Ian David Afdahl
8lbs. 1oz., 20.25 in.
My birth story: A dream come true
By: Kristin Afdahl
I always felt birth to be a natural occurrence. Something intimately made between you and your partner. And then the birth of the being you made together to be natural and private. My first experience with our son Bo, now almost 3 was not exactly my dream story. Not bad in any means, actually very common in today’s world. Hospital birth, dry birth lying on my back, vacuum extracted baby, tiring hospital stay, postpartum depression, and 2 years of terrible pelvic pain. My experience at the birth center was quite the opposite and exactly what I’ve always wanted and dreamed in my child’s birth and my health.
After dealing with my pelvic pain for quite some time through pregnancy and postpartum for 2 years, I’d had enough. The doctor at the hospital couldn’t figure it out, “everything is healed, there should be no pain” he told me. I ended up doing research on my own and found the condition to be called symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). It most commonly happens in women who produce too much of the hormone relaxin- the hormone responsible for relaxing your pelvis so it moves for the baby. Symptoms include pain in pelvic or hip area, difficulty walking up stairs, putting your pants or socks on, pain turning in bed, clicking sounds while walking and the feeling that your entire uterus ought to fall right out at any time. I had e-mailed Paula just to see if she had ever heard of this condition, desperate for someone to help me out. I was interested in having another baby and really scared that this condition would worsen. She had heard of it and said she can help, that there are less stressful ways of having a baby to help protect your pelvis i.e., water birth, squatting, letting your baby come on it’s own rather than pulling it out. Two months later I was pregnant and signed up to give birth at the birth center after meeting Paula and knowing that this was the best decision for me and my family.
My pregnancy and birth care was perfect [in all stages]. My pelvic pain really started to get bad around month 7. Paula helped me find a pelvic belt, which helped a little but the only real thing to help was to have the baby so the pressure wasn’t on my pelvis anymore and I’d stop producing the hormone relaxin. I couldn’t wait…. My first contraction was at 9:30pm Friday, August 17th. It was a terrible pain that woke me out of sleep. The diarrhea instantly started and I didn’t know if it was because I was so nervous that this might be it or beginning labor. But after timing the contractions and finding them to be 2 min. apart I knew this was the “real thing”. We called Brad’s mom to come and take care of Bo our 3 year old. She arrived at 11pm and by then the contractions were really painful. I couldn’t walk or talk through them. We arrived at the birth center around 12 am. What a perfect setting, the lights were dimmed and all was calm. Paula said the blue room was ready and the bath was drawn. I felt like it was a bed and breakfast! Paula checked my cervix and I was dilated to a 4. I then got in the tub – talk about heaven!- until another contraction started anyway. But between the contractions I was able to relax with the warm water, the lights in the tub, and my husband right there at the edge of the tub. Things went very fast from there. I then felt the overwhelming need to push. I asked Paula if this could be happening so soon – I had only been there about 30 minutes! She said to listen to my body and if I needed to push to push. Sure enough I was ready. She said to reach down and feel my baby. I felt the bag of water and that broke in my hand. I then felt my baby’s head and with one more push he was out. I reached down and brought him out of the water onto my chest. He was just beautiful and what a perfect experience. (I can say that now that I have forgotten how much it hurt – amazing how that works!). What a great team – Paula with her calm and reassuring voice, Krista with her constant encouragement, and even though Erin was ill (and wearing a mask) at the time, she even helped by fanning me every time I said I was dizzy. They all worked together yet I don’t recall ever actually hearing them talk. They kept the environment very calm for me and did what they had to do in monitoring and caring for me and my baby. I can’t thank them enough for this perfect experience such an intimate experience shared with them all – and most of all with my husband. It felt like it was just us two in the room alone – just like I wanted. They will always have a special place in my heart.
As for today, 3 weeks postpartum, I feel great. Knowing the pain that SPD can cause weeks or even years after a birth I opted to take charge of my pelvic health this time and am working with chiropractor Dr. Emily Smith who is very knowledgeable with a woman’s body pre- and post-partum. She has helped me so much. I feel so great taking charge of my pelvic health this time around choosing to give birth in the water, squatting, letting my baby come naturally, and choosing to work with a chiropractor immediately after delivery. Another huge difference this time around has been taking Omega 3 Fish Oil which was recommended by Paula at my first meeting with her. I believe it has significantly helped with the baby blues. I’ve only had one day of the blues compared to the 2 weeks with my previous pregnancy.
The emotional and physical care has been beyond my expectations. I’ll never be able to thank the birth team enough for making this a great journey. This is how a pregnancy and birth should be- Natural and with the woman in control. After this experience I feel entirely different about being a woman. I know now that we as women have total control of our bodies and that the mind/body connection is very strong and important to know. I feel so empowered to do anything in life now! Thank you to the birth center for everything.