Photos taken by Alex White Photography. M and Z started care with me in the first trimester of their first pregnancy. M had been envisioning and planning a home birth long before she was expecting. One day before her due date, prodromal labor really began to kick in. M decided to come over that night for an exam. She was dilated 1cm, 80% effaced and baby was at a -1 station. We talked about drinking water and taking a bath to help with contractions and her hip pain. M came over two days later. Her contractions were varying from 9-15 minutes. She had done acupuncture and wanted to have a membrane sweep. Her cervix had not changed since Thursday. I did a gentle sweep and encouraged her to rest, stay hydrated and nourished, and most importantly, to trust her body and baby to do the job at the perfect rhythm. Two days later, M came over after getting acupuncture done for a check, sweep and to begin homeopathy to help her contractions turn into labor. She was now 2cm dilated. She started the first dose of homeopathy in the office. I told her it should work within six days, but most women go into labor on the third day, so I fully anticipated to be with her in two days (day 3 of the treatment) to have a baby. Around 240am on September 23, Z sent me a text letting me know that M had been having contractions since around 10pm. They were much stronger and coming every 6 minutes. She wasn’t able to get much rest. At 410am, Z sent a text to let me know M’s water had broken. The fluid was clear. Contractions were a little more intense. It wasn’t long that M invited her doulas and her friend over to be with her. Around 530am, M had her mom do an exam (her mom is a labor and delivery nurse). She was 4cm dilated. I arrived right before 8am, and found M and Z going out for a walk. A little after 8 we did the initial set of vitals. Contractions seemed to be coming about every 5 minutes, moderate in intensity. I did a cervical check and M was 4cm dilated, 100% effaced and baby at a 0 station. Her cervix was a little tight, and baby was acynclitic. I talked with M about doing a set of captain morgan’s with slutty circles (official terms I tell you!) to help jiggle baby’s head. M changed positions around frequently after this. She rocked back and forth on the birth ball awhile. Then got in hands and knees for some rebozo work. M was tired from the long night of no sleep. I listened to the baby and laid next to her in the bed and talked with her. She was feeling weepy from fatigue and pain of the contractions. I recommended trying the shower, so she got in the shower and let the warm water help soothe the labor pains. At 1040am, I did another cervical exam. M was 5cm/100%/0 station. Baby was more applied to the cervix. I massaged on the cervix and it began to loosen up. Over the next couple of hours, M walked around the house, rocked on the birth ball and decided to lay down and try to nap. At 130pm, M was 6cm. I told her I would get the birth pool ready for her but asked her to go for a walk while we got it finished. M went outside and walked with her doulas while we finished filling the birth pool. A little after 2pm, M got into the birth pool. M labored beautifully in the birth pool, instinctively moving her position around from leaning over the pool to semi reclining. She breathed gently through each contraction. As 4pm neared, the intensity shifted in her contractions. M was feeling overwhelmed with labor. We encouraged her that she was amazing. M had written a hilarious birth plan that included affirmations such as “If Brittney Spears survived 2007, I can survive labor” or saying “I would tap that” while she was contracting. We continued to encourage her with her affirmations.
Around 4:15, M says the pressure in her butt keeps building. I did an exam and find her to be 7cm dilated, and baby at a +1 station. M continues to labor in a variety of positions in the birth pool. I gave her a few doses of rescue remedy to help her through contractions. At 6pm, M got out of tub and moved to her bedroom. I joined her and Z in the room. M asked for an exam and there was no change. Z and I surrounded her with support and encouragement as she vented her frustrations over her cervix making no change in the last couple hours. The pressure was constant, so I requested M to get in a knee chest position in her bed for 30-45 minutes. I sat beside her giving her counter pressure with contractions, while Z layed on her other side. Contractions were coming about 5 minutes apart, lasting 120 seconds. In between, M was resting well, as was Z! Both exhausted from the hard work being put in to bring their sweet baby earth side. Around 7pm, M starts trembling more with contractions. Two contractions later, M tells me that something has changed and she can’t hold back pushing. I do an exam and find her to be 9cm, with the right side of her cervix going away with contractions. M moves to her left side for a couple contractions and then back to knee chest before the urge to push becomes unbearable. At 7:43pm M had a tiny anterior lip and baby was at a +2 station. M moved into a semi reclining position against Z and began pushing with each contraction. Right before 8pm the lip was gone. For a couple pushes one of M’s doulas did tug of war with her to help get baby under the pubic bone. M was feeling light headed in between contractions so we all encouraged her to take deep, soothing breaths, take sips of juice and water, and I began giving her doses of rescue remedy again. M’s contractions were continuing to come about every 5 minutes. In between she was resting well and building energy for the next one. At 8:45pm, per M’s birth plan, one of her doulas began playing the song “Eye of the Tiger” over and over as she pushed. The baby’s head was peeking out at the perineum during pushes at this point. M’s mom and I asked her if she wanted to touch the head and she said no. As 9pm neared, more of the head was seen on the perineum. At 906, the head began to crown. I talked M through little pushes to deliver the head and prevent tearing. The head followed a minute later, with a hand on the baby’s cheek. Baby was little stuck, so M’s mom gave suprapubic pressure and out shot the baby into my arms and right into M’s awaiting arms. M and Z waited until this moment to find out if they were having a daughter or a son…. It’s a GIRL!! Welcome to the world Harmony, born earth side on September 23, 2015 at 9:08pm, weighing in at 8lbs 4ozs, 21.5 inches long. M’s strength to conquer each moment of her tough labor journey was incredibly empowering to all of us there. Such a privilege to be part of their sweet couple’s birthing day.