Lani and Toby, when I met you, you were excited and anxious, happy and cautious. We spoke about your dreams and desires for this, the birth of your first baby.
On February 2nd, Lani, you called me in the early a.m. to let me know that you believed your water had broken. After discussing things, it sounded like it had, indeed, broken. I encouraged you to eat something and call a short time later if no contractions were felt. Shortly afterward, you called to let me know that you were not feeling any contractions but that you were seeing a lot of pink discharge. I reminded you to watch your temperature, stay hydrated, try walking, stairs, foot massage, and nipple stimulation.
You began using the breast pump and stayed active. Around noon, you attempted to take a nap but couldn't from the excitement. We began talking about your options, including the pros and cons of staying home vs going to the hospital. You decided to stay home and keep working on getting things established on your own.
Around 6:30, you let me know that you and Toby would be heading into the hospital sometime later that evening and that you would call me when you knew more about how you were going to proceed. Around 10:30, you called to let me know that you were having contractions every 15 minutes but were not feeling them and the plan was to start pitocin sometime that night to try to get things moving.
At 4 am, I received the call that you were ready for me. Your contractions were coming quickly (every 3 minutes) and strong. They were completely in your back and you wanted my help. I packed up and headed over immediately, arriving around 5am.
When I arrived, you were standing beside the bed, moving gracefully and peacefully through the timeless movements of the labor dance. Toby, you had your hands always at the ready to support and your voice, to encourage. Beautiful! We talked about your discomfort and where it was at. With the last exam, your cervix was still high and posterior and around 3cm.
We began with lunges, as I had strong reason to believe, from your description, that your baby was posterior as well. After a few lunges, we worked on a pelvic floor release, and then you moved right back up again - ready to get things moving toward birth.
Toby and you moved in such beautiful synchrony, alternating from quiet words of encouragement, prayer, and touch to dancing, hanging, and sitting on the birthing ball, and walking.
After around an hour of moving through this cycle, I asked your nurse's permission and unhooked your monitor for a walk around the halls. During this, I encouraged you to open your hips and sway, and during contractions, to move your hips in a figure 8 or squat. Once back to the room, they checked your progress and you had moved up to 4cm and baby was nice and low, with babies head starting to turn into the right position.
We opted for hands and knees next, and I sifted you through some contractions, which seemed to help with the back pressure, but it wasn't long before you were up and moving again with me providing counterpressure to your sacrum and lower back. Your sister, who had come to be with you through your labor, began breathing prayers over your birthing space, quoting Psalms, while Toby loved you through every contraction, praying over you and speaking life over your labor and body.
Throughout all of this, Toby leaned in close to you and you both prayed that your labor and birthing time would bring glory and be a testimony to God's grace and goodness. It was breathtaking.
Throughout labor, you had attempted to eat, but couldn't. Coupled with no sleep and hypoglycemia, you were getting to the point of pure exhaustion. We talked about options to try to get you some rest, but the contractions were coming strong and close. We talked about the pros and cons of getting an epidural and how your risks could best be minimized if you opted for the epidural.
If baby was low enough, and had turned well, you were ready for the epidural. You didn't want one before then, and wisely so, in order to let baby get into the best position possible and to make sure that there were no regrets with your choice.
At your request, you were checked and found to be a good strong 5cm, baby was +1 station and was in a good position. 20 minutes later, your epidural was in place. You soon realized, though, that the epidural that was supposed to allow you some much needed rest was not going to allow for it. You had a window of pain over your right hip. By 11:45 am, we were alternating you from left to right, working on massaging the hip joints, and opening your pelvis through different positions, including the throne.
The anesthesiologist was called back into the room and, around 12:30, he gave a slight pull on the epidural catheter in hopes to straighten it and give better complete coverage. Directly afterward, though, you mentioned lots of pressure down below, different from what you had felt previous.
You asked to be checked again and were complete, 10 cm! At this point, I encouraged you, if you didn't feel a strong urge to push, to take advantage of the time, since baby was looking strong, and try to rest. You attempted to rest but, after 30 minutes, you felt a good amount of pressure and were able to start bearing down with the contractions.
After a few trial pushes, you really began to get the rhythm, really moving into a groove that you could feel and work with. With Toby alternating on one side with your sister, I held your other leg and you began moving your baby out and into the world.
Soon, you came to that place where you had to decide if the pressure in your womb, or the pressure at your perineum was greater. Slowly and evenly pressing through, you brought your babe to crowning. Slowly, he spiraled out of your womb and into your arms.
Immediately, you and Toby both began speaking blessings and words of welcome over your new son. At 3:09, after 1 1/2 hours pushing, Eason arrived with gusto!
You were a beautiful team, wholly and completely one, working as a unit, from the moment your womb spilled it's water until the moment your son was placed, slippery and beautifully new into your arms, you were 'family'.
Congratulations family H! You are blessed!