Grayson's Birth- Hospital Birth- Chapel Hill, NC
**Birth stories and photos shared with permission from clients**
"I would highly recommend Anna to any one looking for a doula. She is worth her weight in gold! My husband was initially very skeptical that a doula was even necessary, in the beginning he only went along with the idea becuase I really wanted one as a first time mom. Of all the doula's we met, Anna's personality seemed to mesh well with his which is why we picked her. My husband is now the bigget doula cheerleader since we welcomed our son. I had both a complicated pregnancy and delivery. Anna was there for us through it all. I could always count on her when I needed some advice or just someone to listen. And when the delivery got tough she helped get me through it. I can safely say we avoided an emergency c-section by having her there. Our son was stuck transverse for a period of time and I had to push for 4 hours to bring our miracle baby into the world. Without Anna's coaching and position changes I don't think I could've successfuly had a vaginal delivery, let alone an unmedicated one. She kept me motivated when I was ready to quit and at times I really needed her to push me. She was also really great working with my squeamish husband. She even got him involved more than he initailly wanted to be. Which was HUGE for him! The NICU team had to take our son after birth and Anna was right there making sure they were getting their job done and immediately bringing him back to me. Skin-to-skn was super important to me and i was upset they had to take him. Anna made sure he was in my arms as soon as possible for skin-to-skin. When i started hemhorraging she had my husband skin-to-skin with the baby and was right back holding my hand and supporting me through the ordeal. It really allowed my husband to stay with the baby/bond and also have peace of mind that Anna was with me. We delivered a healthy 9.7lb boy and Anna was one of the most vital members of our birth team! If god ever blessed us with a 2nd miracle baby, Anna will definitely be there!!"
~Sammi, Mom of Grayson
Sammi ‘s story is a special one. All the odds were stacked against her for having the birth that she wanted or any birth at all. It was so beautiful to stand by her side, as so many miracles unfolded. Sammi hired me fairly early on in her pregnancy. She had been told by doctors that she’d never be able to conceive. Sammi and her husband, Mitch, went through several failed fertility treatments. Finally, they felt like the emotional and physical stress of continuing to try to conceive was just too much. They decided to stop fertility treatments. Just a few months later, Sammi found herself pregnant. Needless to say, they were beyond surprised and excited. This was truly a miracle for them. Sammi was so excited for this baby’s arrival, and she wanted to make sure to do everything just right. She really wanted to experience a natural labor and birth. Her pregnancy was very complicated, including having a high risk for preterm labor and a placenta previa. For a while, she thought she’d have to lose her dream of having a natural birth and end up with a planned cesarean, but at the very last minute the placenta moved, and she was given the okay from the OB to deliver vaginally.
Starting around 36 weeks, Sammi began experiencing a lot of prodromal labor. She had many false alarms, but still the baby stayed in. It was very frustrating and tiring for her, but she was making some cervical progress. She also believed the baby was possibly OP, so I gave her a lot of tips on getting him to turn. She tried everything possible and worked really hard to get him into a more ideal position. At Sammi’s 40 week appointment, the doctor checked her cervix. She was 3.5cm dilated and 80% effaced. The baby’s head was also very low. The doctor scheduled an induction for that Sunday when Sammi would be 41 weeks. Sammi really didn’t want to be induced, and she was hoping that the baby arrived before then. Well he did!
On Friday, October 2nd, 2015, at 12:13pm, Sammi sent me a text. She said she thought her water had broken. She said she hadn’t had any contractions yet, but was really crampy. The OB wanted her to go ahead in to the hospital to get checked. She said she was going to take her time getting ready and then head in. I told her to make sure to get a good lunch in and to maybe try pumping for 15 minutes before she left. At around 2:15pm, Sammi said they had just gotten to L&D, and that her contractions had been steadily 6-8 minutes apart since pumping. At 3:30pm, Sammi sent me another text. She said she was still waiting to be checked, but that contractions were now 3-5 minutes apart. I told her that was great and asked her if she wanted me to head on up there yet. I also asked if she could walk and talk through the contractions. She said not to come quite yet, and that she was able to breathe through the contractions and was handling them well. At 3:45pm, Sammi sent me a text to say the OB had seen a lot of fluid, but that the strip came back negative for it being amniotic fluid, and that they were looking under the microscope now to confirm. At 4:45pm, I received another text from her, saying that she was 4cm dilated, and that they wanted her to keep laboring for an hour. Then they would check her cervix again. We decided that I should go ahead and start heading towards the hospital, but not to rush.
I arrived at the hospital around 6:00pm. Sammi and Mitch were still in triage waiting for one last cervical check before they decided to admit them into labor and delivery. Shortly after I arrived the OB came in. She did an exam, and Sammi was 5 cm dilated, 90% effaced, and baby was at a -1 station. Sammi was making progress so they decided to admit her. They moved her to a labor and delivery room. Sammi and Mitch were so happy to finally be in a room after being in triage for so long. Sammi sat on the birth ball for a while, and then we walked around the L&D floor several times to try to move things along a little faster. Her contractions were staying 3-4 minutes apart, but Sammi was doing a great job handling them. After we walked for a while we returned to the room, and Sammi held onto the bed and did squats.
At 9:37pm, the doctor returned, and checked Sammi’s cervix again. She was 6 cm dilated, 90% effaced, and the baby was still at a -1 station. The doctor suggested that it might be a good time to break her water. Sammi requested that she have a few minutes to talk about it with Mitch before she made a decision. They discussed it, and decided they were okay with the doctor breaking the water. The doctor broke her water, and there was some meconium. Not long after the water was broken the contractions began to get much more intense. Sammi decided she’d like to get in the tub. Sammi labored in the bathtub for a while. Mitch sat and held her hand, while I put a warm wash cloth and counter pressure on her back. The water helped the intensity of the contractions a lot.
Eventually after being in the tub for a while, Sammi started to feel a little overwhelmed by the contractions. She wanted some relief. She asked if she could try the nitrous oxide. The anesthesiologist came in and explained to her how to use it. The nitrous helped tremendously. Sammi could really handle the contractions well with the help of it. Around 12:45am on October 3rd, Sammi began feeling a lot of pressure, and she thought she might need to push. We called the nurse. She came in and checked her cervix. She said it wasn’t quite time to push yet. Sammi was 8-9 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and baby was at a 0 station. She continued to labor on her side on the bed. We put the peanut ball in between her legs to help keep her pelvis open.
At 2:30am, Sammi began getting a much more intense urge to push. She was involuntarily bearing down during each contraction. We called the nurse again. She came in and checked Sammi’s cervix. She was almost completely dilated. She just had a small lip. The nurse suggested that she resist the urge to push for just a little while longer. This was very difficult for her to do, but with some coaching she was able to. Finally at 2:50am, the nurse said that the lip was gone, and Sammi could push.
Sammi began pushing on the bed. Then she pushed on the toilet for a while. Then on hands and knees. Then side lying. She kept changing positions, because the baby head was asynclitic and having a hard time coming out. Sammi pushed and pushed and pushed. She felt like giving up at times, but she just kept going. Finally at 6:39am, after almost 4 hours of pushing, Grayson arrived. The doctors had to take him over to the warmer for a few minutes to suction the meconium out, but then he was laid on his mom’s chest. Sammi and Mitch were so in love with him. Sammi worked so hard to get Grayson here. She rocked every second of her labor and birth. She’s such a strong, warrior mama, and it was truly a privilege to be there as her and Mitch welcomed their little miracle into the world!
Check out Sammi's beautiful birth video below!
All photos and video taken by Amanda Ditzel at Raleigh Birth Photography
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