The Births of AJ and LG

May 15, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Au Naturale 


Launched into the World

It was a day in the last week of September when I waddled into my midwife’s office for another routine check.  At 37 weeks pregnant, I was prepared to wait several more weeks before seeing the precious baby kicking my ribs.  With my mind focused on the upcoming weekend wedding of my brother-in-law, I wasn’t prepared for her words, “You’re 2cm dilated and 80% effaced.  You might want to rethink leaving town for the weekend – 2 hours is a long way away if you go into labor!”

Oh the timing!  My husband was the best man and I was making the wedding cake!  Not go?  We really couldn’t do that, could we?  We headed home excited, wondering what to do, and feeling unprepared.  The next morning, I awoke about 4:30 and couldn’t sleep so I decided to make the wedding cake.  As I mixed up the first bowl of batter, I felt my stomach get all hard and then relax – weird!  Oh well, I had plenty to do. 

Soon, however, those little “weirds” were coming regularly, like every 10 minutes!  I flew into panic mode, determined that my brother-in-law and new sister-in-law would have the promised cake stopping every 7-10 minutes to breath through a contraction.

The cake was almost done – 8 hours later – when I collapsed in a chair in exhaustion.  Tears poured from my eyes as I realized all the energy I spent on the cake left my house in total disarray. So much for nesting! I also realized that those very regular contractions had tapered off within the last hour.  My mom called and told me to quit worrying about the house, to figure on staying home for the weekend, and to go take a nap. I did what she said!

Saturday and the wedding came and went without us.  Sunday also passed with not a tinge of a contraction to be seen and me feeling really guilty for not going to the wedding.  Monday dawned and looked like the very same thing.  By the time my husband came home from work, I was more than a little down on myself so he suggested going out to dinner to cheer me up.  As we sat in the restaurant, I felt something very strange, almost like my water broke, but there was hardly any liquid.  I had read it might just be a trickle so we debated for a while whether to call the midwife or not.  When I did, she told me what to watch for and then suggested getting some sleep and coming to the office in the morning.

Tuesday was a bright, warm October day as we headed to the midwife’s office.  She checked me and decided my water hadn’t broken, but informed us that I was dilated to 4cm and was 90% effaced.  Since our home was over an hour from the hospital, she asked us to stay in town for the day and then come back late in the afternoon to check again.  As soon as she checked me, I began having regular, mild contractions every 5 minutes. 

We wanted to speed them up so we walked around Wal-Mart for a couple of hours and then went to my mother-in-law’s home for the afternoon.  My husband was able to nap and I timed the 3-5 minute contractions until 4 o’clock. 

We headed back over to the midwife’s office to report that the contractions were regular, but not too uncomfortable.  She checked me again to find me dilated to 6 and 100% effaced.  Oh!  Within the hour, we were checked into the hospital and awaiting the midwife to break my water.  Once that happened, my contractions became painful, but not unmanageable.  With my husband, mom, sister and her husband to keep me company, we laughed our way (with little breaks for contractions) through the next 2 hours. 

I decided that I wanted to get in the Jacuzzi at that point and my family (other than my husband) had to leave for various reasons.  My mom said she’d call in a little while since it was probably going to take a long time.

I got in the hot tub and the water felt WONDERFUL!  I decided I was going to be staying in there for a while so when my husband wanted to call and update his mom, I readily agreed to wait for him in that warm cocoon.  He left the room and I thought someone was trying to rip my body in half!  WHAT WAS THAT?!? was the only coherent thought that I had.  As soon as my husband reappeared – after 2 more of those monsters that were tearing me apart – I asked to get out immediately. 

With the nurse’s help, my husband rushed me back to our room where I was checked and found to be 8-9 cm.  One more contraction and a wave of nausea.  I lay there waiting for the next one to come, but it didn’t it.  Suddenly a calm washed over me and I knew that the transition phase of labor was over leaving only the pushing part!  I was excited and said to my husband, “It’s over!”  He told me later he thought I had truly lost my mind because of the pain!!

I pushed for 18 minutes and then my daughter was handed to me.  It was 9:04!


A Leisurely Sunday

My second daughter decided to take a different course.  She wanted to fake me out!  Several weeks early, I was checked and found to be 2-3 cm dilated.  Since my first daughter had come within a week of that marker, I expected this little one to be at least as soon.  The weeks went by and I told my husband that I had decided I was just going to be pregnant forever.  He laughed, I didn’t!

I awoke on a mid-January Sunday morning thinking that maybe the induction date of next Saturday was really when I would see my little one.  I headed to the shower and that’s when I noticed that I was bleeding.  I called the midwife who reassured me that it was likely the “bloody show” and that my labor was starting.  Since we live over an hour from the hospital in Colorado and it had snowed the night before, we left for the hospital before contractions started.  By the time we arrived, however, they were regular and I was found to be 4-5 cm.  The midwife arrived sometime later and broke my water – it was 1:45PM. 

I again got into the Jacuzzi and enjoyed the warmth and support it offered.  About 3:00, we headed back to our room and my husband admitted he was starving.  He called his mom and asked that she bring him a sandwich although I warned that he might not have time before the baby came.  My mother-in-law and sister-in-law arrived at 3:30 and my husband eagerly dug into the sandwich they handed him.  As he finished the first half, I returned from the bathroom and sent him to find the midwife.  His mom and sister headed for the waiting room and I pushed 3 times.  Our daughter was born at 3:51 PM.  After we were all cleaned up, my husband asked if he could finish his sandwich now!

The author is the thrilled mother of 2 girls under 2.  They are 18 months and 2 months old.  You can read more of their crazy antics at Raising Daughters!

The Birth of Izzy

February 25, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Au Naturale 


Izzy’s birth story starts on December 4th, when I was 38 weeks pregnant and I was sent to the ultrasound department because my fundal height was measuring a bit on the low side. My fluid level around Izzy was down to 2.7, 5 is considered low. They wanted to send me up for an induction immediately.

I have reservations regarding inductions as the hormones used for inductions may be associated with autism. (Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin which is a "love" hormone. Apparently autistic kids are deficient in oxytocin. Autism also seems to be more prevalent in children born from inductions.) Partner that with my own iffy reactions to anesthesia- both general and local, and I was afraid of the hormones, and the possible spiral of intervention.

So I asked the simple question "Would it be dangerous for me to go home and come back tomorrow for another ultrasound?" The doctor had me take a non-stress test to see how the baby was doing, and he was kicking up a storm and his heartbeat sounded great. So they let me go, and I went back the next day. They still wanted to induce me. I asked if I could again go home and drink a lot of water and come back in two days. So I did that, and the next measurement was 7.2!

They wanted to keep an eye on me for the rest of the pregnancy. So I came back for another ultrasound, and it was up to 9.  Since at this point I was very close to my due date they started bringing up the idea of an induction AGAIN; they didn’t want to let me go over 41 weeks. Since 9 was in the safety zone, I didn’t have to restrict my physical activity anymore the way I had been. (I had been restricting my physical activity, taking an easily digestible form of iron in the form of blackstrap molasses to help my placenta out, and I had been laying on my left side as much as possible, as well as cutting out all caffeine and cutting back on the salt. All in an attempt to help my body build up the fluids since they said that drinking water seldom ever helped anyone. I was the first they saw that it helped!)

So my husband and I took a walk home from the hospital (we live in NYC). It was a 2.5 mile walk. By the time we got home it was 7PM and I was having semi regular contractions.

At 1AM we went to Labor and Delivery to get checked because my contractions were becoming quite painful and were regular and lasting for longer and longer. I was still only 1cm dilated 50% effaced. They sent me home. But before I went, they checked my water levels again! 10! They said to come back when I wasn’t smiling so much. 😛

I spent the rest of the night trying to sleep. At first my husband would rub my lower back for contractions. That helped for a while. But soon I had to jump out of bed for every contraction and lean against the door frame and rock from leg to leg. That turned out to be the best method of pain relief throughout the whole labor.

Throughout the day I had a couple of glasses of wine (as suggested by the labor and delivery nurses when we called in.) and took a 30 minute lukewarm bath to help with the contractions. Rocking in the water helped, as the waves of the water breaking on my back/belly seemed to move opposite of the contractions and wash some of the pain away. The wine and the water actually made about two hours of labor when I was about 5cm dilated into a state of bliss.

At around 6PM we were off to the hospital again.

We entered via the emergency room entrance and walked to the elevators. I had two contractions on the way to the elevators, and one in the elevator, and another two on the way to labor and delivery triage. Every time someone saw me, they offered a wheelchair- but I didn’t want to sit down. The idea of it sounded painful. Walking and moving helped the pain tremendously.

This time around, triage was so full that there were three people waiting in the waiting room when we got there. I was further along than any of them. I leaned up against the wall and made my labor sounds (think a cow in heat, mooing and groaning) and rocked from leg to leg while perched on the balls of my feet with my legs spread out. My husband rubbed my lower back in firm downward motions, and between these two things it felt like the baby was being moved down by our efforts.

At one point I suddenly got the urge to push and squatted down. Horrified by my reaction I said "err. I think I need to push." These were the magic words. They got me out of triage and into a labor and delivery room quickly.

The urge to push turned out to just be my mucus plug releasing. I was now 7cm dilated and they weren’t sending me anywhere.

They kept trying to get me to lay down on the bed for a 20 minute session of fetal monitoring. By the time I got admitted into a room I was 7cm dilated and rapidly progressing. (It ended up taking about 45 minutes to go from 7-10cm, when it usually takes about 1 hour per cm for a first birth.) I refused to lay down and kept swaying, which I think brought the baby on faster!

At one point the fetal monitors fell off, and we re-attached them. But at that point the "baby’s heart" started acting funny and going UP during a contraction (instead of down) and then DOWN after a contraction. So they started crying "fetal distress". I got the whole "DEAD BABY IF YOU DO NOT LAY DOWN NOW!" speech.

I lay down so that they could check my dilation again, and the doctor said something about 10cm, and broke my water. Apparently I was fully dilated and I was supposed to start pushing. They broke the bed down and all of a sudden about 10 more people rushed into the room with all sorts of emergency equiptment and baby-warming beds. Pediatricians, another nurse, another doctor, a nurse for the baby, etc. Bedlam.

I remember telling myself "The bastards are going to push for a c-section even though I’m 10cm dilated," and I was determined to help Izzy out as fast as he could come.

They put in an internal fetal monitor and then realized that the machine in the room didn’t have a connection for it! Poor little guy was born with a scab on his head from the stupid thing.

I knew it was just a bad monitor connection because it had been perfectly fine up until the monitor fell off, and Izzy was still fighting with every contraction- he hated the contractions. So I asked them to move the monitor to the other side because I had an anterior placenta and the doctors at the fetal monitoring unit that I went to for a few non-stress tests always had better luck on the other side. They ignored me.

After about 45 minutes of rather ineffective pushing (I wasn’t ready to push yet and needed a slight rest, but they kept insisting on 3 pushes per contraction. They also insisted that I push on my back) his head started crowning. I faked a bunch of pushes to allow myself to recover and to allow his head to gradually stretch out the opening a bit so it wouldn’t tear (the doctors were trying to pull the opening larger and it hurt like the dickens. It hurt more than transition! Ugh!)  At one point I felt the upper part of the opening begin to feel like it was going to tear, and I reached down and applied pressure to it. As I reached down, I felt his little head full of hair, and that gave me the energy to give the only three effective pushes that I had.. With that, the little bean was born. APGARs 9/9.5. He had been fine the entire time. They had been listening to MY heart rate!

But because of the fetal monitor hooey, he spent the first 5 minutes of his life being checked extensively by a pediatrician instead of in my arms.

Our introduction to breastfeeding was also sort of shakey. They encouraged me to stick him onto the breast immediately rather than letting him familiarize himself with it and naturally try to latch on. This resulted in a screaming festival on his part. I stopped forcing him, and had a miserable 30 hours or so in the hospital before discharge.. He wouldn’t latch and wasn’t filling enough diapers, so I was concerned I was starving him. At one point I almost gave him formula, but he didn’t seem dehydrated and I didn’t want to sabotage the breastfeeding relationship. So I waited.


At home, when both of us relaxed, he immediately latched on and has been exclusively breastfed for the full 2 1/2 months of his life.

Lil is a 26 year old Mom to Izzy, her first child.  She is a programmer and does freelance work from home, so she gets to spend her days with the little one while working.  Lil, her husband, and Izzy live in NYC with their three dogs. 

The Birth of Julie Yvonne

September 19, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Au Naturale 


Julie Yvonne, December 31, 1965

My second experience of childbirth was distinctly different from my first. Instead of starting single and ending married, I started married and ended single.  Instead of losing weight, I gained in anticipation of morning sickness that never happened.  Instead of being delivered by an intern, Julie was delivered by an experienced doctor; and yet, he was unprepared for my behavior in the delivery room.

Julie was conceived when I thought I was already several weeks pregnant, resulting in my thinking she was overdue when she was actually premature. Instead of leading up to the event with false labor, because my water had broken and the placenta was parting, labor had to be induced.  However, this was still a fast and easy birth, with a labor of just under an hour.

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The Birth of Richard Roland

August 29, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Au Naturale 


I had a lot of morning sickness with my first baby.  Actually, I had so much morning sickness that I  weighed slightly less when I checked in for his birth than I had before I was pregnant. At one point an elderly doctor I was seeing before I signed up for the clinic gave me the straight scoop:  I would score some pot, take exactly one toke before each meal, or he would have to put me in the hospital on IVs.  That, he explained, was what they had done before marijuana was illegal.

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The Birth of Sophia Katharine

August 16, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Au Naturale 


It all started that Friday morning. I had the OB appointment with the horrid doctor who, I think, stripped my membranes without asking. It was a painful examination, not least of which because her fingers were so short.

I was quite crampy from that appointment on throughout the day, and then progressively more crampy with back achiness added in for good measure. All along, they had been telling me that if I don’t feel it in my back, then it probably isn’t contractions. So, about 2:30 that afternoon, I started feeling twinges in my back in addition to the contractions that started to come more regularly. Now it’s funny to look back on these "contractions" compared to what came later. I wasn’t mentioning them to Aaron at this point because I could still walk around and talk and joke while having them. I decided to experiment around 10 pm and tried doing a little nipple stimulation. Yikes! Things picked up then. Apparently, the stimulation released the right amount of oxytocin and convinced my body to get things moving along. I wrote an asterisk next to the 10:10 pm time recording because it was a noticeably stronger contraction. I had the same strength contractions until 11:30 when Aaron convinced me to call the OB office to check in and see what they would recommend. At this point, it was either try to go to bed or go into labor. My sister and mother had very short labors and I was a bit worried that if I stayed home, I’d end up having her here. I ended up not needing to worry about that.

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