Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Leslee's Birth Plan & Story

Today we share Leslee's birth plan and story with us.  This is a great story told from the perspective of a doula mind.  It has some great ups & downs and full of determination.  Thanks Leslee for sharing!

Leslee and Dan Boldman’s Birth Plan

This is our first child, and we are looking forward to having a natural, un-medicated birth. We have completed natural childbirth classes and have read as much as possible to prepare ourselves. Our doula, Lindsey, will be present to assist us in staying relaxed and comfortable. We would like to try to avoid all medications during the birth, and instead use relaxation, heating/cooling pads and massage for pain relief. We will request medication if we feel it is needed.

We would be most comfortable in a room where the lights are dimmed, the doors are kept closed, and as few strangers as possible are present. Leslee would also like to wear her own clothes and to remain mobile for as long as she is able, to walk the halls, use the shower and tub during labor, and have access to a birth ball and squat bar. She would also like to be free to try different positions for pushing, such as squatting or kneeling if she finds it comfortable.

We trust in Leslee’s body’s ability to give birth; however, we appreciate your expertise and understand that there are procedures which may become necessary. We understand that some interventions may be necessary for the health of Leslee and baby, but we request the opportunity to accept or refuse any procedure except in the case of an extreme emergency.  After medical guidance for pain relief, we would appreciate some private time to discuss which pain management technique or medication Leslee would like to use.

If labor slows to the point that augmentation might be necessary, we would like at least one hour to try natural methods of induction before any drugs are considered. However, if neither Leslee nor the baby is in distress, we do not want chemical induction.  If there is evidence of fetal distress on the external fetal monitor, we would like this to be verified with an internal fetal monitor before any action is taken.

Other than our doula, other people who might be present during labor are our mothers, sisters or aunts. We will be asking that they not be present during birth and from coming into the room until after we have had time to begin to bond with our baby. 

Please wait to clamp the umbilical cord until it stops pulsing.  

We would like Dan to say whether the baby is a boy or a girl. 

We would also like Leslee to hold the baby immediately after the birth and delay all essential routine procedures until after the initial bonding and breastfeeding period. 

If it is necessary for the baby to be taken from the room for any procedures, please postpone these as long as possible after the birth and allow Dan to accompany the baby. 

In an Emergency - If Cesarean Surgery is required, we would like Dan to be present during the surgery, and to accompany the baby if it must go to the nursery.  Ideally, Leslee would like to remain conscious during the procedure.  If the C-Section is not an emergency, please give us time alone to think about it before asking for our written consent.  If possible, we would like Lindsey, our doula, to join Leslee in the operating room if Dan must leave with the baby.

Thank you for your support during the birth of our first baby.


Leslee's Birth Story

In the name of Labor Day, I’ve decided I should probably get around to finally writing the story of Sarah’s birth. She just turned 13 months so I should remember most everything…
I woke up Thursday morning, July 29, 2010, two days after my “due” date, to my first REAL contraction. I’d been having contractions on and off for week since my last cervical check showed I was 3-4cm and maybe 70% effaced. But this one was for sure the real thing. At first I thought, Hey, my hips really ache, I must have been sleeping funny, but then I noticed the tightening wrapped around my hips and across my belly. It was 3:45am. I went to the bathroom and woke Dan up to let him know my labor had changed. We napped and snuggled until around 6am. I couldn’t stay lying down anymore. I showered and made us breakfast, yummy French toast, and used the counter for support during contractions between cracking the eggs or flipping the slices. It was still early, so we were taking things easy.
A few hours passed and my contractions were getting much closer together: 3-5 minutes apart if I was sitting on the birth ball, 1-2 minutes apart if I was standing, but they still were not hard enough that I was sure it was time to go. We called our doula, Lindsey, at one point earlier in the day and called her again around this time. I was starting to feel it was time to go to the hospital, but was worried I was making a rookie mistake — it’s one thing to watch a woman in labor and see in her face and actions if it’s time, it’s another thing to make that decision myself! When she arrived, I was hanging out on the birth ball in the kitchen. I remember laughing because I was worried I was jumping the gun. I think she thought I was, too, until she saw me in a contraction.
I wasn’t in control of my actions anymore, I couldn’t help but stand, my body hovering, squatting, my face pressing into the side of Dan’s neck as he sat next to me. I rode the surge in the quietness and warmth of that space, and found the same comfort later in labor pressing my face into him, squeezing his hands or arms. It was time.
The car ride to the hospital was interesting. I was kneeling in the passenger seat, facing the rear, and I could see Lindsey in her car following behind us. The only time it didn’t hurt was when Dan was slowing the car… other than that, it was uncomfortable, near unbearable! There was a gush of fluids and I said, “I either just started peeing or my water broke!” It had! We arrived at around 11:15am. Don’t knock the amount of pillows – each and every one were needed.
Even though I’d registered at the hospital I was still able to scare the crap out of a waiting room full of people with a few contractions while I waited for them to take me back to triage. I also don’t plan on sitting on those chairs ever again because I know I can’t be the first mama to leak fluid on them… ew.
I was about 6 or 7cm when they checked me and I was allowed to move freely around the room after they gave me some antibiotics since I was GBS+. Here is a picture of the awesome nurse who was with us for the first half of labor:
I got in and out of the bath, especially as my labor got more difficult. The power of the water coming straight out of the faucet and onto my tailbone was glooooorious! Here I’m singing the shower (I couldn’t think of a single song, so I was really just pretending to sing into the “mic”), taken around 2:00pm:
Celebrating a break between contractions with a lollipop! Those breaks were a treasure, a little treat during labor, and I appreciated them so much – it was like I got to take a little lunch break from work and visit with Dan and Lindsey, I could smile and laugh, and then go back into my holding space for labor a little bit refreshed. It wasn’t too much longer before I was in transition and missing those breaks, they were long gone and not coming back ever again!
Here Dan is applying much-appreciated counterpressure to my tailbone a few moments later (around 2:30pm).
Soon after, I started laboring on the toilet, which is a wonderful place to labor! They checked me because I started talking about pooping and asking when to push and they found me to be at what they called “9+” which is really fully dilated with a small lip (as an aside, this is typical with malpresentation because baby’s head isn’t pressing uniformly onto the cervix). Then the nurses started being jerks, pushing on the little piece of cervix that was left during contractions… it sucked. “Resting” through contractions with Lindsey’s help (around 3pm), I was HOT and trying not barf everywhere (thank goodness for lemon oil!):
I wrestled the bed and ignored the kind nurse telling me the beds weren’t made to withstand that kind of rattling… it’s not my fault the birth beds weren’t made for a birthing woman! I also began to push, well my body was really pushing, and they were telling me to not push so I was grunting through contractions and pushing in little bursts. Around 4pm, a nurse who knows my aunt called her to say that if my family didn’t come soon they would miss the birth. Riding the contractions, here’s my favorite picture of labor, taken around 5pm:

Here we are around 9:00pm, still no baby, in one of our few safe-for-sharing pictures of me pushing (I told Lindsey that I’d rather have these pictures and delete them than not have them at all!):
You can see my knees are red from squatting and kneeling so much. I was on hands and knees for hours, it was the only comfortable position with relief from the pressure on my tailbone. My knees were sore even the next day… I’m not sure of the exact timeline, but soon after this photo was taken the doctor wanted to use the vacuum to get the baby out the rest of the way. I kept asking why no one was saying they could see her head, and the doctor said it was just inside and was “all but crowned.” He said the vacuum would hurt because it would be pretty much ripping her out the rest of the way and he would only proceed with an epidural. So epidural it was. And then I pushed and he pulled for maybe an hour? I dunno, but it seemed quick to me. The baby’s heartrate dropped and wouldn’t come back up, and the meconium started pouring out of me after having clear fluid for the nearly twelve hours since my water had broken. The doctor said that it was time for a cesarean, that we couldn’t wait any longer. The baby had to come out now. I had negotiated until I couldn’t anymore and I am so proud of the hard work I did. If if it was up to the doctor, I would have had a cesarean long before it actually happened, and I would have always carried around so many What Ifs? All I know is that this is the very next picture after the one above and it’s time stamp is over two hours later (11pm):
I was wheeled out of the room and past a crowd of my family who were waiting for the baby to be born. I am not sure who was there waving to me as I rolled by, they had taken my glasses, but I remember the outline of my grandmother and my aunt’s voice saying they loved me. I started bawling… the last time I was wheeled into an operating room, I wasn’t sure if I was going to live, much less if the little life inside of me would survive… The anesthesiologist tried to reassure me by telling me that cesareans were very common… and I told him why I was crying and he apologized… My legs and hips were rocking throughout the entire surgery and even through the next day – my body didn’t know that birth was over until after my milk came in. They rushed around me and it wasn’t too long before they were frantically asking Where’s Dad?!? Where is DAD?!? They were needing to get the baby out but Dan hadn’t even made it into the room yet. I didn’t even know he was in the room before I hear his voice saying It’s a GIRL! There are five minutes between the time stamps of the picture of Dan in his lovely OR outfit above and Sarah Beth’s first picture below:
I had to ask if it was still Thursday because I knew that I had been wheeled back not too long before midnight. Sarah was born at 11:27pm, weighing just under seven pounds, and was “sunny-side up” with a long bruise from her shoulder blade to her waist where she was caught on my tailbone. She didn’t have a name at first because we couldn’t decide on one beforehand, but after she was born she was given the name Sarah Beth. Sarah was the last name we were talking about before going into labor, and Beth fit because my grandmother’s first name is Elizabeth and my aunt’s name is Betsy, which is another nickname for Elizabeth.
Our first family photo:
Her first moments are nothing like we’d imagined. Her first moments are full of my only regrets. Her cord was cut immediately, she was intubated with a deep suction because of the meconium which was the root cause of our breastfeeding issues that took the first three weeks to overcome, so many things happened to her in her first moments that we did not want for her. Her first hours are a haze for me because after she was born the anesthesiologist asked me to close my eyes and gave me morphine without my knowledge; the epidural traveled into the nerves in my arms and I wasn’t comfortable holding her by myself at first. I was going to share a photo of me in recovery, Lindsey helping me try to latch Sarah because she knows how important it is to establishing a breastfeeding relationship, but I can barely look at it without feeling sad for what was lost in those first moments and days. I barely remember being there, and I feel almost that I’m looking at something that didn’t really happen, not to me at least.
That aside, I am proud of what we accomplished during the hours before her birth, and appreciate that our birth plan was followed completely. I enjoyed labor and really was able to step back and watch myself through each contraction in awe at what my body was doing. It was an amazing experience and I know I could do it again someday if given the chance.

You can learn more about Leslee &her doula practice in Tallahassee, FL. at http://www.boldbirth.com/.

In peace,

Jen Starks,


Leslee said...

I just realized I never thanked you here on the blog for allowing me to share my story. I was nervous to share my story so publicly. However, as a doula, I know how important it is to hear positive birth stories, especially ones which take unexpected paths but still can be seen with a positive eye. Thank you for giving me this opportunity!

Helen said...

Thank you for sharing your amazing and inspiring story Leslee! You are a strong and admirable woman, and I am honored to know you a little bit.