“Guess What?! I’m in labor!”: Stephanie’s birth story
Stephanie called me at about 9 am on the morning of May 11 with an ecstatic, “Guess what?! I’m in labor!” She was so excited and surprised! Her water had broken early that morning, but her due date wasn’t for another three weeks. Even though Stephanie was already dilated to 4 cm, it came as a total surprise to her that her little girl was ready to make her appearance already, just in time for Mother’s Day. We talked on the phone for a little bit about her options. I suggested not rushing into the hospital, which Stephanie already knew, and resting at home for a while to see if contractions would start on their own. Stephanie decided to bypass the hospital and go to her doctor’s office, which was a great plan.
Stephanie’s doctor suggested going to the hospital, starting a Pitocin drip, and, in so many words, getting this show on the road! Stephanie thought for a little while about this, and she and her husband, Jon, discussed what they wanted to do. They said they were considering going home or at least taking a walk before going to the hospital. When they mentioned calling their doula, Stephanie’s doctor changed his advice a bit. He said, “Oh, you have a doula. Well, why don’t you take your time getting over to the hospital, have some lunch, and do some walking to see if things get going on their own.” Stephanie liked this plan better, and they made their way, slowly, over to the hospital.
Since this had all happened rather suddenly, Jon wanted to go home to finish getting their bags, etc., so they decided this would be a good time for me to meet them at the hospital so that Jon could finish what he had to do. When I got there, contractions hadn’t started yet, and Stephanie was still super excited. When Jon left, we took a couple of laps around the halls. When we got back to the room, Stephanie did some sitting on the birth ball. At about 2:30, since Stephanie still wasn’t having any contractions, they decided to start the Pitocin. By about 3, contractions had become fairly regular, and Stephanie was starting to feel uncomfortable. She had known all along that she wanted an epidural; we were just trying to figure out when the best time would be to get it. We didn’t want to risk stalling labor by getting it too early, but we also didn’t want Stephanie to feel much discomfort. We decided our plan would be that as soon as Stephanie started to feel the contractions, even just a little bit, she would order the epidural, knowing that it would take about half an hour to get it from the time she ordered it. We decided that now was a good time to call the anesthesiologist.
Many women get shaky from the epidural, and some babies react suddenly, but Stephanie and baby were both doing amazingly! No shakes; no side-effects at all. When her doctor did a cervical check at 4:20 pm, she was still 4 cm dilated, but she hadn’t been having contractions for very long, so this was normal. We all just hung out and relaxed. Stephanie’s mom and sister and adorable niece and nephew came to visit. Jon ordered some meatloaf from the cafeteria. Stephanie watched some Golden Girls reruns on TV. There was a very mellow and sweet atmosphere in the room.
At 6:15, Stephanie’s doctor decided to insert an intrauterine catheter to see how strong her contractions were. The pit had increased to 20, but the contractions didn’t seem to be getting more intense, at least not from what we could tell on the external monitor. The doctor determined that Stephanie was 5 cm, and baby was at 0 station, so she had moved down quite a bit. But her doctor had also realized that there was a forebag that was still intact. That was most likely why Stephanie’s contractions had not picked up. She broke the forebag, and at 7:40, Stephanie started to feel a lot of pressure, and when the nurse checked, she was 9.5 cm and +2 station! Stephanie had dilated 4.5 cm in about an hour and a half. That baby moved down fast once the forebag was broken!
Stephanie was complete and ready to push not long thereafter, but her doctor had run home really quickly, and when she returned, she was called to an emergency c-section. Stephanie had to wait until 9:50 or so before she could start pushing, which was intense, even with the epidural. She was feeling a lot of pressure, and she had to pant through her contractions to fight the urge to push. It was hard work, but Stephanie is an athlete, and she managed it beautifully. When she finally was able to push, she pushed like a champ, and I applied some warm compresses to help minimize tearing. Lucy Emmeline was born at 10:58 pm, 6lbs. 9oz., 19.5” long. Congratulations, Stephanie and Jon, on your very own little golden girl!