quick birth

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.

IMG_0229

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.

IMG_0246

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.

IMG_0247

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.

IMG_0251

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