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Good Thing She Wore Her Nike’s (Brady’s Story)

[shared with permission]

Crain’s Birth Story is one that needs to be shared. I feel that our family and friends need to hear why Crain was born at home and hear how amazing that Saturday Morning was for us. Tyler and I had to make so many decisions with Crain’s birth; decisions that are not accepted by many, but in the end were the right ones for us and Crain.

There are two subjects that I do not share my opinion on with many people and those two subjects are religion and birth. If you are close to me you know how I feel about these two, but even so, I feel that people have the right to worship how they desire and women should be able to birth how they desire (medicated, un medicated, hospital or home).

In this birth story I am going to open up about my views, some will learn from the words that I write and the natural tendency of others will be to pass judgment, but either way you will hear the story of Crain’s birth and hopefully gain an understanding of our beliefs on birth.

Tyler and I enrolled in hypno-birthing classes for Crain’s birth. Julie was once again our guide during this pregnancy, and we learned so much in our classes.  I did my Hypnobabies homework religiously and I feel that Crain’s birth benefited greatly from my hypno studies.  I had been in the care of Dr. Stafford for this pregnancy.  Dr. Stafford delivered Preston and I truly admire Dr. Stafford and I am very grateful to be in the care of such a hands on, awesome physician.  But with all that said, Dr. Stafford cannot control hospital procedures and there was something in me that really did not want to fight to have the birth I wanted.  I knew in the hospital, I would have to battle to have a true hypno birth, and so after going back and forth on the “homebirth idea” We connected with our midwife from the beginning and I felt calm and at peace about the homebirth idea after meeting with her. She was extremely knowledgeable about birth.  So it was decided a Homebirth for Crain!  We were excited and at peace with the idea, however; kept it a secret because I did not want to hear all the negative comments.

So May 7th  (Crain’s guess Date) came and no baby Crain, and boy oh boy how it  made people mad that he was not here.  I was determined to let Crain choose when and how he came into this world.  But it was hard to be out of control and it taught me the first lesson of being a good parent, PATIENCE, and most of all it made me closer to my faith.  I knew God was watching over us and I knew I was doing the right thing.  I read quotes and scriptures every day and had faith I was making the right choice.  Our birth team walked us through this wait and made me feel that it was normal when most everyone around us were asking when we were going to be induced, and when were “they” taking the baby, and don’t forget the people sharing with us why you should not carry your baby past it’s guess date.  It was a long 14 days for many reasons, but looking back I am so proud of us for having faith and waiting on Crain.  If I would have delivered in the hospital, I would have had to been induced and I am so happy I did not do that.  Thank you to Tyler, my Mom, and my sister Laura for really talking me through those 14 days and being so supportive of me.

On Friday, May 20th, I started feeling some Pressure waves, that’s hypno talk for contractions.  I went to acupuncture and had a nice relaxing session.  I texted my birth team and told them that I was having some pressure waves.  In the meantime, my parents came up (I had not told them I was having pressure waves because I did not know if it was truly labor).  That evening, the pressure waves still came and went; I listened to a Hypnobabies script before bed and decided to get some sleep.  At midnight, I got up and walked around, got some water, and tried to go back to bed.  Once again I listened to my easy first stage Hypnobabies script.  At 2:00 am, I got up and was definitely feeling more intense pressure waves.  I woke Tyler up and told him that they were getting a little intense.  I got into the tub as Tyler timed the waves.  Oh yeah, they were close together and getting stronger.  Tyler stood by my side and he does not even have to say anything to me during birth, he looks at me and I regain focus, and I instantly feel calm.  Tyler is my strength when I run out of it in labor.

We called Julie, but told her that she did not need to come yet and that we would call her back in an hour.  Tyler woke my parents and they took Preston to Tyler’s parent’s house.  My Mom knew of the homebirth, but I had just informed my Dad that evening when I thought I was in labor.  I knew he would worry, but once again my Dad surprised me and handled it beautifully.  I guess he trusts his “little Miss Magic”.  At 3:00 am Tyler called Julie back and told Julie to call the midwife.  Julie had already gotten her gear together and was on her way.  My Pressure waves were strong and very close.  I hummed during waves, yes I sounded like a dwarf from Snow White [note from Julie:  the “hi-ho, hi-ho, its off to work we go” song], but you know that is what I love about a natural birth, if you let yourself go and let your body lead you, it does things to get you through birth.  And my body apparently wanted me to hum, and so hum I did.  I told Tyler to get my “Birthing Outfit”.  Yes I like to look cute when I deliver!  My birthing attire was a knit skirt and tank and most important my Nike’s.

[note:  notice the wall behind her is covered with birthing affirmations]

Julie came in a little after 4:00 am. She just saw I had my Nike’s on and I remember she said “Oh you are ready!”  I wore my Nike’s during my labor with Preston and would have delivered in them if the hospital would have let me!  So with my outfit on and Nike’s laced, I was ready to go.  [note from Julie:  When things got intense with Preston’s birth, Brady ritualistically put on her Nike’s.  I knew when I saw them on her feet, we would meet a baby soon.  I got on the phone with the midwife and told her to hurry!]

I had had the urge to push a little right before Julie arrived.  Now the urge was uncontrollable.  Crain’s birth took over my body and of course my body knew just what to do.  I remember feeling like I was just watching myself birth.  You go to this whole entire different realm, or at least I did.  It one of those experiences in life where you are not the driver, but the passenger and you let your body drive and have faith that it knows what to do.

I think my water broke at 4:45am or so and I remember saying “that felt great.”  Crain’s birth was moving really fast and the midwife was not there, but I was not scared, I actually felt very calm.  I had Tyler and Julie there, and it was really calm and peaceful.  My pressure during pushes became really intense, so intense, and so difficult.  The only position I was comfortable in was standing up.  When I pushed it took over me and literally lifted me onto my tip toes (good thing I had that extra support from my Nike’s).  I felt burning, and knew that Crain was coming, but it was happening so fast.  I remember telling Tyler and Julie that I felt burning.  I reached down and felt Crain’s head, and saw Tyler place his hands below.  I pushed again, and my beautiful Crain was caught by his father’s hands, and my world stopped.

Crain laid in my arms and talked, instead of crying he talked and talked (you know baby cooing).  He apparently had a story to tell me about where he had been for the past 40 weeks and 14 days.  The midwife arrived within seconds.  Our birth team took great care of me and Crain in the hours to come.

So why did we have a home birth?  On May 21st, 2011 at 4:53 am, Tyler caught our 9lb 6oz son with his strong hands in the comfort of our home.  I had no nurse chasing me around trying to check me.  I was free of wires and IV’s.  I was able to have a true, calm Hypnobabies birth.  I was not met with paperwork to fill out nor did I have a nurse counting for me while I pushed.  I was able to place Crain directly on me after birth.  Tyler and I did not have to fight for anything we desired for Crain’s birth.  It was a calm, beautiful, safe birth. We have been asked if we worried or why we would take a “risk” of having Crain at home. To answer those questions yes, of course I worry.  I worry about both my children, constantly.  Did I worry about birthing him at home?  No!  I was in safe hands and I knew our birth team would never put me or Crain in an “unsafe” situation.  As far as risk, you take a risk whether you are at a hospital or at home.  Ironically, if you do some research and listen to other birth stories, sometimes hospitals and their many interventions put you and your baby at more risks.  Tyler and I weighed the benefits and risks and in this situation; and the benefits outweighed the risks.  Tyler and I educated ourselves and surrounded ourselves with birthing professionals.  It saddens me that instead of excitement after Crain’s birth, most everyone’s first reaction was that of worry and judgment.  I understand that this is not the “norm”, but to those I say open your minds to a new yet old way of birth, do some research on natural hospital births in the US, and have faith that people make decisions for all the right reasons, and be okay with women who choose to not be the “norm” when they birth their children.  I certainly do not judge other woman on how they choose to have their child.

The coolest part of Crain’s birth is that I felt so connected to my faith.  They say that God is present with every birth and by having Crain at home, and being surrounded by calm, supportive people, I felt the presence of God.  It was truly the most incredible experience. I am so happy that I trusted my gut and stayed true to who I am, and had Crain the way Tyler and I wanted to.  I look at Tyler and feel closer to him than I ever have; he truly is a great birth partner, and even a better husband and father.  I know that I am a stronger wife and mother.  I am proud of Crain’s birth, and do not look at his birth in any negative light.  I look at his birth as a gift.  Both of my boys gave me the gift of birth and I discovered if you open your body and mind to birth it is truly life changing.  On May 21st, 2011 at 4:53 am as Crain entered this world something in me changed, just as it did when Preston was born.  I cannot describe the change; it is just the most amazing feeling, and I know it was because of how we brought both Preston and Crain into this world.  I will never forget either one of their births, but especially Crain’s birth.  I grew that day, and I am so glad that I experienced the gift of birth.  Thank you to our birth team for supporting us, and helping us through this pregnancy.  Without you guys I would not have had the experience I had, and for that I am forever grateful to all of you.

Crain still “talking” to his mama an hour after his birth:

 [Note:  Brady and Tyler made the challenging choice to change care providers and birth location at around 36 weeks.  If your intuition is telling you to explore other options, it is never too late.]

Icing on the cake

I got an email from Dr. Polo Shirt. It was too beautiful not to share. Why don’t we have more Dr. Polo Shirts? He gets it.

“I had a really neat delivery this AM of a really sweet couple. Mom’s 3rd baby and was laboring on her side. (I have delivered all of her babies.) When it came time to push, she stayed on her side. Baby was OP [occiput posterior–facing toward the ceiling], so it took some work for her to push it out. Dad was sitting on a chair next to bed on the side mom was facing doing very supportive, support person stuff. I was sitting on the bed, behind the mother. Because of mom’s position, as the baby was coming into view the father was as close to her perineum as I was, so he got to see his child’s birth in detail, rather than peak from up above. The really cool thing was that since the baby was OP, as it was born, it had its eyes wide open and was looking right at his father, so his father was the first person he saw instead of me. Then this baby took a big breath and began audibly crying while the head was still the only part delivered. I do not remember ever seeing that before.

It felt so right to me, because with me behind mom and dad being so close and involved, I felt like I was not even integral to this delivery, It was just something that this family was doing together. Then the icing on the cake was that instantaneous eye to eye contact between father and son as the head emerged. I so wish I had it on video.”

Most of the time, birth doesn’t need any help. A good care provider knows when to step away and let it happen. Let the couple experience their amazing moment. 

Let’s not rush in to save the day when it doesn’t need saving.

“Let You?”

Regarding birth, I hear language like this:  “You mean, your doctor let you [fill in the blank]?” 

I’ll be honest.  Language like this makes me want to puke. 

I attend births in different environments.  Rarely do I hear an out-of-hospital birther say, “I am so glad my midwife let me [fill in the blank].”  But I hear it all the time about doctors or nurses. 

What is the difference? 

Pregnant women, hear me.  You do not need to compromise all your power and choices when choosing a hospital birth.  Yes, there are some limitations.  Yes, many many OBs do not support vertical birth, delayed cord clamping, etc.  Find one who does.  Prepare.  Ask your friendly neighborhood doula which doctors support physiological birth.  We know what goes on in the labor room. 

One of my clients recently gave birth standing in the hospital bathroom.  Her doctor (of course it was Dr. Polo Shirt) responded afterwards, “well, I haven’t had a standing birth in awhile.”  He was completely unfazed by the whole thing.  He simply handed her the baby and helped her to the bed.  Some of her friends responded with “he let you give birth standing up??”  Why yes.  And she trusted he would support whatever position she chose.  

Do not be afraid to switch care providers if your intuition is screaming that he/she will not support your choices.  Be tenacious about finding someone who will.  Birth is important.  It is.  How you are made to feel during birth is important. 

**Great scene, isn’t it?  All I could do was crawl between doctor and toilet to slide a pad under her and then crawl back out to grab the camera.  Space was tight and it all went down quickly.  I think Dr. Polo Shirt only got one glove on.

Lately

Adoring:  Alba Kukui Nut Cream

Still Listening To:  Midlake

Proud of:  my husband’s latest woodturning art

Never Leaving Home Without:  Jason’s Mineral Sunbrella

Appreciating:  Dr. Polo Shirt

Nostalgic:  my dad cooking breakfast for me–the same breakfast he always made on Saturday mornings when I was a kid

Re-reading:  The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta (don’t let the title fool ya–it is not joyful)

Buying:  Baby legwarmers

Drinking:  Zhena’s Gypsy Earl Green Tea

Working on:  prenatals, classes, and a new birth project soon to be revealed

Wishing:  that I could make a salad as yummy as my mom’s

Giddy About:  my sister’s growing belly

Feeling:  nervous about the grace-based discipline study group I’m facilitating (what was I thinking??)

Missing Terribly:  dear friends who have returned to the north lands

Brady’s Birth Story

[shared with permission]

I had not thought a lot about birth before I became pregnant with Preston. All I did think about birth was mainly negative and never in my wildest dreams would I have thought it could be such a positive experience. I think if more women shared their positive birth stories, we would have a different view of the whole birthing process. Before I start I do believe that every woman is entitled to bring her child into this world how she wants to.  So here is how Preston entered this world, hope you enjoy it and take something from it.

Tyler and I decided that we really wanted to bring Preston into this world without medication or interventions during labor. We started working with our doula, Julie, who educated us on how to follow through with the birth we wanted. Tyler and I read and read and researched and took classes and met with Julie and asked probably a million questions. We learned how to labor together and different methods to help ease the pain of labor. Finally the day was here!

January 24th, 2009
I woke up with a lot of back pain and just did not feel good. Tyler and I went for a long walk and still the pain did not ease up. Needless to say I spent a lot of time in the bath and having Tyler apply counter pressure to my back. We watched a movie and I tried to sleep but could not.

January 25th, 2009
We called Julie around 6:30 a.m. and she told us to try and get some rest. I got into bed and ended up sleeping for about 3 hours. Thank goodness I got at least that because little did I know I was about to do the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Julie decided to come by and check Preston’s position (most posterior babies put a lot of pressure on the back during labor causing the mother to have back labor). Julie walked in at 11:54 and my water broke at 11:57. I remember being excited and scared all at once. We were going to have a baby and I was going to meet Preston, but at the same time I knew that I had a big job cut out for me. My labor progressed quickly. Julie wanted to try to see if Preston would rotate, so that he would be anterior and take some pressure off my back. After doing what she called the “rotisserie,” Preston flipped.

img_7407Labor was starting to get very challenging and I just kept pacing and had not gotten my rhythm down to get through my contractions. My personality is so independent and I think I can do everything myself but I realized that I needed Tyler and I needed to allow him to help me through these contractions. I finally got into a ritual during my contractions. I leaned on Tyler and held his hands over my face and rocked back and forth. Strange, but it seemed to work. My contractions were getting so intense; we decided to head to the hospital. I have to admit in the back of my head I was thinking that natural childbirth was for the birds and I was wondering what I was thinking doing it naturally! The car ride was interesting, my contractions seemed to be back to back and Tyler was driving like a race car driver to get me there. I think he was a little nervous about birthing a baby in the car. I remember not wanting to hear any noises, it was like I was so deep into myself that everything around me was a big blur.

We arrived at the hospital at 3:30 p.m. and instantly I wanted to push. It was a feeling that was welcomed and one you cannot resist. It is funny how your body just takes over and knows exactly what to do (if you allow it to). We walked in and got into the room and immediately I was pushing. The nurse tried to get my IV in, but she failed because my contractions were coming and I could not help but move. I was exhausted and I really wanted to just rest. I kept thinking if I could just rest then maybe I could do this, but I had to dig deep way down inside me and find the strength to continue pushing. Julie and Tyler were great and really helped me to find the strength I needed to get Preston here. I remember thinking that this was much harder than I ever thought it was going to be, but then I felt Preston start to crown and I knew that Tyler and I would be able to meet our son soon if I could just keep pushing. At 5:27 pm Preston was in my arms and it was the best feeling in the whole entire world. Tyler and I created this img_7465beautiful child and all that work during labor was what got him here.

Labor is not easy and it was the hardest task that I have ever done; however it was the most rewarding. After Preston’s birth I felt stronger than I have ever felt in my life. There were many times during my labor where I hit walls and I wanted to quit, but I did not. I climbed them and that feeling is a remarkable feeling. Tyler and I are closer today than we have ever been. Going through the labor experience together fused us together even more than we were before. It took “us” to a new level. Looking back at Preston’s birth it was one of those memories that I will treasure forever. Did it hurt? Yes. Was it hard? Yes. But I learned more about myself and what I am capable of in those 6 hours than I could ever imagine. So childbirth can be a positive experience and I cannot wait until I get to do it again! It is a beautiful part of life and I am blessed to have experienced it.

[I would like to add that Brady made many healthy choices in her pregnancy.  She also made the difficult choice of switching care providers and hospitals in her last few weeks to a more natural birth-friendly practioner.  When I saw Brady and Tyler at a postpartum home visit, they were beaming with respect for each other and adoration for their baby.  It is such a pleasure to watch them grow into a family!] 

Dr. Polo Shirt Makes a House Call

I’ve had a wonderful streak of unmedicated hospital births lately.  Strong mamas and papas who were prepared and thoughtful about their births.  

I learn so much from each birth.  My latest birth was unusual–days of prodromal labor, slow progression with intense contractions.  We were laboring at home when Dr. Polo Shirt (you’ve read about him before here and here) stopped by the house to see how we were doing!  What a great encouragement to this family for their doctor to step onto their turf, validate their progress, and then leave them to their privacy to continue laboring.   

[Let me interject here:  if you are pregnant, live in the area, and are planning a hospital birth, you will not find care like this anywhere else.  I won’t promise you’ll get a house call, but I do promise you’ll be surprised by the personal care you’ll receive.  I’ve seen many doctors in the delivery room.  Trust me.]       

I won’t go into all the details of this birth but I’ll sum up with:  beautiful baby, happy mama, and proud papa. 

I’ve also loved that all my recent births have involved immediate skin-to-skin contact with babies left on mama’s chest for at least the first hour.  That sounds like such a reasonable request but sometimes it is so difficult to get in the hospital setting.   

Now I’m lounging beach-front at Hilton Head.  Lazing the days away for a little while.  And I must turn off the ‘puter to take my tot swimming!

Elizabeth’s Hypnobirth

[Shared with permission]

 

On February 18, 2008, I donated blood at the local blood connection.  I randomly asked the phlebotomist, “What happens if you give blood and you are pregnant?”  The response was, “You may miscarry?”.  Well, you can guess that I took a test the next morning, February 19, 2008.  I took a pregnancy test at 6:30 am, 7:30 am, 8:30 am, and 9:30 am.  Interesting they all said that same thing, pregnant.  I told my husband that night by putting a pregnancy test in the bottom of a chocolate tin.  I told him I had something sweet for him. What an exciting time!  We are going to be parents. 

 

On June 9, 2008 we found out we were having a girl, wait, no a boy.  The technician was in training and misread the ultrasound initially. Yeah, a little drummer boy.  What a blessing to see a life growing inside you.  Every precious flutter, kick, and roll made me more aware that I was going to be a mommy.   clip_image0021

 

We had a lot of decisions to make.  One conversation was taken care of for us, finances.  On March 7, 2008, we became debt free thanks to prayer and God’s gift of teaching to Dave Ramsey.  The next were labor options and support.  We wanted no medical intervention so I needed to find different ways to deal with the pressure waves of labor and delivery.  We tossed around the idea of a birthing doula for some time.  I loved the concept, but pride stepped in.  My independent self didn’t want any help. My husband, the free spirit, stated that you only give birth once to this child and the doula would help us both, especially him.  He had a great point since I was more nervous about his response during labor and delivery than my own.  Luckily I had a friend, Julie Byers, that is a doula so I automatically felt comfortable.  I also wanted to integrate hypnobirthing.  My employers contract psychologist, Dr. Wood, did sessions with several fellow employees that swear by this self-hypnosis technique.  You use your natural instincts to bring about a safer, easier, more comfortable birthing experience.  Hypnobirthing is incorporating deep relaxation techniques where some mothers report little or no pain.  Dr. Wood is very limited about what clients he takes on, but prayerfully I was one of them.  Last was our OB and hospital.  In the beginning we put no thought into where to birth and what doctor, but after seeing five of the OB’s at Highlands Center for Women and taking the Greenville Memorial tour, we were very troubled.  We received a negative vibe with these places because they advocate medical intervention and we were afraid that our birthing plan would not be carried out at these facilities.  My doula recommended Dr. Stafford and Greer Memorial. I was nervous about a male doctor since I had never seen a male doctor and I was also nervous about the drive to Greer in the urgency of labor.  After much prayer and research, we felt a peace that we cannot explain so we decided to change facilities.

 

The due date was set for October 24, 2008 and when that date rolled around and no baby, we became very disappointed, but what a time to reflect on God’s goodness.   We were taught patience and trust as this little baby was 13 days post due.  On the night of November 5, 2008, I was admitted to the hospital and was scheduled to begin the induction at 6:00 am on November 6, 2008.  I kept telling everyone, that he would come on his own.  My husband and I prayed and prayed he would.  I was told if I went into labor before 6:00 am, they would cancel the pitocin.  At 5:30 am, I started having contractions at 4-5 minutes apart lasting a minute.  I told Russ to call our doula.  When they checked me, I was at 4 cm. The pitocin was canceled.  Thank you for answered prayers and what timing, thirty minutes before the dreaded pitocin. 

 

100_2860What an amazing gift we have in our bodies.  God has equipped us as women with everything we need to give birth.  It is not a medical emergency, but a natural process.  I learned to trust my body that day.  I never stayed in the bed.  I moved around the room, laboring on the birthing ball, in the tub, hands and knees, and even on the toilet and leaning against the rods in the bathroom.  I learned to trust others that day.  My support team was amazing.  My husband stood by me the entire time.  He sensed my needs through every pressure wave.  This time of intimacy was like no other. 

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Our doula, was there to lead us through everything.  She was very knowledgeable about natural labor and delivery, hospital procedures, and non-medical interventions (counter pressure, aromatherapy, etc).  Julie would continually encourage us and the staff to stick to the birth plan.  My doctor, Dr. Stafford, was like no other doctor.  He is aware of the normality of birth and really has his patient’s best interest in mind.  He encouraged me while I labored and pushed.  He even helped hold me up while I pushed in the squatting position.  He stuck to our birth plan and made sure that the nurse did as well.  The nurse, Tammy, was great even though you could tell she was out of her comfort zone as she is used to her patients having an epidural, pitocin and staying in bed. She was open to our needs and that is what patient care should really be.   
 

After 9 ½ hours of labor and 40 min of pushing we welcomed Elijah Russell Chapman to the world.  He weighed 7 pounds 15 ounces and was 20 inches long.  He was beautiful, perfect.  What an honor to be trusted with one of God’s children.  I experienced a feeling like no other that day, instant love.

 

100_28672100_28691

 

Special thanks to all the people who helped make this experience perfect.  You will never be forgotten.

 

I hope I do not offend anyone by my birth story. That was not my intention.  The great thing about being parents is you have the opportunity to make your labor and delivery however you wish.  You have to decide what is best for you and your baby. We all have the same goal and that is a healthy baby. We may just arrive there differently.

 

In awe of the gift of life,

 

Elizabeth