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Birth Stories Blog
Sunday
Aug172008

Erin's Story- 10 lbs.- Home

Erin's son was was born just two and a half weeks ago!  Happy birthday!

10 lbs

22 inches

36 cm head circumference

Home ("in a water tub in my dining room")

Mother's Height:  5' 2"


 
This was my third successful pregnancy in 5 years, and by far the easiest. I had much more energy than with my girls, and very little morning sickness. I often wondered if it was a boy because of how different and easy my pregnancy was.
 


I was excited about this delivery because it was to be my first homebirth. I had very pleasant hospital births with my first 2 (no drugs) but I had always wanted to have a baby at home. I wonder if I would have felt so positively if I would have known that the baby would be so big. My girls were 7 lbs 3 oz. & 7 lbs 13 oz. so I never expected a 10 lb baby!
 


Birth Story:

At 5:00 am my water started leaking, at 6:00 it really broke. By 7:30 the contractions were consisitant as long as I kept moving. I cleaned and kept busy. I would pause for each contraction, then get back to work. At about 8 am I leaned over my birthing ball and the baby must have moved down because right then the contractions became intense and much closer together. No more cleaning! My husband called the midwife at 9:30 because I was getting pretty loud. She arrived around 10:20 and started setting up her supplies and the water tub. I was laboring very hard by then. When they finally had about a foot of water in the tub I begged to get in. At the first contraction in the water I felt like pushing. I pushed for 2 minutes and delivered my baby while leaning up against the side of the almost empty water tub. He was born at 11:29. When I saw him I said "He has huge hands!" I sat on a birthing stool to push out the placenta and then we moved to my bed to look at each other. It was 3 1/2 hours from when I quit cleaning until he was born, by far my easiest and fastest birth. My first was 23 hours with 5 hours of pushing! I also must mention that I had first degree tears with my two girls and no tearing with my big boy. The recovery was wonderful without a ripped bottom! I would rather repeat my big baby's delivery than my two little baby's births. 


It has only been two weeks but I assume that I will always have positive peaceful memories about this birth.
 

From this birth I learned that the size of the baby doesn't matter all that much. If I have more children they might be even bigger, but the only thing that I will do differently is to get more water in the tub:)

Sunday
Aug172008

Sarah's Story- 10 lbs., 5 oz.- Home

10 lbs., 5 oz.

21 inches long

34 cm head circumference

Home

Mother's Height: 5' 7"


How was your pregnancy?
Great!

 

How did you feel about your upcoming birth?
I felt good about it and was very, very confident that home was the right place for him to be born.


Description of your birth experience:
Labor started pretty strong and I dialated to 7 cm within about 6 hrs of my 1st contraction and then things pretty much stopped for two days.  Contractions started back more slowly than before and he was born about 10 hours from when labor started back.  I gave birth laying on my side after about twenty minutes of pushing with no tears at all.


How did you feel after the birth (first month)?
I recovered pretty fast from the birth and other than a major lack of sleep everything went well.


How did you feel six months after the birth? One year? Now?
I have always felt great about his birth and feel that by having him at home I prevented a c-section that I am fairly sure I would have gotten either because of his size or the length of my labor.


What did you learn from this birth?
It was a huge lesson in patience!  It really made me realize just how amazing our bodies are and that, if left to do their own thing, babies will come when they are good and ready.


Any words of wisdom to impart?
Trust your instincts.  Try not to think about all the things people are telling you and listen to yourself and your body. 

Saturday
Aug162008

Melissa's Story- 8 lbs., 14 oz.- Hospital

8 lbs., 14 oz.

20 1/2 inches

14 inch head (?)

Hospital

Mother's Height: 5' 9"


How was your pregnancy?

High risk at times.  I was on heart medication and I had to see my cardiologist and have frequent ultrasounds to monitor his growth.  I had huge amounts of emotional stress.  My marriage was failing, I didn't have a good enough job.  It was a scary time for me.


How did you feel about your upcoming birth?

Scared.  He was my first and I had no idea what to expect.  I was also excited because I wanted to see him so badly!


Description of your birth experience:
I was 41 weeks and 6 days and scheduled for an induction.  I went into the hospital and they gave me Cervidil.  About 10 hours later, I was sent home because the contractions had petered out.  Yet no one checked my cervix to see how it had progressed.  So 2 hours later (at home) my water broke.  This was at 11pm.  At 2am I finally asked to go to the hospital.  I was having 2 contractions back to back and they were about 5 minutes apart.  I got to the hospital at 3:30am.  Got into the bed at about 3:50am.  I was at 6cm.  About 10 minutes later I asked to go to the bathroom.  The nurse told me that wasn't possible since when she checked me my bowels were empty.  Checked me I was 9cm.  She told me to try pushing and see how that was then promptly yelled at me to stop and got the doctor.  The doctor made it to the hospital and to my room at about 4:30am.  I remember he was in shorts and a t-shirt and I'd never met him before.  I had one dose of Stadol (I don't think it did anything, I could've just gone without).  I pushed and my son was born at 4:55am.  I stopped at the head because it felt like a ring of fire but I kept pushing (as I was directed) and tore.  I only got 3 stitches.


How did you feel after the birth (first month)?
It hurt to stand for very long.  Other than that I was tired from taking care of a newborn! ;)


How did you feel six months after the birth? One year? Now?
Sex was painful for the first year and 1/2.  The pain during sex was on the side where I'd gotten the stiches from tearing.  I have had 2 children since w/ no problems.  Not even when I got stiches with my second (the others were 7lbs even and 6 lbs 14 oz)


What did you learn from this birth?
Not to stress, The baby will come when he's ready.  I learned nurses and doctors don't always know.  They had no idea how big my first was.  I also learned that I have a proven pelvis.


Any words of wisdom to impart?
Everyone has a horror story.  That is why I love telling mine.  Were they hard?  Yes, that's why it's called "labor".  It is all worth it and you will be fine.  Trust your body, trust yourself.  If you don't know, ask!  If you are worried, say something!  Good luck!

Saturday
Aug162008

Bella's Story- 8 lbs., 14 oz.- Hospital

8 lbs., 14 oz.

20 3/4 inches

Hospital

Mother's Height: 5'5''


How was your pregnancy?

High risk in first trimester due to history of recurrent miscarriages. Otherwise uneventful.


How did you feel about your upcoming birth?

Nervous and excited. They thought she was going to be a lot bigger than what she was due to ultrasound at 37 weeks.


Description of your birth experience:

I was induced at 40.1 weeks because they thought she would be 9 1/2 lbs or so. I was a nervous wreck during labor because her heart rate kept decelerating and I figured I would need a c-section. I had an epidural and then I started progressing quicker. At 4:40 p.m I was complete and started pushing and she was born at 5:10. I ended up with a 3rd degree episiotomy/tear.


How did you feel after the birth (first month)?

I was a mess for the first few months. Had pain and problems with UTI and swollen anal sphincter muscle due to the tear.

 

How did you feel six months after the birth? One year? Now?

I was pretty much fine by 6 months...finally around that time, sex didnt hurt anymore. I still felt some pressure for about a year after but overall things are back to normal.


What did you learn from this birth?

That babies aren't usually as big as the ultrasounds say and your body can handle more than what you think. I have also learned that I need to try to loosen my perenium before the birth of the baby im carrying now. I do not want to have another 3rd degree.


Any words of wisdom to impart?

Massage your perineum!!!!! and learn how to effectively push before you have to.

Saturday
Aug162008

Theresa's Stories- Many 9+ lbs Babies!- Hospital and Home

I have had seven children, four of whom were over nine pounds - my first was 9 lbs 6 oz and I was told that I would probably need a c-section...but I ended up having her vaginally! They did do a routine episiotomy, which I did not need for the other three.
 
My third was 9 lbs 3 oz.
My fourth was 9 lbs 8 oz.
My sixth was 9 lbs 8 oz. born at home - ALOT easier than the three born in the hospital because I was on my knees and not on my back.

I am 5'3.
 
I do not have their head sizes, as all of their baby books are packed away, but know that all of them had very large heads compared to my eight pounders - 14 inches were probably the average size. All were 20' long and above.
 
All of my pregnancies were normal, complication free. I have just struggled with my sciatica acting up when I am overly active.
 
I am pretty confident when it comes to birth...now. However, with my first I was afraid when they mention a possible c-section because I wanted a natural birth. I was very glad to have been able to deliver vaginally with my first and go on to birth all of them vaginally. Some never have that chance.
 
My recoveries have all been very good and I have been up and around fairly quickly with all of them.

Saturday
Aug162008

Lea's Story- 9 lbs., 2 oz.- Home

9 lbs., 2 oz.

21 inches

Home (Ontario, Canada)

Mother's Height: 5' 5"

 

How was your pregnancy?

Normal, no complications.

 

Description of your birth experience:


2am, Friday, December 8th, 2006 – I hear my son wake up and send Brad in to him to settle back down.  I roll over and snuggle up next to my 2-year old daughter to go back to sleep only to be gripped by a strong contraction.  Not overly painful, but enough to get my attention.  As I’d been having practice contractions for quite some time, I planned on just going to sleep anyhow.


No such luck, as another contraction starts just a couple of minutes later.  I get up – go to go pee and get a drink. 
By 2:30, there is no ignoring these – so I go and wake my hubby up.


Between 2:30 am and 5:00 am, we time some of the contractions – they are quite strong, enough that I need to breathe through them – and find little to no pattern.  From 2 to 5 minutes between, but no longer.


As 5:00 am rolls around and the kids wake up, the contractions space put – going up to 10 minutes between.  I alternate between pacing the hall with my daughter shadowing me, and bouncing on my yoga ball.


Somewhere between 6 and 7, the contractions space out even more – I go run a nice warm bath, I’m already exhausted, having only gotten 3 hours sleep the night before.  Brad calls our doula to put her on alert though – just in case things pick up.  I stay in the bath for about a ½ hour – no contractions at all, and I’m feeling very sleepy, so I head off to bed.  In bed, I have a few, but am able to work through them and rest some, even if I’m not sleeping.


Get back up around 8:30 or so – contractions are still sporadic and strong, and I’m seeing some of what I can only guess is my plug, but no bloody show yet.


I ½ lay on the couch and literally sleep (snoring!) between contractions for a while, and just kept up with the sporadic contractions for a while.  I lost track of  time, but know that I did get back into the tub a second time at some point.
Around 11:45 I was nursing my daughter down for her nap – laying in her bed with her – she was almost asleep even – when the first “real” contraction hit.  By real, I mean the first that hurt a lot.  After a couple of those coming close, I had to pee and finally saw some bloody show. 


Called my doula and started leaning on my yoga ball while handling (sort of) the contractions – lots of low moaning from me – I am not a quiet labourer.  Also got Brad to get the pool and start filling it with water – I’m glad we’d already inflated it.
At 12:10, the hose for the pool flew out of the pool, spraying the wall and window with water – you know, you need comedy relief even during labour !


5 minutes later, the fire alarm went off.  We live in a high-rise apartment building, and they were doing the monthly test.  Thankfully, I didn’t have any contractions during the alarm, as I was trying to comfort our 4-yr old son, who gets very frightened by the alarm.


It was right then that, our doula arrived.  The extra set of hands was great – she really helped to keep the kids occupied, even gave them little “helper” jobs – getting cold washcloths and having them rub my back, and helping me to reassure them that I really was “ok”.


Things really start to run together at this point for me – the contractions are coming about every 2 minutes or less, and are REALLY strong too.  Brad and our doula were having a hard time getting the pool warm enough – but they eventually did and I got in the water.


It must have been a little after 1pm then, as the doula paged our midwife pretty much as I got in the water. 
Being in the water was really helpful to me – it was familiar territory, and the water itself felt good on my skin, cooler and supportive.


The contractions started coming one on top of the other before too long – and my moaning went from low to very high.  Not quite screaming, but not far from it.


Around 1:30 or so, my water broke – I asked both Brad and the doula several times to confirm that it was clear.  They’d both told me it was, but I kept needing the reassurance.


Commence screaming phase – this is likely transition, and the part of labour that I really and truly hate.  No break between contractions, the intensity is feeling insurmountable, and I’m begging for someone to make it stop.  It doesn’t feel like I can take another moment, but my doula keeps her calm, trying to reassure me that we’re close now, and that I’m doing good.  I’m almost sobbing as I tell her that I’m NOT doing well.


I can feel my baby coming down, but can’t feel the head yet – a few more contractions (and screams) and I can’t help but push – SHOVE – to bring this baby down. 


We realize now that the midwife hasn’t returned the page, and the doula goes to the phone and pages her a second time.
As she’s on the phone with the paging surface another contraction comes on and I shove for all I’m worth – the baby’s head is there now.  One more contraction and I’m hollering across the room that the head is OUT !!


I get a momentary break, a minute maybe, to catch my breath.  Then it’s time to get this baby out – I don’t like pushing, and I can’t do slow or small pushes.  It’s all or nothing.  One contraction, two more huge pushes, and baby is in Daddy’s hands.
Here is the only moment of worry in this birth – I want to see my baby, but Brad and our doula are literally pushing my leg down (I was on my hands and knees) so I can’t turn over.  I’m fighting them both.  Our doula says that the cord is around his neck and I HAVE TO stay still so she can unwrap him !


Okay – staying still, those few seconds felt like forever to me.  I couldn’t see my baby – I didn’t hear him either – and I was worried sick.


In just a moment, likely under a minute, I was given the okay to turn over and handed my baby for the first time.  He was big, purple, and snuffy.  But breathing and absolutely gorgeous.


He was really stuffy – I put him semi-reclining in my arms and rubbed his back – he sneezed and coughed out some mucous then started crying.  His little voice sounded like a kitten.


I called my mom, then got out of the pool and onto the couch.


Doula put in a 3rd page to the midwife then, and we eventually did hear back from her that time.
We waited about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, for the placenta to show.  Baby Wyatt nursed almost constantly during that time.


The midwife arrived about 2 hours after his birth.


Baby Wyatt made his grand entrance at 1:50pm, weighing in at 9lbs 2oz, and measuring 21 inches long.
He’s nursed like a champ since then.


Sunday
Aug102008

Ann's Story- 10 lbs., 2 oz.- Hospital

10 lbs., 2 oz.

21 inches

14 inch head circumference

Hospital (with a natural-birth-friendly OB)

Mother's Height: 5' 2"


How was your pegnancy?

This was my most difficult pregnancy by far--it was a stressful time, with a 2-year-old at home, a husband working long hours and often at night, a small house and not a lot of money.  I now think that the stress had a great deal to do with my pregnancy discomforts.   I had preterm contractions starting at about 28 weeks and was on medication for 7 weeks, which I hated and now believe was not necessary.  I suffered from PUPPP (a pregnancy rash) all over my belly, which itched terribly for the last 4 months of my pregnancy.  It was summer in St. Louis, and I was very, very big and hot, and had lots of swelling.  By the end of my pregnancy I measured 44 cm over my belly!
 
As I looked forward to my upcoming birth, I could not wait.  I was very uncomfortable due to my large baby and short stature, and could not wait to have my baby born and in my arms.  I knew he was big, but had talked it over with the Dr. and he knew that I wanted a natural childbirth.  I was only slightly nervous about the size of the baby, but did not get any pressure from the Dr. about it.  I was confident that I could have my baby naturally as I had had my first child, also large, without difficulty.
 
Birth experience:  I went to see my Dr. for a regular appt about ten days before my due date, very uncomfortable and having mild, irregular contractions.  I was 4 cm, but the baby was very, very high in my pelvis.  The Dr. suggested I wait several hours, and if l had not moved into active labor to come to the hospital for augmentation--he was concerned about risk of cord prolapse if my water broke at home since the baby was so high.  Although I knew this was not necessary, I agreed anyway because I was so impatient and uncomfortable.  We arrived at the hospital still just in very early labor (if that).  An IV and Pitocin were started.  Contractions were very mild for about an hour or hour and a half, and then my water broke with a huge, huge splash.  It was A LOT of water.  After that I moved into strong labor rapidly and the Pitocin was turned off.  I labored sitting in a rocking chair, sitting on the birth ball and leaning against the bed, with my husband near me and offering support, touching me, giving me drinks and ice.  I made a lot of noise, moaning and groaning and crying out, but I never felt distressed or like I was suffering.  I suddenly felt a strong urge to call for a nurse, so my husband did--when she got there I vomited and moved right into transition.  Soon I felt the urge to push, and my Dr. appeared.  I was on the bed in a half-sitting position.  I pushed for maybe 30 minutes or so, and although it hurt, I loved feeling so powerful!   When I said it was time, everyone snapped to attention and helped me, and I just loved that.  It was like being the queen of the world!   When the head began to crown and the Dr. could see how large the baby was, he ran out to call for some extra help, but there was no one extra around, so he came back.  He looked worried and that annoyed me, so I told him to stop looking so nervous!  He was jiggling around nervously, saying to me, "I know you don't want this, I know you don't, but I think I'm going to have to....," meaning cut an episiotomy.  Suddenly I could see my baby's head in the mirror, felt a huge urge to push, and told him, "No, don't do it, it's coming right now!"  I pushed my son's head out fast, then the Dr. said to me, "Put your hands down here, reach down and catch your baby," so I did.  I reached down and brought my dear son onto my belly on my own.  The whole labor lasted only about 4 hours.  I did have an irregular tear that required some repair (and honestly, healed a little funny-shaped), so that took a while.  Overall, the birth was not terribly difficult, was fast, and was a piece of cake compared to the pregnancy! 
 
The only problem I had--and it was fairly significant--was that I had a large postpartum hemorrhage.  It was a delayed hemorrhage, a number of hours after the birth.  I had terrible cramping after the birth, felt faint, couldn't empty my bladder, and then hours later passed several placenta-sized clots.  That did impair my bonding with my baby a bit, as I felt so ill his first day of life, and it did slow my recovery, since I felt dizzy and exhausted for a couple of weeks afterwards. 
 
I would say that six months and a year after the birth, although I felt very proud of myself for having such a big baby with no medication, I did feel some emptiness for not having bonded with him in the first weeks as well as I might have.   I kept wondering if it was my fault somehow.  Now I realize, though, that it was the hemorrhage that disturbed that process, and I didn't recognize that or take care of myself as well as I might have at the time.  That probably would have helped.
 
What I learned?  I would say that I learned that my body is capable of incredible things, such as growing a child that big, and then birthing it with no intervention!  Also that my body's limits need to be respected, and it's appropriate to give oneself enough time to recover.
 
Words of wisdom...don't worry that just because you are short you can't give birth to a big baby!  It's not just for tall ladies!

Sunday
Aug102008

Tara's Story- 9 lbs., 13 oz.- Home

9 lbs., 13 oz.

22" long

14.5" head circumference

Home

Mother's Height: 5' 7"


How was your pregnancy?

This was my third pregnancy. It passed in a blur as I cared for my two older children. I had the normal amount of nausea, aches and pains, heartburn, etc. I paid a lot of attention to my nutrition, taking various herbal supplements to keep my iron levels up to prevent a postpartum hemorrhage like I'd had after my second birth. I was due November 12, and because of my history of going overdue I expected to go into labor around Thanksgiving. As my pregnancy continued into December, my midwife gave me information and support about being post-dates, and I felt safe as I continued to wait for my body and baby to be ready. I ate a lot of protein in the last few weeks so my placenta could continue growing and nourishing my baby.

How did you feel about your upcoming birth?

I was very excited to work with my midwife again and plan my second homebirth. I had picked her last time because I knew she would respect and support my choices while ensuring we had the safest birth possible. I also knew she wouldn't pressure me if I went overdue again (12 days and 9 days late with my first two). My husband and I decided that we wanted to catch our own baby, with our midwife there to help if needed, and we were really looking forward to a peaceful, intimate birth experience.

Description of your birth experience:

On the morning of the day when I was exactly 4 weeks overdue, I finally woke up in labor. Within an hour my husband and I could tell that this labor was moving very quickly. The contractions were intense with very little space between them. We made phone calls and readied the bedroom, then I got into the shower and spent most of my labor there, moaning through contractions. At first I stood and swayed my hips back and forth. Later, after a short break while our hot water tank refilled, I sat or knelt on the shower floor on a towel. It wasn't fun, and it was hard work, but the hot water and my husband's presence were all I needed. When the hot water ran out for the second time, I got out of the shower and settled in a low, open "W" position on my bedroom floor. I leaned forward and rested my head against my birth ball. My water broke and I realized the baby was close to being born. I was able to calmly tell my husband and midwife what I was feeling. I breathed the baby's head out through an entire contraction. Together, my husband and I supported his head and then caught his body when I pushed it out with the next contraction. Two and a half hours after my first contraction, my son Ronan was born into our hands. It was the most amazing thing I've ever done in my life. I could see he was another big baby (my second child was 9 lbs. 1 oz.) and he was--9 lbs. and 13 oz.! He was 22" long and his head was 14.5" around. I birthed the placenta easily--no hemorrhage this time--and climbed into bed to nurse my baby. I felt amazing.

How did you feel after the birth (first month)?

It was the best, easiest, recovery yet. After my first birth it took over a year to feel physically back to normal due to extensive tearing; with my second birth it took a few weeks because I lost a lot of blood. This time I felt great right away. I didn't need any stitches and my postpartum bleeding slowed quickly.

How did you feel six months after the birth? One year? Now?

I was (and still am) in complete and total awe of this perfect birth. It was an experience unlike any other, even my previous homebirth. My husband and I will never forget what it felt like as we brought our baby into the world together. I think that miraculous moment will bring tears to my eyes for the rest of my life! As the saying goes, Ronan's birth was "well worth the wait." :)

What did you learn from this birth?

I reached a level of trust in my body that I'd never had before. To be pregnant for so long is a unique thing--it really begins to feel like you will be pregnant forever, but the impatience passes. You reach a calm state of being where pregnancy just "is." My previous homebirth and doula work had given me a great deal of faith in the normalcy and safety of pregnancy and birth. But this tested that. Specifically I asked a lot of questions about the safety of postdates pregnancy, and learned (surprise, surprise) that conventional medicine does not acknowledge the amazing reality of what women's bodies can do. Your placenta does not magically quit at a certain date, it just needs a lot of calories and protein to keep working and growing that baby!

Any words of wisdom to impart?

As a mother and doula, I have learned in the past seven years that women's bodies are amazing. Our bodies know how to grow and birth a baby. If we support and nourish our bodies, and hire caregivers who trust our body and our power, we reclaim our births and pass that strength onto our daughters. :)

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