Jack's Birth Story from the Doula's Perspective

I received a call from Sarah-Catherine at 7:22 am on Thursday August 27th 2009. She said that her contractions were irregular but more intense than before and they had not stopped since they began at 4:30 that morning. I advised her to try to sleep if she possibly could. She said she was very excited to meet her son and that Eric was asleep and she would try to join him. We both agreed that this was more than likely the day. She was 41.3 gestation and was planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) at VUMC.

At 10:00am I called her back to check her status and emotional state. She said she was still having contractions and they were still quite irregular but very intense. She told me she had an appointment with her midwife since she was 10 days over her due date for a stress test. Although she did express concern about being admitted too early if she was indeed in active labor, she did want to know her cervical status since she had been working so hard all morning. I told her I was on my way and would meet her downtown where she would either be admitted or go walk around the park during her early labor phase.

Sarah-Catherine went from 4cm to 7cm between 12:00 and 2:00. At that time she decided she would be more comfortable walking around Centennial Park where the Parthenon replication stood. Sarah-Catherine and Eric conceived after a trip to Greece so this was a great place for her to be able to focus and relax while laboring. She did a lot of curb walking to assist little “Jack” into the pelvis since he was still at -2 station. She also utilized the swing, various tree branches and the steps of the Parthenon to help her child find his way into the birth canal. We took pictures, SC used the restroom, she continued to be in great spirits; she was talking, laughing with her husband and they were both very much enjoying the anticipation and intimacy of the labor. They discussed their upcoming move to Chicago and we all went over the birth plan once more and talked about possible situations where things might have to change. SC was well informed throughout, they both asked a lot of questions and were very respectful and receptive to all my advice. SC labored at the Parthenon for over 2 hours until she decided that the car ride may be too painful if waited any longer.

SC was admitted to VUMC at 4:36pm (12 hours after her first contraction). Her cervix was checked and was 8cm dilated, 100% effaced, cervix was short and forward and the baby was still between -2 and -1. She had an epidural consult, the nurse inserted a heplock (as is standard for VBACs) and she was given all the consent forms and info regarding another possible c-section and epidural.

We tried various positions like straddling the birth ball, slow dancing, leaning forward, lunges and semi-sitting to try to get the baby to engage more. The entire time, SC maintained hydration by drinking fluids, eating popsicles and ice chips. She also snacked on various snacks that she brought with her. She was still very responsive to all my cues and suggestions. Eric was attentive and very much in love with his wife throughout this process. They seemed to be “enjoying” the process of labor and their was excitement between them.

At 7:00 the midwife suggested AROM. We discussed the pros and cons and ultimately SC did consent to having her water broken in hopes to speed up her progress. From 7:30 thru 9:00 her contractions intensified and transition began quickly…

At 9:00 the midwife suggested that SC get an epidural because she was still at 8cm and the baby had not moved down any more than before. SC and Eric made the best decision of the entire night when they asked the entire room to leave so that they could talk about this option in private. They asked me to join them shortly after the room was cleared so we could discuss the risks and benefits. I felt God whisper to me that I needed to suggest to SC to invite Jesus to join us right away. SC had 2 more contractions and then screamed out to her savior. She asked that Jesus would come into “this room right now” and asked that He would make clear to her what she should do “within the next 5 minutes.” The midwife entered the room again about 3 minutes later and she checked SC… to everyone’s amazement (especially the midwife) she was 10 cm dilated, the baby had moved down and she was ready to push. Praise God!!!!!

SC pushed for about 30 minutes. The midwife suggested an episiotomy during the pushing stage but SC declined. She was able to give birth to a 9lb 10oz baby boy at 10:08pm. Dad watched his son take his first breath and cut him from his mother- an undoubtedly first of many times this loving father will assist his son into becoming and independent young man. Baby had 8 and 9 APGARs and mom and baby bonded immediately and baby began nursing within the first hour.