I Need to Push!

The text came in as I was preparing the kids a mid-morning snack.  “My blood pressure is high and my fluid is low, they are pushing for induction”.  My client was 40 weeks but really wanted to go into labor spontaneously.  I asked her some questions and gave her things to discuss with her healthcare provider and we hung up.  I finished up the kids lunch and checked my doula bag and freshened up in case her next call was, “can you meet me at the hospital?”. 

We continued to text back and forth with her giving me updates and me giving encouragement and suggestions.  Then around 1:30pm I received the text that said “my fluid has remained low and they are going to induce me but will take things slow”.  We talked back and forth for the next few hours and then her husband texted to say “contractions are every 2 minutes so maybe you should head this way”. 

I arrived close to 5pm and received a text from the husband as I was walking in that contractions had spaced out some and she still had her modesty.  This couple took my Bradley™ course and we joked about Dr. Bradley’s modesty ranking to gauge how far along mom’s are in labor so we both got a chuckle out of this.  Mom was resting for a bit when I walked in and contractions were around 3 to 4 minutes apart.  They had a nice treat basket full of chocolates set up for the nurses and doctors that were coming in and out – a little tip I give to all my clients, who doesn’t love chocolate and treats?!  Her husband took great notes in class and also packed himself a treat bag with thing she would want such as his favorite coffee and coffee maker along with sparkling water and honey sticks and more for her!  It was very nice to walk in and see all the things we talked about in class being done.  Mom even had her water bottle I gave her and was drinking from it the whole birth 🙂

We all sat and rested for a little while and then she decided it was time to get up and walk around.  They took a short little stroll in the hallway before she decided she was more comfortable in her room moving around as she was very uncomfortable making those beautiful laboring sounds in the hall way.  I encouraged her to let lose and make whatever sounds felt best for her, but she still stressed that it made her uncomfortable because no one else on the floor was making noise.  I looked at her and said yes but you are having a natural birth and with natural birth comes lovely laboring noises for some mom’s and that’s completely normal.  I would bet most of the other mom’s have an epidural and are napping and not feeling their contractions, but you are rocking this labor and should make all the laboring noises you want, just keep them coming from deep within, down low in your gut.  Soon she became very familiar with her contraction pattern and as the waves of a contraction would start she would start to shake her head and scream “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!”   I encouraged her that if that’s what she wanted to say great, if that’s what helps her cope wonderful, but make those “no’s” come from deep within and make them low deep “no’s”.  She took that advice and went really deep down with those no’s, swaying and leaning on her husband for support.  At one point when she was “no-ing” through a contraction her husband joked that the babies going to come out saying no or thinking it’s name is no.  She laughed but then went back into focusing on her contractions – a great sign that things were progressing along nicely. 

Her bed in the hospital room stayed empty most of the time we were there with the exception of vaginal exams or membrane sweeping.  Since she was already 3 centimeters and experiencing a few contractions that were patterned their approach to induction was to do membrane sweeping every two hours.  Poor mom was not excited about the membrane sweeping but would rather have that than the Pitocin since her goal was a natural unmedicated birth.  After every sweep the contractions would pick up and intensify but it seemed to be working to help keep labor progressing and finally she made the call to say she was done with them since labor was definitely established and progressing along nicely. 

I have to say they were one of the cutest couples I’d ever supported.  They knew each other really well and had been together for a long time.  At most births I attend I’m use to the bathroom door staying open for mom and she goes in, does her business and come back out without shutting the door in case she needs help.  This couple however, had never witnessed each other going to the bathroom and she wasn’t about to start now 🙂 I think my husband and I had the bathroom door open on our honeymoon – there’s nothing hidden in our marriage especially after 3 births.  I thought this was so sweet.  She would make her way to the bathroom and shut the door behind her and we would just wait on the other side of the door as she no’ed her way through several contractions before emerging again.  However towards the end of the labor – around an hour or so before baby arrived she started calling for her husband to come and assist her.  He was there for her every need and it was such a sweet experience to witness. 

Her labor was long and hard but she did such an amazing job.  She was definitely running out of energy though towards the end.  I wanted nothing more than to tell her she was 10 centimeters and could push.  Soon she said “I feel a lot of pressure and want to push, can I push?” and her moaning turned to grunting and her husband looked at me like – “woah did you hear that, that’s different!”.  We called the doctor in for a check and she was fully effaced but not yet to 10 centimeters.  At this point she was 7 centimeters which she was pretty bummed about but I could tell by her sounds that things were progressing quickly.  The doctor said she would be back between four to six hours to check on her since her water was broken and they didn’t want to do a lot to checks with broken water.  See at most hospitals it’s standard to do cervical checks every two hours expecting mom’s to dilate one centimeter every two hours, but that’s usually only true with mom’s on Pitocin, naturally laboring mothers progress at their own speed.  Sometimes that speed is slower than two hours, sometimes it’s close, and other times it’s much faster than every two hours.  This was on of those times it was MUCH faster! 

Shortly after this she started having a lot of pressure in her bottom and said she was ready to push.  I called the doctor in again but she was very reluctant to come since it had only been 20 minutes since the last check. She came in and explained it had only been 20 minutes and that she was still going to be 7 centimeters.  The attendee checked her and smiled up at her and said congratulations you are at 10 centimeters, you can start pushing.  The look on mom’s face was utter joy!  She asked just to double check what she heard and cried when it was confirmed she could now push!  I won’t lie – I teared up too because I was so excited for her! 

Her husband was pretty certain he would not be at the receiving end when baby arrived and she wasn’t surprised by it at all but when myself and the nurse started telling her we can see baby’s head he couldn’t help himself but to peak over and look.  Watching the miracle of birth is hard to resist!

I always cry at the birth of each baby I attend.  There is something so amazing about all the work mom did, all the support her partner gave and all the work baby did to arrive earth side!  Baby arrived safely and perfectly and tears were shared by mom and dad and myself.  Her doctor was amazing in support her in whatever she needed, encouraging her to take her time, get into whatever position is most comfortable for her and for me was a breath of fresh air from the experience I’ve had with other labor and delivery doctors. 

After an hour or two with the couple and their newest addition I left them to settle in together and spend time along as a new family.  Every birth is so different and so magical.  It’s always a great honor to be invited into this special space and time for families and each time I’m truly amazed at the whole process. 

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