A positive birth story to inspire
A note from Japan Birth Resource Network: Birth comes in all shapes and sizes. We often hear the negative side of birth. By sharing women’s stories we hope to put a positive outlook on the experience when giving birth here in Okinawa.
It all started on a Wednesday. I was in the beginning of my 36th week and starting to have a dull headache along with minor swelling in my fingers. I knew these symptoms were out of the ordinary for me so I decided to call the MICC (the Mother Infant Care Center at USNH Okinawa). Everything was fine but I was sent home with a 24 hour urinal analysis to check the protein levels to rule out Pre-eclampsia. Two days later, Friday, is when we found out my protein levels were elevated and I would need an induction at my 37 week mark, which was just two days away on Monday.
I had been planning for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) before even conceiving our second child and knew that was still my plan no matter what. I had the weekend to grieve, plan, and prepare for my induction. I had a hard time knowing my second birth again wasn’t going to be the ideal birth I envisioned. However, I knew in my heart it was what was right for our safety and in the end, what mattered most was a healthy baby and mom.
I spent the weekend laughing, crying, planning, resting, and spending as much time with our first son as I could. I wasn’t planning to have a doula for this delivery but reached out on social media asking any suggestions or guidance and one amazing lady reached out to me and said she would love to be my doula and help me out. She was a last minute savior!
Monday morning arrived and I was anxious but knew my son would be in my arms sooner than later. We called the MICC to check in and make sure there was room for us to come in. We were the lucky winners that morning and were told they had room for me.
At 0600 we packed up all of our bags and headed for the hospital. My induction began at 0700. Being a prior cesarean Mom with the desire for a VBAC our options on inductions were limited. I was checked that following Friday for dilation and found to be 1 CM dilated and 50% effaced which meant a Foley bulb would be an induction option for me.
We started my induction with the Foley Bulb being inserted and Pitocin administered at 2cc, doubling every 30 minutes. The Foley bulb was working pretty quickly and within two hours it was out, which meant I was somewhere around 4 cm dilated. At that point it was a waiting game for the Pitocin to do its job and for my body to kick in with contractions.
As a TOLACing Mom (trial of labor after cesarean), you have to have continual monitoring to make sure your body is handling labor well and there aren’t any complications. This monitoring meant a limited space for movement. Our doula arrived at the hospital around 1200 and immediately got me up and moving in the little area I was allowed to move in. We changed positions every 20 minutes to keep things moving.
I was checked for dilation around 1400 and was 5 CM dilated. Things were still going strong and contractions were minimal; I was feeling them but they were dull.
Around 1800 I was checked again I was 6 CM, 50% effaced and baby was at a -1 station. My Pitocin was at 20cc, this was the highest it could be for a TOLAC Mom which meant my waters needed to be broken for some internal monitoring to be done. 1830 is when the provider broke my water and not long after that the contractions were really starting to pick up and the movement felt great.
I did a lot of birth ball sitting and hip rotating during this time as it was what felt the best for me. My doula would have me stand up and do other things but the birth ball was my best friend and where I wanted to be.
I took full advantage of my bathroom breaks as I was allowed to be off the monitor for ten minutes so I would use that time to walk laps around the room. The waves of contractions were really starting to pick up and I began to have intense back labor. I was tired and wasn’t sure I could continue on without any sleep and with the intense back pain. I was checked around 2100 and was 8CM, then was when I decided I wanted to get an epidural so I could get some rest and the back labor would go away.
Around 2200 I was still not having any relief and the epidural proved that it wasn’t really working for me. I took each contraction one at a time and had a lot of them piggy backing on each other where I was getting no rest in between. My Husband and Doula were there for support in helping to keep me calm and relaxed. It was awesome to have them there to remind me I was doing a great time and that this wave was almost complete then I would get a break.
Dilation was checked again at 2300 and we discovered I was complete and ready for delivery of our little guy. We started with some practice pushes and helped to get baby engaged more than he was. 2326 is when I started really pushing. Every three minutes I would have a contraction and push three to four times in each contraction. They learned quickly that the baby wasn’t handling my fourth push very well so they gave me some oxygen and told me to only push three times.
After 61 minutes of pushing Ben was born. It was instant love the moment we laid eyes on him. We delayed clamping of his cord for a few minutes and after Dad cut the cord we immediately went in for breastfeeding and skin to skin. I was able to enjoy our new born baby for well over an hour before I decided that he could be taken to the side for his newborn screening and weigh checks. We had a little bean weighing in at 6 pounds 13 ounces and just 18 inches long.
My first experience of labor and birth wasn’t what I envisioned but it was exactly how it needed to be. I am so happy to have experienced it all and very happy with how it all turned out. My husband and Doula were absolutely wonderful and there for major emotional and physical support. I am proud to be a VBAC Mom!
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Japan Birth Resource Network provides evidence based information and mother friendly support throughout Okinawa and Japan.
To learn more visit: www.japanbirthresourcenetwork.com