Nikki and Woody are a very cute couple that I have the privilege of going to the same church with. In fact, their firstborn Charis, is in the same class as my little Eva. They are one month apart.
Nikki’s first birth was a planned natural birth. However, after several factors (length of labor, to the hospital too soon, etc) it did not end that way. She labored for 20 hours before havingpitocin. She handled four hours of pitocin before she got the epidural and then delivered a healthy baby girl. But knew that she wanted a birth that she did not get. So when she found out she was pregnant with the second one, she started planning and preparing. She contacted me very early in her pregnancy and agreed that a doula would make a difference in the birth this time around.
Nikki decided in her second trimester that she would like to do a water birth. So she and Woody attended the class at Brookwood and a funny thing happened. The Birmingham News, wanting to do a story on Brookwood being the only hospital in bham doing waterbirths, approached Nikki and Woody to see if they could follow their birth. As in, have a reporter and a photographer present at the birth. Nikki and Woody were excited to get the word out to other moms about this wonderful option and agreed.
Fast forward to March 13th (her actual DUE DATE! GET OUT..that never happens!).. she called me at around 2:30 am to tell me that she had been ctxing since around 10pm. . but that they had picked up in intensity and were around 6-7 min apart. So I told her I would take a shower, and suggest for her to do the same and I’d head that way to check on things. I got to her house and things had picked up to 2-4 min apart, lasting for about a minute. However, I knew it was still early. The photographer for the paper (I’ll call her “T” since I forgot to get her permission to include her name) showed up and so did the reporter “A.” Several hours went by and around 7 am things started to slow down to about 7-8 mins apart. However, they would last almost 2mins. This is what made me convinced that this was NOT prodromal labor. In my opinion, thectx’s were doing what is called the NAP: natural alignment plateau. She was still having ctx’sbut they may not have been doing much in way of dilation (but other things can be happening besides dilation, i.e; baby dropping down, cervix thinning, etc).
At around 9:30 a.m I knew what Nikki needed but needed to hear it from a trusted friend as well. So I called my friend Natalie, told her what was going on and she said the same thing: everyone needs to leave the house (including me) and let mom and dad have some time by themselves. You see, there were quite a few people at the house while Nikki was laboring. Even though they stayed in the living room while we were in the bedroom, Nikki knew they were there. And with every passing hour it’s a constant reminder that not only are you “still in labor” but others are “waiting around.” That can be alot of pressure on a mom, whether she realizes it or not. If mom can get into “labor land” and not be focused on everyone else it WILL speed things up.
So I asked everyone if they could go do some errands or shopping, something so that we could leave the apartment and leave Nikki and Woody to themselves to rest and wait for things to pick up. I asked Woody to call me when things “changed” and assured him that he would know when they did. I left their house at 10:15. At noon Woody called to say that Nikki had been resting, took a shower and then the ctx’s started picking up from 9 min’s apart to 5-6 min’sapart. I asked him to call me in 30 minutes with an update. So he did. The next part is NOT what any of us expected.
He called me at 12:30 to tell me the intensity was much different and that they all of the sudden went to 2-3 min’s and just had one ctx lasting 3 minutes. I told him i was on my way. Now, I live about 15 min’s from them. And I was speeding trying to get there. I had this sixth sense that we needed to hurry. Not so much because I thought she was going to have the baby at home, but because of that water birth. Remember, she “needed” to get to the hospital in time to get in that pool. And it definitely sounded like she was beginning transition. I felt pressure to get her there for that reason. So I did something I’ve not done before. I called the doctor to tell him we were on our way.. (eh hem) even though I wasn’t actually with the mom. HA. I know he thought I was nuts. I told him what all was going on and then he said, “Um well, can I speak to Nikki?” Awkward. “Um..well, im not actually with her. Im on my way to see her. I was just with her two hours ago when her ctx’s were 13 min’s apart.. but now they are on top of each other. Give me two minutes and i will be with her.” (yeah, im sure he thought i was crazy. What kind of doula is this?). haha.
I walked into their apartment and they were all getting ready. And within two minutes we were in walking to their car. Nikki got into the back seat on all fours and I got in the front with Woody . Now let me say, up until this point, I figured that Nikki was beginning transition. And based on her labor thus far, assumed that this could take a while. That is until we got in the car. We were about 12 minutes max from the hospital. And within the first 2 minutes I realized something very quickly: If her water breaks, I have to tell woody to pull the car over and I have to catch my first baby.. on the side of the road. Yes folks. It was very obvious to me that although her water was still in tact.. it was likely the only thing holding that baby in. Nikki was grunting through the ctx’s trying NOT to push. I also BOLD FACE LIED to her and told her “Nikki, we still have time because your water is still in tact.” The truth with that is that I didn’t know how much time we had, and ALSO there are times where babies come out with the bag of water! Sorry Nikki. But it did make a difference in her hope that we would make it to the hospital.
After running every light on HWY 280 with the flashers on (Woody said later that every dad wishes he could get to do that, just like the movies) we arrived to the hospital. Got into the room. They had already set up the pool, but there was no water yet. Nikki was standing over the end of the bed and had changed into her bathing suit top. They had enough time to get her port in and do about a 15 minute EFM on the baby (who looked great, btw).. and one of the nurses checked to see what her cervix was doing. The nurse looked up and said, “all I feel is a bulging bag of water.” What that meant (that we later realized).. Nikki was fully dilated folks! Yeah, she probably walked into that hospital at 10cm’s. Oh how that was NOT this doula’sintention.
So after two ctx’s Nikki reached down and felt and said “HEAD!” (turns out it was the bag of water).. but she got up in the bed, on her knees while leaning over the head of the bed. At this point Dr. A literally RAN into the room. He almost tripped over the table with all his “stuff” on it. He felt better when he realized it wasn’t the head, but the BOW. So he decided to rupture it for her. Again, it was the only thing keeping the baby in at this point. After he did that, Nikki pushed through two ctx’s and had her precious little girl. It was amazing!
Born on her due date (VERY RARE) and with a true umbilical cord knot, Adalia Kate was born..all 8lbs 6ozs and 21 inches of her. Nikki and Woody, you both did an amazing job and I am so beyond proud of your birth story!