How Birth Has Changed Since 1985

My own birth story was recorded in my mother's journal on April 29, 1985 by my incredible mother!  I remember hearing about my birth, and how long my mom labored, and how the doctors almost broke my clavicle because I was stuck.  There are so many take aways we can glean from looking to the past.  The most poignant being that medicine evolves and birth workers have evolved over the years.  A birth made mindful can also evolve as you decide your birth preferences, and what steps you want to take when the twists and turns of labor occur.  Enjoy this account of founder Sarah's birth, accounted by Elizabeth Crowther.  

Our second baby was born yesterday, April 28, 1985 at 1:11 pm.  Sarah Elizabeth Crowther weighed 8 pounds 12 oz and was 21 inches long and boy did I feel every ounce, pound and inch of her as she was being born.

My contractions started on Thursday the 25th, very light ones and I lost my mucus plug.  So I thought that if my labor was the same as when I had Christina, I would have the baby on Friday.  Little did I know, this birth experience was nothing like the first.

On Thursday, Christina and I did some shopping together and went to the park etc.  After Scott came home from work we all went to dinner.  Kentucky Fried Chicken sounded best to all of us. I was still feeling just mild contractions and they came very sporadically.  That night after dinner we went to a men’s clothes sale and bought some wonderful dress slacks, ties and shirts for Scott.  He had needed some nice clothes for a long time.   That night I went to bed thinking I would wake up with contraction discomfort but, NO, I slept through the night.  Scott stayed home from work on Friday so he could be with me while I was having the baby but the day turned out to be like Thursday… mild contractions that came whenever they wanted.  I sewed something while Scott played with Christina.  It was nice to have Scott home with me.  That night we did some fun shopping, bought an inflatable baby bath tub and birthday gifts for Christina.  Again, I had somewhat of a good nights sleep and now it was Saturday - No Baby.

Scott helped the Pollocks, our friends, move into an apartment.  They are building a new house in Torrance (near {Palos Verdes!)  All morning while Christina and I cleaned the house, constructions were still coming but not regularly.  At 12:30 pm we went on a picnic with Terry & Lee Daniels and their children Jordan and Kristen up to friendship park.  It was fun to be outside on such a beautiful April day.  The sun was hot and we all got a little tan.  At 2:30 the men had a baseball game at Harbor College so as we (Christina and I) sat there I decided to time my contractions and they were coming every 10 to 12 minutes apart - regularly through the entire game.  I had already packed my suitcase for the hospital so Scott and I were all ready to have this baby!  At the baseball game Dave Dorf asked if we wanted to come to their house for a barbecue.  Scott, of course, said Yes.  Now we were doing that at 6:00.  I was already pretty tired from the days activities and I should have gone home to take a little nap but instead we watched MASH instead and I tried to time my contractions.

The barbecue was fun and I even had some strong contractions which were quite regular so we asked the Daniels, who were also at the barbecue, if they wanted to tend Christina.  We took a drive home to pack Christina’s things handed off our 22 month old to our friends and drove to Kaiser Hospital in Harbor City.  They admitted me at 9:30 pm.  I was dilated to 4 centimeters.  The nurses tried to take me into going back home until I was further along but then another nurse came in looked at me.  She said, “why don’t you just stay and have a baby.”

Again, I recollected that after my experience with Christina, being in the hospital about 5 hours before I delivered her, I thought number two would be the same or a lot faster.  I predicted we would have this baby about 1:30 or 2:00 am.

I was having regular contractions for the next hour and had progressed to 5 centimeters.  then my contractions slowed, then stopped.  The doctor prescribed pitocin to get my labor progressing.  What a joy!  Pitocin is not fun.  As they turned up the dosage, I could feel the increase in PAIN!  That went on for some time, all that night, these painful contractions.

One of the problems that I saw was that the nurses and doctors would not break my bag of waters (amniotic sac).  They said that if they did this at this point with the baby being do far into the birth canal the gushing of the amniotic fluid could cause complications.  OK, I understood but I was running out of steam and I had heard that breaking the sac could actually speed things up.  What I did not want was an emergency C-section so I labored.  Things progressed, slowly.  3 doctors came in and saw me.  I am guessing their shift began and then was over.  Around 10 in the morning I measured at 8 centimeters.  Poor Scott was very tired too and I gave him a hard time when he went to his bed/chair and was sleeping. My contractions were definitely more intense.  The good thing is that the baby’s heart was strong.  She never showed signs of fetal distress.

At around 1:00 in the afternoon the telephone in the birthing room rang. Scott answered it.  It was Lee Daniels asking about things.  I could hear Scott say, “ can’t talk now, Lee my wife is at the point where the babies head is crowning.”  Finally, the doctor said it was ok to push.  I do know how very tired I was but adrenaline kicked in and with three big pushes her head was delivered.  She was not totally born in the amniotic sac but almost.  I believe between 12 and one the sac had a little bit of water trickling out.  Now was the problem.  Sarah’s shoulders were broad and she was not just slipping out.  Scott was down by the baby to possibly cut the umbilical cord and he sees the doctor pulling on her and her little neck stretching as much as possible.  He said there was talk of breaking the baby’s clavicle bone.  Then the doctor stuck two fingers down by her shoulders.  He rolled her shoulder forward and Wha La, she came out!  Her color was bluish gray, she was not crying.  They used the sucky ball to get mucus out of her mouth.  The doctor turned her over and spanked her.  Still not crying.  He then picked her up by her heals, holding her upside-down and with two more spanks to her tush, she started to wail and then sort of whimpered.  The nurse wrapped her up and handed her off to me.

Birth story submitted by Elizabeth Crowther -  
Elizabeth Crowther is the mother of Made Mindful founders Christina and Sarah, and the mother in law of Carly.  She is the mother of 5 children, and has a a Degree in family and child development from Utah State University which greatly influenced how she taught and raised her children.

Sarah Ziroll

Sarah Ziroll