Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Birth Stories: Landon ~ medicated hospital birth (induction for high BP)

Landon is my second child and I knew there was a chance of being induced and for an actual medical reason. I get High Blood pressure and I mean high (like 160/100). Once baby pops out, it goes back to normal, amazing I know. So, I find women who WANT to be induced somewhat crazy. Do you know how much harder an induction is on your body and your baby? The baby is more likely to be in distress and the contractions are harder, longer and more intense and you can’t really move around much if you’re hooked up to Pitocin. This in turn makes you FEEL an almost NEED for an epidural. I have heard a few stories of women who have been induced with pitocin and do not get an epidural. I wanted to be one of those women, but having contraction after contraction after contraction with no break, I caved after 5 hours. I thought, “at least I won’t be in pain anymore (if I only knew)”.

So, from 3:00-6:00 am I slept and felt fine. But at 6:00 I started getting the most intense/sharp pains in my arms, neck, shoulder and upper back. Pretty much my whole body not covered by the epidural (except my head) was in SEVERE pain. The pains came and went. But they were sooooo bad I told the nurse I’d rather be having the contractions (and I truly meant it). I started going in and out of consciousness. The nurse called the anesthesiologist back up and she tried to redo my epidural. This did NOT HELP. They were not sure what caused the pain, but thought maybe the epidural hit some nerve endings. It is very scary not to know why you are in such pain. Like I said the pains came and went, but did not always come when a contractions hit, so they weren’t sure if the contractions were causing the uterus to contract (causing the pain in my upper body or not). They weren’t too convinced since they figured then it would happen with every contraction, not with some contractions and without some. The pain sometimes would last 30 min straight and I’d be fine for 30 min. Sometimes it was shorter…so that kind of rules out the contractions causing all the pain. Really there was no rhyme or reason to it all. I can usually tolerate pain really well too. This pain was so bad that I actually asked my doctor for a c-section. And if you know me, I will not have surgery unless I absolutely positively need it. No plastic surgery for me ever. After being in this pain for 7 hours and begging for a c section, I had luckily gone from 7 cm to 10 cm and fully dilated in 30 min. This all happened after he broke my water. At this point I could have cared less how he came out as long as he did come out healthy and me pain free. My neck hurt so bad that it was hard to push, but Landon must have realized because I pushed all of 5 minutes and then he literally just slide out of me. I had one small tear. After he came out, all my neck/shoulder/arm pain went away. So it wasn’t some fluke or anything. I don’t think we will know the whole reason, but I do think the epidural must have hit nerve endings and the labor kept it going.

Thankfully, I did not walk away with long term side effects (physical) and my little guy was healthy too. I will note that I have walked away with mental side effects. I have had nightmares where I almost feel the pain and the hopelessness. Most people I talk to about it kind of shake it off, so I don’t talk about it much. But when your in so much pain and people are standing around you NOT DOING ANYTHING(in this case because they were clueless) or when all the doctors seem to care about is blaming the other for whose fault it was, it makes you vulnerable and almost preyed upon. My baby and I came home healthy, so that is what should matter or so I’ve been told. If only it was so simple!!!!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Birth Stories: Liam ~ homebirth

I woke up around 7:00 AM on Wednesday, April 8. Leila had just woken up and she wanted me to come snuggle in bed with her. I had a contraction as soon as I got out of bed and went into her room, and I wondered if they would be regular throughout the day. I'd been having irregular contractions, varying in intensity, for two weeks. Soon, Callum was awake and I was busy getting both kids dressed and feeding them breakfast. Contractions continued every 4-5 minutes.

I started cleaning up a little and getting some last-minute things ready for the birth. Contractions continued and started to increase in intensity, so I called Wyatt and let him know today might be baby day. I must have been getting anxious, because I called him back after an hour or so and asked him to come home. I had a feeling baby was coming and I wanted his help setting up the birth pool. Wyatt got home around 10:00 AM and I called my midwife at that point. I let her know I was having regular contractions and some bloody show, and she said she would come check on me. She arrived a little while later. I was still 3-4 centimeters dilated, as I was at my prenatal appointment the night before, but my cervix had softened and thinned out a little more. She said baby's head still had a little room to move around, so I should try to get his head engaged a bit more. I felt a teeny bit discouraged after she left, second-guessing whether I was really in labor or just having more intense Braxton-Hicks contractions. I followed my midwife's suggestion and wrapped my Maya Wrap under my belly and up over my shoulders to try and engage baby's head.

Wyatt fixed lunch for the kids and put Callum down for a nap. I walked all around the house with my belly in the sling. Contractions kept coming, sometimes 2-3 minutes apart, sometimes 4-5 minutes apart. I started to get really sick of timing the contractions. My midwife called after a while and said she would come check on me again. She arrived a little before 2:00 PM. I was 5 cm dilated at that point and baby's head had moved down quite a bit. I was still talking through contractions quite easily. My midwife said she was going to meet her assistant at the Panera down the street, and to keep doing what I was doing. We agreed that I would call her when I started having a hard time coping with the contractions, or when the contractions were about 1.5 minutes apart.

By this time, Wyatt had blown up the birth pool and started filling it up with lukewarm water. He took the kids to our friends' house when Callum woke up from his nap - they had graciously offered to watch the kids during the birth. Leila had said for a few months that she wanted to be there to see the baby being born, but she changed her mind at the last minute and decided she would rather go play with her friends. While Wyatt was gone, I knelt on the floor and draped my upper body and arms over the birth ball. I swayed my hips through each contraction. They were starting to feel pretty intense. Wyatt stopped at the Panera on the way home to pick up some sandwiches, but I wasn't feeling very hungry. He ate his sandwich while I swayed on the birthing ball. I was getting ready to ask him to call the midwife, when she called to check in. Wyatt told her I was ready for her and her assistant to come over.

It was around 4:00 PM when my midwife and her assistant arrived. I sat on the couch while they took my blood pressure and listened to baby's heartbeat. I was starting to really have to concentrate on breathing and relaxing through contractions. We went upstairs and my midwife checked my cervix. I was 7 cm dilated and had a bulging bag of waters. We decided to finish filling up the birth pool so I could get in. I got in the water at 4:30 PM and my midwife and her assistant started getting everything ready for the birth. I felt very relaxed as I sank into the warm water in the birth pool. The first few contractions I had in the water felt much less intense and painful. I was pretty much kicked back, relaxing, talking and joking. My midwife suggested I change positions for a while and kneel in the pool, resting my arms on the side of the pool. I stayed this way for a while. When my midwife listened for the baby's heartbeat, she noticed some decelerations, so I went back to laying back against the side of the pool.

My midwife checked me at this point and I was 8 cm, still with a bulging bag of waters. She checked the baby's heartbeat again during my next contraction, and there were no decels, so I stayed in that position for the rest of my labor. At this point I was feeling a ton of pressure from the bulging amniotic sac during each contraction. I still felt pretty happy and comfortable in between contractions, but they were coming closer together. My midwife's assistant was sitting behind me giving me sips of Gatorade and offering me lip balm (love her!), and reminding me to relax my face and breathe through the contractions. Wyatt was sitting across from me. I began really fighting to keep from tensing up my body during contractions. I kept tightening up my legs and lifting my bottom up off the floor of the pool, so he was holding my legs and rubbing them, trying to help me relax. I can't say that it worked very well at that point, but he was trying!

My midwife checked me again and I was fully dilated, still with the bag of waters bulging. We decided to go ahead and rupture my membranes. When they ruptured, there was some meconium in the fluid, but it was greenish so my midwife guessed it had been there for a while. My next contraction after my water broke was a doozy! I started to feel like I couldn't take the pain for much longer, and I didn't feel like I was very close to being done. I was sort of dreading the pushing stage and so I wasn't able to relax very well. I really started tensing up at this point and gave up trying to relax during contractions. I started to feel a little nauseated. My midwife suggested I try pushing gently during the next contraction to see if it felt good or not. I tried pushing a little but it didn't feel good in any sense of the word! I didn't feel the urge to push, I just felt an intense pressure and the familiar feeling of wanting to crawl out of my body to escape the pain and hard work of giving birth. Wyatt said it did indeed look as though I was trying to climb my way out of the birth pool.

I had some difficulty with "multitasking" at this point. It was hard for me to remember to 1. breathe 2. relax and 3. push. My first real push I forgot to breathe, which wasn't very helpful. My next push I tried to remember to breathe but I definitely wasn't relaxing - I kept pushing after I should have stopped to take a breath because I was afraid if I stopped pushing it would hurt more. I finally got it right on the next push and actually felt the "ring of fire" and baby's head crowning. I was shocked, because I was so wrapped up in the discomfort and the intensity of the contractions that I didn't consider the fact that I might be having a baby soon. I guess I thought I was going to be pushing forever? My midwife was telling me to stop and breathe, and only push during contractions so I wouldn't tear. I heard her, I really did, but I was so intent on getting the baby out that I didn't listen. Wyatt called out, "I can see the head!" and I gave one more push. The baby slipped out at 5:45 PM, head and shoulders all at once. My midwife grabbed him and told me to pick him up, but I must have been in shock still, because I was whimpering and saying, "I can't, I can't!" I finally snapped out of it and pulled the baby onto my chest. My very first thought was that he looked like Leila, just like the dream I'd had a couple of months before. My second thought was that he had red hair, but as it turns out, his head was stained with meconium. Ha! Poor kid. He started to look a little blue, so my midwife rubbed him with a towel while her assistant gave him some oxygen. He pinked up very nicely in a few moments and gave a great big squeal. Wyatt helped to cut the cord after a few minutes and wrapped the baby up in a towel and held him for the first time.

So, that's how Liam Henry was born at home. It was such a wonderful, peaceful experience laboring at home with just my family around me. My midwife and her assistant were amazing and wonderful in every way. I can't thank them enough for being there to support me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Birth Stories: Campbell ~ homebirth

Campbell's birth story

I know I'm forgetting something, so much happened in such a short time!

I had been having latent labor/contractions for about a week and was getting very cranky and distracted. On Thursday I finally gave in and called the midwife and asked her to check me/strip my membranes. I was really worried that I was going to have the baby on the day her daughter was graduating, so was hoping to move things along and maybe have a baby on Friday.

She came by and I think she and DH were laughing at me :) I was 2 cm and about 90% to 100% effaced. She stripped my membranes, and really thought I wouldn't be having baby until next week.

I slept really well Thursday night, the best night sleep I'd had in a long time. Woke up with a little bit of show and plug. Went to work about 6 a.m. and started having the same contractions I'd had all week long. Throughout the day I had some more show and plug, I figured it was because of the internal exam, no big deal.

About 1 p.m. I started to have contractions that were tightening under my belly and moving around to my back. I was stopping to notice them and was getting really annoyed typing at work and wanted to get out of the chair. I started timing them and they were only about 3-1/2 minutes apart. So, I called in work and took the rest of the day off and asked DH to pick Avery up from school at 3 p.m. so I could listen to some birthing affirmations and try to relax. I also called the midwife and let her know that I thought I might be having "real" contractions and would give her a call in a couple of hours and let her know if things picked up.

Quinn was taking a nap and I had the house to myself for a couple of hours, it was really nice. About 2 p.m. I was on the computer for a bit trying to distract myself and started timing contractions about 2-1/2 to 3 minutes apart. I was starting to lose myself in them and getting really distracted. So, I started preparing, made up the bed, blew up the pool and brought down the things I thought we needed. I had intended to finish up some laundry and make a poultice, but I just didn't get it all done, lol!

I called the midwife about 3 and let her know that things were picking up, she wanted to come by and at least check me to see if she was going to be able to attend an event that night at 6. Chris came home with Avery and Quinny got up from her nap. They were picking dandelions in the front yard to let me relax through the contractions.

When the midwife got here she saw me breathing through contractions, checked me, and I was 4 cm, 100% effaced and a +1 station. She started bringing the equipment in, called her assistant, and they started filling up the pool. When the assistant got here Chris was grilling burgers for everyone and it was a bit overwhelming. I went upstairs to rock through some contractions on my ball and listen to some more affirmations. I called Andi to let her know she could post, I think I was really in labor at that point.

The ipod was starting to annoy me and I was starting to get louder and longer, so the midwife came up to get me and try the pool to see if that would help. It wasn't warm or deep enough and I couldn't get comfortable, so back on my ball I went.

I don't know how much time passed, but everyone finished their burgers and we set the girls up with a movie in the basement. They came up and down, more curious than scared. I think they were more interested in the pool in the living room than anything else.

The hot water was ready, and before I got back in the pool she checked me and I was at 8 cm. I wanted to go to the bathroom before getting back in... She asked me if I had to poop and I told her no, but I emptied my bowels again when I got there. She reminded me that with the position changes I was going to have a lot of contractions, and I think I swore at her and told her sarcastically that she was full of great news, lol. Definitely transition.

Got back in the pool and started "no, no, no" through the contractions. They were right on top of each other and I just wanted a break. My shoulders started shaking, and I knew this was a sign of being complete. They started putting on gloves and suggesting I try pushing to see if it would feel any better. I remember thinking "what are they doing? I'm not ready yet."

I couldn't feel a pushing sensation when I was trying to push, but could feel the bulging bag. I asked if she would break my water so I could feel to push him out, I just wanted the contractions to end. I flipped over, she broke my water and I had a looooong contraction. Brought him to crowning while yelling that I did not want to (lol) and that it hurt and I didn't want to do it. The contraction ended and I was able to hold him there to stretch out my perineum. The assistant and Chris were trying to figure out the camera, and I yelled at her that the lens cap was on... Then another contraction and I pushed him out.

I remember him floating in the water and being surprised that there was a penis, so I said "It's a boy!!! There's a penis!"

The rest was a bit of a blur. I was helped out of the water, and arranged. I was able to birth the placenta right away as it had detached and was just sitting there, what a relief to have the contractions end! I had just a very small tear/mark that we left to heal by itself. The girls came up at some point, and Avery was able to cut the cord. So cool! He started nursing right away and had a great latch. He didn't want to let go ;)

Everything was very normal and relaxing. It was very surreal to have a baby after dinner, and everyone go to bed without disrupting routine too much!

A very healing experience after Avery and Quinn's births and I wouldn't change a thing!