Monday, February 8, 2010

Very Inspiring Birth Story

Have the box of tissues in hand.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Best Birth

My baby girl is 1 year old today and I felt that I needed to share her birth story. Every birth has it's own miraculous story, but I'd like to share why Savanna's birth was the best I've experienced of my own children, so far!

My husband's job required him to travel 3 wks. out of the month and we were on pins and needles around the last month of pregnancy. We both figured this baby would come early like the previous two (35wks. and then 38wks) so I was very stressed about my husband not being able to make it to the birth. He is my rock during labor and delivery and I NEEDED him to help keep me calm and relaxed. My due date came and passed, then the real stress began as my husband had to fly to the east coast. Thankfully, he was able to stay home. I was having contractions the last few weeks of pregnancy, where they would come strong and increase the time intervals. However, nothing.

I was 5 days past my due date when I woke up around 7am discovering my water was leaking, decided to go back to bed and get rest because it would be a long journey ahead of us. I told my husband my plan and had suspected it would take an entire day before labor would begin since that's how the previous two labors had been. God and Savanna obviously had other plans.

Contractions began immediately, strong, and close together. I was shocked and knew I needed to get to the hospital. We woke up Jordan and Ellie, packed suitcases for them to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's, dropped them off and headed to the Silverton Hospital. (Oh, and we made sure I ate food this time)! My Midwife called me on the way, asking me how far apart and strong the contractions were because she knew I would go fast as well. We also let my friend know because I was present for her birth the previous night and she could come watch if she felt up for it.

We reached the hospital and settled into a room. I asked for my friend to be my nurse since she had began her shift and was lucky to have the midwife, nurse, and my husband all present the way I wanted it. Normally I would have walked, got in the jet tub, or hung on my husband during labor but I was in the zone to be on the bed almost immediately entering our room. I was on the birthing ball for a little bit but mostly felt comfortable on my left side. My Doula was helping me to relax, but I needed Justin once I entered transition. He moaned with me and kept reminding me to relax, telling me how wonderful I was doing.

The Midwife arrived, checked me (I have no clue how far I was dilated, but I didn't really care) and said she could break the hind bag of waters since the front bag already leaked. I said okay because I wanted to be done. I settled into a movement-like trance with my contractions and slept in between. The waves were incredible and the next I was completely sleeping. There were many people in the room, all watching in silence while I continued the need to tell everyone what I was feeling. Justin kept rubbing my hair back and I eventually felt as if I needed to push.

I pushed and it felt great, but I could tell I wasn't really bearing down and wasn't ready to get the baby out. My body was telling me what I needed to do and at that moment, I needed the ever-so-slight pushes. Also, I knew it was very normal for women to have a bowl movement while pushing, but I was still very embarrassed and kept apologizing. Still sleeping in between contractions, I finally felt the need to bear down and give strong pushes. Justin moved to the end of the bed because he was going to catch Savanna once her head came out. The Midwife was guiding him on what to do and it felt awkward to not have him by my side, but I like to keep my eyes closed while pushing anyhow. Although the Midwife and Justin were telling me to breathe, I felt as if I needed to push for a long time. I ignored them because I knew what my body was telling me. After a few pushes, out came Savanna Grace at 10:13am.

Savanna was on my chest, crying, pink, and beautiful. Her face, especially her nose, was smooshed but she was my baby and we just went thru and incredible experience together. This little bundle of joy I had been puking the whole pregnancy for, was finally here. We kissed her and it was peaceful. After a few minutes the cord was cut and I heald her skin to skin. The entire experience was very empowering and I was more in-tune with my body than ever before.

Although the Midwife and hospital staff were wonderful, I still have yet to experience my ultimate "high" and I truly believe a homebirth with our next (and last) child will do just that. I would like to be able to birth in any position or in the tub if I feel the need, with just my husband and Midwife present. If the kids happen to come in, then they are welcome as well. Regardless of what happens next time, I was in love with Savanna's birth and reassuring in my ability as a woman, to connect with my baby and body and to know what was best for us. Women need to take back birth and claim it for themselves, the doctors/midwives/all attendents are mere spectators. You have control and know your body best.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

VBAC after 3 Cesareans

It's a very empowering moment for a woman when she's giving birth and many women feel stripped from that when forced to have a cesarean.
This is an inspiring journey of a woman who regained faith in her own body.

Monday, November 30, 2009

10 Reasons to Avoid Induction

10 Reasons to Avoid Induction

A common decision today's parents will face during childbirth is birth induction. A birth induction happens when the labor of a pregnant woman is artificially started. Today's parents need to know why it is important to avoid birth induction and why it is important to allow labor to begin normally and naturally without any interference. Here are the reasons youwould want to avoid induction in childbirth:

1. If you induce the birth of your baby you will be at risk of delivering a premature baby. New studies are showing that babies who are even slightly premature have more problems at birth and beyond. There is no proven health benefit to forcing your baby from the womb before your baby has had enough time to properly develop. Even in the last few days before the birth of your baby, last minute finishing touches are ongoing. The final layers of fat are placed, the lungs are receiving the finishing touches even as you are going through labor. All of this will help your baby to be comfortable in a change of environment. Your baby will most likely be ready ten days after your estimated due date, especially if you are a first time mother. There are no studies showing any benefit whatsoever to artificially starting labor and there are many studies showing the risk of premature birth to every baby.Wait for your labor to begin normally and naturally.

2. If you induce your labor, your labor will become more painful and prolonged. Your contractions will be too long, too strong and too close together causing your baby to have difficulty breathing and your contractions to be less effective.

3. If you induce your labor you may not be ready physiologically or emotionally to give birth without your baby signaling to your body the exact time it is ready and able to labor. Inducing labor, by any means, will cause unnecessary stress on your body and your baby.

4. If you induce your labor, your baby may experience harm caused by themechanical force of the artificial contractions that can damage your baby's brain and affect your baby's ability to breathe.

5. If you induce your labor you may be at risk of secondary infertility dueto the increase of the risk of damage to your uterus caused by uterine rupture.

6. If you induce your labor you may be at risk of bleeding throughout your labor and after childbirth because of the damage caused to your uterus by the induction drugs creating a greater difficulty in caring for the new baby along with the increased possibility of prolonged postnatal depression caused by the induction drugs.

7. If you induce your labor you will not be able to experience a natural birth due to the increased pain during labor. The narcotics used in a epidural cross the placenta and cause increased stress on your baby as the narcotics hit your baby's immature liver and brain causing a decrease in the cardiac and brain function. Your baby will find it hard to breathe because of this. Your baby will have great difficulty breastfeeding because of the afterlife of the narcotics. Very few women are able to have an induced birth without additional drugs to handle the increased pain from the artificial contractions.

8. If you induce your labor you will unknowingly trigger a cascade of medical interventions like, strong medications to force your cervix open,multiple narcotic drugs for increased pain, continuous fetal monitoring,forceps delivery or the use of a vacuum extractor; when the attempt at the induction fails.

9. If you induce your labor you will become a high risk for emergency cesarean delivery, (as high as 50%) as many induced labors fail and leave both mom and baby in medical distress. In the case of an extreme medical emergency, for either mom or baby, consider by passing induction and going right to a cesarean section. Adding induction drugs to an already stressed mother and baby may cause additional damages to both. Allowing a woman to labor naturally before a cesarean section will help to further develop the baby's lungs.

10. If you don't induce your labor, and allow your labor to begin normally;your labor will be less painful, your labor will be shorter and more productive, (your body will be ready for it), your baby will be able tobreathe, you will reduce your risk of cesarean section, you will reduce the health costs associated with your birth, you will have less need for pain medication, you will have a shorter delivery, you will have a faster recovery and you and your baby will be healthier as a result. Your baby will breastfeed more easily and you will find it easier to bond and attach to your new baby. If you are anxious about your baby's arrival, make sur eeverything is ready for the baby's arrival, the house is clean, groceries are purchased, banking done, extra food prepared, official registration papers for your baby and the myriad of other things you will need to takecare of at this time. Avoiding a labor induction is one of the best secrets to having a safe and gentle labor and delivery for both mother and baby.

Secrets Newsletter 2008. Gail J. Dahl, "Pregnancy & Childbirth Secrets".This book is a valuable gift for every new parent parent and is availableacross North America at all major bookstores. For more great secrets go to<http://web.mac. com/pregnancysec rets> pregnancysecrets .

This article may be reprinted or posted without prior permission for the purpose of childbirth education if references are included. The information contained in or provided through this publication is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be, and is not provided as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis ortreatment. Always seek the advice of your midwife, physician, nurse or otherqualified health care provider before you undergo any treatment or foranswers to any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.Take a look at this inspiring upcoming birth conference in Redondo Beach,California this March 2010 at

My personal thoughts are that some of the statements are possibilities and do not always happen but the chances are greatly increased by an induction. Some people debate the natural methods of inducing due to the unknown possibilities when baby is forced to come before ready. I had personal experiences with these and will be in an upcoming post.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jordan's Birth & NICU

As a soon-to-be mother, I took in as much information as my brain would take (of course relating many facts to Justin). I read a few books and articles but the largest part of my knowledge came from taking The Bradley Birthing Method with Justin. My aunt and uncle told us about an awesome childbirth class that gives so much information that Dr's don't tell you. Justin and I drove to Ashland (45 min. from Grants Pass) every week for 10 wks. I was shocked at how much info. and proof there was about how natural childbirth was how our bodies were meant to bring a child into our arms. Justin was great at retaining the info. and won the quizzes. We practiced breathing, relaxing, and ways of movement, but we had no idea we would need them so soon.

I was very sick throughout the pregnancy almost going to the hospital a few times since I couldn't keep water down. I lost 10 lbs. and was 6 months pregnant when I broke even. I was forced to quit work and school while laying on the couch feeling like crap. Justin took over my bills and his until we got married and moved in together. We moved from Beaverton to Grants Pass 6 wks. after the wedding because Justin got a better paying job at the mill. We stayed in a motorhome at Justin's aunt & uncles property for a couple months. We moved a month before Jordan was born.

While in Salem for my baby shower, we stayed at my in-laws house in their 5th wheel. I was 35 weeks, 5 days when I went into their house to do my daily "ritual" of puking. I laid back down in the 5th wheel. I felt like I was peeing myself so I stood up and water bag gushed out as I flew off the bed towards the toilet. Justin thought I was falling and didn't believe me when I told him my water broke. As I continued to leak I went inside the house and called my friend immediately. She was a head labor & delivery nurse at the silverton hospital and she told me to head to the silverton hospital, not the Salem. My O.B. in Grants Pass said not to drive home and head to the hospital asap since I was also 5wks. early.

Justin grabbed a banana and some toast to eat once we arrived at Silverton Birth Center, but the nurse told me I couldn't eat it. (An absolutely stupid thing and the only reason is to protect their butt if you end up needing a c-section and you may throw-up under anesthesia. The c-section rate is 33% in the U.S. currently in 2009). I was freaking out because I was worried about Jordan at 5 wks. early, not having anything w/us since it I wasn't planning on having a baby so early, and being in a hospital and OB I knew nothing about.

PROM (pre-rupture of membranes) was at 9am and I wasn't in labor for around 18 hrs. I was lucky it was through the night or I'm sure the OB would have issued pitocin for me. Everyone came to the hospital while we were walking for hrs. trying to get labor started. I was so hungry and tired and worried but Jordan seemed to be doing just fine. I leaned on Justin when the contractions were ruff. It was around 4 am when I started having to breathe thru the contractions. As Bradley had taught us the progress and how to relax, I just swayed my hips, closed my eyes, and wanted it quiet so I could concentrate. Family and friends took turns walking w/me. Sometimes Justin would have to tell others to be quiet so I could focus.

I used the birthing ball and wanted music, darkness, and quiet but wasn't really getting that. My back continued to hurt excruciatingly and learned that Jordan was posterior (his head was hitting my spinal nerves every time during a contraction). We did learn about pressure and positions to help with this but I didn't think about it at the time and the nurses didn't suggest anything. Next was the jet tub, which helped my back tremendously. Justin stayed in the bathroom w/me to help me relax. Justin's aunt, so graciously, brought up the carseat and other items from breaking in our house and just arrived. Justin came back asking me if she could be in the room during delivery and she really wanted to see a natural birth since she had never seen one. I was in serious pain so I said, "Justin, I can't deal w/this right now." He said okay and allowed her to be in the corner when time came. I was very upset about it later. THen the nurse came in and I was telling her how I couldn't feel my face, I was tingling all over, and I couldn't really talk. My face and mouth were dropping and going numb as I was saying this. The nurse suggested I get out so I did immediately. It was quite scary, but I felt so much better and cooled off once I got into the bed. I still have no idea why this happened and everyone's best guess is that I was the water was too hot.

It was from this moment that labor really picked up. My mom was putting pressure on my back while Justin was looking into my eyes encouraging me to moan deeper. I was moaning and he was doing it w/me to keep me focused on relaxation, not on the pain. Justin and my mom switched so he could go cry to his mother. He was so upset about not being able to take the pain away.

The nurse checked me and I was dilated to 4 cm, still 100% effaced, and baby was at 0 station. "They" say once you get to 4 cm, it takes about 1 cm per hr. until you get to 10cm so I thought I was going to die. My back hurt worse than the contractions 10 fold. (Later I realized my back hurt 10x worse than the pushing and labor of all my 3 children). I continued to moan w/Justin's help and started to tremble and cry. I thought if I had another 6+ hrs. of this and it would get worse that I couldn't do it. Justin's aunt suggested an epidural. Previously, I was so adamant about not having interventions, especially an epidural, that I was crying and Justin was trying to encourage me since he knew I really didn't want one. (This was the main reason I was later upset about the aunt in the room because you need people to support your decisions/wants during such a trying time). I told Justin, "You just don't understand, I can't do this for another 6+ hrs. My back hurts so bad." I gave in and the anesthesiologist was on his way. The nurse checked me and I was 9 1/2 cm. dilated. At that moment I was so happy. I said, "Yes, Praise the Lord." I knew it was almost over and I wouldn't need the epidural now. Again, the pain of my next two children was nothing like this back pain.

I dilated from 4 to 10 in 10-20 minutes (I think). A couple of minutes later I felt like I needed to push so badly but they wouldn't let me since I had a "lip" of cervix still to dilate. The pressure was incredible so the nurse pushed my cervix "lip" to the side so I could push thru. Nothing was happening and she didn't want my cervix to get swollen so I was told to use all the pushing energy into squeezing Justin's hand. I did, but it still didn't take the pressure away. (Since then, I would not recommend doing this from what I've learned).

Finally, the "lip" was gone and I was able to push. The on-call doctor arrived and I pulled my legs back, held my breath, and pushed through each contraction. It felt so good to push. It was almost like the contractions and back pain went away. At some point, I remember the OB saying I would need an episiotomy (later I found out he was an OB that liked to do routine episiotomies and I wouldn't have needed one). Justin was great at encouraging me and was at my head the whole time and kept checking on the baby coming out. I pushed for 50 minutes until Jordan was born. Since I had a local anesthetic for the episiotomy, I didn't feel the ring of fire. I only knew his head was out because of the heat around my legs and the people said his head was out. Justin was crying and I was tearing up. Jordan was placed on my chest immediately and I kept saying, "Oh my baby, oh my baby" while kissing his head. He was crying, but needed a little help breathing so they took him and put him in a heater bed. Jordan was born 1/16/06 at 5:51pm weighing
6 lb. 6 1/2 oz. and was 18 3/4 inches.

Everyone was surrounding Jordan and I was so tired and completely oblivious. It was like a daze (lack of energy from no food and low blood sugar). They told me Jordan was fine now, but had an amniotic band around his big left toe. His toe was the size of 1/2 my thumb and was black/purple. Everything became a blur at that point. Doctors and surgeons and family and friends all surrounding Jordan and at some point I held him again. Not eating or having anything to raise my blood sugar for 48 hrs. really depleted my body and mind. Justin was amazed by Jordan and continued to cry at times. It was amazing the amount of love one person can have in an instant. We chose to let the plastic surgeon try to clip the amniotic band to see if we could save his toe. It didn't work and they had to send Jordan to OHSU NICU by ambulance. He would have to have his toe amputated immediately because they weren't sure how dead it was, where the toe could be infected and be life threatening.

Jordan got a chance to breastfeed and eventually latched on properly. He then had to be taken so Justin went with him in the ambulance. I stayed the night to sleep and left in the morning. It was a completely different world having Jordan in the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit). The locked doors allowed only authorized people to come thru by video surveillance. Once entered, you sing your name by the baby you are visiting, and wash your hands up to your arms by scrubbing. THere were many rooms, which had 2-10 babies in each room. Jordan was fortunate to only have 4-5 other babies in his room. He was also the healthiest baby. My precious baby was hooked up to multiple wires and machines. He had wires connected by his chest, nose, and foot. He was beginning to hold his body temperature so they were going to remove that one soon, but there was an oxygen machine and heart rate machine stating his levels. Justin was already a pro at how all the machines worked. I was determined to breastfeed and it was not going well at all since they had given him some water in a bottle, besides the lack of "suck, swallow, breathe" concept from being early. He would choke and not know when to breathe, but we kept at it.

By this time I was in severe pain from the episiotomy and constantly needed pain medicine. I couldn't sit or stand without hurting, for days.

Jordan's amputation only lasted around 1 hr. but we were waiting so impatiently with family. It felt like forever. Jordan's surgery went well and doc. said he would be able to compensate and walk just fine. I was pumping to save my milk and didnt' realize I had the wrong nipple size until a few days later. My breasts were in excruciating pain and I was pumping 8-10 oz. of milk every 3 hrs. once my milk came in. It was decided Jordan would drink my milk from a bottle because he would fall asleep right away from it taking more energy to nurse. He was on so much pain medication from the surgery that he just wanted to sleep.

The first night the nurse suggested I skip one feeding and she would feed him so I could get some sleep. Justin agreed because I was in so much pain and an emotional mess. Crying all the time. When I went in for an early feeding the morning, the nurse said she just got Jordan to stop crying and fall asleep. The nurse didn't realize he needed more pain medication and I began to weep. My poor baby was crying all night form the pain and I wasn't there to help him or comfort him. It was my job to protect him. He knew nothing but the sound of my heart beat for 8 months and then was exposed to so much struggle. I just wanted him to be okay and go home. Throughout the next few days it was a struggle to get Jordan to eat. We learned every trick to get him to eat and burp so it wouldn't come up. We were begging him to drink 1 more milliliter but all he did was sleep.

At one point the doc/nurses said we shouldn't hold him anymore so he could sleep and just hold him while feeding. Small babies get disturbed sleep when being touched and don't get enough deep rest. This broke my heart and if I would have known what I know now, I would have demanded to hold him skin to skin with little movement and peace.

Premature babies get jaundiced easily and Jordan was very yellow. He had to be under the bilirubin lights for 3 days because it was so bad. Slowly he progressed once he ate more. It was always one more day. We stayed in the hospital since we were so far from home and I wanted to be w/Jordan as much has possible. This was such an emotional roller coaster waiting day after day for your baby to make small improvements. I cried from the pain in my bottom, the pain from engorgement, the pain from multiple blisters on my nipples, pain from wanting my helpless baby to just eat 1 more milliliter.

As Jordan got better, I was able to nurse him using a nipple shield for awhile. It was a pain, but I was so ecstatic he was even taking to the breast. I was able to provide his life source. He slowly gained weight, kept his heat in, liver was working properly, and was already breathing fine. It's a big event any time a baby leaves the NICU so we were congratulated everywhere as we left the enormous hospital. We were finally able to go home on day 6. A long 5 hr. drive, but we were on our way to our future with our brand new, healthy baby. God is good and my prayers go out to anyone dealing w/the same struggles or are in the NICU. Life is so previous. I learned a lot of how to stand up to Dr.s and nurses for what I think is best for my baby and my body. Maybe it's knowledge, maybe it's mothers intuition, or maybe it's the way God has designed us perfectly.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Movement of Music

Music is not just something to listen to while you drive on your commute or occasionally act like a fool in your shower singing as loud as you can, but music can be a true act of self release. For some people, music moves the soul and can act as a huge part in releasing your inhibitions during labor.

Labor is called labor for a reason... it's hard work! However, when a woman listens or sings during labor it allows the mother to focus on what she is doing and relax the tension. Music is especially relaxing for those that have a passion for the art, whether that may be voice, instrument, dance, or the emotion through worship. When I listen to the touching art, I feel it not just hear it. Through the tones, beat, waves, clarity, and range of notes I feel warmth and I can't help but move. I close my eyes and then I feel goosebumps and the hairs on my neck stand up during an amazing chord. If I feel this through just listening, then imagine what a woman can connect to during delivering her child.

On a scientific note, babies move down the birth canal better during low tones, movement, and the mother relaxed all of which can contribute to music. Here are a couple of videos that demonstrate the art of music through labor. Feel to let go. Feel free to comment. :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

And So It Begins

I am a firm believer in having a career you are passionate about. You spend most of your time working, so it must be something you enjoy and forces you to grow in unimaginable ways. We all had the dreams of becoming a professional singer, teacher, astronaut, or doctor and then life caught up. My dreams were of healing in a compassionate way, but I couldn't figure out how until late in high school. I was going to become a Massage Therapist. Kind of "out there" but I didn't care. I wanted to be unique and I was already intrigued by how the body works. After attending school for awhile, I was forced to quit due to extreme illness from my first pregnancy. I had always planned on attending school again. I was not going to be a quitter. However, God had other plans.

Attending a natural birth course during my first and second pregnancies, called The Bradley Birthing Method, changed my life. I was absolutely amazed at how the body and baby work together to produce such a miracle through birth. After each of my 3 children, I craved more knowledge about natural birth and was attending a few births here and there as a friend or Doula. I knew God was calling me to help woman during pregnancy and labor but couldn't quite figure out how. At first, I knew I didn't want to become a Midwife because I did NOT want the responsibility. Even though I'm calm in emergency situations, I didn't want the power of life and death in my hands. Then I realized, I DON'T have the power. God IS the power.

God sealed the deal while attending my last delivery, a homebirth. I believe in the ultimate way a woman's body can guide itself through the nature intended course. Even through all the pain, Birth is amazing, beautiful, serene, peaceful, abundant, nourishing, and spiritual.

You are welcome to follow me through this journey of becoming a Midwife. I will post information and studies I find intriguing, births I find amazing, any tid-bits God has presented me with, and later my personal birth stories. And so it begins....