Thursday, April 23, 2015

Let's Play Ping Pong

Last night I was teaching a class at the birth center to our moms set to deliver this summer.  I was enjoying getting to know them when my phone starting buzzing.  A lot.  It was my doula partner, letting me know that we had two women in early labor, and I was going to be needed tonight!  I wrapped things up, inhaled my dinner, and ran home to change my clothes and grab my supplies.

I got a call around 10 pm from my client, saying her contractions were coming every 3 minutes!  But she was talking through them, and I really couldn't tell if she was in early labor or active labor.  She was coping so well, I assumed she wouldn't need me for hours.  But literally the second I climbed into bed I got a call saying they were heading to the birth center.  I jumped in my car and met them there around 11:30.

Mom was dilated 4 cm.  So she still had a ways to go.  She found solace in the tub and loved having cool water on her face, neck, and back.  She enjoyed listening to piano music, and would ask me to "crank it" so she could hear it over the jets of the tub. She kept pumping out contractions like crazy, and we all started to assume that this birth was going to go fast!

Meanwhile, across the hall, another woman was also progressing quickly....

At 1:00 am mom asked for nitrous, and thus began one of the most entertaining births I've ever attended.  I'm really starting to believe that God gave us nitrous for the sole purpose of assisting laboring moms.  It takes off just enough of the pain, elevates mom's mood, aids in relaxation, and dulls nerves.  All without affecting the baby, at all.  Well, it really seemed to elevate my client's mood.  During contractions she would tell us how horrible it was and how she never wanted to do this again.  Then in between contractions she would tell us how easy it was, lol!   My favorite quote of the night was "This is nothing.  Seriously.  NOTHING."  (If only you could hear her inflection through my writing!  Hysterical.)

At 1:45 am, mom started feeling small urges to push, and was dilated to 8 cm.  Record speed for a first time mom!  When we first arrived at the birth center she asked me to tell her about my first birth, and I told her how once I got to 8 cm I felt so invigorated and knew I could do it!  She remembered, and became invigorated herself.  She was almost there.

Across the hall pushing was taking place, and it was looking like these two moms might deliver at the same time.  Around 2:10 am we heard a newborn crying, and my client was so excited for her friend who had just given birth.  She started shouting across the hall "Go G! Congratulations!  Wooh!"  There was so much excitement and energy in the air.  It was such a cool experience.

At 2:19 my client's water broke, and the urge to push intensified quickly.  Charlotte, the midwife, was still in the other room finishing things up with mom number one, and my role was to help my client not deliver until the midwife was available again.  My client followed instructions beautifully, and was able to breath through her contractions for quite some time.  But after so long, I knew we were close, (and I didn't want to deliver the baby!), so I ran over and told Charlotte she was needed, asap!

At 2:43 am, April 23rd, 2015, this chunky girl slipped into the world.
Welcome baby Harper!  8 lbs 8 oz
She had the longest hair, the loudest cry, and the cutest cheeks! 

This mom was definitely a little high from the nitrous, but this picture shows the best high of all.  The thrill and overwhelming joy of holding your child for the first time.

Then there was a knock on the door.  It was my doula partner, telling us that mom #1 was ready to deliver her placenta.  So off Charlotte went to deliver that placenta, then was back in our room several minutes later to assist my client as she delivered her's.  It was quite the game of midwifery ping pong!  But in the end, everything worked out perfectly time-wise.

This dad was totally enamored with his daughter.  
One of my favorite things to witness.

Look at those adorable feet!  

This little girl did not like being separated from her mom, and cried every time someone else held her.  Even if it was just for a second. Once mom was all settled into bed, baby Harper quickly latched on perfectly and enjoyed her first meal.  After nursing for a while, this family was ready for a nap.  When I left they were all snuggled in bed together and almost asleep.  
(Hopefully they actually got some rest!)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Broken Water

I received a call around 1:30 pm on Friday, April 17th, alerting me that my client's water had broken!  She was excited and eager, but not in labor.  At all.  In the past when this has happened to my clients, they have obediently gone to the hospital shortly after, and been given pitocin if they hadn't gone into labor within several hours of the water breaking.  This puts alot of pressure on birthing moms, and almost all of my clients in this situation received pitocin.  This hospital policy sends out a message that labor should begin the second the membranes rupture, and that if it doesn't, they certainly are incapable of going in to labor and having a natural birth.

However, as long as both mom and baby are doing well, there is no need to administer pitocin or rush the naturally occurring progression and initiation of labor.  My latest clients chose out of hospital birth, and were able to continue on with their lives (as normally as possible) until labor kicked in all on its own.  I woke up in a panic on Saturday morning, assuming that I had certainly slept through the call to join them!  But no, mom was still not contracting regularly, and enjoyed a decent night's sleep herself.  As the day went on though, it was clear to see that labor was starting and progressing.  After lots of texting, I was asked to join this cute couple around 7:45 pm, Saturday evening.  

Mom's contractions were coming about every 2 1/2 minutes!  She was focused and relaxed, but I could tell that we would not be spending much time at home.  By 8:45 we were heading to Boise Women's Health and Birth Center.  

Coping with a contraction on her way to the car.

Leaving the house for the last time pregnant!

At 9:15 pm, mom was dilated to almost 6 cm and was 90% effaced.  We were on the downhill slide, and everyone kept wondering if this baby would arrive before midnight, making her arrive on her due date, or after midnight, making her arrive on her grandma's birthday.  I knew it would be a close call either way.  Mom's contractions continued to become more intense, and she spent most of her time laboring in the tub, except for a short break to lay down in the bed.  

Transition and its usual nerves arrived around 10:45 pm.  Most moms begin to doubt themselves as the final intensity of labor approaches.  I know this is a good emotional marker of progress, and I knew this mom was about to prove herself wrong, and have an amazing delivery.  She opted for some nitrous oxide, and it was just what she needed to help her with her final few contractions, as well as help keep nerves at bay.

She started to feel minor urges to push around 11:30 pm, and was full-on pushing by 11:45.  Midnight crept closer and closer, and we were all anxiously waiting to see which day this little one would be born.  This little girl was playing a game of peek-a-boo with us, and kept sliding back into the birth canal.  Something her mother was not a fan of!  :)  Turns out, her little arm was up next to her face, adding an additional challenge to pushing.

But at 12:14 am, April 19th, this little beauty, Nora, slipped into the world.  
She turned pink right away, and just stared at her beautiful mother.  She was SO calm, and one of the prettiest newborns I have ever seen.  

Meeting daddy and Auntie Echo.  

The calmest newborn. Ever.  I hope she stays that way!

I walked over to assist mom and baby with their first feed, and Nora knew exactly what to do.  I was totally not needed, which is one of the best things for a doula to experience.  I love being able to watch birth unfold the way it was designed to.