Masons' Birth - Cesarean birth of first child due to failed induction.
Colum's Birth Story - HBAC story
Bryson's Birth - Hospital VBAC of third child with the use of hypnosis and a doula.
Hannah's Birth - A father's vivid account of a HBAC that ended in a Shoulder Dystocia that was successfully resolved at home.
Charley and Henry's Story - A traumatic cesarean section birth of twin boys.
January 2nd, 2007 was a rough day. Couldn’t stop worrying about Michele’s induction the following morning, or what was supposed to be morning. That night I didn’t sleep a wink, not that I didn’t try, but knowing your bringing your first kid into this world the next day is a pretty tough thing to sleep with, but I tried.
January 3rd…morning. We were supposed to get a call at 8 am telling us when to be there. We called around 10 am to see WTF was going on. They called us right around noon to come in, still with no sleep, seems Michele didn’t sleep either. We both look like shit. We get there and wait for about an hour before a room opens up. We get in the room and they do some shit to Michele then the next thing I remember is numbers. I think it was the pitocin, but not sure. We’ll put you on 4 for now. Twenty minutes later they come in and say, let’s up you to five. This repeats in odd increments until we’re up to 10. Michele begins to agonize and worry about our son, Mason. The fetal distress monitor stares at me with it’s rapidly elevating, then lowering, heart rates and stress levels. I’d rather be getting 32 root canals at once, my child might be dying, or becoming brain damaged. No time for that, gotta comfort Michele, who looks as if she’d rather have her legs severed off, from toe to hip, in one inch increments, than suffer the pain she is currently in. I try to console her, but get the typical, get the F away from me response, but it’s not that bad, at least not as bad as I thought it would be. Michele's sister, Angel arrives and begins to chat it up with the nurse who keeps scaring the shit out of us with that baby monitor and her itchy trigger finger on that pitocin torture device. I’m not sure who’s chatting who up now. Is nursey ignoring my wife to chat up the potential RN in Angel? Who the fuck cares, my wife is in labor, my baby’s heart is racing, and our doctor is still in her office flattening out the two pounds of fat she just added to her ass.
She arrives, the doctor that is, with her newly flattened ass in tow. Let’s break your water she says. OK we say, like lemmings, because we don’t have a clue what’s going on, nor do we realize we are in control, we never realize this, until we are months out of the hospital. Water breaks, kinda gross, but baby’s getting close now. Hours go by with no advancement in the dilation. Hmmm, 11:30, better rip that kid out. I’m ok with it. He’ll be born at least, and that god damn machine will finally be out of my line of sight.
Next thing I know, I’m in scrubs, holding Michele's hand while some Russian doctor keeps pumping more clear fluid into my wife. OK, they begin to cut. I want to look, but I don’t. Not sure what long term effects that sight will have, so I chose not to find out.
Faint cry…. HOLY SHIT I’m a dad. That’s my boy. I love him already. Wait, where are you going? I want to hold him, what do you mean I can’t. Oh well, doctor knows best. At least I got to play with your foot and hand, little guy. Michele still can’t move, nor see Mason. OK, they bring him over for some pictures. Michele, "I want to see him, I can’t see him. I didn’t get to see him, where did they take him?" Me, "I don’t know" God we were idiots.
Time to go. I run out as fast as I can, again, avoiding the open wound in Michele’s abdomen. I make it out, they wheel my son by me. Angel is there now, she sobs, Mason is sleeping. He’s handsome, like me. They wheel him off, then bring Michele out. She asks for Mason again, but we say he’s not around. I go find him, he’s in the nursery under a heat lamp. I go back to relay the info. Michele is shaking now. I tell her to sleep. This goes on for about an hour until she fades out. She wakes a while later and they take us to our room. Michele wakes briefly when at 3 AM they bring our son in for a feeding. He suckles mommy for a minute but neither seems to know what the fuck is going on. They take him away. I fall asleep. The end.
-Jason De Mont
It all started for me when I woke up on Sunday morning. I had been up late the night before, on the back porch with some of
the guys, chatting and drinking beer.
When I woke up Krista suggested that I might want to sleep a little bit longer, as she thought she might be in labour. She had
been having contractions during the night, but I was tired enough that I didnít notice her get up a few times during the night.
Contractions were easy enough and far enough apart for us to get ready and go to church. I donít think anyone noticed that Krista was having contractions then. After church we had Aedhanís old baby sitter and a former student of mine, Rachel, over for brunch, as she was in town. Krista managed to hide from her as well that she was in labour, although there were a few times when she had to go into the kitchen to deal with a more intense contraction.
After Rachel left, we rushed around a bit trying to get things ready. We hadnít watched the Pink Kit video together, although Krista had watched it a few times herself, so we went up into the bedroom, even brought a dining room chair into the room. (That chair would stay there for the next two weeks, almost, and provided a comfortable seat for visitors for Kís ďlying in.Ē) We rushed through the video, focusing on those parts about differing positions for contractions/pushing, and how the partner could assist in these, spreading the pelvis, etc.
Krista wanted a bunch of things done. We went to Target to pick up a digital camera (and some birthing supplies). The contractions were getting a little more intense by this time so Krista had to stop what she was doing and concentrate when they happened. We then went to Wegmans to get some olive oil, some snacks, etc. When we got home, Krista wanted to take some pictures with it, so I sat down and read the instruction manual to see how to work it. We took pictures on the swing, on Aedhanís bed, the two of them, and later Kerri took a picture of the three of us on Aedhanís bed, the ďpre-arrival family.Ē
Krista went to lie down on the bed for while, and thatís when her water broke, which initially scared her, because she didnít know what that sensation was like, and briefly thought that it was a uterine rupture. (Her fear of rupture turned out to be the main issue in her labour, and I think really slowed things down, especially the pushing stage.) She let me know, and we paged Meg to let her know that Krista was in labour. The sister of the woman whose labour Meg was attending then called back, asking if it was urgent, since the delivery was near. I told her no, but that Krista had started labour and Meg could call us when she had the chance. Later she did call, and she and Krista chatted on the phone. Meg said she would drop by in the evening on her way back to Honeoye. Of course, she didnít make it back home until Monday evening.
We had not set up the aqua doula yet, so Krista called Lynn and Lauren to ask if they could come over and help set it up. So, we had to tell them that K was in labour. We didnít tell any other family or friends. I talked to my parents on Sunday afternoon, and didnít even tell them. K wanted to wait until it was over to let people know, so she wouldnít feel the stress of other people waiting to hear word of what happened. Lynn and Lauren came over, and set up the pool. It didnít take them long, and Lynn explained to me how to fill it up, operate it to keep the water warm, etc. We used this pool quite a bit during the labour, so it was a good thing that we did borrow it and set it up. Lynn hung around for a while, and offered to stay for the labour and birth, but K sent her home. I think she didnít want too many people there.
After Kís water broke, the contractions picked up quite a bit, but not to the level of intensity they would reach Sunday morning. She didnít want to see any clocks, so she wouldnít know how long she had been in labour. She had a real aversion to any numbers associated with the labour and even birth, it had been a recurring theme throughout this pregnancy. Meg arrived later afternoon or early evening, saw how K was labouring, and decided to stay. A long two days for her, certainly. Lauren took Aedhan out to Wegmans, for supper and for the evening until bedtime. I was able to put him to bed fairly easily, and he slept well through the night. After he was in bed Kís contractions began to be quite strong and serious. The labour was in the living room first, she used a chair to lean on, while I gently rubbed her back. As things got more intense, I began to push on her hips, which seemed to help. She didnít have any back labour, but did have quite a lot of pain at the front, which she was scared was rupture pain, but which Meg constantly reassured her was adhesion pain, scar tissue separating from her bladder. Colum was also putting pressure on her bladder as he slowly moved down. When the pain became too intense, K moved into the birthing pool. We used the pool quite a lot, at one point moved a dining room chair into it. It floated, surprisingly, but was the correct height to have her in the water but still give her some support. I was in and out of the pool with her, so with Meg (and eventually Lauren there) had to duck around the corner to keep changing in and out of my swimsuit. After K got her clothes off (took a while to convince her to get off her green tank top, she used an old green plaid shirt of mine to keep her warm while she was out of the tub. She also laboured on the downstairs toilet quite a bit, changing the positions seemed to help, give her something new to focus on and work through the intense contractions. At around 1am, I called Lauren. K was getting discouraged and already beginning to say that the contractions were too intense and was doubting if she could do it. I thought we could use a fresh face and new energy in the situation, so got Kís permission to call Lauren. She came over fairly quickly, and was able to encourage K and also spell me off from pushing on her hips, which I had been doing for several hours by this time.
K was uncertain whether she wanted a dilation check, and kept wavering about it. She was scared that any number less than 10 would discourage her, but she wanted to start pushing, and needed to know if it was time. At around 4am Meg checked her, and she was 7-8, and that Colum was not fully down to the cervix yet. Of course K was devastated, but at least we knew it was not time to push yet. Meg said that K should walk around and rock to help Colum come down further, and that she would check her in two hours. (I donít think that K heard this conversation, I didnít want her to know that timeline, because she was feeling that every contraction was the last one that she could manage.) So, the next two hours passed by slowly, in and out of the tub, walking around, leaning on the coach and the chair, rocking back and forth while one of us pushed on her hips. At 6am Meg checked again (at Kís insistance, I believe) and she was 8-9. Krista at this point decided that she had had enough and wanted to go to the hospital. She told us that she needed something for the pain, that this pain wasnít normal labour pain and that she couldnít do it anymore. I initially agreed with her, and went upstairs to grab a few things. Meg also seemed OK with the idea. On the way back down, I had a conversation with Lauren in which she stated that she thought Krista could do it and to go to the hospital would be equally devastating. This was the point in the last labour that cost us, I think, and as I thought about that, I knew that we couldnít go to the hospital until Krista had at least had a chance to push.
K was already outside next to the car, with Meg trying to cover her up (she still only had my old shirt on). I went back outside, and the next half hour was convincing K that it was not time to go to the hospital yet. She was insistent, but I could see that going to the hospital was for her giving up. At this point Aedhan woke up, so I woke up Kerri to take care of him for a while. He was upstairs with her until after the birth three hours later, so he watched a lot of videos. We persuaded K to wait until 7am when Meg would check her again. Persuaded is the wrong word, though, we never really did persuade her, she argued every step of the way. We talked her into the back yard, had her walk up the stairs slowly, and by about 6:50 she was banging on the back door (which was locked) demanding to be let on so Meg could check her on the couch. Meg checked her, and she had a little lip and Colum was up against the cervix. Meg had K push as she pushed away the lip, and K was in the pushing stage. She initially was pushing on her back, in a rather awkward position, but making progress. We thought we could move her into and more comfortable and easier position for pushing, which turned out to be a mistake. Breaking her rhythm got her back into her head, and the pain of pushing coupled with the fear of rupture prevented her initially from pushing long and strong enough to make any progress. We tried several positions, squatting, hands and knees, supported squat, but no progress was being made. Eventually she got on her back on the couch again, and resorted to me counting her through the contractions while Meg checked her to see if the pushes were effective. Eventually she began to push through enough so that Colum began to move down and under her pubic bone. He slowly crowned, and I could see the head. After a few more pushes, his head was through. Meg helped his shoulder out, which was when K tore, we think. After the shoulders, he came out quite easily. His eyes were open right after he came out, and we put him on Kís chest. He was having slight trouble breathing, so we left the umbilical cord alone. We called Aedhan and Kerri down, and Aedhan helped me cut the cord after a while.
The pregnancy with Bryson went much more smoothly and was less stressful
than that of both Devon and Carson. My theory was that they would get
easier with each one and so it was. Sheridan had wanted to have a more
'nature' birth experience going back to Devon's birth (emergency cesarean at
34 weeks), circumstances didn't allow that, but Bryson's birth seemed to
take things full circle.
Sheridan continued with a new and better hypnosis for birth called
Hypnobabies. I found the classes actually quite educational and not too
weird/alternative-like. Sheridan gets hypnotized at the drop of a hat so it
looked like a good choice.
Finally the day came about 1 week after he was due. Sheridan was scheduled
to be induced in the next day or so, so it was good to have it kick start
itself. We had Sheridan's friend Allison as our doula, which was great, to
help out during the birth. We stayed around the house as long as we felt
we should, keeping track of how far apart the 'pressure waves' were. Devonand
Carson were staying with a friend. We were off to the Hospital (Saddleback
Hospital). This was around 11am.
We arrived and had a very nice room which was private. Saddleback is a
great place to give birth as they are very women focused. Alison arrived
not too long after we did. We talked to our nurse about what were doing,
birth with hypnosis, and what we were expecting and not expecting during
labor. She was very nice and supportive of our preferences.
Sheridan had her headphones on listening to her hypnosis recordings and
generally getting into the zone, that 'happy place'. The room was
comfortable with low lights and things were fairly mellow. Periodically we
would do laps back and forth in the halls of the labor and delivery floor to
help move the birth along. We did this a number of times with breaks in
between when Sheridan would sit on her birth ball or lie on her side in bed.
She was doing a great job of staying relaxed and under hypnosis.
By about 4:00pm not too much change had happened to amount of dilation (we
were still at 5cm). So Dr. Kamiskas talked about breaking her water to help
move things along. So by 4:30pm Sheridan agreed and her water was
seemed to do the trick. With things moving and getting into a consistent
pattern (pressure waves that is), I hurried to the cafeteria to get a quick
bite to eat.
Upon returning from a quick dinner, the pressure waves were much stronger
and consistent and Sheridan was fully into her hypnosis. A lady down the
hall seemed to have been brought in labor and progressed along enough where
they were past giving drugs. We heard a bit of yelling from down the
hallway, with our door closed. We kept looking at Sheridan to see if it was
bothering her or pulling her out of hypnosis. We were sure Sheridan had
heard, but apparently not. She didn't recall the screaming lady at all which
was a good thing.
By 5:30 pm the pressure waves were doing their stuff. You could see when
each pressure waves was occurring and Sheridan was just lying there, relaxed
but very focused, almost distracted from the waves. It really was an
By 6:15pm - 6:30pm we were in the full swing of things. The Doctor was
checking the cervix to see how much was left and each time it was less and
less. Things were moving now. The pressure waves were definitely bigger as
Sheridan had to really work to remain focused under hypnosis. Allison was
such a big help in talking to Sheridan and keeping her focused during these
Bryson's birth was looking to be imminent so the doctor and nurses started
to get everything ready and prepped. Sheridan was starting to feel these
almost uncontrollable urges to push but the cervix was not yet open but was
so close. This was the hardest time. You could see that her body was
saying that she had to push, that she couldn't not push. Everything was at
its peak now. Sheridan really focused and drew upon the hypnosis
conditioning during each pressure wave. Allison was incredibly helpful at
this point. She knew exactly what Sheridan was feeling and was talking her
though the urges to push, to not push and hold off just bit longer until the
cervix was ready. This seemed to take 3, 4 or 5 pressure waves. I started
to lose count and wondered how many she could resist pushing. A few times
it was too much and you could see her starting to push.
Finally the cervix was ready and she could go with the urge and push when
she must. Sheridan seemed to be back more in control now that she could do
what her body wanted to do and push. You could start to see the baby head.
This skin on the top of his head was all squished up and sort of rippled,
that I wasn't sure what it was until the doctor said.
Sheridan was working really hard now but it was a focused and controlled
effort. She didn't look out of control, or desperate for drugs at all. With
each effort and push the baby was getting closer and closer. It didn't take
that many pushes until the baby was just about to be born. Probably about 6
pushes until he was just ready to come out. Then on the last push you could
see the head finally making its way out and the doctor saying to stop
pushing. Then just a couple of seconds after his head came out, the rest of
his body slid right on out. The time was 6:59pm. Sheridan was absolutely
amazing through out the whole birth. The nurse was very impressed with the
fact that she had no drugs at all during the birth. Sheridan was a bit
vocal during her pushing but it was nothing like the lady down the hall.
They immediately put Bryson on Sheridan's chest while they finished up
things below. There he stayed until about 9:30 Ė 10:00 when they finally
weighed him and gave him a bath. He weighed 9 lbs and was 21 inches long.
Her labor was only about 7 hours or a bit more. Truly amazing. And all on
video to relive again and again.
Within less than an hour, probably Ĺ hour, Sheridan was hungry and I was
sent across the parking lot to the Laguna Hills mall to Ruby's Dinner where
I bought her a hamburger and chocolate shake. Much better than hospital
Each of the boy's births has been so different. But Bryson's was the most
relaxed of the three. Maybe because we had been through the tough ones
already. Bryson's was the ideal of the three. Not to take away from the
others, but they were so stressful and things so uncertain. It was such a
nice feeling to have more control and understanding of birth and the
process. The natural ways in which the body prepares itself and basically
does what it was been genetically pre-programmed to do during birth. The
body does not need to be trained what to do. It already knows what to do
and we just need to get out of the way and help it along its path.
Well, the birth was relatively quick which was so wonderful. Picking out
Bryson's name took a bit longer, like a whole week. But we had fun as a
family picking names and then narrowing them down to a single one.
So now was have three wonderful boys whom I pray will grow up close and
helpful to each other and look out for each other through their lives.
Bryson Gideon Ripley, welcome home.
Robert Lee Ripley Jr.
This is exactly how it's supposed to be. Michele is in A LOT of pain, moving back and forth from the bed to the bathroom desperately trying to find a comfortable position. The two midwives encouraging her, and me. Angel in the living room with Mason assuring him that the hell-born sounds he hears from the bedroom are perfectly natural and that mommy is OK. Back to the bed one more time. Back to the pushing for the millionth time. I see hair; Thin tiny strands of straight jet black hair that belong to my daughter Hannah. She's coming.
Then she disappeared back inside. Another push. Another glance of her hair, her wonderful hair. Then back inside. Back and forth a few times then finally her chin popped out and she was here. At least her head was. She wasn't stuck or anything. Another push or two and she'd be here. That's all. Wait, why is Bea praying? Why is one of our midwives standing over my wife saying, chanting, “Please Jesus let this baby come out”? Why is Joni telling Michele, not asking but ordering her, to do this and that with her legs. Why is my baby still (excuse me while I try to gather myself before continuing to type)...stuck? Michele looked at me. “What's wrong” she cried. That look will haunt me all my days. “Just do what they say” I said. She did. I paced the room watching as Joni tugged ever so gracefully on Hannah. On her neck. On her chin. I thought she was going to be paralyzed. I thought she was going to never be able to move her body. I thought that none of that mattered because she was still getting everything she needed to live from Michele and as long as her brain was OK, I was going to live with whatever else.
I thought wrong. Hannah finally slipped out like I'd seen on WAY TOO MANY delivery stories on TV. I didn't hear a cry. My worst fears weren't coming true, were they. I could live with paralysis. I could live with whatever physical damage she might have suffered from a traumatic birth. I could not live with her brain being damaged. Joni began mouth to mouth. It was happening. My entire world was falling down around me. My little girl may have some cerebral palsy. My little girl may not live. She wheezed. She gurgled. She cried,faintly. She will live. Thank (insert arbitrary name here) for that. But will she be, um (another moment please) OK? Not physically. I don't care about that... I really don't, at least not in comparison to her mind. Her mind is what makes her human, a person. It's what will make her my little girl, my little Hannah... Is her mind OK? Her umbilical cord was limp when she came out. That's what Joni said.
She was stuck for four minutes. She didn't breath for about 30 seconds....She is fine. My daughter, her mind, is intact. There's really nothing else to write. My little girl is alive and healthy. Michele and I have some healing to do, but our little girl is fine. Not healing between us but healing internally about what DID happen. However fleeting, those four minutes, the look on Michele's face, Bea praying, Joni turning into the birthing Nazi (which was good) the realization that my worst fears might actually be happening right before my eyes, were the worst four minutes of my entire life. Since then I have never been happier... Never...and this IS exactly how it is supposed to be.
Michele once asked me if I thought we made the right decision to have a homebirth. I've only thought about that question twice, when she asked me, and right now. The only thing I have to say about it is, “bad things happen, even when you make the right decision”.
- Jason Demont