Posts Tagged ‘hospital’

Gotta move, gotta rock, gotta sing! Comfort Measures and Coping Techniques for Labor

March 28, 2013

By Milon Nagi

At a recent Healthy Birth Choices Workshop, we gathered to hear three new moms share the comfort measures and techniques they used to cope with labor. We were also joined by Zoe Kogan, licensed acupuncturist, who took us through some acupressure points and massage techniques which can encourage labor. It was striking to hear, coming through the unique and individual nature of each story, the common themes that emerged as each woman found her way through to the birth of her baby.

Milon Nagi and Laure Sinnhuber-Giles, members of CiC's Program Committee, practice a sacrum massage used to help women cope during labor

Milon Nagi and Laure Sinnhuber-Giles, members of CiC’s Program Committee, practice a double hip squeeze used to help women cope during labor

When Vicki began to feel the sensations that led to her baby’s birth, she didn’t at first recognize them as labor – she thought it was heartburn. Having known for over a week that her cervix was already 3cm dilated, she had learned through experience that “that effacement, that dilation doesn’t mean anything until labor really happens.” She went about her day, downloading songs from iTunes for her birth playlist and, as her contractions grew closer, checking in with her midwife, who told her it didn’t sound like labor yet. “She told me, ‘Call me when you can’t stand it anymore’,” Vicki recalls.

To ease the discomfort, Vicki got into her tub. And, when the sensations became more intense, she asked her doula to come over. She remembers feeling “huge relief” when her doula arrived, thinking “I can finally relax, I’m just going to do whatever she tells me to.” Her doula, realizing that Vicki was experiencing a back labor, recommended that she stand in the shower with the hot water raining down on her back. It felt good and there was a possibility it could encourage her baby to change positions. She stayed there for 45 minutes and, in the meantime, her doula encouraged her husband to take a nap. Emerging from the shower, Vicki followed her urge to lean forward onto the bed through contractions. She moved to laboring on the birth ball to help her baby come down. Eventually, her doula suggested now may be a good time to go to the hospital. “I don’t know how she knew,” Vicki says, “she recognized from my face or something that I was ready – I didn’t even know that.”

Her doula helped her dress and they moved to the hospital. During the car ride, especially, Vicki’s music helped her to stay present and cope with her labor. She remembers laboring without a room for a while, until a nurse noticed her squatting and “corkscrew walking” through contractions in the hallway and she was finally checked and put into a labor room. Vicki recalls noticing that it was dark when they arrived (around 6am) and seeing more light as time went on. Having arrived pushing, she expected to have her baby before breakfast. Her baby’s unusual position, however (his head was tilted to one side and he was “sunny side up”) meant that it took a while for him to make his way out. With her midwife’s and doula’s support, Vicki pushed for several hours in different positions, fending off threats of a cesarean section from the attending OB (who later returned with students to observe her, impressed with her progress!) and at one point accepting some Pitocin to keep her contractions strong. Her birth team encouraged her and reminded her how strong she was, her doula massaging and shaking her tired legs between contractions. With their “incredible” support, she gave triumphant birth to her baby son, River, just as she had hoped to.

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Riding the Waves for a Great Hospital Birth

December 10, 2012
Elizabeth and Anjali (photo credit Nicole Heidbreder)

Elizabeth and Anjali (photo credit Nicole Heidbreder)

CIC’s most recent Healthy Birth Choices Workshop was on a popular topic which resonates with almost all expectant parents. With the vast majority of births across the US taking place in hospitals, how can we set ourselves up to have the birth experience we want? We are grateful to have been joined by midwife Katherine Roeltgen CNM, as well as new moms Sonia, Casey and Emma, who shared their experience giving birth in three NYC hospitals.

Sonia had originally considered planning a cesarean section and been afraid of the birth process. Through reading, conversations with others and Bradley childbirth education classes, however, her approach changed. She gained confidence in her body and came to realize she wanted an active, natural birth. When conversations with her OB made it increasingly evident that they were not on the same page, she knew something had to change. 28 weeks pregnant, she switched to midwifery care at an in-hospital birth center.

As they lived an hour and a half’s drive from the hospital, they planned to check into a nearby hotel in order to labor in privacy as long as possible. Her baby, however, had other plans. Sonia felt contractions begin around 1am. Over the next few hours they grew closer and by 5am were feeling quite intense. She followed her midwife’s and doula’s advice to have a glass of wine, soak in the tub and try to sleep as much as possible, but suspected her labor was progressing faster than they realized. Laboring in bed, in the tub and on her birth ball, she found comfort in moaning as she worked through contractions.  The glass of wine “was like an aspirin”, she told us, raving about how effectively it numbed the intensity of the pain. Her doula’s back massage felt “like the most amazing thing in the world”. By 7am, her body was bearing down during contractions. She didn’t realize she was pushing, but was fairly certain she wouldn’t be going to the hotel. Later, she experienced a strong urge to push, and felt her waters bulge and then burst. With their doula’s help, they realized it was time to leave for the hospital. Sonia arrived fully dilated and pushing. With her midwife, doula and husband at her side and encouraging her to push her baby “through the door”, she gave birth to her son just 30 minutes later.

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Workshop Wrap-Up: VBAC and Cesarean Birth

October 9, 2012

CIC’s Healthy Birth Choices Workshops on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) and Cesarean Birth are often particularly personal and powerful. Every expectant or prospective mom in the audience has either faced or is facing a birth which did not go the way she had hoped. All are seeking support, information and resolution as they prepare for their next baby’s birth.

Those who came to our most recent meeting brought with them many questions, all closely focused on the logistics involved in a successful VBAC.  Is there a correlation between epidurals or induction and cesarean sections? How can I increase my likelihood of success if I am induced? Which special hospital protocols may apply for VBAC and are they necessary? These were addressed by home birth midwife Joan Bryson CNM and family physician Dr Marc Levin, who kindly joined us to answer questions and provide a care provider’s perspective on the VBAC. Our three mom speakers all shared powerful stories of difficult decisions during their pregnancies and births, and their journeys to find peace with and take ownership of their birth experience.

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