Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In God's Own Way and Time



As January winds down,
I have been looking forward
to a particular client's birth.
Mama J. and Papa J.
have been preparing for
their birth experience
with diligence and purpose.
They took all the classes,
read all the books,
watched all the movies.
Mama J. has been meticulous in her
prenatal care
from Day One.

It has been a complete joy
getting to know her
care for her
and plan for her homebirth!
So when I got the call this afternoon,
I was excited!

The Midwife called
said Mama J was in early labor
but be ready to go.

I got my gear together,
and got my house in order
so that upon my leaving
things would get done--
like dinner and homework.

Finally, just before dinner time,
The Midwife called
"time to go."
Hug and kiss the yahoos
and I'm on my way.


Mama J and Papa J are preparing to
go into their own ministry...
and their birth plan was,
and I quote
"to rely on the Word."
Being raised Baptist,
I know what this means--
singing
the songs of my youth,
praying,
and reading scriptures.
So on the way to their home,
I try to remember some hymns--
"Jesus Loves the Little Children"
"Jesus Loves Me"
"Amazing Grace"
"I stand all Amazed"--
I sing them all on my way
down I-25...
some verses are harder to remember
than others,
and I figure I can hum the ones I don't know,
in case we actually sing--
and then I wonder how awkward
it will be if I sing off-key
or forget the words entirely!


I decide it's not worth
worrying about.


When I arrive,
Emily is already there.
Mama J is in the labor pool--
she hears me come in
and looks over her shoulder
with a smile.
I love this woman.
She is gonna be a great mom.

Papa J. is sitting next to the pool
reading
praying
smiling
praising.
They're working together
perfectly.

So Emily and I
continue to set up what we can
until the Midwife arrives
and then
we get the rest of the stuff outta her car.

Contraction waves are coming
two minutes apart.
Mama J is smiling between them.
Breathing thru the waves
as they come
and able to smile
in between.
She's doing great!

The Midwife, Emily and I
step out of the bedroom
and give Mama and Papa
some time alone.

We're not out long when
we hear Mama's voice change--
it's not the controlled breathing
we're used to,
so we go in and breathe with her
to help her get into a rhythm.

We do this for a few hours.
Mama and Papa continually
vocalize their prayers...
sometimes Papa hums a tune
I do not recognize
but Mama does
and that's all that matters.

A few more hours of this
and Mama is getting tired.
We decide to get her out of the
labor pool
and stand her up in the shower.
She's hesitant at first
but standing up will use
gravity better,
and will speed dilation.

Mama J ends up really liking
the shower...
she has several more waves in there
and her water breaks.
That's when things changed...
there's meconium in the water.
Alot.
and it's thick and dark.
We continue to listen to
the baby's heart tones...
which aren't awful
but not good either.

The Midwife checks Mama J to see
how dilated she is now...
almost 6 cm
but the baby is high...
so the Midwife makes the decision
to transport
Mama to the hospital
which,
according to my GPS
was 375 yards away.
That's right,
it's across the street!

So we help Mama get dressed
and the Midwife goes with Mama and Papa
over to the hospital.

Emily and I
clean up
pack up
and head over to the hospital.
By the time we get there,
the baby is born!
And he is perfect!
His heart tones did dip down considerably
but his apgar scores were 8 and 9.

Mama J is renewed!
She is a little trembly
because of the adrenalin-rush,
because once they got to the hospital
she was 8 cm dilated
and went to 10 in just minutes!
Then once she was at 10cm
she just pushed that baby right out!

It all happened so quickly.
One could wonder
if we'd just stayed at home
how things woulda turned out--
obviously, things were fine;
but we didn't know
couldn't have known
how this little boy was going
to tolerate
the delivery.
And it's our policy
that it's better to be safe than sorry.

Mama and Papa both agreed
the right decision was made.
Tho their preparation
and faith
was abundant,
they accept that the events of their
birth
was according to God's will.

There's a life lesson there
that I think will benefit this couple
as they continue to grow their
ministry---
after all we can do,
we have to trust in God's will
even when we are unsure what that
might be.

Faith is believing in that which is unseen
which is true.

After a round of hugs and kisses,
Emily, the Midwife and I
headed down the long empty
corridors of the hospital,
feeling grateful to have been part
of the experience.
It didn't go as planned,
and still our hearts are filled
with gratitude
for a safe and healthy birth.
God does hear and answer prayers--
what more could we ask for?

I sang my favorite hymns all the way
home
while a full moon
lit the pathway home.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Little Man


It's 2:40am Friday morning.
Those "love hormones" are still goin strong
after a birth late last night.

The Midwife called around 8pm
to give me a heads-up
that sweet Mama S. was in labor.
It could be awhile tho
cuz this is her first baby.

So I got my doula bag together,
put on my scrubs
and lay in my bed with my eyes resting...
first births are usually pretty long
so I knew I'd better get a little rest
for the long night ahead.

The only problem was
my entire family was still very much
awake.
Nana and Daisie were downstairs
singing primary songs
The Caboose was in her room watching
"Spice Girls" circa 1998,
and Boofus was on the pc playing
some kind of game.
Mr W was watching "Burn Notice" in our room.

So I laid there
eyes shut
but not really resting.
Just after 9pm
the Midwife calls back,
"It's time to go!"
So I throw on my shoes
and am out the door and down the road.
I listen to "Delilah" on the way--
sucha cheesy show...
"I think I loved you before I knew you"
was playing.
I thought of this young couple
who are about to meet the newest love
of their lives...
then the "Titanic" song by Celine Dion
came on...
I don't know the name of it,
but I know the words--
so I sang them at the top of my lungs
zipping down I-25 South!

When I arrived,
sweet Mama S. is laboring on her bed,
very quietly
in the middle of a contraction wave.
I stand outside of the room
until it's over...
then I poke my head in,
smile and greet her,
"Hello, Beautiful."
She smiles back
with  a wink.
She is doing great.
Just breathing thru each wave.
The Midwife hasn't checked her yet,
and we both go out to the car
to get all of our supplies.

By the second trip in,
I got out my "cheat sheet" for the set-up,
and had just barely started the process
when I hear pure delight coming from
the bedroom,
it's the Midwife--
"You're Complete!"
Mama S. is dilated to ten already!
Oh boy! I moved as fast as I could
to get things set-up!
This was gonna go by super quick!

First thing,
get the instruments boiling.
Second,
get the baby blankets, hat, etc. on the heating pad
and crank it up!
Third,
set up the O2 tanks
and all the birth supplies...
I was seriously hauling my bahooey!

Emily arrived just in time
to get briefed by the Midwife,
slap on some gloves
and helped Mama S. sit up on the
birth stool.

Papa R. was at Mama S.'s side
and gently encouraged her along.
Mama S. gave a spontaneous push!
YES! her body is doing great work!
She hums thru most of the waves...
occasionally she looks up to me,
and I nod my head and smile
give her the "thumbs up" signal,
and she goes back to focusing
and listening to her
body.
The Midwife and Emily
cheer and direct Mama S.'s pushes.
We want her to push effectively
so she doesn't waste alot of effort.

Just a few pushes
and we see the baby's head...
one more push
and the head--
along with the entire rest of the body
comes sliding out!
Time: 10:31!
We were there just 45 minutes!
Amazing! for a first-time Mom!

Cheering and laughter
fill the small room!
A son is born!
While waiting for the placenta to deliver,
we swaddle the baby and Mama holds her son
with support.
We tuck warmed blankets all around him
and once the placenta is delivered,
Mama lays down on the bed,
and Papa R. holds little man
skin to skin
for warmth.
Papa R. is glowing.
Positively glowing.
Beaming.
It is a privilege to watch.

The rest of our time is spent getting
Mama to drink, eat,
bathe, rest, nurse
drink some more.
Taking pictures of the new family.
Doing the newborn exam
and packing up to go.
Mama is spent.
She needs a long nap.
Papa's got little man in his arms--
few fathers melt into their sons
like this man.
His heart is offered to this new child
fully, completely.
Mama S. watches Papa dress little man,
and smiles,
"It's okay, you won't break him."
Papa takes his place on the bed
next to Mama.
Her head meets Papa's head
and they lean onto one another
with little man
between them.
Now, that is a picture!

Mama expresses her gratitude
to each of us
several times.

In my mind,
it's me who is the grateful one.
I am grateful that I got to be there
and feel all that endless love
permeating the room
and every fiber of my being!
It is as close to getting "high"
that I will ever know...
and I am completely addicted to it.

On the way home,
Black Eyed Peas song comes on...
"Tonight's gonna be a Good Night"...
oh yeah it was!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January Waterbirth



The call came at 6am.
I was in the car at 6:15am.
Arrived at Mama K.'s house 6:50am.

I begin to unload the car
and begin the set-up
while the Midwife checks out Mama K.

I bring in the birthing stool,
O2 tanks and birth kit,
just as the Midwife is kneeling over
Mama K. who is laboring on her hands and knees
in her room.
She is quiet and focused
with her younger sister, Kate
is loving on her
with warm hands.

I leave to set up the rest
--place the instruments in boiling water on the stove;
lay baby blankets, baby hats, a tiny diaper and socks
on a heating pad and turn it on;
pour witch hazel on the pads for later
and tuck them in the freezer;
get out the towels
hand cloths
a bowl of ice water
for cool compresses
which will feel so good to Mama K.
once she really starts working.
Because, you know,
Labor is hard work.

By the time I get back in the room,
Mama K. is in the labor pool.
There is soft classical music playing.
Papa N. is there,
Sister Kate,
Granma,
and Mama K.'s 4 and 2 year old sons
are there too.
She is composed,
focused,
she looks so comfortable
I wonder if she's really in labor?

The Midwife says she'll check her cervix
after the next contraction wave...
which is only every ten minutes.
She checks her once
then twice...
Mama's dilated to 9cm and is stretchy!
Could it be?
She doesn't look like a woman in transition!
She is resting between contractions,
smiling
completely relaxed...

Papa N. is supporting Mama while she changes positions
to a supported squat...
she likes this position
and tries a few pushes.
At first, she is unsure if she's pushing
correctly
but soon learns how to push with her body
and makes each contraction count for progress.

"Dig Deep!", says Emily, the other assistant.
"That's right!", says The Midwife.
"Push that baby out!", says Papa.

Sister Kate changes the cool compresses
between contractions,
whispering sisterly love
in Mama K.'s ear.
Everyone needs a sister like Kate.

Mama changes positions to hands and knees--
she's not sure she wants to try that at first,
but then discovers it's easier to push that way
and really likes it...
she's making progress quickly.

Soon we can see the head crown
thru the water
and one more push
the head is out!
9:17AM--
one more wave
and there is another son
in the family!
9:19am
little 7 lb. J. is born!

Hugs, tears,
smiles all around...
the room is filled with love and joy.

Mama stays in the pool with baby
until the placenta is delivered 10 minutes later.

Then we help Mama to the bathroom
then to her bed with clean dry clothes
and dryer-warmed covers...
she melts into the bed
with a serene smile on her lips.

Granma brings in the older brothers
who smile and greet their new comrade.
I can just see these boys growing up together
and all the fun and trouble they will have!

The rest of our time in the home is spent
caring for mom
watching her body recover
and warming the baby skin-to-skin with Papa--
as well as
leaving no trace that a baby was born
in that home.

Papa says
Granma says
Sister Kate says


"Wow, this was great!"

We pack up and head home.
Just as we're pulling out of their driveway
a coyote runs across the street
right in front of us.
The sky is gray and white,
I notice snow clouds.
By the time I am home
it is a storm of snow.
Time to settle in for that little family.
There's nowhere they need to go
anyway...
the home fires are warm this night.

Friday, January 15, 2010

An Alaskan Homebirth

Eagle's Birth Story

I have a lot of thoughts and feelings that I want to put with this story, but it's taking me a while to get them all into words, and since the story part is actually fairly short, I decided to go ahead and post the facts and then I'll post the thoughtful part later on.

There is a standard which suggests that if mama has contractions that are one minute long, 5 minutes apart, and continue at that rate for an hour, then she is in active labor and should go to the hospital (or call the midwife). In the two weeks prior to Eagle's birth I achieved that status at least four different times, always in the evening. On each occasion, I thought hey, maybe this is finally it...but since the contractions never got closer together or more intense (and in fact always slowed when I laid down for bed, if not when I was snuggling in the kids) then I knew it was not really labor. After three days in a row of it however I did call my midwife just to let her know what was going on. I told her I felt a bit silly calling, because I knew this was not it, but I thought she should know that I was contracting a lot, and regularly. She said that probably my body was warming up, and that as soon as the baby's head engaged I would have a fairly fast labor. She encouraged me to do things that would help him engage (ie--drop down and put pressure on my cervix).

I spent two days doing belly lifts/hip tucks and hip circles (both on and off the ball) trying to get him to descend, but so far as I know he hadn't engaged when I went to bed on Wednesday (my due date). He may have started to engage though, because over the course of the evening I had a half dozen contractions that seemed different from the many previous ones. I can't explain how, they just seemed different... I had a gut feeling that I'd probably wake up in the middle of the night in labor, but since I'd had that feeling on several nights in the prior two weeks I didn't bother to say anything to Hubby, and just went to bed as normal.

Bear woke up around 3, so I got up to comfort him for a few minutes, and as I got back in my own bed I had a really uncomfortable contraction. Then 10 minutes later another--the kind where you think gosh, laying down is terrible, I have to move. 10 minutes later I had a third so I got out of bed to lean on the bathroom counter and do hip circles, and the contractions promptly switched to being 5 minutes apart. After all the false starts I decided to wait another 40 minutes to make sure they kept on consistently before I woke Hubby, but I knew they were going to.



Shortly after 4am I woke Hubby. I told him I was in labor and that I needed him to put up the pool. He didn't know yet that I'd been up for over an hour, and later admitted that he wondered if it was another false start and was very tempted to roll over and go back to sleep. But he got up and started puttering around. I felt terribly impatient at this point and started working on the pool myself--we had inflated it to about 80% two weeks prior so it was quick and easy to finish the job. I think my impatience in getting the pool out helped Hubby realize that I was not at all iffy on whether this was the real thing, and he quickly stepped in to get it done for me. As he was working on the pool he informed me that he was going to have to run in to his classroom briefly, as he'd been working on some things the afternoon before and would need to put them away if a substitute was coming in that day. (After two weeks of figuring that any day could be the day, I guess he had reached the "she's gonna be pregnant forever" state of mind too!) He said he would probably only be gone about 20 minutes, so as soon as he finished inflating the pool I told him to hurry and go because I knew I'd need him soon. We called the midwife to let her know that this was it, and she said to call her back as soon as anything changed and she would come right over. So Hubby left, and I took a shower, lit some candles, and started filling the pool.

While he was gone my contractions continued to be 5 minutes apart. After a little while, needing to convince myself that I was making progress, I decided to do an internal check on myself. I had tried this several times throughout the pregnancy, and especially during the final weeks. During pregnancy the cervix is very high and also tipped to the back, so I was never able to reach it very well (I was familiar with what it felt like when I'm not pregnant because I check it regularly as part of my fertility awareness, but pregnancy is a whole different ballgame!) I had discussed with my midwife how I couldn't feel it, and she said that the height combined with the softness of it in those late weeks was probably why. This time when I reached in though I could clearly feel it: I guessed I was around 3cm dilated and I could feel the sack of waters bulging. The sack is the coolest thing to feel--sortof slippery and slimy but also obviously very strong. I couldn't feel the baby's head behind it, just the squishy edge of the sack, but I knew he must be right there since I was dilating.

I started really focusing myself into the labor. The body can (and will) do the work of birthing pretty much on its own, if mama will just relax and let it do so; on the other hand, if mama will work with her body (as opposed to merely stepping aside for it) then the whole process can be all the more effective and efficient. Ina May Gaskin talks about "integrating" contractions so that you can move forward and into the next level. Birthing From Within teaches a similar notion when it encourages the mother to go into the center of each contraction. So as I leaned against the counter and circled my hips I repeated words like "down" and "center" and "deeper." In the prior couple of weeks I had mentally stumbled upon the image of a drop or stream of water coming down onto a pool and the waves of ripples radiating out from it--so I took that image (with the downward and outward motion) and replayed it in my head over and over.

As soon as Hubby got home (around 5am) my contractions became noticeably more intense. I really think my body was just waiting for him to get home before it allowed labor to progress. I was needing to concentrate enough that I couldn't time them myself anymore, but Hubby said they were still 5 minutes apart. They were stronger though, so we called the midwife. Since my water had not broken, I'd had no bloody show, and they were still 5 minutes apart, she said she'd be over soon but we all understood that she wasn't rushing. Hubby got a quick shower and I got into the pool.

Wow!


I had planned to labor in the water with Bear (although at the hospital they'd have me get out for the actual delivery), but labor had been so long that by the time we got to the hospital I was too tired to do anything but lay on the bed. This time I had had a nap the prior afternoon, plus gotten half a night's sleep prior to waking up in active labor--I was awake enough that I was far more conscious of everything that was going on (I was falling asleep between contractions at the end of Bear's labor). I also had enough energy this time to be upright and moving around, which I believe helped labor progress rapidly...although I think this would have been a faster and more intense labor regardless. In any case, warm water felt fantastic on my hard-working middle and back. I sat down in the water between contractions, but during them I still needed to be up and moving, so I knelt up and leaned on the edge of the pool and continued my hip circles...the only problem was that this brought my hips out of the water (right when I wanted it most!). So Hubby got a saucepan and poured water over my lower back during contractions. I have to say, now that I have labored with water, I cannot fathom wanting to labor without it! I started vocalizing through the contractions--keeping a loose throat can help keep a loose bottom, so a low "ahhhh" while contracting can be helpful--and it simply came naturally.



Midwife A arrived sometime around 6am I think--I was far enough into laborland that I had no concept of time. I had recently checked myself again and estimated that I was around 5cm dilated--still with the bulging waters. Bear had recently wakened and Hubby put on a movie for him. A had me get out of the pool between a couple of contractions so that she could check my vitals and dilation. I knew I was in serious labor because I didn't feel the need to grab a towel or sarong when I got out (I'm normally a very modest person, and had those things on hand because I'd expected to want them). Modesty is one of those things that just goes out the window in labor, which is good because it would be terribly inconvenient if it didn't! I was pleasantly surprised when she reached in and said "you're about 8cm dilated" (she later told me I'd been "a stretchy 8"). I got back into the water for a contraction while she called her associate midwife K (who had a 90 min drive) and got her doppler ready, and then I sat on the birth ball so that A could listen to the baby's heartrate through a couple of contractions. During the first one his heartrate dropped dramatically, but during the second it stayed steady. Contractions can be stressful for the baby, though not usually dangerously so, but she needed to listen through a couple more to determine which result had been the anomaly. The next three contractions--two with Hubby holding under my arms (suspending me), and especially the one laying on the bed--were awful. Contractions are intense anyway, but without the mediating effect of the warm water they were harder to integrate. (Did I really spend an entire labor on a bed last time? Yikes!) Baby's heartrate was stable through the subsequent contractions, so I got back into the pool.




Getting back in the water felt glorious, and was just in time...the next few contractions were stronger and I was getting louder at the peaks. I wasn't focusing myself into them anymore, just trying to stay on top of them and let my body work. I remember thinking that this was awfully hard and I'd rather just stay pregnant, and even that I totally understood why epidurals are popular...and then it hit me that those kinds of thoughts are a sign of being in transition, and that it meant I was in the home stretch! (I don't recall having any of those sorts of thoughts during Bear's labor--presumably because I was too tired to have thoughts that conscious.) Between contractions I stretched out, laying my head on the side of the pool and letting my body float out behind me. (A commented "now that's a woman in labor!" so we took a picture, but I cropped it for the blog...I'm open but not quite that open!)

I guess I woke Wolf at this point--though 7 would have been his normal wake up time anyway--he joined Bear watching the movie. I started feeling pushy. I wasn't sure if it was my body pushing or my mind wanting to push, but I told A because I figured she'd want to check me again to make sure I was fully dilated. That's what they'd done in the hospital after all. But A just said "do what your body wants to do; don't do anything that hurts." What perfect advice for labor! I don't know if the timing was coincidental or if her "giving permission" freed me, but with the next contraction I was definitely pushing, and I was getting louder too. A asked if my water had broken yet, and it hadn't, but within a couple more contractions it did. If feeling the bulging sack with my finger was weird, feeling the sack break spontaneously was really strange! (Bear's water was broken by the OB.) It was something akin to blowing a bubble gum bubble and having it pop all over your face...except of course it wasn't on my face. I really thought there was an audible pop, but I guess in the midst of labor sensory perception is garbled because Hubby and A both said it didn't make noise.

The older boys' movie got over and they came in. Wolf sat back but Bear came right over, put his hand on mine, and started vocalizing with me.

Within another contraction or two I knew things were getting close so I turned over and leaned back against the side of the pool rather than staying on my knees leaning forward. I know a lot of women deliver on their knees or hands and knees, but I wanted to be able to look down and see what was happening. In retrospect this was pointless because I couldn't see around my belly, but at the time it seemed terribly important. I reached in and for the first time felt my baby's head: all soft and wrinkly and covered with hair! The mind definitely doesn't function normally in labor, because I had the momentary thought "he doesn't have a skull" (because I could only feel the soft wrinkles of his scalp). Fortunately the work of pushing distracted me before I had a chance to linger on that notion!

Interestingly, once I turned around I no longer felt contractions nor a physical urge to push. I had a huge mental urge to push, but nothing physical. However I could feel the baby's head coming down so I had no hesitation about pushing like crazy. I'd had a feeling for some time that this baby would be bigger than the last one, so I had mentally geared myself up for a 9 pound baby. As I felt his head begin to enter my birth canal I had the thought that it was impossibly big and would never fit, but there's not really any way but down and out at that point, so I pushed anyway and remarkably enough he slid on down without much trouble at all. Of course sliding down the canal is one thing, actually getting out is another. I don't recall the classic "ring of fire" as he crowned, but I was aware of many hands being there--Hubby was in the pool with me catching the baby, the midwife's hands were supporting my perineum, and I realized that I had reached down to support myself in the front as well. Being part of my own 'catching team' was something I don't think I ever would have done in a hospital, but it came instinctively and I think it helped me not tear. His head came out, but then he stopped at the shoulders. I was pushing but he wasn't budging. Hubby moved aside and A started working the baby back and forth to get him out. My mind started racing with thoughts of shoulder dystocia and I just knew that she was about to tell me to turn over (it's easier to get sd babies out if mama is on hands and knees) and I was just sure she was going to have to break his clavicle to get him out (that's the official procedure if the baby won't come unstuck). All within the moment I was already beginning to mourn my baby's broken shoulder...but A never asked me to flip over. I felt pulling and stretching that made delivering the head feel like birthing a pillow (A later told me that she had her hands "in there with him" to get him free), and then suddenly she was done and Hubby was handing me the baby and A was putting a towel around the little one.



The first moments after birth are so precious, just staring into the eyes of my new little one and realizing the blessing of being part of a miracle.




I hadn't been able to see it, but Eagle had a nuchal hand (his hand was by his face as he was born, so although his head measurement was 36cm, the addition of his hand made it 38cm--15 inches). Hubby and A were discussing the nuchal hand when I felt a uterine twinge and knew it was time to deliver the placenta. I started to hand Eagle off to someone when I realized we hadn't cut his cord so he was still attached to me. I pulled back the towel to expose the cord and discovered that it had broken on its own! I had never heard of such a thing (and I have read a lot of birth stories). A said that it happens occasionally, but is very rare. She clamped it to make sure he did not lose any blood through it, and then turned to help me with the placenta. Delivering the placenta is easy--it doesn't have any bones. ☺

An unmedicated birth is followed by a rush of adrenalin, so I climbed out of the pool and took a quick shower. While I was showering midwife K arrived. Both A and K commented that I seemed very lively for someone who had given birth just minutes before...I wasn't trying to be lively or anything else, I just felt fantastic and ecstatic (and very glad to have the baby on the outside!). I climbed into my bed (how wonderful to be able to get right into my own bed!) and tried to get Eagle to nurse. He wasn't interested for a while, in spite of Bear telling him that nurn was good and he should try it. Wolf cut the umbilical cord (closer to his navel, as the break was several inches down). After we'd all had a chance to cuddle the baby a bit A examined me. She said that between the nuchal hand, the big head, and the stuck shoulder she'd expected to have a big sewing job, but somehow I had no tearing at all. I don't know if it was being in water, being well-supported, being relaxed, my prenatal diet, or something else, but A pronounced that I had "a beautiful vagina" and after double-checking that there was not even a skidmark, she tucked me back into bed with my baby.




B C Brighton

Born on November 12, 2009 at 8:03am

8lbs even, 20.75inches long, 36cm (14.5in) head (Bear was 7lb1oz, 19.5in, but his head was the same size!).






This labor was shorter but more intense than my last one. I was more conscious of everything, but also more in control. I do not have regrets over my choices nor the events of my first birth; in fact Bear was not even an hour old when I told Hubby "I could do that again!" (a sentiment I did not feel for a couple of days this time). However if I could choose one labor & birth to repeat in the future, it would definitely be Eagle's.

*Thanks to MommyB for offering to share her sweet homebirth story!http://brightonwoman.blogspot.com/2009/11/eagles-birth-story.html

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Birth Story Giveaway!

Does reading about others' birth stories remind you of yours?
Was it tender and sweet? Were there comical moments? I'd love to hear them!


The Giveaway: A Miracle Blanket

How to Enter:
1-Submit your own birth story and allow it to be shared on COLORADO HOMEBIRTH STORIES.*
2- Birth must've taken place at home, or in a birthing center, or ALL natural/unmedicated at a hospital.

 
Deadline: February 14th, 2010

Winner will be chosen randomly.

* You may certainly change names/dates for privacy.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rhonda's Home Birth Story


Bridger's Home Birth StoryShare
OK, these thoughts are scattered, but I'm getting this written!



Bridger is my 5th child, and this was my first home birth.



On the morning of Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009, I woke up around 6:30 a.m. with regular mild contractions. It was 6 days past the due date, so I was hoping this was the REAL THING! I got the kids off to school, and told them that maybe when they got home, I'd know if this was real labor. We had planned for the kids to watch the birth if they desired.



After a few hours, I decided to call the midwives to tell them what was happening. I was sure that my labor was going to go on all day, and that the baby wouldn't be born until about midnight. I thought I'd have a long labor, like with my other births. Rose said she'd send Ian over in a little while to check on me. My midwives are a husband/wife team. Ian and Rose Penwell from The Natural Alternative Midwifery Practice. They are awesome! So experienced and compassionate!



Around 10:45 a.m. Ian and an assistant Stacia arrived to check my vitals, and listen to the baby's heartbeat. My contractions were getting closer together and more intense, but still manageable, not painful. I welcomed each contraction, like a big hug from a friend. I visualized these sensations as helpful, having purpose, opening my cervix. I stayed very relaxed. I think all my reading and studying was paying off. Oh, and my prayers too, for a comfortable safe birth! I had read several good books, like Birth Stories, Spiritual Midwifery, Birthing from Within, and many others. I had studied and prepared for this, for about a year.

I also had listened to some of the Hypnobabies relaxation/visualization CD's during the last few days and weeks of pregnancy, and I think they really helped.



I had planned that if/when labor got really hard, I would try many different techniques to help me get through. Like taking a bath, lighting canclles, rocking on the exercise ball, listening to relaxing/inspirational music/ Hypnobabies birth CD, reading scriptures and praying, massage, watch a movie, take a walk...



So, Tyler was at work, because I thought I'd do well laboring quietly at home, and not need him around until later that afternoon, for support. I called him and told him the midwives were coming over to check on me, and that he might want to come home in about an hour. Luckily his assistant Cindy told him to come home right away, or he might have missed the birth!



So, when Tyler got home, Ian and Stacia were here too. I was laying on my left side on the couch to help my blood pressure come down a bit.



Then Ian went to the bedroom to set out the birth supplies and such. Stacia left to go get some supplies. My plan was to give birth somewhere in the bedroom or master bath. Maybe a water birth in the tub, or maybe sitting on the birthing stool.



After a few minutes Tyler and I went into the bedroom as well. We have a tall log bed, and when I'd have a contraction, I would lean forward on the bed (with my feet on the floor) and close my eyes. Ian showed Tyler how to apply counter pressure on my lower back, and that helped take the intensity of the contraction down about 50%. It was great! I was doing well.



With my other births, when I'd have a contraction, I'd say "Oh no, here comes another one. Oh, it hurts". This time, I'd say or think, "Oh yeah, here it comes, open, open". I was so relaxed and confident. My body was designed for this, and I was ready to let my body just do what it knew to do. I moved in accordance to what I felt. I trusted birth.



Between a couple of the contractions I rocked on the birthing ball. After just a few (maybe 5) contractions there in the bedroom, I decided it would feel good to lay in a warm bath. My contractions were getting more intense (but not painful, because I was so relaxed) so the tub seemed like a great idea to get more comfort. I could feel the baby starting to descend.



Ian said that we should check my dilation before I got into the tub. If I wasn't to a 5 yet, it could slow down my labor progress. I figured I'd be at 2 or 3 cm., and would have to wait longer for the tub. So, I climbed up onto the bed, to be checked. To our great surprise, Ian said he could feel the baby's head, and that I was at a 9! Whoa! No wonder I was wanting the comfort of a warm bath!



Ian walked into the bathroom and started the bath water running. Tyler held my hand to help me down off the bed. As soon as my feet touched the floor, "Splash!" My water broke right there on the light carpet! Then more splashes as blood and more water came out. (Tyler was wondering how he was going to get the carpet clean!) I was standing up, with Tyler supporting me. We were both shocked. This baby was coming NOW! We both said, "Ian, come back!" Ian came back into the bedroom to see what we wanted. I spotted the birthing stool, and told him to grab it, and said that the baby was coming right now! It was about 12:00 noon. 5 1/2 hours from my first contractions.

(Unknown to me, my mom arrived and got my kindergartner off the bus just in time!)



So I sat on the birthing stool, (kind of a standing squat) with Tyler supporting my arms and weight from behind. Ian reminded me to breathe. My body was doing the pushing for me, I didn't have to try to push. I just breathed. (Ian managed to grab a disposable mat or two, and put them under me).

Tyler said "Look! There's the head!" So I opened my eyes and saw the head! I guess I had been closing my eyes while concentrating on breathing. Then, realizing the cord was wrapped twice around the baby's neck, Ian gently unwound it, and the baby came right out!! Ian caught the baby. The whole time Tyler was so supportive and was telling me what a good job I was doing. My instincts had taken over. It was cool. The baby was healthy and looked good!



I was amazed and in awe. I exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, I just had a baby! That was so simple!"



I think being so relaxed, and in an upright position made a huge difference. No tearing, no stitches.



I continued to bleed a lot, so Ian and Tyler laid me on the floor. Ian delivered the placenta, and gave me oral medication to help stop the bleeding. Also, In the next little while Stacia and Rose arrived, and the 3 of them helped to get me cleaned up, to the bathroom, and stablized, and to my bed. I got an IV and oxygen too, to help recover from the blood loss. (I also bled when Grace my 3rd child, was born at the hospital and received 2 shots to stop the bleeding).



After I gave birth, and was laying on the floor, I had the baby on my belly, skin to skin, with a towel over him to keep him warm, as Ian worked to stop the bleeding. I admired the baby's face, and fingers, and toes. I tried nursing then too. I checked to be sure he was really a boy. I couldn't believe I had just given birth at home! It was wonderful and simple!



I was so thankful to have Tyler there for support and comfort, and to Ian for his encouragement and expertise. If I had planned a hospital birth, I don't think I would have made it to the hospital. I had no idea my labor would be so mild, or that it would progress so fast. I loved having a home birth, it was on my own turf, very empowering. And I believe, that had I not planned to have a home birth, I probably would have given birth at home anyway, but not had the help there that I needed. Tyler and I had prayed and studied a lot about our birth options, and felt led to choose a home birth. We also prayed about who to hire to help us, and we felt good about hiring Ian and Rose. They were so wonderful to work with!



While I recovered in the bed, Tyler got out his shop vac. Ian got out the Peroxide. Together they got the carpet clean! My mom went and picked up the kids from school, and picked up a pizza too. When the kids came home they all adored their new baby brother. They helped Rose with the newborn exam. Bridger weighed 8 lbs. 12 oz. As I looked around the room, and saw my family and midwives there, I was so thankful to the Lord for blessing me with such wonderful people to support me, and for a great birth, and healthy baby.



I feel so much more educated about the natural process of birth now. During each of my prenatal check-ups, I spent a good hour or more with the midwives, as I asked questions, and they answered. I loved what I learned about nutrition, labor and birth! After each of my previous 4 hospital births (where I laid on my back), I had lower back pain for months afterward. This time, there has been no pain!



Maybe some of you are wondering...

Why did we choose to have a home birth?



A few years ago, while camping with friends, we met a couple who had just had a home birth. They spoke so highly of their experience. Tyler and I listened, but were thinking they were crazy to have a baby at home! It sounded irresponsible and dangerous.



Then over the next few years we met a few more people who had wonderful home birth experiences. I have made a few friends (Dawn, Krissy, and Melody) who have taught me so much, and answered my questions, as I have done the research for myself, to find out the truth and facts about home birth. Is it Safe? I would never put my life or my baby's life in danger, just to be in the comfort of my home, or to save money.



I do not consider myself brave for choosing a home birth. Brave is when you do something risky, or dangerous. I chose to have a home birth because after doing SO much research, I believe that it is the safest, healthiest way for many women to have a baby ( low risk women). Tyler and I have done a "180" in our thinking about birth! We liked what we learned when watching the movies "Pregnant in America" and also "The Business of Being Born". (You should see if your local library has them, they are very informative.)



I like the philosophies of midwives. I love how they encourage a mother to eat and drink while in labor. They share their knowlege about labor and delivery positions that aide in the baby coming out more comfortably. The midwives are trained to know how to help with complications, (and wouldn't hesitate to transfer to the hospital if necessary). For example, with my excessive bleeding, and the baby's cord wrapped around his neck... they were handled quickly and easily. I am also glad that I didn't get cut this time and have stitches.



I am thankful that I am in good health and low risk. I know that not everyone can have a home birth. There are many birth options, and I'm glad I did the research and found what was right for me. Home birth is a wonderful option.



Here are some cool facts about home birth:



HOME BIRTH reduces: the risk of infection, unnecessary interventions, maternal morbidity rates from complications and interventions, risks from errors in hospitals.



If any of you want to learn more about the safety of home birth, Do the Research, or ask me about it, and we'll talk!






*used with permission, Rhonda, Tyler and her family live in Idaho.
If you would like her contact info, leave a comment.

A Full Moon Homebirth



~Birth is not only about making babies,
Birth is about making mothers--
strong, competent, capable mothers
 who trust themselves and know their inner strength.~
It's just after 5 am this morning.

I've been home from a birth for about 30 minutes.

Mr. W was getting tready to leave for work

just when I was coming upstairs.



I'm just glad I got to see him.

I wasn't here when he came home from work.

And I missed him.

So now, I am tired but awake with time to reflect.



The birth was beautiful.

First time Mom, at 37 years old,

labored so well. so confidantly.

Mostly in the labor pool

sometimes on the toilet

sometimes on her hands and knees

Always with her sweetheart near.



Towards the end

the delivery got intense--

a very big baby was on the way

and while the Midwife and Emily

worked on the birthing part of the Mom,

I was at her side,

talking to her quietly,

while she squeezed the life outta my hands

and her eyes penetrated my own with deep

questions:

"Am I okay?" her eyes asked mine.

"Yes, you're fine. You're almost done!" I answered outloud.

"Is my baby okay?" her gaze asked again.

"Your sweet baby girl is doing so well! She will be in your arms

before you know it!" I replied.



Labor is such hard work.



After the delivery,

Mom was in the bathroom,

while I stood nearby

in case she needed help--

I heard her voice crack a little and

poked my head around the corner--

Mom was feeling emotional,

little tears fell down her cheeks,

as she said to me,

"thank you so much. I couldn't have done it without you.

I didn't think I could keep going on, until I looked into your eyes.

Then I knew I could. Thank you."

I rubbed her shoulders and told her

that she is a very strong woman

and she could've and would've done

just fine in any case.

And that's the truth.





I drove home this morning

with a full moon shining above

my Rocky Mountains.



My heart is full.

NOW, I can go to sleep.

All Scrubbed Up and Nowhere to Go



I went to bed last night,

with the feeling that

I would be getting a call.

Since Dani's birth last Wednesday,

and getting caught up on some sleep

and laundry

I was ready.



The call came at 3:14am

this morning.

I showered and put my scrubs on--

which let me just say

that I could wear my scrubs

every day for the rest of eternity,

no kidding.

They should not be called

"scrubs"

but

"comfies"

because.



So I went out to the BMW

and hoped it would start in

sub-below temperatures

and punched in the address

on my GPS

to send me in the right direction.



Well my GPS took me

on the scenic route...

seriously, I had to drive with my

brights on

in case wildlife poked out

on the snow-covered 2-lane backroad

I was driving.



I knew the area I was going to

and would've never taken

the way this GPS was guiding me,

but,

you know,

it's 4 am at this time

and that little GPS voice

is coaching me along

and I decided to trust it.



It took me nearly 45 minutes

to get to the Mama's house,

where had I gone the way

I know,

it would've taken 20.



Mama A.'s dilated to 5cm

but isn't sure she wants a homebirth

this go-around with child number 5.

Their family just moved into this house,

they just adopted a toddler,

and

she homeschools

-- she is plum.wore.out.



I let the Midwife visit with Mama A.

privately.

Having a natural birth is as much

emotional as it is physical.

If Mama thinks she can

she can.

If Mama is too tired to think

then she needs other options.



While Mama A. is contemplating

her options,

I help pick up the house--

a little sweeping

a few dishes

fold some blankets

straighten couch cushions...

just to keep me busy

and awake.



Emily arrives--

I love it when she arrives to the births.

She has a great energy

and we balance each other really well.

Of course, I had to share Dani's birth,

and how wonderful that experience was

for me, for her, for mankind as I know it!



Mama A.'s mother-in-law arrives,

and Mama A.'s hubby relates that

Mama A.'s feeling like she'd rather

go to the hospital and have a medicated birth

than a home birth.

We all sympathize with her.

The Midwife checks her once more--

6cm dilated and stretchy.

She could do this very quickly

if she wanted.

But she's in bed

and she's tired and doesn't feel she can.



So we smile, hug and wish her well

as Emily and I pack up

hug the Midwife goodbye--

she'll be going with her to the hospital,

and drive home in our unused scrubs.



I'm home before the kids even

have to get up for school.

I greet the Boofus who slogs outta the bathroom

with sleepy eyes and bedhead--

"are you leaving for a birth Mom?", he asks.

"No, Scooter, just coming home from one."



Only I didn't have a birth this morning--

I would've loved to have been a part of a birth

today,

but that wasn't my choice.

And this stuff happens once in awhile.

Not often,

I've certainly never had this--

but as the Midwife says,

We're so lucky we have choices in our country.



I glance at the clock,

it's 7:45am

Mama A. should be about ready to push

by now--

which means a new little baby girl

is about to take her first Colorado breath

this frosty December morning,

where it is just two degrees.



And I'm lounging around in my scrubs

with nowhere to go.

Third Home Birth in a Week!



No sooner had I gotten home Friday,

than the call came that our overdue Mama B.

thought she might be in labor.

I was plum.wore.out.

The Midwife said she'd call me

when Mama B.'s waves were to the point

that we needed to get up there

to Littleton, CO.



I wanted to go back to bed

but it was now 4:30Pm

and Joseph's bday,

so I dragged my bum up...

thank goodness for a supportive family tho--

honestly,

Diana & her bf, Little Man went and got the

German Chocolate cake & ice cream

--Joseph's favorite,

and Mr. Wonderful picked up Papa Murphy's pizza

on his way home from work.

Some of Joseph's friends came over to celebrate

and have a sleepover.

I went to back to bed at 8:30pm

Craving some more sleep.



The call came at exactly 3 AM...

since the birth was taking place in Littleton,

the Midwife and I would ride together.

Emily, the other Assistant

would not be joining

us on this birth.

Which sorta freaked my guts out

a tiny smidge.

Emily is amazing & sharp.

I wondered if I could fill her shoes

but decided I could just do my best

and hoped that was enough.



So I jumped in the shower

and Mr. W got up with me,

kissed me goodbye

and off I went with The Midwife.



Approx. 4:45AM

Mama B.'s labor was consistent

but dragging

when we arrived...

The Midwife gave her some

Labor Enhancer herbs

which wasn't as effective on her as we'd hoped.

Then some castor oil--

which I am just gonna say

would probably make me lose it--

as in upchuck;

but Mama B. chugged it down,

chased it with OJ

and even said it wasn't that bad.

bleh.

It was a very special day

in their house--

it was her daughter's 2nd birthday!

Yes that's right--both of her children

have the same birthdate!



Waves picked up

but still not increasing in intensity

so The Midwife pulled out her bag of tricks

then

we told her to rest as much as possible

so she piled pillows all around her,

put on her ipod music

we gave her some positive affirmations

to contemplate while she rested,

we shut her door and headed to breakfast

in town...

Mama B.'s mother and sister (aka the girls)were in town

for the birth from Waco, Texas..

they were anxious

for this birth to happen

before they had to return.

Along with Mama B., Papa K.,

the girls all laid down in our absence.



When we came back,

everyone was up except for Mama B.--

but she surfaced

at 10:30AM,

looking refreshed

and waves began coming

every 2 minutes!

YES!

Papa K. put on Enya music

and then Mama B. led the way!



She sat on a birthing ball

with her belly overhanging,

ate some chicken noodle soup

and then asked if i would do her one favor,

"Will you put a can of Dr. Pepper in the freezer for me,

for afterwards?"

She continued to labor on the birthball

or standing

as she leaned on the back of her sofa

until she felt like she was in transition...

The Midwife checked her

and yes she was!

SO into the labor pool she went!

About that time,

it started snowin too--

so how cool was that?



Papa K was attentive

always always always

sweet words & attitude,

effleuraging her arms

counter-pressure on her sacrum

whatever she needed

he was there for her.

They made a really great team.



Mama B. was so in tune with her body;

she would tell us when she felt

a particular contraction had made a difference

in her cervix...

to look at her,

one would never know she was

ready to push--

until she let out a low grunt

and her body began spontaneously

pushing!



She tried several different pushing

positions:

squatting

lungeing

hands and knees

reclining in her hubby's arms---

all that moving helped

the baby to come down easily

and finally his noggin appeared

and with the next couple of pushes

little J.'s body followed!

Time 1:30PM.



It was quite the celebration

of joy & tears!

She did it

and it was perfect!

And what a chunky monkey he was!

Oh my! Round little noggin, chubby cheeks,

chubby neck, chubby chubby chubbiness!!

His weight 9lbs. 5 oz.!



Mama B. delivered the placenta

and was ready to get out of the pool

and get cleaned up.

She was a little concerned that she might

get light-headed

so we gave her some string cheese

and drink

and told her to take her time.

I also smiled and told her

I'm too old to pick her up

so she'll have to make it to the bed--lol.

ANd of course, she did just fine.

Within an hour,

she was laying in bed

and had her Dr. Pepper

and her laptop--

posting her great news

on Facebook!!

Within an hour!

That is how young people do it these days

I guess.



I quickly packed things up

as a huge snowstorm was in progress

and we needed to get back to the Springs

before the roads got too icy.

So we tucked the family in

said our goodbyes

and left with hearts so full of gratitude

for our 3rd safe home birth this week!



I have one more left--

my grandson is due this week.

I can hardly wait to meet this

sweet little boy!

Full Circle Water Birth




1:54 AM

I got the call.

Scrubs on,

face washed,

hair reasonably brushed

so as not to scare anyone.

I grab my doula bag,

and kiss hubby goodbye.

I am in the car by

2:12AM

headed down to Fountain, CO.

for the birth.



The client, Molly M.*

is known for having short labors

and I'm just hoping I don't miss it.

There's absolutely no one on the

interstate...

just me and ribbons of highway

bright city lights

and the crisp November air.



Of course,

I crank up Michael Buble'

like I do

so I can sing along

to his awesomeness!



It's November 13th...

Friday November 13th at that...

and it's not a bad luck day at all--

it's a wonderful day!



Ten years ago today,

I was the one in labor

at home

surrounded by my family

and giving birth--

The Midwife was there for me

that time--

breathing with me

encouraging me

as I labored in the pool.



Joseph was born at 7:11PM

this night

ten years ago...

and here I am this day

working alongside the same

Midwife for Molly M.



Talk about coming full circle...

thinking about it

releases a tear on my cheek

as I'm driving alone

reflecting on God's hand in my life.



I am where I'm supposed to be...

it took time to get here

but it is a sweet time in my life

the right season

for me to be doing what I'm doing.

All is well.



I arrive at Molly M.'s house

at half-past-two...

the house is quiet,

and I follow The Midwife

to Molly's M. room.

The scene is one of absolute tranquility:

lights are low,

candles are burning

classical music playing

Papa Bishop is timing her waves

while he sits on the bed

and Molly M. is standing

leaning over her birthball

breathing thru a wave.



After it passes,

she looks up and smiles

to greet us.

We return the smile

and head back out to begin the set-up.



Emily has arrived by now

and we do what we do best:

get. it. done!



We speak in whispers

so as not to awaken the other children

in the house,

and to honor the mood Molly & Bishop have

created.



Once finished,

we meet in the kitchen

with The Midwife who relays

her assessment:

Molly is 6 cm dilated,

waves are 8 minutes apart,

but this momma's last birth

was a mere two hours

so when her body kicks in,

things will go fast.



Because Molly's sweet husband is attentive,

we remain in the livingroom

to give them space and intimacy

until we're called for--

they are are well-oiled machine

and we know better than to tamper with it.



Once Molly is 7 cm

she is in the labor pool

which she melts into like

warm butter on toast.



As long as Molly is comfortable

and laboring well,

our presence is subdued for now.



We even take turns resting,

two rest while one is awake.

Finally, at 6:20AM

I hear a vocalization from Molly...

transition...

The Midwife checks her--

Yes! nearly complete

her cervix is stretchy

n all we need is for the baby's head

to descend and finish dilation.



Molly stands between waves

to use gravity efficiently,

she rocks her pelvis

sways back and forth

and does squats

to encourage the baby to get into

position.





During waves

she is relaxed in the pool...

to look at her you would never know she is

in transition...

she is still,

focused on letting

her body guide her

and following the path

of creation.

She was born for this.



She lets out a low moan

and we know she is pushing

one more contraction

and we see the baby's head--

face up, posterior!--

one more and Molly brings

her child up out of the water

with her own hands

and holds her son to her

chest.

Softly she whispers:



"Hello, Baby!", she greets

this new love in her life.



The kids all file in

to get a look at their new brother...

Molly gazes up at Bishop

with love-filled eyes

his eyes return the same.



Time: 7:14 AM.



I head home

for a shower

a nap

and a birthday celebration.

Time:12:38



What a beautiful day.



*Molly is the given nickname for the client by her husband.

Babies On Board!

Okay, so in case you're wondering


about those other

two babies---

one was born this morning

and the other is on the way!



I'm headed up to Littleton

for the next birth!

I have so much to tell you!

The Amazing Almost Waterbirth



Yesterday started out fairly ordinary...

kids left for school,

I cleaned the house.

Except that yesterday,

I cleaned a little deeper

than normal

knowing there are alot of

babies

on the way

and I wouldn't have

a)the time to clean

b) the energy.



The rest of the day

was actually relaxing--

lunch with my BFF's

and ya know, the usual.



Then, around late-afternoon

I get the call.

You know the call, right?

After all these months,

you know what I"m saying

when I say

"the call"--

if not, go back to other posts

then come back here,

cuz even tho I could've told you

what "the call" means

it's really just the principal

of the thing now.



SO, THE Midwife:

"Mama M. thinks she is in early labor.

Contractions are about 10 minutes apart

and have been all morning. Just giving you a

heads-up."

We went to dinner over at Nan's house--

whose husband makes the best hamburgers

on the block, and she makes a wick'd potato salad---

which meant no cooking or clean-up for me!

Gotta love that!





Just as we were finishing up,

another call--

"we're heading up the Pass,

wanna meet us at such-and-such,

so we can go together?"



Now, "up the Pass" is referring

to the canyon

between Colorado Springs

and Woodland Park--

a beautiful touristy-town in the mountains--

elevation around 8000 feet.



I threw all the kids

into the car,

drove the kids home,

and headed up the Pass.



I met the other Midwives

in the appointed Parking Lot

and up we went...

Up Up Up!!

Into the dark rolling mountains

driving to get to our Mama M.

She is living an authentic Colorado lifestyle--

up in the mountains,

out in the middle of nowhere--

not in an urban neighborhood

with street signs and lights.



ANYWHO,

after a few pass-bys,

turn-arounds,

back-ups,

and the like,

we finally find the driveway

of what is Mama M.'s home--

it helped that her Mother

was at the end of said driveway,

in her car, lights on,

waving wildly

so we could see it!

That always helps, fyi.



G-Ma's first words:

"I'm sooo glad you gals are here!

I don't know what I'm doing."



Okay, so let me say that while I am

smiling, smiling, smiling--

I am actually thinking,

"Bears live up here. Watch out for hairy

moving objects, and make sure you run faster

than the other midwives."

You know that, right?

That you don't have to outrun a bear--

just the other person with you!





Anyway, that fear-factor

was actually very motivating as we

brought in all things

midwife/homebirth stuff--

we did it in two trips

which normally might take

four.

Fear can be a wonderful motivator,

just sayin.



Mama M. is in the livingroom

wearing a bikini top and sarong

drinking her Aqua Pure

and smiling as we enter.

Her family is there too--

everyone's faces wearing the same

expressions: gratitude and wonder.

Time 7:30PM



Emily and I quickly set-up

while The Midwife

does an assessment of Mama M.

Again, it's the same things:

set-up the Birth area:

birth kit,

baby kit,

labor pool,

bed area.

In the kitchen:

slice up some fresh ginger

into the water-filled crockpot,

boil some water for instruments,

find bowls for cool water compresses

and for emesis, if needed.



Mama M. is 3 cm dilated--

but just after we get there,

her body starts working--

she's been waiting for us.

Waves begin coming 5

then 3

then 2 minutes apart.

I do counterpressure on her hips

which she loves

and requests for each contraction.

Emily is with Mama M. in front--

breathing,

smoothing her forehead with finger massage,

words

words

words...

"You are doing wonderful."

"That's right, great job."

"Perfect. Just let each wave go through you."

"Relax your face and jaw."

"Let go of your shoulders."

And on and on we go.



We become part of Mama M.'s birth ritual.

Even between waves,

I am effleuraging her shoulders

and back muscles,

and we take a walk around the dining table

to keep circulation going...

she is laboring standing up--

the perfect position for early labor

because each wave counts towards progression

as the baby's head is gently

pushed spot on the cervix.



Mama M. is leading us all...

where she walks

I am right behind...

we make it around the table twice

and then lean over the back of the sofa

with soft pillows to support

her as she leans over

and lets her belly hang

and releases all her will

over to her body's natural labor.

Once the wave is over,

we again circle the diningroom table

twice,

and back to the sofa--

over and over again.



Two hours later,

she is 5 cm dilated.

The Midwife says

one more cm and it's "pool time"...

waves are coming quicker

but not more than Mama M. can handle

with support...

just 15 minutes more

and she is ahhhhhh

in the warm water

relaxing all her muscles.

"This feels so great."



I am in a different role

now--

tucked off to the side

I am not part of her ritual anymore--

hubby has stepped in,

supported by Emily and The Midwife.

I am charting every two minutes:

fetal heart tones

Mama's pulse, blood pressure,

words.

All of it.

The water is therapeutic--

within minutes,

Mama M. says she wants to push...!

YEA!!

The Midwife checks...

yes! Nearly complete!

Mama M. can give little pushes

when she feels the need...

"I can't help it.", she says.

Just a couple more waves

and Mama M. is complete

and she is

pushing with each wave

as her body guides her along.

She gets a small

"rest and be thankful" phase--

she can talk eaily and express her needs--

she is laughing ather hubby's corny jokes.



She pushes and pushes

until the head is out!

YES!

But it's a tight squeeze

so The Midwife

wants her on the bed

to finish delivery..

the entire baby is delivered

two minutes

later!

Time 11:00PM, sharp.



A beautiful son has taken his place in this little family

and their lives will never be the same.



Everything runs smoothly

with the afterbirth

and soon the sounds of a very happy

Mama M. are wafting from the bathroom

as she is showering:

"I seriously feel so great! This feels so good!"

Hubby expresses equal amazment:

"That was so fast! Is this a dream? It's really over?"



Yes, it is.

Time to pack up and head back down

the Pass...

Michael Buble' cranked up,

I'm headed Home.

Where is THAT Stork Anyway?



It's almost eleven o'clock at night

and I should be asleep.



I even went to bed at 10 o'clock

with the intention

of sleeping.



Got up twenty minutes later

and here I sit.



My sleep is being held hostage

by 3 pregnant women

who are going to go into

labor

any stinking

minute now.



Plus!

my own daughter

who is going to have

my first grandchild

the Golden one

any moment.



The suspense is killing me.

I just know the exact

moment

I finally drift to la-la land

my phone will ring,

shake my adrenalin

into high gear,

and shoot me off like a rocket!



I'm ready.

I'm prepared.

I'm wide-awake!



C'mon Stork!

Start droppin them babies

so I can go to sleep!

Pregnancy: Getting Enough Sleep?





These are some things that can enhance your preparation for childbirth--to be well-rested is essential in late pregnancy. However, with the increased size of your baby, circulation, and all things "baby" running thru your mind, bedtime can be a challenge.



These are some ways to "prepare" your body for bedtime:







Take a warm--not hot--bath before bedtime. Add some Lavendar to the water or use lavendar lotion when you're finished. (if you have candles & music together, all the better, but if not, this is just wonderful all on it's own.)









Get a foot massage from your sweetie before bedtime. Long, slow strokes with lotion help relax the body & mind. (make sure you are sitting or laying comfortably, with pillows to support your whole body for total relaxation.)









Have some carbs before bedtime too. Nothing heavy like pizza though. Crackers are good. (Make sure you have a glass of water nearby, but don't overdo the water at bedtime.)









Play a cd with Ocean Waves on your nightstand. Or white noise. (you may find your baby likes white noise to sleep with too--it drowns out household noises once he goes to bed).







Read for a little while before bedtime. Not on the PC tho. That's too stimulating.







Make sure you have enough pillows to support your hips, neck and back when you lay down. Those body-pillows have a reputation for being great for pregnant women.





And finally, Self-talk can be calming--just make sure the words are positive, true, and relaxing. I will post a "script" later this weekend that can help you.







Do you have a tip you'd like to share or an experience in pregnancy that helped you get the rest you needed?

Getting Ready for Childbirth



The last weeks of pregnancy

should have a special title

all it's own...

a name that evokes images

of Nobility

Fortitude

Bravery

Patience...

the Queen of Everything

is about right.



As many women I know in

blogland are preparing for

Childbirth

I thought I might

offer some words of wisdom

and encouragement.



First, you are Beautiful.

Whatever the scales say is irrelevant.

If you've gained weight then that means

you are a Good Mother already to that

little one inside;

the glow of pregnancy is not just stuff

of novels and myths.

It's real...the glow of creation shows thru your eyes.



As you get closer to birth

make sure you stay hydrated.

Many women start to limit

their fluid intake because they feel

the pressure on their bladder.

BUT a hydrated uterus is an efficient one

and your labor will be easier.

SO drink up and stay close to a bathroom

in the last weeks.



Make sure you're eating 6 small meals a day.

Your diet affects the baby.

You'll need energy for birth

and so will the baby.

So eat well and eat often.



Rest. Rest. Rest.

Take catnaps if you have little ones

at home.

Plop them down for naps with you

or plop them in front of the TV and you

rest on the sofa.

If someone offers to take the kids for an hour

or an afternoon,

Accept that offer!

If someone offers to bring dinner in,

don't say, "No, that's okay."

Say,"Yes, Thank you!"



When you have Braxton-Hicks ctx

practice your relaxation breathing techniques!

Welcome each wave

and ride it completely thru...

the more ctx you have before actual labor

the better primed your cervix will become.



Sleep on your left side.

Don't lean back into the lazy boy,

but sit in a supportive chair where

you can lean forward with your

beautiful belly hanging in front of you--

why?

Because gravity is your friend

and it'll pull the baby to the centerline

helping hm/her to get in the optimal

birth position.



Make sure your hospital bag is ready to go

and includes some honeystix

you'll like those for a burst of energy

in labor!

Make sure Dad's bag has some treats in it too--

power bars yes

power drinks with caffeine no...

many a dad has come crashing down

in labor...

so be wise.



Finally, review your Birth Plan

to make sure you've written everything

down that you would like in optimal conditions.

And remember to be flexible

if you don't get it all in case of a medical reason.

Trust Birth.

Be confidant in your Strength

in your Courage

in your Womanhood.



Afterall

You're the Queen of Everything.

Shout-Outs, HomeBirth and Heaven-stuff



It's 2:30AM Tuesday morning.

I'm not a night owl

nor am I an early bird.

Coughing got me up

to make some Echinacea tea

and check emails and others blogs

that I missed reading over the

weekend.

Everyone has been so busy

out in blogland!

SO here's my shoutouts:



~Wendy, so glad you are still alive

after the whitewater rafting trip!



I wanna do that someday! Fear and common sense

seem to get in my way! I just need to jump in!



~Sue, Tammy, and all the others who posted

about General Conference,



I'm right there with you!

The house was like Grand Central Station

for Conference,

as people poured in and out to watch

the 4 different sessions with our family.

And I loved it, too.

I will say, I missed President Hinckley

alot this year.

Especially at the end of Sunday afternoon--

I longed to see that little grey-haired Granpa

walk over to the podium

and tell everyone to drive home safely,

like he always did.



~Sara, you look beautiful pregnant!



I got a birth call on Monday morning

at 12:45 am that one of our pregnant Moms

was in active labor...

that call always gives me an instant shot

of adrenaline!

I got over to the house to find Momma D.

being comforted by Papa R. as she slowly breathed thru

each wave of contractions.

I brought things out of the Midwife's car

and began the set-up.

Emily arrived and I am always glad when she shows up!

She is a younger gal who has been doing homebirth

a long time and makes her job look effortless.

After the set-up was complete,

we decided that one of us should sleep

while two watched after Momma D.

Since I've been the one with a cold

last week,

I was voted to rest first.

I welcomed it and went downstairs to rest.

The only WAHHH moment I wanna share

is that there were no blankets or throws

to be found

and the heat vents were closed

so I was a popsicle!

After an hour's rest,

it was evident that Momma D.'s Baby

was in a posterior position and needed to be turned.

So we tried lots of different positions

and took her over to an awesome

Chiropractors' office for an adjustment.

This Guy was amazing!

We were there 35 minutes

and he rotated the baby!

I am not kidding! I saw it with my own eyes!

And his technique was nearly imperceivable!

Dr. Davis, you rock!

Momma D.'s labor went from a

sluggish 8 minutes

apart,

to a fast clipping 5, 4, 3 minutes apart

within an hour afterwards!

Yea! for people who know what they're doing

and do it perfectly!

Momma wondered aloud

if the pain was going to get worse.

"are you sure it's not going to get

worse than this?"--

she was a first time Momma

and handled her labor very well.

From the time she was adjusted

to the time she was complete-

it was only 3 1/2 hours.

She loved the pool

and said she wanted no part of the

birthing stool

yet when it came right down to it

the stool really helped her

bring that baby down.

Delivery was alot of work

but @ 1:40 PM

the newest perfect little boy came into the world!

And here's something wild--

going into labor noone knew what the Gender was--

so as I'm tending to Momma D.

I was saying a prayer for her and baby

and the rest of us too--

and I just asked Heavenly Father

what the gender was--

am I praying for a male spirit or a female?

Male, came back the answer.

So as the other people in the room

were referring to the baby as "she"

I kept saying "he"--

even when the hearttones suggested

"girl"--

I smiled and said,

"nope, I'm betting it's a boy."

I learned that you can put questions

out there and get an answer

right then.

So after many hours away from home,

I returned with stringy hair (from the sauna-like bedroom)

and a need for a hot shower

with a little bit of heaven

in my heart.

The weekend seemed to go forever

but I am looking forward

to a very boring

Tuesday.

Hollywood and Homebirth



I attended a home birth last night.

The couple is not your typical

couple.

They're in the movie business.

Like, so in the movie business

that one of them is nominated

for an Emmy

right now.

So how cool is that? Way.



And no, I can't name names.



But this has been an eye-opening

experience for a small town

girl like me.



The Prenatals were

unusual for me.

They came in like

well, like most

high-powered California couples

attitudes that you don't see much

in this little town.



Mr Wonderful's brother

"Zippy"

lives in CA.

and when he comes to visit us

it takes him 3 full days

to wind down

in our home.



This couple

was like

that.

Places-to-go,

People-to-see

kinda people.



It was at times

intimidating

and

comical...

they didn't know,

nor could they know

that

their world

was about to

outgrow

any place

any other person

any time

or agenda.



For Dad, the waiting

was just so

long

...

he had a movie trailer to do...

so many things are on hold

until this baby is born.

He didn't know that time

was going to be

suspended.





Birth is a great equalizer...

when we arrived

Mama was quiet

focused

amazingly in control.



Dad was

happier than I've seen him--

excited

pacing

sweating

so focused.



The other midwives

and I

followed Mama upstairs.

Dad was right behind.



Mama got in the labor pool

and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

there goes her shoulders

as the warm water caressed

her body

and mind.



Dad's cameras are all over

but he's not clicking them.

He's whispering in her ear

comforting words--

he's not in

L.A.

he's in her head

and she is loving it.



Classical music is playing

and noone is speaking

above a whisper...

we dont' want to

disrupt the mood.

It's just perfect.

Better than a movie.

In fact,

I wish every woman I know

could've been there

to witness her relaxed state

almost dozing off between contractions.

It wouldn't have made a good movie

tho

because there was nothing to see.

It was too calm

for the masses...

people wouldn't pay

to see this...

there's no script

no flash.



The baby is born--

Mama asks

"Is it a Boy or Girl?"

She peeks and says

"I can't tell!

Wait!--it's a Girl!"



She'd wanted the surprise at the end.

All of the midwives have known

for months.

And that is a hard secret

to keep!

Whew! for relief!



As the two

become

three

I notice the

absence of "L.A."

in them both.

Their countenances are bright

and calm...

I see

Just two very brand new

parents asking the same questions

I remember asking when I had my firstborn:



"Is she okay? Is that normal?

Is that good? What does that mean?

When should I do that? What else?

Tell me what I should know!"



After the birth and Mama is resting

I ask her what she wants to eat...

this woman who has travelled the world

and could have anything she wants--

asks for a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich

with a glass of milk.

My kinda gal.



While eating

she praises my PB&J-making abilities...

so gracious

so grateful.



I ask Dad if I can get him something to eat...

he asks for the same thing.

Really? A PB&J?

Wow.



Somehow, we're all family

now... in this suspension of time.

The intimacy of birth

does that.



Later Dad goes downstairs

and plays the piano

beautifully...

the music fills the house.

Mama hears him

and serenely smiles

as though she'd just received

a gift.



Dad holds his new love.

His heart melts in her

tiny fingers.

"She's amazing."

His eyes see nothing else

his ears are primed

for only his

daughter.

His heart tells him

this is the best day

ever.

Oh he's toast.



After eating

Mama is resting

feeding the new Princess

who will undoubtedly

travel the world

in months to come...

but her journey started here

in a little

town

on the East side of the

Rockies.