Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Birth Story

So, I've finally found a few spare minutes to get on here and tell you all about Avery's Birth Story!  I could probably ramble for hours and tell you all the details, but since my free time is a little shorter nowadays I'll try to keep it simple and to the point!  Now just a head's up, it might have a little "TMI" for some of you, but when I was pregnant I was very curious about all the details that lead up to and are included in labor and delivery...not just the general facts...so if you don't want to read that skip on down to some new pictures of Avery-hehe!
Let me tell you how I met my daughter...

So here's the cliff notes on how it all went down...on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 (11 days past my so-called due date):
  • Midnight Tuesday night, lost mucus plug that looked like clear mucus (kind of like when you blow your nose) and this continued to come out throughout the day
  • 6 AM woke up to contractions that were 6-8 minutes apart. These contractions felt different from any I'd had before because I actually had to stop what I was doing to close my eyes or lean up against something while they were happening. Despite these, I still managed to squeeze in one last yoga workout!
  • 8 AM called hubby to come home-had a feeling "today" was the day! 
  • 9 AM to 1 PM- hung out and watched TV (specifically favorite episodes of The Office), ate lunch, tried to take a nap...contractions were about 5-7 minutes apart
What I watched in the
beginning of my labor!
  • Afternoon was fuzzy...more contractions
  • 5 PM contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, called midwife and she said to stay up and moving around during the contractions even though it was uncomfortable because each contraction was bringing me a little closer to meeting my baby.  She then said to call her back in a few hours and let her know how things were progressing. At this point, I remember feeling tired and frustrated. I had got pretty accustomed to what it felt like when a contraction would hit and I didn't like that feeling, so each time I felt one coming I would be like, "Oh no..not again!" I also remember feeling tired since I had been having strong and consistent contractions for a few hours. I remember thinking, "I just want a time-out. How about I time-out this labor, go get a good night's sleep, a good meal, and then I'll pick it back up tomorrow when I feel more rested, confident, and prepared!" Ha! Silly Ashley!
  • 7 PM contractions were even closer together, even stronger, and my legs and body would not stop shaking.  The only place I was comfortable was sitting on the toilet...lovely right?! Brandon called midwife this time and she said my "shaking" was probably my body transitioning into active labor, and that I should go ahead and get in the water birthing tub. 
  • 7:30 PM got in the tub, immediately felt like I had to go to the bathroom so I got back out of the tub.  While on the toilet, my water broke (nice timing right?).  Called the midwife again, she said she was on her way over and that it seemed like we were going to have a baby before the night was over!
Here's what the tub looked like
on our practice run a few weeks back.
  • 8 PM got in the tub and turned on "Gentle Surge" music track on my iPod.  During each contraction, I would hold onto B and focus on my breathing.  I also found myself using my voice a lot to get through contractions, not in the form of yelling but low moans. 
  • 8:30 PM Midwife arrived, I was still laboring in the tub
  • 9:00 or so, midwife asked if she could check how dilated I was, I said yes.  After she checked she suggested I reach down and feel for myself how far along I was.  Amazingly, when I reached in about an inch or two I was able to feel my baby's head! This was very motivating to me and gave me strength I needed to keep going.
  • Probably around 10 PM or so, my midwife suggested I try sitting back in the tub so that the baby would be able to go down and around the pubic bone on it's way out.   (I currently had been leaning over the edge on Brandon and a change in position was just what I needed to keep going).
  • Moved to sitting back position with my feet resting on the handles inside the tub.  During each contraction I began feeling the urge to push.  I was slightly hesitant to push, fearing that I would tear but with each contraction I could feel her head pushing out more and more, so I went with it...gently.
  • It also helped that my midwife was in a way "coaching" me through each contraction.  She helped me direct my breath and vocalizations to best support the baby coming out.  So she would tell me to make deep, low, sounds (as if saying the word "Low") as opposed to yelling "Ahh!".  I really took to this advice and it gave me something to focus on rather than the pain. 
  • After a while of pushing and hearing how I was progressing, "Her head is out to about her forehead at this point." I remember realizing that as each contraction ended, she went back in...and this frustrated me.  I was very encouraged by how far she would come out and to find out that she was going back in, made me want to keep pushing long after the contraction had ended as if to "hold on" to the progress I had made.  I realized quickly that this was a bad idea, as it was working against my body and making me even more tired.  My midwife reminded me that there are breaks between the contractions to help my body rest and instead of fighting them I should embrace them and relax my body.  So I did.
  • Throughout the time I was in tub, my midwife kept checking my baby's heart rate with a Doppler to make sure that she was not distressed and each time she checked she said she was doing just fine, which was reassuring to hear and it helped me relax even more.
  • At that point I had no idea what time it was or how long I had been in the tub, all I knew is that I was getting closer to the end.  At some point I remember that I was holding back instead of pushing...again for fear of tearing, but my midwife suggested that I embrace the pressure and allow my body to push.  Things started picking up when I began doing this.  Basically this pushing felt a lot like I was having a really large bowel movement, and although it was tempting to push hard and fast, I tried hard to make gentle, slow pushes. 
  • Not long after I heard my midwife tell me the words I'd been waiting to hear: that her head was out and after the next contraction, I would have my baby! I remember saying out loud, "Oh I can do this!" To which my midwife and Brandon replied, "Of course you can do this." LOL.
  • Brandon then went around and got positioned to "catch" the baby.  And sure enough, with the next contraction, I pushed one more time and the rest of her body came out.  Brandon received her and brought her to my chest.  At 10:59 PM, my baby was born!
What happened after the birth?
-After being placed on my chest, we held Avery for about 30 minutes while we continued to sit in the water.  This was truly the most amazing part of the birth because instantly after Avery was born and placed on my chest, she was calm, alert, and had her eyes open and was looking right at us. Words can't describe the feeling we had as new parents to be holding our daughter for the first time.  On top of that the fact that she was so calm and alert made the moment even more surreal.  During this time our midwife checked her out to make sure everything was alright, and a few minutes later, I birthed the placenta.  On a funny TMI note, Avery had her first pee and bowel movement right there in the tub, good to know all systems are a go for her-lol! 

-About a half hour or so after she was born, I got out of the tub and made the move to our bed where I would try nursing her for the first time and also so my midwife could check me to see if I needed any stitches   As it turned out, I did have a small tear and it required a few stitches, which she gave me as I began nursing Avery. 
-Then my midwife helped clean up the tub and did a few more checks on Avery, all of which turned out great.  Then I went back to the bed and she gave me my restrictions for the next couple of weeks:
Because of the stitches:
-Stay upstairs (where our bedroom is) for 5 days because the stairs could open the stitches, not to mention put a strain on me
-Try to keep my legs together to help with the stitches, and avoid cross-legged positions as they might open the stitches for at least the first few days. 
Other restrictions on me:
-Stay home for 2 weeks, with full time help for the first week (thank you Brandon!), and part-time help for the 2nd week (thank you mom!).  I loved my midwife's analogy about why I need to stay home and take it easy: While showing us the placenta she said to make note of it's size (quite large) and remember that it was attached to my uterus...now it's out so it's basically like there is a large scab (the size of the placenta) in my uterus and if you had a scab that large anywhere else in your body, you would take it easy.  The same is true for this...so this mom is staying home!
-She also suggested limited visitors for Avery to reduce germs she's exposed to, to keep her and I from getting overwhelmed, and just to increase our new family bonding time. 

Our first family picture about an hour after she was born
in our comfy bed. Boy did I love being at home.
How did I use my Hypnobirthing practice?
-One of the primary Hypnobirthing tools I used was the Gentle Surge music track I mentioned in this post, which was playing in the background while I was laboring in the tub.  I put it on repeat and the combination of that with the dim lights and the water really helped keep me from stressing out and becoming overwhelmed as I got through each contraction. I couldn't have made it through my labor without this track (and the support of Brandon!). 

My Thoughts After the Birth:
-I truly am so happy and excited that I was able to have the home/water/hypnobirth I'd been dreaming of and planning for since before I was pregnant. I feel grateful that my birth was so short, so easy, so natural...what an amazing experience. I am happy that my baby was able to born in an environment that was quiet and calm with dim lights, only a few people (Brandon and my midwife), and not to mention in the comfort of my own home. It was probably the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences of my life and I have a whole new sense of confidence that I will take with me from this day forward. And to know that I was able to give birth to my baby free of drugs, stress, and fear makes me even more happy and proud as I look back on the exciting day I met my daughter.

Now for some cute pictures of Baby Avery...

Love it when those eyes are open.

You know she'll be one "Green Girl"!
One proud daddy!

So that's my birth story and I can't wait to share more stories and pictures with you all on our new adventures in parenting.  Until then...it's time to go back to my little girl! ( :


  1. Awesome!!! Can't wait to hear more :)

  2. Love that you watched The Office in the beginning phases! I'm going to keep that in mind for the future :)

  3. Thanks Meg!

    Yes, The Office was great in the first part of labor. Sometimes I would be in the middle of a contraction, and it would be a funny part and although it wasn't super comfortable, I'd have to let out a laugh! ( :

  4. Wow this made me cried, the details of the birth was so beautiful. I'm also expecting pass the 40 weeks and my baby isn't here yet. Awesome blog for encouraging moms to take it natural. :)

    1. Sorry for the delay in getting back with you...you've probably had your baby by now! My commenting system has been acting up. Glad you enjoyed the post, hope you had a great birth. ( :

  5. I love all the details you gave. I'm also planning a home birth, and I'm due in less than two weeks. We did a trial run of our tub last night, it looks identical to yours. I couldn't figure out how the handles inside the tub would be useful. It makes sense that they're not for my hands :-) thanks

    1. I'm late in replying...hope your birth went well! ( :


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