Sunday, May 28, 2017

Birth Story of First Time Mom in Birth Center

Graysen Michael Cluster's Birth Story
March 30th, 2017
Its a bit detailed but I don't want to forget anything so bare with me!
Woke up on Thursday, March 30th 2017 (my due date) to no sign of labor up to this point. Instead of being frustrated that I was still pregnant, I had decided to try and focus on the gift that I was able to carry this child to his due date and that we were both healthy. Especially since there were a couple times early on during this pregnancy that things weren't looking favorable.
I went to work for an uneventful 8 hour day, picked up Jamba Juice on the way home as a mini "I made it to 40 weeks" celebration and then came home to lay down since i wasn't feeling good (nothing unusual). Still no contractions or signs of labor at all and I was convinced that I was going to be pregnant forever but again, tried to focus on the positive of a healthy baby.
Around 4:45pm, right when I heard my husband, Braden, come home, I heard a sort of click inside me and then an intense pain really low in my pelvis. I sat up really fast from the pain and then realized my water just broke! Since it seemed to break only halfway, I made it to the bathroom before it got all over the floor and then continued to leak for the next hour. When Braden came down stairs a minute later and while he could tell I was still really shocked, I told him my water just broke. He called our doula, Twyla, who happens to also be my mother in law and I called my midwife, Chris, to let them know. Neither of them seemed too worried since I was just barely starting to have mild contractions at the time and figured progress would be slow and to just keep them updated. However, contractions quickly got stronger and seemed to last longer fairly quickly. Within 30 mins the contractions were really hard to talk through and I couldn't really stand up during them either. I lost my mucus plus shortly after, all the while texting Chris and talking to Twyla on the phone about what was happening. Being a first time mom, I figured I was just not used to it all and was just being paranoid but since the birth center was an hour away, Braden and I felt it best to pack up and leave right away. The plan was to go to the birth center and have Chris check my progress and depending on how far I was, we would stay or if not very far along, continue to labor at Twyla's house that was only 15 minutes away.
During the car ride, my contractions had gotten super intense, I had been trying really hard to stay as relaxed as possible, making low tone sounds, and staying positive. Not easy when you are confined in a car! (As I hadn't been checked at all up till this point and had no experience of how far dilated I could be, I prayed so much that I would be far enough along to stay at the birth center! I did not want to get back in the car again before I had this baby!) Braden was such a huge help as he appeared so calm and continually told me I could do it. Despite the rain and traffic hour, we made good time and made it to the birth center around 7pm.
As soon as we pulled up and a strong contraction had just ended, Braden helped me hurry up the stairs to the birth center before another contraction came which I knew was going to be all too soon and would make those stairs seem even more impossible. Twyla had gotten to the birth center about 5 mins before us (which made me so relieved! Seeing someone I trusted reminded me that we had such an amazing support team to help me and Braden through this birth. It brought so much immediate comfort) and she was able to see how I was doing to update Chris who was currently attending a funeral. Another doula and dear family friend, Anjie, who was going to take our birth photos arrived soon after although at this point, time gets a little hazy for me.
As contractions were getting more intense and closer together, Braden, Twyla, and Anjie helped me get dressed into what I had planned to labor in which was a nice lightweight and flowy nightgown. As contractions seemed to be getting more intense each time which seemed impossible that another one could be more intense than the last, I found that leaning over a counter, or chair, while someone applied counter pressure helped and leaning into Braden helped the most. Being able to lean on him helped me remember that we were in this together. That somehow, I could get through each contraction because it was bringing us closer to holding our perfect little boy!
Chris got there pretty quickly (7:45) and after she gathered some things to fill up the birth pool, she checked me (around 8 pm) and was surprised to find that I was already dilated to an 8 and 100% effaced (Yay, I wasn't going to have to get back in that car!). Change of plans though, the pool was no longer going to be an option.
It was at this point that things had progressed so fast that I was beginning to feel like I was being engulfed by the intensity of the pain. I remember hearing Twyla say "Listen to your body, what position feels best for you?" and honestly not knowing because I was having such a hard time thinking through the growing intensity of every contraction. At this point, I was still standing up and leaning into Braden and not knowing what position I was going to birth this baby in. It was about this time that I had been feeling the strong urge to push and did so a few times standing up before I realized I didn't want to have this baby standing up and fall on the floor (even though logically i knew no one was going to let my baby fall on the floor). I ended up on the edge of the bed on my side with Braden at my head holding me. He was so supportive and continually repeated all of my birth affirmations to me that I had written but completely forget about at this point. I remember him encouraging me to say them and looking me in the eye and telling me I could do this! Throughout this whole time, Twyla, Chris, Anjie, and Braden kept telling me how amazing I was doing and I remember that helped me so much and gave me hope! I was really doing this!
Some women say that pushing is their favorite part and I never understood before. Now, as I would agree, it is because it made me realize how close I was to actually meeting my little boy. I'm not quite sure how many times I pushed (3-4 maybe) but I remember the pain becoming so intense that I began to try and pull away from it (as if I could). Everything had happened so fast, I was exhausted, and just when I thought the pain had reached a maximum level, it became even more intense.
This next moment is hard to put into words but I will do my best. At this moment, it was like I was in my own relm of pain and I could only hear muffled voices around me. I then prayed so intensely that some kind of divine intervention would help me through this, even just a little. Some may not believe in a God but I know more than ever before that He was there helping me in those intense moments. It was a sacred experience I will always cherish. It was about then that the only voice I heard as I looked her in the eyes was that of my midwife, Chris, who said to push the pain away from me, don't keep it in. I'm not sure exactly why out of every helpful and encouraging thing she and the others had said to me that that phrase at that moment stood out but it did. Something clicked then and the fear that had started to overwhelm me disappeared. It was definitely still the most intense moment of my life but it was like those words helped pull me back into reality and out of my relm of self doubt and fear. It was then that I truly understood what it meant to birth without fear. As my baby boy was crowning, I was able to reach down and feel his head and after another push or two, I reached down and caught my perfect beautiful little boy! Words cannot come close to describe how many emotions I felt in that moment but the one that comes to mind is LOVE. The instant love I felt for this perfect little angel I was holding is indescribable! That moment with him finally in my arms and feeling that undeniable connection between us was so surreal.
Maybe I am a bit biased but I couldn't have imagined a more perfect and beautiful birth! I will be forever grateful for the support of my birth team. I coudn't have done it without them. This experience has forever impacted my life in the most perfect way imaginable. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Home Birth Photos

These are from my most recent birth I attended as a doula and photographer.  This mom worked SO HARD!  Labored for a few days and had amazing power and endurance.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

101 Things to do While Waiting...

101 Things to do while waiting...

1.      Pray or meditate.
2.      Read another pregnancy book.
·         Shiela Kitzinger "Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth"
·         “Homebirth”
·         "Birth Your Way"
·         Pam England "Birthing From Within"
·         Ricki Lake “Your Best Birth”
·         Barbara Harper "Gentle Birth Choices"
·         Henci Goer "A Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth"
·         Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer "A Good Birth, A Safe Birth”
·         Penny Simkin "The Birth Partner"
·         Diana Korte "The VBAC Companion"
·         Klaus, Kennell, Klaus "The Doula Book"
·         "Mothering the Mother"
·         Janet Balaskas "Active Birth"
3.      Take a bubble bath.
4.      Get a pedicure.
5.      Get a manicure.
6.      Wash the new baby's clothes.
7.      Talk to an old friend.
8.      Pick out a baby book.
9.      Go over your list of baby names one more time.
10.  Write a birth plan.
11.  Change the message on your answering machine to inform callers you're still around.
12.  Get your hair done.
13.  Get a pregnancy massage.
14.  Watch reruns on television.
15.  Check out a matinee movie, alone or with a friend.
16.  Make a rice Sock for labor.
17.  Try a new recipe for dinner.
18.  Pack your birth bag for the hospital or birth center.
19.  Look through your pregnancy journal or pregnancy blog and relive some of the better moments.
20.  Buy a new nightgown.
21.  Go dancing!
22.  Look at some birth announcements.
23.  Put the baby's car seat in the car.
24.  Go window shopping.
25.  Daydream about the baby.
26.  Enjoy your favorite spicy food.
27.  Enjoy a favorite dessert.
28.  Buy a nursing bra.
29.  If you have older kids, read to them.
30.  Shave your legs.
31.  Visit someone else with a new baby and practice holding them.
32.  Think of goofy/snarky answers to the questions about whether or not you're still pregnant.
33.  Try a new nail color. Change it again.
34.  Call your mom.
35.  Sit in your baby's room for a while.
36.  Buy a cute baby toy.
37.  Get lots of fiber.
38.  Put together any unmade furniture.
39.  Buy stamps for birth announcements.
40.  Work out - go to yoga, water aerobics, whatever you like to do.
41.  Practice a new position for labor.
42.  Walk around the mall.
43.  Check to be sure your insurance information is packed in your birth bag.
44.  Do you have batteries for your camera?
45.  Listen to a favorite CD and consider making a playlist for your birth.
46.  Buy a pack of diapers.
47.  Buy a new toothbrush for the birth.
48.  Make a birthday cake. You can freeze it when you are done.
49.  Call your best friend.
50.  Play with your pets.
51.  Do nothing for a change.
52.  Give your husband a back massage. Show him how you like to have your back rubbed.
53.  Buy any birthday cards or presents you'll need for the first 6 weeks after your baby is born.
54.  Purchase Thank you notes.
55.  Have a smoothie.
56.  Recheck your birth bag for the hospital or birth center.
57.  Go to a La Leche League meeting, breastfeeding class and/or Powerful Birth Group.
58.  Take your husband dancing.
59.  Pack some Snacks for the hospital or birth center.
60.  Make a belly cast of your belly.
61.  Buy some sexy underwear, or at least not granny panties, for after the birth (a couple of weeks).
62.  If you have older kids, make I'm a big sisters/brother t-shirts for them.
63.  Bake a batch of cookies for the doctors and nurses at the hospital or birth center.
64.  Go to your last prenatal appointments.
65.  Order your favorite pizza for dinner.
66.  Have sex *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*
67.  Think about anything but the new baby or labor.
68.  Tell your husband how much you love and appreciate him.
69.  Make sure you have a long distance phone card for the birth if your cellphone doesn't have long distance.
70.  Have someone inspect your car seat for safety. Try AAA or local car dealer.
71.  Get a new Scented lotion for labor.
72.  Pack a diaper bag.
73.  Text or call your honey to make sure he's paying attention.
74.  Bake a casserole to eat after your baby is born.
75.  Put your birth bag in the car.
76.  Make Sure you have some postpartum help lined up.
77.  Start a scrapbook for your baby if you haven't already.
78.  Call your pediatrician to see if they have a recommended list of first aid items.
79.  Look through your old baby books and pictures.
80.  Have a lunch date with a friend.
81.  Read positive birth stories.
82.  Chat with your doula about any last minute worries.
83.  Feel your baby's movements and treasure them. Remember how you waited to feel the first fetal movements?
84.  Make a romantic dinner for your honey.
85.  Make a list of everything you will miss about being pregnant.
86.  Learn to knit baby booties.
87.  Ask your mom about your birth.
88.  Clean out the refrigerator.
89.  Rent a video.
90.  Take a practice drive to the hospital.
91.  Listen to a book on tape.
92.  Read a novel you've been dying to read.
93.  Go to work - why not?
94.  Think about your postpartum birth control choices.
95.  Read a new breastfeeding book.
96.  Practice a new relaxation technique.
97.  Refold all the baby clothes.
98.  Write a letter to your baby telling him or her how much you can't wait to meet them!
99.  Make a list of everything you won't miss about being pregnant.
100.                      Enjoy the last moments with your spouse or children as the family dynamics are going to change as Soon as the baby is born.

101.                      Practice letting go.....

Monday, February 15, 2016

Melina Briella's Birth Story

Story told by Amanda (not sure why it is blue!)
Sunday afternoon, while Mitch and Luke took a nap, I did half an hour of hypnobabies preparation for childbirth and then half an hour of a pregnancy yoga routine that I found on YouTube. I had been doing both of those every day for a couple of weeks. After bouncing around on my birth ball for a while and eating some more pineapple, I decided that the baby wasn’t coming any time soon even though it was already 5 days after her estimated due date and I might as well make a big to-do list for the next day so I could at least be productive while I waited. I planned on going to the DI, picking up a belated Christmas gift, scheduling a pregnancy massage, going to the bank, and making a few phone calls. Unfortunately, or rather, fortunately, none of that happened because I had our baby the next day!
I woke up with a contraction at 2:30 Monday morning and felt a flutter of excitement, but stayed in bed and went back to sleep. I woke up with contractions off and on throughout the night, some of which required me to concentrate and breathe through them, but I was always able to get back to sleep. I got a decent amount of rest, despite being woken up several times during the night. I didn’t turn the light on or time any of them, because I knew it was still early labor and I wanted to get as much sleep as I could.
I got up around 8 am per usual and started eating the breakfast Mitch made me while he continued to get ready for work. I told him I had been having sporadic contractions during the night, but that he should go ahead and go to work and I would call him when I needed him to come back. He convinced me that I should at least call my midwife, photographer, and both of our moms to give them a heads up. I did so and let them know I would call them later when it got more serious. At this point I was still planning on going on my errands with Luke and trying to ignore the contractions for as long as possible. During breakfast I timed a few of them and they were only about 2 minutes apart and lasting 30 seconds long. I was still feeling excited and pretty relaxed between contractions so we were blasting “The Circle of Life” from the Lion King, which was currently Luke’s favorite song to listen to and Mitch and Luke were dancing around the living room. Mitch started watching me closer when I told him they were that close and he realized that I was having to give them my full concentration and didn’t want to talk to him or watch Luke at all during a contraction. He said that I should probably just plan on doing two errands – eating breakfast and taking a shower.  Pretty soon after breakfast he decided that he wasn’t going to go in to work at all. He took it upon himself to text everyone and tell them that actually, we’re going to go in now, not this afternoon.
Mitch’s mom and sister showed up at our house a little before 10:30 to take Luke as we had previously planned and we left right after she showed up to go to the birth center. My midwife and photographer were already there when we arrived and my mom and sisters showed up a few minutes later. 
My midwife checked me for the first and only time during my whole pregnancy and labor and said that I was almost at a 6 dilated and that she was at a +2 station, which is very low. When Luke was born I was at a 5 when I got to the birth center and he was born about 6 hours later, so that was the sort of time frame I was expecting.
I sat on the birth ball for a while and leaned into Mitch during the contractions while my mom pressed a hot bean bag to my lower back, but then decided to move to the pool pretty quickly.
The water felt so good! I knelt in the water facing the side of the pool. Mitch sat outside the pool so I could lean on him during contractions. It was very comfortable and I was able to fully relax in between contractions. At one point I had to get out to go to the bathroom and that was hard. I had several contractions trying to walk there and back. I just wanted to get back to the water as fast as I could. 
Pretty soon after I got back into the water I felt my water break and then I started to feel the need to make some noises during the contractions. Up until then I was completely quiet throughout everything. The midwives didn’t actually know when I was between contractions or in the middle of one because I looked and sounded the same whether I was in the middle of one or not. Mitch always knew though. He said I breathed differently during contractions. 
I started having little sighs and moans but quickly changed to grunting and louder moans and pushing sounds. I involuntarily pushed for about 20 minutes, just going along with what my body was doing until one of the assistant midwives asked me after a contraction if I felt a “little pushy” at all on that one. Chris, our main midwife, responded that I had been pushing for a while now. When I heard that I realized that my body had indeed been pushing, and that I should go ahead and actively push when I felt the urge to do so. 
I pushed hard for about 10 minutes and she was born at 12:30 pm! I was kneeling in the pool so our midwife helped catch her and quickly handed her to me and I brought her up out of the water and then flipped myself over so I was sitting on the floor of the pool with my back resting on the side of the pool. 
I patted and rubbed her back a little and talked to her and she quickly pinked up and gave a hearty cry for just a few seconds before she calmed down and lay quietly and contentedly on my chest. She didn’t even need to get suctioned out at all. 
After a few minutes I held her up to verify that she was indeed a girl. She didn’t like being held at arm’s reach and cried a lot about that although she quieted down again pretty quickly after I tucked her into me again on my chest. After the cord stopped pulsing Mitch cut the cord and then held her skin to skin with her while I delivered the placenta and then got out of the pool and into bed. 

After about an hour, Mitch’s mom and sister got there with Luke and he was very excited to see the baby. Mitch brought him into the big king size bed with us and he gently touched her toes and fingers and gave her a kiss on her head. We told him what happened and how mama pushed the baby out so we can hold her. He loves telling everyone the story now about how we got our baby, complete with sound effects.
After cheering Melina’s birth with a bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider, and eating some crackers, cheese sticks and mini oranges, I was feeling pretty good so I took a shower and got dressed and we all went home. 
We went through Taco Bell’s drive through on the way home because some bean burritos sounded pretty great to me right about then. We got home about 4:30 pm and tucked into our own bed.
Melina was born on Monday, January 4th, at 12:30 pm, 6 days after her estimated due date. She weighed 8 lbs 2 oz and is perfect in every way.