I was due on October 11th, and while I knew that baby would come when he/she was ready, I was growing tired of working and waiting and having Braxton Hicks contractions…Read More
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!
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!)
My labor began Super Bowl night with real contractions and spotting, into Monday morning. I called my doctor, and took an Uber into the city to visit with him. He said I was 3 cm dilated (I had been 2 cm for 2 weeks), station -1 and 80% effaced. He swept my membranes (the most painful thing ever) and off I went home to relax and wait for baby.
Tuesday rolled around and I was feeling very tired that morning. I decided to nap around noon, when I felt an intense kick/pop inside, got up from bed, and down gushed water. My husband was luckily home in anticipation of baby arriving, so he helped me clean up. I took my time, showered which felt so nice and even did my makeup! We then called my doctor, who told me to gather my things and eventually head to NYU. We decided to grab pizza on the way to store up some energy! Lots and lots of excitement through my contractions. The car ride was, surprisingly, a breeze.
We checked into the hospital and were really surprised by how BUSY they were. I was one of four laboring women in the waiting room alone! It was hours until they placed me in a triage room [admitting room before checking into a labor & delivery room]. Laboring in the halls and amongst strangers and visitors was not pleasant at all, but I managed to stay really calm and work on breathing techniques with David. Those massages you taught us in class really worked for me. :)
We presented our birth plan to our administering nurses, who kindly ran through the entire thing word for word and said they were on board. We later came to realize that your birth plan in a hospital setting kind of means nothing! There are so many nurses and doctors that sift in and out that all gets lost in translation. I think because my water broke there was this immediate need to convince me to dilate as soon as possible. I was only 4 cm dilated so my doctor wasn't happy. I kept sticking to my guns though, and kept kindly pushing off the pitocin.
They finally ushered us into a private laboring room and I breathed a sigh of relief. David and I continued to work on breathing, sitting on a birthing ball, and whatever felt good in the moment. My contractions kept intensifying and we found out through a vaginal exam that I was around 7cm dilated. My OB was still not satisfied that my contractions were 4-7 mins apart. They never got to 2 and 3 mins like he wanted. Again - pitocin. I told him to come back in an hour and if I wasn't making progress that I would agree. This was around 2 am (My water broke at 12:30 pm the day before).
The nurses gave me a pitocin drip and kept assuring me it was the slightest "hit" of it. I felt like a failure in that moment but I was also so determined to meet our baby.
A few more hours passed of laboring in bed stuck to my IV when my OB came in to check on me and saw that I was 9.5 cm dilated. I was in shock because, somehow, the entire time spent in the 58hospital flew by for me...time has never moved so fast. He said he would be back in 20 minutes and that we'd get ready to push. My adrenaline flooded in even more if that's possible. David and I were so excited it was hard to imagine meeting our baby so soon.
I was given some pushing coaching and as soon as I had my next contraction we started. I pushed for 1.5 hours and I have never felt more determined or worked so hard for something in my life. The beginning to me felt as if I was faced with climbing Mt. Everest - pushing baby out felt like an impossibility to me, but as we kept going and David and OB were cheering me on (which I didn't think I wanted AT ALL) I was given so much motivation to meet our son. David said he saw me enter another realm almost and that's kind of what it felt like. My mental state superseded any pain I was probably feeling. After some really gallant pushes, baby's head came out and then his body slipped out. It was the most exhilarating feeling of my life. Roman and I met heart-to-heart and he latched on almost immediately. We were parents! My entire 20-hour labor, Roman's heartbeat never dipped once - he was such a champ.
When I was riding those crazy contraction waves, I thought it was crazy that women would willingly put their bodies through such pain, over and over, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. :)
Next baby, I would definitely consider a home birth or at least a water birth...I'm so curious about it after birthing in a hospital. We had an overall great experience but David and I both agree that hospitals need to work on owing more empathy to their patients.
Roman was born 2/8 at 9:20 am, 7 lbs and 8 oz...right on his due date!
[Birth Matters NYC] class really did provide such an honest lense into what to expect, we felt ahead of the game, so thank you so much for that!
We arrived for ultrasound and NST on Monday, March 20th, at 9am. Yuli had the non-stress test first and it went very well. Then we had the ultrasound and the tech seemed a bit concerned and said she needed to show it to the doctor (which no one said at the ultrasound on Friday), which was concerning. We then overheard doctor Ashford telling Jo that fluid is low and it's an issue. Then he came in and nicely, but frighteningly, told us directly we should go now to triage and get ready to have an induction. Noah asked if we could speak to our midwife first. He said that’s fine, can I trust you to go upstairs after?Read More
My estimated due date of Saturday, April 1st, 2017 came and went. On the 3rd, I was 3 cm dilated and the midwife said she wouldn’t be surprised if she received a call that night from us saying I was in labor. That didn’t happen. All I did that day was have a non stress test and biological physical profile as I was now past 40 weeks. On the 6th, the midwife was surprised I hadn’t given birth and that I was still walking abound at 3 cm. She also told me that 1 midwife left the practice and that the doctor would be on call that weekend. That was disappointing, as I really wanted the midwife. She assured me that the doctor was a big supporter of natural birth so that I was in good hands.
Labor began on Friday, April 7th, 2017 around 10:30/11pm. Contractions were far apart but regular enough for us to know that it was finally happening! I did my nails for the fourth time as they kept chipping waiting for the arrival of Elijah. The contractions continued the next day, Saturday, April 8th, 2017 and started to get a lot stronger around 2 pm and Greg called my parents and sister to come over. They were going to go to the hospital with us and my dad was Greg, Simone (my doula) and my ride to the hospital. I was with them in the living room for a little while and my contractions started to go away/less painful. My family was distracting me too much so I went back into the bedroom with Greg and the contractions returned. Simone arrived around 3pm and said that my contractions weren’t consistent as of yet. My contractions rapidly got closer and between 6 and 7 pm they were lasting coming around every 4.5 minutes, lasting about 1.5 minutes for an hour. At that point, I decided that I wanted to leave for the hospital.
The ride to the hospital took a little over an hour. The unpaved streets of NYC were unkind! I was admitted into triage after 15 minutes of waiting in the waiting room. The vaginal exam revealed that I was 5cm dilated. That was enough to be admitted to labor and delivery, which required 4 cm dilation but not the birthing center, which required 6 cm. The staff wanted me to leave and walk around and return in an hour. That was something I was not even contemplating! But first, they did external monitoring for 20 continuous minutes. The device kept slipping so they had to restart the monitoring about 3 times. Then, I received an IV of fluids because the baby’s heartbeat wasn’t doing exactly what the doctor wanted it to do during the contractions. Around 1030ish pm, after the fluids were given, the heartbeat looked good enough for them and upon the second vaginal exam, I was 7 cm dilated. Off to the birthing center we went!
Loved the birthing center rooms. Got into the hot tub and it was AMAZING. The nurse did intermittent monitoring with her Doppler throughout the night. The doctor said that I could labor in any I wanted but for the birth I would have to be on my back due to estimated size of the baby (8 lbs 9 oz). I labored using the birthing stool for a short amount of time (uncomfortable), on the medicine ball, holding acupressure balls from Simone and the hot tub as aforementioned. My favorite position was lying on my side with my body pillow. I labored for a couple hours and when the doctor checked me, I was 9.5 cm dilated. Two hours later I was still 9.5 cm dilated and my water still hadn’t broken so she broke it using the hook. (At first she was just going to break it without me responding. Greg told her to wait and asked me if that is what I wanted). About 30 minutes later, the nurse and doctor returned and wanted me to start pushing with the contractions. The technique used was coached/directed pushing as opposed to spontaneous pushing. I had to wait for a contraction, hold my breath for 10 seconds and push. They wanted me to do this about 3-4 times per contraction. I generally had 2 good pushes in me; by the third one I could feel myself losing energy and forget about the fourth one! This part went on for a while with the baby’s head almost getting out but then returning to its position in the canal. The doctor wanted to take me to labor and delivery to give me Pitocin as my contractions started to get more spaced apart. I felt myself getting discouraged due to this and the fact that the doctor was saying I wasn’t progressing far enough fast enough. Nipple stimulation was performed by Greg making my contractions come back quicker and stronger and as time passed, I could feel the actual urge to push, which helped the process immensely. The doctor stretching my perineum felt worse than the actual pushing. Finally, the baby’s head came out and I found out later that it was a compound presentation. The baby’s hand was resting on his cheek when his head came out. Greg said that the doctor and nurse stated, "Ohhhhhhh” when they saw this, as if finally realizing why it was taking a little longer than they were used to.
It’s interesting that many of the comfort techniques I thought I would want during labor, I did not. I didn’t want people massaging my back, didn’t use the rebozo or the heat pack (which I liked to use during the uncomfortable moments in my pregnancy). The only comfort measure I used during my contractions was the acupressure balls and, during labor, squeezing Greg’s hand.
Having my parents, sister and doula with me were good. My sister held my hand when Greg needed to eat. They left and returned when I asked them. Simone (doula) was very supportive and helped Greg and me to make decisions.
We brought so many things with us which was okay by me as I'd rather have something and not use it than not have it and wish I did. The most useful was my body pillow and the straws. Not having the straws didn’t seem like a big deal but during those contractions and the different positions you are in, for me it made a huge difference not having to move to drink something. Great idea, Lisa!
Elijah was born April 9, 2017 and 4:55am. He was 8 lbs. 10 oz. and 22 inches long.