So where did we leave off from Edith’s Birth Story Part One..
After finally being taken off the monitor, I met my nurse, Ellen, and saw my midwifes Ellen (there was also another nurse named Lindsay and my middle name is Ellen!) and Tanya as they came on duty. Of all the midwives at Gifford, Ellen was the only midwife we hadn’t met. She had just rejoined back to Gifford after being away for 10 years (she had been at Gifford for 15 years prior to that). I was surprisingly not concerned with not knowing her and that she would be the one to actually guide my labor and eventually catch my baby. I instantly felt comfortable with her and confident in her abilities to follow my birth plan as closely as possible.
After having met everyone, we were given the opportunity to order breakfast. Our nurse (Ellen) gave us a breakfast menu and we ordered toast, fruit, and homefries to get us fueled for the journey ahead. After that my birth team would come and go and checked on me as needed. For the most part, Sarah(our doula), Neil, and I were left alone to work through each contraction. At times one of my midwives would just come and sit in the rocking chair or on the birthing ball and watch as I worked through each contraction, providing guiding words and encouragement as needed.
Our breakfast eventually came and I ate in between contractions as they grew stronger and stronger. I tried laboring in a few different positions and eventually found the one that worked best for me was standing up with my feet pointed out, lunging side to side while supporting my upper body by leaning over the side of the bed. During each contraction I went back to all of those prenatal yoga classes that I had taken and focused on my breath and breathing into the areas of discomfort. Whenever I felt myself start to tense up I would flutter my lips (or, as Neil likes to call it, I would make horse lips) to loosen myself up. I just kept going back to what Susan, my prenatal yoga instructor, would say about how this action would loosen the pelvic floor and although I felt silly practicing this fluttering of the lips during yoga it was just what I needed to do during labor.
I labored in this lunging position for around 3 hours with members of my birthing team (Neil, Doula Sarah, Nurse Ellen, Midwife Ellen, and Midwife Tayna) helping me through each contraction. I stuck with the same rocking motion for pretty much the entire time with help of other measures such as Sarah pressing on my lower back or Neil and Sarah wrapping a scarf around my hips and each pulling on one side, which helped to open my hips and relieve some of the pain by placing pressure on my lower back. My nurse and midwives (and of course Neil and Sarah) were there to provide encouraging words and remind me to go back to my breath and that there was always an end in sight even when the contractions didn’t seem like they’d ever stop. Neil was also making jokes and working to make me laugh and smile. If there was one thing that helped me the most during labor, it was not losing my sense of humor. Laughing helped to distract from the pain of the contractions and made the room feel warm and created a positive space to labor and birth my baby.
Around 9:30am I went to the bathroom and returned to the bed to continue to labor with the rocking lunges and I started to feel a trickle down my leg. Midwife Ellen, who was sitting in the rocking chair behind me, asked if it could be possible that my bag of waters had broken. And indeed they had. Midwife Ellen expressed some concern that my waters were somewhat brown. She couldn’t tell if it was a result of old blood or if it was meconium. My midwives suggested that I move into the shower so that I could labor in the warmth and water to help with the pain of the contractions (as an alternative to the birthing tub). This also made it so that I could wash myself before being checked to help in preventing infection. Neil changed into his swim trunks and joined me as I leaned over the support bar in the shower and he rubbed my back. We smiled and laughed and joked some more as I worked through every contraction. Sarah would come in from time to time to help provide encouraging words and support. By this point contractions were coming on top of each other and I started to ask why they (the contractions) wouldn’t give me a break. But, quickly, I would go back to my breath, my fluttering lips and low moans.
At 10am Midwife Ellen said she would like to check my progress and I was toweled off and made my way to the bed to be checked.
To be continued….