Meet the Hickok family, now party of four. The couple first contacted me regarding training and assistance for attempting natural birth in her second trimester. This the perfect time to get serious! If you want a different outcome than your previous labor and birth, you must not repeat what you did the first time. Different results come from a different course of action, not just saying the words, "I am going to have a natural birth." For Brittany, her first was an average epidural experience despite her shorter than normal length of labor. Nothing out of the ordinary which necessarily dictated use pain management, but fear seems to consume you when you don’t have a skillset to cope with contractions nor any idea what she was supposed to be doing. This situation also leaves men clueless of how to assist in any way. This time around she desired to attempt natural birth WITH education, training and a doula to ensure her success. We discussed a plan of action for her to achieve her birthing goals and then she got busy executing them.
Brittany was formerly the energetic mother of one daughter, but after a few labor to do's, including the new Aladdin movie (during early contractions) after, on to Publix for her favorite sub sandwich well, now they have two girls! It's a story sure to empower other couples.
Let me start at the beginning. She and her husband Joey reside in Covington, but planned to birth with the Women’s Healthcare midwives in Athens, Ga. Their car ride would include approximately 46+ miles by car. Dad's greatest fear for unpredictable baby #2.... you guessed it, Having the BABY in the CAR!
After the movie and sandwich run they were in route to M2b Family farm to walk the hillswhen suddenly her bag of waters broke. Dad turned the car around and they immediately called me to be in route to join them at St. Mary's. Based on the outcome of this birth story, I wonder if Dad would've preferred catching his own in the car? Best keep reading to find out...
Closer to her due date we met to walk the greenway in an attempt to help prep her body for labor and get baby‘s head lower. Let me say, Brittany, at nine months pregnant, gave me a workout. I was quite impressed! That should’ve been a red flag to me that as quickly as she walked me, her baby might be in a hurray and follow suit. They attended a Your Birth Helper workshop to learn both coping and coaching skills and husband Joey, quickly realized there is a lot involved in even one of many stages of labor, let alone all three. Brittany's number one goal for baby #2 was a low intervention natural birth. Dad's #1 goal well, having a baby in the hospital, not the car...lol.
The couple arrived and began walking around the hospital lobby managing contractions together until a doctor observed them and politely escorted them upstairs. As soon as I arrived, Joey text me her room# I entered quickly, ran through the parking deck, through the lobby and up the elevator to the room. When I was two doors down I heard a baby crying. I opened the door to find this...
I congratulated mom and scanned the room... I did not recognize the doctor?
I immediately asked, "Where is Joey?" Brittany replied, "They sent him to registration."
I said hello to an unfamiliar doctor, "who caught the baby", but he clearly appeared to be "caught off guard himself." Apparently, someone just grabbed him quickly from the hall. Poor fellow! I also said hello to the nurse and a few moments after, Jessica assisted with the placenta. Funny Jessica grew up at my home church and well, now has several kids of her own. We appreciate her support of natural birth.
Dad arrived shortly after and I welcomed him bedside for new family bonding time.
Amanda Allen, YBH Doula Apprentice arrived next, followed by the midwife (still in running shorts and tennis shoes), no doubt she ran all the way to the hospital!
We encouraged Brittany to share details with Joey as to what exactly transpired after the staff suggested he go downstairs to officially register her. The couple had fun reminiscing their crazy birth story.
She had not just lost her mucous plug, but when accompanied by hints of color red or pink, we call that mom's bloody show. It had been a busy morning, but the afternoon was about to get way busier. When the call came in that this was happening...
One thing for sure, they would not be driving his vehicle to the hospital. Brittany had to also finish working, then get Joey where he needed to go, pick the dog up from the animal hospital, care for their daughter, cook dinner, etc. so needless to say, her contractions were disappearing about as fast as they began.
Women and men need to understand this basic concept and how the body works or shall I say, "doesn't work" when moms are placed in stressful situations. Our bodies are so amazing and even when we are not aware, working overtime to try to protect our unborn babies. When adrenaline is released in the body it causes contractions to become ineffective, the labor begins to slow and it also can STOP labor contractions completely shutting down the labor. One of the many jobs of labor coach, is to keep mom a peaceful environment, help her remove and avoid stress and/or avoid people who stress her out, etc.. Now, in Joey's defense, this was totally out of his control and he did an awesome job, despite the chaos that followed the fire, to ensure their daughter, dog and others were okay. The vehicles parked nearby were last priority.
Now for the details of what exactly transpired in room #3109 at St. Mary's hospital on June 9th, 2019 in the ten short minutes prior to birth that Brittany was left to labor alone...
First, allow me to say again to all expectant couples, You CAN say "NO thanks" to leaving the room. You should say, "NO thanks" to leaving mom to labor alone. You are having a baby, Mom and Dad aren't going anywhere immediately after. Therefore, "NO thanks~ registration and paperwork CAN WAIT"... your baby, if ready to be born, WILL NOT WAIT. Now, in the staff's defense, most couples do not come in hot ready to drop a kid. However, like in this story, it happens and when mom is unmedicated, it’s even more unpredictable. When the expulsion pain hits, there is no misunderstanding that sensation. Now, in Joey’s defense, Brittany was still interactive, talking in between contractions. She shared she needed to empty her bladder and was feeling the urge to have a bowel movement in the midst of the admitting protocol. Brittany walked to the bathroom, emptied her bladder and immediately the urge intensified. With the next contraction, she confessed to us in that moment her immediate thought was "I want that epidural!" Well, hello! Anyone surprised by this statement? What woman being left alone and vulnerable so late in labor would not speak those words? Often, when a woman has properly trained to cope and manage labor drug free, it is in this moment we know she is very close to giving birth. It's known as the surrendering process. Mom IS in control of whether she surrenders her body to "give birth" or tries to restrict and control the pressure, tenses up her gluts and use of any other antagonistic muscle action in an attempt to prevent the baby from descending and entering the birth canal.
The nurse checked and well immediately Brittany went from the toilet to straight back to the bed. A few short contractions later, the head was crowning. The staff seeing the midwife would ot make it in time, grabbed Dr. Samit Patel from the hallway. He caught the baby which emerged after five whole pushes and they notified registration to send Joey back upstairs asap. Meanwhile, I began capturing some video clips of the babies first moments with mom. After YBH Doula Apprentice, Amanda Allen arrived, we began tag teaming moms needs. Retrieving photos, orange juice, capturing the birth story while fresh on their minds and even giving mom a well deserved massage during her golden hour of skin to skin. Midwife, Hannah Turner, CNM did a full assessment and after mom was good to go. Brittany couldn't believe how good she felt so soon after birth.
Another wonderful benefit of drug-free natural birth, the birth climax. A rush of natural hormones that rejuvenate mom from her hard work of labor and give her the needed strength to interact with baby. Even though Brittany had nursed her first, I reviewed and assisted mom and Baby Ava with proper positioning and the what to do's of breastfeeding. Ava Grace was an immediate champ at nursing! Simply put, Baby was Great! Mom was Great! And, everyone who walked into the room that evening couldn't believe how good Brittany looked so soon after giving birth! We can, because we see it all the time, as the majority of our clients experience low intervention drug-free births. There are multiple benefits to both moms and babies for trying regardless of the final outcome. Babies are almost always better off from the stimulation of labor contractions. But, like Brittany, if it doesn't happen the first time, well try try again! Just don't repeat the same scenario twice and expect a different more favorable outcome. Remember, if you want different results, you must not repeat what you did or didn't do the first time. Different results come from a different course of action, not just saying the words, "I am going to have a natural birth," but actually preparing for it and executing it! Specifically, for Brittany and Joey that was enlisting the support of a doula, getting some quality childbirth education and labor do's and don'ts, switching to a hospital that supports low intervention birth and changing to a midwife practice cities away known to encourage drug-free birth not just go along with it. As Your Birth Helper Doulas, our job to ensure moms wishes are not just supported, but that she is actually encouraged to meet and exceed her goals for her birth. It's what I call #SymbioticBirth and it matters. Is mom and baby okay? Is it medically necessary or not? What are our other options? These are just a few of the many training points that can change your entire experience and create happier "birth" days!
And, now for those of you who didn’t cheat the details of this blog post, here are some helpful tips from MOM Brittany on how to achieve your own happy “BIRTH”day:
Favorite Time Passer in Labor ~
In my ten hours of labor, definitely going to the movies (we saw Aladdin) was my favorite time passing activity. Our doula suggested so we could both be closer to our birth place city and away from the demands of our two year old. It took my mind off the contractions and it was nice to have one last mini date before baby.
Describe your labor contractions~
Blogs and medical articles always seem to describe contractions as a "wave" which I truly did not understand the feeling until my experience. I could feel the contractions starting then peak then subside. For me, it wasn't a sharp pain, just a feeling of "cramping."
Why did you choose a Doula for your second labor~
Whether or not to choose a doula should be part of your birth experience, should not even be a question. I can't speak for every doula service, but I can attest that Pam and her Your Birth Helper team, served as a wealth of knowledge for us at any time needed much of which was before and after labor. I could text, call, connect anytime I had questions or just wanted to ask a question or share an update. A great Doula doesn't just show up at the hospital and assist bedside and disappear. They serve as your ally in helping you educate, prepare for and empower you to have the birth you desire. My only regret is that I didn't have a doula with my first daughters labor and birth.
What were your greatest challenges during postpartum with a growing family~
Resting! Pam teaches the majority of all postpartum issues can be solved with adequate rest. Sounds easy, but we are a very busy family and we are always on the go. So, taking time to rest has definitely been challenging. We also have a 2.5 year old daughter who has a hard time understanding her mama has to rest.
Thanks Brittany & Joey for choosing Your Birth Helper! And, remember for growing families always attempt to educate the little ones of what is growing inside moms tummy and what is going to come out. Now as for the details, that's up to you. Just remember kids are way smarter than we would like to give them credit for. Choose age appropriate words and explanations. Don't forget pets struggle with additions sometimes too. One tip take the initial hat worn right after birth and place it in your pets bed before bringing home baby and your pets can be familiar with the scent of the baby prior to your arrival. Shown here, Big Sister Harper, reads about moms heart being big enough to give affections to the new baby too!