Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Labor and Delivery

I decided to go the Birthing Center route this time around because anyone that knows of my first experience with Tuck's delivery- knows that I had a horrible experience. One that I will never forget because I was scarred for life. I really felt that the hospital was responsible for my bad birth experience and was the reason I did not want any more kids. So when I found out I was prego again, I decided I wanted things different. It wasn't until I moved to TX though that I started doing a lot more research and determined I wanted to do the Birthing Center. I stumbled upon Kathleen- and she was the best decision I ever made!

The Labor and Delivery of Austen was just better than I could have imagined it. The 10 days overdue was brutal, and I tried just about every "natural induction method" out there. Much to my dismay- this little girl is just about as feisty as I am and flat out refused to come out on anybody else's terms. She had her own birthday in mind. Nobody told me that pregnancy and labors are all different! I had assumed that since I had Tuck a week earlier than the due date that that would be my pregnancy pattern, and I would always deliver at 39 weeks. Little did I know that I was going to deliver 2.5 weeks later- YIKES! My poor Mom came a week early to be there for the birth and to take care of Tucker. So she ended up staying a total of THREE weeks! Haha- she is such a trooper and was fantastic while she was here! She cleaned my house, made us food, refinished my kitchen cabinets, and helped me with some miscellaneous projects on my list. Pretty much she was amazing and I love her for sticking it out with me! Tucker thought that his Nana came to live with us- because when she left- he was having his withdrawals of being spoiled and being left with a new sister instead! Haha

I tried everything to get Austen out- and as a result of that I put myself into false labor a few times. It was so disappointing when those contractions slowed down and petered out. They would get so close together, like 2-3 minutes apart, and I kept thinking "This is it!" Only to have the realization that this girl was pushing and fighting back against those contractions and she kept winning! She was just too comfy where she was.
Finally on the night of Sept 9th- I decided to stop trying and I was NOT going to do anything to self-induce. No more herbs, castor oil, pineapple, and MANY other natural induction methods I was trying. I gave in to the idea that she was going to come when she was ready. Well that next day, Brent and I go to lunch while Mom watched Tucker. I feel like I am leaking a little bit, but don't think anything of it- because that is just part of 3rd trimester pregnancy anyways.
We get back and my Mom and I have plans to go to Ikea because she has never been before. So around 2:50pm we get to IKEA and just as soon as we go inside and up the escalators- my water breaks. And not just a little trickle mind you- this was a big gush. My mom is so excited she is texting everyone, while I try to cover up my big wet spot because it is a Saturday and Ikea is jam packed. I don't feel too embarrassed though as much as I feel RELIEF- because I know she is finally going to come. I really was starting to think that she would NEVER come and that I was going to stay pregnant forever! I call my midwife, Kathleen and she tells me to take it easy and keep her updated. So we drive back home.
My contractions didn't really even start for another 1.5 hours, so we put Tucker down for a nap and played Sequence. At around 5:00pm the contractions really hit me hard, and I remember that "Oh yeah- this is what it feels like" to be in real labor. All that false labor stuff was nothing compared to this. But I feel like I can handle it- I used an exercise ball mainly for support and a rice sock for a heating pad. I tried walking on the treadmill- but that lasted for about 2 minutes before I thought "this is ridiculous".
Brent would occasionally rub my back or put pressure on it which sometimes helped and sometimes did not. The BYU game had just begun, so we stayed in the living room so he could watch it, and I just listened to my Ipod. An hour and a half later, I get to that point where contractions are 2 minutes apart and I feel like my back is on fire.
So I call Kathleen at 6:30pm and she tells me to meet her at the Birthing Center at 7. In between contractions- I change into my swimsuit because I plan on having a water birth. We grab our baby bag and make the drive to the birthing center, which is only about a 5 minute drive from our house. Let me tell you- I think that that was the worst 5 minutes of my life. I must have hit transition right when I got in the car, or Brent's driving was very bumpy. I told Brent that I will be doing a homebirth next time since the drive to the Center was the worst part of labor.
When we get there right around 7- Kathleen and Lisa (also a Midwife helping out) were already there and ready. Kathleen checks baby right away and finds she is well, and then checks me and tells me I'm a little more than 7cm dilated, fully effaced, baby is down low. One thing that I love about Kathleen is she tells me to do what is most comfortable for me and lets me labor how I want. So she gets the water started because all I want to do at this point is get in that tub. As soon as I get in the tub- I feel relief! (I'm a big hydrotherapy enthusiast! I would much rather soak in the bath than shower. I only shower if I'm running late). But it doesn't last long, because those contractions start coming at me harder and stronger than ever. My back is killing me and I am not comfortable anymore. Laying back in the semi recline position- I feel like I can't handle my contractions as well and I think I might want to get out. So I turn onto my side and I feel so much better and more in control. Brent holds my hand as I work with each intensifying contraction. Just when I start to feel like my body has taken over and I can't handle the pain anymore- I am given the BEST feeling in the world- the urge to push. It's hard to describe the feeling really- but I have never felt anything better than the transition from pain to pushing. With Tucker, I felt that pushing was the worst feeling in the world and that I NEVER wanted to put myself through THAT again. Well fate gave me another pregnancy and another chance. I will never forget that feeling with Austen's delivery. Pushing really was the best part of it, all 15 minutes of it.
Austen came at 7:55pm, a little less than an hour from the time we arrived at the Center. The cord was double-wrapped around her neck when she came. But my midwife was very calm and collected as she just slipped it off her neck and put her on my chest. She rubbed her little chest until we saw baby girl breathing and give us her first little cry. I didn't even have time to be worried.
I was on cloud nine at this point. My beautiful baby girl was laying on my chest, both of us enjoying our skin to skin time. She was perfect! And I DID it... with no tears (the wound kind)!
After the delivery of the placenta- they moved me onto the bed because they thought I was bleeding a lot. What they didn't know was that I bled a lot with Tucker too and I usually have heavy periods. But they went ahead and gave me a shot of Pitocin just in case. Austen was placed on my chest again and we were able to breastfeed right away. She was already better at it than me. Bonding time with baby was amazing. Tucker was in the room and was able to meet his baby sister at this time too. Then after sufficient time bonding, we got to see how much this baby really weighed as well as all other dimensions. She was 9 lbs 6oz! I was shocked... and even more empowered! Dang- I am the woman!
21 inches, 14.5 head and chest.
My mom took Tucker home at this point since it was past his bedtime. Then baby Austen and I were able to take an herbal bath together. Let me tell you- this was absolutely fantastic! It smelled and felt amazing. After we bathed Austen, Kathleen and Lisa took her to check vitals and administer the Vitamin K drops while I was able to finish up my marvelous bath.
Then, Brent and I just Ooo and Ahh'd over how beautiful Austen was and how beautiful her delivery turned out to be, while Kathleen and Lisa cleaned up and checked on my bleeding. We left a little before 11pm- so just 3 hours after Austen made her appearance. And let me tell you- my bed has never felt more comfortable!

The best word I have for this whole experience is probably EUPHORIC. I will never forget how incredible this experience was! There was a peace and an intimacy at this birth that didn't even compare to the one I had in the hospital.  I had the trust in my body to know what to do (since women have been birthing babies for many centuries) and Brent and my Mom and the Midwives fully supported me and believed in me as well. I was surrounded in "a culture of faith". The Birthing Center/ Homebirth route is not for everyone, but it is exactly what I wanted out of a birth- a beautiful occasion. And what a Happy Birthday it turned out to be!

If you are considering your choices for birth, or didn't know you had a choice like I did at first- I highly recommend doing a little research. It's amazing the difference in birthing experiences between Tuck and Austen. I would absolutely guarantee that most of the difference comes from being in the Birthing Center vs. a Hospital.

Here is what inspired and encouraged me:
Book: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Movie: The Business of Being Born
Websites: babycenter, laboroflove, storknet, pretty much anywhere I could read other womens' birth stories, as well MANY great photographer's collections of Birth Photography

Things I love that the Center did vs Hospital
-Let me labor however I want
-Skin to skin contact after babe is born
-Don't cut the cord right after the baby is born
-No IV's or drugs
-No multiple nurses throughout
-No "checking in"
-Didn't have to be around other people or sickies
-Tucker allowed
-More bonding time
-Go home after a couple hours- slept in my own bed
... the list could go on

I am Proud and Empowered.


  1. Amazing story Tara. You are the Woman!!!!:) I love you so much! I am so glad you had such a wonderful experience...and that you put all that research in to see what options there are! Thanks for sharing this!!!!!

  2. Oh and can I just say how hilarious it is that you were in the living room during your contractions so Brent could watch the BYU game! Hahahahaha! Love it.

  3. I am so happy you were able to have a MUCH better birth experience. It's so funny how society conditions women to fear birth, when really it can be so euphoric. It's not a big emergency, it is a most joyous occasion. So glad you were able to do it your way this time. :) Austen is seriously beautiful! We can't wait to meet her. (In fact, Brooklynn and Sydney ask about her and Tuck frequently. lol) Anyway, you rock! Enjoy your baby girl. :)

  4. PS- I completely agree about the car ride being the WORST! I was in transition while we were driving last time and it sucked. The only thing that was worse was being forced to sign paperwork and then SIT in a wheelchair while they got a room set up. I may do a home birth next time since there is only one birthing center in CO. lol.