When my husband and I decided to try for our second child, I was blessed to be working at a desk right next to Holly. I peppered her with questions, and she was always patient and willing to fill my mind with knowledge on how to make this birth experience better than my first. She recommended Kristi Rhodes, CNM, and it was the best decision I could have made. Kristi was my rock, and always put my mind at ease. I was also determined to have a more mindful pregnancy and birth, so I signed up for pre-natal yoga as well. I experienced horrible nausea until I was about 17 weeks, and even though I don’t get very big during pregnancy I also had horrible ligament pain and diastasis recti. I found relief with the help of the most amazing support band ever – the ReCore Fitness Maternity FITsplint.
My due date was June 22nd. I expected to not go in to labor on time since my daughter was 9 days late. However, when June came and went, I started to become a lot more anxious to meet my son. I had REALLY wanted a natural birth after having been induced with my daughter and having a painful experience. Kristi agreed to try the most natural methods first, beginning on a Friday evening. I was already a week late, and when she checked me, I had zero progress. Nada, zip, zilch. This was disheartening of course, especially having had my membranes stripped. We decided on a gel to help induce labor, and once the process was done I was sent home. I had a few contractions during the night, but nothing much. The next morning I went back to be checked, and had almost no progress. We were sent home as there were no labor and delivery rooms open. I really wanted to get my mind off the process and be as calm as possible, so my husband and I decided on a couple fun things to do while we waited to either go into labor, or be called back to the hospital once a room opened. We decided to go to a used book store and then have lunch at The Village. It was a wise decision and very relaxing. The moment we sat down to eat I received a call from Kristi saying a room was open and to come back to the hospital. I tried not to let my heart race, but that’s not so easy to do at that point. We checked into my room and met the first of my amazing nurses. Kristi administered a second gel, and I opted to have nitrous with me through the night as the contractions started to become so painful they disrupted my sleep. However, they tapered off in the night, and by morning I was only at a 4 with no regular contractions. It was now Sunday, 10 days past my due date, and I was in tears and completely exhausted. Kristi had a heart to heart with me and talked through the options. I decided on Pitocin even though I’d had it with my daughter and hated it. But at this point Kristi told me, you’re exhausted, the natural ways we’ve tried are not working, we know Pitocin with get things going quickly and I know you want to meet your son. She was so kind and compassionate, and we knew it was the next step. We decided to raise the level of Pitocin every 15 minutes, and started around noon. At the start, I used my breathing techniques from Holly’s Intuitive Birth class as well as sitting on the birthing ball while I read a book. I had my husband use the counter pressure we learned about, and was working through the pain fine. Once the contractions started coming more painfully, I opted for the bath since it had really helped relieve my pain earlier. Once I was settled in the bath, all of a sudden I felt a POP that I can only describe as feeling like a cork popped out down there. I really thought my water had broken! Instantly the contractions were like fire and fast. I called frantically for my husband and the nurse. I barely made it back to the bed before I started freaking out. All my plans for a calmer birth experience flew out the window. I went from easily handling the pain to screaming and flailing around like a mad woman in one minute. The nitrous was a joke at that point, not helping the pain whatsoever. I was past the point of being able to have an epidural, so I knew this was going to be a natural birth, and there was nothing to help with the worst pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. Counter pressure didn’t help much, and I could barely hold still enough for anyone to try. My nurse was phenomenal, telling me if I felt like I needed to push, to push! She was calling for Kristi, who was in the middle of another delivery down the hall. Thankfully she was able to finish and run to my room in time to help me. My water in fact had NOT broken, and she did that the moment she arrived as I was already pushing. I will never forget the insane pain, the feeling of my body taking over and telling me to push, and somehow making it through that. I’d had an epidural with my daughter, and it was of course a night and day different pain experience. However, I got to feel my son being born, and that was crazy. I can only now say that it was a beautiful part of the process, being months removed from the pain. Labor was so fast, only about 30 minutes from the time I felt the “pop” in the tub to screaming and pushing him out. (Kristi said she believes the “pop” I felt was his head finally engaging, and it shot my body into action.) Once he was born, we had him immediately placed on me for skin to skin for one hour. It was incredible how instantly the pain was gone. I was shaking so bad that I couldn’t even move to hold him, and asked my husband to move my arms and prop up my head so I could see him. We let him make his way to the breast to feed, and after about an hour my body had calmed down. It was amazing holding that little person, seeing my husband and daughter’s reactions to meeting him, and the love that instantly surrounded us. Not having an epidural, I was able to get up shortly thereafter and rinse off in the bath (best feeling EVER) and recovery was shockingly super easy in comparison with my daughter. My son’s head measured in the 96th percentile, and Kristi in her amazing knowledge got him safely out without the need for me to even have a single stich. Breastfeeding with the second child, even 5 years later, was a breeze with very minimal pain. So different from my first baby! We didn’t even feel the need to stay at the hospital more than one night. I cannot more highly recommend Holly’s classes and Kristi Rhodes as a provider. Even though the experience of labor was traumatic, I couldn’t have been more prepared or had a better outcome than with the knowledge, support and love that surrounded me.