Monday, February 13, 2006


My client had her baby yesterday and things could not have gone more perfectly. I commented that I couldn't have written a better script.

My family and I were on the way to my parents' for dinner when my cell phone rang and my client's partner said "Herwaterbrokewe'reonthewaytothehospitalbye." "Wait," I said, "Is she having contractions?" "NoBye."

This is the excitable partner. But what to make of that. Second baby, a few days after her due date, quick first labor, ruptured, no contractions. Hm.

I decided to deliver the kids to my parents and then return home right away. I showered and was just finishing when they called from triage. She had started to contract, maybe every 15-20 minutes. No need for me yet. I ate some dinner, puttered around the house, called T$ (remember these are the clients we had both been doulas for two years ago). They called again. Contractions were every 5-6 minutes, she was going to a room, could I come.

Thinking things were moving quickly, I pared down my doula bag (no need for all the massage balls and oils, the back heating pad, the CDs, and certainly not for my knitting) and drove right to the hospital. Where I found my client very chatty, strolling around the room, showing no signs at all of contracting. Oh, yes, they were on the monitor, but she never broke stride or stopped talking.

Because her water was broken, they did not check her in triage. So she walked and sat and chatted, whil her partner moved their bags, boppy, birth ball and car seat into the room. Was I wishing I'd brought my knitting? Yes I was.

When her mother showed up and things were still light and happy I asked whether they'd like me to see if T$ could come. They said yes. She could. So I went to pick up T$ (still recovering from her broken leg) and my knitting and returned 45-50 minutes later.

Our client was now in the tub, still chatty and happy, though now occasionally saying, "Here's a contraction." After a quarter of an hour or so, she decided she wanted out of the tub. As we were preparing towels and blankets for her, she got noticably quieter. After we dried her off, she stayed wrapped in a few flannel sheets and paced the room until a contraction came, when she froze -- no wait, dashed to the bed -- no, that wasn't working either, grimaced, half-sat, half reclined until it passed. Now she had that look in her eyes. She had seen labor and it wasn't pretty.

Her first labor, though induced, went very quickly. She went from 2 cm to delivery in just over 5 hours. She'd requested an epidural at 7 cm. This time she really wanted to go natural.

So when, after that contraction, she said "I don't think I can do this," I just focused on encouraging her, asking her to take them one at a time, telling her I knew she could do it.

Another contraction and she was certain she couldn't labor any longer. She asked to be checked and was five centimeters. Fabulous! we all said. You're doing terrifically! She had another contraction and said "I want an epidural." Oh, we reminded her about her desire to go natural, about how it takes much longer to do the first 5 centimeters than the last one, about how the last time she was at five centimeters she had her baby two hours later. Another contraction and none of that mattered. "Tell the nurse I want anesthesia."

Bless the doctor. She came in and asked if the client wouldn't give it ten more minutes, then she would check her again to see if her cervix was changing with the contractions. Another contraction and my client demanded anesthesia. The doctor put in the call, then checked my client. She was nine centimeters.

Another contraction, and she felt like pushing. She was complete. She pushed for maybe 10 minutes and delivered her healthy baby. This was 45 minutes after she got out of the tub.

Afterward she was very pleased and in shock over how fast it went.

T$ and I were thrilled to have been present for this couple's second birth.

My children were happily in the care of my parents.

I did not miss work or any of the social/doula engagements I had scheduled before and after yesterday.

I was home and in bed before midnight.

It could not have gone better.


Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Wow, now that's what I call a great labor and delivery!

3:16 PM  
Blogger doulicia said...

I needed one like that!

3:20 PM  
Blogger T$ said...

"It could not have gone better"

Amen to that! It really was a great birth. So happy that I was able to go. Thanks again for the ride!


2:06 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Lovely story! Glad you were able to get your knitting, too. :)

7:10 PM  

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