Birth Matters Podcast, Ep. 3 - Host Lisa's Unassisted Home Birth (Ready, Get Set, CATCH!)

In Episode 3, you’ll hear my second (kinda crazy) birth story, in which I changed care providers several times and switched from planning to give birth in an in-hospital birthing center to giving birth at home. You’ll hear quite a bit of talk about the perks of working with a midwife and will hear about a couple of different types of midwives, so this episode will provide some education on that topic.

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Little Bean's Birth Story (told by Mama Jessica)

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“Little Bean” [pseudonym at family’s request] finally arrived on December 20 at 11:19 am. 7 lbs 3 oz 20 in and perfectly healthy! We were instantly in love. 

The birth went really well overall and of course was very different than what either of us had imagined. Little Bean was born at 42 weeks via an induction. Our doctor told us from the beginning that she would let us go to 41 weeks and 6 days - but of course she went on vacation by the time we got to our 41-week appointment, and there was pressure from other doctors in the practice to induce sooner. That last week was really tough - mentally, emotionally and physically. We were so thankful to have our doula help us through some conversations with our doctors in those last few days. After a lot of back and forth the induction was scheduled for 41 weeks and 6 days. Believe me, we tried every possible natural induction suggestion we could find on the internet up to that point and nothing worked! 

Honestly I was pretty disappointed realizing I would have to be induced. I felt it would most likely inhibit any plans I had for a natural labor and would mean significant interventions I did not want. We revisited the birth plan with our doula and adjusted expectations. 

Once we were at NYU we did two rounds of Cytotec (I was barely one cm when we checked in) and then a foley balloon. Didn’t feel any contractions until the balloon was in but we worked through them and I felt confident by the time the balloon came out at 4 cm that I could handle active labor. Completely expected the doc to go with pitocin next, but she was willing to try breaking my water first. Contractions started up again almost immediately and we’re much more intense than before. This is where my memory lapses... 

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I think it was about 3-4 hours after my water broke that our doula and our nurse thought I might be in transition and wanted to confirm with a cervical check. This was because I was vomiting a lot -- much more than I would have anticipated before. I was concerned I’d need fluids soon, because I couldn’t even keep water down. I was also shivering uncontrollably – which, honestly, felt very scary in the moment and started to hinder my ability to breath through a contraction. When they checked, I was 6 cm and immediately felt disappointed. I knew I couldn’t make it another few hours. It was 5:30am and we hadn’t slept at all. I opted for an epidural and initially was upset that I wanted it so much in the moment but in hindsight I think it was the best choice for me.

The epidural allowed me to sleep a few hours. I was still feeling the contractions they were mild enough for me to rest. The nurse woke me up around 10:30am to check me and I was ready to push! 

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I realized that I wouldn’t be pushing for long when after the first one the doctor didn’t leave, but she went to put on scrubs. I pushed for about 30 minutes and out he came! Rich was able to announce the gender and the rest is a blur of me sobbing for the next few minutes. At some point I heard the nurse give him an apgar score of 9! He was very awake for a couple hours after the birth and my parents were able to meet him while he was active- which was really special. 

He just had his one-month doctors appointment and I can’t believe how time is already flying! 

We’re so thankful to have had the information from your class and our doula’s support throughout the induction. We were all shocked that I had an induction with no Pitocin. It doesn’t matter how many times people say it -- you just really have no idea how things will go until they happen! 

Julian's Birth Story (told by Mama Mari)


Lisa's note: It's my daughter's 10th birthday today (eek, wild how you hit a time warp when you become a parent!). Since I've shared her birth story in the past, I thought it would be a good day to instead share another client birth story...

I woke up at 5:30 am with a contraction. Since the doctor had told me there would be many false alarms, I didn't think much of it, and proceeded to get back to sleep....but about ten minutes later I got another, so I decided to download a contractions counting app that was recommended to us by our doula called "full term." I also decided not to wake up James since [Lisa] had mentioned in class, as did the doctor in our previous visit, to let your partner rest. So I proceeded to count and by 7:00 am it was clear that the contractions were regular, so I decided to wake up James. He soon woke up and started prepping our bags and making sure I was hydrated. I called our doula (who was at another birth) and our doctor at 11 am, they both told me to relax and call if needed. I proceeded to do so...

As [Lisa] suggested we do in class, I decided to put on a series on Netflix and just watch while going through contractions. I used the breathing and visualization exercises we did in class. With each contraction I thought of the ice cube on my wrist [an interactive activity we do in class] and I held James' hand.

By 2:30 pm the doula came (she was a substitute from the original doula we hired, but ended up being an amazing fit....we love her!) Anyhow, she observed my contractions and by 3:45pm determined that I was in active labor, so we called a car to go to the hospital.. 

We arrived at the hospital at 4:15pm...Julian was born at 5:16pm!!! He was in a rush; everything went quickly and swiftly.

My whole plug came out at triage (while getting them a urine sample...can't believe they asked me to do that!!) and minutes after my water broke!! I was sent into delivery room and after 40 minutes of pushing he was born! Holy Moly!! Anna, our 'new' doula was crucial in coaching me and at the same time making sure the nurses and doctors took seriously how far along I was. It seemed as though they did not believe me, and she made sure that I was tended to and taken care of! Amazing!

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The experience was all so surreal, but what I remember the most is James' support and love throughout the process, and I am sure he was able to be so level-headed and supportive thanks to [Lisa's] class! 

Anyhow, I never thought it was possible, to have such an efficient and swift birth story. At points it felt so fast!! But even though I always thought of a natural vaginal birth would be ideal, I never though I would be capable of it! Soon after birth I kept repeating in my head "No epidural, no nothing! Wow!" It was on loop! I don't know if it was the oxytocin speaking but I felt really good about it! (The next few days after birth I was more in shock about the whole process!)

Having baby Julian in my arms felt more unreal than ever; an amazing feeling!

TIP: I think that what helped me prepare for labor was acupuncture. It was suggested by my doctor, so I proceeded to start sessions at week 35 with Anna at Sky + Earth in LIC (I found her on Lisa's list of recs!)