It has been a long time since I wrote a birth story, something I used to do on a regular basis after I attended a birth. Teresa’s birth I feel I would like to write about because it is truly a story of determination, power and strength.
Teresa is a young woman living here in Toronto, she is from Mexico, a very sweet and funny young lady. I was lucky enough to cross paths with her, as Birth Markhttps://www.birthmarksupport.com/ asked me to support her with her birth a few weeks ago. I had quite a challenging time getting hold of her to finally meet up with her, the first couple of times I did not find her home and had to reschedule with her. When I finally did, it was around mid February, and she seemed quite relaxed and looking forward to baby in early April. Our visit was about 2 hours and we went over, birth ideas and how it possibly could happen. This being Teresa’s first birth, many unknowns seem to come to mind, and they remain this way, as describing a labour and birth is something very difficult to do even for a mother who has had babies like me. I just assured her that she would know, when the time would come, and that I would be there for her.
I visited with her another time before the actual birth about a week before, because she told me that her baby was in a posterior position. I felt it best to show her some positions that may help with the position of the baby. We went through the spinning babies and the sacral release, and I asked her to do these every day, she said she would. On Friday April 5th, in the afternoon, she messaged me to let me know that things were happening and that her mucous plug was coming out and that a few contractions were happening. This she said had started in the morning, so she felt confident that her baby would be born on his due date April 6th. I checked in with her the morning of the 6th, and she said that all was going well and that it was not anything she could not handle at this point. I suggested to her to get as much rest as possible. The following morning of the 7th, I checked in again and same story, contractions were closer and still more discharge but nothing close enough to go anywhere at this point, I opted to do a visit and see how things were going. I stayed with her and timed contractions, they were definitely stronger and closer together and she was having to breathe with each one, but she was still quite happy, so again I suggested she get some rest and left her with some gravol to help her sleep. I could see she was tired, it was around 2 in the afternoon and I thought that as the intensity grew, she would no longer be able to rest. I called the midwives and they felt it was too soon to check her even, so they did not come by.
I had an overnight with a client that night, so I told my daughter Nadine and my back up,http://www.beautifulbeginnings.ca to check in with Teresa should this baby decide to be born during that night. I did feel that baby had moved from a posterior position, but he still seemed to be moving around a whole bunch. Well the whole night passed and nothing happened, no phone call from Teresa and still all was quite the same although more intense for sure for her. The midwives finally made an appearance on the Monday morning around 10, they did a cervical check and determined that she was quite effaced and 5cm, but they still did not feel she was in active labour and left Teresa to labour some more saying they would be back in the afternoon to check again. In the meantime, I was at another birth at the Birth Centre. I checked in with Teresa after that birth around 4 in the afternoon and the midwives were there again, checked her and said all was the same as in the morning. They suggested breaking the membranes and after a long discussion with Teresa about this, she decided she would try it, because she was getting tired and wanted this baby born already. The membranes were ruptured and Teresa went from being able to tolerate the contractions, to being overwhelmed by them, we decided to meet at the birthcentre, I was already in the area so I arrived first, and impatiently was waiting for Teresa, I felt like a father in a waiting room! When Teresa arrived in the elevator, she was having a difficult time managing the contractions. We quickly got her in the tub and she felt immediate relief, she was experiencing back pain and the water helped her with that. Teresa soon started to breathe pushy, and we thought soon this baby was coming, she even felt her baby’s head quite low, she had a terrible pain in a nerve in her upper left thigh with every contraction, she said it was preventing her from being able to be efficient with her contractions, I applied pressure there every time and it seemed to help.
After several minutes of this, the student midwife decided she would check Teresa in the water and see whether she could start pushing, She said that she did not feel a cervix and that she was fully and could push.
Teresa did this for a few pushes and still with that terrible cramp in the upper thigh and buttocks, the other midwife observed for a bit and saw that little was changing and suggested Teresa come out to be checked and to change positions. We got her out of the tub and she was very cold and the contractions were very close every 3 minutes, and that is when the midwife Cindy felt that Teresa’s cervix was swelling, unfortunately the urge to push was still there, and we worked with Teresa for her not to push. The contractions slowed down a bit, then Cindy wanted to speed them up again and we put the breast pump on. I suggested the Walcher’s position techniques”>https://spinningbabies.com > techniques to help move this baby who still was not in the optimal position. The Midwife said ok let’s do it, we did through 4 contractions and I do think it worked as the pain in her thigh disappeared. Teresa still had a strong urge to push and we tried to unswell that cervix, it did not unswell, but it did not get worse, Cindy applied ice and we suggested Teresa transfer to the hospital to get some relief and give the cervix time to unswell. Teresa was now only 5 cm and her cervix was thick. Teresa did not want to go to the hospital, I spoke to her for a while and explained to her that this might be the best thing at this point, because it was getting to be unbearable for her to hold back the pushing urge. Cindy used sterile water injections to help her with the pain. These were so painful to Teresa that she screamed for a long while.
We got Teresa ready and we set out to transfer to St Joes hospital.
We arrived there at 11:30 PM, I continued to work with each contraction with Teresa to stop her from pushing and causing her more damage to her cervix. By 1:30 AM we finally received an epidural and that was a relief for Teresa eventually, at least she could get some rest and relief after six hours of trying not to push. We rested for a few hours and it was not until 5:30 in the morning that a doctor came to check Teresa and only to say that she was still 5cm and thick. That was very discouraging to me and I knew that soon a belly birth would be put on the table, Teresa did not want that, that was the main reason, she did not want to go to the hospital in the first place. I waited and tried to talk to her about it and she totally ignored me. I changed the subject and got her some juice and water. We talked, we laughed, we cried, we spoke about many things, her family, her career, her mother, her sisters. An hour later the doctor said there was no change, I do not know what happened here, all I know is that everyone in the room ignored this doctor’s comment and we continued our labour journey, Teresa said to me “ No me dejas” and I said “Nunca te voy a dejar, estoy aqui hasta que el bebe Nazca y despues tambien.” All the while, when Teresa felt that pressure overwhelming, I would help her breathe hihihi, hahaha, and it was during one of these times that the Doctor at 10:00AM informed us
things started to change in the cervix world, she was now soft and effaced and a 6. The doctor did note that there was meconium in the fluid. Because her and I were doing our hihihi session the Doctor asked me if Teresa had a mental disability and if she was all right. I said that she was, it was just her way of coping with all this right now. Teresa had a fever though, and the doctor said maybe we should start antibiotics. No one started it, I noticed later. The nurses continued to come in and out, I retrieved a peanut ball from the bathroom and placed that between her legs, at this point I felt this would help with her opening further. Baby did not like any position but the right side, so staying this way was the only option for Teresa, I just shifted her and lifted her every now and again to relieve her side. Teresa’s feet were constantly moving, they had been for most of the night, I think that was also another coping tool for Teresa, it reminded me of my own daughter who did this with all her births as well. Even though Teresa had an epidural she never seemed to stop moving her body and I know that this was a great help with birthing this baby.
Lunchtime came and went, the hospital left a tray of food, Teresa right away, said to me that it was a good sign that she would not need a caesarean after all, because they were bringing her food. I ate the food as she could not and was grateful for every bite, I had not eaten for a long time. Who says hospital food is awful ? When one is hungry, it tastes great!
Teresa’s fever kept climbing, Dr Brian did the next check at 2:00PM and said that all was good, baby was at zero station, in ROA position, and she was 80% effaced and 7CM. He was confident we would have this baby vaginally at this point, I was so relieved and amazed that the practitioners had let her be this long. All through the day I was checking in with my Wise Woman Circle at Indie Birth,http://indiebirth.org asking for ideas and tips to help this cervix and this mama stay out of the operating room. All the wise women seemed to agree that time was the most effective in this case, and thank goodness we were given time.
At around 5:30PM it was decided to give Teresa some Tylenol for the fever and to start some antibiotics. It was around this time as well that Teresa felt the baby move down again, and actually her whole belly moved. Teresa felt in her yoni, she told me the baby’s head was like a half inch from the opening. The pressure and urge was strong for her to hold back, I encouraged her by telling her she was expert at this anyway, after doing it for most of the previous night. The nurse came in to let us the Doctor was going to do a c-section and he would be back around 6:00. I kept reassuring Teresa all was good and the longer the better for her. Baby’s heart rate was high at this point, steady but high, around 7:00PM Dr Brian came in to do a check and I believe he was a bit surprised when he did the check that he actually pushed the baby back a little and Teresa felt it and reacted. So I translated to the Doctor what Teresa had said, that he had pushed her baby back up, and he said we will get him back down, no worries, it was time to push. The entire room was buzzing now, the nurses were running around getting ready for the birth, the pediatrician team was called too, because of the meconium and the fever.
Finally the moment Teresa had been praying for was here, and she said that she could not feel the contractions any more, I am not sure why that was, because we could clearly see them on the monitor and feel them on her belly. She knew how to push and baby wasted no time, Teresa listened to my directions, pushed when she needed to and stopped when we advised her not to, Baby Daniel was born at 7:19 PM. The smell was foul, the meconium was plenty and baby was quickly whisked to the corner of the room with the nicu team, I watched out of the corner of my eye while I spoke and congratulated Teresa on her awesome birth after so many hours of waiting. They worked on baby Daniel suctioned out some pretty wild looking fluid and it was 3 and half minutes before he took his first breath, his heart rate had remained steady at 100 beats per minute. He was doing fine and I encouraged Teresa to talk to him from her bed baby’s hearing is quite fine and I know he could hear his Mama sweetly talking to him, Teresa remained calm, she showed no anxiety about baby and we continued to birth her placenta and do a very minor repair of one first degree stitch. Within 12 minutes baby Daniel was skin to skin with Teresa and he looked exhausted as much as Teresa did. Around 8:00PM they took Daniel to the nursery to check him out and to insert the catheter for antibiotics to be administered for 48 hours, to prevent an infection because of the chorioamniotis that was present at the birth. He was back at 8:30 and continued skin to skin with Teresa, he did not seem hungry at this point but quite content to be with Mama. At around 9:00PM Amanda the student midwife came to be with Teresa and help her get to the bathroom and all that, as well as help with latching, at this point, after more that 30 hours of support, I made my exit, kissing and blessing Teresa and Daniel, promising to visit when they got home in a few days.
Teresa’s labour lasted a total of 120 hours, as Dr.Brian mentioned, Teresa is the first woman to have laboured twice to have one baby. It is a birth of tenacity, determination and powerful beauty, I feel blessed to have been there all those hours and I am in awe at this young lady who never gave up and birthed her baby in love and true passion.