Hospital Birth - Unmedicated VBAC - Raleigh, NC
***Story and images posted with permission from clients***
Morgan’s birth was a very special one to me. Honestly, all the births I attend are special, but I hoped with all my heart that Morgan would achieve her dream birth. I first met Morgan the day after Jenny’s birth. I went to visit Jenny in the hospital, and Morgan was there. Morgan had reached out to Jenny, because she too had lost a baby. This is a pain no one can possibly understand unless you have been through it. So Morgan connected with Jenny, and shared her story. At this time, Morgan was also pregnant with her fourth child. She mentioned that she was looking into finding a doula, and that my name had been given to her before, and that she would probably be contacting me soon.
A few weeks later, Morgan contacted me, and we set up a time to interview with her and her husband, Mike. At the interview, she told me more of her story. See this was Morgan’s fifth pregnancy, but she only had one child at home with her. As a teenager, Morgan gave birth to a little girl, Angela. Angela was born at 36 weeks and lovingly placed up for adoption. Fast forward nine years, and Morgan was pregnant with her second child, Marcellus. Morgan went into labor at 28 weeks and 5 days with Marcellus. She has very easy, fast labors, and by the time she realized it was true labor, Morgan was already 10 cm dilated. They arrived at the hospital. Marcellus was breech, so they had to deliver him via cesarean section. Marcellus only lived 12 short days, but his life forever impacted his parents and so many others! Next, Morgan became pregnant with Ethan. Unfortunately, Morgan went into preterm labor again at 27 weeks and 2 days. This time she knew the signs to look for, and was able to realize quickly that she was in labor. This gave them enough time to slow down her labor and get steroid shots. Two days later, Ethan was born. When they first arrived, Ethan was footling breech, but at the last second, he turned, and Morgan was able to have a VBAC with him. Ethan spent ten weeks in the NICU, but is now a happy and healthy little boy. Morgan also had an early miscarriage, before she became pregnant with Weston.
Needless to say, they were concerned this pregnancy. Her providers had identified cervical shortening and funneling around 24 weeks and 4 days with Ethan, so they suggested that Morgan have a cerclage placed for this pregnancy. Morgan and Mike agreed that was a good idea. What they wanted most for this pregnancy and birth was for it to be full term. Morgan had never been able to leave the hospital with her baby, and more than anything she wanted to be able to go home WITH her baby. So we talked a lot about what to do if she did go into preterm labor. She told me certain trigger dates for her, as far as, gestational age, and as time passed we all became more and more hopeful that the cerclage was working and this sweet baby would make it full term!
On November 4th, 2015, Morgan got the cerclage removed. She came home from that appointment, tried to rest, and she began having some consistent contractions. Due to how fast Morgan’s previous labors were, she decided to go to the doctor’s office to get checked. She was 2 cm dilated. She went back home and eventually things calmed down. The next evening at 7:32pm, Morgan called me. She said she was contracting again. She said that her and Mike had gone on a date night at a March of Dimes event, and she began noticing contractions in the car on the way there. She said while at the event they continued and were getting more uncomfortable, so they decided to leave. They were headed up to the hospital as I was talking with her. I was in a meeting at the time that was almost over, so I told her to keep me updated, and I would come as soon as she needed me. At 7:50pm, she sent me a text saying, “These are definitely more intense. Being wheeled up to L&D now”. I was on my way home when she had sent me that text, so I asked her if she would like me to just go ahead and come up to the hospital instead of going home first. She said yes.
I arrived at the hospital at 8:15pm. Morgan was still in triage at this time. When I got into the room Morgan was laying on the bed. Her contractions were about 4 minutes apart. The nurse was monitoring her contractions and the baby’s heart rate. They wanted to get a good strip on it, before Morgan could walk around. This was uncomfortable for Morgan, but she was doing an amazing job handling each contraction. Mike said they had checked Morgan’s cervix when they arrived around 8:00pm, and she was 4-5cm dilated. The nurse in the triage room was having a hard time getting a saline lock placed. Finally, the nurse that was going to be the L&D nurse for the night said that they could get it placed once Morgan was moved out of triage.
At 8:45pm, they moved Morgan to an L&D room. The nurse got the saline lock placed, and got the wireless monitors set up. Morgan decided she wanted to try laboring in the tub for a little while. I filled up the tub with water, and Morgan got in the tub at 9:10pm. This lasted about 5 minutes, and she decided she didn’t like laboring in the tub. She felt it was too confining. She got out of the tub and decided to sit on the birth ball. She felt most comfortable standing during contractions, but she was very tired. So she sat on the ball, and every time a contraction came she would stand up, lean on Mike, sway or doing mini squats, while I put pressure on her back and hips. Mike and I kept encouraging her to drink. She decided she really wanted some juice, so I ran down and got some for her.
When I came back, things had intensified even more. She still was doing best with the rhythm of sitting on the ball between contractions and standing up and holding onto Mike during a contraction. They were a perfect team. I continued to apply counter pressure to her back and hips. Morgan was handling each contraction beautifully. At 10:00pm, Morgan began feeling some pressure, so she asked to have her cervix checked again. She was 9-10cm dilated, and her cervix was “very stretchy”. The nurse said she could begin pushing soon, if she wanted. Shortly after Morgan’s cervix was checked, Ethan and their friend, Amber, came up. Ethan came in for a few minutes. He came in and kissed Morgan, and talked about how their baby was coming soon. Mike and Morgan explained to him that Morgan was working very hard to get the baby out. He watched for a few minutes, and then decided to go back out in the waiting room with Amber.
After Ethan left, Morgan began to push some. She stood next to the bed and squatted during contractions. Mike would help hold her up as she squatted. She did this for a little while, then the doctor came in. The doctor asked if she could get in the bed to push. Mike asked if she could be on hands and knees while doing it. He had no problem with that. Morgan got on hands and knees on the bed. She pushed through a few contractions and her water broke. Then she pushed for a few more and the baby’s head was out. Then she pushed through one more contraction, and the baby’s body was half out. She then said that she was tired and needed to rest. I was at her head and holding her hand. We explained to her that the baby was already half out, and it would only take one more push, and he’d be completely out. She pushed one more time. Then Mike caught the baby at 10:43pm. They handed him to Morgan. The cord was a little short so she couldn’t quite get him to her chest immediately, but she was able to hold him at stomach level, skin to skin. Mike and Morgan were so overjoyed. Weston was just an hour and 17 minutes shy of being officially full term, but he was perfect and healthy.
After the cord was cut, Morgan brought Weston up to her chest, and he latched on almost immediately. He was so calm, so relaxed, and so alert. The looks on Mike and Morgan’s faces, were absolutely priceless. They were so excited to be able to hold their baby skin to skin immediately, and breast feed immediately. It was such an amazing, beautiful moment. Shortly after, Ethan came in. He was excited to meet his baby. He also decided to nurse on one side, while Weston on the other. It was so sweet. It was truly an honor to be at Weston’s birth. Morgan was a birthing goddess. Mike was incredible support. They both are some of the strongest, most amazing people I know, and I couldn’t have been more excited that they finally experienced their dream birth!
Please feel free to share your birth stories here. The more women can read empowering birth stories, the more confident they can feel in their own births! Please email birth stories to firstname.lastname@example.org