Chekoh Birth Story: Alexis Kaiser

September 06, 2017

As a mum, I am always fam-crushing on many, many mums and dads worldwide. My mama-stalking game has stepped-up big time since becoming Creative Contributor here at Chekoh, and one of my faves by far is the mermaid-haired, angel-faced Alexis Kaiser. Her peachy, earthy-toned Instagram feed leaves me longing to hike the canyons and hills of Utah with my very good-looking husband Adam. Ahem. 

Not being the only one crushing on Alexis' style, the Alternative Indigo blog was created so mamas like me could swoon over the fashion and interiors at our own leisure. I touched base with Alexis after finding something in my eye after viewing her birth video, (below) and asked her some questions about her unmedicated hypnobirth. For more birth photos, see her blog post here.

Alexis Kaiser (24) and her husband Adam live in Provo, Utah and were married in Michigan. They are parents to daughter Billie Stone Kaiser, who was born on July 9, 2017. I asked Alexis some questions about her birth experience below:

 

1. Was this your first experience with birth? Have you given birth before/been in attendance at a birth?

This was my first experience with birth! And I had never witnessed a live birth. Just all the ones we saw from our birth class on video and of course I youtubed a million births before ours as well. I LOVE birth! It's so amazing isn't it?

2. What were your expectations going in? Did you have a strict birth plan?

I wasn't really sure what to expect going into it. I had planned for an unmedicated hypno-birth and was just hoping that all my research and preparation would call for a good birth. I had a very strict birth plan - 4 pages to be exact ;) Haha. #firsttimemom for the win!

3. If so, did your birth reflect your expectations or plan?

Yes! I actually ended up not even having to pull out my birth plan. My birth actually exceeded my expectations. It was BEAUTIFUL, calm, empowering and pain free! I loved giving birth. I'm one of those moms!

4. What were your support team like - partner/parent/midwife/dr?

My support team was absolutely amazing and I couldn't have done it without them. I had help from my wonderful husband, my doula and my amazing midwife and nurses! They were all SO amazing. Seriously I lucked out. I felt so loved.

5. Did you feel supported and empowered, is there anything you would do differently next time?

I felt so supported and empowered. I seriously had such an amazing supportive team as mentioned above! So grateful for them all. I wouldn't do anything different next time.

Did you do anything extra: delayed cord clamping, extended skin-to-skin, placental encapsulation, storing of cord blood? (if you are happy to share)

Yes! We did delayed cord clamping, extended skin to skin, we waited 24 hours to bathe her and I encapsulated my placenta! I'm so glad we did the research to know what our options were and I'm so glad we decided to do all of these things. They've made a huge difference and the benefits of each and every decision we made has been so wonderful! 

  Alexis's Birth Story

8am

Today started like most Saturdays. We woke up, had some breakfast and decided to walk our bikes to the bike shop downtown to get the tires fixed. Yes, I know that's a freakin crazy thing to do now looking back at 39 weeks 4 days haha. It's about a mile and half and it was a casual 92 degrees out. After getting our tires fixed we swung by the Farmers Market and grabbed some delish cucumber lemonade and rode our bikes home. That afternoon we packed up the kayaks and took them up to Tibble Fork Reservoir where we met up with Rachel and Ed (Adam's sister and her hubby)! We kayaked around the lake for about 3 hours. The whole time I felt pretty uncomfortable and felt like I was maybe having some contractions but I didn't know what to expect so I didn't really let it worry me. I just kept on telling Rachel, "Man, I'm pretty uncomfortable, I swear I'm having contractions." Adam kept joking all day that Billie was coming tonight. He just kept saying, "I know she's coming, I just know it." And it became the joke of the day. We even planned on hiking the following day with them and said, well if the baby doesn't come we'll see ya tomorrow! ;)  

After we kayaked, me and Adam came home and he grilled up some spicy tofurkey dogs and we chomped those down. I all the sudden got like a huge urge to clean the entire house and I told him I was pretty sure I was having contractions. He kept saying I had the weirdest look on my face and I was acting so weird. They were still pretty far apart, and not very uncomfortable but they were definitely happening. I literally started vacuuming everything, washing the sheets, cleaning the house like a mad woman. My contractions now were pretty uncomfortable but still pretty far apart so I still wasn't timing them, just trying to get everything ready for the baby to come home!

PHOTOS DONE BY THE AMAZING JANAE KRISTEN PHOTOGRAPHY
We are so grateful for her amazing skills!

11pm

It was pretty late by this time, and Adam was pooped from the day but I was full of adrenaline and couldn't stop! By this time I was having to take a break from what I was doing and breathe through my contractions. I decided to paint my nails after showering and then did my make up (lolz). I did my make up on my yoga ball and sat and rolled and breathed through all of the contractions. By the time I finished my makeup I was having a hard time getting through the contractions on my own. I wanted Adam to be able to sleep as long as possible - I knew it'd be a long night so I went to the family room and brought my ball and continued to breathe through my contractions. My cats were both following me around everywhere it was so cute, Jimi especially. Twiggy just came around when I would be breathing through the contraction and would meow in a very concerned manner. 

2am

My contractions got to a point where I was having a hard time getting through them alone and decided to wake up Adam. At this point in time, I had been timing my contractions, they were 5 minutes apart and lasting about 1 minute. Adam woke up and helped do counter pressure on my hips through every contraction. (Side note for my own memory and kinda funny - When I went to wake up Adam I said, "Babe I'm having a hard time getting through contractions by myself can you wake up and help me?" and he said, "Are you sure? Is this real? I just want you to be sure because I'm having a really hard time waking up." Hahahah like WTF man I'm in labor get your ass out of bed! He insisted that I lay down and try to get some rest - I knew I wouldn't be able to because I was pretty progressed at this point, but I tried anyway - After one contraction laying on my side I got up and said NOPE get up I need you!) It helped so much. I had 2 really intense contractions and suddenly felt like I was going to puke and ran to the toilet and vomited. DON'T EAT TOFURKEY DOGS IF YOU'RE IN LABOR PEOPLE. Haha worst thing ever.

We came back to the room and continued to work through each contraction. I really wanted to labor as long as possible at home where I felt the most comfortable because my plan was to have an unmedicated hospital birth. But I was having such a hard time gaging when would be a good time to go to the hospital. I had another super intense contraction and threw up again. I told Adam we should call the midwife. We called the on call midwife Erica (which was one I had never previously met) and she asked a few questions. I hadn't previously had my cervix checked at any appointments so I literally had no idea where I might be at. She told us to run a warm bath and see if that would take the edge off. So that's exactly what we did and I HATED being in the bath. I had one contraction in there and immediately got out. I had the hardest time getting in the zone and getting comfortable in there I just couldn't do it. After that we worked through some more contractions and decided it was go time! (Oh I had thrown up again at this point and after I had I decided that I really wanted to go to the hospital). I was drinking tons of water and Gatorade to try and keep myself from getting dehydrated. 

4:40 am - Full Moon

I texted my birth photographer, doula, birth videographer and parents and let them all know it was go time and we were heading to the hospital. We checked off everything on our last minute list and drove to the hospital. Adam drove SO SLOW. You guys I was dying. He was looking both ways, stopping at every yield sign, stop sign, red light. WE WERE THE ONLY CAR ON THE ROAD. I think he was worried we were going in too soon. And I kind of was too so I didn't say anything. I had 5 contractions in the car. They were super uncomfortable. As we were getting on the free way exit I finally said, "Um hello can I get a little urgency here!!!! We need to get to the hospital!" He then 'stepped on it' and before I knew it we were pulling in. We parked the car and walked into the hospital where I had another contraction (again so funny, literally no urgency just casually parked far away it's fine). As we got up to labor and delivery I kept holding back tears. I couldn't believe we were finally going to meet our baby girl! I was so emotional. We checked in and I started crying. Haha, I told the nurse, "I'm not in pain, I'm just really emotional, I can't believe we're having a baby." And they were kind of chuckling. We got checked into the first room where they said they would check me and see where we were at. I was soooo scared to get checked. I didn't want to be disappointed at where I was at and have that slow my labor. But at the same time I was confident that I was progressing and quickly at that. I just kept telling myself to trust my body. After what seemed like an eternity someone came in and checked my cervix. I was a 5.5 almost a 6! I was STOKED. I got super emotional again and they said that they'd prepare a labor room for us. We had to do 25 minutes of monitoring before getting into our labor and delivery room everything looked great!

We finally got checked into our room, my doula showed up and it was go time! My parents showed up shortly after. I think it was about 6:50am. I was super in the zone and began quietly moaning through my contractions. It just felt right. It helped me get through them. We began on my birthing ball again and Liz (my doula) did counter pressure on my hips and Adam sat in front of me on a chair and stroked my arms, said the sweetest kindest things, and kept kissing my forehead. He kept telling me I was doing such a good job. It really kept me going. I felt so supported. Erica (midwife) told me that her shift was over and that Elizabeth would be delivering me. Elizabeth came in to check on everything and see how I was doing. She had such a calm demeanor about her it really boosted my confidence and put me at ease. I had only previously met her once. By this time I think I had labored on the ball for about an hour. She asked if I wanted to try out some different positions. I had thrown up again and felt sooo motion sickness. The nurse said it was very common for women who have motion sickness to feel nauseated during labor. Lucky me! Haha. At this time I didn't know it but I was actually in transition. We decided to change positions. I laid on my side and put a peanut ball in between my legs so one was propped up. At this time I had the nurse on staff, Liz and Elizabeth doing counter pressure on my contractions. The peanut ball made them much more intense. Elizabeth had informed me beforehand that the positioning of it would help my baby move down quickly and efficiently. So I knew I needed to do it. We made it through a few more contractions and I said, "I just felt her move down!" I could literally feel her moving downward it was the craziest feeling ever, like she had dropped 5 inches all the sudden. Adam held my hand on the side on the bed. 

'You need a doula...you're a 9!'

Liz was so amazing. I'm going to do a post just dedicated to her and why EVERYONE needs a doula for their birth because this post is already a gazillion miles long. But she kept me so comfortable, she kept me hydrated and reassured me through all of my choices that they were MY CHOICES and I needed to do what I wanted to do. She was so supportive. I honestly felt so loved. Elizabeth came back in the room after checking on another patient and suggested I get my cervix checked again. I was so eager to see where I was at at this point, it had seemed like an eternity since the last time I was checked. She checked after a contraction and I was a 9!!!!!!! I was soooo stoked. I was so close! I could do this! I was doing so good, my body knew exactly what to do. A couple super intense contractions went by and I began to feel pushy! Elizabeth checked me again and I was a 9.5. She said that my waters were bulging and said that it was creating a small lip on my cervix and said that she could break my water and baby would come super fast after that. I really wanted my labor to be 100% intervention free. I had made up my mind about that. So I told her I wanted to get through 3 more contractions and then I'd decide. 3 contractions went by and I was still super pushy. My water still hadn't broken. Everyone said to try and resist pushing and save up my energy for when my body was ready. Because I was super pushy on the last contraction (more-so than before) Elizabeth checked me again and I was a 10! It was all happening so fast. In my birth plan (which was 4 pages long- lolz and I actually didn't even have to pull it out) I said I wanted to do mother directed pushing and would ask for coaching when I felt the need.

It's Time To Push!

The time was finally here! I had labored through it all we was going to meet our baby girl!!!! They did intermittent monitoring on and off and baby was doing great! I was so calm too. I decided I wanted to push on my side so we moved the peanut ball and I help up one of my legs and Liz had the other one. The next contraction came through and I pushed 3 times! As hard as I could. I had so much support. Everyone said I was doing so good! I was breathing through my pushing and took it slow! I wanted to listen to my body. I didn't want to tear. I was so in-tune and in control of my body. It was so empowering. I only ended up pushing for 30 minutes total. Which is crazy!! It felt like an eternity I'm not going to lie. That was by far the most challenging part. My water still hadn't broken and they thought baby was going to be born inside the sack! I reached down on one of the contractions and felt the sack - it was the weirdest feeling! Elizabeth said that she'd only seen 2 other births like mine where you could actually see the babies head inside the sack. I pushed really hard again through another contraction and held it and GUSH! My water broke! They were all holding up towels and had masks on and everything haha it was such a relief when it broke. So much pressure was gone! A couple more pushes and they could see the babies head and her hair! They said, "Oh my goodness she has black hair!" I was still in shock that she was so close. Elizabeth finally said, "Okay Alexis, lets do a couple contractions where you hold you breath and get this baby out." I pushed through 2 more contractions and held my breath the 3 times I pushed. They said she was so close! Then Elizabeth said, "Okay Alexis, lets do 3 more pushes, that's all we need to meet your baby, 3 more little pushes and she'll be here. I'll tell you when and how long to push." My next contraction she coached me through it! She said "Push!, Stop!", "Push, Stop!", "Push! Stop!" and then I heard her say, Adam come here! And then let Adam pull her out and deliver her onto my chest!! It was literally unreal!!

Billie Stone Kaiser 

7 lbs 7 oz. 19 inches long

I began crying my eyes out! Our baby girl was in my arms and she was perfect! She was screaming! We waited until her cord stopped pulsing and then Adam cut the cord. I delivered my placenta shortly after that. I only had to get 2 stitches and Elizabeth said that she didn't even consider them first degree tears. I was so amazed! Billie screamed and screamed and screamed! I was so relieved to hear her little lungs working so well! We then got to do chest to chest for an hour. 
They were pushing on my uterus after trying to get it to go back down. And I was bleeding. A lot. A lot a lot. They decided to put me on Pitocin to try and stop the bleeding. I ended up having to take quite a few other oral medications because I was bleeding so badly. I felt so weak and I was really worried. We finally got my bleeding to slow by the morning and I was able to be discharged shortly after.
For those of you wondering what method we used for our unmedicated birth we used The Curtis Method hypnobirthing. It helped me soooo much throughout my entire labor and delivery and really gave me the confidence and knowledge I needed to birth our little Billie. I remember her saying in the class that her last birth she considered a pain free empowered birth. I didn't get it - like how could a birth be pain free? You're literally pushing out the biggest thing you ever have had to. But I can honestly say that my birth was 100% pain free and an amazing, empowering and grounding experience. Our bodies are AMAZING and are designed to do this! I knew my body was working, I knew there was a baby coming out of me, but I would never associate it as pain. Them pushing on my uterus after was painful. The way my girl parts feel now is painful. But giving birth unmedicated was not painful. I hope to inspire other women to educate themselves about child birth and learn all you can about your body before hand! It made such a huge difference in our experience. We have such a powerful outlook on birth in our little family now. I also used the American Fork Valley Midwifes and 100% recommend them! They are so supportive, knowledgable and amazing! I want to have all my babies with them.

We have now been with our baby Billie Stone for almost a month and we couldn't love her more! We are exclusively breast feeding and she's doing so great! What a miracle it is that our bodies can produce the most perfect food for our little babies on demand. I feel so grateful for such a quick and fast recovery and for the way I think about birth. We are so blessed!!

 

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