Saturday, November 7, 2009

Patience for Payton

I am starting with the last picture because once you start reading this, you may not believe that the baby was ever born! I've just got to do this in a timeline so the readers truly appreciate how long this mom was in labor.

Thursday around 8:00 pm: Mom starts to notice contractions, but goes to bed that night.

Friday around 1:00 am: Mom wakes up with contractions that are keeping her from sleeping.

5:00 am: mom and dad go to the hospital and find that she is 3 cm dilated (big progress since her last OB appt.) Only problem is, once they arrive at the hospital, her contractions stop.

7:30 am: Since mom is scheduled for an induction in a few days, they decide to induce her since she is at the hospital, and her baby's heart-rate had a few decelerations. Pitocin is started. Mom spends the next several hours walking the halls and rocking in the rocking chair.

Noon: While walking the halls, many notice that mom is starting to get "the look". Meaning she gets the facial expression of many women in labor. For her it also became the look of a mom about to throw up. As if being in labor isn't enough, this mom had about 6 vomiting episodes.

1:30 pm: Mom is checked and has only progressed from 3 to 3 1/2. So the doctor breaks her water to hopefully get things moving quicker. Mom gets in the jacuzzi and labors amazingly! She was so relaxed and in control, she practically slept through her labor!

3:45 pm: Checked again and is a "stretchy 4".

4:45 pm: Still a 4! Things are starting to feel very discouraging. Mom is tired, starving, and has pretty much tried everything by this point. I also want to point out that pitocin contractions are longer, more painful, and less productive than contractions that aren't induced. And this mom had labor for 9 long hours that way. But by this time it was just too much, and an epidural was ordered to give mom some relief. By 5:00 she was feeling good, and her happy personality returned.

8:00 pm: Checked again and is now 5 cm. Progress, but still discouraging.

9:20 pm: Checked again and is still a 5. More throwing up.

9:45 pm: Doctor arrives to check and mom is a 6. Doctor is not pleased with the lack of progress and says "if you want to hold up a white flag I'll give you a cesarean". Hmm... Mom is feeling good with the epidural and baby is handling everything very well. Sure, it's been a long day, but is that really a reason to do a major abdominal surgery? NOOOOOO!!!! Thankfully, these parents were too smart to take that bait!

10:30 pm: Mom is checked again and is 9 cm! One more contraction and she is complete. Baby's heart-rate was starting to feel the effects of the long day, and it was decided that she should be delivered as quickly as possible. The doctor assisted with forceps.

10:49 pm: Payton Lily is finally born! PHEW!

Since there was meconium (baby's first poop) in the water, Payton had to be suctioned out as soon as she was born.

Weighing in at 6 pounds 8 ounces and 18 1/2 inches long.

Payton was such a champ! She went through a lot to get here, and proved that she is one tough little cookie. And upon further inspection we saw that she is gorgeous too. Big eyes and cute defined features already. She was grounded many times during the labor, but I'm guessing she'll bat her eyelashes and get out of it!

Several times during the labor mom would say, "I am not doing this again". Funny how quickly our moods can change once we are holding our little ones. From the smiles on their faces, you'd never guess what they had just been through!

Dad didn't feel like a natural, but he sure looked like one! Here he is holding his little girl for the first time. Totally worth the wait. Thanks for hanging in there so long, and for sharing!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Third time's a charm!

Take a good look at this face. This is the face of a woman about to doubt herself. It is a wall that almost every woman hits during an unmedicated delivery. The "I can't do it anymore and I don't want to do it anymore!" wall. And having just delivered her last child a short 21 months ago, the pain and hard work of labor was still fresh in this mom's memory. I also had the honor of being there 21 months ago, and it was a fast and furious birth. So when I got the call at 5:11 this morning, I got ready without a minute to spare.

And sure enough, after only a few hours of hard labor (spent walking the halls, swaying, vocalizing, and a little anxiety here and there) this petite mommy delivered not-so-petite Baby Anna at 10:00 am! It only took a few hard pushes. No pain meds, no interventions, and no stitches. This mom sure proved herself wrong, and did such an amazing job!

Here mom is holding her 3rd child for the first time. It was a very emotional moment... celebrating the end of labor and the beginning of life outside the womb. I saw a couple tears slide out of mom's eyes, and being a young mother myself, I couldn' t help but get a little teary too!

Weighing in at 8 pounds and 7 ounces, 20 inches long.

Compare these smiles to the first picture... Priceless! What a difference a couple hours and a wonderful birth can make! Thank you for sharing your birth, and for allowing me to be a part of it again! Let me know how the vasectomy goes. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sunny side up!

I arrived at my latest clients' home at 10 pm, Sept. 14th. She was contracting every several minutes, but her contractions weren't lasting much longer than 20 or 30 seconds. I could tell they were increasing in intensity, but was worried that they wouldn't be doing much dilation wise because of their short duration. But after just an hour, she felt it was time to head over to the hospital. Here dad is braiding her hair to help her get ready to leave. So sweet!

Despite the short contractions, she was dilated to a 5 and 90% effaced with a very low baby. Here her mother massaged her back while her husband offered verbal an physical support. This mom did such a great job staying focused, relaxed, and in control! She got in the jacuzzi for an hour, and was then dilated to an 8! Her back was hurting, and we were guessing that her baby was posterior, meaning he was facing the wrong way.

Posterior babies often cause much back discomfort because the hard part of their head is hitting mom's lower back, instead of her abdomen. They are also more difficult to push, as their alignment is not optimal for descent through the birth canal. This proved true for this mom who started pushing at 1:35, but didn't deliver until 3:09 am Sept. 15th. She was SUCH a strong pusher! I think her next baby will slide right out, no problem!

Sure enough, this little cutie was born "sunny side up", looking right up at the ceiling! Here mom is holding him for the first time, with soft lullabies in the background. A magical moment for any parent.

Dad was an awesome labor coach, and was especially great during transition. He helped mom find and maintain her focus, and never left her side.

This little man weighed in at 8 pounds 2 ounces, and was 21 inches long! He must have inherited alot of strength from his mom- who was able to deliver without pain meds and no interventions. He handled the labor perfectly, even the hour and a half his head was stuck in the birth canal! As of now, he has three possible names, so you'll have to get the information directly from his parents. :)

Thanks for including me in your birth, and sharing it with us! Congratulations!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Two Quotes

Last night I had the opportunity to do a postnatal appointment, and a prenatal appointment. I always look forward to visiting a family after I have supported them through their birth. It creates such a unique relationship, plus I get to see their tiny newborns! As my client and I were talking about her birth she said one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to/about me.

"At that moment" (during her labor) "I really felt like you were my best friend"
. I was so touched.

My next appointment was with a repeat client. Working with a repeat client is great. The relationship is already established, and you get to improve on what you did last time. As we were reviewing her previous birth she started recalling the moment that I arrived and turned on the music. She said something along the lines of...

"As soon as I heard the music I focused all of my attention on it, and I knew that it would get me through my contractions".

YAY! That is EXACTLY what it is supposed to do. Using the right music at the right time can really make all the difference. So can having a "best friend" to lean on. I'm only human, so of course the compliments I receive are great boosters for my self esteem. But the real pay off is knowing that I helped a family get off on the right foot.

Birth matters, and it does make a difference.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Successful VBAC, HURRAY!

As the mother of three young children, I have had many reasons to pull an all nighter. But my favorite reason to do so is serving a couple as their labor support doula. It all started around 2 pm, when my client gave me a heads up, saying she was having consistent contractions. I met her and her husband shortly before 7 pm at St. Als, and she was dilated 5 cm and 80% effaced. I thought, "wow, this is going to be a fast delivery".

One thing that made this birth different is mom had the goal of a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). VBAC moms are different in that they don't just fear the cesarean like most moms do, but they have experienced one; and know exactly why they don't want to endure one again. VBAC moms have a different determination, and a greater understanding of why delivering vaginally is so important.

We spent the next 7 hours doing all sorts of comfort measures, and mom was AMAZING. She was very instinctual and in tune with her body. She entrained easily with her labor music, moving and swaying to the rhythm it provided. She never tried to fight against the contractions (many moms will do so to try and avoid the pain), and stayed in control. She walked, squatted, used the birth ball, labored in the jacuzzi, threw up, used deep breathing and imagery... everything imagineable. But by 2 in the morning, she was only dilated to a 6. This news was very discouraging, as mom was getting extremely worn out.

After much deliberation, the difficult decision to use pitocin and pain meds was made. I typically do not feel that a decision like this is the best choice, but in this case, it absolutely was. For unknown reasons, labors (VERY seldomly) just don't progress enough on their own. This leaves mom and dad worn out and disappointed. I teach in my classes that all interventions have their place. But when they are overused, moms and babies pay the price (as there is always a risk involved). But when they are used in the correct setting, moms and babies benefit.

After mom was comfortable (about 4 am), we all (mom, dad, grandma and I) tried to get some rest. Then around 6, mom woke up feeling more pressure. She began pushing at 7:20.

Once baby was about half way out of the birth canal, mom was able to reach down and pull her child onto her. I LOVE when care providers have moms do this. It is not only empowering, but a magical moment that really should be given to parents whenever possible. Imagine the difference from having a cesarean birth with your first child, to reaching down and pulling your second child towards you! Brings me to tears.

Weighing in at 8 pounds 2 oz, and 21 inches long!
Born at 8:21 am, after 61 minutes of pushing.

This little girl handled the long labor like a champ, and was nursing within minutes of being born.
Isn't she just adorable?!

And what little girl doesn't have daddy wrapped around her little finger? This dad has been fighting a cold all week, and even had a fever last night. But no matter what, his wife came first, and he was an awesome support to her.

Congratulations on your new baby girl, and THANK YOU for sharing your birth! I was honored to be a part of it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Latest Lullaby

Writing the MUSIC BIRTH class lullaby is always a highlight for me, and for my students. While some students may feel a little intimidated at first, they always rise to the occasion and have a great experience. This Tuesday my current class wrote their lullaby, and it turned out beautifully.

Welcome, little baby, we're so glad you're here.
We've waited so long, we'll hold you so near.

You bless us with joy, we'll always love you.
We'll hold you so close, may your dreams come true.

So sweet! There are many benefits to writing your baby's lullaby.
1: It promotes prenatal bonding for both mom and dad
2: It gets dad involved in the pregnancy
3: It creates oxytocin (the love hormone), and trains your body to create higher levels of oxytocin when the lullaby is used postpartum.
4: It comforts baby before and after birth
5: When used correctly, it trains baby to feel drowsy whenever he/she hears the lullaby.
6: It promotes self-soothing, so baby falls asleep on his/her own, typically leading to longer stretches of slumber.
7: As the child ages, he/she will feel special and loved by hearing his/her personal lullaby

Remember, children prefer the voices of their parents. So even if you are uncomfortable with your singing voice, your child will still love hearing it!

Friday, July 3, 2009

High-Risk Pregnancy, Natural Birth!

My birthing experience is such a success story considering that my baby was diagnosed with spina bifida. Which, apart from altering our entire life, instantly changed how I was going to give birth. I was informed by the specialist that my baby would be delivered via c-section. My second opinion gave me a "shaky" wait and see. So I had pretty much given up hope that I could deliver naturally. I didn't go to any of the classes, read any of the books or pamphlets, and I didn't even want to think about it because everything in my life was turned upside down. When we finally reached the end of my pregnancy, my doctor decided that I could deliver naturally! My baby had to have an emergency spinal repair within 24 hours of his birth, so I was determined not to add to the list of drugs put into his system.

I called my best friend/doula, and gave her the amazing news. We made plans for her to come and teach me everything I needed to know, but I decided to go into labor instead. :) Dealing with hospital workers is not calming. I do no enjoy the incessant questions, or the constant monitoring. I understand the necessity of it, but it is not enjoyable. When I finally got admitted to my room, I was so grateful to see Marie waiting for me with the most relaxing music. It instantly changed my mood. When I was about to lose it, she taught me some breathing techniques, which I truly believe saved me from giving in and screaming for drugs! If you ask my husband, he will tell you that everything went perfectly until I decided to chomp down on his arm. :) The bruise lasted for weeks. It wasn't personal, just "business".

Once my little baby was delivered, he had to be rushed away with my husband, before I could even hold him. If it weren't for Marie, I would have been left in the delivery room all alone for over an hour. I don't know what I would have done without her. So to sum it all up: Doulas Rock!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A new baby girl!

While most of you were still in bed, I received a phone call to alert me that my client's water had broken! Only about 10% of women will have their water break before they know they are in labor, and it is quite the rush (and sometimes quite the gush!) About an hour and a half later, we were all at the hospital. I found dad comforting mom with soft touch and encouraging words.

Things progressed VERY quickly. Mom was already almost 6 cm dilated when she arrived to the hospital, and an hour later she was ready to push! Short labors are intense, and hard to keep up with mentally and emotionally. Most moms with fast labors feel out of control, but this mom did a fabulous job of staying relaxed, breathing deeply, vocalizing, and staying energized (and maybe a swear word here or there). :)

Dad was a total sweetheart. He was always holding his little girl's hand, and stayed by her side whenever she was separated from her mom.

We knew she was big! Over 9 pounds! No wonder mom had to work SO hard to get her through the birth canal. Add in some shoulder dystocia, and you have some hard pushing to get through.

Here are the proud parents, less than 4 hours after the water had broken! Healthy mom, healthy baby, proud papa, no pain meds, no stitches no interventions... What a great way to start the day! Thanks so much for sharing your birth!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Circle of Life and Love

(Me with my doula, Ginger.)

No matter what role you play, birth brings people together. As a doula and childbirth educator, I am continually honored by playing a small role in this life changing event. As a mom who has used a doula at each of my own 3 births, I understand the closeness and the fondness women always feel towards their doulas. And as a doula, I know how doulas hold a special place in their heart for each and every family they have worked with. These mutual feelings create a circle that is continually feeding into itself, and often results in lasting relati0nships. I am always touched to get a surprise visit from a couple I have worked with and their new baby. I love the Christmas cards, emails, and communication on Facebook. But this year I had a new first. I was invited to my first birthday party!

Many of you know that in my MUSIC BIRTH childbirth education classes, each class writes a lullaby for their babies. It is always a highlight of the class. So for this birthday party, my husband and I decided to make a recording of the lullaby for this family. (I am SO lucky that I married a man who loves music as much as I do, and has his own recording equipment!)

So today in the mail I got a thank you note from the little birthday boy and his parents, and it totally made my day. Here is an excerpt:

"Thank you for the CD of the lullaby. It is very special to have that recording! You all hold a special place in our hearts for allowing Marie to be a part of our son's birth. Thank you!"

I really do have the best job in the world! A huge "Thank you" to all of my past clients. You have made a difference in my life. I have recently put my career on hold as I have welcomed my third child into the world, and have been focusing just on my own family. But my maternity leave is about to end, as I just got a phonecall this morning from a client in early labor. :) Off to create another circle of love from the circle of life!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

There is nothing like seeing your husband hold your baby for the very first time. You suddenly begin to love him in a way you never have before. And for those of you who are already parents, you already know that there is nothing sexier than a great dad who adores his kids.

In the Music Birth method, Dads play an integral role. Some are the main support givers. Others work side by side with their doula as equal partners in supporting their wives. Either way, they always rise to the ocassion.

Many dads get alone time with the baby before mom even does (since mom is often still busy with the afterbirth). This is a special time for all dads as the bonding process kicks into full gear. Many dads sing their lullaby to their baby at this time.

Some dads have to be brave and follow their newborns into the NICU. Providing for and protecting their families is not always an easy thing to do. But they do it, and they do it wonderfully.

A big "Thank You" to all you awesome dad's out there. I hope you have a great Father's Day because you truly deserve it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What is Music Birth?

This is a question I find myself answering all the time. It is a complicated one. There are the typical responses: Using music to relax, to bond with your baby, using music to fight and block pain during labor etc. etc. etc... But the best way to truly understand Music Birth is to see it in action. So this blog will be devoted to Music Birth success stories. I will share my personal experiences using Music Birth as I delivered each of my three children (without pain meds!). I will share stories from my perspective as a doula, and I will invite previous clients to share their own experiences. And hopefully together we can all answer the question "What the heck is Music Birth?!"