Archive for September, 2010

Laboring on Labor Day, 2010

Tarrah hired me early on during her second pregnancy. She was bound and determine to have the birth experience she had missed out on. Her previous birth was induced because of gestational diabetes. They started her off with cytotec, gave her pitocin, and in active labor she requested an epidural because of the hyperstimulation being done to her body.

One traumatic thing she had also noted: nurses had to rush into their room (very much in a panic) as her son’s heart rate dropped too low. They had poked and prodded, turned and swiveled Tarrah – letting her know that if they couldn’t see the babies heart rate go back up, they would have to do an emergency c-section. luckily enough, after more than a few scary moments, they were able to get the vitals stabilized and continued on to a vaginal delivery.

After processing this birth Tarrah knew that her body and baby were too sensitive to all the medications…. particularly, the pitocin.

NOTE: A little about pitocin: It’s a synthetic form of oxytocin which our bodies naturally emit during labor and delivery. In hospitals, pitocin may still carry the name “Oxytocin” on the IV bags…but it is NOT. It’s synthetically derived from other mammal’s pituitary glands (not from humans). -Pitocin used inaccurately can have detrimental effects to mother and baby. Including, hyperstimulation to the uterus – causing unnaturally strong contractions, and possibly resulting in uterine rupture. Pitocin will flow past the blood placenta barrier (making it into the baby’s blood stream) – causing alarming/distracting vitals. Pitocin has also been linked to autism, ADD, etc.

Tarrah did her homework early on for her second delivery. She watched: “Business of Being Born,” and “Orgasmic Birth.” She read: “The Birth Partner,” and”The Bradley Method for natural childbirth.” Also, “Relaxation techniques for Labor and Delivery,” and many other empowering birth stories online. She had it set in her mind that there was no better option this time around. We met up several times before delivery. We met her doctor,  and did a private child-birth class with her and her husband, in the comfort of her home.

Once again Tarrah was tested positive with gestational diabetes, but was not insulin dependent. Close to her due date she was examined by her doctor and showed no progression in dilation, no effacing, and baby was still high. Her doctor also decided to go ahead and schedule an induction, just a couple of days after her due date.

Of course we had some tears and frustration at the set of circumstances, but she didn’t allow that to detour her from her path. She drank herbal teas, walked a lot, used her breast pump (helps release natural oxytocin), stayed snuggled to her husband, and even made some labor aide cookies. She was determined to avoid the once harmful medications that were given to her and her unborn baby.

Tarrah had been having various braxton hicks contractions throughout her last trimester. The morning before her scheduled induction, around 6:50 am, Tarrah called me, and was angry at the contractions she was having. She wanted to get more sleep, but didn’t feel like she could do so. We talked on the phone for a while before deciding she would go ahead and walk around her church. (Her church is right next door to her house, and she wanted to utilize its AC.)

I called Tarrah back around 10:57 that morning, and she told me that her contractions were not letting up. They were coming every 8 to 5 minutes apart but were not lasting as long as she would like. Her husband was helping time them using  www.contractionmaster.com. I told her I would start getting dressed, and if she would like, I could come stay the night with her before her induction. She would consider, talk to her husband, and call me back.

She called again around 2:00pm. They would definitely feel more comfortable with me staying the night and that after our last phone conversation her husband Kameron, had already recommended the same thing. They live 2 hours away from me, so I packed my bags, made arrangements for my son, and headed on my way.

I arrived to their house around 5:30 that evening. When I arrived, she was sitting on her birthing ball watching her husband finishing up a video game. I asked where their son Gavin was, and she said he was already at his grandma’s house.  Tarrah had been having pain in her back and was worried that this baby was posterior, like her son. (Posterior presentation is very common in L&D and can cause a prolonged labor, as well as back pain.) She layed down on her couch and I mapped her belly. We tried a diaphragmatic release (abdominal release) to see if this would also help with her back pain.

None of us had dinner and very shortly afterwards we all decided to get a bite to eat. Her husband drove us to a nearby sandwich shop. Tarrah had a couple of contractions while trying to order her food. We told the attendant that she was in early labor, as she said not to worry about it – that her own daughter had been doing the same thing for her last month of her pregnancy too. We all sort of giggled it off as we continued finishing up our orders. Before we left Tarrah used the restroom, and said she didn’t like going because every time she would sit down, it would bring on another contraction.

We made it back to their house and we all ate at their dinning room table. Tarrah wasn’t able to sit in her normal chair, so she pulled the birthing ball up to the table instead. Kameron and Tarrah were showing me their photos from their high school prom. Such a cute couple, and good photos I thought. She would have another contraction in between all of us eating, but continued on with the conversation. After we were all done we went back into the living room.

Tarrah was worried about having her induction the next morning. I warmed up an herbal body wrap and put it on her back – she was on all fours hugging her birthing ball. I told her, “if you keep having contractions the way you are, an induction may not be necessary.” She asked, “Is it going to get worst?” I told her, “it could… but that it wasn’t anything that your body wouldn’t be able to handle.” Later, she went to the bathroom came back and said, “It’s starting to hurt to pee, that it almost feels like the baby is being squeezed against my bladder.” I told her, “that’s a normal thing as the baby’s head starts to drop”, after swaying  her hips a couple of  times she set down on top of her birth ball. She had a couple more contractions sitting there and her husband came behind her and put a dark massager to her back. I put a her rice sock in the freezer. Things were picking up fast, I thought to myself…

I came back into the living room and asked her if she would like to get some sleep. She agreed but wanted to take a shower first then get a nice massage. So that’s exactly what she did. She was handling each contraction with such grace. Her husband showed me where I would be sleeping, and gave me a blanket to lay with. I relaxed down on the couch, closed my eyes, and listened to Tarrah as she was taking her shower. “Ahhh,” I heard. I few minutes later, “Ahhhhhhhhh!” A couple more minutes later, “KAM?…KAMERON!” They stayed in there together for a few more contractions and I gave them their privacy.

Around 9:30pm, she came out of the bathroom drapped in only her towel, and fell over her ball. I asked, “How are you feeling?” She said, “I’m not sure.” I looked over at her husband, we both had our eyebrows raised. I said, “Tarrah, I don’t want us to panic, but I think it’s time to go to the hospital.” She agreed and kameron started getting their car ready. I remember watching how calm Kameron was as I started putting back on my shoes. When he was outside Tarrah said, “I think my water just broke.” I looked under her towel and down at the carpet, where she was on all fours. I said, “No, Tarrah is hasn’t broke but I think your bag of waters is bulging” (Meaning…fixing to break.)

We got in our cars, I followed Kameron. They are from a smaller town and their hospital was 15 minutes away. Kameron was carefully driving the speed limit.  In my car, I started searching for a christian radio station and an old school bible hymn was on. I really wanted to be in the car with Tarrah. I started closely inspecting how Kameron was driving and every couple of minutes he would slightly veer off and speed up… I knew when this was happening… Tarrah was having a contraction.

We got to the hospital around 10:25pm. I parked and went to Tarrah’s side of the car. As soon as I opened her door she said, “Rebecca, I’m getting the epidural…I decided in the car.” I said Tarrah, “We need the nurses to assess you first… you maybe further along than what you are thinking.” She fell asleep after a contraction. I asked kameron to go get a wheel chair and he was back before the next contraction. After that contraction was over I told her, “Tarrah, you are going to have to help me.” After a contraction was over, she forced herself out of the car and into the chair. We took her into the hospital. We were greeted by Tarrah’s favorite nurse, Deven. Deven said, “Well good… I had your room ready for tomorrow morning anyways.”

We get Tarrah into her room. Deven put on the hospital gown, and I helped Tarrah into the bed. She had another contraction….”I can’t do it, I need something for pain.” I reminded her that it was a good sign, and that the baby was probably really close. Very shortly afterwards the nurse checked her and said, “Well no wonder you are in so much pain….you are 9 centimeters and the bag of waters is bulging!” We all had a huge sigh of relief. “Praise God! You are SO close,” I said. Deven started rushing around, gathered other nurses, and called the doctor.

I heard Kameron calling family members and he ran back down to the car to grab his camera. He came back shortly and the nurse checked her again and said, “You have a little cervical lip.” Both Kameron and Tarrah asked me what that meant, as I answered their question, the doctor came in the room… completely garbed and ready to go. She had a few more contractions.

The room was very busy as I reminded Tarrah, “don’t focus on the busyness of the room, instead try listening to your body.” When I said that, her entire body went limp, as if she was excepting it. She started to feel the urge to push. The doctor assisted in breaking the water and very shortly the baby started to crown. Everyone was ready to see her baby now. Including her mom, who came in just a few short minutes before her grand-daughter was born. Tarrah and Kameron’s daughter was 8bs, 1oz and born 30 minutes after their arrival to the hospital.

The doctor put the baby on her chest as Kameron cut the cord. Everyone started getting teary eyed as Tarrah exclaimed, “I did it, I did it! This feels like a dream!” She was smiling from ear to ear because she finally received the birth she deserved. Untouched, unmedicated, completely all her own.

God answered our prayers in so many ways. Tarrah did not have to be induced because she was knowledgable and believed in her body’s process. She made labor and delivery seem so effortless. I’m so incredibly proud of her and her husband’s determination.


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Little white house.

My great-grandmother is still alive at 94 years old. She may not be able to remember where she left her shoes, what exactly she ate for lunch, but she can still proudly recount in detail the birth of her children.

My MiMi (or my great-grandmother’s middle daughter, my mother’s mom) was born down a long dirt road in Caddo Mills, Texas. I lived close to this little white house as a child, and always remember passing by it as we would run to the local grocery store. I knew at a young age that birth was normal and would just happen…unfurled… even under the most humbling of circumstances.

My mother gave birth to me at Plano Medical Center, and there she had a doula… who was also my great-aunt (or my great-grandmother’s youngest daughter.) My great-aunt later became a Certified Professional Midwife and was not only there to witness my first breathe,  but my son’s too.

Whether we like to admit it or not, the stories we tell our children will either convey birth as a normal happenstance, or a continued part in the advancement of disrupting technology. Yes, technology has it’s place when genuinely needed but more often than not, normal birth is interfered with. (…for a matter of convience, more money from insurance companies, or routines done for liability issues, etc.) – And then you have to deal the cascading effect of interventions that could ultimately lead to, what was once, an unneeding c-section.

IT IS a rite of passage when a young woman becomes a mother. It’s also our childrens foundational imprint into the world that will be ingrained in them, and pass down to the next generation of birthing mothers.

I’m now a city girl at heart, but those childhood memories from small town USA later impacted the way I would deliver my son, at home, in one the most populated cities in the USA. I knew that if my child’s great-great-grandmother birthed peacefully and uninterrupted at home… I could too.

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