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It's on! - Sharing our Birth Stories

I was snuggling 3 and half month old Jack this morning and thinking about the wild day that was his "birth" day. I love birth stories because they are the powerful end of one story and the beginning of another.  Although, I am moved daily in extreme ways by our kids (some wonderful and some frustrating), I find that there are very few moments in life that pack as much love, pain, drama, anticipation, joy, fear than giving birth.  So, in the spirit of sharing, I thought I would share Jack's story as told by my husband (this was an email we sent out to friends and fam after Jack was born - it's a bit long, but most people enjoyed it)...

"Yesterday Monica and I brought home the second (and presumably last) installment in the Colby clan... Jack Stratford Colby was born at 8:52pm on August 24th weighing 7lbs 7oz and stretching out to 19 3/4 inches. Once again I have been reminded of the awesome might of the female of the species. Monica was incredible and umm well, let's just get to the details... First, just let me say to those that had know idea Monica was even pregnant... I'm sorry for not keeping you in the loop. We aren't living on a commune in Oregon, just the burbs in Beaverton and we've got phones and email and all that stuff so there's really no excuse.

Anyway, on to the story... It was a hot and sunny day (yes even in Oregon) and I went to work and Monica headed off to our old neighborhood to pick up rice and beans for Jack's big sister. Good Mexican food is hard to come by and Ella's favorite food comes from a little Taqueria on Alberta Street. About half way to the joint Monica starts feeling the pain. She calls me crying and says she thinks it's on... but she's going to pick up the beanies anyway?! I tell her to call the doctor and then call me back. Meanwhile I'm stuck out on the sales floor trying to outfit some people for a backpacking trip and trying to figure out how I'm going to get my boss back early from Portland so I can leave the store. Luckily he walks in moments later and I head back to the office as I hear a page for me to take a call on line 7... that's the basically the bat phone for those in the know.

It's Monica and she has confirmed with the doctors that it is on! We need, I repeat NEED, to get to the hospital asap.

I hopped in my truck and headed off to meet her at home... Wow, this is getting long... let's see what I can do... okay, so I get home and she's sitting in a chair mid contraction and crying a little bit. Ella's looking a little confused but not so worried that she feels inclined to stop playing with the zippers on the bag Monica has packed. I scoop them all up, grab the camera and we all head off to the hospital...

it's 6:30pm. In the car there is no doubt that it truly is ON! and I'm only slightly worried we are going to have to name him Chevy. After a little traffic and a completely oblivious flagman we make it to the emergency room door. Ella and I run Monica inside and then go park the car. We meet her on the 12th floor and she's hooked up to all the monitors and mid contraction yet again... it's just past 7pm. I have to say, Ella was quite helpful and kept patting her Mom and handing her ice to chew... but it wasn't our plan to have her see "everything" go down.

We called a friend, thank you Erin, who was able to drop everything and pick her up. So Ella ended up having a sleep over with Erin and her daughter Peyton. Okay, so back to the pregnant woman... she has already decided she's got nothing to prove after last time, so bring on the epidural, drugs anything that will make the pain go away. There's just one small problem... it's too late. Sorry babe. They did attempt to give Monica some narcotics to dull the pain, but she ripped out her I.V. almost immediately during a contraction and nobody noticed until afterwards. So, once again it was au naturale.

Needless to say, it progressed quickly from there... she went from 5cm to 10cm dialated in 30 minutes. It layman's terms that means the contractions were gnarly! She screamed, she cursed, she made everyone laugh a couple times and she nearly broke my hand and wrist... but in the end, she pushed out a beautiful baby boy less than 2 hours after arriving at the hospital. We named him Jack after no one in particular, but there are a few we could think of... and Stratford after his grandfather Dave who was helping out from up above. We are all home now and Monica's mom Ginger is here helping out, thank you Ginger. Ella seems to be getting used to the idea of a little brother and has given him a bunch of kisses. And in the very least she's not trying to drag him outside..."

That's it! Big sister Ella's birth was about as quick and just as great?!?! If you have a crazy and/or beautiful you'd like to share - let's hear it!

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Monica that's a great birth story. I loved the "beanies" and the bat phone. Can't wait to meet Jack & Ella.

Damn! You were made for birthing babies! That's fantastic. I know it must've been so scary and painful with it happening that fast (a good friend of mine is the same way) but it must feel good to know you did it all on your own.

I'm totally envious since I wasn't even AWAKE for my daughter's birth. I was two weeks late, Emma was a big baby and so I had to be induced. The stuff they gave me (pitocin?) was supposed to gradually get things moving. Instead I was in the throes of full-fledged crazy labor withing a half hour. The contractions were incredibly strong and there were no -and I mean no - rest periods in between. Right from the beginning. It was just one after another, after another... Even the nurses were shocked.

I tried to stick it out without drugs for about 3 hours but I hadn't progressed even 1 mm let alone 1 cm. So I got the drug. But that just took the edge off for maybe a half an hour and it was back to mind-boggling misery with no end in sight.

So after about 2 hours I went for the epidural thinking, maybe my body's just too stressed by the pain to let things get going. But right after I got the epidural her heart rate dropped. The doctor on call got worried and wanted to do a c-section. But when the anethestisiologist heard this he got upset because he said the scar tissue from my back surgery (10 years earlier to "fix" my scoliosis) would likely prevent the pain killer from spreading far up enough in my body. He was right. He tried several times but the numbness wouldn't spread beyond the base of my ribs. So, the only other option was to be put out completely.

Sadly, my doctor didn't forsee this, even though he knew of my surgery. Everyone knows there's always a chance you'll end up with a c-section. But I had no idea there was a possibility that I wouldn't be awake for it.

It was very very strange to wake up from the dead and be handed a baby who, they say, is yours. It was so surreal. My first thought was, "Baby? What baby?" As you might imagine, bonding wasn't immediate. And the recovery from the general anesthetic was physically hard. My body was on slo-mo. And it took five days for my milk to come in. My big, hungry, two-weeks-overdue baby was having none of it!

All that being said, I'm so thankful to have given birth in 2003 and not 1903. I wouldn't have survived it and neither would Emma. It turned out the cord was wrapped around her neck, which might be why she wasn't dropping and things weren't dialating. Plus, my doctor said he thought my hips were too narrow anyway. Although, one look in the mirror tells me otherwise! But if he's right, then I have no hope of ever being awake for any future births (if I have any). That thought is a bit depressing. But in the end I have to remind myself that how my baby gets into the world is not as important as her actually being in it.

I'm a new dad here in Portland. My partner and I chose a birthing center, and you can read the birthing story at my blog. Just click my name below.

My son was a week overdue and we were scheduled to be induced that Monday (which I did NOT want.) Thankfully, I went into labor on Thursday night, so I labored through the night at home...and then all day Friday and by Friday night, I hadn't slept in 24 hours, we headed to the hospital. My contractions had been less than 15 minutes apart the full 24 hours so I thought I would at least be at 4-5 cm...no such luck. When they checked, I was barely at a 2. So, we walked and walked and walked around the hospital until it got too intense for me to move much. 4 hours later - 3 cm. I think because I was so exhausted, sleep deprived and in so much pain, I don't remember much of the next few hours. My husband said I was vomiting, halucinating, and barely making it through each contraction. Basically, after 30+ hours of pain and no sleep, all the birthing methods and tricks we learned went flying out the window. After 36 hours of labor - 4 cm! I could finally get the epidural! I had planned to go as long as I could without any drugs but by 36 hours of 1-15 minute apart contractions, I was ready for some relief!

The epidural was amazing and I was able to sleep while my body worked. I progressed to 8.5 centimeters over the next 6 hours and then my body never moved from there. I stayed at 8.5 for two hours and my contractions were so strong I could feel pain even with my epidural. So, after 45.5 hours of labor and getting stuck at 8.5, my son was born via c-section. He had a very large bruised cone on his head from being in the birth canal for so long.

It was a rough trip, but I'm so thankful we both ended up being completely fine and healthy! For my second son, I went with a planned c-section because I didn't want to go through all of that again! :)

we had a homebirth with our second... her birth story is here: http://beanandsprout.blogspot.com/2006/06/how-ivy-entered-her-world.html

this is a great topic!

My son just turned 5 this week and it's been an emotional birthday for me. I've been thinking a lot about his birth, looking at pictures, and finally putting together his baby book. I won't share the whole story, but just one part that I remember. Because the hospital was so full, I had to stay the night (my son was born at 6:30 in the a.m.) in a shared room - only the other bed was empty. Even so, hospital rules were strict and my hub couldn't spend the night with me. Funny, that I didn't really care (I know he did, and says how strange it was to be home alone without me and new babe, but, as you can imagine, I was focused on other things). Before leaving for home he put Joni Mitchell's Blue in the CD player and I fell asleep with my barely day old little babe on my chest. I woke up a couple of times and instead of feeling lonely I felt like I was in this amazing place. Almost like the whole world had stopped and it was just me and my new baby. I just about cry every time I think about it. I really feel like that was important bonding time for me and my baby...

Here is my birth story of my second born child. My son, Dexter:

I loved being pregnant. Being pregnant to me was a privilege and I respected my body like I never had before in my life. I knew that I would have a natural childbirth with my son, just as I did with my daughter 2 ½ year prior. Although, this time, it would be faster and easier…right?

I was 13 days overdue…according to my doctor…and was getting pressured into scheduling my induction. I did not want an induction as I knew that my baby would make his way out when he was good and ready. My doula and I were talking and I decided to try acupuncture to see if that would help get things started…nothing…I tried almost everything in the book(even sex)…and he just wasn’t ready…yet…

It was a Saturday evening and my husband and I decided to go out to dinner, relax and enjoy an evening together as we both knew it wouldn’t be long until our little guy was here. We had my mother in law come over to watch my 2 1/1 year old daughter while we were out. We went to Henry’s downtown and there was a 1 ½ hour wait. We waited. As we waited, I started feeling some cramping and before long I realized that these were contractions! We finally sat for dinner and every so often, I would have a contraction. I wasn’t too overly excited as they weren’t very regular. We went home and asked my mother in law if she could just spend the night…just in case. About 10:00 that night, my contractions were getting a bit stronger and a bit more regular—even if about 10 minutes apart. This continued throughout the night. About 3 am, we went downstairs and continued to labor while watching tv and trying to rest. I called my doula and she told me to hang in there as my contractions were still at least 8 minutes apart. At 8:00 am, they were getting stronger and closer together. I called my doula again and we all headed to the hospital. I was SO hoping it was all real and I was going to have my little guy that day! I got checked in and was 4 cm dilated! I was so excited…this second baby thing was easier and faster!! Yay for me!
They got me a room; I kept my own clothes on as I knew I wasn’t going to be lying in any bed. My contractions were getting stronger and I knew that if I wanted this baby to come today, I need to WORK! It was a beautiful March day; indeed, we asked if we could go outside to walk around the parking lot. We were told that we shouldn’t. We insisted and were granted the opportunity as long as we checked back in to get monitored. We agreed. We spent so much time outside that day; we made so many laps around that parking lot. I labored, leaned on my husband, cried, walked, squatted…for what seemed like a really long time. I was checked again around 2:00 pm. I was 6 cm dilated and still feeling pretty good. The contractions were getting harder, but I had prepared myself and breathed my way through them. I was kind of concerned that I only progressed 2 cm in 6 hours…but again, this wasn’t all up to me. They wanted to hook me up to an IV. I refused. I had been drinking enough water and Gatorade that I knew I was not dehydrated. They wanted to at least give me a hep lock. For what? So, I had to pee in the bucket and have my pee monitored for dehydration. That was fine, I knew I was fine.
I labored for a very very very long time. At 10:00 that night, I was barely 8 cm. I honestly couldn’t believe that I hadn’t had my baby yet. I was tired. Exhausted. My contractions were miserable. I never knew such pain existed. I was in and out of the shower a dozen times. I leaned over the sink. I moaned. I groaned. I begged my little guy to just come out. I cried for help. I then realized that no one around me could help me anymore. I needed to find it inside myself. I needed to connect to my baby like I never had before and allow myself to have this baby. I did just that. All the lights were out in the room, I asked my husband and my doula’s to just let me be. They wanted to help me so badly, but I couldn’t even stand to have a single finger even touching anyplace on my body. Everyplace hurt, every single inch of me was experiencing pain that I could have never ever imagined. I remember spending so much time just leaning over the sink in the hospital room, my feet were killing me. I moaned like an animal and it felt good. I felt myself opening up and my baby moving down. It hurt. At one point, I almost gave up. I knew I could do it. This was an experience to me, not a procedure and I knew, I had been preparing myself to do it and I knew I could. About 1:30 in the morning (yes, the next day) I was finally checked for the last time. I didn’t need anyone telling me it was time to push. I already had my baby telling me that and I knew it was time. I told the nurse that I am going to push and she told me to wait to get the dr. I told her no, I’m not waiting; it is time for me to have my baby.
Out of pure exhaustion, I climbed up on the hospital bed that I had only been in for about a total of 30 minutes the entire time I was at the hospital. I lay on my side, my husband was on one side of me and my doula was on the other. I didn’t care who else was in the room because it didn’t matter to me. I pulled my leg up, screamed at the top of my lungs, and pushed like I knew exactly what I was doing. I didn’t know…but my body did. It burned. It hurt. I cried and screamed. I had to dig deeper than I had ever dug before. This was the end…I was about to meet my baby. I reached down, touched my baby’s head for the first time and I honestly believe that we decided together at that moment in time that he was truly ready. I only pushed for about 15 minutes and out he came. I pulled him up to me as the nurses were trying to clean him and take him away. I resisted as I wanted to feel my baby in the moment for the first time. I did. It was amazing. He was beautiful and big. They briefly took him. He weighed 9 pounds and 15 ounces. Yes, he was big. I immediately started breastfeeding and he ate as if he knew exactly what he was doing…and he did. Just as I knew exactly what I was doing the whole entire 28 hours of my labor.
No drugs, no wires, no “instructions”. That was an experience…

Thanks for letting me share our story. I love being pregnant, and I absolutely love talking about giving birth to our daughter, even now 2 ½ years later. I am so nostalgic, and feel like it went by so fast that I just love to talk about it.

We were living in Los Angeles, and on Sunday, the day before our due date, I first started feeling very mild contractions. I didn’t realize these were contractions until I felt stronger ones the next day. They were feeling like menstrual cramps. I had also just lost my mucous plug a couple of days ago, and also on that day had been having some blood in the mucous.

All day Monday, I was feeling contractions. I tried to keep busy and active. So I started out the day cleaning up our garden. At about noon I said to my husband that these contractions are coming somewhat regularly, our baby is going to be coming soon! We had a lunch of left over pizza, then went grocery shopping, then went for a hike. It felt so good to be out and moving around. Every time a contraction came, I had to stop and regroup, but we were having fun and were very excited. It was our last day out not being parents!

We called our doula in the afternoon to give her the heads up that soon we were having a baby. The weird thing was that the contractions never spaced out more than 3 or so minutes apart. I was wondering where was the break we’re supposed to get between contractions.

Towards evening the contractions were getting stronger and stronger. I tried to take a nap at around 6 pm, because I knew at this point that I would be up all night, but I couldn’t sleep because the contractions were coming too quick and were painful.

I had a little dinner, then, around 8:30 pm we went for a walk around the block. Every contraction I had to sit on something to ease the pain. We tried to go to bed around 10 but couldn’t sleep. At 11:20 pm I told my husband, call our doula, I need her now!! The contractions were really painful by this point, and still about 2 to 3 minutes apart. I labored sitting on the bed as having pressure on my butt during contractions was the most comfortable.

At about midnight, my water broke. Every contraction after that I felt a gushing of water, and this kind of freaked me out and I started feeling so out of control. I didn’t realize that it would keep gushing like that. Luckily a few minutes later our doula arrived. Although the contractions were so close together, she said there was still a lot of work to do. Soon after, I had to run to the bathroom and vomit. To clean up, I got in the shower, and stayed there for about an hour. The warm water felt so good! During contractions I supported myself on my hands and knees to relax, then between I got up and let the warm water hit my belly. This is where I went through transition. I cried between and after contractions, said that I don’t know if I can do this. I also started getting the urge to push. At this point, about 2 am, our doula said it’s time to go to the hospital. Luckily the hospital is only about 10 minutes away since now I felt the urge to push with every contraction.

At the hospital I walked to the room. The security and nurses kept asking if I wanted a wheelchair, but it was much more comfortable walking as fast as I could between contractions to get there. Once they got me set up in a room, they measured my cervix. I was really having such strong urges to push, I though I had to be at 10! But no, I was only at about 8. I was so disappointed! (of course looking back now I know that I was lucky, it could have been so much worse!) And the baby was really low, at about +2, so that was why I was having such a strong urge to push.

For about an hour I labored with such a strong urge to push and not being able to. This was the worst, because I couldn’t relax during the contractions. I felt I had to tighten everything up not to push. I moaned and panted like crazy to keep from pushing. Finally, after an hour, I reached 10 and was able to push. By this time my doctor had arrived (who I absolutely love!). She massaged and applied oil while I was pushing. The pushing lasted only about an hour (because she was so low already).

The nurse had set up a mirror for me to watch the baby come out. It was such a beautiful and amazing experience to see her head emerge. First all I saw was a little patch of hair, then more hair, then her head. It was so wonderful! And I have to admit, I also was thinking how bizarre that there is a little baby coming out of me.

Finally, at 4:28 a.m. she came out! She was placed on my bare chest, and she was crying like crazy. We snuggled, then after a little while I put her to my breast and she latched on right away and started sucking. My husband was crying.

It was such an amazing experience. It hurt like all heck, but I got through it and I’m so glad that I was able to do it without any medications or interventions. At the time, and right after, I couldn’t imagine going through this again. But now, 2 ½ years later, I can’t wait to be pregnant again and have another baby. This time we want to have a homebirth with a midwife.

For me the really really hard part was after our daughter’s birth. Because the pain had been so great as I labored at home, going back home after leaving the hospital I felt almost like I was going back to the scene of a trauma or something. (I know that sounds terrible to say, but it was so intense). And then I had a really bad case of the baby blues which led to post partum anxiety. I had always been prone to being anxious about stuff, and having a baby made it so much worse. I worried about everything. I still do but I’m trying to keep it under control. I’m hoping that for the next one I will do better with that, especially now that we are living in this great city Portland. I can’t wait to be pregnant again! Thanks for letting me share!

My daughter was born 18 months ago. I had an incredibly easy pregnancy; I didn't even have morning sickness, I swam & did yoga, I even saw the Flaming Lips in concert (outdoors, in Bend) at 26 weeks. I was That Pregnant Chick. I felt strong & confident. My mom had always told me how she had had me in a tiny town in rural Montana, without the use of drugs, and the nurses were horrified that my parents started doing this weird breathing thing; they had never seen anybody do a Lamaze birth! I was convinced that I, too, would have an unmedicated childbirth.

At 31 weeks I just started feeling... bad. Achy, uncomfortable, anxious. I remember sitting on my friend's couch in his office and telling him how I felt like I was suddenly getting to that really awkward, uncomfortable, end-of-pregnancy stage, but felt like I still had so long to go. That Friday, I went for a swim, and swam very slowly and deliberately. We went out to dinner with friends, but I nearly canceled to just go home and lay down, but I wanted to meet my friend's new boyfriend, so we went out. When I stood up from the dinner table, I felt a gush. "Great" I thought, "Now I start peeing my pants." We went to bed, and I could feel my belly contracting, and the baby moving around a lot. At 3 am I wondered if I should wake my husband and say that we needed to go to the hospital, that something was wrong. I got up and had a glass of water, and laid back down, wondering what to do. I drifted in and out of sleep, feeling the baby kick & squirm & my belly tightening around her. On Saturday morning, I told my husband, and told him I wasn't sure what was going on. We called the midwife, and she told us to go to the hospital; we had planned on going to Good Samaritan, so we went there.

They strapped me to the monitors at the hospital, and I was having regular contractions that were 6 to 8 minutes long. No wonder I was exhausted! The baby's heartrate was dropping during every contraction, and it needed to stop, now. They gave me a shot of terbutaline, and did a fetal fibronectin test, which came back positive, a very bad sign. I was 1 cm dilated, and 85% effaced. After 8 hours at Good Sam, the contractions had slowed but not stopped, and we were transferred to St. Vincent's, since Good Sam doesn't have a NICU. We drove over the West Hills on Burnside, and it was kind of wonderfully lovely and calming to drive through the trees, not knowing what lay ahead, but it was just great to be in the car with my husband, who was so incredibly supportive that day, and in case I forget to say it later, he was incredible through this whole thing. :)

At St Vincent's we checked in, and I got another shot of Terbutaline, and the steroids to mature the baby's lungs; we talked with the OB (I had been switched to a fabulous OB in the same practice as my midwife, Dr. Robin Barrett) and our options were to go on Magnesium Sulfate to stop the contractions, and if that worked I'd be on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. Making it to 32 weeks would be great, that was only 2 days away. It would take 2 days to get the full effect of the steriods, which was extremely important. Making it to 35 or 36 weeks would be really wonderful. And of course there are plenty of women who go into preterm labor who manage to stop the contractions, and carry their pregnancy to 42 weeks and end up being induced! We hoped for that option. That first night was very stressful; at one point the baby's heart rate dropped very low, and the monitors were beeping and there were nurses holding an oxygen mask over my face. My husband held me as I sobbed "this is not how I wanted it to happen!" and it was all very very scary. Now I didn't even care about that crunchy, empowered unmedicated birth, I just wanted our baby to be okay.

The next day they hooked me up on the Magnesium Sulfate. It was awful. My vision was double. I was hot, like incredibly, awfully hot. I was only allowed to drink 24 oz of water in a 12 hour period, and I think I spent all of Sunday just watching the clock on the wall; when it would get to the hour, I'd drink 2 oz of water, and then watch that minute hand, in double, go all around the hour... I felt trapped in my body. Whenever I got up to go to the bathroom, I felt all this downward pressure on my cervix, and just knew that it was so close, that anything would break my water and then we'd really be fucked.

Eventually, the contractions stopped. On Tuesday, Dr. Barrett came by and she turned off the Mag. I came out of that crazy fog, and was feeling very good, very positive that I could do this, keep this baby in me for the next few days or weeks, or who knows, even months. I told jokes, I felt good. I had another ultrasound, and things with the baby were looking good; we thought about "peeking" (we didn't know the sex) but decided we wanted to keep that surprise.

Tuesday night I went to the bathroom and felt another gush. I called the nurse, who checked with a pH strip, and she said amniotic fluid would make it bright blue, but this just looked blue-ish. Well, dammit, my water had broken. I spent another night like the first, feeling waves of contractions and feeling the baby just writhing within them. The nurses gave me another shot of Terbutaline, to no avail. I had put one of those enormous pads in, and in the morning, it was soaked, with little flecks of green, which I just knew was mecomium. The nurse looked at it, and said, "oh, you guys, I'm really sorry..." and we hated her for her lack of tact.

Dr. Barrett arrived and tried to do an exam, but didn't even get to. As soon as she saw that my water had broken, she started prepping us for a C-section. Not only was I only 32 weeks, 2 days, the baby was breech; I could feel it's little noggin right under my ribs for weeks. My husband started throwing all of our junk into a cart, and they whisked me down the hall, passing all those pregnant ladies who had scheduled C-sections (sorry, girls!). When I got to the OR, they had the radio on, and totally by random chance, that Sarah McLachlan song was playing, that goes "you're in the arms of the angels, may you find some comfort here." I had been pretty cool about it up until then, but when I heard that song I proceeded to lose my shit. I sat on the operating table and cried for a while, and bent over my belly, saying goodbye to my pregnancy, and just felt so scared, not really knowing what would come next.

They put in the spinal, and my husband came in and held me. During our talks with the Dr., I told her that I wanted my husband to say whether it was a girl or boy, and he did! This was the one shred of our birth plan that actually happened. It was a girl, 3 lbs, 15 oz, and 17.5" long. Her apgar's were 8 & 9, and she came out howlin' mad. They flashed her at me quickly, and she was tiny and red and beautiful. We had a list of 3 names, and we both right away knew which one we wanted to choose for her. They whisked her off into the NICU, while chilled in the recovery room. After a couple of hours, they took me into the NICU, where I held her and nursed her for the very first time, among a lot of other teeny-tiny babies. I was angry, sad, felt guilty and apologetic, and was scared.

What happened after, well, this is getting long already... The short version is, I pumped a LOT. Every 3 hours, for weeks. It was horrible to go home without her, I screamed and cried on the trip home, and it tore me apart to have my baby taken care of by a revolving door of strangers. She spent 24 days in the NICU, and I cursed every woman who walked by, hugely pregnant, in labor. I felt robbed, and I mourned the lost end of my pregnancy.

Eventually, though, she came home, and thrived. Nursing a preemie is very difficult, but I managed to do so, and it went a long ways towards repairing my relationship with her, and with myself. She just weaned recently, at 16 1/2 months! She has absolutely thrived, and now you would never know she came early; she's in the upper percentiles for height and weight, and at 18 1/2 months, is just a sassy little toddler like any other.

Sorry this got so long. It's clearly still a very intense experience for me. But I wanted to share my story, because often you hear women talking about their birth experiences in terms of their body knowing what to do. For many women, this is absolutely true, and I'm glad women have the ability to give birth, safely, in a way that makes sense for them. For me, it wasn't. I felt like my extremely medicalized birth was absolutely necessary. 100 years ago, she could have easily died during this birth, or she could have been too small to nurse effectively. There are circumstances where a C-section is necessary, and where a doctor is an incredibly understanding and comforting presence. That said, I hope to never have to go through this again -- if we decide to have a 2nd child, well, I'll definitely have more of a trigger-finger on calling the midwife when I start feeling badly!

I, unfortunately, had a traumatic birth experience that ended in a c-section where the anesthesia failed and I could feel the surgery.

Click on my name to listen to the podcast of my birth story.

Went to my 38 week appt. and joked with the doctor about the fact that she was leaving town that weekend, and I didn't want ANYONE else delivering my baby, so I either had to go into labor that night (haha) or wait three weeks. I wasn't dilated, and no apparent contractions, so I figured it was back to the office the next day!

Got home at 6:15. Water broke in the classic TV-show style of one big gush at 6:45. Wondered why my whole family was freaking out, since it would surely be hours and hours before delivery, right? The carseat wasn't installed, no bags packed ... I kept telling everyone to relax as they rushed around. This is when my mother decides to share the fact that every woman in our family has very fast labors!

By 8:30 the contractions are 5 minutes apart, but I'm still talking and walking. We drive to the hospital, and in those 5 minutes things started really ramping up! I remember saying, "The contractions make the non-contracting moments really wonderful ..." I was most definitely in an altered state!

They didn't even get the IV into my arm - they tried, with me on a birthing ball, but when I gasped and said "WHOAAA!" the nurse just knew ... I had just felt like I'd dropped 20 feet on a roller coaster, with this strange whooshing motion both inside and outside of my physical self ...

No time for an epidural - my doctor got into the room, checked me once, said I was 9.75 cm and it was fine to push! So I did, for 20 minutes. My child was born 4 hours after my water broke.

I feel incredibly lucky - pure luck - that everything went so rapidly and so well. It was an amazing experience, just as motherhood continues to be.

I still don't know how to do a link, so I just copied and pasted our birth experience as I wrote it to my daughter. It is a little long winded.


~~~~~About Your Birth ~~~~

Let’s see, the whole story………I’d been sort of crampy for a couple of months with a case of Late Pregnancy, similarly resembling ‘Turista’, and causing some dis________(fill in the blank). And you are going, “ Mom, must you?” probably as you read this.

Scott (Papa) had gone to a show with his best friend, Mike. I was at home with another dear friend, Billy. Papa had him come over ‘just in case’. We were hangin out in the ‘Mans’ Room’, watching TV. And I kept having to go to the lieu. Nothing that unusual. I finally said good night. I was mostly just tired of walking up the stairs to the WC with limited lung capacity. Your Papa got home about half an hour later and tucked me in. It was about 3am. I told him, and I’m not sure where this came from, “You should probably go take a shower, You smell like a bar, And I might have to lean on you later. He did, immediately. Then, when he got out, he went straight downstairs and started organizing his tools, at 330 in the morning.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Earlier that night I’d had the rare chance of having that long winded conversation with my very busy best friend, Tiana. We talked from like 1130pm til 2am ~~~ And for the first time in my pregnancy, I voiced some of my fears, that hadn’t even really occurred to me until that day, earlier. ~~~ I was looking at some of your newborn clothes and they suddenly looked so HUGE, and I thought “ Oh, crap,” while I was looking around for an exit door. The day before, October 12th, I had finished all of my before baby projects, (washing curtains, putting all my pictures in photo albums, etc.). And so I was done…… ready…..and I had an idle day….to ponder….. I also realized that I had loved being pregnant with you, and what if I missed that feeling?

Tiana assured me that my love for you would be Way Larger than my love of being pregnant. And that my fears,…well, she always felt like that right before she went into labor. She said it with a nonchalance… And I guess it sort of gave me permission to go ahead and do this?

So, I slept between 330 and 530, but I felt sort of charged with energy, like the night before the first day of school. And I kept having to go number 2, like every 15 minutes.

It was 555am when I looked at the clock, and it occurred to me that I was definitely in labor, and not just having funky tummy issues. As soon as it occurred to me, everything changed. This incredible energy would charge through my body and require every particle of my attention. I looked outside, misty and mysterious, the first day that didn’t seem like summer, and I thought, ”This is the perfect day to have a baby.”

Then I looked down, and noticed that my toenails looked awful. I had plans to get a pedicure with your Granma Jane that day. I became consumed with the idea that I could not labor with ugly toenails. So I set out to give myself a pedicure …..one….toenail…at…a…time.. I managed to at least cut them, and give myself two clumpy cock-eyed braids, over the next two and a half hours.

Your Papa came upstairs, poised and ready to be the best labor support person ever. But when I looked at him --- He represented pure love – and it made everything too intense. Everything, light, sound, other people…was overwhelming energy. ( I was so brimful of energy) and it felt like the drop that overflowed the vase. But I wanted him near, about 3 feet. One step further seemed like a chasm, and one step nearer was truly overwhelming. And primally, I felt that it was love that would make you come out, and I knew I needed to slow it down a little.( It makes sense, too! It was love that got you in there, and so love would bring you out.)

A couple of times your Papa asked me for a phone number, for Brenda the midwife and for the TRIGR study. It was as if he had asked me to speak fluent Cantonese. I just could not grasp the concept of answering a question. We’d been packed for the birthing center for a few weeks. But he repacked, making sure everything was just perfect.

I’d been breathing deep and low into each contraction. I had a flash of my South American dance teacher from years ago saying, “ It’s not a waltz (proper, upright, shoulders toward the sky), It is salsa. Let your hips know what is beneath them, the Earth, and flow with that rhythm. Take the earth up in your arms and into your heart”
When we thought the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, Scott called Brenda. He handed me the phone, the last thing I wanted. After listening to my pauses in conversation, Brenda said, “ Actually, your contractions are about 30 seconds apart, and last about a minute. I suggest we meet as soon as we can get there. It’s 830 now, let’s meet at 915 at NCFC (Natural Childbirth and Family Center).” She was just leaving a birth she had been up all night with, and it would take 45 minutes to arrive.

As soon as I got off the phone with Brenda, everything changed. Once again, it was as if talking to her and knowing I would see her soon gave my body permission to go full-fledged. I was fighting the urge to push with more strength than I knew I had, standing on my tippy-toes and breathing tiny fast shallow breaths. Pulling on anything that was over my head. I pulled down curtain rods, towel and shower rods. Scott walked me to the car, with me stopping every three steps to breath. When we got to the car I panicked. I realized there was nothing in there for me to pull down on, and sitting down was the last thing I wanted to do. So I started my shuffle back to the house. It took some gentle convincing on Scotts part to get me into the car, his eyes wide as saucers.

Scotts parents beat us to the birthing center. As we pulled up, Scotts father, always the southern gentleman, came over to open my door and help me out of the car. I turned on him, possessed by labor, and said, “ GET…AWAY…FROM…ME”, in a voice I didn’t quite recognize.
Brenda was still on her way, I paced the parking lot, pausing when a rush took over. Everyone gave me a three foot radius.

Brenda came whipping into the parking lot a few minutes later. Her assistants, Wendy and Terra, had arrived already, looking surprisingly refreshed after being up all night. She unlocked the childbirth center, and we started our slow, jerky parade down the short hall to the birthing room. I remember thinking how poorly designed that hallway was. It had a 1970s geometric design in redwood – natural, unsanded, full of slivers – not very huggable! And NOTHING to pull down on. So, I pushed my way from doorjamb to doorjamb, where there was a smooth surface to hold onto. I want to reiterate that none of this was painful (except for the slivers!). It was simply, incredibly, intense.

As soon as we got into the birthing room I turned into a drill seargent, setting everyone to task, ”turn off those lights”, “fill up that hot tub”, “stay back”. There was no time for please and thank-you’s. I just needed what I needed as quickly and simply as possible. Everyone was so alert and helpful. I just HAD to get in that hot tub, and they were filling it as fast as water could flow.

I started undressing, truly laborious in labor, while Brenda and her assistants flew into action. I don’t remember noticing anyone in the room except for Scott and Brenda, but I’ve seen pictures, and they were there. Along with your Granma Jane, who is also a midwife…Lucky us!

Then…Brenda said she needed to check me (to see how dialated I was and how high you were). And I said, “You mean on the bed?” She nodded. I said “Oh, no. I can’t lie down.” She said, “It’ll take just a second.” I struggled with that one, but complied. A rush started. I reached for the headboard to grab onto, and it wasn’t mounted! See, I felt like I could snap the Fremont Bridge in half with my bare hands, so it was a real let-down to not be able to apply that to anything in arms reach. Then, I noticed Brendas hand between my legs, and it seemed soo small….And I knew that there would be plenty of space, enough room for you to just float out of me..

Brenda helped me up and said, “you are there! Ready to Go. Meaning you are fully dilated and she has just got 2cms. to go.” She pinched her thumb and index finger together to show me what a short distance that was for you to travel.

Then, I looked at your Papa, and he looked somehow more in focus than I’ve ever seen anything. Crystal clear and bright. And I think that that is what real love is.

I really felt the need to pull down – A tree, the ceiling, anything – And Scott said, “Lean on me, baby, I can take it.” So I did. In the next contraction, I bit his eyebrow, I bit his shoulder. Luckily, I didn’t draw any blood. At that moment, in his arms, everything changed, again. For a brief minute, I felt like I was going to break in half. And those few seconds were the only thing that I would describe as painful in the whole labor process.

And there was no question about it, I was getting in that hot tub. Fortunately, it was pretty much full. Scott helped us both in. While he was figuring out where to sit to best facilitate, somebody was checking your heart rate, somebody else was giving me oxygen, I was trying to sit down, and I asked Brenda if I could push,… all at the same time. Brenda, across the room, said to go ahead. As soon as I sunk into that water, my whole body just turned to Jell-O. I am not even sure if I pushed as much as I just released. I felt this slight explosion and thought maybe my water had broke. Scott, still in the process of sitting down, yelled, “Oh my god, there’s a baby in the water!” at the same time, reaching down, pulling you out, and handing you to me! 947am

You came out with such a bang that it snapped your umbilical cord right in half! See, your cord was short, less than a foot, and it was getting compressed, cutting off your oxygen supply. Anything slower could have been dangerous for you. I think you knew that, and literally dove out of me!

You were born less than four hours after my labor started and only fifteen minutes after we entered the birthing center. MAGICAL and EMPOWERING. So fast that your Nonna, the designated photographer, missed your birth. Your Granma Jane was there, though and took beautiful pictures.

The End….No, not quite….

There are a couple of things that belong to the magic of your birth. Do you remember the orchid? The one your Papa got me for our six month anniversary? The same day we discovered we were pregnant? It was beautiful throughout your gestation. Well, the exact moment I realized I was in labor, I noticed one of the blossoms had fallen off the plant, the first to fall. And when we returned from the birthing center with you, they had all fallen! Your gestational orchid!

And secondly, if not magic, pretty magical, was the relationship that developed with our midwife. It seemed like her words gave my body permission to do exactly what it needed to do. When she said I would have no problem bearing children, then it was so. When she said my hips were ample, with plenty of room for a baby to come out, I believed it to be true. I’ve read other womens tales of this same bond. I believe it has more to do with happy healthy deliveries than any technology available.

And last, and most important of all, is the magic that you, your Papa and I have brought to each other.

Daughter, I love you like I never knew I could love.

I still don't know how to do a link, so I just copied and pasted our birth experience as I wrote it to my daughter. It is a little long winded.


~~~~~About Your Birth ~~~~

Let’s see, the whole story………I’d been sort of crampy for a couple of months with a case of Late Pregnancy, similarly resembling ‘Turista’, and causing some dis________(fill in the blank). And you are going, “ Mom, must you?” probably as you read this.

Scott (Papa) had gone to a show with his best friend, Mike. I was at home with another dear friend, Billy. Papa had him come over ‘just in case’. We were hangin out in the ‘Mans’ Room’, watching TV. And I kept having to go to the lieu. Nothing that unusual. I finally said good night. I was mostly just tired of walking up the stairs to the WC with limited lung capacity. Your Papa got home about half an hour later and tucked me in. It was about 3am. I told him, and I’m not sure where this came from, “You should probably go take a shower, You smell like a bar, And I might have to lean on you later. He did, immediately. Then, when he got out, he went straight downstairs and started organizing his tools, at 330 in the morning.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Earlier that night I’d had the rare chance of having that long winded conversation with my very busy best friend, Tiana. We talked from like 1130pm til 2am ~~~ And for the first time in my pregnancy, I voiced some of my fears, that hadn’t even really occurred to me until that day, earlier. ~~~ I was looking at some of your newborn clothes and they suddenly looked so HUGE, and I thought “ Oh, crap,” while I was looking around for an exit door. The day before, October 12th, I had finished all of my before baby projects, (washing curtains, putting all my pictures in photo albums, etc.). And so I was done…… ready…..and I had an idle day….to ponder….. I also realized that I had loved being pregnant with you, and what if I missed that feeling?

Tiana assured me that my love for you would be Way Larger than my love of being pregnant. And that my fears,…well, she always felt like that right before she went into labor. She said it with a nonchalance… And I guess it sort of gave me permission to go ahead and do this?

So, I slept between 330 and 530, but I felt sort of charged with energy, like the night before the first day of school. And I kept having to go number 2, like every 15 minutes.

It was 555am when I looked at the clock, and it occurred to me that I was definitely in labor, and not just having funky tummy issues. As soon as it occurred to me, everything changed. This incredible energy would charge through my body and require every particle of my attention. I looked outside, misty and mysterious, the first day that didn’t seem like summer, and I thought, ”This is the perfect day to have a baby.”

Then I looked down, and noticed that my toenails looked awful. I had plans to get a pedicure with your Granma Jane that day. I became consumed with the idea that I could not labor with ugly toenails. So I set out to give myself a pedicure …..one….toenail…at…a…time.. I managed to at least cut them, and give myself two clumpy cock-eyed braids, over the next two and a half hours.

Your Papa came upstairs, poised and ready to be the best labor support person ever. But when I looked at him --- He represented pure love – and it made everything too intense. Everything, light, sound, other people…was overwhelming energy. ( I was so brimful of energy) and it felt like the drop that overflowed the vase. But I wanted him near, about 3 feet. One step further seemed like a chasm, and one step nearer was truly overwhelming. And primally, I felt that it was love that would make you come out, and I knew I needed to slow it down a little.( It makes sense, too! It was love that got you in there, and so love would bring you out.)

A couple of times your Papa asked me for a phone number, for Brenda the midwife and for the TRIGR study. It was as if he had asked me to speak fluent Cantonese. I just could not grasp the concept of answering a question. We’d been packed for the birthing center for a few weeks. But he repacked, making sure everything was just perfect.

I’d been breathing deep and low into each contraction. I had a flash of my South American dance teacher from years ago saying, “ It’s not a waltz (proper, upright, shoulders toward the sky), It is salsa. Let your hips know what is beneath them, the Earth, and flow with that rhythm. Take the earth up in your arms and into your heart”
When we thought the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, Scott called Brenda. He handed me the phone, the last thing I wanted. After listening to my pauses in conversation, Brenda said, “ Actually, your contractions are about 30 seconds apart, and last about a minute. I suggest we meet as soon as we can get there. It’s 830 now, let’s meet at 915 at NCFC (Natural Childbirth and Family Center).” She was just leaving a birth she had been up all night with, and it would take 45 minutes to arrive.

As soon as I got off the phone with Brenda, everything changed. Once again, it was as if talking to her and knowing I would see her soon gave my body permission to go full-fledged. I was fighting the urge to push with more strength than I knew I had, standing on my tippy-toes and breathing tiny fast shallow breaths. Pulling on anything that was over my head. I pulled down curtain rods, towel and shower rods. Scott walked me to the car, with me stopping every three steps to breath. When we got to the car I panicked. I realized there was nothing in there for me to pull down on, and sitting down was the last thing I wanted to do. So I started my shuffle back to the house. It took some gentle convincing on Scotts part to get me into the car, his eyes wide as saucers.

Scotts parents beat us to the birthing center. As we pulled up, Scotts father, always the southern gentleman, came over to open my door and help me out of the car. I turned on him, possessed by labor, and said, “ GET…AWAY…FROM…ME”, in a voice I didn’t quite recognize.
Brenda was still on her way, I paced the parking lot, pausing when a rush took over. Everyone gave me a three foot radius.

Brenda came whipping into the parking lot a few minutes later. Her assistants, Wendy and Terra, had arrived already, looking surprisingly refreshed after being up all night. She unlocked the childbirth center, and we started our slow, jerky parade down the short hall to the birthing room. I remember thinking how poorly designed that hallway was. It had a 1970s geometric design in redwood – natural, unsanded, full of slivers – not very huggable! And NOTHING to pull down on. So, I pushed my way from doorjamb to doorjamb, where there was a smooth surface to hold onto. I want to reiterate that none of this was painful (except for the slivers!). It was simply, incredibly, intense.

As soon as we got into the birthing room I turned into a drill seargent, setting everyone to task, ”turn off those lights”, “fill up that hot tub”, “stay back”. There was no time for please and thank-you’s. I just needed what I needed as quickly and simply as possible. Everyone was so alert and helpful. I just HAD to get in that hot tub, and they were filling it as fast as water could flow.

I started undressing, truly laborious in labor, while Brenda and her assistants flew into action. I don’t remember noticing anyone in the room except for Scott and Brenda, but I’ve seen pictures, and they were there. Along with your Granma Jane, who is also a midwife…Lucky us!

Then…Brenda said she needed to check me (to see how dialated I was and how high you were). And I said, “You mean on the bed?” She nodded. I said “Oh, no. I can’t lie down.” She said, “It’ll take just a second.” I struggled with that one, but complied. A rush started. I reached for the headboard to grab onto, and it wasn’t mounted! See, I felt like I could snap the Fremont Bridge in half with my bare hands, so it was a real let-down to not be able to apply that to anything in arms reach. Then, I noticed Brendas hand between my legs, and it seemed soo small….And I knew that there would be plenty of space, enough room for you to just float out of me..

Brenda helped me up and said, “you are there! Ready to Go. Meaning you are fully dilated and she has just got 2cms. to go.” She pinched her thumb and index finger together to show me what a short distance that was for you to travel.

Then, I looked at your Papa, and he looked somehow more in focus than I’ve ever seen anything. Crystal clear and bright. And I think that that is what real love is.

I really felt the need to pull down – A tree, the ceiling, anything – And Scott said, “Lean on me, baby, I can take it.” So I did. In the next contraction, I bit his eyebrow, I bit his shoulder. Luckily, I didn’t draw any blood. At that moment, in his arms, everything changed, again. For a brief minute, I felt like I was going to break in half. And those few seconds were the only thing that I would describe as painful in the whole labor process.

And there was no question about it, I was getting in that hot tub. Fortunately, it was pretty much full. Scott helped us both in. While he was figuring out where to sit to best facilitate, somebody was checking your heart rate, somebody else was giving me oxygen, I was trying to sit down, and I asked Brenda if I could push,… all at the same time. Brenda, across the room, said to go ahead. As soon as I sunk into that water, my whole body just turned to Jell-O. I am not even sure if I pushed as much as I just released. I felt this slight explosion and thought maybe my water had broke. Scott, still in the process of sitting down, yelled, “Oh my god, there’s a baby in the water!” at the same time, reaching down, pulling you out, and handing you to me! 947am

You came out with such a bang that it snapped your umbilical cord right in half! See, your cord was short, less than a foot, and it was getting compressed, cutting off your oxygen supply. Anything slower could have been dangerous for you. I think you knew that, and literally dove out of me!

You were born less than four hours after my labor started and only fifteen minutes after we entered the birthing center. MAGICAL and EMPOWERING. So fast that your Nonna, the designated photographer, missed your birth. Your Granma Jane was there, though and took beautiful pictures.

The End….No, not quite….

There are a couple of things that belong to the magic of your birth. Do you remember the orchid? The one your Papa got me for our six month anniversary? The same day we discovered we were pregnant? It was beautiful throughout your gestation. Well, the exact moment I realized I was in labor, I noticed one of the blossoms had fallen off the plant, the first to fall. And when we returned from the birthing center with you, they had all fallen! Your gestational orchid!

And secondly, if not magic, pretty magical, was the relationship that developed with our midwife. It seemed like her words gave my body permission to do exactly what it needed to do. When she said I would have no problem bearing children, then it was so. When she said my hips were ample, with plenty of room for a baby to come out, I believed it to be true. I’ve read other womens tales of this same bond. I believe it has more to do with happy healthy deliveries than any technology available.

And last, and most important of all, is the magic that you, your Papa and I have brought to each other.

Daughter, I love you like I never knew I could love.

Not all endings are happy.

I had a wonderful uneventful pregnancy with my second child. My first son was born vaginally after induction with no complications. So this time around I definitely wanted to avoid induction. I went into labor a few days before my due date in the middle of the night. My husband and I went to the hospital in the morning ready to meet our newest son. Eight hours after arriving at the hospital I was in active labor and dilated to five. My son's heart rate dropped into the 50's. The rushed me immediately in for an emergency cesarean. Blake had a catastrophic placental abruption. The Doctors were able to save my life, but my boy had been without oxygen for nearly 10 minutes. He was born without a heartbeat. The worked on him for 14 minutes and got his heart beating on it's own. He opened his eyes and looked right into my eyes about 10 hours after he was born, then again one hour prior to him passing. We lost our son two and a half days after his birth. I would have died as well had we stayed at home or been anywhere but a hospital capable of an emergency cesarean. I am thankful to be here but I miss my son so very much. I hope that everyone knows how dangerous childbirth can be for both the baby and the mother. It is likely the most dangerous thing either of you will go through in your entire lives. I am now looking at my future with hope that I can have another child someday. I assure you I will have a planned c-section so that I can offer the best chances for my child's survival, even if that may sacrifice my or my child's temporary comfort.

Kristy... so sorry. xoxo to you.

I am so sorry for your loss.

Kristy-
My heart goes out to you.
Thank-you for sharing your story, it is a very good reminder to all of us that even though child birth is a natural part of life, it can take an unexpected turn.
Thank goodness for advancements in medicine.
Best wishes to you.

Greeting. My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.
I am from Monaco and also am speaking English, please tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "European replacement is more extra, though the thrombosis are original."

Thanks for the help :-D, Cathy.

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