03/3/14
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Zoe’s birth story

Monday afternoon, 6 days past my due date, we went in for what happened to be our final pre-natal appointment. Being on the cusp of 41 weeks my midwife wanted to check my cervix for the first time and sweep my membrane to hopefully avoid having to induce a week later. I had a good check – was 2-3cm dilated, 80-90% effaced and she was head down + super low. When we left I was already beginning to feel crampy and having more contractions. That evening I took it easy since I was pretty uncomfortable from the membrane sweep.

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On Tuesday, the morning of my 41st week of being pregnant, Jacob, Hunter and I went into the hospital for my non-stress test – they check amniotic fluid and monitor her heart rate along with any contractions I might be having just to make sure everything is still looking good since I’m past term.

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The first test was amniotic fluid and it showed I was really low – lower than where they feel comfortable to let my pregnancy continue on another week. And with that, we were at the hospital to stay! Having not anticipated this at all I made some calls to my mom and sister in law to get Hunter picked up from the hospital and our hospital bag brought to us. I was on the monitors at this time and while I was probably smiling, I was definitely holding back some tears. It took me a good hour or so to adjust my mind to this happening. It’s not that I wasn’t excited to meet our girl, but I so wanted to naturally go into labor.  Also pregnant me = hormonal me so tears happen easily.

My midwife was open to just breaking my water in hopes that that would start my labor. We went though all the computer questions, got settled into our room and around 11:30am the midwife broke my water. Twenty minutes or so later contractions began. They weren’t too strong, only about a 2-3 pain level and spaced anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart. Jacob and I started to walk the halls, a lot. Gotta get this labor going! After lots of walking and not much change by afternoon, we decided to take short naps. Plus my feet were hurting a bit from all the walking.  I knew we were in for the long haul and I was already feeling a bit sleepy so the cat nap was nice. After that, back to more walking. I had been restricted to clear fluids which was rough. I was super hungry. Since my labor wasn’t picking up, really it was slowing down, the midwife let me eat some food. I scarfed down the peanut butter sandwich, yogurt with blueberries, banana and pb oatmeal bars I had on hand. I knew it would be the last I’d get to eat for a while. Around 6:30pm, right around the time we were getting a new nurse at shift change I got into the bath to relax, again with hopes it would pick my labor up. Labor didn’t change so I just used it as a time to relax and prepare for the long night.

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At 12 hours after my water was broken was when the midwife wanted to start pitocin. Since I ended up having to have it with Hunter I was already more okay with the idea than the first time. Obviously it wasn’t my first choice, but my body just doesn’t like to progress labor fast enough on its own. I was going to let them know I’d be fine starting pitocin a couple hours earlier since I didn’t see any changes happening, but my super awesome nurse Lisa encouraged me to continue trying different things and that my body could kick in on its own. I knew then that I was going to like her.

11:30pm came and no change. Onto the monitors for a while before getting pitocin started. I found a position I loved – sitting on the stability ball rocking forward/backward and side/side with my hands/elbows on the side of the birthing tub. More and more of my water kept seeping out and I felt a lot more pressure pushing down on my cervix when I’d rock forward. The only downside was that monitoring baby girl’s heart rate was almost impossible. Just almost impossible. It took a while to get the set up of straps and wraps around my belly, but Lisa did it. Once monitoring was done my pitocin started at 1am, at a level (or dose??) 2 I believe. I continued in that position for a little while longer but the monitors still had to be adjusted a lot. Contractions picked up a bit more in intensity and got a little closer together, maybe 5-7 minutes apart. With each contraction I focused on slow breathing and relaxing my upper body as I noticed my shoulders would tense up.

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Around 2am I went back to walking the halls. I told Jacob he could sleep earlier since I was able to manage the contractions on my own, so instead of waking him Lisa said she’d walk with me. Lisa was our rockstar throughout the whole night. They say your nurse can make or break what your experience is like, and she made ours spectacular. She took the time to get to know us, she was funny, supportive and helped us be at ease. In between each contraction, we just chatted which made time so much more enjoyable. With every lap around those halls the contractions picked up in intensity. I had been given 2 more increases of pitocin and was set into a 6. I could tell the contractions were getting tougher when instead of just stopped, closing my eyes and breathing through them, I had to hold onto the rail or wall. Then the next level of intensity came and I’d have to hold on and bend my knees a little more. The final lap happened around 4am when I didn’t think I could stay standing through the contractions anymore.

Back into the room I woke Jacob up and returned to sitting on the ball with hands on the tub. However, this time I wasn’t able to sit through contractions anymore. The wave would come on and I’d lean forward, half way standing, Jacob would press my hips together and I’d try not to buckle through the pain. Remembering to breath and relax. I was always in my head telling myself to breath and relax.

Lisa worked on getting my birthing tub filled up and by 5am I was about to get in. I was 6-7 cm dilated and 100% effected. I needed the water for relief. And what a relief it was! I worked through the ever intensifying contractions with my arms hanging over the side of the tub, head resting on the side and belly floating facing down. I wanted to make sure she stayed in a good position, and it also was the most comfortable position for me to handle the contractions in. Maybe 5 or so contractions in I began having a big one with a shorter one right after, no rest in between. In my mind I thought transition was near with contractions like that, but I also thought it was way too fast. After just a couple more the intensity really peaked. I had one that left me groaning like an animal through the pain. I told Jacob to get Lisa. So intense. Another one came, same intensity, same sounds. By the time everyone was back in the room a third one came on and I told them I thought I wanted to push, so the midwife said ‘push your baby out!’.

At 6am pushing started. I had to work through one or two pushes to get the right feeling. I’d take a deep breath in through a contraction, hold it with my chin toward my chest, then bear down and push hard. Pretty sure I was loud throughout all this. I remember her head crowning and asking if the head was out. It’s such a weird feeling when the baby is half out! A couple more pushes and I hear the midwife tell me to lean back and get my baby. She was there! I pulled her out of the water and straight to my chest. All I could say was ‘oh my God, oh my God’ over and over again. I just looked at her in amazement. We did a little check to make sure she was in fact a girl. :). Jacob cut the umbilical cord and held her while I got out of the tub and into the bed. Then she was back on my chest almost instantly nursing. Perfect and amazing Zoe Louise was born Wednesday morning at 6:09am – just 9 minutes of pushing!

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Having a water birth was amazing. The water helped me cope with the contractions, I could move around easily and I had zero tearing too. I can’t imagine not having a water birth in the future again. I so recommend it! Zoe was born in the correct anterior position whereas Hunter was posterior which gave me tons of back labor. The baby’s position makes such a difference in labor pains and I’m so thankful this one was easier. Recovery has been easier too!

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Tomorrow Zoe will be 1 week old. Time is flying! We love every moment with this sweet little girl.  God has truly blessed our family with Zoe and the safe birth that brought her into the world.

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Heather

PS – If you love reading birth stories, here are the links to Hunters.

Hunter’s birth story: part 1

Hunter’s birth story: part 2

Hunter’s birth story: part 3

06/18/12
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clara’s birth story

Boy do I have a treat for you today… another birth story!  Not mine though — from my friend Lindsay.  I just love reading birth stories, which is why I shared Hunters (part 1, part 2 and part 3).  I hope you love reading them too!

Hello all you Get Healthiers! (Get Heatherers doesn’t make any sense.)
I’m Lindsay and I blog at Lindsay’s List, a healthy living blog where I chronicle my life as a wife, mom of two toddlers, personal trainer and group fitness instructor! I dabble in crazy protein powder recipes, but my true passion is for fitness and for my family.

Since Heather is “out” on maternity leave, she asked me to sub in for her. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate post than a BIRTH STORY! Clara’s, to be exact.

Clara’s story actually begins a week before her birth. I started having very intense contractions, each lasting a minute, but they would never evolve into a pattern. Family and friends were on high alert for days and after nothing happened, I started feeling a lot like the boy who cried wolf.

On Friday, the 13th, I saw my midwife. I was 3cm dilated, 50% effaced. She stripped my membranes and said, “See you this weekend”. Again, everyone was on high alert (Katy even took Henry to the lake for two days in case I went into labor). Nothing happened all weekend and by the time Monday rolled around, I was hoping that Clara would wait until the next weekend.
On Monday night around 11pm, my contractions evolved into a pattern – every 4 minutes, 1 minute in duration. This was it!! I called Katy and she came to stay the night with Henry. I figured I’d call the hospital and tell them I was coming. But when I talked to the charge nurse, she discouraged us from coming until the contractions were 2 minutes apart. I knew that I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible, so we decided to wait it out.
I labored all night but the contractions weren’t getting closer. Again, I felt so defeated. I made Travis walk around outside in the moonlight with me MULTIPLE times. The next morning, I called my midwife and she said come in and she’d check my cervix. We left Henry with Mom and headed over to Sylva. When I got there, I was so sure they would send us home, but alas, I was a 5, 80% effaced with a bulging bag of water. YEAH! I wasn’t crazy after all – this was true labor!
We checked into the hospital at 10AM. At around 10:30, I was dilated to a 7! Mom arrived at 11AM with cookies and trashy magazines – I had NO interest in either, I was in “GO” mode ;) Around noon, Betsy came over and broke my water. After this, there was no turning back – we would have a baby, one way or the other, within the next 24 hours. (If the baby hasn’t been born within 24 hours of your water breaking, they’ll take it by c-section because of the risk of infection).
see, I warned you it was long....
Not long after my water was broken, the contractions got SUPER intense!! I never got to this stage of contractions with Henry – the epidural took all the pain away. Travis and I had decided that this time, we were going to try to have a natural birth – no meds whatsoever. We read Dr. Bradley’s “Husband Coached Childbirth” together and were as prepared as we could be for bringing Clara out without any meds. I give props to Travis for making me do my exercises every night for weeks leading up to the due date and for making a GREAT coach during the actual event!

As I transitioned from a 7 to a 10, I labored on a birthing ball and in the water-tub. When I got into the water, it felt fabulous – all of the pressure was off of my joints and the warm water helped me relax. It was during this time that I began to push, in various positions, but I could never get into a good position. My midwife suggested we move to the toilet. I’ll admit, this made me freak out a bit – I remember asking if they’d make sure to catch her so she wouldn’t get dirty :). The toilet didn’t work – I couldn’t push Clara past my pubic bone. The last suggestion worked – moving to the bed. It was there that I could really bare down and get her out. She was “sunny-side up” so Betsy had to hold her neck and twist her in the birth canal. The nurse pushed on my belly and with one last contraction, Clara greeted the world. They placed her on my chest and she was perfect. Black hair and a cute button nose.

Almost two years later and her hair is lighter, but she’s still as cute as a button!

splendid…lindsay

Lindsay Wright blogs at the healthy living site, Lindsay’s List, where she shares her fitness journey as a NASM-certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. A stay-at-home mom to two children, Lindsay’s just trying to balance fitness, family and fun!! Find her at Lindsay’s List.

06/12/12
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Hunter’s birth story: part 3

Here it is!  The final part to Hunter’s birth story.  Make sure to check out part 1 and part 2 as well.

Since I kept having my midwife check me, she was skeptical about when I’d really need to push. She said there were behaviors she would see and she’d know it was time.

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It felt like I was in transition f.o.r.e.v.e.r. Every check left me disappointed since each time I had not reached 10 cm. There was this tiny little lip that just wouldn’t budge.

When I switched from ‘I feel like I need to push’, or ‘I want to push’, to ‘I need to take a poop!’, that was the sign!

My midwife checked me once again and although I wasn’t at a 10 still, she told me to push with the next contraction and she’d see what my cervix did. During that next contraction I pushed, she pressed that tiny part of my cervix over (holy ouch!) so he could begin to pass and it begun.

I was so glad to start pushing. Finally the end is near! My midwife saw I still had part of my bag of water in tact, so she broke it. Surprisingly there was meconium (baby’s first poop) in the bag. That meant the neonatal staff had to be there just in case he swallowed any of it, which would be bad.

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The team was intact. Me on the slightly inclined bed, my midwife there to catch Hunter, the nurse holding my left leg and Jacob on my right. It took me a few pushes to really get the feeling of what pushing was like. Honestly, it’s the same feeling as pushing out a poop. Just gotta give in to the feeling.

I’d get 2 good pushes out of each contraction, try to catch my breath and push for a 3rd. Everyone was cheering me on and telling me what they could see with each push. The feeling of his head making its way past my cervix was crazy.  I thought he was already out but that was just step one. Once he past the cervix I was in a rhythm. A contraction would come, I’d take a breath in, left it out, take another deep breath in, hold it, pull my legs back and push like crazy. Pushing was amazing. I was doing something! I couldn’t believe the lack of pain I felt during the pushes.  Contractions didn’t hurt anymore.

When his head started to crown I could feel the burn begin, but my midwife used oil and helped stretch me and he began to emerge, quickly. Once his head was out I just wanted to keep pushing, especially since it felt sooooo weird just having his head hanging out! A couple more pushes and boom he was out, face up, fist under chin and screaming like crazy.

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8:58pm

Just 28 minutes.  That’s all it took to push out our 7 pound 12 ounce baby boy Hunter.

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They put him on my chest right away since he looked and sounded good (the neonatal nurses left). All I remember saying was ‘oh my gosh, oh my gosh’ and that he was so big! Jacob thought he was big too, but apparently he wasn’t to the nurses.  To us he was!

Our baby was in my arms. He was perfect. After the cord was cut and
placenta delivered, my midwife was going to stitch me up a bit. I had tiny little tear, and since it was so little I was given the option to not have stitches, which I decided against.

About 30 minutes after he was born he already started nursing — for 30 minutes! He was a champ from the beginning.

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We let them weigh him, give him his vitamin K shot then he was back in our arms.

I could not believe how quickly he came out, especially being a posterior baby. All that working out a did during my pregnancy definitely had me ready for the big pushing event, which much like working out, I loved.

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Jacob was amazing the entire time. He was my rock and kept me from freaking out when my contractions would get intense. I felt so much support for our choice for a drug free child birth, not only from our midwifes (we started with one, ended with another), but the 2 nurses we had at the hospital as well. There were definitely some moments I didn’t think I’d make it, but once it was over I couldn’t imagine having done it any other way.

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