By Brenda Giourmetakis
I learn something from all of my clients and their births but my last client taught me patience. And if you know me, you know I like to get things done so I can move on to the next task. Well, this baby had another idea. She was not in any hurry to exit her momma’s womb. In fact, until the minute before she was born, the doctor kept commenting on what a happy heart beat she had. Her mom is a marathon runner and this may have had something to do with her approach. She had a plan and worked steadily to give birth to this little girl.
This was probably the longest labor I had attended and my biggest learning is to think about self-care during a long birth (both for the partner and for the doula). The first night we went to the hospital, I forgot to add snacks to my bag. Since it was late at night, there really was no place open to pick up snacks and I had perfect little gluten free muffins in my fridge! Even my water bottle was left on the counter. Hmmm. How can I help myself remember these important items in the excitement of the moment? That is a process I am going to have to think about. If you have any ideas, please let me know.
We went home after a night of pretty productive contractions that were long and close together and gaining in intensity. But the magic dilation number was not were the hospital would want it. There are more ideas emerging to support a labor process without getting to the magic number of 3 -4. Here is an article about some alternatives: http://birthwithoutfearblog.com/2013/06/06/alternative-methods-of-checking-dilation-the-purple-line-and-more/. As well, it is important to remember that dilation is only one piece of the puzzle. Is baby turning? Is the fundus building to push the baby out? Here is another great article: http://midwifethinking.com/2010/08/18/the-effective-labour-contraction/ Finally, a facebook article about the fundus becoming thick enough to push the baby out: https://m.facebook.com/myNOVAbirth/photos/a.375689399130797.93734.288908944475510/1103754056324324/?type=3
Well, we were sent home and my client had a lovely cranio massage to relax her jaw (and that would in turn relax her bottom). By three in the afternoon we headed back. By this time she was at the required dilation to head up to the labor and delivery rooms. She asked for an epidural (she was so tired) and then was ready to push by 10 p.m. We thought this babe would be born soon, but she had other ideas. “Have patience,” she whispered with every heart beat.
Mom pushed for three hours and the beautiful Morley was born at 1 a.m. Baby was not particularly thrilled to be on the outside; she pooped on the way out and then three more times on her mom.
All in all, we cannot rush birth. We must be patient and take the time that is needed to have a beautiful birth that mom will remember with joy rather than trauma. Big kudos to the Dr. Ching and the staff at the Sturgeon for holding space for the mom to have her birth in her own time.