Monday, May 11, 2015

Capping off a Perfect Mother's Day

My latest client was experiencing signs of labor for days.  We texted often, and it seemed like active labor was always just around the corner..  But after a few hours of regular contractions, they would always die down.  I thought for sure we'd be celebrating Mother's Day together!  But I crawled into bed Sunday evening (after a wonderful day with my own mother, mother in law, my husband and my 4 kiddos!), only to be awoken right at 1:00 am!  Active labor had finally arrived!

We all gathered at the birth center around 1:45 am, and mom was already 7 cm.  Active labor was about to bow out and make room for transition!  It was clear that even though this labor to a long time to start, it was definitely going to be a short delivery!
Things were intense.  Mom mainly labored in the tub, and dad gave her awesome support.  He was always by her side, whispering encouraging words, and even got in the tub to rub mom's back.  What an amazing team!  At 2:30 am I wrote in my notes how touched I was by his loving support.  

Shortly after 3:00 am, mom wanted to get out of the tub and lay down in the bed.  At 3:20 am her water broke, and the urge to push came quickly after that.  

This is a picture of moms foot resting on the midwife's shoulder.  I just love the type of support midwives give!  But pushing in the bed wasn't working, so we got mom onto the birthing stool, and at 3:35 am, on May 11th, Ryker made his debut!

Not only was the cord wrapped around his neck twice, it also had a true knot tied in it. 
Apparently, this is good luck!  (It was also one of the longest cords I've ever seen!)

This little guy is the lucky one, he is so loved!

8 pounds, 9 ounces of pure joy.

What a cutie, and what a perfect way to finish off Mother's Day!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Let's Play Ping Pong

Last night I was teaching a class at the birth center to our moms set to deliver this summer.  I was enjoying getting to know them when my phone starting buzzing.  A lot.  It was my doula partner, letting me know that we had two women in early labor, and I was going to be needed tonight!  I wrapped things up, inhaled my dinner, and ran home to change my clothes and grab my supplies.

I got a call around 10 pm from my client, saying her contractions were coming every 3 minutes!  But she was talking through them, and I really couldn't tell if she was in early labor or active labor.  She was coping so well, I assumed she wouldn't need me for hours.  But literally the second I climbed into bed I got a call saying they were heading to the birth center.  I jumped in my car and met them there around 11:30.

Mom was dilated 4 cm.  So she still had a ways to go.  She found solace in the tub and loved having cool water on her face, neck, and back.  She enjoyed listening to piano music, and would ask me to "crank it" so she could hear it over the jets of the tub. She kept pumping out contractions like crazy, and we all started to assume that this birth was going to go fast!

Meanwhile, across the hall, another woman was also progressing quickly....

At 1:00 am mom asked for nitrous, and thus began one of the most entertaining births I've ever attended.  I'm really starting to believe that God gave us nitrous for the sole purpose of assisting laboring moms.  It takes off just enough of the pain, elevates mom's mood, aids in relaxation, and dulls nerves.  All without affecting the baby, at all.  Well, it really seemed to elevate my client's mood.  During contractions she would tell us how horrible it was and how she never wanted to do this again.  Then in between contractions she would tell us how easy it was, lol!   My favorite quote of the night was "This is nothing.  Seriously.  NOTHING."  (If only you could hear her inflection through my writing!  Hysterical.)

At 1:45 am, mom started feeling small urges to push, and was dilated to 8 cm.  Record speed for a first time mom!  When we first arrived at the birth center she asked me to tell her about my first birth, and I told her how once I got to 8 cm I felt so invigorated and knew I could do it!  She remembered, and became invigorated herself.  She was almost there.

Across the hall pushing was taking place, and it was looking like these two moms might deliver at the same time.  Around 2:10 am we heard a newborn crying, and my client was so excited for her friend who had just given birth.  She started shouting across the hall "Go G! Congratulations!  Wooh!"  There was so much excitement and energy in the air.  It was such a cool experience.

At 2:19 my client's water broke, and the urge to push intensified quickly.  Charlotte, the midwife, was still in the other room finishing things up with mom number one, and my role was to help my client not deliver until the midwife was available again.  My client followed instructions beautifully, and was able to breath through her contractions for quite some time.  But after so long, I knew we were close, (and I didn't want to deliver the baby!), so I ran over and told Charlotte she was needed, asap!

At 2:43 am, April 23rd, 2015, this chunky girl slipped into the world.
Welcome baby Harper!  8 lbs 8 oz
She had the longest hair, the loudest cry, and the cutest cheeks! 

This mom was definitely a little high from the nitrous, but this picture shows the best high of all.  The thrill and overwhelming joy of holding your child for the first time.

Then there was a knock on the door.  It was my doula partner, telling us that mom #1 was ready to deliver her placenta.  So off Charlotte went to deliver that placenta, then was back in our room several minutes later to assist my client as she delivered her's.  It was quite the game of midwifery ping pong!  But in the end, everything worked out perfectly time-wise.

This dad was totally enamored with his daughter.  
One of my favorite things to witness.

Look at those adorable feet!  

This little girl did not like being separated from her mom, and cried every time someone else held her.  Even if it was just for a second. Once mom was all settled into bed, baby Harper quickly latched on perfectly and enjoyed her first meal.  After nursing for a while, this family was ready for a nap.  When I left they were all snuggled in bed together and almost asleep.  
(Hopefully they actually got some rest!)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Broken Water

I received a call around 1:30 pm on Friday, April 17th, alerting me that my client's water had broken!  She was excited and eager, but not in labor.  At all.  In the past when this has happened to my clients, they have obediently gone to the hospital shortly after, and been given pitocin if they hadn't gone into labor within several hours of the water breaking.  This puts alot of pressure on birthing moms, and almost all of my clients in this situation received pitocin.  This hospital policy sends out a message that labor should begin the second the membranes rupture, and that if it doesn't, they certainly are incapable of going in to labor and having a natural birth.

However, as long as both mom and baby are doing well, there is no need to administer pitocin or rush the naturally occurring progression and initiation of labor.  My latest clients chose out of hospital birth, and were able to continue on with their lives (as normally as possible) until labor kicked in all on its own.  I woke up in a panic on Saturday morning, assuming that I had certainly slept through the call to join them!  But no, mom was still not contracting regularly, and enjoyed a decent night's sleep herself.  As the day went on though, it was clear to see that labor was starting and progressing.  After lots of texting, I was asked to join this cute couple around 7:45 pm, Saturday evening.  

Mom's contractions were coming about every 2 1/2 minutes!  She was focused and relaxed, but I could tell that we would not be spending much time at home.  By 8:45 we were heading to Boise Women's Health and Birth Center.  

Coping with a contraction on her way to the car.

Leaving the house for the last time pregnant!

At 9:15 pm, mom was dilated to almost 6 cm and was 90% effaced.  We were on the downhill slide, and everyone kept wondering if this baby would arrive before midnight, making her arrive on her due date, or after midnight, making her arrive on her grandma's birthday.  I knew it would be a close call either way.  Mom's contractions continued to become more intense, and she spent most of her time laboring in the tub, except for a short break to lay down in the bed.  

Transition and its usual nerves arrived around 10:45 pm.  Most moms begin to doubt themselves as the final intensity of labor approaches.  I know this is a good emotional marker of progress, and I knew this mom was about to prove herself wrong, and have an amazing delivery.  She opted for some nitrous oxide, and it was just what she needed to help her with her final few contractions, as well as help keep nerves at bay.

She started to feel minor urges to push around 11:30 pm, and was full-on pushing by 11:45.  Midnight crept closer and closer, and we were all anxiously waiting to see which day this little one would be born.  This little girl was playing a game of peek-a-boo with us, and kept sliding back into the birth canal.  Something her mother was not a fan of!  :)  Turns out, her little arm was up next to her face, adding an additional challenge to pushing.

But at 12:14 am, April 19th, this little beauty, Nora, slipped into the world.  
She turned pink right away, and just stared at her beautiful mother.  She was SO calm, and one of the prettiest newborns I have ever seen.  

Meeting daddy and Auntie Echo.  

The calmest newborn. Ever.  I hope she stays that way!

I walked over to assist mom and baby with their first feed, and Nora knew exactly what to do.  I was totally not needed, which is one of the best things for a doula to experience.  I love being able to watch birth unfold the way it was designed to.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Freshly Baked!

Did you know that a woman is really not "over due" until she is 42 weeks pregnant?!  Most people assume 40 weeks is an EXPIRATION date, but science tells us that some babies will need to the full 42 weeks.  HOWEVER, waiting that long can be difficult.  And for women choosing to have their babies at a freestanding birth center, they know that making it past 42 weeks means transferring to the hospital for an induction.  So I was pretty excited to get the call yesterday that my client, at 41 1/2 weeks, was in labor!

I arrived at their home shortly before 7 pm.  Mom was coping extremely well with her contractions, and dad was busy supporting her and whipping up some fresh bread.  The house smelled AMAZING, and we enjoyed chatting and contracting all evening.  :)

By 10 pm, we had made it to the birth center, and mom eagerly entered the tub.  
This is what it looks like to be in the zone!
We listened to so much great music!

Mom spent the next 6 1/2 hours laboring in the tub.  
She was unbelievable.  
So focused.  So relaxed.  So inspiring.  
Her contractions were unceasing for hours, but progress was a little slow.  She listened to her body, and was so instinctual.  

Pushing was definitely tiring, and lasted for quite some time.  That big boy had to really squeeze through!  But he finally slipped into his mother's arms at 4:43 am, March 19th, 2015.

Seriously, look at that face!
Totally worth it.

Grandma was able to quickly sneak in and see her first grandbaby!  
It was such a beautiful moment to see her watch her son become a father.

This little guy is so loved.  

Monday, January 5, 2015


After laboring for 3 days with her first child, this mom was really hoping for a quicker labor this time around!  She texted me last night around 8:30 saying she was having contractions.  I quickly jumped into bed assuming I would spend at least a portion of the night with her.  I was pretty surprised when I woke up at EIGHT AM!  I frantically checked my phone for messages, but there weren't any.  We touched base around 9:00 am, and contractions were picking up again.  At 11:00 she headed to the Midwife's office, and was 6 cm!  

I joined them around 12:30 at the hospital.  Mom was coping beautifully, and dad was offering physical and emotional support.  They were both in good spirits, and we were all excited to see where the day would take us.  

We walked the halls quite a bit at first.  Mom liked looking out the windows at the beautiful, snowy day.  She also needed someone to hold her hand during each contraction.  This was her most used ritual.  Around 4:30, things began to intensify, and we started utilizing more coping mechanisms.  Mom used the jacuzzi several times, we listened to music, did deep breathing, and massage.  

By 6;00 pm I was pretty sure that mom was in transition.  At 6:30 she was checked, and was 9 cm!  Nerves began to kick in a bit, which is pretty common, and is almost always a sure sign that birth is imminent.  

Mom continued to remain calm during contractions, even though they were lasting much longer and were very intense.  She asked for nitrous oxide, but someone else was using it!  The nitrous finally arrived about 20 minutes before the baby did!  

Pushing was very intense, as it often is.  Mom pushed for about 20 to 25 minutes.  
And at 8:13 pm, on January 5th, 2015, this sweet, little boy slipped into the world.

This baby was born "en caul", meaning he was delivered entirely inside the amniotic sac.  I was pretty excited to not only witness this, (it only happens in 1 out of every 80,000 births!) but was happy to snap a quick picture of it, too!

Cutting the cord.  That thing was thick!

These two were such a great team.  What an honor to support them.

Telling Grandma about the birth!  And already nursing like a champ.

I couldn't resist taking a quick photo of the beautiful night as I walked to my car.  Full moon, winter fog, and Christmas lights.  :)  Happy New Year!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Miracles

I got a call last night around 9:30 pm, saying that mom was in early labor.  I quickly jumped into bed hoping to clock an hour or two of sleep.  I got almost a full night's rest, as I didn't hear from my clients again until 5:00 am!  Her contractions were lasting between 1 and 2 minutes and were about 6 minutes apart.

I met mom and dad at the hospital at 7:30 am.  The nurse was grumpy and wouldn't let me back into triage.  (She got grumpy later on when mom said "no" to a heploc, too.  Thankfully, she cheered up by delivery time.)  By 8:00 we were settled into the delivery room.  Mom was coping great!  She was so controlled and extremely relaxed.  Her husband was very supportive, offering massage and imagery prompts.  At this point, mom was dilated somewhere between 5 and 6 cm.

This mom's contraction pattern was really unique.  Her contractions were about 10 minutes apart, but would last around 3 minutes long!  That's a long contraction!  But the long breaks were nice, and mom was able to rest and even snooze a bit in between.

Around 10:00 mom got in the jacuzzi.  She loved the way it felt and said it helped her relax.  Things started to really progress and at 10:30 her water broke.  I knew we wouldn't have much time since this was baby #4.  We quickly got mom over to the bed.  Things were very intense to say the least!  This woman worked so hard and was able to maintain control during some very long and strong contractions.  She was 8 cm dilated, but I knew we were minutes away from birth.  

The urge to push soon followed, but there was no doctor yet!  So mom had to continue breathing deeply.  As hard as this is, it's actually a great way to deliver.  It gives your skin time to slowly stretch, which helps avoid tearing.  And it paid off!  

Love at first sight.

Tipping the scale at a whopping 9 pounds 8 oz!
10:58 am, Monday, October 6th

This baby snuggled right into his mama.  

Cute, little, old-man face.  I love it!

The perfect way to start off the week!