Before my due date of Saturday, October 27, 2007, I tried several techniques to induce labor. I seriously questioned this decision after I actually went into labor. It was crazy to try to hurry things up. I tried eating a lot of pineapple, walking, sex, mixing two tablespoons of brown sugar with warm water to drink, and even going to an Italian restaurant whose menu boasts an eggplant Parmesan that has sent thousands of women into labor within 48 hours. I ate the entire dish and ended up feeling even bigger than I was, but still pregnant.

On the night of Wednesday, October 24th I woke up in the middle of the night feeling what I thought might be a small contraction. I was so excited and nervous that I couldn’t sleep anymore. I laid on the couch all night so I would not disturb Stan, assessing every little movement inside my body.

The following morning I noticed that my underwear were consistently damp. I wondered if my water would break soon. We had a doctor’s appointment at 3:30. Since I did not get any sleep the night before, I was exhausted and emotional. Stan got off work early and picked me up for the appointment.

(more…)

Quick back story: 3 weeks before I gave birth, my father passed away unexpectedly. Our relationship was very complicated. About 5 years ago he came to live with my husband and I because he could no longer take care of himself, so for most of my adult life our roles have been reversed in terms of a traditional parent/child relationship, but he was still my dad and it was earth shattering when he passed away. He was looking forward to becoming a grandfather for the first time, so the timing of everything made it especially heartbreaking. I had spent so much of my pregnancy mentally preparing for birth, and losing my father suddenly set everything into chaos for me mentally and emotionally.

My official due date was February 27th, but I was certain I was going to be late. First babies are always late, right? So when good friends set their wedding date for the 25th, we didn’t hesitate rsvping yes. At this point I was huge and only one dress fit, but I knew this would probably be the last event we’d attend before baby came and we were looking forward to celebrating after how heavy the last few weeks had been for both us after losing my father. When we got to the country club for the reception I began to experience what I would describe as pressure in my lower back. I didn’t think anything of it because even women who experienced back labor felt contractions in their stomach and I was feeling absolutely nothing in my stomach, so I thought this could possibly be the back pain some women complain about later in pregnancy or I had to go the bathroom. So for the next 3 hours the pressure remained and I probably visited the ladies room 30 times thinking my body was telling me I needed to use the restroom. I didn’t mention it to my husband because I didn’t think anything of it and he didn’t notice my frequent bathroom trips b/c I’ve been peeing every 30 minutes for the last 9 months. As we got closer to the sparkler departure, I began to question whether this could possibly be labor because this “pressure” began to turn into waves of pressure and even though I was only experiencing everything in my back – I knew the wave sensation could be an indication of contractions.

(more…)

A doula AND an epidural? You bet.

I was full of high hopes, nervous energy and blissful ignorance when I went into labor early on a Monday morning. I was confident in my birth plan and in my strength as a woman to birth my baby with limited medical interventions.  I had Renee Wymer and my husband’s undying support and was excited to meet my baby. I labored at home for about four hours until my back labor got to be so unbearable that we went to the hospital lest I not be able to sit in the car if we waited much longer. Flash forward a few hours. The back labor wouldn’t quit. I kept remembering what I learned in my hospital-associated birthing class that contractions would last a minute or two and then you’d get a break in which you could rest. I kept waiting for that break. It never came. I felt like I was contracting non-stop and had been for hours. I was losing focus and I was starting to panic.

Renee saw the panic in my eyes. We tried every position possible to get my baby to turn, but most only caused me extreme pain. The little bugger just wouldn’t move (he’s only 8 months now, and I will say, he is already stubborn and determined). I was beginning to doubt my ability to birth the baby, at all, never mind with the epidural.  Somehow, Renee and I managed to have a logical conversation about getting an epidural.  She was supportive and informative, which I needed more than anything since I was beating myself up for ‘failing’ to have the birth experience for which I was hoping. She bargained with me to have my dilation checked and, if, I  was 8 centimeters or greater than we’d forgo the epidural because the end would be near.

We called the nurse to check my dilation and I was at 7 centimeters. Renee congratulated me on making it that far and left the epidural decision up to me. I went for it.

Once it was placed, I needed Renee there just as much as I did when I was feeling pain. My baby was posterior and with her help and cajoling of the nurses and attending OB, I was able to move around in bed to try to get the baby to turn. She even persuaded the medical team to allow her to get me into knee chest position  and try a “ketchup bottle” maneuver in efforts to push my baby up in the birth canal so that he might turn. Unfortunately, her efforts were for naught as I ended up having an unplanned c-section for fetal distress, about which I was extremely upset, and convinced myself that if I hadn’t gotten the epidural, then I wouldn’t be having a c-section. Renee was there to help me process those feelings so that I went to the operating room knowing that I did the best I could.

The most important thing Renee did for me during my labor was to be supportive. Women who have a doula and an epidural, likely did not plan on receiving an epidural, and there’s some component of their birth plans that has gone awry. When things go awry, the support of a doula will be one of the shining lights of the day. Meeting my son was the highlight of his birth day, yet Renee’s support was pretty high ranking as well.

Erin Sizemore

 

{Classes that Labor of Love offers to encourage optimal fetal positioning may certainly have been helpful in the case of a malpositioned baby. It is easier to get the baby into an optimal position while not in labor than it is to try to turn the baby in labor.}

My birth story reminds me of shopping for my wedding dress. I always pictured my dress as simple, strapless, and without beads. MY wedding dress had straps, a train, and beads all over it and it was PERFECT! The moral of this birth is Never Say Never. (and it has nothing to do with Justin Bieber!)

I woke up at 2:00 am Sunday morning to a ‘pop’ and a gush of water. I never imagined my labor starting this way. I was so happy to see that the water was clear. I ‘tried’ to sleep, but was happy when our 4 year old son came to our bed at 6:00am. Contractions hadn’t started, which confused me. We got up and went and had breakfast at Waffle House. My husband took our son to my in-laws and I went back to bed. At 10:30, I texted my sister to come from Athens. I wanted to have some fun before the hard work. She arrived at noon and I was having mild contractions. We went for a walk, talked, ate subs, and watched TV. I went to take a nap around 2:00 and contractions started picking up, so I got on the birth ball and listened to hypnobabies. Our doula came to check on me. We all knew I still had hours to go, so my sister and I went to the mall and walked around. I would lean over the railing and have contractions. I knew the walking was good.

Once home, I got down to business. I got in the back, on the ball, did squats and lunges. All while listening to hypnobabies and vocalizing during contractions. Sister, doula, and husband were all close by supporting me. I threw up and contractions were 4 minutes apart so we headed to the hospital at midnight. I knew it was almost over! As we drove from the house, we all heard something (sounded like a camera) fall off the top of the van, but nobody said anything. We got to the hospital and found out I was at 6 cm. I was good with that knowing I would go fast from 7-10. (more…)

Becky and I spoke several times during the day. I called her mid morning to discuss the induction options. She was nearing the deadline that her doctor had determined for her to birth within.  But all of the conversation may prove moot since she was contracting on her own. She said they were mild and inconsistent but definitely different than they had been earlier in her “false alarm” moments. Her exam at the office earlier in the week showed she was dilated to 1cm and somewhat effaced and the cervix had moved from posterior to anterior but the baby remained high. The ultrasound person had also told her that the baby looked to weigh ten pounds! The plan was to show up at the hospital around 8pm for either Cervidil if she was not dilated to at least 3cm or if she was, to start Pitocin.
I talked to Becky again mid afternoon. The contractions were still irregular and coming around 10 minutes apart. But the next call came around 6pm from Aron, who had just gotten home from work. He said Becky wanted to alert me that I should probably not go to my yoga class tonight. The contractions were coming about every five minutes and he was unsure how long they were lasting. I could hear Becky in the background and she was still sounding chatty. I discussed the demeanor changes in labor with Aron and he told me he thought she was doing good still. I asked him to stay in touch. She later got in the tub and had a peanut butter sandwich.
The next call came at just before 8pm and Aron said she was getting out of the tub and wanted me to come to their home instead of meeting them at the hospital. I finished eating quickly and put on my doula clothes. But as I was dressing, Aron called back and said she was ready to head to the hospital instead. I left within minutes to meet
them.
I arrived to the hospital at just before 9pm. They were in triage where they only allowed one person to be with her. I sat and waited til around 9:30pm when Aron met me in the lobby and suggested I head back to see her. When I arrived in the room she was sitting straddled the gurney. She had a desperate look on her face. Later I would find out she had told Aron she wanted medication, but she did not mention it to me initially. She was six centimeters dilated and in a brightly fluorescent lit room. I raised the back of the bed up so she could rest upon it. The nurse entered the room a few times and never even acknowledged Becky or myself. The third time she came into the room, I asked about allowing Aron to return to the room with us. She told me that was not allowed due to privacy issues. And she said the charge nurse was trying to secure a labor room to move Becky to. Becky was strapped to monitors and restricted from having support from her husband and doula together and so we waited. (more…)

Bodhi’s Birth Story

by his mom, Katherine

                                                           by the doula, Teresa

 

On the morning of July 24th, I woke up for another bathroom run. It was still dark outside and thought nothing of it as I crawled back into bed. I wasn’t due for another four days, and as this was to be my first child, I figured I would make it to 40 weeks and maybe beyond.

 She told me later things started around 7am.

About an hour later, I woke with what felt like menstrual cramps, a sensation that I had blissfully forgotten. It faded away, but a while later, I was woken up again. This stop and start lasted for about two hours. The sun had risen, while I rocked myself to ease the cramps. I decided to wake DH. He started timing the cramps on a handy smartphone app he had downloaded a few days before. The timing was weird and irregular – not anything like what we had been told to watch for, so I chalked it up to very strong Braxton Hicks. Well, after another hour, I wasn’t so sure.

At 11am they called me. I suggested it may be early labor. Keep busy, hydrated, try the tub and rest when you need to.

We called our doula, who recommended we stay vigilant for next few hours, but that it could be labor. We soon called our midwife, who gave us similar advice. I decided to get in the tub and turn on the water jets. The cramps eased, but soon were replaced by what I now know were contractions. The intensity grew quite dramatically and I started implementing some of the pain management techniques that DH and I had learned in our Birthing from Within class. But it wasn’t long before I looked at DH and said it’s time to call the midwife and tell her we’re on the way to the hospital.

 She had taken Guina’s Birthing from Within Immersion series.

As soon as I got out of the tub and tried to dress, the contractions hit me like truck. I could barely talk through them and I had to stop moving to ride them out. It became a race to see how much I could accomplish between each hit. Kneeling at the sink, can I make it to closet and put on that dress? Waddle to the closet, slide the dress on, stop, here it comes, lean into the wall. God***n it… ok, I can make it down the stairs if I go right now. Whew! Ok, maybe I can make it to the couch. No, damn it, here it comes, lean into another wall. Where is DH!? Ok there are my flip-flops, by the door, get them on and get into the garage… hurry go, go, go! Collapse into DH, as he’s holding the car door open, need to get into the back seat and kneel.

She called me to tell me to head to meet them at 12:40pm.

The swaying of our SUV helped, plus DH was a bit panicked so I focused on him and the drive. It took my mind off the contractions. We took the long route to the emergency room entrance by accident, DH cursing up a  storm. I wanted to laugh, but sort of muffled chuckled instead. We arrived and I was swiftly placed in a weird wheeled chair, but not an actual wheel chair. The wheels were rickety like an old shopping cart, but sweet, sweet, Jesus, the rough vibrations were a salve to my ever-widening cervix. I should have told him to take me on a tour of the whole hospital – it felt so good.

Once I was dropped off in the L&D room, my birth plan went out the window. A very pleasant nurse handed me a gown, to which I rudely responded, “no I’m not going to wear that,” followed by a start of a contraction, which was then followed by “f*ck it, give it to me.” However, based on the numerous pictures taken, I apparently decided being completely naked was the new birth plan.

At this point, I entered a hazy state, where I only existed in two forms, pain and sleep. Soon the room was filled with the hustle and bustle of nurses, my midwife and doula. The rubber tub was inflated and filled with water. I had arrived at the hospital at 5 cm. What?! You mean I labored all on my own to 5cm? Really? I did that? Ok, now give me a drug. I need a BREAK!!

An exam at 1:24pm showed she was already dilated to 5cm.

I arrived 1:30pm to meet them in room 11.

Anjli, her midwife arrived at 1:40pm.

My awesome doula, supportive DH and attentive midwife all tried to talk me down. Ah, poor innocents, they hadn’t figured out that I had made up my mind and the whisper of the word epidural had already started to take form in the shattering fragments of my weakening will.

A second exam was given by Anjli because I felt Katherine was moving along faster than she would be expected to be.

Anjli found her to be dilated to 7cm with a bulging bag.

And although we tried to encourage her to try the tub first- she resisted and instead at 2:05pm she received some Fetanyl.

Kat, a wonderful woman is our nurse. She begins to fill the tub at 2:30pm.

They relented and I was given a mild, short lasting narcotic. And I slept. I’m sure you’ve had dreams where you find yourself falling… well that’s what it felt like as soon as the narcotic wore off – a massive shock to my system as the next contraction hit. How did they become so strong? I tried to activate my mind to help survive each one. They guided me to the water, in which my water finally broke.

(more…)

Wednesday June 8th

7:47am – Laura awakes from a restful nights sleep on the couch. She heads to the bathroom for the morning ritual and after finishing, pulls up her pajamas and immediately wets her pants. She thinks, “What the heck! I just peed…whoa” then shouts, “Corey! I think my water just broke!”
Laura and Corey spend the next 45 minutes calling family, friends, the midwife’s clinic, and Alicia Pillsbury, their Doula.
Because contractions hadn’t started yet Alicia encouraged them to be as active as possible.  So the days agenda got completely changed. Laura began to cook breakfast while Corey cancelled his handyman job for that day. Next up, a walk around the block.
10:00am – Corey and Laura exit the house to begin trekking up and down the semi-flat part of our neighborhood. However, their walk immediately halted as their neighbor across the street yelled, “Have you seen my dog?” They helped her look for a minute and as the dog came running back home their neighbor says, “So when will that baby come?” Laura responds, “Actually, my water broke this morning!” The neighbor shouts, “What?!? Why are you out of bed! You have to go to the hospital right now!!!” Though Laura explains that it’s okay, the neighbor doesn’t really believe her, but she decides Laura isn’t in immediate peril. After a trek past a few more neighbors, Corey and Laura return to the house. During the walk Laura had one very small contraction.

I wanted to share a bit of a story of  a woman’s journey in labor and birth to help you see things from a perspective that is not the norm in our area. A highly interventive hospital does not mean lots of interventions if you make some other choices that help avoid just that!


This is a first time mom who started her labor right around her due date. Her labor started with a bang! Contractions started fairly intensely lasting about 45 seconds and coming every 3 to 4 minutes. She tried laboring in the tub at home for a while, but as they escalated and were timed at 2 to 3 minutes apart lasting a full minute, she went ahead and left to go to the hospital. She had been in labor for about 4 hours at this time.
(more…)

One of my doulas recently had this birth experience. Ironically with the same group of midwives as mine but at a different hospital. Let’s read about the dots she made sure she followed.

Labor began in the early hours of day one. She calls this the start of labor because she could no longer sleep through the contractions. She left for the hospital a little more than 9 hours later. Her contractions were 2.5 minutes apart for just at an hour and she was feeling some pressure in her bottom. (more…)

Okay I am going to share a birth story of sorts… with anonymity but with permission from the mom.. but with a time line of sorts to show you how a first time mom’s labor went recently… but first let me tell you a few things…

She chose to birth at North Fulton with ISIS midwives.(She drove from Norcross there)
She chose to take Hypnobirthing as her only formal childbirth education.
She chose a doula from our group, although her doula was called out of town on an emergency and she got a back up doula from our group instead. (A rare situation)

Her water broke on it’s own just after midnight on Wednesday morning. She had had an exam on Friday and was 3 cm dilated. Within 30 minutes she was mildly contracting 10 minutes apart. By 2 am they were coming every five minutes but again were still very manageable and mild.

By 5 am although they had slowed some of the time in between but the contractions were now beginning to hurt and had sped up. She was ready to be heading to the hospital soon. (more…)