**names and pictures used with permission**
Having been on call for the full "two weeks before and up to two weeks after," I was surprised that Chloe hadn't gone into labor yet. A first time mom, she was very excited about her pregnancy, and did everything she could to make it the best it could be! She was seeing a chiropractor, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, and eating dates daily
She was having minor cramping and Braxton Hicks-ish contractions on and off, but nothing serious. At one appointment right around 40 weeks, she was 4cm dilated, 80% effaced, and the baby was at "zero staion" (code for reeeally low in her pelvis). Still, no labor!
Her doctors were very relaxed with her, and gave her a full two weeks past her due date before wanting to induce her, and it was very low pressure. She agreed to the induction, and as we were having a phone conversation about what to expect, I remembered the "stats" from her last appointment, and suggested seeing if her doctor would break her water before trying pitocin. Typically breaking the water before labor begins is a bad idea for a variety of reasons, but since Chloe's body was SOOOO ready for labor (for my first-time clients, I am typically with them in hard, active labor for half a day before they are at 4cm!), and from my experience with how quickly labor progresses after the water is broken when baby is so low and well-positioned, I thought it might be a welcome alternative to starting labor with drugs.
They got to the hospital at 6am on Tuesday, February 3rd, and by the time they were all settled into their room it was close to 8 o'clock. She was 5cm dilated and 90% effaced, and baby was even lower. The doctor came in to speak with them (Chloe had previously requested that they break her water in lieu of starting pitocin) and seemed hesitant to break her water, wanting to start with pitocin instead. Chloe was strong and advocated for herself and what she knew she wanted, and her doctor consented to breaking her water, which he did at around 8am. He told her he would see if she had any contractions in the next four hours, and then would come start the pitocin drip.
Well, she did have some contractions. Many good, strong contractions. I arrived shortly after 8 and she was already feeling them pretty well, although she was very relaxed and chatting through them. Her husband, Matt, was rubbing her feet and making her feel as comfortable as possible.
Contractions quickly picked up in speed and intensity, and Chloe was handling them beautifully. The most comfortable position for her was sitting upright or reclining in the bed. I think because things were happening so quickly this was the easiest position for her to stay relaxed. They were actually coming so quickly that the doctor called the nurse to see if she would consent to taking some IV fluid to slow them down. She declined, as she was feeling well and staying extremely hydrated by drinking water and juice.
As things were picking up, she said, in kind of a puzzled and surprised voice, "It's not pain, it doesn't hurt. It's just very intense!" Later, she said "I can understand why people would want an epirudal!"
At one point, toward the end, she vocalized, "It's so much, it's just so much!" It was at this point that I knew she needed something new or different to help her cope with the intensity of her labor. We had tried many positions, going to the bathroom, and vocalizing. I remembered the previous offer of IV fluids and asked if she wanted to try that now. She said that sounded like a good idea, and it really did help. It gave her a fresh burst of energy and slowed her contractions down enough to where she was getting a slightly longer break in-between.
She became extremely inward, vocalizing and doing her best to relax through her contractions. At one point, while in the bathroom, she suddenly got the urge to push, and I called the nurse. Everyone came in, bustling about to get the room ready for a baby, while Chloe continued to do her thing. The doctor arrived, and she began pushing in earnest at 2pm. He was extremely impressed with her ability to move her baby down, and she was loving this new stage of labor! She said it felt so much better to push!
Finally, at 2:41, Adara Rose made her entrance into the world after a 100%, drug-free labor. Chloe and Matt made an awesome team, and it was a huge privilege to help them bring their daughter into the world!