Sunday, May 20, 2012

Birth Stories: How Stella and Roy came to be

Since my talk the other night at Expecting 101, I've been thinking so much about my birth stories. I had a request to share them, so here we go...

Stella Elayne
My entire pregnancy with Stella was amazing. I never got sick and felt great pretty much the whole time. Other than heartburn, which I had never had before in my life, I was really blessed to have an "uneventful" pregnancy. I was under the care of the same ob/gyn I had been seeing for 10 years and felt really comfortable with her. I didn't take any birthing classes; instead, I focused on what to do with the baby once she got here. Newborn care, breastfeeding, baby safety- all over that stuff. Labor? Delivery? Totally uneducated. I was under the assumption that labor will hurt, I'll take it as long as possible and then I'll get an epidural. The only thing I was scared of was an episiotomy. I discussed this with my doctor and she said what I now know is standard doctor B.S. "I'd rather have a controlled cut than an uncontrolled tear". Eek, that sounded like it made sense (oh woefully ignorant me!!!)
At my 39 week checkup, I was 3cm dilated and almost 100% effaced. My doctor suggested we induce next week, since my body was obviously ready. Great! Sounds good to me! I want to see my baby! I had no idea what that entailed or that since there was no medical reason for induction that it could cause complications. So I agreed and one week later, the day before my due date, I arrived at the hospital at 7:00am. I was so excited!!! A doctor I didn't know came in and broke my water. I was hooked up to a pitocin drip, which meant I couldn't get out of bed. I started feeling contractions and pretty quickly they really started to hurt. I was 5cm at this point and I was offered and accepted an epidural. That meant I needed a catheter too, because once the drugs kicked in, I felt nothing from the waist down. Nothing. They had to roll me from side to side every so often so the epidural would distribute evenly through my body. At 3:00pm, I was 10 cm and ready to push. Finally saw my doctor for the first time just as I was starting to push. She pulled over a tray of medical instruments, including a scalpel, and said she wanted to go ahead and do a "small incision". I freaked out and asked why, what was wrong?? She told me nothing, we just wanted to go ahead and "help this big baby out". I looked and Russell and he reminded me that I said I didn't want it, but now I was scared and feeling very vulnerable, so I agreed.
Stella was born at 3:42, 8lbs 1oz, 21inches long.
She stopped breathing the first night she was alive, while she was in the nursery away from me. I wasn't told until the next morning. The nurses did not honor my wishes to bring her to me every 2 hours to breastfeed. We had to spend an extra day in the hospital because of her breathing issue that first night. I never saw my doctor again the entire time we were there; I only saw her at my 6 week checkup. My healing from the cut was awful and I couldn't sit comfortably for 6 weeks. I told myself that if I had another child, it would be totally different. I would be more in control, more educated and I would NOT have any drugs in my system that might make my baby stop breathing. I learned about my options and I became a doula so that I could help other women learn about theirs.

James Roy:
With Roy, I also had a great pregnancy, just like Stella's. But this time I was working with a midwife and was planning a natural childbirth. I went into labor 2 days after my due date, at 5:00am. We had a normal couple of hours at home, calling people and taking Stella to daycare. By 8:00, I my contractions were 5 mins apart and coming on strong. I called the midwife and we got to the hospital at 9:00. I was contracting strongly, but in really good spirits. In fact, the nurse checking me in didn't think I was really in labor because I wasn't freaking out. My midwife checked my progress and I was 8cm!! (Told ya so Miss Nurse!) I labored in several positions, moving around and finding what worked best for me. My husband and mother were my "doulas" and were amazingly supportive. Around 10:30, I was laboring in the tub and it was amazingly helpful. I felt the really strong urge to push, so Nicole checked me again and I was 10cm, ready to go. I got out of the tub and pushed in several different positions until I found the right one (lying on my side, propped up). My water broke on its own with a really strong push. My support team had stopped laughing and joking, and the mood was really intense at this point, which is NOT what I wanted. After a big push, I asked Nicole if it was too late for the epidural, just to ease the tension. She said "You are NOT telling jokes in the middle of pushing!!!" Why yes, yes I was. (See, natural doesn't have to be excrutiating and no fun!) 10 minutes later, at 12:01pm, I reached down and helped pull out my son. He went straight to my chest, and never left my side. He didn't go to the nursery for anything; everything was done right there in the room with me. He started nursing 15 mins after he was born, and about an hour after giving birth I was up and moving around, feeling no pain. Absolutely none. It was amazing and powerful and so, so right. Roy was 8lbs, 13 oz, 21inches long. And no, I did not tear nor did I need a "cut". My midwife had this amazing new technological intervention called "olive oil" that she massaged me with to prevent that tear from happening. Much better than a tray of surgical instruments.

So there you go; the two different stories of my babies births. Neither better in terms of importance, but absolutely different in terms of who was in charge of my birth experiences.


  1. It's truly amazing just how different these stories are from each other. It's a shame you had to go through all that with Stella, but the impact it made on your life is truly wonderful! And to think, you will now be adding a third story. Another completely different situation!
    Thanks for sharing, Chas!

  2. So lovely. Thank you for sharing. At 8 weeks on, I am dreaming of my vbac.

  3. Also, for the record, I believe that if my baby Stella had not been ready to be born, all of those interventions would have ended in an unnecessary c-section. And with Roy, my midwife actually snuggled in bed with me while I nursed him on one of her MANY visits in the hospital.

  4. Also, for the record, I believe that if my baby Stella had not been ready to be born, all of those interventions would have ended in an unnecessary c-section. And with Roy, my midwife actually snuggled in bed with me while I nursed him on one of her MANY visits in the hospital.