"I didn't push!"
At my first prenatal with Christine I helped her to create a birth plan. On the plan I added the icon and wording pictured.
Christine emailed me later and told me that she was a bit worried about not being coached to push as she really needed the encouragement with her first daughter. We talked a bit more about letting babies labor down and how letting her body take over and move baby down, could be beneficial in conserving energy. We also discussed a bit about the ejection reflex, and I promised that if she was struggling, I would certainly help to "coach" her pushing phase.
At 6:31am on April 28th I received a text from Christine that said, "So my water broke last night. I'm not feeling any contractions yet. Anything I should do?"
I suggested trying some pressure points to see if it would help to get things started and sent over some diagrams of the ones that are usually most effective.
I reached back out to Christine at 8am and after a few questions, I decided to get my things together and head to Christine. Her water had been broken for about 5 hours and she was a second time mom, who lives about an hour from me. We had our last prenatal scheduled for the next day, so even if her contractions didn't start by the time I got there, we could go through some information and maybe I could help to kick start them.
When I got there at 10am Christine was starting to have some cramping, but nothing consistent. We used some essential oils, I did some pressure point work, and used the rebozo to see if I could help get baby into a better position. Based on all of the back pain, it appeared that baby was posterior.
Christine and I then chatted and spent some time with her older daughter outside. Her mother arrived and they shared some of their knowledge and love of birds with me.
Christine's husband, Michael, had been doing some work on their new home, at the urging of Christine. He had asked me to please let him know when I thought he should shower before leaving.
Around noon time, I saw Christine have a very big shift in intensity and pain. She was stopping during contractions, concentrating on breathing, and was turning more inward. I suggest to Michael that he shower now.
When Christine asked me if they should gather anything up, I suggested installing the carseat that I had seen in the other room (a true sign of second time parents!!! bahaha) Christine decided she wanted to install it herself. She said she liked the distraction and wanted to keep busy.
I stayed close to Christine and started timing her contractions. They were coming every 3 to 4 minutes apart. Christine and her family had recently moved from one side of the state to the other, so I put the address of where they planned to have a baby into the GPS and realized it was about a 40 minute drive, not the 20 minutes Christine thought it was. The timing of the day, and the route that we would take, would also mean we would be facing traffic. I stopped Michael from getting in the shower and suggested that we leave now.
Christine was managing these so well, that her family was unaware of how quickly things were moving. At one point her mother peaked her head out of the window yelled to Christine if she knew where her lunch bag was. Christine was bent over in the back seat of the car, making audible noises at this point. It was pretty funny from my end and at that point I went inside and told everyone to move along a bit quicker than they had been.
After a bit of a stressful drive, we arrived to Yale, York St campus at around 1:20pm. At this hospital they only allow one person into triage with you. Christine asked if I would stay with her and Michael went to the waiting room. It was wildly evident that the staff did not believe that Christine was in labor. As a matter of fact, they doubted that her water had broken too. Christine was very quiet during contractions, so much so, that I don't think anyone but me realized that they were even happening. I would remind her to breathe and a doctor/resident would then realize what was going on. They left us in triage until a doctor did a test to confirm water rupture for over a hour. They also confirmed she was 5cm dilated at that time.
They suggested that she go for a walk and get into active labor. I thought that was a bad idea. I had seen how quickly things were moving. I asked for one of their new tub rooms instead and suggested walking in the space. The rooms are huge, and when we were walking through the hospital to get to triage, I could tell that Christine was very uncomfortable, with people ogling her, while she contracted. Christine said, "oh yes, I want a room"
They put us into room 453 at 2:47pm. I asked for the nurse to please fill the tub while they monitored the baby for the required 20 minutes. I went and got Michael and brought him to the room as well. When he walked in he said, "This is swanky!" (If you are having a baby at York St., or one of your clients is, ask for the tub rooms. They are fantastic!)
Christine slipped into the tub at 3:08pm, and while it didn't help with her back labor as much as I hoped it would, she said she felt very relaxed and didn't want to get it out.
At 3:30pm I noted a shift of the belly in my notes. It was at this point that I believe baby had gotten itself out of a posterior position. At York St. you are not able to birth your baby in the tub, so I had been asking Christine intermittently if she had pressure in her bottom.
At 3:42 Christine said, "Oh it feels like I have to poop!". This is exactly what it feels like when it's time to push out a baby. I asked Christine if she could get out of the tub, but she said she couldn't. The nurse, Louise came over and also encouraged Christine to get out of the tub and over to the bed. Christine eventually got out but leaned over the tub side.
We could see a strip of the babies head as soon as she bent over and Louise called for a doctor. Christine was feeling strong intensity and we could see baby begin to emerge. A doctor never made it, and Nurse Louise caught baby Isolde, tub side at 3:49pm. I helped Louise pass baby through Christine's legs and up to her chest.
Baby Isolde let out the biggest cry I have ever heard and Christine then walked herself over to the bed. Everyone, but Louise and I, were in a bit of shock. The doctors came in to find Christine, Isolde, and Michael over in the bed.
Michael kept repeating, "I can't believe it! I'm so proud of you. Our baby is here!"
Christine then looked up at me and said, "I didn't push! She just came right out! Just like you said she would!" I laughed a little, and was surprised that after such an intense few minutes, that was the first thing that came to her mind.
The body is an amazing thing, without needing any intervention (including the voices of a doula/nurse/doctor) babies will come out just with the assistance of our uterus, if we can ride the waves of contractions.
Christine trusted her body, even when it was scary too. She brought a beautiful baby earthside quickly with ease, and had an amazing birth that I will never forget.
Christine thank you for allowing me to support you during such a special an intimate moment for your family. You have beautiful and strong daughters, who even if they receive just a small drop of your strength, will triumph any obstacles for years to come. You lady, are a warrior!