Jenna and Chris contacted me while they were still living in Boston. They were planning the move to Birmingham (for Chris’ residency at UAB) and were wanting to go ahead and interview a doula for their upcoming birth. Thankfully, they hired me and the waiting began. Jenna also decided that she wanted to do a Hypnobabies birth. I went to their last class (taught by fellow doula, Kaleigh Naylor) so that I could learn how support them in that effort (since I was new to Hypnobabies). It all seemed pretty interesting and I was excited to see it in action. **there is a lot of "reframing" in Hypnobabies, so in honor of that, I will refer to contractions as pressure waves (pw's) for this birth story** ;-)
On September 14th at 40w2d, Jenna texted me at exactly 4 pm and said she was having a lot of irregular pressure waves, all happening since around 11 a.m. She said she was still doing “normal” stuff (like chatting with friends online) and would let me know of any changes. She said they were lasting about 30 seconds and some for a minute but didn’t give me a time for how far apart.
Two hours later she was still having waves and I asked if she’d be up for an after dinner walk (to see what the pressure waves would do) followed by a resting period (again, to see what the "pw's" would do). She was up for it and said she would let me know the results. So two hours later she texted me and said she had finished her walk and was lying down. During the walk the pw's moved to 3.5 minutes apart lasting 30-60 seconds long. And then as she was lying down: they stayed the same. (YAY!)
At 9:30 p.m. they emailed me the pressure wave list from their phone app (very cool). And from that I could tell that they were still sporadic (anywhere from 3-9 min apart, lasting max 45 seconds). So I suggested they follow their normal routine for this time of day (namely, try to go to sleep), and to let me know when the pw's picked up in duration, i.e., 45-60 seconds. Jenna decided she would listen to one of her hypnobabies cd’s and then lie down.
At 11:30 Chris let me know that the last 4 pw’s were 1 minute long and intense enough to cause shaking. She also had a bit of nausea. I asked if they would like for me to come and they said yes.
I got to their house at about 12:15 a.m. When I came in Jenna was in her bedroom sitting on her birth ball and looked beautiful. She was so relaxed and was listening to a hypnobabies music track. After getting there I asked if she’d be up for a walk around the house (inside) and she was. The pressure waves were 2-4 minutes apart lasting 45-60 seconds long. She and Chris would do the prom dance whenever a wave came. Then after some more time on the birth ball, I suggested that she try and get some “rest” (code for sleep, in between waves). So at around 1:45 she got in a side lying position on her couch. She also put in another hypnobabies track and got some good rest in between waves, for at least an hour. (I also suggested that Chris go lie down as well as he would need the rest too, and I would wake him up when things changed).
(laboring at home)
So an hour later, Jenna was making beautiful progress. It was obvious that the waves were getting stronger and I asked if she would be up for transitioning to the hospital. She agreed and said she would rather transfer before the waves were more intense. (Again, trying to not to have a momma do transition in the car).
We got to the hospital at 3:00 and she was asked to go to the triage room first. She was found to be 6/50/-2. She got back to her room by 3:45 and the nurse we had (Emily) was amazing. She asked if there was anything we needed and if not, she would just slip out and come check the baby every 30 minutes. AWESOME. Over the next three and a half hours Jenna was amazing. She was able to use all sorts of comfort techniques including: walking, the birth ball, getting in the shower and resting in the bed. She handled transition (transformation) beautifully. At one point, when she was lying in the bed, getting rest in between pressure waves, I texted Chris (yes, we were both in the same room, but you gotta be quiet, you know) that I think it would be helpful for Jenna to stand up for a few pw's to enable the baby to labor down. She stood up, had two pw's and then a big gush!! YAY, her water broke. A few pw's after that, she had the urge to push.
She made her way to the bed, to try out the squat bar. That wasn't exactly what she wanted, so she moved to standing at the end of the bed and used the bar to support her arms. Then I suggested she sit in the bed, leaning back, and use the towel (around the squat bar) for leverage to pull with. That seems hard to explain, but it worked well. In just a short time, baby was crowing. Jenna also used the mirror, which was allowing her to see her progress and give her a visual as to what “kind” of pushes were more effective.
I should also note here that the doctor and the nurse were both in the room, but they were not saying anything, but smiling and giving occasional words of encouragement. They were allowing me to give suggestions to Jenna and allowing her to push as she felt she needed to. They were totally letting us do “our thing.” After about 45 minutes of pushing, at 7:18 Jenna pushed out her beautiful baby GIRL, little Iyla Rose weighing in at 7 lbs 5 oz. She is so beautiful.
Jenna also had two requests on her birth plan that I was curious how they might be handled at UAB (since this was my first birth at UAB): delayed cord clamping and natural detachment of the placenta. The longest I’ve seen a doctor wait on a cord to stop pulsating is 3-4 minutes, max. Well, Jenna’s cord was, as the doctor described it, “the little cord that could” and it took 28 minutes for it to stop pulsating. Which means that the doctor left it alone for 28 minutes and not only that, she was happy to do so. Okay.. Well surely once it’s clamped, I thought, they will start applying traction to detach the placenta. Nope, the doctor told me to watch for the “show of blood” and that’s when we would know the placenta was detached (UAB is a teaching hospital, can you tell?) So one hour after Iyla Rose was born, the doctor said that the placenta was fully detached and mom could push it out. Which she did. Not one pull was done before it was completely detached. And I can say that I have NEVER seen that done.
Also, after baby Iyla was born, we had shift change and got another nurse. Her name was Shelia. And she was so cool. She is actually studying to get her masters in midwifery there at UAB and we had so much fun talking all things birth, eh hem, natural birth in a hospital setting. She and the doctor even brought over the delivered placenta to show it to Jenna when she asked a question about how it was attached.
The entire time all this was going on, Jenna had her baby in her arms. Well, she did share Iyla with Chris at one point so that she could go to the bathroom. And when I left (two hours after the baby had been born) the baby had not been weighed yet, nor had she had any other procedure done. She was still with her mommy and daddy. It was just beautiful.
Jenna and Chris did such an amazing job. The Hypnobabies scripts really helped Jenna to focus and UAB was stellar. The nurses and doctors made it awesome. In fact, Jenna texted me the day after and said that when the doctor came by to say hey, he told her it was the best birth he had ever witnessed. And that is a pat on the back to no one and nothing but Jenna and Chris! She is the one that did all the work and she did it very well!
Good job you guys. I am so proud of you. And honored to have been invited to your big day.