Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Best Birth Stories Part 1.

Lately I have read a few birth stories, written up with the public in mind, except they were the horror kind of story. I have a hard time understanding why anyone would write these up for women who have not yet experienced labour. There is nothing to compare with the rush and hormonal response that occurs when a non-fearful,fully educated about birth, unmedicated woman pushes her baby naturally into the world, and that is how it is supposed to be. So I thought I would share my best birth stories with you.
I'll explain why.
A woman approaching her labour, is in a very delicate state emotionally, and anything that brings forth a fearful reaction is likely to negatively affect the outcome. Fear creates adrenalin in her body, which slows down the oxytocin being pulsed from her brain. Oxytocin is the hormone which creates loving feelings and it is also the hormone which stimulates contractions. When a woman goes into labour naturally she begins the bonding process with her baby. As each contraction squeezes her uterus, her baby recives oxytocin into its system, as well. The oxytocin produces a content reaction in the baby, making it fully relax in order to be born. If it all works properly and there is no unnecessary intervention, the baby does not feel distressed during labour. When a woman is fearful, adrenalin from her brain suppresses the oxytocin, which can slow down labour or even stop it, the adrenalin will also make the baby feel distressed. This is the way the fight or flight response works on a woman in labour. Adrenalin can be stimulated by the fear of the unknown, coupled with the negative birth stories you may have heard.
The solution to combatting fear is is simple. Positive reinforcement that natural childbirth is safe. Read as many positive natural birth stories as you can get your hands on. Become educated in the way that your body works in labour. Discover ways to relax in stressful situations and practice them during your pregnancy for use in labour.

Derek's Birth

I have to be honest and say that I now look back on all of the births of my babies in a positive way, even though they didn't all go exactly to plan. I have had six children, one cesarean (first baby), and 5 vaginal births, 2 were induced.

The birth that I look back on most fondly is the birth of my 5th child, Derek, who I call my millenium baby, born in the middle of 2000. If I could have written a step-by-step guide for natural hospital birth, that experience would have been the one.
I had been nesting for about a week, cleaning and setting up baby stuff, making sure that everything was ready. I knew that this behaviour is instinctive in a mother who is about to go into labour and meant that it would most likely happen soon.
I had a lovely couple who were friends and would be looking after our children while I was in labour, my mom and hubby would be coming with me to the hospital.
That day I was meditating and feeling inwards and my youngest child was aware that I was quiet and seemed different than my usual lively self. She crawled into my lap and started asking about the baby. I told her that she would soon have a baby brother to cuddle. She cuddled my tummy and kissed the "baby". Right then I knew that the baby would come very soon. I had been having regular false labour for several days, and I just knew that this was the day.
Hubby and I went to the library to have some quiet time. I sat quietly reading as I had regular contractions. They started right after I sat down and cam about every ten minutes. I started timing them by how many pages I had read in between. After awhile I was only averaging 5-6 pages between and I told hubby we had better go home. It was early evening, so we went home and had a light meal and I read some more on the bed. My kids all came to lie on the bed with me for awhile and daddy read them a story while I breathed through contractions. I kissed them all and daddy put them to bed with the help of our friends. By this time I was getting tired so I went to sleep. The contractions mellowed for a couple of hours, allowing me to sleep and then they woke me up again. By this time it was uncomfortable to lie on my side so I got up and squatted up against the radiator heater. This was a very comfortable position during the contractions and the heat was relaxing and comforting for my back muscles. I rotated my hips and knelt during contractions also. I continued for several hours as the contractions got steadily more intense. I let hubby sleep as I felt quite able to cope, and just rode the waves as they came, rocking, rotating, deep breathing and leaning my back against the radiator.
I felt like I needed to be alone and just do what I needed to.
I felt a distinct difference in the contractions after about 4 hours, so I knew we needed to get to the hospital. I woke up hubby, we called the hospital and put the labour bag into the car. I got a towel to sit on, just in case, and my bed pillow for comfort. The car ride was probably the most uncomfortable part of the whole labour as the seat belt was too tight on my tunmmy and I couldn't find a naturally comfortable position.
When we got to the hospital at 6.30am, I was squatting in the waiting room and huffing and puffing as hubby filled out the paperwork. I think it was obvious that I was far along so they got me into a room fairly quick. I was already 8 cms dilated and by this time the contractions were coming fast and intense. I went into the ensuite bathroom and squatted in the shower as I let the hot water pound on my back. The heat and deep breathing was comforting although I was holding on by a thread at this point. Back in the room I did more rocking and rotating as I hummed a tune during the contraction. I am a musical person and I found it helped me to hum and rock to a beat when it got really intense. At this point a nice Japanese student midwife pushed gently on my accupressure points during the height of the contraction. I felt a rush of endorphins, and I knew that this was it. As I squatted, my mucous plug came out in one big clump, my waters broke and I felt such an urge to push down, but I just knew that this was not the time for a hard push, instead I gave gentle pulses with my muscles as the baby gently stretched the vaginal walls. As it was my fifth baby, very little stretching was needed so as the head crowned I stopped pushing altogether and just breathed the baby out. As his head came out, I knelt one leg down so I could catch him. Hubby supported me from behind and my mom was there as well supporting me. I felt such a rush of love for my baby, as well as a euphoria that I can only compare to finishing a marathon or climbing a mountain and reaching the top. But there was more, as I felt love swamp me, the oxytocic rush made my milk spurt out ready for baby, and boy was he ready. He latched on and had a good suck. I felt the placenta separate with the after birth contractions and it came out in one nice piece without any help at all. I didn't need stitches and I was able to shower and dress, then sit and enjoy my baby immediately with his daddy and my mom. We shared a wonderful bonding time. I felt like I could do anything, I didn't even feel tired. The baby was born around 2 hours after arriving at the hospital.
My explanation for why this birth went so well was that I was able to labour at home until I felt like I needed to get to the hospital. In the privacy of my bedroom in my house I could just let my labour take me over, and my body do the work without distraction. I could have had a homebirth, if I was as informed as I am now, but at the time I thought that I had to birth in hospital because of the cesarean birth of my first baby.
It is imperative that you find information from a variety of sources, because one source may have their own agenda for the recommendations that are given. It's your body and your baby, so take control of what happens to them.