Category: Natural Childbirth

Baby Girl’s Birth Story Continued

By , October 28, 2011 2:40 pm

If you haven’t read part one, start here.  If you are afraid of birth stories or tastefully chosen pictures of birth, flee now!

I know what you’re thinking… how in the world could Alyssa NOT think she was in labor?  You have to understand, however, my first two births I had time to wrap my mind around having a baby.  My water broke and a couple hours later contractions started, plenty of time to get excited about birth.  Seriously, forget the title of this post and let me remind you that I STARTED contracting with only three minutes break in between.  I didn’t have time to think about labor any more than I had time to make it up the stairs in my house.

Once I made it in our minivan, Haus took off and I positioned myself on my hands and knees behind our driver’s console and the middle row of seats.  Haus asked me if I wanted to call my mom as she was prepped to jump on a flight when I went into labor.  I told him no because I didn’t want her to tease me when we went home in a few hours because of indigestion.  We made it to the birth center by 10p.m. and as I entered the front door, I was relieved to explain things to my favorite midwife, Aubre, who happened to be on call. “Aubre,” I moaned as I laid my head and forearms on the front counter, “My water hasn’t broken and this all started with diarrhea.  It’s just not labor.”  She calmly explained to me that labor can be very different every birth as I nodded before dropping onto my knees and laid my head in the arm chair of the lobby for another contraction.  After the contraction was complete, Aubre and her counterparts, Tiffany and Kate, moved me into the “Log Room”, a master bedroom suite with a king log bed and furniture plus a birth pool.  I knelt next to the bed with my head on the mattress while my nurse, Kate, started an I.V. of antibiotics as I was diagnosed GBS positive earlier in the pregnancy.

Dehydrated from my massage, the I.V. took more than one attempt and during the second pass, I turned to Aubre whining, “Wait, you haven’t even checked my dilation yet.  How do you even know I’m in labor?” This comment set the entire room into giggles as Haus shook his head next to me, “Ummm, Alyssa,” Aubre replied, “I think you are the only one in this room that DOESN’T think you’re in labor.”  Around 10:15p.m., two hours into the entire ordeal, Aubre and Tiffany did check my dilation.  “Seven centimeters, 90 percent effaced,” Tiffany announced.  Seven centimeters… SEVEN CENTIMETERS???  Suddenly my entire world changed.  I was having a baby!  Something about hearing seven centimeters made me believe that this was more than diarrhea.

The moment we all heard 7 centimeters

From that point forward, I let go of any control I thought I had with “indigestion” and concentrated on relaxing my entire body in between and during contractions. Aubre asked me if I wanted to get into the birth pool and I responded with, “Ummm, uuaahhhh, ummmm,” waiting for the next contraction until she told me that instead of thinking about it I should just get in.  I stepped into the birth pool, leaned my upper body over the edge, and thanked God for birth pools.  The water temperature was perfect and for the first time in hours, I let out a huge sigh of relief… then I felt a huge drop during the next contraction as baby moved onto, as Haus calls it, the baby slide.  My moaning during contractions immediately dropped into a lower tone and I knew that I was going to have to push.

Haus coaching during a contraction... I did NOT want to be touched this time!

During the next few contractions, Haus changed into swim trunks and I tried to relax as the “push” feeling grew stronger and stronger.  Annoyed that my arms kept falling asleep as they hung over the edge of the birth pool, Haus got into the pool, and held up my upper body for me.  The midwives gave him a stool to sit on in the pool and I started to freak out a bit.  My other births I mentally checked out once I made it to the hospital.  It was too stressful for me to hear nurses trying to move me, check me constantly, or tell me when I could push AND concentrate on relaxing through contractions.  This birth, however, as pushing neared, I realized that I was in charge and it kind of scared me.

Sure, Aubre and Tiffany and Kate were there in case something went wrong, but for the most part, they encouraged me in between contractions and just let me do my thing.  As the pushing became unbearable, I turned to Aubre and rushed through my fears, “Aubre, you haven’t checked me, I can’t push until you check me, what if I’m not dilated enough, I need you to check me.”   Aubre laid her hand on my back and firmly told me, “Alyssa, you are safe, your baby is safe.  You are supported here and you can do it.”  Haus told me later, they had been checking me with a mirror in the birth pool, but unlike the hospital that directs when you can push, they were letting me and my body decide.

Aubre's pep talk

I tried to remember what Aubre told me and pushed.  They tell me that the actually pushing was only about 15 minutes, but it felt like YEARS.  It was so painful and hard and exhausting all at the same time.  At one point after a contraction, I felt a pop like a balloon of fluid burst between my knees and announced to everyone that I thought my water broke.  A few contractions later, ready to give up, I pushed with all my might, squeezed Haus’ legs with my hands and then, believe it or not, took a big bite of Haus’ bicep just as I pushed our sweet baby into the world.  Yep, that’s right.  I bit my poor husband at the exact moment our kiddo was born.

Just before the big bite!

On October 4th at 11:07p.m., our baby was born.  The moment the baby was on my chest, I turned to Haus asking, “What is it?  What is it?”  He picked up our baby for a second, laid it back on my chest and announced, “It’s a girl, Alyssa.  It’s a baby girl.”  Thank goodness, my photographer genius doula friend, Misty, caught that moment in this photo:

It's a girl!

Three total hours of labor and we had a baby girl.  We sat in the birth pool for a few minutes in shock, before moving our way to the log bed… well, before Haus literally lifted me and baby girl out of the birth pool and set us on the bed.  After the placenta was out, our birth team left us alone as Haus and I admired our sweet little girlie.  She nursed and stared around the room as we counted toes and laughed about her cleft chin and long black hair.  I only realized a half an hour later that we still hadn’t cut the cord!  Tiffany came back in and helped Haus cut the cord then baby was off to be weighed and receive her final checks with her daddy while I sat in a warm herbal tub that Kate prepared for me.  Back from the tub and done with the checks, the three of us rested for an hour or two on the bed.  The birth center released us home about four hours after the birth, but not before reviewing a long list of requirements we would do at home before returning two days later.

Then the best part… home!  We arrived home around 3am after leaving at 9:30pm.  We introduced our very shocked friend, Allison, to our baby girl, and after she went home, snuggled in our bed waiting for our boys to wake up and meet their baby sister.  Sooo, there you have it.  Baby Girl’s birth story.  Fast and furious, it was by far my hardest birth, but also my most rewarding thanks to Mountain Midwifery Birth Center and their incredibly professional birth team.

Nurse Kate and Midwife Aubre with the Aarhaus girls


Baby Girl’s Birth Story

By , October 11, 2011 1:54 pm

She’s here!  Hard to believe that one week ago we were blessed with a baby girl.  I’m in love all over again and can’t wait to tell the story of how this little firecracker arrived.  Warning… if you don’t like birth stories, turn away now.

As I mentioned in Zeke’s birth story, although I achieved intervention-free births for both of my boys in the hospital, it wasn’t without a fight.  Combine that with doula work where I personally watched laboring women pushed into unnecessary interventions at their most vulnerable state.  I decided the minute we found out we were pregnant with baby #3 that I would NOT be delivering in a hospital.

Enter Mountain Midwifery Birth Center, a.k.a. the best birthin‘ baby place on earth (yeah, I kinda like the place).  From our first appointment at the birth center, I knew I made the right decision.  I don’t want to go too far off topic but here are the things I loved during prenatal care: the center is run and was founded by a former military family, my boys plus the mound of toys in the lobby allowed me to bring them almost every check-up, unlike most hospitals, the center allows water birth even if your bag of waters has broken (a key for me as my water broke beforehand with both boys), the midwives are ALL amazing, knowledgeable, experienced mothers that invested in me and my pregnancy, the nurses knew my name, my kids names, and elaborated for every question I brought, the pre-birth classes and required nutrition gave me invaluable resources even as an experienced childbirth educator… oh man, let’s just say they rock!

Fast forward to my weekly appointment on Tuesday, October 4th.  Bubba was born at 40 weeks, Zeke was born a little after 38 weeks, and I thought for sure that I would birth even earlier, but there I was, still pregnant, at 39 weeks and a few days.  The midwife was sweet at the appointment as she said I didn’t seem too concerned that I still hadn’t had my baby.  I’ve got stuff to get done, I told her with a smile.  Later that afternoon with Bubba at homeschool enrichment and Zeke down for a nap, I crashed instead of getting stuff done, woke up with Zeke a few hours later, picked Bubba up from school, and continued our Tuesday routine that afternoon, brothers playing in the basement while I made dinner.

Around 5 p.m. I got a text from a masseuse friend (yes, always good to have a friend that’s a massage therapist) who asked me if I wanted to come in for a free massage since her schedule for the day was slow. Ummmm, yes, I responded, before feeding the boys a quick pre-dinner snack, and loading them up to go to the fitness center where my friend worked.  Spa clients receive free childcare so while the boys played in the giant fitness playland, I received an amazing one hour massage.  Feeling thoroughly relaxed, the boys and I made our way home around 7:30p.m. and were surprised to find Haus home from golf night early with dinner set-up and waiting for us on the table.  During dinner, I started to feel a bout of indigestion coming on and was frustrated as I had experienced a little indigestion a few nights before.

Haus finished up the late dinner with the boys while I spent my time in the bathroom bemoaning my unlucky state.  Seriously, what is up with cleaning myself out every couple of days for no reason, I thought. As I heard Haus running the water for the boys bath, I realized that the stomach pains were moving from indigestion to more crampy discomfort.  Weird, these are like contractions, I thought.  Finally able to leave the bathroom, I got on the computer and decided to download a contraction timer on iTunes.  Why not practice is what I was thinking since my water had not broken and I didn’t really think I was in labor. According to the app, I started timing my “indigestion pains” at 8:45 p.m.  It was during my fourth pain that I interrupted Haus as he was tucking the boys in for bed.

“Check out this timer,” I said, showing him my iPhone.  My last four “pains” were about a minute to minute and a half long and three to four minutes apart.  I started to explain to Haus that this was some kind of crazy diarrhea before I had to rush into the boys bathroom.  After a couple contractions sitting on the toilet, I made it to our downstairs bathroom when Haus came in with his phone.  “I’m calling the birth center,” he said. “NO, DUDE!” I argued, “I’m not having you call the birth center because your wife has diarrhea.”  Haus rolled his eyes and continued, “Alyssa, if you aren’t in labor they will just send you home.  You don’t have to fear going in to them… it’s the birth center, remember?”  I nodded realizing that unlike the hospital that has so many rules and protocol for a laboring woman to leave once checked in, the birth center was a safe place. “Fine… call,” I said and listened while trying to breath through contractions as Haus confirmed that the midwife on call did want me to come in.  He immediately phoned our friend, Allison, who was ready to babysit the boys at night if labor started.

All of this happened pretty fast, because I remember calling my doula friend at 9:30 p.m. and warning her that if she still wanted to volunteer to take pictures at the birth, we were going in to the birth center in a few minutes.  The conversation went a little something like this, “Misty, I’m having diarrhea, but Haus thinks it’s contractions.  Going into the birth center now, but…. (CONTRACTION STARTS) here’s Haus (PASS PHONE TO HAUS).”  Allison arrived at 9:45p.m. and I got up off of the bathroom floor where I’d been camped out as she came in the house.  Passing her on the way to the car, I said, “Allison, this is just diarrhea.  I’m sure we’ll be back in a few hours.”  As I made my way to the porch, I heard Haus say, “We’ll be back with a baby.” On the front porch, the wind whipped by me and I had my first truly painful contraction.  No way, I thought, this has only been going on for an hour.  I’m not going to have a baby.

To be continued… mwah, ha, ha!







Zeke’s Birth Story

By , February 22, 2011 10:27 am

In honor of my FABULOUS students that I’m having a blast teaching on Wednesday nights, I’m posting Zeke’s birth story.  Just like with Bubba’s birth story, if you are squeamish, don’t like babies, or plain just don’t care about this birth junkie’s birth stories then turn away now.

Zeke’s due date was around 1 September and I think a key to his story is that I was praying he would come late.  About a month before his due date, we sold our house in Colorado Springs and bought a house in Denver.  Our closing date for both houses was 28 August and that wasn’t all we had scheduled.  We scheduled the Army movers to pack our belongings in boxes the 26th and load everything into their trucks on the 27th.  We thought this timing would be perfect.  Pack everything prior to our closings, unpack it all on the 31st prior to Labor Day weekend, then have a baby and relax.

What were we thinking??  With my dad in town to help with the move, we drove up to our new house in Denver on the 23rd for our final walk-thru.  That morning before the drive I told Haus, wow, check my stomach out.  Sure enough, my “torpedo belly” as Haus called it, looked at least six inches lower than it did the day before.  With all the extra lung space, I had fun showing my dad our new house, heading back to the Springs for a long family nap, then that night taking a trip to Home Depot for some stuff we needed prior to our final walk thru for the Colorado Springs house.

While walking around the Home Depot, I had a sudden urge to go to the bathroom and realized I was slowly but surely wetting my pants.  My dad was off somewhere else in the store with Bubba so I pulled Haus aside and told him I had lost bladder control.  Being the logical guy that he is, he told me that really my bag of waters was probably leaking.  I told him no way and continued to shop and pay.  By the time we got back to the car, my black capris were damp to the inside of my knees.  I let my dad in on the situation as we loaded everything in the trunk and watched his eyes grow to the size of small saucers.  “Hospital… now?” he questioned as Haus and I got in the car with him.  “No worries, Dad,” I said, “I’m not having any contractions yet.”  We left Home Depot around 7:30p.m.

Fast forward to later that night, contractions were there but not painful, Dad and Bubba had gone to bed, and Haus and I were debating whether we should go to the hospital.  Our doula from Bubba’s birth volunteered to come over and check on me and, after she observed a few contractions, we decided to head to the nearby hospital.  Our only comparison was Bubba’s speedy birth and I was not doing the “hold-the-baby-in-on-the-way-to-the-hospital” thing again.  Imagine my surprise after checking in at 1:00a.m. and realizing I was only 3 centimeters dilated.  As I tell my students, however, I don’t believe that dilation gives you any firm estimation on when you’re baby will arrive.

From 1:00a.m. to about 3:45a.m., Haus coached, cajoled, encouraged, and made me move from tub to toilet to birth ball to back of the hospital bed, until I was ready to push.  Around 4:00a.m. I was more than ready to push, but the on-call doctor was refusing to come and catch.  We chose to check-in to a nearby hospital instead of trekking down to Fort Carson because we just weren’t sure how quickly this birth would go.  Haus listened as the nurses persuaded the doctor to come in while I was miserable trying not to push.  When this guy finally did arrive, disheveled with one sock tucked over his scrub pants, he told me I could not push from my current position, leaning my forearms on the back of the hospital bed almost on all fours.  Instead I was forced onto my back and within two extremely painful pushes (I’m convinced because of the supine, on my back position), Zeke was born.  The pushing was so fast in fact that after Zeke arrived, I told Haus there was no way I could do labor anymore, not realizing the little dude was out at around 4:10a.m.

Our little 8 pound 12 ounce baby boy had a full head of hair and a curious birth mark, we later realized was a salmon patch.  I asked the doctor if I could have a tiny bit of anesthesia during the stitching of my small tear at which point he patted me on the thigh and said, “Don’t worry, your epidural will cover that.”  Maybe it was my glare or the stuttering of the nurses that made him realize I had just completed an intervention-free birth.  Wide-eyed he burst out a second later, “What??  She didn’t have an epidural??”  Did I mention this doctor is lucky that I’ve never seen him again since Zeke’s birth?

So there you have it, labored from about 10:00p.m. to 4:00a.m. before birthing my little dude in two crazy pushes.  After this birth experience and some of my doula work, I told Haus that I would NEVER give birth without a midwife in attendance and really never wanted to set foot in a hospital for birth again.  Haus is in complete agreement as I didn’t mention how hard it was for him to coach me through the pain when the entire 3 hours he was told he couldn’t have me here or I had to be here needed to be checked again for this chart, etc.  Not very conducive to keeping someone relaxed through painful contractions.  Anyhoo, I’m happy that Zeke was born perfectly healthy despite all of the prodding and am also SOOOO glad that Denver has an amazing birth center that shares our birthing philosophy dare we ever try this labor thing again!


Bubba’s Birth Story (Part II)

By , January 30, 2011 10:11 pm

Part one of the story is here.

If you are squeamish, don’t like babies, or plain just don’t care about this birth junkie’s birth stories then turn away now.

At the end of one contraction, I felt like a freight train had just pushed it’s way down and out of my rear end. Sorry to be graphic, but it was crazy.  I looked in the water to make sure I hadn’t had an accident and said, “Oh man, I think I need to push.”  Immediately getting me out of the tub, the doula made a quick exterior exam and asked Haus if we would like to call the fire department or head to the closest hospital.  It was 9:30 p.m.

Haus’ eyes got wide as he blurted, “HOSPITAL!” A few minutes later we all piled into our brand new Toyota Tundra.  P.S. This was not how we thought this was going to go.  An average labor for a first-time momma is at least twelve hours and I was headed to the hospital squeezing my butt cheeks to keep from pushing baby out on the floor of our new truck after only 3 1/2 hours of contractions.  Our doula gave Haus directions and she held my face as I tried to blow softly through the biggest urges to push I’d ever felt in my life.  Squeezed in between the back seat, our new car seat, and me, she calmly told Haus after five minutes of driving that he might want to speed.  Blowing through stoplights, we arrived at 10 p.m. at a hospital we had never set foot in (Our midwife at Fort Carson was over 45 minutes away and there was no way I was making it there).

Running a wheel chair up into the elevator, we met two labor and delivery nurses who asked me with sugary voices, “Soooo, how far along are you?”  At the time I was “Whoooo, whooo, whooo”-ing my way through each contraction to resist the grunt-push feeling and didn’t answer.  Haus tersely said 40 weeks before pushing his way through them to a delivery room.  I don’t remember it but Haus said as soon as he pulled the wheelchair up to the room, I dropped my bathrobe in the hallway revealing my birthday suit, and walked calmly towards the hospital bed.  Plopping myself down, I begged for someone to check me.  When someone finally did, the nurse yelled, “SHE’S COMPLETE!” and the room went from one to about twenty scrubbed peeps.

Finally able to push I spent a few minutes reversing my mind as for the past hour all I’d been telling myself was DON’T PUSH.  Exasperated I turned to my doula, and said, “But you told me not to push!”  I also yelled at an anesthesiologist “I DON’T WANT DRUGS!” even though he was just hooking up an IV, and almost kicked the OB I’d never met that was telling me “Just push my hands out” as I thought, GET YOUR HANDS OUT OF THERE!  I was a little out of it.

Finally with a gush of effort, Bubba was born at 10:21 p.m., all nine pounds of him!  His hair was dark and curly and his sweet right cheek had a huge dimple as he opened his mouth.  I was in love.  We’d only been at the hospital for twenty minutes.  We didn’t have a camera, we didn’t have a phone, or the video camera.  We laughed and cried and embraced our sweet little boy, not really caring about anything else.

Special thanks to Lou Ann, our amazing doula and friend!


Bubba’s Birth Story (Part I)

By , January 29, 2011 4:30 am

I’m so excited for this week!  I have six couples taking my childbirth classes and I can’t wait to meet all of them.  One of the first things I do during the first class is tell the birth stories of the boys.  I give them the shortened version, but thought it would be fun to tell the full version here.

If you are squeamish, don’t like babies, or plain just don’t care about this birth junkie’s birth stories then turn away now.

Haus and I got pregnant with Bubba after almost two years of trying to have kiddos.  I’m not going to talk about that struggle here, but I’ll just say this.  It was one of the toughest times of my life.  After we found out we were pregnant, we decided to take a friend’s advice and take Bradley classes.  I had no idea what a life changing experience it would be for Haus and I.  Much like taking our Financial Peace course, Bradley changed our way of thinking about childbirth.

Fast forward to exactly 39 weeks and 6 days preggered with Bubba.  I had not had a SINGLE contraction since being pregnant and was kinda thinking the little dude wanted to stay in there forever.  It was a Sunday morning and I was debating whether I wanted to try some natural induction methods.  I also was sick of the lovely comments I received every day at work from my almost all-male Army coworkers.  You know, like “Wide load coming through” or “She’s gonna blow!” or “My wife never got that big”.  Thinking about those comments and the fact that my weekend was almost over, I took a couple tablespoons of castor oil… to get things moving.

*** IMPORTANT NOTE- I do not condone or suggest taking castor oil as an induction method during pregnancy ***

So there I was sitting on the couch clipping coupons and telling my mom that two hours later and castor oil didn’t do a thing.  Just as the words “didn’t do a thing” left my lips, I dropped the phone, b-lined for the bathroom, and flushed my system completely.  Whoa, I told my mom, check that last statement.  Castor oil sure does clean you out.  About a half hour later, I felt a sudden gush and ran to the bathroom again. Dialing my mom from the bathroom I said, “So, I think I just peed my pants.”  After asking me a couple questions, she responded, “What do I need to do explain to you that your water just broke?”.  This was at 3 p.m.

I called Haus at this point, he came home from his part-time, workin-thru-school job and was excited that I gave him an excuse to watch the end of the Seahawks game.  We called our doula (birth coach) and she was less than pleased that I didn’t call her prior to taking the castor oil.  She told me later that 1 TBS of castor oil was enough if baby was ready to super-speed labor, but 3 TBS, like I took, was the recipe for chaos.  She asked us to call her when contractions started as I STILL didn’t feel a thing and we started getting ready.

By about 6 p.m. I felt like I could feel contractions, but honestly couldn’t tell the difference between them and the awesome stomach cramps the castor oil gave me.  At 7 p.m. I could hear Haus telling the doula I was doing great and there was no need for her to come yet.  The second he got off the phone I went crazy, pregnant lady on him.  I yelled from my position sitting backwards on the toilet, “I am NOT doing great and she DOES need to come.  You better get a watch and start timing these.”  As Haus searched the house for a watch with a second hand (ended up grabbing a paper weight that had a tiny clock in it), I concentrated through contractions by relaxing my entire body and breathing regularly.  After timing a few, Haus got back on the phone with the doula.  Well, he said, she’s having contractions about four minutes apart and I’m pretty sure she would like you to come.

Our doula arrived at 8:30 p.m. and helped me from my permanent spot sitting backwards still on the toilet. Holding my forehead and the back of my head (still not sure why I loved this during labor), Haus coached me through breathing normally and the doula pressed on my back and lightly felt my stomach during contractions.  After about a half hour of this, they decided I might relax more in the tub.  I got down into the tub and sighed peacefully.  It was glorious.  Then I had a feeling I will never forget.

Continued on the next post… (I know, I’m such a stinker!)


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