The next birth I attended was a first time mommy and another friend of mine. Her baby was "due" on October 31th but I had mentally planned to attend her in November as it was her 1st baby. After all, my last mom had her baby on he EDD and what are the chances that this one would as well. Plus..I needed to be around Halloween night to take my kids trick or treating. On Friday October 29th, I called D and told her we were going to San Antonio for the afternoon the following day. I asked her if anything had changed and she told me,"no" and to enjoy ourselves.
So we got to spend a few hours at Six Flags but had to leave by 3pm or so because Gary was playing his violin at a wedding in the early evening. Then as we pull up to gridlock traffic, I begging to call my dad and brother to ask what time the UT football game was that day. Sure enough, we were in crazy football traffic. Since we do not have smart phones, my brother in Houston sent an email to the bride saying that Gary would be late but was coming as fast as he could. I am just setting the stage of our very busy and action packed afternoon. We got home, and as soon as he changed, Gary booked it to the wedding(which luckily everybody was late to because of the game traffic) I went inside, grabbed my pumpkin and headed directly to a pumpkin carving party. The kids never even got out of the car. After the party, we came home and noticed a cul-de-sac party going on across from our house. We went over, met neighbors, and ate our weight in smoked BBQ meat. Then we put the kids to bed and just as I was about to collapse...my phone rings..haha.
It was 9:30pm or so and she told me her water had just broken. She was birthing at a birth center which I was excited to see because I had never been to a birth center birth before. She had to go there to get a round of antibiotics and I told her I would just meet her there. Normally, I wouldn't have left before any contractions had even started but the birth center is about 40 minutes away from me and I did not want to drive there at 2-3am when all the drunks from the Halloween parties/bars were out on the road. I just figured I would try to crash at her place.
So off I go at 10pm and by 11:15pm, I finally arrived. She seemed happy and I had to pee so I went to the bathroom. I then noticed that I had bled a little(mind you I was 14-15 weeks pregnant at the time) I felt a bit panicked and asked the midwife about it. She said it was probably nothing..maybe from sex or something. It still freaked me out. Then we went back to D's apartment and she and her husband and her parents got some rest. My cramping continued as did the blood. Luckily it was more brown so I was not worried about a placental abruption or anything. I texted my midwife to let her know what was going on and she told me to have the midwife at the birth center check heart tones when we went back.
Needless to say, I did not sleep. I was on a small couch and D's parents were watching a movie on the couch next to me.(They had come from Australia so the jet lag still had them fully awake at midnight) We went back to the birth center around 3am...I think. She had to get another IV of antibiotics. Luckily though, around 1am or so, her contractions had begun on their own. We got there and after they started the IV, we asked if we could just stay. No one else was there and who wants to keep going back and forth in a car. The midwife said that sh didn't think D was far enough along. I had been writing down her contractions and she was having them consistently every 3-4 minutes. This midwife was just going on D's reaction to them which was to go inward and breathe quietly. I guess she thought someone farther along would be louder. Well, D was checked and found to be 5.5 cm! So we stayed and got settled in. Her husband got on the bed and just chilled which was amusing to me. He is a very sweet soft spoken man who loves his wife dearly..however I think D had mentioned to me earlier in her pregnancy that he would not mind if birth was like the old days where the husbands were not there. I think he just did not know what to expect and was a little nervous how it would unfold. So, I knew going into the birth that unlike the previous birth a few weeks earlier where the husband wanted to be the primary labor support, I would be in that role for this birth.
She positioned herself on her birth ball and I sat on one behind her, rubbing her back as her contractions came. I got her water and asked her to guide me as I was giving counter pressure to make sure she was as comfortable as possible. I was so tired and a bit out of it at this point as her labor became more active that my thinking brain kind of turned off and my instincts took over. I think I did the best I could as a doula at the births I attended before having a natural birth myself but this time, I knew in my bones what it felt like to be a laboring woman. Because she was a friend and I wasn't worried about stepping on her husband's toes, I let myself support her as it came naturally.
As I sat behind her, I knew she liked the quietness of her birthing space so I didn't talk much. I leaned my head against her back as I swayed with her. I let myself "sync up" with her. When she started to make sounds, I "aaah'd" and hummed right along with her. I remember feeling so supported when Gary did this with me as I was laboring with Leo. At one point the new assistant midwife came in and was very loud in her talking. It just sounded so harsh compared to how the room was before she came in. She asked her if she knew about homeopathics and the proceeded to give D a history of them. I just kept thinking in my head,"shut up lady..you're messing with her birth zone" Finally she gave D a couple white pellets and left. I asked D, "is she a bit loud for you?" Immediately D said yes and that she had been praying for a contraction so the assistant would shut up. haha!
D's husband at this time had moved to the side of the bed where he could have contact with D who was still on the ball next to the bed. It was sweet, all she needed form him was for him to keep his hand on her leg..just to know he was there.
We then were able to get D into the tub which she had been wanting for a while. The tub was oblong and one end was in the corner of the room so I had D put her head towards the room so I could stay sitting on the ball and keep my hands on her back/shoulders, arms..etc. I pulled her very beautiful, very long hair into the best bun I could manage while she figured out what was the most comfortable position for her in the tub. When she would have a contraction, I would reach my hands as far down into her back as I could to try to give her the pressure I was giving her earlier. This was not so easy on my body or my back. Then she felt a bit like pushing so the midwives had her turn the other way so they could have access to the baby should she birth in the tub. The only place for me to be where I could do my job was in the little corner behind her head. My un-flexible legs were stretched past 90 degrees and my left leg was jammed behind the faucet, careful not to turn more water on. At this point, I kept giving her sips of water and alternating cool rags on her forehead and neck. For some reason her cervix would not dilate completely...just a lip left. They convinced her to try something different and get out of the tub. She didn't want to move as she was in that place where you are so ready to be done, you can't imaging changing positions much less stepping out of a tub and walking a few steps to the bed. We all supported her and after we got her on the bed, the midwife tried holding back the rest of the cervix as she pushed. Even this did not do the job. We convinced her that it might be smart to empty her bladder to see if that was impeding things. She did and eventually she just started pushing with all her might. This was around 9:30-10am or so. She did a great job and by about 10:45am, on her "due date", she pushed out her baby boy. I, of course cried like I always do but her reaction was priceless. She hadn't known the gender and as soon as she saw him, she was crying tears of joy and just telling him how perfect and beautiful he was. He mom was there in tears and I was lucky to get to take a couple pictures of her in those first moments. After about 5 minutes the midwives started to get impatient with her placenta. Why? I do not know. I suggested that she try to nurse her baby to see if that would help bring on the placenta and was shot down by this midwife who told me that they do not have the mother nurse till after the placenta has come out. Hmmm...that's not what EVERY birth book I have says. But whatever, I know my place as a doula and I didn't push it. Then I noticed them pulling on her cord. Eek! After the first couple of tugs, the midwife announced that it was still attached. RRrr. Then a few minutes later, the assistant did the same thing saying that it was still attached and that she didn't feel comfortable pulling on it anymore. duh. I am glad she stopped. Eventually it did come out but then very soon after, I noticed the midwife's tone changed a bit. I heard her order a shot of pitocin and methergine and an herb called hem-halt. I walked past the foot of the bed and saw blood bubbling out of her. D was perfectly at ease and her baby never left her arms. The midwife began manual compressions on her uterus and the shots were given. I had never seen a hemorrhage before but the midwives were working together very efficiently. I just sat in a chair and said a few prayers as that was as much as I could do since I needed to stay out of the way. After 15-20 minutes I guess, it was under control and D was able to eat some apple slices I brought her. She nursed her little boy and all was well. I asked the midwives about why they think she hemorrhaged and they said something about her uterus just being tired but I can't help but think they may have made things worse with all that cord traction. I have since talked to D about it and she said that for her next birth ,she will be adamant that no one is to pull on the cord until it is fully detached and the placenta is coming out on it's own. She was very happy with her birth and would totally use a birth center again.
This was such a great experience for me as a doula because I was doing all I could the whole time she was in labor. I saw how turning off ones brain during labor is not just good for the laboring mom but for the birth partner as well. I think I was just more comfortable being out of a hospital setting and didn't worry about someone telling me not do do something or thinking I was weird for making labor noises with the mom.
Well, this was a long blog post but I wanted to get as much detail in as I could. My bleeding did stop about 4 days later and all is well with my pregnancy.
The best teachers...
3 days ago