His birth story was written by our doula. She and I remain friends today and I am grateful to have had her present during the best day of my life. She saw me cry, poop and in pain (respectively) so we got pretty close. His parents’ names have been removed to protect the embarrassed and to, of course, keep it anonymous.
Humnoy was born on March 13, 2011 at 5:57 p.m. His story began two weeks earlier, however. On February 28, his mother called me to tell me that she had been having contractions since the night before, they were consistently 10 minutes apart, and they had kept her awake during the night. She also thought that her water had broken. She made an appointment with her midwife, and I met her and her husband at the office.
She was 1.5cm dilated, and the midwife suggested that she get some rest and try natural induction methods. We went to lunch at Maggie’s, and then went to Shopko to walk around and buy Scrabble to have something to do later. Back at the apartment, we played Scrabble—her husband won by two points. It was a fun and competitive game. We mainly just hung out and chatted, he went to spin class, and we timed contractions, which stayed at 10 minutes apart. Humnoy’s Mama also took a nap. When his Daddy returned, he brought Chinese food from Safeway. I was going to leave for the night, but the contractions got stronger, so I stayed the night. She was able to sleep soundly through the night.
The next day she and I met my husband, Ryan, for lunch at a pho restaurant, and her friend, Colleen, met us there a bit later. Humnoy’s Mama had very spicy pho. The three of us then went to Northtown to walk around to see if that would stimulate labor. We walked for about an hour. When we returned to her apartment, I timed her contractions, and they remained 10 minutes apart. I decided to leave, and told her to call me if anything changed.
On March 4, I met her at the midwife’s office for her weekly check. It was her due date. Her contractions were now about seven minutes apart, and feeling more crampy. She felt like it was still going to be a few more days.
On March 11, she had an appointment with her midwife, and I needed to go shopping for new sheets, so I called her to check in and see if she wanted to go with me to get some walking time in. She was about 3cm dilated, so we knew her early labor was doing good work. We spent about three hours walking and shopping, and then met Ryan for an early dinner at a sports bar. Humnoy’s Mama ate one four-star hot wing, and we joked that it would be the one thing that sent her into labor.
The next night we went to a girls’ night at a friend’s house. We all brought food to share, and chatted until 1:00 a.m.
On March 13 at 9:15 a.m. she called me to tell me that her water had broken. She said that her contractions were five minutes apart, and she asked me to please come to the apartment. At 10:00, her husband called me to say that the contractions were one minute apart and they were going to the hospital. I changed my route to meet them there.
I arrived a few minutes before they did. When they arrived, I could see that she was coping well with her contractions. While we were waiting for the triage nurse, she went into the bathroom to labor on the toilet. A few minutes later they were called to triage. She was told that she was dilated to a 3, 100% effaced, and a -2 station.
Once we were into the room we got a birth ball and the nurse said it was okay for her to take a bath. She almost immediately got into the tub. I used the hand-held shower sprayer to spray her belly while her husband watched the Duke basketball game (they won.) She was also very hungry, but didn’t know what she wanted to eat. The nurse brought some food, but she didn’t like any of it (read: puked). About an hour later, the nurse needed to monitor the baby’s heartbeat for about 10 minutes, so she had to get out of the tub. During the monitoring, they also inserted a heplock in case fluids might be needed later on.
After the monitoring was over, we went for a 40 minute walk. At one point Humnoy’s Mama lost her focus and cried out in pain. I told her to “look at her man,” and she turned to her husband and slow danced through the contraction. For every contraction after that, they slow danced together. It was very sweet.
When we returned to the room, she leaned over the counter and swayed with her contractions. Then she kneeled and leaned into him for support. I reminded her to focus on the baby when she struggled.
At 1:20 p.m. she got back into the bath, and her husband sprayed her belly. She enjoyed being in the tub more than anywhere else. She was able to focus her energy, and she coped well there.
The nurse had her get out of the tub for more monitoring at 1:35, and then at 1:50 she got back in, but only for a minute because she felt like pushing. I called the nurse, and she came in and sat with us until she was ready to be checked. At 2:20 she was checked, and had progressed to six centimeters. She was back in the tub five minutes later. Her husband and I switched off spraying her belly.
She got out of the tub at 3:00 for more monitoring. She needed back pressure, so he and I switched off doing that. She felt like pushing, so the nurse checked her at 3:15. She was now dilated to an eight.
The midwife, Sara, arrived at 3:20, and watched and talked to Humnoy’s Mama for about 10 minutes. She checked her just 15 minutes after the previous check, and she was dilated to a 10, with just a lip of cervix left. Sara suggested getting back into the tub for awhile to see if the lip would go away.
At 4:00 she was back out of the tub, her family arrived, and she began pushing. She started on her side, then moved to a squatting position next to the bed. She stayed there for about 25 minutes, then we put squat bar on the bed so she could squat there. She was pushing so hard the squat bar was shaking. She did that for about 15 minutes.
Sara had me come talk to her in the hall. She expressed concern that the baby wasn’t coming down as quickly as she would like. She told me that she would let her push as long as the baby wasn’t in any danger. I thanked her for the information, and went back into the room. I suggested that we do tug-of-war with the Rebozo. The mama agreed.
Within a few pushes, we could see the baby’s head. The nurse had Humnoy’s Daddy come look, and Humnoy’s Mama had not wanted that. She asked him what he saw, and when he said “the head,” she started crying, and saying, “He’s almost here!” It was very sweet to see her so excited to meet her baby. After about 10 minutes of tug-of-war with me, he took over, and they did that for about 10 minutes.
At 5:25 the nurse suggested side-lying, which didn’t really work, so the back of the bed was raised so she was in a sitting position to push. She pushed really hard for another 30 minutes before the baby started to crown.
Humnoy was born at 5:57, and was put skin to skin with his mother. The cord was wrapped around his neck and he wasn’t breathing, so he was soon taken to the warming table to be assessed. They did give him oxygen, and he was soon doing well. They also weighed him, and he weighed in at 7lbs, 14oz. He was brought back to his Mama, and she tried breastfeeding right away. Humnoy wasn’t quite ready, but did get the hang of it fairly quickly.
After everything settled down a bit, her family came in to meet the newest member. They took pictures and held the baby. Her mom, who had been in the room for the birth, was a very proud grandmother. She loved holding that baby.
This was a wonderful birth to attend. She had such strength to get her through a fairly fast labor, but a long pushing stage, all unmedicated. I feel honored that I got to be a part of it.