The birth of baby A, by Rebecca
Y and S already had a three year old and were excitedly expecting their second. We met halfway through her pregnancy and Y had various niggles from 34 weeks – including some contractions and a show. Her baby was breech until 37 weeks and turned the day before a planned ECV after an intensive couple of weeks trying moxabustion, tips from the Spinning Babies site and the old frozen peas trick!
She was surprised and frustrated to go overdue after all that and even more so when she had several nights of stop-start contractions, which was so different from her first labour. We kept in touch and I reassured her that though it was different to before it didn’t mean it wasn’t normal.
A week after her due date Y called at 3am to say her contractions had been 5 to 10 minutes apart for several hours and, though they were still irregular, she was finding them very intense. We talked through ways to cope and I offered to come over but they wanted to ‘save me’ for the hospital.
We spoke several times until I got a text at 11am to say they were going in to the birth centre, that she thought waters might be leaking and as, between her son and mother at home she couldn’t relax in to her labour, she thought it was best to leave now.
I met them in one of the exam rooms at the hospital. They were both very smiley and relaxed and Y was keen to have an examination. I loved seeing them encouraging each other, laughing and joking and then pausing while Y danced her way through each contraction.
The examination showed Y was 4-5cms dilated and no waters could be felt around baby’s head. So we were shown to beautiful, big room with a birth pool and the midwife was unobtrusive and respectful. I drew the curtains and got out some of their bits and bobs to help them feel at home. Y’s contractions seemed a bit slower, which can often happen with a change in environment, but she and I felt she just needed to relax in the room and get used to everything for a while. We got her in the pool S went for a walk and to get supplies.
After 40 mins things were slower still. I suggested she get out and get more active, but despite trying a few different things (including walking up and down the hospital’s most secluded staircase) everything was still happening slowly and as Y was very relaxed and happy we alternated between activity and rest.
At the next examination four hours later Y was still 4-5cms. I had prepared them not to expect a massive amount of progress so there was no disappointment. Nevertheless the midwife would have liked things to have moved on a little faster so she went off to talk to her supervisor. I felt that Y had consistently been starting to contract in the early evening over last few days and all would get going now that it was getting dark outside. Y, S and I talked about what they wanted to do and they were happy to wait for things to pick up naturally as long as the baby was fine (which he was).
The midwife agreed that she would come back in two hours and if no progress was made she would the alert doctors, which Y and S were happy with. The room was now pitch black which Y liked. I suggested she and S have an hour together on the bed to get the oxytocin flowing. S loved the smell of the clary sage so had some on a tissue and I left them to it.
I sat in the waiting room reading the paper feeling like I should be doing something, but also feeling sure they needed to get in to the zone together. I returned an hour later (feeling my way in as it was totally dark) and the energy was different. I sat in the corner and said nothing noting that the contractions were coming closer and closer together.
The midwife returned at 7pm and the examination showed that Y was 7 cms – hurrah!
Things started to heat up much more quickly. I really sat back and watched as Y breathed and made noises with S, who supported her bump during contractions and whispered loving things. I passed her water, stepped in when S needed a break and turned the lights off whenever the midwives turned them on.
At 8.30pm new midwife came on shift and was introduced to Y who was really getting in to the zone and found this very distracting. All the new checks were done and I let the midwife know that S had been contracting very regularly. Of course the contractions slowed a bit (but were still long and intense) after the lights went on, checks were done and everyone talked to her. I explained that Y was very sensitive to noise, light and distraction and once things had settled I was confident she would get in to it again.
They did pick right up again a few minutes later and another examination showed Y was still 7-8cms, but this midwife could feel that the waters were actually still intact. As Y had been stuck without the urge to push until her waters were broken during her first labour she asked the midwife to break them now. This was done after a few attempts were interrupted by contractions and S and I helped Y breath through these while she had to briefly lie on the bed.
Things changed immediately. Y’s sounds altered, the contractions were clearly stronger and closer together from the moment the waters were broken and Y was in another world. The midwife needed to pop out so I asked where emergency bell was as I thought the baby might make a sudden appearance.
Sure enough about 30 seconds after she left Y said ‘I need to push’. I suggested that she just go with her body and at the next contraction I could see she was involuntarily pushing. As the contractions were running in to one another decided it was time to press the bell.
The midwife looked surprised to see the baby’s head appearing as she walked in to the room, but guided Y very gently to breathe not push and the baby emerged very slowly. S was standing up leaning forwards on to S and I. We tried to get her on all fours or a supported squat but she was only comfortable standing and delivered her beautiful son in this position.
He was born only 14 minutes after her waters were broken and was very pink and with quite a set of lungs. Y wanted to stay standing and amazingly was breastfeeding him while standing up about 2 mins after the birth.
Y wanted a physiological third stage but after 50 mins, with Y uncomfortable and no amount of feeding, gravity friendly positions helping she had a managed third stage.
S brought Y’s mother and older son to visit an hour after the birth and then had to leave to put their son to bed at home. So I stayed with S until 2am when, (after lots of delays as it was super-busy that night) she was transferred to postnatal ward. We managed to get her a private room and she and the little one were sleeping and feeding all night.
It was a wonderful labour and Y felt it was a really positive experience. S was amazing and I had a very easy job.Tweet