Something New

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Birth is a unique experience, each time. The first time our only point of reference is whatever we have been told, heard or seen through family, friends and the world at large. 

After that first time, our birth experiences are woven together with threads from the previous birth(s).  

An influence that has to be factored in and respected.

These second time parents were excited and nervous, but mostly surprised when her waters broke at 38 weeks gestation. In the middle of the day! They took a little bit of time to process that this was really happening and talk over their next steps. She wasn’t feeling any uterine contractions and had been advised to head into the hospital if her waters were to rupture. 

Once they had a chance to breathe and sort their thoughts and emotions, they prepared themselves to go in and be assessed. Not long after that decision, she was rewarded with a notable contraction!

Here we go!

The Doctor on call that night recommended a dose of antibiotics to protect against possible infection and then to go home and rest for a few hours to give her body a chance to go into labour spontaneously. 

This plan made us all happy and relieved. 

Triage was busy as usual and so half an hour later they were still waiting for that dose and a full assessment. The cramping she was feeling was mild but consistent now. 

45 minutes later, they were still waiting in triage.  The monitors were picking up the contractions now but she didn’t feel uncomfortable at this point. 

Finally 3 hours after arriving they were headed home to rest for a few hours. And finally she felt a contraction that reminded her of the intensity to come. She acknowledged that this scared her but was focusing on the good that intensity would bring to their family. 

In the four hours at home, they got some rest, but it was broken up by ten minute apart contractions that were at first about 20 seconds long and then as long as a minute.

Back in triage there were no assessment beds available, so after some basic monitoring we headed out for a walk and some stairs and lunges, which she embraced and said felt good! 

And the intensity was building, and her cheeks were flushing.

Back in triage she was assessed and told her cervix was dilated to between 3-4 cm and thinned out. Baby had moved down as well, things were happening. It was 1 am. 

20 minutes later the contractions were much more intense, coming every 3 minutes and holding on. We weren’t joking around and laughing anymore, this was happening.  

We helped her move around into different positions, she was so willing and eager to do all the things.

Two hours after the last check, she was now dilated to between 4-5 cm.  We were still waiting for a room and she was starting to wonder how she was going to manage this new intensity. 

She kept moving around, trying the ball, leaning over a bench, moving and staying as soft as she could. 

It was amazing to see her so focused on not fighting the labour, staying open and receptive despite her body’s instinct to tense up. She didn’t want to spiral into the place she found herself in her first birth experience. 

And he was there next to her the whole time, holding her, grounding her, reassuring her. 

Finally we were moved to a room, 6.5 hours after we got there! She was feeling a lot of pressure now too. 

She immediately used the shower to ease the intensity. Standing, then sitting, then standing, then feeling discouraged because it felt like nothing was happening. Another cervix check said her dilation was the same, but the labour looked different. She needed a rest, to refocus herself, so we found a position that gave her rest but kept her body open to the baby’s movement needs. Not long after the on-call Obstetrician talked over the risks associated with a prolonged rupture of membranes and strongly recommended augmenting the labour.

This felt a lot like what happened with the first birth, and triggered a strong emotional response.  She wanted to protect herself from what she knew was possible.

We reminded her that this was a different birth, she was different, everything was different, and she was coping so well!  She took this in, absorbed it and felt it.

Then she agreed to the augmentation and decided to hold off on any pain management options in anticipation. The synthetic oxytocin was barely running and the labour shifted notably! This was all her. After almost 7 hours of being 4-5 cm dilated she was suddenly 7-8 cm dilated! She was really feeling the pressure of the baby shifting down now too. She moved into a standing position, swaying and rocking that baby down.  

There had been a shift change and the new on-call Obstetrician popped in to say Hi, saw what was happening and told the Nurse not to increase the synthetic oxytocin anymore.  This labour was enough. 

The pressure and the intensity was so visibly intense that another check was done only half an hour later and now she was dilated to 9 cm!  

The intensity was just climbing with every wave and she was sure she couldn’t do it, but we assured her she was doing it and then just 25 minutes later she was fully dilated and bearing down with each contraction. 

Bringing her baby closer and closer to her arms. 

They only had to wait 17 minutes to meet their daughter, their second born. 

This birth was different than the one before.

This was something new.

And it was good. 

 

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