fast labor

Every Birth is Different

Sarah had her first baby almost 4 years ago at 40 weeks + 2 days, after 68 hours of very slow labor. Yes, active phase of labor was really that long. In fact, she went to the hospital and was check 5 centimeters, went home and came back the next day at about 6 cm! That was her first birth and this is her second:

Friday night, almost midnight on 5-23-14, Sarah’s water broke with no contractions. This time she was a little more then a week early. She decided to take a bath at that time to wait and see how things go. Her baby had already been very low and she had been doing Cross Fit her entire labor. I had told her that it can take a couple hours for contractions to start. By 4:15 am, contractions were 10-15 minutes apart and lasting about 30-45 seconds. Sarah had gotten some rest in-between contractions and was letting her husband rest. She actually felt like being along, which is really normal at this point in labor.

An hour later, I got an update that her contractions were the same, she got another hour of rest and was eating and trying to relax. Sarah did such an amazing job of following her instincts and knowing what her body needed. At this time of night and early morning, it was better to relax incase labor was really long like last. If labor was going to go fast, resting was still a good idea. We texted back and forth about drinking enough water and going to the bathroom.

Within a couple hours Sarah was in a pattern of having some big long contractions with little ones in between. She was having some blood when going to the bathroom and she was going to the bathroom a lot. Labor sounded perfect to me. I was just waiting for her to be ready for some help. I don’t like to suggest I go over too soon, so I leave it up to the mom.

At 9:15, I checked in with Sarah. I wanted to let her know I was going to the store so she knew how far I was from her. She had told me things were still the same and she was sleeping between contractions. Her ability to relax during labor was amazing, I had remembered this from last time. I had mentioned if things did change in an hour or so to try nipple stimulation. I didn’t want her to go to long after her water broke without being in active labor. From text, I couldn’t quite tell where she was in labor.

A little while later, Sarah had a 90 minute contraction. I asked how she was doing and she said “Good”. I was surprised, it seemed like it should be getting intense, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, maybe it would be like last time. She was packing and picking up between contractions. But, she did say they were way stronger this time then with Harper, her first baby. By 11:30, contractions were still consistent and, “Maybe a little more frequent.” But again, she said she was going good and had a snack. I told her I was going to take a nap. I wanted to get some rest in because my guess was I could be joining her any minute and we didn’t know how long this would last. About a ½ hour later, Sarah texted that she had a few 3 minutes or longer contractions that were 1-2 minutes apart. This time, I just said, “Are you ready for me?” To which she replied, “Yes!”

I arrived at 12:30 and just one look at Sarah told me she was in transition! (I couldn’t be 100% sure, but I was as sure as a doula could be.) I told her she looked great. I was so happy to see that. This was a little over 12 hours after her water broke! She had her first contraction with me and I did the hip squeeze. No complaints with that, yep, transition! Then we sat down on an ottoman and I had her hang while Rick squeezed her hips. Sarah’s contractions were long and strong. She couldn’t relax all the way through and broke down a little about how hard it was. I told her and Rick I thought the baby was coming and that we should get to the hospital. As she is having contractions with lots of pressure and mini pushes, I mentioned, maybe I should just took for a head and we should call 911 instead. Nope, she said they would make it to the hospital.

It took us a while to get to the car, she did feel to see if she could feel her baby’s head and it wasn’t there yet, so went to the hospital. I had Sarah sit backwards in the seat so she could be on her hands and knees. When we arrived, Rick said she had only about 2 big contractions. I told him about how many times when you reach 10 cm, there is a little break in the contractions. The next 15 minutes was like a scene from a movie. We got to the hospital just before 1:30 pm, 5-24-14; Rick was running down the hall with Sarah in the wheel chair. I ran on ahead to get the door for him and when we walked into Kaiser L&D, I told the lady at the front, “I have a mom here having a baby, now!” She opened the door to let us in. We went to triage and Angelette walked in. Yay! She is the most amazing nurse, I was with her just too weeks ago. She was so calming and asked me if I thought she was complete, I said, I can’t be sure, but I’m pretty sure she is. She said, “Ok, we are full, but we’ll just deliver this baby right here.” Then another nurse came in and said another room just got cleaned up and the midwife came in ready to check her. As we walked to the room, Ricked signed the papers and I answered the questions I could for her regarding 1
st or 2nd baby, water breaking, etc. I’m not even sure Sarah was that aware of what was going on at the moment. When we got in the room, the midwife checked her and said, “Well, your baby is right here, it’s time to push.”

With that, Sarah was in disbelief! She just kept looking at us, saying, “Really?” “I can push?” “I’m ready?” Yes! You are ready to have this baby! I was so happy for her. This was the best news every. We knew she had been working really hard while not letting herself fully believe this could go faster. By 1:46, Rick and Sarah’s second baby girl was born all natural. 8 lbs, 6 oz. Rick got to announce they had a girl, at first he thought he saw boy, so he had to double announce the sex. He got to do the big reveal twice, with just as much excitement both times. There second little girl latched onto the breast within a half hour of delivery and nursed so well. I am so happy for Rick and Sarah, it was just what they wanted for their birth.

The Unexpected

Audrey was having her fourth baby and did not have great experiences with her other labors, so she wanted the help of a doula to help this time go a little better. When I first met Audrey, we talked about her past 3 births. All 3 children were 2 weeks early, very long labors and jaundice. Her first was breach and she started contractions about 2 weeks early so they took her right to a cesarean. The other 2 labors were long and bad experiences with the epidural. So, we had a plan that we would try to have a natural as possible birth without pitocin and epidural not at all or very late in labor.
Audrey followed suit and started contracting very early on. 35 weeks was the first bought of contractions. They stayed at about 3 minutes apart for a couple hours so we even went to the hospital, but they would not show up on the monitor and she had no change in dilation. It seemed about every 2 days she would have hours of contractions starting in the early evening, lasting part way through the night. By 39 weeks Audrey was completely tired and frustrated with what was going on. So, after taking everything into consideration, her due date, risks, benefits and connivence, Audrey and her husband, Devin choose to have her water broken, Thursday, Jan 12th at 1 pm. Audrey and Devin did not take this decision lightly and came to the conclusion that it was the best decision. I was very happy that she made it to 2 days before her due date because her other babies were jaundice.

We arrived at the hospital at 12 pm, Thursday. Everybody's spirits were good, Audrey had started cramping from the inside about every 10 minutes that morning. These were different then the previous contractions. The doctor came early, about 12:30 and broke her water. He was so laid back and at ease with everything. Contractions still were not reading on the monitor, but Audrey described what she was feeling as different, kind of uncomfortable and weird. Her doctor made sure with the nurse that Audurey was to be up and moving as much as possible. He also told Audrey how great it was that when he tickled the baby's head, her heart rate would go up. He left the room with us all feeling very comfortable.

As soon as monitoring was done, we went walking. We walked for almost 40 minutes. During this time she only had to stop 2 times for a contraction. We also talked about if she asks for an epidural and decided on if so, we will have her checked before making that decision.

Audrey gets back on the monitor (this is the second time on it) and she is starting to be very uncomfortable with the contractions she is feeling. Contractions that are still not picking up on the monitor, so I have her sit on the ball while she finishes the 20 minutes she is supposed to be on the monitor. That is more comfortable, but I can tell that things are changing a bit. Even though, the monitor is not picking up contractions, every time Audrey's breathing changes, the baby's heart rate also goes up a bit. I could tell, her little girl was feeling them too.

Once we get off the monitor, Audrey goes to the bathroom and we try to go for a walk, but it took about a half hour for her to get to the bathroom, out, in again, on the couch and back to the ball. She wasn't sure if she wanted to push or had to go to the bathroom. Her contractions were definitely long and strong, we just couldn't feel them externally. It was very interesting. The nurse comes in to try to get her back on the monitor and she couldn't because the contractions just weren't stopping. She leaves again and Audrey is in the bed tearing up and tells Devin she is going to need the epidural. I told her we will have the nurse give her another check first. Audrey is saying she wants to push. So, I call her in again and look at her bum to see if there is a purple line in her crack, which is an indicator of how dilated she is. As the nurse walks in, I see the line and I'm so excited and tell the nurse, "She's almost there! I see the purple line!" The nurse just kind of looks at me and checks her, then tells her ok, don't push yet, you are almost there. She calls the doctor and tries to get Audrey on her back. Audrey goes to her back and rolls right over to her other side. She is involuntarily pushing and the nurse checks her again. She is now complete at 3:22! Yep, just under 3 hours after her water is broken. I was so happy for her. No more long labor, no more horrible epidural. (She had leaking spinal fluid with the last one.)

Audrey pushed holding onto her husband's hand for 20 minutes. Their 8 lb 15 oz baby girl was born at 3:42, after a 3 hour and 10 minute labor.

This birth was so unexpected because Audrey's labors were all early, long (over 24 hours), needing augmentation and an epidural. The past epidurals were aweful. One didn't take and the other caused a spinal headache. This labor was so incredibly different. It was short, relatively easy, she didn't need the epidural, she won't have any side effects from it, her recovery will be so easy with just a tiny tear that needed only one stitch and her baby so far has not had any jaundice. It is so wonderful that she got what she wanted. I am so very happy for them.