It was 3:07am on August 13, 2015 when I realized I was having contractions. They woke me up. I tried to go back to sleep. Then I tried to get something to eat and then go back to sleep but I couldn’t. So I decided to get out of bed until Aaron, my husband, woke up. I went to lay down in our closet (it is the only place in our house that has carpet & I feel comforted in there; I know. Weird). Usually my husband wakes up at 4:45 to workout so around 4:30ish I couldn’t wait anymore. I went to lay down next to him. He asked me, “what time is it? I am not getting up early today to workout.” That’s when I said I think my labor is starting (I tried not to get to excited). He said “really? how far about are your contractions?” At that point they were around 5-6 minutes apart. We both got out of bed. I asked him what should I do? Should I go for a walk? So I went for a walk to see if my contractions would stop. Nope.
I went back inside and took a bath. A bath is the most relaxing place for me. Contractions kept coming. We decided to bring Lillian, our 3 year old daughter to school. I gave her a big big hug and kiss because I didn’t know when would be the next time I would see her. Then we headed to Baton Rouge. I texted Jen, our doula, on the way to give her a heads up. We didn’t hit much traffic and the change in scenery didn’t stop my contractions (something I discuss with my clients). When we arrived at the hospital, I didn’t know if I wanted to walk a little outside or go inside yet. I called Jen, our doula, to see what she thought. We walked outside for a little bit but I was getting too hot. We decided to go inside and get admitted and they put us in a triage room. I was checked at 9:46am and I was 90% effaced and 3 cm. Since I wasn’t checked at any of my midwife appointments they said I would have to stay in triage and get checked in an hour or two to make sure labor was progressing.
So for the next hour or so we walked the halls. They checked me again, I was 3.5-4 cm. Still not enough in labor to give us a room. They didn’t want to send us home since we lived so far away. We kept walking. At this point my contractions felt like they were back to back. The midwife came talk to us & saw that I was in LABOR and she decided to give us a room. Thank goodness. I knew once I was able to get in a room that I would truly relax. I felt like everyone was watching me as I walked the hallways. Once we got in our room, they gave me penicillin since I was strep B positive. Since my contractions were back to back, they checked me again. At this point, I was 6cm & 100% effaced. I started crying with joy.
Jen suggested that I go into the shower to help manage my contractions. I did and it helped get in tune with myself & my contractions. I am guessing I stayed in the shower for about an hour to an hour and half. Then I moved to the bath tub. As soon as I laid down I totally relaxed. At my next contraction, I felt the urge to push which was very shocking to me. I didn’t think I was that far along. I pushed in the tub for a while on my back, then hands & knees and then squatting. During squatting, my water broke around 4:00pm. It had meconium so they had to get me out of the tub. I had to push in the bed. I tried pushing on my side, then my back and ended up giving birth on my hands & knees in the bed. I gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby girl at 5:08pm. She weighted 7lb 1oz and 19 inches long. I had a successful VBAC which I couldn’t have done without the support and encouragement of my husband, Jen and staff at Ochsner!!!!
Little miss London has been born into an amazing family. Her parents hired me as their birth doula before the summer started and I thoroughly enjoyed driving out to Lafayette for their prenatals. Why in the world were they driving into Baton Rouge with the risk of bridge traffic? Brandy, London’s mama, was seeking to have a natural, unmedicated VBAC and her options were limited in her area. In her first labor, her midwife insisted she transfer care and be induced at 41 weeks. Providers labeled her failure to progress, when really it was a failure of induction.
As her pregnancy progressed this time, she expressed concern of not going into labor on her own. I encouraged her to stay positive and confident that she would go into labor in time. At 6:21a on August 13th, I received a text that she’d been having contractions and they were going to be dropping big sister off to making the treck to Baton Rouge. Not the ideal time with traffic on a Thursday morning. I got all my peeps informed and on alert for when they decided to have me meet them. We checked in a few times over the next few hours, but when dad started replying, I knew my time to go would be coming soon.
I arrived around 10:30a and observed Brandy through contractions while still in assessment. They were coming quick, but she was managing so well!! Brandy asked if she should go walking again and I thought it would be a good idea, but we could do whatever she wanted. I suggested doing a few lift & tucks through a few contractions beforehand and then power walking. Aaron mentioned that they didn’t make it to the end of the hallways the other times they had tried walking. I suggested she make a goal of power walking to the end of one hallway and then to the other (the labor/delivery and mother/baby unit at this particular hospital is kind of shaped like a horseshoe), then rest.
The next time her nurse and midwife came in, they felt she wasn’t in a good active phase of labor yet and suggested going home. I saw something different. She was laboring with very steady contractions coming quickly, she was just managing so well it was difficult to see. We discussed the different options: walk more at the hospital, walk more at a local mall, rest in assessment, or get a hotel room until labor progressed further. Brandy decided she wanted to power walk the halls one more time. This time was different. She had changed body language, vocal sounds, and focus with each contraction. We got to the end of the mother/baby unit and just past assessment before she wanted to turn back to the room. At this point, about 2 hours after my arrival, Brandy got her birthing room!
After getting through all the admitting mumbo jumbo, I suggested Brandy take a shower with the ball. She’d been up for quite a while without rest and it’s a good refresher. Before getting in, she asked to be checked and was 6cm!! When they told her, at her request, she started to cry. I couldn’t tell if this was good or bad so I made sure to check in with her. It was a happy cry! Brandy made great progress while in the shower, I think she may have even gotten a short nap 😉 While in there, a nurse and I got her birth pool filled for when she was finished with her shower.
I had to fight back tears several times. Brandy had some beautiful and calming spa music playing through the built in speakers, was laboring with what appeared to be peacefully, staff was quiet and respectful of her, it was absolutely beautiful. She was getting the birth she desired with her first and it was so powerful to witness! She was only in the pool for about 10-15 minutes before she had a sudden urge to push, and about 10-15 minutes later her water broke at 4:00p. At that time she got out of the tub and made a move to the bed for suspected meconium. After trying several positions, utilizing rebozos tied to the bed while pushing, and some super sweet encouraging words from Aaron (really, more moments of me trying to keep it together on my behalf), she gave birth to a beautiful 7lb 1oz, 19″ baby girl at 5:08p! As a fellow VBAC mom, I know that extra feeling of triumph after a vaginal birth when you’ve hit doubt and road blocks, I was so proud! (sappy, I know)
Congratulations to Brandy, Aaron, and big sister Lillian, thank you for allowing me to be your doula!
*shared with permission from client*
The birth mom has, the birth dad is a part of, and the birth I witness will always be a different story. Before any stories are shared from my perspective as their doula, the client and I have discussed their birth and are requested by the client when they are ready. Clients always share their story first before I share from my experience. It is important to not alter a woman’s perspective of her birth. All clients see their blog post for approval prior to public posting.