Birth Center Birth, Chapel Hill, NC
Michelle is a friend of mine, and I’ve known her for a long time. It was an honor to be asked to be at her birth. This was Michelle’s fifth child, and she really wanted to have a natural, unmedicated birth this time. In order to help make that happen she chose to deliver at a birth center in Chapel Hill. She was very excited about having a different experience this time around than she did with her other births.
On Monday, June 8th, at 1:25am, I got a text from Michelle saying she was in labor. She said contractions were about 10 minutes apart, and had been going on since 11:45pm. She said they were getting more intense. She decided she’d jump in the bath to see if they might go away. She said she was feeling most of the pain in her lower back and her butt. Around 2:00am, she noticed the contractions were beginning to get closer together. She asked that I call her so we could discuss a plan. I called her and she explained what was going on. She paused through a contraction while I was on the phone with her. I suggested she call the midwives to see what they recommended. The birth center was almost an hour away, and I felt hesitant to have her wait too long. The midwife felt the same, and she recommended Michelle go ahead and come in. I got ready and headed out to meet Michelle, her husband, Michael, her mom, Angie, and her 7 year old son, Ray at the birth center.
At 2:57am, Michelle texted me to let me know she was on her way and contractions were now 2 minutes apart and lasting about 30 seconds each, but were not yet extremely painful. I arrived at the birth center around 3:45am. When I got there, Michelle had just been checked about 10 minutes before. She was 5cm dilated, 80% effaced, and the baby was at a -2 station. She was on the bed working through each contraction beautifully. Michael was sitting with Ray, and Michelle’s mom. Michelle was still having a lot of back pain so she got on hands and knees, and I applied heat and counter pressure to her back during each contraction.
Around 4:15am, Michelle decided she’d like to try laboring in the tub for a while. We filled up the tub and she got in. It helped with the intensity of the contractions for a while. She was doing an amazing job, breathing and working through each contraction. Michael sat next to her for a while, holding her hand, and counting for her. It helped Michelle focus when someone would count during a contraction. Then he went back to sit with Ray, and I stayed next to Michelle. I encouraged her and constantly told her that she could and was doing this, and was doing an amazing job at it. Eventually Michelle decided she wanted to get out of the tub.
At 5:46am, Michelle requested to be checked again. She had progressed to 7cm, 90% effaced, and baby was now at a -1 station. Michelle was very tired and just wanted to rest on the bed for a while. While she was resting on the bed her contractions began to space out a lot. The midwife felt it would be best if she got up in order to move things along a little bit faster. They tried to bind her belly the best they could, and she sat on the birth ball for a while. I did a double hip squeeze as Michelle swayed and moaned through each contraction. Around 6:20am, Michelle then asked the midwife if she could break her water. The midwife agreed to do so. Michelle knew this would help move things along a little faster. She got back on the ball for a little while longer, but really preferred laboring in the bed. So she insisted that she get back in the bed.
Michelle was lying on her side in the bed. Michelle’s mom and I were alternating rubbing Michelle’s back and putting pressure on her hips. Michael was lying next to her on the bed. Ray was just watching. Then Michelle was beginning to feel some pressure. At 6:55am the midwife checked her again, and she was 8cm dilated. Michelle immediately felt the urge to push. Angie stood by Michelle’s head and Ray stood next to her so he could see the baby coming out. Michael was still lying on the bed next to Michelle. Michelle pushed through one contraction, and baby Will was born at 7:03am. He was immediately placed on Michelle’s chest. Michelle was so strong and powerful, and rocked her labor. She got the natural birth that she wanted so badly, and she was so beautiful doing it.
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