11/2/09 Tonight Ginger noticed a lot more moisture coming from her vagina, wetting her pants. After needing to change her clothes twice, she put on a pad. On the toilet, she saw some tan-ish mucous. She also felt some new discomfort in her lower back and pelvis. It didn’t take us too long to clue into that either her water had broken or her mucous plug had released or both.
Full Moon 11/3/09, 12:30am Ginger came to tell me her labor had begun. I moved into Lily’s room to be closer while Ginger experienced the acceleration of her surges. Partner Colin slept but there was not sleep for Ginger or me. Midwife Ruth told Ginger to meet her at 5am based on Ginger’s surge timing and intensity.
5am: Colin, Ginger and I go to the Birth Center. Ginger’s step-dad Steve was there to meet us. Midwife Ruth checked and found Ginger only 80% effaced with nearly no dilation. Her cervix was still facing more towards her back and baby was posterior. Ruth sent us all home (30 minutes away) Ginger was somewhat disappointed but meeting it.
8:25 am Surges were approximately 1 minute 15 seconds in duration and 4 ¾ minutes apart. Midwife Ruth was called, a message was left. She called back shortly and said we could come to the center if we wanted. The Center’s Clinic was opening around then so Ruth would be there. The ride was really hard for Ginger. She started the ride lying in my lap but the Honda was small and she couldn’t stretch out so soon she was sitting up.
We arrived at the Birth Center around 9am. Upon checking Ging’, Ruth told her she was only 3cm and that she couldn’t officially admit her. She said that since the clinic was now open, Ginger could choose to stay but at the close of clinic at 2 pm, she would have to leave if she wasn’t progressed enough. Ginger chose to stay but Steve went and got a hotel room in case Ging’ would need to leave and so she wouldn’t have to travel far again.
Ginger chose to get into the shower first. When she got out and a surge would come on, she got onto her hands and knees. She then labored on the bed for a while in the lateral or side position. She had chosen to bring some music that I gave to her when she was a baby and that she listened to at bedtime all through her growing up. “Fairy Ring” was the background music for this beautiful birthing. Jackie came in after a while and told Ginger she should get up and walk. I had said the same thing but I could see that coming from Jackie had more clout. Ginger went outside on that beautiful Fall day and walked the rolling lawns around the birth center. It was a lovely area with lots of trees. One huge Oak that overhung the Center was the perfect guardian as it looked to me like the “tree of life” image of the placenta. Ginger and Colin went outside and walked and labored together. Ginger either hung on Colin or went to her knees when a surge came on. They were outside for about a half hour. They were so beautiful to watch! Steve and I held back taking pictures.
Back inside, Ginger had on one of Colin’s COD shirts (all the men on his father’s side of the family had initials COD). She lay on the bed again and labored for a couple of hours. At some point during this time, Ginger required someone; Colin or me, to lay a hand on a particular spot on her lower back as soon as she felt a surge coming on. She could have no pressure but needed the hand on a very specific spot, just lightly but perfectly placed. Ginger’s labor was hard and pretty painful but she kept her focus and labored really well. She toned through many surges and when tensing, was responsive to mine or Colin’s light touchmassage and reminders to relax.
Grandpa Steve was on camera duty throughout the labor; both video and stills.
Around 12:45pm. I looked at Ginger and saw her energy flattening out, the skin below her eyes turning dark and something in me spoke loud and clear “if Ginger isn’t going to have to leave, she’s got to rally and put all her power, body and intention into bringing Lily into position, opening her cervix and moving Lily down. I had suggested she change positions several time before, but Ginger had not been responsive to my suggestions. I felt a familiar inhibition in speaking with authority to Ginger; a life-time dynamic between us. This time, I stepped over that pattern and put clarity and power behind my words; telling her exactly what I was seeing and what she needed to do. Ginger heard me and responded. She got up, went into the other room and tried numerous positions for turning Lily, creating space and using gravity so that Lily could move down.
About 30 minutes into this, Ruth came in to check on Ginger. She asked Ginger what she was experiencing and from Ruth’s words, it seemed that she thought Ginger was not progressing that much. Ruth spoke again about the possibility of needing to leave. She watched Ginger through several surges and at one point asked Ginger if she was feeling some bearing down sensation in her surges. Ginger wasn’t sure.
Ruth left, going back into the clinic portion of the center. Ginger continued to labor. The position that worked best for her through most of this time was on her hands and knees; still with a hand needed on her lower back.
Just before 2pm, Ginger told me she felt Lily was coming and asked me to go get Ruth. I went into the center where Ruth was standing talking with Jackie. When she saw me, she said she’d be there in a moment. When she came in, she checked Ginger and was surprised to find Ginger over 8 cm. open.
Things started to happen fast then. Jackie came and joined us. When a surge came on then, they looked like huge waves; Ginger’s eyes got really big. Ruth instructed her to take a deep breath and exhale by blowing slowly out. It was clear; Ruth wanted to slow things down. She asked Ginger whether she still wanted a water birth as the tub would need to be filled, the water pressure was low and it would take a good half hour for the tub to be filled enough for her to get in. Ginger said yes, she wanted the tub. As they filled the tub, Ginger’s surges got bigger and she began to vomit with most of them. It was a very intense time! A couple of times, the bigness of the waves swept her up and she’d yell. Ruth and Jackie brought her back to blowing and she kept her focus. Amazing to watch her!
Finally the tub was ready and when Ginger got in, she felt more comfortable. (How nice it would have been for her to have gotten into the water a couple of hours earlier!) The next couple of surges went as they had on the bed; deep breath in with blowing exhale. Then Ruth gave Ginger the cue to go for it and push Lily out; to push only when she felt a surge and then push hard. Colin got into the water with Ginger and sat behind holding her for this time of pushing. Ginger followed her midwife and doula’s lead to push rather than the HypnoBirthing way of breathing her baby down and out. She pushed well.
We watched Lily crown in the step fashion; a little forward and than moving back; each time moving forward and out a little more. Ginger reached down twice and felt Lily’s head. That brought on such a wonderful smile to her face. This pushing phase only lasted about 15 minutes before Lily was born. We saw she had a good head of light colored hair. She had some cord around her neck that she rolled out of in the water. She was pretty quickly put onto Ginger’s chest and her nose and throat were suctioned with a bulb syringe. Ruth didn’t want the placenta to be born in the water and got Ginger out of the water pretty quickly; less that 5 minutes after the birth. Ginger was compliant and got out and back onto the bed. Mommy and Daddy and all of us were so very happy! And Lily was doing really well. She did squawk with the suctioning but settled down well. She was very present and quiet; taking in her new world, especially her Mom and Dad. She had a lot of thick vernix on her skin and a little bit of merconium had been seen at the birth but no problems arose. She has beautiful red hair!
Ruth waited what I would consider an extremely minimal time before having Colin cut the cord. She said the pulsing had stopped and Lily showed no reaction to the cutting. She breathed well right from the start.
With the help of Colin stimulating Ginger’s nipple, the placenta was birthed shortly after the cord was cut (maybe 10 minutes after) and was in perfect shape.
Lily latched on well after about a half hour of birth. Nurse Bethany helped Ginger with the latching and positioning.
Everyone was high and happy and Lily was alert and peaceful.
Ginger and partner Colin with newborn Lilly Dawn
We left the Birth Center around 5:15 pm. The car seat we had was not set up right and really was imperfect for a newborn. Colin did his best to secure the seat which satisfied the Birth Center Folks. Our plan had always been to leave the Birth Center with Lily in the seat for the sake of the birth center folks and then take Lily out of it around the corner so Ginger could hold her for the ride home. This is what we did.
My brother Doug just happened to be in Sacramento that day. In fact, before the birth, we had scheduled to get together with him the following day. He called while we were still at the Birth Center to tell us he wouldn’t be able to see us the next day and it needed to be that day. I informed him that Lily had just been born. He was astounded at the timing and so happy! He is one of Ginger’s favorite people and so he was privileged to be invited to meet us at the house to meet Lily Dawn.
At the house, Colin’s Brother Cliff and Dad Cliff Senior were waiting to meet Lily. Uncle Doug came shortly thereafter and everyone was high in the birth bubble energy. The Cliffs went out to dinner and a movie and Doug stayed for a nice long visit. He and I then went out for dinner and to bring food home to the new Mom and Dad. The new little family was all sound asleep by the time we returned.
NOTE: It was clearly the best option to birth at the Birth Center; all things considered. Though Ginger would have liked to have had a home birth, Colin was not familiar or comfortable with that idea. Also, The Birth Center took MediCal, so that was a great plus. All went well. The main thing we would have liked different is the midwife being more connected to the labor. Her judgment about Ginger not progressing wasn’t accurate and if it weren’t for me and Steve and Colin being there to hold the energy, it would have been much more challenging for Ginger. It certainly reflects how important and beneficial it is to have a doula and a loving and attuned birth companion present at a birth. Bottom line ~ it was a wonderful birth! Thanks to all. Well done new Momma!