This is the low back/ sacrum of expectant mom Jennie Harrison. What we know about the sacrum is it known as the keystone of the body. It is NOT a baby exit! Unfortunately, some baby's do not get the memo and try to make their own exit. For most women, a classic contraction starts in the back and crashes in the front like a low menstrual cramp only stronger. In the event of back labor, the low back pain is ever present and only intensifies with each contraction. To say this makes for a challenging labor would be an understatement. Sadly, Jennie had an appointment for a pelvic adjustment the day after her birth. Simple suggestion for all expectant moms, if your back hurts when you have your monthly cycle and your back continues to aggravate you while pregnant do yourself and your back a favor, find a Webster certified chiropractor and have a good pelvic adjustment. Back labor changes everything and pain levels are often off the chart with little breaks, if any, in between contractions.
I asked Jennie and Blake the following questions to better serve readers who may experience a challenging labor or birth:
How would you describe your back labor contractions?
Back labor contractions to me felt like burning, stabbing sensations in my lower back and pelvic area. When I saw the picture Pam took of the outline of my baby's head in the center of my sacrum then I understood why I was feeling what I was feeling. I could feel the contractions slightly around my uterus, as well, which felt more manageable in the long run. The contractions I felt in my back exhausted me to the point I could no longer truly relax so my body was more tense and the contractions became more intense and way less manageable.
Rear facing toilet sitting allows your coach or doula to apply counter pressure directly to the sacrum and S.I. joints in the pelvis. Don't forget other comfort measures such as hot or cold packs, massage techniques, & hands and knees position.
What Adjectives would you use to describe your coach / husband?
Amazing, strong, calm, encouraging, supportive, persistent and irreplaceable!
Coach should stand straight up no leaning forward, slightly bent knees helps and at least shoulder wide spread for more support. Switch up positions every 30 minutes to encourage progress and help you save your back also!
What I enjoyed the most about laboring in an out of hospital birth center was...
Having a relaxed spa like atmosphere with an abundance of options for laboring (The giant TUB, spacious bathroom, real bed, etc.) and the encouragement to move about as I felt the need. I can say without a doubt the TUB, warm water and dark room helped me relax the most.
Your labor coach or Doula can help support your head throughout labor, but extra helpful during hands and knees positioning. Our heads weigh way more than some may think. Also, when mom is extra tired while in the tub, its particularly helpful to make sure moms head doesn't sink or relax into the water.
After having managed such a challenging labor, how do you feel your 12 segments in The Bradley Method® helped you during pregnancy, labor and beyond?
Without the Bradley course, I don't think I would have been prepared for such a tough labor. I was able to labor for over 16 excruciating hours of back labor without intervention, because I utilized the relaxation techniques of allowing my body to work rather than fighting against the contractions. Relaxation, along with the breathing techniques and trying alternative positions, helped me keep my mind in tune with what my body was experiencing.
If someone asked, why choose an experienced doula? What would your response be?
I would recommend any woman going through childbirth to have a Doula. I know I couldn't have made it through without Pam. Having someone with her experience of positions to get the baby to cooperate with the body during labor, knowing how to respond to unexpected situations or when the birth plan must be altered, supporting you through every contraction, her expertise with medical interventions and educating to help you decide when they are necessary and her support for my husband as he coached made it possible for us to get through a hard labor, transport after meconium staining and avoid C-section, and follow our birth plan as much as possible through it all.
Labor began Monday evening around 11:30 p.m., We arrived at the birth center when contractions were 3-4 minutes apart lasting beyond 60 seconds each, but sadly they learned they were only 1cm dilated and it was suspected baby was in posterior position. The couple residing over an hour and half away in South Carolina, made the decision to stick around town and do some walking etc. outside and inside center. Once the baby's first stool was confirmed in the leaking amniotic fluid, protocol is a routine transport down the street to Greenville Memorial Hospital. Shown here mom is namaste in the front seat of car in between episodes of vomiting.
Mom gets settled into her hospital room and continues to labor as a champ despite throwing up repeatedly and excruciating back pain. It was clear to avoid a c-section we had to get baby turned around. The decision was made to utilize epidural and utilize key position changes with peanut ball prior to surgery. However, there is no skipping ahead, first step the couple started with an IV being placed and two bags of fluid. The call was made to the anesthesiologist by the nurse that Jennie’s prep had been completed, Unfortunately, the anesthesiologist was in surgery so, Jennie‘s relief was bumped. Surgery always takes precedence. This happens girls, you must have a skillset to manage contractions, short or long term or as I like to say it: Before and after pain management. Jennie continued to manage as best she could until the anesthesiologist could get her epidural placed. Even after, we still had work cut out for us. Getting baby‘s head realigned, monitoring the meconium staining making sure baby was good to continue labor and get baby downtown and ready to exit. For Blake and Jennie, the ultimate goal was still to avoid cesarean. With the epidural in place, in the event of medically necessary surgery, general anesthesia (in which dad is not present at birth), if emergency caesarean occurred would no longer be a concern. After about an hour of well deserved rest, we began adjusting moms position every 30 minutes, in an attempt to get baby’s head into the birth canal and help turn and rotate baby off moms sacrum. Then the moment we all had worked for finally arrived the words, “10cm dilated and ok to push!”
Welcome to the World and finally into the arms of mom & dad baby OPIE!
To recap, Labor started around Monday, June 10th 11:30pm. He was born Tuesday June 11th at 10:53pm. OPIE weighed in at 7lb 9 oz and was 20.5 inches long. As you can see, he is very loved And welcomed by a huge room of family who patiently waited for him to find the REAL EXIT!
Congrats to Mom and Dad, Blake for such dedication to he natural way and empowering each other along the way!
No doubt, I am #OneProudChildbirthEducator and #OneProudDoula 🙌 when couples learn, prepare and navigate through such hurdles to bring forth life I can’t help but beam with pride for them! It was my pleasure! Couples begin as students, but they end as family... #BirthFamily!