Endurance

Some births are short and intense and others are long and slow. Some people have great endurace and others are sprinters. God will only give us what we can handle. This is a story of a mom who had incredible endurance and an amazing ability to relax through her contractions.

I met Tiffany and David a couple months before the birth. When I first talked with her, she told me how her sister had a natural birth with a doula and loved it, after hearing that, she also wanted to have a good positive experience for her birth. Tiffany was very cautious with all her decisions from the beginning. But, over all, she seemed very relaxed and comfortable with the upcoming birth of their child. David was just completely on board with what ever Tiffany wanted. Going into it, I had a feeling it was going to be a pretty good birth. They supported each other and had a lot of family support as well.

Tiffany went in for an appointment Tuesday morning, the day before her due date. Her doctor did a rather rough exam to feel around the baby’s head. After the exam, she noticed some leaking. The exam showed she was 2 cm and 80%, but that her water bulging below the baby’s head. Tiffany wasn’t sure if her water broke, but she called me around 1 pm Tuesday with some consistent cramping. I had told her that it is normal after an exam to have the cramping, especially an exam like that. If it just continues to progress it is probably the start of labor, if it stops, it is not labor. Throughout the day, the cramping kept up and turned more into tightness then just cramping. She asked if I could come over and see what was going on around 5, I arrived just before 5:30.

At home, Tiffany was pretty comfortable. It seemed pretty early in labor, but I thought we would take a walk to see what would happen with it. Her surges were much more frequent with the walking, but she was able to walk right through them. After our walk, we ate some dinner and rested for a bit where the surges started to get stronger. She would start to fight them, so I tried to keep her focused and not fighting the contractions. At first I thought I might go home and come back, but things started picking up. We ended up taking about 3 walks, Tiffany’s surges got more intense, so Tiffany and David had a shower. I was thinking after the shower that she labor would have been further along, but she got out all refreshed and said the shower felt great. At this point I was back to thinking I might be going home. But, Tiffany got down stairs, rested and it got much more intense again. Now, I am definitely not going home. Yay! It’s baby time.

About 11 pm, Tiffany starts to throw up. David and Tiffany decide it is time to go to the hospital so we left and arrived at 11:30. About midnight, the wonderful nurse, Lisa checks Tiffany and she is 3-4 cm, +2 station. I was so bummed for her, she had been working so hard and it is so difficult for a mom to bring her mind to where her cervix is, if she thought she was further along. But, Tiffany didn’t seem to mind at all. She was so patient and calm. She just went with it and started walking after the monitor. Through the night we walked, her and David showered and Tiffany was monitored. Lisa was very relaxed with the monitoring; Tiffany was put on maybe every hour, not even 40 minutes. Lisa also never gave Tiffany a saline loc. It was wonderful to have such a supportive nurse who was respectful of Tiffany and David’s wishes. Through the night the surges ranged from 2 minutes to 6 minutes apart.

Early on, Tiffany was fighting the surges, she would try to wiggle through them, finally in the night she settled into her groove and relaxed through them. Once she did that, she had an amazing ability to relax through them and in-between. When Tiffany did get on the monitor, her contractions would slow to about 6 minutes and we tried to let her just sleep as much as she could. All night and into the next morning, it just seemed like labor wasn’t progressing. Her hormonal symptoms were there with the throwing up every hour, but there was no bleeding to indicate dilation, there was no shaking, not change in demeanor, the back labor wasn’t moving down her back. We tried all the positions to get baby to turn and move down, but still not dilation, so it seemed.

The daytime nurse was just as great about respecting Tiffany and David’s wishes for a natural birth with no interventions. After all this time, it had been all night now, the nurse, Michelle wanted to check to see how things were going. She had talked to me first about it and we both agreed that it just didn’t seem like much dilation was happening. Just before noon she was checked and found to be 4 cm. Still, Tiffany didn’t seem to get discouraged. She just kept on going and doing what we said to do. The nurse mentioned to her about breaking her water. Tiffany, David and I discussed it, what it could possibly do for her (there are no guarantees) and what the down side was. They made the decision to go for it.

At 12:10, Dr. Gray broke her water and instead of it being an uncomfortable procedure, it was such a relief to Tiffany. She had so much water, no wonder the baby’s head wasn’t near the cervix. So, we went back to walking, shower and monitor. This time I only let her back in the bed once for the monitor, the other times she had to stand. It finally seemed like the cervix was changing.

I stepped out for the restroom and on my way back, Michelle stopped me in the hall. She wanted to see if there was any progress now that her water broke. I was curious and knew that we did need to know if this was working, because if not we had to figure out a new plan. So, she asked if we can approach Tiffany about this.

At 2:45, just 2 hours and 45 minutes later, Michelle checked Tiffany. She was very slow about her check, didn’t say anything till she was all done. Then Michelle put her hands together and with a slow sigh and a sad look on her face says, “Well… I have some good news for you.” Oh my goodness! I about jumped out of my skin and yelled something like, “What is it?!” or “Tell us!” Michelle says, you are 8 cm. Praise God!!! I had to keep from crying, I was so happy for her. After laboring for 19 hours and dilating 1 cm, she dilated 4 cm in 2 hrs and 45 minutes.

So we went back to our routine, walking around the room and the shower. Tiffany’s throwing up had subsided; she had some coconut water and naked juice. The coconut water really helped her feel more energy. During contractions, David would hold her up while I would do back pressure and have her just hang on him. David would remind her to breath deep almost every time. He really just stepped up and helped her so naturally. They were a perfect pair. Tiffany was amazing, her coping didn’t change at all, she just kept right on dealing with the contractions how she was all night. Every once and a while, she would fight it, but as soon as I reminded her not to and David told her to breath, she would sink down on him and relax.

At 6:28, just under 6 ½ hrs after her water broke, Dexton Johnathan was born. He was 7 lbs, 13 ozs. (Maybe) There was a little problem with weighting him. The doctor said something about the baby being a boy, so I said, “We didn’t see yet, David, can you check for us?” So, David got to tell Tiffany that they had a little boy. A cute one too.