Walking epidural

Peaceful Birth

Ashley and Sam were so excited for the arrival of their daughter. They have 2 older sons as well. They really feel like she was going to complete their family. Ashley and Sam took a while to get pregnant and spent a lot of time preparing not only for their daughter, but for her birth as well. No decision was taken lightly. Ashley carefully looked at different doctors and what she wanted for her birth.

Through all of her planning, Ashley thought her little girl was going to arrive early based on preterm labor symptoms, which began at 24 weeks. Ashley was put on strict bed rest for 3 months and then modified bed rest for the final month. The arrival date is one that you really cannot control or plan for if left to nature’s way. So, in all the planning, Ashley and Sam thought the best decision was not to induce labor. When her due date rolled around and her doctor had to leave town for a family emergency, finding another doctor that respected the birth process and her choices with no baby that seemed even close to being born, they got a little nervous at the prospect of having to face an induction. Ashley and Sam ended up with a wonderful doctor as a back up, he was actually a doctor that she almost chose in the beginning.

Four days past her due date, a day after Sam’s birthday, Ashley went into labor. They were so excited partly because the induction was scheduled for the very next morning. This little girl knew she had to meet her parents soon. After talking to Ashley, it seemed like her membranes did rupture and there was concern about the color, so I advised her to call the doctor. He had the same feeling as me and advised her to go into the hospital. She did about midday to discover she was in early labor with ruptured membranes. Ashley was admitted and was extremely pleased to have a nurse she knew well and was comfortable with be assigned to her. During the day, Ashley was allowed to walk, eat, drink and relax as she pleased. I kept telling her to walk and rest in-between so you don’t over do it. But who can relax when they have waited so long for this little baby and she is finally on her way. Both Sam and Ashley had so much energy. The day went on like this and Ashley did all she could to get her labor going stronger.

I went by Anaheim Regional around 6 pm so Sam could go out and get something to eat. He needed his energy also to be there for Ashley. When he got back, it still seemed pretty early and they didn’t need me yet, so I went home to wait till labor got a little stronger.

About 9 pm, Sunday night, Ashley texted me that the contractions were intensifying and she was starting to bleed. She also said the contractions were 5 minutes apart and she was doing fine. Her
e routine at this point was pelvic rocks, walking, resting and walking. The nurse asked if she could check Ashley’s cervix at 10pm and she was ok with that, but still felt like she was handling things well.

About 45 minutes later, the contractions were getting longer and were 3-5 minutes apart. She was asking about breathing during these contractions. I reminded her and she seemed to be getting uncomfortable through the next ½ hr. Finally at 10:45 the nurse checked her and she was 2 cm. She was disappointed because she was so tired and wanted to rest just when labor started to get active. Unfortunately at this time, my text messages were not coming through. Ashley asked me to come and I didn’t get it until midnight. I arrived at Anaheim Regional after midnight to find Ashley uncomfortable and losing a bit of control with each contraction. I got her in the shower and we got it really warm in there because she was pretty cold and that helped a lot. But she was still so tired. All her adrenaline was used up during the day. She wanted to lie down so she went back to the bed and we put the TENS unit on her back. That helped a little, but we couldn’t touch anywhere near her back with it on. Also, the only way comfortable was on her hands and knees, she had most control over relaxing in that position, but it wouldn’t allow her to rest or relax.

We tried all kinds of positions to find one that was most comfortable and about 2 am, Ashley said she really needed to rest. She just couldn’t do it anymore without resting. She said about 10:30 she felt the contractions slipping away from her like sand through her fingers. She was struggling to listen to Sam’s suggestions at that point and did not have my support at the hospital. So, now she just needed to relax. Sam and I had her do a couple more contractions because that was what she wanted us to do and then we talked some more. She also got re-checked at 2am and was 5 cm. That was great news, but she still needed to rest. It wasn’t that she couldn’t do labor, it was just the circumstances that all her energy was used up during the day in early labor so by the time active labor hit, she was spent. She decided to get the epidural after a lot of talking about it and was content with her decision.

At 3 am, Ashley got her epidural. Anaheim Regional has one anesthesiologist who
gives walking epidurals. The hospital will not allow the moms to walk, but they could if they wanted to. Ashley was very happy about being able to move her legs freely and still lightly feel the contractions while lying comfortably. So, she and Sam rested, but neither really slept. By 6 am Ashley was done resting. She was re-checked again and was 9 cm and at 7:38am, there was just an anterior lip. We positioned her to get rid of that lip, then since the epidural was so light, we had her use the squat bar to bring the baby’s head down more on the cervix. Even though Ashley couldn’t get out of the bed, she was able to do lunges, squats and hands and knees to help bring the baby’s head down.

Through all of this the nurses at Anaheim were amazing. They didn’t mind if Ashley was eating or drinking and were not strict about the monitor. If she needed to take it off she could and they found the wireless in the night when Ashley was in the shower. The nurses let Ashley do what her body felt best.

At 9:50 am Monday morning, Ashley started pushing. Pushing was exhausting for her. The epidural had been turned off by 9am but her contractions were not terribly strong and her pushing pressures were not strong. Ashley had to push mostly with her own powers and not much help from her body. This made pushing more exhausting and slow. About an hour or two into it, there was meconium, but the baby seemed to be doing well. Her heart rate
would drop during pushing, but the recovery was great if Ashley took a couple big breaths.

After 3 hours of pushing, beautiful Elizabeth Ann was born at 12:47pm. Her APGAR’s were 8 and 9. Mommy and Daddy were so excited and overcome with emotion. Elizabeth latched on about an hour later and was on her way to a great nursing relationship with her mommy.