Thursday, April 20, 2017

Living Water

As I drove to teach my Music Birth class on Tuesday evening,  I wondered if I would even be able to get through the material or if I would be called in to a birth.  My client's water broke around 5:00 in the morning, and contractions had become more consistent as the day went on.  I spoke with her husband at 5:30 pm, and he said they were doing pretty well, so I decided to hold class.

I set the goal of finishing class 30 minutes early, and thankfully I did because my clients arrived at the birth center at 8:00 pm.  I quickly touched base with them, finished up class, then ran upstairs to support them.  Things were already intense as contractions were coming every 4 minutes, but mom was coping wonderfully.  She was being supported by her husband, mother, twin sister and younger sister.  Her music was going and she was enjoying the relief the tub offered.

After a couple hours in the tub, mom came out to try some new positions.  She read through my affirmation cards and chose a few she wanted to focus on as the night progressed.  She chose one of my favorites: "I CAN do this, I AM doing this."  Such a great reminder to laboring moms.  They ARE doing it!

Some nerves kicked in around 10:30 pm, which is very normal.  She remained calm and optimistic though.  She went to her "happy place" by listening to some Disney music, while she and I discussed how much we love Disney and want to take our kids there!  :) 

Throughout the entire labor, this mom was quietly supported by her family.  She was also incredibly instinctual, listened to her body and moved in ways that naturally help labor progress and baby descend.  Her calmness really allowed her to utilize her maternal/animal instincts.

Her husband was an amazing support and made sure she was always fed, hydrated and comfortable.  He never left her side and he never checked out.  He also never freaked out, which is impressive and really helpful!  (Especially as things dragged on.  Husbands usually get nervous!)  As they were holding hands I noticed his tattoo which says "Yours only".  It was so appropriate for the moment.  All night I could feel and witness the incredible love he had for his wife and baby, and it was moving.  

Contractions kept coming for hours and I kept thinking she would be pushing any minute now.  But the urge to push just wasn't kicking in and labor seemed to plateau.  At 2;30 am, my client decided to have the midwife check her and see where she was.  She was 8 cm and baby was at 0 station.  We still had some progress to make, so we tried everything.  Walking the stairs, squatting, hands and knees, every position we could think of really!  But nothing could get us out of our plateau.  Mom wanted to try the nitrous, but there was a mom across the hall using it already.  She was pushing, so we were anxious to hear that baby cry, because that meant we could have the nitrous, lol! 

At 5:00 am, mom asked her husband to pray for her.  I then noticed her tattoo with the scripture from John about living water.  I loved the parallel since this woman was also, herself, literal living water for her child.  She listened to some Christian music that helped her find the strength and faith she needed.  The nitrous arrived which also helped give mom some extra relaxation. (If you're looking for some great Christian music to add to your birth playlist, I highly recommend Lauren Daigle.  I'm a total fan now and love getting new music ideas from my clients!  Here's my favorite song I heard yesterday, titled "Dry Bones")

Mom was checked again around 6:15 am.  She was 9 cm with just an anterior lip.  The midwife was able to push the rest of the cervix away, and we all hoped this meant delivery would be soon.  The urge to push still wasn't strong, so we did the rotation of walking, stairs, squatting etc. all over again.  But at 7:30 that darn cervical lip was back.  The birds starting chirping and sun came up, and new energy filled the room as we were all determined to do whatever it took to get baby here.

 Around 9:00 as mom was laboring on the toilet (doesn't sound glamorous, but can do wonders to help the body relax and the baby descend) the urge to push became much more strong.    Mom got back into the tub to continue pushing and dad followed!  Just look at the way he is looking at her.  Melt. My. Heart.

They gave it a good effort in the tub, and even tried a "tug-of-war" position to help strengthen her pushing.  But it just wasn't getting the baby lower. 

Out of the tub again and trying something else: rebozo shifting.  It helps baby get into position while also supporting the weight of the baby for mom, and hopefully easing the discomfort she is experiencing.  

At 11:50 the midwife came back in and it was go time.  Mom was giving it her all (after giving it her all for the entire night!).

Emotions were running high, and this sweet family had me tearing up before the baby was even born.  So much love for each other.

 Most moms don't plan on delivering on their back, but when nothing else works, this is the position that will. 

With the help of her husband holding one leg, and her twin sister holding the other, this mama dug as deep as she could and found the final strength she needed.

Welcome Freya!
Born Wednesday, April 19th at 1:30 pm
Weighing 7 pounds 7 ounces

What an amazing birth and amazing woman who showed incredible faith, strength, and endurance!

Friday, March 3, 2017

9 Pounds of Vernix

 I received a text from my latest client yesterday around 5:30 pm.  She was feeling lots of pressure and was having sporadic contractions.  Being a few days past her due date, I figured it was show time.  I checked in with her again shortly before bed, but things were still pretty mild.  I checked my phone all night, but didn't hear anything until 7:30 am when her husband checked in with me.  Mom was in a great active labor pattern, and we decided to meet at the birth center at 9:00 am.

I jumped out of bed, opened presents with my son because today is also his birthday, and headed downtown!  I walked in to find mom leaning on her husband during contractions and slowly swaying.  (A great way to cope through contractions!)  After that contraction, she crawled into bed for the midwife to examine her.  She was already 8 centimeters and 90% effaced!  I knew things were about to get really intense, so we worked to find a comfortable position, focus, and prepare for the coming contractions.

By 9:20 mom was in the tub.  It brought some welcome relief from the intense pressure.  I knew we weren't far away as mom struggled with emotions and a few fears.  She said she couldn't do it, and that always means she is about to!

At 9:55 mom began to grunt during her contractions, and just as I was about to find a midwife, she walked right in.  :) 

At 10:07 mom told us her water had broken.

At 10:21 mom said "It's coming!"

 At 10:24 dad watched closely as the head started to crown...

And at 10:25 her baby was born! 

It's a boy!  A big boy, covered in vernix. :)  We all marveled at the awesome amount of vernix.  

Welcome Romney!
Born Friday, March 3rd, 2017
10:25 am
9 pounds
20.5 inches

Meeting his son while mom got in bed.

After a few attempts, this big boy nestled in for his first meal and nursed great!  A very different experience than her first birth.  Both parents kept mentioning how much better it was this time around.  I love when a family can have an amazing birth like this!

Monday, February 6, 2017


 I received a call late Saturday evening from my client saying her water broke... in the middle of a fancy restaurant.  Every woman's fear, lol!  Turns out, you can live through the humiliation.  :)  Having the water break before labor begins can be stressful.  Sometimes contractions will start right away, but often, labor takes it's time to start.  And moms find themselves in this weird state of almost being in labor.  We kept in touch over the phone, and mom was contracting all night, but nothing regular.  Just enough to ruin her sleep unfortunately.  

Sunday brought fatigue and discouragement as contractions still hadn't settled into an active labor pattern.  After taking an ambien for an afternoon nap, my client and her midwife decided to try some cytotec around 7:30 pm to get things going.  It worked quickly and I joined them at 8:30 pm.  I arrived to find mom listening to her labor music and leaning over the bed while her husband rubbed her back with a heating pad.  They were doing awesome! 

Contractions were definitely intense and her labor pattern was awesome.  We worked on welcoming the new intensity and remaining focused on our breath.  And at 9:50 mom was already 8 centimeters!  Exciting news!  At 10:30 mom decided to try the tub for some extra pain relief, and by 11:00 she was already starting to feel some pressure and grunt through her contractions. 

We tried lots of positions to encourage baby to descend.  

It's common for first time moms to have to work hard to get their first baby through the pelvis, and this woman was no exception.  She was a trooper, and tried every suggestion from myself and the midwife.  Progress was happening, but it was happening slowly.

 Shortly before midnight mom decided to try some nitrous to help her relax.  She asked for her pushing song and found her inner strength.  It was amazing to see how this song helped her find her power!  We kept the song on repeat until her baby was born, and I think I found my new favorite pushing song!  (Sia, Unstoppable.) She tried the birth stool, squatting, hands and knees, you name it.  

Most women don't go into their births hoping to deliver on their backs, but when no other position works, flat-on-your-back usually does. 

And at 2:25 am, Raven Dawn was finally born!

Raven Dawn
Born Monday, February 6th, 2017
2:25 am
8 pounds 3 ounces

This mama truly was unstoppable!  Her strength was amazing to witness.

By 3:40, Raven was nursing like a champ.  I snuck away as my clients enjoyed their new baby and as "Sweet Child of Mine" played in the background.   

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Поздравляем с прибавлением!

If you're confused about the title of this blog, it's because you don't speak Russian.  :)  But my latest client does, and listening to her speak Russian to her new baby this afternoon totally melted my heart! It all started last night around 9 pm when her induction began with some cytotec.  Hitting her 40 week mark and having some concerns with her blood, she jointly decided with her obstetrician to be induced.

I went to bed early just in case she needed support during the night.  Her husband called me around 3:45 to check in and let me know they were about to start pitocin.  Mom was somewhere between 1 and 2 centimeters.  After an hour of pitocin, they were ready for support.  I arrived at 5:30 am and found mom laboring on her hands and knees.  She was very relaxed, the room was dark, and everything was going well.

I wasn't there long before the intensity started to really pick up.  Mom was checked again at 6:45 am and was already 6 cm!  Amazing progress for a first time mom having an induction!  Along with the intensity came some vomiting (because labor isn't hard enough!).  Her back was hurting so I got out the ice roller.  (Just a plastic rolling pin filled with ice water.  It feels amazing when mom's back hurts.)

Mom started having some bloody show around 8:30.  A normal sign of progress, but since mom had some worries about bleeding, the pitocin was turned off for a short period of time.  Her contractions slowed down a bit and she was able to rest a little more in between.  But then she was frustrated to only progress to 7 cm.  But once the pitocin was turned back on, the labor picked up again.  Shortly after 9:00 am, mom asked for the nitrous.  She labored well for several hours, changing positions and stretching her back.  Her labor pattern was indicative of baby being posterior, so we did our best to encourage rotation.  She continued to throw up, but was so amazing and focused in spite of it all.

Mom was checked at noon and was 8 cm.  Not what she wanted to hear, but we could all tell she was almost there.  By 12:20 she was starting to feel pressure, and by 12:35 she was 9 1/2 cm with a low baby.  The doctor arrived at 12:45 and pushing began shortly there after. 

After some difficulties with shoulder dystocia, this little girl slipped into the world at 1:22 pm.

Welcome Anna Bella
Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

The cord was too short to get baby very high up on her mom, but skin to skin and delayed cord clamping were both facilitated on mom's tummy instead of her chest.  (So awesome to see this in the hospital!)

Such a pretty baby girl!  Her skin was so beautiful and her apgars were nearly perfect at 8 and 9.  

First family picture!

Even dad got a few minutes to snuggle.  :)

This might be the smoothest induction I've ever attended.  An amazing birth and a wonderful family!