Emily is a new mom today.
At 2:12 AM on 1/17/12 she gave birth to a 9.8 LB little girl. This is her third child. Emily and her husband, German (ER-MON) are special to me. Nine years ago they came to me for childbirth education classes. That was the first time I met them. Then a couple of years later they came back to me for a refresher class for baby #2. Both births were natural, no medication. Both babies were boys and weighed around 9 – 10 LBs.
In December Emily and Herman came to me again for a refresher class in preparing for the birth of baby #3. What an honor it was because she trusted me and my judgement enough to call me and keep me informed regularly of what was happening even after our class ended.
It is so important for you to really hear what I am about to say and it’s this , when you believe in your abilities to birth, your instincts, and trust your body – it’s innate knowledge, you can have a wonderful birth experience. One that comes from your heart, in it’s own way
Both previous pregnancies went beyond Emily’s due date. One was 10 days late, the other 13. This one was going to be late too, 15 days late. She had a doctor who worked with her and honored Emily’s wishes. She didn’t want to be induced. So when the topic came up Emily asked for more time to see if labor would start on it’s own and the doctor said okay.
One evening about two weeks ago they thought labor began. She was contracting and they went to the hospital. She was slightly dilated and stayed in the hospital for several hours and nothing had changed.
Throughout all of this Emily would call me after doctor visits and report what was happening. I’d give her suggestions and emotional support. But when she was in the hospital and her labor wasn’t active (she was about 3 centimeters dilated), I made the suggestion to ask if she could go home.
Slow onset of labor + no food + several hours in the hospital = decreased energy and increased risk of induction, other interventions, and possible Cesarean birth
Her doctor let her go home. That was over a week ago. So Emily was in early labor. It was just taking it’s time and baby wasn’t ready to say hello to the world yet.
Emily would continue to call me after all her doctor visits and tests for support, suggestions. She was getting frustrated somewhat because of the slow progress. I kept telling her she was progressing though, it was just taking its sweet time. And Emily and Herman did everything, walked, bath, walked, massage, changed positions, drank some wine, etc.
So on Monday (yesterday) her doctor had planned to induce her. At her visit baby’s head did come down some and she was a little more dilated. Emily and her doctor agreed they would prod labor along slowly by rupturing her membranes (releasing the amniotic fluid). Her doctor honored Emily’s wishes and strong desire to have a natural birth without interventions or medication as much as possible.
As the hours passed the contractions were not strong enough. Now here’s where Emily’s faith in herself amazes me and is something to admire and be inspired by …
She agreed to use a small dose of pitocin to make her contractions more effective. The contractions were challenging and more forceful. Emily even said she could understand why women go for the epidural, but she didn’t. Pitocin changes the quality of contractions and makes them much harder to work with.
It was just enough. Emily would go back and forth to the bathroom and the last time while on the toilet she felt a lot of pressure, she got back into the labor bed and was fully dilated, and ready to push. She pushed for 12 minutes and her surprise baby girl was born.
She called me this morning, just hours after her baby was born to tell me the good news. Iwas with her every step of the way, by phone.
Here’s what to notice about Emily’s story:
- she had a doctor who honored her wishes and worked with her and didn’t push her into something Emily didn’t want. Depending on where you are in your pregnancy and if you don’t like the prenatal care you are receiving, you have the right to change doctors.
- Emily trusted the process of birth and her body. Even though this was her third labor experience, each labor is different. But even her first labor experience she believed in herself and her attitude was always confident she could give birth naturally without medication.
- she trusted her instincts. Maybe just a little pitocin would help get the contractions going and nothing more
- she had faith in herself she could birth naturally
- she communicated what she wanted
- she had incredible support from Herman
- she had someone she could call ( a professional) to bounce ideas, thoughts,and provide emotional support
Giving birth is amazing and it always involves how much you trust the birth process, how much faith you have in yourself, how much time you are willing to allow it to happen in it’s own time in it’s own way. Emily was 42 weeks, natural birth, no epidural.