I met AndI and Curtis when she was in her 3rd trimester. She wanted to try for an unmedicated birth and was eager to read up on what she could to try to make that happen.
On Saturday the 28th of May I got a text early in the morning… followed by a phone call when I didn’t respond J She told me she’d been contracting through the night and thought these seemed a little different. After a few hours they were still at it and she decided to go to the bbq they had planned. The only difficulty was she wanted to keep possibly being in labor on the down low… which seemed to be a bit of a challenge. Finally around 3 or 4 they left the bbq to go home and try to concentrate on getting through the contractions. She got in the tub and they picked up so much she called me and asked me to come.
I arrived at the Garofalo’s at 8pm, AndI was sitting on the couch watching Glee J She seemed to be handling the labor pretty well and I was wondering if I’d come too soon. We had her hop in the tub where she went from listening to comedy on TV in the other room to breathing heavily through the contractions. After she got out of the tub the second time things seemed to be picking up. It seemed like she was ready to head in. We got her and the car packed and made the trip.
We got to the hospital around 11 p.m. they headed into triage and much to our surprise- hadn’t made cervical change. So we did the time honored hallway walk. Labor through each contraction as it came. After an hour she was checked again and was at a 3. We were admitted!! J
Curtis got the music going (started with Dean Martin, ended with… we’ll go there later) and the first of many nurses drew a bath. We got her settled in and she began the long night of laboring. We would transition between tub, toilet, birth-ball, hands and knees, and dancing with daddy. Each contraction seemed to become slightly more intense. By 7am the nurse and I both thought we heard her making pushing sounds. We encouraged her to be checked. If she was feeling the urge to push we didn’t want her doing it until she was fully dilated. Dr. came in at 8am and checked her… still a 3. Poor mama screamed, “WHAT??!!” I, too, was shocked. He then offered to break her water to move things along, and the decision was made to start an epidural.
Once she had the medication it was good and bad. The epidural didn’t seem to be working as advertised. She was still feeling hot spots of pain. After 5 or 6 bolus’ and countless ‘pushing of the button’ she seemed peaceful and was even able to catch some much needed sleep.
At this point my heart was going out to these two. They were so tired. I would watch Curtis wipe the wet washcloth across her face while he nodded off… standing up. Daddy was so tired and it was so hard for him to see her having such a rough time.
She slowly progressed and at about 2pm she was at a 9!!! The plan was to let her labor down so we could minimize the pushing. Good plan. In theory. After 3 hours of laboring down they finally decided to just try the pushing. We used all the positions we could with the epidural and babies heart rate not responding in the most ideal of ways. Baby was slowly moving down but just couldn’t seem to get the head out. After 3 hours of active pushing doctor came in to talk to mama. I was certain that he would say, “this is it. C-section.” But, as with every other aspect of this birth- I was wrong. (J ) He said they would try vacuum extraction and if that didn’t work there wasn’t a whole lot more in the way of options. So with tears in her eyes, mama nodded yes. She was so tired. I mean you could have pushed her over with a single fingertip and she would have fallen asleep for 2 days kind of tired. Long past exhausted. She was done. They were getting everything set up and the anesthesiologist that we’d see quite frequently came in to inform the doctor that there weren’t any other anesthetists to do the spinal if we had to go to surgery. She suggested that we wait to try the vacuum for 15 more minutes so that one could become available- in case of an emergency. The doctor briskly told her that he’d been delivering at this hospital FOREVER and if he wanted an anesthesiologist- he’d get one. He said, “She’s waited long enough and I’m not making her wait another 15 minutes.” Color me impressed!
AndI (still beyond done) was getting ready, and since I hadn’t had to pull my ‘take charge doula routine’ throughout the entire labor and was feeling quite slighted, I bent down and looked right in her face and told her we had to do this. Dig deep, its almost over, this is what we’ve worked so hard for etc… She nodded and I knew that if it were up to her baby would come out. Baby just had to cooperate.
Doctor got the vacuum hooked up. NICU people were there and all her amazing nurses throughout the labor, I had my camera ready, daddy gave her a kiss, and we waited for the next contraction.
“Push, push, push, push, push!!!!” “Come on AndI!!!!” “Here she comes!!!” “LOOK DOWN!”
The head came out. Grabbed my camera and took a picture of this…
There’s nothing like the look on mommy’s face when she sees that baby she worked so hard for- for the first time.
She was here. Isabella Ann took her sweet time. Maybe this will be part of her personality someday… always slow to be moved and shaken. Perhaps she’ll be the type that resists change, but is the type of rock that people can depend on because of that.
Being at this birth made me remember why I wanted to be a doula. What an honor to get to be a part of this moment. I am so proud of AndI. She never lost it. Never complained. And never said she couldn’t do it. She did it. J