If your water breaks on its own before contractions have started, it’s often a game of hurry up and wait. You’re waiting, your partner and family waits with you. You’re put on a clock, of sorts, and at a certain point have to really work to get contractions going and on a regular pattern. Sometimes pumping signals the body to make more oxytocin, which can do the trick. Other times, like for this Momma, it’s a little more complicated.
Gabrielle had so much vision and freedom leading up to her birth. As a yogi (more like, Yoga GODDESS), she was in-tune with her body, free in her skin and more than anything, trusted the process of birth. Yet , things still didn’t go as planned. When her blood pressure began to rise, something out of the norm for her, she tried various things to bring it down. It went down with some rest but would creep up again.
This went on two or three times when her midwife thought it best that she transfer. I asked the nurse at the birth center to see if she could find out who was on call at the hospital. Sure enough, it was one of the best OBs in the practice, Dr. Johnson at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, MO. I knew she could still have an incredibly empowering birth with all of her wishes still in tact--this doctor had a track record of exceptional, respectful care. Phew! But I could still sense the fear and apprehension and even with encouragement from me, there was still heaviness on her. This wasn’t something anyone could wipe away. She needed to face her disappointment head on, feel it, and brace herself for a new plan.
And she absolutely did just that. At some point, the air shifted. She was settled and gained new vision for the present. Her baby was coming, safely and soon.
It was intense and getting increasingly more overwhelming as time went on. A pitocin drip was going, and it was working to get her body contracting. When I asked her after the birth if she ever felt like she couldn’t do it, or if it was more than she expected it would be, she responded, “I had nothing to compare it to.” Perspective is everything.
Over the next few hours, she went to the bathroom several times—a great place to labor— and began feeling the urge to push. She wasn’t completely dilated yet, but she would be soon. About 45 minutes later, Gabrielle pushed her baby out into the world. Tony, the new Dad, so badly wanted to catch his baby. They made sure the OB was aware, and Dr. Johnson did an amazing job of guiding Tony’s hands to feel the baby twist and make its way out and then bring the baby so gracefully onto his mother’s chest. All of her fear melted away and the euphoria overflowed from her heart, to her husband’s, to the new grandparents.
I know it’s true—one intervention usually leads to another—but it doesn’t always. In the midst of required or recommended labor interventions or a change to your plans, know you can bring your knowledge and questions to the table, speak up for yourself and your desires, and trust the process.