I met Jessica early in her pregnancy when she found out I took her health insurance. It was fun getting to know her in the interview and before she even left, she knew a home birth was right for her! Throughout her pregnancy, I could always rely on Jessica to give me a good laugh! Often, she would send me pictures of a fireball to describe her heartburn and images of whales to describe how huge she felt (even though she wasn’t) but it would brighten my day and made me appreciate my clients who could be goofy about their pregnancy symptoms! Even with her few minimal discomforts, Jessica’s pregnancy progressed normally and went off without any issue until the very end. Shortly after her 36 week home visit, Jessica came down with a serious illness that had her coughing so badly she felt she had broken ribs. After visiting with her family doctor, who decided the cough was viral, she endured another 2 weeks of the cough before it finally let up but what it left behind was severe discomfort and pain and a worried mama about going into labor and not being able to effectively push or handle the pain because she was already in so much pain. My heart hurt for her and I encouraged her in any way I knew how as she was on the mend.
Jessica had been texting me off and on about her concerns regarding the pain she was in and she kept telling me how “strange” she felt and wondered if labor was coming soon. She was only 38 weeks and 5 days so I encouraged her not to focus too much just in case in was just pre-labor, just so she didn’t wear herself out! However, later that night at 10:30pm, Jessica texted me that her water broke! I chuckled to myself about how very accurate maternal intuition can be and I encouraged her to get some rest just in case labor decided to hit in the middle of the night. I went to bed and was surprised to wake up in the morning not having heard from Jessica. I pulled out my phone and saw she had texted me a couple of times throughout the evening about mild contractions and her Doula Sarah Norris joining her but by morning, things seemed to have spaced out so Sarah went home and Jessica tried to get some sleep. I called Jessica shortly after getting up to see if she would like to come see me in my office. She agreed and I met her there. I confirmed that her water was indeed broken and that baby was doing well but Jessica had not had a contractions since the early morning. I could see the disappointment and discouragement in Jessica’s heart as she processed what was happening. She had had consistent contractions throughout the night and they suddenly stopped early morning and Jessica had no idea what to do! After shedding some much needed tears and changing her expectations, we set out on a journey to see what was going to be special about this baby and her labor! I sent Jessica home with herbs and told her to call me when she was ready. Throughout the rest of the morning and early afternoon, I received text messages from Jessica about how anxious she was and whether or not she could handle the pain or stress of what she was going through. I could tell that she needed someone there before labor even started if she was going to allow labor to begin at all! I called her awesome doula Sarah Norris and we both discussed what was on our hearts for her and I asked if she would be willing to check in early with Jessica and help her get labor started. Her body was ready, Jessica just needed a little extra support! Well, because great minds think alike, Sarah was already on her way to see Jessica because she could tell Jessica needed the extra help and already had in mind some things that were going to get Jessica’s labor moving. By the time 3:30pm rolled around, Jessica was contracting more consistently and being supported by Sarah and things were looking up! At 4:45pm, I received a text from Sarah that she felt it might be time for me to come. I jumped in my car and headed that way with my team in tow! I arrived around 5:15pm and could tell Jessica was progressing beautifully! Her contractions had spaced slightly since getting out of the shower and I had a sneaking suspicion that she would do very well in the water once she could relax. I checked Jessica’s cervix to find her at 6cm! I knew it would not be long as she began to shake with each contraction! Jessica was so discouraged and felt this would never end but I convinced her to get in the pool and let it all go and it would not be much longer! Sure enough, within 30 mins of getting into the pool, Jessica felt the urge to push and just a few minutes of pushing later at 6:14pm, her sweet baby Evelyn Claire joined us weighing in at 5#10oz!! Jessica kept saying over and over how she was so done and couldn’t go one for much longer and that told us even more that she was close and baby was coming soon, she even surprised herself with how well she did! It was a beautiful moment to watch a mama who had never had the privilege to labor naturally accomplish it with such strength! Thank you Jessica and Claire for blessing me by allowing me to be present at your birth!
Photos courtesy of Sarah Norris: www.nurturedinjoy.com