Thank you for your instruction and guidance...Giving birth was an amazing experience. I never could have imagined the strength within myself, the compassion and commitment of my husband, or the joy of holding my daughter in my arms for the first time. I wanted to share this photo with you because I could not understand how birth pictures could be beautiful like you shared in class but, truly, this captures the beauty of the experience.
Four birth stories at a glance:
"Susan woke up around 2:00am having what she believed to be pretty strong and regular contractions... Susan was not admitted immediately but walked around the hospital until her midwife arrived at 8am...she was admitted and continued her walking. As walking proved too difficult because she could not find a relaxing position while standing, she returned to her room and laid down...Because she wasn't hindered by any monitors or drugs, she was able to get into the labor tub and that seemed to relax her a bit. She spent 30 minutes in the tub when she began to feel the urge to push. Once she returned to the bed, she was checked and fully dilated. On her first push, her bag of waters broke...her body knew what it was doing and was pushing anyway. The baby's head was crowning as the midwife arrived. After 3 good pushes, Rylee Maleah was born at 10:24am. She was immediately put on mom's belly and nursed..."
-Susan and Jace
"This was their first Baby. Her bag of waters broke at 4 am followed at 5 am by first early stage contractions...By 8:30, it was uncomfortable for Catherine to move during contractions. Catherine's demeanor was upbeat, and doing excellent! Relaxation techniques were helping. From 9:45 to 10 am, contractions were ranging from 40 to 70 seconds long, 2.5 to 3.75 minutes apart...Catherine felt she must lay down, becoming confused. MD called, and they went to the hospital...She had 6 contractions between the parking lot and the hospital room. By 11:45 am, she was in transition...it was determined that Catherine was 10 cm dilated. At 11:50 am, she was having increased rectal pressure, the possible beginning of the second stage. Birth was at 1:10 pm... Only possible complication: Cord had a knot and was wrapped twice around the baby's neck. No distress noted, and no episiotomy...Catherine never did get the urge to push. She had very strong and very uncomfortable rectal pressure which was for her, the sign to push. She had about 6 or 7 contractions with pushing for birth..."
-Catherine and Tom
"At 6 am Laurie woke up feeling uncomfortable. She soon timed contractions. They were 3-4 minutes apart, 45 seconds long. The doctor checked Laurie at 10:15. She was 3cm, [baby's head] +1 - +2 [cm below the pelvis]. 10:45 Laurie was admitted. 12:45 she was 4cm. At 3pm she was 8 cm. There was some swelling of the cervix. Due to a great nurse, Donna, they overcame that obstacle. She suggested they get in the tub and use a variety of positions. At 4:45 she was 8 cm and the cervix is thinned some...At 5:40 Laurie was 10 cm. She pushed for 2 hours. There was no episiotomy, no drugs, and breastfeeding is going well."
-Laurie and Marshall Millligan
"I woke up at 4:30am after dreaming I was in labor and that my parents were driving me to the wrong hospital..Since the contractions were in my lower back...I knew it was actual labor. At this point, I had been dilated to 4cm for 2 weeks and was 9 days past my due date and scheduled to be induced the following day...James woke up when I got out of bed to do some yoga, ...we had a light breakfast and began making preparations for laboring at home. We called our parents and went out for a walk as the sun came up. It soon became necessary to stop and breathe through contractions while James applied counter-pressure to my back. Back at home, I continued drinking water and had another snack. Contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and lasted about a minute, so we called Low Country OB/GYN and left a message for Deborah, our midwife, to call us. I got in the tub while James loaded the car. The warm water really caused things to pick up, so I was ready to go...
At the office (now 9:30am), labor was quickly confirmed, and we walked across to East Cooper Hospital and straight to a room where James and I immediately went back to working through contractions. The paperwork was brought up to us while we had the required 30 minutes of monitoring. We hung a shirt over the clock and started playing the music we'd brought along. I squatted, spent time on the birth ball, leaned over the bed, rested in James' arms, and took another shower. My parents arrived when I was almost fully dilated and stood by the bed massaging my hands, adjusting the bedsheets as I got alternately hot and cold, and helped me relax by singing and using guided imagery.
The pushing contractions were intense, and although I was tired, I was ready to see our baby and be done with labor. Deborah and her student midwife, Blythe, were very patient and encouraging...They had me try several different positions and techniques (such as pulling on a towel), but the baby didn't seem to be going anywhere. ...we and our birth team decided that IV fluids and a very small amount of Pitocin might be all I needed...After what seemed a short time, the baby's head was visible, and soon I felt the head emerge, followed by a gush when the rest of her body came out...
...We were so happy that our birth plan had been followed as much as medically possible, and were thankful for our wonderful, creative, and patient birth team. Our hard work and education during pregnancy paid off. Next time, more walking, more fluids, and a home birth!"