Lauren and Matt Have Their Son
(Teresa’s comments are following the bullets and Lauren’s story inserts are italics. Lauren and Matt took the Wisdom for Birth Classes we offer.)
- Lauren stated contracting around 8 pm the night before. The contractions were mild and irregular.
I had decided to take this week off of work to start my maternity leave. This was one week before Aiden’s due date. Three days went by of being off work and I wasn’t feeling any different from weeks prior. I was able to relax and get some things done around the house in preparation of the birth. On Wednesday night Sep 12’th around 8pm I started feeling very gentle contractions about 30 minutes apart. I wasn’t sure if they were real contractions due to them being so mild. At first I was under the impression they were Braxton hicks contractions which I had been experiencing in weeks prior. When I noticed the contractions were consistently 30 minutes apart I began to come to the conclusion that my labor had in fact began.
- She slept from 9 pm to midnight.
I went to bed around 9-9:30 and slept for a few hours and woke up from the contractions becoming slightly more aggressive. This made me feel very excited to know that the day had come. I called my fiancé Matt and asked him to come home from a friend’s house. Upon Matt’s arrival (about 1am) I asked him to take a walk with me. We walked around the block once and the contractions began to be consistently 15-20 minutes-ish apart.
- 9/13 She called me at 3 am with some concerns but I told her what she was seeing was normal.
Since the walk the contractions stayed the same intensity and distance apart, I chose to call Teresa to inquire about the brown discharge I had noticed when I went to the restroom. I knew a bloody show would be normal… However, I wasn’t sure if the brown was normal. Teresa assured me that the brown color was nothing to be alarmed about. Teresa also explained to me that I could be in labor for another 30+ hours and to try to get some more sleep. Teresa suggested to take a warm bath and drink a glass of wine to relax my body and maybe slow the contractions to allow my body to sleep some more in order to gain strength for the remainder of the birth. I did as she instructed, and was able to relax enough to get about 3 more hours of sleep.
- She then went back to sleep.
My contractions woke me up again about 6am.
- I talked to her around 10 am. The contractions were still moderate and irregular.
The contractions were more intense (but irregularly spaced) in mid morning. Since I had been awake since 6am I was becoming anxious and thinking I may need to go to the hospital soon.
- I suggested talking to her midwife and perhaps going in for a labor check in the office.
I called Teresa to get her opinion on if I should think about going to the hospital yet. Teresa explained to me that if I’m still able to hold a phone conversation while contracting that I’m not “truly working.” Teresa put in perspective that I should not think about going to the hospital until I am genuinely “working” through my contractions. (Teresa also explained that since I was laboring during the day it could be wise to go to the midwife office to get checked prior to going to the hospital.) Teresa suggested I call the midwife for advice as well.
- She talked to her midwife who suggested she stay home.
I spoke w/ Diana (the midwife on call at Athens Regional Hospital). She said from talking to me on the phone it sounded like I was coping well and I could stay home for a while longer. Diana assured me that if I felt like I needed to be seen I was welcome to come in for a check, but that the “ball was in my court.” This made me feel very comfortable with my situation and that I was ultimately in control of my birth decisions. Diana made me feel very at ease, and assured me if I changed my mind I was able to call her back to ask any questions. I stayed home and labored for several hours. My contractions continued to grow more intense and much closer together.
- By 4:00 pm she was working hard.
While staying home I kept hydrated and snacked frequently. I managed to get a nap in from 1-3pm. By about 3:30 I knew I was working hard during my contractions. I texted Teresa and explained that my body was genuinely “working” and I felt like I should call the midwife office to get checked prior to the clinic closing at 4:30.
- She decided to head in to the office for the midwives to check her.
I was able to get an appt at the midwife office and arrived there shortly after 4pm. The midwife at the office stated that I was 6cm dilated and the baby was at +1 position. She expressed that I needed to get to the hospital immediately. I texted Teresa and informed her we were checking into the hospital.
- She texts me at 4:46 pm that she is headed in to the hospital. She is already dilated 6 cm with the baby at +1 station.
At this point my contractions were still very intense, lasting a minute long and roughly 3-4 minutes apart…I was still able to walk everywhere. Matt and I were settling into the room and updating family members about our progress.
- I left immediately and arrived to their room #3503 at 6:13 pm. She was with Matt.
- The midwife is Diana Calano.
- Lauren is coping fabulously.
- At 7:35 pm she got in the tub with Matt by her side.
Upon Teresa’s arrival I labored in the room for a little while. Then we decided to pour a bath and labor in there. I remember feeling so much relief instantly while relaxing in the tub. I had the faucet on as hot as possible and it felt wonderful especially on my toes. The contractions were still increasing intensity, but I felt so much better while in the tub.
- While she was in the tub, I hung lights in the room.
- Matt stepped out to dinner and I sat with her.
Matt and I spent time together while I was in the tub and he expressed that he was getting hungry (he had not eaten all day). I assured him that I was doing well and he could step out for some food. Teresa sat with me while Matt was out. Teresa and I talked a lot, discussing anything to keep my mind off the difficulty of my contractions.
- By 8:30 pm she was out of the tub.
I began to get really hot in the tub and decided to get out.
- She liked leaning over the bed.
As I got out of the tub I felt very cold in the room. Matt and Teresa placed me in a sarong and put a heated blanket over my back. This was so soothing and helped with the contractions. Matt continued to comfort me very well. He constantly told me how great I was doing, would stroke my arm softly, and often kissing my neck so I felt his presence.
- I turned some smooth music on.
I remember really enjoying the low lit room with the twinkle lights and music creating a very soothing ambiance that helped me feel at home in the room. I almost forgot I was in a hospital.
- Diana was in for a brief visit.
Diana came in and asked me if I wanted to be checked. I declined. Diana had no objection and said she would check back with us later. I appreciated this so much…Never once did I feel any pressure from Diana to get checked. She was so easy going and this helped me have no worries.
- By 9 pm, Lauren was dancing with Matt.
I began to get tired of bending over so much. Teresa was great about reminding me to not keep resting on my hands/shoulders. I then switched up and decided to labor upright with Matt as my support for a while. I remember resting my face on his chest and beginning to feel the shape of his body. It was an odd sensuality. I wasn’t turned on, but I began thinking of sensual things…such as specific times we made love and wondering which day Aiden was conceived. I remember thinking about how much I loved Matt and couldn’t believe that today would be the day our son comes into this world. After laboring on Matt I then wanted to return to bending over. We lowered the bed and I climbed on the bed and bent over the back of the bed as the back was moved upright to support my body. At this time I remember bursting into tears. I had a very strong sense of the holy spirit in the room. Teresa asked me why I was crying…I stated “I feel like he is exactly where he is supposed to be.” (He, being Aiden) This was the point that I knew everything was going the way it should! I felt comforted by the spirit surrounding me. It was an amazing feeling.
- The midwife checked her and she was 8/9 cm dilated with a mere lip of cervix remaining.
I later asked that the midwife come in to check me. I don’t know why, but I actually wanted a check. I asked the nurse to not tell me anything when I got checked. I didn’t want to hear how much I was dilated. I specifically told the nurse “I don’t want to hear anything when she checks me.” Diana then came in and checked me. I hear whispering behind me. Teresa spoke softly to me and explained that we had been waiting for a while for my water to break naturally and when Diana checked me she found that there was a small water sac on top of Aiden’s head. Teresa said this could cause a delay in Aiden progressing down. Teresa explained to me that if I wanted, Diana could break my water to help things progress more quickly. I agreed.
- Then her water was broken at 10:15 pm.
- She was beginning to feel pushy. She told me she was not meaning to do it- it was doing it on its own.
I remember while Diana was breaking my water it was not very pleasant. At this time things started to progress quicker than the rest of the labor. I remember my body doing everything involuntarily. I wasn’t purposely pushing, but my body was doing it for me. I wasn’t sure if it was time for me to help the pushing or not. I let my body do the work in it’s own for the time being. I remember feeling very hot at this point. I associated the feeling with being sick as a child. I felt literally ill, but it was a good ill. I remember as a child when I was sick I would remind myself that my sickness would not last forever and it would soon be over. I had a very similar feeling at this point of the labor. It wasn’t pleasant, but I knew it wouldn’t last forever. It would be over, and my body would heal itself. I had an overwhelming sense of re-assurance in thinking about my body in that way.
- By 10:39 pm Diana offered to reduce the lip of cervix while Lauren began pushing.
At this time I began pushing. It was difficult. Not much was happening (or so I thought). Teresa recommended I turn over on my back, semi sitting and try pushing while pulling on the rebozo as she pulled the opposite direction. This did not feel right to me. I felt much more productive on my knees. With Matt and Teresa’s help I managed to turn back over to my knees.
- She was on her hands and knees. Since Diana did not offer any feedback I suggested she try turning over with using the rebozo, but Diana said she was pushing great on her hands and knees, so she returned to that position.
- Matt sat on the bed offering support of her upper body.
- And in no time at all, at 11:21 pm Aiden Thomas was born.
As time went on I began pushing more and more. I began to feel Aiden moving down slowly with every push. I began to be more vocal at this point. Initially I felt like making loud groaning noises helped me push harder. Diana and Teresa instructed me to push with my body, not with my throat. At first this was difficult to do. I kept pushing with my throat. Then Diana/Teresa told me to take deep breaths and hold it and push. This helped immensely. I began to feel Aiden crowning. I began to feel a sharp burning sensation. At this point I was getting discouraged. I felt that I wasn’t pushing well. I kept thinking that I was so close, and then when the contraction would end, I felt Aiden retract slightly in my body. I could feel Satan trying to get in my head and tell me I couldn’t do it, that I wasn’t good enough. I began to pray aloud. This gave me the strength to continue on. I also remember calling out to Aiden and expressing that I was ready to see his face. I was ready to see my son! Very shortly after continuing to push I had the urge to prop my right foot up placing myself into a kneeling lunge position. Sure enough, about 3-4 pushes later Aiden’s head was out. Another 1-2 pushes and the rest of his body slipped out of mine and he was placed on the bed under me. I saw his sweet face! He was so beautiful! The relief I felt at this point is indescribable. I had done it! It was OVER!? Wow. When people ask me about my birth, I describe it as a home birth within a hospital. I could not have asked for better support from anyone. Everything happened as it should have. I have no regrets and would do it a 100 times over for my son. He was worth every minute of my labor! Thank you Teresa for the excellent support from start to finish. I could not have done so well without you as my coach! Much love, Lauren Stahlhut.
- He had APGARs of 8/9.
- He weighed in at 8# 15 ounces, and 20.5 inches long.
I was delighted to be with them at this gentle labor of love!
Teresa Howard, doula