Friday, June 3rd, Allie let me know that her contractions were sticking and she was pretty sure this was it. FYI- this wasn't the first time Allie thought this. She was having contractions like this for 3 weeks. Poor mama thought her baby was coming almost everyday but the contractions stopped every time she entered the second half of her day. Allie was 41 weeks and lost her mucus plug the day prior. Her doctor decided that it was in the baby's best interest to induce that day. Allie's birth plan did not include being induced but she and her husband trusted their doctor.
This was Sal and Allie's fourth birth. First was a cesarean, second was a birth center transfer to a hospital with a traumatic vaginal birth, and third was a cesarean due to a breeched baby. One girl and two boys later, they still wanted their dream VBAC. VBA2C to be exact.
I got her call around noon on Saturday after texting all morning, she was indeed heading to the hospital. Being induced after three totally different births was tricky for me to time when I should show up. Originally, our game plan was for me to show up at their home and transfer with them to the hospital when they were ready. I was clueless, but driven. In the past, my birth mamas have been super fast. That on top of not attending a birth for four weeks has me on the edge of my seat. I could have waited for her to start pitocin but I didn't, I just got in my car and went.
I showed up 30 minutes after they checked into their room, she hadn't even received pitocin yet! I hadn't met this family yet so I'm thankful I chose to show up early and get to know them and allow them to get to know me before the crazy contractions kicked in. Allie was strapped up to the heart monitors (one for her & one for babe), had her IV in, and was wearing a glamourous purple labor gown. The sun was high and so were the vibes.
Their doula, Jennie, showed up around 3:30pm and they started pitocin soon after. Contractions were steadily coming every 5 minutes and were somewhat bearable until active labor really started around 4:45pm. Jenni started her work by braiding Allie's hair, a perfect flower crown lay atop her head. Allie was already a goddess but now even more so.
Sal, being the supportive partner he's been throughout this whole pregnancy, continued to work his magic at being the best birth partner he could be for his super wife. Allie was hardly caught without a smile on her face. Not only is this guy an amazing birth partner and husband, but superb father all around!
Pitocin was upped from a 2 to a 4 and one final good night to the kiddos back at home with grandma before it's go time. Ali was laughing and full of smiles the whole time but this started to change. Her laughter came often but we could tell she was in a deeper sense of pain now. Cue the necessary distractions to keep her mind off the pain: her husband's loving touch and her doula's kind direction.
The contractions peaked and the chills came on. There were doubts built by fear that when her water broke it would become so painful that her body was not physically capable. Thankfully, she had the support in the room to temporarily convince her otherwise, until another contraction came on. Sal continued to do his part, reminding her that she was capable, and that her body was meant to do this, that this is what she wanted.
The sun set on that beautiful 117 degree Arizona day and the contractions continued to intensify, coming closer together, and becoming longer and longer. It was impossible for Allie to fight through her contractions without the pressure from her hip squeezes and sacrum pressure. It was time to try hypnobabies which was a no go, whip out the birth affirmations (yes yes yes), and play some Sara Bareilles (totally motivational). No matter what happened there were moments of doubt and they were getting closer together just like her contractions, textbook for this phase of the process. Whenever Allie mentioned "not being able to do this", Jenni would suggest waiting 15 minutes. Sal would then work through the next 15 minutes by encouraging Allie, telling her to control her breathing, reminding her of her plan, and reassuring her that it was going perfectly. He told her that she was strong and her body was doing everything it was supposed to. He asked her if she was ready to have a baby, to which she always responded, "Yes."
Every check of dilation confirmed that labor was progressing. From her first check at the hospital at 4cm around 2pm, to 6-7cm at 6pm, then 7-8cm at 9pm, and 8-9cm at 10pm- she made it through with the affection and knowledge from her birth team that she was certainly on the path to having her baby without pain medication. The doctor came in for her last check and they decided that it was important to break her water.
Fast, and I mean FAST, Allie knew it was time to start pushing. Doctors and nurses ran in and crowded the room. I knew that this could happen but there was no way I was going to let my clients down. I was going to give them their dream shots.
The doctor checked her once more and gave her the go ahead to bear down if she wanted to. He was careful, calm, and in control of what was going on. He respected the mother's wishes and impressed everyone in the room. He did what he had to do to prevent tearing and did it beautifully. She was crowning. Her vernix covered hair made its appearance and the birth team tried its best to hold themselves together for Allie. It was official, Allie was having her unmedicated birth. Her VBA2C.
Birth is beautiful, but that does not mean it's pure bliss every minute. Birth is hard HARD work. But with all hard work comes great reward. Allie was a warrior and fought through her doubts. She deserved her reward, her clear headed, energetic, special moments meeting her daughter. She was able to 100% enjoy it with her husband, doula, fantastic nurse, and me by her side.
What a blessing right? This is my passion. Each birth is different and rewarding in its own way. You know when you see a cute puppy on facebook licking a tiny baby? You know all the feels you get from that? Multiply that by infinity and you'll understand why I do what I do.
Doctor- Dr. Michael T. Medchill, MD
Hospital- St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix AZ
Doula- Jenni www.birthproject.weebly.com firstname.lastname@example.org)
Photographer- Katie @ Empowered Photography
Birth gown- Pretty Pushers