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Birth Story: S&J

S's labor was slow to start, with cramping and light contractions for weeks. S&J really wanted the baby to come a week before their due date, but like most first babies, this little one wasn't ready until 40+5. Labor started with S's water breaking early in the morning.

S's providers told her to come in right away for monitoring, which is standard protocol. S knew that she could monitor her temperature at home, and that her labor would likely begin on it's own within 24 hours. She also knew going in would mean an induction. She decided to spend the day at home resting and preparing. I joined them at the hospital that evening just as pitocin was being started.

Things picked up quickly and by midnight, S was in heavy labor. We went from the ball to the bathroom and back many times. She was working so hard and J was right there supporting her through each wave. There were times that I watched her slide towards suffering, and then with encouragement and sheer grit, she pulled herself back. This birth really helped me understand using the word "warrior" to describe someone in labor. S took a deep breath and roared back from the brink, over and over.

Luckily, the staff looked at her contraction pattern and her coping before changing the pitocin dose. Usually, they just keep turning it up until the pattern is a transition pattern (contraction every other minute) from the very start. I felt relieved that we got rests in between. I always say, "don't waste a single scrap of energy in labor." After every wave, we reset her pillows so she could doze.

Around 5am S was 8cm, which was encouraging to me, but she was exhausted. She had stayed up the night before in anticipation of labor and she didn't have any gas left in the tank. Then, contractions started coming on top of each other as she hit transition. She decided that she needed to rest before pushing and asked for an epidural. Both S&J fell asleep and slept hard.

She woke up to pressure and it was time to push. It was 3 hours before we saw baby T's head, and the first thing we saw was an inch of hair! Luckily, we had a patient and mostly hands-off OB who talked about vectors and waited. Another hour later, S gathered the last bit of her strength and pushed out baby T. Look at that head molding! She WERKED.

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