Birth Stories

Often, my students and doula clients will type of their birth stories to share with others as a way of remembering their experience, encouraging the other couples in their class, and it helps them process their birth. These stories are shared with permission, and I hope they encourage you.

Emma's VBAC Birth Story

posted Aug 1, 2018, 12:08 PM by Rachel Supercinski

On Friday, March 16th, I came home from work and told Brandon “I may be completely wrong, but I have a feeling Emma is going to come early.” I have no idea if that was true intuition or just me being done. 😂 But, she ended up coming the very next Wednesday, a week early!

I woke up at around 6:30am on Tuesday, March 20th, to a mild contraction. I thought to myself “hmm, is this a contraction?” and checked the time. About 15 minutes laterI felt another one. And again 15 minutes after that. I decided to go ahead and get ready for work, thinking these are just practice contractions and they’ll probably go away. Then I went to straighten my hair and had to stop so I decided to stay home. They were pretty sporadic all day, coming anywhere between 20 minutes apart and 10 minutes apart. Our midwife, Toni, had us come in at 5:30 to check on things. There wasn’t a whole lot going on! I was only 2cm dilated and 80% effaced. It was most likely pre labor and I was instructed to go home, eat some dinner, and take a Benadryl and GO TO SLEEP, lol. So, that’s what we did! The contractions remained sporadic and we went to lie down at about 8:15. I dozed on and off until 10:30 when the contractions started getting a little stronger. Brandon was staying in contact with Toni and we decided to head to the birth center at 2:30am. 

I got checked and had dilated a mere 2 cm since 5:30pm, lol. I continued to labor at the birth center and it seemed like things were getting pretty serious! I got in the tub at some point and that helped ease some of the contractions. Emma’s heart rate dipped a little during a contraction so I had to get out of the tub. I’m pretty sure I was coming into transition because I was starting to think “I can’t do this!” In my birth room, there’s a scarf thing (I don’t know the proper name lol) that hangs from the ceiling. I was told to grab it up high with my hands and kinda hang from it, with my knees bent, to help bring my cervix down. It hurt like so badly! I remember feeling so done at that moment. Feeling like there’s no possible way I can finish this. Why am I doing this?! Just take me to the hospital and get this baby out of me; I don’t even care how! I CAN’T DO THIS! Of course, most of these thoughts never made it out of my head and to my mouth. I was too busy trying to breathe during contractions and only moans were coming out of my mouth at that point. They had me get on the bed and Toni checked me. I think I was at 9cm at that point and it was maybe 6:00ish am. (It’s all a bit of a blur by now.) Toni went ahead and broke my water. I was feeling a lot of pressure because Emma was pretty low. I started pushing during my contractions while Toni tried helping bring my cervix down to allow Emma under my pubic bone. Everyone was so encouraging! Brandon was at my side, and I had Toni, Shaylynn, and Julia all in front of me. They told me how great I was pushing and were praying during each contraction that God would help bring Emma into the world. (Funny side story that I found out about later - I had to keep asking them to turn on the ceiling fan because I kept getting warm [It was only 40ish degrees outside lol] and Brandon told me that Toni said "It's like the arctic in here!" Lol but I was so hot!!) I heard Toni tell Brandon she could see Emma’s head and Brandon was amazed. I was in my own world. Once her head emerged, I just wanted to finish! That ring of fire was brutal!! I just kept saying “it burns! It burns!” in between contractions. 😂😂 I think Shaylynn said “it’s supposed to, it’s your perineum making room for sweet baby” in the calmest and sweetest voice. They kept telling me I was doing a great job pushing. After her head was all the way out, Toni said we were going to use the next contraction to get Emma all the out. I never worked so hard in my life! I wanted that baby out!! And in a gush, out she came!! They laid her messy self on my chest and it was absolutely amazing the surge of emotions I felt. I did it! I got my baby here! She’s here! And I did it all with my body! It all seems like a dream at this point. It was the hardest thing I have EVER done and I’ve never felt more accomplished in my life. I had a goal and I CRUSHED it. I was able to get up barely an hour after she was born and I continued to feel great throughout the day. Such a different experience than my previous csection with Eli! Emma was born at 7:27am weighing 6 lbs 14 oz and was 19 inches long. I had VERY minimal tearing that was allowed to heal on its own without any stitches. We went home at about 3:30 that afternoon. I have been successful in breastfeeding (not without my fair share of challenges) and I'm so thankful to God that I finally get to experience that bond. God has been so, so good to us. 

Thanks for reading!! And thank you so much for everything you taught us 7 years ago and also for refreshing us! You rock!!

Ayla's Birth Story

posted Nov 29, 2017, 11:45 AM by Rachel Supercinski

Ayla Grace was born at 1:44am Thursday morning weighing 8lb 1oz. Wednesday morning (40 weeks 2 days) we met with our Midwife and opted for her to go ahead and check dilation and placement for the first time. I was only 1cm dilated but I was completely effaced and at +1 position. Ayla had also rotated out of posterior position (I had been doing lots of pelvic tilts)! I had my midwife go ahead and sweep my membrane and she told us she thought there was a good chance we would have her before 42 weeks but she couldn’t promise anything. She did tell us that once I went into labor that I should head to the hospital instead of hanging out at home because she thought my labor would go fast. This was based on how low Ayla already was in the pelvis and because I was completely effaced. 

We headed home for the day. I had mild cramping for most of the day like I had been having on and off for a couple weeks but nothing else. At around 9:10pm I had my first contraction and told Josh maybe we should try to get some rest just in case I was going to go into labor the next day. Within 3 minutes I had another contraction and decided to start timing them and try to move around instead of getting in bed. By 9:30pm Josh went ahead and texted Rachel (we were blessed to have her as our doula) because contractions had consistently lasted 30-45 seconds and were 2.5 minutes apart for 20minutes. I was still in denial and hadn’t wanted to text Rachel but Josh had a feeling this was the real deal and was extremely anxious we were about to have an accidental home birth. Rachel suggested we try to sleep for a bit and text her if things intensified. Not long after that contractions got really strong and had become 1.5-2min apart. At 10:00 Josh texted Rachel to go ahead and come over. 

Josh hurried to pack up the car and Rachel got there by 10:20. Contractions spaced out when she first got there but not for long. At this point I was still able to talk and laugh in between contractions but during contractions I was moaning, swaying, and having a hard time relaxing. With Josh and Rachel’s urging I deciding to head to the hospital. In the car on the way there contractions started getting pretty unbearable. We got to the ER and I was really moaning during contractions and started to have Josh massage my lower back through them. I quickly lost all concern for who was watching or could hear me. 

On the way to L&D I started to feel sick in the elevator and threw up twice in corner of the hallway before the nurse could grab a bag (getting it all over my shoes and Josh’s). I felt horrible for making such a mess but there was no holding it in.

They rushed to get me into triage where I changed into the clothes I had brought to labor and birth in. They hooked me up to the monitors and checked for dilation. I was 6cm and bleeding a good amount. They monitored me for 20 minutes and then quickly got me into the low intervention room. By that time I was in a lot of pain and was asking for an epidural. Rachel and Josh just kept telling me I was doing a great job and reminding me that I had wanted a natural birth and could do this. A nurse came in to try and get my hep lock in but they were having a really hard time (they had to stick me 3 times) and I was having to go to the bathroom between almost every contraction. Once they got the hep lock in I started feeling like I was going to pass out during contractions from the pain so Josh supported me from behind.

Around 11:30/11:45 Jennifer (my midwife) got there and the need to go to the bathroom had thankfully subsided. I immediately asked Jennifer for the epidural and she just laughed at me and said we didn’t even have time for one anyways. I found her casual/joking nature to actually be reassuring. A little after midnight I started feeling the urge to push. It had been hard to distinguish between the need to use the bathroom and the need to actually push at first and I was feeling a lot of fear about pushing. I got into bed and Jennifer let me do light/physiological pushing for an hour on my side but then Ayla started having lates and variables (heart rate issues). At this point they had me get on my back, hold my legs back, and lean against Josh who sat behind me. As soon as they told me they were having trouble with Ayla’s heart rate I knew I had to get over my fears and push. Once I started to actually push I felt so much better and the contraction pain lightened a lot. 

My water broke just before crowning and then Ayla quickly came out with her right hand on her face. Her shoulders quickly followed and then her elbow which had be sticking out/up. I made it through crowning without tearing but tore getting her arm out (elbow out with hand on her face is still her favorite position even outside the womb). Ayla seemed almost immediately ready to nurse but we had to wait for Jennifer to deal with some heavy bleeding, stitch me, and to deal with some tissue that had gotten stuck. She nursed as soon as that was taken care of. 

Words can not describe how thankful I am for my husband, doula, and midwife. I can’t imagine having had a better support team. Just hearing Rachel’s sweet voice was so calming during the whole process and I felt so safe with her and Jennifer. The Bradley classes definitely paid off because Josh was a perfect coach and knew exactly when it was go time! I also think that doing lots of squats, drinking raspberry leaf tea, eating 6 dates a day, and taking primrose oil played a huge role in my quick labor and quick recovery afterwards. I felt so amazing within 24 hours. I was really blown away! By the time we got home on Friday I felt like there was nothing I couldn’t do!

Honestly, I felt really disappointed and angry with myself for asking for the epidural so much and was really beating myself up over it after Ayla was born. I really let that steal some of my initial joy. Thankfully Jennifer assured me when I saw her that Friday that almost everyone asks and then later that weekend I was able to process everything with Rachel. Being able to talk everything through with Rachel felt amazing and left me feeling excited for my next birth experience!

Katherine's Birth Story

posted Nov 29, 2017, 11:44 AM by Rachel Supercinski

Katherine was born Monday, November 27th at 4:55PM, 7 lb 3 oz, 20.5 inches long! We're so glad to finally meet her, and begin being a family of 4. Here's our labor and birth story...

Labor:
My due date was November 11th. Beginning on the 7th, I began to feel pelvic floor pressure (feels like the baby's pushing on the Kegel muscle) and mild period-like cramping. I knew this was a good sign that my body was preparing for labor.

I chose to decline having my cervix checked before my due date, because I didn't want to risk feeling discouraged. I had been consuming 6 dates/day since 36 weeks.

As my due date approached, we began doing various things to help induce labor: foot massages, long walks, sex, nipple stimulation, etc. We weren't really focused on it intensely, because we knew chances were I'd go a little past my due date. 

Well, we went a lot past my due date. Finally on the 20th (41 weeks, 2 days), I consented to my first cervical check. I was ecstatic to hear that I was 90% effaced and "an easy 2 cm dilated." I also consented to her sweeping my membrane, to hopefully help labor begin soon after. After this appt, I had bloody show almost every day until the birth.

Because I was already over 41 weeks, my doctor wanted me to come back again on Wednesday, the 22nd (day before Thanksgiving) to have my cervix checked again, sweep my membrane again, and do an ultrasound to begin the discussion of inducing.

On the 22nd, I was 100% effaced and "an easy 3, almost 4 cm dilated" and 0 station. To my doctor's surprise, the ultrasound showed no signs of distress or reason to induce that week (baby was estimated to be 7 lb, 3 oz, she moved, her heart rate and breathing movements looked great, and she had a great amount of fluid volume). My doctor said she's normally not comfortable waiting to induce past 42 weeks, but since everything looked so great, she was willing to wait until 42 weeks, 2 days, which was Monday, the 27th.

I was really, really hoping that my body would continue to progress into active labor on its own. 

Birth:
I was disappointed that I didn't go into active labor on my own, because that meant that we couldn't be in the low-intervention room at St. Joseph, and it was obviously not my desire to be induced with Pitocin and have a birth with some intervention. But overall, I'm really happy with my birth story.

We were scheduled for induction Monday morning the 27th at 7:00AM. It took a while for them to get me checked in. When Dr. Damian checked my cervix that morning, I hadn't progressed at all since last Wed - still 3.5 cm and 100% effaced.

I was disappointed, but hopeful that I might dilate quickly since all the effacement was done. They started the Pitocin drip around 10am. I didn't feel painful contractions until around 2:00, but after that they quickly grew in intensity. I was so discouraged to hear I was only at 4 cm around 2:15.

I tried to tough it out for a little bit, but my contractions grew even more intense and were spaced about 2 min apart, meaning I was only getting about 1 min of rest in between. I totally said our secret code word asking for an epidural. Michael, God bless him, said, "why don't you get checked again before we ask them for the epidural." Seemed reasonable enough. 

When they checked me around 2:45, I had already dilated to a 6 in 30 min. I felt encouraged to stick it out a little longer, but it was SO hard given the intensity and that the contractions were still 2 min apart. 

I again asked for an epidural around 3:15, but they checked me again and I was at 8 already and in transition. Just after 3:30, I was at 8-9 cm. Very soon after that I started having the urge to push, but I was at 8.5 - 9 cm and had to wait. 

Dr. Damian showed up at some point (I was completely unaware of time by this point, but was told it was around 3:50), and I was at 9.5 cm. She told me to breathe and not push through 4 more contractions and then she'd check again and I could likely start pushing. Having that count down helped a lot, though through each one, I kept involuntarily pushing a little at the peaks. 

Finally 4 contractions down, she checked and told me I was at 10 and could start pushing if I wanted. Never have I wanted to push more!! Remembering Nicole's and Rachel's advice to not be afraid to push really hard, I pushed as hard as I could right off the bat, not caring what came out of my orifices or who saw it. I just wanted it to end, asap. 

Though very painful, pushing felt SO much more useful and proactive than just groaning in painful contractions while dilating. I was so glad for the advice to not fear pushing, because even pushing as hard as I could every single time, it still took almost an hour before she came out. Perhaps about halfway through pushing, my water broke (very odd sensation, but I remember Michael saying, "There's no going back now!") The doctor told me that she started to come down in the face up position, but once she finally turned, that made her head come out easier.

There were several times I thought I was feeling the ring of fire, but then realized when her head and especially shoulders came out what the ring of fire really felt like. As soon as she came out and they handed her to me, I remember thinking, "THAT'S how little she is?! She felt so much bigger coming out!!" The doctor said the cord was wrapped around her neck after my water broke as I was pushing, but that our baby girl was just so chill, her heart rate didn't even change.

I was able to deliver in the side lateral position like we wanted, even in the regular delivery room bed (they didn't break it down for us). And in hindsight, having the bed rails to grip and bear down on during the worst contractions and especially pushing was CRITICAL for me. So that worked out well for me given induction wasn't my plan. 

Thankfully I only had two very small tears that took one stitch, but she said they weren't even considered first degree they were so minor. The soreness afterwards is no joke, and I highly recommend the "ice pack" (baby diaper packed with ice) they give you initially. I ended up only wearing and using the hospital gowns/mesh panties/pads because I didn't want to soil my own stuff, but now that I'm bleeding a good deal less, I look forward to being in my own clothes soon. We were discharged Tues evening, so just over 24 hours in the hospital.

The nurses were wonderful and respectful of our birth plan. I'm so glad it's all over, and I honestly can't believe I did it without pain meds/epidural. Even though for me it felt like forever, the whole painful part took only about 3 hours before she was out. I'm not sure if I would have made it without pain interventions had I not dilated so quickly. I also have no idea if the Pitocin made my experience feel more painful than it would have had my body gone into active labor on its own. But there's no point to speculating - I'm so thankful for how my birth turned out, and I could NOT have done it without the support and encouragement of Michael and our doula. Poor Michael - I squeezed his hand so hard during the contractions and especially pushing. But hearing his words of encouragement, and giving me updates on my progress, and our doula's soft words to remind me to groan in low tones and breathe slowly - it was all so helpful for getting me through when I felt like giving up.

No matter what your birth story ends up being, just be proud of how hard your body has worked to bring a baby into the world. It's no easy task, but it's so rewarding. And husbands, your support means SO much to your wife in those tough moments, even if she can't respond at the time. She hears every word and it can make all the difference. Thank you Rachel for all you taught us, and thank you to the others that have birthed before us and shared your experiences. We're so thankful to know each one of you, and excited to have gone through this journey together.

Tabitha's Birth Story

posted Jul 12, 2017, 12:27 PM by Rachel Supercinski

At 7:00 am on June 15th, Katie had bloody show and thought her water might have broken.  She kept having small amounts of bloody discharge so she went and saw our midwife to do check for the presence of amniotic fluid.  The test showed that her water had not broken yet so our midwife sent Katie home and told her to get some rest and a take a walk.  At 2:35 PM, Katie’s water actually broke with meconium present and our midwife now wanted to make sure that labor began soon.  To this end, she had Katie take a dose of Castor Oil and then get some rest to prepare for labor. Katie had an Orange Juice-Castor Oil slushie (yummy!) at about 4:00 PM and by 4:30 PM she was having contractions.  We labored at home in different positions until the contractions changed to being expulsive (at this point it was starting to get dark outside, it was perhaps 8:30 PM, our sense of time became pretty muddled after contractions began).  When we arrived at the birth center, they checked Katie’s progress and found her to be 8 cm dilated and 80% effaced which was welcome news for us because it meant that labor was progressing quickly.  Katie then labored on the bed for a short while until she was fully dilated at which point she began actively pushing.   The next thing we knew, our baby girl, Tabitha Jaqulyn, was born at 11:07pm weighing 8 pounds 4 oz and having a length of 21 inches.

 

Throughout the pregnancy we continually asked God to give us a healthy child and to make the labor and delivery go smoothly and quickly and we are very thankful to Him for giving us all of those things.  We were also blessed to have a fantastic midwife and birthing staff at Jubilee Birth Center who were incredibly helpful through the pregnancy and delivery and who continue to help even now after the birth.

Emma's Birth Story - Prodromal Labor

posted Dec 18, 2016, 2:45 PM by Rachel Supercinski

We are excited and blessed to share our birth story with everyone. We are so thankful for all the training and input that we received during our pregnancy. Rachel Supercinski was an amazing Bradley teacher and we do not think Emma’s birth would have been as successful had it not been for her knowledge and training. The outpouring of love from our families and Emmanuel Baptist Church was humbling. God has been incredibly faithful to us in each stage of Emma’s life. 

In the evening of Wednesday November 2nd, Grace began to have more consistent contractions. We began to implement the relaxation techniques, but the contractions did not last. They stopped around 2 a.m. Infrequent, but strong, contractions continued through the night. These contractions did not seem like Braxton-Hicks, but we were not sure. Grace did not sleep well. We walked around our neighborhood some that night and the next morning. 

Thursday November 3rd, James worked from home. Grace had infrequent contractions throughout the day. In the evening, the contractions began to pick up. We walked around the neighborhood. Interestingly, we met another couple that was due the same week as us who were learning Bradley and had our same doctor. James went to Bible Study and when he returned at about 9 p.m. the contractions were strong. We began to relax and try to work with the contractions. After midnight, we began to time the contractions and they were getting close together, three-five minutes apart for 50 seconds to one minute in length. However, within an hour, these contractions began to space out and slowed down. This was stressful both emotionally and physically for us. 

Friday November 4th, James and Grace went to work. Grace was having intermittent strong contractions, but she did not want to focus on them. James did some research and reached out to Rachel Supercinski and came to the conclusion that Grace was probably experiencing Prodromal Labor (Prodromal labor is a type of labor that happens prior to the onset of full active labor. It is often considered a type of “false-labor,” but this is a misnomer, because doctors and midwives will explain that the contractions are real but they start and stop). This realization was encouraging because we at least knew what to expect. 

Friday evening, Grace’s contractions began to pick up again. James went to sleep around 10:30 p.m. Grace woke James up around 1 a.m. and told him that she needed help because the contractions were strong. James began timing the contractions and they were less than five minutes apart lasting 50 seconds to 90 seconds. A little bit later, Grace decided to take a bath. James began to hear how hard she was working and made the call to start loading the car. Grace was really anxious that she was not far enough along. James reassured her that it was not a problem if they were not admitted and they had the whole weekend to work on labor together. 

At around 2 a.m. on Saturday November 5th,Grace was taken up to Labor and Delivery and checked. She was 100% effaced, six centimeters dilated, and the baby was at zero position. They admitted us and quickly began prepping the room as they thought that the baby was coming really soon. Grace’s labor began to slow down. Our nurse was nice and supportive, but not very knowledgeable about natural methods. We began to walk and do some different positions.

Around 4 a.m. our doctor, Dr. Rice, was called. Grace had really high blood pressure and needed to be monitored more frequently. They were worried that she might have a seizure if she was not treated. Dr. Rice did not want to intervene, but we needed to get Grace to relax. After some relaxation and a warm shower, Grace’s blood pressure went down some and she did not need medication, just monitoring. Her blood pressure was still high, but it did not warrant medication. The medication would have made Grace groggy and may have slowed labor even more. Dr. Rice left at about 6:30 a.m. 

At shift change at 7 a.m. we got a new nurse. We actually knew her. She worked with Grace for a little bit at Hope Pregnancy Center. Grace was nervous at first, but God showed us how faithful he was. Our nurse was hoping and praying for a natural client that day. She had a couple of her kids naturally. This was a great encouragement to us. She was super helpful and encouraging to us, James in his coaching and Grace in her laboring. She even prayed with us a couple times. 

Around 10 a.m. Grace was checked again. Labor had been off and on. She was about eight centimeters. We tried some other techniques, but labor was just not progressing. Grace was very tired. She had not slept much in the last three days. Grace was checked again around noon and not very much progress had happened. Grace was eight to eight and a half centimeters. At this time, due to Grace’s fatigue level, Dr. Rice recommended that we artificially break the bag of waters. We thought that this was a good idea. Pretty quickly, Grace got an urge to push and was checked again. Her cervix had become a little inflamed because of the pushing. Dr. Rice recommended that she take a shower and not push even though she wanted to. 

At around 1:30 p.m., Grace was checked again. She was nine centimeters dilated and the inflammation had gone down. She was beginning to get very tired. Grace’s contractions had slowed a lot at this point as well. She was not feeling all of them. Dr. Rice recommended that we start a low dose of Pitocin. We agreed that this would be ideal due to the length of labor so far and Grace’s energy level. Dr. Rice also told us to go “full Bradley.” Grace had been handling the pain well, but not really relaxing 100%. She found that laboring outside of the bed was easier for her, but we think that her contractions did not make much progress. Dr. Rice told her to act like she was sleeping, relax through the contractions and fight the urge to push until it was overwhelming. Pitocin was started around 2 p.m. 

At around 2:20 p.m. Grace was checked again. There had not been much progress, but the Pitocin had just started to kick in. We needed to be patient. Grace said that the contractions were twice as strong she was nearing her limit. At around 3 p.m., Grace could not resist any further. She began grunting and pushing. The nurse checked her and there was only a very small lip of the cervix that was in the way. She said we might be able to push through it since it was very stretchy. Dr. Rice was called and was there in ten to fifteen minutes. Grace began to really push. Dr. Rice massaged her perineum between contractions (she commented on how stretchy it was, the massages Grace did payed off) Grace was really encouraged when we could see the head. With about five to six pushes in about 30 minutes, Emma arrived. Her head came out just fine. She came out with a fist to her chin which caused Grace to tear a little. Emma was immediately put on Grace and after the cord stopped pulsing, James cut it. Emma was six pounds seven ounces, eighteen and a half inches long and born at 3:32 p.m. on November 5th, 2016. Bonding time went well. James was able to help bathe Emma in the room as well. Postpartum went well and we learned how to feed and care for her. We were able to leave Monday November 7th around 12:30 p.m. 

Since Emma was so small breast feeding was a challenge the first week. We consulted with Kimberly Hill, who was a major help and encouragement. We did not give up and eventually Grace and Emma began to nurse better and better. Emma is doing well and on track to regain her birth weight. We hope this story is an encouragement to you. Sometimes the ideal does not happen, but with knowledge and training you can overcome the challenges of labor. 

Grace and James Moughon, proud parents of Emma Jane Moughon. gracemoughon@gmail.com, jmoughon@gmail.com

Barely Made it to the Hospital Birth Story

posted Dec 2, 2015, 12:56 PM by Rachel Supercinski

Well, she arrived 11/20/15 at 2:28am weighing 7lb 4oz, and she made quite an entrance!

I had a lot of Braxton Hicks during my pregnancy, and as my due date got closer, they began to get stronger. When the doctor checked me at 39 weeks, I was 3cm, 80%. I had made sure to not get my hopes up about anything, so I was really pleased to hear that all the contractions were doing something. The following week I was 4 cm dilated. When I was 40+ weeks, I had an appt for an NST. The baby looked great on the monitor, it showed I was having contractions about every 7 minutes, and I was 5cm dilated. But as my doctor said, she could tell by my demeanor that I just wasn't in active labor yet. Surely it would be soon though....

Two days later, I finally had a contraction that felt different. I woke up at 12:15am Friday to painful contractions that were 5 minutes apart. They were still tolerable so I just stayed in bed, breathed through them, and waited to make sure they were going to stay this time. After about an hour, I woke up my husband and told him it was time to go. In the short period of time when he was getting the last minute items and putting our bags in the car, the contractions became very intense and close together. We got in the car and just turned the corner off our street when I hit what I'm sure was transition. I remember saying, "I CANNOT do this!". A few minutes later we were getting on the highway when I said, "I'm pushing, but I'm not trying to!". The contractions felt like they were just pushing down on their own.

I had my husband call the L&D unit to tell them what was happening and that we were on our way. When we arrived, my husband very quickly wheeled me up to the unit and into a room. I immediately got in bed on my knees with my upper body draped backwards over the raised head of the bed. One of the nurses checked me, and I was complete. At this point there was a flurry of activity going on behind me, and as you would imagine, I was far from relaxed. My husband was able to help me slow down my breathing and relax my body. Then I was able to just let the contractions do the pushing instead of resisting it. At 2:28am, she was born, and I flipped around in the bed, picked her up, and put her on my chest!

It was kind of a whirlwind, and we'll probably leave a little sooner next time! But we couldn't be more in love!

Darcy Grey's Birth Story

posted Sep 25, 2015, 12:07 PM by Rachel Supercinski   [ updated Sep 25, 2015, 12:08 PM ]

Rebecca was due on Friday, September 11. On the evening of Tuesday, the 8th, she started experiencing some menstrual-like cramps and other pre-labor symptoms. Cramps subsided overnight and showed up periodically over the next few days. The evening of Saturday, September 12, at 6:00 Rebecca's water broke (though not nearly as dramatically as Bree's), and at 7:00 she started experiencing mild contractions. By 9:00they were coming every 3.5 minutes and lasting 30 - 40 seconds but were still very mild. By 10:00, they were still coming every 3.5 minutes but were lasting 60 - 70 seconds. At 11:30, we decided to head to the hospital, even though the contractions were still mild enough to talk through, since they'd been so regular and since Rebecca's water had broken.

Rebecca was 3+ centimeters when they checked her into the hospital circa 1 a.m., and contractions continued to be 60-90 seconds long, every 3.5 minutes or so. Soon after being admitted, the intensity of the contractions increased such that Rebecca was no longer able to walk or talk through contractions comfortably. After a very short time trying to walk or lean on the birthing ball, Rebecca lay on her side in the bed and stayed that way the rest of the labor. She was very soon unable to relax through the contractions at all. She moved throughout the contractions and tried to relax between them, although she was shaking convulsively for much of the night. She also threw up several times throughout the night, although her pain level never exceeded an 8.

At 2:30 they checked Rebecca again, and she was dilated to 6 centimeters. We were really glad Rebecca's dilation was progressing well, as we were concerned that her inability to relax would hinder her progression.

There was no distinct transition period, and contractions would come one after the other occasionally throughout the night. Around 5 a.m. Rebecca began moaning through the contractions, along with moving. This was the only discernible change the whole night. 

The nurses soon began asking if Rebecca had an urge to push, but she was not experiencing any urges. After Aaron had Rebecca use the restroom around 5:15, Rebecca thought she had a slight urge to push. The nurses checked, and at 5:25 they said she was fully dilated and could push any time. We asked for the squat bar to be put on the bed, and they called for the doctor. Rebecca's first "practice push" moved the baby's head down 2 inches, and they said she was crowning. Three contractions and 11 minutes later, Darcy Grey was born, measuring in at 8 pounds, 20.25 inches. Rebecca had a small tear but no other complications. 

Aaron was a fabulous coach, keeping the atmosphere peaceful, feeding Rebecca ice chips after each contraction, and maintaining physical contact the whole night. Both mother and baby were doing well immediately after the birth. We felt very lucky to have had such a positive and relatively easy birth experience.

We had a bit more of an adventure after we got our baby home. We had Darcy Sunday morning and were released on Monday afternoon. We went for our pediatrician followup at 1:00 on Tuesday afternoon, where we were told Darcy was slightly jaundiced and had lost a significant amount of weight. They did a heel prick to check her bilirubin levels and then sent us home. We received a call at 5:00 that night that her bili levels were high enough that she needed to come to the hospital for phototherapy. We didn't realize until we arrived that we were being admitted. Once there, they ran her blood work and found that her sodium levels were high due to dehydration. Despite having visited with a lactation consultant before leaving the hospital, we didn't realize that Darcy wasn't actually transferring milk well, despite having a good latch. We tried to avoid an IV by supplementing with expressed breastmilk but when her numbers didn't respond, Darcy received IV fluids. After a second visit from a different lactation consultant (Missy at Scott & White - she's fantastic), we had a lot more tools to keep Darcy hydrated and gaining weight well after we were released again that Friday morning. We were initially worried about my milk supply, but once we were out of the hospital and able to sleep and eat better, things sorted themselves out quickly. Darcy has since gained weight well and is doing fabulously!

We have four major recommendations from our experience:

  1. Don't tell anyone until you're for sure in labor. We had people flying and driving in, and we wanted to let them know we were probably going to be in labor within the next few days when we started experiencing pre-labor symptoms - so they could arrange work schedules and start checking flights. My brother (against my explicit instructions) bought a ticket immediately for the next day, and everyone else we'd told proceeded to call and text multiple times a day to check on our nonexistent progress. It was super stressful.
  2. Trust your body during labor. Rebecca was unable to relax through the contractions, but her movements helped her get through everything, and her body was still able to progress through labor well.
  3. The "cascade of interventions" doesn't end with labor. We experienced it firsthand when we went back to the hospital and were luckily able to employ B.R.A.W.L. to great effect to keep Darcy safe without giving in to recommendations such as formula supplementation. We only wish we'd realized the path we were starting down sooner.
  4. See a lactation consultant, even if you think things are going well. We had no idea we had a problem until our followup appointment and we received so many useful tips from our visit from the second lactation consultant. Also make sure you click with the consultant and get what you need from the visit, as we had a horrible session with the first consultant we spoke with before being released initially.

Alexia's Birth Story

posted Sep 6, 2015, 9:10 AM by Rachel Supercinski

Alexia was due on Tuesday, 8/4/15.  We had several days where we had a small handful of mild but irregular contractions but they would usually clear up after we slept them off overnight or with a nap.

Friday (8/14): Jess was 10 days overdue.  She had an appointment that morning with Dr Rice and she would not let Jess go past 42 weeks for health reasons and our past miscarriage history.  Because of this, she scheduled Jess to induce Wednesday morning, the day after she hit 42 weeks.  Dr Rice checked and saw that Jess was already dilated to 3cm, 80% effaced, and at a -1 or 0 station.  She offered Jess the option to strip her membrane to try and encourage the labor process to get started.  She let us discuss this option for a few minutes and we decided to go ahead with the procedure since it sounded like a better option to have the labor and birth we wished for than induction.  We had some mild contractions all afternoon and into the evening but, like all the other times, they cleared up by the time we woke up the next morning.  
Saturday (8/15): We decided to sleep in a little and get some rest. After eating some breakfast we decided that getting out of the house and being active will be the best way to encourage starting labor this weekend. We went to a garage sale, ate lunch, went on a walk in the mall and around the grocery store to stock up for when baby gets here.
Saturday (8/15) 7pm: In the HEB parking lot coming home, Jess felt something in her stomach that was "very different" from the previous contractions she has had. We went home and ate dinner. The contractions still didn't go away and she started to feel back labor and pain down into her left leg. I had her do a bunch of pelvic rocks then rest with a movie on.
Saturday (8/15) 9pm: At this time we noticed the contractions were somewhat regular, about 10-12 minutes apart, she was getting restless, and unable to get comfortable lying down. I had her do a bunch more pelvic rocks before and after the shower to help stop the back labor. She went and took a shower.  Not long after the shower, she started to throw up. She had tried to take her round of vitamins but they didn't settle well and on top of labor that contributed to her nausea. 
Saturday (8/15) 11pm: She took a second shower. I had her do a bunch more pelvic rocks.  At this point contractions were about 8 minutes apart.  She continued to have a hard time to keep anything in her stomach, but I made sure she was sipping on small amounts of water and Gatorade to keep her hydrated.
Sunday (8/16) 12am-3:30am:  Nausea calmed down. Contractions are now about 6 1/2 minutes apart.  Eventually was able to get Jess to lay down and get some sleep.  Woke up around 3:30 with contractions timing nearly 5 minutes apart for the last 1.5 hours.  Decided it was time to go to the hospital.
Sunday (8/16) 4am:  Left for the hospital shortly after 4 and arrived around 4:30.  Contractions still rolling on pretty consistently.
Sunday (8/16) 5:30am:  After getting checked in and settled, Jess was checked and was still at 4cm.  They called Dr Rice and she recommended to have Jess walk around and try to see if she progresses.  If we do not progress, they will send us home.  We started walking and praying, asking God to move on our behalf.  We texted close friends and family asking them to pray as well. We had a pretty special time walking around for those couple hours talking about our journey and dreams up to this point. We will always cherish this time we had with one another. 
Sunday (8/16) 7:30am:  After fudging our time a little bit to get in some extra walking, pelvic rocks, squats, birthing ball exercises, and the nurses taking their time (I'm pretty sure it was intentional) during a shift change, we finally got checked and we were at 6cm.  They said they were going to admit us!!  We started crying pretty immediately after the nurse left.  After 6 years of uncertainty, of not knowing when will this journey end, we finally knew when it was finally over.  Today is the day! We couldn't wait to praise Him!!!! 
Sunday (8/16) 9:30am:  Measured at 8cm.  At this point we learned that the hospital will not allow her to eat anything except for jello, water, or Gatorade because of the possibility of a c-section.  Super bummer!
Sunday (8/16) 11:30am:  Measured at 8cm still and we were well into late first stage labor. We have been taking showers and using various laboring positions using the birthing ball mainly.  Jess found her most comfortable position to be on her knees and hands, leaning on the bed, birth ball, or pillows. She enjoyed having her back rubbed with lavender oil and counter pressure. Josh was a fabulous coach knowing exactly the spots to get. We also enjoyed dancing with each other all throughout the room. This is a favorite past time of ours in the house and it was so nice that we could incorporate it into our labor story. 
Sunday (8/16) 2pm:  We have stalled out at 8cm for the past 4 1/2 hours.  Dr Rice believes it is because her bag of water has not broken yet.  She presented us three options we can wait it out for who knows how long, she can break the bag, or administer Pitocin and let the bag break on it's own.  We opted for letting her break the water since it was the least invasive and we had no interest in dragging this on any longer.
Sunday (8/16) 2:30pm:  Almost as soon as the bag was broken the contractions got MUCH stronger and by this point we were in full on transition.  Jess took a shower, got nauseous again and lost everything in her stomach in the shower, and heavily relied on the favorite position (hands and knees) while I was pushing tennis balls into the small of her back.  At this point her back had really started hurting again but was manageable with the pressure applied.  She was ready to get this baby out and didn't care what she looked like or did doing it.
Sunday (8/16) 3:30pm:  Measured at a full 10cm except for a small anterior lip of the cervix that was not quite around the babies head yet.  Was told to try not to push with the contractions yet but the urge was becoming harder and harder to resist.  Dr Rice was called.
Sunday (8/16) 4pm:  Dr Rice was in and checked her cervix.  The anterior lip was gone and was given the green light to start pushing.  Jess was comfortable on her side but quickly shifted to a sitting position with the bed back at an angle for her to sit up in enough for her to reach her knees and pull them back.  Her contractions were long and, most of the time, she had enough to get 4 pushes in per contraction. She was able to get moving with the delivery pretty quick.
Sunday (8/16) 5pm:  The pushing was beginning to take it's toll.  The doctor pulled out an oxygen mask for her to use in between contractions.  It really gave her a second wind to keep going.
Sunday (8/16) 5:45pm:  After various methods of pushing such as grabbing handles on the bed, her legs, and a "tug of war" rope the nurse pulled on, progress had slowed and she began to lose energy.  Nearly the whole time she had been experiencing a lot of back labor.  With the difficulty of pushing at this point and the incredible amount of back labor Dr Rice and the nurse both concluded that the baby was sunny side up.  She offered help in the form of using vacuum suction to angle the baby's head just a little bit so she can help Jess get the baby out.  Jess was VERY exhausted and out of energy.  At this point Jess had been laboring almost 23 hours and she had nothing to eat for the past 13.  She had no more energy to give.  With this in mind, we consented to the vacuum hoping to get Lexi here and avoid a c-section.
Sunday (8/16) 5:53pm:  After about 4 contractions, Alexia was born.  In the process, Jessica was about to tear so they did an episiotomy to help mitigate the tearing.  She was handed Alexia immediately and she was crying and very active out of the womb.  Jessica couldn't stop saying, "My baby! My baby that I get to hold!" Josh was able to cut the cord as well.   Alexia opened her eyes, began looking around, and within 5 minutes started nooking looking for Jessica's nipple to nurse.  The whole time she was very fidgety and active trying to look around, crying, and trying to nurse. 

In the midst of Jessica being stitched up she was not really able to focus on Alexia and the staff decided that it was best to start getting her measurements and checking her over. She was 7 lbs. 8 oz. 20 inches long. Her APGAR was at an 8-9. The nurse began to look for things that could be markers for having a special needs child, which matters a lot to us because of our elevated risk for one. Josh also knew what to look for based on what his sister has. We were thrilled to find out that Alexia nothing wrong with her. She was perfect in every way.  After her examinations we were able to nurse and were eventually moved into a post-pardum room. We stayed Sunday night with the help of Joshua's mother to have baby duty while we slept. We stayed a few more days in the hospital so Jessica could heal more from the birth. Ever since we got home, we cannot be more overjoyed to have our home filled with cries of a hungry baby and smiles of a happy little girl. Overall our labor experience was so positive. Jessica will tell you, for her, anything below 10cm is reasonably manageable, but once you hit 10 and transition than you really better get ready. We have wonderful memories from this beautiful story of bringing Alexia into the world and we are so grateful to share them with you.

Nora's Birth Story

posted May 27, 2015, 12:54 PM by Rachel Supercinski

So, when I went in Monday night for my induction due to high blood pressure, I was at 2cm at 8pm. I received my first dose of Cytotec at 10pm which made my contractions come more consistently. They were about every 3-5 minutes apart but I could breathe through them and the pain was mild. At 2am I was 3cm and received my second dose of Cytotec. When I got up out of bed at 4am to go to the bathroom my water broke on its own and I was 5cm! The contractions were about every 3-5 minutes at this point and still not very painful. 

About 30-45 minutes later, the contractions started coming much closer together and were much more painful. I could barely get out of bed and make it to the the bathroom before another contraction came. I remember sitting in the bathroom thinking "this feels like it could be transition...but it can't be...my water just broke...I can't be in transition already!! This hurts so much!! I can't do this for another 6-8 hours!! I can't do this!" At this point, I requested one dose of Stadol to help with the pain. I remember asking my nurse how long it would take the Stadol to work and telling her that it wasn't helping with the pain. The contractions were very painful and coming about every 45 seconds to a minute apart. At this point I started to get rather nervous thinking that I couldn't possibly endure this amount of pain for multiple hours. 

The nurse decided to check me around 5:30am and I was 9cm! I was in transition after all! Hearing that was a huge relief mentally. But then the pain started to get worse, much worse. With each contraction I suddenly began to get very intense back pain. After the doctor arrived they said I could start pushing and they let me get on my hands and knees to push to try to help with the back pain. Wes was able to apply counter pressure with a tennis ball which helped alot. Although I was pushing at this point, I don't think my body was really ready for me to push. After a little while, they told me to turn on my back again (because my feet were turning purple and swelling more while I was on my hands and knees). 

After a few minutes of being on my back, I could feel my contractions change into the expulsive contractions and I began to feel the urge to push. I don't know exactly how long I pushed for after that but she was born at 7:19am Tuesday morning! I had a small 1st degree tear and I didn't get any Pitocin at all. I guess my body was ready to deliver her. Neither one of us had any major complications and were able to go home Wednesday afternoon. My blood pressure remained elevated and the doctor had me take Labetolol for about 2 weeks to help bring it down. It is back down to my normal range and I am off the blood pressure medication. 

The labor came on so fast and hard and I did not expect that at all! The transition pain was incredibly painful but I think the hardest part was not realizing that I really was in transition and thinking it was just normal first stage contractions and that I still had 6-8 more hours to go. Wes was a tremendous help in reminding me about what we learned in class and to breathe and relax. I am so thankful that we went through your class and that you encouraged me to still pursue a natural birth with the induction. I would not have changed a thing! Nora is doing great at breast feeding and is gaining weight really well! Pumping is going well and I already have a small supply built up for when I go back to work. 

Thank you so much for all of your help, encouragement and prayers. It was a huge blessing for our family!

Hannah's Birth Story

posted Jul 6, 2013, 1:28 PM by Rachel Supercinski

Megan went into labor on Wednesday, 5 June. Her due date, as given by our doctor, was 29 May so each day we were waiting in expectation, trying to sleep late and run some errands. Megan walked two to three miles every other day for a couple of weeks preceding the birth. On Tuesday, 4 June, she felt achy and a little crampy during her walk. This feeling came and went throughout the rest of the day, but labor still did not begin.

On Wednesday morning, Megan said that she wanted pizza for dinner so Dan started some dough. Then they made a trip to the grocery store to pick up pizza toppings. After returning home in the late afternoon, Dan went out to mow the lawn. By the time he finished, Megan had begun to feel that her Braxton Hicks, frequent over the past week, had turned into tight and somewhat painful contractions occurring between 5 and 10 minutes apart. It was just after 6 p.m.

We had planned to make a cake for our little girl’s birthday, so Megan started that while Dan worked on pizza and getting a shower. Megan’s labor progressed rather quickly and we had a hard time finishing the cake and pizza before Megan needed to concentrate closely on each contraction without much of a break between them. At about 7:00, Megan noticed that the contractions were about five minutes apart. Around 7:30, she called Deborah, our doula, to let her know she was in labor but didn’t need her to come right away. Megan tried to eat some pizza but was already losing her interest in food. Dan ate almost a whole pizza, which served him well during the long night to come. Before long, Megan’s contractions intensified and Dan called Deborah to ask her to come to the house as soon as she was able. She arrived at about 10 p.m.

Throughout the first stage of labor, Dan thought that Megan was amazing. She was incredibly focused and concentrated well through each contraction. At first, she wanted to lean over the bed during contractions and as we were still working in the kitchen we would have to move quickly into the bedroom so that Megan could find a comfortable position. Eventually contractions took over and it was not possible to do anything other than labor. Megan found the contractions to vary somewhat in intensity. Almost from the very beginning, a short and less intense contraction was followed by a stronger, longer contraction and then another weaker contraction. This pattern continued for a few hours. For a while, Megan lay on the bed in the side position she learned in her Bradley class while Dan and Deborah provided verbal encouragement, water and juice to drink, and back, shoulder, and head massage. Deborah encouraged Megan to move a bit to keep labor progressing. This mostly meant walking across the living room and back with a stop at the bathroom before returning to the bed. Once, we think at about 11:30 p.m., we all walked a slow quarter-mile loop around the neighborhood. Megan found the walk to be a pleasant diversion, although it was followed by a couple of the most intense contractions that she can remember in her labor. Labor continued with consistent progress while she lay on the bed until about 2:30 a.m., when Megan asked whether it might be time to go to the hospital. Dan tried very hard to time contractions but found that Megan gave little to no indication of when they began or ended. Deborah had to ask Megan to give her a signal when each contraction started. She determined that contractions were 60 seconds long and 2.5 minutes apart and that it seemed a reasonable time to leave for the hospital. Megan would like to note that she was surprised that the time she labored at home seemed to pass rather quickly. She thinks this was due in part to Deborah’s calm encouragement. Several times, Deborah said, “Just get through this contraction and you will never have to do this one again.” Megan also found that a key to getting through contractions was to focus on one moment at a time without thinking about what was to come. Deep abdominal breathing was essential. Megan also felt that lying down for much of the labor enabled her to conserve energy. Megan’s concentrations and breathing were so focused that Dan kept thinking the Bradley people should be there filming her.

The 10-minute ride to the hospital was not as difficult as Megan had imagined it would be, although she needed to stand still and lean on Deborah during a contraction after they arrived and had walked halfway from the car to the emergency entrance at St. Joseph’s. Upon arrival to her assigned labor and delivery room, a nurse performed an exam that indicated that Megan was dilated to 8 cm. Megan then resumed laboring on her side in the bed. Our doctor arrived at about 3:45 a.m. and confirmed that things were progressing well. Megan then labored with sips of water and bathroom breaks for another couple of hours. A nurse performed another exam at about 6:00 a.m. and found that Megan was dilated to 10 cm. The nurse called the doctor, who then confirmed that Megan was fully dilated but had a lip of cervix still in place. She suggested that if Megan found it more comfortable to push, it was safe to begin doing so with her contractions. Megan pushed for about an hour before the doctor checked her progress again to find that the baby was still unmoved at -1 station. She attempted to determine the position of the baby’s head and though it was not possible to be certain, the doctor thought it was likely that the baby was in occiput posterior (face up) position, which would explain the lack of movement down the birth canal. Our doctor also found that Megan’s bag of waters was still intact and thought that breaking the water would make it easier for Megan to push the baby out at this point. Megan gave her permission to break the water and she did. The doctor also suggested that Megan take a break from pushing and relax through her contractions for a while, so Megan breathed through contractions for another couple of hours. By this time it was about 9:30 a.m. and the doctor suggested that Megan try pushing again. The lack of the bag of waters did indeed provide a bit more sensation for pushing. Megan had begun her pushing in the knees back, reclined position, but after an hour and another exam revealed a lack of movement of the baby, a nurse suggested Megan push while on her knees, leaning over the top of the bed, to see if working with gravity would help. However, this was particularly uncomfortable. Dan had also suggested squatting but Megan felt at this point that she was lacking enough energy for this. Pushing in these positions went on for 2.5 hours but did not move the baby any further along. She remained at -1 station.

At noon, the nurse became concerned that several hours of pushing had not resulted in any downward movement of the baby. At this point, Megan also was concerned, not least because she had become very tired from being up all night laboring. She was beginning to find it much more difficult to know how to deal with the pain of contractions. The nurse consulted with the doctor and then gave Megan some options. One was to have a mild dose of Pitocin, which could help increase the strength of contractions to assist in pushing out the baby. The administration of Pitocin could include or not include an epidural. The nurse also suggested that Megan could have an epidural without Pitocin, with the idea that after hours of labor, Megan’s pelvic floor was probably tense and an epidural would help it to relax as well as give Megan’s body rest for more pushing. It would hopefully also allow her natural contractions to move the baby down the birth canal of their own accord. These options were presented in an effort to help the baby progress and avoid a cesarean. This was a difficult decision for us. We wanted to have an unmedicated birth and the exhaustion of having no sleep and lots of hard work made it rather difficult to think clearly. It was an emotional time and everyone, our nurse included, had a bit of a cry as we processed the options. After some short discussion with Dan and Deborah, Megan chose to have an epidural without Pitocin.

After watching a video about epidurals and their associated risks and benefits, the anesthesiologist arrived with another doctor whom he was training to administer epidurals. The training involved the anesthesiologist explaining the how and why of the whole epidural procedure and precautions he was taking in administering it. In Megan’s wariness about epidurals, hearing this was reassuring for her. Later, the nurse told us that this anesthesiologist is known for being extremely good at giving epidurals. Megan remembered the story her mother told her about the epidural she had when she delivered Megan and how with the epidural her mother could not feel anything from the torso down and so found it very difficult to push. Her mother went on to choose unmedicated hospital births when she delivered Megan’s younger sister and brother. Megan was pleasantly surprised, therefore, to find that her epidural left her with only tingly legs. She had enough feeling to know when she was contracting and even still had some discomfort from the contractions. Megan also felt very shaky at this time, which the doctor explained was probably the adrenaline that is common after long labor and often after birth. Megan and Dan and Deborah tried to nap at this time, but Megan still had enough discomfort that she mostly just rested. She was so encouraged to be able to feel that the baby’s head now seemed to be moving down the birth canal with each contraction.

After two hours of Megan resting with the epidural, our doctor returned and an exam revealed that the baby had moved far enough down to where she could see the baby’s head! The doctor confirmed that the baby was in occiput posterior position and that this was the logical reason for the difficulty with the descent of the baby. Our doctor also noticed that the baby had passed some meconium in utero. With the doctor’s coaching, Megan then pushed in the reclined position. It was now mid-afternoon. During this pushing and most of the prior pushing, Megan wore an external fetal monitor. The baby’s heart rate remained steady until this last period of pushing, when it began to dip during a push and then recover between contractions. Our doctor watched the heart rate monitor carefully and became concerned when the baby’s heart beat eventually became much slower to come back up to speed after a contraction was over. The baby was very close to being born at this point. The doctor explained that she would need to use a vacuum to pull out the baby if her heart rate showed much slowing again. She asked for the hospital’s on-call obstetrician to assist her, as well as something like six or eight nurses to stand by in case of complications. Although Megan had planned that her birth attendants would be few, having the extra people in the room felt a little like a welcoming party and we were glad that we were well prepared if something were to go wrong. Two contractions later, the doctor did use the vacuum, which means that the baby came out with some force, and while very uncomfortable for Megan, it was of course a relief to have the baby out. Dan was still able to clamp the cord, though we were unable to wait until it stopped pulsing. The cord needed to be cut more quickly than planned so that our doctor and the nurses could assess the baby as it seemed she had been through some distress during the long labor, in particular with the dip in her heart rate and her passed meconium. Megan remembers looking over to see four nurses cleaning up the baby while the doctor sutured a second-degree tear, likely a result of the vacuum assistance. One nurse propped up a very robust-appearing 41 1/7-week baby for Megan to see across the room. We were pleased that she scored well on her Apgar test and also nursed very easily a few minutes after birth, despite the difficulties of the birth and epidural. Deborah took many pictures for us in the delivery room.

We named her Hannah Elizabeth. We like that Hannah comes from the Hebrew word for grace. Both Dan’s and Megan’s sisters’ middle names are Elizabeth.

We would like to thank Rachel Supercinski and the Bradley method for an education that enabled us to labor and birth with a great deal more confidence and coping ability than we would otherwise have had. Rachel has been so kind in being available to answer our questions, even after Hannah’s birth. We really appreciate that our obstetrician took considerable time in answering our questions at each prenatal appointment, and was there for our long labor with Hannah and cared for her and us with skill and courage. Thank you to Deborah Streahle for encouraging Megan through many hours of labor. Thank you to Hannah for putting up with our lack of experience as first-time parents. And we are so thankful to God for overseeing the details of her birth and by his grace allowing us to care for this little girl. 

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