Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rose's Birth Story

Rose was born November 18th 2013 at 4:42am. She weighed 8lbs even, and was 19.5 inches long. I had a pretty short labor for a first time mom. My labor was only 8-9 hours long. I could not have done one second of it without RJ. He literally held me up though my most intense contractions. I am glad my first L&D went so well and I cannot wait to have more babies!


Halfway through my pregnancy with Rose I watched the film, “The Business of Being Born". After watching it I decided I wanted to have an all natural labor and delivery. I did not want an epidural, and wanted to keep interventions to a minimum. We already had plans to move to Georgia so I found a practice that had midwives and obstetricians there. As much as I liked the idea of having an all natural labor and delivery, I was not prepared to have my baby at home. I also thought a birthing center would be a wonderful place to deliver, but at that time there was not one in the Atlanta area. There is one currently under construction, it should be done within the next few months.   


Women are made to have babies, being pregnant is not a serious medical condition. Women have been having children for thousand and thousands of years, and the human race has not gone extinct yet. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery are all normal, and need minimal medical attention for most women. C-sections are amazing and save lives, but they are performed way too often. Before c-sections were easily accessible, 5-15 percent of women died during childbirth. Only 5-15 percent of women should need c-sections today. The rest of pregnant women these days should be able to deliver vaginally. C-section percentages should not be in the 30’s. In England, where medical care is provided by the government, they have recently begun to encourage women to have home births with midwives. Home births are safe and cost effective. The majority of the world has discovered vaginal birth is beneficial to the mother, baby, and all our pocket books. Why hasn’t America discovered this?


When I was over 8 months pregnant with Rose we moved down to Georgia from Virginia. A day or two after we got here I started to have a cramp in one of my calves. It felt a like a pulled muscle but we were concerned it might be a blood clot. It was warm to the touch and a little red. Blood clots can be pretty dangerous especially for pregnant women, so we packed our bags and went to the ER. When I got admitted my blood pressure was very high, I think it was initially so high because I was nervous. Once I was in a room and settled, my blood pressure came down a little but not as much as they would have liked. The ER doctor administered some meds to help it come down. They performed an ultrasound on my leg, I did not have a blood clot, and the pains in my calf were only a pulled muscle. After that I was moved to labor and delivery, because of my high blood pressure they wanted Rose out.


I had not had my first appointment with the practice I chose. They refused to see me at the hospital because I was not technically their patient yet. There is a different practice who takes in all the stray pregnant women who happen to come to that hospital. It is a really great practice and I still use them almost 3 years later. Because of my blood pressure they decided to try and induce me. I was on pitocin for 12 hours and nothing happened. I didn’t have a single contraction, I didn’t dilate, nothing. At that point everyone decided Rose was not ready to come out and we should step back and slow down. I really did not want a c-section and I expressed this repeatedly. They kept me overnight for observation and one of the doctors spent at least an hour looking at my placental blood flow, making sure everything was alright. Rose was getting plenty of blood, and oxygen. There was nothing concerning about my blood pressure when I was lying down, so they sent me home on bed rest.


Last picture of me pregnant with Rose.
I went for check ups once or twice a week. A few days before I gave birth to Rose one of my midwives stripped my membranes. When I was 39 weeks 4 days, we went to the hospital. I was having mild contractions for about 2 days before I went in. When we got there my midwife said, “You don’t seem like a mom who is in active labor but I will check you.” It turned out I was 4 cm dilated and completely effaced. We did some walking to get contractions really going. My midwife gave me some nubain and it did not have the intended effect. Nubian is supposed to calm you, make you a little loopy and relaxed. I felt very strange and did not like it at all. Once it wore off I was having a really hard time coping with the contractions in the bed. It was then that I thought I might not be able to do this. I remember crying in the bed, telling RJ, “I don’t think I can do this.” I remember the very determined, concerned look he had on his face when he told me, “Yes you can, I know you can.”



Shortly after that I remember them letting me get out of that horrid hospital bed. RJ had blown up my birthing ball and I sat on the ball, leant forward on his knees while he was sitting in a big hospital rocker. I contracted like that for a while, my midwife came in and checked me. I believe was 8cms already, but the way I had been sitting pinched my cervix a bit and it was swollen. She broke my water then, and I switched positions I sat on the birthing ball and leant back on RJ while he was sitting in the rocker. The whole time while I was contracting I went back and forth between the birthing ball and the toilet. Every time I moved I would have a contraction or two. This is when RJ got his work out. I held onto his shoulders, and he held me up through many of my contractions. I believe he was more sore than I was the next day. We should have hired a doula, but I didn’t really think about it. We got a doula for Heather's labor and delivery it was great. A doula is definitely a must no matter how you want to deliver! A doula’s job is to support you no matter what happens. It’s great to have someone who is on your team, and who knows the hospital. A doula also knows what all your choices are, can help you decide what you want, and express that to your nurses, and doctors. Doulas are amazing.


After my midwife broke my water I progressed quite quickly, leaving puddles of amniotic fluid everywhere I went. The first time I felt the “urge to push” I was on the birthing ball leaning back on RJ. I got up and moved to the toilet because the urge to push felt like I had to take a giant shit. Before we went to the toilet I asked our nurse to get the midwife. She seemed to know exactly what I was feeling and I almost didn’t even have to ask her. I was still on the toilet when my midwife came in, she told me they catch first time moms on the toilet at this stage all the time, because of the sensations we get. It was definitely not a giant dump and in fact it was the baby coming. She was right, when I made it back to the bed with a few contractions on the way. I was 10cms and it was time to push.


At the beginning I had a hard time knowing which muscles to tell to push. I tried on my hands and knees for one or two pushes, but that was no good. I flipped over to a reclined sitting position on my left side, the bed had been converted to something that resembled a chair. A nurse brought in a mirror, the mirror did wonders. I am very visual person and seeing which muscles I needed to use helped immensely. I only pushed for 45-60 minutes. When Rose crowned, my midwife told me to breath through the next contraction, and my body would gently push her head out. Before I even felt the contraction, her little head just popped right out! When her head came out her nose was up, in the occiput posterior position (OP), which is not normal. She was not breech, just facing the wrong way up (it’s sometimes called sunny side up). Apparently the majority of the time babies in that position stop progressing and need assistance to come out, or it’s incredibly painful for the mom. It was amazing Rose came out so easily the way she did. No one in the room knew she was OP until her little head popped out.


We were able to do delayed cord clamping, RJ cut it after it was done pulsating. Since Rose came out OP she swallowed a bit of fluid. They rushed the respiratory team in to check on her, within the few minutes it took them to get to our room Rose was acting completely normal. The respiratory team joked she was a diva and wanted extra friends to say hello to. I hemorrhaged a bit after the placenta was delivered. I was given pitocin, and cytotec to help my uterus shrink and contract. The bleeding was quenched pretty quickly and I did not have any ill side effects of it. It was scary though. I was worried I would hemorrhage again with Heather but I did not.


The best part of my entire labor and delivery, was the fact that I did not tear, not even a little. My midwife massaged my perineum, while I was pushing. I think that along with knowing I needed to relax those muscles. The last few weeks of my pregnancy when I was on bed rest I read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. In her book she emphasizes that women’s bodies were made to have babies. We will stretch the way we need to stretch, it's important to believe in your body while you are in labor. Knowing my body was made to have babies, and telling myself, my perineum will stretch and I will not tear helped me allot.


After the respiratory team decided Rose was fine and she was brought back to me, she latched quite well. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed, my mom breastfeed my 3 sisters and me. Rose was a bit jaundiced and had to spend some time under the bili lights. With the jaundice Rose got a bit lazy with her latch, and I had to pump and use a tube with a syringe for a few days. I think by the time she was 2 weeks old she was latching perfectly and doing really well. I absolutely love breastfeeding, I missed it a lot after Rose weaned herself. We were able to breastfeed for about 10-11 months and I loved pretty much every minute of it. I am really enjoying breastfeeding Heather, I hope I can breastfeed her just as long as breastfed Rose!


I got discharged the night before Rose did because of her jaundice, but the hospital let me room in with her. It was probably 12-24 hours after I got discharged that she did.


I am very happy I had a good experience during Rose’s labor and delivery. I got really lucky the midwife who delivered Rose was on call. We had to fight the hospital the entire time. I hate that it’s not typical to have a natural labor and delivery at a hospital. I hope some day it will be, or maybe more birthing centers will be built and women will be given more choices. Luckily with Heather having an all natural labor and delivery was easier than it was with Rose but there are still things in our health system that need to change.

I will post Heather’s birth story in the next few days. As many of you know we had a baby who we discovered was very very sick at our 20 week anatomy scan. We decided to terminate, for my health, and to control the situation as I would have miscarried within the next week or two. It was a very difficult situation and choice we had to make. I do not regret our decision for one second, and if I had to do it over again I would make the exact same choice. I thought I would prepare all my readers because it’s a touchy subject and I didn’t want anyone feeling blindsided. But I do feel like it’s a story that needs to be told and can help a lot of people out there. Be on the lookout for more posts! Let me know if there is anything else you want me to talk about, or any other topics you want to hear me voice my opinion on! I’m really enjoying blogging it’s a great outlet for me lately, and I am excited to keep it up!

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