We’ve had three new My Healthy Beginning babies in the past week alone. Congratulations to these amazingly courageous and bold women for setting out to birth naturally. I love watching their plan unfold over the weeks as they become more and more educated and informed about their birth options.
This story is interesting because mom was planning a natural hospital birth with a high interest in water birth. She set that aside as her provider wasn’t certified to do water birth, so she knew going in that she could use water during labor but birth would happen on the hospital bed. Mama had been, for at least the last two weeks, having painful surges in her low back causing her to throw up. Though it was off and on, it was draining and her partner did the best he could in keeping her hydrated and making certain that the nutrients she got really mattered and were in the purest form.
Every time she and I talked we discussed how it seemed that baby wasn’t in the right position so she was working hard to get baby to rotate using different positions throughout her days. On Saturday these surges became so intense that she couldn’t keep anything down and this continued for 24 hours until they left for the hospital Sunday night. The tricky thing here was trying to distinguish whether she was having contractions or if she was sick with a virus. It was a bit unsettling as I waited to hear from them as they checked in to the hospital.
I was concerned about both parents. Dad is a diabetic and mom expressed her desire for extra support around that subject for her partner, knowing once he was fully enmeshed in being with her that he would forget about his own self care (not uncommon with partners). And I was concerned knowing she needed fluids because of dehydration, but I was so fearful she was actually in labor because no mama should ever have to start this marathon on “E”!
She was indeed in labor, and though I began working with her as if she had a posterior baby, it wasn’t confirmed until mid morning of the next day that he indeed was directly posterior. It took us 15 hours to turn that baby boy, and I am eternally grateful for the endurance and stamina mama had in allowing us to support her in working with her body. She ultimately did need some pain intervention strictly for what she described as “terrible, terrible, terrible” back pain. It was so interesting to watch her have a contraction, which she managed beautifully, and once the contraction was gone she’d get this searing back pain which had her writhing. In all my years of seeing mama’s with posterior babies, never have I seen it like this. I later found out she had injured her back during a sledding accident at the age of 6 and both she and her dad feel that was the cause of this pain.
Once she had some intervention for the extreme pain she was dealing with, she was able to find small snippets of rest, 5-15 minute naps here and there. By 4:30 p.m. she had been at 6 cm for 7 hours and her body was really struggling. She opted for an epidural, which allowed her to sleep for 90 minutes, in which her body was able to finish opening up to both rotate the baby and move him the rest of the way down.
After 34 minutes of strong and empowering pushing, she birthed her first baby was born.
My favorite part of this birth experience was that she was saying through smiles while looking at me during pushing, “I’m so scared, I’m so scared.” She was scared and she did it anyway.