Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Always doing, always learning...a lesson on birth for #newnurses #newmothers #motherseverywhere #moms #laboranddelivery #doulas

I have a beautiful story to share! I recognize I haven't written a word in these last two semesters of nursing school, and believe me, there are stories! But let me instead take this moment to share a remarkable story from a friend of mine who just gave birth to her eighth child. You read that right: NUMBER 8. During this pregnancy, she also completed her doula training, and enjoyed using one herself (along with having her husband, a doctor, in the room). I think it is a wonderful lesson for moms, nurses, doctors, women, EVERYONE! Trust yourself, remember that life is always changing, and that every moment counts, even if you've done something many times before. Enjoy...
A few people have asked about baby's birth. I'm happy to share the story but having a hard time editing so you don't have to read a novel. Here goes.
For a week or so before her birth, I'd had several nights of prodromal labor: contractions from 11pm till 4am-ish every 5 minutes. This is not new for me, but I shifted my mindset to welcome them instead of getting frustrated by it. The night before she was born, though, I got a great night's sleep, and I woke up in the morning and began having contractions around 7:30am. Since this was outside the pattern for my prodromal labor, I kept track of them for an hour or so in bed, and they were coming every 9 minutes. I thought I was probably in early labor, and went about my day, and didn't tell anyone. I watched Queer Eye to relax and laugh and get the oxytocin flowing. When they were still coming after lunch, I told my husband and alerted my doula. I was not worried or stressed, because I knew my body takes a long time to get through early labor, and the contractions were not difficult to manage. By 2pm, I told my mom.
By 4:30 the contractions were 5 minutes apart and I was feeling cranky. They required my concentration. Leaning over the counter, bed, or birth ball felt best. I listened to my birth affirmations. My husband and my dad took the kids to the pool to give me some space and I decided to get in the shower. When I got out, they were 3 minutes apart. I started to feel like I wanted my husband around, and I wanted to go to the hospital because the car ride was only going to get crappier from here on out. I called him back from the pool and we left for the hospital just after 6pm. We arrived at L&D around 6:45pm. There was an L&D tour going on and a big group of expectant parents got to watch me do my calm breathing through several contractions as I leaned over the waiting room chairs while my husband checked me in. LOL -- they got an up close and personal tour! My doula arrived soon after we did.
In triage, the staff was not thrilled with my decision to decline the IV, but went with it. I also declined a cervical exam in triage. I was not thrilled with having to stay still so they could get a fetal and uterine strip, but I tried to relax through it so we could move on. I listened to my birth affirmations and relaxation track on repeat. L&D was packed and there were no available labor rooms. Because they believed I was "really in labor," they gave me a "special care observation room" which is a teeny tiny room with glass sliding doors that looks out on a nurse station and is not set up for deliveries. For a moment I was not happy about this, but I let it go. My doula and my husband closed curtains and dimmed lights and took care of making the best out of the situation. It was lovely to hand that stuff over to the doula and not even think about it. I got in there about 7:45 or 8pm I think.
The OB did a cervical exam then and I was 3-4cm dilated and 80% effaced. This doesn't sound like much, but I wasn't worried, because I knew I take a long time to get to 5 or 6cm and then things really fly. I breathed through my contractions and listened to my tracks and used a bunch of different positions while the nurse tried to get yet another strip on the monitor. My husband and the doula managed this situation and I let it go.
Just after 9pm, things picked up tremendously. It now required every ounce of my concentration. I felt frustrated because no position seemed to take the edge off, no matter what I tried. I felt I was changing positions with practically every contraction. By 9:40, I was mentally feeling done. I tried so hard to keep my body relaxed and calm, and let it do what it needed to do. The power I felt in my body was overwhelming, and the contractions felt like they were one on top of the other. I told my husband I wasn't having fun anymore.  I was standing by the bed and had a contraction and my water broke all over the floor. Suddenly I just knew I had to climb on the bed -- I was on all fours and another contraction hit and I knew she was coming right then. I couldn't speak but I remember thinking, "Surely either my doula or my husband will realize I am having this baby right now" - and my husband suddenly ran around behind me, lifted my gown and caught her head. One more contraction and small push and she was out. I was on my knees on the bed in total shock -- I had no idea I was that close to delivery, and I was just thinking, "OMG, I did it. It's over." I couldn't even move.
When the doula saw her coming, she alerted the nurses (I had no idea about any of this going on) but it took them a couple minutes to actually make it in the room -- so they called the time of birth 9:47, when they arrived; but she was actually born a couple minutes earlier. The staff helped me turn around and sit down and I got to hold my baby. It felt so normal for me to deliver her into my husband's hands. I was never worried about staff not being there. It seemed like it happened exactly how it should and it felt right. I felt safe and confident with my husband and the doula there.
I love this story because it totally goes against the "rules" for dilation -- I went from 3cm to baby in 2 hours. And when my body decides to push a baby out, it happens in seconds. I did not feel her start to move through the birth canal until after my water broke, and she just flew out. I did bear down a little and focus my breath downward, but I didn't push hard. My body did that on its own. My husband says that when I told him I wasn't having fun anymore and I didn't know if I could do it, he knew we'd have a baby in 5 minutes. I wasn't sure if I was really close or just *wishing* I was close. He had better perspective, LOL. I had no tearing, no stitches, and needed no post-birth pitocin.
I have zero regrets about this birth -- it was hard and overwhelming for a little while there, but it's left me feeling strong and healed and reassured that my body isn't broken after my previous baby's birth. I loved how it all worked out. I loved having a doula; I was happy with my choices in the hospital; and the staff supported me even if my choices weren't their choices. When I left the room to go to the postpartum unit, the charge nurse told me he wished all the moms had their babies like that-- and I thought, well, if you left them alone they might!  I had to be stubborn to have as few interventions as I did, but it was totally worth it. And I had the Dream Birth Team with my husband and the doula there.
Everything on my birth plan happened as I hoped, except for the delivery of the placenta - after an hour it was still hanging out in there and I was sick of being "not quite done" giving birth, so I had the OB put a little gentle traction on it and it came out. It's OK to change your mind. It's your birth! Being in control of your decision making is the important thing. 
Interestingly, one of the hypnobirthing books I read suggested writing down your ideal birth and visualizing it, and running through it in your mind regularly. I had always had my babies in the middle of the night or early morning with no sleep, and I thought it would be nice to sleep well, wake up, and go into labor...and labor during the day instead of the middle of the night. So that's what I visualized, and that's what happened! I thought it was kind of woo-woo and never expected it to happen that way, but it did. Wild. 
Your birth, your body, your decisions. 
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