Melissa called me while in her third trimester. She was referred by her pediatrician (a dear friend of mine) after she told her that she was curious about doing a natural birth. You see, just like me, Melissa had three prior inductions and had never had a spontaneous birth. But she wanted one. So after meeting with Melissa and Bobby, she was sure she could do it and I was thrilled to be part of their process.
Not only did Melissa get the opportunity to trust her body during birth, she also got the opportunity to trust God in His design during pregnancy because her due date came and went and seemed like the spontaneous labor would never happen. At 41w2d (September 9th) she had a doctor appointment. After Melissa’s doctor’s appointment she texted me to say that everything was the same as the last appointment: 4/100/-3. She said that she had her membranes stripped again but didn’t have much faith in it working.
At 1:19 she texted me and said she had been having ctx’s since she left the office and when she timed them they were 7 mins apart lasting 45 – 60 seconds in length. GREAT! She decided to lie down to see what they (ctx’s) would do. They stayed steady and she felt better while lying down.
At 2:30 she let me know they were about 6 mins apart and that she was getting in the tub. I got to her house at about 3:40. When I arrived she was on her knees with her arms draped over a pillow on the couch. Bobby was behind her, rubbing her back. The contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes and she was handling them beautifully. They were about 60 seconds long. She was breathing nicely and was very calm and controlled. She walked some and lay down as well.
(laboring at home)
About an hour later, she was on the birth ball leaning against Bobby with me behind her applying counter-pressure to her lower back. It was in this position that she started to moan for the first time.
She communicated earlier that she wanted to stay at the house and labor there for as long possible. We also had to take into consideration that on a good day (without traffic) they live about 30 minutes away from the hospital. But the baby decided to initiate labor when we would need to transfer in rush hour traffic, at 5 o’clock on highway 280.
Once she started to moan with her contractions I suggested that we head on to the hospital. I was confident that, while she was not in transition, she was very close to it and NO ONE can predict how long or short transition will be. They agreed and we made our way to the hospital at 5:15.
We pulled up to the hospital 6:05. When I got out of my car I saw Bobby making a sprint for the door: without Melissa. I was fully aware that since I don’t ride in the car with the clients, but follow behind them in my own car, I am unaware of what actually happens during that ride to the hospital. But when I saw Bobby run to the door and then answer me with “she can’t walk. She isn’t going to walk.” I was VERY confident that (evidently) she had probably started transition on the way over. Once I walked to up to her at her car, I was SURE she was in transition. I said, “Hey Melissa, what’s going on?”
“I WANT AN EPIDURAL NOW!”
Yep, transition. For those that don’t know: the emotional signpost of transition is “self-doubt.” When you think either, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” or “I can’t do this anymore.” And that just means one thing: you are about to hold your baby. It also means (for the doula) that I better get you to your room pronto so that we can make you more comfortable and help you gain your bearings again. The car ride over (especially if you are in transition) can be one of the most difficult parts of the birth story. It’s hard to get comfortable, on top of the “self-doubt” thoughts you may be having.
So a nurse came out with a wheelchair and we got Melissa to her room. When she got in the room, she stood up beside the bed, leaning on the birth ball. She had two contractions there and then headed to the bathroom to try and give a urine sample (yeah right) and change clothes. When she sat down on the toilet she had a very strong contraction with a lot of pressure and expressed that she did not want to do this anymore (all very normal). At that point I had her look right into my eyes and hear me: You are about to push out your baby. You are no doubt 10 cm’s and you are doing it! Lets get you settled and into a comfortable position okay? Lets do one contraction at a time, okay?
She agreed and then immediately started another contraction and then announced “the head, the head!! IT’S COMING!!” She stood up a little off the toilet and, because I was the right there in front of her, I instinctively reached to make sure I could support the baby’s head. But what I felt was more squishy and felt like a balloon. A balloon full of water. Yup, I was supporting the BOW (bag of waters), intact. AWESOME! I have never seen that before. So I called out to the nurse (who had run out to find a doctor) that it was the BOW and she came back and helped us get Melissa to the bed. She managed to get in the bed and seated upright when the next contractions came and then that bag of water (outside) ruptured.
After a few more contractions Melissa told us that she wanted to get on her hands and knees. At that point she was in the bed on her knees, upright and leaning on Bobby. She was bearing down, but was having trouble staying upright, and Bobby’s arms were taking a beating. So I asked her to get in the same position (since she liked it) but instead to lean over the head of the bed. Magic.
She began to push and in just a few contractions the baby’s head was out. And then at 6:36 her beautiful baby girl was born: Katelyn Grace, 8lbs 4oz and 19 ¾ inches long. Little Katelyn was perfect, with the prettiest pink skin you’ve ever seen.
So just 30 short minutes after getting to the hospital, Melissa pushed out her baby. Wow.
Melissa, I am so thankful. Beyond thankful to watch your process. You did an amazing job. You were in control of EVERY.SINGLE.CONTRACTION. You were so strong and handled that car ride like a rock star. You are a natural pro and I am so proud that you waited patiently for your body to do what it was created to do. And as I said on that day, we are now best friends because your music playlist was a copy of my own. 😉 And Bobby, you were stellar. Strong and confident for Melissa. Being a physician suits you. But being Melissa’s coach, beautiful. You guys are an amazing couple to watch and I am thrilled that you didn’t have to run any red lights, even though you wanted to. You both did amazingly! Congratulations on that beautiful girl.
SHOUTOUT: While I don’t have the permission of the doctor and nurse involved in this birth (to use their names) I want to make it known how amazing both were. I am always amazed at this doctor’s calmness and willingness to let mom do what she wants to do to be comfortable (namely, pushing in whatever position is most comfortable for momma). And I’ve worked with this nurse before and loved her then too! I can’t say enough good things about Brookwood!