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Birth Story with Doula Notes: M&O's Induction

Updated: Mar 20

dad shocked at fast birth in chicago hospital

M + O's birth story began with a daytime induction. We were in close communication as M had her first doses of induction medication. She was well enough to visit with her mom and sisters who were in town for the birth. She danced, she snacked. Everything seemed to be moving slow and steady for hours, and M + O were doing a wonderful job!

As a doula I waited to join them because inductions can take a long time. Depending on the hospital protocol, they can last up to 3 days. When clients are rocking out on their own, I leave them to it so that oxytocin love hormone can flow.

Then M's water broke and her third dose of medication hit like a wall of bricks. They called to tell me they needed help and fast. The weather was otherworldly as I rushed to them in the fog. I got there just as an epidural was being placed. We talked for a while as M relaxed out of the intensity of sudden active labor. She was 3cm, so we cozied up the room and prepared for a well-earned nap.

You just never know when induction meds are going to really kick in. I had my bag packed and by the door so I was on the road in minutes, but still it felt like I couldn't drive fast enough. Based on how intense things had been, I was surprised to hear that the cervical exam was 3cm, but I also know that that is just one measure of labor.

M had been napping only 20 min when the fetal heart rate when way down with a contraction. Two more contractions and the baby's heart rate did the same thing, so I woke M up and suggested we roll her to her other side to see if baby was being compressed and movement could help.

My doula brain began to strategize just as the RN walked in and suggested a cervical exam. I was doubtful because M was 3cm just 3 hours ago, but I also know that when the fetal heart rate drops like that sometimes it's a sign of late labor. I just didn't want M to feel disappointed if the exam hadn't changed.

The RN only made it about 1 knuckle into the exam - M was 10cm and baby was very low. M looked at me and said, "What the fuck?" Couldn't have said it better myself. A reminder: the cervix is not a crystal ball! I massaged her legs as she pushed to help her relax, and her baby was born vaginally soon after.

When labor picks up quickly like it did for M, sometimes you will need time after the birth to really integrate the experience. One of the reasons I turned to massage during pushing was to help M stay grounded in her body knowing that the quick turn of events plus the epidural might make her feel detached from the situation. I also stayed for several hours to help them adjust to postpartum and work through their surprise.

For hours, M would look at us in total surprise and say, "What?!" I love the shot of O's total shock! I left just as M's mom and sister were tip toeing in to meet the baby.

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