At Home Birth Stories
It's been about four months now, since River was born and I'm finally able to sit down and put some feelings and thoughts together about my birth experience. Dedicating this to our midwife, and now, good friend, Dyanna Gordon...and to the many women out there who have been told that their bodies are somehow "imperfect"...
After having 2 c-sections, and a myriad of health issues, when I became pregnant again, at 35 years old, I had almost given up on ever having the experience of a natural or vaginal birth. I was starting to think that my body was "not built for child-birth". This didn't keep me from researching the importance of vaginal birth though. I continued to share what I learned with other mommies and daddies-to-be with passion, because I could see that many were being given little to no explanation from their Western doctors about how damaging and inhibiting medical intervention can be to a mother and baby.
The more I researched and read, the more I became convinced that I HAD to at LEAST try to deliver my third child vaginally. I had come SO far with my physical and mental health and spirituality, that I just couldn't imagine putting myself and my family through that again. At first I thought my partner and I would have to do it alone. I had doubts that I would find a midwife that was willing to take the risks of assisting a mom with a VBAC after two c-sections, the second one after a failed VBAC attempt.Even through all the doubt, from myself and other random people I'd run into, I continued my search.
Dyanna Gordon, "Dy", was the first midwife we interviewed in Southern Utah. We knew....immediately...that she was the ONE. The main thing that stuck out was that she was extremely thorough with her own research, just like myself and my partner. She presented many options to us, but ultimately, she knew...how important it was for me to experience the LEAST amount of medical intervention as possible, after what i had been through. And if that meant doing it ALL natural or even with an epidural, we were gonna do it with awareness and intention. We also loved her, as a person, and for her own journey with motherhood (the ups and downs) that she shared with us during our regular visits. We NEVER, not once, felt any doubt from Dy, only sincere support and encouragement, VERY much the opposite of what I had experienced with my traditional OB. She was always very calm and matter-of-fact when concerns were being addressed, but willing to "feel into" what ever fears we had, presenting a nice balance of science, intuition, and giddy playfulness.
When it came down to the finish-line, Dy continued to be very supportive and readily available, though never overly preachy or encroaching. She allowed my partner and I plenty of space to ride the waves. And when everyone else needed to rest, she took over the reins and remained watchful and very, very present. We were ultimately gifted with the long-awaited and seemingly unattainable gift of a vaginal delivery after laboring for nearly 24 hours. It was just perfect, despite my previous beliefs that I had somehow "inherited" an imperfect body.
River Willow was appropriately named because...the river (as shown in the picture)...under the desert willow trees, is where we spent much of our time preparing for his birth. Also, the River and the Willow both represent to us the exquisite strength, gracefulness, and flexibility of a woman's body and mind through pregnancy, labor and beyond...even through illness, suffering, and trauma.
My guardian angels, my partner, brother and mother-in-law, Dy, and her assistants were a perfect team. During labor, I felt as though I was drifting in and out of consciousness, but each time I came back to this realm, I KNEW I was okay and in Divine arms. Thanks to all of my support team, I am blessed to have been the first person to hold my youngest in my arms, to nurse and nurture him with confidence and ease, knowing that I did the very best I could to ensure a healthy start to his life. I also have hopes that by sharing our experience , we can possibly pave the way for other mommas out there who have been told that their bodies are somehow..."imperfect"...and they can just...laugh...at the very thought.
HI my name is Emily Aston. I was lucky, blessed and privileged to be able to have a home water birth! It was so wonderful, exciting, hard work, rewarding, and not as hard as I thought but close lol.
I moved back to St. George Utah from Springville when my husband had a job change at about 17 weeks. I went to a doctor here and she was nice but didn't seem to have enough time for me. I was in the waiting room for 30-60 minutes and in the room with her 5 minutes then she was gone. It is my first pregnancy so I had a lot of questions. She didn't give me enough time to even form a thought to ask. I was feeling alone, rushed and frustrated, I just thought that was the normal thing.
I met up with my good friend Melissa Despain around 30 weeks and she told me all about her home birth! I was entranced and very excited! I met with Dyanna Gordon and instantly liked her. She was warm, calm reassuring, assertive without being controlling, and I trusted her almost immediately after my consultation. I talked with my husband and decided to put me and my baby girl into her care. She was so wonderful! She gave me books to read, was so informative, and encouraged my questions. She went above and beyond! When I was having higher blood pressure in December close to my due date she came to my house and called/texted me everyday to check up with me.
Thursday December 20-21, 2012
My husband, is a truck driver and can be gone a day to 3 days at a time, was home and he went to bed around 8 pm to be able to wake up at 2 am to go to work. Around 10 pm I started feeling contractions. I texted Dy because I wasn't due until the 26th and everyone kept telling me I was likely to go over my due date since this was my first pregnancy (Wednesday at my appointment I was 30% effaced and her head was down she had been breech so we just wanted to double check). I texted her that my contractions were 30 seconds long and every 5 1/2 minutes do you think its Braxton Hicks? She was so nice and told me to try to go to sleep and let her know if they got harder and more frequent or if my water broke. I kept track for a while and they stayed the same so I went to sleep. at 11:30 pm I woke up with a start. The contractions were harder and longer. I texted Dy and she said she was on her way. I woke up my husband and told him to call work and tell them he couldn't go. I had him go turn up the heat in the house. My mom heard him (we were staying with her at the time) and told me to try walking to see if they would go away and if they did they were just false labor and if they got harder or closer together they were real. I got up out of bed and another one came walked 15 steps and I had to lean over, they were real lol! My mom was so sweet and left the house to stay with a friend, they took the dogs with them too.
As I was leaned over my husband rubbed the small of my back with a medium pressure and it made the pain go away (it hurt a little but was mostly uncomfortable) The birthing tub was up and being filled. Dy, Gina, and my friend Melissa arrived and it gave me comfort to see them. We all hugged and Dy took my vitals and my baby's everything was looking good. I am unaware of the times of everything because I was absorbed in doing my work. In between contractions we joked around and it was fun. I had to have my husband rubbing my back with every contraction he is very healing to me (it had to be the right pressure and clockwise!). When he was helping with something else Dy or Melissa would do it. Melissa would hold my hands or Dy would. Dy would also stroke my arm. My husband was continuously rubbing my back. His arm was sore for a couple days after. They would help me to remember to breathe deeply and groan deep. After a while Dy asked me if I would feel up to and comfortable to have some contractions out of the tub to help the baby drop faster. I got out and I soon realized I LOVE the water!! lol So they had me try to go pee and Dy stayed with me in the bathroom through 2 or 3 contractions and then I leaned over the couch for 2. It was so beautiful to be at home with the Christmas tree, low lights, where I was comfortable and cozy. I was surrounded by people I trusted, loved and cared about, was comfortable with, and cared about me. My birth team was there when I needed them but were unimposing also. I was very eager to get back in the pool. For me, the water cut off the beginning and the end of the contractions so it felt not as long and more manageable. I have always been a water girl.
When I was in transition it took a lot more concentration and I didn't want people talking when I was having contractions. It felt like it had been a very long time yet none at all. Dy had me change positions several times to see if it would help her drop more. At one point she asked me if I would or could in a couple contractions do a certain position and I told her I know you want me to but I don't really want to. Sshe never forced me to do anything but would tell my why she wanted me to do something and it would give me the courage to do it. Love her! She was exactly what I needed. She had my husband get in the tub with me and help support me while I pushed. It was a lot of hard work but it comforted me to know my beautiful baby would soon be here. It was almost easier when I was pushing because you could feel when you needed to and after the contraction/pushing your body would give you a break to get more energy to aid you. There was a moment were I was a little scared. I didn't know if I could do it but knew no one else could do it for me. Then I felt like I made a choice and knew I could do it. She was crowning soon and Dy was so encouraging and empowering, my husband was my rock and was encouraging and giving me energy strength and love. Dy said I could reach down and feel her head but I didn't want to reward myself until I was done. Dy helped me so I didn't rip and tear at all! I pushed and she was out til her nose was out and the next push her head was. Then I pushed and all of a sudden a pressure released and my beautiful baby girl was lying on my chest!!! 10:30 am December 21, 2012 Aria Ellie Aston was born! She was so so beautiful but I couldn't believe it was all over!
We stayed in there for a few minutes then got out to lay on a cushioned bed on the floor so I could pass the placenta. It wasn't coming and I was bleeding so after some herbs I had a small shot of pitocin and it came right out. They checked her vitals and she was cleaned up. Nate got to hold Aria while they were helping me. They helped me to my bed and made sure I was comfortable and helped her latch on. Then Dy and Gina did the newborn check up. It was beautiful to see her healthy. Dy was wonderful you can just tell the way she is that she LOVES babies!! She was so cute with her and so loving. Even at our appointments and she would check her positions she would talk to her in my belly telling her who she was and why she was messing with her. Melissa and Nate meanwhile were texting and updating people for me. She gave instructions to my husband and mom since I was distracted with my baby. She answered all questions for me.
Dy was at another birth in Filmore the next day (poor Dy so little sleep!!) So she sent Laura Hopper to come do the 1st day visit. She was helpful and encouraging. I was overly stressed about nursing due to certain trauma from my past and Dy was very understanding. She came and checked on us on the 3rd day and on the 5th day, 2 weeks, and 6 weeks. She was so kind through all my questions and tears and worries. She went above and beyond. I felt loved and cared about and still do! I will forever have love, warmth, and gratitude for Dy, Gina and Melissa and of course my husband. They shared such a beautiful time with me and showered me and my baby with love kindness strength courage and support! I plan to do this again with her!
Birth of Henry
Contractions started on Saturday February 4th in the early afternoon. If you’re counting this is an entire week before Hank’s birthday (Feb 11). I could tell these were definitely different from the preterm contractions I’ve been having for months. They were strong and close together, and came very even. My midwife randomly texted me that evening to ask how I was doing, I hadn’t told her about the contractions yet… she must have been really in tune with me to know something was going on. Haha. The contractions didn’t change, but continued to come evenly and very strong. I told her I’d keep her posted. I went to bed that night with my phone by my side sure that I’d wake up sometime in the middle of the night ready to go.
It was to my surprise that I woke up the next morning around 7, still contracting. We skipped church and decided to go on a long walk with the kids. I got in the shower and my contractions picked up. After nap time Tom’s mom came and picked up the kids because it was looking like this was “it”. I was texting my midwife and some friends. They all, including Tom, were sure that this was “it”, but I wasn’t sure. That evening I finally texted my midwife to come… contractions were picking up and become a bit more intense. After the midwives were here for a while the contractions started to slow down. I still wasn’t convinced that this was it, so I decided to have my midwife check me. This was something I wanted to avoid altogether unless medically necessary, but at the point I needed some reassurance. I was a 5, but my cervix was posterior which means it would probably be a while. After going on a walk with Tom and coming home with still very few contractions I sent the midwives home. I felt so defeated. The last thing I wanted to do was to have them come too early, and sending them home just felt like a failure.
I woke up the next day contracting the same, and this continued for several days. Sometimes the contractions would really pick up and I would think, “okay… here we go, this HAS to be it” but then I’d go to sleep that night and they would slow down a bit. Towards the end of the week I wasn’t sleeping great because the contractions were keeping me up. It was a tiring and emotionally draining week.
Then came Saturday, Feb 11. I had the same contractions waking me up around 4am and they were picking up a bit. I tried not to get my hopes up, but I couldn’t sleep or talk through these. Around 7am I started having different contractions, they had a certain kind of energy to them that the other contractions didn’t. I have never felt contractions like these before, not even when I was in labor with the other kids. I decided to get in the shower and if they didn’t calm down then call my mom to come and pick up my kids.
I’m walking to the bathroom, towel in hand, when one of these contractions hit. I had to lean against the wall because I thought I might fall down it was so intense. When it was over I took a couple more steps and had another one! I felt like I couldn’t wait, I needed to call my mom. So I did, she was on her way, and I jumped in the shower. When she arrived the contractions were still the same and I was excited because I knew this was it! Tom helped her get the car seat situated then they were on their way. About 5 minutes later I noticed it had been a while since my last contraction. 5 more minutes passed and still nothing. Another 5 passed, then another. They were gone! I had absolutely nothing happening, not even the contractions I had been having all week long. I sat in silence waiting for another, but it never came. Tom asked me what I wanted to do, but I didn’t even want to respond to him. He asked if we wanted to go for a walk, or if I wanted to take a bath… I was just so mad I didn’t even want to speak. I couldn’t believe that it all stopped.
We decided to go to Dillard’s and look for clothes for his job interview that coming Friday. When we got there they were having a big shoe sale outside so I bought myself some killer 5 inch heels. While I was trying them on Tom wanted me to sit down and I told him “Why? Because it might send me in to labor?” Luckily marriage can survive sarcasm.
We picked up Subway on the way home and ate it then we went for a walk. We went on the same loop around the community center and back to our house that we always took… but this time I actually had to stop at least ten times and lean on Tom (and pray no one I knew drove by).
Once we were home from the walk I told Tom to go ahead and set up the birth pool, and if the contractions continued like they were I would get in, then if they continued even in the water we would call my midwife. I thought I wanted to wait a while before getting in to the pool, but I found myself watching over Tom while he filled it waiting for the green light to get in.
Once I was in the pool, I was in Heaven! It was so comfortable. Tom and I did a few Hypnobirthing scripts to help me relax. I was still recovering from a cold so I couldn’t breath through my nose as well as I wanted to, and the breathing techniques require you to breathe in and out through your nose.
Tom texted my midwife to let her know what was going on, I wasn’t ready to have her come yet though since I was still worried about having her there too early. A while later during a series of very intense contractions I frantically told Tom to tell Dy (midwife) to come! Please!!
While we waited for her to arrive we went through another birth script and listened to some Drew Danburry. One particular song of his was stuck in my head that day and finally listening to it helped the relaxation process.
When my midwife came she noticed that the water wasn’t warm enough for a baby to be born in to, so we had to add some hot water and boy was I hot! I was sweating so much, just dripping. The other midwife arrived, and then a littler while later the apprentice came as well. They helped put icy cold washcloths on my back to cool me down until the water became a little cooler for me, which it eventually did.
*So here we are, in my living room, and me in a swimsuit hanging out in a pool of water. I rested my head against the side of the pool on a warm towel during contractions while Tom would rub my back or hold my hands or do anything else that was soothing to me for that particular contraction.
Since I couldn’t breath through my nose very well, I was having a hard time relaxing between contractions. The hypnobirthing techniques worked great during contractions, but not so much in between. I also had this weird energy the entire time that made it hard for me to enter that hypnotic state. What worked best for me was to breath through the contractions with Tom’s support (or one of the midwives if Tom was doing something else), then between contractions just pretend I wasn’t in labor by chatting with the 3 other women in the room (while I sat there in a pool of water) and Tom. When a contraction came I leaned against the side and Tom and I did our thing, then in between I would sit up and be like “So… where were we?” I also found it very hard to sit still between contractions, especially the further along I got. During contractions I became a lot more vocal. This surprised me since I was so quiet during Clark’s birth, but it just felt good to me to be vocal so I went with it. During contractions the midwives would remind me to keep the sounds low and towards the baby.
The room became darker as the sun went down, but we had two lamps that gave the perfect amount of light, it made the room feel very calm and serene.
I noticed the midwives slowly moving in, closer to me as I began to feel contractions that were accompanied by the feeling to bear down. My midwife was sitting on a bench to the left of me, Tom in front of me, and the other midwife to the right. I turned to my midwife and told her that I was feeling that pressure and she said, “I know, I can tell” and smiled at me.
No one told me what to do, no one checked me to see if I was “ready”. We just let my body take the lead, which was amazing! I was on my knees and holding Tom’s hands across the side of the birth pool. Tom reminded me to do the birth breathing that I wanted to do, instead of the pushing. I asked him ahead of time to do this because I knew that when I got to that point I wouldn’t be thinking about anything but getting through it.
I was worried about how Tom was doing since I was a lot more vocal this time I thought he might be concerned. My worries stopped when I heard the other midwife say “You look like a kid in the candy store” (edit... She might have actually said "A kid on Christmas Morning" but I can't remember). I wasn’t sure who she was talking about so I looked up to see the biggest smile on Tom’s face.
I was breathing down during contractions, then somewhere in the middle of each one my body just took completely over with moving the baby down.
All of the sudden there was a huge pop during one of the contractions that made everyone jump. My baby exploded out of me! I looked down to get my baby but there was nothing there, the pop was my water breaking. I’m pretty sure I said a curse word in my head. You mean it wasn’t over yet? Ugh.
During the next contraction the head was born. This was a new experience for me, waiting for the next contraction and being able to look right down and see the head waiting on the outside. It was one of those “Whoa!” moments where you aren’t sure what to think about it, but it was certainly awesome (and weird).
The next contraction brought the rest of the baby out. I reached down and picked my baby up, my midwife untangled the baby from the cord, then I brought the baby to my chest and leaned back against the other side of the pool.
Tom said, “Looks like we have a little boy!”
I think the best part of the entire experience was sleeping in our own bed that night. It was so nice to be tucked in to bed cuddling with Tom and Henry. I’m also very glad I let my body do all of this on its own. I didn’t have my membranes stripped, I didn’t have any pitocin, I didn’t have anyone break my water, etc… it was all me. This was the first time I haven’t had any interventions like that, I just allowed my body to be amazing and do it on its own.Oh and the midwives cleaned everything up (everyone asks me about that) they probably left the house cleaner than it was when they got there. I also didn't have to feed them a four course meal while I was in labor (everyone asks about that too) but they were welcome to anything they could find in my pantry. No one wants hungry attendants at their birth. :)
Birth of Brooklyn and Kennedy
Being new to the Southern Utah area and a first time mom, I had a lot of questions about childbirth. Going against the grain of my family and what was considered a "normal" birth really put me in a league of my own as far as birthing resources and a network of support. Thankfully a little internet research led me to the door of DyAnna Gordon for which I will be forever grateful! Immediately upon contact Dy was open minded, listened to my desire for a natural childbirth and guided me along the way. She was blunt and open when I needed her to be and she was kind and compassionate when I needed support. Dy is extremely well educated on many topics and never once made me feel like I was making a bad choice. She is the epitome of professional yet exudes a sister-like personality in telling you like it is and loving you for who you are.
The birthing class we took from Dy really helped us put into perspective what we would need to do to prepare for a natural childbirth and helped my husband understand how he could support me at birth. When it came time to birth though, I could have never replaced Dy at my side and was so grateful to have her there. Dy put us in contact with our midwife who I also could never have birthed without; they were a great team that always put our baby and us first and helped us through what could have been an emotionally draining couple of days yet turned out to be a beautiful birthing experience.
When baby number two was on the way we were anxious and excited to experience another birth. Because of the resources we gained from our first child we knew we wanted to have an un-medicated birth once again and had Dy lined up to be by our side. After laboring throughout an afternoon and evening, and multiple phone calls to Dy, we soon realized our baby was on the way and fast! We could have never replaced the peace and calm that Dy brought to us that night as our sweet baby girl was born at home in the water just minutes after Dy arrived. Dy once again turned an intense few hours of labor into a beautiful experience as she seamlessly entered the scene allowing us to feel the true joy of childbirth.
Although neither of my daughters births went quite like I expected, I would never change the way they arrived nor would I change having Dy there with us. I would highly recommend Dy as a Childbirth Educator, Doula and Midwife without hesitation; she is blessing the lives of babies and mamas every day.
The Story of Kaylee's birth.
On Sunday evening, January 30th I started getting some contractions. They were different than the Braxton Hicks I'd been feeling for the past week. We walked, I ate, I went to bed....they didn't go away, so Monday morning Carlos, Orden, Beto and Bety left Boise to come down to St. George. I was pretty sure they wouldn't make it before she was born. I had contractions all day, but they were irregular. The minute Carlos walked through the front door of my parent's house....they stopped. Tuesday and Wednesday passed. Wednesday I had a giant melt down, bawled to Carlos for two hours how she was never coming out and how I wasted his trip down. Being the awesome husband he is, he just held me and told me it would be okay.
Thursday morning, February 3rd, I woke up around 4:00am to go to the bathroom. I climbed back in bed and got settled when I felt two sudden jerks down on my belly and heard two really loud pops. It kind of freaked me out, so I woke up Carlos and as I went to get out of bed the floodgates opened. My water was broke. We got me into the bath tub and there the contractions started. They were hard and about 4 minutes apart. We called Dy and Laura, and they told me that they were at another birth and that the other baby was about 20 min from being born. I sat and labored in the shower for about an hour while Carlos got showered and ready. Then my sister Shay drove us to the hospital.
My contractions were coming so fast and so hard, but I had an awesome support team and was able to breathe and relax through them. By 9:00am I was starting to feel the urge to push....by 9:45am I was getting some good pushes in. I pushed for about 40 minutes, and then my beautiful baby girl was on my chest skin-to-skin. We had them wait to cut the umbilical cord until it had quit pulsating, and we declined all medication for the baby. She latched right on and has been wide eyed for a lot of the day. She is the most beautiful little girl and I'm so happy and so thankful I did this one without any medication. I'm still a little sore, but I'm recovering quickly and feeling great. She was technically delivered by Dr. Chalmers, but really I know that it was my amazing birth team that made this possible. They kept me positive and going when I thought I couldn't do any more! We are so happy to welcome little Kaylee into our family. A perfect unmediated VBAC!!