Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This is a really funny birth story of an accidental UHBAC (Unassisted home birth after cesarean)

Charlotte’s accidental unassisted HBAC
For my first child, I went to a freestanding birth center, where my water broke first, contractions were slow to start, and I got sent home once for being in so much pain, only to be told I was just a 2. I was devastated despite knowing you could go from 2-10 really fast. I labored over 30 hours, tried every trick in the midwifery model, played the "what Would Ina May Do?" game, and decided a transfer for a mercy epidural was prudent. I had been doing deep squats, climbing stairs, walking in the Southern June heat, etc. and was delirious.
It ended in a non-emergency cesarean at hour 42 after my water broke with baby still at a -1 station the entire labor, but with me at 100% effaced and a 9. Her heart tones were great the entire labor. The midwives suspected she was honestly stuck. When she was born, sure enough--her arm and elbow had gotten into a really funky stuck position that hadn't responded to our deep squats, spinning babies, yoga positions, etc. I got to breastfeed right away in recovery. I won't say much else about recovery since this is a positive spin on things, but I did just want to note that while I was disappointed I didn't have her the way it was planned, the actual birth experience was not traumatic for me, and I felt empowered at every choice to increase intervention. I do not believe I had an "unnecesarean."

For my second baby, I knew for sure I wanted to have a HBAC since I had a non-emergency C-section and a fantastic looking scar. I did not want to be continuously monitored, put on a time clock, or be bullied into doing anything out of fear. I felt like a HBAC with competent care providers would be the safest and healthiest way to bring my baby into the world. That's why I went with a midwife who had taken on successful HBACs and was very supportive. I will say I am a 6-minute car ride from a hospital with a Level 4 NICU.

For name references, Nancy was my CPM, and her assistant is Andrea, a CPM. Mike is my husband.
I had been crying and emotionally nutty the last 2 days, before my 39-week appointment, thinking I would be pregnant forever, and getting frustrated when I tried to fold my enormous boob into my beautiful new 38HH nursing bra and it wouldn’t quite go—I was just tired of these huge boobs and cried even harder when my left one wouldn't fit into the cup, and I knew they'd get terrifyingly giant when my milk came in. Everything made me cry.
Lately I had a few issues with fasting morning sugars-they were high enough to be of concern, but not so high as to qualify me for a GD diagnosis. I went on metformin twice a day and followed a strict GD diet. My midwife and family practitioner would correspond and see me both once a week to coordinate care, as the FP is also Charlotte’s doctor. The FP also had a HBAC, so it was a great team who were both trying to do care to allow me to homebirth. We made a plan that we’d give me until the second due date (March 6) to just go ahead and have the baby on my own, but after March 6, we would need to figure out what to do about a possible induction. That would obviously change thehomebirth plan completely, but I was very firm I would do what I needed to do about the health of the baby to make sure her transition was the best possible, as she might require extra monitoring for her sugar levels. My midwife was very glad to hear I didn’t shut out options and said we will just cross that bridge when needed.
Andrea checked the position of the baby to see how far down she was in the pelvis, and she was 3/5 of the way in using some sort of 5ths rule British midwives do. That means she was as far down in the canal as she could get before active labor began. I was so happy to hear this, because she was already further down than my first baby was when she was born! Being as how I was near my first due date (2/28) and her position, Nancy told me I could go ahead and pump colostrum to 1. save for the baby in case I needed to help regulate her sugar right away and 2. bring on contractions. She also asked me to get a hold of some donorbreastmilk, about 20-30oz., to also help with potential baby sugar regulation if needed.
Sunday: I sent out an email to my playgroup and get some breastmilk to be delivered to me Monday morning! I pumped around noon and got 20ml of liquid gold. We went putzing around the neighborhood from 3:30-4, but not a brisk walk at all. We met my brother at the dog park to let the doggie cousins play, and then we went back to my house to hang out. Around 7 I decided I was going to make a delicious homemadestroganoff, so I did, and wolfed it down. I then realized I had been having fairly regular contractions about 8-10 minutes apart that were different from the BH but not even notable enough to call anyone about them. I remember laughing because how do you not know you're having contractions after a previous labor of like 42 hours?
Another note: I had been listening to Hypnobabies CDs, attempting to learn to hypnotize myself, but I had no idea if it was “working” or not. I finally just gave up trying to figure out if I really was hypnotizing myself and just enjoyed listening to them while trying to relax or fall asleep for about 2 weeks or so. From about 10-11 I laid on the couch and listened to some tracks.
Around 11 I went to pee and saw pink on the toilet paper and got excited because it was bloody show. I figured I probably would give birth in the next 2 days. Haha, great assumption, right? I called Nancy, who told me to take a shower and go to bed to get some rest, and my doula Julie, who said to call her whenever I needed her.
I showered and shaved my legs, something I hadn’t done since October. I also dried my hair with a round brush just passing the time. I dusted the bedroom and Mike started a load of laundry and dishes and then we went to bed.
From 1-4ish I laid in bed, listened to Hypnobabies easy first stage labor track, sipped water, peed, began to vocalize through some contractions with low moans. I don’t know what it is about the lady’s voice, but she just kept telling me that with each “pressure wave” (contraction) it was bringing me closer to meeting my baby in my beautiful birthing time (I’m telling you, they can get quite cheesy) but at that time I was all like, “Right on, this woman knows what she is talking about, so I will just listen to her tell me these things. And dammit, my uterus IS a special snowflake and knows what it is doing.”
But sometime after 4, the lady was annoying me, and so were the contractions oops! pressure waves. I decided I needed a change of location and Mike said to let him know if he needed me. I made my way to the living room and had these intense sweats and chills, so I went to lie down under my homemade buggie snuggie to watch some guilty pleasure mindless TV recorded on the DVR all geared up for future marathon sessions, and felt my water broke as soon as I was supine. So I hefted my way over to the toilet off the living room and near the kitchen and called for Mike. It is around 4:45am at this point. He comes in with the phone and laptop to start timing contractions at contraction master, and the midwife on the phone asked about baby moving around, color of the water, etc. and said she’d start heading over and she would call Andrea.
didn’t think to call the doula yet because last labor when I felt like this and went into the birth center, I was only at 2cm. I didn’t really need help through them, and they really were just at the mildly annoying level before my water broke. She also has kids and I didn't want her to have to leave if I didn't feel like I truly needed her.
Mike starts putting up dishes and locating the hot water connection in order to fill up the tub the midwife will bring over with her, and I would just call out “s” for start contraction so we have a record to show her. I don’t think to call my doula because I thought I’d wait at least until 6:30 or so so she can sleep. Also, my first child was born 42 hours after my water broke last time, so Mike and I both ASSumed we had plenty of time to let people sleep. He calls my mom and dad to come get my 20 month-old so they’d be here when she woke up to hand her off, as we had decided we didn't want her at the birth.
5:20ish I tell Mike to start up the tub because I feel like I can get in the tub to wait for them to show up by assuming I was over 5 cm. I really wanted a water birth for the first one, and thought it would be great to have one for my second. I remembered we had some delicious, giant, cold green grapes in the fridge. Mike got me grapes, water, and cold washcloth. I felt like I was going to pass out or throw up. I couldn't stand up all the way, but felt like maybe I needed another change of location instead of the toilet, as the contractions were at least 1.5 min in length and 1 min. apart. In between, I ate those amazing grapes and sponged myself off. I also just sort of sat there and looked at my weird felted artwork I had made the previous spring. I really was just chillin' in my own zone. During each contraction I would sort of sway on the toilet and make a low, loud aaaaooooaaahh sound.
At some point I feel like I need to poop and am happy because my body had not cleared itself out like it did last time. I quickly realize, though, that either this is the biggest turd of my life, or it is the baby descending like a train through a tunnel. I figured that out when I was all like, "uuuuuUUUGHHH!" and then the feeling kept going after I was done grunting. Mike had gone to make the bath. I reach down and feel a bulge and know I had better move or the baby will be born in the toilet "IDidn’t Know I Was Pregnant" style. I get the craziest urge to push and I do bear down and push hard while making this super animalistic noise, very much like what Chewbacca marrying a humpback whale might have sounded like at the end of the raucous wedding reception, but then realize I have got to breathe the baby out and try to chill out so I don’t rip my anus and have all my organs and the baby fall out right there in the toilet. Remember, I had never had a vaginal birth or felt anything like that before, so I was convinced I would also birth my entire pelvic floor. I then felt the ring of fire, but it was more like the sides of a cheese grater and not even fire—just scrapey and really painful! That was the ONLY painful part of labor. At this point I know I don’t have time to get in the tub. I call for Mike, who leaves the bath water running and had heard the change in my labor noises. That's where he found me semi-standing over the toilet and saw hair--but not MY hair! I remember saying, "This isn't poop!" and laughing hysterically. I mean, wouldn't you after playing the "Baby v. Turd?" game in your head?
He says, "HOLY CRAP! It’s the baby’s head. What do I do?" I think he was even too shocked to cuss. I said get me a clean towel and put it on the kitchen floor, which was maybe 4 steps or 2 leaps from the bathroom. He was freaking out because I was really, really calm. I rip off my nightgown, got down on my hands and knees, thinking this would be a good position if there was some sort of shoulder dystociaissue, and my body just literally took over. At that point I really wasn’t in too much pain. I didn't really feel anything other than a baby's head just hanging out. It was obvious my body was in control and I was just along for the ride. I attribute being a birth story junkie to knowing what to do, since it's not like I had previous practice. I think he called the midwife but I don’t quite remember him talking to her, and at one point he put the phone down and wasn’t quite talking to her anyhow. I remember him telling me, “Nancy says to pant!” and I said, “Too late, the baby is coming out and I will ahhhhh her down!” I told him to not pull anything out, the baby would come out on her own, and to be ready to catch.
The rest of her head came out. I asked if he could see a cord around her neck, and he said he did, so I said see if it is loose enough to remove it. It was, and said she was pink. I said wait for her shoulders to turn and she would probably come right out. I was meanwhile just sort of hanging out with a baby hanging out of me, waiting for the next contraction, checking out the tile and dried macaroni noodles that had escaped, and “ahhhhing” during the contractions with my mouth all open super low. When I felt one I pushed/ahhhed, and the rest of her just slid on out into his arms! He removed the rest of the loose cord and she looked around but didn’t cry right away—she was this great pink color. He helped me turn around so I could sit. I told him to get another towel and the snot sucker in case we needed it, we rubbed her down (not much vernix on her) and I checked her airway.
She did let out a few healthy cries but was very snuggly. I felt like I had torn on my right side somewhere and didn’t know the condition of my perineum, but knew I needed to sit in a way to allow the placenta to come out. We made sure the cord wasn’t knotted or constricted and I just held her and talked to her, stared right at her, and offered her my breast if she wanted it to see if the nursing would contract my uterus to get the placenta out while Mike called back (or maybe kept talking) to the midwife. I knew not to do anything crazy like try to cut the cord myself or pull on anything to avoid hemorrhaging, so I literally hung out until about 10 min. later when Andrea arrived first. Since Nancy was on the phone with us, she did not know we had actually HAD the baby already. She immediately got to work. She had Mike cut the cord, which had stopped pulsing, examined Charlotte, examined me, got Charlotte all wrapped up to hand to Mike in warmed up blankets from the dryer while I got again on all fours until the placenta came out about 15 minutes later. She checked that over and nothing was retained. I examined it, too. I got back on the toilet, she cleaned me up, and we made our way to the bedroom.
Nancy arrived and did my vitals while Andrea worked on Charlotte’s vitals. We got started on nursing and they gave us some family time while they both cleaned up in the bathroom and kitchen. We could both hear them in shock since I was definitely not showing any signs of urgency on the phone. I apparently was talking to them as normal as I would any other day--they noticed no sense of panic, urgency, laborlalaland speak, nothing. We ALL thought I had miles to go before I birthed. I am waiting any day for TLC to come up with a show called "I Didn't Know I Was That Far Along In Labor" or whatever. Maybe I'll apply to be on another episode of "Extreme Births!"
The next few hours were a party atmosphere, which I had no idea would make me so happy. My parents showed up, totally just expecting to get my first daughter at the door and leave, but we said, "Would you like to meet your new granddaughter?" They were absolutely shocked and it was just such a special moment to recount the story. My daughter woke up and came in and met her little sister. At first she was confused, but got so excited. I cannot believe she slept through the entire thing. We all hung out in there while Charlotte got weighed, measured, etc. My brother also stopped by before work. He was really blown away, as he had left at 9 just that previous night! They all went out as I got 3 stitches for a first degree minor tear and a "skid mark," but otherwise, my perineum somehow survived! No organs fell out other than the one that was supposed to! My MIL came by on her way to a tennis match and brought biscuits. People left, and the midwives went ahead and had their weekly Monday morning meeting in the front yard.
The rest of the day was a nice rotation of people, all who brought food! Charlotte S. was on her way over with donor breastmilk to help with the transition if needed, and brought all this amazing food and flowers. My friend Amy brought over this whole pasta spread and some good cheer. My FIL brought a big Smithfield Chicken and BBQ spread of food, and my brother came back over to hang out after work. My doula came over later and helped with latching, brought a little birthday cake, and brought the most amazing fresh herb sitz bath. This is such a contrast to the after care I received in the hospital. Having everyone celebrate around you in your own bedroom admiring your new baby is one of the best feelings in the world, with people serving me cold coconut water with bendy straws and wild berry pie!
It literally was the craziest thing I have ever done and Mike and I were such a great team. I am just so happy he did not straight up pass out or run screaming out the front door. I never, ever would have dreamed that I would just have a baby on my kitchen floor with just my family in the house and not even miss a meal. I never actually expected to not experience pain. I kept waiting to yell the "Why did you do this to me?" and "I can't do this!" statements during transition, but those never happened! Looking back, of course I was in transition right after my water broke. I never actually thought I wouldn't get any internal checks or monitoring, because I didn't want to know how many centimeters I was dilated after last birth's ordeal with the mental devastation of only being at 2cm and being stuck at 5 cm for about 14 hours. I never, ever fathomed that overall, I would not describe the birth as painful (uncomfortable, sure, but not screaming). I also cannot have imagined 2 entirely different labors, as the first was a 42-hour ordeal ending in a c-section, and this one was about 42 minutes of intensity before the baby pretty much just slid out and said, "Hey y'all!"

I think the things that really helped this labor is that I really must have been hypnotized to relax so deeply to deal with contractions, and my body was so safe and secure at home with no one watching me or whatnot to just allow my body to open up like it was supposed to do, that she just had all sorts of factors aligned to come out. I didn’t try to fight things at all and did have confidence in my body. Fear or apprehension were not present at all in this birth. However, I had confidence in my body during my last labor, too, so it really just goes to show that labor is totally unpredictable for both scenarios! My good friend dubbed me the "freak outlier birther" and that does make me laugh.
Charlotte nursed well and we had really enjoyed just lying in bed, snuggling my baby, having people bring me wild berry pie and delicious food, and taking pictures and whatnot. It is night and day difference between my recovery last time and this time. The midwives came to my house every other day to check on us, and again at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 6 weeks. I hadn't even gone outside since the walk on Sunday other than to get some sunshine in the back yard. The family doctor said bring her in when I felt up to it up to two weeks, since the midwives were seeing her so frequently. Even there, my care provider was crying with happiness when I shared my story, and had me recount it to several staff members. I really felt like I was in a dream. I stayed in bed with my girls as long as I wanted to because I knew this would never happen again, as we are done having children.
I don’t quite think it has set in for either one of us what exactly happened now 5 months later, and we sure are not thinking of the what-could-have-been type of scenarios. When people ask about the birth, there are usually 2 reactions. The first is the look of fear and horror that pass across faces, because that is their absolute worst nightmare. They all want to know why Mike didn't tie off the cord with a shoe string or why we didn't call 911. (Ha!) The rest are usually awestruck and say they totally wish they had that birth in the quiet, calm safety of their home with their little one not even waking up with hardly anyone poking, prodding, etc.

I do hope this story can be inspirational to others who are wishing for a homebirth, a VBAC, a HBAC, or whatever type of birth. Feel free to share it with those who you think might enjoy it!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kelly's birth story of Hayden Anne-9/1/07

 I woke up one night about mid-night, and 5 months pregnant....with the worst pain ever.  I thought for sure it was contractions.  I took the time to see how far apart the pain was.  It was about 5 minutes apart and lasted a good minute long.  I had the pain for about an hour and it finally stopped.  It being my first pregnancy I was very nervous about the pains I was having, but took it as maybe just a fluke.  I didn't have the pain again for some time.  I would say at least another month.  
I was due to have the baby on September 15th (by my menstrual cycle) but the 21st (by sonogram).  It was August 29th and I planned on working up until the day that I had her.  I was currently working in an office position and was very comfortable in the air and my relaxing office chair all day.  I had put an empty paper box under my desk so that I could prop my feet up to help control some of the swelling.  I was very swollen.  My ankles were huge - to put it lightly.  I was as comfortable as I could possibly be at 8 months pregnant.  But as you can imagine, very uncomfortable too.  It was late summer in the Mid-west and we all know how uncomfortable that can be even if you are not pregnant!  
I went to work on the 29th ready for just another day at the office.  It was early that morning and I had stopped what I was doing to use the office restroom.  I noticed that the smell of my urine was extreme and nothing like what I had noticed throughout my pregnancy.  I was also experiencing that pain again and my back was giving me aches as well.  The pain had become more intense over the past 3 months since the 1st time i experienced it.  I had taken tums thinking maybe it was heartburn.  I took time and concentrated on breathing.  I had determined that I did not think it was contractions but it definitely was not the norm.  I knew my body and I knew something wasn't right.  I had been my own for 23 years and i knew well how my body reacted to certain things but this was all new.  So, I contacted my OB.  They requested that I come in and be checked out.  It felt like there was a whole in my chest and pain all around it.  Right in the middle of my breast bone.  It was very uncomfortable and a little scary.  Chest pains and as swollen as I was, I was concerned.  
I arrived at Rock Valley about 9:30 that morning.  The doctor checked me and the baby's heartbeat.  We both seemed fine, but my complaints of chest pain concerned her as well.  She requested that I head over to the hospital and be monitored for awhile.  So, mom and I headed over to the Birth Place on 7th St. in Moline.  I sat in a birthing room for quite some time with monitors watching the baby's heart rate as well as my blood pressure.  All looked good and about 2:30 they let me go.  All was well, the pain was now gone.  In the doctors exam i was not dilated at all.  
I went home that night and did the normal everyday things.  The next morning, I woke up headed to work just like every other morning and again went to use the restroom.  Once again my urine was strong and overwhelming.  I was also very itchy.  My ears even itched.  Again, I knew this was not right.  There was something going on and I needed to fix it.  I called the doctor again and this time they sent me straight to the hospital.  I sat again with monitors on me and the baby.  This time was different though. All of the sudden machines started beeping and nurses were running everywhere.  It felt as if I was in a movie, doctors and nurses ripping my clothes off and checking my cervix.  Dr. Kaitlin was the Dr on call that day and after checking me calmly sat on the side of my hospital bed and explained what had just happened.  As you can imagine I was frantic.  I was crying and confused.  No one had said anything to me the whole time that everyone was running around ripping my clothes off.  23 pregnant, upset and confused...not a good combination!  She explained that the monitors had lost the baby's heartbeat.  They lost it for about 30 seconds - if i recall correctly.  She said that with the pains i was having, my swelling and now losing the baby's heartbeat she was going to induce labor.  She said that my cervix was not ready for the baby to come yet so they need to prepare it.  She put this small tampon type thing up on my cervix.  I had to lay flat for 4 hours without getting up.  It came with greatness...let me tell you :)  I had to us a bedpan for the 1st time.  It was fun...
The 4 hours was up and they decided that early the next morning they would start the pitocen to kick start labor.  We started about 5am.  I sat and waited....nothing!  I sat for 3 days with Jenna (my bother's girlfriend - soon to be wife) and my mom watching movies relaxing and preparing for what was to come.  It was so fun.  I kind of felt like I was on vacation.  Nothing I had to do but lay there and wait.   I had been on the pitocen now for 3 days.  I was even more swollen than when i came in.  One of the nurses told my mom..."well we might just send her home since nothing is happening."  OMG we were not going to let that happen.  It just so happened that my best friends mom was a nurse in labor and delivery and had been for many years.  She was considered a vet in the department.  She was off the day that nurse said that so of course mom jumped on the phone to Linda and confirmed that would not be the case.  I remember hearing her on the phone saying "That will not happen.  I will be back to work tomorrow morning and Kel is going to have that baby before i get off of work tomorrow"  oh the joys of having connections :)
It was Saturday September 1st about 4pm and Linda came in she said we're about ready for you.  How about you freshen up.  I got to take a shower, and shave my legs.  I wanted to smell good for my new baby.  I was so excited and nervous at the same time.  I was going to be having a C-Section.  Jenna and Mom had both been there for me the whole time, but only one of them were allowed in the operating room.  Mom and Jenna discussed the situation and the decision was made that mom would accompany me in to the operating room.  It was about 5pm and I had already prepared myself. I had spoke with the anesthesiologist and was ready to go.  Linda came in and took me down the hall to the C-Section rooms.  I walked into a very bright cold room.  I remember telling her "I kind of feel like i'm having and out of body experience" she replied with "oh you would say that".  haha she knew me very well by this point.  Her son and I had been friends for years and attended school together since 1st grade.  We only lived about a mile from them.  She knew me and my reaction was no surprise to her.  I remember when they started my spinal and I could not even feel it.  I was very comfortable and relaxed.  I just felt huge.  I had gained about 70lbs and that was before i sat there for 3 days.  I could only imagine how huge i was at this point.  
I remember when my mom walked into the operating room.  I was relieved to see her.  Linda was a great support system, but just wasn't my mom :)  They began the C-Section and I was ready.  I was nervous but ready.  I prepared myself the best I could for the lil arrival.  It being my 1st I really did not know what to expect.  It was a great experience.  I remember the release of the pressure from her being in the was a feeling like no other.  I could not feel the pain just pressure and i could obviously see my body moving when they adjusted me to a more workable position.  It was at 5:58 PM on September 1st, 2007 that my baby was born. I named her Hayden Anne Emery. She was 6lbs 2oz and 19.5in long.  They of course took her right away to the nursery.  I made sure 10 fingers and 10 toes were in check and mom examined her briefly and told me how perfect she was.  She was beautiful.  That was the single greatest moment in my life.  I had something that was mine.  God gave her to me and i knew from the minute i saw her that God had picked her for me and me for her.  We were literally a match made in heaven!  I was then stitched up and taken to recovery.  I spoke with the nurse there for a long time.  I asked her many questions about her personal life and she gave me much needed personal and medical advice.  The one thing she told me that really helped me out with the incision was to do it myself if i could.  If i needed to go to the bathroom get myself up, do not allow someone to pull me up.  It really did help.  I also had my sister who had just had her 2nd C-Section to look to for advice.  It was great.  Since I had a C-Section we were in the hospital for a little longer than a normal vaginal birth, but that was okay with me.  I needed the rest and the support from the hospital staff.  I would be taking this baby home by myself.  Her dad was not around and I was going to be the sole provider for her.  I had been very strong through out the whole situation, but i was scared to death to take her home.  How was I going to do this by myself.  I did a lot of praying and talking to the people around me.  Those that came to visit where great supporters and definitely on my side.  It was great to have such support.  
We went home and it was great.  I was living with my sister,  her husband and their 2 children at the time.  I could not have asked for a better living arrangement at the time.  My nephew was only 2 weeks older than Hayden.  We had so much in common.  We did anyway, but mid-night feedings were never boring or quite.  They were fun.  We got to enjoy our maternity leave together.  It was almost like we had twins.  They soothed each other.  Very cool.
Well, so you are probably wondering about that pain.  Well it wasn't until Hayden was 5 weeks old they determined that I was having Gallbladder issues.  This was common for women during pregnancy and in their early 20s.  It was also something that every woman on my mom's side of the family had experienced.  They hospitalized me and removed it on Oct 5th 2007.  That was a lot for my body to handle.  I had a C-Section and my gallbladder removed within the last 5 weeks.  2 major surgeries.  I survived it though. 
It was a very long pregnancy, but other than the occasional gallbladder attack it was great.  I never had morning sickness.  I would definitely love to have more children.
Hayden Anne Emery 9/1/07 - Kelly Emery

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My story (doula, labor partner, proud aunt) of Kadie's birth to Fynlee Quinn

Fynlee Quinn McCory born May 30th 2011 6:37pm  7lbs. 4oz. 20 inches long

When I decided to become a doula, my sister was conveniently pregnant with her third child.  It was March, and she was due in the beginning of June.  In order for her birth to count in my training experience I had to complete a Doula workshop, so I signed up for one in April.  It was an 18 hour workshop within 2 days, and I learned SO much!  I was so excited to use what I learned to help Kadie through labor.  Little did I know, she just needed me there beside her and not much else.  
She had called me here and there for about 2 weeks to let me know she was having contractions that lasted for awhile.  I went to a prenatal appointment for her at 36 weeks, and she agreed to having her cervix checked.  The midwife said she was already 2cm dilated!  As the time went on she kept have contractions for hours at a time on and off for days.  I told her how nice that was of her body to do that work little by little over time.  By the time she went into labor for real she would already be half way there!
On May 29th she called me in the afternoon and told me that she had been having contractions consistently for a few hours and they felt a little uncomfortable.  She was at my parent’s farm, so I went over there to walk with her for awhile.  We walked laps for an hour, and then went in for some Red Raspberry Leaf tea, and for us to work her pressure points to release oxytocin.  When we went inside they began to subside, so I suggested that she take a nap because she was all of a sudden exhausted.  When she woke up they were gone.  I told her that my guess was that she was at least 4cm by then, and that when she went into labor she wouldn’t have much to go!  I was ready for her to call me in the middle of the night, but I woke up the next morning with no phone call.
It was memorial day, May 30th, and the whole family was at my parent’s house while the kids played and swam.  Kadie mostly stayed sitting, stimulating her nipples outside of her dress trying to get her labor started. (nipple stimulation can be a way to induce labor)  My husband walked over to us because he wanted me to cut his hair, and  Kadie said, “Don’t mind me.  I’m just stimulating my nipples over here.”  He said, “oookay,” and he turned right around and walked away!  We all laughed at him.  
When I was done cutting Alex’s hair I walked back over to Kadie, who was sitting with my other sister, Robin, and my mom.  They informed me that she was having contractions consistently for an hour and that they seemed to be getting stronger.  I decided to go home to give my dogs a bath, they were pretty dirty from playing on the farm, and to grab my doula bag.  I told her I would be back in 15 minutes.  When I got back her contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and getting stronger.  We decided that I would drive her to her house to grab her bag and then we would head toward the hospital since it was her 3rd baby and we lived 35 minutes away.  Caleb, her oldest child who is 4, told her with a big excited smile on his face, “Bring that baby home mom!”  The midwife was delivering a baby, and we were waiting for her call.  I suggested that it might be nice to walk around Vanderveer park for awhile if she wanted to while we waited for the midwife to call.  She said she thought she would rather go to the hospital because she didn’t want to feel rushed.  When we were about five minutes away she changed her mind, and thought it might be nice to walk a little more.  I think she was a little worried that labor was going to stop!  
When we got to Vanderveer her contractions were still 3-4 minutes apart.  We walked for about an hour before the midwife called.  She said it was probably a good idea to come in.  The contraction she had during my conversation with the midwife was a good one.  It was 2 minutes apart from the last one, and she had to completey stop what she was doing and concentrate through it.  I could tell by the expression on her face that we definitely needed to go to the hospital.  I was also a little worried about the sunburn she had on her shoulders, so I was glad to get her out of the sun!  We saw one of her good friends as we were walking to the car.  She wished her luck and we were on our way.  
By that time Robin had met up with us and we walked into the hospital to check her in.  The midwives had forgotten to inform her about preregistration at the hospital, and since that was her first time at that hospital she wasn’t aware of it either.  She had to stand there during quite a few contractions giving all of her information verbally to the woman at the desk.  Actually, in the middle of all this a woman had come in with a toddler who was very sick and not responding well.  Kadie backed up and told the woman to go ahead of her.  What a selfless woman!  She was having intense contractions every 2 minutes and she was really worried about the sick little girl, who the desk worker didn’t seem concerned about at all.  I am proud to be her sister.  She also pointed out in the middle of all that, that her dress was worn out where she had been doing her nipple stimulation!  It really was, and it looked pretty funny!   
Finally we made it up to the birthing center.  In triage she was given a gown and hooked up to the monitors.  Two nurses came in because the system they were using on the computer was new and they were still feeling their way through it.  It seemed to take forever, and Kadie was handling the contractions extremely well!  The midwife came in and looked at the monitor readings.  She said she would be checking Kadie and that if they thought she was in labor they would admit her.  Kadie told her she was pretty sure she was, and the midwife commented about how one contraction was spaced 8 minutes apart.  I will tell you I watched her through every contraction and there was never an 8 minute gap!  You can’t always count on machines to be accurate, but you can count on what you observe in a laboring woman if you are really paying attention.  She checked her and she was 7 cm dilated and 100% effaced.  They were flabbergasted!  By looking at her face and watching how she handled the contractions she probably did not fit the mold of a woman going through transition.  She was doing amazingly well!
She was admitted and taken to her laboring room with the big tub.  She got into the water and believe it or not relaxed even more than what she already was.  Water does work wonders during labor for relaxation, but I didn’t know if it was possible for her to relax much more than she already seemed.  She let out a big sigh and told us how great that felt.  I went out to go get her big 320z. jug filled with ice and water.  When I got back the midwife was explaining all the pros to having a heplock in place but let Kadie know that it was her choice whether to consent or not to it.  This was the one thing Kadie had told me she was most worried about.  Her veins roll and with her last labor they had to stick her over and over again.  It was very uncomfortable for her and she wanted to avoid that.  She denied the heplock, and sat peacefully in the tub free of interventions.  Through her contractions I stood next to her and brushed back her hair and lightly rubbed my hand across her shoulders and back.  After each one Robin offered her water to keep her hydrated, and we both kept telling her what a great job she was doing.  She was smiling in between, and letting out big sighs of relief after each one was over.  
She sat in the tub for maybe half an hour and then I saw her making that motion with her neck that people make right before they gag.  I asked her if she felt like she might get sick.  She said she did feel nauseous but that she didn’t think she was going to throw up.  I asked for a bucket for her anyway just in case.  With the next contraction she warned us that it would be very soon.  The nurse talked about how we would have to get her out of the tub before she started pushing, and that she just needed to let us know.  She had another contraction about a minute later, and told us that she thought she might need to get out, but wasn’t sure.  We debated for about 20 seconds, and then she stood up and said yes the baby is coming now.  She was half in and half out of the tub when her next contraction hit.  She froze where she was and rode it out.  I helped her out of the tub and she got on the bed.  The nurse called the midwife and told her that Kadie felt like the baby was coming now.  The midwife came in and checked her, and she was fully dilated and could push whenever she felt the urge.  She was in a semireclining position on the bed, and when she pushed she arched her back and threw her head back.  I knew from reading that this isn’t the most effective way for a mom to push, so I asked the midwife if she had to be laying on the bed or if she was okay with other positions.  The midwife said she could do whatever she wanted, so I asked Kadie if she wanted to stay in that position and she said she would rather stay where she was.  She definitely knew what she was doing so I trusted that she was doing it the way her body needed 100 percent.  Her bag of waters was still intact, and Robin told me that with that push she could see it surrounding the crown of the head.  Too bad we didn’t get a picture!  
Robin was standing a few feet from the end of the bed and when the midwife said the water will break with a push she moved over a little to the side.  With the next push Kadie’s water broke and it shot toward Robin!  It landed literally right next to her foot.  The look on Robin’s face was priceless and I will never forget it!  I had to hold back my laughter.  
With the next push we could see a good portion of the baby’s head, and the midwife told Kadie about all the thick hair the baby had and that Kadie was pushing extremely effectively.  One more big push and a little scream, and the baby’s head was completely out.  It was amazing to see because the baby’s head literally spun out of her.  There was a brief pause before the shoulder’s came out where Kadie said very politely with a little urgency in her voice, “Can he come out of me now, please!”  The midwife gently maneuvered the shoulders out with one little push, and she told Kadie to reach down and get her baby.  The baby slid out and she lifted him up onto her chest.  It took him a minute to cry, and even then it was mostly just whimpering.  She held him close, looked into his little face, and told him how happy she was for him to be out of her in the most loving tone imaginable.  She looked up at me with the most beautiful, content look on her face, and said with a smile, “I did it.”
After the cord stopped pulsing they clamped it off and Robin cut it.  She said it was very interesting to cut the cord because it felt so much tougher than she thought it would.  There was a fairly big knot in the cord, but it wasn’t pulled tight.  The cord was also very long!  The midwife asked Kadie to give a little push to birth the placenta.  When the midwife was checking it out, she showed me what it looked like and explained it all to me.  It was very cool to see one in real life instead of just a picture.  I can see why people call it the tree of life now because it really does look like a tree with a lot of branches!  
Her birth was great in so many ways.  She was able to go into labor on her own for the first time, her water broke on its own.  She didn’t have to have a ‘pitocin labor’, a heplock, or sit in the hospital for 12 hours!  She also had a great midwife and nurse who were all for her natural birth on her own terms.  They were so calm and open for whatever Kadie wanted to do.  Her birth all together only lasted about 5 1/2 hours, she only was at the hospital for an hour, and she only pushed 5 times until the baby was born!  She stayed calm and relaxed the whole time.  She really was in total control of her birth because she let her mind go and her body take over.  It was truly amazing to witness, and I am so thankful to have been able to be apart of that!  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jen's biggie boy's birth! Jaxson-September 17th 2010

This is the birth story of Jaxson Lee Forrest Willis born September 17, 2010 6lbs 7oz.
I will start off by saying that MacKenzie (my 8 year old daughter) wished for a baby brother for Christmas.  She wrote Santa many letters asking for him!
January 22, 2010
First off I must say it was a total shock and surprise to find out I was pregnant.  I remember the day plain as can be. I was going to lunch with one of my girlfriends (MaryEllen).  She picked me up and I told her, I though that I needed to take a pregnancy test ASAP!!!  We had plans to go to subway in Rock Island for lunch, so we decided to stop at Walgreens across the street and get a test.  We rushed over to subway… she got in line (a really long line) and I ran to the bathroom with the test shoved in my purse.  I was shaking and nervous… I was almost 40, I couldn’t possibly be pregnant I thought.  But the test came back positive within seconds (same thing when I found out I was pregnant with MacKenzie).  I rushed out of the bathroom and was shaking and freaking out… we had to leave because I couldn’t stand in that long line, I needed out of there!  We drove through MacDonalds, as I was searching for the courage to call my boyfriend and share the news with him.  He was super excited and worried, because I was worried about my age being a huge factor.  So I called the doctor to get my first appointment set up.
First appointment was actually pretty scary for me.  I guess I forgotten about all the questions, since almost 9 years had passed since I given birth and all the different tests that were available.  The question was… did I really need all of these scary tests?  Would I love this baby less if there was something wrong?   I was seriously freaking out, eventually I decided against it… but still questioned myself daily if I should have done it or not.  I felt because of my age it was the best thing to do… but then I thought I don’t want to put the baby at risk.  I was about 6 weeks along when I had my first sonogram.  My husband, daughter and step daughter were all there for me for support.  We all got to see the first picture of the bean together which is always so exciting and was given a due date of September 28, 2010!  I thought to myself, I have to have this baby before September 23 (my birthday, my 40th birthday).  No way was I going to be 40 and have a baby, lol! We got our pictures of baby bean and we headed home.  The next day, I received a call from my doctor stating they had some concerns about the sonogram.  The sonogram showed another mass on the outside of the uterus. They though that maybe I was carrying twins and that one attached itself in the wrong spot. This was all so hazy for me to remember because I was super panicked!  They scheduled another sonogram, and another one a month or so later, to see if it was growing.  They wanted to keep a close eye on it because they really had no idea what it was.  They were afraid that this mass could possibly grow and burst.  I was told that if I had any sort of pain or cramping, I was to get to the Emergency Room ASAP!  In the mean time, they kept a close eye on me. They scheduled an appointment in Iowa City, to look at this mass and hopefully be able to tell me the sex of the little bean I was carrying.  All of the months of worrying and being watched closely… and all the what if’s!  Finally, the day came for our trip to Iowa City.  I was so nervous and so excited at the same time.  People were so nice there.  Everything went perfect and we found out we were having a boy!!!!!  Didn’t take long to figure out a name for him!!!   And I was relieved to find out that the mass was nothing.  So time went on… the summer was hot, I could hardly stand to be outside and if I was, I was in a pool floating around.  The heat made me so sick to my stomach.  I hated the summer of 2010.  I am normally a summer kind of girl, but not this year… I wanted it over with, pronto!!!! The hotter it got, the worse I felt.  As the months slowly went by and September was creeping up on us…the bigger and more miserable I got.  I got nothing done around the house, the weather was killing me, I didn’t feel good at all and all I wanted to really do was sleep.  I thought if my stomach stretched anymore I would just split in half.  I wanted to have this baby, now!!!  My feet were starting to swell… and I wondered if I actually had any bones left in my feet since I hadn’t seen them for awhile. Doctors weren’t concerned yet about the swelling but were concerned because Jaxson hadn’t flipped yet, she talked to me about c-sections and what not but because everything was still looking good she told me to keep my feet up as much as possible and pray that he flipped.  Thank goodness it was flip flop weather because that’s really the only thing I could fit these fat sausages into.  Finally September was here, had my last real doctors appointment on September 16, 2010. I got asked all the same questions as every other appointment.  They were concerned with the swelling of my feet, legs and high blood pressure.  I’ve never had high blood pressure.  They had me lay down for a few minutes and took my blood pressure again, and it was down.  That didn’t stop their concern though, and I was scheduled another appointment the next day at 10am. I was sent to Trinity in Moline to have a stress test done, ugggh!!  I was once again freaking out!   I was told to go home, lay down and that they would see me in the morning.  They said if my blood pressure was up that I was going to be having a baby!
September 17, 2010 10am
Went to my doctors appointment, they sent me directly to Trinity, no going home, no nothing… get to hospital now!  I was super scared, because it wasn’t natural labor… I was scared because it was going to happen right now…. And I was starving because I hadn’t eaten anything since the night before.  I cried on the way to the hospital as we made calls to family and friends.  I called my daughters school and told them my mother would be picking her up early so she could be there with me.  I think that may have been a mistake, lol!  She doesn’t want to birth her own children… she wants to adopt!!  Anyhow, I got to the hospital and I got gowned up and begged them for food, coarse they said no, they got the IV in and started the pitocin around 11:30am-12pm and it wasn’t long before I was having contractions. The contractions weren’t to bad and I managed to breath through them with no problems. As time went and the contractions seemed back to back and it seemed I hardly had time to breath let alone focus on anything… it hit me… I don’t know what it was or where it came from.  It HURT!  It HURT BAD!!!  It felt like Jaxson was trying to push his way out of my side with his feet coming first.  I really thought I was going to pass out and thought to myself, this is it.  I can’t do this any longer, I wanted to cry and just give up.  That’s when I asked for something.  They asked if I wanted the stuff to relax me, and I politely said no I don’t like that stuff, and that I wanted an epidural as soon as possible.  Thank goodness I was far enough along, except that now I was going to have to wait for two bags of fluid to go into my body.  I thought they would never be empty.  Forty five minutes is a long time to wait for something you know is going to take away the pain.  Finally, I got my wish and got my epidural.  It was VERY different than the one I had with my daughter.  Apparently with her, they gave me to much and I could feel nothing at all (which was awesome).  I could feel something, a very weird feeling, and I thought I have to go to the bathroom NOW!!!!  I pushed the button for the nurse and she came in and said you don’t have to go to the bathroom, and the doctor came in and checked me and said we are having a baby tonight.  Jason decided to take the girls out for a bit and walk them around the pond.  I layed there a bit long and felt the need to go to the bathroom again and called the nurse.  She came in and checked me once again, and said we are having a baby.  I was freaking out a little bit, and told my mom to call Jason to get back to the room ASAP.  Lights were coming out of the ceiling, bed was coming apart, people were scattering all around the room and the doctor made it into the room and gowned up and we were on our way to having a baby.  I dont remember exactly how many pushes maybe 4 at the most, and baby boy Willis was born at (6lbs 7oz 18 inches long at 5:34pm!  Whewww, that was fast!  Healthy, happy, sleepy little boy!!!!

Taylor McNicol-11-7-2010

  • Taylor
    For no real reason at all, one day I decided that I might need to take a pregnancy test. This wasn’t one of those terrifying moments where your afraid you might be pregnant and screw up your whole life. It also was not one of those excited moments that you’ve worked so hard to get to. I was emotionless. Mostly because I was POSITIVE there was no way I could be pregnant. I was using the pill, how could I REALLY BE PREGNANT. I’m not even sure why I really took that test, or should I say TESTS. Derek and I were home on a Sunday afternoon in the end of March and I slipped into the bathroom while he waited in the living room. All of a sudden I screamed some very loud profanities directed at Derek and all hell broke loose. We had a 6 month old baby. We weren’t married, we had just moved into our tiny apartment and life was upside down once again. That’s how Taylor is though Always full of surprises, he was the day he was discovered and he was the day it was decided he would come into this world.
    I was induced with Taylor. I regret this whole heartedly and it still remains a regret I am holding onto 6 months later. There were several friends of mine that had issues with their pregnancies with low amniotic fluid or ruptured sacs. The more I read the more terrified I got. Taylor had always been a very very active little fetus. He kicked me every chance he got and he rolled from one side to the next. There came a point where he stopped being so active. I felt stretched beyond my limits and he just wasn’t moving. I had an appointment Thursday when I was 3 weeks pregnant, I expressed my concerns to the Ob and they hooked me to the monitors to check on him. He was silent for about 15 mins and then they had me chug some juice which in turn gave him the hiccups and they counted that as the number of movements they needed. Two days later on Saturday I woke up and swung my legs off the bed with a gush of liquid from between my legs. I went to the bathroom and cleaned myself up and went pee, all the while contemplating if this was normal leakage or something more.(It was just normal by the way, side note but when your pregnant you have a lot more liquids in “that area” lol and if you sit down it pools until you stand up and then it comes out) Finally I made the decision that I wouldn’t stop stressing until I had it checked so I called the Dr and my mom and Mom and I took Rylan and went to the hospital for a fluid test to see if it was amniotic fluid. At the hospital I got hooked up to the monitor and they swabbed me and sent the test away. They came back what seemed like forever later (really only about 30 mins) and said that my fluid wasn’t low but in the 30-40 mins I had been there the baby hadn’t moved once and was this normal. I explained again that he used to be really active but over the last 2 weeks he had stopped and only kicked every once in awhile. This must have spiked an alarm because the nurse left the room to call the Dr. She came back and said we were inducing and my heart fell in to my stomach alarmed. I had a million questions, why? is something wrong? is the Dr. Her? Finally I insisted on and ultra sound first to double check. In the ultra sound room I was asking a million questions of the Tech who wasn’t really qualified to answer them. All she could tell me was that they need to watch for 20 mins and they needed to see 3 movements. After some convincing and some urging from momma we were able to get a few movements out of him. Back upstairs the nurse said we were still inducing and I began to cry. I asked her over and over again why what is wrong. Finally she stepped out of the room as I panicked weighing my options with my mother. My sister Becky (pregnant at the same time and attempting a VBAC) had done so much research and we had discussed it so many times and I had always thought that in no way did I want to be induced. Pitocin leads to really painful labor
    which leads to an epidural which leads to more pitocin it’s a never ending cycle until a c-section is the only option (at least thats the scenario in my head).I called her crying and told her the situation and she very strongly said that this was my choice in the end and I could say yes or I could say no. She voiced her opinion and told me that it was again my decision and she couldn’t make it for me she could only give me incite. The Dr. finally came in to see me. I’m pretty sure he was frustrated and annoyed with the emotional crying pregnant lady that wasn’t listening to his worldly advice but I was terrified and it was his job to explain the situation. He explained that they use a scale to determine when things are ok or not. He said that my baby had met the criteria by just a hair and he could send me home knowing that if something happened they would not be medically liable, however the baby was at the very bottom of the safe zone. I remember his words so well “I would rather induce you and get him out safe and healthy now than send you home and not have a living baby by Monday.” This made my mind up. He was talking about the life of my baby and though I didn’t understand I was afraid, I was 38 weeks and I knew he was full term. They admitted me and started with something called cervadil. They insert it into your cervix and it s supposed to help thin out your cervix. This was a better way in my opinion than just starting pitocin. They told me that this would come out in the morning and then they would break my water and pitocin would start. There was also a chance that this drug alone would start contractions. About 3 hours after it was inserted sure enough contractions came. They were very spaced apart and timid at first. I labored through the night while Derek slept and I got no sleep. Every time I would get comfortable the monitor would slip and they would have to come in and adjust it.Finally around 4 in the morning I gave up. I got up and began pacing my room. My contraction weren’t very strong and still far apart and I knew that last time, walking helped. By the time morning came around I was exhausted. I could barely keep my eyes open but there was no way I was sleeping, so into the tub I went hoping for some relaxation. Derek woke up around 7 am and didn’t even know where the hell I was. The nurse came in to check on me and gave me the unfortunate news. While the cervadil had certainly thinned me out my contractions never really hit a strong point I was only at a 3 and my contractions were actually starting to slow and stop. I was too tired to even care at that point. The nurse told me that the Dr wanted to start pitocin and break my water. I fought with that saying give me a bit more time please. Around 9:30 or 10:00 am they came in and said that they needed to get things going. So I fought the pitocin and debated with my Dr. and nurse about breaking my water. Finally the nurse got firm and said I have been delivering babies for 15 years trust me to do what is right to get this baby out of you healthy and alive. Being threatened with the life of my baby again I agreed. They broke my water and then came the pain. I was dilated to a six. I at one point was screaming my head off begging for an epidural and the nurse kept trying to persuade me differently because I had said I wanted to do it naturally. Finally I went for some nubain instead and again I was stoned. The nurse left the room and everyone else cleared out as well thinking this would be awhile. Derek went to walk his dad to the waiting room and the nurse had other patients. I was alone in this room and all of a sudden things were UNBEARABLE!!!!! Derek came back through the door and I screamed I NEED TO PUSH, so his first reaction was to go get his dad, ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME. The nurse came in to see what was the matter and I told her I HAD TO PUSH. She did not believe me. She said we’llShe said we’ll check you just calm down. Sure enough I was there. The team came rushing in and then the Dr. all the while telling me not to push taking his sweet time putting things together for this I WAS PUSHING ANYWAYS. 15 mins of pushing and Taylor was out screaming his head off because I dilated to fast after they broke my water and he came flying into my pelvis bruising his face. We were a pair to be seen. Him screaming and I myself crying and frustrated with how different this time had been from the last. In that moment things were hectic and that’s the way my life has been ever since. With two boys 14 months apart things don’t quiet down very often. Someone always wants something. But I wouldn’t change my family for the world. Taylor belongs right here in my arms and I’m glad that God sometimes likes to play jokes

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Robin's Birth Story-April 21, 1988 (1month and 1day overdue)

Robin's birth
Part III: Robin’s birth

In August of 1987 I learned I was expecting our third child. This one was due in March, and the pregnancy was very different from the first two. I could only eat a few bites of something and would feel full. I craved chocolate like crazy! I often had aqueasy stomach, almost like a flu bug, and I was really tired all the time. In late February 1988 the doctor ordered a sonogram because he wasn’t positive of my due date. Results came back that he believed I was due around March 20th. Yet March came and went with no indication of labor. Baby was still moving very well, and nothing seemed wrong.

Here’s the funny part about this birth. I think it was April 19th, and I had a check up. The doc told me that baby was right there, everything was ready, and he thought that because of his “exam” that I would probably start labor that evening. So he told me to eat very lightly that evening, and that if I hadn’t gone into labor by morning to come in for another exam. I drove home, and that day I ate a bit of buttered toast and some tea, and nothing else.
April 20th, early morning, and no labor pains! Soooo, off to the doc I go again. He checks me and tells me to eat lightly , because again, he is nearly positive I’ll go into labor that evening. I drove home, and again ate lightly of just a bit of buttered toast and tea. Next morning, STILL no baby!

April 21st, early Wednesday afternoon, again I’ve driven to the doc’s for a checkup. Third day of “eating lightly” and I am ravenous! Again, doc checks me, and this time he tells me he is getting ready to go on vacation that Friday for two weeks. He wants me to have this baby before he leaves, and everything is ready and ripe for that to happen. He informed me he wanted to break, or rupture, my bag of waters, as he thinks that will do the trick. I consent, and he does it and sends me home. He figures I’ll be back in that evening.

I didn’t even make it 10 minutes away from the doctor’s office and had my first contraction and it was HARD! With 15 more minutes to drive home, I figured I’d have plenty of time allowing my husband to get home from work.

IN that 15 minutes I had three more contractions! While I was driving! Once home I called the dispatched and told them to send my husband home. I went upstairs to change my clothes and had contraction on the stairs! Had a couple while changing, and another on the way down! This was too close for my comfort. They were now barely 4 minutes apart, and strong. I called dispatcher again, and a few minutes later the back door opened. IN walked my husband’s boss, bless his heart, and at the sight of help I broke down and cried! Well he walked me out and by that time my husband was there. Contractions came hard and fast all the way to hospital, and we really seriously thought I was going to have that baby in the cab of the little Ford Ranger! At the hospital they checked me and put me on a table and immediately started for delivery. I panicked a bit because of the severe intensity of the contractions, and my breathing became too rapid. My fingers go stiff and started to curl like claws! IT WAS THE WIERDEST THING! All I could think of was that I would never be able to hold my baby with claws like that! Then the nurse leaned down and said “breathe slowly and deeply, honey, you are hyperventilating”. When I started breathing slower and deeper my hands relaxed and became my own again.

She was born at 4:20 p.m., barely three hours from first pain to delivery! When she slid out the doctor worked frantically to twist her around and around, as the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck a couple of times, probably because her arrival was sped up by breaking my water. She weighed 7 pd 10 oz, and again, God blessed me with a perfect little girl.

I am flabbergasted that there are so many options for birthing now…. Drug options for less pain…. C-sections are becoming much more common …. Induction dates for convenience. If I had to do it all over again, I’d make sure I did my research first. I’d ask a lot of questions before I let anyone tell me how I was going to deliver my child. I’d skip the enema! Who needs it! I’m of noble Native American heritage and I am proud that my mighty ancestors could birth a baby in the morning and cook the corn cakes for dinner! I am a woman… a gentle warrior … a compassionate rock of strength!

Becky's (Yes, thats me!) Birth Story-September 12, 1984

Becky's birthing story
Part II: Becky’s birth

In February 1984 I learned I was pregnant again, and this second child was due early September, just two weeks prior to my first child’s birthday! Irish twins, born less than 12 months apart. I began preparations for another precious child. But this time I was bound and determined in my stubbornness that it was going to be MY way!

Again, no prenatal testings or sonograms, etc. I carried my firstborn a lot until I began experiencing some nerve issues and my legs would go numb and I would fall, so she learned quickly to walk with the aid of a hand or a finger for balance. On September 11, 1984 I began having contractions about 9:00 p.m., but I kept quiet and didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to go to the hospital and lay there for 12 hours like the first time. My husband and I went to bed, and I didn’t sleep because I was counting contractions. About midnight I woke my husband and we went to the hospital. My labor was, again, drug free and controlled, and THIS time I had my wits about me! When they wheeled me in the delivery room they asked if there was anything I needed and I told them to make sure they had that tub or warm water ready for my baby to be placed in following delivery, and I asked them to move the mirrors until they were just right so I could watch this child’s entrance into the world. After 6 hours total of labor, on September 12, 1984 at 3:03 a.m. my second daughter was born, and I watched every inch of her sweet little body spin into the doctor’s hands. Immediately the basin of warm water was rolled up to my bedside and a nurse placed her in the tub so only her little head was out of the water. She opened her great big beautiful eyes and blinked and started turning her little head to scan the lights and movement she was catching. I had accomplished what I originally set out to do, and this was a most satisfying moment of motherhood! She was 7 pd 10.5 oz and absolutely perfect. 

I got three days in the hospital with this one, and wanted to go home so she could meet her big sister. When the two little girls met the bond was formed. No matter how I tried to stop her, I still often found the oldest IN the baby’s bassinet cuddling her head or body! These two were best of friends growing up, always each others playmates and confidantes. I tried to do too much when I first went home, remembering not long ago how wonderful I’d felt after first birth. Again, we walked our little town in the beautiful fall, but I tired more quickly and cramped more often. I nursed again, but this little gal was trying to eat every hour it seemed! 

Looking back, I probably should have given her a pacifier because in retrospect I know she was seeking comfort, and the suckling helped her. I only lasted a couple of months, because I was chasing a toddler around and got frustrated nursing constantly. It wasn’t probably what was best for her, but only what was more convenient for me.

Kadie's Birth Story-September 24, 1983 (Drug Free)

Birthing Story Part I: Kadie's birth
Part I: Kadie’s birth

I want to share my birthing stories because I was fortunate to give birth to all three of my daughters what I consider to be entirely “drug free”.

Early February 1983 I went to work at 6:00 a.m. as usual, but this day I had a swollen upper lip for no apparent reason. Within the hour the swelling had spread to the rest of my face, and I could barely breath because my lip was over my nostrils, and could barely see as my eyes were slits. My boss (also a dear old friend) referred me to her family doctor as I was new in town and didn’t have a doc yet. They got me in immediately, and the first test they did was a pregnancy test. Lo and behold, I was pregnant and the swelling was most likely from hormone overload! LIFE ADJUSTMENT! I felt as if I’d grown up emotionally overnight! Priorities changed, and I welcomed the life inside me. This pregnancy progressed with no complications. The thing I like about my doctor was that he was a family practitioner who cared for your family from birth to death, and he believes strongly in noninvasive medicine if possible. So there were no sonograms, no ultrasounds, no prenatal screenings, etc. My husband and I attend natural childbirth classes of the Lamaze method. Lamaze was a French OB who advocated controlled breathing techniques to help mothers cope with labor. The Lamaze philosophy of birth stipulates that "birth is normal, natural, and healthy" and that "women have a right to give birth free from routine medical interventions." This was what I wanted… a drug free labor and delivery achieve by using controlled breathing techniques, and I wanted to watch the baby’s delivery through the use of mirrors in the delivery room, and I wanted my newborn to be immediately cradled in a tub of warm water after her birth to simulate the womb for peace and comfort.
On September 24th at 7:00 a.m. I had my first contraction in the bathtub. My husband was gone somewhere, so I called my big sis, and she came to get me and take me to the hospital. I walked to a labor room, and my sis stayed with me. Someone got the message to my husband, and he arrived shortly after I did. Sometime early afternoon we sent my husband out to get a bite to eat and some fresh air because he was just sitting in a chair against the wall and his face was nearly as white as the paint behind him! He went to a nearby bar and ate a bite, had a couple of beers and watched the beloved Illini play! I did have back labor for a while, and the nurse had me get on my hands and knees and rock. They did give me an enema, and an IV port was placed in my hand as a precaution, but I think that happened a lot in the 80’s. Somewhere during all this my husband came back. By the way, my older sister had three children, and she coached me through my entire labor. She was awesome, and she was my DOULA in every sense of the word, helping focus me to breath, offering suggestions for comfort, rubbing my back, giving me ice chips, trying to make my husband comfortable by talking to him, etc.. When I had the urge to push they checked and found the baby ready to be delivered, so they wheeled me into the delivery room. I was so nervous being the first time, and I forgot everything I wanted for the baby and myself during delivery! I just laid there and did exactly what they told me to do, and she was born after just a few pushes. My fluid bag broke as her head crowned, and she slipped out without a problem completely clean except for a bit of bloody color on the crown of her little head because she had been in the bag of waters the entire time traveling through the birth canal, I guess. First contraction to delivery was 12 hours, as she was born September 24, 7:24 p.m., 6 pd. 10 oz., 19 in. long

I went home with this little gal two days later, and on the fourth day I was walking around in the beautiful fall weather with her in a front pack! I felt wonderful! And I had this sweet little baby girl to attend to. I nursed and we both got along well with that. I did not take birth control as I was nursing and had been told it was very unlikely I would bet pregnant when nursing. LIE! That is an old wive’s tale. In February 1984 I learned I was pregnant again, and this second child was due early September, just two weeks prior to my first child’s birthday! Irish twins, born less than 12 months apart. I began preparations for another precious child. But this time I was bound and determined in my stubbornness that it was going to be MY way!