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The Birth of “Story”

Not to be confused with a birth story... this is the journey of baby Story’s birth! Story found her “womb service” (thanks to mom Elizabeth) to be extremely comfortable and she was in no hurry, due date or not. She would take parents on an incredible, often a confusing, transition into parenthood, before she would make her grand exit into their arms.

Tips from Mom:

We are so happy we made the decision to educate and prepare for birth. I feel like we’ve grown together from training and beyond. It’s affected our approach to childbirth and the way we plan to bring our future children into the world. For me, the actual birth process made me really feel more loved than ever and know that he’s the only one in the entire world I could have experienced that with—I truly found my soulmate.

I think my water broke...? These contractions haven’t let up...? They keep coming stronger and more regular...? Your water didn’t break... you have a posterior cervix.... the contractions went away during the night. Yes, for weeks Elizabeth and Aaron’s baby exercised patience.

Mom and Dad, on the other hand were ready and tired of waiting. They had several bouts of practice labor runs and once even thought the water had broken, but despite all the fun baby Story was just fine where she was and like most healthy first time moms who carry 8 days over their due date, well Story was going to do the same.

Tips from Mom:

I didn’t believe people when Pam shared you would know when your contractions are actually real labor contractions. But it’s true. There is no mistaking them!

Pam suggested based on all my bouts of labor and back pain, to go to a Webster certified chiropractor for a good pelvic adjustment. I did not go, but I highly suggest you do. I think exercising and not letting myself go, made my labor possible. If I were out of shape, it would have been impossible to manage such a difficult labor, most likely ending in surgery.

The couple trained in The Bradley Method (r). Aaron was prepared for his coaching role! In 12 segments of study, the boys not only learn how to best support and coach mom, but also help relieve additional pain for mom through proper positions and relaxation techniques.

Tips from Dad:

Attending childbirth classes, created an irreplaceable bond.

Walking through childbirth together, helps you fall even more in love with each other.

Be as involved as your wife will let you.

Dads should not just sit on the sidelines.

Be supportive to her and willing to do whatever is needed.

Although, residents of north Georgia, they had chosen the Greenville Birth Center, (along with their classmates shown above), as their choice to labor and hopefully give birth. Since Elizabeth was healthy/low risk, and Dad works in Anderson, SC, it just seemed a great fit for them. They also chose Your Birth Helper as their Doula support team.

Shown above the couple prepares to “walk baby down“ by walking up the mountain in Clarkesville, Ga. Elizabeth was such a team player. She attended multiple UGA baseball games and met up with me several times for baby evacuation prep fun! We also walked the greenway and loosened up hips with full squats after a yummy Mamas Boy breakfast.

Elizabeth was very in shape, nutritional sound from her Brewer “pink sheet” pregnancy diet and fit as they come and little did she know how those Abs would come in handy on her baby’s birth day!

Tips from Mom:

I can’t imagine not having taken the class. I planned for no epidural and that’s all I knew prior to the class. Aaron didn’t know any better than what he’s heard from other people’s experiences. So, I think he would have been super pro medical intervention immediately when they hit because he didn’t know better. I wouldn’t have been able to take my stand and labor through until I absolutely needed the intervention. I also had no idea how to fight contractions. So I would have ended up with a c section after the pushing contractions hit, because I wouldn’t have known better than to just push.

We also encouraged relaxation, frequent naps (We snuck in a 30 minute nap for her) and I suggested earlier bedtimes now that she was beyond her due date. It seems Elizabeth hadn't been getting much rest. To get into active labor, we must get into a relaxed restful state. Nearly 80% of women will begin labor in wee hours of the morning after midnight. So, imagine you waited until midnight to go to bed and “BAM” you are awakened by regular contractions. Sleep is imperative for labor. Labor is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes, couples forget this. We need more sleep and rest near term and after birth than ever before! Because... there is little to no sleep during labor.

We do our best to balance work and rest. Changing positions every thirty minutes when possible. No doubt Elizabeth and Aaron worked hard and long hours.

Shown above out in the walking garden, midwife checks in on baby.

We created a relaxing environment for work during the night. Between being sick, hot and totally exhausted, it was all Elizabeth could do to center herself. we Encouraged Aaron to rest and get off his feet a while too.

The couple endured strong consistent contractions, coupled with back pain that didn’t let up and baby struggled to move down. Aaron spoke encouragement into her through each contraction.

The birth center lighting and atmosphere was perfect for night time labor. It wasn’t soon before the tub was filled, the correct temperature and ready.

Elizabeth relaxed well in the tub and was able to even get a few minutes of sleep in between each contraction. She was so very exhausted.

Tips from Mom:

Singing and making low noises helped tolerate the contractions the most, but focus on breathing even more so you don’t lose control. Aaron holding onto me always helped my contractions be bearable and then rubbing my belly and thinking about how I wasn’t suffering alone but Story wasn’t in a comfortable situation either. Having compassion for my baby helped.

The couple began slow dancing to try to increase the station and encourage natural decent with use of gravity. It wasn’t long before the sun began rising and we became more and more active to help naturally progress labor. The very day Story was born, Elizabeth had been scheduled for a medical induction. Her homework had paid off and the induction would not be necessary after all. However, working through the night on little to no sleep would challenge her energy level to complete the job.

What would later be necessary was an IV and fluids, to try to replenish all the fluids mom had lost during the labor thus far while throwing up (a normal part of labor and very common in transition phase). She had tried some Italian Lemon Ice, but unfortunately her stomach was like no thanks! Although, we prefer to avoid vomiting and IV whenever possible, the use of cool cloth, peppermint oil and switching to ice chips doesn‘t always rectify the problem if mom can’t keep anything down.

We started with trying to empty the bladder which many laboring moms find difficult. Leaning in helps take the edge off the contractions, but it also increases the pressure and many women are not happy about taking contractions there. However, if you have the need to urinate at peak of the contractions, then toilet sitting is a great place to be! Amanda Allen, YBH Doula Apprentice, assisted Elizabeth with releasing as much tension as possible.

Elizabeth‘s uterus was working overdrive trying to get Story’s head in the birth canal. When the head is in an acynclitical position and struggles to align with the birth canal, the head station, dilation of cervix, as well as, overall length of labor can be greatly challenged.

Tips from Mom:

Something very important is remember that just because the woman is the one carrying the baby and physically in labor, it doesn’t mean your husband isn’t part of the process and he isn’t going through emotions too. This is his baby too and he is invested. He feels a totally different weight, because two people he loves more than anything are in a challenging situation and all he can do is be supportive, a great coach and apply what he has learned from class. He is a huge part of the process. Let him in!

Shown above her uterus pulls forward to try to align head. Mom uses peanut ball to keep hips loose and slack and continue to give baby Story an opportunity to allow the natural course of labor to progress. Soon it was time to sneak in another nap in between the powerful contractions.

Tips from Mom:

I feel like the advice Pam shared with me about not skipping bases And throwing your birth plans out the window in a long labor like this was so helpful. Go to the next step, don’t get discouraged and jump way down aka c-section. Without training, I definitely would have had a C section. I can look back and say I could have had her if she wouldn’t have gotten stuck at -3 station. Knowing how to overcome that scenario and what work it would take to do so helped us give true informed consent.

Elizabeth has been using low register words in the form of singing like her baby’s name. Repeating consistently through the contractions slowly singing, “Stoooorrryy, Stoooorryy...” until the uterus released in which she would try to sleep again.

we could all sympathized with her labor. Very common first time labor, slow station change, slow to dilate cervix and back pain.. bless!

Dad shared...

The hardest part of labor for me as Coach was watching my wife in agonizing pain and feeling like there was nothing I could do.

At her next cervical check, it was found she had a large bag of water in front of the baby’s head. The decision was made at this time to try amniotomy to lengthen contractions and try to lower baby’s head position to help finish off her cervical dilation. Unfortunately, the amniotic fluid had the presence of meconium. Both mom and baby were ok, but protocol is a routine transport to the local hospital follows (just in case) for protection of mom and baby. The couple took a moment to embrace and we dressed Elizabeth and loaded the car. Their birth center midwife followed and would remain with them for the remainder of labor.

Tips from Mom: I was disappointed when the meconium staining happened, but relieved too, because I needed a break so bad. I was so exhausted and hurting. I felt like the conversation about how the epidural could help me kind of set me free. I didn’t feel like I failed in any way, because I knew we had done everything we could and I had to listen to my body saying how exhausted and dehydrated I was. I had to look at it as a next step to try to get baby out vaginally, because I was so tired that I would have taken a C section. So, choosing to continue with an epidural, felt like a way to stay strong and finish what we started. I was relieved to know I was able to take a nap,(not everyone who has epidural can sleep), but I was still determined after my short rest, to push and hold my own legs back, just like I would have without the epidural. Getting the rest I needed, allowed me to be more alert and rested for when Story came. So, in my crossroads of labor the use of epidural was so much more wonderful, than it would have been if I had no energy to push or than if I would have just had major surgery.

Clearly, Elizabeth was wiped completely out, but she managed to muster up a partial smile for our transport photo. We all had worked through the night and into the next day...

Dad shared...

Their really aren’t adequate adjectives to describe how amazing Elizabeth was throughout her John 16:21 labor journey, but I’d say Brave, strong, tenacious & unflinching!

Once Elizabeth and Aaron we’re settled in down the street at Greenville Memorial, the decision was made to try to use an epidural as a last ditch effort to avoid c-section. In these sort of labor situations, at the crossroads we often call it... many couples choose to utilize medical interventions that can help them avoid surgery if all possible. In other-words, they choose to not skip bases (if mom and baby are okay) so, Elizabeth would try the epidural first and give her cervix and her contractions every opportunity to finish the job before. If surgery were to be needed, they would explore that when the time came.

The couple was very blessed, the time for surgery didn’t come, but the time for pushing did!

And, before you know it Elizabeth, held her own legs, curled over her belly and had given birth to her own self birthed “Story” now in her arms! They were relieved and instantly rejuvenate... she was just perfect! And, with a birth story like that, she clearly earned her name! Wait, which one...

Welcome to your #AthensBirthFamily little Miss Story Payne!! Mom shared this cool first few moments text:

“As soon as they put her on my chest when she came out, I told Aaron to put his hand under the blanket too, and she grabbed his finger and held on just 2 seconds old. 😭.”

Arrived safely into moms arms after days worth of labor. Mom has this to say about Aaron after some rest...

“Thank you so much for all your help! It was the hardest, but most special time ever. Even though we used the epidural, I didn’t feel like I failed, because I knew I had done everything I could have done before. I felt peace about it. It worked and I avoided surgery! And, p.s.

I feel like I love Aaron a zillion times more after that experience!”

Your Birth Helper is happy to have played a small role in enhancing their relationshi and helping them achieve their #SymbioticBirth or what I like to call, a happy “birth” day!

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