Monday, November 29, 2010

music mondays {snatam kaur} & my birth story

i'm posting my birth story on music monday because my music playlist really helped me through the birth. when i was about three months pregnant, i started going to yoga at golden bridge yoga in hollywood. the classes there are kundalini yoga, and the prenatal yoga classes and meditations are based on gurmukh's book, bountiful, beautiful, blissful. since i really enjoyed the classes and meditations, i asked one of the yoga teachers for a doula recommendation. my yoga teacher also helped me put together a labor and birth playlist. this song was on that playlist.

long time sun is a blessing sung at the end of every kundalini yoga class. you sing once for yourself, once for those in need, and the third time for your baby.

so i feel like my birth story starts there, when i began yoga at golden bridge. i loved my classes there so much, i decided to take the birth class they offered. so about three months before the baby was due, patty & i took a birth class at golden bridge yoga from my favorite teacher, akal {she is also a nurse at cedars sinai, where i was giving birth, so it really made me feel good about my hospital birth}. i'm so glad we took the class together, the yoga teacher taught us a lot about some exercises we could do during labor; breathing to help through the contractions; the benefits of avoiding interventions such as pitocin and epidurals; and how a labor doula could really support our decisions to have as natural a birth as possible in the hospital.

about two months before beatrice's arrival, i made our first appointment with carmen, our doula. carmen was great, she came over three times before the birth. the first time was to discuss our birthing preferences...we really wanted to have a natural birth and she helped us come up with those guidelines for the doctor and nurses at the hospital. the second visit she showed us some labor exercises to do. and the third visit was my favorite--the massage. she's a certified massage therapist, which proved to be so amazing during the birth.

my due date was september 10, and that on that early friday morning, about 1am, i started having contractions. i called carmen at about 4am, and she told me to try to sleep in between them, which i did. i had an appointment with my doctor, dr paula mc allister, at 9am, so i went to that with patty. once at the doctor's office, they determined i was 3 centimeters dilated, and they put the baby on the monitor--then my contractions really amped up. the doctor suggested we check in to the hospital! after an hour or so at the doctor's office, and a phone call with carmen, we decided to go home. i really wanted to labor at home & i knew this was early labor {and it retrospect, i'm really glad i went home!} and i didn't want to get to the hospital too early and chance them "rushing" my labor. so i got home friday at about noon. that evening, the contractions really revved up so we called carmen & she came over. she was amazing, really helpful getting me through the contractions...she massaged me non-stop. her hands are magic...

and by the way, a week before i went into labor, patty broke her foot going down our stairs! and it was her right foot, so she couldn't drive us to the carmen was such a blessing! she was helping us so much, doing things that patty couldn't do, and she has a van, so she set it up so she could drive us to the hospital.

carmen stayed over friday night massaging me & generally helping out, but the contractions subsided a bit on saturday morning {september 11}, so we decided that carmen should go home & get ready and come back later in the day. saturday i went for a walk, ate lunch, did laundry...tried to get ready as much as i could.

saturday night the contractions really revved up again, so carmen came over...and we did it all over again, contractions, breathing, about 3am sunday morning {september 12} we decided it was time to make the trip to the hospital, so we called the doctor and loaded up in carmen's van. i was contracting pretty intensely at this point, so the car ride was a bit torturous...thank god it was 3am and there was no traffic on the streets of la!

once checked into the hospital, i was 5 centimeters dilated...we thought baby would be coming soon! we were lucky to have a wonderful nurse and got a room with a tub. i promptly got myself in the tub to relieve the intensity of the contractions...well i guess i relieved them too much...they started to subside by about noon on sunday. it was really weird...the doctor came in and said "you look too comfortable!" so i took lots of walks around the hospital and really tried to intensify the contractions. the doctor came back sunday afternoon and we decided that she should break my water...we hoped that would speed things along. so around 4pm, she broke my water and the contractions really intensified!

in my birth preferences, i indicated that the nurses should not offer me pain meds, and i told patty and carmen, if i ask for them, that they should let me ask three times to really make sure i wanted or needed them. i wanted to avoid interventions such as pitocin or an epidural that might lead me down the road to have a c-section. if i couldn't birth at home, i wanted to stay as natural as possible in the hospital. so, i went for about 3-4 hours with incredibly intense contractions and was really tired. at this point, i'd been in labor since early friday morning {thursday night really!} and hadn't really eaten much since saturday...i was getting worn down.

i asked for an epidural. carmen talked me through it and i went a bit longer. i asked a second time...she said, "let's see how far dilated you are, if you are close, you can get through it!" i figured, if i'm already at 8 or 9, no problem, so i agreed, and a nurse came in to check me. i was still 5 centimeters!!! i was stuck at 5 centimeters since i checked into the hospital! at this point, it was about midnight on sunday and i was ready to quit! the baby could just stay inside!! so i asked--well demanded really--for the third time "GET ME AN EPIDURAL!!!!!"

so the anesthesiologist was dispatched post haste and i had my epidural. at that point, i was able to get some much needed sleep. at some point the nurse shift change had happened and another amazing nurse came on...she asked me if i wanted an italian ice sorbet. it was the best thing i had ever tasted in my life.

so about 3am on monday {september 13}, they checked me and i was dilated to 10 centimeters! the epidural did its job and i was able to relax and fully more complication, however, i had developed a fever while on the epidural {pretty common i hear}, but that meant that they had to put me on antibiotics...not ideal. but the main disappointment for me was that because there was a chance of infection, the nurse informed me that when the baby came, she would not be able to go immediately to my breast, the pediatrics team would have to evaluate her first, then she could be placed skin to skin. but in the meantime...

the baby was not the nurse told me to hold on before i should push, she had called dr mc allister and she wanted to wait for her to drop a bit more. well, i wasn't really having it. i asked the nurse to set up the bed for me to squat so i could start pushing...i figured if i was in a squat, i would let gravity work in my favor and the baby would drop. i did this for a while {about 2 hours, but i really lost track of time!}, and the doctor arrived around 5am. she did a check and informed me that not only was the baby stuck on my pelvic bone, but she was "sunny side up." so she thought that i should lay on my back and push, allowing the baby to fall towards my back and hopefully get "unstuck."

after some more unsuccessful pushing, the dr mc allister said that she wanted to try suction to help guide the baby down. at this point, i was so exhausted and i knew that it would be the "last ditch effort" before they would resort to a c-section, so i agreed. well, it worked, thank god...and after another couple hours of warrior-woman pushing little bea came into the world!

baby beatrice rinn schemel was born on monday, september 13 {my birthday} at 7:06am...the best birthday present ever...

although she was whisked away, she was only gone for about two minutes, and they brought her right back to me to place her on my chest skin to skin. she started nursing almost immediately! that long labor must have worked up her appetite...

i cannot say enough wonderful things about my partner, my doula, my doctor and the amazing team at cedars. it was long and not exactly as i would have imagined it, but it was indeed the perfect birth.


Meg said...


This is such a lovely story, and such a good reminder that these things are not in black and white. You labored at home and gave birth in the hospital. You aimed for a natural birth, but the epidural was able to help you out when you got stuck. So lovely, and so worth it, yes? What an adorable little bundle she is.

jamie said...

awwww. *well done* you guys!!!! our midwife says most of her hospital transfers are simply loooong labors and mama needs a break! you did so so so good! and, welcome back!

also, that is our anniversarry. ;)

Emily said...

congrats!! what an awesome story :) I'm glad it worked out close to your plan!

Anonymous said...

Same birthday--cutest thing ever! You are so tough, being in labor for so many hours! You rock, and thanks for sharing the story!

east side bride said...

I love that you have the same birthday <3