We welcomed Ayan to the world on 12/08/16. He entered the world at 8lbs and 21 inches, and I had a natural, medication-less birth at Lenox Hill Hospital.Read More
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.
My due date was on April 14, 2017, but the day came and went uneventfully. On 40 [weeks] 4 [days pregnant], my midwife agreed to strip my membranes. I was 2.5 cm dilated, but still no labor. Throughout the week, my Mom and I did a lot of walking to keep busy. On 40+6, at approximately 5 p.m., I began to feel belly tightness and began keeping an eye on the time, although I wasn’t sure that they were contractions. At that point, they were about 15 minutes apart, lasting about 15-20 seconds at a time. As we walked home the mile from the stores, the pattern continued, leaving us saying, “Well, this could be the beginning…” When Tim was home, too, we continued to feel fairly skeptical that it was actually the start of labor, since I was able to comfortably talk and do other activities while contractions were happening.
We went to bed around 10:30 p.m., and by 11, I began to feel more uncomfortable and had a hard time getting settled. I was using deep breathing and tried to get into comfortable positions out of bed. I soon woke Tim and asked him to begin timing and helping me through contractions. At that point, they were already under 5 minutes apart, but lasted no longer than 30 seconds. At 1 a.m., we called our practice to let them know that labor was in progress. The OB called Tim back and said that we could come into the hospital at any point but that, unfortunately, the birth center we were planning to go to was full of laboring women and we would need to go to regular labor and delivery. We were disappointed to hear it, certainly, but I also was able to mentally let go of that part of our birth plan. At this point, with labor in full swing, I knew that my top priority was having the baby safely and the setting mattered much less.
By about 3:00 a.m., I decided that I wanted us to go to the hospital because I did not want to be in too much more intense labor while we were in transit. The car service arrived and we drove through the early morning streets of Queens and Manhattan.
Once at the hospital, around 4:30 a.m., we went to Labor and Delivery triage. We quickly learned from the staff that it wasn’t just the birth center that was full--L&D was at capacity and at present no rooms were available. Eventually, they brought me to a room to be assessed and I was 7 cm dilated. I was therefore in active labor and would be given a room in L&D…once one opened up. I continued to labor standing or sitting, with Tim’s continued support.
At 5:30 a.m., we were sent to an L&D room, and the OB arrived. She said to make sure to let her know once there was pressure, and that she planned to stay on duty for a few more hours to deliver me and another laboring patient. Mom and Tim continued to be great supports. Tim would breathe with me and massage my back. Mom would take over when Tim needed a break.
At 9:30 a.m., the OB came back to examine me. She pronounced me 6-7cm dilated. I felt really discouraged although I tried not to dwell on it. All those hours and no more dilation at all? I continued laboring, but was certainly getting more tired.
My midwife arrived, taking over for my OB, and stated that it was time this baby came out. She suggested that we artificially rupture the membranes. We agreed, hoping to speed baby’s arrival. There was slight meconium staining. I was also starting to feel a lot of lower-back pressure, so my midwife guessed that the baby might be posterior, which could also account for the slow labor. She also wondered whether the baby could be wrapped in the umbilical cord, slowing her descent. Thankfully, though, the baby’s heart rate remained strong whenever monitored. She said we would wait and see. I was around 8.5 cm dilated.
I felt quite exhausted, having been in labor all night, and was starting to be worried that I wouldn’t have energy for pushing once the time came. I asked for nitrous oxide to be made available to me. I really appreciated the nitrous oxide--although I could still feel the contractions, I cared about them a little less. I felt like I was being wrung out. Throughout, Tim and Mom continued with me, reminding me to breathe, telling me I could do it, and telling me that I was doing a good job. I didn’t feel like I was--I felt like I might not make it, and was scared that I couldn’t bring the baby into the world. I alternated between feeling really hot, and shivering uncontrollably. I kept using the nitrous oxide but it was losing its ability to take much of the edge off the intensity while I was in transition.
The midwife explained that it might be necessary to use vacuum extraction and that if the baby didn’t come within three tries, then the next step was the OR. I understood. Certainly, I didn’t want either of those outcomes, but if they were necessary to bring this baby safely, I was okay with it. She checked me one more time and I was finally fully dilated at around 5 p.m. At that point, I really wanted to push, but she asked me to hold off a few minutes while everything was prepared.
My midwife had Mom and Tim each help me hold up one leg while I would push during the contractions. The baby started at -1 station. By the point that I was given the go-ahead to push, I felt a return of energy. This felt good. I could handle this part. Sure, it still really hurt (no nitrous oxide now) and was very hard work, but it was much, much better than just tolerating the contractions coming in waves. The OB came in--she was clearly asked to be on call in case we’d needed to escalate to further interventions. She and the midwife agreed that I was pushing well and productively, so she left.
Coached by my midwife, and encouraged by Tim and Mom, I kept pushing. They were excited that they could see the head. The midwife asked if I wanted to feel it, and I said no--if we could see the head, then we were close, and I just wanted to keep going! She again asked me to wait and all the final preparations were put in place. She stated that she would need to make a cut to assist the birth; although we had hoped to avoid an episiotomy, our top priority was a safe birth, and we said okay. With one final set of pushes, the baby came sliding into the world in an incredible sensation. Instant relief! Baby began to cry loudly. The midwife quickly clamped the cord, (we’d planned with her for delayed cord clamping, but I think the worry about the possibility of the cord around the neck, and the meconium may have changed that option). She announced that the umbilical cord was not around the baby, and promptly handed her to the pediatrician. He quickly suctioned baby’s nose and mouth as she continued to wail heartily, with limbs flailing in all directions. Tim’s face and Mom’s were so excited--there was a joyous, even euphoric, atmosphere in the room.
As soon as baby was born, I felt incredible, and all I wanted was to have her on me. Madeleine. My baby. She seemed so long, so big, and I marveled that she could have fit inside me. I could see her being tended in the corner and asked that she be brought to me as soon as possible. After what felt like a long time, but was probably less than 5 minutes, there she was on my chest. I talked to her, called her by name, and she stopped crying and seemed to be listening to my voice. I told her how proud I was of her, proud of how hard she had worked to come into the world. It felt surreal that this was my daughter, this lively little being blinking in the new world.
While the midwife stitched me up, (I tore in addition to the episiotomy), and delivered the placenta, I marveled at little Madeleine. She was working her lips, bobbing her head up and down, and using her hands as she searched for the breast. Her little feet were pushing against my belly as she propelled herself around in her quest. We guided her just a bit, and she was able to latch on independently. She went on to nurse for nearly 45 minutes, drinking her fill of colostrum. Born at 5:48 p.m. on April 21, she was 7 lbs 10 oz,, 20.5 inches long, and absolutely perfect.
I was overwhelmed with love for my little girl, and gratitude for the steadfast support of Tim and Mom. I knew I would not have made it without them. The end result--a safe, healthy arrival for little Madeleine--made it worth it, and I was intensely grateful.