This week we’re featuring the first part of a two-part series written by doula, Maria Pokluda who was recently voted “Best Doula 2013” by Dallas Child Magazine. We hope you’re loving this series as much as we are. Maria was about to start her doula training when she birthed her third baby, and she had attended 100 births as a certified doula when she had her fourth baby. Enjoy Baby #3 Wes’s birth and get ready to be inspired by this thrilling birth!
Born on February 22, 2006 at 12:42 AM
Wes’s Birth Story
I woke up that morning feeling icky. I had also been ill in the night so I was tired as I got ready to go into work. During the day I was very sluggish. I even fell asleep during a class nap time. How nice to get a half hour snooze during the day! When we arrived home I told the kids I wanted to lay down for a while, and I hoped they would play nicely. I noticed that I was having some mild contractions and since they continued while I dozed, I decided to start timing them. Sure enough, they were every seven minutes, like clockwork. It was about four in the afternoon. At some point I called Brian about my plans for the evening and to see when he was planning on coming home. I also mentioned that I was contracting every seven minutes but that I was just keeping an eye on it. He arrived home as usual and as soon as he arrived I walked out the door to go to a girls’ night out. The contractions were getting stronger now, but still very manageable. I would say that it was about that time, around 6:30pm, that they went from mild to uncomfortable. I remember stopping outside the door of the host’s house to breathe through a contraction. At first I didn’t mention to the others that I thought I might be in labor. I was not sure myself. But as time went on the contractions became much closer together and much more painful, and it become obvious to everyone there. I enjoyed a large meal; in the back of my mind I thought it might be a while before I ate again. At one point I was squatting during a contraction and my friend Daisy was rubbing my lower back then another friend, Analyn, came up behind me with salad tongs and pretended to “catch” the baby! I was still denying that this was anything but early labor even as my friends were telling me to head to the hospital. However, by the time I left the dinner I knew I was in labor and I was beginning to hurt. I just wanted to jump in my tub and see if that helped. Daisy followed me home to make sure I was okay. It was around nine o’clock and the contractions were coming every three or four minutes.
Once home, I drew the tub and got in. Brian wanted to go to bed as we both figured I would labor all night and then, in the early morning, we would head to the hospital. He thought he would get some rest before things got more intense. By the time I got in the tub I was working hard during each contraction. Though they were closer together and harder I still figured it was early. I checked my cervix while in the tub and it seemed I might be three to four cms (ironically this was both the first and last time my cervix was checked and I have no idea if my estimation was accurate). I had no bloody show and no loss of my plug so I really was not convinced anything was happening.
The tub was perfect. If we had more hot water I would have stayed in there longer, but I was only in for about an hour. Brian decided to stay up and we had some chats while I was in the water. I was very proud that I was handling things well but still worried that I was in that much pain so early in the game. I wondered how I would handle the real thing. When the water got cold I got out of the tub and started to labor in our bedroom. I don’t know if it was getting out of the tub but contractions really started in earnest. I stacked some pillows on my bed and draped myself over them trying to relax and repeat the word “open” with each one. At some point the repetition became moaning. Brian suggested we go to the hospital. I resisted. At about 11:30pm I did decide to go ahead and call Cindy (our babysitter) so that she would be there for the kids. In the back of my mind though I really thought I must still be in early labor because still no show and no plug.
We called the OB right after we called Cindy. Of course I expected Dr. Cortez but when we got our call back it was some doctor I had never heard of and I was not happy. I knew Dr. Cortez would have worked with me to achieve natural birth but Dr. Standford did not seem interested. Basically I asked him if I would be hooked to a monitor and he said yes. I asked if I could walk around and he said no. I hung up on him during my next contraction. Cindy arrived right after I spoke with the doctor and I was furious. I told her I was stopping my contractions and waiting until Dr. Cortez was on call again. However, after she saw me have another contraction she encouraged us to get to the hospital regardless of my feelings about the doctor.
Within moments I had another contraction in my bedroom. I was leaning my body against the end of our bed and just as the contraction hit, my water broke, pouring down in one big gush. My pants caught most of the fluid but I was unable to remove my clothes on my own so Brian got me new clothes. At this point contractions were coming one after the other with about 30 seconds of rest time in between. Moving was difficult, thinking was difficult. I wanted to say goodbye to the kids. When I went to kiss Reese he woke up and came out but Brian got him back in bed. I don’t know how they could sleep anyway, I was very loud at this point. During another contraction I laid down on the kitchen floor. The cool kitchen tiles felt so soothing.
Finally we got in the car. I thought I would lay down in the back but I could not fit in because of the carseats. We had to remove one to get me in the minivan! I ended up draped over one of the captain’s chairs and I never moved to look out the window or anything. On the ride I noticed that now, between my contractions, I was actually resting. It was a strange sensation, as if time stood still. I know they were still just as close apart, if not closer, but the time between actually felt like a rest rather than a pause. I relished these moments. I was in my own world. I was not thinking about the baby, or the drive or my other kids. Then I felt Wes come down into the birth canal. There is no feeling like it, but when I felt it, I knew what it was. Wes was moments from being born and there was nothing I could do to not push him out, in the minivan or not. And I must admit that when I felt him come down I felt immense relief. I had made it through transition. I thought there was more intense pain to come and I wasn’t sure I could handle it, but now I knew I had done it. I did not stop to think that he might be born on the side of the road. I reached down and I could feel that the head was starting to crown.
I screamed, “Brian, the baby is coming now!” I felt the van surge under me but I had no idea where we were. I just hoped we were close. I also prayed, please God, give me two more minutes so we can make it to the hospital and Brian doesn’t have to deliver this baby. Somehow it seemed like the contractions did stretch out at that point, enough so that we pulled into the entrance of the hospital shortly after. Brian bolted out of the car and tried to get me out. I was unable to move at that point due to another strong contraction and he yelled he was going in to get me a wheelchair. I laughed. I had a baby’s head between my legs! I wasn’t going to be sitting on anything. After that contraction passed I got up and waddled to the door. The main entrance was locked so I had to go straight into the ER. I had not made it two feet inside the lobby when another contraction hit. Brian and a nurse ran out. I guess I made some pushing noises because the nurse yelled “don’t push, don’t push, lay down, lay down.” I yelled back that there was no way I could NOT push but I did lay down on the floor. The rest is a blur to me. There were people pulling my pants off and someone was told to bring a gurney. A man I assumed was a doctor looked between my legs and said, ”yes, the head is out”. He started yelling for people to bring suction, to bring clamps, to bring him stuff. I was lifted on the gurney and as I was wheeled from the lobby into the ER waiting room as another contraction hit. I pushed involuntarily and Wes’s shoulders arrived, seconds later I heard him cry and some ER doctor held up a purple, crying, wiggling baby for me to see. They did whatever they had to do to him and quickly I was holding him, cord still attached. Shortly after that, while holding little Wes, I was wheeled in the gurney up to L&D. The OB I had spoken to on the phone came in and then I delivered the placenta. While all this was going on I was just grinning saying over and over again, “I did it, I did it!”.
That is how little Wes came into the world. Drug free, monitor free, IV free. Basically, all medical intervention free. I did not plan to have him in the lobby of the ER but I am thrilled I got to experience what my body can do without doctors interfering in the normal process of birth.
Maria, mom to Ashby, Reese, Wes and baby Dalton
Great Expectations Doula Services & Childbirth Education
childbirth blog: bellyupbaby.blogspot.com