When discussing their birth preferences prenatally, I always try to get the point across to my clients that even the best laid plans may change.
One particular client of mine was really interested in having a drug-free natural birth this time around, having had an induction and epidural with her first birth. When her doctor suggested an induction around 39 weeks for medical reasons, she began the process of researching different induction techniques and talking to her OBGYNS on their methods. Because she was already dilated some, they decided a membrane sweep would be a good place to start. A membrane sweep is done by the care provider carefully separating the amniotic sac from the cervix using their fingers. Sometimes this is enough to kickstart a woman's labor without resorting to Pitocin. The membrane sweep did cause some contractions for her, but did not start active labor. A few days later another sweep was done, which did eventually get things moving. To get her contractions stronger and closer together, she used an electric breast pump on and off. This helps release hormones that makes the contractions more effective.
For medical reasons, her OBGYN wanted the baby delivered as soon as possible, so she was instructed to head to the hospital as soon as her contractions picked up. Upon admission, she was 4 cm dilated. After laboring in the Jacuzzi for a little bit, and feeling completely overwhelmed by her contractions (which were one on top of each other), she grappled with the decision to get an epidural. Her plan all along has been to have a drug free birth, but she was open to the idea of pain medications, if she felt them necessary. Now 7cm along, and having had a discussion with her nurse, she decided on narcotic pain relief - in this case Stadol was used. Narcotics help take the edge off, but don't completely take away the pain of labor. It was apparent to everyone that she was much more calm and handling her contractions differently than before after receiving Stadol.
In what seemed like an instant, she had the urge to push. We all knew this baby would be big, (her son was over 8 pounds) so alternative pushing positions were discussed prenatally. Alternative pushing positions are those that avoid laying on the back, and help create a wider outlet for baby to move down the birth canal. We did some rebozo work together, and so did her nurse. Her nurse was amazingly supportive. She used the squat bar, and semi reclined pushing. Pushing like this helps open up the pelvis in perfect alignment to bring the baby down & out.
After pushing for only several minutes, Alexandra Raelyn was born at 8:56pm and was 8 pounds 10 ounces and 21 inches long. She came out fast and furious!
She was welcomed earthside by her father, and mom's best friend who was expecting her own baby, any day!
Photo credits to Emeigh Photography.