Thursday, October 15, 2015

Olive Marie's Elevator Birth: Using the Abdominal Lift & Tuck to Engage Baby

Melissa Thornton shares her fourth baby's birth story. She wouldn't have found it so funny if she didn't have other births to compare:

"I will start by saying that this pregnancy has been a major blessing from day one. I was sick in the beginning but after that felt great. I slept great, gained the right amount of weight, it was all just great. Her being a girl was just icing on the cake. All along though I did have this “fear/thought” that this would be a fast labor. Mostly based on the fact the fact that Zael’s labor was slow then super fast at the end. I thought for sure I could skip the slow part and go straight to the fast part. Ha. Anyways, Zael was born at 40 weeks and I thought for SURE she would be born earlier. Funny. Anyways. it gets to be 38 weeks and I decided that the baby is coming soon, so I get all ready for her. I still felt fine but mentally I was “done” with the pregnancy, bad idea by the way. That week went by then by 39 I thought for SURE this would be the weekend, I even went to the chiropractor to move things along. Nope. 40 weeks (my due date was on the weekend) I start having contractions, I walked, get ready, then after a day or so it all stops. That was fine, I was glad for the break. The following week I got my membranes stripped, which started contractions, but nothing real or strong. Every day that week I thought would be the day, nope. Finally on Thursday night I started to have contractions, painful ones. I tried to stay in bed but it was too painful so I spent the night watching Dance Moms (gag me) and laboring between 5-7ish min apart. I thought those were painful, and they were, now i think they were early labor. I let Michael sleep and woke him around 5:30am and told him about the labor. I wanted to get out before the kids woke up and I wanted to get to the hospital before it got bad.

We bring in reinforcements for the kids and get in the car, we drive to the hospital, the way there I had one contraction. Michael says “Well I guess you wont get that car birth you were worried about” (ha). We get to the hospital and they hook me up and it all stalls. Not 100% but didn't continue enough to stay. Not to mention a night of labor and I was at the same dilation and effacement as I was at the doctors office the day before. I was not a happy camper. I knew then that it had to be positional and she just wasn't in the right position (spinning babies became my go-to source). The nurses would say “she's just not ready” those are NOT words anyone wants to hear at this point of life by the way. Amanda (the midwife I saw AND has been at all of my natural births) told me my choices were to either stay and walk for a few hours or go home with a shot of morphine in my rear to help me rest. I COULD be induced but there were no rooms and we would sit in triage for hours and that meant monitors and wires. I chose the shot of morphine, best decision ever. The morphine helps you rest and kinda stops contractions while you are sleeping. When it wears off your labor either stops or picks up quickly. I went home, and basically laid in bed all day. I don't think I slept the whole time I just felt like i was laying on clouds..ha. I did have some contractions and when it was almost worn off I was woken by a strong contraction. I got up, had dinner, Mike took the kids. That night I went to bed around 8pm. And thats when the “fun” started. From 8pm until about 4am I had VERY painful contractions almost exactly 10 min apart on the dot. I read spinning babies and decided around 2:30am to try the Abdominal Tuck and Lift for 10 contractions. Of course that took about 1.5 hours. And it HURT but I really think it hurt less than the contractions without it; because she was shredding my bones with her sweet little head. Around this time I also called L and D and told them the situation, they said if the contractions aren't at least 5 min apart then Im probably not making progress (AHH!), so wait for that. They were totally full and had no room for me and that was probably part of why she said that. But I knew that the pain I was feeling WAS active labor.

Around 4:45 am I called Michael (keep in mind Olive was born at 5:30 am). Michael was sleeping in our little guest house, I called and said “mike, I need you to come in, I think we should go”. Soon as I hang up BAM, transition hits. I decide to take a shower (??) and I think I completed transition in the 10-15 min between the shower and brushing my teeth. Meanwhile Im screaming during contractions and Mike is like we have to go NOW! And Im brushing my teeth….

As he's dragging me out I feel like I need to go to the bathroom, when I tried to go and couldn't I knew I was getting “pushy”. I did NOT tell Michael, he was freaked out enough. Mikes mom still wasn't there but we had to leave anyway, the kids were still asleep. We get in the car and start the very quick drive to O'Neal. Only to realize that O'Neal is CLOSED (?), Michael turns the car around and is asking me how to go. I start trying to give him directions, through my screams…lol. It was those contractions that I tried just letting my pelvic muscles relax and I knew she was headed out the birth canal; my water bag was bulging. I was in the most uncomfortable position possible in his truck bc I couldn't sit down. Ok, back to the drive. I gave him the correct direction until O'Neal and Harrell's Ferry. So he went the wrong way and pulled into a parking lot that I have seen a million times but didnt recognize at that moment. He said “where are we? What way do we go??” I was in that stage of labor where you are fake crying/moaning/complaining. I looked around had no clue and said “I don't KNOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW :insert hysterical crying here:” Contractions coming like nuts, no breaks. By the grace of God he turned the right way. Somewhere in this time he called L and D and begged to have someone waiting at the door. They told him to meet them at the ER (a place we have never been). We FINALLY pull up at Ochsner, Mike then pulls into a parking lot, can't find the ER entrance, rides over a curb (big bump!) and pulls in at the front entrance (the same one we had used the day before). He gets out of his side of the truck and comes around to my side. Right as he opens the door my water breaks, I was like AHHH MY WATER JUST BROKE! He said just get out!! Lets get inside!!!! He tells me to sit in the wheel chair that he found but I couldn't sit so I pushed it in. The door was open, it should not have been open, a miracle. We go in the lobby, Im screaming. As we get onto the elevator I start to feel “the ring of fire”. I hear mike saying “what floor?” I know what floor but have no way of getting those words to my mouth. So he pushes 2 (its not 2). We get to floor 2 and it opens, I can see its the wrong floor, the door opens and Mike says something along the lines of “we need help!” two cardiac nurses get on. Out of the 4 of us on the elevator I was probably the least scared/nervous. While on floor two the elevator goes back DOWN to floor 1, the doors open and there is a couple standing there (I don't remember this as I was delivering Olive’s head at just that moment). For obvious reason the couple decides to wait for the next elevator. Before we FINALLY get to floor 4 she is completely born. Thank goodness for skirts rights? (I was standing up) Goo/fluid flies everywhere. 
All over my legs, the floor (gross!). I cant lift her completely bc she is still on the cord so I hold her on my belly. She cried a little, but just to be sure I flipped her and made sure she was breathing, she turned pink instantly. The nurse gives the ol’ “your doing a good job mama” but it doesn't hide the fact that she is totally freaked out. I sit in the wheelchair and they roll me out. 

I didn't know this at the time but Michael had run to the front desk and yelled “WE NEED HELP! NOW! WE JUST HAD A LIVE BIRTH!”. The nurse came and told me later that they thought that was super funny, ha! When I told mike later he realized how dumb that sounded too and he laughed at himself. I am wheeled into triage (where we will stay for 7 hours due to a lack of rooms even though Amanda had a nice room for me complete with a relaxing tub of water). I stand up, blood goes all over my shoes and legs; and I never saw those shoes again. They were my favorite but somehow they got lost in the crazy. I get on the bed and Amanda and another nurse come and say that they were waiting in the ER for us when they were called up because we were already there. She even told me about the nice room she had set up for me, boo I never got to see it. So i get on the bed, deliver the placenta, no tears, no stitches, not much bleeding. And all I felt was SERIOUS relief that it was over. They tried to clean me up, they weren't totally successful. But thankfully in about 10 min I was able to to the bathroom where the nurse cleaned me a bit better.

I am very glad that this was not my first natural birth, because although it was interesting and a great story it was NUTS. Im happy that I do have 2 other births to look back and say “aww, birth is such a beautiful event”. Also you hear stories of women giving birth in cars and get jealous, nooooo, the car is hands down the most uncomfortable birth position. 
So baby girl is here, she is THE calmest and sweetest baby I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Which is good, because we named her Olive bc we needed a peace maker around this house! I have no idea how to wrap up this story but I hope you enjoyed it! :)"

-Melissa Thornton

Monday, October 5, 2015

Happy Breech-Cephalic Twin birth

 Midwife Jewel shares a happy birth story: "Kathryn came to me at 8+6 wks gestation. At the time her fundal height was more like 15-16 weeks. We talked about possibility of twins, dates being off, how she often measured large for dates early in her other pregnancies. She wanted to wait until 20 weeks for an U/S, but I think we both knew something was afoot and she had one at 14 weeks that confirmed twins. 

"It seemed like the most important thing was to find someone experienced with supporting a mom with twins and there just wasn't an option in Casper, WY. Plus, even though Kathryn had had 3 previous straight forward, no issues, VBACs (after a primary c/s for FTP ). [failure to progress, an obstetrical phrase generalizing a lack of progress leading to cesarean.] The local hospital has a VBAC ban and that was going to be an issue too. The most frustrating part I think was that the doctors kept stringing her along, perhaps thinking that she would just give and schedule a c/s. Little did they know of Kathryn's determination.

"I have a good friend in Boulder, a midwife," Jewel shares, "and I called to get some referrals and encouraged Kathryn to contact them. We continued to see one another monthly so that I could do Mayan Abdominal massage, review The Three Sisters, keep encouraging her to eat adequately for twins (enough protein etc) and just keep her spirits up. I think all of that played into the awesome outcome she had with her twins. She also did moxa with an acupuncturist several times and that may have helped turn baby A. Kathryn was doing Rebozo Sifting twice a day, and following it with a forward inversion. She was also doing belly massage and have done the sacral and pelvic release. She walked for 15-30 minutes each morning."

Kathryn, herself, adds:

After the childbirth options in Casper WY left me hanging, I decided to pursue other options out of state. My midwife was not able to deliver twins (per Wyoming state law), the OB I transferred to was a kind but was not comfortable (or very experienced) delivering twins naturally and counseled me to have a C-section. Further the local hospital has a VBAC [vaginal birth after a previous cesarean] ban and even if I persisted against my OB's wishes, I would still be met with a non-supportive hospital staff. 
My midwife and other friends helped seek out VBAC/twin friendly doctors in Denver Colorado (4hour drive). I interviewed the first doctor and felt very confident that he was the one (Dr Breeden) but in the week prior to meeting with him (33 weeks) we discovered that both babies were breech. ...I needed a VBAC friendly doctor who was not only  experienced with twins, but also willing to do a first twin breech delivery. 

I had been given Dr Hall's name, but felt inwardly nervous about a breech delivery. And of course, anyone I mentioned a breech not only thought I was crazy, but also thought I was taking my babies lives in my hands. While thinking and praying about consulting Dr Hall,  I continued with Spinning Babies recommendations for rotating breech babies. The website was extremely helpful. I started by keeping it simple (Rebozo Sifting, Forward Leaning Inversion, walking, rocking, staying upright etc). After a week went by but no shifting, I consulted a chiropractor and a acupuncturist. I also went ahead and made a future appointment to see Dr. [Michael] Hall. 
Just because of scheduling, I saw the acupuncturist first for Moxa treatment. I was able to see her twice before the babies came. One baby did rotate from full breech, to vertex/transverse, but would you believe it was Baby B!? So we were still looking at a breech delivery for a first baby and by now I was 35 weeks.
I went ahead and met with Dr. Hall, Denver's own breech specialist. We left the appointment with joy and peace! After almost 35 weeks of closed doors, a door finally opened that would allow a natural delivery. Praise God! Dr. Hall was humble and kind, he was informative and helpful, he talked with my husband and I for over an hour... Discussing breech birth, what it would look like, what the risks were etc. He even counseled my husband on how to deliver the babies should we not make it to the hospital in time. We talked about birth plans and how to facilitate this birth without having to make a drive in labor.

Dr. Hall asked us to come back at 36 weeks. The babies were both measuring big (6lbs) and the plan was have a gentle induction in Denver to rule out the risk of driving in labor (or going into labor in WY that would end in a C-section per hospital policy). At 36 weeks he would do a cervix check. If dilated we'd go ahead with the induction then, if not dilated, we'd hold out another week (37 weeks) and induce then. I wasn't thrilled with the thought of an induction, but considering the alternative (C-section) it seemed like the best thing.

At 36 weeks (a Thursday) we went down for my appt. I was dilated to 4cm, but Dr Hall was in surgery and was traveling out of town the next day. (still wish this had been timed better!) Dr. Hall's midwife told my husband and I that we should not go back to Casper, but should stay in Denver until Dr. Hall returned the following day. So we had a short "baby moon" and tried to relax and not do anything to get labor started, until our breech friendly doctor was home available to deliver the babies. It was a challenging few days for me-- it was hard to relax and wait, but we did our best! On Saturday, we started walking and actively trying to promote labor on its own. Sure enough, contractions began to get closer and more steady, coming every 3 minutes and hard enough to breath through. We didn't want to wait to long (we'd had a very fast labor with baby #4 and barely made it to the hospital) so we called Dr. Hall (he had given us his personal cell phone!) and headed in. 

As God had ordained it, the contractions all but stopped during our walk from the parking garage !! I was so disappointed I was crying by the time we got to L&D! Dr Hall was right there ready and waiting. They checked my cervix. I was still at 4cm 40%effaced, station -3) but they were not going to discharge me, pregnant with twins and a history of precipitous labor. 

We started the plan for a gentle induction, and all Dr. Hall did was strip my membranes, and tell me to start walking. We walked and walked. I rocked on a birth ball, hit the jacuzzi tub, practiced lunges in the hallway, but labor would not start up again. It was evening by then, and so we just went to bed. Contractions seemed to appear and get harder while I was lying down, but almost disappeared when I got up and moving. This was unlike anything I'd experienced! After a rough night trying to sleep in a not so comfortable hospital bed, I was ready to give up and go home the next morning! 

Dr. Hall came in again that morning. Did another cervix check, now 5cm, and 80%, and said he really didn't like inductions, especially not with VBAC's and breech births, but said given my situation (multi para, history of fast labor, twins, breech, distance to home) he couldn't think of a reason to send me home. We couldn't think of a reason either (except that I was still a little nervous about an induction, but really what else could we do than indefinitely wait in Denver for labor to start?) So we decided that he would let us rest a bit and then come back to break my water. 

Anesthesia came in to discuss my options during this respite, and I declined an epidural or any pain medication. I had been on the fence about possibly getting an epidural placed (but not used) in case of emergency and need for c-section, but truly felt that Dr. Hall would do all he absolutely could to deliver these babies naturally and if it came down to a section it would be a true emergency (not a convenience thing). And in a true emergency I was okay with being knocked out with general anesthesia.

When Dr. Hall came back and broke my water. Later that afternoon things progressed very quickly. They placed an internal monitor on breech baby A which allowed me to get out of bed and move around while still keeping track of my little breech baby. [This is not typical, but then, neither is a breech Baby A in twins.]

With my water broken, it took about 10 or 15 minutes before I felt regular contractions but then I dilated rapidly. from 5cm to 10cm in less than an hour. Maybe less than half an hour. 

We called the nurse when I hit transition and the Dr Hall came right in and checked my cervix (we later found out he has never left labor and delivery but stayed close by so he could watch the babies-- they say he loves his breech babies and twins). While he checked my cervix, they got the team ready to take me down. 

By the time we got to the OR I was ready to push but needed to wait until we got situated. There was a huge team of medical professionals (anesthesia and her team, pediatrics and their team, OR nurses, L&D nurses, my doctor and his team, and a handful of random medical professionals who just wanted to watch). And they all hustled to get ready. Once we were all set (this seemed to take a while, but it was really only a few moments), I was moved to the OR table, where I laid on my back, with my legs resting in stirrups (not my feet). This would allow for me to deliver the baby at an angle that would let the breech baby dangle. It was an awkward position, but we had agreed on it before hand and Dr. Hall thought it the best/safest way to deliver a first breech twin. 

Once on the table, I was given the okay to push with the next contraction. Dr. Hall had also instructed me to push hard and stay focused as he didn't want that breech baby getting into trouble. So when told to push, I pushed!! Baby A, our dear sweet Abigail, was born in just two pushes. She was born breech, with her hands raised up over her head as though in victory! :) it was truly a moment of victory and excitement! She was here! The breech delivery was by far the most painful of my births, but it was over so quickly and the reward so sweet, I've all but forgotten. 

They right away put her on my chest, and delayed cord clamping, but only for a few moments as it was Baby B's turn! 

Dr. Hall manually positioned Baby B, who had been sitting transverse/vertex and she came down head first. She was born just 3 minutes after her sister with just one push. Baby B, Elizabeth Hannah,  was put right on my chest and had delayed clamping her cord for quite a bit. Time stood still as we reveled in the joy of two healthy babies!

Next was the enormous placenta, which never got weighed, but it was likely the size of one of the babies. I was so wiped out I did not want to push anything again, but I did. Dr. Hall said he'd never seen such a healthy twin placenta. It had been two placentas, but they joined together during the pregnancy hence the large size. 

It was over! My twins were here and here safely. What joy and amazement! The hospital staff just about cheered, and people kept congratulating me as they packed up the OR. Dr. Hall gave me a huge hug and stood by me stroking my head and praising me for making him look like a breech specialist. It was a touching moment.

Both babies, though fraternal, weighed in exactly the same 6lbs 12oz each. I was commended again and again for the size and health of the babies, twins born at  36 1/2 weeks. The twins were so healthy and did not need intervention or NICU time. 

This took me weeks to type out, but was such a wonderful way to process the birth of these girls. Everything went so smoothly and in hind sight I don't think it could have gone better. Truly what a miracle it was to find a breech doc and then to have an experience like this with two beautiful healthy babies. 

Thank you, Jewel, for all your help and support in this process!! I'm grateful for you in so many ways. Despite the, often time, unsettling circumstances , God really showered his blessings on us and caused us to trust His plan. We are so thankful."

Gail adds: It's wonderful to read about breech and twin births
happening in a variety of settings.
Would you like to share a story with me? Email it in a reply here or start a new thread.
I like to include stories that show use of Spinning Babies topics, of course! This month we are sharing a happy outcome when Spinning Babies didn't work!  

Changing the Earth by supporting Birth

Mothers bring forth life; medical corporations do not. Birth can be simple, powerful and loving. Fetal positioning, natural birthing and practical help for normal birth.