This Feels Like a Mother...
In this picture, Liz is past her due date, 4cm dilated, talking and laughing with her mother. Liz is contemplating walking out of her scheduled induction, after cancelling the first two. This one was supposed to start at 5pm. The midwife is listening to her baby on the monitors and watching her contractions. Liz hasn't felt any contractions, but is contracting according to the monitors. Liz contemplates leaving the hospital for another 3 hours, until asking all of her questions, getting answers that made her feel comfortable and then deciding that now is the time for her to start this induction process. They start pitocin at 1 drop per hour, the lowest dose possible at 8:25pm.
This is how Liz's body responded 30 minutes later.
Are you wondering what you're looking at? Here's a quick explanation: The verticle lines, represent the start of a minute. The black line, represents Liz's contractions. Active labor contractions, last about a minute long. Liz's were lasting about 2.5 to 3 minutes.
Liz was still laughing. Liz was still talking and walking. Liz was having a great night. Such a great night, that I decided to go eat the dinner that I skipped, around 10pm. I sent the following text to another doula though:
"Heading home for dinner, but I'm going to be going back. I bet she has a baby around 3am."
I would be wrong, but let me go back to the beginning...
I met Liz and her husband Ozgur, during their doula search process. I helped them to arrange meetings with doulas through Birth Tribe and eventually contract another doula.
However, after some time, the relationship wasn't working and Liz asked for a doula switch-a-roo. I met with Liz and her husband in their home and we laughed and chatted for 3 hours. Myself and another doula, Ashley Minihan, decided we would share call for her. We wanted her to have a great experience.
We chatted quite a bit over the next 6 weeks. Liz was a fierce advocate for herself. She would run things by us, for validation, but she didn't need it. She was making wise choices and saying "no" when her intuition told her to. Being a first time parent can make navigating things more difficult, but not for Liz. She was in no rush to have her baby come before her or her baby was ready, until the last possible moment.
So now we are caught up to the part, where I went home.
Inductions for first time vaginal birth, can often take some time. Here where I live, in Connecticut, most inductions start in the evening. The beginning parts of induction, not much is happening. Most of the time, it starts with cervical ripeners, which don't usually cause contractions and can stay in for 12 to 24 hours. So the thought is, you might as well sleep during that phase, hence why they bring you in later in the day.
I usually go to the hospital for the start of an induction, help to tuck my clients in, and then wait for a call that they're uncomfortable, need me and head back. I've learned if I stay in the room, we talk all night, instead of my client resting.
Liz though was too far along in dilation for a cervical ripener and so the only option was pitocin.
I was home for 25 minutes, when Ozgur and I had this text exchange:
I live 5 minutes from Manchester Memorial Hospital. A nurse came to retrieve me as the doors are locked after 8pm and when she arrived she said, "Things got intense very quickly! I'm glad you're back!"
It was 11:32pm when I entered Liz's room and she was flying through labor. Things were wildly intense and she yelled, "Hips!".
I gave her a hip squeeze, which gave her some relief and during the next few contractions, showed Ozgur how to do it as well. So that I could help talk Liz through a bit of her panic.
At 11:45pm she said, "I can't do this much longer. I'm losing my shit."
Liz was doubting herself, which was understandable. My notes at 11:48pm say "transition". Remember, Liz hadn't felt a single contraction, until her water broke, 25 minutes prior. 25 minutes from active labor to transition, I believe it's the fastest that I had ever witnessed.
Liz then said: "It feels like a mother fucker. Maybe that's where that word comes from". One of her nurses and I both said, "Yes!".
Liz looked at me and said she felt like she needed an epidural, she felt like she couldn't do it any longer, and I had to tell her, that while there are very rare cases that it's too late for an epidural, now was probably one of them, but that nitrous could help within minutes.
Her nurse ran down the hall and was back with nitrous within minutes, but needed to switch a tank. We gave Liz the mask anyway, but no one was fooling her. Once the tank was switched Liz did feel relief. The nurse read her line by line the consent form, as Liz was certainly in no state to read it herself. With the mask still pushed against her face she yelled "I CONSENT!!!" It was long and drawn out. Very Brave Heart-esque if you will. Her first puff of nitrous was at 12:13am.
With every contraction I did hip squeezes for Liz to help relieve some of the pressure she was feeling in her pelvis. A few contractions after the nitrous, the midwife entered the space and asked Liz if she could do a cervical check.
Liz looked me square in the eyes and said,
"If I'm not at least 8cm, I'm getting an epidural."
Me: "I bet you're fully dilated."
Me: "I think you're 10cm"
Liz: "There's no way I can keep going if I'm not"
Midwife: "She's 10cm"
Liz: "I'm going to push."
Midwife: "Ok let's do it!"
Liz was, for the first time during this labor, in total control and fully centered.
On her first push, the top of her baby's head was visible! You could hear her say, "Super Mario Brothers", through the nitrous mask. She later explained that she could see two rainbows, one black and white and one full of color and as she pushed, the other one was filling with color, like she was leveling up. (We discussed this in total hysterics.)
Midwife: "Oh my gosh let me get gloves on. Hold on Liz!"
The entire room erupted with joyful noise and as the midwife was in a rushed panic trying to get her gloves her on, Liz looked at me, looked down, and nodded, as if she was saying, "You've got this right?". I smiled and she pushed.
The average first time mom pushes for more than a hour. Liz was going to do what she could, to break all of the records. She was done with labor, and she wasn't holding on for anyone.
The next contraction came about 90 seconds after the last, and the baby's head was fully crowned. An obgyn walked in and helped to support Liz's other leg, and on that very next push, Evren was earth side and crying his little heart out on Liz's chest.
Liz had started pushing, just a mere 7 minutes earlier.
It was 12:46am. Her entire labor to Evren's birth was a total of 1 hour and 24 minutes.
Meet Liz and her beautiful baby. She's one heck of a badass.
I know that I wasn't originally part of the plan, but I'm honored that I got to be. Thank you Liz, Ozgur, and Evren, for letting me be part of such a monumental moment in your lives.