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Thursday, March 29, 2012



For the first time ever, I don't have a lingering sadness following the birth of my child. My first three births were all inductions. Strapped to a bed with IVs and tethered to a monitor. And of course since the contractions were so painful, they led to an epidural. And I don't care what they say, pitocin contractions are more painful... I felt I was pressured into my inductions by care providers who wanted my labor to start at their convenience. And whenever I looked back on the memory of their births, I couldn't remember the joy of their much anticipated arrival. A sadness and a sense of longing, guilt, and ultimately grief overtook me. I empathize with c-section mamas who described their feelings about their births because it sounded much like my own. I felt like an observer more than a participant.

I felt robbed.

The strange thing is, it happened after the birth of my first child. Before I knew about natural childbirth, the dangers of induction, and all that jazz... My body instinctively knew what it wanted...

Going into my first labor, while I knew about all the different methods, I hadn't truly researched them. I took the stance of "things may change" (with "things" meaning a lot of different...things) and I'd just handle each situation as it arose. Fast forward to my last birth, I knew what I wanted and what I felt was best for me, but still held onto the realistic expectation that things could change.

I had intended on taking the Hypnobabies at-home course, but at $150 (same price as all birthing classes in my area) it was out of my price range. And even so, with my husband working 12 hours a day, 5 times a week, and sleeping for what seemed like the rest of the time, it just wasn't really doable. Instead, I watched a lot of YouTube videos on hypnosis and natural births and paid close attention to what the women were doing. I bought a $10 mp3 download on Hypnosis for childbirth from Amazon a month before Teagan was born and listened to it almost nightly (I removed two tracks from it though because I found them to be distracting). I rarely made it past the first 5 minutes though. I bought a $30 DVD childbirth class to watch with my husband. I didn't really come away with any new information, but having been through it three times and having several years to do my own research, it kinda takes away all the surprises.

What worried me most was how I was going to respond to the pain from the contractions and how was I going to alleviate the pain. Having only experienced pitocin induced contractions I was unsure of what real contractions felt like. I did lots of Googling and (again) lots of YouTubing to try to find out what worked for other women. I bought some massage tools and lotions and even some LED candles. I admittedly got frustrated several times because since I knew I was going to be at least laboring in the water I didn't truly know what I would need or even if I would want it. I spent so much money in trying to prepare for my ideal birth and come to find out I didn't need any of it. I'm not disappointed in the least because I rocked that shit! All I needed was the water, the ability to move as I saw fit, and the support of those who I knew loved me.

I know this is going to sound absurd, but my labor didn't hurt. The pain level I woke up with was about the same as when it came time to push. Less, actually. I awoke with a 6, peaked at a 7, and pushed at a 4 (based on the smiley face hospital scale of pain). I didn't even think I was in labor when I woke up because my contractions felt like Braxton hicks. They acted like it, too. The only red flags were that they got worse whenever I walked and wouldn't go away unless I stopped. They were the worst when I was sitting in the bed being monitored to see if it was safe to get in the water. During that time, her heart rate dropped really low and I became more focused on the concerns that were racing through my mind than I was on the deep breathing. And all I ever truly felt was pressure, like I ate a bowling ball... That feeling didn't ever seem to go away though, until I started visualizing her descent.

After she was born, I felt so empowered. I was proud to be among the women who've been giving birth on their own for centuries. I feel like I didn't just have a baby, I birthed a baby. And I feel so fortunate that I was under the care of doctors and midwives who trusted my body to do so. This was the feeling I was missing. This was the feeling that all those drugs, monitors, and IVs got in the way of.

My recovery hasn't gone so well, though. Two or three days after the birth, I started limping really badly due to pubis symphysis. Nothing's shown up on the X-ray, conveniently making myself feel crazy (this happens a lot to me...tests showing nothing's wrong when my body says there is). It's gotten a little better in the 6 weeks since she was born, but not much. My mother-in-law came to visit and her response was, "That's what you get for going natural!" She was always quite negative about my decision to go natural. A lot of people were. I don't let it bring me down, though; nothing in the world can change the way I feel.

My advice to other women who may share my feelings or those who desire a natural birth: go for it. You won't regret it. Fight for it, because it's worth it. Don't allow others to bring you down. Don't feel bad about not being able to afford birthing classes or a doula, there are other means that are inexpensive or even free. I thought I needed Hypnobabies, but with YouTube, Google, and a couple free self-hypnosis apps on Android I was able to get around it (I plan on doing a post in the future about this). I also suggest in looking for a doula in training for those who cannot afford one as they will attend your birth free or at a lower cost. Alternatively, you can ask a friend or family member to act as one. One of the reasons I asked my friend to attend Teagan's birth was because she had been through a natural birth. She hadn't intended to, but just knowing that she had experienced a natural birth helped me mentally. And ultimately, trust your body. It was made for creating and bringing forth life.


Monday, March 19, 2012

PrintRunner giveaway

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100 postcards
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Teagan's Birth Story


I woke up and got my eldest off to school without so much an inclining of labor starting. When we came back home, I laid down and curled up next to Dan and fell back asleep watching Internet videos on the tv. I'm not sure how long I was able to sleep before being awoken by a contraction. I didn't think much of it even though it was quite uncomfortable. I dozed back off only to wake up to another contraction, but it wasn't as strong. I'm not sure how long this went on for before I finally woke up at about 10:00. I walked out of the bedroom and towards the kitchen/dining area and had another one (just had one prior to getting up). I went to the bathroom, poured a cup of coffee, tried making myself something to eat, all the while having contractions. They seemed to come every time I moved. I told my mom I don't think Dan's going into work today.

I tried to time them, but they were so irregular and so frequent I wasn't able to. So I called my midwife's office and told them I thought I was in labor, but the contractions were irregular. They told me to come in, so I tried waking my husband up. Poor guy had only had about two hours of sleep after working a 12 hour shift. I had tried to let him sleep as long as possible, but the way things were going, something told me we needed to leave now. When I tried waking him, I told him, "I don't think you're going into work today. We need to go to the hospital, I think I'm in labor."

I got a groggy, "You're faking it..." Obviously, he was still asleep. I couldn't wait for him to wake up, so I had my mom and sister do it; I had to finish getting ready. I texted Jason and Ruby and told them it was baby time.

Dan and Jessie packed up the car and I got in still wearing my pajamas and slippers. We stopped at the gas station and started heading out. We got a call back from Ruby and since we were still in town, we turned around and picked her up. On the way to the hospital/midwife's office, the contractions seemed to become somewhat more regular and were quite strong but manageable with deep breathing and zoning out to Big Business.

We got to the hospital (also where my midwife's office is), I started heading in and my contractions became erratic again. It was a good thing there was a wheelchair by the entrance because it took me about a minute just to get in through the door... I was seen immediately by the midwife, Sharon, and was checked for dilation. I was already at 6 cms and 100% effaced. They called down to the maternity ward and told them to prep the room and fill the tub. It was finally time.

When we got to the room, I was so thrilled to see that I would get to birth in the Holistic Birth Center with the permanent tub versus one of the regular rooms with a semi-permanent tub. They're still nice, but not quite the same, plus, it helped me mentally since it was my dream to have that room. Pretty tub, no chance at drugs. In fact, as we rounded the corner and I saw the sign, I inhaled deeply and thought, "This is it..."

The tub

They hooked my up to the monitor to see how the baby was doing and asked me several questions. There was one decel where the baby's heart rate dropped real low that concerned them, but it only happened one time. The contractions were still just as strong as before and I was able to talk through them for the most part (only times I didn't was so I could focus on breathing). I was checked again for dilation and was now at about 8 or 9 cm. I couldn't believe I had already dilated that much in the span of about a half hour. Sharon broke my water in an effort to try and speed things along. Originally, I was against it as I thought, based on my past deliveries (which were all inductions), that the contractions would become unbearable. This didn't seem to be the case, this time. I got in the tub very shortly after wearing just my nursing bra (I had bought a bathing suit top specifically for this. Never used it).

Laboring in the water was so nice. After months of heaving my massive belly around, it was nice to be able to move around almost weightlessly. The pain relief wasn't instantaneous but it soothed me mentally. When we discovered that I had left my camera's memory card back home in the laptop, Dan was ready to run down to the gift shop and buy a disposable camera. I was in the middle of a contraction and remember thinking, "Don't you dare leave me....". Thankfully, the nurse, Deb, was smart enough to suggest someone else go. He threw a 50 dollar bill at Ruby and said, "Here, it'll probably cost that much, too." My sister had brought her crappy point & shoot, thankfully. Another item I held the baby in for but never used...


After a very brief time from getting in the tub, i was able to relax almost completely and the pain from the contractions subsided. There were many occasions when I felt myself holding tension in my neck and shoulders, and a few when I tensed up quite a bit (the pain was worsened then), but for the most part I remained extremely relaxed. There were a few times when I remember Dan holding and rubbing my hand and it was completely limp. I overheard at one point the nurse ask if I was asleep. I think I may have been too relaxed at times as I had a hard time telling if I was having a contraction. I was experiencing lots of pressure, but felt no urge to push. I was even able to joke and apologize (for what, I don't quite remember) between contractions.


The midwife checked me and said I was at 9.5-10 cm and to try and push. I tried pushing in a semi-sitting position. This was when things got more painful and I started begging for an epidural. I remember everyone telling me to push and I eventually snapped, "Quit telling me what to do." It was more directed at everyone, but poor Dan got the reply. I changed positions because I kept arching my back in my current position and got into a lunging stance and began rocking her out and gently pushing. I ended up getting a leg cramp in the midst of a rather intense contraction, and brought that leg underneath me more. Ugh... I remember the leg cramp more than I do the contraction!

Finally, I felt the urge to truly push. I groaned loudly and in one long push she was born. I had my eyes closed for the most part (especially toward the end), but as I was pushing I opened my eyes and I saw my sister's face. The look on her face was priceless; she looked soo scared! But it didn't hurt and I didn't feel the "ring of fire" I so dreaded. I stood up and heard the midwife saying the cord was short and it was wrapped around her hand. I felt it tug when we tried maneuvering her around so I could sit down and hold her for the first time.

We sat there for a few minutes, but I started getting cold, so we got out and laid in the bed under some blankets. I fed her and she latched on really well (another first). The nurse gave us all the time in the world to let us bond and breast feed. Eventually they weighed, measured, and took her away for her bath. She was 7 lbs 13 oz and 20 1/2 inches.

It was quite possibly the most amazing experience of my life! I'm so happy I was able to stick it out. Not that I had a whole lot of time to change my mind, considering I was only in labor for four hours, but still...

Since this post is getting a bit long, I'll save my thoughts on the whole experience for another post. ^_~

older post

How have I not gone completely crazy, yet?

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