Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One Birth, Many Stories: Jeni's Beautiful C-Section Birth

One birth, many stories
By Jeni 

When I talk to people about the birth of my son, many hear the story and remark, “Wow, it’s almost like you had two birth experiences—one natural birth and one c-section birth!” I often make a joke about how others should be jealous of my two-for-one bargain birth. And indeed, it’s true: some days it feels like that, two totally different birth experiences. But as I’ve thought back on the birth over the past two years and tried and tried again to write Jack’s birth story, I realized that it is (of course) one birth—one event—but many, many ways of telling the story. And all of them are true.

The short version.

I went into labor almost two weeks early, and my back labor continued over the course of 26 hours. After pushing for over four hours at the birth center when the baby wouldn’t turn, the contractions slowed. We transferred to the hospital for medicine to speed up the contractions. This didn’t work, and we decided to have a c-section birth. Our son Jackson Gale was born, beautiful and healthy.

The middle of the night version.

Did I push hard enough? Maybe I didn’t push hard enough. Did I go on enough walks? Maybe I should have walked more. We didn’t have a doula. Should we have had a doula? An epidural? A birth tub at home?

The advice from a friend whose natural birth I envied and to whom I needed to confess my natural birth shame version.

I did what I needed to do for my baby. I am an amazing mom. I will get rid of that guilt right away: it isn’t serving me. I am an amazing mom!

The version after hearing from another friend who had a c-section and described the procedure as making her feel powerful, like Athena being ripped from Zeus’s head:

I am a birth warrior! I AM MYTH EMBODIED!

The “don’t tell the birth story to my friends who are pregnant, it will infect them with bad luck and Ina May says not to listen to bad birth stories so be quiet” version.

“Oh, it’s fine. It didn’t go as planned, but we were so grateful Jack is happy and healthy! How are you feeling?”

The probably true (right?) version.

We had our best shot possible at a natural birth, which is what we wanted: we prepared well, had no complications during pregnancy, and went into the experience without fear. And we were given great care; we felt that our needs were respected and we were never bullied or pressured into procedures we didn’t want. It’s just that this birth required different tools and didn’t end the way we had planned.

The version from the surgical notes obtained from the midwives (excerpted).

The baby’s position was occiput posterior. After external maternal expulsion efforts were unsuccessful, the patient consented to a caesarean section.

The long long long version, so I don’t forget.

Click here to read the full story of Jack's birth 

 Did you have your baby with the Peace Health midwives?
We would love to hear your story too!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kara's Beautiful (Epic!) VBAC

In honor of Cesarean Awareness Month we are so pleased to share the story of Kara's incredible VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean). 

By Kara

I've been planning to write this for a while now... and I have ideas for a more fun and entertaining version, but this will do for now... 

After waking up around 7:00 AM and being sure my water had sprung a slow leak, I called our midwifery clinic and was assured I was just in very early labor and all was well. I had an appointment scheduled for a check up that afternoon anyway, so as long as there were no major changes, she said they’d see me at 3. We spent the running errands and dropping Riley off for a sleep over with his buddy Ty while I had mild and manageable contractions. At our check up the midwife on duty found that I was at 2 cm and she was sure Gus would be born in the next 24 hours. 

We went home and watched a movie, ate and generally hung out… all the while my contractions were really starting to pick up. We timed them for a few hours and while they were still manageable, they were in the range our midwives wanted us to call and come in for… this being a VBAC and all. So we arrived at the hospital around midnight and I was still just 2 cm. After 12 hours of walking around, monitoring, and overall labor icky-ness I was still only at 2 cm and declared to be in prodromal labor (super fun topic to Google) and given a shot of morphine while our midwife talked the OB on call into letting us go home. 

We arrived home and I crashed for a few hours. JD went to get Riley and we all settled in for the night… well - they settled in and those pesky contractions decided to pay me another visit. I was determined not to go back to the hospital until I was ready to push (and contemplating giving birth in our X-terra on the way) so I spent the night laboring in and out of the shower and on the birth ball. At about 5:00 AM, after tearing our bathroom sink half off the wall, I finally woke JD, called a friend to come stay with Riley until my mom could get there and we headed back to the hospital. 

At 6:40 AM I was back in a labor and delivery room with the same wonderful nurse from hospital stay #1, Tammy, at our side, midwife Pat reporting for duty… and dilated to… 3 cm. “You’re kidding %$#^*&! me” I groaned. 3 cm. Wow. SO… they started some Pit and I was up walking around, hanging out on the birth ball, etc. trying to relax and get things GOING. At 10:15 I was at 4. Pat broke my water so they could place an internal monitor on Gus’s little head because I was moving a LOT and they had a hard time keeping tabs on him as they are required to for VBACs. I got in the shower, out of the shower and started throwing up. Great!!! I thought, I must be at that magical point I’d heard and read about… barfing then pushing, awesome. Wrong. At 12:25 I was only at 7 cm. But it was progress… real progress and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I tried out the Jacuzzi tub for all of 5 minutes and hated it, spent more time on the birth ball and squat bar. At 3:00 PM I was 8 cm. 

Then, Pat finally said those words, “You really need to rest, I think you should get an epidural.” I was crushed but so thankful all at once. I’d made it SO far, but was terrified of being to tired to push when I needed to. At 3:40 I got an epidural and after 56 hours of labor with only a few hours of “rest” I was about to doze off and on for a few hours. At 4:10 PM I was still at the 8 cm from an hour, no progress. At 6:00 PM I was 9 cm and at 7:40 I was FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY ready to push. 

For the next 59 minutes, supported by my amazing husband and our beloved midwife I pushed my heart out. When Pat finally said those words I’d been dying to hear, “His head’s out!” I was done. Or so you’d think. But… his shoulder got stuck. In that horrifying and unbelievable 60 seconds I pushed my hardest, an army of nurses descended to push and shove on the outside of my belly and Pat ultimately reached in and helped pull Gus out.

He was a blueberry, not breathing. They took him to the little table and started giving him oxygen. His heart rate was always strong but it took him another minute before he took his first breath. His APGARS were 2 at one minute and then 9 at 5 minutes! They brought him to me and he latched on right away. He was so amazing and beautiful and BIG. While Pat sewed me up, we nursed and got to do introductions to Dad. I finally couldn’t stand it any longer and told them I had to know how much he weighed! Pat guessed 8 ½ or 9 lbs but… drum roll… he was 10 lbs 2.2 oz!!! 

He is a miracle. I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. It was an insane 60 + hour ride, but I wouldn’t change it or him for anything. Do I wish for a slightly shorter version of his labor for next time (and a slightly smaller baby), sure… but we are quite a team, Gus Gus and I.


Did you have your baby with the Peace Health midwives? 
We would love to hear your story too!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Evynne's Beautiful C-Section Birth

In honor of Cesarean Awareness Month we are so pleased to share the story of this recent, beautiful c-section birth. Welcome to the world Ashland, and thanks to his parents Peter and Evynne for sharing their incredible story with us. We are thrilled you all are part of our Birth Center Family.

Did you have your baby with the Peace Health midwives? 
We would love to hear your story too!