Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Welcome to our office!!

**I know this has been translated before, but I need to get this out of my system. Here's my take on it**

Because the Physicians at Aspen Women's Center feel threatened and offended by any woman deciding to educate herself and do what she feels is best for her family we have put up this sign to make you feel like shit. Silly notions such as informed consent, informed refusal, birth plans, empowered patients, doulas and birth "experiences" only serve to make our lives more difficult. We're here to deliver your healthy baby without you suing us. We have found the easiest and most efficient(read: $$$) way to do it is for you to come in for your induction, get in that bed (screw that use of gravity and moving around shit. It's dangerous.), get your epidural early(you're much easier to monitor numb in bed. And for goodness sake those moaning sounds you make during contractions sound sexual. It makes us uncomfortable and we all know birth has nothing to do with sex.), and let us tell you either 1. when and how to push 2.when it's time for your episiotomy and/or vacuum extraction or 3. when it's time for your c-section. If you must take some sort of childbirth "preparation" class, we prefer that you take the Aspen Women's Center course titled "The Machine that Goes Ping!: How to be a good and cooperative patient". Bradley Method is a definite no-no. We can't handle having both an educated woman and an educated partner. Ditto on the doula's. If you want a doula, go give birth in a hut with incense burning and midwives chanting. It's our way or the highway, bitches. Oh, and have a nice day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why I chose a natural birth....part 2

Before I divulge my reasoning for my natural birth, I would like to take the opportunity to dispel some myths about my motivations. I'm sure these will ring true to some of you out there. Feel free to add any that I forgot. We've all heard them before.

There are many reasons why I had a natural birth, however I did not choose it to:

  • Prove I'm stronger than you...
  • Prove I'm a better mother than you...
  • Win a medal...
  • Have an orgasm...
  • Prove that I'm smarter than you...
  • Be in the spotlight...
  • Prove that epidurals are only for wussies...
  • Make the lives of the hospital staff more difficult...
  • Keep up with my hippie friends...
  • Live out my masochistic fantasies..
  • Emulate Ricki Lake...
  • Put MY experience ahead of the health of my baby...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Why I chose a natural birth....part 1

The natural childbirth movement has been growing recently and I am constantly bombarded with questions as to why I would choose such a thing. Now, every woman has different reasons and I'd like to take the time to explain my feelings.

First of all, I should define what natural childbirth means to ME. For me, natural(or perhaps more appropriately, normal physiological) childbirth is a birth that begins spontaneously, when the baby is ready. It is not induced(unless medically necessary, which should be a given but some people need that pointed out) or augmented to meet someone's arbitrary time limit. It is working with my body, assuming the positions that feel good and avoiding ones that don't. It is using natural coping techniques including hydrotherapy, visualization, massage, change of position etc. It is eating and drinking what I want, when I want. It is pushing in the position that feels good to me and not being coached to hold my breath and count to ten. It is me giving birth to my baby, not my baby being delivered for me. It is my baby immediately in my arms and kept there to bond and nurse as long as we both feel like it. It is delivering of my placenta on it's own, without it being yanked or forced out. Basically, normal childbirth is well, normal. I listen to my body and work with it to deliver a baby.

A word about interventions. I am NOT anti-intervention. Just because I choose to go "natural" does not mean I do not think there is an appropriate time and place for an intervention. And just because an intervention is needed, does *not* mean one has *failed*. C-sections are sometimes necessary and indeed life saving. But they are commonly the result of a cascade of unnecessary interventions(usually beginning with an unnecessary induction). If labor has been stalled for what everyone(including and most importantly, mom) feels is too long and the woman needs/wants a little pit, so be it. I don't however, feel that 75% of women need pitocin to deliver their baby! And if I have to hear one more woman say her Doctor "had" to break her water to "get things moving" I might just scream. It's called patience and it is a virtue in labor. There are plenty of reasons to intervene. What's important to me is that mothers feel empowered in the decision making process and not coerced or manipulated into accepting something that they don't want. A laboring woman is in a very vulnerable position. It is not just one day. It is not just the end of a pregnancy. It is the beginning of a new phase of life. It is an opportunity for a mother to feel empowered and ecstatic about her ability to bring life into the world. It is a chance for her to know just how strong she really is and to be confident in her ability to do anything and everything. Sounds hokey I know. I would not have believed it before I went through it so I can understand why many people don't see what the big deal is all about. As long as baby and mom are healthy, then everyone should be happy. Nope. Sorry. Not good enough. We deserve more.

I believe this kind of birth can happen in any setting, although it is easier to achieve in a homebirth or birth center than a hospital. I had both of my children in a hospital, the first with an OB then second with a group of CNM's and a doula, but I'm a huge proponent of homebirth as a good choice for low risk mothers. Nebraska is very behind the times in regards to midwifery and womens choices in childbirth. We do not have any birth centers(although one was built, it never opened due to problems finding a backup physician) in the entire state, and there are very few midwives willing to do homebirths. It is a felony for a certified nurse midwife or a MD to provide a homebirth. The state does not recognize any of the direct entry midwife designations and as such it is a legal gray area. Most of the midwives who were providing services have been served with cease and desist orders. It's a lot like a witchhunt. But my point is that women need to have choices. They need to thoroughly research those choices and pick the setting that makes her feel the most comfortable. The birth setting has a huge impact on labor that is largely ignored.

And now that my simple intro paragraph explaining what natural childbirth means to me has grown into a post of it's own, I will save my original plans for this post for part 2.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Birth Stories: Rebecca ~ unmedicated hospital VBAC

My birth story actually began back in June of 2007. That is when I made the choice to allow my OB to give me an elective c-section due to both of my twins still presenting breech at 38 weeks. Little did we know that three days later one of the boys would move head down. Whether or not the other boy would have followed eventually who knows but there is a part of me that will always wish I had waited it out...however even though it was a c-section birth it went very smoothly and my boys entered this world without any issues.

Fast forward about 15 months. We find out we are being blessed with a baby again! Unlike last time where we had to try and try and eventually received medical help we did this one all alone without even trying. What an amazing surprise! I originally planned to go for a repeat c-section. My first one went so well I figured why not. Several of my friends had just had repeat c-sections and everything had gone perfectly for them. So that was my tentative plan for the first few months of my pregnancy. However something kept nagging at me inside. It just felt like this time should be different. I really can't tell you what it was that made me change my mind and decide on a VBAC...I think a big part of me was still in the debating stage when I met with the OB I used for the twins. In talking to him I got such a medical vibe. He basically told me that while he would support my 'attempt' at a VBAC he really didn't understand why anyone would want one. He kept throwing around the word catastrophic. When I talked to him about a drug-free VBAC he was once again supportive in theory however as I mentioned various things like walking around, alternate birthing positions and such he really wasn't open to these. He also told me if I went one day past 40 weeks he would insist on a c-section. We left his office feeling annoyed and more interested than ever in doing a VBAC. So we left and the next day I scheduled a consult with the midwives at one of the local hospitals. I was accepted and toldl I have about a 90% chance of a VBAC and that most of their clients go medication free. I really liked all of their birthing principals so we signed on and never looked back.

June was a stressful month for us. We were supposed to move (and then had paperwork problems) we had the boys' second birthday and their birthday parties and then we had Becca's due date all wrapped together. Becca's due date came on the 23rd of June...and went. Over the next 13 days I analyzed every 'sign' I got that I was in labor. Sadly these were few and far between. On our anniversary June 27 I had contractions that were close together and steady for several hours but eventually they puttered out. I even lost my mucous plug but nothing else. For the next week I did lots of visualizations, 'Come out baby' from hypnobabies, red raspberry leaf tea. We tried sex, pineapple and spicey foods. The only thing I didn't try was castor oil since I felt pitocin was better than castor oil! I would have contractions off and on but nothing really steady or close together until July 4th. That night I had pretty consistent contractions until 3 am, but eventually they once again puttered out and I went to bed. On Sunday July 5th I had contractions pretty much all day but only about 2-3 an hour. Around 3:30 or so in the afternoon they started to get more and more regular however it wasn't until around 10ish that things started to really pick up. It was then that I started to realize this really might happen. Dave was going to go to sleep but I was in enough pain that I asked him to stay awake. I took a bath but honestly it really didn't help much. I ate, drank, walked around and tried (unsuccessfully) to sleep. Nothing was helping. Between eleven and twelve I took to lying in bed while Dave just rubbed my lower back. I would say 80-90% of my pain was in this tiny spot in my lower back. Nothing made it feel better but Dave made it bearable. He was the most amazing coach ever! Every contraction hurt so much. They were right on top of eachother with only 2-3 minutes apart. It felt like non-stop pain. He kept massaging and talking to me and assuring me that I could in fact do this. He believed in me long after I stopped believing in myself. Around midnight I started my 'obsession' with the toilet as David later called it. I felt like I had this horrid diarrhea. I was also so nauseous. I never threw up but man I thought I was going to. Sitting on the toilet felt good. It was also during this time I felt like I needed a break from my DH. I was in such intense, never ending pain that I thought to myself there was no way I could make it any longer. I was still convinced these contractions were just going to fizz out like the others had. I thought there was no possible way that I could do this anymore. I tried to figure out how I could get an epidural without having to leave the house since I was in too much pain to even do that! Around one I decided that it was time to go to the hospital. Not because I thought it was time for us to go, but because I figured with the intensity of my back labor pains that perhaps if I couldn't talk my DH into an epidural that perhaps I could instead get some sterile saline injections to help. David, knowing my plan was to stay home as long as possible (and knowing my 'secret' plan to plead with him for drugs) discouraged us from leaving, however I put my foot down so he called his mom to watch the boys and she showed up about 1:30. We left immediately. On the way we called our doula to meet us at the hospital and the midwife's answering service to page her. I somehow wobbled to the car and we made the 20 minute or so drive. It took us forever to get into the building. Since it was after hours it was nearly impossible to get it! Once in the contractions were about a minute apart so we found a wheelchair since that was the only way we could make any time! I still had to stop for every contraction! We got to the L&D floor around 2:30. It took them forever to check us in. They finally took us back to triage. They asked a bunch of questions but I just ignored them and let David answer. HE was still doing such a great job of supporting me! He would still massage my lower back for every contraction and continued to praise me the whole time. Once we got to triage they were asking if I wanted an epidural. Everything inside of me was screaming YES but somehow I found the strength to say no. She asked me to rate my pain, I said about an 8...she asked how intense I have ever had pain without taking medication, I told her 'we passed that about three hours ago'. So the brand new fresh outta med school resident wanted to check me for dilation. I made them wait out a contraction and let her go ahead. She took forever feeling around (okay like a minute but it felt like forever since I only had a minute between contractions) then the chief resident wanted to check me also. I told them to wait til after the contraction. Once he was able to check they were shocked (as was I) to find I was between a 7-8. I was so relieved to find out all that pain had been worth it! I could DO this! I didn't need drugs I could handle this! So they paged the midwife and took me to the room. They were telling me how I would be able to use the whirlpool or walk the halls and such (I kept thinking to myself, ummm I am a VBAC I don't think I am allowed to do any of that) but I decided to keep that all to myself! The nurse wanted me to lie on the bed so they could get some baseline measurements and to get my heplock in. For some reason or another the chief resident checked me again and said something about my bulging bag of water. It was about 30 seconds later that I had another contraction and my bad BURST. It was shocking to me just how obvious it was when that happened. Things started moving much faster then. They checked and saw that there was meconium in the fluid so the nurse called down to the NICU to have their staff come up for deep suctioning. The nurse was sounding kind of panicky. She kept telling them to hurry because this baby was coming! I remember thinking: It is?? AWESOME! I am almost done. My doula and my husband were both so encouraging during this time. The nurse told me to let her know if I was feeling 'pushy' so I said okay and then with the next contraction I said "Oh...I'm feeling pushy" that's when things moved into crazy high gear. There was so much movement around me they asked me to stop pushing and I totaly ignored them. They got the chief resident and the other resident gal in the room and made sure I was completely dilated. They were trying to break down the bed and I just kept pushing along with the next contraction. The nurse was paging the NICU staff to report to my room stat to be ready for suctioning. With contraction number three they told me I could start pushing. I pushed throughout that one and her head was almost all the way out. It burned so much but I kept trying to relax as much as I could. To be honest I was feeling kind of panicky. I'm not sure how to explain it, but I felt out of control, my body was just acting instictively without worry or care to what I mentally was contributing. Since everything was happening so fast and because of the meconium they wouldn't let Dave catch the baby or to cut the cord. So he stayed by my side while Dusti rubbed my cramped foot. Next contraction came and I pushed with everything I had. I squeeze Dave's hand so hard. He told me 'you are doing it!!' and all of a sudden I felt it! The head came through, I took a deep breath and out came her body. She was all covered in green yuck...they cut the cord and handed her off to get suctioned. Dave went with her. They wanted to start pitocin since I was bleeding 'too much'. I asked if it was necessary (yes) could it wait til after I started nursing (no) did they have to do my stiches at the same time (yes). They then put in an IV for fluids (not really sue why they did that, I started to argue with them about it but decided to pick my battles and let it go). Then Dave carried Becca back in and handed her to me so I could nurse her. It had been a short few minutes but it seemed like forever. It felt so great to nurse my daughter. She took to it so fast. During this time I learned I had a second degree tear that they were stitching up. Eventually it got quiet in the room They checked out the baby mostly while she was in my arms. I refused the eye goop and vit K shot. I asked them to save the placenta (there was a pregnant pause with that question) but they did so. At some point they weighed her 8 pounds 4 ounces. 20.5 inches long. Her apgars were 8 and 9 due to color. It was around then that the midwife showed up and was very apologetic. The call center never called her when we had left the house. They didn't call until we were checked into our room (a little after three) which didn't give much time for her to get across town since she was born at 3:17! I really hate that she wasn't there. I think had she been there Dave could have caught, we could have avoided pit and the unnecessary IV, but in the end it didn't matter. Our baby girl came into this world nearly two weeks late but in a blaze once she decided it was time to get here!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The new Economic Stimulus Packages...your boobs!

Genius! There's a new breastfeeding campaign going on that's aiming to increase breastfeeding rates in America(apparently, we crunchy babywearing extended nursers have failed miserably in our attempts to sway opinions, lol). I do have hope for this and it seems like a brilliant campaign. Their website is cute, full of information, including a section for women who have no desire to breastfeed, and is fun to read. I love the "booby traps" section and the main photo of a naked model nursing a baby(and yes I will kill that woman if she really is the mother of that newborn for looking that good...I'm sure she's not). I really admire their mission to change public perception of nursing too. Part of me is sad that it has to come to this to encourage nursing and the public acceptance of it. But let's face it, boobs don't have multi-billion dollar formula companies lobbying and advertising for them. Here is my favorite quote about the campaign:

"...aim to shift the focus off the “breast vs. bottle” debate and current backlash against breastfeeding, and on to the real issue: women are being urged to breastfeed but set up to fail."

Finally someone is getting to the root of the problem. We need to quit these mommy wars that we all get in to(admit it..you've entered the breast vs bottle ring a few times) and focus on the real problem: lip service to the benefits of breastfeeding with simultaneous lack of support, misinformation, and cultural aversion to breastfeeding.

Please check out their website Best for Babes and let me know what you think!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Why didn't I get this cake??

OMG can you imagine getting this cake at your shower? PRICELESS. It's so realistic too. That's exactly how I looked during labor. Right down to the red lipstick, silicone breasts, and the landing strip. Oh, and the birth junkie in me wonders if it hurt like a bitch pushing that occiput posterior baby out....

Friday, June 19, 2009

Recent Birth Related news

Oh my poor neglected blog! Here are a few things I wanted to share:

  • Canada changes its position on automatic c-section for breech: Here's a link from Rixa and an excellent overview of the history behind the recommendations here. Let's hope the we see these changes on our side of the border soon(but I'm not holding my breath).
  • Large study proving safety of homebirth published in the BJOG and here's why we shouldn't expect it to change anything here in the US. Why the largest study of planned home births won't sway ACOG.
  • This is my favorite birth slideshow. Absolutely beautiful and awe inspiring. This is what birth can be. THIS is what women are being robbed of.
  • Oh, and screw you AMA. You can kiss my non-compliant ass. **eta: this resolution didn't pass**

Monday, April 6, 2009


I ran into an acquaintance at my daughters dance class the other night. We've chatted a few times before and the last time I saw her, she was nine months pregnant with her third daughter. Naturally, as so often happens when two moms get together, talk turned to the topic of her impending birth. I usually try to put out my feelers early into the conversation and really try to listen before speaking . And what I felt from this mom was FEAR. She was trying to decide if she wanted to be induced. And if she were to be induced, what method she wanted to use. Right off the bat she said she was scared of cytotec. So I know she'd done at least a little research. I asked her, since she was leery of cytotec, why was she being induced in the first place? Her answer shocked me. Her second daughters birth was very scary. It was something to do with the cord. It was wrapped around her neck(great blog post about cords here) and she said her daughter almost died. Now, I don't know if that's how it really happened, or if that's what the care providers told or implied to her, or if that's just how she perceived it. Either way, she was petrified and really that's all that matters. I could literally feel the anxiety rolling off of her. Now I'm not going to go into PTSD and birth trauma in this post but I can guarantee she had some of that going on. I'd like to focus on how fear and trauma from previous births(or even from hearing other womens horror stories), affects their actions during their current birth. I asked her what her doctor said about it and he said that you can't predict when it will happen and that he doesn't expect it to happen in this birth. So, back to the original question. Why induce? Would inducing prevent this from happening again? Of course not. In fact, it would certainly increase the likelihood of fetal distress. So why would she shoot herself in the foot by inducing? Well I didn't press the issue further. We just continued to discuss the pro's and con's of the different induction methods and I wished her a great birth no matter what she decided to do.

But her fear stuck with me. I just couldn't wrap my mind around her thinking!I remember her saying something to the effect of "I'm scared and I just want to get it over with so I can stop worrying". Finally I think I may get it. It's about CONTROL. Spontaneous birth is an unpredictable journey. You really need to get over the need for control and surrender to the power of birth. Not so much give up, but I liken it to getting stuck in a rip tide. It is scary but if you quit trying to swim against it and instead surrender and swim WITH it parallel to the shore, you will eventually get through. It involves a certain vulnerability and trust. And since she's had the bejeesus scared out of her, that wasn't something she could fathom doing. And what do people do when they are anxious? They look for order. They look for control. Some people clean their houses when they feel anxious. That way they feel in control of SOMETHING. From that perspective, I understand where she's coming from. And her personal mentality can be reflected in the broader sense to our cultures view of birth. Birth is something to be feared. With birth we induce. We monitor. We worship technology and the Friedman curve. We have set protocols that we can point to and say, "See! Look! This is abnormal so we must do such and such to remedy this". We have long strips of heart and contraction tracings to point to and look for clues to prevent a disaster. Instead of intuitively trusting the process while watching for potential problems, we rush in and intervene before there is one and in doing so, many times create the very catastrophes we were trying to avoid! It's maddening and now I have a headache so I'm going to stop.

Back to the present. The mom had her daughter who is now 6 months old. And yes, she got induced.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

CDC preliminary data for 2007 Births- Csections up 2%

Here's the press release and a direct link to the report

Of note:
The preliminary cesarean delivery rate rose 2 percent in 2007, to 31.8 percent of all births, marking the 11th consecutive year of increase and another record high for the United States (Table 8; Figure 3). This rate has climbed by more than 50 percent over the last decade (20.7 percent in 1996). Increases between 2006 and 2007 in the percentage of births delivered by cesarean were reported for most age groups (data not shown), and for the three largest race and Hispanic origin groups: non-Hispanic white
(32.0 percent in 2007), non-Hispanic black (33.8 percent) and Hispanic (30.4 percent). The rise in the total cesarean delivery rate in recent years has been shown to result from higher rates of both
first and repeat cesareans (1).

Take note of the disparity between the racial groups. There is a nearly 4% difference between Hispanic (30.4 percent) and non-Hispanic black (33.8 percent). Although a few percentage points doesn't seem like that much, when you look at the total number of women having csections(over 1 million a year) that's 40,000 women. I'm going to research this further but I'm willing to bet that this has a lot more to do with socioeconomic status than people are wanting to admit.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A new VBAC resource

ICAN has released a new VBAC policy database. Check it out here You can search by state and then find each hospitals "policies". It's pretty depressing how vbac unfriendly most hospitals are but it's a great resource for those of you wanting a VBAC for your next birth. You can click on each hospital and see word for word the answers the callers received.

In a related note, I wanted to call attention to a few recent articles about repeat csections and the complex issues surrounding them. This first one is an excellent article published in TIME magazine, The Trouble With Repeat Cesareans. The author of that article published a more personal account of the issue on the Huffington Post titled Childbirth Without Choices. Be sure to check out the comments after that article.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Can We Please Stop Blaming Women for C-Sections? | RHRealityCheck.org

Oh how I love Jennifer Block. In case you didn't know, Jennifer is the author of Pushed which is a must read. While you're reading this article, be sure to stop by her blog here. It's very easy to navigate and chock full of useful info. I particularly like the Start Here section. Accessible, Informative, and Entertaining.

Can We Please Stop Blaming Women for C-Sections? | RHRealityCheck.org

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Attending births is like growing roses. You have to marvel at the ones that just open up and bloom at the first kiss of the sun but you wouldn't dream of pulling open the petals of the tightly closed buds and forcing them to blossom to your time line."

~Gloria Lemay

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Birth By the Numbers

Check out this fact-filled video that details the sobering statistics about birth in our country. Sometimes, when I try to explain the situation to people and it doesn't click, I start to doubt myself. I start to doubt that there really is a problem. That maybe I'm exaggerating. Then I watch this and know I'm right. Even if only a handful of people read this little blog, it's worth it. And if even only one of them changes their view of birth, it's worth it. Because maybe that one person can reach out to a pregnant friend or family member who then reaches out to her circle and so on and so on. So watch this, and find out why Dick Cheney is responsible for the maternity care crisis, lol.
The video is about 20 minutes long, so sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and be prepared to be shocked.
FYI, this video is an extra on the Orgasmic Birth dvd(and on the website). I HIGHLY recommend checking out the website and watching the movie. It's available on netflix now. Don't let the title scare you. It's very empowering. I'll have a post about it soon!

Birth By the Numbers

Friday, January 16, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Having a highly trained obstetrical surgeon attend a normal birth is analogous to having a pediatric surgeon babysit a healthy 2-year-old."

~Marsden Wagner, MD

Plus Size Pregnancy resource

Pregnant and Plus-sized? Definitely take the time to check out plus-size-pregnancy.org. Plus size women face many challenges when pregnant, and a lot of them are unnecessary and downright discriminatory. This site provides a WEALTH of information on a variety of topics including: estimating your due date, finding size friendly providers(very important!), the importance of fetal position in labor, information on gestational diabetes, a critique of the rising c-section rates in obese mothers, vbac information, and even tips for finding a baby carrier. Being a plus sized mother myself, this site proved very useful and informative. I personally have not noticed any discrimination but I've had friends who've been told flat out that their fat is blocking their baby from coming out. Seriously. Take charge of your birth ladies and arm yourself with information.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Birth Stories: Emelia ~ VBA2C(vaginal birth after 2 cesarean sections)

Emelia’s Birth Story. VBA2C

I took a nap on the afternoon of the 11th of November almost knowing I would be going into labor that night, I could just feel it. I was almost two weeks overdue. That night I went shopping with my sister and Mother and of course they were asking if anything was happening yet and I said “Not yet” but in my mind I just knew it would start when I got home and started to relax after the kids went to bed. I didn’t tell them this because they already thought I was crazy for all the natural birth and homebirth talk. At around midnight I was on the computer when I got the first contraction, I had been having these for a couple nights now, but they would stop after about three hours, so I just hoped this would be the night. 3 o’clock am came around and they weren’t stopping but getting stronger, I finally thought, well maybe this is really it! I walked around and paced from the kitchen to the living room and moved my hips around on the birth ball to the contractions. I was working through them nicely and thought this isn’t so bad! I light candles and relaxed and did my breathing from hypnobirthing. I very much enjoyed my time alone with my baby girl inside knowing we were working together. I woke my husband up at about 4am and told him I thought this could really be it. He came out and laid on the couch and we called the midwife at about 5:30am. She came and checked me and found I was a 5, 100% effaced and a +1 station. She called her assistant and she showed up shortly thereafter. My mom, sister and friend came over as well. I was beginning to fell a little overwhelmed with people and wishing I would have waited longer to have everyone come over. My husband and the midwife started to fill up the birth pool and getting things ready for the birth while I labored alone in the kitchen. I really liked being alone and would go off to the bathroom to be alone every now and then. At about 11am the midwife asked me if I wanted my water broke, I said no originally knowing from all I had learned it was best to leave everything alone, but later gave in and she broke my water thinking it would move me along quickly. I posted to my online friends that I was finally in labor and went back to laboring. The midwife had everyone leave for a little while around 1pm so Dustin and I could work through the contractions on my own to try and get things moving. I really enjoyed that part of labor, I worked through my contractions with only Dustin and things picked up and started to become more intense. They came back about an hour or so later and check me and I was at 7cm now. I got in and out of the pool for a couple hours and I was feeling like things were picking up. My midwife had thought baby’s head was stuck up on my pelvic bone so she was having me lay back in the tub in a squatting position. I was being checked often, something I didn’t want but in the heat of the moment was not saying no. Things were starting to become intense and I was having a hard time relaxing with feeling like everyone was watching but I kept it to myself, hindsight I should have had most everyone leave. But I was checked again and I was still at a 7. At around 6:30pm my midwife called another midwife to talk about my options. I had been in labor for nearly 20 hours and had been awake for over 24 hours and was getting tired. She told me I could go to the hospital or stick it out here at home. We really talked about this in between contractions for probably a half an hour. I knew going into the hospital was going to be a battle to try to VBA2C if they would even let me. (little did I know how big of a battle). But I was getting very tired at home too. I talked to Dustin about it and we decided to go into the hospital and maybe get an epidural for a couple hours to let me sleep. So at that point we started packing my bag, I hadn’t done any of that thinking I would have a homebirth. I was sad for making this decision but at the same time happy to get some much wanted rest. I swear the second I made the decision to go to the hospital my contractions got worse. Either cause I was getting closer or because I was already nervous about going in. I was not relaxed the whole way to the hospital making the contractions unbearable in the car.

We arrived at the hospital at about 7:45pm, I remember looking at the clock when I walked in. Right away I got another contraction and they were getting very intense I was starting to moan through them. The lady was trying to get me checked in since I had not done that ahead of time either. Again I had another contraction, they were about 2-3 minutes apart and starting to get very intense. She had a nurse come to take me up to L&D cause she “didn’t want me to have the baby on the floor”. The nurse insisted I sit in a wheel chair cause it was “hospital policy” and I did after my contraction was over then as soon as we got to the elevator I stood right back up and worked through another contraction. There was no way I was sitting down for these, they were starting to hurt. She didn’t like this and I could feel the tension in the air. I sat back in the chair after my contraction and was wheeled the rest of the way to L&D, it was a long ride. I remember thinking Dustin is never going to remember all these turns to get to my room. He had parked the car while my friend and I walked into the ER. I was put in a room and that is where the chaos began.

We got into our room and the nurse came in and I had my vitals taken. Right away I knew I was in for it, I wasn’t aloud to get out of bed because of my previous sections. A resident came in to check me and said “I think about this much” holding his hands into the air. And the nurse said “About a 5?” And he said “Ya, a 5”. I kept thinking this guy doesn’t have a clue what he is doing. He checked me for water breaking and all along I wanted to just say “Yes its broken, my midwife broke it at home” But I had to keep the prior homebirth plans hush hush. So they checked me with a swab and it was positive, they asked me how long it had been broken and I lied and said only since 3pm. While they tried to do the IV which took several tries the nurses and more residents came in asking where my prenatal paperwork was and why I had only come twice for prenatal visits. I had been all over the place with prenatal care and finally had settled on a homebirth midwife which I didn’t talk about at the hospital. So I gave them the OB’s name I went to last at about 28 weeks and they just kept questioning me trying to find answers. I avoided and just kept asking if I could get the epidural. I am here now what does the past matter, right? A doctor then came in asking me all the same questions then asking me if I wanted to go in for my c-section. I told them I was trying for a VBAC and they gravely told me what could go wrong with it. Another doctor came in and told me even worse all that could go wrong. I told them I had done my research and was sticking to a VBAC. Finally they found a doctor willing to do a c-section “if” baby wasn’t too big, and in comes an ultrasound machine. I wasn’t very happy about this and knew they were trying to get me to do a repeat c-section. The tech kept saying the baby’s head was so low she was having a hard time getting a reading on how big the baby was. In the end they said my baby was going to be 11 pounds. I laughed at this and said “There is no way, the machine can be off by at least a pound either way”. The doctor said “Oh no, its only off by 20%”. I said I was going for a VBAC anyway. They gave in because legally they couldn’t deny me what I wanted so the student anesthesiologist who had been waiting in the hall way came in to give me my epidural. The student tried for at least 30 minutes to get the epidural in place, I kept thinking this guy is going to paralyze me because he kept poking and I would scream and he would say “Are you legs numb?” At this point the doctor said she needed to get a fetal scalp monitor on the baby’s head because they weren’t getting a heart beat because of all of the moving around and sitting up since the student was taking forever. I yelled no and said I would lay down and they could check the baby’s heart rate then try for the epidural again after they got a heart beat. My own mother argued with me to do it and I yelled at her and said “This is one more intervention they are going to do to try to get me to have a c-section” So I laid down and they got the heart rate. After that the student had to start completely over and re clean the area and try again, by this time the pain in intolerable and I was crying and out of control. If it wasn’t for my friend who was being my doula there to calm me down I would have never made it through that. My contractions were literally on top of each other getting about a 30 second brake in-between and I had been sitting hunched over through contractions in this process for at least 45 minutes. The doctor told me my blood pressure was getting too high, it was somewhere around 170/110, and I knew it was because of stress, I told them as soon as this was over it would go back down. They didn’t exactly believe me so they went to get the magnesium. This is the point where I nearly gave into having a c-section. I kept thinking it would be so much easier then having all this stress that was making my contractions so bad. I begged and cried for them to get someone who knew what they were doing. This really rattled the student and he gave up, I felt bad but was done with him trying. A girl came in and got the needle in on the second poke and at last I could stop crying and relax. And like I said my blood pressure dropped. It was back to normal in a few minutes so they didn’t give me the magnesium after my friend realized they were going to hook it up and asked them what it was and they put it on the shelf instead. (Always ask what they are doing, cause they don’t always tell you!)

It was 11:45pm now, I couldn’t believe it took them 4 hours for me to get the epidural from the time I checked in. I talked a little bit to my friend and mom about everything and tried to rest and sleep a little. It was so nice to relax. I was put on an antibiotic cause I was getting a fever, probably because I was checked too often at home but I didn’t tell them that. At about 1:30am a friend with food came to visit and feed everyone in my room since they hadn’t eaten much because they had been with me all day. She talked to the baby and told her to cooperate and be good for Mommy. J I rested again after she left and at about 2am I started feeling lots of pressure and noticed my epidural was no longer working on my left side. I was checked and was at about an 8, but the pressure kept coming stronger. At 2:30am I started shaking and feeling like my body was starting to push on its own, they checked and said I was about a 9 ½ and had just a lip to go. It was all going so quickly for me I couldn’t believe I was to this point! I had never made it passed a 4 before. By 3am I was sure my body was pushing and my epidural was no longer working but I was ok with this because I wanted to be able to feel myself push and work through that myself. They check and I was at a 10 and gave me the go ahead to push. I pushed through the contractions and remember feeling relief, pushing through the pain was amazing. As I was pushing they noticed meconium and told me they were going to take her to the NICU right away to make sure everything was fine. I thought this was unnecessary but I had fought so many things I just let it go. Every time I would feel a contraction coming I would say “Leg leg leg leg leg” and they would lift up my legs and I would push with all my might, I was going to have this baby vaginally and they weren’t going to have a reason to section me. I could feel her moving down and felt her pop under the pubic bone and move into the canal. I never thought once about having a uterine rupture funny how that works, but it never crossed my mind. About 20 minutes into pushing they said she is crowning and with the next contraction I pushed her out, oh how I remember feeling that, it was so much pressure and burning then it was like she popped through and the pressure was gone. They then pulled her out and even though I had wanted to wait to cut the cord till it stopped pulsing they cut it immediately to take her to the NICU. I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it. I just VBAC’d against all odds and pushed a baby out!!! I was crying tears of happiness and they brought her in about 10 minutes later saying she was fine. I hadn’t even noticed she was gone that long because they were stitching me up from an internal tear which I believe was from them pulling her shoulders out and that was so painful I couldn’t focus on anything else. I finally held my baby after and was in awe of what I had just done, words can’t express the feeling you have when a doctor has told you, you have CPD and will never push a baby out only to do exactly what they said you couldn’t do! They told me she was 8lbs 15 oz and I kindly said, “Well she wasn’t 11 pounds, the machine must have been off.” The doctor actually apologized for saying it would only be off 20% when it was off much more than that. After posting a bit online and texting a few people I nursed my baby girl and enjoyed her without a recovery room and without being cut.

Emelia Lynn was born November 13 at 3:27am at 8lbs 15 oz and 21 inches long after 27 1/2 hours of labor.

All in all there are a lot of things I would probably change but in the end I did have my VBAC and that was the ultimate goal.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Random thoughts

Happy New Year!

Random Thought #1
I'm excited that I got an amazon.com giftcard for Christmas so I can build up my reading library. I have three books on their way to me: Birth as an American Rite of Passage, Heart & Hands: A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, and The complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth. I'll be posting my thoughts on them as I read them. I've been impatiently waiting for the mailman to deliver them for a week. Oh the things that excite a birth junkie!

Random Thought #2
I've also been researching the various Childbirth Education programs available. It's definitely tough choosing one. I've narrowed it down to a few whose philosophies match mine(mostly). But making the decision and coming up with the funds is no easy task! Right now I'm leaning towards CBI or ALACE but I'm still not decided.

Random Thought #3
Caught the "extreme parenting" episode on 20/20 last night.
Yay for the Orgasmic Birth segment!
Nay for the breastfeeding and homebirth segments. They really needed to explain the difference between an unassisted birth and a midwife assisted home birth. Lazy journalism there.
HUH? for the reborn parenting. Didn't belong in this episode in my opinion.