June 19, 2007

The Birth of our sweet son Avery

My husband Greg and I decided to take the pre-natal class with Rhonda on the recommendation of a close friend who had recently had her baby and taken classes with Rhonda. Greg and I were delighted to be pregnant and I knew that I wanted to have a natural birthing process as I had seen my sister go through two C-sections and I wanted to avoid that if I could. However, wanting a natural birth, and knowing how to survive a natural birth are two very different things!

The intensive course allowed Greg and I to learn about the birthing process physically and emotionally but even more so learn how to advocate for ourselves and for what we wanted from our birthing experience, especially since we knew we would be having a hospital birth.  After finishing the course we hired Rhonda as a birth coach so we could have a strong third person in the room with us at the hospital that we both knew and trusted, a person who would step back and let Greg lead the way in the this process but who Greg could use to support both of us. Little did we know how good this decision would be.

Our knowledge came into play several weeks before Avery came. About 2 weeks before my due date my Doctor causally asked me if I would like to be induced. I said “no thank you we are doing fine”. Rhonda and I had a good laugh. The next week he asked again, and again I said ‘no thank you we are doing fine”. On my due date my Doctor said, if you are not in labour within the next week we need to induce you, I said “ok” but ore to appease him then anything. That night (Monday) Greg and I started going through all of the ways to induce labour naturally. By Friday night I felt the first pangs of labour, but not wanting to get anyone excited I said nothing, and spent many hours in the bath that night, and by morning we knew this was real. Saturday and Sunday both went by with intense labour periods and periods of calm, were I slept and ate. Monday morning I went back in to see my Doctor and I was 4 cm dilated. By 9pm that night we decided to leave for the hospital assuming we were close. We were not. Did you ever see that episode of friends, were Rachel is giving birth and women are coming into the room and leaving to have babies and you are still not...yup that was us all night! By Tuesday morning we were very tired, I had had excruciating back labour for several hours, and I was ready to give up. We finally made it into a birthing room and I told Greg, with tears in my eyes that I was done...I wanted an epidural and I wanted to have this baby...he said “anything you want honey”. A young nurse came into the room told me I was dehydrated and set me up with an IV and told me that our birth plan was ridiculous and no doctor would let Greg catch our baby, she then said her shift was up in 15 minutes. I proceeded to ignore her, and sleep for 8 minutes at a time in between contractions and Greg went to sleep. During this time they started Pitocin to dilate me as I was still 4 cm. By the time a Doctor came in to consult about the Epidural I no longer needed it, I was rehydrated, and able to move around in the room feeling much more comfortable about my birth again.

As my labour progressed throughout the day we called Rhonda to come in hoping we were close. Greg and Rhonda did a beautiful dance with me. It seemed to me that they knew instinctively knew who should do what and touch me where. Greg was my rock, he talked me through hard contractions and wanting to take time outs, Rhonda had a woman’s/mothers touch and wiped cold compresses on my forward like only a mother can do. As we rounded late afternoon I started to transition but was still not 10 cm but had the urge to push. This was the longest hour of my life, as I fought the instinctive urge to push while trying to progress to 10 cm. Finally around 5:30 pm on Tuesday evening we were ready to push (yes my friends that’s 69 hours of labour).  After being told I was ready to push all staff left the room and it was myself, Rhonda and Greg in the room. Rhonda told me to push with the next contraction as Greg held my hand softly reminding me about my cleansing breaths. After my first push  Rhonda told us she could see the top of Avery’s head and the rest was a blur. The universe rewarded my long labour with a very short second stage. Avery was soon in our arms, rooting for my breast and ready to join our lives.

What I learned with Rhonda in a few short months was to never let go of the big picture. Things may change or divert from your plan but learning how to confidently navigate these decisions with knowledge made all of the difference. Greg and I both felt that the classes prepared us to make decisions, rather than have decisions made for us, and although we had to be flexible throughout the process our big picture never changed, a healthy baby in our arms.

Greg still carries his pre-natal coach birthing card in his wallet.

Lindsey, Greg and Avery