A Beautiful Birth Story from Kim

May 28, 2010

Ellie Michelle’s Birth Day

Monday, Nov. 30th at 10:30 p.m.
After almost a week of practice pressure waves that were keeping me up at night, things started getting a little more intense. My pressure waves were 4-5 minutes apart and lasted close to a minute long. I got through them on my own for a couple hours, using the relaxation techniques (“Peace,” “Relax,” my special place and deep breathing) I learned in my Hypnobabies classes until I felt like I needed a little extra help. I woke Clay (my husband) up around midnight and he applied pressure to my back and talked me through the pressure waves, using relax cues and reminding me to feel only pressure and use my natural anasthesia. I took a bath and listened to my Hypnobabies recordings (Birthing Day Affirmations and Visualize Your Birth) to stay positive and pain-free.
3 a.m.
We decided it was time to call my doula, Melissa Chappell. She helped me through each pressure wave by applying pressure to just the right spot on my back, sometimes on my hips, and by helping me try lots of different positions to ease the intensity of each pressure wave. She brought her essential oils (lavender, orange and lemon) and put them in my candle warmer to permeate the air with their calming/energizing smells. I was already very tired at this point from not sleeping much the past week, so I tried to take a little nap … I wasn’t really able to take a real nap, but I did doze off for the few minutes in between pressure waves. When the sun came up, I put on my upbeat music mix. Melissa recommended making a few different playlists for my labor day, so I made 4: upbeat, calm, Christmas and church. Studies have shown that women who listen to music during their birthing time report feeling less pain, so I highly recommend making playlists! Melissa made Clay and I some omelets and fruit salad for breakfast, (I also highly recommend doulas, obviously!) then we went on a walk. It was such a beautiful day outside so it was perfect. Perfect, but pretty hilarious for the standers-by to see a bundled up, exhausted pregnant lady randomly collapse into her husband’s arms every few minutes while another lady pressed on her back. We sure got some funny looks, but I didn’t really care at this point! The walk actually made my pressure waves a little easier for some reason. After a smoothie (thanks, Melissa), more pressure waves in different positions like on my birthing ball, (by far most effective for me) side-lying, etc. I felt that the pressure waves were getting more and more intense. At 6 p.m., after 19 and 1/2 hours of pressure waves at home, we all thought it was time to go to the hospital.
I got checked in an American Fork Hospital triage room. I was completely effaced and dilated at a 3+, but they wouldn’t admit me until I was a solid 4. We decided to walk the halls of the hospital for two hours and get checked again. Still a 3+. The midwife gave us 3 options: go home, hang out in the triage room until I could be admitted, or take a shot of morphene so I could get some sleep. But the problem with the morphene, she said, was that it may or may not work for me. It could work for 20 minutes, or up to 6 hours. Everyone left to give us privacy to think our options over. I’m not going to lie — it was really a moment of despair for Clay and I. We did not want to go home. Not because we were too anxious for Ellie to come — we knew she was already on her way. The desperation was that I was completely exhausted physically and emotionally. I really didn’t know if I could continue. The tears came. My sweet husband, who told me later how worried he was about me despite the reassuring smile on his face, asked me what I wanted to do. Then, he said one of the most heartfelt, pleading prayers I have ever heard.
Then I told him I wanted that morphene.
And it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Of all possible answers to the prayers in my life, I never thought a shot of MORPHENE in the bum would be one of them — but it sure was. My doula was really happy I decided to take it because she knew how exhausted I was and wasn’t sure if I could have the birth I wanted without getting at least a little bit of a break. The morphene started working immediately. Maybe since I never take medicine, it is incredibly effective when I do! We decided to go to my mom’s house in Draper because her beds are so comfortable. When we got there, Clay basically carried me to the bed and I zonked out for four hours. It was a-maze-ing. When it wore off, I woke up at 2:30 a.m. and the pressure waves picked right up where they left off. I called for Clay and he sent in Melanie, a doula-in-training/angel from heaven who came to help while Melissa went home and rested. Melanie was incredible. So sweet and motherly. She helped me through the pressure waves for a couple of hours and Melissa came back. I stayed at home until 8:30 a.m.
When I started feeling slight urges to push during pressure waves, we thought it would be a good idea to head to the hospital again, crossing our fingers that I was far enough along this time.
When we got to the triage room, I heard some serious screaming and moaning. I tried to convince myself it was just a fussy kid that just sounded like a woman in labor. Then the nurse said, “Oh, that lady is doing an unmedicated birth – thus the screams!” It was kind of funny. I hoped I wouldn’t be screaming like that! When the nurse checked me, I was dilated 8 centimeters – I was SO happy. I was admitted to a room, got into the tub, and things moved really quickly. I was at a 9.5 then a 10 in under 2 hours. I was surprised at how little I cared about privacy at this point. The only thing I cared about was remaining calm during my pressure waves and getting my baby out! I was also pleasantly surprised that even though I was fully dilated, the pressure waves didn’t seem much (if at all) more intense than the ones I had been feeling for the past several hours. I’ll credit Hypnobabies for that one! The pushing urges started getting stronger, so I went to the bed and got into a side-lying position, had Clay turn on my “church music” playlist and I started seriously pushing. I was excited to be at the pushing stage because I knew I was so close to the end and would meet our baby girl so soon. It was nice to get kind of a break from contractions and do something “more productive.” I compare the pushing to when you are violently ill with the stomach flu and your whole body tenses up as you can’t help but throw up. I didn’t feel any nausea or anything … but the urge to push was really strong and draining. The midwife didn’t do any coaching — she just let me push when I felt like I wanted to – I felt like I was in control of my birthing experience, which I loved. The staff kept commenting on how amazed they were that I was about to have a baby because I was so calm and relaxed during pressure waves. I always hoped (and more importantly – visualized) that would be the response I’d get.
The midwife asked me if I wanted her to break my water. I asked what the risks/benefits were and she said there wasn’t much risk at this point and it would just speed things up. But I remembered seeing the hook they use to break water in my Hypnobabies class – it looks like an extra long knitting needle. Having my water broken did not sound very comfortable, and I already had enough discomfort, so as much as I wanted my baby out, I didn’t want to have my water broken. Before I had a chance to answer my midwife, another pushing urge came and my water broke like a balloon. Nice timing, huh? Everyone said they heard it! I just felt it.
The church music wasn’t doing it for me, so I had Clay put on my upbeat mix. I was just pushing along when everyone excitedly said they could see Ellie’s head. My mom said, “She has dark curly hair just like you had!” That little sneak peek gave me some extra motivation to push. I got her head out, and then the rest of her body slipped out like a jellyfish – all to the tune of Weezer’s “Island in the Sun.” I was later told that I pushed for 40 minutes, but it really only felt like 10 or 15. In fact, my entire labor – although it was 36 hours, did not feel that long. Thanks again, Hypnobabies!
My midwife handed Ellie to me right away and I said “I did it!” I felt SO relieved. And ecstatic — both that Ellie was here and that I actually made it through the undmedicated childbirth I had wanted so badly. I did tear a little and bleed a lot, so there were stitches and shots to be reckoned with, but they didn’t phase me much because I felt like I could do anything at that point. I was completely awake and energized the entire day. My Hypnobabies course did wonders for me. It helped me turn my fears and doubts into confidence and preparation long before my birthing time began. It taught me how to effectively relax and only feel pressure through all of my pressure waves. It helped my husband be an incredible, calm support to me throughout the entire birthing process. It helped me visualize and create the kind of birth I wanted to badly. Unmedicated childbirth is not as crazy or as impossible as people sometimes make it sound. Women are much stronger than they give themselves credit for — definitely when it comes to giving birth. Anyone who wants to have an unmedicated chilbirth and prepares for it can do it and even have a good experience — no doubt about it.

Highlights From My Last Doula Training

February 12, 2010

Check these girls out. They had a great time. It was another wonderful doula training with lots of tears and laughter and joy. Please join us for the next one on June 3-5, 2010. You'd be a great doula!

A Birth Story from Cassie and Jake

January 17, 2010

A Handful of the Babes Whose Mommies I've Worked With

December 4, 2009

Easier Labor and Birth? Yes!

September 11, 2009

When I tell people what I do, some people still say, "You're a what?" But when I started, 14 years ago, almost no one knew what a doula was. In the years since, pregnancy magazines, birth books, blogs and doctors offices have touted doulas as the greatest new help for laboring mamas.

Birth doulas accompany women and their partners in labor, providing emotional support and physical comfort. They facilitate communication with caregivers to keep clients fully informed, provide reassurance and perspective and help with pain management, relaxation, positioning and other labor support techniques.

The word doula comes from the Greek word meaning "a woman who serves." Studies have shown that a doula’s presence at births results in shorter labors with less complications, fewer requests for pain medications and/or epidurals and a reduction in labor-enhancing drugs (Pitocin), forceps, vacuum extraction and cesareans. Doula care has also been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of postpartum depression.

I started on the path of childbirth professional in 1994 when I had my first baby. I had a very difficult yet empowering and ultimately very good experience because I had been so well educated by an amazing childbirth educator. Soon after, I myself became certified as a childbirth educator. I was thrilled to be working with pregnant women and two years later became a certified doula. I've since worked with hundreds of pregnant and birthing women and their partners. In 2002 I became an approved doula trainer with DONA International, and have been privileged to train many, many women in the art of "doula-ing."

As a doula, I typically do a prenatal visit with my client one to two months before her due date. Here we discuss what kind of birth she wants, what comfort measures she likes, how involved her partner wants to be and how I can facilitate that role, and many other things. I attend the entire labor and birth, beginning when she needs me, applying the tools and techniques mentioned above, and stay one to two hours postpartum to make sure she's comfortable and that breastfeeding is going well.

I always do free consultations so you can meet me, ask me questions, and decide if I'm the right fit for you. Please contact me if you're interested in a consultation or if you have any questions.

Blessings in Birth!

Speaking at the Mom's Who Make It Conference

July 27, 2009

I got to speak at the Mom's Who Make It Conference the other day. It was WONDERFUL! If you're a mama, or a woman, you need to come next year. Check it out. It made the news, and although they didn't do it justice, you'll get an idea of what it was all about.

Peace and love, M

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Moms Who Make It Conference

June 25, 2009

Speaking of women, you all need to go this conference. It is bound to be one of the best conferences for women this year! There will be several women speakers who have continued to be creative and stay true to themselves, despite the sometimes difficult years of selflessness that women give. Are you tired? Are you feeling uninspired? Do you want to be around other women who understand those feelings? Need a day to feel INSPIRED and REJUVENATED? Come join us!