Saturday, January 10, 2009

Birth Story - Elaine & Greg's Birth

Posted by Kim:

I was lucky enough to be hired as the doula for another wonderful couple and I was honored to be present at the birth of little baby boy Nikolai! It was an amazing experience and has made me even more passionate about being a doula! To be honest it was only the second completely natural birth I have ever seen, the birth of Carri's third son being the first.

It was interesting because Elaine had a few instances of stalled labor as my previous client did. On Monday evening Greg called me to let me know that Elaine had stopped in to see her doctor that afternoon and she was dilated to almost 4 cm and 100% effaced. The doctor said she could check into the hospital then if she wanted to, but they chose to head home and relax to prepare there instead. This was great news seeing as though Elaine mentioned that she had not really had any major contractions, just what felt like some annoying menstrual cramps. Remembering what a marathon Gina's birth was I began to mentally prepare myself for labor and went to bed early anticipating a call from them that night (again, silly new doula). No calls. I ask them to stay in close touch just so I would know how they were feeling. So we talked Tuesday morning and everything was back to normal.

On Tuesday they ended up coming into the hospital again because they were concerned that they really hadn't felt the baby move at all that day. Luckily the nurses monitored the baby and everything was fine. So they went home and Elaine rested, ate and prepared for pending labor.

Around 12:15am on Thursday morning Greg called me again and said that Elaine's contractions were coming on very regular and they were going to head into the hospital and wanted me to meet them there around 1am. So I jumped out of bed, hit the shower (I had some hot water this time) and was in Boulder by 1am. It was a very interesting drive however because the Old Stage fire was raging and literaly lit up the entire sky. I had never been so close to a brush fire like that and actually felt a little guilty that we have had such a dry winter, I guess I better hope for some snow (hard for me to do). In addition to the fire there was also a major accident on the Diagonal Hwy and as I approached I just kept praying that it was not Greg and Elaine, luckily they took 287.

When I reached Elaine's room Greg told me that their contractions were very intense at home, in the car, up the elevator, but as soon as she got into the hospital room they literally ended. Elaine placed the intensity of the contractions at only a 2 on a scale of 10. In addition to the lack kof contractions she also had an elevated temperature so the doctor wanted to monitor Elaine closely and she received an IV of fluids as they were thinking the elevated temperature was possibly due to dehydration. This was hard for Elaine to accept because she felt like she had been drinking tons of water, but as she received the fluid her temperature did go down. Just prior to going into the hospital Elaine had been taking a hot bath so I asked the nurse if that could have effected her body temperature and she said it wouldn't really have effected her overall body temperature, and especially for this length of time. Good to know. So I headed home around 4am and Greg and Elaine were released shortly after. I called Carri later that morning to talk with her about what was going on and her thoughts about the stalled labor again and she said that the contractions Elaine was experiencing could actually have been caused by the dehydration. Again, good to know I will keep that in my knowledge bank.

But the real fun was just about to start because Friday morning around 4:30am Greg called and said that they had been laboring since about 9:00pm Thursday night and they were ready to have me come over. Remembering Gina's labor I didn't freak out, I took a quick shower, gathered my doula bag and personal items and headed out ready for a long day (again, silly new doula). When I arrived at the house Elaine's car was running in the driveway so I figured we would soon be heading to the hospital. Elaine was in her bed and Greg was being an amazing coach. While I could tell the contractions were intense for Elaine she seemed to be handling then amazing. SHe breathed through them as Greg was reminding her to take deep belly breaths and I tried to help her relaxed her hands and face. It was interesting because Greg told me that she was also experiencing significant discomfort in her back but when I tried to apply the same massage and pain relief that I used on Gina this was of no comfort to Elaine. Again, I had to remind myself that this was a completely different person so what works on one may not work on the other. Greg and I began talking about when to go to the hospital and seeing as though she had been laboring for quite a while and the intensity of the contractions were so strong we decided that it was time to go. However, getting Elaine to the car was my biggest fear because she was obviously feeling so much intensity and handling them seemingly so well in the bed that I hated to move her, get her to the hospital and have the contractions slow, but I knew we had to go. So step by step and in between each contraction we headed to the car we eventually reached the Boulder Foothills Hospital around 6:15am.

Greg said that one of his funniest memories of this experience was our trip from the car into the hospital. He had gotten a wheelchair for Elaine and I had made myself in charge of carrying all of our gear. So he said as we were walking down the hall he looked over at me and couldn't help but laugh because all he saw was me carrying 18 bags and a pillow. I told him not to worry that it was my job to take care of the things that he should not occupy his mind with. He should be worrying only about Elaine. So we then named me the Doula Sherpa! : D

When we got to our room Elaine settled in bed and the intensity remained and I think we were all thankful for that. The nurse was wonderful and asked Elaine if she would like to get up and walk, take a bath or try some different positions. She said as soon as she checks her she could do whatever she wanted. Much to all of our surprise, when the nurse checked Elaine she was 10cm dilated and the nurse said she would be able to push whenever soon. The only thing standing in the way of her and the baby was the bulging bag of water. Because Elaine had been experiencing a lot of discomfort in her back I suggested she get on her knees and lean on the birth ball. I told her that this would relieve some of the discomfort and would also be a great position to start pushing once her water broke. It seemed to help for while, but the doctor came in and we all discussed if she should break the bag of water for Elaine or if she should wait for it to happen naturally. It was decided that the doctor would break the water so Elaine could start the pushing phase of labor. By 7:00am her bag of water was broken and the urge to push was rushing over her and by 8:05am little baby Nikolai was born. Elaine was a wonderful pusher and having the nurse use her fingers to help Elaine feel where to push really seemed to help! It was beautiful and amazing, again I felt blessed to be there.

After Nikolai was born the placenta would not expel itself naturally, even after several minutes of nursing (Nikolai was a natural). So they finally decided Elaine needed to receive some pitocin to encourage the placenta to come out. Unfortunately when it did there were pieces of the placenta left behind and the doctor tried a manual extraction to remove the remaining pieces before Elaine bled too much. This however was ineffective and Elaine eventually had to have a spinal epidural and a D & C. Not the ending we anticipated after a healthy pregnancy and beautiful natural childbirth, but medically necessary.

This was another learning experience for me (although I can't think of a birth that won't be a learning experience). I was impressed with the nurses and doctor at Boulder Community Hospital and I was thankful we were there, but I was most impressed and awed by how Elaine breathed through her contractions and how great a coach Greg was. This may sound a little corny, but I could truly see how deep their love is for one another and what an amazing family Nikolai was being born into. It was truly a blessings. Elaine's recover has been more difficult than we would have hoped, but ultimately the most important thing is that there is a very healthy baby and a healthy recovering Mom and ecstatic Dad!

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