Saturday, April 29, 2017

Home Birth, Baby!

I started hearing from my client in the late morning as she took her older son on a walk around the block.  She was having contractions, but they were short and mild.  Being 6 days past her due date, we were definitely hoping it was early labor.  As the day progressed her contractions continued, but remained short- between 30 and 40 seconds.

Things intensified in the late afternoon, and I arrived at their home around 4:30 pm.  But then contractions spaced out again, so mom decided to take a nap and I headed home.  I was called back at 7:30 and arrived shortly before 8:00 pm.  When I arrived, I found mom and dad in the birth tub, listening to music and breathing through contractions.  Dad also provided some awesome counter pressure through each contraction.  With this being their 3rd baby, they were pros!  A great team that quickly found their rhythm together. 

 Their bedroom was decorated with birth affirmation cards and art work from their older children.   

When I first arrived, mom was still pretty perky and chatty in between contractions, but when the contractions came, I could tell things were intense.  At 8:30 there was a distinct change in her behavior as she stopped talking in between her contractions.  Several minutes later she told me she was "feeling weary" and needed encouragement.  From the outside, she didn't look like she was struggling at all.  But I know that all women start to feel this way as transition approaches, so I knew things were progressing very quickly.  

At 9:00 her water broke.  I went into the living room to inform the midwife.  I told the midwife I felt like things were changing quickly and this baby was coming soon.  And at 9:05 mom started feeling pressure. 

And at 9:07, her baby was born into the hands of her daddy!  The midwife barely had enough time to pull her gloves on and assist. 

Mom broke out into beautiful praise/prayer, thanking God that her baby had been born safely.

Welcome Adeline Grace!
Born at home on Friday, April 28th, 9:07 pm 
8 pounds 4.5 ounces

Adeline was so calm and alert.  She barely made any noise, but pinked up immediately.  Her skin was so soft and perfect.  She was just soaking in the world.

Mom got dried off and settled into bed, and at 9:57 Adeline latched right on and began vigorously nursing!  It caught mom a little off guard, but this baby knew what she wanted.  :)

I can't think of a better way to end my week.  What an amazing birth!

Friday, April 28, 2017

4 Hours of Pushing is Enough

After texting throughout the day on Wednesday, I was pretty convinced my client wasn't in early labor.  Boy was I wrong!  Her husband called me at 3:30 am on Thursday and told me contractions were consistent and gaining intensity.  By 5:00 am, I will with them at their home.  I found mom on the birth ball, in a dark room, listening to music and breathing through her contractions.  She was doing great! 

The plan was to labor at home as long as possible, but things seemed to be picking up fast, so we left for the birth center shortly before 6:00 am.

Baby sounded awesome all day.  No matter how hard labor got, his heart sounded like running horses every time. 

Mom was incredibly instinctive.  She often swayed, and changed positions frequently.   She would spend time in the tub, then get out and walk, then squat, then kneel.  Things would get intense and she would become very quiet, then they would ease up and she perk up and chat a bit.   She also had periods of energy and fatigue, and would usually lay down to rest every couple hours.  She labored beautifully for hours.  Very relaxed and focused.

Always by her side was her awesome husband, who offered tons of physical and emotional support.  As you can see from the pictures, these two are an amazing team.

Mom's water broke on its own while she was laboring on the birth stool. After several hours of almost having the urge to push, we all hoped this would be the event that got the ball rolling. 

Around 1:45 we were all confused as to why the birth wasn't moving along, so the midwife offered to do a cervical exam.  Without a contraction, her cervix was only 4 cm dilated, but would open up to 9 cm during the contractions.  Some nerves and emotions kicked in, as they often do, and mom decided to look at some of the cute baby clothes she packed to help her visualize her birth and find the strength she needed to keep going. 

Contractions continued to grow in intensity, but the urge to push was still absent, and mom was getting tired and a little discouraged.  She opted to use the nitrous for a while, and was able to rest and remain calm.  She was checked again at 3:30 and had just an anterior lip left on her cervix.  The midwife broke the bag of water a little more and suggest we spend some time on hands and knees to help get rid of the cervical lip. 

 We tried every position and every comfort measure to help this mom cope and this baby descend.  By 5:10 pm, it was time to really start pushing. 

She pushed on the birth stool...

She pushed in the water...

She pushed on her side.  She pushed in the bed.  She pushed standing up.   She pushed on the toiled.  She would have pushed on the roof if we had asked her to.  I really am in awe of her strength and endurance.  This woman is beyond tough.

 Baby was coming down, but it was happening slowly.  His heart rate started to slightly drop and the midwife began to worry that much more pushing would put the baby into distress.  Around 8:50 we began discussing transferring to the hospital for a vacuum delivery.  It was a hard decision to make, and not at all what anyone wanted to do, but this baby needed a little extra help getting here. 

I think we can all imagine how uncomfortable a drive to the hospital would be after almost 4 hours of pushing!  But with the help of a vacuum, this woman was finally able to get her baby out!  His head came out a little crooked and he was a little stressed, so he was quickly put in the care of the NICU team.

Welcome Mason
Born Thursday, April 27th, 9:48 pm
8 pounds 6 ounces

Baby needed some help with his breathing, but dad was able to spend some time talking to him and was able to head up to the NICU with his son.

Thankfully, mom was able to steal a quick snuggle before her baby was taken up to the NICU.  Separating mom and baby can be really difficult, and is never on anyone's birth plan.  Baby is improving quickly, so he must get his strength from his amazing mom who endured so many hours of labor and pushing to get him here. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Living Water

As I drove to teach my Music Birth class on Tuesday evening,  I wondered if I would even be able to get through the material or if I would be called in to a birth.  My client's water broke around 5:00 in the morning, and contractions had become more consistent as the day went on.  I spoke with her husband at 5:30 pm, and he said they were doing pretty well, so I decided to hold class.

I set the goal of finishing class 30 minutes early, and thankfully I did because my clients arrived at the birth center at 8:00 pm.  I quickly touched base with them, finished up class, then ran upstairs to support them.  Things were already intense as contractions were coming every 4 minutes, but mom was coping wonderfully.  She was being supported by her husband, mother, twin sister and younger sister.  Her music was going and she was enjoying the relief the tub offered.

After a couple hours in the tub, mom came out to try some new positions.  She read through my affirmation cards and chose a few she wanted to focus on as the night progressed.  She chose one of my favorites: "I CAN do this, I AM doing this."  Such a great reminder to laboring moms.  They ARE doing it!

Some nerves kicked in around 10:30 pm, which is very normal.  She remained calm and optimistic though.  She went to her "happy place" by listening to some Disney music, while she and I discussed how much we love Disney and want to take our kids there!  :) 

Throughout the entire labor, this mom was quietly supported by her family.  She was also incredibly instinctual, listened to her body and moved in ways that naturally help labor progress and baby descend.  Her calmness really allowed her to utilize her maternal/animal instincts.

Her husband was an amazing support and made sure she was always fed, hydrated and comfortable.  He never left her side and he never checked out.  He also never freaked out, which is impressive and really helpful!  (Especially as things dragged on.  Husbands usually get nervous!)  As they were holding hands I noticed his tattoo which says "Yours only".  It was so appropriate for the moment.  All night I could feel and witness the incredible love he had for his wife and baby, and it was moving.  

Contractions kept coming for hours and I kept thinking she would be pushing any minute now.  But the urge to push just wasn't kicking in and labor seemed to plateau.  At 2;30 am, my client decided to have the midwife check her and see where she was.  She was 8 cm and baby was at 0 station.  We still had some progress to make, so we tried everything.  Walking the stairs, squatting, hands and knees, every position we could think of really!  But nothing could get us out of our plateau.  Mom wanted to try the nitrous, but there was a mom across the hall using it already.  She was pushing, so we were anxious to hear that baby cry, because that meant we could have the nitrous, lol! 

At 5:00 am, mom asked her husband to pray for her.  I then noticed her tattoo with the scripture from John about living water.  I loved the parallel since this woman was also, herself, literal living water for her child.  She listened to some Christian music that helped her find the strength and faith she needed.  The nitrous arrived which also helped give mom some extra relaxation. (If you're looking for some great Christian music to add to your birth playlist, I highly recommend Lauren Daigle.  I'm a total fan now and love getting new music ideas from my clients!  Here's my favorite song I heard yesterday, titled "Dry Bones")

Mom was checked again around 6:15 am.  She was 9 cm with just an anterior lip.  The midwife was able to push the rest of the cervix away, and we all hoped this meant delivery would be soon.  The urge to push still wasn't strong, so we did the rotation of walking, stairs, squatting etc. all over again.  But at 7:30 that darn cervical lip was back.  The birds starting chirping and sun came up, and new energy filled the room as we were all determined to do whatever it took to get baby here.

 Around 9:00 as mom was laboring on the toilet (doesn't sound glamorous, but can do wonders to help the body relax and the baby descend) the urge to push became much more strong.    Mom got back into the tub to continue pushing and dad followed!  Just look at the way he is looking at her.  Melt. My. Heart.

They gave it a good effort in the tub, and even tried a "tug-of-war" position to help strengthen her pushing.  But it just wasn't getting the baby lower. 

Out of the tub again and trying something else: rebozo shifting.  It helps baby get into position while also supporting the weight of the baby for mom, and hopefully easing the discomfort she is experiencing.  

At 11:50 the midwife came back in and it was go time.  Mom was giving it her all (after giving it her all for the entire night!).

Emotions were running high, and this sweet family had me tearing up before the baby was even born.  So much love for each other.

 Most moms don't plan on delivering on their back, but when nothing else works, this is the position that will. 

With the help of her husband holding one leg, and her twin sister holding the other, this mama dug as deep as she could and found the final strength she needed.

Welcome Freya!
Born Wednesday, April 19th at 1:30 pm
Weighing 7 pounds 7 ounces

What an amazing birth and amazing woman who showed incredible faith, strength, and endurance!