The longer I am a doula, and the more births I attend, the more I realize that positioning of baby is key! One of the best ways to ensure that baby is in a good, anterior position, is by using different positions in labor to encourage baby into optimal delivery position. The following birth story is an excellent example of a mama and baby working together to bring a very large baby boy into the world–almost 13 pounds!
Dear Baby Davis,
When I first met your Mama and Daddy, I knew they were looking for something different—a second chance of sorts—to achieve the birth experience that they missed out on with your sister. They adore your sister, and were thankful for her healthy birth, but they also knew that they wanted something different this time around. I could tell by the look in your Mama’s eyes that she was going to achieve it—she was ready and prepared and had strong support on her side. She had chosen her care providers well, had hired a doula, and, of course, had your strong and loving father to support her. We met for our prenatal meeting, talked about their wishes and desires, and then we waited—and waited and waited and waited. Your due date came, and then went, and still your Mama’s uterus was quiet.
Although your Mama was dilated to about a 4, things seemed quiet as the days went by—still, your Mama was patient. At her 41 week appointment, she had the normal tests, which were normal; however, an ultrasound predicted that you would be close to 10 or 11 pounds—a very big boy! The midwife carefully reviewed the dangers of delivering a larger baby, while still telling your Mama and Daddy that it was their decision on how you would be born. The midwife knew the risks, but she also trusted your Mama and Daddy’s ability to decide, and ultimately your Mama’s intuition on how you should be delivered. A c-section was offered, but your Mama’s membranes were stripped too and things were left up to you, sweet Davis! Your Mama told me that if you started labor and decided it would be safe to come, she would take that as a sign. She was also wise and said if you did not start labor, maybe it was because you knew—her body knew—that you needed to be delivered by c-section. They prayed and we prayed too that your Mama and Daddy would know just what to do! They called the midwife back and told her the plan, and she supported them in their decision.
We did not have to wait long, and your Mama started having contractions. I suggested that she do some lunges and spend some time on her hands and knees that afternoon to get you in the very best position for delivery. We knew that you might be big, and we also knew that positioning was key! I prayed that the contractions would continue, and your Daddy updated me as the afternoon went on. Sure enough, as the minutes kept coming, so did the contractions and it looked like you had answered our questions—how would you be born? By a wonderful, spontaneous labor it seemed!
Just before dinner, I told your Daddy to tell your Mama to get in the shower—he was concerned that it slowed the contractions down, but I assured him that this was the perfect time for hydrotherapy. I told him to tell your Mama to lunge, with one foot on the bench in the shower, and to switch legs with each contraction, and to call the midwife and let her know that labor had begun. The midwife told them to go ahead and come in about 30 minutes, so I prepared to leave as well. Your wise Mama was enjoying the water so much, and began to think about just staying put—maybe the midwife would come to the house? She then realized that she was farther along than she thought, and decided it was time to go. She waited until she was between contractions to kiss your sister goodbye, and then they were off—it was time to meet you.
When I got to the hospital, there was a car parked kind of crazy by the front doors, and it was still running—when I saw this, I started running as well, having just a hunch that it might be your Mama and Daddy’s car. I was right! When I got to the room, your Mama was laboring away, spending the required amount of time on the monitors before she could get up and move around. She was lying on her side, breathing through each contraction, and I talked to her a bit, reminding her to stay calm, and loose, and limp. Your Daddy said that he was going to go and move the car, and knowing that you were close to being born, I offered to do it for him. He said no, he could do it, until the midwife suggested I move the car as well, and all of a sudden he realized how close your birth really was! With your sister, they had been at the hospital for over 24 hours before she was born, and they had barely been there for 24 minutes at this point! I grabbed the keys and ran, catching the elevator, and running to park the car. I unloaded all of the bags and pillows, dragging and rolling and carrying, while running as fast as I could back inside. An older lady on the elevator looked at me, all my stuff, and my heavy breathing and asked if I was okay. I said, “I am about to have a baby!” and ran off the elevator, leaving her in shock and deliberation I am sure.
When I arrived in the room, your Mama’s cervix had been checked and was found to be at 9.5 centimeters with your water in-tact. She was almost able to get up from the bed, and when she did, we had her do some lunges, alternating legs with each surge. She held onto your Daddy’s neck, and when the surge would rise, she would let her body hang limp, surrendering to the intensity of the contraction and letting go in your Daddy’s strong arms. With her foot on the chair, and her body nice and loose, her pelvis was rocked back, opening up her legs nice and wide, allowing you to move down. After the contraction, we would switch sides, and at one point she looked at me and said: “When is transition?” I told her that she had moved right through transition and was about to meet her baby, and she laughed with joy. Your strong Mama never faltered—not once. After a few contractions, I switched places with your Daddy so that he could rest his back, and your Mama held onto me, and we would squat down with each surge. I remember the sensation of her belly, with you inside, touching mine, and I felt so honored to be a small part of this forever moment with your parents.
After about 40 minutes of lunges, your Mama began to feel the urge to push, and with each surge, she would squat down, with her legs nice and wide. I was amazed by her desire to squat—most women think they will like squatting, but when it comes to labor they don’t really want to do it. It was almost like your wise Mama knew just what you needed—lots of room in her pelvis for you to navigate through. The midwife, who never left the room, was watching and listening, and trusting your Mama as she squatted with each surge and pushed a little more each time. At one point I was sitting on the floor, holding pressure on your Mama’s back, and the midwife was right beside me, waiting to see your head, and I knew that this was sacred—us all trusting your Mama’s ability to give birth. I switched with your Daddy, and your Mama held onto my neck, and soon, your head was born. Your Daddy told me later that he would never forget the midwife practically lying on the floor to birth your head, and the midwife told me she wanted to trust that your Mama knew just what to do. After your head was born, your Mama moved to the bed, and birthed your shoulders on her hands and knees. In about 3 pushes, you had been born, and we all got our first peek at you! You were HUGE! Because you had some meconium, the nurse scooped you up and took you to the warmer, where everyone talked about how big you were! The doctor went ahead and got the scale, and sure enough—you weighed 12 lbs and 14 ounces—almost 13 pounds! Everyone was shocked and excited and overjoyed that your Mama had done all of this hard work with just a small, tiny tear—amazing!
Davis you broke all kinds of records, but most importantly you helped your Mama and Daddy have the birth experience they wanted, all while confirming everyone’s faith in the birthing process—even when birthing big babies! The midwife was instrumental in this, of course, and so was your Mama. Her strength allowed you to be born vaginally, because she was able to feel you and move as you needed her to move—you both really worked together. Your birth confirmed to me, once again, the value of movement in labor, and especially being able to use different positions to facilitate birth. So often women are afraid to squat or lunge, because it might hurt a little bit more or bring on more intensity, however, the intensity of contractions is not something to fear, but something to surrender to. I am so thankful to have been a part of something so precious, and I hope that when your parents remember your birth, they are reminded of the love that filled the room as an amazing team simply watched and waited.
You are loved, sweet boy! Welcome to the world!