Why a supportive birth team is so important
Today's birth announcement is brought to you by our super supportive doula, Tara Hoverson. She tirelessly supported this family during their long VBAC with her amazing doula heart and hands. Read on for her account of this victorious VBAC!
Baby Elias-Keith Franklin eased into the world on August 29th, 2018, which just happened to be his estimated due date. He weighed 9lbs 1oz and 21 inches long. Here’s a glimpse into my experience as their doula.
This was Marie’s third pregnancy. She and her husband, Brian, were planning a VBAC. Marie had had a natural delivery with her oldest, and a cesarean (due to breech positioning) with her 14-month-old. This third baby was also breech for a time but with the help of Spinning Babies protocol they learned in Birthing From Within class, baby flipped into optimal heads-down positioning!
Marie started to feel some cramping the morning of the 27th. We were in contact throughout the day and she was able to manage the pain with movement. By the late evening Brian called and we decided to meet at Health Park around 12:30 am since contractions were 2-3 minutes apart.
Marie was 4cm dilated and experiencing a lot of intensity. We quickly got to our room and Marie got in the tub to help manage her pain. As can happen in early labor, the water made her contractions slow down which can be a relief to mom, but as a doula I knew we had to get moving to continue to encourage labor’s progression.
Marie’s labor pattern was unusual, in that her contractions would intensify and then slow down based on different positions she tried. This continued throughout the night and into the next day with no cervical progress, even after trying more Spinning Babies exercises, using the birth ball, walking, and more. If you’re keeping track, Marie is more than 24 hours into her labor at this point.
As time went on, I was digging deep into my doula bag of tricks and nothing seemed to be working. She remained at 4cm and Baby Elias-Keith was happy to stay where he was. Marie’s birth team was outstanding, in that they gave her many options to choose from including going home, or staying at the hospital to sleep overnight. This isn’t always the case, so choose your provider carefully! Without any outside pressure, Marie mindfully made the decision to stay and try to get some sleep.
When I arrived at the hospital the next morning, I made it a priority to keep Marie hydrated and keep her energy up with small bits of calories. In the early afternoon, she tried some nitrous for pain relief but it did very little to help.
By 4pm she was exhausted, and she mindfully made the decision to ask for an epidural. (Marie was unsure it would be effective as she’d had one during her first labor, but it hadn’t worked then.) She was checked and found to be 5cm, a huge victory after being stalled at 4cm for over 24 hours! The epidural arrived shortly after and Marie got some relief. As is sometimes the case, her spirits rose, her pelvic floor relaxed and her cervix continued dilating. With a little movement and time, Marie fully dilated by 10pm.
Elias-Keith made his debut at 10:26pm, almost 48 hours after we arrived at the hospital!
Establish a Supportive Birth Team in Advance
This birth was a testament to the importance of establishing a supportive birth team. Marie had an incredible birth team who listened to her birth preferences and took the time to understand her mindset. Brian was an amazing source of support for Marie. He encouraged her with visualizations and kept her motivated to try something new when she thought she couldn’t continue. He was also a great advocate for her and asked lots of questions of the staff to ensure that they could continue on their journey towards a VBAC. Marie’s mom was also there for comfort and support. She and the rest of the family stepped up to make sure their other children were well cared for, so Marie and Brian could focus on bringing this new life into the world. Her OB and the nurses at Health Park were outstanding. They were completely supportive of Marie’s wish for a VBAC. Not once was a cesarean threatened and they didn’t pressure her when labor was longer than “normal”.
I am honored to have been by this amazing family’s side! Please join me in welcoming baby Elias-Keith Franklin.
In doula love,