With Grace

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It starts out slow and mild. Is this it? Soon it is clear that their time has finally come.  Today is the start of their birth journey, the end of her pregnancy journey, the beginning of something new.

Everyone says “rest while you can”, and she tries, but it is hard.  So very excited to be this close to meeting their son, the one they have waited for, prepared for, longed for.

Six hours into this journey, the labour has gone from mild to rhythmic and attention grabbing. She had thought she could do at least one of her day’s errands, but no.  This baby is making his way.

She gathers her supporters, he organizes the details, she gets into the bath.  It helps, but the rhythm doesn’t slow or alter even a little bit. Actually it starts to intensify, even in the water that usually soothes and calms.

Is it time to go in already?  It seems soon, but the body says otherwise.

Eight hours after the start, we are in triage. She is finding positions that work best for the beat of this labour, she is breathing in and out.  Her cervix is dilated to 5 cm! Great news! Here come the body shakes after that exam, always so disconcerting. How can this be normal? The hormones are running high, this is how it goes.

We are quickly given a room and immediately set things up for the shower. In she goes, shifting between sitting on the birth stool and standing leaning against the wall.  We take turns holding the water on her. This helps so much now. The contractions are doubling up, is the baby trying to find a different position? She lunges and sways and moves however she is moved.

Our Nurse goes over the Birth Wishes and respectfully talks it out with them.  She lets them know where she can help and where they need to confer with the on call Doctor.  We appreciate this so much.

It has been 3 hours, the labour seems to have shifted and intensified.  She is still squatting and swaying but the feeling of pressure is so much more intense. Her clarity between contractions is starting to fade into a hazy labour land space.  The Nurse checks again, now dilated to 7 cm and baby has moved down!

Only 3 hours have passed, this feels progressive.

And hard.  This feels hard.  She tries to get some rest in a side-lying position.  Then she feels like she wants to push because the pressure is so intense. She hops off the bed and is standing there with one leg up, then the other. Instinctively opening and creating space for her baby.  The on call Doctor comes in to chat. Despite the heaviness of the labour, they are clear in what matters to them. They talk it out, and find a plan that works for everyone. It still feels hard. So much pressure!  

Another exam, now 8 cm dilated!  We are all thrilled.

She is disappointed. Isn’t it time?  How can there be more? It always feels this way at the end. She feels done, wants something to take the edge off, to let her body unwind. We find something that works and she gets some rest, lets her body go. He is right by her side, giving her what she asks for, staying close. Less than 2 hours later, and all that is left of that cervix is a bit of a lip.  It takes some convincing, she has to gather her strength, but she pulls herself up and leans over the back of the bed. Putting pressure on that cervix, using gravity. 12 minutes later her waters rupture! With a pop! The next check says the cervix is dilated to 8? This feels confusing, but the pressure of the bulging water sac is gone and so the cervix isn’t being stretched out as much.

She is on the ball, doing hip circles again..  All the positions, breathing and releasing. Except her bladder, she can’t release her bladder. She tries! So finally our Nurse empties it.  That cervix is back to being almost gone!

Fifteen minutes later she is bearing down. Bringing her baby down low, getting ready to deliver.  Thirteen minutes after this her cervix is fully dilated. There is nothing to hold her back now.

She gets herself into a squat and brings the baby down some more.  The contractions are powerful, she uses them to bring her baby down.  

He is getting closer, she gets back onto the bed into a side-lying position, her partner helping her, breathing with her, unified in this endeavour.  

With control and grace, she eases her son earthside.

He is here. Their time is now.

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