Monday, July 22, 2013

Dollie Rhae's Birth Story

I've been pretty excited to share this. 3 reasons: 1. Because I LOVE hearing other people's birth stories. And for 6yrs of marriage, nearly all of our friends have had kids, some w/multiple, and I've always imagined what my first birth story would be like. 2. I loved my first birth experience so much that maybe some of the things I did to prepare could help other women love theirs too. 3. I don't want to forget the experience. I want to come back and read all the details.

So this is gonna be pretty detailed. Just the way those of you who like these stories, like me, prefer!

It started about 5 yrs ago while watching Jay Leno. Jessica Alba was there talking about giving birth to her first baby using the method "Hypnobirthing" and how amazing it was. It sounded super interesting to me. The seed was planted.

Now fast forward a few years. Bodie and I decided it was time to have a kid. Got off birth control and expected to be preg in a couple months. Fast forward 1yr 9months, and a bunch of medical tests (which were all normal) later and we were FINALLY pregnant! Woohoo! Well at this point we had been married over 5yrs during which time I had heard stories, opinions, experiences, etc...from SO many friends having babies. Good, bad, ugly. Hearing all of this, plus doing my own research, I had decided long before we were pregnant what I wanted. What was important to me.

Now I know that for most people "winging it" and just going to the hospital and having the baby is just fine. But for me I really wanted to have a natural birth and in order for me to do that I couldn't just wing it. I had to plan and prep a lot. My pain tolerance isn't good. And so I needed a plan to help me.

Enter Hypnobirthing. A lot of people would say to me, "why would I want to go natural and feel that pain? I would rather not feel it if I don't have to." Well that's just it, Hypnobirthing isn't about having a natural birth and withstanding the pain. It's about having a natural birth and not feeling so much pain. Here is a GREAT video about it: hypnobirthing video Now I know what you're thinking. People would laugh at me when I explained that to them and I heard a lot of "good luck with that, hope it works..haha.." I got a lot of wide eyes, and grins from Mom's. They had given birth, I hadn't. I was "na├»ve", and didn't know what I was in for. And what could I say to them? Nothing. Until I did it. But I preached it. And I was excited about it. I didn't let people get me down, or get me nervous. Also people would tell me that my plan was all good and great, but to be prepared for it to not work. Well my answer to that was this: I understand things can go wrong. But why would I plan for the worst? Who does that? I would rather plan for a great experience. I think that goes for anything in life. Anyway...  It ended up that one of my best friends had done it and loved it. Perfect! Even better! So I ordered the book, which came with the cd (HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: The Breakthrough Natural Approach to Safer, Easier, More Comfortable Birthing), and started to prep. I read the book in about 2 weeks, and listened to the cd a lot. Also watched a lot of videos on you tube. That was basically it through pregnancy. I did review the book again my last trimester. There are classes, but Bodie was gone to Cali for 7 months of my pregnancy so we didn't take them. I refrained from listening to people who had bad birth experiences and really kept my mind positive. Lots of relaxation and a ton of visualizing of what giving birth would be like for me. Let me tell you, it's hard to stay away from all the negativity. I would have to stop people from carrying on their stories because I just didn't want to hear the bad stuff. It wasn't anything to do with them, or what unfortunately went wrong, or wasn't enjoyable for them, it was just that I couldn't have those images in my mind if I wanted my plan to work. I listened to the cd's daily, and every night. Also I prepared the outline for my birth plan early on, first trimester, although toward the end I changed quite a few things. And of course in my plan I included that if anything did go wrong and medical intervention was needed that they would have our complete cooperation.  I also chose to have a midwife and to deliver at the hospital. My midwife was very familiar with Hypnobirthing which was a bonus.

So some of you are thinking wow this is too much...that I'm a weirdo...who cares about all that! Just have the kid! That's ok. Because all of this planning was well worth it for me.

So my due date was June 11th. And 3 weeks before that I was a 3 and 80%. My midwife said I wouldn't go another week. Another week passed. Next appt,  a 3 and 85%. She said again, your gonna go in 3-5 days. Another week passed. Now it's week 39 and I'm a 4 and 90%. She was so sure this week. (I still hadn't had any contractions). All this time drawing closer to my due date and Bodie's ironman which was the 23rd. So by this time I'm eating spicy foods, walking a ton, etc...all the while thinking "it's all good. I'll have the baby before ironman." We'll then my due date came. Tues the 11th. I go in for my appt and she was so surprised to see me. At this point I think she felt kinda bad for getting my hopes up the past 3 weeks. So I was still a 4 and 90%. She said she really couldn't imagine me going another week. Well at this rate another week was very likely, based off the last 3. And if another week passed that puts me at the 18th, 5 days from ironman. So I hesitantly told her that if another week passed and baby wasn't here then I probably needed to be induced so I had a few days to recover to be able to stand around all day at the race. She said ok and told me they could break my water and start me on some pitocin. Wait, What!? No. I told her I thought she could just break my water and wait for a bit without pitocin. She said that would be "half" inducing me...well I started bawling. I cried and told her that I did not want pitocin and that I wanted to go natural and if I had pitocin I didn't know if I could. She was a little shocked at how upset I got haha, so she calmed me down and told me to not even worry about it because I would go before next week and it would be fine. But she said we needed to at least schedule it just in case so I had a spot. (One reason that an at-home birth is so tempting) So, we scheduled it for a week later on the 18th, which was Bodies 29th birthday. At least if that day came it could be a little more special! So I left and was super emotional. I came home and told Bodie and just broke down again. I had just planned and prepared for so long for my natural birth, and now I was scheduled to be induced. Dang Ironman! (Haha jk jk, the ironman was a ridiculously huge life event for Bodie and I was so excited for it.) So Bodie basically said this, "Katie, you have been talking and planning using Hypnobirthing and about how it's all the power of the mind...so I think if you truly want to have this baby this week then you need to do what you've been talking about, the power of the mind. If you really want to have the baby this week then you will." Enough said. He was right. That day/night, and the next day and night I literally would just take time focus and visualize and tell myself that the baby was coming this week. Also I amped up my waking like crazy, and did a bunch of stairs, and also squats. Side note: Bodie was working nights, so he worked all tues night, and then worked all day Wed, and went in Wed night too. His mom and I watched a movie Wed night, and headed to bed at about midnight. She asked me if I was feeling anything...the answer was Nope, nothing. So I text Bodie and told him I was heading to bed about 12:30am and that I would see him soon. He was getting home about 2am..I went to sleep at 1am. At 2am, 1hr later, I woke up to what I knew was a contraction or as hypnobirthing calls it a uterine surge. I had another one 10 minutes later. YES! Finally! I had been waiting patiently for those! I text Bodie and asked him if he was almost done. About 2:20am I think I had had like 4-5 surges. I told him I was having contractions, and they were 5min apart and that it was prob a good idea for him to head home. He was just finishing a site and was on his way anyway. So I put my cd in, and my headphones, and started my breathing, and visualizing. I laid in bed for a bit, then got up and packed a few more items in the hospital bag. Bodie got home about 3am and he gave me a priesthood blessing that everything would go well. We told his mom we were leaving and headed out about 3:30. It took 30 min to get to Sacred Heard hospital. We got up the birth floor at 4am and I sat in a wheelchair and we waited for quite a while. I had my headphones in this entire time since leaving the house. I had my eyes closed and just focused on relaxing and getting in the "zone". I guess we waited about 40min. I went into the triage and they checked me and I was a 4 1/2. Then I asked Bodie to grab me the garbage can, I needed to throw up. I was having a lot of surges, but I was fine. I guess my body just reacts that way. Then I changed into a gown and we went to our room. As we were walking in one nurse asked Bodie if the jacuzzi was gonna be used, I opened my eyes and said yes! I was so excited. I had planned to use it. So I just got right it and the nurses left us alone for a long time. Bodie got my relaxing music going, dimmed the lights, and also got my lavender/lemongrass aroma therapy going. Aaaaahh...relaxation baby! I ordered him to go sleep while I soaked. At this point he had worked like 20hrs straight with no sleep. One nurse came in and checked on me and asked about my hypnobirthing. She was surprised when I told her I hadn't taken any classes. Side note: cool thing about sacred heart, 2 weeks before they had called me and asked me about my entire birth plan. They stuck right to it. I didn't have to tell them one thing. They never asked me about my pain scale, or offered me medication. Score! So the nurse told me to continue relaxing as long as I wanted. I guess I was in there about 1hr 15min. Then decided to get out. I went to the bathroom, and had to throw up again. Dumb. Bodie came in and assisted me in that. I hopped back in the tub and just held the shower head on my abdomen and back, felt amazing. Then the nurses came in and I got into bed. It was about 6:30am. At 7am Liz, my midwife came in. It was cool. She, and the nurses, were so quiet...and they were commenting on how wonderful it smelled and the good relaxing music. When they asked me anything they whispered and kept the mood going. Exactly the environment I had hoped for. So Liz told me that everyone told her how well I was doing with my hypnobirthing. She asked my if my water had broke, I told her I didn't know, I was in the tub the whole time till now. She told me she wanted to check me and asked if I was only a 5 1/2 would I want her to break my water because it would really speed up the process. I told her I didn't know...so she said she would check me to see where I was at and then I could decide. So she checked me and said, " Katie you are complete. You are a 10 and completely effaced. Great job. The hardest part is over. Now all that's left is to push the baby out!" I couldn't believe it. I had heard horror stories in the past about "transition" and wow was that so great and easy! I remained calm and relaxed...kept my eyes closed and stayed in my zone. She asked me if I wanted her to break my water. I shook my head yes. As she told the nurse to grab the tool to break it, it broke on its own. Yes! Its on! In my mind I was like SWEET done deal baby! 10 check, 100% check, water broke check, I'm gonna have this baby in no time! Hypnobirthing had worked exactly as planned. Then my midwife told me that it could take 2 hrs to push the baby out......Um...what? Why? I really wish she wouldn't have told me that. Because I think it took me away from my zone a little..just a little though. Every so often I would peek at the clock...and I just kept checking to see how close we were to 2 hrs, Dumb. So the entire time up until this point and until the end I kept my eyes closed. Bodie stood by my side and just held my hand. With every surge I breathed deep and made sure that I didn't tense up. Relax...I kept telling myself "Calm, peace, relax" over and over. Every time a nurse came in or Liz came in to check me they were so quiet and respectful of our experience. If I was in the middle of a surge they would wait until it was over to ask me a question. I remember hearing them say that they would rather stay in my room that go in other peoples rooms. Liz did tell me to just continue relaxing and when I felt the urge to push then go ahead. Well I never had that urge. I laid in bed for I think another 2 hours. But it seemed like 30 minutes. I don't know. It just didn't seem that long. So then the nurse came over and asked what I would like to do. I just mumbled, "get the baby out". I was just ready to go. I knew I couldn't just keep laying there. Hypnobirthing teaches you to "breath" the baby down, not push. If you want to know why, then the next time you need to use the bathroom, try visualizing and breathing "it" down, instead of pushing, and you'll see what happens. Smooth sailing...no pushing needed ;) So anyway, when I mumbled that to her she said, "ok then lets work toward that...on your next contractions try pushing". I should have breathed...not pushed, but I pushed and then kept pushing. I pushed for 1 1/2 hrs. A few times babies heart rate didn't recover very well so they would have me wait to push. That was hard. Once you start pushing you cant stop. At least I couldn't. But it did feel good to push against the contractions. Also I remember hearing them say "she is having a lot of contractions..." they came very quick, like every 30-45 seconds. I told Bodie after that I thought I pushed like 35 times, he said, "yeah try like 135 times!" haha..anyway, they had me use the bar, and also change positions a few times to help babies heart rate. When I would push Liz would say Great job Katie! You really moved the baby down that time. After hearing her say that a bunch of times I kinda quit believing her. I just thought, "yeah right, you are just saying that to motivate me". But then Bodie started to say it. And he was getting pretty excited. I knew he was seeing something and I knew I could believe him so I was getting excited. Toward the end Liz called another doctor to come over, and they were talking about getting the vacuum because we needed to get the baby out. Its funny because as I am typing this it sounds to me like it kinda crazy in the room...babies heart rate, changing positions, vacuum...but the room seriously was still so quiet. I wasn't vocal AT ALL. In fact they would ask me things and I heard them but I wouldn't even respond haha...I just was so in my zone...and yet I heard everything. I was just so to myself, but very aware. Then Liz said, "Look Katie, I am getting my stuff on, your baby is getting so close!" And for the first time in a long time I opened my eyes and there were like 3 more nurses setting stuff up, and her and the other doctor. And she had her gloves and stuff on. I was so surprised! And then I asked her to make sure Bodie announced the gender. She asked him if he wanted to help deliver the baby and cut the cord, he said he just wanted to cut the cord. She then told me that she would need to give me an episiotomy. I told her that was fine. So I pushed another time, and as I pushed she cut me and out came the baby! And let me tell you what. INSTANT RELIEF. Any pressure or pain I felt was 100% gone in a flash. I felt SO good. The baby was on my belly for a second, facing down and im waiting...waiting...like 10 seconds go by and I'm like BODIE! What is it?? And Liz said, "Oh here!" and she turned the baby over and Bodie looks for a second, and says, WAY surprised, "Its a girl!" I just held her and LOVED her so so much. I was just in complete heaven. Physically, emotionally, mentally...amazing. Bodie went over when they weighed her, and they delivered the placenta and started to sew me up. I was in the best mood. Even after pushing for 1 1/2 hrs I felt great! I asked them how many stitches, they said, " Oh...a few.." haha! And I also asked to see the placenta which was pretty awesome. We waited there for like an hour and I just held her and basked in the glory. I thanked Liz and everyone so much for their help. I told them how happy I was to have had a natural birth like I wanted. Then we headed to the recovery room down the hall, and on the way Bodie got to ring the bell :) Once in the recovery room Bodie helped bath her, and we just relaxed with our sweet girl and Bodie's mom. I made some calls to my Mom and Dad and sisters. We left the next morning. So she was born on the 13th at 10:41am weighing 8lbs 2oz, 22". So healthy and well. The entire experience from my first contraction to birth was 8hrs 41 minutes. Not bad for a first labor and delivery! After talking about about everything over the next few days Bodie couldn't believe I heard and remembered things. He kept saying," You heard that? Wow, I didn't think you heard anything. I just thought you were out." Nope, I heard it all, but I guess I appeared very calm and relaxed the whole time. Not one single time did an epidural enter my thoughts. 2 weeks later when I saw Liz for my checkup I walked in and she said, "There's the champion", I laughed. She told me that her and the doctor and nurses were so impressed with how I did. She asked me a lot about hypnobirthing and agreed that the mind is a very powerful thing. It felt great to get those compliments. I don't tell this story to make anyone feel bad for not going natural, or to put myself up on a pedestal, but because I feel VERY accomplished. This is something that I am very very proud of. And lets face it, to prove all those people wrong feels GREAT! I will use hypnobirthing for all my births and I would recommend it to ANYONE. Even if you want to have an epidural, the hypnobirthing techniques will help you up until that point. Its amazing. The only thing I would do different is to try breathing the baby down, versus pushing. And maybe had I taken the classes it would have helped.

Since Dollie's birth things are so well. It was a pretty rough and painful recovery for a solid 2 weeks due to the tearing AND cutting. I guess there are 4 category's of severity and I was a 3. But all is well now. I feel great and I am looking forward to this Thurs for my 6 week check up, and getting to WORK OUT! Breastfeeding is awesome. She eats like a champ. Took a lot of patience the first few days and then was great! No sores/cracking/pain! I have been unbelievably blessed throughout this whole experience. Having had no sickness during pregnancy, and a great labor & delivery, and smooth breastfeeding...God is certainly looking out for me. He knows me well. Bodie said maybe he's blessing me because I have to put up with Bodie haha. Maybe! Bodie is a great dad. He did AMAZING at the hospital. He coached me so well and was so motivating to me. I had 9 days to recover before the Ironman. Bodie did AMAZING! He finished in 13:30. He was just a little sore the next day, and then he was golfing and working like a champ! June was so NUTS! We had our anniversary, Dollie's birth, fathers day, Bodies birthday, and Ironman. It was a big month for us. And with my natural delivery, and Bodie completing his Ironman we both feel very accomplished. Those were 2 VERY big life goals of ours.

If you are still reading this then hopefully you enjoyed it! Glad I finally made the time to write!