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Madeline Belle's Birthday Stats: December 5th, 1997 10:47 p.m. 8 pounds 12 ounces 22 1/2 inches long 13 1/2 inch head circumference Apgars 9 & 10 Pictures of us at the birth center shortly after the birth and of Madeline are at http://www.mermaid.net/baby.htm
Birth Story: My group OB practice had been mentioning C/Sections because of my "large" baby (I had been measuring slightly large), so at 8 months of pregnancy we switched to a birth center with midwives....
I had been 100% effaced and 3 centimeters dilated for two weeks prior to delivering. Later, at my next appointment I had still not gone into labor (just a lot of prelabor contractions/braxton hicks) and I was now 5 centimeters dilated (and still 100% effaced). I had had a few minor cysts they had to pop that made me go straight to 5, apparently these cysts were caused by the "the pill". To avoid having the baby in the supermarket (yikes!) my birth team, Midwife and the Doctor that works at the birth center, decided to induce -to ensure that I would have the baby safely there and not in the car! We got to the Birth Center around 3 p.m. on December 5th, our scheduled time. I was immediately disappointed cuz I went backwards, believe it or not. I was now 80% effaced and 4 centimeters dilated, and her head was higher. YUK! They *almost* sent me home, but said they would try cytotech. I was very upset, and then they said "ok, we won't send you home without a baby.." I was like THANK THE LORD!
So the cytotek (which is a prostaglandin pill that effaces you and causes labor often) would not stay past my cervix when they attempted to insert it. I was too dilated and "slippery" (lubrication for baby to come out, they think my body was already in labor at this point as I was having more contrxs, but I was not in any pain). So they let that go for a couple hours. My midwife also left at that point due to an emergency so my team included 3 other midwives and an MD (and the MD is more like a midwife in method and bedside manner, she is beyond wonderful).
Finally, at 7pm when NOTHING was happening, the doctor (that works with the midwives) said (although I was more like 6 centimeters now and back 100% effaced where I had started) let's get this show on the road and break your water. (Since I was in early labor already possibly and sodialated and effaced). It was so bizarre, she jokingly called me "Miss IronClad Bag of Waters"...it was tough to pop! Which I was loving because I was originally told that because I used to smoke it would be fragile and I felt terrible about it-- even though I quit smoking the day I found out I was pregnant, and at barely 2 weeks pregnant at that! It finally worked, and was so wild..very bizarre as this hot liquid came out. So much of it! I will never forget that moment. My belly deflated slightly as it happened, and my belly felt a little more manageable in size. A small dose of pitocin was discussed, but I never even needed that pitocin, because within one HALF of an hour (like around 7:30pm) I was in the throws of the most painful contractions you could ever imagine every 2 minutes. That means one comes on, lasts a full minute, then one minute later you get another one. I was like this, every other minute until Maddy was born.
My husband Jeff's mom and sister helped too, they went out and bought me candles and a childbirth CD with nice music and sounds on it that was nice (between ctrxs of course, I had no consciousness during!), and the women/midwives really liked it. They kept talking about it during the birth lol...like "It feels like I am at the beach!" during ocean sounds etc. lol...
As far as the labor pains, I have to say it was the worst pain in my whole life, I almost passed out a couple times. I begged for drugs, death, everything. I don't know if I could do it again. I really thought I would die. They gave me some herbs for fear though, cuz I was absolutely out of my mind. I later found out they were placebos! Thank God for their creativity! I didn't know where I was at a few points, or who was even there. I took Bradley classes, and have to say that there is NO course that could have prepared me for what I went through. It was nice to take them, but in the end I could not use any "relaxation techniques". I would pass out between contractions practically, that was enough! I do recommend the Bradley classes however (http://www.bradleybirth.com), especially if you do not have the time, like I did, to research every aspect of childbirth thoroughly.
My only complaint is that I felt unprepared for the pain. I felt that if I did the things I was taught, I wouldn't have any pain, that it didn't *have* to be painful. Some honesty would have left me more prepared! Although going directly going into hard labor due to my starting at 5 centimeters and dilating fully within 2 1/2 hours must have contributed to the intensity of the pain. The good news was it went fast, though it seemed like an ETERNITY (in hell!).. Though after the first hour I was at 5-6 centimeters still and I thought oh no I can't any more of this it isn't even accomplishing anything!!!
Well... when the pain was absolutely UNbearable, they all got me in a hot bath with bubbles and lavender and they started pouring water over my belly during each ctrx. It went like this for quite a while. This was the worst part of my labor. The water helped at first though. It had lavender and herbs and bubbles and a heating pad for my back and lots of nice stuff. They talked to me about love and nice things to help calm me. They are truly miracle workers. When I begged for drugs, they would say no, which I know is hard when you see someone in so much pain. Jeff did really well too, I would have been scared and given him the drugs myself if I were in his shoes, but I think he really trusted the women there so he was ok, though he was crying a lot for me at the end!! So around 10, my back started killing me. They were afraid baby went posterior, so I got on the bed on all fours to turn her. After that it never happened again (getting on all fours musta worked!). I think something weird was sticking in my back, like a leg or something maybe. Anyway, after that one contraction I got on my side for her to do an internal, and she said "well that's why your pain was so intense -- your at 9 centimeters!!" So that time in the tub really helped.
At that point I started to grunt/want to push some. She said go right ahead you can push that cervical lip away I bet... Well I did and then it really HURT LIKE hell and I got even more scared and I said.."I can't do this for 2 hours", like matter-of-factly. I just plain wanted them to know I *refused* lol!! I knew the average pushing time for first babies was 2 hours so I was NOT going to handle that -- I couldn't. Well, she said you don't have to! Your baby is UNUSUALLY (LUCKILY!) LOW, you are going to push 20 MINUTES!! Inside I was like, wow--I can do that, MAYBE!! But totally relieved, because I knew I wasn't capable of anything more. I guess God gives us only as much as we can handle. So I pushed and pushed, and it was totally animal. I don't know how women don't push by doctor's (or midwives) orders, because I COULD NOT STOP. I also couldn't push when told to unless I had this animal urge that took over with the ctrxs. So it was like totally by my urging. And sometimes they would want me to continue, but I just ignored them cuz I couldn't! It was painful, as bad as the contraction that were killing me, but I kept remembering (I don't know how but I did) in "The Girlfriend's Guide To Pregnancy" how she said the only thing you can do is PUSH THROUGH the pain. I just had that in my head and I made it through thinking about her and how she did it too. So anyway, I pushed and pushed until finally she was crowning. I could see her head even when I wasn't pushing, it would stay at one point. Jeff was crying like crazy at this point, and that somehow made it feel more real, like we were all in this together. I pushed her head out and they showed me in the mirror. It was amazing. Her head was totally blue and cone shaped! I knew to expect it, but it was so wild. Then I pushed her body out, and without the help of a contraction (unbelievable!). The doc kept saying I could do it, and I finally did, on my own without a contraction. She (Maddy) immediately kicked her self up and sat her head up and looked right at me, awake as can be. She practically walked up my belly to me! It was amazing. She was all covered in vernix and such, and felt so squishy!! She didn't have to get suctioned (something my OB would not agree too, so I really appreciated this!), she spit up and breathed all on her own, and cried for like forever!!! At this point, the cord was still attached and such and I was just in another world with baby, we called Jeff's mom and sister in there to come be with us. Jeff says they were both crying and such, but I was barely aware of anyone even in there but me and that baby and Jeff. It was magical. I was afraid she was too small at first, she was so skinny!! (See her stats, she is VERY long, not fat or chubby at all!!) They then gave me and baby Rescue Remedy, an herbal thing that she likes to give when you have a super fast birth. It tasted bad to me but Maddy loved it and it calmed her right down! I delivered the placenta shortly after, and it hurt a lot too, I was grunting. It felt HUGE and the doc later confirmed that it WAS very big. They showed us (me, Jeff, Jeff's mom etc) the placenta, and showed us all the parts.... Like the "tree of life" where the cord comes out etc.
Gabrielle, the doc, said the placenta was very big, as was the cord and my strong bag of waters. Everything I did prenatally, like the Bradley diet and quitting smoking and cutting caffeine, msg, nitrates, tapwater (spring only), and eating good food etc. really paid off!! I was very proud. She said only good nutrition could do this!!
I had no idea how big she was till an hour later or so when we let them weigh her and such. (They won't take her from you ever at the birth center, it's like their policy. We give permission on when and if anything will be done.) I tore a little, straight down and not bad at all from what they tell me. I got 5 stitches. I am sore, but it is bearable (and I keep my peri-bottle in the bathroom, soon to be your best friend lol!!). Also, I didn't feel the tear at ALL when it happened, so if that scares you, don't worry it is the least if it!
Later, during Maddy's newborn exam, Gabrielle (our doc) said that Maddy pooped on her way out lol..so all her gastro-intestinal stuff was in order lol! She is the most beautiful baby in the whole world!! She has slept almost nonstop, and frankly has no interest in breastfeeding right now. She may suckle for 5 seconds, then fall asleep or stop and stare at me. My doctor is coming to my house tomorrow to help. Gabrielle is wonderful...I owe her the WORLD... It is so amazing, she weighs almost 8 pounds (just 4 oz. shy!) and came out in basically 3 hours, from start to finish from my first contraction. At first they got 23 1/2 inches, but then remeasured and got 22 and 1/2. Long!! Though she looks tiny as can be.
I was so happy too cuz I don't look all ripped/stretched and torn apart like I expected, I was stitched up very neatly and look very normal. I don't feel stretched out either. They used hot cloths too, so that helped with my stretching. (Because her head was really 11 centimeters big, AFTER molding!! Jeff did that little piece of math for me...YIKES!) We slept for a few hours, off and on, and left the birth center at 8am this morning, glad to be home. Jeff has been so sweet and good to me, I would be lost without him.
Other than some advil whatever for my swelling/soreness I have been doing good. Hurts to sit down some, but it is bearable. I am feeling better all the time.
All in all, I am so happy and feel good that I gave her the best start I could, drug-free and natural, though I am still amazed I lived through it! I love her so much, and we are so blessed.
One month update: I healed very fast, was even able to have sex 3 weeks postpartum. Madeline is doing great! I owe it all to having her naturally, and I don't think I would have recovered to incredibly fast had I used drugs. It was painful, yes--but I would do it again in a heartbeat. She's worth it!
Pictures of us at the birth center shortly after the birth and of Madeline are at http://www.mermaid.net/baby.htm I am also donating the birth video to my Bradley instructor for her classes. I hope my birth experience helps you too! --Susan and Madeline born 12/5/97

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