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Diana’s Birth Center Birth Story / Tampa Bay Doula

August 10, 2015

This is the birth story of Asher, written by his mama, my friend, my client, Diana.

“My Birth Story- Asher Alexander; Born 7/18/15 at 10:30 PM

On Friday, July 17th, I was helping to prepare dinner for the night. While I was cutting vegetables, I noticed that a small amount of fluid had leaked out, making my jean shorts wet. Not damp, but wet. I was slightly confused. I thought that maybe I had peed without noticing it, being that I was 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant, or that I was leaking amniotic fluid. As you know, it takes a lot of liquid to wet jean shorts. I changed my underwear and shorts and continued to finish cooking and having dinner. This occurred at around 6:15 PM.

I then noticed that the pant I had changed into were getting wet, but not nearly as much. I texted my doula, Chrystin, and told her that I may or may not be leaking and then I would watch it overnight. There was a good possibility that I was leaking and that he moved, plugging the leak.

Nothing had leaked during the night, nor did I experience any real contractions. I spoke to Chrystin the next morning, and she suggested that I call my midwife to let them know that I may or may not be leaking amniotic fluid. I didn’t make the call until around 11 AM.

The midwife told me that it was best to come for a visit to test the fluid, hoping that it was just urine and could send me home… There is a rule that you have 24 hours after your water “breaks” to be in active labor to deliver at the birth center, or a hospital transfer would be necessary.

My husband and I got dressed and ready, put our daughter into the car, and drove to Breath of Life. We only grabbed what we needed, leaving our bags at home. After all, we all just wanted it to be urine.

We arrived at the birth center. Alex took Gabby to play in the family room while Vikki, the midwife, tested the liquid. If the pH paper turned blue, then it meant that my water had broken. It turned blue.

This meant that we only had about 6 hours to get me into active labor. Vikki offered me multiple options to get my body ready to have a baby. I could drink Castor oil, take herbs every 20 minutes (including Black Cohosh and Pennyroyal), use Clary Sage Essential oils on my belly and ankles, as well as walking, lunging and bouncing on the ball. The midwife said that I could do one or all of the choices. I KNEW that I was going to have my baby at the birth center, so I decided to do them all! If I wanted to stay at the birth center, I needed to be having regular contractions and have some sort of cervical change by 6:30 PM.

This was all new to me. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I experienced contractions first, then my water started to leak. I was hoping that this time I would feel my water break, like you see in the movies and hear everyone talking about.

I called my doula to let her know what was going on. Then, it was time to get serious. The midwife made me a mix of red Gatorade and two ounces of Castor oil. I drank that concoction as if my life depended on it. I wasn’t going to let a couple ounces of terrible oil stand between me and my birth plan. Next, I started my doses of herbs, setting the timer on my phone every twenty minutes. While I was doing that, Alex drove my car home to swap out the vehicles and get our food bag, cooler, Gabby’s special bag, the diaper bag, and my bag. I looked at though we were moving in.

Gabby couldn’t decide if she wanted to stay with me or go with Alex. Our thought process was that if she went with him, she would nap in the car to be ready for the excitement that lay ahead. Well, against our plan, she wanted to stay with me. She was such a trooper! As I walked the birth center, a nice little square, she marched by my side. If I did a lunge, she did one. If I hula’ed, she did also. We had discussed whether or not Gabby should be there for the birth prior to this and I am so glad that she was. She did eventually get her nap around 4:30 or so.

Chrystin was on her way. I remember how I had told her that I wanted a concrete mixer from Culver’s while I was in labor, a few weeks prior to this. I was half kidding and half serious. Well, she is the BEST doula around. She stopped at bought us ice cream! After eating the ice cream, it was time for another two ounces of Castor oil. This was also just about the time it started to have GI side effects, but I will spare you those details. We walked and squatted our way around the birth center square, even going outside between the bouts of rain to do curb walking. That makes it sound like we were prostitutes, LOL.

Every so often, Vikki  would come and check the baby’s heart beat. He was perfect. She was impressed with how little I actually looked like I was in labor. I was starting to have regular contractions. We were up against the clock! As my contractions were getting stronger, I think the midwife was confused with how I was responding. I am a silent laborer and can tolerate pain well. I didn’t make one peep during my contractions, and that was confusing to Vikki because she couldn’t gage how far I was or how intense my contractions were. At one point, I asked her if I was abnormal. She paused, looked at Chrystin, and they both responded with YES! She even had to tell Chris, the other midwife, that I was a deceiver.

I continued to take my herbal blend. And walk, and squat.

My mom drove up, bringing us dinner and was there to help with Gabby if we needed her. We all ate dinner.

Next, it was that time… it was 6:30 PM and we needed to know if I was staying or if we had to go to the hospital to have our baby. The midwife performed an internal exam to check for cervical change…

THERE WAS CHANGE! That meant that I could stay and have my baby at the birth center!

Vicky mentioned that it was time for the on-call duty switch and that Chris would be catching the baby. I was a little heart broken since we had spent the whole afternoon together working to get little Asher ready to greet the world. I am very thankful for her hard work.

As my contractions continued to grow stronger, Chris and Chrystin agreed that I should get into the tub. As soon as Gabby saw the tub filling, she knew that she wanted to get in. This is actually something that I anticipated and kind of hoped for. Once the tub was full, I put my sports bra on and got it. Next, we stripped Gabby and she got in with me. She had such a great time! She stayed in the tub with me until I couldn’t tolerate the vibrations from her movement. That’s when I knew that things were getting serious.

I found a comfortable position and stayed there until he was born. I breathed out as each contraction passed, waiting for the next. All of a sudden, there was a weird feeling, almost like a hard kick. I remember telling Chrystin and she said that it was probably my water breaking. That’s what it was! I actually got to feel it! The contractions kicked it up a notch after that. As I felt the urge to push, the midwife called for Alex and Gabby. Gabby was silent.

I began to push. His head came out. It’s such a different feeling when you are in the water and not laying on your back in a bed. Chrystin asked me if I wanted to feel his head, and so I reached down and felt his little velvet-like head. As I was pushing more, I felt every single twist and turn of his little body. It was such a crazy experience! He was born at 10:30 PM. Once he was out, I had to sit back so that the midwife could remove the cord from his neck. It was double wrapped but didn’t seem to phase him. He was laid on my chest, covered in a ton of creamy vernix. He was perfect. I wish I had remembered to look over at Gabby but my eyes were fixed on him. The birth assistant said that her eyes lit up. If only I had seen them.

My birth plan was a success! I envisioned everything and it all happened according to the plan. I didn’t plan to be induced, but I couldn’t have asked for a better labor and delivery. All went well. How many people can walk away from their birth and say, “that was awesome!”?

After we cuddled in the tub for a little, letting the cord stop pulsating, Alex was able to cut the cord. I then delivered the placenta. The midwife mentioned how thin the cord was. I don’t know why I find that important.

While I was rinsing off, Alex got to do skin to skin with our son, Asher. I then transferred to the bed to allow Asher to do his breastfeeding crawl. At this point, Gabby was exhausted. We had already changed her into her jammies and she was on the bed beside me. She eventually fell asleep and laid next to me while her new brother was getting settled into the world. The midwife took my placenta from the bowl and laid it out to show me the different parts, making sure that it was all in tact. I had one of the birth assistants, Ashley take my placenta to be encapsulated, and even made a sweet little heart keepsake from the umbilical cord.

They waited to weigh him and look him over, which was nice. He weighed 7lbs and 2.5oz. He got his vitamin K shot and took it like a champ.

Four hours after birth, the birth assistants came in and went over all the homecare. We were then dismissed. We left the birth center at 2:45 AM to sleep in our own bed.

This experience was a million times better than what I experienced at the hospital. I loved that I had control over my birthing experience and was surrounded by people that supported and believed in all of my decisions. I am forever grateful to my friend and doula, Chrystin for being my source of serenity and knowing what I wanted, ensuring it happened according to plan. I dreamed of a silent, calm birth, and that’s exactly what I got. Alex was amazing with Gabby. I am so glad that he suggested bringing her to the birth center.

Not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have such an awe-inspiring birth, but with a little education, anything is possible.

If I would do anything different, I would have recorded the birth. Next time…”

Birth Photography by, Chrystin Pflum

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