Our journey to meet Stella Kay
Stella was born 9 days after her “ETA” ~ and thankfully because I had such a healthy/regular pregnancy, my OB (Dr. Leslie Korostoff / St. Joseph’s Hospital) was willing to allow me to go up to 42 weeks before inducing. I had been going to see acupuncturist Susan Minich every 2 weeks for a couple months (to help with normal growing pains), but we had discussed having her hit induction points if it “came to that” (to avoid medical intervention). On Tuesday, September 4th she did just that…and I must say ~ it worked like a charm and encouraged Stella.
At 4 a.m. Wed., September 5th I woke to rhythmic sensations that felt different than any braxton hicks I had previously experienced. I woke my husband at 5 a.m. as I could not deny that these were contractions. Yes I told him, this was the beginning. Finally, after waiting some 42 years (which included 9+ amazing pregnant months) our little girl was beginning to make her transition into our world.
I spent the next several hours working my yoga breathing (I am a yoga teacher and lover). When any fears of uncertainty began to arise, I reminded myself of what Jessica had said in her prenatal class: “Is that happening now?” This had become my mantra as I had been in the “hurry up and wait” mode the last few weeks. Each surge telling me to stay present.
Our intention was to have Stella at the hospital (that was a short 7 minutes away), but to labor at home as long as possible. I didn’t want to call my doula Octavia “too early” – – so I swayed and breathed…walked the stairs and talked to Stella…telling her we would do this together.
When my husband began to check my contractions (he used an iphone app.) and noticed that they were getting longer and closer together, he said he thought Octavia should come. We texted back and forth. She said to get in the birth tub when ever I wanted.
My husband set it up and before long, I got in. This was a fabulous tool and resource during my labor ~ I highly recommend it. Octavia arrived and for the next several hours she encouraged me to stay present and eat when I could (to stay strong for the journey ahead). On several occasions, when the intensity seemed to be too much, I would feel myself going to “I can’t do it“…but then quickly stopped myself and instead would say, “Yes, I can…“ This really did help (thanks to Ana Paula for this).
Octavia told me that I would know when it was time to go to the hospital. She must have sensed a change because around this very same time (in hindsight I believe I was in transition) I told her I thought we should go (but was afraid to go…afraid that I would want meds, afraid that I couldn’t do it ~ ah yes, the signs of transition).
She held me and said I was already doing it…that I could do it. Our drive to the hospital was intense and entering the hospital is all a blur…I wanted to walk, but the contractions were too intense to make that a reality. Upon being checked – I was 7 cm. Yay! I progressed naturally to 10 cm. and it was time to push. So I pushed. And pushed. My OB arrived, checked me…and we pushed more.
Time continued to stand still – – I was surprised to learn that I had been pushing for 3 ½ hours ~ my focus on each surge, on seeing this little creature. At this point my OB suggested trying to use the vacuum a couple of times to see if Stella would budge. My husband told me later he just kept expecting her head to “pop out already“. Octavia thought it might help. We tried 2 assisted pushes/pulls to no avail.
After discussing it amongst ourselves (between continuing to push) it was decided that Stella would need to come “out of the hatch” ~ she was a bit posterior and was seemingly stuck. I can’t deny that I really was bummed and did cry a few tears, but we had told ourselves that we would trust and do what was best for Stella in the end.
Minutes later I was on the table awaiting Stella’s entrance. My OB confirmed that between Stella’s big noggin (13.5 inches) and my prominent “shelf like” sacrum, (coupled with her turned a bit sunny side up) Stella was not gonna come out with any amount of pushing. Despite my desire to pull her up directly onto my chest, when they raised her above me/ us a little after midnight on September 6, 2012 – my heart expanded and our lives were forever changed. A beautiful healthy baby girl! 7 lbs., 15 oz., 21.5 inches long. As was in our birth plan/wish list – my husband stayed with Stella in room as they checked her out. He talked with her as she expressed her surprise at the lights and sounds of this strange new land.
In recovery she was placed on my chest and our eyes met ~ we instantly fell in love again ~ her with me and me with her…she ate and life outside the womb was set in perfect motion.
Coming away from this experience and adventure, I would say that trusting your instincts and having a support team are of the utmost importance. That combined with a mixture of yoga, acupuncture and chiropractic set that trust in motion. You cannot plan how things will ultimately unfold (this is a good lesson to learn early on in parenting), but you can prepare your body, heart and spirit for the journey.
I am forever thankful for my support team: Jessica Jennings (Bini Birth/Ma Yoga/prenatal yoga teacher/friend), Ana Paula Markel (Bini Birth), Shelley Slocum (Bini Birth), Octavia Lindlahr (Outside the Box for Babies/doula/friend), Dr. Leslie Korostoff (OB/St. Joseph‘s Hospital), Susan Minich (Acupuncturist), Dr. John Austria (Chiropractor), my husband and family/friends and of course, my sweet Stella!