When I first spoke to Erik and Emma over the phone, we had a lengthy telephone consultation in which they picked my brain on VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and the how to's of being successful. They wanted to explore other options than simply scheduling a repeat c-section.
Her first labor she experienced early contractions, but a belly birth followed, because it was found her first baby was in a breech position at 34 weeks. Her doctors did not birth vaginal breech. Also, sadly, in her former practice, no discussion of efforts to try to alter or adjust baby's position medically with external version. She did try chiropractic Webster technique, but unfortunately, it was unsuccessful.
The couple made a fabulous decision to enhance their knowledge in the natural process by attending a Your Birth Helper Labor Workshop. Our workshops are normally a group effort, but on this particular day, a baby decided to crash our plans. Once again, I was not able to meet the couple in person. Childbirth Educator, Sarah Neri, YBHCE, led the workshop in the team's absence. The couple quickly realized it was in their best interest to increase their knowledge for the challenges they would face to birth naturally with the odds against them. Shown below, the couple explores Labor Affirmation cards. They learned the importance of believing in her body and the natural process.
In addition,to learning proven techniques to manage labor contractions, reduce pain levels, help adjust baby's position if needed, we trained up Erik to better support her during her labor of love. He was eager to help her execute once he understood the what, why and how to's of labor!
VBAC candidates have the challenge of getting themselves into spontaneous labor by 41 weeks (induction is not typically an option) and VBAC's are subject to other routine interventions such as constant monitoring during active labor, which can also limit freedom of movement hindering progress. Therefore, we must be real creative at times assuming a variety of positions often, when all possible. Shown here, Emma works to completely open up, loosen hips and counteract contraction pain naturally by placing herself in a full squat (even in early labor at Amelie's French Bakery in Pineville, Nc after enjoying her dessert energy, of course!) as well as, in LDR after admitting.
Labor began at 6:00 a.m. Monday, she worked all day at home.
Emma and Erik also explored the level of support they were receiving at the OBGYN practice she had been seeking prenatal care and found VBAC support to be lacking. The couple made an excellent decision to increase their odds of VBAC success by transferring care. Since healthy and low risk, she would see the midwives. It was important to them to increase their odds of success by transferring to a practice that not only supports VBAC they encourage it, Piedmont OBGYN. Well most of them. The odds are still better than average there. And, those medical professionals who go above and beyond to support the natural process and low intervention birth and don't push their own way or opinions, are a breath of fresh air to labor & delivery! They also learned their choices and how to prioritize their choices into a printed birth plan, shown below:
They made a fabulous decision to increase their birthing skills during more in depth training with Childbirth Educator, Sarah Neri, YBHCE to further empower themselves along their VBAC journey. They understood the challenge before them would be the equivalent of having a first baby in terms of overall length of labor and intensity of push phase.
Shown here, Sara stops by for a visit during labor to check in on the couple. She was remarkably surprised by the level of total relaxation during contractions. It is good for Childbirth Educators to witness the proven techniques they teach and to further enhance future training sessions with real time feedback. As the creator of YBH training workshops, I am super proud of my team and their level of skill. Each YBH team member is also fully trained under me in The Bradley Method (r), which is still the very best most detailed natural birth training there is. Unfortunately, not every couple has access to a Bradley class and/or schedules may not allow for a twelve week series, but when possible couples should try to make birth training a priority. You can find classes at www.bradleybirth.com all across the U.S. and abroad. Our YBH training workshops, further enhance your birthing basics with more advance training, email: yourbirthhelper@gmail for upcoming YBH Labor Workshop opportunities in both Charlotte, Athens or anywhere in between. You may even find this amazing couple sharing their best tips and how to's at the next Charlotte workshop!
We had the couple focused on good nutrition, daily regular exercise, physical prep of pregnancy muscle groups and practiced a variety of positions, in addition to, practicing labor contractions, practiced properly pushing a baby out and boy would that practice pay off big! Emma & Erick worked tirelessly to prep her body for labor. She and Erik did their baby evacuation homework, as well. All the rain and cold weather in Charlotte hindered her from long walks in the park, but she did all she could inside and as weather permitted.
Emma shown here in late labor utilizing asymmetrical position using bed. Erik rubs her back and offers counter support during contractions. Emma remained "Namaste" throughout her many hours of labor. Dad was by her side every minute. Although, no doubt the couple could've remained home to labor much longer the catch 22 was their other child was there and therefore, they made the call to labor elsewhere so Emma could focus solely on this baby. It is terribly challenging to be completely relaxed during contractions when a toddler is in the room. However, the more you practice labor in front of your toddler and give them a small job such as rubbing mom's foot, etc. the better. You do not have to give full details just keep it simple. Mom is going to be working hard with her eyes closed to let the baby come out. It is important you do not yell or jump on mommy but be very gentle. They need to learn gentle touch anyway before you bring a baby home... teach them in advance what to do and what gentle means. Always better to be proactive than reactive.
Around 36 weeks gestation, women are tested for group b strep bacteria in the vagina. This does not have to include an internal exam. You can request the group b swab only. If found to be positive, the recommendation is routine antibiotics during labor to protect baby from picking up the bacteria during birth. Emma was found to be positive. Shown below, Emma receives fluids and penicillin.
We were fortunate enough the stars aligned for Emma and not only did she have her favorite midwife on call, she also had her favorite LDR nurse! Shown above, look who met them in triage upon arrival, our own Nancy Cook, BSN, YBHD, aka Natural Birth Champion of CMC Pineville!
In Dad's words, here are some highlights of their labor:
We both had peace of mind knowing that we had a great support team of doula's that could help when I didn't know the right thing to do or when the nurse had to leave the room.
We were off to a great start, we had someone from our own Clt Doula Dream Team to welcome us in triage and Nancy Cook, was our first nurse! That was a huge BONUS!
Shown here, Emma’s favorite relaxation tool- for TMJ massage!! Her father sent it to her from China. Super cool!
I worked, along side my YBH Doula team, to support with my wife, changing positions often, while assisting her in physically relaxing during intense contractions. I have a new appreciation and love for my wife and the work she did to birth our baby naturally.
Seeing Emma in such deep relaxation during hard labor was so inspiring that it kept me focused. Shown here after shift change, Nurse Erin now offers her support.
After approximately 27 hours of labor, the midwife checked the cervix again and Emma was fully dilated. We were elated!! All the positions, relaxation techniques and labor dancing/ noises had paid off... now, time to labor down and wait for the overwhelming urge to push. We labored down in hands and knees over top of bed and even tried a few practice pushes standing up, as shown here. I felt like Emma was doing so well and it totally reassured me we were in the right place for such a life changing event!
Pushing stage is real active work of mind and body, both need to be firm and focused. Having Erik by my side was crucial to my/our success! He made me feel anchored and comfortable, thus able to focus and do my work. Having a well prepared husband also elevated this unique bonding experience! Emma L.
After, approximately 2+ hours of total second stage pushing, the head began to emerge! The body followed immediately after! I was overwhelmed with excitement and gloved up for the finale. The midwife said, "get ready" and reached for my hand and instructed me in assisting in birthing my own baby!
I did it! I helped catch my second baby!!! Shown here Erik gently places their newborn baby on mom’s chest! It's A GIRL! Baby arrive at 10:58 a.m. Tuesday.
Shown above, Mom gets a well deserved kiss from Dad for 29 hours of drug free labor/birth as baby lies skin to skin for warmth. Emma birthed the placenta with ease and then focused on baby as the staff began pitocin to slow her bleeding.
Shown below, the tree of life! The awesome organ grown along with baby to transport blood, oxygen, nutrients & waste to and from baby.
Emma requested delayed cord clamping and the midwife had me feel to confirm the cord no longer contained a pulse.
The blood transfer to baby was complete and time for me to cut the umbilical cord.
Everyone did a fabulous job supporting our birthing goals! We could not have been happier with our choice to transfer care to Piedmont OBGYN and CMC Pineville for our low intervention Vaginal Birth After Cesarean! My wife and I, accomplished a DRUG FREE Natural Birth! It was a very happy "Birth"day indeed!
The "Birth"day party commences...special thanks to the ongoing support of low intervention #SymbioticBirth to these amazing gals! Your Birth Helper is happy to publicly acknowledge Nurse Nancy, Nurse Erin,& Nurse Lauren for such awesome support of the couple's birth plan and their efforts to execute a natural birth. We can't say enough wonderful things about Midwife Tina Moreno, for always speaking positive energy into the room, encouraging couples along their birth journey (not just supporting their birth plan) and allowing Erik to help catch! You girls added to the peaceful atmosphere and no doubt future couples can only hope to have this level of support for their labor and birth. Your continued support and encouragement does not go unnoticed. Thank you ALL from the bottom of our hearts!
Welcome to the World this 7lb. beautiful Baby Nova, no doubt you are LOVED! Your Mom & Dad gave you the very best and safest right of passage into Life! Congrats again to this awesome Family!
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