Posts Tagged ‘delivery’

Birth Story Part 2

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, My Pregnancy

Before reading Part II, please read Birth Story Part I

(…) We called the nurse to do a cervical check.

I’m 3.5 cm 50% effaced!

No progress! Twelve hours of intense frequent contractions did absolutely nothing!

My first thought was “Thats it! I want an epidural!”  I was too tired and sleepy to fight any longer. And as if by command, before we were even able to discuss it or tell the nurse, my contractions started spacing out. They were coming 4-5 min apart. It was like my body’s way of telling me to relax.
In retrospect, I can see that I wasn’t able to effectively relax during contractions (even though I thought I was). Instead my body had to work really hard against my tension (hence no progress and super strong frequent contractions) which is exactly what I was trying to avoid by doing hypnobabies but obviously it didn’t work for me.
I think if my body was given a chance to rest, the contractions would have picked up again but I was so exhausted and sleepy at that moment, I didn’t feel I had the energy to wait and see even through spaced out contractions, so we requested an epidural. Cynthia administered the IV drip, and after they made us watch this silly 70s video, my anesthesiologist came in and took care of the rest. The procedure was painless and I felt relief almost instantly. Aaaaaahhhhh! It’s easy to become an epidural convert when the relief is so immediate.

Later, when I was going through the photos taken during labor, I found this photo immediately followed by the one below it.


{It’s like a commercial for medicated birth}

The first thing I tried doing was SLEEP! Oh the glorious gods of slumber! It was great! I didn’t really get to sleep for a long period of time but just resting for an hour made all the difference.

Soon the nurse shift changed and a new nurse, named Jackie came in. She was actually  a hypnobabies trainer. She was a goofy woman and luckily now that I had an epidural, I didn’t mind joking around.

She talked to me about getting some Pitocin to get the labor going since an epidural slowed it down a bit more as well. I suggested we wait an hour or so and then see. Realistically, with enough time my labor would have picked up on its own but none of us wanted to sit around and wait till that happened. We wanted Lexi and we wanted her now. {Funny how impatience can get the best of us}

We figured if in a few hours it doesn’t pick up, we’ll be ok with a low dose of Pitocin. I wouldn’t have wanted to have Pitocin to start the labor, because it would sabotage my chances of  laboring without pain relief but since I was already hooked on an epidural, it didn’t really matter much, as long as it was administered wisely.

My OB came in to talk to me in about an hour and I repeated what I had told the nurse. That “generally” we don’t mind starting a pit drip, but we’d like to wait an hour to see what my body does on its own.

I have to mention that at the hospital my nice sweet OB was more bossy and strict. It wasn’t a bad change, per se, but I did feel like i had less say in the matter than before. So after an hour of lack luster contractions we went ahead with the first low dose of Pitocin.


Contractions picked up quickly and were coming regularly. The goal was to up the dose every 20 min until they come every 2-3 min apart again. As far as I remember we upped the dose 3 times.
Pitocin was first administered at 10am and I was fully dilated by 2pm. The whole time I just hung out on my phone, not feeling a thing waiting for the drugs to do their job.

Around 2 pm- 2:15 pm we were ready to push. Her head was right there. After every push it would come out and then get sucked back in. We like to say that the first thing that was born was a curl of dark hair! Before we saw Alexis, we saw her curl for a few contractions.

It was really frustrating to push while numb. I felt helpless and ineffective. BUT it WAS painless. I clearly remember thinking (and still do) that while the pushing with an epidural was frustrating, I was not sure I wanted to experience it without, seeing all the stretching my OB was doing there- Yikes! Speaking of stretching, I won’t go into gory details, but it appeared that my OB was in a hurry and wanted to speed up things a bit ( he had to make a call to his office saying he’d be there in 30 minutes) and used his hands “freely”. My husband believes it was one of the reasons why I got 1 tear ( 1st degree). In the end, we decided that we didn’t mind, because him stretching me out meant less pressure on Lexi’s head and since I didn’t have a painful recovery, it was all for the best.

After about 30 minutes of pushing her head came out and it looked sooooo little! Before she was even pulled out completely, she started crying. She was so alert the whole time. She was immediately placed on my chest where they sucked liquid from her nose and mouth and Andrew started drying her off. I didn’t want to post more graffic photos on here, but there are 2 photos in particular that don’t show anything per se, but are pretty cool since it was the exact moment of Alexis being put on my chest with the cord still attached. The photos are blurry and bad quality but they mean the world to me. You can see them here:  Photo  Photo 2

Then he wrapped her in one of our Bambino Land organic blankets and put a hat on her. I just remember her looking soooo scared and helpless. And there was so much love for her in that instant. Like I said before we didn’t feel overwhelming love, we felt this calm deep feeling of knowing we’ve always loved her- like a “duh” feeling. She was soooo sweet and adorable and scared and she needed us to keep her warm and safe and comfortable. She just lay there on my chest frantically sucking her fist. It almost makes me cry just thinking about how scared she must have been.

 

{Organic Hat and Recieving Blanket is by Bambino Land}

The rest was a bit of a blur. I breastfed her- she latched onto my boobs like a Hoover vacuum and killed my nipples that first time.

After some bonding time when everyone left us alone, the baby nurse came in to weigh her and do routine procedures.

We were so wrapped up in this little girl we had been waiting for for so long that we didn’t even bother to ask her measurements.

After a while I got put into a wheelchair and with my baby in my arms wheeled up to the recovery floor.


It was almost unreal to have this tiny being in my hands- the one who spent 9 months inside me, submerged in water, upside down, with food and oxygen delivered to her, perfect temperature, no outside influence. It’s her little feet that stretched across my abdomen, her butt that stuck out whenever we touched it.

I spent the whole post partum time at the hospital wearing a designer hospital gown by dearjohnnies. I didn’t feel comfortable putting my own clothes on, because anything loose would feel too bulky under the covers and let’s admit it, pictures wouldn’t have turned out half as good if I wore the hospital provided one. Once again, just like Pretty Pushers gown, you can read about dearjohnnies and win a gown for yourself here.

Those first days before my milk came in on day 2 Alexis ate every 2 hours and slept sporadically (mostly stayed awake and alert) and pooped 1 and 2 diapers a day (which was exactly what I read and everyone tried to tell me was wrong). The next day Andrew drove home to pick up my mom, who stayed with us at the hospital for the day. She even held Alexis in her arms for a few hours just so that we could both get some sleep.

We both didn’t sleep at night because Alexis wouldn’t, so we weren’t even up to having visitors at the hospital – we were so exhausted from days of no sleep that started before delivery. To add insult to injury, medical personnel for some reason thought it was a good idea to keep coming in at night, turning lights full on and cheerfully and loudly announce that it’s time for them to take Alexis temperature right as we FINALLY put her to sleep.

One night this doctor comes in (after we had spent hours shushing and rocking her and finally got her to sleep) and insists on turning the brightest lights in the room and waking up Alexis because she needs a full body exam since “it’s been 24 hours”. It made no sense to me….  After he wakes her up and undresses her, he looks at the name tag and non-challantly announces that he’s got the wrong person. Lol I was ready to kill him right there and then.

{Swaddle in both pictures is by Bambino Land, purple onesie is by Best Baby Organics}

Originally, we were hoping not to introduce a pacifier until breastfeeding is established, but this girl LOVED and NEEDED to suck, so we gave in. It’s funny now because she spits every single one of them out.

Whenever they needed to take her somewhere to test her hearing or anything else, Andrew went with them. We never let her out of our sight and never let her be without at least one of us.

On day two We got cleared by both OB and ped to go home. By then I felt relatively good and had almost no bleeding. My body was still sore and it was a bit hard to get up but in the excitement of going home that got completely overlooked. I took a shower, brushed my hair, put some make up on and got into my going home dress, put my favorite cupcake footie on Alexis and felt like a new person, a new family, going home.

We only took a few shots on the way home and I would have really liked to have had Alexis out of the car seat, but they wouldn’t let us out that way. I still looked about 6 months pregnant going home (Thank you Boob Design dress for not making it obvious!), but by 2nd week I was back to “visibly” semi-flat stomach.

I loved driving home in the backseat with Lexi holding my thumb, only 2 days old and so adorable.

All in all, I consider my labor experience to be great, despite not doing it med-free and ending up with Pitocin. I got to labor for 10 hours without medication, I experienced the relief of an epidural without any side effects that sometimes follow it, I would totally do it again and pretty much with the same plan of action: try to get through it without pain relief, but in the end get an epidural if it’s too much to handle.

My next post will be Reflections on Birth Experience, where I’ll try to write my feelings and thoughts about the process, Hypnobabies, my hospital bag, the epidural and so on.

Pretty Pushers Giveaway

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, PREGNANCY FASHION, Pregnant With Style, PRODUCTS

As you might have read in the first part of my Birth Story, I was given an opportunity to try out a Pretty Pushers gown.

While many might not think what you wear while laboring matters, I think the right clothes help a person relax better and feel more “themselves”. For some people that might mean wearing your own clothes, for others- a hospital gown, then there are those who like to go naked and those who feel that childbirth is a special enough event to wear a special gown. And of course, let’s not forget hospital protocols, many of which don’t allow for personal clothes and need a gown that has proper access to medical devices such as an epidural and monitoring.

Pretty Pushers is a company that makes those special labor gowns. The gowns are only $24-28 and are meant to be thrown out after labor, which is very convenient since you don’t have to worry about getting it dirty. They come in a variety of colors and themes, my two favorites of which are “I dream of sushi” (because I truly couldn’t wait to have sushi) and “I dream of coffee”, since it’s my favorite lavender color.

I spent my whole labor in a Pretty Pushers gown and the nurses had no problems with attaching me to monitors or checking me and everyone commented on what a cute gown I wore and how they’d never seen anything like that. My 2nd shift nurse said “Well, you sure do look fabulous!” :) Yes, thank you, definitely something I WANT TO HEAR on my labor day! :)

Evolution of My Attitude Towards Childbirth

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy

My attitude towards labor and delivery has changed DRASTICALLY from the time before I got pregnant, then pregnant, then VERY pregnant, to NOW.

Before I was pregnant, birth was a hypothetical painful dreadful experience that we all have to deal with one day. It’s not something I wanted to think about at the time.

Once I got pregnant, that attitude changed to “yes it’s going to be horrible, but whatever it takes to bring my little baby into this world”.

After I watched some less-than-PG13 youtube videos of birth, I was horrified and was CONVINCED that the only way to do this was to “hook myself up to an epidural and try not to look down”. Once the fear passed and I got used to the idea of birth and the imagery of it, I was dreading it less, however I strongly felt that there was no reason for me to try natural birth, since we have things like epidurals that will keep you comfortable with minimal risk. I don’t know my pain threshold and I didn’t want to exactly test it ( I still don’t) and with everything that I read about an epidural, while I’d love to avoid it, I  just didn’t feel like the side effects justified going through so much pain.

There are some things that I can be strong about and blow people’s mind with my willpower, and there are others that I just don’t think I can do (running is a great example). We all do what we know we are capable of and I did not think I was capable of going through the pain of childbirth without an epidural. I also knew I definitely didn’t want any pain relievers aside from an epidural, so I figured I’d deal with the pain until I could get an epidural and hopefully I’d get it around 5 cm, so  it wouldn’t stall my labor.

I continued reading books about birth and relaxation techniques. I read the Bradley book along with the Bradley Partner book and found the information invaluable but not enough to change my mind about the epidural. It did help me understand the process better and that it’s natural and the mechanics of contractions and not to fear them as much but to relax during them. It really really helped me understand what really happens when the uterus contracts. I felt like that knowledge would take me to my 5 cm until I could get an epidural. I also loved reading about the emotional signposts of labor rather than going by dilation to judge the progress. It just made sense. {I’d be very curious to hear from any of you who knew about the emotional signposts going into labor , whether you recognized them  and whether it helped you know where you were at}

However, nothing in Bradley method made me think that I would want a natural birth, nothing promised it’d be roses and champagne and the best experience of my life, so I still wanted an epidural, BUT now I was willing to have a wait-and-see attitude. I wanted to see if I could do it naturally with the tools the Bradley book provided me and if not, I was perfectly ok with an epidural.

A few weeks later, I was reading one of the million pregnancy books I read weekly and they mentioned hypnobirth. I had been seeing the name “hypnobirth” and “hypnobabies” as ads on random birth related websites, but I always steered clear of them because 1.) I thought “hypnobirthing” had something to do with laboring under hypnosis and 2.) “Hypnobabies” just sounded strange… Babies under hypnosis? I didn’t even realize it was a labor technique. What do babies have to do with it?  I didn’t even want to look into it- I thought it was weird.

That was until one of my books mentioned hypnobirth saying that it’s a relaxation method for unmedicated birth and that some people swear they have painless “pleasant” experiences. I was intrigued. I instantly jumped on my iPhone and looked up some information. There was a lot of “sales pitches” online, so i was still skeptical even after I read about how it works. That was until I decided to look for videos on youtube, in case someone filmed a hypnobirth. Of course, someone did and I just kept watching hypnobirth video after hypnobirth video and I couldn’t believe that these women were completely relaxed, not screaming, not writhing in agony ( which is what we see everywhere else), not blaming their husbands for knocking them up (lol). One woman was so relaxed that her midwife completely missed the baby slipping out of her with 1 single sound “Agh”!

So the days of watching hypnobirth videos and researching began….

If I can have a natural birth without the agony that everyone else promises, and all you have to do is put some work and preparations into it (hello? It’s my specialty),then I am all for it!

To make a long story short, I settled on Hypnobabies program. If you know what hypnosis birth is all about, then skip the next part, but I wanted to write a bit about the concept of these programs for future mamas.

Basically, the concept is the following ( whether it’s hypnobirth or hypnobabies or any other hypnosis program):

It is a self-hypnosis technique, where you get yourself into a state of relaxation and “hypnosis” while staying completely lucid and awake. You feel the same, you feel normal, just really really relaxed. It is achieved via a lot of training and practicing. According to these programs ( and many birth stories I read), childbirth doesn’t have to be painful. It is often made painful by the fear-tension-pain cycle ( which makes sense based on the stuff I read in Bradley books on how the uterus contracts). We have been conditioned to think that childbirth is super painful and it is what we expect and thus it is what we get. When a contraction comes in, we dread it, tense up (which is a completely natural reaction), make uterus muscles work harder, pull harder, creating more pain than we need to. If you fully relax your body, you will feel pressure, discomfort but not pain. However, this full relaxation doesn’t just come easy. It requires weeks and weeks of practicing, concentration and most importantly weeks of changing your attitude towards what childbirth SHOULD BE like.  Not expecting pain, but expecting tugging pressure sensations.

I did find it very true that just the simple expectation of pain (fear) makes you so tense and it’s such a normal reaction you don’t notice it. It first rang true with me when we started doing perineal massage (more on that later). Fighting the fear is really really hard. I’m sure anyone who has gone through “painful” contractions will tell you how you start DREADING the next one.

All this made sense to me. I was still a bit skeptical, but I was convinced that if I had any chance at unmedicated childbirth, this is it and I might as well give it a try. Oh and there are people that undergo surgeries with hypnosis techniques without anesthesia (those that can’t have anesthesia), so if that’s not an argument to give this a try, then I don’t know what is.

Next came picking the program… from what I understood Hypnobirth was the original hypnosis based birthing program with a book and a CD and Hypnobabies is a refined hypnosis childbirth class that takes you step by step to learning how to relax using self-hypnosis (you can buy the whole home study package here). It is much more expensive, but very convenient in how structured it is. I went with Hypnobabies because I didn’t have time to mess around ( I think I was 26 weeks or so).

So I’ve been working this program for almost 10 weeks now and my attitude towards childbirth is very different now. I am looking forward to it, I am more or less confident in my ability to handle it, I am DEFINITELY NOT afraid of childbirth anymore. The realist in me keeps wanting to continue being skeptical about the efficiency of this program, however I am set on following the program, and doing what it says, believing what it says and not second guessing myself  or over-analysing everything (which is hard). One of the big parts of the programs is staying away from negative imagery and stories about childbirth (because they perpetuate that fear-tension-pain cycle) and truly believing that it’s going to be a wonderful experience. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

Obviously, I haven’t gone through birth yet to tell you whether this program is effective or not, whether it worked for me or not, but I feel that training and preparing is the least I can do to hope for a more pleasant experience.

This is getting to be way too long of a post, so I’ll stop right here and will have to continue in another post about the training that I’ve been doing, what it entails and other non-hypnosis preparations for childbirth, our birth plan (wants and “do-not-wants”) and our baby hospital plan.

 

Resources mentioned in this post:

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition

Husband-Coached Childbirth (Fifth Edition): The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth

Hypnobabies Home Study Course for Expectant Mothers Plus 2 Bonus Cds

HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing (3rd Edition)

 

Preparations IV: OBGYN and Hospital

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Pre-CONCEPTION

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Part I- Preparations

Part II- Health Insurance ( maternity coverage)

Part III -  Vaccination and Testing

Up until 2 months ago I still didn’t have my OB situation figured out. I needed to find a really good OB who I would do my pre-conception check up with and go all the way through delivery. I didn’t really like the idea of having to interview different OBGYNs and possibly having to pay for each office visit.

Lucky for me, my friend Anna was getting ready to give birth and she found, what turned out to be, one of the best doctors I could have hoped for, Dr Thompson. Both her and two of her other friends gave birth using Dr Thompson and all three were in “love” with him. Later, my husband was given a OB referral from a client of ours and when he came home to give me his number , it’s turned out to be the same doctor. So at this point I had 4 people telling me he’s awesome. I had to check him out.

The office visit went surprisingly well. He listened a lot, gave good advice, spent a ton of time discussing our needs and wants with us. Looked through my prenatals that i had already been taking, told me my uterus looked fine ( lol) and in general was a really really nice guy.

See, normally I go for younger male OBGYNs.  Male because I feel a lot more comfortable being naked around a man than a woman, and especially when it comes to touching and looking up my hoo-ha. It just seems to me that  it’s more natural. I’d rather a doctor enjoy doing what he’s doing than think it’s gross ( which, as a female,  is what I’d think if i had to look up other girls’ vaginas all day long). And young because I feel young doctors are more updated on cutting edge medicine, statistics and education, which is what I’d like. I’d pick change and progress  over tradition any day.

Dr T. was my first older OBGYN ( in his 50s-60s) and I don’t think I minded it.

I asked him about his C-section stats and how he felt about episiotomies. I also knew a lot from my friends who delivered with him, like the fact that he’d come to deliver your baby even if he’s not on duty which is a HUGE bonus ( my friend went into labor at 3 am and he came to deliver it even though it was not his shift).

Next, I checked out the hospital that’s conveniently located across from his office. The Birth Place seemed really nice with a lot of security, the rooms were big and exactly what you’d expect. I was satisfied.

I also discussed water births with my doctor and he didn’t think it was such a good idea ( even though the hospital offers it), because of the risk of infection ( which i tend to agree). I definitely want to give birth in a hospital. The idea of a midwife freaks me out, because I am very much a scientific person who’s all for advancing our knowledge and procedures. I would not want to do a at-home birth – too much can go wrong. However, I also do not want any unnecessary intervention, like inductions and vacuums and such. No pitocin for me even if I’m past due or progressing slowly ( unless the baby is in real danger). I realize I might think differently once the time comes, but for now those are my decisions. I do want an epidural- I do not see the reason to endure the pain if you don’t have to, considering that the risks are minimal.

So that’s my plan for now. I’m very happy with how and where it’s all going. I’ll continue reading  books and real life experiences on blogs and modifying my ideas and desires accordingly. I also cannot wait to watch the “Business of being born” documentary. I started watching it a few weeks ago, but decided that it would serve me better if i watch it when I am actually pregnant.

At this point, I’m through all of my 5 pre-conception books and have memorized everything that i need to do and stay away from before conception. When our health insurance goes through and we actually start trying I’ll start on my 5-7 pregnancy books ( ok, to be completely honest- i already started on two- i couldn’t hold back :))

Otherwise, things have calmed down for me, especially with the new realization that we’re both perfectly healthy and should be very fertile and that sort of just gave me a really nice peace of mind ( i almost typed “piece of mind” lol).

My Hubby seems to be very excited about a prospect of having a baby soon as well. We spent the  first few hours of our Saturday morning reading the first 20 pages of day by day pregnancy ( 2 weeks before conception + 1 week after), discussing genetics, googling dominant and recessive features ( it seems our baby has a 50/50 of inheriting either his blue eyes or my green eyes).

{ It was fascinating to read about eye genes. Apparently there are 2 genes only: Bey2 (brown/blue) and Gey(green/blue). I knew that blue was recessive and brown -dominant, but I always wondered where green and grey colors stood.  It turns out grey is simply a variation of blue color that is lacking melanin. And green color has it’s own gene that it shares with blue, just like brown shares with a different blue gene. So in Bey2, brown is dominant over blue, in Gey- green is dominant over blue, and Gey green is also dominant over Bey2 blue (did I lose you yet?). So my green eyed self has to have Gey gene ( he-he she says “gey gene”!) and my blue eyed husband has to have  blue/blue gene ( either gey or bey2). So if i pass my green along, it’ll override my Hubby’s blue, thus giving our baby green eyes, however if I do have the blue/green gene ( which I’m pretty sure I do, because my dad is green eyed and my mom is blue eyed), then I might pass my blue part of the gene down and our baby will have blue eyes. Honestly, i don’t care- i think green is exotic and beautiful and blue is traditionally beautiful, so either way it’ll be beautiful! So there! }

Please tell me someone got something useful out of that boring paragraph about eye color gene :)

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