Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Lincoln's Birth - Our Doula's Perspective

Welcoming Lincoln

Kris and Becca hired me as their doula about halfway through their pregnancy with Lincoln. Becca had a cesarean with their son Harrison and VBAC’s are really something I enjoy working with. There is a lot of myths and severe lack of education that surround having a vaginal birth after a cesarean section. I have attended several successful hospital and homebirth VBAC’s so Kris and Becca felt I was a good candidate for their preferences.
Becca had a great pregnancy, despite some very traumatic events within their familyKris’ younger brother was tragically killed shortly before Kris and Becca were going to announce their wonderful news. Aside sadness and grief, there was hope. Precious hope that they hung onto. There was a new little life growing. Becca focused on that and her faith that God plans all things and He was in control. He knew the reason and the season in which this had all taken place. Having lost my brother in law at a young age to a senseless tragedy, I understood her pain. They prayed constantly for this pregnancy. Lincoln grew. And kept growing. And then he grew a few more weeks. ACOG classifies post-date as anything after 42 weeks and 1 day. Becca had to be a major show off and carried till 43 weeks and 2 days. JThroughout her pregnancy, Becca was an amazing example of peace and grace. She had the faith that she was to deliver her baby in the way she was meant to and that he would be born on the day he needed to be. Despite the extra weeks and wondering when she would have her baby, they held onto their faith and remained positive that Lincoln would choose his birthday when he was ready. We talked numerous times a week leading up to his estimated date about everything and I would wait for Becca to have the normal “I am so ready to have this baby and am done” talk. She never failed to inspire me with how at peace she was, thanks to her faith. As her estimated due date came and went, we discussed all the normal things and next steps, etc. Lincoln was measuring perfectly and Becca was in great health!
Finally..the day arrived. Becca texted me late at night to let me know how she was feeling and that she was thankful and praising God. She let me know the next morning when it was time for me to come. I arrived shortly after the midwife and began setting things up! Becca was so calm and working with her body in what it needed to do. Kris was such an amazing support for her. He never failed to sense what she needed at the moment and was always close by her. They have such a wonderful bond and it was very touching to see. I wish all men were as intuitive. ;) After everything was set up, I thought Becca would want me to coach her or what not. She and Kris were in such a beautiful rhythm that I simply observed and was ready if she decided she needed anything. I am not much of a ‘all women are so gorgeous when in the midst of labor and are goddesses’” type of doula.Women are strong and amazing, but birth is not all butterflies and fairies. Sweat and tears might be what gets a baby here. ;) Becca’s radiance shone through and I would catch myself taking photos and thinking “Dang, thatlooks good!” Haha! Becca had her birth playlist going which consisted mostly of worship songs. If you know Becca, you know she is music. J She would occasionally be in the midst of a contraction and we would hear her beautiful voice fill the room. I recorded a few clips of this…maybe if everyone asks her, she may share. I was so relaxed and calm just watching and listening to her sing. Becca continued laboring throughout the day making progress. She found the birth pool relaxing and would rotate between that and walking around a bit. She labored into the evening. She asked the midwife Sue, to do a cervical check and see where she was. She was confident despite being very tired and praised God when Sueannounced, “You’re complete with a small cervical lip!” I looked at Becca and exclaimed, “You did it! Becca, you’re at 10 centimeters! You did it!!” I was SO excited and wanted to do some fist pumping or cartwheels!! She labored for a few more hours but never quite got “the urge” to fully push. She decided it was time to go to the hospital. Kris was supportive of her choice though he later admitted he was nervous. VBAC homebirths are often frowned upon in our area, mostly due to lack of knowledge and specific education. We prepared to leave and Becca noticed the baby making very strong movements that were painful. Little did we know, this baby was making his way down like a corkscrew. He was determined to come out in his own way! We arrived at the hospital and made our way up to L&D. We had a welcoming committee! There were at least 8-10 staff members waiting in the room for the lady who was 10 centimeters. ;) Being in the medical field myself, its always a little funny to see medical personnel shocked that a woman giving birth naturally isn’t writhing around on the ground and yelling for help. Between contractions Becca answered the typical admitting questions and Kris filled in when she was focusing through a contraction.After being in the room for only a few minutes, one of the nurses told the doctor “I’ll go ahead and prep her for a C-section” to which the doctorreplied, “She came here for a VBAC”. Inside fist pump from me. The OB was very supportive and encouraging, despite the hospitals in this area not being very VBAC friendly. One of the nurses did a cervical check to confirm dilation and check to see what position Lincoln was in. Becca still had asmall cervical lip and the baby was now OP or “sunnyside up”. They administered an epidural to give Becca some time for that cervical lip to dissolve and move out of the way.  Oftentimes if a woman starts pushing with a cervical lip, it can cause the cervix to swell and can cause damage or prevent the baby from descending. After about an hour or so, the lip was gone!! Time to have this baby! The staff rushed to get everything in place. Typically only one person is allowed to stay for the delivery due to all the staff but I asked the doctor if I could please stay in the delivery room as I was taking photos. She agreed and we got ready to begin. Kris was on one side of Becca with me on the other. She did a few test pushes and we could see the top of his little head! She was making wonderful progress. Soon, Lincoln Cameron Redus was born vaginally, in his own way. He had his arms crossed in front of him with his hands in front of his face. That explained a lot! The doctor did a bit of delayed cord clamping and handed a yelling baby boy to his overjoyed mama. Becca looked at us both while saying in awe “I did it. I had a VBAC. I did it. I did it”. After snapping a few photos of the baby with Kris and Becca, I moved down to the foot of the bed. Most moms want to know how things go and ask me to pay attention so I can tell them later. If you know me, you know I have a fascination with placentas. I mean, come on people. These things are amazing! Two residents were attending with the OB and the doctor had handed over the task of delivering the placenta to one of the residents. Most of my clients prefer to let the placenta deliver naturally, as studies show that’s the best for the body. Most hospitals do what is called controlled cord traction, where the physician gently and firmly helps “guide” the placenta out. I noticed the intern was struggling pretty hard with it and that the cord was showing some bubbling in areas. I drew the doctor’s attention to it but she stated it was normal and the intern continued. I considered saying something else, but as adoula, my job is to quietly learn and support my clients. The placenta came out and the resident said, “That’s the biggest placenta I’ve ever seen!” My mouth dropped open as I realized that Becca’s uterus had inverted and was still attached to the placenta. I loudly said, “That’s not the placenta, that’s the uterus! The OB pushed the intern out of the way and quickly attended to the problem. I left soon after as I knew Becca would be being attended to and now was not the time for me to be in the room. Becca told me several hours later that she had to be taken into an emergency procedure to save her uterus. Thankfully, the procedure worked. Oftentimes with inverted prolapse, a hysterectomy is the only way to stop the hemorrhage. One of the most common causes of prolapsed is premature delivery of the placenta.
Becca remained in ICU for a few days and I was able to be at the hospitalwhen she was moved to a postpartum room. Oh, the emotions when they brought her baby in. Babies cannot be in ICU so she had been separated from him the entire time, except for ten minutes. The nurse, Becca and I were all crying. I was able to capture some of the sweetest moments. A mama breastfeeding her baby for the first time. A mama examining every inch of her newborn and basking in his perfection. A new baby enjoying snuggling skin to skin with the person who carried him for 43 weeks. Precious firsts. Lincoln has been a light and joy to all of those around him and he proudly carries a very special name.

You will do great things little Lincoln.

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