I guess this would be considered a guest post! Our doula, Laura of Trinity Childbirth, wrote up a Birth Narrative to document our birth experience. I am so grateful to have another perspective to share, because honestly, I don’t remember everything that happened! On that note, here is Laura’s guest post:
June 16, 2009
12:30am I arrive at Beth and Jason’s. Contractions started in the wee morning hours early yesterday, but were light and sporadic throughout most of the day. Just the past few hours have they become more rhythmic. They have been getting longer, stronger, closer together since about 9-10pm and are now in the 4-5 minute range, strong enough to really require Beth’s concentration. She’s doing beautifully, relaxed and breathing through every one, not losing her focus. When I get there, Jason is playing guitar and singing praise and worship songs. The mood is so peaceful and calm, and I know instantly that this is going to be a great birth.
1:15am We arrive at the hospital. The nurses are kind and eager to help. We go at first to a triage room, and upon exam, we find Beth to already be 6-7 cm dilated (!), 100% effaced, and baby at -2 station. Yay! We are escorted to our room, and get started on paperwork, the heplock, and the initial fetal monitoring strip.
Once all the admissions necessities are taken care of, we settle into a good rhythm. Beth is sitting on the birth ball, alternating walking and slow-dancing with Jason. He’s a great support to her – loving, encouraging, excited but unruffled. They make a fantastic team. It’s quiet and serene, with lights low and music playing softly. We fill up the tub and Beth soaks in there for a few minutes. She’s now much more inward and serious. Jason and I take turns gently speaking to her, reminding her to surrender to what’s happening, praising her effort so far, and whispering sweet encouragements to her. We recite Bible verses to her, and pray for God to continue to give her strength and stamina, thanking Him for the blessing of this amazing miracle of childbirth.
2:20am Another exam reveals that Beth is not 7, probably 8 cm dilated. Membranes are still intact. Beth is working really hard now, as it’s gaining intensity. She’s now arching back with each contraction, sitting on the ball and collapsing backward into Jason’s embrace with each surge. There continues to be a lot of bloody show, and she’s starting to feed building pressure, so we are all pretty confident that things will keep progressing quickly and it will be time to push soon. Doubts start to creep in, as they almost always do, but Jason and I remind her and we are almost there. I wipe her brow and neck to try to keep her feeling refreshed and capable.
3:45am 9 cm dilated now. Baby has descended to 0 station – great progress. There is an anterior lip still left on the cervix. I suggest hands and knees, just to mix up some new body mechanics and see if we can get the lip to disappear. Hands and knees looks like it’s working well – with each contraction, Beth is feeling more and more pushy and getting more and more loud.
4:40am There is still just a tiny bit of lip left. During the vaginal exam, the nurse has Beth bear down just a tad and her membranes rupture on the spot. The nurse is now able to push that little bit of lip left back out of the way, around the baby’s head. Baby is not at +1 station. With all of these things falling into place, we can start officially pushing!
With support from Jason and I on either side, Beth semi-sits in the bed and starts bearing down. We offer suggestions but remind Beth that she can find her own way, do what feels right. Sometimes, she holds her breath; sometimes, she pushed on the exhale. It’s hard, sweaty work, and at times, she looks overwhelmed, as almost all women do at this point in labor. The sensations are undoubtedly stronger than can be put into words. Nevertheless, she is focused and committed, and making progress at an admirable rate.
5:16am Jude is here! With those last unbelievable intense sensations, Jason, the medical team, and I rally around Beth like never before. She pants and blows, trying so hard to ease her baby boy out gently as the doctor coaches. On that last push, his head emerges and rotates, and then his body comes sliding out all at once! He immediately goes to Beth’s chest, where she is exhilarated and crying. Jason is ecstatic. They are all in awe and praising God’s grace. He is health and beautiful!
After the medical team has finished up, and Jason gets in a few cuddles, Jude’s put to the breast. He’s a feisty little man, full of emotion and eager to nurse but a tad frustrated. We all marvel at his own distinct little personality, already so evident. With some facilitating, he eventually gets a good latch and is able to suckle for a good while before getting drowsy. Everything has settled down and soon there will be family and visitors arriving. It’s time for me to go, so this new family can rest and have some time alone together, just the three of them. I say goodbye, grateful to have been part of this experience and feeling blessed to have been used by God in even such a humble way as to welcome a new child into His world.