Yvonne and I enjoyed some stimulating conversation while we sent Rick next door to grab a bite to eat. I knew he would stay bed-side and be very attentive, but I also knew we had a few hours of slow progress that Yvonne and I could handle. After getting the okay from his wife, Rick was persuaded he could be relieved from his post for a while.
While Rick was gone, Yvonne and I talked about her other daughter, and how she shared the information about having a baby with big sister. We talked about baby names (as I write this I'm still not sure if they went with Emi, Anais, Chloe, Zoe, Azul, or came up with something else entirely). Yvonne also shared that she wanted her labor to be drug-free--if at all possible. She had an epidural during her first labor and suffered two weeks of painful headaches. I saw such strength in this woman that I had no hesitation in telling her she was more than capable of achieving her goal. I enjoyed our talk so much. Yvonne is a very caring, nurturing, and considerate lady. She was non-assuming of my role and was thankful that I was spending my night with her. I couldn't think of any place I would rather be.
Yvonne's nurse, came in around 9:30 PM and checked to see how far along Yvonne was. She was at four centimeters, which was now active labor. I asked if we could change positions and she said since the magnesium was being used, moms are usually asked to stay in the supine position, but since I was there, she didn't see a problem with sitting bedside. She even let Yvonne get out of bed for a few minutes to use the restroom. Just the change of position, seemed to change everything.
We continued to visit, pretty much uninterrupted by the surges, until 11:30 PM. Yvonne was at five centimeters, 90% effaced, and at station 0. Her pitocin was increased to 24 and the surges became stronger. I was amazed at Yvonne's resolve.
Right around this time, we received a routine visit from the anesthesiologist. He explained protocol for emergency procedures and asked the basic questions about allergies to meds. A contraction came on and we worked through it. After Yvonne got her bearings again, she told the anesthesiologist he had two minutes. Everyone laughed. Yvonne and Rick both kept their sense of humor the entire night. After the anesthesiologist left Rick asked, "Did we just decline the epidural?" To which I replied, "I don't think we were offered one." I guess he saw how well Yvonne was doing and didn't want to mess with a good thing.
At midnight, the surges became stronger. The pitocin was at 32 and Yvonne was concentrating very deeply. Rick had the foresight to play some soothing ocean sound on his iPhone, which helped tremendously. Yvonne went into a zone with each contraction. She breathed in slowly while I rubbed her back, and the tension left her body each time she exhaled. All I needed to do was encourage her to stay in her zone. I was so proud of her and her coping techniques. I was witnessing strength in action. I assured her that she was allowing her body to do the work and that the contractions were what would bring her daughter into this world.
At 1:00 AM, the vaginal check revealed the contractions were helping to make a lot of progress. Yvonne was dilated to 7-8 according to the nurse. The contractions that followed the vaginal exam, along with the increase of pitocin to 36 made the next 23 minutes intense.
I knew Yvonne could do it. She continued to close her eyes and breathe deeply. She never lost control. She was a display of courage, determination, strength, and beauty. I was in awe and told her that the environment that she was creating with her decision to remain peaceful would create the best environment to welcome her daughter into this world.
The next few minutes were very intense, but we were all empowered by the knowledge that it would soon be over. The paper monitoring the contractions confirmed what Yvonne was feeling--they were strong and coming every two minutes. At 1:15 AM Yvonne announced, "I think I have to push!" I helped her lay down on the bed and Rick went to get the nurse. The nurse checked Yvonne and said there was a little bit of the cervix left and she would have to hold off pushing for at least one more contraction. We did some shallow breathing through the next contraction, the nurse had called for a delivery doctor and we had to breathe through one more, strong surge. Yvonne closed her eyes and wanted to push, but after I asked her to look at me and she opened her determined eyes, and we held off for two more minutes--just enough time for the doctor to arrive. She looked at me and asked, "Can I push now?" There was a chorus of "yes!" from the room. With as much determination as Yvonne had had throughout the labor, she bore down and pushed. The baby's head could be seen at the opening. Yvonne pushed again and the baby seemed to stay in position. The third push revealed the full crown. Push number four made some progress, but push five brought out the head. I could see the umbilical chord and wondered if it was where it was supposed to be. It seemed wrapped a little tight, but in a matter of seconds the doctor had tugged on it and stretched it around the little girl's head to avoid any complications. The last push brought the little girl into the room where we all stood, anticipating her arrival.
Rick couldn't be happier; he was already waiting at the isolate where the nurse would be bringing his daughter. He paused from his wonderment long enough to congratulate his wife, who he looked at with complete adoration. Yvonne was relieved and at peace. She maintained her state of tranquility even after delivery. The baby was placed on Yvonne's chest and eventually, the newborn nursed intermittently, but most of all was content gazing into her mommy's eyes.
I feel so honored to have spent time with Rick and Yvonne during this momentous time. My life was changed by watching a new life appear. Congratulations to the proud parents of Emi, born November 29 at 1:23 AM. She weighed 7lbs. and 3 oz. and was 19" long. She is fortunate to have Yvonne and Rick as parents as I am fortunate to them as friends.
Christy Jo Hendricks, Doula