Thursday, July 02, 2009

Chase's Birth Story

Hi Lisa,
I just wanted to send a quick note to let you & Kari know how things went with the birth of baby Chase and also to thank you so much for all of the support offered through the Birth Rhythm & Labour Instensive classes!
Last Friday, I was about to get ready to pick up some things for the baby's arrival when lo & behold, my water breaks!

So, we quickly pack some things (we had nothing ready, as we weren't due until July 7th) and head on over to the hospital. In a rush, I forgot a few of my "must have" things - my birth plan & my relaxation cd's. Once I was checked out by the resident, I was told that I would need to be induced (which was my personal "worst case scenario"). But after thinking about it, I figured if that's the way it was going to be, it didn't really matter as long as I had a healthy baby. That said, I was very happy that when the attending physician came to check on me around 6pm, she told me I wouldn't have to worry about being induced until the morning, and it was pretty likely that I would go into labour on my own.

So, I had a nap early that evening and around 7 began wandering the hospital. I headed back to my room around 9pm, only to be greeted by the nurse, asking me if I needed any pain medication to help me sleep. I told her no, that I was fine & continued to wander around the labour assessment hallway. Not long after that, I was finally starting to feel a bit crampy, so during the contractions I would assume one of the positions learned in Labour Intensive and occasionally get a back rub from my husband to work through it.

A little bit later, I stopped by the nurse's station to let them know that the contractions were becoming a bit more intense and closer together. Once again being offered pain medication, I simply refused & told the nurse that I would continue walking the halls. That went on for a while until the contractions got to the point where I told my husband that I didn't know what to do to help myself, so stopped by the nurse's station and was asked if I wanted pain meds or to try the shower.

Of course, I had opted for the shower which helped for the first little while and then the contractions had gotten to the point where I really had to "let it out". Since the shower wasn't helping anymore, I decided to head back to my room and talk to the nurses again.

But, the nurse got to my room before me and asked if I wanted some pain meds (notice the theme?) and to get checked. I refused the medication once again & agreed that I should get checked out. Once I laid on the bed, the pain got so intense that I finally told my husband "I don't think that I can do this without an epidural!"...turns out that I was almost fully dilated!

At around 12:15am, I got moved into the birthing room and in the moment, completely through my birth-plan out the window (I had meant to ask if I could deliver in any position, but the sitting/stirrup position, but it completely slipped my mind). When Brandon left the room, I recall saying to the nurse "I didn't want an epidural, but I think I want one now!". She said to wait & see as I would be getting checked again and it was probably too late. Sure enough, I was down to my last few contractions and they had brought me nitrous oxide to see if it helped.

In the end, I did decide to try it for a couple of contractions, but I think it only really helped because I was able to get my breathing back in control. Once I was ready to get pushing, things went really well and I gave birth to the most perfect, beautiful & alert baby girl at 1:25am on June 27th.

Even though I had deflected from my original idea of the "perfect" birthing, I wouldn't change a thing, as to me THIS WAS the perfect birthing. That said, I do think that if we have a second child, we will definitely be hiring a doula. As much as I got lost in the moment, Brandon did as well. He once had said that he wasn't going to actually watch the birth happen, but in the end, he was too in awe to do much more than dab my face with a cold cloth (fortunately, our team of dr's & nurse's were really good cheerleaders!).

For me, I think that the classes I took from you & Kari played a big role in making this happen. Not only did I learn the coping techniques, but more than anything, I had walked into the hospital without any fear.

I'm assuming that the nurses didn't really panic while I was in assessment, because I was so calm through it all. Even after the baby was born, one of the nurse's had commented on how laid back we were in our rooms, while some of the other new parents were stressed like crazy!

I've been recommending your classes to everyone that I know and will continue to do so, as I found that they were an amazing support!
thanks again!

Amy Derbowka

New research points to damage caused by C-sections

C-section Births Cause Genetic Changes That May Increase Odds For Developing Diseases In Later Life
ScienceDaily (June 29, 2009) — Swedish researchers have discovered that babies born by Caesarean section experience changes to the DNA pool in their white blood cells, which could be connected to altered stress levels during this method of delivery, according to the July issue of Acta Paediatrica.

It is thought that these genetic changes, which differ from normal vaginal deliveries, could explain why people delivered by C-section are more susceptible to immunological diseases such as diabetes and asthma in later life, when those genetic changes combine with environmental triggers.

Blood was sampled from the umbilical cords of 37 newborn infants just after delivery and then three to five days after the birth. It was analysed to see the degree of DNA-methylation in the white blood cells - a vital part of the immune system.

This showed that the 16 babies born by C-section exhibited higher DNA-methylation rates immediately after delivery than the 21 born by vaginal delivery. Three to five days after birth, DNA-methylation levels had dropped in infants delivered by C-section so that there were no longer significant differences between the two groups.

“Delivery by C-section has been associated with increased allergy, diabetes and leukaemia risks” says Professor Mikael Norman, who specialises in paediatrics at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. “Although the underlying cause is unknown, our theory is that altered birth conditions could cause a genetic imprint in the immune cells that could play a role later in life.

“That is why we were keen to look at DNA-methylation, which is an important biological mechanism in which the DNA is chemically modified to activate or shut down genes in response to changes in the external environment. As the diseases that tend to be more common in people delivered by C-section are connected with the immune system, we decided to focus our research on early DNA changes to the white blood cells.”

The authors point out that the reason why DNA-methylation is higher after C-section deliveries is still unclear and further research is needed.

“Animal studies have shown that negative stress around birth affects methylation of the genes and therefore it is reasonable to believe that the differences in DNA-methylation that we found in human infants are linked to differences in birth stress.

“We know that the stress of being born is fundamentally different after planned C-section compared to normal vaginal delivery. When babies are delivered by C-section, they are unprepared for the birth and can become more stressed after delivery than before. This is different to a normal vaginal delivery, where the stress gradually builds up before the actual birth, helping the baby to start breathing and quickly adapt to the new environment outside the womb.”

The authors point out that the surgical procedure itself may play a role in DNA-methylation and that factors other than the delivery method need to be explored in more detail.

“In our study, neonatal DNA-methylation did not correlate to the age of the mother, length of labour, birth weight and neonatal CPR levels - proteins that provide a key marker for inflammation” says Professor Norman. “However, although there was no relation between DNA-methylation and these factors, larger studies are needed to clarify these issues.”

Professor Norman states that the Karolinska study clearly shows that gene-environment interaction through DNA-methylation is more dynamic around birth than previously known.

“The full significance of higher DNA-methylation levels after C-section is not yet understood, but it may have important clinical implications” he says.

“C-section delivery is rapidly increasing worldwide and is currently the most common surgical procedure among women of child-bearing age. Until recently, the long-term consequences of this mode of delivery had not been studied. However, reports that link C-section deliveries with increased risk for different diseases in later life are now emerging. Our results provide the first pieces of evidence that early ‘epigenetic’ programming of the immune system may have a role to play.”

The authors feel that their discovery could make a significant contribution to the ongoing debate about the health issues around C-section deliveries.

“Although we do not know yet how specific gene expression is affected after C-section deliveries, or to what extent these genetic differences related to the mode of delivery are long-lasting, we believe that our findings open up a new area of important clinical research” concludes lead author Titus Schlinzig, a research fellow at the Karolinska Institutet.