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birthing with guinever on facebook February 20, 2010

Posted by guinever in : babies, birth, birth stories, birth story, doula, epidural, health, homebirth, homeschooling, kentucky, labor, midwifery, pregnancy , comments closed

birthing with guinever on Facebook

Birthing with Guinever is now on facebook. I’ll be posting the latest pregnancy related research, the best pregnancy blog posts from around the web and products that every pregnant woman should know about, breastfeeding info.

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what does the cervix look like? October 7, 2008

Posted by guinever in : doula, health, midwifery, pregnancy , comments closed



Ever wonder what your cervix looks like? Or the changes it goes through during your monthly cycle? Wonder no more. My beautiful cervix has a color photo of the cervix for every day during a  33 day cycle.

You’ll see the obvious changes that cervical fluid goes through from the dry, tacky, non-fertile discharge to the clear, slippery fertile fluid. Note the positional and color changes of the os.  See the cervix during the follicular, ovulation and luteal phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle.

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I don’t know how I could have given birth without a doula March 31, 2008

Posted by guinever in : birth, birth stories, birth story, doula, health, labor, midwifery, pregnancy , comments closed

mollyThanks to Molly for sharing her birth stories with us:

When my first son was born, I was living in post-communist Eastern Europe. Think America in the 1940s and you’ll imagine the situation in the hospital correctly. I had already suffered a miscarriage while living there, which was devastating. I tried to prepare myself for natural childbirth by reading a book about the Bradley method, but I was young and didn’t really know anyone who had done natural childbirth. In the hospital the nurses told me they were going to give me a shot which would make everything better, and I wouldn’t have any side effects from it at all. I didn’t realize that they were giving me a narcotic until it was too late. I had the strangest out of body experiences and felt convinced that I was dying and no one knew it except a big dog that was beside my bed the whole time. Of course, no one saw the dog except me, LOL!

After the birth, my baby was taken away from me and I didn’t see him again for about 12 hours. He had Strep B so they made him stay in the nursery and I could only see him when I wanted to nurse. My confidence as a mother was pretty low. I had already lost one baby, then I didn’t have the victorious birth I was hoping for with the 2nd, I couldn’t nurse very well and his health problems prevented us from bonding the way I had been told we should. As a new mother, far from family and home, I felt very isolated and insecure.

hiring a doula for her second birth

It was almost four years before I would birth baby #2. I felt that my poor birth experiences had robbed me of much of the confidence I should feel as a mother. I was 100% committed to having a natural birth this time, and I felt sure that it would be very empowering. I was back in the USA, and I decided to use a doula. She encouraged me to write a birth plan and submit it to the hospital when I came in for the birth. Part of my birth plan stated in large, clear type that I did not want any medication and that no one was to offer me medication at any time. I didn’t want to be tempted.

using a midwife

I also decided to use a midwife instead of a doctor. I was a little worried that having the doula there would take something away from the experience I hoped to have with my husband. Nothing was further from the truth. The doula enabled me to have a much better experience with my husband. During my first birth I felt like I barely saw my husband…he was too busy rubbing my back and applying counter-pressure for me to see much of his face.

With the doula, she rubbed my back and did a lot of the physical things I needed (getting ice, heat packs, etc) and my husband was free to totally focus on meeting my emotional needs. He was always right there where I could see him and talk to him, and I was able to hold his hand and feel his reassuring presence. My doula handled the nursing staff for me as well, which allowed me to turn my focus more inward and just relax and think about the task at hand.

As it turns out, I don’t know how I could have done it without the doula.

I was in the transition phase for over 2 hours….I think transition isn’t supposed to last more than about 30 minutes! It’s the time when you are sweating and cold at the same time, and the contractions are so intense. All you want to do is push but it’s not time yet. My doula enabled me to take each contraction one at a time.

thanking the Lord for a natural birth

I feel confident the staff would have pushed me toward C-section if she hadn’t been there, because it was almost unbearable and it just took so long. But between the doula and my husband, I had plenty of support and was able to make it through. The doula also suggested that my husband sit behind me on the table and I leaned against him. During the contractions I dug my fingers into the knees of his jeans. When it was time push, he leaned forward and I leaned forward with him and bore down. When the contraction was over I could lean back against him for a moment to catch my breath.

It felt so safe and secure to be so close to him.

When I finally was able to push my baby out, I felt so great! I was so thrilled that I had accomplished my goal of having a natural labor and birth. I immediately felt much more confident as a mother…as a person. I can honestly say that the Lord used this birth experience to redeem much of the loss and frustration of my previous one. I felt very exhilarated and empowered by the whole thing. It was like being on top of the world. I was fully alert and could immediately nurse my baby and bond with him.

an epidural after the birth for repair

All my sons have been big, and baby #2 was no exception. I had a rectal tear when he was born which necessitated a trip to the surgeon when he was a few weeks old. They gave me an epidural and I got to find out all about what I had missed out on. It made my legs all trembly, and they had to catheterize me, as well. When the catheter came out it was painful, and I couldn’t make myself pee. It was so uncomfortable to have the urge and not be able to go. This further strengthened my resolve to NEVER have an epidural during birth.

You can read more of Molly’s birth stories

You can submit your birth story too; please click here for guidelines.

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a hypnobabies birth February 1, 2008

Posted by guinever in : birth, birth stories, birth story, doula, health, midwifery, pregnancy , comments closed

sheridanA big thank-you to Sheridan for sharing her birth story here. Sheridan is a Hypnobabies instructor and a fellow member of Independent Childbirth. Here are some excerpts:

The Hypnobabies Birth Guide CD was amazing. It seemed to be saying exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. Either during or right before Dr. K broke my water, in the CD it said when your water releases you will feel a rush of anesthesia. It was perfect timing and it worked! After my water was broken the pressure waves were no longer painful.

…Luckily the lip was gone after those 2 pressure waves. I was so glad and started pushing. The nurse said, “Stop, we need the Dr. here and we need to break the bed down.”

I was like,

Whatever people, I am pushing, I don’t care if a Dr. is here or not.

I didn’t say this, but thought it. IT was ok to push, so I was pushing. I was a yeller grunter kind of pusher. It was so powerful. I really didn’t choose to do anything, it just happened. I would try to remember to breathe the baby out, but my body wouldn’t have that. But between pressure waves I would sometimes be breathing the baby down. To read the rest of the story, go to Sheridan’s website.

You can submit your birth story too; please click here for guidelines.

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Katherine’s birth story: cervadil induction, natural birth January 21, 2008

Posted by guinever in : birth, birth stories, birth story, health, labor, midwifery , comments closed

Thanks to Katherine for submitting her birth story. In her words, she was committed to an un-medicated, un-managed, natural birth, but was also birthing at a big university teaching hospital, albeit with a team of very cool midwives. She and her husband took a Bradley® class, followed the Brewer diet, did yoga once a week, and walked 2-5 miles per day.

41 weeks along in my pregnancy

On Thursday, my 1-week postdates checkup, I had borderline low amniotic fluid levels (which increase the chance for a “cord accident” and are an indirect marker of potential placental insufficiency, which can both be serious complications) with 1 cm dilation and 50% effacement, so the midwives wanted to induce me the next day. As I suspected, they “don’t do inductions on the weekend,” but I didn’t want my son to be born based on the hospital’s scheduling practices. I got them to agree to give me an extra day to research and think and see if labor would start on its own.

inaAfter reading in Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth that low amniotic fluid was a reason that Ina and the other midwives who work with her would transfer to the hospital, I decided it might be serious, and I’d better see what I could do to get labor started. I got acupuncture twice, did nipple stimulation, sucked my thumb to stimulate an acupressure point on the roof of my mouth that helps get contractions going and helps them be stronger once they do start, visualized and told my cervix to efface and dilate because the baby needed to come out.

an induction with cervidil

By Friday night when I went in for what I was hoping was just a check, I was still 1 cm, but 75% effaced and having small contractions every 10-15 minutes. I was thinking I’d be told, “Yes, you’re in early labor. Go home.” No such luck. The midwife and nurse weren’t convinced I was in early labor and told me that I needed to start a cervical ripener in preparation for a pitocin induction the next morning. The midwife inserted cervidil at about 8:30 p.m. I was still pressing the acupressure point in my mouth and chanting in my head for my cervix to efface and dilate. By 10:30 p.m., the nurse had decided that maybe it was real labor after all. I remember the nurse kept asking me to rate the pain of contractions on a pain scale, and I went from, “Oh, maybe a 1.5″ to “That was…mmmm, a 3.” to “Um, 4?” The nurse said at one point, “Are you sure that was only a 4?” and I told her that I was trying to save the bigger numbers for later. My husband said I never went higher than a 5, although some of the contractions were pretty painful. For the most part,

I would say that labor wasn’t so much painful as it was all-consuming. It’s like being in the ocean and being carried up and down in huge waves. If you give in, accept it, and ride out each contraction, it’s not so bad. But if you tried to avoid it, I am sure it would be more painful.

I did a lot of ‘vocalizing’, i.e. moaning like a zombie or mooing like a cow, and that helped dissipate the intensity of the contraction and kept me breathing. Or, I would be quiet, but trace the outline of a cabinet door with my eyes or stare at a speck on the floor as a distraction from the contraction. My husband talked me through a lot of contractions too, putting up with me saying, “No touch!” or “No talk!” for some of them. He called our doula to come be with us sometime in the dead of night, but I don’t really remember when…

laboring in the tub, floating like Ophelia

The Cervidil fell out (it’s on a little string like a tampon and is supposed to stay in for 12 hours) at about 2:30 a.m., and the midwife found that I was 6 cm dilated. My first question was, “Do you have to put it back in?” to which the midwife and nurse both started laughing, “No, you’re in labor and progressing well.” My next question was, “So, this means I can go in the tub now?” Thankfully, I was able to have the rest of my labor in the deep whirlpool tub they had in the bathroom, floating like Ophelia and dozing between contractions,then flipping onto my hands and knees for mooing and pelvic rocks when one was starting.

pushing

After some indeterminate time (being in labor is really an altered state of consciousness, and I had no idea about time except when I looked at the clock and marvelled that it was so late at night), my doula recognized that I was getting pushy and asked for the midwife to come in. I had noticed that the contractions felt different, like I was being wrung like a dishrag from the inside out, but I didn’t recognize it as transition. I thought some part of my BRAIN would say, “Wow, I really have the urge to push.” But in a homuncular version of a laboring woman, the head is about the size of a cherry tomato, and the abdomen is the size of a VW bus — there is nothing intellectual about birthing a baby.

The midwife listened to one contraction (think yodeler being strangled, and that’s the noise I was making) and told me to get out of the tub NOW (they are not certified to do water births at the hospital). She checked me and said I was fully dilated except a little lip of cervix that she pushed back.

I pushed in a number of different positions for about 2 1/2 hours, changing when it seemed right to squat or kneel or lunge, made more primal noises, but did the final pushing on my hands and knees, smelling coffee and marvelling that I could see daylight through the venetian blinds. My son came into the world easily and gently with some minimal guidance and lots of encouragement from the midwife, nurses, my husband, and my doula.

analyzing my birth

I feel really lucky that my labor was not too fast, and not too long either, and that I never felt the need for drugs. I am glad I had a midwife who literally sat on the couch drinking a cup of coffee until it was time to catch the baby. And she told me just what I needed to hear, “

You’re doing a great job working with your body. Remember that half of pushing is molding the baby’s head, so even if it doesn’t feel like anything is happening, you’re doing a tremendous amount of work with every contraction.”

I am also lucky that after pushing, I came away with a minor skin tear, but no terrible damage to my anatomy. I think pushing for 2 1/2 hours gave the tissues a lot of time to stretch, and the midwife was really good at telling me to push and hold, push and hold, so the baby came down really slowly.

I managed (somewhat awkwardly) to flip from my hands and knees to sitting up, passing my leg over the umbilical cord and having the baby handed to me, wet and warm, by the midwife. The first thing he did was poop all over me, but I didn’t even notice until later. I was just amazed that he was finally HERE, that he was so big (8 1/2 lbs, 21″ long), but so little, and that he’d just come out of my body, that I’D DONE IT! I’d had the un-medicated, unhurried, relaxed, un-traumatic birth that I had hoped and prepared for!

After the cord stopped pulsing, the midwife clamped it and asked my husband if he wanted to cut the cord. At first, he declined, afraid that he might hurt me or the baby, but the doula, nurse, and midwife all said, “C’mon, neither of them can feel it. Just do it,” so he did. Severing the umbilical cord strikes me as kind of a funny ritual, like the human equivalent of a ribbon cutting ceremony at a library or a new shopping mall. I think new fathers are encouraged to do it so they can feel like they really had their hands in the birth process in some active way. I kind of wished that they had waited longer, but I was in a bit of a daze and not really capable of speaking up at that point. I felt kind of loopy, almost like I was stoned.

After my placenta came out (I’m pretty sure the midwife asked if she could give it a little tug to help it along, and at that point, I figured she knew best what to do), the medical staff got down to business. I had a little 1st degree tear that the midwife stitched up while the nurse helped me try to get my nipples perky so the baby could latch on. The stimuli from the stitching and this motherly but energetic L&D nurse trying to help me was a bit much, but the babe latched on like a champ and the repairs were done soon enough.

Aside from the family practice doctor coming in to check the baby over and take his height and weight, some hard pushes from the L&D nurse on my uterus to make sure it was involuting (shrinking) and checks that I wasn’t bleeding profusely, they left me and my husband and our baby son in relative peace, free to stare at each other and be totally amazed that in just nine months, a being who didn’t exist had come into being inside my body and made his way into the world.

postscript

As it turned out, the amniotic sac didn’t burst until three contractions before my son came into the world, there was plenty of fluid, and the placenta was perfect. I could have waited for labor to start spontaneously… In the final reckoning, though, with all the negotiating between my desires and hospital “standards of care,” I am glad that I got to give my son what I consider the best birth we could possibly have had, given the setting and the small, but real, possibility that we could have ended up with a true complication.

Thank you, Katherine for submitting your birth story for other women to read.

You can submit your birth story too; please click here for guidelines.

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