Expecting Kindness Childbirth Education:
My curriculum aims to educate couples using a physiologic/athletic approach to labor balanced with nurturing the emotional process of feeling comfortable and safe enough to give birth. My Doula Services are centered within my deeply held belief in the ancient, inherent wisdom of our bodies combined with the art of making informed and conscious choices.
Friday, December 16, 2011
One darling client + 2 very unique birth experiences = childbirth education and a window into my work.
Thank you, Elyssa, for your stories.
I laid down last night around 10:00, and was having my usual, (painful/strong), contractions every 8-9 minutes. They were way too strong to let me sleep, so I laid there timing them, wishing they would get closer together so I could finally be done after 6 1/2 weeks of prodromal labor and 18 weeks of on and off pre-term labor! (my estimated due date was tomorrow!).
Finally, around midnight, I couldn't lay through my contractions any more, so I got up to run a bath, and they jumped to every 5 minutes! Then, just as suddenly they were coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting about 1 1/2 minutes each! That's when I knew the bath wasn't going to cut it and called my midwife and doula, who came right away.
For the next 3 hours, we chatted and joked in between, and whimpered and moaned through crazy strong contractions every 3 minutes or less. I would lean on my husband and my doual would put pressure on my hips and back. It felt like she was holding me together!
My mom and my best friend joined us, and I decicded to move to the bath for some relief.
It helped a little, but I didn't like being stuck sitting down during my contractions. After the bath, we moved into the bedroom, and into what I can assume was transition. I started to feel like I couldn't do it, and cried and even yelled a few times while everyone around me held me and rubbed my back and talked me through each contraction. They were one on top of another at this point.
I finally let my midwife check me, and she said that my baby's head and bag of waters was right there! I should try to push through my next contraction!!! Pushing on my hands and knees was absolutely unbearable for me, so I slid down off the bed, and kind of leaned on the bed and squated. My baby was born at 5:52am on 9/13/2011 (his daddy's birthday too!). I pushed a lot longer than I had with my first, and I let my midwife rupture my bag of waters to relieve some of the pressure. After that, Galen was out in about 3 more pushes. He had meconium and the cord wrapped around his neck, but was just fine!!
My younger son, Liam woke up right before the end, and watched the whole birth! He was cheering for me and telling me how good I was doing, and that "It's okay if it hurts, Mommy! It's supposed to hurt a little!" We let the cord finish pumping and delivered the placenta before Galen and I moved onto the bed to rest and bond and nurse.
After about 2 hours of nursing and snuggling, the newborn exam was done, and my newest son was declared, "perfect" Daddy weighed him, and he was 8lbs 3 oz and 20" long.
We spent the first 6 hours of his life just snuggling and nursing and getting to know eachother. I fell asleep for a little while with him in my arms and just laid him in his bassinet for the first time. It's a strange feeling to not have him on me!
We are in heaven!!
(Feel free to edit out the swear words) :)
So I was 35 weeks along, not at all dilated, and feeling better than I had throughout my whole pregnancy.
My midwife gave me permission to go up to Vancouver Island for my brothers wedding for two nights. The night before we left, I had this overwhelming urge to wash and fold ALL of the baby’s clothes and to pack my diaper bag and all that, (should’ve taken the hint not to go to Canada... But off we go!)
Once off the two-hour ferry ride to Vancouver, we get in the car and drive for three more hours through the middle of NOWHERE, to get to the other side of the island where my brother has rented a beautiful house, and flown in the monks to marry him and his fiance... The whole ride we were joking about how awful it would be to go into labor here! No cell phone service, no one around for hours....hahahaha.
Saturday night after the ceremony, I went to bed early, not feeling so well. Around 2am, I woke up having contractions. this was not very scary because I’d been having strong Braxton-Hicks from about 25 weeks on, So I do the usual routine of walking around, and when that doesn’t work I run myself a warm bath, and wake up Matt... “Not to worry you, honey, I’m sure it’s nothing, but the braxton-hicks are pretty strong, and they’re not stopping.”
An hour later, Matt is panicked and on the phone with the midwife, who tells him we need to go to a hospital! “But I’m too early, and in CANADA!” I protest! Plus, I need my midwife and my doula! We had this whole, natural, out-of-hospital birth planned... in America!!
I get on the phone, and the midwife, diplomatically, points out that even in America, she wouldn’t deliver a premie out of the hospital. Plus, Liam would have dual-citizenship! I say we don’t know where the hospital is, and she tells me to figure it out.
At this point, Matt tells me we have to wake up my parents, and I’m feeling really silly. “No, I was wrong... This isn’t real labor... No big deal. Let’s just go back to sleep!”
But it’s too late. My mother is up, then my dad, then my brother and his new wife and her sisters and mother. And they are all staring at me like I might explode any second.
I would not let them call 911, so Matt tries to look up the nearest hospital on his laptop. But has no luck. Finally my mom convinces me to let her call 911, just to figure out where we should go. We get directions and Me, Matt and my mother pile into the car.
The hospital is surprisingly close, which is a relief! But as we pull up out front, it looks like little more than an old house that has been converted into commercial space. Wearily, we walk up to the deserted glass door, and ring the buzzer.
The nurse informs us that the Doctor is at home, sleeping, but she’d be happy to call him in. (Yikes. Doctor? Singular, not plural?)
About two hours later, after being thoroughly examined, the Doctor pronounces my labor “real”
“Unfortunately,” He informs us, “I can’t deliver you here. That’s a premie, and I don’t even have an incubator much less medication for delivery and stuff.”
(Oh my god! I’ve stepped into the Twilight Zone)
Happily, he thinks he should be able to find us an EMT to drive the ambulance over that three hour stretch of windy, twisty road, (apparently the only way out of there), to get me to the big hospital. “Unless, you want to just drive yourself?” He asks, hopefully.
“Oh no! Uh-uh! I am NOT delivering this baby in the back of a Toyota Matrix on some deserted road in Canada with no cellphone service!”
“Well, okay, but it could take a little while to find some one to take you. Don’t worry, you don’t seem to be progressing too fast.”
Finally we have a driver! We send my mother back to the wedding house to wake up my dad and Elijah, and have them meet us on the other side of the island.
The drive was like hell. So long, and bumpy and twisty. Matt had to move up front to avoid throwing up, and I was strapped on my back to a hard gurney that did nothing to cushion the ride.
As soon as we make it to the big hospital, The Dr orders an ultrasound, and says, “Well, you’re still only at a two, and the baby isn’t moving down at all. You might need a C-section.”
I start swearing at him, and ask for a phone. I call my midwife and sob to her about these crazy Canadians that are threatening to cut me open, and I’m barely even in labor!
My amazing midwife talks to the doctor, who agrees to just get me a room, and let me try to progress naturally. (He thinks that Matt and I are a bunch of crazy hippies)
All day, in between contractions, Matt and I sit on the hospital bed playing cards. My parents brought Elijah in, (who is TERRIFIED of hospitals), just long enough to show him that we haven’t abandoned him in Canada, then go back to their hotel to swim. Around 4pm, Sunday afternoon, a nurse from the hospital pulls Matt aside and gently points out that we could’ve been home by now, and since I’m still happy and playing cards, it will probably be a while longer.
I jump on that! I loudly declare that I want to LEAVE! I want my midwife! My doula! My home!! I sign an “Against Medical Advice” form from the bewildered doctor, and my parents sacrifice the hotel rooms they’ve already paid for, and pick us up out front with Elijah, who, by this point has decided that we’ve all completely lost our minds!
We made it onto the next ferry, and about an hour into the ferry ride, my contractions really started to pick up. All of a sudden I understood why that nurse had said I wouldn’t still be playing cards if the baby was coming soon!
On the other side of the water, we still had to go through border patrol, and another 2-3 hour car ride home. During each contraction, I would lift myself off the seat and swear, and then reassure Elijah that Mommy was fine. No big deal. Mommy’s just great!
we swing by the apartment long enough to push Elijah and my parents out of the car, and continue down to Valley Medical Center, where my wonderful doula, Kristen was waiting for us! I was SO happy to see her, I just started sobbing and hugging her! She had us all checked in and wheeled me back to the room. The doctor there was very nice, and examined me. After all those hours, and the excruciating car ride, and hundreds of contractions and nearly 24 hours since I had woken up having contractions, and I had progressed... to a 3.
“Oh you’ve GOT to be kidding me!!!”
He advised us to go home. Put my feet up, and try to hold that baby in for as long as I could... after all, another two weeks and I would be able to deliver at home! Yay.
We get home around 7am, Monday morning. Neither of us have slept at all since 2am Sunday morning, and Matt looks like he’s been through a war, but so do my parents, and they happily leave us with Elijah as soon as we walk in the door.
I promptly lay down on the couch, and Matt just stands there looking like, “Are you kidding me?? When do I get to lay down?!” But he gallantly pulls himself together and gives Elijah some much needed attention.
We spend the whole day like zombies in the living room, begging Elijah to watch a little TV, so that we can all get some rest.
At 4 o’clock, the contractions are getting really bad again. by five I’m on the phone with my midwife, telling her that I think I’m dying, and I’m NOT going back to the hospital.
I convince her to come to my house, and just make sure before I go back to the hospital. So her and my doula come over and settle in for a long night. At one point I actually did lose my modesty... I remember being told that it would happen and not really believing it, but I vividly remember walking around my house, (Elijah had gone over to Matt’s parents house), Buck naked with my midwife, doula, and Matt all there, and not giving a shit! I would pace around, and then squat down and MOAN and try not to scream with each contraction. I was sweaty, and naked, and fatter than I’d ever been in my life, and I just didn’t care! It must have been a sight...
Around 2am, my midwife told me that I was a 6 1/2, and she couldn’t let me wait any longer. Liam was a premie, and I had to go to the hospital.
“No! No no no no no! PLEEEASSSEEE don’t make me! He’s fine, I can tell! The baby is fine! Don’t make me go back to the hospital! PLLELEEEEAAASSSSE?!”
So Matt and my doula, plopped a nightgown over my head, and marched me out to the car...again.
We followed Kristen in her old VW van, and sadly waved goodbye to my midwife.
Now, I don’t know what it is about car seats and labor, but they DON’T mix! On the 45 minute drive, I was having really strong contractions every 2 minutes. I was sobbing!
The rest of my labor was pretty smooth, (if you consider the worst possible pain that anyone could possibly survive, smooth).The baby was still floating. He wouldn’t move down at all, my water didn’t break, but my doula ran interference at the door. She wouldn’t let the nurses check me, or even really come in the room. She kept my bath water warm, and told me the best positions for trying to get my water to break naturally.
We even all drifted off my a few minutes here and there.
Finally a nurse came in and insisted on checking me. I had been doing really good up till that moment. remembering to use low tones when moaning, not screaming, but when she reached up inside of me, I felt like that girl from the excorsist... if I had had a gun, she would have been dead!
At that same moment, my water broke, I was at 10 cm, and Liam rushed downward into the birth canal... I grabbed the front of Matt’s T-shirt and pulled him so that his face was inches away from mine, and screamed, “CUT IT OUT OF ME! I don’t need drugs, just GET IT OUT!” My doula grabbed my shoulders and told me to calm down right now, for some reason, that snapped me out of it, and at that moment I had to push.
The nurse actually told me to wait, and I spat out some more swear words, and checked with Kristen that she would catch the baby if there was no doctor. She just smiled at me and said, “Do what you need to do. You’re fine.”
The nurse managed to grab a passing doctor from the hall way, who was annoyed and protesting that she didn’t have time for this, (bitch).
She sat down at the end of my bed without so much as a “hello” and started to pull out instruments. From the corner of my eye I saw scissors.
“You are NOT giving me an episiotomy!” I yelled at her.
We argued back and forth until I was screaming at her not to cut me! And then at my doula, not to let her cut me!!
Matt and Kristen assured me that she had put the scissors away, and after about three more good pushes, Liam joined the world!
He was taken to the table surrounded by neonatologists, but I could hear him crying, and I just knew he was fine. 6lbs, 10oz, 19 inches long, 7:14am September 12th...bald, and beautiful.
Because he had only moved down at the very end, his head was perfectly round. Everything about him was perfect. They wouldn’t let me hold him right away because they had to clear his airway from meconium.
In the meantime, the bitchy doctor was still at the end of the bed, actually lecturing me about how, if I had let her do an episiotomy, I wouldn’t have torn so bad, and how much work it was going to be repairing me. Then she got tired of doing stitches, and just left, with a needle and thread dangling in between my legs! (oh yes, the hospital got a letter about this!)
A midwife came in to finish up, and for the record, my recovery from that tear was very quick and not too painful.
So that’s my crazy birth story. Liam was in the NICU for 5 days for jaudice. We found out some of the reason for my terrible pregnancy and early delivery was a blood incompatability. (I’m O+, Liam is A+)