I was only a mile ahead of them. When I called to check on Kim, I jokingly asked, “Do I need to pull over and deliver this baby on the side of the road?” I didn’t know how close to the truth I was coming.
As we entered the maternity wing, nurses scrambled to find a space for Kim. We waited while the custodian prepared a room. At 4:00 PM, Kim was admitted into her room. She had two hard contractions, so I timed them. I noted there were four in a row, coming every 4 minutes—like clock-work. The monitors weren’t hooked up yet, but from the strength of the contractions, I knew we were in the homestretch.
We helped Kim get into bed, and then waited for the nurse to come check her. Kim concentrated and breathed as she patiently sat in bed and anticipated giving birth. She never struggled for composure.
At 4:24 PM, the nurse started her routine of questions and exam procedures. I waited to hear the normal announcement of station, effacement and dilation. The nurse quickly charted what she had discovered and was silent. I asked, “What is she dilated to?” There was no response except the body language that shouted as she ran out of the room. I quickly glanced at the charting she had just performed and read her notes, “Dilated to 10, Effacement 100%, Station 0.” She obviously was trying (poorly) not to give away what she was thinking—“Where’s the nearest doctor?!”
The nurse returned with a parade of nurses. The room was being transformed from a labor room to a delivery room. With all the commotion, Kim kept in her zone. I reassured her that she would only have to breathe through a couple more contractions, and then she would be pushing. I asked her to breathe slowly and deeply and save her energy for the work that would be coming in a few minutes. She rolled to her side briefly to give the baby more oxygen, and then rolled back for the imminent delivery.
The nurse returned and announced that with the next contraction Kim could push—The doctor arrived at 4:37 PM and simultaneously greeted mom and dad and told Kim to push. Push she did! One big push exposed baby Shane’s head and the second push brought a warning from the doctor, “Hold off a little and push slowly so you don’t tear.” Kim held off, and then with her steady resolve she had shown throughout the entire day, brought Shane into this world with the final push.
Baby Shane was born on July 1, 2009, at 4:39 PM (two minutes after the doctor arrived), weighing 6lb. 11.5oz., and measured 20 inches long. Ten minutes later, the baby was nursing.
Christy Jo Hendricks, Doula