birth stories


Colden's birth story


I love reading birth stories and so I have the funnest time writing my own! (You can read Bridger's here).

For those who don't want the messy details, here is the short version: I was induced on April 7th. Colden was born at 7:15 PM and weighed 8 pounds and 5 ounces and was 21.5 inches long. I'm so happy I was able to make my goal of having a natural birth!

The long version:
Pregnancy & preparation
Ever since we started thinking about a second child (early last summer), I have been researching natural and alternative birth methods. I read a couple books by Ina May, watched the Business of Being Born (I recommend it but beware of lots of naked mommies), and read lots of natural birth stories. I even interviewed a couple of birthing centers. That's where you give birth with a midwife and have most of the technologies a hospital does, it's just more home-like. I really wanted to do that but most insurances still don't cover birthing centers (ridiculous!). And I still really liked the midwife group I used with Bridger's birth so we opted for a natural birth in the hospital. 

I think I wanted a natural birth mainly because I wanted to prove something to myself (maybe even others as well). I firmly believe that pregnancy and birth is a normal and healthy part of a woman's life. I believe that the pains of childbirth are normal and healthy. I wanted to feel everything. That sounds crazy to some people. But I wanted to be aware of my body and work with it. I wanted to prove that labor and childbirth could be joyful!

I stayed somewhat active throughout my pregnancy. But starting in January (thanks to a Christmas gift from my awesome in-laws), I started practicing yoga regularly again. Other than the amazing genes that were given to me, I think yoga helped me prepare the most. Yoga is all about your breath and being mindful of your body. My instructor encouraged us to pick mantras each class to repeat throughout our practice. I used to roll my eyes at this and just repeat, "inhale, exhale" to myself. Eventually I created some mantras that have great personal meaning and that I had my doula repeat to me during labor. I also attended a weekly prenatal yoga class. This was AMAZING. Basically it was just resting in different postures but so relaxing and helpful in the last few weeks of pregnancy.

We also hired a doula. Doula is just a terrible name for a birth assistant. I totally recommend mine, Marcie Hunter. I met with her early in my pregnancy and then a couple more times near the end. She was fabulous! She was all about supporting me in whatever kind of birth I wanted. I told her that my goal was a natural birth but that if my labor was terribly long and awful, that I would get an epidural. And of course, if a Caesarean was necessary, I would do that. She was very supportive of all of this. She has helped many moms during all kinds of births. But her experience helping moms through natural labor is why I hired her. Nate is wonderful and supportive of all of this too, but he's never helped anyone through natural labor. I wanted them both to support me during birth. And that's what they did! She gave me lots of info about birth and different choices that I could make in the hospital. She gave me a list of positive affirmations and I chose some of my favorites for her to read while I labored. She also helped me make a list of birth preferences to give to her, my midwives and the nursing staff. 

I didn't want to limit myself to one "type" of natural birth, so I created my own list of birthing tips based on things that jumped out at me in stories from other women, Birth MattersGuide to ChildbirthBaby Catcher and Hypnobirthing.
Heartbeat issues
On Thursday April 3rd, I had my 39 week appointment with my midwife (I was meeting with Sue this time). All three of the midwives are great, but Sue is my least favorite. She's the most medically-minded and thus the least supportive of natural birth. Anyway, as she listened to Colden's heartbeat, she noticed an irregularity. It sounded like it was skipping every third beat. She said it wasn't a great cause of concern and that in 99% of cases, it goes away after birth. But she suggested a non-stress test. She was never great at finding the baby's heartbeat anyway so I was doubtful of her prognosis. Plus, she was the one who wanted a non-stress test when I was pregnant with Bridger. This led to me being induced. And since I was hoping for a natural birth this time, I wanted to let labor occur spontaneously. Being induced increases the risk of complication and can make for a very painful birth experience. My gut told me that everything was okay. So I opted out of the NST but planned to come into the office on Monday morning to listen to baby's heartbeat again. (Note: at this appointment, I was 2 cm dilated and I think 60-70% effaced).

Monday came and we walked down to our local nursery as a family and made plans for our garden. They have an awesome playground there and Bridger had a blast. There was also a bunch of small farm animals for him to check out. I'm glad we took him that morning because it ended up being our last outing as a family of three! We went from there to the doctor's office to hear the baby's heartbeat, with plans to eat at Chik-fil-a for lunch and then to go shopping after. 

A nurse listened to Colden's heartbeat for a long time and the same irregularity/arrhythmia was there. She called the midwife on-call, Jennifer Cook. Jennifer suggested the NST and indicated that she would probably induce, depending on the results. So to the hospital we went. At this point, I was pretty bummed. This is not how I pictured my birth. I wanted to go into labor on my own, to labor in the comfort of my home. I didn't want a painful Pitocin labor. And I hadn't even finished editing my birth preferences! (My doula and my midwives had a copy, but I had nothing to give the nursing staff). I had assumed my whole pregnancy that I would go past my due date. My bag wasn't packed. My soothing playlist wasn't loaded onto my iPhone. The house was a wreck and I just wasn't ready to bring a baby into the world that day!

Nate dropped me off at the hospital for the NST and he took Bridger to Aunt Lora's house. I gave him some instructions for my hospital bag and then he picked up some lunch for us. A perinatologist looked at the NST results and consulted with Jennifer. Jennifer called me and indicated she would like to induce that day or I could wait and do another NST at the end of the day to see if the results would be any different. She was doubtful they would change. After consulting with Nate who had just walked in with my hospital bag, I took a deep breath and told her we would like to go ahead with the induction. The big catch? She wanted to have me admitted to UVRMC. Deep sigh. I had my heart set on interacting with the amazing (and natural-friendly!) nursing staff at Orem Community. I loved the big homey rooms and the quiet atmosphere of that small hospital when I had Bridger. But Jennifer wanted Colden to be near UVRMC's bigger (better?) NICU, just in case. Another deep sigh. Again, in my gut I knew everything was fine but playing it safe was, of course, a good idea.

Knowing I would be limited to liquids after being admitted, I wolfed down some lunch that Nate had brought in. We walked upstairs and started the admitting process. We had to wait about half an hour or more because there weren't enough rooms (!!!). We later learned from the nurse that they had delivered 6 babies between 12pm and 2pm that same day. While we waited, I texted family and close friends an update. I talked with my doula who was in Salt Lake with family. She wasn't going to be able to come for a couple of hours and was working on finding a doula to step in for her until she got there. We got admitted around 3:00 PM.

A baby by bedtime
Pretty soon after we got admitted and I got into one of those gorgeous gowns (that someone died in yesterday), I talked with my mom on the phone and started to feel a little better about what was happening. Mostly, it was just nice to think that I would be able to hold my baby soon and not be pregnant anymore. Around this time, Jennifer Snell, who was to be my stand-in doula for the time being, arrived. While we talked with her and got her up to speed, I was feeling better and better and getting excited. Labor time had arrived! All of the breathing, relaxation, mantras and good thoughts I had been preparing with were about to come into play! And at the end, I would be rewarded with a sweet little baby!

And it didn't hurt that I had such an amazing view! (Of Timp as well as Chik-fil-a! ;)
Jennifer S. was a delight (I would also recommend her as a doula!). Even Nate liked her. (Mostly because she grew up in Canada too). She was so supportive and friendly. After the nurse checked me, (3 cm dilated!) she looked up a Bishop's Score for me. This just tells you how ready your cervix is for labor. Jennifer Cook (midwife), came in, checked me and confirmed that I had a "very soft, favorable" cervix! Yay! This meant I was already well on my way. Things were looking up! I remember saying, "I'm 30% done already!" I was also Jennifer Cook's only patient that night! So nice! She was in and out constantly. Before they started the Pitocin, Jennifer S. suggested I get moving a little to see how it would move things along. I had the bed raised and leaned over it and swayed. This movement caused my, ahem, backend to hang out. Jennifer Snell helped by pinning it closed. It's funny I was worried about modesty at this point when in just a couple hours any shred of modesty was long gone. The nurse (who was delightful also, I wish I remembered her name!) started the Pitocin at 4mL/hour at 4:00pm. This is a low dose.

Since Bridger came relatively fast, everyone expected me to go quickly. I remember hopefully remarking that we would have a baby by bedtime!

Enjoying my tigers blood flavored ice chips. 
This is really turning into a long post! Phew! Anyway, the contractions started right up and they got me a labor ball. (Just an exercise ball). I sat on that while I leaned over onto the bed. Each time I had a contraction, I would lay my head down, breathe deep and sway a little. Nate held my hands and/or stroked my hair. Jennifer S. whispered encouraging things and pushed on my back. My doula, Marcie came in around this time (5:00PM). Marcie took some notes for me and when she came in, she noted that I was 4 cm dilated, 80% effaced, in a good mood and laughing. Jennifer Snell was having a good time and said she hadn't attended a birth in a while and asked if we minded if she stayed to help and take photos. We said sure! (Glad we did!) Marcie took over massaging my back during contractions with tennis balls. Nate continued to hold my hands (and letting me squeeze his hands!) and stroke my hair. Jennifer S. started reading off some of the mantras and positive affirmations I liked the best. I repeated these to myself and took deep inhales and exhales. As soon as a contraction was over, I looked up and smiled at everyone, so grateful to have such a good team!

Jennifer C. broke my water around 5:30PM. When Dena broke my water when I was in the hospital for Bridger, I just remember a little trickle. This time it was BIG gushes for a while. At 5:45 I was 5 cm dilated and Jennifer C upped my Pitocin to 8mL/hour. Around 6:00PM Marcie noted that I was becoming more serious during contractions.

They didn't have a good working telemetric monitor that would allow me to roam around the room. Jennifer C. would have been fine with me doing intermittent monitoring, but since we were worried about Colden's heartbeat, I had to wear the monitor constantly. After being on the ball for a while, the monitor for Colden's heartbeat wasn't picking up much at all, mostly because of the position I was in. In order to get a good reading, Jennifer C. put in an internal monitor around 6:15PM. This goes right on baby's head, so I had to get into the bed. Having to be still like that in bed can make labor harder. But my awesome team helped me up and continued their support. The contractions were worse up there but really, they weren't terrible. Just felt like really bad menstrual cramps, mostly in my lower back. By 6:30 I was at 6cm and 90% effaced.

I love this photo. Nate was so much help.
Each time a contraction started, I would turn onto my side and lean into Nate. Someone, many times Jennifer C, would give counter pressure by pressing onto my hip and thigh. I would squeeze Nate's hand with my left and Marcie's with my right. Jennifer S would read mantras. All reminded me to relax, to accept the pain instead of fighting it. I moaned a lot. The new nurse, Heidi was in and out too. I think she felt a little unnecessary since there were so many people helping me. I remember laughing a little to myself at Heidi when she took a turn giving counter pressure on my knees. She was kind of weak and wasn't very helpful with that particular exercise. But she was doing her job just fine. Anyway, at the end of each one, I would look up and smile. I was so lucky to have so many people helping me! I loved looking up to see so many supportive faces around my bed.

At 7:00 PM I was checked and was at 7cm. I think I kind of cried out at this point. It seemed like I had so far to go and suddenly my contractions were almost constant. No time in between them. But at 7:10, Marcie noted that I said, "I could do this for another hour or two." When I did have a break at about 7:13, I said I wanted to get on my hands and knees. I thought this would relieve some of the pressure off my back. As soon as I did, I thought, "oh this is WORSE!" And immediately, I screamed the Lord's name in vain (something I still feel terrible about, I feel it's worse than swearing, but maybe it was more of a prayer than cursing!) and every part of my body screamed PUSH! I was yelling and moaning constantly now. It huuuuuurt! I yelled "I'm crowning!" and "HE'S COMING!" Heidi pushed everyone out of the way to check me. I remember asking everyone in the room if everything was okay. Seemed so crazy to already be pushing! Everyone answered that everything was just fine.

The worst part of all my labor was the time between crowning and his head coming out (I should note that this was really less than one minute, according to the photos Jennifer S. took!). Jennifer C came rushing in and without enough time to put on gloves, she squatted down and got ready to catch my baby. (Remember I am still on my hands and knees!) I felt his head come out and Jennifer C. instructed me to give little pushes. (This helped me have no tears or stitches!) I felt his shoulders come out and then the rest of his little body and the cord. Everyone helped me turn over and sit up. He was wiped off real quick and then placed into my arms! That immediate skin-to-skin time is so precious! After a few minutes, Jennifer C took the cord and pushed everything in it into Colden and then Nate cut the cord. After a few minutes, they weighed and measured him while Nate looked on. Jennifer C. helped deliver my placenta and we were all done! I have to say that trusting my body and giving birth without (much) fear was a beautiful experience! I love the strength and confidence it has given me. This experience has inspired me! I'm thinking about becoming a doula myself. I want to help other women give birth joyfully and without fear too!

So much happiness while holding Colden! We breastfed a little before heading up to the mother/baby floor and he latched on so well!
Heidi, RN; I don't know this nurse's name, I think she came in to weigh Colden; and my midwife Jennifer Cook.
My doulas: Jennifer Snell and Marcie Hunter
Bridger stayed the night with Lora, Scott and Erika (bless them!).  They brought Bridger to meet his little brother pretty soon after we got into the mother/baby ward. Bridger was actually pretty cute with him. After they left, I tried to take my sister Mandi's advice and just sleep as much as I could, even when the nurses came in. Nate stayed with me and Colden. I was a little teetery and nauseous but pretty much normal by the morning. My recovery has been pretty fast compared to last time and it's nice not to worry about caring for stitches.

The minimum stay in the hospital is 24 hours. I did not want to stay a minute longer! Our room was tiny and the bed was pretty terrible. Bridger really had no room to play in there when Nate brought him back on Tuesday afternoon so they didn't stay long. I had a few visitors and talked with family on the phone quite a bit but I was bored and wanted to go home. Nate, Scott and Erika cleaned up the house really good for us on Tuesday. After Colden's bilirubin test, we were able to leave the hospital at 8:00 PM. I was so glad to be out of there and start this new chapter of our lives!

Bridger has had a few tantrums, the first night at home all together was the worst. But since then he has done really well. Colden is a sweet little baby! This transition is going well thanks to his sweet demeanor and all of the wonderful help we have received from generous family and friends!! We love having him in our family!


Phew! That was long! Thanks for reading! Next up: dealing with a kidney stone 4 days post-partum!!

Our baby boy: A birth story


I thought I would go ahead and write this all down while it is still fresh on my mind. I had such an incredible labor and delivery experience. Because of a few hours of pain, I have this sweet little baby who will one day call me mama. I am so blessed to have had such a smooth (and short!) labor and delivery!

How we got the ball rolling
Wednesday August 8th at 9:40 AM, Nate and I went to my last prenatal appointment with my midwife. I was still only dilated to 1.5 cm. I think she added on the .5 to make me feel better. While she was checking me, she went ahead and stripped my membranes again. (That's number 3. Not the funnest experience of my life.) Once again, my abdomen measurement was off, but this time it was off by 3 weeks. So they performed some non-stress tests on me to make sure the baby was doing fine. He passed them all...but just barely. Sue,  the midwife I had just met with, thought we should be better safe than sorry and ordered an induction for that day! We were gonna have a baby that day! What the heck?! The funny thing is, we had sat down that morning and had a serious discussion with our baby and told him we were ready for him to come and not to wait any longer. I guess he listened. We went home, showered and got all of our bags ready to go. I was a little sad my mom would miss it all by just a day, but I was so ready for him to arrive.
Arriving at the hospital
We arrived at the hospital at 1:30 PM. We did a lot of waiting.
Getting his baby book updated
By 3:00 PM they were ready to put in the IV. I really and truly hated this part. Somehow over the years I have become a real wuss when it comes to needles. The first nurse poked me twice but my veins weren't interested in cooperating. A second nurse came in and got me in the forearm. Awesome. This whole event really put me in a bad mood. This photo really captures how I felt.
At 3:30, the midwife on call, Dena, came in and inserted my Cytotec which was meant to ripen (soften?) my cervix for delivery. I was still only dilated to 1 cm, but 80% effaced. She tried to open me up to a 2, so she could break my water, but no luck. The plan was at this point to be dilated a few more centimeters in 3 hours so they could start the Pitocin, which would start my labor.

Our amazing hospital had wi-fi so we watched an episode of Lost until 5:00 when I was having really strong contractions. The pain everyone talks about isn't a joke. I just couldn't imagine how I would survive through each one. Since I had a good bit of back labor, Nate rubbed my back until his fingers were numb. I am so grateful to have such a wonderful husband. I can't imagine going through labor without him. He was so encouraging. Big yoga breathes were a big help too. An interesting thing about labor I hadn't read or heard about much was being cold and getting the shakes. I couldn't control them at times. I'm pretty sure I looked pretty crazy at times. Shaking my head back and forth, slamming it on the bed...the whole nine yards. I am proud to say I didn't scream or cry like I thought I would. Just a lot of moaning and groaning.

At 6:30 the nurse checked me and I was still 1 cm. I almost cried at this point. All of those contractions for nothing?! However, the baby was at a +1 station, meaning he was super far down. Apparently, this is somewhat rare. I asked her to call the anesthesiologist. I felt kind of like a wimp for only going a couple hours before the epidural, but I knew I would be happier. I couldn't wait for him to arrive.

Before he (the anesthesiologist) arrived, the contractions came increasingly more frequent and extremely painful. The nurse put counter-pressure on my knees which really helped. Nate tried this but he wasn't as skilled as the nurse. At least he tried! He kept squeezing my hands and encouraging me. Sometimes just making constant eye contact with him during a contraction helped me through it.

At 7:40 an angel came in the room. The anesthesiologist! He was super skilled and I felt better within ten minutes. I was really on cloud nine after that. Right before he left, he looked at the monitor and asked how that last contraction felt. What contraction? :)
After the epidural :)
Immediately after that, Dena came checked me and I was at 5 cm!! Finally! She tried to break my water, but couldn't find my bag. That explained the spill I had on the way to the bathroom a few hours before! Because I was so far along, she decided to wait on the Pitocin, I probably wouldn't need it.

At 8:52, the nurse checked me and I was 8 centimeters! She said she would come back and check me in an hour. I thought she was crazy because I knew the baby would be coming really fast after that. Luckily Dena came in ten minutes later and I was at 10! The baby was coming now!

By the time they got everything in my room set up for delivery, Dena could see the baby's head! The preparations got a little frantic after that! They lifted my bed up super high and let my legs rest on the stir-ups. With a nurse on my left and Nate on my right, they lifted my legs up and I pulled them towards me during active pushing. At the last minute, I asked if they had a mirror so I could see the baby. I had heard of women doing this during labor and I always thought it was weird. But at that moment, I knew I wanted to see everything. The "urge" to push that everyone talks about is so real. It's like nothing I have ever experienced. The nurse counted out ten seconds for each push and I thought I would die each time. Having the mirror was really motivational because I could see the results of each push. Nate kept up his role as motivational coach. "You're doing awesome! He's coming out an inch after each push!" I knew he was lying, but it helped just the same.

The baby crowned forever. Suddenly his heart rate was down in the 90s and then the 80s. Everyone in the room was telling me this had to be the push. But he barely moved. Then his heart rate was in the 70s. I started praying out loud and pushing with strength that didn't belong to me. But nothing. Despite hating episiotomies, Dena had to cut me a little. By the next push Bridger Donald Parr entered the world. They placed his gray and blue body into my arms as Nate cut the cord. They rushed him into the corner to clear his lungs. I watched as they weighed him and Dena sewed me up. Soon enough he was wrapped up in my arms and I couldn't believe he was mine. My little boy had finally come! I kept telling him over and over how happy I was to have him in my arms.

At only 3 days old, he has filled us with a love and wonder indescribable. We love just sitting and watching him. I am so happy to be a mommy. I am so grateful he is ours forever.
Bridger Donald Parr
Born 8.8.12 at 10:02 PM
8 lbs. 8 oz. 21.5 inches


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