A midwife's life is often filled with unpredictable events. One never knows when baby will come or how long labor will be. This past weekend I was blessed to attend the labor and birth of a dear friend.
I awoke with a start to my phone ringing. As I answered, I glanced at my watch and noted that it was 3:20am. On the other end was my friend Karolyne. I had been blessed to attend the birth of her first son in 2012 and was invited to also attend for her second son's birth. She informed me that her waters had ruptured but that contractions were still not so regular. As we talked, I grabbed my birth bag, and threw in my water bottle and an apple. We finished and I quickly readied myself and put Beau (my puppy) in a dog crate. It was not even 3:25am and I was off.
The drive up was quiet and dark. There was no traffic. I passed a total of 5 vehicles along the way. I smiled to myself and prayed that the gas I had would last the ride as I had forgotten to throw in the spare gas can and our gauge can be finicky. A light rain was falling as I pulled into their driveway an hour or so later.
As I entered their home, I saw Karolyne walking back and forth. She expressed her desire to head to the hospital once her mother-in-law came to watch her son. She was ready and excited to have this baby. The contractions were still spaced out and it was apparent that active labor was not present. A little before 5 am her mother-in-law arrived and after a changing of the guard we headed to the hospital.
Upon arrival to the hospital, we to the OB ward. Karolyne preferred the stairs as it helped bring on regular contractions. Up we went (it was only the 2nd floor anyway)! When we arrived she was checked in and we discovered that she was only 1cm dilated.
As the morning moved on we did what we could to encourage contractions to pick up. I lost track of how many laps we walked through the halls of the hospital. At one point we enjoyed a time of softly singing hymns together while her husband Jonathan rested up for the long haul ahead.
Four hours later, the doctor arrived and checked for progress. Unfortunately there was no progress. The contractions were still coming but seemed ineffective. The decision was made to start a pitocin drip to help encourage the contraction pattern to pick up. It seemed to help and slowly the contractions came with more regularity.
Per policy though, along with pitocin came the electronic fetal monitoring. Thankfully, after talking with the doctor, he agreed to allow her to still walk around as long as intermittent monitoring was used. So labor continued on. Jonathan and I supported her as best we could.
Around 5:30 pm the doctor again checked for progress. Now she was only 2-3cm dilated. The doctor noted that the bag of waters was present (meaning the afore mentioned gushes probably came from a high leak) and promptly "broke" them again with an amnihook and little explanation as to what he was doing. As the head applied more pressure, the contractions picked up with a greatly renewed force. So much so that the doctor agreed that the pitocin could be discontinued for the time being.
Labor continued. Breathing, moving as much as possible and lots of back pain. Around 8pm the nurse checked again. Only 4-5cm dilated. I asked if baby was asynclytic but the nurse informed me that she did not know how to check baby's sutures. We continued to labor and Karolyne used various positions to help her labor progress. The doctor came in two hours later for another exam.
I could tell that at this point the doctor was becoming a little wary of the situation. She was approaching 20 hours past initial SROM and still no baby. He determined she was 7cm and was going to leave it at that. I asked if the baby was at all asynclytic. He seemed slightly startled that I would ask such a question and said in fact baby was. I encouraged Karolyne to lay on her side to rest and help baby to rotate into the correct position. I continued to pray that the Lord would help this labor to proceed normally.
Contractions began to once again space out. I explained to Karolyne and Jonathan that this was a normal occurrence in labor and may actually indicate progress. I coached and encouraged Karolyne to relax with each contraction. After almost an hour they began once again to pick up. I saw the familiar look and told them that I must go talk with the nurse for a moment.
Outside at the nurses station I quietly informed our kind nurse that Karolyne was seeming to be ready to push. She glanced at her watch and noted that it had only been an hour. I explained what I saw and she readily agreed and did not question my judgement. Instead she checked and called the doctor to confirm. At 11:25pm she was declared to be "fully".
I was blessed to be able to help support Karolyne and coach her through the next 20 minutes. At 11:45pm adorable little Micaiah was born. He was 7lbs 0.03oz (3185g). I was so happy to witness such a beautiful birth. It was a long and hard labor, but the end result was priceless!
Baby had a 36cm head and was 52cm long. It was different getting used to seeing a puti (white) baby again! What an amazing family! I truly enjoyed watching the strength of this couple during the long haul! There were a number of times I caught myself wanting to talk to them in
Visayan. Thankfully the Lord helped to give me the English words that I
needed to say!
A few hours later at 3am I walked out of the room for the last time and towards the nurses station. The new family was stable and finally tucked into bed to sleep for a few hours. Our kind nurse beckoned me to follow her. I did and she led me down the hall to the storage room where she retrieved blankets from the warmer. I continued to follow her to a storage room where she had a bed made up. She turned down the sheets and told me to rest as long as I needed before my drive home. I was thankful for her thoughtfulness as the warmth of the blankets enveloped me and I drifted off to sleep.
About 3 hours later I awoke, packed up and headed home. As I drove, I enjoyed the colors of fall and watched the sun peak out as the morning sky brightened. I thanked the Lord for his protection and safety and for the precious new life I had left behind. I drove homeward knowing that the loving arms of my family awaited and that in a few short hours I could sleep once more.