Braun Birth Story | 4.15.19
Utah Birth Photographer
Usually, I tell clients that I will be a fly on the wall, and not intervene in any shape or form. This birth, though, I felt the need to be involved. It added another layer to another beautiful birth of a darling boy on a Sunday in April.
The Brauns had had a busy Saturday, cheering marathon runners with a sign that said, “Pain is just the French word for bread.” Little did they know that it was also going to be a helpful birth affirmation during labor the next day. They went on various errands to Home Depot and RC Willey and enjoyed a meal together at a Mexican restaurant. They said it was a very packed day, but very good too. In hindsight, it was a good last day spent as just a couple because the very next day would bring their family from two to three.
Signs of imminent labor started in the early hours. Contractions picked up when they headed to the hospital and Nikki’s water broke in the car. Doula Kelly Buck from She Birth Services was already there helping with counterpressure. She finally texted when Nikki’s cervix had dilated to 7 cm to tell me to get to the hospital now. Luckily for me, as I was 45 minutes from the hospital, labor slowed down a bit. For Nikki, that just meant a longer time before she met her baby.
I got there around 2 p.m., and Nikki had found her headspace. Then after an hour or so, she was checked again and had progressed 2 and a half centimeters. They also suspected baby was positioned posterior, meaning the baby’s head is pointing down, and his back is resting against the mom’s back. It would mean longer, harder labor for her. Nikki was spent emotionally and physically and made the best choice for herself and asked for an epidural. The anesthesiologist didn’t take long to come in and prep her for the procedure. He was very thorough in explaining everything so she knew what to expect.
Once the epidural was in place, Nikki needed some reassurance. She was trying so hard to not have one and worried about the effect it would have on the baby. Both Kelly and I had had epidurals before and we were able to put her mind at ease and remind her that she made the best choice for her and her baby.
Nikki soon relaxed, and we encouraged her to nap, but she couldn’t. Jeff pulled out a snack they had packed and as soon as he was opening the package, Nikki stopped mid sentence and asked excitedly, “Are those fruit snacks?” He confirmed they were and gave them to her.
Evidence supports eating during labor to help prevent exhaustion. The benefits of doing so outweigh the risks, especially in low-risk cases. Nikki didn’t eat a lot, but she snacked on some nuts, honey sticks, and of course, fruit snacks.
During this time, all four of us enjoyed some conversation about books, the podcast “Cold,” and anything else that came to mind.
At almost 4:30, Nikki was nearly complete with just a lip of cervix waiting to disappear. The nurse, Celeste, came in at 5:15 p.m. and says she thinks the cervix is gone. Jeff looked around and says, “Where’d it go?” We all had a laugh.
At 5:30 p.m., Nikki was given the go ahead to start pushing. Baby had turned, thankfully! For the next two and a half hours, Nikki pushed her baby through the birth canal, even though he was stuck for a bit under her pubic bone. She kept saying between pushes, “Come on baby, you can do it!” She even got Jeff to say some words of encouragement to baby.
This was an unusual birth for me. I felt an unfettered need to help. I took turns with the nurse holding one of Nikki’s legs up as she pushed with each contraction. It was powerful to watch Nikki work through that for two and a half hours. I applied acupressure to her feet as well, which helped stimulate more contractions. It was hard work just being there helping, but it was nothing to what Nikki and baby were doing.
Healthy baby boy finally emerged to elated shouts and cheers at 8:02 p.m. Nikki had done it.