Gwen's Birth Story

Wow, she's here. Gwen's birth was an amazing experience. One I had thought about and planned for a lot. After my experience with Kate's birth I decided this time around I wanted it to be a bit different. Not that Kate's birth was anything short of amazing, but I wanted to feel like I was in control this time. Like I could handle the situation and birth the baby myself. I have always been interested in natural childbirth and was intrigued on how different cultures view childbirth. I feel like birth in our culture is treated more like a medical condition than the natural, peaceful process that it can be and is. Of course there are instances where modern medical technology is a miracle and saves lives and I'm not discounting that, however I knew in my experience that my body would do it's thing if I was prepared mentally to be in control. With Kate's labor I used the lamaze breathing techniques and found them to be exhausting for me and almost counter-effective as I tensed up so much while breathing. Also, I remembered thinking while in labor with Kate how great it would be to have someone in my ear giving me a constant reminder that I could do this. My body knew what it was doing and all I needed to do was relax and let it do it's thing. I did some research after becoming pregnant again and decided to do a hypnobabies home study course. It seemed to fit in with our schedules and was something that I could do when time allowed. It didn't require much of Paul and didn't cost a fortune either! I followed the program the course suggests and started practicing around 28 weeks by listening to "scripts" or self relaxation techniques every day, along with pregnancy affirmations that helped to keep my mind positive about the pregnancy and birth. I was worried at first that it would be too much of a commitment for me, but found as I started doing it that I really looked forward to taking some time to sit and relax. I think it made this pregnancy much easier for me and I always felt calm about the pregnancy and birth.

Fast forward to Friday night, Feb 27 around midnight. I woke up having pressure waves about 5 minutes apart. They weren't too intense, but I definitely felt them and it kept me from sleeping. I woke up a tried to ease my mind by surfing the internet. I kept timing the pressure waves and they stayed pretty regular, but weren't getting stronger or longer. Having been in labor before, I knew that things needed to get more intense before it was time to go to the hospital. So I tried to go back to bed and rest. I was able to get a few hours of sleep. I woke up Saturday morning, still having pressure waves and cramping, but they weren't regular. Some were intense and some not, so I just decided to try and go about my day. I went on a walk with Kate and to yoga. I did things around the house in anticipation of the new baby's arrival. By Saturday afternoon they began to be more intense and I got the feeling that the baby was coming soon. I called friends who were planning to watch Kate and then decided to keep waiting things out at home until I knew for sure. It seemed that just when I thought it was time to go, the pressure waves would ease up and I wouldn't have any for 20 minutes. I knew they needed to be regular so I decided maybe it was all a false alarm. I tried to keep busy doing other things hoping maybe that would go away. We went to bed around 10 and after lying in bed for an hour, again not being able to sleep, I got up and decided this was for real. The pressure waves became longer and more intense and were coming about 5 minutes apart. I walked around the house wanting to labor at home for as long as possible. Around midnight I woke Paul up and told him it was time, this was for real. He called our friend Becca, who came over to sleep at our house with Kate, and called the doctor. We arrived at the hospital around 1 am. We waited in triage for a half hour or so, and the doctor arrived. I was dilated to 5-6 cm and admitted. The doctor broke my water and told me she'd be back in an hour to check on me. I thought the hospital staff was excellent. I wasn't required to have an IV or be on continuous monitoring. I was able to move around as I pleased, but found I preferred spending most of my time sitting up in bed laboring. I tried not to watch the clock and just stay relaxed. The nurse checked the baby every 10 minutes or so and around 3:15 am while checking the baby, realized the baby's heart rate was dropping during pressure waves, but recovering after. The next 15 minutes were a whirlwind. The nurse immediately made me lay on my side (which I was not happy about--laying down is the worst position for dealing with intense pressure wave) and the room was filled with people. Someone started getting an IV ready and the doctor rushed in. I really wasn't sure what was going on, until the doctor checked me and said I was ready to push, and then called for a vacuum because we needed to get this baby out ASAP. I knew I didn't want her to use the vacuum so I started pushing with everything I had. Luckily I did my part (without the assistance of the vacuum) and 12 minutes later our baby was born with the cord wrapped around her neck. They rushed her to the warmer, gave her a few breaths and after about 30 seconds she started breathing on her own. When Paul tells the story he says how scared he was that she came out blue, but for some reason I never remember feeling scared. I had felt her kicking me throughout the whole labor and knew she was ok. As it turns out, she was. Perfectly healthy at 8 lbs 1 oz and 20 inches long. The doctor said that she probably just descended really fast and that combined with the cord around her neck caused her heart rate to drop a little bit at the end.

The whole experience seems a bit euphoric to me now. It was intense and definitely one of the most empowering things I have ever done. I'm glad she is here. It was a really great feeling to be in control and let my body do it's work. The mind is so powerful! My recovery has been amazing. I feel fantastic and loved that less than an hour after giving birth I was able to walk down to the nursery to watch my baby be given her first bath. Paul was incredibly supportive throughout the entire pregnancy and birth and I feel lucky to have him as my birth (and life) partner. Gwen has been a dream baby so far and everything seems much easier the second time around.

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