And then there were three... People describe new additions to their family in a multitude of ways including: bun in the oven, baby, little one, child, infant, newborn but have you ever had anyone refer to your baby as a basketball? Well, poor Melissa had no hiding place for baby to camp out. You see she was one of those mothers who appeared to have swallowed a basketball. It was just there like BAMB! POW! Oops there it is! WHAT?.. You are Pregnant? From behind I couldn't even tell...lol. She just went with it and was slightly surprised by the comments because she never considered herself a small or petite woman but she had such a wonderful healthy pregnancy, she ate right/ focused on good nutrition, stayed active and had gained only 22 lbs (35lbs is average) but fast forward to 41 weeks and the dreaded "induction / c-section" speech. Followed by the full term ultrasound & non-stress test. Baby looked great! Although, the conversation that had commenced that morning at her prenatal check did not reflect healthy mom, healthy baby. Actually, the opposite, it was very defeating including the words, "You should just schedule a c-section this baby is going to be too big to be born, could get stuck, cause damage to your body and still be born via c-section. So, why not just schedule surgery and skip labor altogether? I mean what if you do all that work/ labor and still end up in surgery? When mom phoned me Friday morning crying after having endured this unpleasant conversation, I began to explain... In 1986, a study was released explaining the benefits of labor to an unborn fetus. The article was titled, The Stress of Being Born by Hugo Lagercrantz and Theodore Slotkin shared in Scientific American magazine. The question was posed is the birth process actually traumatic for baby? More specifically the role of catecholamines the so called- stress hormones, including adrenaline and noradrenaline during labor. They found the substances actually help rather than harm the fetus by protecting it from hypoxia and enhancing its ability to adapt after birth. The authors shared, "it is actually important to undergo the events eliciting the production of stress hormones. The resulting surge of hormones prepares the infant to survive outside the womb. It clears the lungs and changes their physiological characteristics to promote normal breathing, mobilizes readily usable fuel to nourish cells, ensures that a rich supply of blood goes to the heart and brain and may even promote attachment between mother and child." The authors suggest that babies delivered by elective cesarean section before labor begins miss the benefits of the "catecholamine surge" during labor. This was positively correlated with higher Apgar scores suggesting the hormones counteract the effects of oxygen deprivation. For short, LABOR improves breathing by increasing lung-liquid absortion, dilates bronchioles, protects heart & brain through increased blood flow to vital organs, breaks down glycogen in liver, breaks down normal fat into fatty acids and facilitates bonding through dilation of pupils.
Let me just tell you, little Miss EJ, as daddy called her, was totally focused on gazing into her daddy's eyes each time he spoke. Kudos to this amazing power couple! Against all odds, being overdue & pressured to throw in their plans for their birth, not only got herself into labor but labored over 18 difficult hours of every two minute apart back labor contractions drug free. Melissa Pikulin & Todd Gozur together rose above every obstacle to still give birth minus the suggested surgery! Did they get to put a gold star beside every line on her birth plan: No. But very few if any of us do. Did she find herself overwhelmed with contractions wishing she had never labored at all: No. Did she work together beautifully with her coach to utilize relaxation methods during her marathon: Yes! Did she give that giant uterus air each time a contraction started: Yes! Did her cervix hit a speed bump we call Natural Alignment plateau: Yes! Did she & Todd make some awesome decisions which kept them out of the O.R.: YES! And, before they knew it, it was time for Todd to help hold a leg and mom to push her baby out. I could not be more proud of Todd & Melissa. They trained, they applied, & they succeeded. She didn't have a 9 & 1/2 lb baby as the ultrasound & doctors eluded. She didn't need an induction as they suggested and she didn't need surgery to get the baby out.
What she did need was a loving encouraging coach by her side helping her make good decisions that were best for mom & baby not anyone else or their schedules. A man who cared enough to not only help create a new life but also help bring that life into the world with as few medical interventions as possible. It's what we call the safest right of passage of baby into the world. It's not always free of all intervention, some are medically necessary. It's not always free of medication, some are necessary. We didn't create the process of birth nor try to change it. We just tried to stay out of the uterus' way and allow the big bag of muscle to work. On a very special fellow's birthday(Todd's dear friend) a new life was born. An 8lb 13oz baby girl. A very alert newborn. A bun in the oven- cooked like a turkey till she was done. A perfect infant child with ten fingers & toes emerged right into the arms of her hard working dedicated mother.
Something tells me this perfectly round "basketball" that bounced only when she was ready to play the "labor game" has found herself in the court of two very special parents both ready to coach her through life.
Baby Eliza Jane, you began your last day in the womb in church with your mother & your father and you shall be blessed... For the bible shares in Psalm 139:13, You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. And in Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord... and personally as your mom & dad's doula, being present when you took your very first breath, I am pleased to announce your arrival. In addition to mom & dad, Mrs. Pamela Sauls loves you and I welcome you into our www.YourBirthHelper.com #BIRTHFAMILY