Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tonchi's Story

Good morning Mamas!

Am I the only person who always thinks of a Mother's labor on Labor Day weekend?!
I have another Birth Story to share with you today - enjoy!

Tonchi's Story
written by Bethanie

I guess it all started about a week before he decided to arrive. Exactly one week before, I started having a few contractions on our way home from Ocean City, MD. They weren’t anything regular or painful, so probably just Braxton Hicks, but I hadn’t had any of these the whole pregnancy.

Then the next day I lost my mucus plug and continued having small contractions throughout the day and night, but nothing with consistency. Over that same weekend I continued to have contractions off and on. I then decided to go to work come Monday and continued through Tuesday and Wednesday. Each day at work was fine and I had no problems working, just feeling a little more tired than usual.

Thursday morning I was up bright and early. I wasn’t supposed to work until 11am, but I was up at 6:00 am. My water broke! At first I just thought I had had an accident, since I hadn’t gotten up to go to the restroom in a few hours. But… as more time passed I was sure labor had started and that it was my water that had broken! Brian went ahead and left for work around 7 and he promised to have his phone nearby in case things started to pick up! Well, they did! By 7:30 I was having contractions about 5 minutes apart. I called Peggy the midwife at 8am and she said to keep her updated. I also called Brittany (sister), Tyler(God-mother-to-be) and Michelle (best childhood friend) to make plans for coming over. None of them answered their phones, so I wasn’t sure if we would have anyone here! I also called Brian to turn around and come home. He had just gotten to the office! While he was on his way home, I started changing the sheets on the bed and putting the plastic underneath.

Also the birthing pool wasn’t yet set up, so I started working on that until the contractions got too strong and I couldn’t. By the time Brian got home, contractions were about 3 minutes apart and I was lying on the bed upstairs. Brian agreed to finish setting up the pool, but he hadn’t watched the video with the instructions, so I came back downstairs to tell him how to do it. Finally, we had it set up and started running the water to fill it up!

Brian tried calling all of the ladies again, including Peggy and told them it was about time that they come. Tyler and Peggy arrived around 11:00 and Brittany arrived around 12:00 with Michelle.

By that time my contractions were about 1 minute apart – I think – if I can remember correctly and they had gotten pretty strong. By 12:30 they had the pool filled and I went downstairs to try it out. It was about 110 degrees and was quite warm. Brian didn’t get in right away because it was too hot. The midwives as well agreed that it was too hot and the ladies (Tyler, Brit and Michelle) started taking hot water out of the pool and adding cold water. I kept asking for cold wash cloths for my hair and face, but I didn’t want to get out of the water because it was so relaxing. Tyler had made some labor aide which tasted like lemonade with honey. There was also magnesium in to help give me some energy. Brittany had brought Stromboli for lunch and I had some of that as well. It really tasted good at the time! Labor continued to get stronger over the next few hours.

When Peggy checked me to see how dilated I was at 1:30 I was only 4 cm. I was hoping for more than that, but I just reminded myself that it really didn’t matter!

Around 3:00 she checked me again and I was 9 ½ cm dilated! YEAH!!!! I was really having a rough time though. I really felt nauseated and the contractions were very hard. Peggy tried to push the last little piece of cervix out of the way, but it just didn’t want to budge. One of the midwife students had me walk up and down the stairs and then hang around Brian’s neck to try and help the baby move down. I know I was complaining that “I can’t do this any more. I’m done. I’m out of energy.” The midwives also gave me a few herbal medicines to try and help me relax and give me more energy to keep pressing on. I know I really didn’t want to do it any more, but I kept reminding myself of the options. If I wanted pain relief then it would have to be an epidural and I really didn’t want that, and if I wanted to be done, then I would have a C- section and would have to go to the hospital and I definitely didn’t want that. So… the only other option was to suck it up and continue on.

Through the entire labor Brian was incredible. There is no way I could have done it without him. He was very encouraging and very compassionate. I never felt like he was patronizing or talking down to me or making fun of me. He knew what to say when and what to do to help me relax and help me to continue on. He was by my side the entire time and was in the pool with me the whole time as well. I do plan on having a home birth again, only if he will be there. I could never have done it without him, and that is the truth!

I labored on the toilet upstairs for a while as well and for the last 30 minutes the contractions were a lot less frequent and I got some much needed rest. Then I just knew the baby had moved down. I felt and could barely touch the top of his head and then more of the amniotic fluid came out as well. It was nearly 6 0’clock. 3 hours of transition is really hard, but by God’s grace I made it!

I went back downstairs to finish laboring in the pool. As soon as I got in, I started to feel like I was ready to push. After 20 minutes of pushing, baby boy Tonchi was born! We sat in the pool for probably the next hour. Peggy said she didn’t think she had any other mothers stay in the water for that long afterwards. I wanted to deliver the placenta in the pool to help keep the mess all in one place. After holding Tonchi for probably 30 minutes the cord was cut by Brian and I started to breastfeed him to help pass the placenta. Within 30 minutes it was out and we had a biology lesson from Peggy. Brenda got in on it too.

Breanne and Brenda (other two sisters) arrived soon after the baby was born. Dad actually showed up around 5:30 and didn’t want to come in, but dropped off pizza, sushi, and salad for us for dinner. He then went home, and once Tonchi was born he and Mom came back.

The rest of that evening we had a lot of visitors! I felt GREAT! The midwives left around 9:30 and before they left they checked us both out and gave us instructions for the next couple of days. They said I tore in about 3 places, but nothing that needed stitches. In no way would I say that the labor was easy, but I’m so glad I was able to give birth at home. After a long day of hard work, it was so nice to be able to sleep with my husband and our new son in our own bed. God has certainly blessed us with a healthy beautiful baby. We think he is just perfect! We are so excited for this change in our lives and all that we have to learn and enjoy.

Tonchi's mama, Bethanie, has a wonderful blog, Green and Grateful, where she writes about her days spent as a mama to her four beautiful children, frugal living, delicious food and homeschooling. Stop by and say 'hi!'

If you are interested in sharing your Birth Story here on the Radiant Birth blog, feel free to Contact Me.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Audrey's Story

I'm excited to use the Radiant Birth blog to share Birth Stories. 

Because each birth is as different and unique as each Mother and Baby, each of these stories will be as different from each other as could be. One thing each story will share though is how important each and every one is. There is no right or wrong way to birth; just different and unique!

Audrey's Birth Story
written by Jenni

 After our extremely successful, textbook perfect unmedicated hospital birth of our first daughter in August 2009, Scott (Jenni's husband) and I decided that we’d like a home birth this time around. We found an incredible midwife, Karen, who was willing to work with us, despite my Type 1 diabetes, and are so thankful we did. I am pretty convinced that if we hadn’t done a home birth, Audrey would have been born in a car on the side of Route 66 because of how fast labor was and because it happened during the morning rush hour.

On the evening of November 4th, I started having some timeable Braxton-Hicks style contractions. At one point, they were coming every 3 minutes for an hour. Because my midwife lives over an hour away, and because I was already at least 5 cm dilated, 70% effaced, I got a little nervous and called her. She was at another birth, nearly 2 1/2 hours away from me when I talked to her, and that made me really nervous. If this baby was coming now, she would probably come fast and I wasn't interested in an unassisted child birth. Soon after I got off the phone with her, my contractions stopped completely. She went ahead and found a backup midwife just in case, and around 10 or 11 pm, we went to bed.

I had a hard time falling asleep and the baby was moving lots. I was worried I wouldn't sleep at all, so I listened to two Hypnobabies scripts and eventually fell asleep, probably around 1 am. At 5:15 am I awoke and was having some mild cramping. I timed them for 15 minutes, and decided to text my doula, Aimee (who lives much closer than Karen). She said it sounds like labor, and unless Karen says otherwise, she's going to head to our house. I called Karen and she also decided to head out, given the traffic in this area and how far she was from me.

At 6:00, I woke Scott up and told him what was going on and asked him to get the birth pool set up. I went downstairs to the basement to shower so he could use the upstairs bathroom to set up the pool. During my shower, things got a lot more intense - it went from regular cramping to "I have to breathe through these" contractions.

After my shower I went upstairs. I felt very unsettled, like I didn't know what to do, and told Scott this. We made the bed with old sheets and a waterproof layer, and I laid down and listened to a Hypnobabies script. This script lasted about an hour, and at some point during the script, I asked Scott to call our chiropractor and good friend, and Aimee also came in. Our chiropractor showed up soon after and gave me an adjustment - that was heavenly!

Scott kept offering me food - I agreed to toast, but once it was cooked, I didn't want any. I wasn't hungry at all, though I did drink water. At this point in my memory, things really get fuzzy, and time stops making sense. I think I laid on the bed for a while after my Hypnobabies script finished, just breathing through the contractions. Aimee offered to listen to the baby if I wanted to, but the baby was moving and I didn't want to be interrupted, so I didn't ask her to.

At some point, I moved to the floor, to try using my birth ball. I think I tried sitting on it, and that wasn't comfortable. I also tried kneeling on the floor, leaning the front half of my body over the ball. This was OK for a little while, until I figured out that it was making my contractions more intense because the ball was pushing on the top of my belly. I think Karen arrived while I was on the floor, but she didn't interrupt me (bless her!) - I assume she got the information she needed from Aimee and from Scott. Once I was on the floor, I needed Scott to put counterpressure on my back/SI joints. I was grateful that the fan in our room was on and blowing on me while I was on the floor, too, because I was quite warm. Scott gave me a few bites of applesauce, but I still wasn't hungry.

Then, all of a sudden, I NEEDED to be in the birth pool. It wasn't completely full yet, but it was close enough. I stripped down to just my bra, and got in. (I think I was in transition, or nearing it, at this point, but I was never checked during labor, so I don't know). The water felt great. I sat on my bottom, leaning back against the edge of the pool, letting my arms float. I did this for a while, and at some point, Aimee suggested I try leaning over the edge of the pool while kneeling. I tried this position, and it really hurt my lower back, but I realized I did want to lean forward. I then got on hands and knees in the water, and Aimee massaged my lower back in between contractions and applied counter pressure during contractions. I stayed like this for a little while, and things were really getting intense. I started having feelings of "when will this be over?!", "how much longer?!", "I want drugs!", and a little of "I can't do this any more". To cope, I told myself "this one isn't so bad" and "I can get through this one". At one point, I said out loud "I'm scared", but it wasn't the traumatizing fear that I experienced during this stage of my first daughter's birth. And then my body started pushing. I kept my mouth open and said "Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh" through the contractions, as I had read in Ina May's book. Soon after I started pushing, my water broke. I thought it was her head emerging and was disappointed to find out that it wasn't. When her head did start to emerge, I said "ring of fire!" and I think this was the point where I started actively pushing, instead of just letting my body do it, though this might have started earlier. Once her head was out, I still had work to do to get her shoulders out. They were never stuck or anything, but it was obvious to me that this baby was bigger than my first. Once her shoulders were out, it wasn't much more effort to get the rest of her out. I don't remember turning over, but soon I was sitting on my bottom again, holding my baby. You can tell in the photos that I was totally out of it. It took a few seconds for me to sort of "realize" that I was holding a baby, and to look at her.

She was really gray and not breathing, so Karen rubbed her chest. She let out a cry, and we knew she was perfect. I sat with her in the water for a short time, then decided I wanted to get out. This was pretty awkward because a.) I hadn't delivered the placenta yet, b.) I was holding a newborn baby, and c.) I was weak from the delivery. But, we made it out of the pool and into the bed, where we waited for what seemed like a long while, but I'm guessing was around 15 minutes, for me to deliver the placenta. I had a small tear that required 2 stitches - much smaller than my first birth, despite this baby being nearly 1.5 lbs heavier and 3 inches longer than my first!

Audrey Veronica was born at 9:37 am weighing 8 lbs 12 oz, 21 1/4 inches long, and had a 14 3/8 cm head covered in dark brown (nearly black) hair! No wonder I felt the ring of fire this time!

If you are interested in sharing your Birth Story here on the Radiant Birth blog, feel free to Contact Me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Post-Partum Doula Mama

I am the wearer of quite a few different hats, Mama being one, Post-Partum Doula being the other.

It is a cliche, yes!, but becoming a mother, in 2008, felt like 'coming home'. I've been blessed to work in several different fields, including Social Media Consultant, yoga instructor, Montessori Directress and Director of a local non-profit, but honestly, I think being a parent, a mama, is the bee's knees! 

My Good Man and I with our first child, aged 18 hours.

I remember thinking, in those first heady days of parenthood, just how overwhelming everything was. Those days when just showering and eating something warm was a huge accomplishment! I wished I had been able to enjoy my 'babymoon' more; honestly, I wished I had a Post-Partum Doula to come and look after me.My own journey as a parent has seen quite a few curve balls, that have prepared me well for a wide variety of Doula situations. I had a natural delivery at a local birthing center, followed by an emergency Cesarian section at a hospital. I nursed my first child without a hitch, while my second breastfeeding experience was pocked with difficulties and struggles. I am also the mother of fraternal twins; a curve ball indeed.

I was also fortunate to be invited to serve on Reston Hospital's Mother and Baby Patient and Family Advisory Council, while Reston Hospital worked towards becoming a Baby-Friendly Hospital. I held this position for just over one year.

Originally from Leicester, in England, I have lived in the Northern Virginia area for nearly twenty years. When left to my own devices I will most likely be found outdoors with a book in my back pocket, or curled up on the sofa enjoying a cup of tea.