The Hospital Birth Story of Warner

August 9, 2022

I met Miranda at a park. I was there with a group of my friends, and she was there with a group of hers. The children had all kind of mingled at the beach volleyball court and the two of us began talking. We became fast friends and about a year later, she told me that she was pregnant with her second child and wanted me to be her doula and birth photographer. I was overjoyed. I knew that her journey to pregnancy hadn't been easy, and that her first birth experience wasn't what she had wanted it to be. I was determined to help her to have a different experience this time.

Her first birth had ended in a c-section and she had been so affected by the pain medication and other drugs that she didn't even remember seeing or holding her baby until after just about everyone else in her family had. Her goals for this birth were to labor at home as long as possible, then make her way to the hospital and birth naturally there. We talked about all of her options, what she could expect from her birth experience and I gave her additional resources to help her decide on those things she wasn't sure about yet. I loved being Miranda's doula because she was educated and intentional with all of her decisions. She trusted in her body and was ready.

Miranda's body had begun preparing and working slowly and steadily a week before it truly was underway. For a week she experienced prodromal labor that made it difficult to sleep and tired her. At 5:00PM on May 7, she noticed that the contractions had become consistent with a noticeable pattern, though they were far apart and mild. By 10:00PM, the contractions had begun to feel more intense and at 12:25AM on May 8, I arrived at her home. I sat with her as she met each contraction, spending some time on the birthing ball and doing a couple of squats. After some time, I encouraged her to try to get some sleep and considered going home myself since I lived nearby, but when she went to the bathroom she noticed had lost some of her mucous plug and I decided to stay downstairs. We tried a walk at 2:00AM and Miranda decided after a couple of minutes that she would like to go to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital at 2:51AM. In triage, the nurse checked her and regretfully told her that she was not progressed far enough to be admitted, but encouraged her to walk around the hospital and labor for a while, and see if things progressed as time passed.

Joey did an incredible job encouraging Miranda as she met each wave. He held her and performed hip squeezes for her as the waves came. The contractions continued to come consistently and intensely. At 4:04AM, Joey said, "Come on Warner. Let's go." I was struck by the significance of his comment. He, Miranda, and baby Warner were working together as a team and it was a beautiful thing to witness.

After another hour, at 5:20AM, Miranda elected to be checked again where it was determined that she was dilated to 4.5cm. She was far out of the excitement emotional signpost and certainly at the serious signpost, intently focusing through each contraction. Shortly after she was checked, Miranda began to question if she was going to be able to achieve the completely natural birth that she had wanted (self-doubt). She was very tired, but Joey and I encouraged her to continue on. The nurse lead us to the delivery room and stayed with us even though her role was as a triage nurse that night. We were so grateful she stayed with us as long as she did. She was so kind and supportive and had the most wonderful energy about her.

We turned on the faucet to the tub and Miranda climbed in at 6:15AM. Joey continued giving her hip squeezes as well as he could. I brought out my tennis ball and applied pressure to her sacrum. The two of us continued to encourage her as best we could. Then, Miranda looked up at me and said, "I want it." I wasn't sure what she meant at first, so she clarified, "I want the epidural." She was in such a clear state of mind and she told me that she had been thinking and praying about it and said that this was the one situation that she had decided that she would be okay with an epidural - if she had not slept well and was exhausted.

She was afraid that I would be disappointed in her. I reassured her that I was not, but I encouraged her to try going just a little bit longer and asked her if she would be willing to keep going if when they checked her, she was dilated to an 8. She agreed, and at 6:48AM, she was determined to be 7cm dilated. She was exhausted, and she knew that with a little rest, she would be fresh and strong for the second stage of labor - pushing. I was proud of her for enduring as long as she had and for making an informed decision for her and her baby.

The epidural was placed at 7:27AM and Miranda was noticeably more relaxed and confident. Though baby Warner's heart rate began to fluctuate, decreasing at 8:00AM, Miranda's midwife was patient and we tried moving in different positions so that we could see if baby's heart rate would improve. I was so impressed with the midwife who was patient and was truly committed to Miranda's birth preferences. That patience paid off and baby Warner's heart rate improved.

At 8:30AM, the rest of Miranda's mucous plug came out, and by 11:12AM Miranda was ready to begin practice pushing. That practice pushing quickly turned into real pushing. Joey was cheering for Miranda and Warner ash Miranda pushed. "C'mon Warner!" he shouted, then prepared himself to catch their baby. Miranda did beautifully, trusting her body and feeling the sensations of pressure that she could feel, and less than 20 minutes later, exactly at 11:30AM, Warner was born, caught by his father and given to his mother immediately.

I am not necessarily a crier at births, but this one, I absolutely did. I was so proud of all the hard work that Miranda, Joey, and little Warner had done, and I was so happy that Miranda was able to have her VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) and begin bonding with her baby immediately. Miranda sang to Warner and Joey stood near as they got to know their new baby. He was perfect, and I said a prayer of gratitude in my heart. Birth is a miracle.

I stayed a little while afterward to make sure I got some pictures and that their needs were met. Warner took a little time to latch on, but Miranda remembered how to breastfeed and was very patient.

A day later, I was able to meet them at their home when they introduced little Warner to his big sister. It was a beautiful experience. I will always maintain that the moment the older siblings meet the new one is the closest to Heaven we can get here on Earth. I feel so much joy in family together-ness.

Congratulations Miranda, Joey, and big sis!

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