You found the hidden text! Did you know... One single drop of a mother's colostrum has nearly 1 million white blood cells in it! True amazing power we hold as human mothers to heal. "Every Drop Counts!" - Summer

 

Our estimated due date was May 22, 2013. We fully expected to be at least 8 days late. Eight days came and went, and there was no inkling of labor or our baby. Though our doctor had been open to our plan for a natural birth, once we were past our estimated due date, she was pushing us to get induced and to get extra tests done. We decided to wait until at least 42 weeks were completed, and get induced at 42 weeks +2 days, if our baby had not arrived by then. Also, Ashley had come down with a cold that had caused her nasal and chest congestion along with coughing and feeling weak.

In the mean time, we tried any and everything to try to get labor started, including spicy foods, nipple stimulation, thumb sucking, castor oil, evening primrose oil, sex, walking, pineapple, papaya, extra red raspberry leaf tea, and chiropractic adjustments. We talked with a midwife for additional ideas to get labor started and information about induction. Lastly, we scheduled an appointment with an acupuncturist. At 41 weeks + 3 days, we had an appointment with the OB/GYN, where we requested the doctor to sweep the membranes if possible.

At the appointment we learned that Ashley was 1.5cm dilated and 60% effaced, and had the membranes swept. After the appointment, Ashley started cramping, which was expected from having the membranes swept. We ate dinner at Mr. Gyro’s and swung by Whole Foods to pick up some extra snacks for labor. That evening, Ashley was in pain from the cramping which had continued for hours.

As we were getting ready for bed, Ashley’s body was involuntarily shaking. We went to bed around 11pm and slept sporadically until 1am, as Ashley started having intense contractions as soon as we were in bed. We decided to move the action to the living room since lying down was very uncomfortable for Ashley. Between 2am and 4am, Ashley had contractions that seemed slightly regular, although we were not timing them. Atirek was massaging Ashley’s back quite a bit during this time, since Ashley was having intense back pain during the contractions.

We decided to try and sleep at 4am in the living room, and were able to sleep until 5am, although the hour was broken up by intense contractions. Around 5am, Ashley felt her water break and amniotic fluid started leaking with every contraction. Atirek was trying to get Ashley to eat throughout, even though Ashley didn’t feel like it, so that Ashley could maintain her strength for the entirety of labor and delivery.

During the morning, Ashley continued to have intense and irregular contractions that made her quite uncomfortable. She was having trouble going to the bathroom and sitting or lying down was impossible. She was reasonably comfortable on the exercise ball, so she tried to take contractions and rest on the ball, to the extent possible. We called Summer at 7:30am to get her thoughts on where she though Ashley was, based on what had happened overnight. She thought that Ashley was still in early first stage, as Ashley’s contractions were still quite irregular.

The contractions continued for the rest of the morning, and we dealt with the pain as much as possible. Ashley tried various positions including leaning over the ball, hands and knees, leaning over the couch, leaning over the chair. One of Ashley’s favorite positions was sitting on the toilet, as it avoided the pressure that a chair, the floor, or the ball provided. During this time, we continued eating small amounts of food to ensure that our energy did not get completely drained. Ashley was quite thirsty all night and morning, and she was drinking water continuously.

We timed a few contractions during the rest of the morning, but no pattern emerged. Though her contractions were still quite irregular (in length and intensity), the pain felt by Ashley was quite intense. Atirek was having a hard time figuring out what stage of labor Ashley was in based the available indications.

At 1pm, Atirek called Summer again in order to discuss Ashley’s labor and see if Summer thought that Ashley had progressed. Summer said that she didn’t think that Ashley’s labor had progressed. However, she did provide a few suggestions to help alleviate the pain that Ashley was feeling. So, we prepared a bath for Ashley to relax in and help with labor. The bath was quite helpful in relieving some of the pain that Ashley was feeling. We were actually able to take short naps between contractions to get some rest. Eventually, the bath was becoming ineffective, as the tub was not a deep one. So Ashley got out of the tub and sat on the toilet for the next few contractions. We had propped a pillow on the toilet tank, so Ashley was able to get more short naps between contractions while sitting on the toilet.

About this time, we called Ashley’s sister, Sarah, who was going to be Atirek’s assistant during labor & delivery, and asked her to make her way over to our house. She arrived around 2:30pm and started helping out around the house.

Afterwards, we decided that we should time Ashley’s contractions once again, and that perhaps walking around would speed things along. So, we spent the next hour and a half walking around the house, stopping only when Ashley felt a contraction starting. During the contractions, Ashley asked Atirek to push in on the bottom of her hip bone, which gave immense relief to Ashley, as it helped open the top of the hips, providing more room for the baby to move downwards. The contractions were starting about 5 minutes apart on average, lasting between 1.5 and 2 minutes each. Ashley was not able to do anything during the contractions, and she had to focus on relaxing and breathing to make it through each contraction. Towards the end of the 1.5 hours, Ashley was having a tough time walking without assistance, and was leaning on Atirek to walk between contractions.

At this point, we felt that we should make our way to the hospital, as contractions were relatively regular, long-lasting, and intense, and Ashley was becoming increasingly immobile. We asked Sarah to start getting our things into our car, while we put the last few items into our hospital bags. At about 4:30pm, we left our house. Ashley could not sit down in her seat, and was leaning over the back of the seat instead. The car ride was quite uncomfortable for Ashley, as every bump in the road sent jolts of pain in her body.

We reached the hospital at around 5pm, and were immediately directed to our labor / delivery / recovery room. The nurses did their routine checks, which included a vaginal exam, a twenty-minute EFM strip, and inquired into when Ashley’s water broke. After the exam, the nurses indicated that Ashley was 7cm dilated and 90% effaced.

Thereafter, Ashley labored on a ball in the hospital room for a little bit, while the EFM strip was being completed. We were assigned a wonderful night nurse, who had previously assisted in many natural births. Ashley was starting to get worried about whether she would be able to make it through labor and delivery without interventions / drugs. After a couple more hours of labor, at around 7pm, we asked the nurse to check Ashley to see if there was any further progress. The nurse indicated that Ashley was still at 7cm dilated but was fully effaced. She also indicated that Ashley’s bag of waters had not actually broken, but was probably only leaking at the top and was bulging at the bottom. So, the effect of contractions were were being cushioned / slowed as the bulging bag prevented the baby’s head from pushing on the cervix.

Finding out that she had not dilated any further, and that her bag of waters had not broken was very distressing to Ashley. This caused her to have even more doubt on whether she would be able to have our baby naturally, without any chemicals, as she felt that she was going to be in labor forever. Atirek tried to calm her by reminding her of the NAP, and that her cervix would likely start dilating again soon. At 7:30pm, the on-call OB/GYN came to check on Ashley and confirmed the nurse’s diagnosis. She offered to break Ashley’s bag of waters, knowing that Ashley had been in labor for quite a while, but did not force the issue, as she had read our birth plan. She did indicate that Ashley could be in labor for a lot longer, if the bag of waters didn’t break, but that contractions would become even more intense if the bag was broken. We asked for some time to discuss this option.

We discussed this option for the next hour or so, as Ashley had a few more contractions. We eventually decided that breaking the bag was the best option for us, as Ashley was becoming more concerned about her ability to deliver the baby vaginally and without chemicals, if labor didn’t start progressing more quickly. We felt that breaking the bag was a good compromise to try and avoid chemicals, such as Pitocin and the epidural. We told the nurse that we wanted to have Ashley’s bag broken, but the nurse informed us that the OB/GYN had to go to a different hospital. Eventually, around 9:30pm, the OB/GYN returned, and broke Ashley’s bag of waters, without pain. Ashley felt relief after the bag was broken.

After the bag was broken, Ashley’s contractions became more intense, but started becoming more regular and spacing out. For the next hour, she had contractions every 6 – 8 minutes, with each contraction lasting 1.5 – 2 minutes. She was still very nervous / doubtful of the labor and delivery process and asked Atirek to “save” her and let the OB/GYN cut her open and get the baby out. Atirek kept reminding her to how well she had done at home and in the hospital, how far she had come already without chemicals, and how it was better for the baby to come vaginally and chemical-free.

Around 10:30pm, Ashley started feeling a lot of pressure in her rear, as if she had to go to the bathroom. She was in the bed, leaning over the back. During one of her contractions, she peed a lot, quite forcefully (like a soda fountain). We were all surprised by this, as no one had mentioned peeing on the delivery table before. However, Ashley felt immense relief after the burst of pee, and became much more calm and confident. The mental transformation was very drastic. We had the nurse check Ashley again, as she was feeling a lot of downward pressure, and the nurse indicated that Ashley was about 9.5 cm dilated and only had a rim / lip of cervix remaining.

We decided to try squatting against the bed to get her cervix to fully dilate. More bursts of pee ensued, bringing with it waves of increasing relief. With each burst Ashley felt that she had to pee no more, but continued to be surprised over and over again, as the pee just kept coming. Finally, about 11pm, Ashley was starting to feel the urge to push. The nurse confirmed that Ashley had fully dilated, and was ready to push. The hospital staff prepped the room for the delivery, and the OB/GYN put on her industrial-strength face mask. Ashley was in the classic pushing position, and was holding her legs back at the knee. Atirek and the nurse each held up one leg to assist Ashley with the position.

Ashley started pushing, with a lot of coaching and cheerleading from the OB/GYN, the nurses, Atirek and Sarah. The nurses and OB/GYN kept telling Ashley that she was doing great and that they could see “so much” of the baby’s head. Ashley envisioned the baby’s head hanging out of her vagina, but the nurses followed up by saying that the baby’s head was the size of a quarter. At this point, Ashley thought “There is more to push?!?” Ashley pushed for a total of 45 minutes. As the baby came out, the umbilical cord was wrapped too tightly around the baby’s neck for the OB/GYN to unwrap it. So, the OB/GYN had to cut and clamp the cord before Ashley could push any further.

Baby Avinash was born perfectly healthy and alert, and was placed on Ashley’s chest immediately. In about 15 – 20 minutes, Baby Avinash was nursing at Ashley’s breast, and continued to do so for around 30 minutes. He was very alert for the first 2 – 3 hours after birth, and spent all of it on Ashley’s chest getting skin-to-skin bonding time. All the nurses commented on how healthy and alert Baby Avinash looked, especially for being “post-date”. The doctor showed us the placenta and the umbilical cord and commented that both of them looked in great shape.

Overall, we are very happy with our birth experience. We made a few concessions with the membranes sweep and the breaking of the bag of waters. However, we feel that these concessions helped us achieve our ultimate goal of an unmedicated vaginal birth. The Bradley Method classes were extremely helpful for us to achieve this goal, since Atirek was able to coach Ashley through her long and arduous labor, and especially through her transition phase when she was doubtful and asking for interventions.