Tia’s labor started at 5am, July 18th when she could no longer sleep through contractions. At 5:20 she started timing them. She had contractions the night before but figured it was more prodromal labor, which had been going on for three weeks by that time. Contractions were clocking about 7-10mins apart. At 5:40 Jillian asked if Tia was okay and she told her "your daughter's coming today". She shot up and asked "What?! What do you mean?" "... I'm pretty sure we are in labor, but go back to sleep for now" "oh sure, tell me that my daughter is coming earth side and expect me to go back to sleep. Not.happening." By 6:20am, Tia realized that the contractions were just strong enough that she wasn't falling back to sleep, so she went downstairs and texted Chelsie around that time.
Tia watched Big Brother after Dark until 8am when I could call and beg to be transferred to the care of a CNM. The nurse said she would need to call me back. When the phone rang, 5minutes later, she asked if Tia could come in at 830. She called Jillian and told her to throw some clothes on because they needed to be at Mercy Medical in 20mins to meet their new midwife. She jumped out of bed and dressed.
Problem: who is going to watch Zander? Patrick "Unka" was with Ooma (Jillian's mama) caring for the horses. So they called Nana (Tia’s mom) in a panic to rush over. She got here with enough time to give hugs and kisses and be on their way.
Jillian dropped Tia off at the front entrance of Mercy parked the car. As Tia was walking up to the entrance, she had a strong contraction and this business type gentlemen looked at her, terrified, and said "good luck!" while basically running away.
When they were called to the back almost immediately, I was hooked up to a monitor to gauge the status of my contractions. As Tia was monitored, Stephanie came in and said that they may not qualify for nurse-midwife care because of her high risk status. Stephanie walked out to get the okay from the OB she works under. Jillian and Tia waited patiently for the news of who would be catching the baby when Stephanie walked back in and gave them the thumbs up. After the 20 minutes of monitoring ended, Stephanie did a vaginal exam and found Tia at a very soft 3 1/2cm stretchy to a 4 1/2, then said "Today is your day!"
Tia and Jillian went to the chiropractor immediately afterwards. When they walked in, everyone was ecstatic that Zayda was on her way! Dr. Conn did some last minute adjustments to prepare for labor and they headed home.
Tia rested for an hour or so until she had a couple strong contractions and decided to call Chelsie in for labor support, then vacuumed her house so the cats wouldn’t be so bothersome to Chelsie (silly, laboring mama!). Chelsie arrived at approximately 12:15 p.m. At this point, Tia’s pain was manageable. Contractions were lasting around 50 seconds and were spaced around 5-6 minutes. After eating some oatmeal around 1 p.m., Tia tried getting up to walk around the house. Contractions increased in intensity while standing.
Around 2:20 p.m., contractions seemed to be getting more intense. Tia was no longer able to speak through them, though they continued to come widely spaced, they were lengthening. When Tia’s mom came to pick up three year old Zander, her labor seemed to almost completely stop. Contractions spaced significantly and decreased in intensity for about an hour, but began to pick back up around 3:30 p.m., at which time, Tia said it felt like her bag was bulging more.
At 5:35 p.m., Tia requested counter-pressure on her sacrum from Chelsie, who also did some belly massage with sunflower oil spiked with a little fennel oil. Contractions began to pick up and gained in intensity, beginning to come closer together. Tia did some dancing to Michael Jackson to encourage contractions. Her good friend Sarah arrived about this time.
After a couple walked around the block, around 7:30 p.m., contractions were coming faster, many were piggy backing. Tia decided to take a walk down the street, making a goal of reaching a specific stop sign. Her labor began to increase in intensity, causing her to stop often to sway and breathe through contractions. She did not make it to the stop sign, but chose instead to head back home. She began to breathe audibly in low tones during contractions on the way back.
After arriving back home, Tia laid down for a short time to rest, getting up to lean over the birth ball during contractions. She felt as though her contractions were slowing a bit again, so she decided to walk the stairs. Sarah stood at the bottom of the stairs as a spotter while Tia walked up and down, stopping occasionally to sway and lean on Sarah. Contractions continued to be inconsistent in frequency, coming every 3-11 minutes, but their intensity was obviously increasing. Tia was vocalizing much more and really beginning to show discomfort in her face.
After walking up and down the stairs for a while, she returned to leaning over the birth ball. She was feeling sleeping between contractions and had taken on a bit of a glazed look. Chelsie suggested if she wanted to lay down, to do so. Tia declined and preferred to continue alternating between swaying and leaning on a support person, or leaning over the birth ball.
Around 8:30 p.m., Tia asked Chelsie if it was time to go to the hospital. Chelsie responded by saying it wasn’t her decision. Tia said, “Stop being my doula for a minute and be my friend! Should I go to the hospital?” Chelsie explained that she felt Tia was heading into transition, despite the inconsistent contractions, judging by her behavior and the intensity and length of the contractions. She suggested Tia might be more comfortable being where she intended to birth.
Jillian called the hospital and was told Stephanie would call them back and if she did not call within a half hour, to call them back. Tia suggested Jillian must be in transition too since she seemed a bit dazed and, when realizing the CNM had not returned her call, she said, “Did I give them the right phone number?”
Jillian called again and said they had not heard back from Stephanie (it was later found out Stephanie never got the page) and they were told to go ahead and come in. Between getting in the car around 9:50 p.m. and getting out of the car at the hospital around 10:15, Tia’s labor had obviously increased significantly.
While waiting in the ER triage, Tia seems disconnected. Her contractions are intensifying, but still erratic. She’s admitted and everyone heads up to the L&D. At 10:20, she is in her room and changing into a nightgown. A nurse puts her on the monitor to follow fetal heart tones and contractions. Her dilation is 7 cm, contractions are 7-10 minutes apart, but intense.
Stephanie arrives and talks to her about breaking her water. Tia refuses. She gets into the whirlpool tub at 11:20 and requests lavender oil in the water. She was coping well with contractions and had moved on to labor land, having a difficult time answering basic questions and connecting thought.
Between contractions, Tia said to Chelsie, “I want to do it. I want to feel her be born. I want to feel my stomach empty like you did.” Chelsie said she could do it. That birth is one of the few things that have not changed since humans started having babies. Chelsie reassured her that it would be intense and it would be hard, but it was so worth it and over shortly and then her baby would be born without drugs in her system. Tia seemed encouraged and positive about her decision to continue trying for a totally natural labor.
At 12:30 a.m., Stephanie checks Tia’s cervix and finds her at a 7-8 and suggests she get out of the tub to help move baby down. She explains that the bag of waters is bulging but very soft and says it may not break on its own easily as its preventing baby from moving down. Tia again refuses an amniotomy.
After Stephanie left the room, Chelsie discussed the amniotomy with Tia, including risks and benefits. Tia reported that she was afraid of the increase in pain after losing that cushion. Chelsie explained that the increase in pain will happen eventually, but sooner than later meant she wouldn’t be as tired. Tia said she would consider having her water broke if she could have Stadol on hand.
At the request of Tia, Chelsie went and spoke to Stephanie. Stephanie went to the room and explained that there was a Stadol shortage and all they had on hand was fentanyl. She also explained that Tia was not continuing to dilate and that by breaking her water, her labor would speed up and she would have a baby much sooner than if they waited for baby to fight against the cushioning. Tia consented to an amniotomy at 1 a.m. Meconium was noted in the water.
As Tia’s labor pains increased almost immediately, a team was called in to handle the baby after birth due to the meconium. Tia chose to labor sitting in an upright position on the bed, utilizing a hole in the bed to eliminate pressure on her bottom. She refused positional changes at this point. Her contractions were increasing in length and intensity, causing Tia to vocalize much more, resting soundly between each one. At 1:30, she said, “I don’t think I can do this!”. Chelsie suggested a squat bar to help lift her up and bring baby down. Tia tried once and stated she didn’t like it. At 2:05 a.m., Stephanie checked her cervix and found her still at 8, though she didn’t say anything out loud. She said, “Tia, you need to get up onto your knees to help this baby move down.”
Tia was helped up and onto her knees. She leaned over the back of the bed and found an immediate increase in contraction intensity. She demanded drugs at this point. Jillian was leaned in close and encouraging her, reminding her she did not want drugs. Chelsie encouraged her to work through one more contraction before getting the drugs. Tia continued to ask for drugs so Stephanie sent the nurse for the fentanyl. Tia continued to work through contractions with encouragement from Jillian, Sarah and Chelsie. The nurse drew up a half dose of fentanyl. Tia was demanding to be “cut open”. Chelsie said that would take longer, she was going to meet her baby in just minutes. She worked through another very painful contraction and shouted “Don’t poke me!”. She then went very silent for several minutes.
Suddenly, Tia said, “She’s coming!” and baby Zayda crowned, sliding into the world shortly after at 2:26 a.m. with 2-3 pushes.
Zayda was taken immediately to be suctioned and evaluated. Tia had torn and received stitches in the meanwhile. Jillian was able to hold Zayda after her evaluation while waiting for Tia to be ready for her. She was definitely born hungry and kept rooting at the blankets touching her cheek. The nurse encouraged Jillian to keep Zayda stimulated so she would work up any fluid and meconium that might be left in her lungs.
Mom and baby finally met several minutes after birth. Zayda was frantic to latch and had a hard time for a few minutes but soon got a good hold and nursed happily and well.
Mom did an amazing job with her first natural labor after a medicated induction with her first. She had not been convinced she could do it until she was actually done though!
Baby Zayda Lynn weighed in at 8 pounds 1 ounce and 19 inches long. Born at 2:26 a.m., July 19, 2012.
This birth story was written by Chelsie Towns, Doula.
These are stories from or of births I've attended.