Thursday, October 22, 2009

Andrew and William's Birth Story

Birth Story of Andrew and William

Their story began on September 20 when I was 33 weeks pregnant with the twins. At 2am I woke with contractions that were strong and intense and 10 minutes apart. Within 30 minutes, they were 5 minutes apart so we headed to the hospital. When we got there, they checked my dilation and I was 4 cm and 75% effaced. Since it was so early, they immediately started me on Terbutaline, antibiotics, and steroid shots. The Terbutaline didn’t have any real effect on the contractions, so they next started me on Magnesium Sulfate. At that point, delivery seemed imminent. The local hospital doesn’t have the facilities for babies prior to 35 weeks, so I was transferred by ambulance to a hospital about 60 miles away. I stayed on Magnesium Sulfate for 3 days and then they turned it off to see if the labor would restart. I had contractions the whole time but they weren’t “productive”. I stayed in the hospital 24 hours longer and when I didn’t dilate any further, I went home.

It took 2 weeks to recuperate from the Mag-Sulfate so my mom stayed with me and cooked for me. On October 14, labor started again. This time I was 36 weeks. After 4 hours of contractions that were 5 minutes apart, we headed back to the hospital. I dilated from 4 cm to 6 cm in the triage area within the first 20 minutes. The standard procedure for delivering twins is in the operating room (which I was okay with) so we headed straight there. After 30 minutes or so I felt the intensity of the contractions die way down. After spending 3 hours in the OR, I finally told the MW that I didn’t think the contraction were productive anymore. We headed to a regular room to rest and see if the contractions picked up again. The next morning, they were completely gone. We spent that day in the hospital, walking the halls and seeing if we could get things going again. No luck.

At this point the OB was very reluctant to see me go home since I was so dilated. We agreed to stay one more night and check again for dilation in the morning. I was so tired from little sleep, walking all day and the stress from being in the hospital again. My confidence in my body was severely shaken with the starts and stops. The OB on call that night came in to talk to us about doing an amnio to check if the babies’ lungs were developed enough to induce labor. I was so frazzled that I almost agreed. My DH was much steadier of mind and reminded me that the babies should choose their own birthday. There was no sign of distress in the babies and I was fine – why induce at 36 weeks?

So the next morning, our favorite midwife (she also attended the birth of our daughter) checked me and since there was no change, discharged us. We spent the next week getting stuff ready around the house. We are also house-hunting since we are currently in a 2-bedroom condo with soon-to-be 4 kids so we looked through some houses.

On the afternoon of October 21, while looking through the house that we ultimately decided to buy, labor started again. We monitored the contractions for a while, but then had the bloody show and very intense contractions. So we headed in to the hospital – again. This time I was at 8 cm at check-in (no triage this time). In about an hour I was at 9 cm and we headed to the OR again. All this time I had been using my hypnosis tools very effectively. One thing was very different from my DD’s birth. This time, the OBs really pushed the epidural. The anesthesiologist came in to talk to me and try to convince me that epidurals are completely safe and that I should get one “just in case”. I refused, stating that I was consenting to deliver in the OR “just in case”. He was sure to let me know that he would be right there in the OR if I changed my mind.

It’s odd, but the operating room is icy-cold! DH and our MW (the same one again), made sure I had warm blankets and tried to warm me up. Slowly I noticed that the contractions were getting less intense and spacing further out. After an hour or so I didn’t need to focus to get through the contractions. I asked the MW to start some pitocin at a low level, just get things moving again. Every 30 minutes or so, they turned up the pitocin. I would get a couple of good contractions each time it got turned up, then they would taper all the way down again. I was getting discouraged – I thought pitocin was a sure thing; it never occurred to me that it would not give me hard, intense contractions!I will never forget sitting on the operating table at midnight in a freezing cold operating room, singing great 70’s and 80’s rock songs with the MW and nurses, dilated to 9 cm, maxed out on pitocin, and feeling nothing. We were playing “name that song/artist” and chatting about life in general.

Finally, at around 12:30, I asked the MW to break Andrew’s bag of water. Thing got really intense after that. The contractions were definitely uncomfortable at that point, but I went back to using my hypnosis tools and stayed very much in control. I felt every sensation as Andrew made his way out. There was pressure outward on my hips as Andrew pushed past William. Once Andrew was out, William began to settle into place, staying head down. William was still floating in his bag of water, and the bag didn’t break until I was pushing him out. It almost felt like he got “washed” out when the water released!

Andrew arrived at 1:00 am, October 22 and William followed at 1:28 am. It was a wild ride from the water breaking to William’s arrival. The intense cold of the room made it very difficult to relax the way I wanted. I birthed them both laying on my left side, but the nurse had to pry my right leg up to allow the boys to come out because I had my legs clamped together. There were only two things that I remember hurting – moving that leg and having the heart monitor touching my belly. Otherwise, it was a very satisfying experience.

I felt like I was on a high for a while after the birth, even though our babies ended up in the NICU before I could hold them. They both had 1 minute apgars of 8, but then had breathing problems at 4 minutes. They were both in my room with me within 12 hours, doing great! Both immediately nursed, having nice big mouths and perfect latches. Both the MW and the nurses thanked me several times after the birth. Apparently it is so rare that twins are birthed naturally and even more so that the MW gets to catch both.

I’m pretty convinced that I would have had a c-section if I had gotten the epidural. With that and the pitocin, I would have had failure to progress and the boys heart rates may have suffered. I am so thankful to my supportive DH and HypnoBabies. None of it would have been possible without them. One year later, I am tired but still feeling so powerful – amazing!

Andrew Michael – 6lbs 11oz, 19 inches long

William Donald – 6lbs 6 oz, 19 inches long

McKenna's Birth Story

I woke up on April 14, 2007 at 2:45am Saturday with the first contraction. I was using hypnobabies for the birth, so I listened to the appropriate CD track. That allowed me to get some deep rest for an hour. I vaguely kept track of how many contractions and realized that I was averaging less than five minutes between. I got this feeling that it was time to go, so I woke DH, we showered, got some last minute things together, woke DS (8yo - who was going with us) and headed out. We got to the hospital birth center at 4:45am. I was 7cm dilated (I was 4cm at my Wednesday appointment), so they admitted us.

We were settled into the room (a huge suite with a nice daybed for family to sleep on) by about 5:30am. Contractions were around 3 minutes or so apart at this point and I could feel myself dialating. I had been walking around, but started feeling out of control. I could feel that I would be losing focus and panicking soon, so I put on my hypnobabies track again and lay down in the bed on my left side. This felt SO much better!I told my DH that I was starting to feel "pushy" and then I started shivering alot, so I knew I was in transition.

The midwife on duty was wonderful, very hands-off, just do what you feel you need to do. As the need to push came on, my DH asked her if I needed to move into another position. She said - no, if I was confortable in that position, then I could stay that way until the baby came out. I was definately more comfortable, so I started pushing - breathing her out, really. Up to this point my water was still intact. They asked if I wanted it broken, and initially I said yes. DH reminded me that I had said I did not want them to break it and I realized things were moving plenty fast without any help. So they did not break my water.After just a few pushes, my water broke on its own. DH said he could hear it pop, I just felt it pop. I could feel her move down as I breathed her out. In between, I could feel her move back up a few times, and remember thinking "that's not the right way to go, baby!"

I don't remember how long I pushed, but she came out at 6:54am. I opened my eyes as they passed her through my legs to lay skin-to-skin on my chest. They started to clamp her cord, but I asked them to wait until it had stopped pulsing. So we just lay there comfortably for a while waiting for it to stop. Once it did, DH cut the cord. She never once left the room. when they gave her a bath and did the eye drops, they had DS come over and help. He was in the room the whole time, just over on the daybed watching a movie on his DVD player.

Everything about the experience made me feel comfortable and supported, and they truly were family friendly. We are home now, resting comfortably. She is a great nurser (although my nipple are a bit sore). Here are the basic stats:
McKenna Elise
7lbs 12oz
20 inches long
4 hours of labor - natural and unmedicated (not even an IV)

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Most women who get preeclampsia develop a mild version near their due date and they and their babies do fine with proper care. But when preeclampsia is severe, it can affect many organs and cause serious or even life-threatening problems. That's why you'll need to deliver early if your condition is severe or getting worse.

A blood pressure of 210/160 is severe (that was me!).

Preeclampsia causes your blood vessels to constrict, resulting in high blood pressure and a decrease in blood flow that can affect many organs in your body, such as your liver, kidneys, and brain. When less blood flows to your uterus, it can mean problems for your baby, such as poor growth, decreased amniotic fluid, and placental abruption — when the placenta separates from the uterine wall before delivery.

Changes in your blood vessels caused by preeclampsia may cause your capillaries to "leak" fluid into your tissues, which results in swelling (known as edema). In rare cases, preeclampsia can lead to seizures, a condition called eclampsia. In fact, "pre-eclampsia" was so named because it was first identified as the condition that leads to these seizures. All women with severe preeclampsia are given magnesium sulfate, an anti-seizure medication.

Despite extensive research, no one knows for sure what causes the condition. It's likely that there's no single explanation. Genetics, certain underlying diseases, the way your immune system reacts to pregnancy, and other factors may play a role. Most experts believe that many cases of preeclampsia actually begin early in pregnancy, well before any symptoms become evident.

Well there it is, no known cause, no known prevention, and the "cure" is to give birth. But this is why I agreed with RescueMike to have this baby in a hospital. He will take my blood pressure regularly, especially toward the end of the pregnancy and we will keep regular prenatal visits with the midwife. She will test for protein in my urine and generally keep and eye on things. I will watch for swelling, especially in my face, and rapid weight gain near the end. Other than that, I will stay as healthy as possible and hope it doesn't appear this time.

So I plan to have two birth plans, one for no pre-e and one for pre-e. I will be more flexible with my expectations and I will have a better understanding of what will need to happen if I do end up with it again.

And I now understand how bad my condition was, what the risks were, and how lucky I was not to end up with a c-section. Acceptance feels good.

After the birth...

First the stats, Cub arrived on a Monday afternoon, 3:14 pm, at 5 lbs 12oz and 19 inches long after 6-7 hours of labor. He was two weeks early.

Well, after Cub was born, they took him away for a long time. I think it was about 24 hours, which to me seem endless. I had wanted to nurse him immediately and never have him leave my sight. They told me he had a few "hiccups" in his breathing and wanted to keep him under observation. What they didn't tell me is that I also needed observation. More on that later.

I was lying on my bed in the hospital talking to my mom when my hubby popped his head around the corner and asked "Are you up for a visitor?". I snarled back "Only if they bring me my baby!". And that's exactly who he wheeled around the corner in his little bassinet. The first thing I did besides stare at his little face, was to pull him to my breast and he immediately latched on. Apparently, in the NICU, they tried to give him some sort of artificial nipple and Cub was having NOTHING to do with it. But he loved the real thing!

I still had these linger feelings of resentment about the birth. I felt so disconnected, so distant from the process. I had wanted to feel the power of childbirth, to work hard and hurt and FEEL everything. And all I remembered, even a day later, was snippets and images of contractions.

I didn't dwell on these feelings after Cub was back in my arms. After all, I was leaving the hospital healthy, with a healthy little boy. And even today, I have a healthy, handsome, loving son who is smart and emotionally stable.

And we have simply enjoyed him for the past eight years. I looked back occasionally with some sadness, but it didn't last long.

And now eight years later, I am pregnant again. The first thing I did is check out the maternity clothes available now and then the nursing clothes (much nicer this time). Then I started thinking about the upcoming birth, and all the old feelings came back. I did NOT want to repeat that again. I blamed the hospital and all the drugs for the problems I had. So I started looking into home birth. The statistics are that for low-risk pregnancies, a midwife attended home birth is as safe, or safer, than a hospital birth. So why not?

RescueMike was not in favor of this at all! Keep in mind that he was lucid for Cub's birth and understood how close he came to losing me and Cub. At his reaction, I remembered about the pre-eclampsia. I had heard them say that's what I had, but after the birth I didn't go back and research it at all.

This time I did. Next...Pre-eclampsia - what is it?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cullen's Birth Story

My SIL asked me "What kind of birth do you want?"

Now this is not as simple as "The kind with a baby at the end of it."

But I think this may have to be a multi-part post, starting with Cub's birth story:

There are a lot of things I don't remember about my pregnancy, but I do still remember the feelings and emotions around the last couple of weeks. There were a couple of scares with pre-term labor that were chalked up to dehydration. It was July/August in southern New Mexico and very hot! I just couldn't seems to drink enough fluids, and I didn't understand the importance of ALWAYS being hydrated.

I look back at the pictures of my baby shower, on a nice Friday night, and can't believe how bloated I look. I remember going shopping with my mom sometime around then too and coming home with huge, swollen ankles. Then I woke up on Sunday morning at 38 weeks, with contractions. They were not consistent yet and not all that bad. We went to church that morning and the contractions got closer and steadier. We went home after church and waited to see how they would do. I don't remember the contractions being very powerful - in fact I cut RescueMike's hair a few minutes before we headed to the hospital. I could walk and function through them all, but they were consistently 5 minutes apart for quite some time. So we headed to the hospital.

I was SHOCKED to find out that I had gained 60 pounds at that point! I knew I had gotten heavier than I should, but not that much. They ask about the contractions and from the look on the gal's face I figured they would be sending me home.

Then they took my blood pressure. I had hovered around 100/60 through the whole pregnancy but this time it was somewhere around 160/110. It was all a blur for a while. I remember RescueMike asking if a certain room was available - one of only two Labor, Delivery, and Recovery rooms in the hospital. It was and so we had the room we wanted.

We got settled in and they told me I would not be allowed to leave the bed except to go to the bathroom. I was disappointed because I had hoped to labor walking around and give birth in a squatting-type position. Instead, they stopped my labor (now I know it wasn't real labor, just a symptom of the high blood pressure) and gave me a sleeping pill to help me sleep. I was so out of it, I barely remember her coming back in at about 6am to give me something to soften the cervix. Then later they gave me pitocen to start the labor. At some point I was also started on Magnesium Sulfate to help prevent seizures. I remember they had to increased to dose of pitocen at some point because the labor was not really going yet.

The contractions really got going at some point late in the morning. RescueMike, my mom, my little sister, and one of my friends were all there. I kinda viewed the birth as a spectator sport! (Still do) I don't remember much of the real labor - I was really out of it, feeling very disconnected. I was asleep between all the contractions and was only conscious for the pain. Toward the end, I was forgetting to breath. I don't mean forgetting how to do the "deep cleansing breathes", but between contractions I would forget to breath. At all! I remember hearing RescueMike tell me to breath, begging me to breath. It felt like I was in thick syrup, I could understand him but I was unable to get my body to obey. They started giving me oxygen since I was having so much trouble.

At some point I told whoever was standing next to me that I was having a lot of trouble not pushing. I think they had just checked me and I had not been fully dilated. My mom left for a little while (to get film?) because they said it would still be an hour or so. NOT! When I said I needed to push, I meant I needed to push now!

I guess my mom got back right as Cub was born, because we have pictures from immediately after but not during the birth. They took him to the NICU shortly after that and kept him until the next evening. That was an unbearably long time.

Next: The confusion and bitterness.