Sunday, August 22, 2010

Natalie's Birth

With permission of the mom, I wanted to share a first time mom's birth story - in her own words.

"I was well past my due date, but there were no problems detected with the baby so my OB had let me schedule induction soon as she would be out of town. Up to that point I hadn’t felt any contractions or anything hinting that I was any closer to giving birth. I’d also been 50% effaced and 1+ cm dilated for over 2 weeks with no progress.

We were watching a movie Saturday night just before 11pm when my water broke. I had been planning to labor at home for as long as possible so this kind of threw a wrench in my plan. I couldn’t decide whether to rush to the hospital (as my OB recommended) or trust that since nothing looked bad (amniotic fluid was clear, etc.) and I had only mild contractions to try and labor at home for a while. Jon called our doula, Cyndi, and let her know what was going on and that I was unsure about whether to head to the hospital or not.

I got in the shower since many moms said they liked laboring in the shower, hoping to delay a bit, but standing through contractions was horrible. Jon encouraged me to call Cyndi and talk to her. We discussed everything and I decided to stay at home longer and see how things progressed. Having her reassurance and support was invaluable to me at that point! She asked that we call her by 7am if we were still at home but encouraged us to call her at any point during the night if we needed to.

Throughout the night, contractions continued to get stronger and more frequent but never consistently reaching 3 minutes apart, my goal that would have sent us to the hospital. I sat on the birth ball for most of the evening but was too nauseous to attempt any poses that might have turned my stomach. Although I was sure that I still had a long labor ahead of me (my contractions were bad when they were happening but still of an inconsistent frequency and I was prepared for much worse!) as the sun rose I felt I’d done as much as I could at home. (Since I was unable to even keep the water I was drinking down my concern was that I was becoming too dehydrated and needed to go to the hospital for an IV.) At about 7:10am, dad got in the shower while I called Cyndi to let her know that we were packing up the car and she said she would head out and meet us in at the hospital in about a half hour.

When we arrived at the hospital there was hardly anyone there and we were taken immediately to triage. My contractions had been coming faster since we’d arrived and when there was finally enough of a pause in my contractions for the nurse to check me she said I was already at 5-6 cm dilated! Surprised and relieved, she said she’d take us to labor and delivery do the paperwork once we got to our room. We got into our room about 8:15am and Cyndi arrived within a few minutes. She was excited to hear of our progress and began to help me get settled into the room.

After the IV hook up and initial monitoring I was allowed to get up and Cyndi encouraged me to try standing for a while to help the baby’s head progress further down. I hated this, but she promised it would be short lived and then I could move to the yoga ball. I continued to have nausea and threw up a couple more times—ice chips were no better than water—but with the IV I started to feel a little bit better. I focused on breathing through the contractions and moving rhythmically in circles sitting on the ball until I was given the ok to get into the bed for a little while. Cyndi wet a few washcloths for my forehead (I spent the whole time with my eyes covered with wet washcloths!) and she and dad held my hands as I continued to breathe/moan through contractions. The nurse came back to check me again and said I was at 8 cm and the baby was very low—hooray again! Every contraction after that I would focus on Cyndi’s soothing voice reminding me that this wouldn’t be too much longer and that I was doing really well and squeezing dad and Cyndi’s hands.

Things are a bit fuzzy but I do remember some discussion of calling my OB (who hadn’t left on vacation yet) and letting her know how close I was and the nurse setting up the bed while dad and Cyndi remained at my side. The contractions consumed my entire focus and it was so helpful to know what Cyndi meant without thinking about it when she said to use my yoga breath! With the washcloth over my eyes I could tune out most of what was going on around me and just focus on trying to stay relaxed and getting through each contraction one at a time. As the contractions continued to get more frequent, I really began to feel the urge to push and I heard one of the nurses ask if there was another doctor available in case my OB didn’t make it in time. I could tell things were moving fast but had no sense of time at that point. At one point, I was being told not to push and having Cyndi say “breathe like this…” and show me so that I just had to repeat what she was doing gave me something else to focus on and got me through that contraction.

My OB did arrive in time and I was finally able to push. The fast pace of the contractions did not give me much of a break between pushing but it wasn’t until Cyndi said “push where you feel pressure” that I could tell I was making real progress. I’m told it was only about 30 minutes of pushing but it was one of the most intense things to experience and the ring of fire is no joke! She came out fine despite the umbilical cord being wrapped around her leg three times. I made it through with only a first degree tear and Natalie was born at 10:44am.

My husband noted that we were barely in the hospital 3 hours before she was born—had we waited much longer we may have had an accidental home birth! I can’t say enough how enhanced our birth experience was by having Cyndi there—having Cyndi there as a calming, knowledgeable and experienced doula was a great resource from the moment we hired her and relieved undue amounts of stress off both Jon and I and our labor expectations. I wasn’t even committed to an unmedicated birth, but I’m so amazed that I was able to do it. Best of luck to all the mommies on a quick and easy labor and, more importantly, a happy healthy baby!"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Taking Care of Ourselves

Recently I had my sinuses affected by an airplane flight - a struggle I have dealt with before. The insistence of my nose to dominate my thinking reminded me that I had to take time to take care of myself. So long nights of sleep, relaxed days, plenty of fluids - all efforts to get well were started.

It reminded me that as moms or even moms-to-be, we can try to ignore the signals our body gives us to take care of ourselves. It is so easy to put our own needs on the bottom of a long list. Everything seems like a priority in our lives - the job - the house - the bills - the family - what gets neglected when we don't feel well? So often we just plow ahead and ignore our body's needs.

But if we are not at our best, we can't give our best to others. So the next time you get a wake up call to take an extra nap - have a long relaxing bath - or just get a massage - why not place taking care of yourself at the top of the list? I highly recommend it.....back to resting for me......