Peaceful Birth

Kelly and Justin are a very kind and gentle couple. They work well as a team and complement each other very well. When I first met Kelly, our meeting was very comfortable and she was very clear on how she wanted her birth to go. It was after all her second child so, she had something to go by from the first experience. Her first was induced with pitocin and very rushed. Rushed to the point that she didn't quite know what was going on, especially after the birth. I knew we could make that different for her this time. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Kelly told me she wanted me to be her doula.

By the time Kelly's due date came around, I had 3 clients due in the same month, something I never do, but 1 of them was due at the end November, so it was highly unlikely they would overlap. Well, it turned Saturday evening I get a call from my client due at the end of November saying that she thinks she is in labor! No way! It was now 3 days past Kelly's due date and she was going to try castor oil on the next day. I thought I'd give her a call to let her know, "I may be going to a birth tonight, so don't try the castor oil until I get back." She wasn't having any signs of labor except for the diarrhea all week, but that didn't mean the baby was coming today. I thought we'd be ok, I got in the shower to prepare for the birth I might be going to and Kelly called while I was in the shower. When she went to hang up the phone from me, at 8:50 her water broke! Oh my goodness, what are the chances.

Since Kelly's labor was definitely happening and we still didn't know about the other, there really wasn't a choice involved. Kelly's birth was where I was going to be. I told her to let me know when contractions start, to stay hydrated and keep the bladder empty. Her contractions started at about 9:20. They were coming on pretty quickly and starting in the back and wrapping around. At first she could lay down, but that soon became very uncomfortable. I suggested that Kelly and Justin go on a walk, and that turned out to be very nice for them. It was a very nice night out. The contractions were still coming on pretty fast and pretty intense in her low back. It was about 10:50 and her contractions were 5 minutes apart and there was a little bleeding. We were all thinking her labor was going to go fast because her first son was a 10 hour labor. It just goes to show, don't ever expect something in labor, no two are alike, just like no two children are alike. Anyway, Kelly and Justin were ready for me to come over by about midnight, but when I was on my way, they changed their mind that they wanted to meet at the hospital. I thought that would be fine since her first labor was so fast and she had been 5 minutes apart for over an hour.

We arrived at the hospital along with Kelly's mom. The nurse wasn't the greatest, but she followed Kelly's wishes and wasn't in the room for longer then necessary. Kelly's friend, Laura arrived shortly after we did and was a great presence for the birth as well. Her whole team was very calm and supportive of Kelly, it was very nice.

There was a slight drop in the baby's heart rate so her doctor said that she could not be off the monitor. It was so uncomfortable for Kelly to lay or sit down that she was just able to stand in one spot or go on her hands and knees. I did take the monitor off for her to go to the bathroom and to take a brief shower, but being in a standing or hands and knees only made it very difficult for her to relax. She even said, she just couldn't relax her bum. We tried counter pressure and hot packs, one leg up in a deep lunge and pelvic lifting for her back none of that helped. We really needed to walk around. Kelly decided she thought she wanted to get an epidural, but if she was close she would continue how she was going. The contractions were very close together, they were going away completely in between, but they were a couple minutes apart. So at 1:50 she had the nurse check her and she was still 4-5 cm. She was at 4 when we arrived. That was a decision maker for her, she got the epidural at 2:06.

The epidural didn't work, so the anesthesiologist had to take it out and re-insert it. That was a tiny better, she could feel a little more then her toes tingling this time, so instead he put a medication in her IV. We were not told what it was, but it made her whole body numb. Her lips were even numb. It was supposed to last for about an hour and a half. Kelly's blood pressure even dropped to something like 80/40. Her mom sat herself right where she could see the baby and Kelly's heart rate on the monitor while Kelly rested. Laura and I rested on the couch and Justin, I don't know if he rested or he just watched Kelly and was ready for if she needed something. I would hear conversations while I rested and would check on Kelly from time to time, but I ended up getting about an hours worth of sleep. Kelly's contractions slowed way down to 6 minutes apart with the new medication, but as it wore off, it speed up again.

Finally, it was time to push in the early morning. The shift changed at 7 am and we got a nurse that was very sweet and silly. She was also very calm, a perfect new presence for the final part of the birth of Kelly and Justin's little boy. It was just the epidural, so Kelly was feeling all of her contractions, just not the urdge to push. She was able to push when she wanted with them and not really coached at all. She was also able to rest when she wanted. The nurse was very quiet and never yelled, (cheered) her on loudly. She was very encouraging but in a very calming way. Through our conversation I figured out it was better to tell her to pull when she pushed because when we said push she would push with her feet instead of pull her legs back. Once we started telling her to pull, Dashiel was out in no time.

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When Dashiel arrived, his cord wrapped around his neck 3 times. The doctor, Dr. Henderson was very gentle and calm while he slowly and carefully unwrapped it then he put Dashiel on Kelly's tummy. He let Justin cut the cord and the nurses left Dash to bond with Kelly. His apgar's were 8 and 8. But he wasn't breathing great so, they told her to stimulate him more. I told her to rub his head and that should get a cry out. It worked and Dash got to stay on his mommy's tummy. He started to nurse in the first half hour, he was also very good at it. Through the entire labor and birth, it was a very calm and peaceful environment. Dash came out very quiet and calm as well. It was much slower this time around and Kelly knew what was going on the entire time. It was beautiful.

Dashiel was born at 8:20 am weighting 9 lbs, 1 oz.

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Hands Off Birth

Alan and Amanda wanted a natural birth, but were a bit worried it might be too hard. Amanda had a previous back surgery with fused bones as a result, so an epidural was not exactly an option. It might have been possible, but it was a huge fear. Aside from that Amanda went in with some fears about labor and concerns about a narcotic. Needless to say our goal was to help her to have a natural birth. We had talked a lot about how we were going to achieve that and all kinds of different comfort measures. We had lots of preparation of what to expect as well.

Amanda's due date was October 27, however from our very 1st conversation, we both were thinking her pregnancy was going to go into November. At her prenatal appointment at 38 weeks, Amanda had her doctor, Dr. Gonzales strip her membranes. Being that the baby just wasn't ready to be born, it did nothing. So her due date rolls around and then Halloween arrives and she tells me, "It's official, I'm going to be pregnant forever!"

The evening of November 2nd, Amanda decides to take a castor oil mixed with some pineapple juice and coconut milk. At 10:15 she went to the bathroom and felt her water break. I got a call at 10:31 telling me that her water broke. I asked the normal questions, "Is it clear? Is there an odor? Is she experiencing any contractions?" I also told her to lay on her side for 20 minutes and let me know when contractions start and how it is going, I wanted to get a little rest before I needed to go over to their house. I also told Alan to try to get some rest if he can since Amanda wasn't having contractions yet.

11:06, Amanda had her first contraction. They started at about 4 minutes apart and quickly went to 3-2 minutes apart. I got another call at 11:45 asking me to come over. I arrived at 12:01 and Alan was loading the car for the hospital while Amanda was on her bed in her relaxation position timing contractions. She wasn't fully relaxing with them, so I got her to breath and relax right when the contraction started. They were coming 3-2 minutes apart. I had her drink and go to the bathroom. It was at this time that I found out about the castor oil. After that, Amanda felt that she really wanted to know where she was at in labor and we should go to the hospital. So we left for the hospital at 12:49, just 48 minutes after I got there. The hospital was a bit of a drive and we arrived at 1:30, the nurse checked her at 2:00 very quickly between contractions and she was at 6 cm. Perfect! That's right when we like to get to the hospital. The hospital was pretty busy, so we were not assigned a nurse yet and we had the charge nurse trying to get all Amanda's info in between contractions while another nurse was trying to get the hep-loc in place. They managed all that in about another 45 minutes and Amanda's contractions were getting really intense. Amanda had started asking for something to take the edge off and Alan and I reminded her that we were going to try to get through 3 contractions. She kept telling us no and was by this time screaming with contractions.

We don't know whether it was the screaming or not, but the baby's heart rate would drop dramatically with the contractions. When she first got hooked up to the monitors, his heart rate was dropping a little, but nothing of too much concern. But because the dips were in the 80 bpm range, Amanda was not able to have a narcotic. It just wouldn't be safe for the baby. We told her that and actively worked very hard to keep her focused and breathing through contractions. It was at 2:45 when the nurse checked Amanda again and she was at 7 cm, just 45 minutes later. After that she left the room. At this time, I had an Alan hold a hot pack on Amanda's back while I had her looking at me for the contractions and breathing. I was able to get her to breath for the first breath of the contraction, then she would have about 4 long loud screams, then I could get her to breath again by having her looking in my eyes and telling her how her little boy was doing. Here contractions were not completely going away and she didn't want Alan's hands anywhere on her until he made his way to her feet. It was perfect, he so calmly tried different things until he found something that worked. So he got some lotion and rubbed her feet the rest of the time.

At one point, Alan points out to me that she is having a lot of bleeding, I looked and it was definitely enough to know she was either complete or almost. I had him get the nurse and Amanda wasn't involuntarily pushing so she left again. Then, Amanda yells, "My vagina is burning!" So I told Alan once again to get the nurse. Remember I said it was 2:45 when she checked her at 7 cm? Well, it was just after 3 am at this point. So the nurse comes in and she can see the baby's head. She has another nurse call the doctor and asks Alan to clean a little of their stuff to make more room in there and the baby's head starts to crown. About a minute later, I tell Alan, he better get over here and see this. He does, snaps one picture with my phone because we all forgot our cameras, his was in the car and mine at home. Next contraction, the nurse puts her hands there and gently guides the baby out. Carter was born! It is now 3:20 am. Yep, just 35 minutes after she was 7 cm. Crazy. No doctor.

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When Carter was born, Amanda asks if they are going to clamp the cord, the nurse says, "No, you didn't want us too." They move Carter to Amanda's tummy and tell her not to pull to hard because he was still attached. Amanda held her baby till the doctor arrived, and started her stitches. At that point she passed him onto Alan who talked to Carter for the next 40 minutes until Amanda was ready to hold him again.

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Carter's temp was a little low, so the nurse said to uses skin to skin on mommy now. Amanda got him on her breast immediately and Carter pooped twice on her while nursing. We cleaned up the poop most of the way, he switched sides and pee'd on her while nursing some more.

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About 2 hours later, I left and nobody had held that little baby except for his parents. The nurse barley touched him except for guiding him out at birth. It was the most hands off birth I have ever seen. I don't know what time the nurse finally did come in to weight him. I'm still waiting on that information from Amanda, but I was so impressed with that staff and how they completely saw the importance of initial bonding. I'm guessing he was in the 7 lb range.

After the shock of how fast everything went, Amanda was so happy she didn't have any pain meds. Carter was born so alert and content. It was amazing, he let out a little sound and then the rest of the time just looked around. He never really cried.

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Just got an update as I was going to save this, Carter was 7 lbs, 5 oz and 20.5 inches long.