natural hospital

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.

Endurance

Some births are short and intense and others are long and slow. Some people have great endurace and others are sprinters. God will only give us what we can handle. This is a story of a mom who had incredible endurance and an amazing ability to relax through her contractions.

I met Tiffany and David a couple months before the birth. When I first talked with her, she told me how her sister had a natural birth with a doula and loved it, after hearing that, she also wanted to have a good positive experience for her birth. Tiffany was very cautious with all her decisions from the beginning. But, over all, she seemed very relaxed and comfortable with the upcoming birth of their child. David was just completely on board with what ever Tiffany wanted. Going into it, I had a feeling it was going to be a pretty good birth. They supported each other and had a lot of family support as well.

Tiffany went in for an appointment Tuesday morning, the day before her due date. Her doctor did a rather rough exam to feel around the baby’s head. After the exam, she noticed some leaking. The exam showed she was 2 cm and 80%, but that her water bulging below the baby’s head. Tiffany wasn’t sure if her water broke, but she called me around 1 pm Tuesday with some consistent cramping. I had told her that it is normal after an exam to have the cramping, especially an exam like that. If it just continues to progress it is probably the start of labor, if it stops, it is not labor. Throughout the day, the cramping kept up and turned more into tightness then just cramping. She asked if I could come over and see what was going on around 5, I arrived just before 5:30.

At home, Tiffany was pretty comfortable. It seemed pretty early in labor, but I thought we would take a walk to see what would happen with it. Her surges were much more frequent with the walking, but she was able to walk right through them. After our walk, we ate some dinner and rested for a bit where the surges started to get stronger. She would start to fight them, so I tried to keep her focused and not fighting the contractions. At first I thought I might go home and come back, but things started picking up. We ended up taking about 3 walks, Tiffany’s surges got more intense, so Tiffany and David had a shower. I was thinking after the shower that she labor would have been further along, but she got out all refreshed and said the shower felt great. At this point I was back to thinking I might be going home. But, Tiffany got down stairs, rested and it got much more intense again. Now, I am definitely not going home. Yay! It’s baby time.

About 11 pm, Tiffany starts to throw up. David and Tiffany decide it is time to go to the hospital so we left and arrived at 11:30. About midnight, the wonderful nurse, Lisa checks Tiffany and she is 3-4 cm, +2 station. I was so bummed for her, she had been working so hard and it is so difficult for a mom to bring her mind to where her cervix is, if she thought she was further along. But, Tiffany didn’t seem to mind at all. She was so patient and calm. She just went with it and started walking after the monitor. Through the night we walked, her and David showered and Tiffany was monitored. Lisa was very relaxed with the monitoring; Tiffany was put on maybe every hour, not even 40 minutes. Lisa also never gave Tiffany a saline loc. It was wonderful to have such a supportive nurse who was respectful of Tiffany and David’s wishes. Through the night the surges ranged from 2 minutes to 6 minutes apart.

Early on, Tiffany was fighting the surges, she would try to wiggle through them, finally in the night she settled into her groove and relaxed through them. Once she did that, she had an amazing ability to relax through them and in-between. When Tiffany did get on the monitor, her contractions would slow to about 6 minutes and we tried to let her just sleep as much as she could. All night and into the next morning, it just seemed like labor wasn’t progressing. Her hormonal symptoms were there with the throwing up every hour, but there was no bleeding to indicate dilation, there was no shaking, not change in demeanor, the back labor wasn’t moving down her back. We tried all the positions to get baby to turn and move down, but still not dilation, so it seemed.

The daytime nurse was just as great about respecting Tiffany and David’s wishes for a natural birth with no interventions. After all this time, it had been all night now, the nurse, Michelle wanted to check to see how things were going. She had talked to me first about it and we both agreed that it just didn’t seem like much dilation was happening. Just before noon she was checked and found to be 4 cm. Still, Tiffany didn’t seem to get discouraged. She just kept on going and doing what we said to do. The nurse mentioned to her about breaking her water. Tiffany, David and I discussed it, what it could possibly do for her (there are no guarantees) and what the down side was. They made the decision to go for it.

At 12:10, Dr. Gray broke her water and instead of it being an uncomfortable procedure, it was such a relief to Tiffany. She had so much water, no wonder the baby’s head wasn’t near the cervix. So, we went back to walking, shower and monitor. This time I only let her back in the bed once for the monitor, the other times she had to stand. It finally seemed like the cervix was changing.

I stepped out for the restroom and on my way back, Michelle stopped me in the hall. She wanted to see if there was any progress now that her water broke. I was curious and knew that we did need to know if this was working, because if not we had to figure out a new plan. So, she asked if we can approach Tiffany about this.

At 2:45, just 2 hours and 45 minutes later, Michelle checked Tiffany. She was very slow about her check, didn’t say anything till she was all done. Then Michelle put her hands together and with a slow sigh and a sad look on her face says, “Well… I have some good news for you.” Oh my goodness! I about jumped out of my skin and yelled something like, “What is it?!” or “Tell us!” Michelle says, you are 8 cm. Praise God!!! I had to keep from crying, I was so happy for her. After laboring for 19 hours and dilating 1 cm, she dilated 4 cm in 2 hrs and 45 minutes.

So we went back to our routine, walking around the room and the shower. Tiffany’s throwing up had subsided; she had some coconut water and naked juice. The coconut water really helped her feel more energy. During contractions, David would hold her up while I would do back pressure and have her just hang on him. David would remind her to breath deep almost every time. He really just stepped up and helped her so naturally. They were a perfect pair. Tiffany was amazing, her coping didn’t change at all, she just kept right on dealing with the contractions how she was all night. Every once and a while, she would fight it, but as soon as I reminded her not to and David told her to breath, she would sink down on him and relax.

At 6:28, just under 6 ½ hrs after her water broke, Dexton Johnathan was born. He was 7 lbs, 13 ozs. (Maybe) There was a little problem with weighting him. The doctor said something about the baby being a boy, so I said, “We didn’t see yet, David, can you check for us?” So, David got to tell Tiffany that they had a little boy. A cute one too.

Selfless Birth / Beautifully Traumatic

When I first met Alicia, I knew I wanted to be at her birth. She is such a selfless person and she loves birth and pregnancy. She was determined to have a natural birth, one of the reasons is because she herself wants to be a doula. I thought that was awesome. I was also very excited because she was a surrogate. I think that being a surrogate is such an amazing selfless gift you can give someone.
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Alicia first started contracting at 36 weeks. She had pretty strong contractions about 5 minutes apart, but they were not a whole minute. But it looked like it might be the start of labor. So, Alicia called me. I had another post due already, so I called her and told her that I might be going to another birth that night. Turns out when I hung up the phone, that client's water broke. Since, that birth was happening, I went to that hoping that Alicia would hold off a while longer. We also wanted her to hold off because it was still very early. She was very worried about the baby's lungs. I think she felt a huge sense of responsibility to the intended parents and that little baby boy.

Luckily her labor slowed in the early morning hours, but pretty much from then on she had contractions all the time every day. More so when she would rest. It was very strange, walking and activity would weaken them and resting and bath would strengthen them. We had another tease November 18th. Contractions were 5 minutes apart that evening at 7 pm. She tried the bath and a walk and they stayed the same, walking actually didn't take them away this time. I decided to head over to her house around 10 pm. By about 1:30 she was having contractions 3 minutes apart, but they were only 45 seconds. Then it seemed like the contractions were weakening at about 2 pm, so I sent her and her husband on a walk at 2:30. I already knew this was going to stop, but I thought I'd try a few things. After the walk I told her to try to sleep in-between because they really seemed to be going away. She was able to sleep in-between and I could hear her breathing change when she would have another. At this point they were back to 10 minutes and I decided to go home.

At this point, Alicia is 4 cm and about 60% effaced. Her body is SO ready to go into labor. But, it just wouldn't keep up. We were thinking it was a position problem, so she tried the inversion, standing in a deep lung with one leg up, and side lying. She would feel that little guy move but about 10 minutes later the little stinker would move right back. At Alicia's 40 week appointment, her doctor told her if that labor starts up again, just to go into the hospital and get her water broken. But, on her next appointment 5 days later, they would schedule an induction. So, that's what she did after taking castor oil Saturday night. Contractions started up again in the early morning of Sunday, Dec. 4th. At 3 pm she went into the hospital after things started slowing down.

Alicia really didn't want pitocin, but not much was happening and the nurse wouldn't break her water since the baby still was too high, it could cause a cord prolapse. So, she got a low dose of pitocin Saturday night at about 7, it gave her some contractions, but not a great pattern still. At 9 pm the intended mom shows up in the hospital room. She was very excited, but Alicia is still in active labor where anything atmosphere change can affect her labor. The intended mom also told Alicia that there won't be a need for her to pump breast milk for her baby anymore. Alicia's contractions completely stopped and then at about 9:30 pm the doctor ordered the nurse to turn the pitocin off. This particular doctor is the only one that will deliver his patients. There is no on call doctor for him, he's it. So, basically in a round about way the nurse told us the doctor didn't want to deliver in the middle of the night.

Between the intended mom coming in, the news about not pumping and the doctor wanting to slow things down it was all very overwhelming. So, I got everybody out of the room to give her husband and her time to process everything. Later we decided the intended mom needed to wait till pushing to come back, I went to the waiting room and told her it would be a while and it would be best if they got a hotel for the night. She agreed with that suggestion, so she left. Contractions started again an hour later and Alicia was happy with pit being off. She didn't want it anyway. We figured around 11 pm, things might start up again. It did a little and she was 6 cm by midnight. That's 2 cm progress after 9 hrs. Alicia had a friend that was a photographer there to take pictures, (aren't they beautiful?!) her and I decided to take a break for some sleep at almost 1 am.
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At 4:45 I got a text from Jason, her husband, "She's 7 cm and throwing in the towel, she wants an epidural" Finally! Some really good labor going on. I rushed out the door to make it back to the hospital in time. An hour after I got there I realized I left so fast in the dark that my shirt was backwards.

Transition can go very fast and it is the hardest part. Up until this point, Alicia was handling contractions beautifully. She didn't need any help coping with them. It was almost as if they didn't bother her at all. But, when I got back to the hospital, I could see a complete shift. I knew this was finally it! I was very excited for her.
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It came to a point that Alicia was having trouble coping. She just looked to her husband, he held her close encouraging her as she wanted it all to end. He was so supportive of her and never left her side. He new this was something she wanted to do and needed to do. Jason did everything he could to help her do what she wanted so badly to do.
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I suggested the bath and she didn't want the nurse to get mad at her for getting off the monitors. So, I explained that she is allowed to go to the bathroom, basically when the nurse sees on the monitor that she has been "on the toilet" for too long she will come in and find out that she is actually using the bath. Sure enough, within 10 minutes the nurse came right in and would not let her off the monitor. About 6:45 am she stopped coping well again. There was no talk from her of pressure, so I suggested to call the nurse, I said, "Tell her you are going in the bath and if the baby needs to be monitored then bring the Doppler along." This entire time, the baby's heart rate was beautiful, he was handling everything perfectly, the only reason they wanted her on the monitor was because she was 7 cm. The nurse came in and decided to check, Alicia was complete! The nurse said, "Oh! He's right here, don't push." Side note, we were told earlier that nurses try not to deliver because if they deliver too many, they will loose their job. But, I know how impossible it is to hold that baby back without an epidural. (We called the mom and had her come back to the room.) As the nurse is telling Alicia to take short breaths and not push, I whisper to her that she can just go with her body. Try to blow out, but if you have to let your body do what it wants to. "Push if you want to." She nodded slightly and she pushed.
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This whole time I could hear the mom crying in the back ground. The nurse actually tried to push her knees together! I don't really think they understand labor without an epidural. I kept telling Alicia to go with her body and the baby boy was born at 7 am, 8 lbs, 9 oz, the doctor didn't make it. The baby was pink and healthy, tears were just streaming down his mom's face. It was so amazing. I told her to go and follow the baby, touch him, be with him. She walks over and in broken words says, "Oh, look! He has my chin." It was so beautiful.

The doctor shows up and then things take a turn. The doctor is ready to deliver the placenta, he actually tugs a bit, the placenta isn't coming out. He tugs some more and it's not coming out. I can actually see the placenta right there. Alicia is saying that it hurts, the doctor says, "Oh, it shouldn't hurt to deliver a placenta." Then he mumbles almost to himself, "Boy, this placenta is harder to deliver then the baby." I said, "Not quite!" The doctor is pulling and telling her to push. She yells, "It hurts!" I'm concerned about all this pulling so, I ask, "Is it detached yet?" The doctor sticks his fingers in and says, "I think I got it." He's tugging, telling Alicia to push. She tries to push and says it hurts again. He lets her wait for a contraction, then pulls and tells her to push, she literally screams, "It hurts on the inside" That right there is key, something is wrong. ALWAYS listen to a mom without an epidural. You will know if something is wrong, usually it is a relief to deliver the placenta. I am watching, not knowing how I can stop this and seeing what looks like a HUGE placenta come out then the doctor goes, while looking at it fascinatingly, "Oh... Well... That's something you don't see." He mumbles a few other things and tells us she pushed her uterus out. I also hear him say something along the lines of "What are we going to do about this?" My insides just dropped as Alicia is panicking. She's asking what can she do while the doc is looking at her uterus, trying to detach the placenta. Yes, the placenta is still completely attached. I'm just telling her to try to relax everything in her body, "Don't do anything, the doctor is taking care of it." While I say that, inside I am thinking, panicked thoughts knowing how serious this situation can be.

** Side note: I have a problem writing negative things surrounding birth because I don't like to scare moms. I fully believe that birth is a natural non medical process. Yes, sometimes things can go wrong, but it is a rarity if things are done with little to no intervention and if things are done properly. However, I feel that it is also important for everybody's story to be shared. On top of that, this particular story was a beautiful birth where this complication could have been avoided. The doctor rushed and pulled something that should NEVER be done. This is not something that a mom should ever just be scared of, if she is, talk to your doctor before hand and ask how much time they give the placenta to come out.

** Back to the story... The doctor finally detaches the placenta Alicia is in pain and I am asking the nurses and doctor to give her something. I asked about 3 times and her nurse says she is. Then Alicia asks what is that, the nurse says saline. We were thinking a med after the saline that would take the pain away, but she only gave her pitocin. Then, the doctor shoves it back in with his arm up in her to his elbow. Still no meds. He stitched her up with extremely shaky hands. He even missed a part, I asked him to add another stitch and he did. Then he left so quick, he didn't even sign the cord blood paperwork. The placenta was sent to the lab and Alicia is left worried about "what now." I called the next day and nobody has come to talk to her about what happened, to explain it or to talk to her about possible future risks and recovery. The staff all knows what happened, but it is such a rarity that nobody has come to talk to her about it. I am angry over this and what happened. The doctor hasn't even been back to see her. Before the delivering the placenta, she had a beautiful birth almost completely in her control.

In the end, there was a good and a bad to this story. But, by telling it I want it just to teach people about what can happen. Not at all could this mom have changed anything. It was the doctor that choose to do what he did. But we can learn from what happened to her and just have more questions to ask other care providers. Educate yourself, choose a caregiver that you trust and be firm with what you want. Of course, understand if there is an unforeseen circumstance out of anyone's control were we do need to make changes and have interventions. Thankfully, Alicia didn't end up in the OR and thankfully she is ok now. No signs of hemorrhage or retained placenta. No shock when it happened. Go back to that picture in the beginning, that was after everything. Alicia is ok and recovering wonderfully with a smile on her face.

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.

Completely Natural Hospital Birth

As Doulas, we never want to miss a birth of a client that we have spent time getting to know. The doula-client relationship goes both ways, in the interview the parents are deciding if they connect with the doula and the doula must feel the same. So, for us to miss a birth it can be very dissapointing. With that being said, I got to be at a birth where I was a back up for a very wonderful couple.

Holly and Wes planned to have a natural birth at Hoag Hospital with Dr. Diaz. I talked to their doula Melissa over the phone and told her I've been to Hoag and I have actually worked with Dr. Diaz. Also, in talking it became clear that we were both Christians and that the couple would love to have a will be very happy to have their back up be Christian as well. Anyway, Melissa's whole family was getting sick with the flu, she was so dissapointed to be missing the birth of Holly and Wes. They actually first met when Holly was just 7 weeks along. On my end, I was very exciting to go to a birth after taking the summer off for vacations and birthdays.

I woke early Thursday, September 22 to a text from Melissa telling me that I am needed. This was at 6:33 am. Holly woke up at 4:30 with contractions at 5 minutes apart. I called Holly to introduce myself and get a feel for what was going on. I needed to take a shower and she sounded like she might be getting close to going to the hospital and talked a bit about the pain, so I suggested the bath for pain and to hold her off a bit. I needed a shower and breakfast before I left.

I arrived at Holly's about 8 am to her and Wes outside working through contractions. Wes had just packed their car for the hospital because their doctor told them they should come in. I suggested wait till I get there. We went in their home to work on a few contractions to see how Holly was doing. I told them that she definately wasn't in transition and it would be a good idea to stay home a little longer. So, we stayed till Holly was ready to go. Her contractions were 3 minutes apart, she labored with the rebozo inbetween and on the ball. Holly was eating and drinking well. Wes was a wonderful support for her, he was there for everything and did constant massage during the contractions.

At 9 am we left for the hospital. Melissa was concerned that she wasn't bleeding yet, but Holly was ready to go. I had texted Melissa that I thought she was at about 5 cm. We arrived about 9:30 and Holly was 4-5 cm. The nurse that was in triage with us was not very friendly or receptive of a birth plan at all. So, we limited interaction with her and started walking the halls. Holly was great at walking fast and Wes was right there at her side to hold her up for her contractions. We would walk, Wes would hold her and massage while I did pressure with the tennis balls, after each contraction Holly was great about drinking coconut water or vitamin B water after every contraction.

Holly was reassigned nurses and after our walk we met her. She was awesome! She read the birth plan and instead of asking Holly if she wanted pain meds, because they do have to make it known that they are available, she said, "I won't ask you if you want any pain medication, I will just assume you will ask me if you want it." Heidi was our nurse and right off the bat she was very positive. She loved natural births and described herself as being very holistic. Heidi seemed like she just wanted to hang around and be part of the labor, but she didn't want to intrude too much. She was great! Wes and Holly were very relieved that we got this new nurse.

Heidi checked Holly after our walk and she was 6-7 cm and 100% effaced. That was very encouraging, we thought she was going to finish very quickly. At 12:30 Holly got monitored for the 3rd time since we got there. It was nice, they weren't very rigid on how often she was being monitored. Lying in the bed made it more difficult for Holly to relax through the contractions, so she sat in the bed for the monitoring.

Holly spent the rest of her laboring in the room, walking, squating, sitting on the ball, drinking eating and going to the bathroom. It was very difficult for Holly to empty her bladder, so she slowed way down on drinking. Finally, I got her to go with Wes and she emptied a ton, so the drinking picked up again. Holly was just so peaceful during her labor, she knew what had to be done and did it. When the contractions got really intense with more pressure, she prayed for strenght and support. Wes was right there by her side praying with her. It seemed like they had no worries all throughout the labor, they knew God had a plan and everything would work out. It was really beautiful.

A little before 2 pm, Holly was at 8 cm. Her membranes were still intact and there was a buldge under the baby's head. This was keeping the head up a little higher. By 3 she was 9 cm. She labored with a lot of pressure and intense contractions since 2. At 3:30 she was still at 9 cm with the bag intact. Holly was really tiring out now. She was resting well between contractions, but she had such short breaks. At 4:12 the doctor came back and broke her water. Finally at 5:28 she was complete. She pushed through a lip of cervix and got to continue pushing. Holly was exhausted but pushed with such strenght. She was at 9 cm for 2.5 hours! That was very exhausting. We could tell, Wes would have taken these contractions for her if he could. After pushing for 2 hours and 10 minutes, Dezmond Matthias Kasper was born 8 lbs 5 oz at 7:38 pm, September 22, 2011 with no interventions to him or his mommy. Dezmond was born with his cubby little hand up by his chin and a big head. That makes it very hard to push! It was so perfect. Dezmond hadn't even left his mommy by the time I left the hospital.
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