Hello fellow birth class members!
I am so thankful for our class with Mary Esther. That and our neighborhood (Hamilton heights) helped me earn the nickname Papi Doulo during the short labor and birth of our son. On Tuesday morning (3am) March 26th, Maria started having mild contractions. They weren’t bad but they woke her/us up every 15-18 minutes. We took the opportunity to run some last minute errands and pack the shelves in our kitchen with food and snacks and a case of coconut water. I called our midwives and doula and they said this could last for many days so we were prepared for that possibility. Wednesday was similar to tuesday with mild contractions which left us unable to sleep for more than 15-20ish minutes at a time. Maria was nice enough to allow me a little time to sleep this day but came in the room showing a lot of discomfort and asking me to help her through it…which I did by some of the techniques we learned in class, pelvic squeeze, back rubs, encouraging conversation… that sort of thing. I also began to fill the pool we had set up in our second bedroom which had been inflated but was still missing the liner we ordered weeks before because our post office…well, it sucks. We got the liner on Tuesday after many trips to the PO and phone calls so it came right on time. On Wednesday evening, while we were very tired, Maria starts showing signs of active labor sometime around 9:30pm. Because of our birthing class I pick up on the signs right away. She gets into the pool to get some comfort for the increased intensity of her contractions. She is not talking in between the contractions and her eyes are closed as she struggles to find comfort in the pool. I text then call the doula around 10pm to get her in a cab then I call one of our midwives, Martine, who started asking me lots of questions to determine whether Maria was ready. After a while, I blurted out, “She is definitely in active labor!” She eventually agrees and decides to head over. Now, Maria has always been a champ in my eyes so I supported her as well as I could pulling bits and pieces from our class but really going off of Maria’s actions and our communication. We were pushing a few hours later in the early hours of the morning and I am beginning to imagine us with our baby boy in the near future, Thursday morning… Or so we thought. The pool didn’t work for us and the water was getting cold at this point. After hours of pushing, Martine says there is a small amount of cervix left and encourages Maria to breath through a few contractions and rest. Maria does and her contractions were spaced out a little at this point so they were building up their momentum and oomph while we took a break. Round two, we are on the bed experimenting with birthing positions and Martine decides that Maria should be on her back. Maria pushes for hourDavids again and it was during this session that I started doubting we were making any real progress, despite the encouragement from the team. Then, Martine discovers the baby entered the canal in a posterior position with his head tilted sideways as opposed to chin down. This meant his head wasn’t in the easiest position to fit through the pelvic bone and it would take a lot longer. Sigh… We were encouraged to walk up and down the staircase in our building so we did slowly. As we re-entered the apartment Martine showed us a diagram of a baby in the same position as ours and explained they always come out but it takes time and more energy. The latter was something I wasn’t sure either of us had, especially Maria. It was still early afternoon on Thursday and at this point we were both discouraged greatly, exhausted and dejected. I realized I needed to try to talk Maria about going into the third round with belief, strength and her amazing ability. We believed in her and her strength and perseverance thoroughly impressed everyone in the room throughout the night and following day. Our doula gave me some advice on what to say because I was having a hard time believing it would happen at this time and coming up with those words was simply tough to do. I went to Maria in the other room and gave her a great pep talk I guess because she got up and walked into the room holding my hand. The third stage began around 4pm and I wondered if we would still be light out when we delivered. At some point of this session we were on the bed, me behind Maria with my back against the wall and Maria laying on my lap between pushing through contractions. It became dark. Maria took a shower. We were still a little doubtful it would happen this way but I knew it would happen somehow. A few hours later, after noticing our son’s heart rate slow down during contractions, Martine starts talking about our possible need for plan b. She never said we would transfer to a hospital, but we knew it was likely if we weren’t able to deliver this way. We were deeply saddened by the thought of this and I was sad to think Maria had gone through all of that effort and time and emotion only to have a Cesarian at a hospital. After a short shower break I bring up changing positions to see if that would ease whatever was causing our son’s heart rate to drop. Martine agreed and we tried two other positions on the bed that the baby seemed to thrive with his strong heartbeat. We were all encouraged to keep trying and I was happy that the hospital wasn’t the only option at this point. Maria, somehow was able to push with even more might and strength at this time. I was asked to help by pushing against the top of her uterus with the midwife’s assistant, Shana. I was very unsure of this but still happy at the fact that we weren’t going to the hospital possibly. I pushed Shana’s hand which was placed behind our sons bottom I believe because I was a more ideal position for pushing than she was. Each contraction, the three of us pushed while Martine did her magic to help our guy turn around enough to come through. I was pushing with all my strength at one point and we couldn’t really contend with the strength of Maria’s uterus even after 8 hours of pushing and two days of contractions. Does that muscle get tired? The doula was there completing the circle of four around Maria by holding her leg with her body and my left foot with her hands. It was magical and some hard work but the objective to birth our son kept us focused.
Our son was born at home at 10:44pm on February 28th. He was 7lbs, 4oz and 20″ long with very large hands and feet. It was definitely the most magical moment of our lives!
PJ., the magical Mom Maria, and David