Born After Days Of Prodromal Labor To A Doula

Heather, a company manager/childbirth educator and doula -- and the mother of four boys -- kept a journal of her pregnancy. Read on for the story of her first daughter's birth -- appropriately enough, on Thanksgiving day.
by Heather

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Mom's story
Giving great thanks to God, we welcome with joy,

Hadley Grace
Born on Thanksgiving, November 23rd, 1:02am
8 lbs, 6 oz.
21 1/4 inches long
14 1/2 inch head

Can you believe it?! The princess is actually here!!! Oh, she is a LOVE. Gorgeous complexion, full cheeks, big rosy lips and a head full of very dark brown hair (all of my boys were born bald and are now blondes!).

Here's our birth story:

When I saw my midwife on Tuesday the 21st (which was my 38-wk appointment), I was still having prodromal labor. She checked me and said I was 2 cm/70% and we decided to have her strip my membranes. We agreed that if I was still having lots of contractions on wed, that I'd go to the hospital and we'd probably help things along since I'd been prodroming for 9 days at that point.

I continued to have contractions throughout Tuesday. Dh and I got a sitter on the spur of the moment and went out to dinner and a movie - a last date before the baby came. I'm so glad we did. Tuesday night I lost my mucous plug and Wednesday morning, I started having bloody show with the contractions, so we headed to the hospital about noon.

Midwife came by about 1:30pm and we decided to try a very low dose of pitocin (1 ml) to see if we could bring baby down a bit further before breaking my water. We also started my antibiotics for group B strep. I had to have continuous monitoring since I was on pit, so I pretty much sat/rocked on the birth ball 'til my midwife made it back at 4:30pm. They increased the pit a little over the hours, but nothing that I couldn't handle.

At 4:30pm, I was 3cm/75% and baby had come down to a -2 so she broke my bag -- fluid everywhere! :o) Yikes, did I ever have a lot. They turned up the pit again, and the contractions got intense enough that I called my doula to come. At 7:30pm, I was 4cm/80%. Pit was now up at 20. By 9:30pm I was in a LOT of pain, but not so much from the contractions as from my pubic symphysis ligament (that I had separated during the pregnancy) - and that was constant pain, even between contractions. I literally had to be helped to the bathroom - I couldn't walk from the ligament pain (and forget getting in and out of bed on my own). So I decided that unless I was making pretty quick progress, I'd get an epidural (my shortest labor prior to this was 16 hours, and I was really only 5 hours into this -- true labor didn't start 'til my water broke). Around 10pm, I was found to be 5cm -- bring on the epidural.

Thankfully, the epidural took away the ligament pain completely. I got a coaxial epidural that was just single-dosed at 10:30pm. I started feeling pain with the contractions again about midnight so my midwife checked me and I was complete! Baby had moved from a -2 to a +2 also, so I progressed 4 stations and 5cm in an hour and a half! I continued to use passive descent until I felt the urge to push about 12:15am. I had no epidural in the perineum, so boy, did I feel the urge!

I tried squatting, but the pain on my ligament was too much so I laid back. Pushing was great -- dim lights, music, no one counting, just my midwife, doula and DH giving me quiet encouragement. I kind of lost it at the end -- lots of "vocalizing," shall we say. :o)

I got to pull the baby out as soon as her shoulders were freed, which was something I had really wanted to do. That was a moment I'll never forget. I made it through with a totally intact perineum -- neither tear nor even a "skid mark."

They did assess baby in the room, but decided to take her to the nursery and get her oxygen saturation levels given my history and her Apgars of 7 and 8. My husband and my doula went with her; doula came back right away with a report. The baby was totally healthy! No lung problems at all -- praise God! They observed her for an hour, during which time I got in the Jacuzzi and then the shower, then ate and changed. I felt great. She was back around 2:30am and nursed like a champ.

So that is it! Hadley is nursing well and sleeping well. I can't tell you how grateful I am to have a healthy baby this time. It's just incredible. And to think God gave me a girl as well! (I must admit, I do keep peeking in her diaper!) I feel great except for my ligament pain, which they say will take a few weeks to heal. Oh yes, and except for the afterbirth pains -- youch!! They are bad this time but that is to be expected since this was my seventh pregnancy and fifth baby. I'll live and it was totally worth it to have the princess! :o)

Thanks for sharing in my pregnancy with me. It was a difficult one for many reasons, but in the end, God made it all perfect. I couldn't have asked for a better delivery, and having a healthy baby after 2 NICU babies was such a blessing. And now to be given a daughter and an easy recovery, is just wonderful. God is so good.

I wish God's blessings upon you as well,

Heather, mom to 4 boys and Hadley grace, born 11/

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