Monday, August 11, 2014

I Had a Natural Birth and I Did it on Purpose

Disclaimer: This is gonna be a long one, but hang in there with me! 

It seems to me that every mom and mom-to-be loves a good birth story, all the details included (ok, maybe not every single one), and so I thought it might be of value to share one of my birth stories.

I say only one of the birth stories for a reason.  Both of my children's births were remarkable quite simply because at the end I had my healthy, perfect baby.  But one experience far exceeded the other and you might be surprised why - it was a completely natural childbirth.

There is so much fear for women surrounding the birth of our children and I believe it just does not have to be that way.  I also feel that every woman in this world is entitled to the birth experience they desire, whatever and however that might be.  Sometimes its just a matter of having the right knowledge and support in order to produce that experience.

My first child entered this world 27 hours after my first contraction arrived.  Needless to say and to summarize, I was exhausted by the end and resorted to the one thing I had hoped to avoid- an epidural.  He arrived slowly and surely though and we were in love from first sight.  This birth was in a hospital with the on-call OB/GYN - I saw the doctor for literally about 15 minutes - most of the labor was monitored by the nurses who could have done the whole job in my opinion.  She was there for the last few pushes, stitched me up, and on she went. I didn't even have a chance to get a picture with her and my baby.

When I found out I was pregnant with my second baby, I knew I wanted this experience to be different.  I also knew that my first birth was not the total birth experience I wanted - mainly because I did not have the knowledge and the tools to create the birth I longed for.

I did some research and found an amazing OB/GYN office - which also staffed three midwives - and happened to be right down the road from my house.  I promptly made an appointment with a midwife to confirm the pregnancy.  After my first visit, I was overwhelmed. I knew this was exactly what I wanted but I was also scared...

These amazing midwives also did something unique called Family Circle.  For the duration of of pregnancy, instead of monthly office visits, we met with couples due the same month as us and discussed topics, shared stories and gained incredible knowledge related to birth and babies.  (Don't worry- there was also time during the monthly meetings for private medical visits with a midwife.)  But really the main takeaway for me was leaving this experience with that knowledge and those tools that I was craving.  Namely, how to make it through the labor and delivery without drugs.

Now, I will preface this all by saying that probably one of the main reasons my drug-free experience went so well was because my little baby arrived in record time.  Granted, she arrived 9 days late, but that's another story for another day.  And, definitely not a sunshine and roses story. If you have been overdue, you know what I'm talking about!

The final detail was to assemble the birth team I knew I needed to get me through this.  I had the midwife selected.  Next in line was husband and being absolutely convinced that he knew his role.  Just to make sure he knew my expectations, I turned on my Type "A" personality, typed up a list of all the things I wanted/didn't want during the labor and delivery process and beat him senseless with it. Finally, there was my mom- who not only is a nurse but had three of her own natural deliveries (one a home birth - My mom is way ahead of her time it seems and also my inspiration for doing life naturally).

I'll skip the gory details and give you a recap of what matters.

I had contractions - but none that lasted or were very severe - for several hours and then they stopped around 2 am.  I went to bed exhausted but also disappointed.  Let's remember, I was 9 days overdue at this point. I just wanted that baby OUT.

Next thing I know I woke at about 4:30 am with extremely strong contractions averaging 2-5 minutes apart.  With my first birth, I don't think I felt one contraction before the epidural as strong as these were coming.  In hindsight, that should have been a sign to all of us this was moving faster than we anticipated.  Somehow I got myself into that "zone" everyone talks about.  Husband called the midwife, she said get to the hospital and we started to get dressed.

Well, that took what seemed like an hour.  Actually, I think it was an hour.  When you have to stop every minute for a two-minute contraction, it kinda slows the process down.  All I really remember is my husband trying to make me move faster and my mom telling him to shush because I was in so much pain and could barely move.

So, off to the hospital we go (the car ride likely deserves its own post).  My mom, being the strong-willed, don't-take-no-for-an-answer woman she is, refused to take a "no" from the ER staff that I needed to stay for the filling out of the paperwork and literally pushed me in a wheelchair up to labor and delivery.  I was also able to skip the triage thanks to my amazing midwife Janice who somehow knew we didn't have much time to waste.

We get into the room and its a blur from there.  I remember being so excited to get into the tub they were filling up for me.  Little did I know but that baby would be out before the tub was even full (Side note: it might be a good idea for the hospital to consider a quicker way to fill a tub than a hose from the bathroom sink.)  At this point, it was just about 7 am and I was 6 cm dilated.  They had to hook me up to monitors for 20 minutes to check the baby's vitals.

Unfortunately, laying flat in bed was not an option at this point so I was on all fours working through the contractions.  I focused solely on my husband's and my mom's voices and nothing else.  They told me what to do and I did it.  Breathe, relax your shoulders, breathe, loosen your grip, breathe...

At some point, what felt like hours later, but was only about 30 minutes, I clearly remember thinking: wow, the pain in my stomach is gone.  That feels amazing.  Meanwhile, there was a stronger, more intense pain down lower.  But it was different and in a way, better, although my husband wouldn't agree with this from the other noises I was making. What I did not know was what that meant nor could I verbalize this (or anything else for that matter- I was communicating in grunts).

Within a minute of this change, my midwife Janice wanted to check me and when she moved my gown, she was greeted with a surprise - the top of a baby's head!  So, that explains that new and different feeling.  It was a head emerging. One more contraction and that little baby girl (It's a girl!) was out.  RELIEF.  The relief from the pain was completely instant.  And, it was 7:44 am.

It took me a while to catch my breath and open my eyes.  Meanwhile, the baby was latched, I was cleaned up, and we finally took in all that had happened in what felt like record time.

I am so grateful for my quick, yet incredibly intense, labor and birth.  It was, without a doubt the most amazing, raw, and empowering experience of my life. I also know how incredibly lucky I am that I was able to have this experience, because as we all know, when it comes to birthing a baby there are a lot of things that can go wrong.

My mid-wife used the analogy of a freight train and I wouldn't disagree.  But, I DID IT.  It still brings tears to my eyes to think about that magical moment.  One I wish I could repeat (yes, I said repeat) if only to capture and remember every little detail of my girl coming into this world, even the painful parts.

There she is!

Here's what I have learned:
1.  I can do ANYTHING. I am strong, I can endure, and I can overcome pain (and I am a wuss when it comes to pain).  Nothing before or since has made me feel so empowered.  When faced with any challenges since this moment, I literally think to myself: well, if I could get through that, then I can make it through this.

2.  Our bodies can do anything.  I know it sounds cliché but it is entirely possible.  I don't know who to blame but "they" have conditioned us as women to believe that we cannot endure this pain of childbirth.  Women have been birthing children for centuries without drugs. This is largely what connects us as women. Knowledge is power and with that women have the power to make their own decisions regarding the kind of child birth they desire, whatever it is.

3.  Doing it natural is easier.  Yes, for real, and in my own personal experience, of course.  With my first birth, I had an epidural for about 9 hours.  That's a whole lot of extra fluid to deal with at the end, not to mention having anesthesia in your body which takes days to completely vacate. After this birth, I felt amazing, I wasn't tired or sluggish, and I had energy I hadn't experienced in months!  I am sure there is a chemical/hormonal thing going on here to make me feel this way, but in the end: my recovery was by far quicker and easier than my first birth.   

Proud Momma: Tracy M. at 

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful birth story!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Natural Birth Story - VBAC with Belinda

Everything was ready and set for a month and I really thought that I was going to have the baby a week before it had been happening. I had had a c section with my first son so I had done extra planning to get this one right. I guess I need to step back and explain that the reason for that was because he was sunny side up meaning his head was facing up instead of down where he could be easily pushed out. The good thing is that I was able to push him to a certain point and that my body had dilated fully the last time. Anyhow, I learned from that experience how important it is to just let the baby come naturally by relaxation. My plan was to have a hypnobabies birth to help ease if not get rid of the discomfort (that's what we call pain in hypnobabies) of giving birth. I began listening at night to the CDs for 7 months. This really helped ease my pregnancy discomforts and in fact I really didn't even know I was in labor until a couple of hours before. So I had been having contractions or as we call them pressure waves for about a week. 

I really didn't want to go to the hospital early from that because I know that all they do in hospitals is monitor your every move, and I only wanted that for when it was necessary. Anyhow so I kept listening to cds that helped me visualize my natural birth and relax deeply through the easy first stage and actually were inducing labor the natural way. That night, I kept trying to make plans for the next day so that I wouldn't get too overly anxious for the arrival of my new little baby. I called my dad and told him we would like to come visit him the next day.  I kept feeling pressure waves 10 minutes apart and then 5 minutes apart at the early morning hours. Also, I have a doula named Moriah who is really awesome. My plan was to have her come and labor with me at home before I went into active labor at the hospital. So I had called her in the middle of the night when my contractions started getting closer together and she would come and wait quietly and in fact the night before we were actually talking about the dreams I was having of us going on a road trip together when my contractions started to slow down again. I also got to practice my squatting with her by picking out some lettuce from my garden that needed thinning. Back to the birth story, now that you have all the background information. 

I woke up at 3:30am that morning on March 23rd. I wanted to go to the living room so I could do different birthing time positions and I could barely walk this time. When I rolled out of bed, I tried to quickly grab my hypnobabies cd player and dropped it but I struggled to pick it up as I wobbled to the living room just a few feet away. I got my deepening relaxation cd out after I tried to relax on my own. I also decided to text my doula to let her know that they were getting really strong and about 5 min apart which was when I was supposed to go to the hospital if they were strong enough. Since I had been having them all week, we didn't know if it were time yet. She texted me back let me know if they continue like this and in half an hour she would head over to help monitor me. About 10 min later, I decided to call my emergency midwife line to let them know that I was indeed having heavier pressure waves. She seemed to be anticipating my call but she told me to hold on for half an hour too and call her back when I was headed to the hospital because she would be there at the same time. The goal was to wait at home as long as possible so that I could do this birth completely natural as planned. So I woke my husband, Matt again to let him know for about the 3rd night in a row that this was probably it in case he wanted to get dressed and just be ready to go. I said if he wanted, he could go to sleep. About 10 min later, I texted my doula Moriah and told her to come now. Then I told Matt after a few more really intense pressure waves that it was time. Then I called back 20 minutes later to my midwife hotline, it was Belinda, to tell her that I was on my way. Matt came out and asked if he could go back to bed and wait some more and I started shaking in an attempt to answer him, then he realized that it was time. Matt got our son, Adrian, loaded in the car. He said that when he got there, he opened his eyes and was so excited to see the stars that he said, "Twinkle twinkle little star."  I was barely able to text my doula in the car to tell her that I was already headed out to the hospital. Luckily my birthing bag was already there.  When I got there Adrian was concerned that he didn't have water and I was worried that he was going to break my concentration from my relaxation CD. Now this whole time, I was listening to my hypnobabies cds to calm me down. It was making the discomfort manageable except when I had to keep walking or talking or transitioning to a new environment. That was the hard part, transitioning. 

On the way there, Matt kept asking me questions. Should we go drop off Adrian at my sisters, who should I call. I should have practiced answering questions more but I was so late in my birthing time at this point that it was very difficult anyhow. What I mean is there is a part of hypnobabies where you can practicing walking and talking and being in the deepest state of hypnosis but for the past 2 weeks, I had only practiced that to a small degree. When we arrived at the hospital, my husband had to go to the counter, while my amazing 2 year old son stuck by me. He was not wandering around the hospital but watching me intently as I laid there horizontally on a barely cushioned hospital bench. Then my amazing sister in law, Sarah came and he was happy to go with her. As soon as she got there, I was put in triage. They started asking me the same questions I had already filled out in preregistration and I could barely answer. After about the third question, my awesome midwife showed up and told them that it was not medically necessary to answer those questions right now because I needed to be really focused on my cds. My midwive's name is Belinda and she is from Valley Women for Women. When she then checked me, I was already dilated to a 9 and she said, "Let's get her to a room so she can start pushing." Here was another transition that was difficult but much better then walking. They rolled me into a room, and after a few pressure waves, I turned around and tightly gripped the bed and felt that as I pushed it would relieve some of the pressure. So I did and amazingly, I pushed the water out. I was so excited. This whole time from being in triage to being in the new room, my midwife, my doula, my mother in law, and my husband were all massaging me. My midwife was helping me relax by telling me to relax my shoulders and someone was massaging my shoulders to help with that. Then someone was holding my leg up. When I really felt it was almost time to start pushing, I had my midwife set up the 'Pushing Baby Out' cd with powerful opening hypnosis. She hooked it to my big speakers and I could visualize myself pushing the baby out as gentle as possible. After finishing the CD, I could feel the discomfort of not having it being played out loud and I asked to replay it. As I was listening to these CDs, Belinda, my midwife, was coaching me into different positions that were helping me get the baby closer to coming out. On the second runthrough of the CD, I was becoming increasingly impatient and started to want to push the baby out even if I tore. The baby's head was right there and I reached down and felt it. I could hear the CD saying down and out like a slide and helping me visualize already holding my baby. With one breath, I told my husband to say a prayer that this would be the last push, and I did. Then I pushed with all my might and the next second, the baby plopped right down on the bed. They picked the baby up and put him on my chest. Within an hour, the baby was breastfeeding. He had found my breast perfectly. This of course helped with the postpartum and even helped me to push out the placenta without any drugs. 

The amazing part is that this whole birth happened without drugs. I had arrived at the hospital at about 5 a.m. on March 23rd to have my precious baby boy at 6:35 a.m. He was 7 lbs and .78 ounces of perfection.  It had happened all as I had visualized. In the time frame that I had visualized it. I call it one of those miracles that happen only a few times in one's life. I know these types of blessings come when we exercise our faith and do our part to prepare. I feel so blessed to have had everything happen the way I planned. I even had a midwife read and study the birth preference sheet. I knew she did, because they were getting ready to give me oxytocin to help me birth the placenta and she asked them to wait. Then it happened, I just did it through nursing. After everything was over, I told her that I really was hoping that she would be the midwife at my birth and she told me that she was hoping that she could make it to my birth too. I was so blessed that I had her to keep me calm the whole time and a whole team of people united in a common cause of bringing a baby into the world in a peaceful manner. When asked if I would have another one right after, I was able to say, "Maybe one or two more." I kept saying afterwards how happy I was not just to get off to a good start with this baby but for the way the baby came into the world. My doula Moriah commented that this is how all the natural births happen out of the country, because she went to the phillipines and was a midwife there. My mother in law said that it was a calm and peaceful atmosphere. Also, I see a difference in how this baby, seems so much calmer. He is very patient for his food and he can sleep in his own bassinet for a time. I am probably the happiest mom right now and feeling really blessed!

Proud Momma: Josefina 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Natural 6-Hour Labor & Delivery with Belinda

   Well Monday May20th started out as a pretty typical day.  I had a midwife appointment at 8am in the morning and met with Mina.  My cervix was closed, but she did tell me that I was very soft and ripe and that when I did go into labor, it could happen quickly since this was my second delivery.  In the late afternoon my husband and I ran some errands, and at our first stop when I stood up to get out of the car, I felt a funny “pop” sensation down below and thought I felt some water come out.  I wasn’t sure if my water had broken or not, nothing was really gushing out but I just felt sort of damp, so I told my husband we better go home just so I could check it out.  At home I didn’t notice being too wet, so I figured that it was my imagination to think that my water had broken.  So, we kept doing normal things.  About an hour or two later, I had the exact same sensation.  So, I checked it out in the bathroom again.  There still wasn’t really any major water flowing, but I did notice what I thought might be “show” and started to get a little excited.  But, I still had NO contractions and figured it could be days before the baby decided to enter the world. 

   So, we continued business as normal.  We put our 2 yr old to bed and then left her with my dad to babysit and headed out to a movie.  As we left the house to get in the car, I felt a tiny little twinge of tightness in my abdomen and wondered “could that be a contraction?”  The twinges continued to keep coming, but they were so tiny and not painful at all that I still figured we had lots of time.  In fact most of my friends who had babies in the past several months indicated that they had contractions off and on for days before their babies came.  So I thought that since I had two weeks before my due date, I probably was just experiencing some Braxton Hicks. 

   The contractions kept coming but they weren’t really painful so I figured that it was no big deal and proceeded to just watch the movie.  It did seem though that they were slowly getting stronger.  They were so frequent that about 20 minutes into the movie I started timing them on my cell phone to see how fast they were coming. They were coming regularly at about 2 ½ minutes apart!  So then I got really excited and scared and couldn’t decide what to do.  I kept watching the movie and asked my husband his opinion and he didn’t know what to do, so since they didn’t hurt too much we just stayed in the theater.  About 40 minutes into the movie they were starting to be stronger, so I told my husband I was going to take a bathroom break and also call the midwives and see what they thought I should do.  I called and found out Belinda was on-call.  I asked her if this was real labor or just Braxton Hicks and what to do and she said she thought it was real, and for me to come to the hospital whenever I was ready. 

   But, I still didn’t feel too much pain, so I went back into the movie and tried to finish it.  Probably about 1 hr and 20 minutes into the movie I decide I couldn’t stand it any more.  I recognized that I was really in labor and we needed to go home because we didn’t have the hospital bag ready or anything!  So we left the movie early and headed home.  Our two-year-old was still asleep and my dad agreed to just stay with her while we went to the hospital.  So we packed the bag up for the hospital and at that point my contractions were getting painful.  We checked into the hospital at almost exactly midnight.    Belinda met up with us and she checked me and told me I was 4cm dilated, which was pretty disappointing considering how much pain I was already in and how quickly my contractions were coming. 

   After checking me, I was admitted to a labor and delivery room pretty quickly.  I told Belinda I wanted to try for a natural delivery, but acknowledged that I didn’t know if I would be able to endure the pain or not.  I figured out that I liked having something for my hands to squeeze to manage my pain, and the accessibility bar in the bathroom was a great grip for me during contractions while laboring in the hospital.  Belinda had the nurses get the laboring tub ready for me and when it was full I got in and it was a huge relief.  I was shocked actually at how much better I felt.  However, it really bothered me because it wasn’t as convenient to have something to grab onto when the contractions came.  But the relief from the water was amazing and I did eventually find some bars on the outside of the tub to grab onto.    In fact the water felt so good, that I started falling asleep in between contractions.  Several times I nearly dropped my head into the water before waking up suddenly!  I labored like that for awhile, maybe 45 minutes or so and then the contractions started getting so bad that I was feeling ready to give up and get an epidural. I definitely screamed through every contraction and had a hard time feeling guilty afterwards because I kept thinking how it was the middle of the night and there were probably women in other rooms with newborns trying to sleep.  I asked Belinda to come look at me and check and see how dilated I was because I knew that if I hadn’t progressed then I was going to give in and ask for an epidural.  She asked me if I felt like I needed to push and I said “no, not really, but I am just in so much pain” and so she said for me to wait half an hour and then she would check me.  So, she left the room, and right as she left the room I felt a huge contraction that made me want to push!  So I screamed for her to come back and she did right away got me out of the tub and onto the bed.  Belinda told me to get on the bed on all fours in preparation for pushing, so I did.  But, for some reason, that position seemed to stop my need to push.  I still had contractions but I no longer felt like I needed to push really.  And I no longer really had anything to grab onto during the contractions and that was extremely upsetting. 

   I ended up finding the bars on the sides of the bed to hold onto but that just buried my face in a pillow during every push and my husband was worried I wasn’t getting sufficient oxygen.  I finally said “this isn’t working” and Belinda then had me try laboring on the labor bar which I had indicated earlier that I really wanted to do.  I loved having something to hold onto, but it kept feeling like it was in the wrong spot because leaning on it put too much pressure on my chest, cutting off my ability to breathe very well again.  I did that for a good amount of time, but still didn’t feel like it was successful because I couldn’t breathe well.  So, finally, I ended up pushing in the regular position, laying on my back with my feet propped up on the bar.  This worked the best, actually, although once again I had nothing to grab onto.  I remember feeling frustrated that I didn’t have anything to hold onto, but decided that it just didn’t matter because I wanted the baby to come out.  So I choose to focus on making the baby come out and not pain management.  Anyhow, I pushed really hard a few times in a regular lying on my back position and felt the “ring of fire” as they call it and Rosaline’s head finally emerged.  I kinda thought I was pretty much done at that point, because I knew her head was out but Belinda kept shouting at me “push push” and I kept asking “her head’s out right?” and Belinda just kept telling me to push.  So I tried a tiny push and that wasn’t good enough, so I finally gave it a full effort and pushed hard and it turned out that Rosaline’s shoulders were actually much harder to push out than her head.  Although I couldn’t tell personally, those watching the birth said that my water didn’t actually break until Rosaline literally was coming out of me.  So, basically, she was almost born inside the bag of waters, but as she emerged, it broke. 

   They gave Rosaline to me right away and it was sweet to hold her and tell her that her name was Rose and talk to her.  As soon as she came out Belinda commented that she thought Rosaline was a huge baby and was guessing 10 pounds, or at least 9 pounds.  That really freaked me out, despite the fact that she was already out of me!  But Belinda was wrong because she was only 8 lbs even and 19 inches long.  Still, that is quite large for a two week early baby.  Rosaline was born at 2:22am which meant that my entire labor was only 6 and a half hours from first contraction to the final push!  To me that was so fast I couldn’t believe it. 

   I was so happy and relieved that it was such a success and so grateful to Belinda for her supporting me in fulfilling my wishes for the delivery as well as the other midwives for such a great pregnancy and family circle experience.  I just remember being so shocked that I actually had accomplished having a baby naturally!  My recovery for this delivery was so much easier than for the delivery of our first child-in my opinion because this time it was a natural childbirth.  I could walk around soon afterwards and I was just so much more comfortable.  Having an unmedicated birth was a dream come true and such a positive experience.  I know it isn’t a prospect that many women nowadays have because of all the risks, challenges, and complications we face during delivery and I completely respect that the first priority of the medical community is keeping both baby and mom safe using whatever means necessary.  But, I am so grateful I was able to have this opportunity and I would do it again in a heartbeat if given the chance! 

Proud Momma: Anna Mae

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Natural Birth with Belinda

I had always wanted a midwife. I knew this way before I was pregnant because my great great grandmother was one, and it was said of her that she never lost a baby. My first pregnancy, I saw my regular doctor to confirm that I was pregnant, and then she said she would send a referral letter so that I could go see the midwives at Valley Women for Women. 

Unfortunately I did not know that realistically I didn't need to wait for this referral and I lost the first baby at 14 weeks, before I ever got into see the midwives. But going in after my miscarriage, I knew that these were the women I wanted to see. I had spent lots of time stalking them on their Web Page, learning their names and degrees, so when I finally met Janice for the first time, I felt like I knew her. After meeting her, I knew this is where I was going to be the happiest, most comfortable, even with my second miscarriage, feel the most love. I remember finding out that our second pregnancy was a pseudo one, that there was no baby, we were devastated. I had a sinking feeling in the ultrasound room when we couldn't see anything, and the technician asked if we had our dates right. I was crying before we left the room while my husband kept saying, just wait for Janice, just wait. She delivered the bad news with such love, hugging us, telling us what was happening. I remember only half listening because I was heartbroken and sobbing, which she then took both my hands and said, "You're gonna be okay, and sooner than you know I'll be delivering a big fat baby for you." 

 We should have placed bets on it then and there. With our third pregnancy, I was trying hard to distance myself from emotion. This pregnancy was either gonna be a baby, or our third miscarriage which I was preparing myself for. At least if it was another miscarriage, our insurance would finally pay for testing to get done. I had mentally prepared myself so well that even after our first ultrasound I waited to miscarry. It took until our 20 week ultrasound where we found out we were having a boy that I finally allowed myself to get a little excited. It probably also didn't help that I had morning sickness the entire pregnancy! 

 Family Circle is probably going to be some of my favorite memories being pregnant. It was so nice and calming to be in a group of people all pregnant around the same time, talking about past experiences with parents that already had children, expressing concerns, talking about all the tests and options we had. I loved going to listen to our midwives. They were always happy, funny, and could answer any questions we all had. My husband loved being able to be in charge of finding heartbeats, and he loved being totally involved with the pregnancy. When he learned that he could even catch our little boy, he was so excited for Gabe to come into the world.

 Now, my mother kept telling me that I was most likely going to be a 'slow cooker'. All of my siblings came out super late. Most of them 1 or 2 weeks behind schedule. So with my due date coming up, I prepared myself to wait it out. My sister-in-law was pregnant at the same time as us with twins. She lived an hour away, so unfortunately she didn't get to see the midwives. We stayed pretty close during the pregnancy. When she was 37 weeks and I was 39, she started having a lot of braxton hicks. She had been having all sorts of issues the whole month before, and had really wanted to wait out the full 40 weeks, but my nephews were already wild in there. Her doctor scheduled her to be induced that Friday. She'd been dilated at 4cm all weekend long, and really uncomfortable. She started having lots of pain on Wednesday and let us know that they were going to go in. I grabbed our own hospital bags and when my husband got off work we headed over to her hospital in Goodyear. She had already been given her epidural when we arrived, and had started some pictocin. She had progressed to a 7cm early in the day but had stopped there and was sort of stuck. I hated that she had to be constantly monitored, and knew I definitely did not want that. I had to hold one of the babies monitors in place because it kept slipping in the straps. They only allowed 2 visitors at a time in her room, so all of us took turns in the waiting room. Around midnight my husband and I decided to go sleep at their house and wait till after they babies were delivered. They weren't going to let us in the OR room anyways, and I was exhausted. 

They called us at 6am telling us they were here! I stayed the next 2 days with her taking turns with her husband and my mother in law sleeping and helping with the twins. After learning that she'd be released Saturday morning, we decided to head home Friday night. I was sick of the hospital and was looking forward to not being in one for another couple of weeks. Ha ha. We met up with some friends, staying up late catching up on one of our TV shows, thinking that we could sleep in all morning Saturday. Haha Haha. I wasn't due for another week, and with my mother telling us we'd be late anyways, we didn't dream we'd be delivering that morning. I had been having some burning back pain earlier in the week, but it was usually accompanied by a big bowel movement. 

So when my back started burning around 1am when were getting ready for bed, I figured I was constipated. I hadn't had any braxton hicks contractions, and hadn't even had uncomfortable cramping, so at 2:30 when I started having sharp pain right under my belly I assumed it had to be something else. I remember looking at my husband, with slight terror in my throat though, because that had hurt more than anything I had ever felt before. I went into the bathroom telling him I probably had to poop, where I then started having regular contractions. Still thinking there was no way this could be labor, I wasn't due for another week, I was supposed to be late etc. I climbed into a hot bath and told my husband we'd wait it out a while before calling the midwives. By this time I was panicking slightly in the tub. We weren't ready, and I had used all the stuff in our hospital bag for our trip with my sister-in-law. I hadn't even done laundry that week. I kept telling my husband after a contraction that we weren't ready and the baby just simply could not come right now. We still had to fix the crib's base because it was wobbly. Thank goodness for loving husbands. He simply said, "Don't be angry Sam. This baby will come whenever it comes and we'll love it. Don't stress out about it. It's gonna be ok." That helped me decide it was finally time to call the midwives. Telling him that, we realized we hadn't been timing the contractions since I had been in denial. I really started to panic when we timed them at 4 minutes apart. While my husband called (to which he said "Sweet it's Belinda") I got out of the tub and got dressed. I tried to figure out and repack our bag, which ended up being really sad. I guess the stress and panic really got to me then because I really didn't pack anything we needed for us. At least I had a separate bag for the baby that was ready to go.

Contractions in the car were brutal. I placed my feet up on the dash and just held onto the bar above the window while breathing and moaning all while looking at the clock and praying this would go fast. We arrived at the hospital before Belinda, at 3:30am. I felt bad actually having to wake her up in the middle of the night. This was my least favorite part ever. Getting to the emergency room of Mercy Gilbert, they made me answer all sorts of questions. There was actually more pregnant women before me, but the nurse that came downstairs to wheel them up took me first because my contractions were rapidly progressing. She apologized to the other ladies by simply stating "I've already delivered a baby downstairs today, and don't want to do it again. I'll be right back." It was nice not having to walk, because it was easier for me to deal with the pain being still and pushing against something like a chair, or wall. 

The triage room sucked though. We were still waiting for Belinda to show up, so the nurse on duty shoved the metal clamp up my hoo-ha to check my dilation. Dear lord I almost slapped her, that HURT the most. I yelled out actually then because it felt like she pinched and punched my uterus at the same time. Then they ask questions. SO MANY QUESTIONS! WHY?! Not only did she ask them to me once, which was a slow process, but she stopped afterwards and said "Oh no, the computer didn't get those in" and she had to ask me ALL the questions AGAIN!! I told my husband that I hated her.... I hoped she didn't hear that. In the middle of all this nonsense I started throwing up. That was cute. They got me several blue baggies and YAY Belinda showed up. 

We slowly walked to my room when that was finally over and they were in the middle of filling up the birthing pool. I was dying to get in it. One of the only ways I had been relaxing lately was in my tub at home. We got me seated on the toilet for Belinda to check me. My water still had not broken, but I had progressed to 5cm and we got me in the tub. I could die in that thing. It feels SO SO SO GOOD to be in there. Cuts the pain in half, gets you all comfy and you can change into almost any position. I went from hanging over the side with my husband feeding me ice chips to on my hands and knees, to some other weird inventive positions. I thought I had urges to push at one point and asked Belinda to check me. Getting on the bed and lying down put me in a full panic attack. It hurt 20 times worse being in the bed, and I freaked out. Luckily Belinda stayed calm and got me checked and back into the pool. Around 5am my labor stopped though. We really didn't notice too much, because all of us fell asleep. I had been awake for over 24 hours at this point. Then around 6:30 my contractions came back full force, and I started pushing in the tub. The nurse noticed first and I had to get out. Big bummer. The nurse went to go get Belinda, who was checking in on another labor, telling her it was time for me to start pushing. I got on the toilet first with my husband holding my hands while I did another push, and POP went my water. It literally shocked us both because it sounded like a popping balloon and it shot out all over my husbands shirt and chin. I knew that I was going to want the squat bar right away. This part went so fast and so slow at the same time. Everyone helped me get ready to push, with my hands up on the bar, and my feet pushing against the bottom of the bar where it connects to the bed. I admit that I screamed...a lot. It was the worst pain ever, not going to lie, and at one point I felt like I was going to rip in two down below. If it wasn't for the water softening everything up, I think I would have torn pretty badly. 

One of the nurses kept telling me to hold my breath, she probably wanted to control the screaming. I remember in between pushing I cried that I just couldn't hold it in. Belinda was really good about it and just kept saying, it's ok, let it out let it out. It's just the birthing song. Oh Belinda....we love you. My husband tells me at this point while he's panicking changing from my side to looking below that the Nurse kept saying, he's coming too fast. I guess Belinda then gave her a shut up look, and had him get ready to catch our baby. It was really fast though. Withing 15 minutes of pushing out came Gabriel. Unfortunately, maybe because I did push so fast he came out dark blue, and my husband had to hand him over quickly to Belinda because he didn't breathe right away. A testament to her though because I remember looking over and watching her pat and rub his back and he was crying soon. For some reason my body decided to go into shock for a little bit. I remember after being done pushing I just collapsed on the bed and started shivering. The pool was really warm, and with Gabriel I had been running at a higher temperature the whole time, so I think it was just a big change really fast plus sheer exhaustion. The nurse had to help me hold him to feed the first time, and we got him to latch good. He stayed dark on his toes for a day though, which one of the nurses said I bruised him on the way out :( poor baby. After he was out it was a huge relief. 

My parents checked in about a half an hour after he was born. We got me dressed and cleaned up and we went to our room where the rest is history. I recommend anyone that I know who can make it over to see the midwives. They love and care after each patient and are the calmest people to deliver with. I already know if I have to move away before I'm done having babies, I'm going to cry about them not being there for me.

Proud Momma: Sam

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Briella's Birth with Diane

Briella's EDD was March 31, 2013. We were told from our ultrasound at 30 weeks that she could be as early as March 16th and that she was a pretty good size baby. This got all of us excited and I thought for sure we would have our baby girl before her EDD. Our first cervical check on March 5 indicated I was 1 cm dilated and 75% effaced already so this definitely made me think I would give birth sooner than later. I kept making progress every week so when March 31st came and went I started to believe I was going to be pregnant FOREVER! I literally tried so many things to jump start my labor: walking, bouncing on a birth ball, sex, spicy food, accupressure/reflexology, yoga, black licorice, nipple stimulation, squats, castor oil, and I even had my membranes swept. There were four times in the month of March that I thought I was in labor, but my contractions weren't consistent and always disappeared after about six hours. 

Just when I had given up hope, something amazing happened one Monday morning! I woke up at 9 with Troy and emptied my bladder as usual then headed back to bed and set my alarm for 11; I needed more sleep. I woke up again around 9:30 after Troy had left for work and I thought I peed the bed. I jumped up and held myself as I ran to the bathroom. I noticed some white stuff on my hand and moments later this trickling began again. My water had broke!!! I immediately called our midwives to let them know and then I called Troy home. I was so excited! I couldn't believe I would have a baby girl within 24 hours! My contractions started at 11 that morning and I tried my hardest to sleep and rest but it was so difficult. At first my contractions were 20 minutes apart. I took two baths at home to try to relax and I tried to go about my day as usual, laboring at home for as long as possible. It was around 4:30 that we decided to go to the hospital. I think it was around 5/5:30 that we finally got checked in and I was only 4 1/2 cm dilated. I was kind of bummed since I had been 3cm the week before and I didn't feel like I was making progress. I really didn't want to be induced and I was afraid I had come to the hospital too early. Diane was the midwife on call that day. She wanted me to wait to labor in the pool until I had progressed more so that we didn't slow down any progression. After a few hours, I believe it was around 7:30pm, I was dilated to 6 1/2 cm. I don't know how long I was laboring in the pool for but it didn't feel like more than a half hour. I felt like I had to push so bad when I was in the pool. A lot of the details were a blur to me and I had no idea what time anything really happened or how far I had progressed. I remember pushing for a while, it was probably close to two hours. I tried pushing on my hands and knees because that was most comfortable when I was laboring. Diane had me lay on my left side for a few contractions, which I absolutely hated at first but ended up giving birth in that position! I also tried squatting but it was way too difficult to hold myself up on the bar. I was able to watch myself giving birth to my daughter in a mirror we had set up and I was also able to touch her head! I thought my work was done after pushing her head out, but it took about 2 1/2 minutes to get her shoulders out because her little arm was stuck by her head. Unfortunately we had to clamp the cord right away and Troy was unable to cut it himself. Briella was in shock so they had to take her away to put her under the heat. She had a low apgar score at first but ended up being perfect :) I never needed any drugs during my labor or after my birth and I only had a small tear by my urethra.

Briella was born at 10:25pm weighing 8lbs and she was 20.5 inches

We are SO incredibly blessed to have such an amazing, beautiful baby girl and to have had such a great birthing experience!

Proud Mom: Jessica

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hyrum's Birth with Janice

Hyrum Patrick Wilkins
Born Feb.23rd @5:58am
7lb. 4 oz.
1st Hospital Picture... Wait until you see under the cap! Strawberry Blonde Hair, and LOTS of it!

So I had my 1st contraction at 12:30am Monday morning. I had eaten lots of pasta and thought I was just having cramps... I had another one 20 minutes later and then another 15 minutes later. I woke Danny up and told him I thought it was time. I had him go back to bed in case it wasn't anything. 10 minutes later I waking him again as a strong one hit and I had no doubt anymore. I called my sister Sariah (coach) and then my midwife. In those short conversations I had 3 contractions! We left the house, picked up Sariah and took off to the hospital. The contractions were 2 1/2 minutes apart by this time and I was already wanting to push. We got checked into the hospital and checked out. I was at a 6 and 100% effaced. I was doing this naturally and though they were SUPER intense and painful I was able to breathe through them. The hardest part was trying to stay focused when everyone was asking me questions and transferring me from one bed to another. I finally got from ER, Triag, then the Labor room. Danny and my sister did a great job but by this time I was asking for the epidural. It was so painful. It was only 3 hours into it and the nurse was saying I had hours ahead of me, I was on an IV for the Strep B and was emotional! I hated all the tests and the monitor on my killin' stomach! Right when I was giving in to the drugs my midwife showed up like an angel! She ordered the lights out, told me to get out of the bed (hallelujia) and then I labored with her for an hour. She was confident and authorative, and yet super supportive and I just felt better with her there. I mostly stood leaning against a table, and then actually sat on the toilet seat for the restes and 3 pushes later Hyrum was born! It was a miracle! FUEGO!!! PAINFUL!!!! And yet worth every pain! I got 3 degree tears inside, OUCH! He just came so fast I was not able to stretch enough. But he is so beautiful! I nursed him right away and the rest is a blur :) It was great though feeling so alert, and able to walk so shortly afterwards. I am home now, we are doing great. He is so sweet, I can't get enough of him! Thanks for all the calls and prayers!

Oh yea, and dad is doing great!

Proud Mom: Trisha

Dean's birth with Janice

Dean Matthew Wilkins
Born - April 1st 2012  @  4:35pm
Palm Sunday
General Conference Sunday

8lbs.  19 3/4"
2.5 hours of labor

Twice a year our church holds a Conference for anyone who wants to listen, in April and October. On Sunday for Conference...  I woke up and tried to enjoy the first session. For anyone who knows me I look forward to conference and never miss anything. But this session I couldn't sit still. I got up and cleaned the kitchen, and made breakfast. I watched a few talks but couldn't concentrate. I think I eventually took a small nap. The boys took a nap around 1:30pm and I got ready to sit down for the second session of conference. Around two I realized I was having some light contractions. I felt like I should lay down and get some rest. I asked Danny to put on Ironman :) I wanted a distraction, something funny that could keep me positive. I also called my mid-wife. Because Hyrum was a 4 hour labor she wanted to know right away when I was having contractions in order to be ready for anything.  I got off the phone and layed down. After 20 minutes I asked Danny to turn the movie off, the contractions were getting much stronger and I could tell they were working contractions. Meaning, that they were doing something! I had Danny turn on the Self Hypnosis CD for relaxation. I went thru a couple of contractions lying on the couch. They were very strong but I handled them well thru relaxing and breathing. But They went quickly to about 3 minutes apart and I knew it was time. We called the Mid Wife and said we are on the way to the hospital now! I went to the bathroom and had a couple of contractions that really hurt! It's hard to relax your body when you are walking around.  I came out of the bathroom and said Danny, I think I want to do something new with this baby. Let's go ahead and get an epidural! :) He was all... "I don't care Trisha, this is your body and I will support you no matter what." I was being silly and was more worried about disappointing my doula, and my boys. (ps Danny had run to the neighbors to give them our baby monitor so that they could get the boys once they woke up from nap)  lol   that's how we roll...     I got in the car and then had to climb back out again because I was having contractions and couldn't sit down. I stood up and leaned against the van. I prayed to God that I could get to the hospital quickly and without too much pain. I prayed that he would bless me with the strength to do what I felt was best. I also prayed that we would NOT have the baby in the van!   :)  There was a wonderful breeze and I felt so much strength!  My neighbor Bethany came out as we drove by and waved. It was a small thing but it lifted my spirits even more. On the way Danny talked to me about our reasons for doing the birth that we had planned. It helped me remember why my birth plan was so important to me. It also helped me remember the blessing he had given me a week before. I had prayed for a miracle in a quick and somewhat painless birth :) The Lord promised me that I would have all the tools to make it a wonderful experience if I used them and trusted in him. By the time I got to the hospital I was ready to do a natural birth again. The hospital staff tried to check me in but luckily one smart nurse really looked at me and said let's get her upstairs she is ready to go! The wheelchair driver tried to take me to triage but luckily my mid wife Janice had a labor room prepared and the nurses intercepted him.

  Lying in bed doing the babies 20 minute heart stress test.

 I literally walked in the room and Janice was stripping me down and lying me in bed so that she could check my progression and for the babies 20 minute stress test! I remember thinking please be more than a 5! She checked me and said you are almost at an 8 and ready to go! I thought to myself, sweet only a few hours and Ill have a baby! Little did I know....      Remarkably lying in bed on my side wasn't as hard as it had been in previous labors. Danny immediately had my relaxation music on, and I went into my zone. I ignored all the nurses questions until they finally figured out that Danny could take care of it. They were great nurses! Very flexible. They even read my birth plan! wow! I can remember lying there totally zoned out, relaxing. Thru the contractions I would think "let go, give in to your body, open up, let go! trust in your body, BREATHE!" When I was not having contractions I was able to listen to the music and to those around me. At one point I looked up and my oldest sister Sariah walked in and I felt so much love for her, and felt a new strength.

It's amazing how zoned I felt. I was doing my self-hypnosis and I could hear things around me, but only paid attention to what I wanted.

Can you see my cute nails?  :)  It was important to me this time to look as good as I could. I felt like I might get confidence from cute nails and toes :)  lol
 Finally I was allowed out of the bed, which again proved to be hard because I was so relaxed! The second I got up and moved everything was harder! I went to the bathroom and while going my water broke!  Everyone was so worried about me having the baby on the toilet! I heard Janice say something about not doing that anymore, and Tracie really wanted me to get up and move to the bed. I just kept thinking, I know I am progressing quickly but I am fine ladies, he is not coming yet! I had NO clue he was minutes away from entering the world.

Little did I know I would be having a baby here in a few minutes! Man it happened so fast!

Still didn't know Dean was only minutes away.

Janice asked me what position I wanted to be in for labor, I remember thinking, why are we talking about this already? I am not that close....   lol   yea right!

looks like we are just standing around talking... I really was having LOTS of pressure :) I had Dean while kneeling on the bed and leaning against the back of it.

I have such amazing women in my life!

 I could not choose a position, this happened in less than a minute, but I felt so blah..... didn't know what to do, just felt pressure, extreme pressure! :) Finally Tracie told me to kneel on the bed and try it. I was not super excited about it, but who is at this point? This is still right after I had walked out of the bathroom and I grabbed the girls to lean on. At this point I bore down and literally felt Dean drop! It was a crazy feeling. The next one was a push and I knew it was time to get into some sort of position so I followed Tracie's advice.

Light Bulb!   This is me realizing Dean is coming now!  :)  hahaha  

 Up until this moment I was still thinking that everyone was saying things like any minute, and I was feeling like, what? I am sure I have hours ahead of me. It was a surreal feeling. Especially when I pushed for the first him kneeling on the bed. I then KNEW without a doubt that I really was going to have a baby in second. I couldn't believe it. This was an intense time, though it was still manageable. It felt so wonderful to be in control of my body. I was able to decide when to push, and for how long. Once I was mentally ready I bore down and out came my little "bullet" I was shocked by how fast it all went.

Dean Matthew Wilkins aka "the Bullet"

Good Job US!
I am grateful for a wonderful husband who allows me to be strong and fly, and yet is there to hold me up when I falter. He did so many little things throughout that short time to help me. His words of strength, getting things ready and out the door so quick, holding oils under my nose while my eyes were closed. He knew everything to do.

My favorite Mid-Wife in the world!

My sweet boy. The ladies said I kept repeating "I can't believe it's over" I was referring to A- the fact that Dean came so fast, and B- that I was not pregnant anymore, and the looooong 10 months was over!
I was in such awe of my little man. He looked like a wise old man. Erin calls him a wise little owl. So he already has two nicknames though only hours old.  I was in love with him immediately. His little face was so squishy and chub! And I love his hair! There is a ton of it, and thick! He has natural high lights. The tips are real light, and the roots are brown. So strange!  I was in shock that I was in labor for only 2 and a half hours. I couldn't believe it was all over. The pregnancy pains, the anxiousness of wanting my baby, the worries over labor, etc... It was over and I was here with my precious baby. I kept thanking God in my heart for such a quick and manageable labor. I am so grateful to have wonderful women in my life that were great strengths. My mom was so sad to have missed a birth of one of her grandchildren but she was at my Uncle Harry's funeral in West Virginia. Besides, with how far she lives from the hospital there is no way she would have made it in time for his birth anyway.  I am grateful for the confidence I felt from Heavenly Father, and I am thankful that so many provided me with the tools needed to have a great birth.

Look at all that hair. It was love at first sight!

Danny was thinking about the Bill Cosby skit where he tells his wife, congrats you just had a lizard. Because the baby changed colors so many times from birth...  :)
 It's funny how unsure of himself Danny can pretend to be. Maybe he actually believes it. But it is in no way true. He is such a great dad even if he is not what he calls a "baby dad". He thinks he will be a great teenager dad. I think he just wants boys to order around and have do chores for him :) Danny is wonderful. He helps me so much at home. Nobody can wrap a baby as good as him! When I am not home he does prayer, scripture reading, and songs with the boys. He loves to cuddle with the boys in the lazy boy.  He might have things that he doesn't like to do with the babies, like diapers. But he does it all, and doesn't complain too loudly :)

8lbs.   19 3/4 "  Born at 4:35pm   April 1st 2012   Our little April Fools baby (palm 

We love our little family. We are so happy to have such wonderful boys, each with their very own personality! It is a fun challenge, and one that will only get better with time!

Proud Mom: Trisha