I am so excited to be sharing another Baby Story with all of you today! Having JUST gone through another birth story of my own, I am so happy to read and “experience” the labor and birth experiences of others. Just like every baby is unique, so is every delivery….every labor…every pregnancy…Reading about and learning from what other mothers have gone through can help moms to be make decisions and anticipate what’s to come. Experienced mothers can read and enjoy, relating to some of the experience other moms have gone through. Today, Kacie is sharing her story with you. I met Kacie my freshman year of college when we lived next door to each other in the dorms. Since then, I have enjoyed keeping up with her and watching her becoming a mother to two beautiful kids. I am so thankful to her for opening up and sharing her experience with you. If you missed my Baby Story, you can check it out HERE.
It was April, 2009 and I hadn’t been feeling well for a few days. I stayed home from work and took a pregnancy test. It was positive. I was
elated! When I was 18, I had been told I most likely would not be able to get pregnant. The doctor said IF I could conceive I shouldn’t have
complications carrying to full term but because of a condition similar to endometriosis and surgery that was supposed to help correct it but only
left behind a scar tissue, the problem would be actually conceiving. So, needless to say, I was shocked to become pregnant the first month we
were really trying.
Which type of birth did you choose and why?
A few months before I became pregnant I watched the documentary The Business of Being Born. I had always liked the idea of giving birth at
home but this documentary really solidified my decision that if, someday, I would have the opportunity to birth a baby it would be at home. When
I announced this intention to my husband right after we found out I was pregnant, he was not on board. It took some coaxing. He watched the
documentary and changed from a firm “no” to a “maybe.” He finally agreed when we met with our midwife and she explained the pros and cons of
home birth. Throughout my pregnancy he came around even more from a reluctant “yes” to an enthusiastic supporter of home birth. Giving birth
in the hospital was never really a consideration for me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted a water birth but we decided to set up a tub in the living room just
in case. I did end up giving birth in the water and it was really incredible.
Did you have a midwife or an ob/gyn? Did you use a doula or another support person? Why did you make the choice you did? Would you make it again?
I had a midwife for my home birth and also for the birth of my second child, which was in the hospital. I really love having a midwife rather than an OB. Both of my midwives made me feel comfortable and never rushed our appointments. They addressed concerns and fears from the beginning so I was able to work through those things. For my home birth I also had a doula. I think doulas are awesome for a person who likes extra support. I thought I was that person. I learned I am not. When I was in labor the ONLY person I would let near me was my husband. I did not want anyone but him touching me or talking to me. I had no idea I would be like that! So, we had a doula but I really wouldn’t let her do much so it ended up being a waste of money. If I were to go back in time I would probably still hire a doula for the first birth, not knowing how I would react. But now that I know my birthing personality, I would not hire one for subsequent births.
There were many upsides to having a home birth. For me, the downside was the support after the birth. I struggled with breastfeeding but because
I wasn’t getting a lot of support, I didn’t really realize that my baby wasn’t getting enough food. The midwife was available but because it was my
first baby I didn’t really know to ask for help. When Siena was 4 days old she stopped have wet or poopy diapers. I knew something was wrong
and we went to the pediatrician. Her birth weight was 7 pounds 2 ounces and on her 5th day of life she was only 5 pounds 9 ounces. It was very
scary. I ended up going down a long journey of lactation consulting, pediatrician appointments, and a lot of emotion and struggles surrounding
breastfeeding. Siena ended up on formula and eventually my supply that was low to begin with completely dried up. She thrived on formula and I
feel good about the path we took but in retrospect I wish we would have caught it earlier.
Because of that experience, I decided to have my second baby in the hospital. I had a lot of fears surrounding the hospital but it was a very good
experience. I don’t regret having a home birth or having a hospital birth. I feel blessed that I had two beautiful birth experiences. After my son’s birth, I had similar breastfeeding issues. He lost too much weight but we caught it early and got him on formula on his third day. His weight bounced back and he didn’t have any of the health concerns that my daughter had.
The moral to my story is that home birth is a beautiful thing. I loved it. If I were to do it again, I would have a pediatrician chosen prior to the birth
and I would take the baby in within 48 hours of birth to be checked. I would also have a lactation consultant lined up to come in the first few days to help with breastfeeding. I would not rely on the midwife for too much post-birth support.
Kacie chose to share her COMPLETE story with you. If you would like to read further, and find out more of the details of a home-birth, read on!
January 3, 2010 5 a.m.
I woke up very early with cramps. They felt like period cramps and came and went every 10 minutes or so. I watched the clock and timed them for about an hour before I woke my husband.
I woke Rigo up to tell him I was having contractions. I went to the bathroom and my mucus plug came out so Rigo called our midwife Michelle to let her know we were in labor.
My sister-in-law Jenny arrived. The contractions were still consistently about 9 minutes apart and lasted 45 seconds each. Jenny and Rigo started preparing the house: laying out the birthing supplies, hooking up the hose to the shower in order to fill the tub, etc. Tracy, our doula, arrived
with the birthing tub, and she and Rigo set it up while Jenny ran to the store to get me a Jamba Juice, bananas, cheese, crackers and peanut butter.
Rigo made me pasta for lunch. I ate the entire bowl!
After lunch, we set up the tub and Rigo and I went for a walk. The walk helped keep the contractions coming. After that I took a nap. It was hard to sleep because I woke up every 9 minutes but it felt good to rest.
I got up from resting and we decided to play a couple games of Wii Archery in order to keep my mind off the contractions. I would play a game, and then when I felt a contraction, I’d say “Rigo, Rigo, quick pause the game!” I didn’t want to lose points if it wasn’t paused while I was in pain.
I started getting on my knees and leaning my torso over the couch during the contractions. It felt good to rock back and forth and have Rigo put pressure on my hips. Sometimes I sat on the exercise ball and bounced up and down as I breathed through the contractions. That helped too.
I noticed the contractions getting a bit more intense but they were still manageable. (By the way, I won the game of Wii Archery – not bad for the condition I was in! After Archery, we played Wii Bowling.)
When Tracy got back from lunch, I told her she could go home. Things weren’t really picking up and she didn’t have anything to do but wait. We played Phase 10 – a card game. I only made it through one phase and my contractions really started picking up. Rigo suggested we go for
another walk. I didn’t really want to but I knew it would be a good idea, so I agreed.
We walked to the cul-de-sac near our condo. We live on a quiet street with lots of families as neighbors. We usually don’t see anybody in their front yards during our walks. Of course, just my luck, as we were walking I started to feel a contraction. As it happened, we stopped right in front
of a house whose owners were outside doing yard work. Rigo said not to worry about it. I kept saying, “They’re going to wonder what the heck is going on!” That contraction was a bad one. I had to hold onto Rigo’s neck and sway my hips to get through it. How embarrassing!
Once the contraction was over, the lady came up to us and asked: “Having a baby?” It was like one of those Bill Engvall “Here’s Your Sign” moments. I wanted to say: “Nope, just working on a really big poop – Here’s your sign!” Instead, I replied: “Yes, having a baby – hopefully today.” Rigo and I then proceeded to laugh about all of the possible “Here’s Your Sign” responses I could have said as we walked back to our
When we got back home, the contractions really picked up. At 4 p.m., they were between 5 and 5-and-a-half minutes apart, lasting about 75 to 90 seconds. We decided if they stayed that close together for an hour, we’d call Michelle. She told us to call her when they were “5-1-1”: 5
minutes apart, 1 minute long and lasting for 1 hour.
An hour later, I started to feel nauseous at the peak of each contraction. I told Rigo to call Michelle and she promptly left her house. We knew from our classes that nausea is a sign of Transition, so I was glad we called her.
On the phone, Michelle suggested to Rigo that I take a shower. I got in the shower, but I couldn’t stand for very long because of the contractions. Rigo put towels in the tub so I could kneel and he took the shower head and held it over me. During the contractions, Rigo turned the
showerhead to a higher power and put the water directly on my lower back, which helped a lot. I was in the shower for about 4 or 5 contractions and then I was ready to get out. I laid on our bed and Rigo put pressure on my hips for me. The contractions were getting intense, lasting 90
seconds or so. Unfortunately, my whole body tensed up with each contraction so it took another 30 seconds for me to relax my muscles again. That meant I only had about 3 minutes rest in between, and it was getting to be less and less rest as the minutes ticked by.
I started to feel a sensation like I wanted to poop during the contractions, so Rigo called Michelle again. He told her about that sensation and also told her that the nausea was getting worse. Michelle assured us she was on her way. She also called Tracy and Ellah, the midwife apprentice
who would also be attending the birth.
When Michelle, Tracy and Ellah arrived at our house, I was in the middle of a particularly bad contraction. I had gone from breathing through them, to making low moaning sounds, and finally to making high pitched sounds as I pushed through them. Michelle told me later that she knew I
was in the middle of Transition when she heard me make that high-pitched sound. Apparently, that’s a common Transition sound. So at that point, since I was coming through Transition, I was considered to be in Active Labor.
Up to that point, I had been in Early Labor. Active Labor is hard. The contractions lasted 90 seconds to 2 minutes and were only 4 minutes apart. This cycle only allowed about 2 minutes rest – 1 minute of which was spent coming down from the contraction and letting the muscles release. The contractions felt like waves; they would start and then peak really quickly. The peak was the part where my entire body would tense up. Rigo kept reminding me to keep breathing. Then the contractions would come down slowly until they were over.
I even imagined a wave in my mind sometimes. That was something we learned in our HypnoBirthing class. I would focus on recognizing when the peak was happening because I knew if I could get through that part, it would get better. Another technique I used was counting. I knew the contractions were lasting about 90 seconds, so I asked Rigo to tell me when 45 seconds was up. I kept saying to myself: “You can do anything for 90 seconds!” Rigo also gave me a 1-minute marker and then I could easily focus on the goal. It was important to take one contraction at a time and not think about the big picture.
During that time, I had very little sense of time. I didn’t want to know how long I had been going or how much longer it would be…it was too overwhelming to me. It was easier to focus on working through each contraction. When Active Labor started, I asked Rigo to tell me a story. This was another HypnoBirthing technique. He said things like: “Imagine we’re at the Oregon Coast with your family” and then he would describe the sand and the weather and the beach house. Visualizing these things helped me a lot. Sometimes I would ask him to tell me a story about “Grandma’s house”. I picked my favorite places in the world to be and he would tell me about those places. I think I made him repeat the same places over and over. He even said he was running out of material at one point.
But he kept coming up with stuff and it helped me fight the contractions.
Towards the end, I wasn’t asking him to tell me a story. I was demanding it! I kind of yelled: “Talk to me! Tell me a story! Talk to me!” He said the midwives got a kick out of that; they thought it was funny. They’d never seen that before, I guess!
At one point, Michelle said she wanted to examine me and told me I could go in the bedroom. I didn’t want to walk that far, so I just laid down right in the middle of the living room and she did the exam there. She said I was 8 centimeters dilated. I think everyone was surprised.
Michelle said my body had done all of the work to prepare for this baby and I was really close to having her. She said I could get in the tub, but I waited a little bit. Once I got in, it felt amazing. It was such a relief. I think it was the heat of the water along with the water itself that felt so
good. I can’t even describe how good it felt.
Michelle calls the tub a “natural epidural”, and I had kind of scoffed at that at first. Now I know what she is talking about; that’s exactly what it was! The contractions were still tough to get through but they were so much better than when I was kneeling over the couch. In the tub, I
was able to focus on my breathing and I quieted down a lot. I was still moaning through contractions but the high pitched moans dissipated.
After 8 p.m., I really started to feel the urge to push. I told Michelle and she told me to listen to my body. If I felt like I was ready to push, then I should start pushing. I wanted her to check me to make sure I was ready. She had me sit back in the tub because I had been on my knees
leaning over the front. Sitting back actually felt really good. She examined me and said I was completely dilated and the cervix was out of the way. This meant I could push. So I did! And it felt amazing! It took a lot of energy to push but it felt good. It actually hurt if I didn’t push.
At that point, I got really quiet. I just breathed through the contractions and pushed through them. At the end of the contractions I made more noise and grunted but I don’t recall being as loud as I thought I would be. I had my eyes shut the whole time and I was thinking: “Breathe
the baby down, breathe the baby down.” I was imagining my pelvis opening up. There was no counting like you see on TV. No shouting. The lights were dim and I was just doing what my body was telling me to do. It was really incredible.
Rigo held cold washcloths on my forehead and helped me drink water through a straw between contractions. My water never broke so Michelle broke it. She had to break it because she thought she saw a little bit of meconium in the bag of waters. When it broke, she said there was a very,
very small amount – nothing to worry about. If there had been more meconium I would have had to get out of the tub and deliver in our bed or on the floor because they would need to give immediate medical attention to the baby. Luckily, that didn’t happen.
I pushed for about a hour and then I started to feel a burning sensation. I kept telling Michelle that it burned. She said: “Kacie, focus on my voice and do what I tell you to do.” And then it was like all I could hear was her voice. That was very odd and very cool how I could focus so intensely even while I was in so much pain. The burning was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. It turns out the pain was from Siena’s head coming out. I think it took two or three contractions of that burning sensation before she was born.
I had my eyes closed. Michelle told me I could look, but I found that I needed to keep my eyes closed in order to focus on pushing. I heard Michelle tell Rigo to “reach down to catch your baby”. I gave one final push with every ounce of energy I had and I felt Siena come out. Her
head came out and then her body just slipped out right behind. I didn’t even have to push again. And the pain went away instantly.
Rigo caught her and put her right on my chest. He came around next to me and we both just stared at her in awe. She coughed a little bit and some clear mucus came out of her mouth. Her coloring was really good. She looked so healthy. She was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. I couldn’t do anything but stare at her. Rigo and I fell in love with her immediately.
Siena Joyce Brioschi was born at 9:43 p.m. on Sunday, January 3, 2010. Michelle let me hold her; she was very hands-off but she was intently focused on the baby to make sure she was okay, and she was. After about 8 minutes, I was ready to get out of the tub. The umbilical cord was too short for me to hold her and stand up so it had to be cut. Rigo cut it and left it really long and then he held her. He took his shirt off so he could get skin to skin with Siena. He had the biggest smile on his face.
I wanted to go to the couch but there was a lot of blood so they had to cover it first. I couldn’t stand up at first. My legs were shaking violently. Michelle and my mom helped me out of the tub. I could barely walk. It was like I had no energy left. When I laid down on the couch my whole
body shook violently like I was intensely cold.
Michelle and my mom covered me up with towels and blankets. Then my mom got me apple juice. Michelle said the shaking was from the hormones racing through my body. I also think my blood sugar was a little bit low. I was still having minor contractions. This is normal and it’s from your body trying to expel the placenta. Rigo brought Siena back to me and I started to breastfeed her. Sometimes that helps with passing the placenta.
Unfortunately, that didn’t work.
After about 45 minutes with no luck, they took me to the bathroom to sit on the toilet. Sometimes all the body needs is gravity’s help. I felt a stronger contraction and pushed like I was pushing for the baby. The placenta slid right out and into the toilet. Michelle got it out of the
toilet and I got to look at it. It was amazing to see. She showed me how it was in my body, how the baby was inside of it. The tree of life around the umbilical cord.
I was in awe at how incredible the human body is. I laid on the bathroom floor while Michelle examined me. She said I had a big bruise, a small skid mark, and one tear. The tear looked minor. I took a shower. I had blood all over my legs and abdomen from passing the placenta and I wanted to wash it off. I washed my face and my hair. It felt so good to shower.
Once I got out and dressed, I laid on our bed so Michelle could look at my tear. She said I needed stitches, so she gave me local anesthetic and I only ended up needing one stitch. It didn’t even hurt. I think after giving birth, getting stitched up is no big deal. Rigo said he couldn’t believe how I was just laying there looking like nothing was happening while they were down there with a needle and thread.
I held Siena again, skin-to-skin and started breastfeeding. She took to the nipple right away. Then Michelle and Ellah gave her a newborn exam. Siena weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces and was 19 inches long. I can’t remember the size of her head but Michelle was surprised how big it was
compared to her weight. Rigo said she must have gotten his head. She got my toes – “finger toes”, as Rigo calls them. She also got Rigo’s lips. She is beautiful. I can’t get over how cute she is.
January 4, 2010 1:30 a.m.
By 1:30 the next morning, Michelle and Ellah had cleaned everything up and filled out all of the paperwork before they left for the night. Since birth, Siena had been alert and awake, but by then she was getting tired. We put her down in the bassinette and Rigo and I laid down too. We
both got a fair amount of sleep that night. I kept waking up to check on her but she slept pretty solid for 3 hours and then fed and then slept for another 4 hours.
When we woke up in the morning, I could hardly believe what I had just done. Rigo was in awe too. It seemed like a dream. I knew giving birth was hard and painful, but it truly was the most amazing experience of my life and I would not trade it for anything. If I had it to do over again I
wouldn’t change one thing. It went even better than I could have planned. I feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful birth experience, and most of all to have a beautiful, healthy little girl. We have so many dreams for her future and are so happy with how
she entered this world.