Becky and Aron Have A Son
Becky and I spoke several times during the day. I called her mid morning to discuss the induction options. She was nearing the deadline that her doctor had determined for her to birth within. But all of the conversation may prove moot since she was contracting on her own. She said they were mild and inconsistent but definitely different than they had been earlier in her “false alarm” moments. Her exam at the office earlier in the week showed she was dilated to 1cm and somewhat effaced and the cervix had moved from posterior to anterior but the baby remained high. The ultrasound person had also told her that the baby looked to weigh ten pounds! The plan was to show up at the hospital around 8pm for either Cervidil if she was not dilated to at least 3cm or if she was, to start Pitocin.
I talked to Becky again mid afternoon. The contractions were still irregular and coming around 10 minutes apart. But the next call came around 6pm from Aron, who had just gotten home from work. He said Becky wanted to alert me that I should probably not go to my yoga class tonight. The contractions were coming about every five minutes and he was unsure how long they were lasting. I could hear Becky in the background and she was still sounding chatty. I discussed the demeanor changes in labor with Aron and he told me he thought she was doing good still. I asked him to stay in touch. She later got in the tub and had a peanut butter sandwich.
The next call came at just before 8pm and Aron said she was getting out of the tub and wanted me to come to their home instead of meeting them at the hospital. I finished eating quickly and put on my doula clothes. But as I was dressing, Aron called back and said she was ready to head to the hospital instead. I left within minutes to meet
I arrived to the hospital at just before 9pm. They were in triage where they only allowed one person to be with her. I sat and waited til around 9:30pm when Aron met me in the lobby and suggested I head back to see her. When I arrived in the room she was sitting straddled the gurney. She had a desperate look on her face. Later I would find out she had told Aron she wanted medication, but she did not mention it to me initially. She was six centimeters dilated and in a brightly fluorescent lit room. I raised the back of the bed up so she could rest upon it. The nurse entered the room a few times and never even acknowledged Becky or myself. The third time she came into the room, I asked about allowing Aron to return to the room with us. She told me that was not allowed due to privacy issues. And she said the charge nurse was trying to secure a labor room to move Becky to. Becky was strapped to monitors and restricted from having support from her husband and doula together and so we waited.
The doctor stepped in to see her. She told her they were getting her a room and if she wanted to get up and walk some she could once in the room. I asked again about having Aron join us but was told that was not possible. Becky wanted me to stay with her and so Aron was left outside in the waiting room where he told me later was absolutely miserable. Later I found a text from him asking me to switch out. I had been busy helping Becky and had not heard the message alert.
By 9:40 we were all reunited in room 11. Stephanie was our nurse. This was not good news since she had not been concerned when we shared before moving that Becky did not want the gurney lowered mid contraction but she had done so anyway without regard to her request. Then when I shared Becky’s concern regarding her IV port hurting, she said Becky had to have it and she would start fluids to see if it would run. She lacked compassion and did not seem interested in Becky’s needs at all.
Once in the room, all of the lights were on. It was quite bright. I asked if we could turn off the lights. Stephanie said not yet. Then I asked Becky if she wanted to walk a bit. Stephanie said she had to examine her first before she could do anything since if she was fully dilated she would not be allowed to walk.Then she proceeded to take about ten minutes to ready herself to do the exam. I asked again about the lights and she turned on the spot light and turned off the overhead. I had already plugged in my mini lights to illuminate the room softly. At 10pm she said Becky was still 6 to 7cm dilated and the baby was down to -1 station and she was 90% effaced.
Becky did not do well with transitions. The bright lights, the exam and the results of the exam sent her into questioning what she was doing. She would nod her head side to side as if to say no. She then began to tell me she wanted medication. I knew she was almost done. I told her I knew what she was saying. I told her she would not like her options but I gave them to her. I told her if she were to get an IV narcotic I felt she would need to know the baby would probably need Narcan due to being born so quickly after it was administered. And I told her by the time she received a bolus of fluids to ready herself for an epidural, she would be pushing out her son. She did not like the options. We continued to support her in the non medicated birth she had originally planned for.
She said her back was hurting and I knew she needed to change position to finish up quicker. She told me she could not move but I reassured her she could. I did not think she was going to be willing to stand and lean forward so I encouraged her to move to her hands and knees hanging over the head of the bed. She resisted initially but then with Aron and my help she moved. I was able to provide pressure on her sacrum and massage the area while Aron stayed by her head and offered sweet encouragement. He also put on some music to offer a distraction.
Within thirty minutes Becky was making deep grunty sounds. I encouraged her to trust her body and listen to what it was telling her to do. I also went to get her water and ice that she had requested from Stephanie and never received. Stephanie returned with the IV fluid and began to enter information that had not been gathered while she had waited in triage. When Becky made more evident pushing sounds I asked Stephanie if she was aware of what Becky was doing. She stopped keying in information on the computer and said she needed to examine her. I told her I would have her turn over once she was ready to do the exam since I knew how long it had taken her before. She assured me that once we got her moved she would be ready.
Becky turned over and the exam showed she only had a small anterior lip. Stephanie went back to keying in information on the computer. But she told Becky to not push. She said that the doctor was at the nurses’ station. Becky continued to push involuntarily. Stephanie would not leave to get the doctor. I asked if I could push the call button. She told me I could. She asked if the doctor was at the desk and then said she needed her but did not say for delivery. She then began to pull the set up table for delivery toward the bed but continued to tell Becky to not push. I touched Aron’s hand and gave him a look of action. Aron asked why Becky could not push. Stephanie came over and lowered the head of the bed. I asked why she did so. She said so that the lip would go away. I felt this was not true and felt it was to delay pushing by decreasing gravity. Aron asked again why she could not push. She said because the doctor was not in the room. That was all it took to send Aron out the door to retrieve the doctor. Stephanie murmured something about that getting her in trouble! I was shocked. I leaned in toward Becky and told her to do what her body was guiding her to do without regard to waiting.
The doctorl and Aron entered the room. The doctor examined her quickly and said she was complete at 10:38pm. And within just a few minutes her son was crowning. The doctorl gave her an injection of Lidocaine. I reminded Aron to remind her that Becky wanted to avoid an episiotomy. The doctor acknowledged that. No one yelled to push but allowed Becky to guide her son down and out. She touched his head when it was emerging and then began to cry. She had been afraid of having this very large baby boy- but in her heart she knew he was not going to be ten pounds.
At 11pm he was born with a nuchal hand creating the small second degree tear. The mantra of “I can’t” was replaced with great joy. Becky said she was not sure she was glad she had done this without medication. The doctor praised her for the great job she had done. The baby boy who was yet to be named when I left two and a half hours after his birth weighed in at 8 pounds 7.8 ounces and was 20 ¼ inches tall. I hope that Becky will realize what a wonderful job she did today. I was delighted to be with her on her warrior journey!
Teresa Howard, doula