**Birth Stories are only shared after obtaining consent from clients
Chapel Hill Hospital Birth
Brookelyn was planning to have a home birth, with a midwife attending. However, as Brookelyn got closer to the end of her pregnancy her blood pressure began to go up. At 38 weeks it had gotten high enough that they felt something needed to be done to ensure mom and baby’s safety. They decided Brookelyn needed to be induced. On September 25th, Brookelyn checked in to the hospital. They gave her cytotec, a cervical ripener, to begin the induction. I checked in with Brookelyn the next day, and she was dilated to 1 cm, 20% effaced, and baby was still very high. Brookelyn was having mild, regular contractions and was working through those. She really wanted to avoid pitocin. That evening they placed a foley bulb in to help Brookelyn dilate even more. It fell out quickly. Brookelyn decided to take an ambien that night in order to get some rest.
A few hours later, around 10:00 pm, I received a text from Brookelyn’s husband, Daniel, saying that Brookelyn’s water had broken. The doctor had done a check, and there was a small gush. He also said that Brookelyn was now 4 cm dilated and 60% effaced. Rose, the birth assistant, had been with Brookelyn for several hours, and was also keeping me up to date on everything. I offered to go ahead and head to the hospital, but Rose told me to wait just a little while longer. She tried to see if she could get Brookelyn to sleep some, but labor was really picking up, and she was unable to. I arrived at the hospital around midnight. At that time Brookelyn had already dilated to 6 cm! She was in the bath working through contractions. Daniel and Rose were in there helping. She was doing great making low moans, and working through each contraction as it came. After a while she felt like the bath was no longer helping. We encouraged her to get out for a little while so that once she got back in, it would become effective again. Brookelyn worked through several contractions on the birth ball. Daniel held her while I applied counter pressure to her back. Daniel and I both made nice low moans with Brookelyn to keep her making the same noises and to help keep her body relaxed. She was doing an incredible job.
After a few contractions on the ball Brookelyn really wanted to get back in the tub. I had her work through two more contractions, and then she got back in the bathtub. The bath provided some relief for a little while. Daniel and I sat next to Brookelyn, held her, and encouraged her. She was working so hard and completely rocking her labor. However, after a little while things got very tiring for her. She had been at it for over 24 hours, and she hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before. We had tried every natural pain relief option, and Brookelyn was very worried that she would be too exhausted to push the baby out. She wanted to be able to get some rest before she had to begin pushing. She made the decision to get an epidural. It takes a little while to get everything ready and set up for the epidural. Brookelyn got out of the water and worked through more contractions on the toilet and the ball. She leaned and held on to me or Daniel. She focused and got through each one.
The doctor came in and checked her cervix around 2:30am, before the anesthesiologist came in. She was between 8 and 9 cm. The anesthesiologist came in and administered the epidural. Shortly after, Amanda, the birth photographer, came in. And not long after that Brookelyn’s mother, sister, and brother came up. Nancy, the midwife, also arrived. Everybody was talking and joking around. Rose suggested that everyone, except Daniel, leave so that Brookelyn could get some much needed and deserved rest. We all went downstairs for about an hour, while Brookelyn took a nap. It was just what she needed to gain some energy for pushing. Around 4:30am Brookelyn was completely dilated and ready to push. Brookelyn worked so very hard to push the baby out. We tried several different positions, and finally at 8:07am after more than three and a half hours of pushing Atticus was born. He was occiput posterior (sunny side up). It definitely explained how long Brookelyn had to push to get him out. Brookelyn saw her baby boy, and she was absolutely glowing.
Brookelyn did an amazing job during labor and birth. She made very good decisions. Things did not go as she planned, but she did so many things to make sure her baby had a good start to life. She wanted to avoid inducing labor with pitocin and she did. She labored until almost 9 cm naturally, despite being completely exhausted. She pushed for over three and a half hours to make sure that he was born vaginally. She was a warrior. She was faced with making many tough decisions, and she made all the right ones!
Check out Brookelyn's birth video here.
Raleigh Home Birth
Any birth professional knows that the week of the full moon is often a busy one. September this year was no exception. I had attended Christine’s birth the night of September 8th, and less than a day and a half later I attended Christina’s birth.
Christina was having a planned home birth. She had an extremely fast labor with her first. Due to this (among other reasons) she felt a home birth was the best choice for this baby. Christina had been having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions and had expressed concern that she wouldn’t know the difference between a real contraction and a Braxton hicks contraction come time. Well she did :-)
On Wednesday, September 10th around 10:30am Christina sent me a text to let me know she was having contractions that were 6 to 8 minutes apart and lasting 20 to 30 seconds. She was pretty sure it was go time. I asked Christina if she had called the midwife, Nancy. She said she had contacted her and that Nancy was finishing up at another birth. I got ready and headed to her house.
I arrived at Christina’s house around noon. Her husband, Chris, let me in. Christina was in the living room working through contractions. She was swaying and moaning and doing great. Christina was complaining of having back labor so I applied counter pressure and heat to her back. Her daughter, Emma, was very excited. Chris was trying to keep Emma busy so Christina could focus on her labor. Around 12:30 one of the midwives, Jewel, arrived. At this point Christina was really having to work through her contractions. They were getting much more intense. We had moved to the kitchen. She was leaning on the counter and swaying and squatting through each contraction. Jewel went about setting things up in the kitchen for the birth. Chris put the dogs outside. We turned down some of the lights and closed the curtains to make the room a little more relaxing. Not long after Jewel arrived Christina began to feel the urge to push. She squatted through a few contractions. She then moved to the foam mattress that was set up on the kitchen floor. She had a few more contractions while side lying while Jewel took her vitals.
Around 1:00pm, Nancy arrived. Jewel was letting Nancy know what had been going on so far. Jewel was in the middle of saying that Christina’s water had not broken, when Christina pushed and it broke. Nancy put on her gloves and got on the floor near Christina. Emma was watching everything that was going on very intently. Chris was sitting at Christina’s head and holding her hand. Christina was doing an amazing job staying calm. She was doing an amazing job handling each contraction. During the next two contractions she pushed, and then the baby came out very fast. The baby was “sunny side up” or occiput posterior. It definitely explained all the back labor Christina was having. It was so incredible that she was able to push the baby out so fast, even though she was OP. The baby was immediately placed on Christina’s chest.
Lucy was born at 1:09pm. Christina was an absolute rock star. She was such a beautiful laboring woman. She looked so amazing and powerful during the whole process. Christina, Chris, and Emma were so in love with Lucy from the moment she arrived. Emma just wanted to hold and love on Lucy. She kept calling her, “my baby”. You could tell she was so fascinated by her little sister. Christina just radiated joy and love when she looked at Lucy. Chris couldn’t stop looking at her beautiful face. I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to be at Lucy’s birth. Christina rocked it. Her strength and beauty during labor and birth was amazing and empowering, and I have no doubt that one day Lucy will grow up to be just as amazing of a woman!
Hospital Birth | Natural VBAC | Durham, NC
I had the privilege of getting to know Christine and of being at her birth. Christine was attempting a VBAC. She had a very long, difficult birth with her firstborn, and she really wanted a better experience this time around. She made sure to do everything possible to insure that happened, including switching providers to a truly VBAC friendly provider, Women's Health Alliance Midwifery, and taking a really awesome childbirth class. She also hired me to help her through labor and birth.
On the morning of September 8th, Christine sent me a text message to let me know she had been having contractions that were five minutes apart for a few hours, but that weren’t very intense yet. It was raining, so she went with her mom to the mall to walk around in hopes of moving labor along a little faster. After walking around for a while, she went home to rest some. Around 7:00pm, Christine texted me again to let me know that the contractions had intensified and were now 3 to 4 minutes apart. She felt that it was a good time for me to come over.
I arrived at Christine’s house around 8:00. Her husband, Steven, was busy making sure everything was packed and ready to go to the hospital for when the time came. Christine was having to stop and breathe through contractions. She was doing an amazing job getting through them. Steven was being very encouraging. At this point the contractions were about 4 to 5 minutes apart, but definitely getting more intense. I decided to do some counter pressure on Christine’s back to help with the pain. She found this very helpful. In between contractions we just chatted. After about an hour the contractions really started to pick up. They were getting closer to 3 minutes apart, lasting longer, and it was obvious they were becoming much more intense. At this point I suggested to Christine that it might be a good time to call the midwives just to let them know what was going on. I told her we didn’t have to rush there, but to just start kind of thinking about going in the near future. I could tell immediately that she felt anxious about this. So she started explaining to me that she did have a lot of anxiety about going to the hospital too soon. She wanted to be sure that this birth ended in a successful VBAC, not a repeat cesarean. I definitely wanted her to be as comfortable as possible. I didn’t want fear to impede her labor progress. I knew we still had some time so I suggested she try getting in the shower. I thought that maybe this would give her some time to think, process, and prepare for calling the midwives and heading to the hospital. We went upstairs and Steven showed me their daughter’s room and the baby’s room. They had really worked hard on them, and they looked amazing! Steven and I sat and talked while Christine was in the shower.
After Christine got out of the shower she seemed to be feeling a little more confident about going in. We took our time heading downstairs. Steven called the hospital. Leigh Ann, the midwife on call, returned the call. She spoke with Christine and Steven (when Christine was having a contraction). She said to go ahead and come in. We slowly got our things together and headed to the van. Steven drove, and I sat in the back of the van with Christine. Riding in a car while in labor is very uncomfortable. In an attempt to help relieve some of the pain, I put a rice heating pad on Christine’s back. I held her hand and rubbed her shoulder during each contraction. She did incredible in the car. She was definitely in her labor zone, but she did amazing working through each contraction and staying calm.
We arrived at the hospital around 11:00pm. We had to go through the emergency entrance since it was the middle of the night. That made things a little more difficult and time consuming while checking in. Eventually we were walked up to labor and delivery. Christine was breathing, swaying, and leaning or squatting through each contraction. Steven would hold her hand or put his arm around her, while I applied pressure on her back. Leigh Ann came in and checked her cervix. She was 6 cm dilated and baby was at +1 station. The nurse came in and put the wireless heart rate and contraction monitors on Christine to see if baby was handling labor well. He was. The nurse tried to put a hep lock in Christine’s hand. She was having a lot of trouble finding a good vein to put it in. She finally called for another nurse. Christine really wanted to get in to the tub to help with the pain. It was taking a little while for the other nurse to come so Christine went ahead and got in the tub. The other nurse arrived and was able to put the hep lock in while Christine was in the tub. The water helped a lot with the pain. However, it was quite clear that Christine was in transition at this point. She was doing a beautiful job working through each contraction. She looked so strong and powerful while laboring. Steven sat by the tub holding her hand and encouraging her. I applied a cool rag to her head and neck, reminded her to drink, and encouraged her.
After Christine had been laboring in the tub for a little while, she said she felt the need to push. She was hesitant to have the midwife check her cervix again. It hadn’t been very long since she was first checked. She was afraid that if she hadn’t progressed much she would become discouraged. Still she insisted that she really felt like she needed to push. Leigh Ann came in about this time and went ahead and checked her. She was completely dilated! Leigh Ann suggested she push in the tub for a little while. Christine pushed whenever her body felt the urge. After a few pushes her water broke. After a few more pushes Leigh Ann suggested that Christine reach down so she could feel the baby’s head. She did, which helped to motivate her even more. She pushed a little while longer, and then Leigh Ann instructed her to get out of the tub. The midwives at that hospital aren’t allowed to deliver in the tub. Christine got out. We wrapped her in a warm blanket. We made sure the lights were turned down low. Christine squatted on her own through a few contractions. Then Steven sat on the couch and held her body up while she squatted and continued pushing. Leigh Ann, the nurse, and I sat by and cheered her on. Leigh Ann and the nurse were having trouble getting a good read on the baby’s heartbeat while Christine was squatting. So Leigh Ann suggested she move to the bed and push side lying.
Once on the bed side lying they were able to find the baby’s heartbeat again. Steven sat next to Christine’s head and held her. I held up her leg. The baby began to crown. Leigh Ann again told Christine to reach down and feel the baby’s head. She did and it brought a huge smile to her face. She kept pushing, but she was having some trouble getting the head out. Leigh Ann asked the nurse to roll the mirror over. Christine looked in the mirror and saw that the baby’s head was coming out. I think at that point she truly realized she was doing this. She was going to have a VBAC! It was just the motivation she needed. Shortly after, she pushed the baby the rest of the way out.
Ethan was born at 1:30am on September 9th. He was placed on Christine’s chest, and she was beyond excited. Both Christine and Steven were beaming with joy and happiness. I have never seen a more beautiful reaction than the one Christine had. It brought me to tears. At that moment she looked so empowered. She learned her body was capable of something truly amazing, and she was head over heels in love with her precious baby boy. Christine worked so hard to give her son the best start she could, and his birth taught her that she truly could do it! Ethan’s birth is one that will stick with me forever. Christine was one of the most beautiful and powerful birthing mothers I have ever seen.
**Birth stories are only shared after obtaining consent from clients
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