The Best Day

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This story began long before the labour started.  When we first met they were clear, she was without fear, this was going to be the best day ever.

There was no reason to think the labour and birth would be anything but straightforward, normal.  This birth journey ended up being anything but average, and these people rose up to it and beyond.

At some point in the pregnancy it became unlikely that this gestating human was going to flip himself to be head down.  He had curled up into a cannon ball position, with his head up in his Mom’s ribs. Also known as Complete Breech position.

These soon to be new parents did the research, talked it over with their advisors and between themselves, had serious conversations with their Doctor and made the decision to go ahead with a spontaneous labour and hopefully vaginal delivery.  Their Doctor and her on call group were supportive of this plan as long as the baby’s bum stayed lower than the feet. If a baby sticks their feet down first, they are then considered to be in a Footling Breech position and then there are new risks to consider. We knew that would mean a belly birth.  After all this thinking and considering, now it was time to wait.

 

Fortunately this baby was ready to make his entrance a few days before his guesstimated due date.  It all started out the way it so often does, with random cramping of the uterus, low back pain, no pattern and no clear indication that this was IT.

This went on for an afternoon and an evening, and then a pattern emerged.  She was experiencing contractions, they were coming every 5 minutes and she couldn’t sleep through them anymore. But it didn’t feel that hard, could this be a false alarm?

An hour later sometimes the contractions were coming at a pace of 3 minutes apart, she is feeling uneasy, this is no ordinary delivery and we know it.  She is ready to go to the hospital to see where things are at.

The contractions are strong, and she is breathing through them with him right by her side.  We overhear a Nurse saying to another nurse “she knows she is breech”, we smile. Yes they know, and yes they are labouring anyway.

All the checks and assessments are done, her cervix is dilated to 2 cm. So we go walking the halls, lunging and releasing, making room for this baby to find his path.  

She leans against him, he holds her up. The labour softens and intensifies in turn. She says “this is so much more intense than I thought it would be”.  

The surprise of this revelation is universal.

4 hours later, she is assessed again and the cervix has opened by double, now it is 4 cm dilated and we are waiting for a room!

It is also time to get an IV insert as a fail safe due to the extra risks involved in this birth.  There is confusion at this point because everyone is assuming she will be getting an epidural, but that is not her intention and her Doctor supported that.  It gets sorted out and she gets a dry IV insert that can be quickly hooked up if need be.

We are in a room, she is doing all the things.  Rocking and swaying and changing positions and breathing.  The back pain is intense, she is doing what she can to help this baby turn, find his way.  It’s hard. She gets sterile water injections to ease the back pain.

It’s been 5 hours, the feeling of pressure is so intense, the labour is persistent. Another assessment and she has doubled again in cervix opening, she is 7-8 cm! Amazing.  Her primary Doctor is on call that day, we have an incredible Nurse, they are both not just supporting but cheering her on.  The Nurse is given permission to do intermittent monitoring to give this birther more freedom of movement to help this baby move down. The labour is intense, she is so focused. They breathe together. An hour later she feels like her body is pushing, is this pushing?

We encourage her to take shorter breaths, to blow it off.  We do it with her.

That pushy feeling doesn’t go away. There is a lot more showy evidence of change, it has been two hours.

Now there is just the smallest bit of an anterior lip to the cervix.  Great progress!

She is almost fully dilated and coping well.  

It’s all hands on deck as we make our way to the case room, which is where this baby will be born. Again we are given freedom of movement, and she does. All. The. Things.

Incredible stamina and focus. The pressure is so overwhelming, she wants to push her baby out so badly. Breathing that away feels like the hardest thing she has ever done. Why won’t this cervix disappear?  

Two more hours of this.

Still there is cervix and still this baby needs to turn before he can come out. The Doctor does a controlled water break to see if that will help.  This Birther goes through all the positions we can think of, again.

She wants to push. It’s overwhelming.

The Doctor thinks she feels a foot? But another Doctor checks and only feels the bum.  At this point it seems the only way to continue waiting is to get the epidural, and hope the last bit of cervix melts away if she isn’t having to fight the labour so much. So we are waiting for that, she is breathing and laying on her side, trying not to push.  He is holding her hands and breathing with her, face to face. Every contraction she needs to lift her top leg, I support it for her and talk her through those not pushing breaths.

She cries out “something is coming out and it is not a bum!”  at the same time that I am seeing three little toes emerge.

And in that instant the plan changed. It felt a little chaotic as all the people needed to be brought in quickly, and we had to leave.  

Oh the leaving was hard!

20 minutes later this special little human is born and shortly after that he was being held close by his Dad.  

 

 

 

It took a little while before she could hold him, but when she did she took her time, looked him over, soaked up every inch. And we all cried a little.

It was the best day ever.

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