The Birth story of Olivia
he Birth story of Olivia
For a couple of weeks before giving birth I had practice contractions throughout the day, every day. Side note, as part of my hypnobirthing training I will be calling several birthing terms by different names such as ‘contractions’ are ‘surges and ‘bloody show’ is ‘birthing show’. These terms were all used to keep my mind positive.
Okay, back to the story! The practice surges never increased in strength or forming a discernable pattern. OnFriday,June3,2016,the39weekplustwodays,Iwokeupwithasurgethatfeltalittle stronger than the ones before. Later that morning I had my birth show and thought that perhaps today Baby would be born! I was excited and also a bit nervous.
I brought my eldest child, Tatiana (4), to Preschool at 8:30AM. Then I headed to my prenatal check up appointment at Yui Clinic with my 2child, Bianca (almost 2). Yui clinic is an offpost Japanese Birthing Center. During my two hour checkup I had a couple of surges. Doctor Fumi determined, through the heartrate monitor, that Baby was doing fine.
Back home I did my daily chores while having spread out surges. I updated everyone in my support group (my husband Alex, my doula Amanda, and my Japanese translator Lynn) of my current condition. Lynn kept the Yui Clinic Staff uptodate on my condition as well.
In the early afternoon, close to 2PM, my surges started to pick up. They came in every 8 minutes and there were slowly getting stronger. I called Alex at work, telling him that he needed to come home and that we needed to head to Yui Clinic. After Alex’s arrival, around 3PM, my surges started to spread out to 25 minutes apart. So we decided to wait at home. I took a warm shower and made preparations while Alex packed the minivan with all the birthing essentials and watched our girls. Around 4PM, it started to rain outside and we decided to try out our new umbrellas on a short stroll around the neighborhood as a family.
Strolling in the rain was relaxing and I was happy to walk at Bianca’s slow pace while while having surges. During our stroll we conveniently met with our neighbors Ashley and John who offered to watch our two girls while we were at the clinic. Halfway through the stroll, my surges were back to 8 minutes apart. We headed back home, had dinner and started the process of putting our kids to bed.
I called Amanda for advice as to whether we should start heading out or continue to wait. She responded with, “Usually it’s safe to wait until you are no longer able to have a nice conversation anymore”. She suggested waiting another hour to see how things develop. I felt good about that plan and choose to do just that.
Alex and I gave Tatiana and Bianca a bath and put them to sleep. At 7PM, I called Ashley to watch our kids. She came over, twenty minutes later, and then we headed out to Yui Clinic at 7:30 pm. It was pouring rain outside and there was a lot of traffic on the way to the clinic. Alex drove and I called Amanda to give her a heads up to head to the clinic as well. Alex was talking about work during the drive but I didn’t have the mindset so I advised him that I could only deal with small talk and nothing more.
We arrived at Yui Clinic around 8:10PM. Lynn came to greet me, she asked how I was doing and I told her that I was fine and didn’t think I was in active labor yet (4cm dilation). However, I didn’t want to
stay at home or be in the car when the surges became too strong so I came to the clinic anyways. Lynn and I waited for Alex to come inside the clinic with my bags then we all went upstairs to the birthing room.
In the birthing room, I was greeted warmly by my midwife, Nakanishi. She had over 30 years of experience and came out of retirement to assist in my birth. She is certified in water birth and home births, which were originally part of my birth plan that Yui clinic strived to make a possibility. The end result was a plan to have a water birth at Yui clinic.
The birthing room was a small room with a side bathroom that had a tub. The main room had beautiful light brown wood from floor to ceiling. A single person mattress with pillows and a beanbag type chair. Dimly lit. On small rolling carts were medical computers and accessories. This room was very cozy and relaxing.
After the greetings and getting settled, Nakanishi had me lay down on the mattress while she hooked up a heartrate monitor for Baby and another monitor to track my surges. Nakanishi determined that my surges were 2 minutes apart; however, for me, it felt as though I had a lot of time between each surge. It felt like 78 minutes apart for me. I listened to the Rainbow Relaxation CD, part of the Hypnobirthing technique, and focused on relaxing all my muscles and tried to fall asleep. I was able to fully relax between each surge.
Nakanishi did a cervical check to see how far I had dilated. She said I was 7 cm dilated and that it was good I came to the clinic. I was surprised! I estimated myself at around 3cm. Amanda, my Doula, arrived shortly after and then everybody left the room while I relaxed with Alex. I had two more surges and felt a gush of water releasing. Alex requested a towel and Nakanishi checked my progress. She said that my membranes had released. She then started to fill the tub to prepare for my water birth.
Once filled I went into the water. All the lights were turned off in the bathroom with a single light on in the birth room. It was very calming. I stepped into the tub, and was submerged with water up to my breasts. The warm water was very soothing. It allowed all my muscles to relax. According to my judgment the surges came in the same pattern of every 78 minutes. I was happy about that but also thought that I might be in the tub for a few hours.
To my surprise, being in the water did not seem to ease the strength of the surges as I had hoped. However, it still felt good to move around and change positions in the buoyancy of the water. Amanda came in and offered a cold washcloth for my head. She also asked about the strength of my surges compared to outside the tub. She asked because Nakanishi and the other midwife, Mineta, were wondering if my surges had slowed down since I was so quiet.
Alex, has been with me the whole time for comfort and support. He always finds a way to release stress and get everyone to laugh. While I was in the tub, I couldn’t help but release some gas; Alex made a point of letting everyone know how bad it smelled. We all laughed which was good.
The surges started to come in stronger and a bit closer together. I started to feel too hot from the water. I felt totally loose and limb, which is good and wanted for a gentle birth. However I wanted more physical support which I couldn’t get in the water. As I was assisted out of the tub, while standing, I had another surge. Alex was there so he held me up while I breathed through the surge.
Nakanishi wanted to check baby’s heart rate with a Doppler while I was standing. However, standing was too uncomfortable. Therefore, I continued to the main room and sat on the mattress. Nakanishi tried one more time with the Doppler but I had a surge and to ease the pain I used the spiral movement technique. That made it hard for Nakanishi so she stopped trying. I was grateful that she didn’t request that I sit still.
Upon examination, Nakanishi determined that I was fully dilated and could see baby’s head. Amanda asked if I felt like pushing and I nodded yes. She reminded me to follow my body’s lead and to relax my shoulders. “Don’t fight it, just let it happen”, Amanda said. I still wasn’t in a supported birthing position and I wasn’t able to communicate it at this point in labor. Amanda seemed to know what I was thinking and suggested to Alex sitting behind me. That worked great! I could relax my upper body.
Birthing became more intense. I had 3 or 4 intense surges. I determined to let my body take the lead and as the pain came to not tense up or fight it. My eyes were closed, I felt the beads of sweat running down my face. Amanda and Alex whispered words of encouragement to me. Amanda told me how my body was opening up and that I should envision a flower opening up. During the next surge I felt a strong burning sensation, as if my skin was ripping apart. I started to close my legs to reduce the pain. Amanda reminded me to open my legs and focus on birth breathing. I listened and baby’s head came out. As the surge dissipated I caught my breath just in time for the next surge. The burning sensation was even stronger once again I started to close my legs and Amanda reminded me again to keep them open. She said, “This is it, this is the last one, baby will be out and all will be over.” I opened up, giving into the burn and moments later my daughter was born!
At 9:33PM, Friday, June 3, 2016 Olivia Anastasia LaBrooy came into this world. Only 1.5 hours after Iarrived at Yui Clinic. She measured 52cm and weighed 3960 g. It was a great experience.
I was determined, from the very beginning, of having an unmedicated and gentle birthing experience. Everyone in the delivery room was hand picked and part of my support system, each doing their best to encourage and give me the birthing experience I envisioned for me and my baby.
Now I KNOW God did not make a mistake, dooming us to suffer during childbirth when all the animals don’t seem to be in distress it is us deciding our own fate. Giving birth doesn’t have to be a medical event. It is not an illness. If we relax and let our body do the work labor is more effective, therefore shorter and excruciating pain doesn’t have to be part of it.
It was a completely natural birth. This experience has redeemed myself from the previous two experiences at hospitals which left me feeling defeated and disappointed. This time I feel empowered and ecstatic!
Thank you God, thank you Friends and Family, thank you Alex, Amanda, Nakanishi, Mineta, and Lynn. Thank you, Mary Mongan (founder of Hypnobirthing) for believing in gentle, natural birth at a time when no one else around you did. Thank you to the Naha Unification Church for your prayers.