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Five ways to overcome common Labor Hurdles

Updated: Sep 25, 2019

Whether you are a first time expectant couple or you have done this thing called “BIRTH” numerous times, you must be prepared to jump a variety of hurdles. If you previously ran track, this may be overly familiar to you, however, the athleticism involved in “giving birth” is more like running a marathon, with a series of hurdle jumping thrown in! The hurdles could be throughout pregnancy, during labor, postpartum or while breastfeeding. But, mark my word, You will have hurdles at some point and how you choose to handle them will either add to or take away from your birth story!

In the first labor of Amy Clevenger, two years earlier, she endured several long exhausting days of labor (3 days to be exact) due to an asynclitic head presenting. Her powerful contractions had her body working overtime to get baby out of her body. In this situation, for the laboring mom you can't get the baby out fast enough.

First Tip...

A GOOD PELVIC ADJUSTMENT by a specially trained Chiropractor (The Webster Technique)

We do what we can to avoid similar situations and Josh had phoned me to share the midwife had confirmed baby #2 was in fact asynclitic like the first. Take the information being shared with you and use it to your advantage before labor starts! You can’t ever go wrong trying to prevent long labor or back labor. It’s worth all the effort, because classic labor is so much easier to manage.

Second tip... train properly for your labor!

Josh and Amy trained twelve weeks in The Bradley Method (r). They learned effective coping techniques to best manage labor long or short. They understood the Bradley Energy Saving Techniques and how to use them to their advantage.

Amy had physically prepared her body and mentally prepared her mind, should she experience long labor again.

I received this text from Josh early September 8th, 2019 at 7:15 a.m.

Ok boss, hopefully I didn’t wake you. Amy is rocking it obviously. Let me sleep until 5ish. She listened to relaxation music throughout the night said it really helped her. Steady contractions all night we’re still at 6 minutes, but there’s some strong ones starting.

Third Tip...

Don’t skip meals, because there will come a time when you can no longer eat and we need energy to sustain us if a long labor plays out. If heaven forbid there should be an emergency simply answer the question “When was the last time she had anything to eat or drink?“... honestly when they ask.

Text 7:34 a.m.

It’s weird, she’s pretty with it still, but the contractions seem strong. She’s been eating and drinking all night and had a bagel. Protein may not fly, but I’ll try. Come around 10 a.m.

Active Labor progresses despite an active two year old playing
Dad times contractions using Full Term app

Text from Josh 7:38 a.m....

Yeah I’ve been pushing her to sleep in between she’s worried about the little one.

I sent a reminder to pace herself and free her mind in regards to childcare for their little one (it was obvious parents would not make it from out of state in time). If their son needed to come along to the hospital, my team and I, would over see him also (stress releases adrenaline and will slow labor back down). We clearly did not want stress or anything else to hinder her this time. Upon my arrival, Amy was experiencing some back discomfort, however, she could not tolerate counter pressure and preferred a light touch. In The Bradley Method training course, it is otherwise known as the stroking technique.

Fourth Tip...

Learn the art of relaxation as it applies to labor.

The uterus does not take kindly to interference from other muscle groups. Mom’s ultimate job is to stay OUT of the UTERUS’ way by breathing deeply and sinking. Sadly, what comes instinctive to most women also happens to be incorrect techniques. For example, tensing up and holding breath when contractions get tough. You have to have the contraction and the discomfort associated with it, you do not have to increase your pain levels by doing things incorrectly during the contraction. There is a better easier way to do business. Quality education in the natural process is key. I arrived a few minutes after 10 a.m. to find Amy progressing exceptionally well. She still had not seen any bloody show or mucous indicating progress, but the length and strength of her contractions was evident to me things were picking up again.

Late labor contractions change Mom's demeanor
Powerful contraction causes Mom to sink down onto the kitchen floor

Their goal was to not get to the hospital too soon, however, since Amy had tested positive for group b she needed to arrive soon enough for the standard round of preventative antibiotics.

YBH Doula Apprentice, Amanda Allen arrived and we took turns assisting and overseeing the little one with Dad, as well. Amy had mastered her relaxation and could not have been more namaste throughout.

Doula helps oversee two year old son while mom labors
Doula Apprentice Amanda Allen helps entertain client's son during labor at home

Amy and Josh’s choice to labor at home in their own relaxing environment had paid off. There were no danger signs, both she and baby were healthy. Everything went smoothly with one exception, it was obvious Grandparents would not make it in time. Fortunately, the labor had progressed to a point where Amy didn’t have time to care anymore, aka transition length contractions. Phoenix would join us for the birth of his surprise gender sibling. Which as you can see he was totally on board with! He occasionally pops in to check on mommy. Then runs back off to play.

We submerged as much of mom‘s belly as possible to grant her low back and abdomen as much relief and weightlessness as possible.

Tip Five...

Consider what will take place once admitted to your birth place. For example, it would be a while before Amy could utilize tub again. She would go to triage for initial internal exam, have IV placed, fluids and preventative round of antibiotics before being cleared to utilize tub again. So, consider doing a few things before leaving home, that may not transpire, (at least initially) at your birth place , to make the transition to hospital more relaxing. Most women relax well in tub or shower.

Son looks on while mom breathes through contraction
Mom labors in tub with use of peanut ball

Josh rounded up the last minutes for the car ride: her water bottle, wash cloth, covered seat in car (water had not broken) and MOM enjoyed the bath one last time before we headed out. Just shortly after 1:00 pm, we dressed mom, loaded her in the car (along with their two year old) and prepared to head out. The contractions were consistently lasting 90 seconds or more every 3 minutes or so. The drive was less than 15 minutes to St. Mary's hospital in Athens, Georgia from their home. On Sunday's, the main entrance is closed. We would have to admit through the Emergency department and wind our way to LDR on 3rd floor. The ultimate goal was to get her routine antibiotics and settled into her room before she began experiencing pressure to bear down.

Two year old heads to hospital for birth of his sibling
Baby sitters aka grandparents too far out, contractions too close together to wait

Amy did not want to know the results from her triage exam. The last labor was made more trying with knowledge of an unchanging cervix.

Midwife Meredith and nurse Jessica were delightfully surprised when we arrived. Amy was so controlled and relaxed, yet her dilation was considered complete upon arrival.

The midwife asked aloud, would it be okay to tell Amy results if it was really good and Amy immediately said, “NO! I don’t want to know!“ Meredith looked at me and whispered 10 cm with full rim. Amy planned to labor down (just breathe until she had to push), so no worry there. She used her deep, low register noises and would wait until absolutely necessary to push. Well, that and the hospital was very busy and we were still waiting on a room to be cleaned.

Her IV was placed, fluids and antibiotics started, but our job didn’t change. We simply kept working through each contraction.

It was go time - go down the hall to her room and go time as in ready to push a baby out! When the time arrived, Dad would announce the gender. Although, I found it humorous that when I asked their son, Phoenix, is it a boy or a girl? He would always light up like a Christmas tree when I said Girl 😍 I think Phoenix was onto something!

She utilized classic push position. Dad and I, assisted with helping support her lower legs. Midwife, Meredith Turner, was ready to catch, as with the first push Amy’s water broke.

Baby #2 head position and mom‘s pelvis had been readjusted by two amazing Chiropractors. Amy's decision to try chiropractic had really paid off. Props to both Dr. Emily Parham and Dr. MacKenzie Puckett, as baby’s head was clearly perfectly aligned with birth canal. In just six short pushes baby emerged!

Baby is out!!
Baby decends quickly after 40 min labor down - Baby born 5-6 pushes later

Dad announced, “IT’S A GIRL”... and cheers and tears began to flow! The look on Amy’s face says it all! She couldn’t believe it was a girl!

Mom is shocked that surprise gender is a girl
Surprise Gender Dad announces It's A GIRL!

The added excitement included: a surprise gender, baby #2 being born as their two year old watched on and the icing on the cake was the first BABY GIRL born with The Clevenger family name in 27 YEARS! The dry spell was over...except from Dad’s eyes!

#SymbioticBirth a healthy blend of low intervention and normality
Dad looks on his new baby born completely drug free

The room was immediately filled with JOY and celebration for Baby Kaia‘s arrival. Kudos to Mom and Dad on their second drug free #SymbioticBirth experience!

Phoenix gives mom a well deserved KISS! He blew it and then touched it to her lips 😘

Two year old congratulates mom on birth of his sister
Son Phoenix gives mom a well deserved kiss

Wide eyed and alert - baby locks eyes 🤩

Welcome to the World and to our amazing #AthensBirthFamily Little Miss Kaia Aurora born at 2:40 p.m.

It's a GIRL!
Baby Clevenger swaddled and ready for first nap

The #AthensDoulaDreamTeam could not be more proud of you both! You trained, you prepared your body, you rocked your labor and you pushed like a champ! What I sum up as, "row your boat!" Wow, way to use those abs and proper pushing techniques Amy! NATURAL BIRTH... #NailedIt

Special thanks to the staff of Women’s Healthcare Associates & St. Mary’s hospital! We appreciate your support in helping couples accomplish their birthing goals.

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