Caitlyn's Birth


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The story of Caitlyn's birth. Produced for The Childbirth and Pop Culture wiki at

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Caitlyn's Birth

  1. 1. Caitlyn’s Birth The birth of our first daughter by Jeanette
  2. 2. Before Caitlyn’s Birth <ul><li>My ideas and choices about childbirth were influenced by my experiences in hospital jobs and by portrayals of natural childbirth in popular books and magazines at the time. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Preparing for a Natural Birth <ul><li>Grantly Dick-Read’s “Childbirth Without Fear”, which was popular at the time. </li></ul><ul><li>Bradley Method childbirth classes with my husband </li></ul><ul><li>Prenatal yoga classes. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Preparing for a Natural Birth <ul><li>Jane Fonda prenatal exercises - a popular VHS tape at the time. </li></ul><ul><li>A doctor who employed midwives as assistants & had a freestanding birthing center in a three bedroom house across the street from a major medical center. </li></ul><ul><li>A birth plan discussed with the doctor </li></ul>
  5. 5. Labor begins <ul><li>After my water broke at home, I went to the birthing center in the middle of the night. By morning I was up moving around, trying to get my labor to strengthen. My family & best friend were arriving for the birth. </li></ul>
  6. 6. A long labor <ul><li>It had already been about 12 hours since my water broke when I arrived at the birthing center, but I had a long way to go before the birth and everyone waited patiently and kept busy while I labored. Brian & my friend Lisa timed contractions. </li></ul>
  7. 7. A long labor <ul><li>Though I had been in labor a long time, I still was able to joke around between contractions, so I knew I still had hard work ahead of me. </li></ul>
  8. 8. A long labor <ul><li>My little brother, Terry, and my mother were in the birthing center kitchen preparing the birthday cake. </li></ul>
  9. 9. A long labor <ul><li>Still laboring away, I felt my uterus was not “kicking in” and my contractions were not as consistently strong as they should have been. But I was surprised all along at the pain. The natural childbirth books I had read had told me that if I just relaxed “enough”, breathed “correctly” and didn’t have fear, I would not have much or any pain. I felt betrayed by my pain and as if I were doing it “wrong”. In this way, all of the positive things I had read ironically had some negative effect on my emotional state. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Everyone was patiently waiting … and waiting
  11. 11. And I was still working <ul><li>I was still able to joke some, so I changed positions a lot to try to encourage my contractions because I was so tired. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Finally, transition labor begins <ul><li>My contractions got very difficult, with lots of back labor because the baby was in a posterior position. </li></ul><ul><li>I let the midwife run a couple of strips on the fetal monitor, but did not leave on the monitor so I could be free to move </li></ul>
  13. 13. Stronger contractions, more noise <ul><li>As everything progressed, I made more noise. Everyone kept waiting patiently. My sisters Bridget & Margaret did homework or helped time contractions. </li></ul><ul><li>But my dad and my father-in-law preferred to wait outside as I made more noise and the birth was closer. The picture of the two of them waiting outside is one of my favorites. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Slow progress <ul><li>Even though I was working hard, I was making slow progress. My mom had put braids in my hair for a while because I was hot, but took them down before I tried a few pushes. My midwife, Betsy, coached me in moving the baby down. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Pushing while standing <ul><li>I decided that I would try standing to help my pushing. I did this for a while, but was tired and soon went back to sitting on the bed. The standing did help me progress. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Pushing was difficult <ul><li>My fatigue and the inconsistent strength of my contractions combined with a lack of a strong pushing urge to make the second stage of my labor very difficult and tiring. I had good physical and emotional support. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Ready for birth <ul><li>My doctor arrived when birth was imminent. By then, I wished Betsy could catch the baby because she had been with me the whole time. We all got positioned to help me have the baby. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Almost there & everybody was tired <ul><li>It was almost 26 hours since my water had broken & I was exhausted – everyone else was too. Once my husband got behind me again to help support me, my poor mom took a rest. In the 2 nd photo, those are her shoes beside my husband on the bed. Her head is under the pillows! In the 3 rd picture both she and I look like we’re ready to sleep. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Caitlyn is born! <ul><li>After lots of pushing, and an offer (that made me mad) from the doctor of local pain meds – which I refused – our daughter, Caitlyn, was born. My uterus was as exhausted as I was & I started to bleed excessively, but that was shut down with a shot of pitocin, some fundal massage & immediate nursing. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Welcome to the world <ul><li>While I got cleaned up, Caitlyn visited with her daddy and met her relatives </li></ul>
  21. 21. Recovering after the birth <ul><li>For a while after the birth, I had that “hit by a Mack truck” look I had seen in some women’s faces after they gave birth. It took a while to process everything. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Getting to know each other <ul><li>In a while I was ready to nurse Caitlyn again, count toes and fingers & get to know each other. </li></ul>
  23. 23. A little celebration <ul><li>After all of the hard work, Caitlyn was born and we relaxed together. We all enjoyed the birthday cake my brother had made earlier in the day to celebrate Caitlyn’s birth. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Processing my feelings about my birth experience <ul><li>After a long & difficult labor, I was proud of my ability to have Caitlyn in the way I had planned. No one class, technique, book or video I had seen had realistically prepared me to handle the pain I was surprised to have, but the combined information & my choice to move about & have lot of support in a homelike atmosphere helped me to tolerate it. </li></ul>
  25. 25. A happy birth <ul><li>My labor was hard, but I prepared my self & believed I could do it in part because of the many positive images of natural childbirth I had seen in media. My reward was our healthy, beautiful Caitlyn. </li></ul>