Childbirth education for safer, easier and gentler birth...
We were blessed to have Arla Leins take some beautiful pictures. Enjoy!
Announcing the birth of Maxanne Nicolle Swanson. She was born April 12th, 2007 at 4:26 am. Weighing in at 6 lbs 14 oz and 19 1/2 inches long. She is happy, healthy and nursing like crazy!
Anne started labor around 6:30 pm on April 11th. Her labor went smooth as she was using her HypnoBirthing techniques (of course). She had called midwives, Jill and Marvelys. "It was time," she said. They came just before 3 am shortly after the call. Anne, in the birth tub noticed this labor was different. Looking through the lens of my camera, Anne seemed like she was taking a relaxing bath. Jill and Marvelys both checked Anne and found her to be complete, 10cm and 100%. What they found next was a surprise to all. Baby was a double footling breech. After listening to the heart rate, the decision was made to birth at the hospital (Sunrise). Anne was AMAZING! She rode in the car and wheelchair at the hospital on hands and knees. She used her breathing techniques and stayed very calm.
Once at the hospital, I was taken back by Anne's conversations with the staff (keep in mind she is fully dilated). She would just excuse herself from conversation when a surge came, close her eyes....and then, back to answering and asking questions. Jeremiah (Anne's husband) was great. He held her hand and gave her a million kisses. I believe the nursing staff didn't quite know what to think of Anne's control of her surge's. Her breathing was soft and her attitude positive. For the health and safety of baby, Anne was then given a C-Section. At birth, baby Maxanne not only was a footling breech but was also found to have the cord wrapped around her neck. Little Maxanne is a future gymnast. After a peaceful labor and an unexpected birth, baby Maxanne had finally arrived!
Anne and beautiful little Maxanne were released the next day. Mom and baby are doing well. Big Sister Michal can't stop jumping up and down screaming that she has a new baby sister!
Anne, Jeremiah and Michal are proud to share the news: Maxanne Nicolle Swanson is here!
Maxanne was born safely April 12, 2007 at 4:26 am after about 8 hours of active labor.
Weight: 6 lbs 14 oz
Length: 19 1/2 inches
Hair: dark brown
My surges began around 6:30 pm on April 11. I was so excited...
I had been waiting for the surges; the surges that would begin opening my body and bring my baby to me. I had been having surges that felt menstrual in nature for weeks and so I was pretty sure the cervix was ripening nicely. An internal exam was done at my 40 week prenatal appointment and it was discovered I was 60% effaced and opened to 3 cm. We all thought that labor would start anytime. Baby was in good position, head down (as it had been for the last half of the pregnancy).
I was past my EDD and even though I KNOW that EDD's mean absolutely nothing, I felt my baby was ready to be born and I really was looking forward to meeting my baby. My mom was waiting anxiously for the call to come and finally just decided to drive out because it seemed things would progress quickly once labor started as my body had already done a lot of the work. So my mom arrived; and we waited. We walked, cleaned, shopped, meditated, did some natural labor inducing techniques. I surged constantly, but I didn't feel like it was the surges that would open my body. Prelabor warm-ups and ripening of the cervix; but not active labor.
After my mom had been visiting for almost a week, she determined she had to go home, even if baby hadn't arrived yet. I knew she was right, if the baby wasn't ready, there wasn't anything that I could do to make it happen faster. So my mom made plans to leave and I went for a visit to a friend's house. I figured I was pretty stressed and just needed to rest. So after a partial glass of red wine and a fabulous foot and leg massage later, I returned home just in time to say goodbye to my mom. It was April 11, 4 pm. I felt different.
A couple hours after my mom left, I had my first big bear hug surge. I was excited, but reserved; after all I had been having surges for weeks. I expectantly waited for the next one. About 10 minutes later it started. I immediately started slow breathing and after it was over, just wandered around the house, picking up. I did some dishes, ate some pasta salad all the while having surges between 8-20 minutes apart, doing my slow breathing for each one. Some were intense but no real pattern was showing up yet. Around 8:30 pm, a pattern began emerging.
I was having surges about every four minutes. But, the surge intensity was different for each surge. I would have an intense, strong and LONG surge (about 2 1/2 minutes long) followed 4 minutes later by a mini surge. Four minutes would pass and then another really strong and long surge would happen. I know surge patterns are a big indication of baby's position and I immediately moved to hands and knees position swaying and rocking the pelvis to assist in changing the baby's position. I figured baby was slightly posterior, at least not quite anterior. I wasn't having a lot of back labor (which is another indication of posterior), but it did relieve a lot of pressure being in a hands and knees position and so I labored that way supporting my chest on my birth ball. (Laboring with an anterior baby generally gives a surge pattern that has a similar length for each surge and between surges, with an increase in frequency and intensity as labor progresses).
My unique surge pattern continued and while it was different from when I labored with my daughter Michal, I was now convinced I was actually in active labor. So my husband called our midwife and she arranged to have the birth tub sent over to be set up. Jeremiah's dad came over to take care of Michal. It was still April 11th and I was still surging four minutes apart with the intense super long surges happening every other surge. During the intense surges, I was making these low moaning sounds. That was also different from Michal's birth; with her labor, I was basically quiet the entire time. This laboring was definitely more intense and I felt the need to vocalize. The slow breathing and vocalizing helped me to maintain a calm and focused inwardness. It helped keep my body limp and loose.
As the tub was being set up, I kept anticipating my surges would increase in frequency. They didn't. The tub was ready around 1 am. I was looking forward to getting into the water, but since I didn't know what was really happening with my labor, I waited. I didn't want to get in too early. Jeremiah lit my birth candles and started playing my meditation music.
Around 2 am, Jeremiah called Jill, our midwife to come on over. I wanted to be checked out as the surge pattern was still alternating between really strong and mini surges and they were now about 3 minutes apart. He also called Arla who was going to be taking labor and birth photos. At 2:30 am, I had Jeremiah call Jill again, to make sure they were on the way because I was having some shaking happen and was now wondering if they were going to even make it or if Jeremiah and I would be birthing our baby by ourselves. They were on the way, but Jill told me to get into the water.
The water was awesome. It definitely felt good to have the buoyancy. I was still however most comfortable in a somewhat hands and knees position; so I alternated between hands and knees and floating on my left side.
Arla arrived around 2:45 am with Jill and Marvelys arriving just before 3 am. I was focusing on my breathing and maintaining that wonderful inwardness that is so essential for keeping the mind and body completely and fully relaxed.
I remember saying to Arla, "this labor is different; a lot more intense". She thought it looked like I was just having a nice relaxing bath.
Within minutes of Jill and Marvelys arriving I was having an internal exam. 9 1/2 cm opened, membranes intact. The exam continued and Jill started feeling for baby's position. It appeared there was something in front of the head. Hands?? Where was the head?? Are those feet?? It seemed to Jill that it was feet. Marvelys checked me next. 10 cm opened. Yes, two feet presenting first; crossed. Baby was double footling breech. Aha; well that explains the strange surge pattern. Jill announces, "it looks like you are going to birth a breech baby." "Do you feel comfortable with that," I ask. "I'm okay with it, if you're okay with it." "Baby is in good position for double footling, let's listen to the heart", says Jill. Monitoring with the Doppler begins. It was between surges, heart sounds okay.
Another surge begins, and immediately baby's heart rate drops lower than seventy. Surge ends and heart goes tachycardia (over 180). It didn't sound good. I change position in the water from semi-reclining to hands and knees. Baby's heart does better, but not great, and who knows how much longer baby will be able to maintain. Breech babies need to have unhindered limitations for time and moms who are birthing breech need to be able to move as their body signals. If my baby had been head down, the birth could have happened in less than four surges. Baby wasn't head down and we didn't know how long it would be.
"Anne, I hate to say it, but it looks like we need to change plans, what hospital do you want to go to?" says Jill. "Sunrise is just down the street," I reply. I instantly know my baby will be born via cesarean, and I know it is the right decision.
I have help getting out of the tub and baby's heart is still being monitored. It seems better when I am in hands and knees position.
I walk out to the car and crawl into the backseat; I stay in a hands and knees position.
Jeremiah gets in and takes off. It is about 3:30 am.
We arrive at Sunrise hospital and walk in, Arla arrives quickly behind us and moves Jeremiah's car. The security guard is looking for a wheel chair, finds one and wheels me (in hands and knees position) to labor and delivery. Jill had called ahead, so we expected they would know what was going on. The nurses didn't know anything about my circumstances.
I am brought quickly into triage and the barrage of questions begins, "which hospital did you come from," "how do you know baby is breech," "how do you know baby's heart is having problems," "are you allergic to anything", what's your name", "who is your doctor", and on and on...
I answer each question calmly, pausing to slow breathe with each surge. Still in hands and knees position, I say "I have a posterior spinal fusion,;I don't know if I can have a spinal, I may need general anesthesia".
Jill and Marvelys arrive and hand over my prenatal records, my fusion goes to L4, it looks like a spinal might be an option, but we won't know for sure until it is placed, so Jeremiah might not be able to be with me as our baby is born.
With baby being monitored, IV now placed and surgery area shaved and prepped, I am wheeled to the operating room. As I am being moved I tell the nurse beside me, "save my placenta, I am going to take it with me when I leave." The anesthesiologist is able to place the spinal, I feel my waist and legs go numb instantly and Jeremiah is allowed to enter the OR. He is masked and gowned and a stool is moved for him to sit beside me. I can tell he wants to see what is really happening, but the drapes hinder his view.
I start to feel tugging and pulling and know that the on call obstetrician must have started the surgery. I don't know what the OB's name is or even if it is a man or woman. In just a few minutes, I hear my baby cry and a nurse announce "it's a girl". It's 4:26 am. I couldn't see anything as I had taken my contacts out in triage (in case general anesthesia was needed) and didn't have my glasses available. I just wait. In a few minutes, Jeremiah excitedly says she has hair and holds her up for me to see. He is too far away, so I still can't see her. I start to shake and itch as a side effect of the anesthesia. The OB hasn't said anything, but I think the incisions are being repaired. Interestingly enough, other than the physical shaking and itching, I am still staying calm and relaxed, with my deep slow meditative breathing.
The surgery is finished and I am wheeled into the hall and into recovery; Jeremiah and Maxanne go to the nursery. The next hour and a half is a little hazy; I think I was given morphine.
I am now being wheeled to my postpartum room, Arla is there with Michal. Jeremiah and Maxanne are supposed to be arriving soon. They arrive in about a half hour.
It's about 6:45 am. I finally see Maxanne; she is beautiful. More than 2 hours have passed since she was born and I am anxious to nurse her and hold her. Arla helps me latch her on. Maxanne is really sleepy. She latches on but quickly falls asleep. I just stare at her and begin thinking about the crazy hours that have just occurred. Did it really happen; is this a dream? When did she turn breech? I have so many questions and yet I know without a shadow of a doubt, it was a necessary cesarean. I KNOW I did what was best for my baby. She had a calm and relaxed labor and a safe birth. Definitely not how I envisioned her being born; but, as I am known for saying, "thank God, for appropriate use of medical technology."
Maxanne and I are doing well. Not only was Maxanne a double footling breech, but she also somehow had the cord looped around the neck in such a way that there was compression of the cord happening with every surge. It seems she changed from head down to breech between Monday evening and Wednesday afternoon; I seriously don't know exactly when it happened. What I do know is I am going to have to keep a close eye on this little one as she appears to have a mind of her own! We left the hospital 38 hours after Maxanne was born; without my placenta (my placenta is frozen and being held in a separate freezer; it appears it may be part of a precedent setting court case that will hopefully end with it's release, more details on that likely to come soon). Jeremiah is in love with his new daughter and Michal can hardly contain her excitement over her new sister. It is astounding how much Michal understands about what happened. She is often overheard saying in a very shocked and questioning manner, "ahh, why did baby have to be breech?!" She had really been looking forward to help receive "her baby" and definitely feels a little cheated. Other than that, Michal couldn't be more thrilled. Jeremiah has been a fabulous support and companion as he takes over many of the household duties and I think is finding a new respect for what his wife does all day. Maxanne was already 7 lbs at her first postpartum checkup at 4 days old and appears to be adding to that number daily. Her face is becoming quite round and pudgy. I LOVE it! My healing is going nicely and I am again amazed by the profound benefits of hypnosis. 24 hours after Maxanne was born, I switched to using Motrin and hypnosis for pain management and didn't even feel the need to fill the narcotic prescription that the OB gave me. Nine days after the cesarean, I am off all medications. The incision is healing nicely and the discomfort is generally mild (except when I cough, sneeze, or laugh). I can't believe how my abdominal muscles feel; it seems I don't have any. It appears the road to full physical recovery may take awhile but, I believe it will happen. My personality has always been upbeat and that hasn't changed. And now I know for certain (I had always told HypnoBirthing families that they could use the skills and techniques in every birthing scenario) that no matter what turns birth may take, being calm and relaxed is possible and beneficial. By consciously making the decision to maintain my calm relaxed attitude and demeanor, I know I affected everyone's experience (including my own) and made the birth of my second daughter the best and safest it could possibly be. I can now say I've pretty much experienced it all in terms of birthing: anterior labor, breech labor, hospital birth, home labor (almost homebirth), natural birth, vaginal birth, cesarean. All I have left is VBAC, which I'm not certain will happen as Jeremiah and I have been pretty much set on having two kids. However, if we change our minds I will absolutely be a HypnoBirthing home birthing VBAC mama!
Thanks to everyone who has helped in the caring and feeding of me and my family. Your generosity and kindness is overwhelming and has been such a blessing. Thank you also for everyone's words and thoughts. My gratitude cannot fully be expressed; I sincerely appreciate everything.
Special thanks to Arla Leins and family who cared for Michal when her daddy and I couldn't. You are such a blessing and we will always be grateful for your unending thoughtfulness and generous, caring nature.