The challenges of our third pregnancy at times were weighing heavily upon me. By far, my biggest challenge, "it difficult to get in the mindset of birth again." The unknowns running through my mind, (who will watch our kids while I am in labor, how will I manage postpartum with a newborn and two active boys, Andrew's new job responsibilities, family visiting from out of state, etc.). Yet also full of surprise, as we would NOT reveal the gender (not even to ourselves) this time around. Second, I had worked very hard to control my gestational diabetes with diet and exercise during my last pregnancy and being able to pass the test and avoid it all together this time, was quite an accomplishment for me! And, of course, my mind, body or baby being stubborn (whichever kept spontaneous labor away) and undergoing unplanned induction created its own obstacles, however, having flexibility in my birth plans. Having the support of my husband (as coach), YBH doula assistance, the midwives of Piedmont OBGYN & staff of CMC Pineville made the perfect combination for accomplishing my third natural birth... Lisa Mitchell
Many women find laboring on the toilet to be overly helpful and easier to release the correct muscles to allow the baby to move down with each contraction. Some women also find the position allows them to ease the urge of urinating at the peak of the contraction. Note: very important to empty your bladder at least once an hour!
When Lisa and Andrew first considered a baby #3 she asked me what she would do if I was in Georgia. I laughed and replied, "What do you mean?" She said, "We don't want to labor and birth without you!" Now, those are words that make a Doula melt. When clients say, "We couldn't have done it (low intervention natural birth) without you"... I always reply,
"Of course you could, you just wouldn't have had as much fun!"
Adjectives Doula Nancy Cook, YBHD and I,
used to describe Lisa...
PREPARED PHYSICALLY & MENTALLY
RELAXED MIND & BODY
In modern depictions, a cornucopia is typically a horn shaped basket filled with various types of festive fruit and vegetables. Particularly in North America, we associate the cornucopia with the harvest and Thanksgiving.
For Andrew and Lisa Mitchell, this year the cornucopia symbolized blessing overflowing. Ask any farmer and they will agree, the Harvest is always physically challenging, time consuming and tiresome. Labor to bring forth life is also. In fact, it is the most athletic event a woman will ever do. The bible references this overwhelming work in John 16:21. Often referred to as the labor of LOVE, the efforts to expel a child from the mother's body brings forth not just a baby at the end, but many emotions for all involved along the way.
In this amazing birth journey , we experience: Great LOVE, powerful contractions, joy, tears, a few unresolved fears and a feeling of guilt (the necessity to have friends watch their other two children) to a void feeling of not be present to care for the other children, what if it is not a girl, etc.. Yes, Labor & Birth can bear fruits of all kinds of feelings for both MOM & DAD.
Lets take a photo journey of the couple's labor. It began as an unexpected suggestion to medically induce during her prenatal appointment, due to mom's elevated blood pressure. They did not know what to do, because family was not yet in town to watch over their other two children. They begin by first tackling that hurdle and eventually ask friends if they would be so kind to watch their other two boys, Wes & Lucas so mom and dad could move forward with the induction. This is one of the greatest challenge of couples who do not have relatives nearby. When creating your birth plan, make sure you also consider such plans as who can be available last minute to oversee other children during labor. Don't wait till the last minute, plan ahead, stress of such matters can allow the mom's body to release adrenaline and the release of adrenaline will slow or stop labor. The laboring mom should also mentally prepared herself to be separated from the other children (unless educating siblings of what to expect if children are to be present during labor and birth). There is nothing wrong with children at birth, but you should know your children and whether they would serve to further cause tension. If considering having children at birth definitely make sure you have someone to accompany and oversee them. My best advise, early labor give them simple to do's rub mom's leg, etc., do hard labor/transition alone and then bring the kids in for the actual birth (as in last 1-2 pushes) by strategically placing them in the room where they do not have a birds eye view, but toward head of bed to witness birth and immediately bond. Then be prepared for them to go back out of room should mom should need any repair. Either way, Cover all your bases, remember, if the middle of the night, give your babysitter/family member overseeing kids an earlier heads up to properly wake up, dress, drive over, etc.
Lisa's induction choice was to try to avoid pitocin (or at least save it to finish off the ball game) and attempt a less invasive attempt at spontaneous labor with an amniotomy (artificially breaking the bag of waters). This induction method was chosen by the couple after weighing the risks and benefits mostly, because she had endured pitocin last labor (her medical induction at 39 weeks due to her gestational diabetes) and she definitely found it to be more challenging than her first natural labor contractions. Also, to maintain her mobility and not have to endure continuous monitoring throughout. The induction began around 2pm.
Shown below, Sarah Rumbaugh, RN attends to Lisa and baby.
Your Birth Helper is happy to share nurse Sarah has completed her midwife training and will continue to serve couple's in the art of #SymbioticBirth, but soon in a new capacity. The world needs more supportive birth professionals like Sarah, supportive of natural birth ~ we are happy to share this exciting news!
Sadly, spontaneous contractions did not follow the amniotomy. Lisa also tried to encourage contractions with use of breast pump, but unfortunately they just never settled into a working pattern. To avoid being completely exhausted burning up precious energy, they made a decision to resort to pitocin for progressing labor.
With proper training, it is often very doable to still manage pitocin contractions without pain medication. Need more proof, Lisa has done it twice and so has many of our clients! The key is train with a team that teaches necessary skills to overcome hard labor and choose wisely your Doula Assistance. Don't be afraid to ask the Doula during consult, "What experience do you have assisting couples through obstacles to still birth naturally?" If you hire a Doula whose clients often end up with epidural or surgery, that may be a good indicator to choose another. If your goal is low intervention natural birth, choose wisely and be mindful who you pay your money to.
Make sure you utilize a variety of positions, lying in bed is one of the worst things you can do to manage labor pain. Walking speeds labor by 27% and squatting opens the outlet of the pelvis another 10-15% than any other position. Save the bed for when the contractions are so close together it doesn't make sense to try to move between them or for sleepy hours to conserve energy or sleep in between contractions. Many hospitals and birth centers offer warm blankets, hot or cold packs & some even aromatherapy upon request. Also, don't forget to ask for a peanut ball, birth ball and squat bar.
Then just when you think you can't possibly go on, its time to push...
It's a BOY!
Stubborn Baby Joshua (clearly enjoying his womb service) arrived just shy of 11:05 p.m. on November 20th, 2018
Congrats again to The Mitchell family. It has been my utmost pleasure to have assisted the birth of all three of their adorable sons! Shown below: Wes, Lucas and baby Joshua!
Special thanks again to Tina Moreno, CNM, Sarah Rumbaugh, RN and my own Nancy Cook, YBHD, RN for assisting with another very special #SymbioticBirth! Your Birth Helper currently serves Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas, as well as, Athens, Ga and all in between. We would love to help you plan and execute your happy "birth"day too!