Category: Patient Birth Stories


How I almost had a baby in the car and why that matters for you.

A few weeks ago, we joyfully welcomed our little boy into the world. The entire car ride to the hospital though, my body was pushing even though I didn’t want to (not yet!) – anyone who’s had a baby knows the feeling of your body just taking over! It was all I could do to just breathe and beg my little one to slow down, praying he could sense it wasn’t time yet. I actually almost could have had the baby at home before getting into the car so we didn’t really know what would happen as we tried to make it safely to the hospital!

So why the hell did I wait so long to go to the hospital, right? Lots of reasons, but mainly, I hadn’t felt the need to go. The hypnobirthing class my husband and I took as part of our birth preparations gave me such amazing tools, knowledge and confidence in my body, that I was in an unshakeable birthing zone. I had no concept, or fear, of how far or fast I was progressing. It was beautiful and amazing and I wish I’d had these tools for every other time I went through an intense hospital experience – even the ones unrelated to birth – it was that powerful.

Hypnobirthing might sound a little wacky, or “woo” but I found it to be grounded in evidence with some meditation (also grounded in science now) mixed in. The course I took is created by the Hypnobirthing Institute and according to their website, “The HypnoBirthing program is built around an educational process that includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition and positive body toning. Most importantly it fosters an air of mutual respect for the birthing family, as well as the health-care provider in a traditional health-care system or an alternative setting.”

I learned so much through hypnobirthing to ease pain, relax, eliminate ALL my fears about birth, build confidence in my body’s capabilities and build an amazing team to help me have the exact experience I wanted, that I want everyone to experience it, whether or not you’re having a baby! If I had known the hypnobirthing tools before many of my medical experiences and surgeries, I know my stress and pain would have been greatly reduced and I would have felt so much better before, during and after my time in the hospital. So let me tell you about my birth because it can help you.

Labor started for me just after I woke up on a Friday morning. My husband woke up for work and decided to stay home with me because we had a feeling about this particular day being “The Day” and after he crawled back into bed and told me he was staying home, I started feeling some deep, fairly intense low back aches.

I told my husband, “something’s different” and we started trying to time my surges but they seemed to be about 10 minutes apart and of varying intensity and so I thought, “there’s no way this is real labor. I should have contractions like an hour apart, and then every 20 minutes, or something. This must be more Braxton Hicks practice labor. It feels different but I’ll just wait and see.”  I did text my doula, Britney Murillo, though, and let her know what was up. Her response text was,  “Oooohhhh interesting!” Haha. Clearly neither of us were concerned.

So my husband made me breakfast and we decided to swing by the plant nursery to get a new plant for our front step. Our ficus tree had died and I did not want to have a dead plant on the front step when we brought a new baby home. It felt like very bad Feng Shui to me and not how I wanted to welcome our new baby. So off we went and I realized these surges I was feeling had to be the real thing. They made me have to stop and and breathe, and my Braxton Hicks contractions never really had that effect on me. We got home and continued trying to time my surges but they seemed to stay at that 10-minutes-apart frequency for a long time and I was managing fine, just breathing through each one. I knew I was in labor now but I just wasn’t worried. I was confident in my body’s ability to birth a baby, despite my plethora of previous injuries (including a broken hip and pelvis). My Hypnobirthing course and all the classes I took at Cap Wellness Center had instilled in me the knowledge that I could do this.

Hypnobirthing had allowed me to release all of my fears (I had a few ‘sticky’ ones that I couldn’t shake on my own) and had instilled in me the knowledge that as women, we are designed to do this and I could have this baby with ease. It would be perfect and beautiful and I could handle whatever turn my and my baby’s birth might take. It also educated me better than I could have hoped for about what to expect, what all the different birth scenarios might entail, which drugs were used for different purposes, what my rights were once I was in the hospital, what to expect in different situations, which interventions and exams I could safely refuse , etc. And no matter how the birth unfolded, even if there were special circumstances (complications), we could still have a beautiful birth with our Hypnobirthing tools in hand.

Part of what we learned was that laboring at home for as long as possible was usually the best option because it was the place most of us feel the most relaxed. It would allow things to progress more easily because reduced tension meant less pain and an easier trip for the baby. So that’s what we did.

I had lunch, chatted with my husband, put on some music and sang to the baby and danced through a few surges. Then went to my knees with my arms and chest up on the couch as the surges intensified. But still, I wasn’t scared and I couldn’t think beyond each moment. My husband did think about it but couldn’t really tell where I was in my laboring process or what to tell my doula even though she texted and asked him how things were going. It being our first baby, we were kind of flying blind and perhaps a little over confident because I was handling the process so well.

It was late in the afternoon when I decided to have a bath to relax and help ease my labor discomfort, but when I got out, I was suddenly drenched in sweat and complaining of feeling a bit nauseated. Those symptoms rang a bell to my husband and I that things were progressing but we were still thinking, “I dunno…” I was still handling every surge and while I was a lot more vocal at this point, groaning and using my voice in loud, low tones to help me through each surge, things definitely felt a lot more intense and I remember wishing I could get a break because the surges just seemed to keep coming and the intensity was tiring.

Luckily my doula texted me to ask how things were going and that triggered me to ask her to finally come be with me. I knew having her with me would help at this point, and I told my birth photographer, Daniella DeVarney,  to come over too. I still wasn’t thinking it was time to go to the hospital though, and I figured we’d hang out at home for a while longer. We hadn’t even informed my obstetrician that I was in labor! (Sorry Dr. Cap)

I guess now I can look back and see that I had reached the desired state of self-hypnosis that hypnobirthing teaches. This isn’t like the stage version of hypnosis that we typically think of (there was no clucking like a chicken) but rather a state of deep relaxation and calm, where nothing can rattle you. All hypnosis, even the stage kind, is actually self-hypnosis and we cannot get to that state of mind without being willing participants.  So my training had taught me how to relax quickly and stay there, release all my fears, and become more and more connected to my body and my baby.

Through my labor that day, I had spoken some of my positive affirmations aloud , for myself and for baby, and I used my breathing techniques to help ease my discomfort but while my surges were intense and uncomfortable, I was still totally relaxed. This state of mind and being was so beneficial, I know I can use variations of it for every intense, uncomfortable experience I might experience in the future.

Birth is unique because you know it’s temporary and there is the most incredible reward waiting for you when it’s over (your baby!!!), but using a lot of the hypnobirthing tools could have made my surgeries, physical therapy and even uncomfortable conversations much easier and less stressful.

Once Britney arrived, she helped me get comfortable by giving me counter-pressure on my low back and helping me breathe “up” through my surges more effectively than I was doing on my own – a way of breathing that helps with pushing because it works with what my uterus was doing. Then, after a short time, she helped me get comfortable in a supported side-lying position on the floor for a few more contractions but I suddenly felt the need to get up and I grabbed my husband and leaned heavily on him, swaying side to side a bit. Then my water broke.

It wasn’t the dramatic flood TV and movies like to portray, but it was pretty obvious what I was feeling in my underwear. Still, Britney suggested we go to the bathroom to check and it was confirmed. Then I had a big, very intense surge in the bathroom and she suggested I reach down and see if I could feel anything.

I felt something round and soft. “I think I feel a head!!!!” I cried.

We all thought I was going to deliver right then and there and someone fetched a sheet and a towel while my husband jumped on the phone to call for paramedics. Britney said to him, “You realize you are delivering this baby…!” but as I walked out of the bathroom, my water broke fully in a much more TV-worthy gush all over the floor. What I had been touching was actually the amniotic sac getting pushed out by the descending baby and now I couldn’t feel anything in my birth canal. No head. A few more surges gripped me and I realized I was now feeling my body PUSH. No more deep, intense aching that I had to just breathe through…my body was  bringing my baby to me!

But he wasn’t here yet. We still had some time.

I walked as quickly as I could to the car, pausing as two big pushing surges gripped me on the way, then climbed into the backseat on my hands and knees. It was about a half hour drive to the hospital from our house, and of course my husband hit every red light on the way, but he never let me know it (my head was down, pressed against a pillow and the car door) and he totally kept his cool (which allowed me to keep mine) while calling Dr. Cap and the hospital to tell them we were on our way.

The whole car ride, I talked to my baby and told him what was happening but also asked him (begged him?) to slow down and repeated, “not yet not yet not yet. It’s not safe yet.” Every bump in the road triggered a big push but we made it to the hospital safely and I walked into the labor wing after having a giant surge in the lobby of the hospital! I was offered a wheelchair but there was no way I could sit at this point.

Once in the delivery room, Britney informed the nurse that I had been bearing down for about an hour and she nonchalantly said, “ok, we’ll check” but didn’t seem to really believe I was about to have my baby. Then I had a big surge standing next to the bed. That got her attention! I was helped onto the bed and another nurse, Sarah, checked my dilation, announcing, “ok, there’s a head!!!”

Now the nurses scurried to get a monitor on my belly and told me I could push now because I was fully dilated. They also asked me if I wanted a hep-lock (the start for an IV without being hooked up to anything) despite being so close to giving birth. This had actually been my plan if  I had labored in the hospital for a while, but my wonderful doula now whispered in my ear that I could refuse if I wanted to. This baby was coming, it really didn’t matter now. So while I had reflexively said yes, now I turned around and said, “wait, yeah no! I don’t need to be poked with needles right now.” Thank you for the reminder, Britney! The hospital nurses were fine with my choice (knowing your rights and what is or isn’t medically necessary is crucial to having the birth/and or hospital experience you want!) and I got back to focusing on having my baby.

Then Dr. Cap came running in, literally out of breath (according to my husband). But he was all smiles, saying “Hi guys! Ok, let’s have a baby!” And he sat down, immediately assessing the situation and giving me the guidance I needed to push effectively and get that baby out. He was with me for about 5 pushes until the head was out, then he helped clear the baby’s shoulder and then my husband was able to put his hands out and catch our baby as he entered the world, eyes wide open. Even though he wasn’t there long, having Dr. Cap as my OB throughout my pregnancy allowed me to completely trust him so when it came time to give birth, his presence helped me relax rather than tense up. Choosing him as my care provider for my pregnancy was the best decision I made and it’s through his wellness center that I had access to prenatal yoga, chiropractic, massage and all the AMAZING classes we took to be educated and prepared for our birth. It really shows how important choosing the right care provider (for anything!) is.

From left: Dr. Cap, my husband, me and baby, Britney - my doula.

From left: Dr. Cap, my husband, me and baby, Britney – my doula.

Even though I had not planned on laboring at home for so long and having a tense race to get to the hospital, in the end I had exactly the birth I wanted. One of my fears/stresses had been possible medical interventions (even though I was prepared to make even a C-Section birth, a beautiful birth) and just being back in a hospital with all the memories of my past experience from my accident. But by being happy at home for so long, there wasn’t enough time for the hospital staff to realistically think about doing medical stuff to me once we arrived, and I didn’t have time or the mental space for my past hospital memories to intrude or stress me out! I just showed up and had my baby, and after he was born, it was all about him so none of my past injury-related stuff could ruin it. It also allowed me to have a new hospital experience that was completely positive and pushes aside all my painful memories of being broken.

The whole birth experience and my classes and education leading up to it showed me the power of an educated, empowered preparation for birth or any other “health” event or procedure. Birth is NOT a medical event (although it gets turned into one all too often), but the stress, tension and often pain can be removed from so many physical experiences by using the tools I learned in Hypnobirthing, and through getting educated about you’re going to experience! Knowledge IS power (and freedom, and relaxation, and preparation) so I hope you can see from my experience that taking the time to learn everything you can about what you’re going through and what to expect, what your rights are in a medical setting, and by taking the time to assemble a healthcare team that will help you through it the way YOU want it to unfold can work wonders for you and the entire experience you have. There is so much about this I can share about how it applies to helping everyone, so keep your eyes peeled for future posts and maybe videos with the amazing doulas who taught me about this!

Zachariah’s Birth Story

 

 

Zachariah, Our Birth Story

A Vaginal Birth After Two Cesarean Sections (VBAC2C)

By Lucie Welch

 

7 ½ years ago I delivered fraternal twins, a boy and a girl. After 6 years of trying and many, many fertility treatments we finally got pregnant with the help of IVF. We were beyond thrilled! When I was 12 weeks pregnant my husband deployed to Iraq.  I don’t know what was scarier, finding out we were having twins or my husband going off to war. It was tough but I remained strong for my hubby. It eventually came time to talk delivery with the doctor. I was told pretty early on that I was “too small” and would never be able to deliver vaginally. I automatically said ok. This was my first full term pregnancy and I did not even think to question it. I was just so excited to finally have our babies after years of heartache and praying to one day become parents.

 

I trusted the doctor and his expertise. What I did know, was that I had never done this before. So at 38 weeks I had a c-section to deliver my twins. My daughter was 6lbs 6oz and my son was 7lbs 14 oz. My husband did make it home in time for the delivery in case you were wondering. We were overjoyed and in love with our new beautiful babies.

The delivery was a blur though. After I got the spinal and they helped me lay down the rest is kind of fuzzy. I do know that I was heavily medicated. I barely remember seeing them for the first time. I do remember their gurgled little cries and I knew then they were ok. My husband went with them and met me back in the recovery room where a nurse had to massage my uterus because I was bleeding pretty heavily. After that I vaguely remember being wheeled to my room where I finally got to see my babies. This was hours later. I remember being so groggy I was afraid to hold them. The recovery was really hard especially taking care of 2 newborns. I remember after being home a few days looking at them and feeling so overwhelmed. I was so sad and in a lot of pain. I would not dare complain though because this is what we wanted and prayed and worked so hard for. It eventually got better.

When the twins were 19 months old we found out we were pregnant – again! Surprise! Totally on our own! We were elated… once the shock wore off. We could not believe we got pregnant on our own. We did not think we could after all that trying and no success. Then came the appointment when they wanted to get a date on the calendar and schedule my c-section. That’s when I asked if I could try a VBAC. The doctor said she didn’t recommend it. She said if I did try I would not be able to have ANY pain meds. Apparently, I would have to feel if I was rupturing. What?!?!?!?!? Then they told me all the bad things that could happen. It did not take me long to just schedule the csection.

So, at 39 weeks we had a beautiful little girl. 8 lbs 2 oz. I had a lot of bleeding during surgery this time but a shot of something took care of that. I remember laying there after they took her out listening to her crying, wanting nothing more than to hold her, talk to her, and sooth her. I kept asking if she was ok. I never got an answer.

It was like they did not even hear me. After what seemed like forever they brought her to me to see her. As soon as I started talking to her she stopped crying. Then they took her away again, and she continued to cry. I just wanted to hold her! Just like the twins c-section I felt so disconnected from my doctor and my baby. I don’t think she really even talked to me. During my csection I feel like the anesthesiologist spoke to me more than my very own doctor. I felt a little better after this c-section but not great. I went to the recovery room and after awhile they brought my beautiful little girl to me. I just held her. She was already a couple of hours old at this point. The next challenge was going to be going home and taking care of 3 children under the age of 2 and a half! Yikes! This quickly became our new norm and we adjusted just fine.

After our surprise, we could not even fathom having another child… until we realized we still had frozen embryos we needed to do something with. Simply “disposing” of them was clearly wrong in our minds. We saw these embryos as our children waiting for us to bring into the world. So, when Abigail was 3 we decided to try a frozen IVF cycle. There was no time like the present. The twins were in kindergarten and the stage of diapers and nursing was a distant memory. We wanted to use the embryos and see what could be.

It felt a bit crazy looking at my 3 beautiful children and giving myself injections. But this was the decision my husband and I made and we wanted to give the embryos a chance. We took a family vacation to Chicago where we saw our reproductive endocrinologist and visited our families. We hung out for a few weeks and transferred 2 beautiful blastocysts. A number of days later, we got my blood drawn at my OB’s office. We had a family day to take our minds off the suspense associated with waiting for the results. Later that day we were in the middle of dinner when we got a phone call. The pregnancy test was negative. I remember thinking, how is this possible? We did this once and it worked! We got 2! We also had a natural pregnancy? We were disappointed but looked forward to giving our remaining embryos a chance.

We decided to wait because of the toll this attempt took on my body and our family. Not to mention the checkbook…. So one year later we tried again and another failed attempt. This time there was only 1 embryo because one did not survive the thaw. Probably freezer burned. They had been frozen for awhile. We were devastated. This was our last chance to have any more children… or so we thought. So we settled in to our new life in California.

The twins started 1st grade and it was just Abigail and me. I told my husband that when she starts kindergarten I will probably go and substitute teach at their school and I would need to get my credentials updated. Our baby days were over and our family was complete. I grieved, but it was what it was. I was in total peace about the whole thing. My husband was not willing to put our family through all of that in-vitro stuff again and I totally agreed since I was the one who had to go through the physical demands of the whole process. We were moving on with our life.

About 2 and a half months later I was not feeling so well. I was convinced there was something seriously wrong with my stomach. I even made an appointment with the gastroenterologist. When I called to make my appointment they asked if I could be pregnant and I said no way! We can’t get pregnant! I went to the appointment and they wanted to schedule some tests. That night I was at the store and thought I should just pick up a couple of tests just to make sure I was not pregnant before I get all these tests done.

I was not late yet but took the test anyway that night. So I did the test and looked at it…nothing right away but I waited the three minutes and oh my goodness there was a faint line! I kind of rubbed my eyes and looked again… yup there was a line! I could not believe this was true! I must have looked at it a million times that night. I did not believe that it was right so I took a test every day for the next 5 days… and yes they were ALL positive. I thought ok this is pretty awesome.

Once we got to the 6 week point we were thrilled because in the past I had miscarried around then. I went to the doctor at 8 weeks and was thrilled when I saw the baby and a heartbeat. Wow this is really happening I kept saying to myself. It was so exciting! We announced our pregnancy to our friends and family at 14 weeks. Everyone was so happy for us.

My sister asked me if I have ever thought about trying to VBAC. I said that I had but it sounded really scary. She had recently had a successful VBAC with a special scar. I thought at the time she was CRAZY and asked why she just would not do another c-section. She said why if I don’t have to? So we started talking about it (a lot) and she even sent me a whole bunch of books to read. I started reading books and testimonials about successful VBACS online. The stories were so beautiful and I sat in front of the computer and just cried. I wanted that experience. I wanted to hold my precious baby right away and sooth and kiss his sweet little head. I wanted to do the skin to skin thing everyone was talking about. I really wanted to do this! I was motivated.

At my next appointment with my OBGYN I asked what her stance on me doing a VBAC was. Right away she shut me down. She said absolutely not! She said do you know what can happen to you? She went on and on about all the risks and tried to give me statistics from ACOG which I later found out were incorrect. I did not really respond I just thought “ok” and we went on with my appointment. After my appointment I spoke with my sister and told her about what happened. She said you live in a great place to try to VBAC. When I told her we were expecting she had done some research about VBAC friendly doctors in the San. Diego area and mentioned Dr. Cap. I was not really ready to listen until now, and the time was nearing if I was going to switch doctors.

Another mother I met at my daughters dance studio also had Dr. Cap and LOVED him. She had so many wonderful things to say about him. After that I was really excited and was going to give the office a call for a consult. I was so nervous dialing the phone number but was put at ease right away as soon as Angie (Dr. Cap’s lovely wife) started talking to me and was so encouraging from the start. I felt good about this. Now I just had to wait for my consult appointment with Dr. Cap.

A couple weeks later the day came for my consult. I decided that whatever happened I at least gave it a try. Dr. Cap came in to the room and introduced himself. I gave him my history and told him I wanted him to be my doctor if he would consider letting me try to VBAC. I was so nervous he was going to say no but instead he said “Let’s do it!” I was sooooo relieved.

He then went on to explain to me the conditions of this whole VBAC thing. I had to go into labor on my own and stay in labor. There would be no inducing or pitocin or anything like that. I said ok and made the switch to his practice.

 

 

The tricky thing was I had never labored before so we did not know what my body was going to do. I read more about birth and labor and all the stuff I did not pay any attention to previously. Remember, we had always had scheduled c-sections. I continued with all my appointments and everything was going beautifully.

At 35 weeks I started to feel cramping but nothing to be concerned about. Baby was head down at this point so there was no concern. I kept going to my appointments and everything was great. At my 39 week appointment Dr. Cap checked me and I was only a fingertip dilated. I was so bummed. I thought for sure it would be more after everything that I was feeling.

Even having carried almost 15 pounds of babies the first time around I did not feel any of this. Every day I would get up asking “Is today the day?” I had so many emotions going through me. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I kept telling people I really want to do this VBAC! It was now July 10th and off we went to Dr. Cap’s office for a check. I was getting so excited to see how much more I had dilated.

Well, I sure was disappointed when he checked and told me there was NO change since the appointment the week before. I was so bummed. My husband was ready to schedule the c-section right then and there. He was getting concerned for my health. I was not sleeping well, retaining a ton of fluid and just feeling done overall. I looked at my husband and said I’M FINE! Let’s just wait and see what happens. Dr. Cap reassured my husband that women can do amazing things. I was 40 ½ weeks at this point and could go to 42 weeks. That’s what we agreed on. If I did not go into labor on my own by 42 weeks we would do the c-section.

Feeling defeated, we declined an appointment to return a few days later. We told Dr. Cap we would just see him the following week. We were going to take the kids to the beach and celebrate my brothers 40th birthday and relax and enjoy our weekend. I was done worrying about it. I kind of just resigned myself to the fact that I would probably need the c-section and to stop worrying and enjoy my brother and his kids for the remainder of their visit.

 

 

My husband and I went and had a wonderful lunch at PF Changs and man was it good! I did not care anymore about the salt and swelling because I was at the point where it did not matter what I did so I enjoyed. It was nice to have a date with my hubby too. 

After our date we went home and hung out with the kiddos and my brother. We made a light dinner and got kiddos to bed. My brother and I hung out for a bit and we turned in for the night. I was having the best sleep in weeks when……at about 2:00 am a contraction woke me up out of a dead sleep. I thought wow that was unlike anything I have ever felt before! I thought could this be it? I went to the restroom and back to bed. I was feeling these contractions on and off until about 3:45. I started to feel something weird so I got up to go to the restroom and when I sat up I felt it….yes my water had broken!!!

I asked my husband to give me the towel that was next to the bed. He said is this it? I said I think so! I stuck that towel in between my legs and ran to the bathroom where more fluid came out. I said this is definitely it! I got myself cleaned up put a pad on and started to get dressed. It was then that I noticed my husband back in bed. I said “what are you doing!?!?” He said well Dr. Cap said you could labor at home for awhile right? I said yes, your right but I will let him know what is going on first.

With my husband clinging to his pillow, I sent Dr. Cap a text and waited for his call. He called and I was so excited to tell him that my water had broken. I was still in disbelief this was actually happening. I was excited, like I was for our first babies, birthed via c-section, but s vaginal birth stories. I was confused; it was almost surreal. Dr. Cap just said to go to the hospital when I was ready and he would see us there. After I hung up the phone I sat in bed for a few minutes. The contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I thought, forget this labor at s go to the hospital!

I was getting nervous because I didn’t know what was to come and these contractions hurt. My husband grabbed the bags and loaded the car. Apparently, I ran around the house, making the bed, preparing the kids breakfast, and wiping down the counters. When I was finally ready to go, my husband was waiting on the couch. He had just watched me flutter around. I said “Come on what are you waiting for!?!?!?” He laughed… and we got in the truck. We didn’t bother waking anyone up.

We decided to call my brother after I got settled at the hospital. It was the morning of his 40th birthday. What a birthday gift! We drove down to Scripps. I was very thankful it was before 5:00 am. No traffic! We got there pretty fast and thank God, the contractions were painful… I got out of the truck and started to walk to the birth pavilion door and had to stop a couple times. I wanted my husband to take one last pregnant picture of me but, that didn’t happen. I wanted to just get in there.

We did the typical check in stuff and I got into bed. I was a little annoyed at the nurse asking me questions while I was having contractions. I thought I had answered all those questions on some paper at some point. Oh well…she finally stopped. It was right after that that Dr. Cap came in. He was cheerful and seemed rested. I was glad because I woke him up at around 3:00 am that morning. He encouraged me to get out of the bed and move around and get on the yoga ball etc. I think he also suggested putting on some soothing music. I was not really happy at that point. I kept thinking to myself: do people do this un-medicated stuff all the time? I could hardly comprehend what he was telling me I was in so much pain. So, I did what he asked and got on the yoga ball.

I starting rocking and doing whatever made me feel better. It did not take long for me to yell at my husband though was trying really hard not to do that. He told me a long time ago that’s what he feared most about having babies: me “coming off” at him in pain. Unfortunately, he was also trying to take Dr. Cap’s direction, attempting to find some music for me on his phone. I thought this was just him messing around. After dishing out a verbal reprimand, he told me he was looking for some Enya… Not my first choice anyways. He put the phone down reluctantly.

After a little while on the yoga ball I thought I was going to die from the pain. I felt like I was going to throw up or pass out or both. I kept thinking why did I choose this? I was going to follow through though. Then the nurse asked if I wanted something for the pain. I said “I can do that?” She said sure! I was remembering what the other OB told me with Abigail and asked the nurse to double check with Dr. Cap if I can have an epidural. Kind of funny I don’t remember discussing the pain management thing with Dr. Cap. It was not too much longer and the anesthesiologist came in. I was soooooooo happy to see her. I was exhausted at this point. Sweet relief. I think I told her I loved her.

When I had first gotten there they checked and I was only 1 ½ cm dilated so I was sure it was more by now. They got me all cozy in the bed and then Dr. Cap walked in. He asked what happened. I told him I thought I was going to die! I needed drugs! He checked me and I was only at 2cm dilated. I was really glad that I had gotten something for the pain. I don’t know what would have happened to me, or my husband, if was only at a 2 and in that much pain.

After Dr. Cap left, I rested for a while, made some calls, and sent out some texts. I called to wish my brother a happy birthday and told him he was not going out to dinner and to the beach but he was going to get a nephew! He was really excited.

I could still feel a ton of pressure but was glad I could not feel the pain. The contraction monitor was going crazy. Every 1-2 minutes I was having huge contractions. Dr. Cap came in at about noon and I was 5 cm and 80% effaced and -1 station (whatever that meant). It was all a strange language to me. So I just continued to hang out and talk to my hubby and watch a little TV. I was still in disbelief this was actually happening. I was actually in active labor and we were going to hopefully VBAC this baby.

At about 3:45 pm Dr. Cap came in and checked again. He said ok you are 9 ½ cm! I was like WOW really? He said yes! There was a little bit of a lip left and he moved it out of the way and said let’s try to push. I said what? Really? Now? He said yup! I could not believe it!  It was time. The moment I have been waiting and praying for. So my hubby came over grabbed a leg and I started pushing… and pushing… and pushing. About 2 hours went by and still no baby. I kept thinking why is this taking so long?

I was getting extremely exhausted. So ready to just give up. I was done. It was obviously not going to happen this way. I did my best. I started to feel pain and a ton of pressure. No matter how many times I hit that darn epidural button it did not help. I started begging for more meds and kept telling Dr. Cap I could not do it. My husband said I was falling asleep, snoring in between pushes and contractions. The urge to push and the pain would wake me up. At one point the nurse asked if I wanted to feel my babies head. I reached down and felt. I got discouraged though because I thought I would feel more at that point. After all that pushing that’s all?

The pressure got more intense and at one point I begged Dr. Cap to cut me. He said “What do you want me to cut?” I responded with “I don’t care anything just cut me!” I later found out that I had already torn and just did know it yet. I then begged for him to vacuum him out. I would have taken any help I could get. Dr. Cap and my husband just kept encouraging me and I kept pushing with each contraction – between my 15 second to one minute naps.

I continued to wonder if this was going to happen after all. I was so exhausted. It was, physically, the hardest thing, besides carrying twins, I had ever had to do in my whole life. I tuned out Dr. Cap and my husband… until I caught my husband watching America’s Funniest Home Videos… Tongue lashing number two.

I continued to push when I felt like I had to. I remember Dr. Cap asking for another nurse to come in just in case. Just in case what? I later found out the babies heartbeat dipped a couple of times and he just wanted to make sure he was ok. I never even saw that nurse I had my eyes closed and was in the baby zone. I wanted him out so bad!!!! I felt like I was not getting any closer and I was getting mad now. Why was this so hard?!?!?!?! I started to push really hard and gave it my best…Still no baby….Then I got really mad and just pushed with all my might.

I wanted to do this and wanted to do it now! I kept hearing my husband saying “WOW! That’s amazing! Then there was lots of cheering and encouragement from everyone in the room. His head finally came out. Then I remember Dr. Cap saying hold on I have to get these linebacker shoulders out. Dr. Cap did his doctor thing and all of a sudden a huge relief and oh my I had a baby on my chest!

 

 

I did it!!!! I pushed my baby out of my body!!!

I was so overwhelmed with emotion I cried so hard the baby was practically bouncing off my belly. I looked at his goopy head and looked at my husband and we just cried. I could not believe I did it. I was instantly in love with my beautiful new baby and fell in love all over again with my husband. The nurse helped to clean him up a bit while the doctor and Sean did the other stuff and cord cutting etc… I was in love. My beautiful boy was here and I delivered him….Within 5 minutes he was nursing and we were skin to skin. It felt so wonderful. Like a dream. I could not stop kissing and smelling his sweet little head. I held him for awhile and then it was time to weigh him.

They only took him for a minute so I was ok with that. They put him on the scale and the grams came up first. Everyone was like oh my! Then they did the pounds and it said 10lbs 15.1 oz. I said Dr. Cap I think your scale is broken can we weigh him again? He said No Lucie trust me the scale is right. Oh My! I just pushed a 10 pound 15 oz baby out of my vagina! Amazing! I was still in shock that I actually did it. I got my natural birth and everything that comes with it! I am on top of the world and in love with my new baby. I held him for hours before anyone took him for a bath and all that other stuff they do with newborns. We got to bond from the first moment of his life outside my body.

 

 

Now I could relate to all the women who have had babies that way. I can also relate to a c-section. If I absolutely had to I would have had a c-section again but I am so glad I got to try. I am so grateful to Dr. Cap for believing in me and giving me the chance. He always said safety of baby and mamma are number one priority. I always understood and respected that. I am just so happy my body did what it was designed to do even after having 2 csections. It is amazing what we can do! Zachary’s birthday was an amazing, beautiful day I will never forget. Now, we’re enjoying every moment of our lives with Zachary.

 

Sirman’s Birth Story

Simran’s Birth Story

The birth of my second child, my second daughter, was much less dramatic than that of my first. But not a moment of it was less special. I want her to know that.

There I was, a full forty weeks pregnant, and no one ever thought I’d make it this far, least of all me. With my first baby arriving five weeks early, I was just hoping to make it to term with this pregnancy. Unlike last time, this time hubby and I were prepared. The crib was assembled with the bedding in place; diapers and clothes were purchased; hospital forms were completed; and the hospital to-go bag was packed. We had been ready for over a month, expecting our baby to arrive at any moment. We waited…and waited…and waited. Nothing.

This pregnancy was rather easy, as far as pregnancies go. I had no major aches or pains. There was almost no swelling in my hands and feet. And carpal tunnel never made an appearance. My only issues were mild acid reflux and sciatica down my right leg. I didn’t have much to complain about, theoretically. I was big. I was tired. I was hot. Being nine months pregnant in the June desert heat is just poor planning. Suffice it to say that I had some serious choice words for Dr. Cap at my last few weekly appointments. He never heard these words, though, because I said them in my mind.

Finally, on a Tuesday evening, the day I was due, I started to feel some cramps in my lower back. I wasn’t sure if they were labor pains or simply aches from being so big and uncomfortable. When I woke up at 7:30 the next morning, my lower back was sore and stiff. I crawled out of bed and called Dr. Cap. I had my forty week appointment that morning but wasn’t sure if I should go to the office or straight to the hospital. He said to come to the office. So, I got dressed, ate what little breakfast I could, and took off with hubby, leaving my big girl at home with my mom.

We normally wouldn’t have expected to run into morning traffic on our route, but the fair was in town! Less than half way to our destination, we were essentially parked on the highway. You can always count on hubby to have a backup plan, though. We seized the next exit and took a scenic drive through one of the richest neighborhoods in the city. Staring at huge houses, manicured lawns, and fancy cars driving past us is a great distraction from labor pains! Actually, my “pains” were not strong or bothersome at all; I was more excited that they were finally happening! As we were driving through the neighborhood, we (of course!) got lost, making the journey even more enticing and distracting. The extra time allowed us to figure out that my contractions were coming every ten minutes.

It seems to be in our (or rather my) nature to delay going to the doctor once I’m in labor. With my first pregnancy, there was a good three hours between my water breaking and us arriving at the hospital. With this pregnancy, there was little difference. What should have been a thirty minute journey door-to-door took over an hour just to reach the right neighborhood. Instead of going to Dr. Cap’s office, though, we stopped to pick up some amazing croissants from the French bakery. Yummy! I devoured one right there in the car. We then drove across the street for some freshly squeezed juice. Ultimately, instead of arriving to my 10:15 am appointment early as expected, I was barely on time.

After a quick exam, it was determined that I was dilated four centimeters and having mild but regular contractions. I was told to go out for a walk and to head to the hospital when the contractions got stronger and closer together. Silly doctor. He didn’t realize that he had just sent me and my hooky-playing hubby out on an afternoon shopping trip! Ideally, we would have gone to the beach for a nice stroll, but the beach didn’t have air conditioning. So it was back across the street to order another juice

from the juice bar and then a lovely retail adventure in the brand new Kohl’s. I sent hubby to the sportswear section while I walked laps in the wonderfully cool store, looking longingly at all of the beautiful summer clothes and shoes that I could not fit into. To keep from getting depressed, I called a few friends to let them know that I was in labor, and to ask them to check up on my older daughter and mom for the next couple of days. Around noon, I had had enough. My contractions were stronger. We were going to the hospital.

What a strange feeling it was walking into the hospital, standing at the doors to the birth pavilion. The last time I had been there was two and a half years earlier for the birth of my older daughter. Yet the place was so familiar, as though I had been there yesterday. I recognized some of the nurses. In fact, some of them recognized me! With our bags in tow, it felt more like checking into a hotel than being admitted to a hospital, which says something about the comfort level of the place, although they hang their toilet paper in the “under” configuration, which is a little disconcerting. The nurse settled us in our birthing room and left us to “labor for a while.” (Dr. Cap, I’ll never forget that phrase!)

Now, this is where one would expect some excitement, some drama, some anything! But…nothing. My body decided to slow play the entire labor experience. After six hours of labor in the hospital with very little progression, there was some talk about either intervening by breaking the water sack to speed up the process, or sending me home. I was comfortable with neither choice. Instead, hubby and I walked, and walked, and walked. In fact, it was on one of these expeditions that we inadvertently created some drama. Apparently Dr. Cap came by to check up on me, but I was nowhere to be found. A search party of nurses and security guards was recruited to find us, even receiving conflicting intelligence reports of us being sighted near the parking structure, in the lobby, everywhere! All of these reports were correct; we did walk everywhere. It was a lucky security guard at the front entrance to the hospital that eventually found us and politely told us to get our butts back to our room because the doctor was here. (I hope that guard won a prize or something!) While Dr. Cap was relieved that we finally showed up, he was still stuck waiting for a nurse to return from her search! Eventually, all of the required parties were in the same room, where I informed everyone that I wanted nothing by way of intervention to be done. So, they all went home. And on came the night staff.

I spent the night slowly laboring away, with hubby soundly sleeping on the pullout bed next to me. Throughout the night, I had the most wonderful conversations with my nurse. Her name was Shenell. She wore red scrubs and was absolutely sunny and lovely. The night passed by in no time! (Shenell would miss the birth of my daughter by 43 minutes. Being the wonderful lady that she is, she stopped by on her day off to say hi and meet the little one. Thank you, Shenell.)

Now would be a good time to bring up my old nemeses, the heart beat and contraction monitors. THEY DON’T WORK ON ME. With my first baby, I assumed that the inability of these monitors to detect signals had something to do with the baby’s small size and position. Now, being over forty weeks pregnant, baby’s size should not have been an issue. And yet those darn discs never did their job!! Shenell told me that while she believed (obviously!) that I was having contractions and that the baby was fine, the hospital wanted proof in the form of twenty minutes of continuous recording out of every hour. The poor girl was caught between adjusting the discs to get her twenty minutes of proof and easing my sour mood for having to stay in bed. After over two hours of this nonsense, she finally brought in the big guns: a wide, elastic belly band that velcro-ed the two discs in place. Voila! Not only did my baby now have a heartbeat, but I was also having contractions!! We segued into a lovely discussion about belief versus proof, helping to pass the next twenty minutes.

Hubby was still happily sleeping away. He is such a cutie.

By early morning, my contractions had become stronger, about five to six minutes apart. They were apparently still not strong enough, given the fact that I was talking and smiling. I also needed to dilate another two to three centimeters. Shenell was convinced that I was one of those women who would have a long, easy labor, and then ramp up very quickly at the end. Boy was she right! That was exactly what had happened during my first daughter’s birth, but I had always attributed it to the Pitocin. I thought that if labor was left to progress naturally, the intensity should increase steadily over time rather than go crazy all at once near the end.

Around 6 am, I was exhausted and asked for the epidural with the intension to take a nap afterwards. The anesthesiologist’s name was Keeran, half Indian, half Irish-English. I told him that Kiran was on our short list of names for this baby. He asked if it was a boy or girl. I told him it was a girl, but that the name was unisex. He didn’t seem too impressed. Luckily we had this conversation after he had inserted and administered the epidural.

By 6:45 am, I was feeling no better. Another anesthesiologist was on shift now. She told me that I was probably in transition, which is why my contractions were feeling intense despite the medicine. She suggested that I give it a little more time, and that she would check on me in a bit. (She would be too late!) A few minutes later, Shenell’s replacement came in to tell me the same thing. It was now 7 am, and, as we were talking, or rather, as she was talking at me while I squirmed with contractions, my water broke.

The next 43 minutes were…intense. I dilated the remaining couple of centimeters. Dr. Cap came into the room and announced that I would need to start pushing soon. Baby’s heart beat was dipping a little too low for comfort with every contraction, so it was safest to let her out now. A few minutes later, hubby was holding my hand and telling me to push. I became overwhelmed very quickly with so much happening so fast. Just a few minutes ago I was walking and laughing with the nurses, and now my whole body was seemingly out of my control. After the first push and feeling the baby coming, I started to panic. I couldn’t breathe. I remember the nurse telling me to calm down and take slower breaths. What got me through the birth was my husband. I looked into his eyes and could only hear his booming voice cheering me on to push. Boy, did I marry the right guy, my one-man pep squad. He said push, so I pushed. I pushed so hard that the doc told me to slow down. Three pushes later (so they told me, because lord knows I wasn’t counting!!), at 7:43 am, my little girl was here.

I wish I could say that my first thought after her birth was something magnanimous. But in all honesty, my first thought was, “Thank God I never have to do that again!” Then I opened my eyes and saw her. And she was screaming at me. And I loved her. My second thought after she was born was, “Why is she so small??” My preemie baby was only four and a half pounds at birth, so I expected to see someone much larger this time around. The nurse weighed her in at 6 lbs 14 oz. I guess I just forgot how small seven-ish pounds was.

They placed my daughter on my chest, skin-to-skin, tummy-to-tummy. She stopped crying almost instantly. Then I witnessed the most marvelous thing I have ever seen. First, my daughter started licking me. Then she lifted her head, bobbing up and down, licking and surveying the area around her. Within a couple of minutes, she had squirmed her way towards my left breast, her body now almost perpendicular to her original position, and was trying to latch on! After seeking the nurse’s permission, I helped my baby to latch, and she proved herself to be a professional eater, just like her big sister. I

remember watching a documentary about newborn babies and their natural instinct to root after birth, but to witness it all unfold in front of me left me marveling at nature. She was latched and nursing before the doctor completed the single stitch I needed!

After this point, I found myself doing probably what every second-time mom does, and probably what every second child hates: I started comparing everything to my first child. While technically I’m an experienced mom, this was the first time I was able to be near and to care for a healthy newborn. No wires, no tubes, no needles, no special instructions from nurses. Just a little human, eating and sleeping beside me in bed. I realized I had no idea how often to feed her, what her sleeping habits should be, what to look for in terms of wet and soiled diapers, or even how to care for her cord. My first daughter was whisked off to the NICU almost immediately after birth and returned to me twelve days later without her cord and on a very regular feeding and sleep schedule. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long to figure out how to care for my newest daughter. She ate, slept, and pooped like an expert, as though she had read the baby manual before entering this world.

While I was pregnant, people would comment about how busy I would be with two kids, and how difficult it would be for my older daughter to accept the new baby, to get used to having less attention. None of these things worried me. I have never been afraid of hard work, and my older daughter has such a soft heart that I was sure she would make an excellent big sister. Instead, in those last months of pregnancy, I found myself grappling with questions such as: How do you love a second child when your heart is so full with the first? When the little baby is born, will I be so enamored with her that I inadvertently ignore my older girl?

I know the answers now. The first question is easy. There’s always room to love another child. The love is different, though. There is something more tangible in my love for my oldest daughter. When I think of her, there is a history, a personality, a concept to grasp in my mind. With my littlest, my love, while equally strong, is a little more abstract. Even when I say her name, I am not sure who I am calling. Her pages are yet to be filled with a story, details of her voice, her personality, her history. I know it will come in time, as it did with my first. I am excited and somewhat impatient to find out who she is.

The nature of the answer to the first question is the basis for the answer to the second. It is impossible for me to forget my first born. I spend most of my hours now holding, feeding, and soothing my littlest girl. But, no matter how tired I am, I always have time and energy to spend with my oldest babe, not because I am trying to be fair, but simply because I miss her. Luckily she seems to be so enthralled with her little sister that she doesn’t mind the added company. It seems that in her mind, the more, the merrier. I wonder that my youngest daughter will never know that undivided attention from me that my oldest daughter experienced for two and a half years. But, I guess life is balanced; my youngest will not have to contend with the stresses and anxieties of a first-time mom. Moreover, she will never be without a playmate.

We brought our baby girl home on Friday night. The biggest shock to me came on Saturday morning when my older daughter ran into our bedroom excited to see her new “thither” for the first time. I couldn’t believe how big my big girl was, as if she had aged years in just a few days!! When I left for the hospital, she was my little baby; in fact, it was difficult to imagine her as the “big” sister. Spending a couple of days alone with a newborn, however, changes one’s perspective. Now I clearly had a Big Girl on my hands.

Today, my little baby is one month old. On one hand, I feel like there are not enough memories to fill thirty days. On the other hand, my life is so full of love and happiness that I can’t imagine having lived in this home without her. I have a wonderful husband and two gorgeous girls. My life is beautiful. They make it beautiful.

Ethan’s Birth Story

Our Birth Story

After an early dinner of Pho on Thursday, Laura and I decided on a trip to Target for soap, triscuits, pretzels, and baby shower thank you cards. We got home and watched a little TV when I got hungry and wanted a little more to snack on. A trip across the street for a Wendy’s Frosty sufficed.

Once we were home for the night to start relaxing, we discussed the plans for the weekend, including spicy Thai food on Friday, long strolls on Saturday, myofascial release on Sunday, and acupuncture early next week. We had our plans to get Ethan James out into the world as close to his June 1st due date as possible.

After the talk (~10pm), Laura began complaining of consistent sharp pains in her lower abdomen that lasted for a few seconds. She checked the time between pains and found that they were only a minute apart. “This can’t be labor,” we said to each other, “because the pains don’t feel like contractions, and they are supposed to be farther apart.” We both tried relaxing, but Laura was unable to find a comfortable position on the bed. A text to Dr. Capetanakis eased our minds as he called Laura and told us to come into the office in the morning for a check-up. So into the bath she went, as I fell asleep.

A couple hours later, I woke up to see her stooped over the bed, saying how the pains have progressed in intensity, but the timing remained at one to two minutes apart. I felt helpless as Laura went through the pains, and I tried to comfort her by letting her know Dr. Capetanakis will help in the morning! Then, another walk around the apartment, another effort to lie down in bed, and into the bath she went, as I fell asleep.

armstrong delivery pic

A couple hours later, I woke up again to see her stooped over the bed with similar pains of increasing intensity. She was unable to lie in bed; the pain would not subside with a warm bath or with walking around the apartment. After unsuccessful attempts to comfort her, I helplessly fell back asleep.

Then comes 4:45am when I wake up, again, to my wife in pain, still unable to find relief with walking, lying down, or soaking in warm water. I said to her, “Ok let’s go the hospital, and they can give you some medication to help with the pain.” She responded, “No, I’m not going to take any medications!” I was so proud to hear this because our unwritten birth plan included a natural, drug-free labor and delivery due to the health benefits to both Laura and Ethan! We sent another text to Dr. Cap to let him know that we were heading to the hospital due to the persisting and increasing pain. I packed my overnight backpack (in case this was the real thing) as quickly as I could; of course, Laura’s bag (and Ethan’s bag) had already been packed.

We jumped into the CX-7, drove five minutes to Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, and checked-in at the birthing center front desk at about 5:20am. “We think we might be in labor?” we said to the ladies at the front. “Welcome! Can we have your last name?” they asked, and when we said “Armstrong,” they said, “Oh we’ve been expecting you! Your doctor already called.” After some quick paperwork, they kindly brought us into our huge delivery room to see how things were moving along.

I enjoyed the look of relief on Laura’s face when the nurse told Laura, “Oh wow, you sure are calm for being almost eight centimeters!” Laura stated, “If all of this pain was for two centimeters, I’d definitely be getting the epidural!” So then came the initial monitoring, the sacral massage coaching, and the increasingly stronger contractions. After the first half hour Laura was fortunate to have intermittent monitoring, which allowed walking, stooping, and bouncing (on the Swiss ball) to help with her contractions.  This is where I finally felt what men go through in the movies; she didn’t want me helping, caressing, speaking, or even whispering to her during this time. All I got to do was hold the Swiss ball, give her sips of water, and fluff her pillow. The whole time I just wanted to say, “Remember the breathing, relaxation, and visualization exercises we worked on!”

At around 7:20am, the nurse told us, “I think it’s about time I call your doct-” when (with perfect timing) Dr. Capetanakis comes through the door saying, “Alright, let’s have a baby!” He checked on Laura, got his workspace set up, broke her amniotic sac, and by 7:30am was helping us through Laura’s first push. I kept as quiet as possible, all the while thinking to myself, “Breathe, relax, visualize!” as I looked on with amazement at the strength of my beautiful wife! This poor girl had been practically working out for the past ten hours, with no sleep, and is now going through the most difficult and painful event a human can go through. And to add to the craziness, the amniotic fluid was discolored which meant Ethan already had his first bowel movement. The neonatal intensive care nurses were called into the room, where they hid patiently in a corner, waiting to see if they’d be needed.

I helped by holding Laura’s left leg in one hand and her head in my other; another nurse held her right leg. Laura pushed through multiple contractions as per Dr. Cap’s instructions to get through the wall of pain, with her sights set on giving Ethan his first hug! After almost thirty minutes of pushing, our little boy advanced into the world, with a blue-face and the cord wrapped around his neck twice. I slightly glanced towards my flimsy Ethan, and with tears welling up, tried to tell Laura, “He’s here!”

Dr. Cap got Ethan’s shoulders out and told Laura to reach down and finish up (another part of the unwritten birth plan). Laura pulled him out and put him straight onto her chest, which amazed me as she went right into her motherly instincts as if nothing had just happened down south. She was worried about our blue-faced baby, as she patted his back and cheered him on with “come on little buddy;” she did not want to turn him over to the NICU nurses. The longest five seconds of our lives ended with Ethan’s first twitch, a deep breath in, and a loud cry out! The NICU nurses left when they saw they were not needed. Dr. Cap let the umbilical cord pulse until it stopped, then clamped it and let me cut it (again, according to our unwritten birth plan). Hello Ethan! Laura fed him after about 20 minutes of skin-to-skin, and then he went for his first bath!

I was amazed at the whole process, of course, but especially with

  1. My strong wife who let me sleep until she was over seven centimeters
  2. Dr. Cap who remembered (after one conversation) our requests for no drugs, for Laura to pull him out, and that I cut the cord after it stopped pulsing
  3. Our healthy, champion son, Ethan James Armstrong
    1. Born Friday, May 31st at 7:59am; 7lbs 10oz, and 19 inches long

Such an amazing experience… no event in my life has compared to this blessing… I’m a dad!

L’Wren’s Birth Story

When Things Don’t Go Your Way: The Best Cesarean Possible
Six and a half years ago I headed in for one of my last OB appointments before the birth of my daughter Arden.  I was almost 39 weeks and very excited for the unmedicated, natural birth of my daughter.  At the appointment I found out she was breech.  My doctor “gave” me three days to try some natural ways to get her to turn.  We tried but she did not turn and we ended up heading to the hospital for the c-section.  My doctor never explained the surgery and I held hope that miraculously she would have turned by the time I got to the hospital.  She didn’t.  The surgery and the following 48 hours were a complete blur.  I was given so many drugs pre and post surgery that I am unable to recall much of the experience.  I also did not have the desire during the first 24 hours to bond with my child.  After this experience I really didn’t want to have another child because I did not want another c-section.

 What happened? My five year old happened! “I want a sister!” So last summer my husband and I changed our minds and decided to have another one.  I immediately researched Dr. Cap because I had heard so many wonderful things about him.  Specifically that he was pro natural birth and VBAC.  After our first appointment with him, my husband and I could not believe the difference between him and my last OB.  Dr. Cap genuinely cares about his patients and spends quality time with them too.  We knew right away that we were in the best hands possible.  He was completely supportive of our wishes for this pregnancy. 

 At around 30 weeks I started to feel that this baby was breech.  How could this be? Not again! I knew that the baby was still small enough to turn into the right position so I remained positive but definitely started doing more “head down” exercises for good measure.  Over the next few weeks we confirmed she was breech and got serious with ways to turn her.  I did chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, acupressure and various exercises—I even hung upside down from a yoga swing! By 37 weeks my little babe was still close to my heart so we headed in to the hospital for an external cephalic version.  Dr. Cap put those big hands on my belly and began to turn my baby.  We’ll skip how horribly this hurt and get right to the ending—SUCCESS! We were finally on the right track.  Immediately after the version I started having strong Braxton Hicks contractions and some unexplained pain when the baby moved.  I thought maybe the version was triggering labor.  Our doula thought this could be the case too so we were on high alert.  Just about every night for the next five weeks I had what felt like the start of labor—contractions that felt stronger than Braxton Hicks and then some weird, sharp pain when the baby moved that would cause me to lose my breath and double over.

 If you’re counting you’ll notice I said five weeks, 37 + 5 = 42.  Yep, 42 weeks and no baby.  Dr. Cap and I had long discussed that if I got to 42 weeks the best option would be a c-section.  I could not believe I was faced with this again.  During the last few weeks of my pregnancy I had done it all to get labor going and here I was, a mess of tears, facing my second c-section.  Dr. Cap had assured me that he would do everything in his power to make this experience completely different from my first.  In my heart I believed him and in my mind I knew the surgery was the way to go.  I got to a place during my 42nd week where I had to let go a bit.  I had to stop thinking about what I wanted and focus on the end prize, my baby.  There was also that unexplained pain that was causing me extreme discomfort.  I had done every thing I could to have the outcome that I wanted.  I decided to stop thinking about “I” and start thinking about holding that baby in my arms.  We wrote a c-section birth plan (and a VBAC one too!) and discussed it with Dr. Cap.  He was on board. 

 When we arrived at the hospital on the day of the surgery I was very emotional.  I had been having the same contractions like always but was suddenly hopeful that something may have changed.  Unfortunately when Dr. Cap checked me, just like the last few times, there was no change to my cervix.  Tears again.  My husband and I went into the bathroom and had a serious talk.  He asked me to trust my instincts and do what I felt was right.  I couldn’t believe my answer, c-section felt right. 

 We had a long talk with Dr. Cap and the anesthesiologist stressing that I wanted minimal medication.  I basically only wanted to be numbed so I didn’t feel the surgery. I did not want anything extra.  I reiterated how badly I felt during my first surgery and they listened.  In the operating room everyone was super friendly and very supportive.  Dr. Cap held me tight while I got the spinal.  After that, I actually started to feel happy and excited.  I heard Dr. Cap tell the other surgeon that they were going to lower the drape during delivery so that I could watch my baby being born.  My husband came in and the surgery began.  I was totally alert which was such a change.  I had some shakes but that was it.  When the curtain was lowered I saw Dr. Cap working to get my baby out.  He slowly pulled my baby up and out and let me have a good look at her.  We got great pictures.  It was such an amazing experience.  I finally knew what it was like to birth a child.  My daughter was born with her eyes open and it looked like she was starting straight at me.  L’Wren Amarie was finally here.

 Per our request, the nurses did just the basic tests in the OR and immediately gave our daughter to my husband.  A nurse helped me open up my gown to expose my bare chest.  My husband unwrapped our daughter and placed her skin to skin.  She immediately looked for my nipple and latched on—in the operating room! It was such a fantastic experience.  I felt so cared for by everyone but more importantly, because I didn’t have too much medication or complications from the medication, I was immediately able to bond with my child.  Dr. Cap came to the hospital every day to check on me.  The hospital staff kept commenting on what a special c-section I had.

 Looking back, I’ll never know why I had two breech babies.  Due to the extreme pain I had associated with her movement once she was head down, I sometimes wonder if she would have gotten stuck.  Was all of the starting and stopping of labor my baby trying to get in the right position but never making it? I’ll never know.  I will learn to be okay with that.  What I do know is that I am completely confident in my decision to have the c-section.  Furthermore, I could not imagine having a baby with anyone other than Dr. Cap.  He is the most personable, caring and wonderful doctor! I feel blessed to have gotten to know him and his lovely staff!

Shikha’s Birth Story

Shikha’s Birth Story

It was just another Friday night at my prenatal yoga class. I hadn’t been to class in a few weeks and was once again surprised at how limited my stamina and range of motion had become. As the class progressed, however, I became more relaxed and comfortable. So comfortable in fact that about ten minutes before the end of class (6:35 pm), I felt a gush of fluid and immediately thought, “Wow, I relaxed so well that I peed my pants!” I knew it was possible for pregnant women to lose control of their bladders, but I had never experienced such a thing. I quietly left the room and headed for the bathroom to tidy myself up. I returned with the intent of getting my things and leaving but saw that class was ending and everyone was in their final resting positions. So, I rejoined the class. Five minutes later, more fluid came gushing and my first thought was, “Thank goodness I’m wearing black pants.” I picked up my things, said a curt goodbye to my friend, and headed straight for the bathroom to re-tidy myself. By now I realized something was amiss. My goal was to get home (about a 2 minute drive) and figure out what was going on. Walked out of the bathroom View full article »