Brionna & Spencer both intended on avoiding induction with their second pregnancy. They educated, trained and prepared for a low intervention natural birth experience.
Initially, some good news altered their decision- already 4cm dilated!
She certainly was not expecting to have back to back contractions for three hours, nor stay 4cm dilated for over 7 hours, nor did she think a car ride back home sounded good. Their daughter was taken care of, their doula had arrived and everyone was ready to work on trying to naturally progress labor. Remember, the earliest phases of labor are typically the longest and you will progress much faster in your own relaxing environment, but Brionna was already there. This is why we encourage couples to make sure the 4-1-1, 5-1-1 or 6-1-1 labor pattern is met, prior to leaving for the hospital, as long as, no danger signs present.
After many hours of labor, her contraction pattern continued to slow and both the midwife and doula, respecting her birth plan, encouraged Brionna to go back home. As taught in class, ACOG considers active labor to be around 6cm dilated and at least in a 60 second or more duration with a five minute frequency and consistent for over an hour (as in longer than 60 seconds).
After reviewing their options, they made the decision to remain at the hospital and move forward with induction as her husband was tired, already missing work and both of them using their PTO (paid time off). Hormones and being tired certainly alter birth plans for a lot of couples. It was encouraging she was already 4cm dilated with only 50 second long contractions. They were just ready to finish the job. It was a challenging decision, because her first labor she had an allergic reaction to the drug Pitocin, which is commonly used in combination with epidural use to progress labor after the pain medicine slows contractions. The Pitocin caused her to itch and terribly irritated her skin. It wasn't long before she found herself in the self doubt phase of labor, however, they had sent their doula home and had not yet called their doula to return, instead they, moved forward with an epidural.
What happens next pretty much sums up the unpredictability of natural childbirth and an unmedicated uterus. Brionna wanted me to remind you ladies and gents, that it doesn't matter what your cervical dilation is, when your body is ready to expel a baby, it will! And, when you get to the "I can't do this!" self doubt phase, you are closer to a baby than you may believe. Surrendering is a huge part of the process. Stay Staunch! Remind her it is just a contraction and focus on good positioning and mental and emotional relaxation. You both CAN DO IT, even though it is challenging work for both Mom and Dad, especially when we are so tired.
Here is the induction story as told by mom Brionna Bramble of Rock Hill, SC.
I sum up my second birth story this way, "It was one of the hardest, yet most rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced!"
Highlights and Time line below:
-Went in due to back to back non-stop contractions for 3 hrs, however they were still short of 10sec long for meeting the 5-1-1 milestone as suggested before arrival
-Internal exam dilation upon arrival was 4cm, agreed to an aggressive membrane sweep
-We were given a room and called in my doula around 5:30 a.m.
-We walked, bounced on ball, did some positions to help engage and move baby down, utilized breast pump a few times to release oxytocin, etc.
-Time went on and the contractions slowed
-Second cervical check revealed still only 4 cm
-We were given the option to go home, but we had been there for 7 hours already and we were just so ready to get him here
-Started Pitocin to get the contractions going again and hoped to labor on my own, as long as I could, before deciding on epidural
-Contractions had gotten pretty strong and some tears were flowing so, I decided it was time for an epidural
-Anesthesia doctor arrived and placed the epidural at 4:30 pm
-Midwife checked me immediately after and I was still only 4cm
-With the next contraction she said I'm going to check to see if your cervix will stretch and she found it was and considered me officially at 6-7 cm
- We opted to allow her to break my water
- Midwife and the nurse exit the room
-Instantly, I start feeling much stronger contractions and told Spencer something isn’t right. As I can still both feel and move my legs, but he reassured me the epidural was just placed and there had not been enough time for it to take effect and start working
-Contractions became "what I thought in the moment" as unbearable.. so,
-Spencer ran to get the nurse and she rechecked me. I was 8cm within minutes of them leaving and my baby’s head was right there
-She messaged the midwife and went to get the cart for delivery
-In those moments, I didn’t think I could do it (as in I felt everything), but our bodies are so amazing
-Despite my technically having an unexpected unmedicated birth (since my epidural hadn't worked), I was still able to FOCUS and PUSHED out a 9.3 lb BABY without even a single tear 🤍
I’m so thankful to have had an amazing group of women coach me thru my pregnancy & labor! Your Birth Helper, LLC was truly amazing to us!
Our Your Birth Helper Symbiotic Birth Doula's come alongside couples to both help them better prepare for variations of labor and overcome labor challenges together making the very best decisions for them and their baby. Birth can be made easier with education and training and much better when both hospital staff and birth support people work together so that Mom experiences the least amount of discomfort possible and for others what is only truly medically necessary, not routine. All of what we know helps to create happier "BIRTH" days!
Congratulations Bramble family and thanks for sharing tips for our readers! Special thanks to Lena May, CD, CCE, YBHD, Nancy Cook, BSN, CCE, CD, YBHD and the amazing staff at Piedmont OBGYN and nursing staff of Atrium Health in Pineville, NC.