Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thoughts from Eowyn's Birth

Writing everything up again with the perspective of hindsight and the additional knowledge & experience I now have as a doula-in-training, leaves me with a few thoughts I'm filing away for next time (i.e. gulp!- 11 weeks from now):

Lookin at her perfect face, 3 days old
-- I'm excited about having a home birth midwife (Lord-willing) attend me next time, because she'll be with me most of the time.  I would like to hire a doula for the same reason.  While my hospital midwife was great, she just wasn't there for the first two days of my labor-- while I'm sure her partner told her about finding Eowyn's head descending in front of the cervix rather than directly over it, since she wasn't there, there wasn't much she could do about it.  Had a midwife (or even a doula) been with me, we probably would have been doing various things to encourage Eowyn to rotate, from the rebozo technique to fetal stroking to side-lying to sitting in warm water to doing strategic back massage (to relax the back & pelvis so it was more comfy for Eowyn).  I also doubt that pitocin would have been recommended, since the problem wasn't "inefficient" contractions (the monitors were showing them nice & strong, and I sure was feeling them loud & clear!) but rather a baby in a position keeping the cervix from dilating.  Pitocin would probably have only made things worse, tiring me even more, tensing me up, possibly requiring me to stay in positions that did NOT encourage fetal rotation & descent, and stressing Eowyn.  Had she not shifted who knows where we would have ended up.  I'm so thankful that the Lord had her move!

-- I'm so thankful I wasn't induced.  While my labor was long, my body knew when to take breaks, both for my sake and for Eowyn's.  My contractions eased so I was able to sleep for 4 hoursish, and then were spaced enough at various points throughout the next 12 hours that I was able to rest and refuel.  Once you are on a pitocin drip, your uterus is essentially being forced to contract without any regard to the signals the rest of the body (and baby's body) is sending-- such as "we need to rest!"  While some doctors are willing to turn the pitocin down and let a mom sleep, most do the opposite and keep turning it up until a baby is out (especially if your water has already been broken).

Very tired, but happy 1 day after birth (with Ryan & his mama)
-- It's not a bad thing to go home from the hospital and try again later. :)  For one thing, you can eat as much as you want!  If you're hungry, it's because you need the calories... your body knows when to stockpile.

-- Hydrotherapy, counter-pressure, emotional support, and moving around are the best ways to avoid thinking about pain meds for most moms.  Also having an environment where they aren't even mentioned-- like I said, I never even thought about them.  Now if I'd been alone, in a bed, told to lay on my back, told I'd probably need meds soon... that would have been different.

-- While much of my family was in town, since they drove there wasn't the pressure of being on a timetable lest they miss meeting the baby.  This is huge.  As a doula, one of my first recommendations to my clients is:  unless you want your family member helping you IN labor, tell them to schedule their trip 2 weeks after your due date.  That way, they're sure to meet the baby, and you won't be pressured or anxious to have the baby in a certain time frame!

-- I will remember to keep my pitch "low" next time.  Now I know that it's instinct for most first-time moms to tense up with each contraction and let out these higher-pitched moans & screams, but these just serve to keep mom's whole body tense.  Far better to keep a lower pitch (my tagline is usually "try to sound like a cow...a very feminine, sexy cow") which leads to relaxation.  Had someone been coaching me to do that-- to keep my mouth loose and my pitch low-- I may not have torn so badly.

-- In future I will try to push to the "ring of fire" and then stop and pant/blow.  With Eowyn I was so tired of being in labor, and just so tired in general, that we were all just concerned with being done! and I didn't really care at all about how much pressure or burning I felt in the process.  Having gone through the recovery now, I'll (maybe) care a little more. :)

Was she really this small??
-- We got a surprise when Eowyn's physical exam came back saying her estimated gestational age was not 41 weeks 1 day, but 39 weeks!  I'm skeptical that she actually was early (look at the size of her, come on... and the fact that my body was preparing for her to come by dilating 4 cm), but it's quite within the realm of possibility that she was just a "crock-pot baby."  Babies develop at different rates OUT of the womb (sitting, rolling over, grasping, etc. at different ages)... why not IN the womb, too?  This is yet another reason I'm glad that I was never pressured to induce labor.  Had I been induced on my "due date" I would have been pushing out a baby as mature as the average 38 week-er.  With brain and lungs being what develops most those last few weeks, I'm glad she got to have the time she needed.  As long as fetal heart tones are strong and fluid levels are fine, there doesn't seem to be any reason to do anything but wait and let Baby say when he's ready to come (it's also not uncommon for due dates to be miscalculated by 2 weeks or even more).  I'll be preaching this to myself once it's June, I am sure.


Sharon / Markus said...

I went into my second and third labors convinced I would relax this time. : ) Let's just say while your in labor it is impossible to remember that. Having a midwife there was huge. She could see where I was tense and would remind me. "relax your hands".

I love the fact I never even thought of pain med either! When there not an option it doesn't enter one's mind.

Your idea about a low pitch makes me smile. I am a "no sound" birther. And have always thought it would be interesting to be with a mom who yells. It's beyond my imagination. It's painful, yes, but yelling? : ) That's just me.

Eowyn's Heir said...

Oh, I was a yeller, all right. Though once I was more in control I was more of a moaner.. a bellower. Most moms I've helped have been at least somewhat vocal.