Hands free birth

A Beautiful Birth

At the end of Stephanie's pregnancy, she started to get a little nervous about the events leading up to her delivery. Her first birth story leads into her second birth, so I will be sharing a quick version of her first as best I remember from what she told me.

With her first baby Stephanie was induced at 43 weeks. the first time was very difficult as the midwifes and doctors were trying to force an induction on her at 42 weeks simply because she was 42 weeks. They did this by using scare tactics and being down right mean to her and her husband, Bill about their choices. A doctor even called Bill at home to tell him what a horrible husband he was to let his wife put their baby in danger. (Personally, I think he is a wonderful husband to support his wife in what they know is right.)

All the non-stress tests (NST) were perfect, there were no signs the baby was in distress. Stephanie's fluid levels were good also until 43 weeks. Everything looked healthy with mom and baby, so, there was no need to induce because of an estimated due date. She and her husband, Bill, understood the risks involved with an induction before the baby is ready and wanted to wait until her baby was ready to be born. At 43 weeks, she went in for her NST and ultra sound. During the ultra sound the midwife specifically told her she couldn't get a number for one of the pockets of fluid because the cord was in the way, so she added up all the other pockets (I think it came to a 5) and told Stephanie her baby was in danger.

Those were the key words to Stephanie and her husband. If their baby was in danger, they would induce without a second thought. That night, they induced with a foly bulb and pitocin. (She was 0 cm). Her induction went well, other then the fact that the staff was horrible to her and her husband, but the baby did extremely well and Stephanie birthed a healthy, not late baby girl covered in vernix without an epidural. Nobody was going to take that part away from her! She wanted as little interventions as possible and that was one she could control. The midwife and nurses all commented on how her baby was not late, the placenta was very healthy, the baby was covered in vernix and her due date must have been wrong.

Stephanie knew her due date was accurate then and this time around she knew her due date was accurate as well. Stephanie also knew she was likely not going to go into labor by 42 weeks. She was very concerned and there was so much prayer going into this birth by so many people surrounding her. She was very worried about how the hospital staff would treat her. As her due date approached, she noticed her specific midwife doing things to protect them from the awful doctors, like scheduling when she was there and not with doctors. Already it was turning out to be better. After her NST's when Stephanie and Bill decided to go home, they always had to sign against medical advice with the first pregnancy. This time, she didn't have to sign against medical advice until the last ultrasound. Just like the first time, the NST's were perfect. However, it kept getting harder and harder to get the fluid count. There was a lot of cord in the way.

The evening of 42 weeks, plus 2 days, she had the usual NST and ultrasound. The fluid was a 3. This time they didn't say, "Your baby is in danger." They advised induction and gave her the choice to induce and when. She accepted the induction for the second time, but this time decided to go home and sleep in her own bed, then come back in the morning to start the induction. She did have to sign against medical advice, but it was without threats and her midwife was very understanding.

In the morning, they went back to the hospital after a good night sleep, prayer, some time processing everything and a good breakfast. At 11, another midwife, Cheryl, was on. Stephanie was asking questions about monitoring and IV. Cheryl, the midwife suggested starting the induction by breaking her water so she could have the freedom she wanted. Cheryl didn’t have a problem with this method because Stephanie was already 4 cm. Bill called me to get my thoughts on that. We talked about the risks involved, but also that, it was what Stephanie really wanted. She absolutely did not want pitocin again. Bill and Stephanie decided to have Cheryl break her water. I stopped in and checked in on them at noon. They were in a good routine of walking, bathroom, drinking and snacking. There was no IV, not even saline loc and she was on the monitor for 20 minutes, off for 30 on for 1 minute, then off again for 30. I left and told them to call when they were ready for some help.

When I was gone, Cheryl had told them they could walk where ever they wanted around the hospital as long as they came back for the monitor checks. Bill and Stephanie walked all around out side and stopped off at the cafeteria for some food. Contractions were getting painful, but bearable.

At about 5:30 pm, Mother's Day, Stephanie was checked and was 4.5 cm and 90% effaced. That was some progress. I decided to go check in on them again. She was doing really well, breathing and completely relaxing through the contractions. Walking a ton and fast and going to the bathroom often. They had gotten a salad that she was eating from the cafeteria. While I was there, contractions got to 3 minutes apart so I stayed. Stephanie was in a great rhythm and was checked again at midnight. Just before the exam, I could see a shift in her, so I was anxious, thinking it was going to be good news, but not a ton of change. It ended up, she was 5 cm and very soft. Cheryl suggested pitocin and Stephanie asked if she could have a minute to talk about it. Cheryl said that was fine, she would do another exam in an hour and if no change, then she was going to strongly recommend pitocin, she did also mention nipple stimulation. When Cheryl left, Stephanie said no pitocin. I reiterated the nipple stimulation. Either that worked or she was just ready to turn that corner with her labor because it got really intense for her. We also had an amazing nurse come on at midnight. Angelette that told us she would put a bug in Cheryl's ear that Stephanie's labor was progressing and she wouldn't need pitocin.

Amazingly, Stephanie was still so calm and controlled during her contractions. She was breathing and very relaxed. She went on a few more walks and got in the shower a couple of times. All along the baby did wonderfully. After 3 am sometime, Stephanie and Bill were in the shower and I could hear Stephanie saying she couldn't do it anymore. So far, this was the birth she wanted, no medications, no IV. I went in and had a little talk with her. I told her that she could do it and she was doing it. Before her birth, Stephanie had told me absolutely no epidural. She got out of the shower, sat on the ball and hung from the rebozo. Back in her zone, close to 4 am, Stephanie was feeling a lot of pressure. She had felt she needed to go to the bathroom all along so we weren't sure if this was it. Stephanie was afraid to have an exam incase it wasn't good. But with all the signs, I didn't want her to sit there thinking she had hours to go when it was actually time to push. She decided getting checked by the nurse would be ok. At that time, she was 9 cm with a thick anterior u-shaped lip. I suggested hands and knees and the nurses in the room said either that or flat on her back. We did 5 contractions on her back, then hands and knees it was.

It wasn't long after that, that the urge to push was uncontrollable. I called the nurse back in and the lip was still there, but with Stephanie on her hands and knees, Angelette was able to slip the lip easily around the baby's head. Angelette told Stephanie to stay how she was, she could birth her baby like that. Stephanie gave her first push at 4:26 and Cheryl came in. Immediately, Cheryl told Bill, "Dad, come down here, your job is more important over here." Then she had Bill put his hand under the baby's head to catch the baby. Cheryl guided Stephanie on pushing perfectly; when she need to push hard, stop pushing or just a slow push. This gentle guidance helped Stephanie to have just the tinniest 1st degree tear. Bill got to guide his baby out, announce they had a girl and hand their child to his wife at 4:37 am on 5-12-14, just 11 minutes after that first push.

For the second time, Stephanie delivered a beautiful, healthy baby girl that was not a late baby. Healthy placenta, healthy baby covered in vernix. Their little girl, Olive Ann was 9 lbs, 9 oz, yes, in 11 minutes with a first degree tear.

After Stephanie had her baby in her hands, turned around and got comfortable the cord stopped pulsing. Cheryl had Bill cut the cord and waited till the placenta was ready to come out. There was no pulling or tugging. There was no pitocin after birth. It was the most natural, gentle, and hands free birth I have seen and it was in a hospital of all places! It was absolutely beautiful. This shows me that there really is so much hope for hospitals getting it right.