Jamie, Tom, & Julie
On Sunday afternoon, I received a text from Jamie that she was at the hospital and they were inducing her. I was shocked! I had never had someone head to the hospital without a peep before, but after talking with her for a bit, I realized she didn't think they'd actually be keeping her there. She was hoping to tell me the story later on in the day, about her little visit to the hospital.
Jamie was being induced due to pre-eclampsia, which is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. This condition can sometimes cause lots of complications for the pregnant person. The only way to resolve it, is to no longer be pregnant, so if the case is severe enough, providers might suggest induction.
Jamie and I have been very open with eachother through out this entire process. I know that preparing her with facts and information would benefit her more, than taking the wait and see approach. Her being educated about what can happen during an induction would help her to feel less worried. Understanding what was "normal", would be important to her.
When I arrived to the hospital to chat with her, I found out that her cervix was "fully closed and thick". Basically, we were starting at zero. So I prepared her. I let her know that inductions prior to due dates, for a first time mom, with a closed cervix could be a couple of days. I talked about all of the procedures and medications that they might offer and use to assist with the induction. Jamie and Tom were prepared for the long haul that often comes with this process.
I left that evening and told them I would come back in the morning after the cervical ripener was removed, to talk about the next steps.
At 9pm I received a text from Tom that they were putting Jamie on magnesium. I had prepped Jamie earlier, that this may make her feel like poo, but sometimes is the only way to fend off seizures, if someone is experiencing high blood pressures.
At 10pm my phone rang and it was Jamie. She was upset and who could blame her? She had gone in for a routine check and was sent to the hospital. Then to be told she wasn't leaving and was now laying in bed, hooked up to a million machines, having a baby rushed out that she thought was still weeks away, with the mindset that this could take days.
I shared with her some words of encouragement, discussed her worries, and hung up with her feeling more calm. When I disconnected, I felt sad for Jamie, and came up with a plan to cheer her up the next day for while we waited.
I was very surprised at 5:24am to receive a text from Tom that Jamie was 4cm and having contractions. This is NOT normal! They later told me that at that point Jamie was coping well, and they considered not telling me to come yet. However, they wanted me there for the next step of the process as the Obgyn had planned to start pitocin. I'm glad that they did!
I took a shower, got dressed, and went to the hospital. I arrived 35 minutes later and was in their room at 6:09am.
When I arrived, Jamie was gripping Tom's hand and holding a barf bag (I tried to call it something nicer, but what other names are there, really?) They were alone in the space. I watched Jamie have a contraction and cope nicely. She was nauseous, but looked great and in control. They told me about what the plan was next and I talked Jamie through another contraction. Those two were 3 minutes apart and I wondered why pitocin was even being discussed.
Then the next contraction came, and kept coming, and kept coming. Jamie looked at me intensely and said, "this is the worst one so far" and then looked at Tom with a bit of panic in her face. I said quietly to myself, "she's farther than 4", but Tom heard me and perked up.
Then Jamie looked at me, with only that look that transition brings and said, "I want an epidural". I replied, "ok". To be very honest, I was in a bit of shock and trying to process what was going on myself. While I've had women get epidurals at 10cm, Jamie seemed to be flooring it down the highway of labor and I didn't know if that would be something they would make available to her. That was the last time she mentioned it though.
Then the next contraction came, and with it a low and deep long moan. "She's fully" I said. I pushed the call button and the nurse came in. "What was that noise?!" the nurse questioned in a confused tone, and then she called for a resident. Jamie asked one more time for the epidural and I explained to her that her baby was coming now and that she had already done the majority of the work.
Jamie's face immediately changed. She accepted without anymore words that she was having this baby without pain meds and she moved into a calm and focused state. The rest of the room was not in the same state though...
At 6:27am a resident confirmed she was fully dilated and then also mentioned that there was no doctor from Jamie's practice on-site yet. At 6:33am Jamie said that she needed to push. They asked her to wait for the doctor and then 10 people or so poured in. Jamie breathed through every contraction, while her body made small involuntary pushes. She remained in complete control.
As the residents stood in the corner, with no attending, they all discussed in a quiet, but panicked state, who was going to do this and what the right call was as the babies heart rate was dipping pretty low.
At that moment Jamie's water broke all over the resident sitting at the end of the bed, and he quickly made an exit. A confident and petite resident, then stepped in and began to take over, while everyone else watched.
Jamie asked me 4 times "When will she be here? Like soon?". One of the residents replies, "Your doctor is on her way!" That wasn't what Jamie meant though. She meant her baby!
The nurses, myself, and her OB's had all prepped Jamie for days worth of induction, and we weren't even at the 12 hour mark yet. Everyone kept mentioning how shocked they were about what was happening, but Jamie and Tom I don't think really grasped how quick this was actually going. Their little girl was going to be earthside very soon. I said to Jamie, "within the hour" and Jamie perked right up and her and Tom looked at each other with shocked and excited faces. They both giggled a little bit too actually.
Then a doctor stepped in, in operating scrubs, talked about how Jamie was going to need to push asap because the baby's heart rate was dipping very low and then began to reference her previous delivery and her next push. This was Jamie's first baby and up until that moment everyone had been telling her not to push. I then explained that his facts were incorrect.
Then the laborist walked in, introduced herself and began to assist the resident. It was chaos for lack of better words. 1/3 of the room wanted her to wait, a 1/3 of the room was playing rock paper scissors, and the other 1/3 (Tom, Jamie, myself and the women who would catch their baby) knew that now was the time.
Jamie looked at me and asked "Can I push?" and as I nodded and told her to follow her body, it sounded like everyone else in the space yelled "Yes!". Multiple people began counting, but Jamie focused on my voice and I just told her how strong she was and reminded her to push down low. She trusted her body and followed it's own cues on when to push. She had been on her own path this entire time, and it was no one's to take over now. I looked over at Tom and his eyes were welled up and he was gripping Jamie's hand as tight as possible. He told her how amazing and strong she was. I rubbed his shoulder and told him he was going to meet his baby soon.
At 6:45am, Jamie pushed for the first time, we saw half of the baby's head. If you're reading this story and know nothing about birth, this is also NOT normal. Most first time moms push for an average of 90 minutes or so. Julie was nailing this labor thing.
The doctor in full operating scrubs stepped in again, and insisted that Jamie keep pushing even though the contraction was gone. She started to, stopped and said, "No!". Jamie knew that he was wrong. Jamie needed a little break to take some breaths and gather her energy back up, and let her uterus help her to get the baby out and she did just that.
At 6:50am Jamie pushed and as she looked down she smiled the biggest smile and someone said "oh she has some hair!", then Jamie pushed one more time and baby Julie took her first breath earthside at 6:51am.
Tom was in shock, I was in shock, and Jamie was nothing but blissful. She was laughing and so excited to meet her little, wide eyed, baby girl.
Baby Julie was in a bit of shock herself, which is totally normal for how fast she came. After a bit of oxygen under the warmer she was given back to Jamie. It was at that point that Jamie said, "...this is so surreal. Is this really happening? I have my baby already!?" Then her OB walked in and was also shocked. "You let her deliver?!?!" (don't get me started)
The room quickly cleared and quieted down. Jamie and Tom were taking in their baby girl with full elation. Shift change for the doctors and nurses happened, just a few minutes after baby Julie was born, and an entire second set discussed their shock of the situation.
And Jamie didn't care. Jamie focused on her little girl. I watched her well up multiple times and then smile. This mama and daughter stared into each other eyes and they made an immediate connection that only parents and baby can.