Sunday, September 5, 2010

Birth updates

Kathy Voigtsberger Certified Birth Doula(DONA), Certified Childbirth Educator, Breastfeeding Educator

It has been MONTHS, in fact 6 months, since I wrote anything on my blog.  After I finished my own birth stories, I did not quite know what else to write about.  I guess a little more history is in order here since I began the blog with the intention of telling about my journey to becoming a doula.

After my own births and especially the last two were so empowering and triumphant, I asked all my friends to allow me the privelge to attend their births and help them have a natural labor too.  There were some that took me up on this offer, and I guess that is when I first began my doula journey.

One birth sticks out in my mind more than the others.  My church had sponsored a family who had fled Vietnam in the mid 80s.  They were a Christian family and were being persecuted for their faith and also because they were part of the group of men who helped the Americans fight during the war in Vietnam.
They were a dear family consisting of a Grandfather, Mother, Father and one son.  They were not true Vietnamese, they were from a group originally from the Central Highlands of Vietnam.  Their group was called, DEGA or the Mountain people.

Soon after arriving in North Carolina, a good friend of mine, Joyce, and I helped them get settled.  They did not know much English; and we did not know ANY Vietnamese, but our bond in the LORD helped us to communicate and build a trusting relationship.  We took them to the grocery store, helped them learn about our American way of life and the like.  They had never lived in a place with a floor other than a dirt floor.

Phi and Mik were the parents.  Eventually, Phi got pregnant.  When it was time for the baby to come, Joyce and I went to the hospital with Phi and Mik.  Her first child was born in the jungle; so being in a hospital, was VERY confusing to her.  I did my best to help Phi to relax and advised her about different procedures so that she would not be afraid.  Phi had no idea what the nurses were telling her to do and looked to me for advice.  Although we did not speak their Dega dialect, because they trusted us, they listened to us.  The nurses were thankful that we were there to "translate."

After their precious little girl was born, they wanted to pick just the right name for her.  They wanted it to be something that meant "happy" and picked the name Funny!  Joyce and I were sensitive to their sentiment and helped them choose a more appropriate name~ We all came up with the name Merrilee!  So Merilee it was!

Friday, February 19, 2010

My youngest daughter's birth

My youngest daughter, Rachel was born in 1985.  It all began in the morning when my husband was getting up to get ready for work.  I always got up before him to make breakfast. When I woke up I thought I was having mild contractions.  My mother had just flown in from New York the night before so she would be at home with the other children when we had to leave for the hospital.  My husband went on to work. I had an appointment with the midwife about 10am.  When I got to my appointment, I was about 3cm dilated.  I called my husband from the doctor's office (remember, this was 1985, there were no cell phones then) and asked him to meet me from home.  We would be going to the hospital soon.  We met at home, grabbed the bag, kissed the kids and Mom goodbye and headed to the hospital. 

When I arrived, contractions were strong; but because I had taken a Bradley childbirth class and this was my third child, second natural birth, I was quite quiet as the contractions came and went.  I spent the next several hours in the bed lying on my side.  My midwife suggested breaking my bag of waters to speed things up.  She also asked me if I wanted my baby to be born in the sac like a litter of puppies.  I was not happy with this comment!  I told her if the baby came that way, that was fine.  I was not going to let her break the bag.  I remember my Bradley teacher and the midwife sitting on one side of the room calling over to me once in a while to ask if I was OK.  Each time I said I was.  They were amazed at how quiet I was for a woman nearing transition. 

As a doula I would never suggest this to a client to lie down in bed for hours, but then, I just remember being so very tired.  Without any distractions or reason to HAVE to get up, I just rested.  At this rate, I was dilating about 1 cm per hour.  After about 3 hours, my hubby got me to head to the bathroom to potty; and he talked me into walking a while.  I was also wanting to hold this little one.  We did not know the sex of the baby.  With 3 pregnancies, I had not had one ultrasound.  Back then women only had ultrasounds if there was a suspected problem.  Couples did not know what the sex of the baby would be ahead of time. 

We walked around the nurses station several times.  Each time a contraction began I leaned upon my husband for total support.  I could not have done this without his help.  After several laps, I told him I needed to push.  We returned to the room, the midwife checked me and said, "let's have a baby here." 

Second stage did not take very long.  The bag broke during pushing as it had done with my last birth.  We had been so sure this baby was a boy that we did not have a girl's name picked out.  But lo and behold!  It was a girl.  We did not have a girl's name picked out so for a day or so, she had no name.   

We could have left the hospital 6 hours after birth.  Since that was at 10pm at night, we elected to stay the night in the hospital.  That was a mistake.  It was so noisy and there was little sleep that night.  Our pediatrician came to our room do examine the baby.  She was born at 4:05pm.  When the nurse's shift changed at 11pm the new nurse wanted to take my baby to weigh her.  I told her that she was only born 6 hours ago!  I had just gotten her to sleep.  She was in my arms at the time.  I told her to come back in the morning to weigh her!  Well she did come in the morning and she had not lost any weight.  We packed up our things and went home in the early afternoon.  It was a joyous reunion as the big girls met their baby sister.  Looking back, it was a sweet time.  I am thankful to say that today they are all very close friends as well as sisters.  Childhood was a time of molding them together.  I loved every bit of motherhood!

Kathy Voigtsberger
Certified Birth Doula(DONA)
Childbirth Educator

Friday, February 5, 2010

The second birth.

The second birth was almost the opposite of the first.  I had a planned homebirth with a CNM(certified nurse midwife).  We took a childbirth class that was given by the nurse that worked with the midwives.  In essence it was a Bradley Method® of Childbirth class.  I never made it to the last class because I went into labor at 38 weeks. 

Labor began in the early morning beginning with some bloody show (the mucous plug dislodging from the cervix).  I remember going for a long walk trying to get things going.  I pushed Linda in the stroller as I walked with a couple of friends in the neighborhood. 

I had an appointment with the midwife in the afternoon and she thought I would definitely have the baby within a day or two.  I stayed pretty active just doing the normal things I usually do, trying not to get too excited.  The contractions were still light and infrequent.  When I went to bed that night I thought I would sleep through the night.

About 2 in the morning I called the midwife, and she came over to check me.  I was just in early labor.  She told my husband to get me up at 8 am and get me moving. He was instructed to call again when things got serious.  So that is just what we did.  I got up at 8 am and got breakfast ready and just worked around the house.  The contractions got serious quickly.  Our midwife arrived about 10am, I think.  I am remembering back almost 27 years so some of the details are a bit fuzzy.  Once Laurie arrived I was getting close to transition.  I asked her when I could get back in bed.  She told me when I was ready to push the baby out.  I remember taking a shower and sitting on the toilet.  Once I sat on the toilet, I got a strong urge to push.  I could not get up from the toilet.  Every time I started to get up, the contractions came one on top of another.  She told Karl that he would have to pick me up and carry me to the bed if I could not get up after the next contraction.  I mustered up the strength to make it to the bed and I was ready to push.

I pushed for about 5 minutes, my water broke on its own, no tearing, no episiotomy, the perfect birth!  Baby was 7lbs. 14oz.!  I felt victorious! and healed through this experience! I almost forgot, absolutely NO PAIN MEDS~ Complete Natural Birth!

Kathy Voigtsberger
Certified Birth Doula(DONA)
Childbirth Educator

In the beginning

My journey began with the birth of my first child.  I took a childbirth class at the local YMCA.  It was a huge room filled with pregnant women and their partners.  There must have been 40 couples.  Needless to say, I was NOT prepared for the event I was about to experience and remember for the rest of my life.  After an epidural, artificial rupture of my membranes, my daughter was YANKED out of me with forceps while a nurse stood beside me on a stool pushing on the upper portion of my uterus (fundus).  And, of course, this delivery was complete with a 4th degree episiotomy!  My husband was so worried as he watched the veins in the doctor's neck bulging that our daughter would be damaged forever.  Thankfully she was fine. All 8lbs. 8oz. of her.  I, on the other hand, was not.  It took many months for my body to heal from that episiotomy.  I vowed never to have a baby that way ever again...

Kathy Voigtsberger
Certified Birth Doula(DONA)
Childbirth Educator