Birth Story Carnival - or - Spring is a Time For New Life

With Spring a Sprungin', Sarcastic Mom is hosting a birth story carnival . What better time to celebrate new life than in Spring and what better way then with beautiful birth stories of beautiful babes! So, if you are in the mood for reading a TON of great birth stories, start here and then move over there to read more (her's is on her blog, then others are all listed at the end of her story). Happy reading!!!


2000 birth of our first...

I was 19 when I became pregnant with #1. I was also unmarried though the father was very supportive and he and I are happily married now. I was due in March. By April 6th, my doctor called to let me know that, after we discussed alternatives and issues, he had scheduled an induction for me the following morning. Wanting everything as natural as possible, I attempted natural induction the night of April 6th.

I tried a castor-oil cocktail (OJ and castor oil – blah! Never again!), right after a meal of schezuan chicken (my doula friend did not TELL me not to try both at once! - I thought 'the more the better'). After that, I went for a walk, that ended in a run when I found myself 1 mile from home and the castor oil kicked in! I tried squats, nipple stimulation, everything!!! Nothing worked. So, at about midnight, I gave up and went to bed.

The following morning, I went to the hospital for my scheduled induction. The nurse wanted to hook me up to an IV immediately. I told her to please read my L&D plan on my chart (which outlines all of my requests and refusals – including no IVs or hep-locks). So, she told me that my only other option for induction besides Pitocin (via IV) was a cervical ripening gel placed on the cervix.

Within 15 minutes (7:45am) I was feeling mild contractions. At 8:30, we went to the café for breakfast. At about 10, I took a nap. Afterward, we played cards and walked the halls, visiting with the new mommies on the floor, after which I had a late lunch. At about 2, I took a shower (felt sticky and hot). That is where my water broke. Then we walked the halls some more. I plateaued at 4cm around this time and stayed that way from 1:30ish until 3:40ish.

At 3:40, I asked them to fill the Jacuzzi. Before I went to the Jacuzzi, they checked me (still dilated to 4 cm). My coach (now dh) and I were watching my emotional signposts and knew that we were on the homestretch… very close to delivery, even though my medical signs said I had quite a while to go. Well, I walked two doors down to the Jacuzzi room, disrobed, and sat in the water. I had two contractions in the water, JUST got comfortable, when I felt like I had to poop. So, my coach called the nurse who helped me walk back to the room.

So, anyways… this old bitty of a nurse was helping me back to the room and I was peaking and resolving one on top of the other. I told her that the baby was coming and all she did was look at me with this look that said ‘NOW she is starting to feel REAL labor... I told her so’. Well… we got back to the room and she was going to just leave. I basically jumped her and told her to check me.

She, literally, rolled her eyes at me and said, while pulling on her gloves ‘there is no way that you have dilated that much in such short a time… just relax’. Well, she checked me… and her jaw just about dropped to the floor. She told me not to push, that she was calling the doctor. On the phone I heard her say that I was 10cm, completely effaced, and +3 station.

* I have to tell you, I was in complete control, hardly any hard pain, through the whole Labor process. But, when they told me not to push, even though my body was saying that it was time; that is when it was painful… when I got in the way of what my body needed to do.*

My doctor, bless him, got there in 5 minutes and, literally, walked in the room, took off his winter gloves and coat before slipping on his surgical scrubs and gloves. So, here my doc is, winter hat still perched on his head, between my knees and telling me, blessedly, to push. With the first push, her head was out, but we found the cord wrapped twice around her neck and she was not breathing as a result. He gave me an episiotomy in order to get to the cord so he could cut it (it was acting as a noose as it was shorter than normal (17 inches), everytime I pushed her further down, it got tighter). I pushed three more times and she was out.

It was wonderful. I was able to walk around 15 minutes after her delivery and had a nice dinner (snuck in ribs and potatoes) that evening.


2003 birth of our second...

I went into labor on May 24th, arriving at the hospital at 9pm. I began solid contractions about 10:30. We talked, walked the halls, and watched TV. When the contractions began to get stronger, I took a shower and walked some more. I literally DINED on saltines, apple juice, and American Cheese… it was all I was craving!

My husband got sick to his stomach (too much coffee and no food) around 3am and went to lay down in the waiting room to try to get better. During that time, our Point Person, Shari, gave me back rubs, walked the halls with me SOME MORE, and helped me get to the bathroom so I could throw up my saltines, cheese, and apple juice (lol). I went down to the Jacuzzi at about 6 am, as I was only 6 cm, and relaxed there for about 30 minutes. Then I got antsy and we walked…. Again. I really could not sit still.

* The nurse assigned to my room was very old fashioned and rude. She was about 70 years old and wanted me on IVs and strapped to the table the whole time. She did not want me walking, eating, showering… nothing. My point person finally called my doctor and told him everything. He basically told the nurse that, if she couldn't cooperate with my birth plan, to take my room off her rotation. She was, in essence, fired from me... lol!*

At about 7am, Shari went and woke my husband and told him I was close (from my emotional signposts again). The doctor came in and checked me at 7:45am when I told him that I felt the strong need to push, I couldn’t sit and was in a crab-like squat... He replied that I was only at 7cm. I argued that it was impossible, that I knew I had to push. So, after watching me with a few contractions, he got the idea to check me while I was contracting.

Kairi was descending completely during the contractions, only to go back up after the contraction ended. So, doc told me to push once with the contraction, and, if she stayed down, I could continue. So, on the next contraction, I pushed… and we kept on pushing.

(BTW, he was adamant, because of the level of scarring from my first episiotomy, I would either tear extensively or REQUIRE an episiotomy. I told him I would rather tear. I also asked him about perineal massage and warm compresses... he said he never even tried it as no one had ever asked before. So, he and I read up on it together and put it to practice).

He began warm compresses and perineal massage so that I would not have to have another episiotomy. And, on the next contractions, though I held off on pushing, her head was birthed gently. She blinked and looked around at all of us. She was posterior. No wonder I didn’t want anyone near my bum.

During this whole time, my husband and Shari were running back and forth from the sink to me to alternately hold me (as I was in the modified squat position) and put cool compresses on my forehead. With the next contraction, my doctor had me push gently and firmly to birth Kairi’s shoulders. And, on the final two contractions, she slipped from my body.

She was born 20 minutes after the start of pushing. She was immediately given to my husband who got to hold her while they did the postpartum checks on me and all the newborn checks on my daughter. When the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, I was able to cut it.

Then, she went to breast and began to nurse. 15 minutes after that, I was well enough to walk the hall and get a breakfast tray followed by a long nap. I had no tears, no episiotomy, no pain medications, and no complications. The entire labor was 11 hours. I was 23 years old, and it was my second wonderful birthing experience.


2004 births of our 3rd and 4th children...

On May 31st, 2004, we went in to B Hospital for a routine NST and ultrasound. The NST came back wonderfully, but, during the ultrasound, they found that Twin 2 had only a small pocket of water under her chin. For this reason, and after attempting to restore fluid naturally and having time to discuss pros and cons of waiting, my doctor, Dr. V, and we agreed on an induction for that day. Calvin took the girls home to call and wait for their babysitter and to get my hospital bag. When he returned at 11:30, they hooked up the hep-lock and began the EFM. At this point, I was already at 3+cm dilation and -1 station. The initial plan was to simply break the bag of waters surrounding Twin 1, but her head was not at a good seal against my cervix and there was a small chance of the cord prolapsing if we simply broke the bag of waters and my body didn’t begin contractions immediately. For this reason, at noon, they began pitocin to bring her head to a good seal against the cervix.

The contractions began within the hour, though I only began to feel them with any intensity at 2pm. At this point, they stopped the pit drip to see if I would take over on my own, I did. Shari and Calvin went to the cafeteria while I took a short nap to gather my strength.

Around 3pm, the contractions were now intense enough that I had to have Calvin coach me through them and have the room silent while contracting. The intensity of the contractions continued to build while they also continued to get closer together.

Right about the time I reached 7 centimeters, I began feeling the slight urge to push. This was around 6:50pm. I was becoming extremely sensitive to the light, so Shari diligently placed cool washcloths over my eyes and forehead while Calvin reminded me to relax through the contractions and rubbed my hand. Doctor Van Slooten came to check me around this time and found Twin 1 to be descending nicely with each contraction. He instructed me to push when I felt I could not resist the urge. A few contractions later marked that time. I was 9 cm when I began the pushing stage.

She descended rapidly and was soon crowning. When she crowned, I reached down to feel her head. Calvin remarked on how much hair she had. I asked if there was more hair than Bri and Kairi. He said yes. I then said ‘great, we’re giving birth to Sasquach’. I have always, with all of my pregnancies, cracked jokes at the pushing stage. We believe it is my coping mechanism. The attendants could not believe that I was cracking jokes at this stage of labor and stood in uneasy silence until my doc began belly-laughing. Laughing helped move her down almost as much as pushing did and her head cleared with the next contraction. As I began gentle-birthing her shoulders, she began to cry. Immediately afterward, with no help from me, her body slid free and they placed Twin 1 on my belly, skin to skin, and began to clean her. Charis Nevaeh was born at 7:21pm. She weighed in at 5lbs 13ozs and measured 17 ½ inches long. She was born with dark black straight hair.

Shari clamped the cord and cut Charis free of my body as Twin 2 was coming up quickly behind (thanks Charis for the nipple stimulation). My husband then passed her to Shari so that we could begin birthing Twin 2. Five minutes after the delivery of Charis, I began having pushing contractions for Twin 2. Though the contractions were not very strong, I gave one push and she raced down the birth canal to crowning. Surprisingly, she was head-first (we knew previously that she was breech and were planning on delivering her breech). She must have flipped after Charis was out. With the next contraction, her head was delivered. I pushed through the next contraction and her shoulder and body slipped from mine, she shot into the doctor’s hands. Again, they placed her on my chest and began to rub her down as she was not breathing well. She made quite a fuss. We waited awhile before my husband clamped and cut the cord. Jocelyn Makena was born at 7:34pm. She weighed in at 5lbs 9ozs and measured 16 inches long. She was born with dark black wavy hair.

The placental delivery was easy, as I was entranced with the sight of my two new daughters. As the placenta showed two sacs sharing one membrane and one placenta (when we thought there were two) they are 70% sure they are monozygotic twins. Two healthy babies, a med-free vaginal delivery, God has blessed us.

Dr. V tells me 'thanks for the bragging rights' of being the only doc in their office that has delivered twins unmedicated... and one of the few who have delivered vaginal twins. He also told me he is extremely impressed with the unmedicated mother, labor & delivery and to send patient's his way if I have any friends... that the questions and learning together was 'fun'.


Here is the LONG birthstory of our most recent addition, Xander.

On Thursday, Oct 5th, around 8pm, I began feeling contractions that were low and steady. They lasted around 1 minute in duration and were 30 minutes apart in frequency. From a previous apt that day, I knew that I was 4cm, with a very pliable cervix in the anterior position. I finished folding the laundry in our living room and visited with a friend who brought over a camera for us to use in the coming birth. Once she left, Calvin and I got our showers and played a few games of Yahtzee. Around 11pm, we turned in for the night. By this time, my contractions were about 10 minutes apart and feeling the same.

I had been having contractions 10 minute apart and only slightly less intense nearly every evening for the last few weeks and did not see this being any different but, just in case, we retired with my stop watch and bag near the door and a few chux pads under the sheets. I fully did not expect this to be it. But, we prayed before bed that, if this was it, it would be a gentle and easeful birth. Around 1am I noticed I was waking around every 4 minutes to the same intensity of contractions, they only became quite hard when I had a full bladder.

Thinking this might be it, but not wanting to wake Calvin and because I was no longer comfortable in bed, at 2:30am, I got out of bed and began walking and tailor sitting, timing contractions, and biding my time. At 5:15am I could no longer time my own contractions while working through them as I was loosing sense of time, so I woke Calvin and he went down to relight the water heater (as it went out the night before and he was planning on fixing it that a.m.) so that I could take a hot shower.

Then, we both got ready for the day and began timing contractions. They were, at this time, around 2 and 1/2 to 3 and 1/2 minutes apart, lasting 45 minutes, and I felt inclined to labor dance through them. As they were not increasing dramatically in intensity and were still not completely consistent, I took Lisa's suggestion (my doula, friend, and fellow Bradley teacher in the area whom I had called by this time) to try knee to chest position. As I was looking forward to the shower, I set a rolled towel in the bottom of the tub and let the shower beat on my back while I assumed the knee-chest position in the shower for about 30 minutes. Calvin went to pack Charis and Jocelyn's overnight bags, and wake and ready the kiddos during this time.

How comforting to hear the noises of the house while I worked at bringing this kiddo into the world. The coffee smelled great, the cheerios tasted great, and the chatter made me feel peaceable in a way I did not expect. Bri, our oldest, and Jocelyn, our youngest, came to the shower curtain and peeled it back to watch mommy through a few contractions. Pretty soon, Bri had placed her hand on my head and said 'so this is it, huh mommy? You are doing a great job'. Jocelyn just rocked back on her heels after every contractions and awarded me with one of her chipmunk-cheeked grins. My kids were turning out to be great coaches.

After a bowl of Cheerios, I went to the bedroom to assume the knee-chest position once again; this time on the bed. I stayed there for around 45 minutes and fell asleep between contractions - only to find myself the last time on my side. Around 7:30, and after labor dancing through increasingly lower contractions, seeing off the twins (who were staying with my grandparents), Kairi (who wanted to see her papa and meema), and my mom, doing another bout of knee-to-chest on the bed, and eating some breakfast, I began to feel antsy. Calvin noticed a change in me and asked if we should head to the hospital. My next two contractions felt slightly pushy at the peak, so we decided to pack up Bri and head to the hospital.

We called Lisa, Brenda (our midwife), and Deb (Calvin's mom who did professional videography of the birth). After admission, and through admittance, around 9am, we found that I was 7cm along and the bag of waters was well intact with a large forebag (Xander was still -2 station). I got settled into my room, my mom and Kairi showed up, Deb and Lisa came in, and, after the initial 20 minute strip and getting hooked up for my GBS treatment, we began to walk the halls. At the beginning of a contraction, I would lean against Calvin's chest and, as the contraction came to fullness, I would bend my knees and sway my hips in rhythm to my contraction. He would apply counterpressure to my hips, and, at the conclusion of my contraction, would reward me with a sweet kiss. I remember picturing our baby in our arms and getting those same sweet kisses from my husband - that was my goal for each wave of childbearing.

We noticed that for the few moments that Calvin was not with me, my contractions would not be as affective (strong), nor my relaxation as complete. Between Lisa, Briaunna, my mom, and Calvin, though, I walked the halls for a good 3 hours, with only moments of pelvic rocks and birth ball rocking, before asking to be checked again. I was still at 7cm and 75% effaced. Calvin and I retired to the bathroom for a half hour and had a mini makeout session, trying nipple-stimulation and open-mouthed kissing (per Ina May).

It was very intense and beautiful to be in a dimly lit area, showing love and affection to my soul-mate while feeling the ebbs and tides that would bring our child forth. Though I have heard it called erotic, erotic is too strong a word; I would call it sensual and beautiful. Lisa mentioned, when I emerged, that there was a difference about me and the labor. I would definitely say it was a pivotal moment, stepping through the threshold of laboring lady and into bringing-forth-life lover, mother, and woman.

We enjoyed some white bean chicken chili, apples, cheese, crackers, and water for a midday pick-me-up. Hoping to get descent going, I hopped in the shower to do squats during contractions and to have hydrotherapy applied to my tailbone as lower pressure was getting intense enough that it was hard to find relief. I stayed in the shower for about 45 minutes. As the family had moved down to the family waiting area so that I could try to get some rest, Calvin and I nested for 30-45 minutes, getting side-relaxation and a few moments of shut eye.

I felt restless, though, and we were soon up again. Walking the halls again, Briaunna joined us and helped with verbal encouragement and applying her fists to my ever lowering pressure. As we rounded the corner to my room, Calvin mentioned trying the jacuzzi and shower again. So, I got in the jacuzzi and labored there for a little over 2 hours. I alterated the shower and jacuzzi.

My contractions picked up immensely in intensity and in frequency while in the tub, while I could really feel them moving DOWN while dancing in the shower. I did my own vaginal check around 4pm and could feel the bag of water at about +2. I asked Calvin to confirm that was what it was and after he checked me, he said 'yep, there it is'. My contractions were quickly becoming so low I was grunting through the peaks of them and instinctfully bearing down. The nurse wanted me to get out, but Calvin and Lisa protected my space and I continued to labor until, during one immensely fulfilling contraction, I felt the bag of waters move out of my body. I looked down and was able to see, for just a second, the bag of waters hanging from my body. It was about the size of a large water balloon. Then, from the weight, it ruptured, and I felt Xander racing down the birth canal immediately after. Those in the adjoining birthing room say it sounded like a bucket of water had been thrown on the ground. Lisa went out to find Brenda and Calvin began helping me toward the birthing room.

After having a few pushing contractions standing beside the bed and feeling hip pressure (I felt my legs would give out - those in attendance say this was my 'transition'), I climbed onto the bed backward so that my torso was draped over the raised back of the bed (simulating the all-fours). They tried, fruitlessly, to cover me with warm blankets, but I was so focused on moving our baby through these last few inches into the world that I yelled that is was 'too... grunt... much..... grunt... CLOTHE!'. They got the hint. So, all naturale, I began the final stage of hard work to bringing our child out of my womb.

After a few very confusing contractions where I felt immense pressure bowing out my hips, Lisa leaned in and suggested I give a push with the next contraction, even though I felt no inclination to push. As I did, I felt Xander move past my hips and down. Calvin positioned himself to catch and Brenda, Lisa, Calvin, my daughters, and mom all began cheering me on as I instinctfully pushed through each contraction. He decended rapidly and came to crowning.

As I grunt-pushed through contractions, I heard my family talking in awed, hushed voices, and my husbands hands supporting me and my midwives hands guiding me brought me close to delerious euphoria. As his head emerged, I lost all sense of bearing down and became disoriented. Brenda told me I had to get him out. His mouth was at my perineum and he was not descending any further. After a few futile pushes (my body was not obeying) she placed her hands over Calvin's and began manually rotating his body into the correct alignment. My 'little' Xander was giving us shoulder dystocia.

Luckily, the Gaskin Maneuver worked beautifully and, within the next few contractions, he slid free of my body and Calvin caught him. He was immediately passed to me between my legs and I sat back on my haunches to get him to nurse. He wanted to cry more than anything, but he eventually (10 minutes) latched on. Briaunna and Kairi got as close to the bed as they could and touched their brother all over. Remarking, teary-eyed, how 'He's here!!! He's Here!!! You did it mommy!!!'. It was beautiful. We went through the anatomy of a newborn and talked about his cord. They touched his cord to feel the pulse running through it and did more newborn googling.

Briaunna had the honor of cutting the cord once it stopped pulsing and, as she did the final snip (it only took her two), she exclaimed loudly 'now I KNOW I want to be a doctor!'. As my placenta began to descend, Brenda noted that I was going to start bleeding and we talked options. Once it was birthed, she attempted fundal pressure and 'massage'.. It didn't slow. So, we finally opted on pitocin.

I had no tearing. My 'area' actually feels remarkably well and I attribute that to the position I labored in. My hips on the other hand, they need my chiros skills! Breastfeeding is going great, mom and baby are recovering beautifully (though tiredly).All in all, his birth was beautiful, empowering, humbling, and fulfilling.

I was given the knowledge of my bodies FULL capabilities. I was given the gift of a family witnessing the birth of their family. I was given the joy of my husband being the first to touch our only son as he emerged from my body. And I was given the grace to have had a long, but gentle and easeful birth.

Welcome Xander Baylis - "Swordsman and Defender of Mankind"
October 6th, 2006
8lbs 13.4oz
20 1/2 inches
36 diameter head
32cm chest


Rixa said...

Thanks for sharing your birth stories.

Sarah said...

Hey, thanks for sharing all your wonderful birth stories. I just finished reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, as part of my Educator Cert, and just like she says, there is amazing benefits of women hearing positive, natural birth stories.

Also, I wanted to let you know that I linked to you on my most recent post. Yes, it's a food blog, but i was so touched by the lovely "My first home" video from your previous post, and I felt so inclined to put the video on my own blog, too! Feel free to check it out. Thanks for your inspiring blog!

pearly1979 said...

What a blessing to have stumbled upon these beautiful birth stories! Thank you for sharing these.


Kate said...

Thanks so much for sharing these beautiful stories, they are just lovely!! You're a birth machine :-)

Have posted them on my birth stories blog, much appreciated, thanks!


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