) She was further dilated, admitted for labor, and tossed in the jacuzzi tub to labor further. She had great support from her husband, mother, and best friend. Her dad was also readily available with any assistance needed.

Fresh out of the tub...

Showing dad some different massage techniques....not the most flattering shot of me :P

Working hard! At this point she was around 8cms but the labor was starting to slow down, leaving her stuck at 8 for a while. S was becoming exhausted after hours and hours of labor. At this point we did have some discussion about pain management options.

S getting some rest once the epidural was in place.

Me and S's husband waiting for a baby to present herself.

Providing perineal support as S pushes the head out.

I assist the new daddy as he catches the baby. You can see the cord :) My finger is not in the baby's eye, just the angle :p

Good sized kid for a first baby. Momma did wonderful, pushing for maybe 45minutes.

A natural....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cara's Birth Story

Ok, I finally have the opportunity to reflect on my birth experience long enough to share my story with you…

My energy was completely drained for a quick minute here but I have replenished my energy and am ready to take on the world with my new son, Angel Jackson (A.K.A. AJ)

From the moment that I met with my fabulous midwife, Tiffany Jackson, I insisted on going through the birth process with no drugs and doing everything as natural as possible. Tiffany reassured me this was totally possible and reasonable. As I began to share with people my “birth plan” of no drugs, people would laugh at me and tell me I was crazy! Or they would look at me like I grew five heads. I shared these comments with Tiffany and again she reassured me my birth plan was totally possible. I put my faith in Tiffany’s words. So here is how my birth plan played out…

On June 7th, I kissed my husband good-bye and off to work he went. I am a teacher therefore I am blessed to be home from the end of May until August. During the time off, I began to tackle things that I had been putting aside. On the 7th, I got a burst of energy and decided I was going to DEEP clean the house (little did I know that this is called the nesting phase…). I began by bleaching and scrubbing everything I could and ended with carpet cleaning the entire house. My husband had asked me weeks ago to make cheese enchiladas for him as he loves them. I had gone grocery shopping picked up everything to make the enchiladas along with some other goodies. My plan was to take a shower, nap and then make the enchiladas for dinner. I carried out my plan, showered, napped and began to make the enchiladas at about 5:30 p.m. Just as I finished rolling the last enchilada, I felt a trickle of water, as though I had waited too long to get to the bathroom and pee’d on myself. I put the enchiladas in the oven, set the timer and off to the bathroom to handle business. Little did I know this was the start of my water breaking. I sat on the toilet and I pee’d forever, which wasn’t pee as I later found out, this was my water breaking. I called Tiffany and she advised me that it sounds like our son was going to make his arrival earlier than the planned due date of June 24th and to head to Phoenix Baptist Hospital to be checked out.

I waited for my husband to get home and about 6:30 p.m. we headed to the hospital. The contractions were about 3 minutes apart and I started to reconsider at this point my initial birth plan of no drugs. As I sat on the towel in my husband’s car my water continued to flow…..We arrived at the hospital and I instructed my husband to park the car in the parking lot and I could walk to the hospital, all the while reconsidering my no drug plan. I walked into the hospital to be greeted with a wheel chair and a labor and delivery nurse who took me to the labor and delivery floor. I was assigned to an amazing labor and delivery nurse, Stephanie. In the meantime I waited for Tiffany to arrive at the hospital and all the while still reconsidering my idea of no drugs during labor and delivery. Stephanie checked me and I was 5 ½ centimeters at 7’ish. Stephanie put me in the Jacuzzi and what a world of difference this made. I was back to my original mindset of I want to bring my son into this world as natural as possible with no drugs. Tiffany arrived, offering encouragement, compassion, comfort and guidance on how to work through the contractions and the feelings I was experiencing. My husband was my best friend by my side. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to welcome my son into this world!

Tiffany checked me about 9’ish and I was 9 ½ centimeters. With the help of my husband and Tiffany, they removed me from the Jacuzzi and I went to the bed to begin pushing. Stephanie was fabulous with the “Tug of War” pulling and pushing process. This helped me channel my strength into pushing. As I entered the “Ring of Fire” stage of delivery, I “begged” for relief from the pressure that I was feeling in the anal and vagina area. Tiffany, Stephanie and my husband encouraged me to keep going with no drugs as they could see the head. At 10:13pm, AJ was welcomed into this world with my husband, Tiffany and Stephanie by our sides. There was immediate feeling of relief felt both physically and emotionally. Although AJ was born early by 2 weeks, he was healthy and perfect size at 7lbs, 4 oz, 18.5 inches long. Angel Jackson is a blessing to our family and lives.

To all of you that are expecting your child and considering going through with a birth plan of no drugs, have faith in yourselves and your bodies; your body was made to do this. I was told this during a birthing class and didn’t believe it until I actually went through with it. Now, looking back, I wouldn’t change a single thing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jessie's Birth Story

I have finally got around to doing it. Energy has been drained but now I am back at it. Ready to roar.

As pregnant ladies do, I made a birth plan. I wanted no drugs, the least intervention as I could get and I was going to birth my baby the way my body wanted to. As we all know, things don’t always work out the way you plan them.

I know what went wrong. For sake of hurting feelings I won’t point it out…just tell you my story.

My mother came down to AZ from AK to see the birth of her grandchild and for some reason I had a feeling we were going to be early, (due on June 2nd) so Mom came down on May 30th. A week passed by and nothing yet. I had all the common questions, “When is the baby coming?” “How long are the going to let you go?” “Hurry up and have that baby already.”

I know most first time moms go over, but all these repetitive questions made me feel anxious and kind of angry people were expecting me to know when the baby was coming. Like I was in charge of when I birthed.

As the time started getting closer to Mom leaving we started looking at natural ways to trigger labor. We walked and walked and walked.

On June 10th, Thursday, we went to Metro Center Mall and walked around for a couple of hours. I walked stairs, sat in the vibrating chairs, got a foot massage and contractions started. They were getting closer and closer together so we decided, being five minutes away from the hospital, we were going to go. When we got there and I got hooked up to the monitors, the contractions started spacing themselves further apart. Six minutes, seven minutes, so they sent me home. I really at this point just wanted to have the baby. When the nurse in triage called Tiffany, (the midwife on call) I told her I wanted to get my water broken to get things started. They told me to come back in the morning and we would be scheduled for an induction. So we went home still pregnant.

That night, I thought about it. This whole pregnancy I didn’t want any intervention. I hadn’t even taken Tylenol for headaches. Why now at the very end had I chosen to have an induction? Why have the baby come when everyone else wanted the baby, not when the baby wanted to come? I told my mom who was supposed to be leaving that Sunday, “I want to have the baby before you leave, I don’t want your trip to be for nothing!” She said, “Well don’t get induced on account of me leaving, the baby will come when she comes.” (We didn’t know what the sex of the baby was, but she wanted a girl, to have three girl tiger Gemini’s in a row. Her, me, and baby.) So when she said that, I thought ‘you know she is right! Baby will come, forget everyone else.

The next day we decided to go to Arizona Mills, another mall and walk some more. We met up with my cousins there and walked around the mall for four hours. We heard pineapple helped induce labor so I was eating that all day while we walked. We walked and walked, but I didn’t feel any contractions. When we went home our feet were so tired. Husband got home from school and we went about our night.

At 12:35 I felt my first contraction. Out of nowhere they came on and so I decided to time them. Five minutes, seven minutes, six minutes, but they were getting regular. I waited for a little while to make sure it was for real this time, and at 2:30am I decided to wake my mom. It was time, guess baby was waiting for daddy to be able to be there. It was the weekend.

So I called my cousins and told them it was time and we went to the hospital. I got checked in triage and I was at 4 cm almost 5, so they decided to keep me. I went walking. We walked around labor and delivery and contractions got to the point where we had to stop now and again to work through them.

My room was finally ready and I was hooked up to the monitors again for five minutes to check and make sure the baby was doing okay still. When we were done, I got up and walked around the room for a while, was able to get into the tub and labor in there for a while, then I went back into the bed to rest. This went on for like 8 hours. Lisa, the midwife decided to come in and talk options. At this point my water hadn’t broken. I was dilated to 5. We decided to break my water. There was a little meconium in my water, which is normal for overdue mothers. Lisa wasn’t concerned so we continued to labor.

Then my mother in law showed up.

Her, Husband’s sister and Aunty wanted to come into the room and watch. Something I didn’t think was a great idea. I felt it was a private moment, and for those who know our history, it wasn’t something that felt “right.” Husband was torn. He wanted to share this moment with his Mother, at the time I didn’t realize that but he was ready to leave me if I didn’t let her in the room. She made it about her. I was getting at a point where contractions were unbearable, 12 hours of pain without meds, and now I wasn’t progressing. I was stuck at 5 cm. I went to the toilet, and when I came back to sit on the bed more water came out. This time it gushed and was dark with meconium. Lisa came in to talk to me about what we were going to do. It was about the baby now and at this point I was barely able to get through anything. Baby was moving away from the external monitor, so they put an internal monitor in me.

We decided it was time for pitocin to get contractions rolling and cervix dilating. I know from all the birth stories that pitocin makes contractions very painful, so I opted for the epidural. With the epi came the catheter, and oxygen mask. After I got it, I was in heaven compared to the last 12 hours. I told Husband his mom could come in now. I felt no pain, and wasn’t embarrassed anymore. Husband and I were able to get some sleep and even though I couldn’t feel the contractions, I felt some pressure in my anal region. They told me that was the baby’s head and contractions. So I could still feel them, just not as strong. By 6pm I felt urges to push. I asked to be checked and I was fully dilated! I was ecstatic. They told me we would start to push about 6:30pm because we had to wait for a doctor for the baby because of the meconium. Time finally came around and we started to push with the contractions. I couldn’t even feel the baby moving down. People were all around me telling me I was doing great and things were going well, but I couldn’t tell!

7:30 rolls around and they finally could see the head emerging. Seven minutes later I hear, “It’s a boy!” It was such a fantastic feeling getting him out. The pressure was released and I was so happy to hear I had a boy! Half the family was hoping for a boy, and the other half a girl. Guess you can’t go wrong with 50/50 chances! I was just hoping for a healthy baby.

Julian James Cleveland was born on June 12, 2010, weighing in at 7 lbs 12 oz, 20 1/2 inches long. He is a lovely addition to our new family and we love him dearly.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Colleen's Birth Story

My husband and I started trying to get pregnant in March of 2009. The first few months were unsuccessful, however being an A-type person, I started reading up on pregnancy/delivery even though I wasn't pregnant yet. Before doing this reading, I always just thought I would get pregnant, go to an OB-GYN and have my baby in the hospital with a heavy dose of pain meds. Once I started researching my mind changed completely! I began to form a strong opinion in the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I believe doctors have over-complicated the beauty of childbirth. Afterall, for centuries women were having babies without drugs, and they continued to have more than one so it had to be somewhat tolerable. Also, being a Christian, I began to realize God created my body to handle childbirth without any assistance and that He wouldn't give me any burden I couldn't handle.

In late July we discovered we were pregnant! I liked the idea of a midwife, but I had no idea where I would begin to look for one. Anxious and eager to see someone I ended up going to an OB-GYN office. From the initial visit I could tell they were not 100% behind me doing an all natural childbirth. When I asked what the practice's c-section rate was they said 25%! That was a little too high for my comfort. I decided I'd relax a bit, and take the time to find an office that had midwives. A girl at church recommended Bethany Women' s Center, so I made an appointment---the smartest move I made while pregnant!

My pregnancy, fortunately, did not have many complications nor did I really get seriously uncomfortable. The only hold-up I ran in to was my due date rolled around and still no baby! I tried everything--and I mean EVERYTHING- to spur labor: sex, walking everyday, spicy food, pineapple, massages, pedicures, etc. I went to 42 weeks, and my baby was still not coming on her own. Thoughts of wanting to be induced definitely filled my head, but my husband kept reminding me that the baby would come when ready, and induction would interfere with my plans for a natural childbirth. The midwives worked with me to get the baby to come out, using the most non-invasive plan as possible.

I ended up having a foley catheter put in and was sent home overnight. The idea was the catheter would help dialate me, and labor would start on it's own. The next morning I woke up, and the catheter was still in me and no contractions. We were told to come to the hospital since i was so late. When I got there at 8 am, I walked for an hour before the catheter fell out, but still no real contractions. They sent me walking some more, still nothing. Finally at noon they broke my water, and I had made it to 4cm. I began to feel tiny contractions, as I continued to walk the hospital hallways. Around 4pm I began to feel real pain. I was still walking which helped. But I was devastated when at 7pm, I was only 4.5 cm---I had only dialated half a cm!!! Diane, my midwife, assured me that I was still making progress; it was ok. From 7 pm til 5 am I was having strong contractions every couple minutes. At around midnight they checked me again and I was at 6cm. It was good I was making progress, but I felt like it was going so slow. I was getting very tired and was starting to doubt whether I could do it. I'd been awake for 24 hours and was losing energy fast--I just kept praying that when they checked me again I would be close to 10cm. When they checked me around 5:30 I was relieved to hear I was at 9.5 cms. I knew I could make it.

From there it all went super fast. Within a few minutes I was ready to start pushing. Diane told me the harder I pushed the faster it would go, so I just pushed with all my strength. Diane did an amazing job helping me push effectively. I know talking to friends who had drs. deliver their babies they felt like they didn't know how to push. I have no idea where the energy came from, but I was able to harness it and push her out. THe pushing was definitely the hardest part but also the best, because I knew I was that much closer. An hour and a half later I had a beautiful baby girl lying on my chest. I know every mom thinks her baby is perfect, but Madeline really was so beautiful (some newborns are kinda weird looking)---those extra couple weeks really paid off!! It was one of the most amazing experiences, and I am so proud of myself and thankful to God, my husband, the nurses, and my midwife, Diane, for helping me get through it. I'm not ready to do it again any time soon, but I know I*'ll be ready/capable. And the amazing part is you really do forget the pain you go through.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Nursing Mothers Group Discussion Topics for June

Nursing Mothers Group Discussion Topics
June 2010
Wednesday Mornings: 10 AM – Noon

Join us in the Breastfeeding Support Center. Babies and toddlers
always welcome. Bring your questions and concerns –
In addition to the discussion topic, we’ll explore answers that work for YOU. This is informal and fun!

June 2 Breastfeeding Myths – There is a lot of information out there about breastfeeding. How do you separate what is good information and what is not? We can help!

June 9 What Do Babies REALLY Need? – How did you get to know your baby and what he or she REALLY needs?

June 16 Celebrating Dads & Breastfeeding - For as long as there have been babies, there have been fathers! We’ll take a look at the unique ways that fathers can nurture their babies – which differ from a mother’s ways, of course!

June 23 Your Baby’s Cues and Reflexes – Learn a little more about how to “read” your baby and appreciate infant body language.

June 30 Coping with the Crying Baby – A fussy, crying baby is usually NOT what new mothers expect. BUT, if YOUR baby is fussy and inconsolable, we have
tips for perspective and coping until “this too shall pass.”

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Nora's Birth Story

Eleanor Hazel Rose was born on May 27th at 3:11 p.m. She was 7lbs and 12 oz and 20 inches long. She is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

On Wednesday night I fell asleep on the couch and I awoke abruptly as I thought I was wetting myself! I jumped up, horrified, and rushed to the bathroom! I was so embarrassed that I did not even mention it to John. I got up every hour that night to use the bathroom because I was so paranoid that I would wet the bed. Also my hips and back ached so badly that I eventually got back up and laid in the recliner. In the morning I did mention to John that I thought the baby was so low that I was having trouble holding my pee. Little did I know that my water had broken and I was slowly leaking! John jokingly said, "You love being pregnant." To which I replied, "At this point I am doing it with love!" I went to work, the last day of the school year!

During the morning I began to suspect that I was leaking fluid and not simply having trouble holding my bladder. I noted a few contractions but I was so busy with the kids and end of the year excitement that I did not have time to take much note of them. I had so much to do! When I got a moment I called my sister in law to tell her that I had now begun wetting my pants. I thought this would amuse her. She said that was how her labor had started and she urged me to call my Midwife. I told her I was going to wait until the end of the school day since we only had a half day of school. But she kind of insisted that I call "just to be sure". After I spoke to her I used the bathroom and noticed a pink tinge when I wiped. I called John and told him and called my sister in law again and then the Midwife.

They suggested that I come in to get checked out. I left school somewhat reluctantly. I did not even really get to say goodbye to my students, which made me a little sad. I told them I would probably be back... and I really assumed I would be. On the way to the Midwife I began to notice that the contractions were coming pretty regularly. While we waited we timed them and they were about 3.5 minutes apart! They did not hurt but they were more intense and I could now feel them in my lower back. Once we were called back to the office my Midwife, Diane, checked me out. Low and behold she confirmed that my waters had broken and I was already 4 cm dilated! I was so surprised and nervous! She was so happy and excited for me! I asked who was on call and they told me Lylaine, whom I really liked. Diane said, "Oh Nora, you are going to have a beautiful birth!"

After they checked me out the water really began to gush. They gave me this HUGE diaper to wear. It was absolutely hilarious. John and I both laughed until we cried over the sight of pregnant me wearing a gigantic diaper. It was exactly what I needed because from then on I was really calm and confident. They hooked me up to a fetal monitor for a bit which confirmed the contractions were about 3 and half minutes a part. Diane told us to go home or out to lunch and relax until the contractions were a little longer and harder to work through. SO we ran an errand to Target to get a nightgown and then hurried home to finish packing up my bag!

Labor was certainly progressing and I began walking and pacing through the house doing odd chores and working through the contractions. This lasted for maybe 45 minutes to an hour. Jason, my brother in law, showed up with my nieces to drop off the labor set list he made for me and I continued to pace until the distraction by the kids was too much. I then got into the shower. I labored in the shower for about 30 minutes or so and the contractions started to become really intense and close together. At one point I thought I might get sick or pass out so I quickly got out and told John that he needed to ask his brother to leave.... NOW. Looking back I was definitely in Transition at this point but labor was happening so quickly I did not quite realize it.

I laid down on the bed and by this time the contractions were so intense that I had to really concentrate on breathing and relaxing to get through them. I remember thinking, "I don't know if I can handle this much longer!" and then answering myself, "You can do this, its not meant to last." I took deep breaths, relaxed my whole body, and then said OM as I exhaled. When John timed them they were so long and close together that it was hard to really tell when they began. We quickly decided to go to the hospital!

When we arrived at the hospital I went into Triage where they check to see if you are in labor. They put us in a small room with a curtain and then left us there for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile I was having some serious contractions. I started to get really agitated that no one was coming to check on me. John started pushing every button on the wall and a nurse rushed back and yelled at him saying, "Don't start pushing buttons back here! Every nurse will come running!" John said, "GOOD! Can someone please check her, she is in labor!" The nurse looked irritated and told me that she was going to check me and then send me walking because there were no labor rooms at that time. I told her, "There is no way I can walk" and she said, "Well you might have to." Then she checked to see how dilated I was. Her eyes got huge and she said, "Oh my honey, you are 10 cm!! Are you feeling the urge to push?" She changed her tune pretty quickly. I said, "I WANT MY MIDWIFE!"

She said, "Your Midwife is in a C-Section right now, she might not make it." This is when I started to get really scared. I did not want to give birth with those crazy nurses. She then said that I was going to have to give birth right there in Triage. I was so afraid they were going to leave me alone again. Just as I was really starting to get worried Lylaine poked her head through the curtain and gave me this huge encouraging smile. Tears came to my eyes. I have never felt more relief in my life. She came in and said, "First things first, lets get rid of all this stuff. She took me off the fetal monitor and helped me out of the hospital gown. I already felt better. She asked me if I wanted to try pushing through the next contraction and I said that I did want to try. She was said, "You just push when you are ready, you already know what to do."

Pushing my baby out was really the most amazing thing. Lylaine said to me during an appointment once, "You already know how to give birth." I thought about this a lot over the past few months and felt very confident that when the time came I would know and surely this was the case. There was something so freeing and beautiful in letting my body take over. I felt very protected and supported by Lylaine and so loved by John. Pushing was hard but also very easy.

Lylaine and John held my legs and I just told them when I was ready to push. Between contractions I relaxed and John and I would speak softly to each other and marvel at all that was happening. We celebrated our last few moments, just the two of us. I was so overwhelmed with love for him, my very best friend. I pushed for about 30 minutes and Lylaine continued to encourage me and rub my back and rinse my face with a cool cloth. With each push I could tell I was making progress by the look on John's face and Lylaine's commentary. As the head began to show she encouraged me to reach down and touch it.

Feeling her head emerge was the most intense and exhilarating feelings I have ever had. They call it the "rim of fire" for a reason but at the same moment I knew that it was good because her head was emerging! John told me later that once her head was out Lylaine grabbed her chin and delivered her shoulders in an instant. John said, "Look down No, there is your baby!" I looked and there she was, half out! Lylaine said, "Go ahead and grab her Nora" And so I delivered or "caught" my baby the rest of the way! I just leaned down and pulled her out and on to my chest.

Breathtaking euphoria overtook me as I held my sweet Eleanor skin to skin for the first time. She let out a short cry and then laid completely alert and serene on my chest. She was totally peaceful. I now fully understand the miracle of childbirth. Diane was so right, we had an amazing and beautiful birth.

I am so thankful for all the Midwives at Bethany Women's Center. They were all so wonderful. I am especially thankful for Diane, who took care of me through most of my pregnancy. She was always so patient, kind, and informative.... and she is from Chicago, which is awesome :) Also, Lylaine was so fantastic. She guided me through the end of my labor with true love and grace.

After the baby was caught and I was all fixed up I said, "You know, that was kinda fun!" This really caught the nurses off guard! Throughout my pregnancy I often joked that my birth plan was "birth ecstasy". I said, "If I shoot for the moon, I will surely land somewhere among the stars!" However, what I really worked on was not being afraid. I focused on empowering myself and being confident that I had the instinct and strength to do what generations of women have done, given birth naturally. Through the care of my Midwifes, reading (thank you Ina May), mentoring by my good friend Nicole, reflection... and a fantastically FAST labor, I feel like I truly landed among the stars.