Lyric’s Birth Story

Here is the story of my second daughter’s birth.  I like to say that Haven made me a mother, which was about as earth shattering as you could get, but Lyric’s birth made me a doula and aspiring midwife.

Following a miscarriage in September of 07, my previous OB told me it was my fault because I was still breast-feeding.  I had already decided I wanted a water birth with the second and wanted to switch providers but this really sealed the deal.  I went looking for an affordable and more sympathetic (and less myth-based) approach.
Meeting the midwives at the Mountain Midwifery Birth Center I realized everything the midwifery model of care could offer.  They actually seemed like the LIKED their jobs and talking to moms about their pregnancy and whatever else was going on in their lives, unlike my OB.
My last pregnancy was good, but Lyric’s pregnancy was even better.  I felt fantastic, even right up until I went into labor.  Towards the end she was measuring a little small, so Cassie sent me for an ultrasound.  I was freaked out and the midwives were so great and supportive and listened to my fears (everything showed up fine).
I went into the office Wednesday, June 18 for my last prenatal appointment.  Tracy did my forty-week check and found me to be 2 cm and 70% effaced.  I was feeling totally overwhelmed and emotional and when I broke down and started bawling in the waiting room, Heather said, “I think you’ll have your baby really soon.”

Sure enough, that Wed I went into early labor, waking all throughout the night with contractions.  They got much more regular at 9 am, from 2-5 minutes apart for three hours.  At 12:30 we decided to head down to the Birthing Center since we live a bit far.  We dropped off our stuff and headed to a nearby park to walk around outside.  I think this turned out to be not the best idea since I couldn’t really get inside myself and settle into the Birth Center.
We returned at 4:30 where they checked me and found I was 2 cm, 70% effaced…exactly the same as yesterday!  I was so frustrated!  I didn’t mind a longer, slower, labor as long as it seemed to be doing something!  Cassie and Tracy were awesome at talking me through my frustration, Tracy saying her last birth took three days to get there!  Tiffany also helped me regain control by saying my baby might just need a little extra time to get used to the idea of being on the outside.  They almost sent me home to a bath and glass of wine, but I really didn’t want to spend an hour in the car (contractions in the car are awful!) and I wasn’t sure when to come back since contractions were pretty close together anyway.  They decided to give me two hours to see how I would progress.

I calmed myself down, refused to look at the clock, and went inside myself.  After two hours Cassie checked me and I was at 4 cm so they decided to let me stay!  I spent some time on the toilet where my water broke, a high tear that didn’t continually leak fluid.  Two of my good friends came, including my friend who was a doula and was amazing at helping me with my breathing and rubbing my back!  Contractions started getting really strong, along with bloody show and more of the mucous plug was lost.

I spent my time going through transition in the tub, which was great and made the contractions much more round.  I was always a little worried I wouldn’t have a break if I did it naturally since I had had an epidural with Haven and it really helped my long labor by giving me a rest.  Magically my body seemed to know this and contractions slowed down to 7-8 minutes after I had gone through transition.  I even started to fall asleep in the water between contractions!  My body was naturally preparing me to push.

I was checked and found to be sort of stuck at 9.5 cm with a little “lip” of cervix left.  After sixteen hours at the Birthing Center, I really wanted to be done, so Tracy said I could try and push past it if I wanted to.  I tried but it was hard, like pushing into a hammock where the baby kept bouncing back.  Cassie ended up helping break the bag of water around her head which felt AMAZING, like her head was suddenly half as big.  Then she helped hold the lip of cervix back while I pushed.
At first I couldn’t tell what was a productive push and what wasn’t and I was losing all my energy out my voice.  Tracy gave me a great pep talk to help me learn the right way, then I became much more productive.  Twenty minutes of pushing and she was out!  My daughter Haven watched as I brought her out of the water and then she and Kyle joined me in the birth tub.  As soon as she came out of the water Haven said, “It’s a baby sister!”  Even to this day she likes to tell the story.  She says “Uterus squeeeeze the baby out and the baby came out Mommy’s yoni in the water and nurse and get all dry dry.  That was hard work for Mommy, Mommy did a good job, good job Mommy!”  Haven was totally thrilled with her new baby sister and held her even before Daddy!  We got out of the bed and spent time cuddling as a family on the bed.
After a long time, Kyle and the nurses did all the weighing and checking while I took a luxurious, relaxing herbal bath.  It felt wonderful!  We stayed for a while, then packed up to go home…at 4 am!  It was nice to be in our own bed after such a long night.  The nurses and midwives needed a break too because with the full moon and Summer Solstice brought six new babies…IN 24 HOURS!
The recovery went really really well, much better than after Haven’s birth.  I think I was able to be aware of what my body was doing so much more without the epidural and not rush my body into a place it wasn’t ready to go.  As a result I had only one tiny tear that felt fine after a day or so.
Haven’s birth was good, but Lyric’s birth was phenomenal.  I never thought I could be so nurtured and supported in the process.  The midwives and nurses were all fabulous and Kyle and I both enjoyed the intimate atmosphere.  We loved having Haven there to watch the birth.  I can think of no greater responsibility than teaching our children (especially our daughters) that birth is a normal, natural part of life and nothing to be feared.  It was all I could have hoped for and more.

birth-145Lyric Hana Brynn
Lyric:  because she loves being sung to
Hana:  meaning “flower” in Korean, her placenta is buried under a flowering linden tree
Brynn:  meaning “little drop of water” for my little water birth baby

June 20, 2008
12:23 am
7 lb 3 oz
20 in

View Haven’s Birth

In the tub

In the tub

birth-010

She's born!

She's born!

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Proud Daddy

Proud Daddy

7 lb, 3 oz

7 lb, 3 oz

So happy

So happy

Our family with my good doula friend Rebekkah

Our family with my good doula friend Rebekkah

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Mountain Midwifery Doula Training

I’m so excited, I just attended the Mountain Midwifery Advanced Practice Doula Training!  The basic purpose for this is to have a core of doulas that Mountain Midwifery knows and trusts and can refer people to as well.  There’s also an opportunity to be on call in case someone needs to be transferred to the hospital and would prefer to have a doula go with them.  I think it’s great to create more continuity of care so to speak.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Tips on Writing a Birth Plan

Here are some things to consider when writing a birth plan:

Some people like birth plans, others feel it’s too restrictive.  If you’ve thought about what you want and talked with your provider and feel comfortable that everyone’s on the same page and you just want to go with the flow, please do!  If it feels better for you to have things organized on paper rather than in your brain, here are some tips to help you along!

  • Know your options – They say if you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.  Research different elements of labor, birth, and postpartum.  A great place to start is to read The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer and Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper
  • Keep it brief – No hospital staff is willing to read a 20-page manifesto!  Keep it simple and use bullets or numbers.
  • Prioritize – There are so many things you might want in your birth but choose the few that really mean a lot to you, ie, keeping the baby with you skin-to-skin after birth.  Don’t put things in your birth plan that you know aren’t allowed, for example if the hospital doesn’t allow waterbirth, it won’t mean much that it’s in your plan.
  • Use positive language – No one wants to deal with a belligerent person!  Instead of “We don’t want the baby taken away” say “We prefer the baby to be examined on mom’s chest and to stay skin-to-skin as long as possible”
  • Separate wishes into categories – By organizing the list into “Labor”, “Birth”, “Postpartum”, and “Newborn Care” staff can easily find what your wishes are.
  • Talk with your Partner – It’s important you’re on the same page
  • Show the plan to everyone involved – Make sure your midwife/OB/doula know what your wishes are and can respect them.  If they can’t respect a vital point, it may be time to find a new care provider.  Remember, it’s never too late to make a change that could mean a world of difference to your birth!
  • Find out about waivers – See if you need to sign waivers to decline something in hospital/birth center policy.  For example, you may need to sign a waiver if you don’t want eye drops for the baby because you don’t, say, have a venereal disease.
  • Have care providers sign the plan – Keep the plan in your chart and carry one with you in your bag if it makes you feel more at ease.
  • BE FLEXIBLE! – Everyone has an idea of their ideal birth but it’s important to be flexible if something unexpected happens.  The main point is that you feel respected and consulted at every twist and turn of labor and birth.

Choosing a Birth Attendant

Most people see pregnancy as a time to prepare for the baby.  I see early pregnancy as a time to figure out what you want before you even go to your first appointment.  A lot of women don’t even think about the actual birth until a few months or weeks before the baby is born!  It can be difficult to make a change that late in the game.  You should choose the provider who has the same philosophy as you instead of hoping to change them by the end of the pregnancy.

Tips for choosing a birth attendant

  • Think about your core birthing philosophy.  Do you feel that birth is a natural physiological process?  If so, a midwife is your best bet.  Do you have physical issues that dictate that there could be a potential problem?  Do you see birth as dangerous with lots of opportunities for things to go wrong?  Then an OB might be your preferred provider.
  • Visit The Birth Survey, a consumer reporting site dedicated to birth.  Go to rate your OB, midwife, and place of birth.  As of now the site is just up and running and they should have formulated the results by Fall of 08
  • Get recomendations from people who share your birthing point of view, visit online forums (like mothering.com) and ask questions.
  • Interview your potential care provider.  Remember, they are working for you, not the other way around.  Related posts:  Interviewing your OB, Interviewing your Midwife, and Interviewing your Place of Birth
  • Create a birth plan well before your second or third trimester.  Going to your provider interview with a birth plan or at least an idea of what you want can help you ask the right questions.  Just make sure to not be negative or badger the doctor!
  • How much one-on-one, hands-on support do you want during pregnancy? Midwives generally treat the whole woman:  mentally, physically, socially, psychologically, spiritually.  Prenatal appointments generally last about an hour and they are usually there for the majority of labor and birth.  OBs on the other hand are primarily surgical specialists who have a prenatal appointment time of about five minutes and generally just come in at the end to catch the baby.
  • How much involvement do you want in your pregnancy and birth? Many times in midwifery practices the mom gets to do her own urine dip and weigh herself at her appointments.  The midwife tries to explain things to her and tries to get her to interact during her visits.  An OB visit is more in-and-out with the nurses doing everything behind the scenes.
  • Where do you want to give birth? Some women just go to an OB because they think they’re supposed to and then realize late in pregnancy that they want a home birth!  Where you give birth automatically dictates who will be there.  For example in Colorado at this time, OBs work in the hospital, only Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) can work at a birth center, and Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) and CNMs can do home births.  Most CNMs (90-95%) work with doctors in the hospital.
  • Do you want to have a waterbirth? Some hospitals allow it, some do not.  If you have to give birth in a hospital and want to fight a policy that does not allow waterbirth, having a provider who supports it can go a long way.  Yes, it is possible to change hospital policy!  In Gentle Birth Choices Barbara Harper talks about how to do this.
  • Choose someone you’re comfortable with. If you’re not comfortable with your provider there is no way you can let your body open up and relax enough to have a baby.
  • If a provider or place (like home or birthing center) is out of your insurance network, talk to your insurance provider.  Also, often times a home birth or birthing center is cheaper even though you have to pay in full.  For example, in Colorado a typical, no-intervention birth in a hospital usually costs around $12,000-13,000.  In an insurance plan where you pay 10% of hospital and doctor’s costs you’re looking at a few thousand dollars.  A home birth or birth center birth usually costs around that if you’re paying in full.
  • Do you feel more comfortable with a male or female doctor?  Remember that just because a doctor is female doesn’t mean she believes in the same birthing philosophy as you do.

Forum – What was the best thing you brought/had at your birth?

I’d love input from you about the best thing you brought to your birth!  If it’s really fabulous I’ll even add it to my bag of doula tricks!

Anything that was relaxing, invigorating, tasty, or made the mood great, I’d love to know!

The best thing I had at both my births was my husband and my doula, they were everything I needed!  I also brought a nightgown to my hospital birth since I definitely didn’t want to wear the uncomfortable, ugly hospital gowns.

Let me know your thoughts!