Friday, February 09, 2007

Day four, baby catcher!

We had another beautiful birth, and this time, I was catching! A "four-handed" catch, with the midwife's hands right there with me, and another midwife in the room, but still a catch. It was a great labor and birth. Number five for this mom. Number two for me.

She hung out at six centimeters for what seemed like forever, although it was only a few hours. Her waters had been partially ruptured (there are two layers of the sac) for over 12 hours, and she had to deliver within 24 hours by law or we had to transfer her. Her last labor had been the same, and the baby showed up suddenly just before the 24 hour mark.

She was in great spirits. Whatever she needed to do to keep her contractions going, she was willing to do. Unlike most moms, the walking didn't seem to speed up her contractions, but rather slowed them down. That was fine with her and her husband, because they would much rather watch movies in the room than walk around the grounds in the heat and fight off the mosquitoes. Between midwifery school, work and my two kids, I don't get to catch a lot of movies. I got to catch up on sections of a few while I was doing her labor checks and coaching her.

We checked her and confirmed she was six centimeters still, but then the tide seemed to shift. Tide? More like a tidal wave. Her contractions came on with amazing intensity, and seemed to lengthen and get closer together with each one. This mother who was so calm, and barely changed expression with her contractions suddenly got wild as they came on. She started screaming "I NEED TO PUSH!! I NEED TO PUSH!!" It had only been thirty minutes since her last vaginal exam.

The midwife said checked her and said she was complete! Four centimeters in half an hour!

"Call Shari!" she said. "And put on your gloves!" I made a quick phone call to Shari, who appeared from the other building within seconds. I moved over the table with our delivery set up, and started asking the midwife if everything was arranged correctly. She said "Hilary, come here!" in an irritated voice. I turned and looked at the mom, and saw the first part of the baby's head emerging. A few pushes later, and I was gently pulling the baby up to her chest. Minutes before the twenty four hour deadline.

When a mom has a fast transition, it seems to me from the outside like she has a hurricane going on inside of her. Just like I don't know what that incredible "urge to push" feeling is like because I have never felt it, I have also no idea what a fast labor feels like. One of the other midwifery students had one long labor and one very quick one, also known as a precipitous labor. She said the faster one was way too intense, and preferred the longer labor. I personally think that's nuts, having two extremely long labors myself, but I really can't say since I have never experienced it. But, from the outside, I guess I can see her point. These women seem to be especially affected by their contractions, and have less time to recover, but they have the benefit of the whole experience not lasting very long.

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