Monday, August 18, 2014

Lissa's Beautiful Hospital Birth

Elisabeth's birth story
by Lissa
Photo by Deborah Louie

I researched the options for the safest and most fulfilling way of giving birth.  I decided a midwife at a birth center was what I wanted. I wanted skin-to-skin time, no drugs, breastfeeding only and no stress of a hospital. As my pregnancy came to an end, I was at 41 weeks and still had not gone into labor.  After discussion with my midwife and husband, we decided to begin induction.  That night found me in a hospital, exactly the place I wanted to avoid.  I personally hate hospitals.

After monitoring the baby, we were unable to proceed as we had originally counseled with the midwife.  Instead, my induction plan required an IV catheter, which was also a hated and dreaded affair.  Placing the catheter fulfilled all my negative expectations as I had difficult veins.  A restless night later, there was still very little contractions and I was not in labor.  Another induction technique was used and failed.  Finally, we decided to induce with pitocin.  It was 24 hours since checking into the hospital and 10pm at night that the pitocin was started.  I think I was able to rest an hour before the contractions began coming too strong.  Waking up my husband to help with counter pressure, I began a night I will never forget yet find details hard to remember.

The contractions came each time harder than the last.  I attempted to ride them like waves as the birthing class explained.  It is much easier said than done, however with the encouragement of my mom, husband and labor nurse I found a rhythm.  I remember finally releasing and giving into the whims of my body in the blessed jacuzzi, better termed the "aqua-dural".  At that moment, I had no other recollection beyond my contractions but the intense pain dulled and I felt I could indeed do this!

After awhile I opted to have my water broken as I was getting exhausted and was ready for the end.  My cervix was very slow to dilate.  I was only at 7cm when the midwife broke my bulging sac.  The rest seems a blur as I attempted not to push but often could not override my body. Finally, only dilated to 9cm, the midwife said it was safe to push.  I have never felt so relieved! Ten minutes later, there was a baby girl laying on my stomach.  She wasn't breathing.  I remember thinking she was so slimy, followed by asking over and over if anyone could tell if she was breathing.  I didn't want to panic, but I was worried and no one was responding to me as all focus was directed to my non-breathing child.  The midwife had her cord cut and Elisabeth whisked away to be resuscitated in record time.  Laying in bed getting sutured, I would get reports from nurses that Elisabeth was intubated (a breathing tube placed so they could breathe for her), then sent to the NICU, and finally extubated and crying.

A pediatrician came and gave us the report of her status and instructed us that we would not be able to hold our baby for 3 days as she would be in a cooling therapy with intravenous feeding to avoid brain damage. (She took 7 minutes to begin breathing on her own during her resuscitation.)  I went home without a baby recognizing my entire birth plan had been tossed out the window with the exception of being able to labor without drugs.

Three days later, I held my baby girl for the first time and began breastfeeding that day.  I have never felt such a rush of pure joy.  It was a trying and exhausting 5 days total of being in the NICU for Elisabeth and for us but we got through it with the support of God, family, and the wonderful staff.  It has only solidified the pure joy of giving life to a wonderful baby who thankfully is completely healthy.  It was an experience I would never give up thanks to my midwife and birth-center support prior to and during my labor.

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

Friday, August 15, 2014

Hannah's Beautiful Hospital Birth

Thank you to blogger hmv for sharing the story of her daughter's birth at Riverbend with the Peace Health midwives. You can read more about Hannah at her blog: "The Lighthearted Life of hmv"

My Birth Story
by Hannah

My birth story has been hard to write.  The experience of giving birth was many things I expected -joyous, exciting, intense- and many things I did not -emotionally draining and even traumatic.  Many people told me that you cannot predict what your birth will be like and to expect some changes in the plan.  But that kind of advice doesn't really help prepare you, and I guess that's the point.

As many of you know, I prepared for a birth without medication using a technique of self-hypnosis.  We took an intensive birth preparation class called HypnoBabies, which I really liked.  Essentially, the class teaches you how to use deep relaxation, similar to meditation, to "turn off" your body when you need to and to focus on relaxing through the contractions.  Many women who used this technique said that they had pain-free births, and on average, women have shorter labors and fewer complications.  It was also a really nice way to prepare for birth because Jake and I would do practice exercises together that help you let go of fear and just relax.  Can't complain about that.  The actual reality of the birth experience was a little different.  But we'll get to that.

Ultimately, I wanted a healthy birth without interventions so that baby and I would be as safe and healthy as possible.  I think it's a common misconception that women who want a natural birth are martyring themselves for some heroic purpose.  I'm not anti-drugs; I love Advil and I've never gotten a prescription that I didn't fill immediately.  But I researched all-things birth for a long time and decided that the best thing I could do for me and the baby would be to use what nature gave me and avoid interventions.  Epidurals and pain meds are not 100% safe for mom or baby, they often lead to more and more interventions, and I have a close friend who recently endured one of the worse epidural-related I was motivated.

But on to the story.  Stories are better with pictures, so here we go...

My sister Amy Lou getting my birth hair ready.

My water broke at 8am on Wednesday, August 10th.  I had an appointment that morning at 8:30am at the PeaceHealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center.  I'd been getting all my prenatal care there, and I highly recommend it.

Unfortunately, when I looked down to see that water was spilling out of me, I also saw that it was not clear.  I yelled to Jake in the kitchen, "I think my water just broke."  He came in and was a little confused too - to be honest, it kind of looked like I was just losing control of my bladder.  But I wasn't.  The discoloration was due to meconium in the water, which is the baby's first poo and is supposed to happen after they're born (ick).  It can be a sign of fetal distress ... or it can just happen because you are 6 days overdue (my situation).

Click here to read the rest of the story


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