Finn Isaac entered our lives on February 3, 2018, weighing 7 lb 10 oz. His birth was fast and furious after many days of waiting: 4 hours from the start of counting contractions to when he was placed on my chest. Faster than what this first-time mama expected, but I had been in early labor with very little discomfort for the 2+ weeks leading up to his birth. I am thankful for having an active pregnancy that allowed me to birth this busy baby. My midwife arrived at our house and found me lunging with one leg propped on the side of the bathtub with each contraction, despite no labor stall in sight! This baby chose to come down the skeleton track (sans helmet!) giving us a bit of scare. His heartrate dipped after my waters broke, so we decided that the safest place to give birth would be the hospital. After arriving at the hospital, I gave birth within 10 minutes in a side-lying squat position with 4 mighty pushes (channeling all the strength I’ve ever gathered). Keep having your class do their bridge poses at the end of class, I had to transfer between beds multiple times during the course of birth and following and was able to lift my bottom in bridge pose each time when asked. Everyone is healthy and we were able to come home within 24 hours of birth, where we’ve been cozily tucked in together. Finn is a marvelous baby and we are so thankful to be his parents. We feel like we had a successful home birth experience that included a medically appropriate hospital transfer, allowing me to safely have a vaginal birth to a beautifully perfect baby.
- Posted February 17, 2018
Our baby girl arrived this morning at 4:12 am after 6 hours of labor. I can’t thank you enough for all of your help and guidance. I stood during the whole labor and delivery…a position I only realized was possible because of you!!! All the people helping with the delivery kept saying it looked like I knew what I was doing…and I kept saying I am only practicing what you taught me. Thank you for helping me through this amazing life changing experience.
With joy and endless gratitude…
- Posted January 25, 2018
I just thought you’d be interested to hear that after prenatal yoga on Sunday, our little guy had a very active night of movements. I could feel his little hand down by his head keep moving and it felt like he was trying to turn around. Then on Monday, my husband and I were feeling my belly to see where baby was and I thought I felt the spine along my left side but wasn’t sure about his placement. Today at my midwifery appointment, she confirmed that little guy is no longer posterior and now has his back along my left side with legs over on the right.
I really feel like the prenatal classes have been so beneficial in encouraging baby to keep moving into all sorts of good positions and having space to do so. Just thought I’d report our progress and a big thank you for the body awareness and movement that’s been added to my pregnancy by being a part of your classes.
This little guy also turned head down while I was driving home following a yoga class at 27 weeks, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a yoga class also helps labor begin at some point this month.
- Posted January 3, 2018
- Posted October 28, 2017
All those squats and child’s poses prepped my legs for multiple hours of squatting. Thank you for that. And for being my calm space while pregnant. I will really miss your classes. Any chance you’re going to start a baby and me or postpartum class? I would pay!! I’m serious.
I had been to a few yoga classes here and there over the years, but nothing ever stuck. But once I found out I was pregnant I was committed to finding a practice that could help me build both physical and mental/emotional strength to get me through my pregnancy and labor. I was fortunate to have a relatively easy pregnancy without morning sickness, heartburn, or swelling. So even though I wasn’t dealing with any major pregnancy pains I still felt better after ever yoga sessions. I suffer from semi-annual bouts of sciatica so I was prepared to have to deal with back pain during pregnancy. Surprisingly, I never had any back pain during pregnancy, which is probably the longest I’ve gone without it in years! Thanks, yoga!
After yoga class – two days before my due date – I got home, and and 1.5 hours later my water broke! No contractions, so after staying home for 12h to wait for my labor to start naturally (to no avail) I went into hospital and after conferring with the midwife was started on pitocin at 8am; I was dilated 1cm. Induction was not what I was hoping for, but I trusted the midwife/nurse/doula team, and was hopeful that pitocin would be the only intervention I would have to have. I did have to have an IV, but with telemetry monitoring I was able to move around and even get in the tub if I wanted. I was pleased I could still have the active birth I had been hoping for. My partner and I played cards and talked excitedly as we waited for labor to begin. The nurse kept turning up the dosage every 30 mins and still no contractions, after several hours I began to get a little worried that pitocin wouldn’t be enough. At 1pm the nurse turned up the dosage again and within minutes contractions finally began.
My contractions began as mild cramping and got increasingly more intense. I tried the yoga ball, and various positions on the floor and the birth stool, but soon found out that I was most comfortable standing and rocking while holding onto the IV pole. I labored for an hour, mostly standing (just like Carol said, “you could be that woman that is only comfortable standing”, thank goodness for all our standing savasna practice!!). The contractions were painful, yet I was able to breathe through them and enjoy the resting periods in between. I remembered that more than pain they were “sensations” and that unlike most pain they were not a sign that something was wrong but rather that things were progressing as they should to bring me my baby. After only ONE hour (!), I could feel my body pushing. The midwife was surprised and questioned whether I could really be at that stage, and asked me what it felt like. I could only describe it as my body was pushing, and that there was nothing I could do to stop it. After the next contraction I got up on the bed and she checked and sure enough saw that I was complete! There was a huge flurry of the staff entering the room and getting things ready. I was on the bed on my hands and knees and just let my body continue to push. The staff just stood back and watched, encouraging me that I was doing everything right. After only 15minutes of pushing my son was born! The Midwife said it was the fastest first mama labor she had seen in her career.
I truly felt the power of my body during the whole process. Honestly I don’t even feel like I DID that much, but more that I just let my body do what it needed to, and all I had to do was trust in my body and not fight it. I had one small 1st degree laceration requiring a single stitch, which healed very quickly. My son was born with a cone shaped head that the midwife said indicated he was probably deep in position for quite a while. I really believe that I owe a lot of it to the body work we did in class, both in getting baby into the right position, giving me ideas of positions I could use while laboring, the ability to relax when I could (even while standing), and the confidence that my body was made to do this work.
It is a true gift that Carol offers these classes and the generosity of providing them for free, removes a barrier allowing ALL women to take advantage of them.
- Posted August 25, 2017
I had an amazing home birth and I would love to share my story! I had a healthy pregnancy and stayed active with bike commuting, hiking, and yoga. Carol’s classes really helped me to relax and take time to enjoy my second pregnancy, which I found harder to do this time since I was so busy caring for my older daughter and working full time as a midwife in a hospital. We plan on this being our last baby and I wanted to do everything I could to appreciate this special time.
Other than nausea and exhaustion, I felt great until the last couple weeks of pregnancy when I started to have pelvic pain and feel very ready to have this baby. I wanted to do every gentle thing I could to help my body get ready for labor. When I was 39 weeks and a couple of days, I went to get acupuncture that was meant to stimulate labor. While the needles were being removed, my water broke! I was so excited. I let my midwife know and headed home. My partner and I were planning on going to our daughter’s preschool graduation together after my acupuncture appointment, and since I wasn’t having any contractions yet, we decided to still go. One of my daughter’s little friends came up to me and asked me if my water had broken! Her mom laughed and told her that was kind of a personal question. I said I couldn’t believe she had asked, because yes it had, about an hour ago! They wished us luck and we went home.
My friend who was acting as my doula came over and had dinner with us. My midwife also came by to listen to the baby, who sounded great. I was feeling overwhelmed by my older daughter’s energy by this point and was anxious for her to get to bed. We told her that the baby would probably be born sometime tonight and we were planning on waking her up for the birth and for her special job of cutting the cord. Her excitement was so sweet.
I had been having contractions on and off for a week at this point, but I literally had not had a single one since my water broke a few hours earlier! I felt like I wanted to try to get things going once my daughter went to bed. My partner, friend, and I started watching a movie while I used my breast pump. Within about 5 minutes of starting the breast pump, I had a very strong contraction. I had to stand up and move around while I had another one a couple minutes later. I stopped pumping, and told my partner and friend that these few contractions were so strong that I already felt like I wanted to start getting the birth tub ready.
While they were working on filling the tub, I called my midwife and told her that labor had just started at about 10:30 pm but I already felt like it was time for her to come over. I had to stop talking and give the phone to my friend. I moaned on the couch through what felt like nonstop contractions while she and my partner continued to work on filling the tub. I was in a lot of pain, but I felt very loved by everyone working to get things ready for me, and I didn’t feel like I really needed anything more from them.
The midwives arrived a little after 11 pm and I vaguely remember watching them set up their supplies. They listened to the baby and told me I was doing great. Only about 40 minutes after my first contraction I was already feeling like I was starting to push a little. I got in the tub, which felt amazing! I experienced such relief from the tub in both of my labors and couldn’t imagine going without it.
Shortly after getting in the tub, I really started pushing. After several pushes that didn’t feel like they were really moving the baby, I checked my own cervix (remember, I’m a midwife, ha!) and felt just a little bit of cervix left in the front. With my next push, I moved my cervix out of the way and felt my baby’s head finally move lower! When I realized the birth was now very close, I asked my friend to wake up my older daughter. I was so happy to see her, and told her she could watch her little sibling’s head get closer and closer to being born! She was so sweet cheering me on. I felt my baby’s head get lower with each push, and finally at midnight, her head and little hand were born into my hands in the pool. I pushed one more time, then lifted her body out of the water. She was tangled in her cord a little bit so I turned her upside down in a little somersault to untangle her. She cried right away, and I couldn’t believe how small she looked compared to my older daughter, who was standing right behind me, giggling with joy. My midwives watched me give birth and were right next to me in case I needed them, but were completely hands off, exactly how I had requested. I was so in love with my beautiful daughters and my partner! And in awe of my amazing body, which had just birthed a baby in 90 minutes, and I had done everything myself.
I stayed in the tub a little longer with my sweet baby. My partner and I announced that her name was June. After I delivered my placenta, my older daughter cut the cord, and I handed our baby to my partner so I could rinse off and climb into our bed. At 2 in the morning we ate the chocolate cake that my daughter and I had made earlier in the evening, which was probably the most exciting thing that had ever happened to her in her four years of life! After some time for breastfeeding and bonding and June’s newborn exam, my family and I were all tucked into bed, and the midwives left for the night.
My first daughter’s birth was also a wonderful experience, but feeling like my family was complete and all together made this truly the best night of my life.
- Posted July 29, 2017
Hi Carol … my birth story is long, but I thought you might enjoy reading it. I wrote it for my pen pal. You were a true inspiration for me through my pregnancy. I found strength and empowerment for my birth through each and every one of your prenatal yoga classes. Thank you for all you do!
The Birth Story of Jack Roy Payne
By Lillian Payne
Jack Roy Payne
Born Tuesday, April 18, 6:48am at Providence Hospital in Portland, Oregon
J. Roy or J.R. as nicknames if they fit
8 lbs., 8oz.
14.75” head circumference
Mother: Lillian Hogan Payne
Father: John Trevor Payne
Maternal Grandmother: Jo Wiedemer Hogan
Maternal Grandfather: Kevin Thomas Hogan
Paternal Grandmother: Chris Perry Payne
Paternal Grandfather: John Roy Payne (deceased)
I’m writing this birth story on the eve of Jack’s one month birthday. I am enjoying a glass of slightly effervescent Txakoli wine after breastfeeding, celebrating a small victory after a successful meeting with the lactation consultant today.
I went off birth control seven months before Jack was conceived. I read Spirit Babies by Walter Makichen during the conception phase and practiced a few meditation techniques in an attempt to communicate with our baby’s spirit. The baby’s spirit appeared to me during the meditations mostly as an aura of purple in orb form. The strongest image the spirit baby showed me was that of a baseball field. Trevor has a strong love for baseball and daydreams of father/son games of catch danced in my head.
Jack was conceived at the end of July 2016. Jack’s father and I, Trevor, were together just over nine years when he was conceived. I found out I was pregnant on a trip to Seattle with Grandma Chris Payne and Trevor. I told Trevor we were pregnant once we got back to Portland from the vacation. He was in the backyard raking leaves. He hugged me and we high fived. I was five weeks pregnant and did multiple pregnancy tests before telling anyone, because I needed to be convinced. Getting pregnant is a bit surreal to say the least.
We told Trevor’s mom, Chris, soon after because she was visiting Portland from Asheville at the time. She was surprised and cried joyful tears. We told my parents, Grandma and Grandpa Hogan, and my brother, Uncle Trevor, on a trip to Colorado for cousin Kate’s wedding. The morning after the wedding, at a brunch for my mom’s side of the family, I made the pregnancy announcement to my aunts, uncles and cousins. A few of them had already sniffed it out. Probably because I was drinking Dr. Peppers instead of cocktails at the wedding reception.
We decided not to find out the gender of the baby until the birth. I had a pretty strong gut feeling the whole pregnancy that the baby was a boy.
We picked out a boy’s name – Jack Roy Payne – and a girls name – wouldn’t you like to know! – over an eight course pop up dinner that Trevor’s chef friend generously gifted us.
I had an active, enjoyable pregnancy. My first trimester was easy and joyful. I only got sick two times. Some “pregnancy brain” with botched work tasks. Nothing major. My second trimester was even better than the first. I was energetic, happy and focused. Plus, the baby bump appeared which I embraced with fierce femininity. I kept up a good exercise routine with yoga, booty luv (dance fitness) and walking regularly. I rounded out the third trimester with regular prenatal yoga, which I am certain made my labor, birth and postpartum recovery much easier. I gained thirty pounds during the pregnancy, all in the stomach. From the back, you couldn’t tell I was pregnant.
I had some food aversions and appetite loss in the beginning of pregnancy, but no particular cravings throughout. Grandma Hogan read a few children’s stories on speakerphone during pregnancy so baby could get used to her voice. I played “fireflies” by faith hill to the baby in womb multiple times – My favorite “modern lullaby” that I planned to sing to baby.
The grandmothers hosted a beautiful baby shower at my childhood home in Asheville, North Carolina, with the help of my friends. My best friend Charlotte Taylor led a bead blessing ceremony and I cried like a baby. My good friend Bonnie Watson hosted a baby shower in Oregon with a great group of women friends. I also had a small baby shower hosted by one of my favorite clients, Vanillawood. Baby was geared up and loved and still in the womb.
I worked up until the day labor started. I worked from home with client visits a couple times a week. This work lifestyle led to a very restful, relaxing and stress free pregnancy. Trevor and I felt prepared (as much as you can be) for our new child thanks to incredible resources including classes offered at the hospital and meetings with our doula.
My water broke at 6pm on Monday April 17, 2017. That very same day, Trevor was cooking for the final phase of an interview to secure the position of head chef of a new Portland restaurant. The ten course tasting meal he prepared for the interview was being presented to potential employers at 7pm the same evening. We now joke that the baby was eager to come but waiting till his Dad could finish the interview and secure his dream job.
When my water broke, it came out as a slow trickle. I contacted my doula and she advised that I get some sleep and keep her posted. I laid down on the couch and watched a movie as the amniotic fluid slowly seeped out over a few hours. I did not call Trevor because I didn’t want to distract him during his big tasting meal. Hold on just a few more hours, baby!
Quick and fierce contractions came on strong at just 1-2 minutes apart around 9pm, three hours after my water broke. I texted Trevor and told him my water broke and that contractions had started, but no rush to get home. I assumed I was in for a long labor at home overnight before heading to the hospital. I contacted the doula again and she advised me to try and sleep between contractions. I quickly realized they were too intense to get any sleep. I brought the birth ball into the bedroom, sat on it, and bent over onto the mattress to ride my contractions. As the contractions came, I envisioned riding a giant wave to the top and breathing out as the wave crashed. I texted Trevor again around 10pm telling him that the contractions were intense and that he might want to head home “soonish.”
Some time passed without response, so I sent another text message and tried to call Trevor – the contractions were getting super intense! Unable to get ahold of him, I finally called the restaurant where Trevor was interviewing. A server answered and I asked her if she could find him for me and tell him his wife was in labor. The restaurant was abuzz with the news as Trevor got the message. As the message came to him, he was toasting with his new employers after verbally getting the offer to become Head Chef of Tanner Creek Tavern. Huzzah! And time to have a baby? Double Huzzah!!
Trevor had left his phone in the kitchen during the tasting and felt terrible he had missed my messages and call. He rushed home to help me through the labor. He put on some music, got me some water and started in on the comfort measure massaging we had learned in class. At this point, contractions were all consuming.
Pretty soon I started having to poop while I was contracting, and realized that was probably a sign I was close to pushing a baby out. We called the hospital in our neighborhood where we were supposed to give birth, but their maternity ward was 100% full, and we got diverted to another hospital – Providence in NE Portland.
A fifteen-minute drive and multiple contractions in the car later, we arrived at the hospital at midnight. They checked me in at 8cm dilated. It was a huge relief knowing I was so far along.
Our doula Lindsay arrived just as they were sending me into the delivery room. We met our team of nurses and the midwife, Coco, who would deliver our baby. Everyone was amazingly reassuring and calm. I knew I was in great hands.
Almost as soon as I got into the delivery room I began feeling stronger urges to push. Squatting felt natural so I sat on a little stool and labored as the midwife shined a flashlight up the birth canal.
“Is this the transition period?” I asked her, hoping I was at the peak of intensity. “No,” she said, “This is the pushing and birthing the baby period.” I was so excited to hear that, remembering the graph from child birth class that showed the long climb from early labor to transition and then the short, quick descent from transition to child birth. I was amazed how fast it all was happening.
I continued to push and labor. I pushed on the toilet. I pushed on all fours. I pushed draped over the back of the bed. I pushed on my side with the doula holding one knee up. I pushed and I pushed and I pushed.
During the pushing period, they monitored my heart rate and the baby’s heart rate closely. We both had steady heart rates the entire time, which saved us from any type of intervention. My attitude was determined. I was in primal wild feminine mode. I was relishing the experience even though it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I labored in a simple cotton nursing bra and nothing else. I threw the hospital gown they gave me off almost as soon as I put it on. Being naked felt natural. Funny story: I had gone to Marshall’s that day to pick out a nice breezy long shirt to labor in. HA! So unnecessary.
My birth team included the Certified Nurse Midwife, Coco, my husband Trevor, my doula Lindsay, various nurses and an OB-GYN who stepped in at the end. They were all an incredible support during the labor. Positive vibes through and through. They brought cool washcloths to soothe me, gave me massages, and offered water from a large sippy cup (my favorite swag from the hospital – I still drink water out of it to this day). Their positivity and words of encouragement got me through and allowed me to have my ideal birth without the use of an epidural or pain medication.
After I had been pushing for almost four hours, my energy was depleting. I got into the hospital bed lying on my back to forge on and attempt to doze between contractions. The midwife tied a sheet around a bar above the bed for me to use for leverage during contractions and the team began counting and encouraging me to push longer and harder.
At some point towards the end of the pushing, the OB-GYN on call came into the room to check on progress since the pushing stage was getting to be so long. The team started talking about using a vacuum to get the baby out. Typically women push 20 minutes to 2 hours. My midwife made the call that allowed me to continue pushing – both our heart rates were fine – mom and baby were calm. I trusted my body and I was up to the challenge. I knew I could do it. The OB-GYN concurred. I would keep calm and push. Fun fact: I was wearing socks from Grandma Hogan that said this exact thing on the soles.
The baby’s head took a while to get under the pelvis; everyone started to hypothesize that we had a big baby on our hands. When the head started to crown, I reached down and touched it. Thankfully, I did not feel the ring of fire, because the baby’s head was around the crowning point for almost an hour.
After a contraction finished, Trevor would spritz an essential oil birth blend I made for the labor in my face. It was a mix of clary sage, geranium and lavender with distilled water. Taking deep breaths with the calming scents took me to a relaxed place before I started the next contraction. I’m now a newbie essential oil aficionado and have ordered more to help with everything from Trevor’s allergies to calming the baby.
Throughout the pushing, I made wild beastly grunts that made me feel deeply in touch with my womanhood. The midwife advised against the grunting because they take energy from pushing and cause a sore throat. I let them fly now and then anyway because I found the primal grunts and groans immensely satisfying. They were sounds I’d never heard pass my lips. So deep, sacred and real.
After close to five hours of pushing, and me mustering every ounce of energy to push hopefully one last time, the head was out. It was amazing how quickly the shoulders and body came after that. The doula and midwife exclaimed how beautiful the umbilical cord was – nice and spiraled and supremely healthy, but a little short so the baby rested on my stomach before Trevor cut the cord.
We were so beyond relieved to have finished with the pushing that we forget about our big surprise – the gender! The midwife exclaimed, “It’s a boy!” And we told him his name: “Hello, Jack!,” I whispered down to him, tears of joy falling.
The midwife allowed Jack to crawl up to my chest where we would spend the golden hour bonding and he would feed for the first time. Trevor and I basked in our new son’s glow. I basked in the pride of a job well done. I thanked the amazing team over and over for the support and for sticking by me and allowing the slow labor to unfold with the natural rhythms of my body and baby.
I birthed the placenta and the midwife stitched up a few minor tears, exclaiming that it was incredible how little I tore considering the length of pushing and the size of the baby. Our doula left with the placenta on ice, to freeze dry it and encapsulate it for me to eat over the next month to help with postpartum recovery.
Once the team said their goodbyes, one nurse stayed as our new family bonded. I began to feed Jack and close my eyes, feeling his bare skin on mine. I embraced being a mom and all that would bring. Trevor laid down for a nap after sending a birth announcement text out to family and friends.
After a few hours of mama/baby bonding, the nurse weighed and measured Jack, took a footprint stamp, and gave him his Vitamin K eye treatment and first Hep B shot.
He then slept in my arms as I ate breakfast in bed. A moment I will treasure in my memory and heart forever.
Welcome to the world, Jack Roy Payne.
- Posted July 22, 2017
I tell every pregnant woman in my circle about MamaSpace Yoga. Carol provides an invaluable gift to women and their babies! I attended classes throughout my pregnancy, which was blessedly uncomplicated. I was even at class at 41 weeks! When the time came for my little one to enter this world, I felt so strong and capable. I labored in several poses Carol had us practice, especially standing which was such a surprise to me after my first birth experience. Towards the end, I heard my midwives say the baby was stressed by being squeezed, and without really thinking about it, I moved into a pose Carol often began with, “If your baby seems stuck…” Two contractions later, and my son was in my arms. They told me he shot right out in that lunge! Later, I realized he was born in the exact spot I lay my mat at home on my living room floor. I am forever grateful for the gift of Carol’s wisdom, as it allowed me the opportunity to birth my baby at home in the most loving and strong way. Thank you Carol for giving all women, regardless their economic means, the opportunity to grow and birth their babies with the power of yoga. You may share any and all of this story as you like.
- Posted July 17, 2017