Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ivy Mae's Arrival

Ivy's birth was surreal, amazing and so very empowering! I would not have been able to give birth naturally, if it were not for my amazing husband/coach David, and Mandi our doula! Also, from everything we learned in the Bradley Method classes, reading positive birth stories in Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth and faith in Lord’s timing and plans for us.

So here you go, Ivy's birth story:

On Thursday, July 22nd at about 4:30 in the morning, I was awoken by my water breaking. I was 38 weeks and 1 day pregnant. It was a huge gush and it went everywhere! I believe, I yelled out to David, “My water broke!” We were both in a state of confusion for a little bit and I remember thinking, “Oh my gosh, we are having a baby today!”

Excited to finally meet our little girl! One last bump pic!

Our original plans prior to this had been to labor as long as possible at home before heading the hospital. Thus, hoping to stay in a relaxed environment, progress quicker, spend less time at the hospital in which interventions might be encouraged. I didn’t know though how my water breaking was going to affect our plans. I was a little nervous that contractions wouldn’t start naturally and since my water broke, the hospital would immediately put us on the clock to deliver in 24 hours. But, my fears were eased when contractions started coming right away. They felt like menstrual cramps and were coming every 3 minutes and lasting a minute.

David immediately called family to let them know my water had broke and then called our doula Mandi. After discussing things with her, we decided to check back in with her, in about an hour or two and let her know how I was progressing and reassess our plan.

At 5:30 they were quite a bit stronger, but I was still able to talk through the contractions and move around. I ate breakfast: yogurt and crackers, while David packed his things.

By 6:30, I was having to stop and concentrate each time a contraction came, so we decided to have Mandi to start her drive down to us as it was going to take her about 45 min to get here. I wanted her to be here when the contractions started to get intense. Contractions were still at this point coming every 3 minutes.

During the next hour, I tried sitting on the exercise ball during each contraction and hated it. Laboring on my hands and knees was ok, but I found that what I liked the best was standing with my arms wrapped around David’s neck and swaying through the contractions. I knew that if I was going to do this naturally, mental relaxation was going to be key. I did a lot of visualizing that I was in Hawaii lying on the beach. The contractions started coming sooner and were becoming more painful.

Around 7:15 – 7:30, Mandi arrived and contractions were about every 2 minutes and lasting over a minute. We decided that since the contractions were so close that it was time to head over to the hospital, which was less than 5 minutes away.

We got to the hospital and once in L&D, the nurse checked me and I was dilated to 6 centimeters! I received a heplock instead of an IV, so I could move around. We planned to do intermittent fetal monitoring and the nurse said I had to leave it on for an initial 20 minute strip to see how Ivy was doing.

I tried laboring on my side and it was horrible. Then I tried on my hands and knees leaning against the back of the bed, which I found didn’t help much either. Instead, I went right back to standing/leaning on David and swaying through each contraction. Since, I wasn’t moving around too much, we kept the fetal monitoring on and whenever it moved off Ivy’s heartbeat, the nurse would just come back in and reposition it.

I’m not sure when I reached transition, but soon the contractions were right on top of each other with no letting up. David and Mandi took turns applying pressure to my lower back with two tennis balls, which helped immensely. During the short breaks between contractions, I felt like I had no energy and was extremely tired. In efforts to keep my energy up, I kept drinking water and had a couple of honey sticks.

Soon, I started to feel an lots pressure which I at the time I thought was an urge to push with each contraction, so we had the nurse check me and I had progressed to 7.5 centimeters. At this point, I started to feel like I couldn’t do it anymore and was discouraged. I remember telling this to David and Mandi, but with their awesome encouragement and reminding me that transition was super short, I was able to keep going.

Not sure how much time passed, but soon the urge to push was even more intense and I asked to be checked again, hoping that I was finally at 10 centimeters. The nurse checked me and I had progressed to 9 centimeters. This time I did not get discouraged, as I knew at this point I was so close and I would be able to do this. With every contraction and having the urge to push, I had to consciously not tighten my pc muscle. This was soooo hard to do! I also kept thinking about this saying, “Imagine your cervix opening like a flower.” I remember reading about in our Bradley classes and thinking that’s cheesy, but this really allowed me to not tense up and freak out.

At 12:00 pm, each contraction brought an uncontrollable urge to push. The nurse checked me and I was finally at 10 centimeters! She said we could start pushing and soon my doctor would be in. It felt great to finally be able to push. My Dr. arrived at 12:30 and I was finally starting to get the hang of pushing effectively. I did feel the “ring of fire” and her crowning, but it was nothing in comparison to the pain prior to pushing and transition.

Ivy Mae was finally born at 1:05 pm! They immediately placed her on my chest still all gooey. People have asked how it felt and I can’t even describe it. It was absolutely amazing and this ultimate high. We breastfed immediately, while my Dr. delivered the placenta and stitched up the 2nd degree tear that I had received. We delayed all treatment and testing to Ivy for that initial bonding. I was amazed at how long she stayed alert for, about 3 hours.

David's family was all out of town on vacation and because mine lived out of state, my recovery room was very quite. I had thought we would be having to kick people out, but instead we were encouraging people to come down to the hospital as no one was there!

We were discharged the next evening and I was so very thankful to get to go home and sleep in my own bed!

Ivy is the most precious and wonderful gift from God! I am amazed by the love that I have for her. I already can't remember what life was like without her here.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

~ Philippians 4:13

"Remember this, for it is as true and true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body."

~ Ina May Gaskin

8 comments on "Ivy Mae's Arrival"

Alicia on August 5, 2010 at 10:06 PM said...

You go girl! It sounds like you had an awesome experience!

Courtney on August 6, 2010 at 6:46 AM said...

That is an awesome birth story!! You give me more encouragement to really try for a natural birth with our next baby. With the past two, I have only lasted to 5 cm.

I am so glad that things went great for you! And even better that she was able to breastfeed right away. That is such an awesome experience and bonding time!! Congrats!!

The Loving's on August 6, 2010 at 7:53 AM said...

What a great birth story, Robyn. I'm so glad things went the way you wanted them to go. Ivy is beautiful! Enjoy the special moments with her! :o)

The Guddats on August 6, 2010 at 8:24 AM said...

Robyn, thanks for sharing this! I am so happy you had the birth you wanted and the ability to bond with your baby right away. Congrats, she is absolutely beautiful.

Casey Angulo on August 8, 2010 at 11:55 PM said...

You are a rock star! I love this birth story. Can't wait to meet Ivy.

JennB on August 9, 2010 at 6:43 PM said...

Wow Robyn! That's so wonderful! You're really inspiring me to try natural labor. As in, I'm researching classes now. Thanks for sharing

Bekah on August 20, 2010 at 5:36 PM said...

Beautiful!! I had hoped to go natural with Jack, but pre-ecclampsia struck and they told me either I get an epidural to try to dilate faster or I had to get a C-section. Next time!!

Ivy is beautiful, good work Momma!!!

Diana on August 20, 2010 at 8:29 PM said...

Such a wonderful birth story. I am sure that time with Ivy was precious.



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