“My First Catch Story…” By the Doula

My First Catch Story…

By Jen

I don’t usually share birth stories, but this one was out of the ordinary for me…

Well, had a rather interesting day yesterday…I’m used to doing doula/monitrice births but this one didn’t go exactly as planned, lol! This mom was a 44 year old and this was her 3rd baby, a vbac with a 14 year gap between pregnancies, she was due on the 9th of November. Mom was a Christian vegetarian who lived about an hour away from me and had multiple sensitivities to additives and foods, etc. Dad was adamate that we get mom to the hospital when she was 5 centimeters, and so was the plan. 🙂

Mom called me Thursday 6 AM at said she was having cx that were 10+ minutes apart, she just wanted to give me the heads up that today she would probably be going into labor. I went back to sleep only to have dad wake me at 7 saying her cx were now 5 minutes apart and could I come. So, I pack up, jump in the shower, and face horrendous rush hour traffic on the expressway to get over there. When I get there at 9 ish, mom is back in bed listening to her imagery CD’s and cx have slowed down and are now irregular, every 5-10 minutes, with some coming every 15. I tell mom to get some sleep and then go lay down myself for a couple hours. I get up at 12:30, mom has no change in cx pattern from earlier so I go down and get some lunch. Mom comes down for lunch at 1:00pm and still no change in cx. I tell her to get herself ready for the day, walk around the house, get her bag packed, etc. to see if that gets things moving. At four pm, she is still not contracting regularly and I am thinking that this is prodromal or simply a very slow start to laboring for her. She is impatient for labor to pick up and I tell her that we can try accupressure and she wants to try homeopathics to get the labor started again. I’m fine with this but tell her that if her labor has not started to be regular than I am going to head home at 6:30pm, once I am sure rush hour traffic has started to subside. 6:30 comes and not any change, still light contractions every 5-10 minutes. Dad wants me to check mom, listen to baby before I go so I do and baby is beautiful, FHT’s are in the 150’s, baby is anterior and mom is only 1 cm dilated, long thick cervix, and posterior. Mom has yeast infection and suspects that the cream she is using is irritating her and is wondering about a possible UTI. I tell her this is possible and to expect contractions to most likely peter out or come and go as this could be prodromal labor, just to go about her normal day, rest and eat, and call me if she has any big changes.

I go home eat supper and relax and am about to get into bed at 11:30 pm when Dad calls and says Mom’s labor is now 4-5 minutes apart and she can’t find a comfortable position. I confess to thinking, “Yeah right, that is what you told me at 7 this morning!” but I didn’t say it. Dad asks me to come over. I meander back out after cleaning up a bit and head back across the bridge. Dad calls me when I have hit Philly and says, “Mom is in the tub now and the contractions are every 3-4 minutes.” I tell him that’s fine that I’ll be there in 30 minutes and that the tub is wonderful for pain relief. He says, “Yes, but she says she feels like pushing.” (Things that make the now nervous doula/monitrice go hmmmmmmm…) I say, “how badly does she want to push, is she a little pushy, or does she feel a lot of pressure.” He says only a little pushy so I am thinking maybe she is still only 5-6 cm at most as I have seen moms get a “little pushy” at this stage. I ask him does he want me to meet him at the hospital instead of their home? He says no, he thinks its ok, they will wait. I now race through Philly like a banchee and I call him again when I am five minutes away to let him know I am almost there. He answers and says, “I’m trying to get her out of the tub so we can leave when you get here but she won’t budge and says she feels a lot of pressure.” I tell him I’ll be there in five minutes and does he want to call EMS? No, he’s not that concerned, he thinks she is still a ways from delivering, but maybe she has now hit transition? I’m not convinced but Dad seems cool as a cucumber so I hang up and pull in the drive, leaving my doula bag of tricks and taking instead my emergency birth/midwife bag of tricks into the house.

I bound up the stairs and hear mom groaning and grunting and making mama bear noises that I KNOW mean she is pushing. When I come in the room I say, “Hmm, that doesn’t sound like early labor dad!” Dad comes out and says, “She always is noisy when she is in labor.” I think, “Dad really hasn’t quite gotten this whole scenario yet!” I come in the bathroom and get behind her ( she is lying on her side) and I am standing/Squatting on the ledge of the large soaking tub and see her sacrum popping out and when she has a contraction, about a nickels worth of baby head. Dad again complains that he can’t get her out of the tub and can I help hiim with that. I say, “No, she is having this baby right now we are not gonna be able to get her out of here. I can see some of the baby’s head. There is no way we will get her out of the tub, get her dressed, get her down the steep stairs, out to the garage, into the van and then drive 15 minutes down curvey back roads to the hospital without having the baby come. It is safer to just leave her where she is.” Dad and Mom ask me to please check her to be sure…this I can’t believe!!! I can see the head, what is to check?!

But, I don a glove and comply…baby’s head is all I feel, with the exception of the slightest lip anteriorly, which I popped right over the baby’s head no problem, and the other thing I notice is that baby’s BOW is intact and I can feel five little bumps on the side of the head, and they move slightly. Ah, a hand! I ask Dad and mom again, do you want to call the EMS or have me do it? Dad and mom both say no and I say, “Well, you will have to call them once the baby is born then.” They agree to this and I tell mom to push with the next contraction, planting her feet flat on the tub wall while I get set up for the birth and quickly run down what happens in a waterbirth and how baby won’t breathe until it is brought to the surface and that I will do so immediately after birth. She does side lying pushing for three or four contractions and baby slowly descends, but mom is having a hard time planting her feet and keeps closing her hips when pushing, so I have Dad get behind mom and support mom in a hanging squat. Baby’s head is completly born in the next contraction and then one more push and I catch the baby, bringing it up to the surface and breaking the sac of water and handing it to mom right away. Baby has a short cord so mom can’t bring baby up to quite breast level, but baby is out of the water, breathing well, pink, looking around, grimacing, and making noises, but not crying. Baby also has a lump of mec on its bottom, but the fluid was pretty clear so baby must have just passed the meconium upon birth or just before. After cord stops pulsing, I clamp the cord with hemostates on baby’s end and then moms and then cut the cord so mom can bring baby up to nurse. Dad and mom are ecstatic and I remind Dad to call EMS because I don’t know if mom has torn and am not really equipped aside from herbals for hemorrhage should that happen. Mom’s bleeding does look good though, and her uterus is rock hard and for that I am grateful. EMS gets there 15 minutes later and lets mom stay in tub with baby for an hour before transporting her. She delivers the placenta at the hospital without pitocin 2 hours post delivery. EMS and the police were wonderful, not pushy and very respectul of the whole scene. I think the EMS was a bit fascinated by the mom and baby in the tub, lol.

So, there is my first “oops!” catch and it went wonderfully. I am quite grateful that all went well and Mom and Dad were thrilled with their birth and with me in particular. They were both grateful for how calm I was during the birth and afterwards and Dad said that is why he did not freak out when mom was pushing. I’m glad to know this. 🙂 Mom did have a second degree tear along the old episitomy line and a small skid mark near her urethra most likely from that lovely nuchal hand, but other than that…absolutely beatiful. Baby girl was 5lbs, 12 oz and 20 inches long. They checked baby’s sugars at the hospital after mom rigthly insisted on nursing first and they were perfect.

So that’s what goes on in mudville these days with me! Now I lay back and nurse this cold I’ve now got, lol!

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