The stork has arrived once again!
Friday, the 19th of July, I got the long overdue call that Mama M’s water had broken. According to the estimate date she was approximately 10 days overdue, which probably felt like 100 days to Mama M. I’m not sure there are many things worse than being overdue in the dead of summer.
Mama M & Daddy J went to the hospital to get checked out. Sure enough, the time had finally arrived and I was called to go to the hospital at 11:30pm to what was sure to be a fast labour. By this point she was already 3 cms dilated and 75% effaced (thinning of the cervix, has to be 100%). She was well on her way, and the contractions were already at 2-2 1/2 mins apart and lasting 45 seconds of more. On paper…this was huge.
M’s breathing was priceless. She could write a book about proper breathing techniques for birth. Actually, J could write a book about proper coaching and breathing as well. I have never witnessed a couple as in sync as they were. It was actually very moving to see. Even at the peak of her pain, there were still hugs and kisses and sweethearts and darlings. They breathed together as one as they waltz in place during all the contractions.
Fast forward through about 5 hours of walking and swaying back and forth thru contractions…
It was early morning and the pain was getting worse. As always, there’s generally a shift in the way the mother reacts as she gets closer and closer to the goal of 10cms. There was such a shift that it really seemed like she would at least be 8cms…not so. But she was at 5cms. Progress at least?!
It was now 5am on Saturday and nobody had slept since Friday morning. Patience was wearing thin and the dreaded defeat hit. This was going to be a long labour. Mama M decided to opt for some Fentanyl to help ease some pain. It was part of her birth plan to have a drug free delivery, but that’s not always achievable with long labours. There’s a reason it’s called a birth plan though and not a birth contract…you are able to change your mind.
With the drugs able to relax her a bit, she drifted in and out of sleep for a few hours. By 9am, she received a 2nd dose of Fentanyl and they checked her cervix again. This time she was still stuck at 5/6…talk about defeat! By this time they decided to break her fore waters, which is the fluid that remains trapped between the baby’s head and cervix. Breaking this can be useful in creating more pressure on the cervix to help it dilate, but can also be a cause for the cervix to not dilate uniformly and can cause swelling…catch 22 really. You don’t know whether it’s going to help or not until it’s done.
Guess what…it didn’t help. By noon, after another cervix check, she was still 6cms and now her cervix was swollen, plus she now had a fever. The decision was made that she had approx. 2hrs to progress or it would be an immediate C-section. An epidural was given it hopes that it would relax her enough to let her body do the work it needed to do.
Guess what…that DID help. By 1:30pm she was dilated to 9.5cms. I’m not a huge fan of epidurals…I’m barely a mediocre fan, but when used at the right time for the right situations they actually can do a good thing. In this case, it stopped a C-section from being performed.
By 3pm she was fully dilated, Mom & Dad took power naps to rest up for pushing. I ran downstairs and inhaled a sub for breakfast/lunch and by 4:30 she was starting to push.
This is were things get blurry….and graphic. *Readers be warned* (BABY IS FINE!)
After about 30-35 minutes of pushing, there was huge progress. The baby moved down nicely, crowned, and then the head was out. But all of a sudden then was an emergency page for “SHOULDER”…and in the blink of an eye the room was full of nurses and NICU staff. The baby’s shoulder was stuck behind Mama’s pubic bone. Shoulder dystocia…a very scary thing.
The baby is literally stuck in the vagina. With no room, the umbilical cord is squashed and the baby’s lungs are also compressed so there is no way for the baby to get oxygen. The baby has to come out NOW.
You’ve never seen a pregnant lady in labour be moved so fast. Within 30 seconds, she was flipped onto her hands and knees, then back again, legs being pushed back, with a nurse pushing on her pubic bone with her whole body strength. The position changes more than often help to shift the baby.
The doctor then placed her hand up past the baby’s head, into the vagina, grabbed a hold of the baby’s arm and pulled. Out popped baby…a very blue/purple, limp baby. The NICU team took the baby right away and within 30 seconds the baby started to cry the tiniest, little gurgly cry I’ve ever heard. In the chaos of it all, it was confirmed that the baby was indeed a GIRL! It would take a few days in the NICU to come around, but in the end she was fine.
As quickly as it happened, it was like slow motion. By far, the scariest birth I’ve ever witness. By the end of it, it looks like a scene out of a movie. There was literally blood every where. I fully understand why it’s recommended to have an extra change of clothes/shoes with you. It was insane. It was a learning experience I will never forget.
Overall, a scary yet beautiful birth. The parents were so in sync, the most active participation by the dad, the most grateful parents to just hold their little girl. It was a blessing to be a part of, and I look forward to the next time.
~ Wendy ~