The universe has away of often finding the uterus in the wee hours of the morning and kicking things into high gear just as soon as the expectant mom lies down, falls off to sleep and gets relaxed. Sadly, for most women who don’t go to bed after the Andy Griffith show, this means they have had only a few hours of rest before labor commences. As in the birth story of Lora and Ty Robbins of Charlotte. Lora's first labor was extremely long and intense. A day's worth of hard contractions and sadly she was nothing dilated. In fact, her cervix was still posterior, meaning her doctor couldn't even reach it. Much more labor had to be done to reach 10cm and the best two things they did the first time was not allow Lora to hear the results from that initial triage exam (she said later had she had known she was nothing dilated she surely would've yelled for that epidural) but instead because she was put back in the car by her husband to return home to work and labor longer in moms relaxing environment Lora knew simply she was not yet 6cm dilated. She achieved her completely drug free natural birth, because they were educated, trained twelve weeks in The Bradley Method®, dad did his coaching job and they hired YourBirthHelper for doula support. We had talked in advance and everyone agreed if anyone deserved a shorter labor experience the second time around, IT WAS LORA!
Lora’s due date was the day after St. Patty’s and no she did not get lucky enough to go into labor that day. However, the next day, she did get lucky enough to attend a Labor Workshop with YourBirthHelper and the #CharlotteDoulaDreamTeam it was a beautiful day full of sunshine and labor positioning.
On Wednesday, March 21st @ 1:05am Lora text:
Hey Pam! Wanted to give you a heads up that I had mucous show bf bed and have started having contractions. Right now around every 6 min but only lasting 30-45 seconds. Haven't woke up Ty yet but wanted to give you a heads up in case I continue to progress.
Lora had intentions of utilizing the spa like setting at her birth center Baby & Co Charlotte, but little did we both know the universe had way different plans in store.
I packed my car and prepared to depart for Charlotte. Minutes later Lora shared, I can walk through them. Went to restroom and more brown mucus. Will try and get some more rest and see how it goes. Will keep you updated but don't want to make you come too early. I didn’t wait for Lora to ask me to head out (I listened to my gut and shortly after was on the road from GA).
Several hours of driving had passed, around 4:15am Ty was texting me with updates and I was offering some position / technique suggestions, etc.. Fortunately, I was within 35 miles of them when Ty called to give me an update. He shared he had called Baby & Co. to give them a heads up that they were getting ready to head over after Lora's shower. Lora's contractions had picked up when she was enjoying the water. I replied, "Ty, I remember her being in the shower last time and my saying, unless you plan to have a baby at home we probably should go now." Ty laughed and said, "yup I remember that". What I didn't know at the time was Lora had went from the shower to the toilet, then found herself in transition, although she didn't initially realize it. Up until that point, she had been able to use her relaxation to work through each contraction. I asked Ty "awesome should I meet you at the bith center then?" About that time, I heard Lora in the background cry out for Ty. He said, "Pam hold on..." and put me on speaker phone. I heard some moaning and Ty calls out, "Pam the baby is coming!"
I advised Ty, I was going to hang up, dial 911 and have medics in route to them. I instructed Ty to make sure front door was unlocked so they could get in.
Gaston 911 how may I assist you?
Me: There is a baby being born at home and I need you to send medics to a Charlotte address.
911 Operator: This is Gaston County.
Me: I know, I am currently on I-85 driving 75mph to get to that same Charlotte address.
911 Operator: Are you their midwife?
Me: No, I am their Doula, this is an unexpected birth at home, they were supposed to be at the birth center. They clearly are NOT going to make it.
911 Operator: Hold please stay on the line while I transfer you to Charlotte.
Charlotte 911 how may I assist you?
Me: There is a baby being born as I speak and I need you to send medics to a Charlotte address.
911 Operator: What is the address?
Me: The address is...
911 Operator: Please make sure they have the door unlocked.
Me: Already have.
911 Operator: Are you their midwife?
Me: No, I am their Doula, this is an unexpected birth at home, they were supposed to be at the birth center. I am 20 minutes out.
911 Operator: Ok medics have been dispatched.
Me: Thank you very much.
I immediately phoned Ty back, he answered and I spoke clearly yet loud enough over the moaning to calm down Lora. I said, "Lora zip those lips, no need to panic, nothing changes just because baby is born at home. We still do the same job, get ready to push, pull your legs back..." Ty said, "Pam, Lora is on hands and knees." I replied, "Great! Now, nothing out your mouth, bear down out your bottom. Ty, get ready to catch your baby." First push, head was born. Ty yelled, "Push Lora!" But, Lora told Ty she was in between contractions and wanted to wait for the next one. With only the second push, Ty caught his baby girl. "Baby is Out", Ty expressed with great excitement! I responded, "Put baby face down on mom's chest." I heard Ty say, "Lora turn over so I can put the baby on your chest." I inquired if any bleeding and Ty said, "No, Mom and baby are good." I reminded him to make sure front door was open. Allison, (my Doula Apprentice and also a friend/ neighbor of theirs, who lives right down the street) was on her way and should also be there any minute.
Called Allison and had her go immediately to the home of Lora & Ty. She arrived at 5:20am. I instructed Allison upon arrival to just help everyone stay calm and to keep first responders from trying to whisk her off in an ambulance (if no medical concerns existed for either her or baby) and have medics monitor any bleeding. Allison rocked that task!
We estimated the baby's birth around 5:06/ 5:07am, a Beautiful Baby Girl, who daddy helped birth on the floor of their bedroom just shy of the bed when the uterus commanded mom into hands and knees.
I arrived at the residence to find a pretty red fire truck out front, an ambulance parked along the curb, a yellow gurney in front of the porch steps, with the front door wide open. Its still amazing Big Brother slept through all of this excitement. The firefighters were leaving when I entered the home. I walked up the staircase and into the bedroom to find Lora nursing baby. Dad, Allison, the nanny and two medics were standing quietly in the bedroom around the bedside. The lights were dimmed, there was ambience, relaxation and much peace that filled the room. This made me very proud, because it could have turned into a very chaotic experience real quickly had panic and fear crept in! It was quite uneventful considering baby came so quickly being born just shy of the bathroom and just shy of their bed. Kudos to Lora for remembering, Pam says "No toilet babies" and when that thought popped into Lora's head, she said she immediately got off the toilet and Ty attempted to get her to the bed when suddenly the baby decided she was coming. Mom dropped down into a hands & knees birthing position on her bedroom floor.
One of the paramedics said to me upon arrival, "Great your midwife is here, we will be going. You're the midwife right? We can go now?" I said, "No, I am not her midwife, I am her Doula. I do not practice medicine. I'm a normality expert". A few minutes after arriving, Lora became very uncomfortable. I inquired had the placenta been born. Allison advised it had not. Lora said, "Pam I'm hurting." I shared it was probably the placenta creating pressure ready to be born. In my head, I'm thinking hey first responders, you can't really assess the bleeding until the completion of third stage labor. You need to stick around to check her bleeding, that was kind of the whole reason in having them dispatched to the home. The paramedic offered me a pair of sterile gloves. I looked at Lora and asked, "Would you like me to help you with your placenta?" She said, "Yes." The cord was already white with a silver tint. I grabbed hold of the umbilical cord, asked Lora to bear down a little and gently guided the placenta out of her body. The kind paramedics offered me a clear plastic bag to place the afterbirth in and they had previously clamped the baby's cord. We will give them credit for that!
Our own Maggie G was picking up her placenta to encapsulate. The placenta was placed in a cooler on ice. If you are not familiar with this process check it out. Many women find it helps them through the postpartum time and eases the baby blues by helping regulate hormones in mom's body. Interestingly, it is said in some third world countries, if mom is bleeding too much, by placing a small piece of the placenta in the cheek of mom, the bleeding will immediately cease. Although, I have no personal knowledge of this to attest one way or another (and sadly there is little research in preventative health in this arena) however, it does make sense to many birth professionals simply because the placenta is full of natural hormones. Most of us do not like the sound of that, however, in a hospital setting, most will be routinely
administered synthetic oxytocin (if you consent), either through IV or injected into thigh, regardless if medically necessary or not, unless you request otherwise. Commonly known as pitocin. The irony is, we have no way to know in advance who may lose too much blood or hemorrhage. The most common postpartum practice in the states regarding consumption of the afterbirth is a process of dehydrating the placenta into powder form and its placed within gel caps and mom consumes like a vitamin daily or in tincture form (which can also be saved/stored for menopausal years). Its a scientifically known practice called placentophagy. It is not overly common in the states, but allow me to point out, all of nature consumes the afterbirth. In fact, we may just be the only mammals who instinctively do not. In the states, few are even educated on the multitude of benefits of delayed cord clamping for baby (cord stop pulsating before clamping to ensure blood transfer to baby is complete). Sadly, most uneducated couples think the only task with the afterbirth is simply, who is cutting the cord? Do your research moms & dads. Invest in your birth long before the labor begins. Your childbirth training and your level of education in this process matters. Just like knowing the do's & don't's of Emergency Childbirth. You just never know when you may have to use that knowledge... right Ty?
To prepare for this amazing birth, an UnexpectedHomeBirth, Dad and Mom trained formerly in The Bradley Method ® prior to their first natural birth. They learned about daily prep including The Brewer Nutritional plan, pregnancy exercises to tone and condition specific muscle groups and regular exercise daily for overall stamina to weather how ever many hours of labor mom shall endure and still have energy to push a baby out. The course is twelve weeks in length and for a twenty-four hour investment of time, couples find the training to be invaluable to gain the necessary skills to avoid unnecessary pain during the labor and birth process. Lora had a very long and challenging labor with baby #1 and sadly even after a day of labor arrived at her birthplace "Nothing Dilated" they could not even reach her cervix because it was still posterior. She shares very honestly, had she and her husband not been educated on first the four things vaginal exams measure, had an understanding of how to utilize the information to create progress and to NOT ALLOW the Doctor to SHARE the RESULTS ALOUD in the room, she surely would have thrown in the towel that moment and said forget it, give me the epidural. Instead, Dad stepped in the hallway with the doctor for the results and the decision was made to return home to labor in her relaxing environment. Those two very good decisions were ultimately her success with baby #1 aka Parker's drug free natural birth.
Sadly, for many couples a twelve week class and 12 weeks of baby sitting (for repeat classes) just doesn't always line up with busy schedules. Although, I do agree with Dr. Robert A. Bradley that Couples Should Prepare For Each Child Exactly As They Did For The First. It's what I call Mom & Dad's selfish time for this Baby. A traditional class once a week can help couples set aside time away from the other children to reconnect. You can never go wrong with that plan. However, work and life don't always allow. In those scenarios, YourBirthHelper.com offers 2-3 hour Workshops from basic childbirth education, to Labor Role Play, etc. and even customize workshops in both private and group settings. Preparation is key to the success of any happy BIRTH" day and having a plan B for possible "What If" scenarios is never a bad idea either.
Lastly, I propose this question, what constitutes the definition of an Emergency Childbirth? I believe quite contrary to the common referral of an unexpected birth at home as an Emergency Childbirth. I pose this question often in childbirth class and ask the students to explain to me first their definition of an emergency. As you can imagine, I receive lots of various synonyms: danger, accident, crisis, but I challenge my students to consider why do most people go to an emergency room? The most common answer is potential loss of life. Then I share, Consider this... most of you are very healthy people. So, if we have a baby in an unplanned location such as home or in the car, does just "bringing forth life naturally" as a healthy person with a healthy baby constitute an emergency? Inevitably, they all answer NO. Birth is about bringing LIFE into the world. Now don't get me wrong, birth will never be free of inherent risks even for a healthy person in the best of care, however, the likelihood of there being a real emergency, just because a baby decided to be born in an unforeseen location, is not that great. It can still be a very normal natural act in which mom and baby are just fine. No doubt, in this situation, most would still go get checked out. Thankfully, The Robbins family, found themselves having an uneventful quick birth, in which mom did her job, dad did his and everyone was filled with JOY, just as if she had been present at her birth center. Sadly, she just didn't get to enjoy the amenities of the birth center spa like atmosphere. Instead, she enjoyed the calming water in her own shower and following birth the relaxation of her own bed and with the help of their nanny, my Doula Apprentice Allison (also a friend of theirs) who rushed over to assist, a couple of Charlotte-Meck firefighters who checked in and lit up the street with colorful birthday lights and two kind paramedics who also did the same. What excitement! Not panic, not chaos, not danger, just a natural birth in an unplanned location as it has been done for thousands of years, except it wasn't just Husband Coached Childbirth this time, it was also Daddy Helped Born Me!!
Super proud of this amazing power couple and so happy to have assisted them with birth education and Doula services for both of their babies! Love my #BirthFamily #CharlotteBirthFamily #HusbandCoached #DaddyHelpedBornMe #SymbioticBirth #UnplannedHomeBirth #HomeBirth #CharlotteBabyCo
Kudos on a job well done! Consider wisely Doula support even if utilizing an out of hospital center, maybe just as important as having an advocate within a hospital. At least, that's what Ty and Lora would tell you! Help me welcome to the World Baby Madalyne Marie 8.4lbs no doubt you are LOVED! Congrats to big brother Parker also!