Community Medicine Cabinet See what others use
Krafts 4 Kids
Find Links Quick!
NEW Lucy's Birth At Home
Jared's Home Waterbirth - by Julie Lockman
Nayah's Homebirth-My First Birth- by Tracy Addington
My First VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean)-by June Perkins
Ripped From My Body; My 2 Cesarean Births - by Diana Bachmura
The birth of Julian Atreyu - A beautiful, emotionally descriptive homebirth story!
After Six Medical Births, I Finally Have the Birth I Deserve - An awesome home waterbirth!
Janai's Homebirth - 11th baby, born quick!
Breech Vaginal Birth Photo Story - Check out this website for some awesome photos of an unmedicated, non-interventive breech birth. Worth waiting for the photos to download.
Childbirth, Baby Care, Breastfeeding & Midwifery Links
Read about "Jason's Birth" at www.thebirth.org
The notes below are taken verbatim
from my Baby Blog, a constantly updated journal-in-progress which
I will eventually give to my daughter when she is old enough. Nothing
has been edited, changed, or deleted except for the proper names which
have been replaced by titles or by pseudonyms.
To begin with, the bioscan told us that you were healthy, energetic, plenty of amniotic fluid, and a good size - nine pounds, to be more exact. I was happy to hear the first part but not so keen on the last. Your increased size meant a harder labour probably ahead - but at least you were healthy and in no danger from placental breakdown.
Then Mom took me to the midwives'
office (by which time the weather had turned nasty with a lot of pellet
snow - an icestorm predicted) and I had a session with "Rani".
My belly was 40 cm, my weight 240 lbs, and my cervix hardly effaced.
also not promising. Then "Rani"
She continued to explain that
the IV would need to be in and constantly providing the oxytocin throughout
labour - which meant that I would need to be on the monitor throughout
labour - which meant that I would not be able to move around freely
but must labour in the bed or on the chair - and that I could not
use the Jacuzzi tub for pain relief. In one minute's worth of
explanation I had to come to the realization that my entire carefully
thought-out birthplan, based on my deeply-held philosophies and personal
desires, emotional needs, and preferences for optimal baby care, had
just gone out the window. I would not be able to labour and
birth you as I had wanted, in the natural, creative, flexible, non-interventionist
I was quite upset and "Rani" let
me have some time to absorb this - unfortunately I wasn't able to
talk it over with my husband as he had just left work a few minutes
before I called, so I had to make the decision to proceed with the
induction and to deal with my
We headed back to our place to
pack up everything we thought we would need in labour, as "Rani" had
warned that it was possible that the first dose would bring it on
and we might wind up staying at the hospital overnight. Since
I've been ready for the past month,
We got to the birthing room about
nine and were met by "Rani", who got me half-undressed, on the bed,
and hooked up to the two monitors and then left us to record our undrugged
(pre-gel) data. The presiding obstetrician, we learned an hour
later, was in OR and
He greeted me efficiently, showed
me the gel and applicator, and asked me to open my legs. I gritted
my teeth and hung onto my husband and "Rani"'s hands while he went
in. After about a minute of sharp, unpleasant manipulation and
pressure, and painful cervical
I had my eyes clenched shut and
continued to hold my husband's hands as he spoke, so I didn't see
his face, but his voice was as neutral and efficient as his method
had been. He said, "You are ten days overdue with a large -
nine pound? - baby, and your pelvic arch
I had to deal with my anger about
the futile efforts I had undergone in the last ten days - the physical
and emotional pain of the most recent procedure - the disbelief that
my body wasn't able to handle a
Eventually we took an hour with
the three of us to sort out our options and make some decisions.
I had had enough in the last ten days - almost an extra two weeks
of the most difficult and uncomfortable time of any pregnancy -
and I didn't want to put either you or me through six or eight hours
of unproductive labour with its attendant pains and possible risk
of oxygen deprivation and then still wind up with a C-section.
"Rani" recounted the experience of her most recent client - last Friday
- who had gone through the exact same thing; she was a nurse who was
determined to deliver naturally and vaginally, but was too narrow,
and after two doses of the gel, each six hours apart, plus another
six hours of labour during which the baby's heartbeat kept dropping
with every contraction,
I'll write more later, because
I'm exhausted now. It's actually now six in the morning on Tuesday
and I've only gotten a couple of hours sleep because the gel is now
producing sharp cramps - NOT productive contractions, just pangs which
January 27, Tuesday
My husband and I went into "East Lancaster General Hospital" with "Rani" for our scheduled C-section. I was still labouring under the influence of the oxytocin gel from the night before so I was taken to a birthing room to wait. I had had to have an IV put in - standard procedure, so again I couldn't object or negotiate - and they began giving me fluids (but no painkillers). "Rani" and my husband both kept telling me to 'breathe through' the contractions, so I had to try to convert my moans into hisses of clenched-teeth breath. It must have sounded like a cat fight, between my wails and savage hisses, but I was hardly in a position to be very self-conscious at that point.
We spent the morning - there were
three booked C-sections plus an emergency ahead of me, so at about
eleven they moved me from the bed to the Jacuzzi labour tub. That
was a relief in a number of ways - the IV came out (leaving the shunt
in my hand) and the weight
I lay in the hot water of the
labour tub for almost three hours, sharp cramps and contractions every
three to five minutes - but my cervix refused to respond by effacing,
and I simply had to suffer through without any painkillers which would
interfere with the upcoming
They asked me to move onto my
left side and curl up as much as possible. Someone kept saying,
"Keep your head down. Push your back out. Out! Push
your back out!" I made a few feeble attempts which didn't seem
to make any difference to me, but they were finally satisfied.
"Now you have to hold completely still, Judith," a nurse said.
They emphasized this again and again, that "Dr. Liu" needed to be
able to find the exact spot between the vertebrae, that she was very
skilled at this but she needed my cooperation to be completely
The anesthesiologist came round
into my field of vision and kindly offered to add an anti-anxiety
sedative as soon as the baby was out, to help calm me down for the
stitching and finish-up. I nodded, and she receded into the
background again. The needle went in and they
"I have to cry," I gasped, "but I won't move." Nor did I, as the needle went in and the anesthetic tingle began to spread, despite the tears running down my cheeks and that thin whimper that I couldn't seem to stop. Then there was a sudden jolt like an electric shock, from my back down my right leg, which jerked involuntarily. I yelped and began to apologize, but "Dr. Liu" cut me off; "No, that's good, that's a good sign, it's taking, we're done." Almost instantly I felt a pins-and-needles field begin to spread over my legs and up and down my lower body. My skin became incredibly sensitive - the bed sheeting against my left thigh and calf felt like a cement sidewalk, the gown pressing on my back like coarse sandpaper. Those sensations faded as they rolled me from my side to my back, assuring me that there was no needle there any longer and that I wouldn't feel any pain.
"Dr. Liu" began to trace her finger
along my abdomen and belly - I could feel it - 'Ouch!" I uttered anxiously,
terrified that she was about to begin cutting while I still had sensation.
She came round
His eyes behind his glasses were
warm and loving, and I put all my focus into listening as he told
me how proud he was, how well I was doing, that it would be ok, that
he loved me. Behind the drapes the medical team began their
work - I felt as if I were floating in cool
"'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis
a gift to be free,
My voice was a husky whisper, and my eyes were streaming with tears, but my husband's tenor rang out in that sterile white room as they lifted our daughter past the drapes and into our vision.
"When true simplicity is gained,
A high-pitched wail joined us - her cry, for the first time. "Our baby, honey, our baby, it's our baby.." I babbled ecstatically, watching the tiny bundle whisked past in the cluster of nurses. The anesthesiologist set her hand gently on my shoulder and murmured, "Do you want the sedative?" and I shook my head, wordlessly. I could see little blood-stained feet kicking behind the sea-foam scrubs, and I heard her protesting as they clipped, wiped, and bundled her. Then they moved apart, and I saw her perfect, angry face peeking from the bundle. They set her in my husband's arms and told me that I would see her soon in the recovery room.
Nothing seemed too important after that. They must have finished stitching me, and then the nurses turned me from side to side, warning that I would feel as though I were falling, and got me onto a gurney. I wound up on a reclining bed in a little curtained alcove in the recovery room - "Rani" and "Sharon" were there with big smiles - but I only had eyes for my husband sitting beside the bed with our baby in his arms.
I held out my arms demandingly
and he reluctantly laid her down. She was perfect - perfect
- beautiful - a wondrous round-faced deep-eyed morsel of rose-pink
skin and dark hair. I drank her up while her father hung over
my shoulder. Our adorationfest was interrupted by a smiling
blonde nurse who announced that she needed to
She was ten pounds, four ounces.
I couldn't believe it, shocked as I was to be expecting a nine-pound
baby. "Sharon" joked, "You had a toddler!". She was born
at 2:27 pm on the 27th of January. Her Apgar score was 9.9 -
the highest one can get. At first her long
Indeed, free of a squeezed passage
through the birth canal, and with ten days extra to plump up, she
looked like the classic month-old baby rather than the blotchy red,
wizened, wrinkled newborn. I kept nuzzling her plump cheeks
and stroking her tiny soft hands in an
I don't remember much about the
rest of the day. The epidural began to wear off and they gave
me ibuprofen for the pain. I tried feeding and the latch was
poor so my nipples began to hurt. The hospital does 'rooming-in'
where the baby stays with you but gives you the option of having her
taken to the "Nookery" (a little nursery just by the nurses' desk
where they can keep an eye on them and the moms can get some rest).
She had several blood sugar tests - which had to be above three-point-something
before she could have a bath, for some reason - and I had to keep
trying to feed to bring that number up. Eventually we gave her
some formula on top of whatever colostrum I was producing, and she
made it to four. Four what I do not know. They brought her back
with bandaids on her tiny purple heels and a miniature white flannel
hospital gown which tied up the back and made her look like a serious
angel. Her hearing test was perfect (of course, I thought.)
Supper was a mug of hot water with
Lucy's Birth At Home
My pregnancy had been a long one of 43 weeks!
It was in the morning at about 6:15am and my partner/boyfriend Jason was up at the toilet. I was starting to feel pains in my stomach and vagina. Jason came back to bed and I told him about the pains and how they came every 10 minutes. He called the midwife and she told us that it would be some time yet and I should just relax!
At 10:00am I called the midwife and told her that they were 2 minutes apart so she came over and I lay on my bed. Lillian, my midwife, helped me through the contractions and at 12:30pm she spread my legs and said that I needed to start pushing at every contraction. The pain was unbelievable! Jason held my hand through every part of this. I put my hand down at my vagina and I felt the baby's head! It was amazing. The pain wasn't a sore pain but a feeling of relief that I would have a baby soon.
My son Scott, who's 13, was helping me through the birth at the same time. Then another midwife called Georgina came and asked me questions which Lillian already knew! She asked how old I was and I said 29, and she asked everything else!
Then I pushed again and Scott was helping with breathing techniques! Lillian told me to push again to birth the shoulders. What an amount of pain!!!!!!!! I screamed and then the baby was out of my vagina!!!! Thank God!!!!!!! I called her Lucy and then they cut the cord. The placenta was then born!
Just to let all of you know homebirthing is the best place to birth your baby because I gave birth to Scott and Lucy at home and it was fabulous!
Mum The Bear
I was awake when it happened (as I had just visited the bathroom) and just moments before I felt the baby drop into my pelvis. David and I got up and began the wait. We started to call friends and family that would be there for the birth. Everyone, including the midwives, seemed to arrive at around 5:00 a.m. My midwife checked me right away and I was at 5 cm.
I had a few small contractions over the next hour and a half but nothing was really happening. My midwife thought that there might be too much commotion with all the people sitting around chatting and basically having a little party. She suggested that everyone leave the room and for David to do nipple stimulation on me to get the labor going. So, we did that at 6:34 a.m. Two minutes later I had a really strong contraction and was ready to get into the tub.
My midwife checked me and I was at 7 cm. The contractions started to get intense. Getting into the water was such a relief and so relaxing. (I will never labor out of a tub again). I was very comfortable in a sitting down/reclining position. After a few contractions I started to say “I can’t do this”. My cheering section kept telling me that I could and encouraging me along the way. My two older boys (aged 5 and 7) arrived with grandpa around 6:45 a.m. It was so nice having them present. At this point the contractions were really intense. I remember crying out for the Lord to help me. He did! At that point I was ready to push!
My midwife was stretching my perineum by massaging it with olive oil. Around 7:18 I began pushing. It felt good to push. The contractions didn’t seem so intense. I could feel the head move into the birth canal. I could feel my skin start to stretch. It started to feel like I was going to burst. It was burning…like on fire. My midwife kept stretching me with the oil, that helped a little. Finally at 7:27 a.m., there was the head. It was soft and mushy….I couldn’t believe it was the head! Pushing the head out took the longest since it was 15 cm. The head was out at 7:33 a.m.
Since the head was so big my midwife suggested that I get on my hands and knees. I told her I couldn’t move. She said with the next contraction that I would really have to push. At 7:34 a.m. the next contraction came. I pushed and gave it all I had. The shoulders came out and then the rest slipped out. At 7:34 a.m. Jared Philip was born. At 7:42 David cut the cord. I then got out of the tub, lay on my bed and delivered the placenta with one push at 7:47 a.m. At 7:50 Jared lay by my side nursing. Jared, you were worth the wait.
Homebirth-My First Birth
We had the opportunity and blessing of having a few homeschoolers, homesteaders, and homebirthers in our church as well as the traditional folks, and after much prayer and faith we decided to pursue a homebirth. Kelly was a beautiful midwife. We certainly had a lot of time to prepare and pray for this, (as any pregnant woman knows how MUCH time a pregnant woman must endure =).
My labor started May 18th, 1993 coming home from town in Chris' very bouncy truck around 7pm. It wasn't pain that made me grasp the seat and roof of the truck while bracing my feet on the floor all at one time. It was the intensity of the contraction mounted. We got home and I payed attention to my body with Chris. We called Kelly to let her know and give her time to prepare and also called the birth team to get ready. Chris and I went to sleep, I mean he went to sleep while I laid in our bed in wonder and amazement. A wife and her husband, quietly shifting and changing, growing and expanding for this little child and God's great love in our lives. They were rich and exciting moments.
Pretty soon I felt that we should go ahead and have the team assemble at 1 AM. They got here and set up and smiled at me a lot. I was falling into a deep sleep between contractions. I was about 6cm dilated when Kelly suggested that I get up and move around a bit.
I moved into the living room with my husband GLUED to my side, as the contractions were changing and growing in intensity. There on the couch, I began to let a quiet groan escape my lips to take the edge off and if Chris tried to leave my side the contractions would become twice as strong, poor guy. I began to walk around in between them and lean on Chris, my arms around his neck, when they would come.
I was 8cm or more when I decided I wanted to lay down and rest in our bedroom, the place we had prepared for our child to be born. It was there that, as I progressed to full dilation, not only did my husband "carry" me and support me, so did the entire birthing team, including Kelly, who sweated and breathed and ached with me.
I had to constantly pee throughout the labor and it was in the bathroom with one leg on the bathtub and my arms draped around Chris's neck that our child inched down remarkably. I waddled back to the bed and began to push, the encouragement flowing and I needed it, because I never had an urge to push. It was pure will and prayers that gave me the strength to push for about two hours.
The sun was shining gloriously near 10am. While on hands and knees, Nayah's head crowned and, this is going to sound crazy, I rolled over onto my back between contractions so as to catch my baby. With one, powerful, continuous push I, we, birthed our daughter visibly into our hands and lives. The cord was around her neck one time, which is common, and we held her there and balled our eyes out, she crying with us.
The placenta came probably 30 to 40 minutes later. I tend to hang on to them, it seems. I have a hard time using those tired muscles to push that squishy thing out! =).
During this whole process I realized that never once did I feel afraid, not taken care of or provided for. It was fluent and a celebration in every way. That is not to say that there were not battles here and there, but there always is when fighting for something good and right.
A few words of wisdom to those
that read this who are expecting:
On the way home from our vacation in Idaho, October 1986, I told Doug, my husband, I must be crazy, but I had this urge, out of the blue, for more children. We laughed and said, "It must be hormones." But when we later found I had been 2 weeks pregnant on that trip, we had an inkling that God must have been preparing us for something special!
The next few months were filled
with questions: Why now, when the
Gradually, peaceful acceptance
replaced the why questions with how
We called a friend in town who had successfully delivered her 3rd child naturally after 2 sections and she referred us to a team of O.B.'s and certified nurse midwives in Medford (30 miles south) who helped her.
Our first few meetings with these people were very encouraging - until my medical records were received from California. There in black and white, underlined in red were the words cephlo-pelvic disproportion, a.k.a. CPD. In other words, my pelvis was considered too small to deliver Sarah at 71/2 pounds.
Our Doctor changed his tune to
a minor key and gravely announced there was no way he could medically
recommend our persuing a VBAC and that our chances for success were
very, very small. "Are you telling us it would take a miracle?"
I asked. "Yes", he said. That
So there followed many hours of research, reading, telephone interviews and most of all searching prayer. "God, what do You want us to do? Provide the money for a section or give us a VBAC?" They both seemed equally impossible and the research we did on VBAC's was not conclusive. Hopeful, but not definite.
Not much research had been done on VBAC's after 2 c-sections. No wonder the doctor drug his feet. Could we hope to hear God over the roar of our own desires?
However, over the next few months
we were continually encouraged to pursue the "impossible". We read
Silent Knife by Nancy Cohen. Our good friend, Kelly Frohnauer,
midwife apprentice, was certain we could do it. Special scriptures
were given to us. And most importantly, every time we came to God
about it, alone or in prayer groups, we
It was difficult to wait that week past the due date. Especially since the doctor's one ray of hope was that perhaps we could accomplish a premature delivery.
Eccl. 3 "For everything there is a time and a season for every activity under heaven. There is a time to be born..." meant alot those days. We watched alot of videos and I baked alot of bread.
We had a lot of false labor beginning
Saturday, June 11th. Finally my
By midnight they were getting concerned about my water being broken too long and wanted to induce. We tried breast stimulation - that didn't work. So Doug persuaded them to let us get 2 or 3 hours sleep and then they hooked up the pictocin. They upped it very carefully every 15 minutes to 10 drops per minute. That gave us good active labor. At 7:30AM we had another check and the midwife announced we were 5-6 centimeter and very thin! We all cheered because this was as far as I'd gotten my first birth. The first sign that we might really do this!
It took till 9AM to get to 7 centimeters
and from then on it was very
I was so disappointed in the pushing.
I had so eagerly been awaiting
After pushing for an hour and not making much progress, I was pooped. I had nothing left. So they brought in Doctor Witt who used suction to hold the baby where I pushed so it didn't slide back. That was just the ticket.
We made rapid progress after that,
at the expense of alot of pain. I
And then he was out and how they
exclaimed over his size! Nine
Birth Story Diaries - Real Births, Real Pictures
See hundreds of photos of all kinds of births.
To see a vaginal breech, totally unmedicated go to this page.
by Jill Cohen
from a previous
issue of Midwifery
Today. Click on
link to read
The Benefits of
Water, Laboring in
the Water and
International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN)
is a nonprofit organization founded by Esther Booth Zorn in 1982. ICAN works to lower the rate of unnecessary cesareans, supports vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), and encourages positive birthing through education and advocacy.
Look through their resources section for Childbirth classes, reading lists and also you can sign up for their online support group. Plus news articles and statistics. You'll find a wealth of information at the ICAN website.