Birth Center Birth | Natural Birth | Cary, NC
****Birth Story and Images Shared with Permission from Clients****
All images in Cheyenne's birth story by Autumn's Photography
Krista and Josh hired me early in their pregnancy. They were expecting their third child. Krista had her first two daughters in a hospital and had received an epidural with both of them. She wanted something different this time around. She really wanted the full experience of a natural labor and delivery, so she decided to give birth at Baby+Co, a local birth center. She knew they would support and respect her wishes of having a natural birth, as well as, allow her daughters and other family members in the room. She wasn’t sure how she would handle and cope with contractions, but she knew a natural birth was what she wanted. Krista and Josh worked hard to prepare for the birth. They took a great birthing class. They hired a photographer and me. They even rented a birth pool to use for laboring at home. They wanted to stay and labor at home as long as possible. The plan was that I would come to their house once Krista felt like she needed me. Then I would help them decide when would be a good time to go ahead and go to the birth center, but baby had different plans!
Starting between 35 and 36 weeks Krista began experiencing a lot of prodromal labor. There was even one time that we really thought she was in labor, and headed to the hospital since she wasn’t yet 37 weeks. It ended up being pre labor contractions, and a lot of uterine irritability. This persisted on and off for a few weeks. Krista was so strong and just kept going despite how uncomfortable she was. The midwives and I suggested many coping strategies. Finally, on Saturday, March 5th, 2016, baby Cheyenne decided she wouldn’t keep her parents waiting any longer.
Krista sent me a text at 7:30am on March 5th. She said she was in labor and on the way to baby+Co. She said she woke up with contractions six minutes apart. I told her I would get up, get ready, and head to the birth center. I also asked her how intense her contractions were and which midwife was on call. She called me and said they were very intense. She couldn’t walk or talk through them, and that Mandessa was on call. Krista really loved Mandessa (who wouldn’t?), so I knew she was excited that she was there.
I arrived at the birth center about 8:45am. I walked in, Krista and Josh were in the back birthing suite. Krista was sitting on her knees with her pelvis open in the tub, eating a popsicle. Josh was sitting next to her outside the tub supporting and encouraging her. Krista said Mandessa had checked her cervix when she arrived at the birth center. She was 5-6 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and the baby was at a -1 station. Contractions were about 3 minutes apart and lasting about 60 seconds. Krista was nauseous, so I put some peppermint oil on a cloth for her to sniff. It seemed to help relieve some of the nausea. I applied counter pressure on her hips and back during contractions. Around 9:00am, Mandessa encouraged Krista to get out and pee. I suggested that she work through a few contractions on the toilet while she was there. She did. Things were much more intense for her on the toilet, and she leaned into Mandessa during contractions while I applied pressure to her back.
After sitting on the toilet through several contractions, Krista went back into the room and labored on hands and knees on the floor or leaning on Josh. I did hip squeezes on her during contractions. During this time, Krista’s mom showed up. She came in and was very encouraging and supportive of all the hard work Krista was doing. Not long after this, Krista’s grandma also came in and sat in the room. The contractions began to space out some, closer to 4 minutes apart. At 9:30am, Mandessa decided to do another check to see if Krista was still progressing. She checked her cervix, and Krista was still only 5 cm dilated. Her cervix hadn’t changed a bit. During this time, Krista’s grandfather arrived with Krista and Josh’s daughters. It was a full room full of people who very much love them. Unfortunately, Krista’s labor had slowed down quite a bit. The midwife gave her some herbs to help speed things along some. We also suggested she do squats and walk through the hallways or outside, if she felt comfortable with it. She didn’t feel at all comfortable going outside, so she just walked up and down the hall. Every time she had a contraction, she had to stop and get on hands and knees or squat in order to manage it. She did this for about 20 minutes.
Around 10:10am, Krista returned to her room. Contractions were still about 3-4 minutes apart and a minute long. She started doing lunges. She would put one foot on the bed and lunge in between contractions, switching sides after each contraction. She still felt best doing hands and knees or squatting during the contraction. Krista’s mom sat at her foot, encouraging her. Josh held her and encouraged her. I continued to apply heat and counter pressure to her back. After doing lunges for a while, Mandessa and I sifted Krista’s belly with the rebozo. Then we bound her belly. With Krista’s stop and start labor, we suspected that the baby was in a less than ideal position, probably posterior.
At 10:45am, Krista said she was feeling a lot of pressure. Mandessa asked if she could check her to see if it was time to push. Krista agreed. Mandessa checked her, and she had progressed some. All that work was paying off. She was completely dilated, except for an anterior lip on her cervix that was between 7-8 cm. Mandessa suggested she sit on the birth stool for a while to try and help that last bit of cervix open. Krista sat on the birth stool for a while and began pushing some with contractions. She didn’t like the stool, but she did it! Things began to intensify again, and then her water broke at 10:50am. Krista continued to labor on the birthing stool for a while. Mandessa suggested that it might be better if she could hold back the cervical lip while Krista pushed past it. Krista agreed. She moved to the bed and pushed some while lying on her side.
Around 11:15am, Krista decided to get up and do some more lunges. She worked through each contraction standing and swaying. At 11:40am, she sat on the toilet and worked through a few contractions there. Things were beginning to slow down again. I suggested that maybe her and Josh might want some alone time, so we could all step out of the room or at least to the other side of the room, so that they could cuddle and kiss and get some more oxytocin flowing. Krista thought it might be a good idea for everyone to leave for just a little bit and get some lunch. She knew her older two were probably hungry, and this would also give her some alone time with Josh. We all left the room. I stayed in the waiting room, and everyone else ran out to get a quick lunch. About 12:30pm, Mandessa went back into the room to check on Krista, and to discuss a plan. Mandessa came back out, and told me that Krista and Josh had decided it might be best to have a few less people in the room, until it was time to push. They had decided to have only the midwife and myself in the room with them for a little while. Mandessa was on her way out. Her shift had actually ended that morning, but she was planning to stay until the birth. Unfortunately, she was on call the next two days and needed some sleep. Krista told her to go home and rest.
Around 12:50pm, after talking with Mandessa, I went back into the birth room to see Krista and Josh. Krista was on hands and knees on the bed eating soup. Josh was sitting in front of her talking with her. I began applying heat and counter pressure to her back again during contractions. At 1:00pm, Jewell, the midwife now on call came in to check on things. Jewell did another cervical check to see where Krista was at. She was 8 cm, 100% effaced, and the baby was at a -1 station. At this point, Krista’s contractions had picked up again, and they were 3 minutes apart and 90 seconds long. Jewell mentioned that Krista’s water had not broken completely. There was still a fore bag. She also confirmed that the baby was posterior. Jewell gave Krista a couple of different options that might help speed things along. Krista chose to have her water broken. Shortly after this, Krista’s mom came in the room to check on her. Krista told her she had no problem with her staying in there for the rest of her labor.
At 1:30 pm, Jewell came in and broke Krista’s water. Things really began to get intense after this. Krista labored on hands and knees in the bed. Then around 2:00pm, she moved to the shower. Once in the shower, she began to vomit during contractions, which is normal during transition. Josh was incredible support to Krista. He cleaned up after her and stood by her side, constantly encouraging her. I did the hip squeeze and counter pressure on Krista’s back with a warm compress. Krista’s mom sat watching. She spoke encouraging words and handed us wash cloths, towels, Gatorade, water, and whatever else Krista needed. Krista was surrounded by so much love and support while she worked so hard to bring her baby out.
At 2:30 pm, Krista got out of the shower. She was really, really tired at this point. She had been laboring all day, and had been working so hard. Jewell suggested that maybe doing an IV might help her energy level. Krista returned to the bed and got the IV with fluids. About 15 minutes later, Krista hit that point that so many women do when they are at the very end of labor. She started saying that she couldn’t do it, and that she wanted pain medication. We all assured her that she was strong, and that she could do it and that she was doing it. She insisted that she couldn’t. Jewell suggested that she check her to see if it was time to push. She checked her cervix, and it was completely dilated. At 2:45pm, Krista began pushing. Cheyenne was born 16 minutes later at 3:01pm. They had the whole family come in to see the birth. Josh caught Cheyenne, and she was placed immediately skin to skin on Krista’s chest.
They were surrounded by so much love. Everyone was so excited to finally meet Cheyenne. Josh was Krista’s rock during labor. He was attentive and supportive the entire time. Krista was so strong and powerful during labor. Baby Cheyenne was born into a room FULL of people who love her so much.
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