Thursday, March 15, 2012

Delivered on Land?

I finally had my first dry birth. It was completely unintentional.

On Wednesday, I woke up at about 5 in the morning with some strong contractions. They were painful enough that I had to concentrate on relaxing to deal with them. I knew that even if I was in labor at this point the best thing to do was to try to sleep as much as I could, for the contractions could stop, and, if they didn't, I would need as much energy as possible. I got up and took a shower at 7 to see how my body would react. My contractions kept on, somewhat erratically. I called my Certified Professional Midwife, who works with my Certified Nurse Midwife, at 7:30 to let her know what was happening. My contractions were about 10 minutes apart.

Every birth is different. This birth my contractions, even in early labor, hurt very badly, so perhaps I was already in active labor. I follow a pseudo Bradly approach to labor. I just try to relax all my muscles as I contact.

 I cleaned my kitchen. I made chocolate chip cookies. Then I decided that standing in the kitchen was just not the way to deal with contractions. and I sat down. In retrospect I would have filled the pool at this point. I had 3 wonderful water births with my other kids. For some reason I was still worried that the contractions would slow down or stop.

Contractions were still about 9 minutes apart. At that point my contractions were so painful that I was coping on my hands and knees. Karen decided to call Christina the CNM. We know at this point something is going to happen. We are thinking it will happen in the next couple hours. I had a contraction, then went to the bathroom, had a contraction in there, came out and had another contraction.

Hands and knees. My husband was trying to fill the pool, but he kept running into problems. I thought I heard him say that he was going to just start filling the pool with buckets. My contractions were so painful at this point that I started to think that I wouldn't be able to do this for another hour. I asked to get in the water, but the pool didn't have water. I was stuck almost immovable on the floor. Now the pain was so great that I felt nauseous. I asked for a bucket, in case I needed to throw up. My good friend Erin mentioned later that I was probably going through transition. It was so caotic that no one at the time thought anything of my nausea. I sure didn't.

My contractions had gone from erratic 6-9 minute intervals to 1-2 minute intervals in 2 minutes.Then, I'm still on my hands and knees and fully dressed, my water breaks. I panicked! I was not expecting my water to break even though I was in so much pain. What flashed in my mind was that usually when my water breaks I'm already pushing the baby out.

Now I had to push. I needed to. Karen tried to help me get my pants off, and I couldn't move because of the contraction. Some how we got my pants mostly off, and I pushed hard and kept pushing until the baby's head was out. Karen told me to stop pushing and to wait for another contraction. It took all my concentration to stop, and it wasn't for long. When I started pushing the shoulders out, I wasn't sure if I could take the pain, but I knew I couldn't stop. I had to finish.

Karen caught the baby. She declared the baby a girl. She passed my baby to me through my legs and had me lay down. All I could think was, thank God! I don't have to have another contraction.

What was different about delivering on land, so to speak, as opposed to the water, was that my contractions near the end were closer together and way more painful, and my transition time was so much faster than any of my waterbirths. That could have been this birth, but I know that water tends to ease contractions and lengthen birth times. Also my bottom was sore for the first time after a birth, and I never felt sore before, not even when I tore the first time I gave birth. This was a great birth. I still prefer to deliver in water.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Bradley Method (seems to be right on the nose)

I have never taken a Bradley Class. In fact, I have never even been tempted too. I bet I could benefit from it, but honestly I just don't like things like birth classes. I much prefer to do things myself, and quite honestly, that does tend to mean they are not done as properly, as they would have been if I had had the instruction.

All this being said, I do think if someone wants to have a natural birth, they should take a Bradley Class. Actually I think they should definitely take one if they are having a hospital birth. Only because the instructor will be able to guide you to having a natural birth in the hospital, which is very difficult, even in hospitals that claim to do natural births.

To a doctor natural could mean a lot of different things. It could mean delivering without an epsiotomy. It could mean delivering without pain medication. It could mean birth starts on its own, without induction. But to me and to the Bradley people, and to the community of natural birth people out there, natural child birth means birth that starts, continues and ends the way it has since before women started to use doctors for delivery. Meaning a birth that begins on it's own. The mother labors in the way she feels most comfortable, but never flat on her back (never!), standing, walking, maybe in a tub, on her hands and knees rocking back and forth. Then delivering the baby in several different positions (never with her feet in stirrups) such as: reclined 45 degrees, on her knees, on hands and knees, on her side, standing, or squatting. Then the baby comes out without assistance, in most cases but not all, and the mother then is immediately able to hold her baby, with the cord still attached. And in many cases the mother can breast feed immediately, which can facilitate the expulsion of the placenta.

Back to the Bradley Method. When I was pregnant with my first, I read Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way. It formed my first perceptions of childbirth. Then I had my baby and found that not everything I read happened the way the author said it would. So although I was still greatly influenced by it, I kind of let it fall to the way side of my brain. Then as I had more children, and learned more about childbirth, and talked to more people, I found something amazing. I have realized that Bradley got it right.

If you read the book I read, the author goes through the physiology of child birth, how to prepare for it, and then discusses how to deal with childbirth. The physiology is scientific. I goes through everything your body does and the baby does during childbirth, things that I have only affirmed through out the years in separate research. Then I encountered the hypnobirthing fad. Hypnobirthing is not the same as the Bradley relaxation method but it's the same idea, concentrated relaxation while contracting. It works. People rave about hypnobirthing.

Finally we reach the kegal. Kegals are important for many reasons, which are explained in the Bradley book as well. If your pelvic floor muscles, also called PC muscles and kegal muscles, are properly toned, your delivery will be better, and you will be more comfortable through out pregnancy and through out your postpartum life. Also it will prevent uterine prolapse, and incontinence, things that affect women as they get older. There are people out there that don't care about the kegal muscles and there are people who are insane about kegal muscles and do kegal exercises excessively. I read a fascinating article today call Why You Should Stop Doing Kegals. It explains that the muscles need to be toned and the correct length, not super tight. doing excessive kegal exercises could cause the same problems as having flabby undertoned muscles can. The key is to have strong glutes, which for the purposes of the PC muscles, which means squatting, something the Bradley method emphasizes as an essential exercise. According to this article the best way to treat abused kegals, from bearing the weight of the pregnancy and delivering the baby, the best way is to do ten kegals when squatting so that length as well as tone are achieved.

Basically I think that the Bradley book is an essential basis for understanding and achieving natural childbirth.