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.
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!