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Lisa and Skylar Jade

I felt strongly about doing everything I could to try and achieve the most natural birth possible. My husband and I attended Bradley Method Childbirth classes and read everything we could. I hired a birth doula to attend the labor and delivery.

My due date. I was really round and getting very uncomfortable. I didn’t want to do anything artificial to induce labor, but I did let my OB strip my membranes when she did my check up. I was 1-2 centimeters dilated.

Time for another check up. I had a non-stress test and an ultrasound. The baby seems to be doing fine, but the doctor wants to schedule an induction for next week. I won’t be allowed to go longer than two weeks over my due date. Since I had gestational diabetes I didn’t want to take any chances and agreed to schedule the medical induction. My exam showed I was about 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. At least I was making some progress. My doctor tried again to strip my membranes. The induction was scheduled for 12/7/99.

I read anything and everything I could find about natural methods of labor induction. I tried castor oil (really bad idea), red raspberry leaf tea, evening primrose oil, walking, and nipple stimulation. I read that acupuncture can be used to induce labor so I had a session. It was very relaxing. The acupuncturist said I’d be in labor that night.

About 9pm - The acupuncturist was right! My contractions started. They were about 15-20 minutes apart and lasted 30-45 seconds. They were very manageable with just relaxing, breathing, and sometimes moving around. About 10:30 I suggested to my husband that he should go to bed to try and get a little sleep. I tried to watch TV, but the contractions kept getting a little more uncomfortable and closer together, so I was not comfortable sitting still. I decided to take a shower. The contractions were about 8 minutes apart when I got into the shower and they quickly progressed to being about 4 minutes apart. My husband woke up and came into the bathroom to ask me how I was doing and I told him it was time to go to the hospital. He didn’t quite believe me, but calls to my doctor and doula confirmed that it was time to go.

We left for the hospital a little after midnight. My contractions were still about 4 minutes apart. I was able to deal with the contractions by putting a lot of pressure on my lower back. We got to the hospital about 1am. The nurse checked us in and I was SO happy that she was actually familiar with my birth plan! All the nurses and staff we came in contact with during our stay seemed familiar with my birth plan and all were extremely friendly and helpful. The nurse knew I didn’t want an IV but asked if it would be OK to do a heplock, just in case of a problem. I agreed. I changed and she did the heplock and the routine blood work, and then she checked me and I was at 4 centimeters. They put a fetal monitor on me for about 20 minutes. My doula got to the hospital about 2am. After the monitoring we walked the halls. I liked walking by the nursery to look at the new babies…. Good inspiration! The contractions slowed down to about 6 minutes apart for a little while. They were painful, but my husband and doula were both great. We got into a routine with one of them putting a fist into the painful spot on my back with each contraction, and reminding me to breathe nice and slowly. The worst pain of my contractions was definitely all in my lower back. I felt great between contractions. Between contractions I was able to chat and relax.

We were joking around about when it would be a good time to have the baby. My husband said "how about 5am?" My doula didn’t think we should get our hopes up, and we all laughed. Little did we know…

The nurse hooked me up to the fetal monitor again off and on. I hated being hooked up to that thing and not being able to move around much. I was able to sit in the rocking chair, which helped a little bit. I couldn’t stand being in bed and didn’t labor in bed at all. Contractions were all in my back and definitely painful, but I felt they were still pretty manageable. We continued to walk around and return to the room to be monitored. I decided to take a shower at one point, but the shower just wouldn’t get hot enough, so I got out very quickly and the nice nurses showed up with hot towels to wrap me in.

Some where around 4:30-4:45am, the contractions started getting really, really bad. I was feeling a horrible pressure, and thought I might be feeling the need to push. I started wondering about pain relief. I kept reminding myself that our Bradley teacher always said that when you can’t take the pain anymore it is almost over. That was hard to believe considering I hadn’t been in labor for all that long, and that the last time I was checked I was only at 4 centimeters. My doula started doing a pressure technique on me during contractions, where she pushed my hips kind of together and up and even though the pain was really bad at this point, the hip pressure did help.

The nurse had said she was going to check me again around 4am, but she hadn’t yet. I leaked a little fluid and the nurse went to get something to test if it was amniotic fluid. While she was gone, I told my husband and doula that I felt like I needed to push and my doula kept telling me to breathe and not push while she called for the nurse. All of a sudden my water broke, no question about it. My doula became very concerned because she noticed there was obviously quite a bit of meconium in my fluid. She called the nurse again.

At about 5am, the nurse came back and there was kind of a panic. She checked me and said I was about 8 centimeters, but I still felt like I needed to push and the contractions were getting unbearably painful and I didn’t really feel like I was getting much of a break between them. The nurse was very concerned because of the meconium in my fluid, and they paged the doctor to come to the hospital. They decided to put some kind of catheter in me to flush out the amniotic fluid and hopefully prevent the baby from breathing the meconium. It was difficult to stay still during contractions so they could get it in. Almost as soon as they got it in, they decided there was no time to use it, because the baby was coming fast. It was removed. There was also some discussion at this point about putting an internal fetal monitor on the baby. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but agreed since everyone felt it was the best thing for the baby. Things happened so fast that the internal monitor was never used.

By 5:10 I reached ten centimeters and the baby was descending fast. I was told that my doctor wasn’t going to make it, and they had pulled another doctor that was on the floor to come deliver the baby. At that point I didn’t care about much. A whole bunch of doctors and nurses started congregating, the bed was broken down, and the doctor arrived. He explained to me that because of the meconium the baby would not be allowed to cry right away, and they had a neonatologist standing by to check her out. I was given an oxygen mask because of some decels in the baby’s heartbeat. They finally gave me the OK to push. I got the baby’s head out with the first push, but I stopped pushing before they told me to (I yelled at them that it hurt) and apparently the baby’s head went back in. Another push and her head was out again, but the cord was wrapped around her neck twice. My husband didn’t get to cut the cord because the doctor had to act fast, but luckily she was fine. One more push and she was born. They had to suction her lungs and nose to make sure she didn’t breathe in any meconium, but she got a clean bill of health pretty quickly and was given to me within about half an hour. First stage was about 8 hours, second stage was just three pushes, and third stage was about 20 minutes. The stand in doctor was wonderful. They wanted to hook me up to an IV of pitocin after the birth to help slow down any bleeding, but the heplock they had put in me earlier wasn’t working, so they ended up removing it and just giving me a shot. The nurses were very concerned about bleeding and clots since I wasn’t getting the pitocin drip, so they kept coming in to massage my uterus. It hurt!!!! I think the massage was as bad as delivering the baby. At least I didn’t have to have an IV, and thankfully I didn’t have any problems with bleeding.

Skylar Jade Hamilton was born at 5:18 am on 12/4/99. She weighted 7 lbs 1 oz, was 20.75 inches long and had Apgars of 8 and 9.

I had a first degree tear, but no episiotomy. I was very pleased with the whole birth experience. I got my wish for a drug free birth except for a local for the tear repair, but I can’t imagine not having that! Skylar was alert and nursed right away with almost no help from me or the nurses.

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