S and J started care with me in the first trimester of their fifth pregnancy. S previously had her other four babies all in the hospital and desired a different experience this time.
Based on past history, S delivered somewhere between 38-39 weeks, so we were all prepared for her to follow that pattern. That definitely was not the case this time around.
Prodromal labor kept S on her toes as week 38 passed, and soon week 39 passed as well. S’s “due” date came and went, and prodromal labor persisted but active labor was not in sight.
S saw me at 40.6 weeks for her regular appointment. We discussed options to start encouraging baby to want to evacuate the womb. S felt comfortable starting the homeopathy protocol I use that can often encourage labor with 6 days. S also felt good with having her first cervical check and doing a membrane sweep if things were favorable. I found S’s cervix to be 4cm dilated, 50% effaced and baby at a -3 station. I swept her membranes, and we discussed S coming back by in 1-2 days for another sweep if labor had not started.
After starting the homeopathy and having the sweep, S began experiencing regular contractions that afternoon and through the early morning hours on June 1st. When she woke from getting some sleep, she decided she wanted to come by for another sweep. Since the first brought some activity, we were sure a second sweep combined with my herbal tea mixture would help get labor officially going.
S arrived around 1115am and drank the tea I made for her while we chatted. I did an exam found her cervix to know be 5cm dilated. I did the sweep and recommended S go for a nice walk and eat some lunch and keep me updated on how things progress through out the day.
Contractions started fairly quickly after S left my office. Contractions were coming every 2-4 minutes, lasting 30-50 seconds long. At 230pm, S decided things were regular and strong enough that she would like me to come over.
I arrived about 315pm. There was some activity still going on within the house getting things situated with some of the children when I arrived. I did S’s vitals and then she tried sitting on her birth ball during contractions. I started to work on setting up some supplies, but found S right beside me assisting in between contractions.
4pm came and contractions seemed to be coming every 3 minutes, lasting 45 seconds and palpated mild when I touched. S was staying distracted by chatting with R, my apprentice, and myself as she cut vegetables and made guacamole.
After she finished in the kitchen I suggested doing abdominal lift and tuck for ten contractions. Since this was S’s fifth baby and we expected this little one to be over nine pounds, her belly was pendulous so we were hopeful doing lift and tuck would help baby get more engaged into the pelvis. S was such a trooper and did any positions we suggested.
After the ten lift and tucks, S wanted to get off her feet so I suggested reclining back into the bed for a few contractions. S was becoming more focused when her surges would come on. Contractions were coming every 3 minutes, lasting 75-90 seconds.
At 6pm, we decided to do our first official labor exam. S’s cervix was 6cm dilated, 80% effaced and baby had dropped to a -1 station. I encouraged S try to walk so her and J went out and took some time together and did some curb walking.
S had a nice walk and commented on feeling a few good surges. She snacked on a frozen red raspberry leaf tea popsicle while doing three captain morgans with slutty circles on each leg. We had a fun time laughing and joking together, which resulted in everyone wearing themed hats for the rest of labor.
When S was ready to go back upstairs to her birthing space, I suggested S trying one more set of ten abdominal lift and tucks. She was less than excited about my suggestion but readily allowed me to help her through one more set of ten.
Things were feeling stronger. S wanted to try soaking in her bath tub to help her relax. J gave S some pool noodles to lean on and relax with in the tub. S was able to drift in and out of sleep as her labor waves would allow.
A little after 8pm, S got out of the bath tub and snacked on some pork loin, potatoes and green beans as she alternated between squatting and sitting. Things felt more intense and she couldn’t get comfortable.
Within a handful of contractions, I could tell transition was upon S. She could no longer speak during her waves, and contractions were now coming every 2.5 minutes. She looked up at her doula and told her she was up. She was ready for any and all suggestions and massage to help with comfort. S alternated leaning over onto the birth ball on her bed or J to get some rest between labor waves. When one would come on, her doula would provide counter pressure.
S was feeling some pressure and wanted to try some different positions. She squatted for a few contractions, then sat on the birth stool for a few contractions before she stood back up and leaned on J for support. Bloody show could be seen on the chux now with labor waves.
S requested me to do an exam at 925pm. Her cervix was 7-8cm dilated, 100% effaced and baby was at a +1 station.
S moved to laboring on her knees on her floor for a few contractions. She was feeling tired so she decided to move to the bed. S would rest in an open knee chest position and spontaneously move into a kneeling position when a labor wave would come on her. J never left S’s side, continually encouraging her through every wave.
S requested me to do another exam at 1020pm. I discovered in the open knee chest position there had been no change in her cervix. I asked S if I could feel during a contraction and she agreed. S spontaneously moved into kneeling and everything changed internally. She went from 7-8cm/100%/+1 to 9.5cm/100%/+2 with changing her position and help of a contraction.
We talked and S said she wanted to move things along and asked me to hold back her lip and see if her water would break to help get baby out. At 1025pm I was able to get her bag to rupture with my fingers during a contraction. Within two contractions the lip was resolved and baby was coming fast and furious. S stayed in the kneeling position and eased her baby out. At 1035pm, baby girl was here and brought right to S’s chest. She was here!
Welcome to the world Stella, born earthside on June 1st, 2016 at 1035pm, weighing in at 9lbs 8ozs, 21.5 inches long. It was such a privilege to help this amazing woman have the birth she wanted, and what a truly beautiful journey it was. <3