I Cut 2 Cords in 6 Hours OR a Crazy Day in the Life of a Doula

I have had 2 moms who were going to have their babies at any time for the past few weeks.   They also happen to be good friends, so I really wanted to make sure I made it to both births!

Birth 1 – hospital birth

S. was having her 4th baby.  She had never gone past 37 weeks and on Tuesday the 18th she was going to be 39 weeks… so she was READY to have this baby.  Monday night she called and said she was having some intense PW (pressure waves), I was teaching my Hypnobabies class, so said I would call her after we were done.  I did and they had slowed down, so she was going to bed.

The next morning, she called and said they were still there, but less intense.  I got care lined up for my boys, which basically included 3 different people caring for them until 9:30 PM because DH had scouts that night.  (He is Scout Master) I went to Carson’s play at school and then talked to S, she had gone to the hospital and was 3cm, still having PW every 5-7 minutes, so was staying.  I headed out to her hospital, which was almost 2 hours away with all the traffic. 

I got there and then her DH got there not long after around 4:30.  I must say that this was a fun atmosphere for a birth.  S’s DH is just a funny guy and S is tons of fun, so it was like a party.  🙂  We walked the halls for awhile.  S listened to a script relaxing in bed… then I think we walked a little bit more.  S ate some cheerio mix snack.  The nurse was so funny because later when she was helping S get in bed she said, “Ahh, a tell tale cheerio in your robe… BUSTED!”  But then said nothing else.  Completely different than the other nurse from a different birth who verbally attacked a mom about drinking

6:30 she was still 3cm and chose to have her OB break her water. 

7:30 we watched Wheel of Fortune, which is apparantly a tradition, she had watched it during 2 of her other births.  Then we also watched American Idol.  S wanted the distraction.  When it was done she listend to another script and we all rested.  She was starting to have longer and stronger PW but they were spacing out to about 7 min apart. 

I have to interupt and say that the nurses were GREAT, they were supportive of everything S wanted.  Her OB was too, he was not trying to push pitocin or anything. 

11:30, S gets checked and she is 4cm, 80% effaced and 0 station. 

Midnight – OB comes in.  Still every 7 min.  S asks, “What do you want to see here?”  The OB said, “A baby to come out.”  He said, “Baby looks great, how are you doing?”  S. was good, tired and wanted to rest.  He said, “Whatever you want.”

A little later the nurse came in and asked S if she was open to any augmentation.  S said, “You mean, pitocin?”  The nurse said yes.  She explained she could just do a little and not up it, just to try and get them a bit closer together.  She said, that S. could take some time to think about it and just to let her know. 

Minutes later after talking together about pros and cons, S said, “Let’s do it!”  So at 12:25 pitocin was started at the lowest setting and by 12:45 the PW were more like 4-5 min apart.  S started feeling the baby starting to move down more.  She listened to a script in bed and was doing really well relaxing. 

1:20 the nurse asks if she can check S.  S. agreed and she was 8cm. 

1:40 the nurse turns off the pitocin, so S can have more of a break.  At this point S was starting to lose some of her focus.  She just wasn’t getting much of a break (the PW were lasting over a minute and only a minute break between them)  after the pitocin was turned off they spaced out again to 4 or 5 minute breaks. 

1:50 S hustles to the bathroom to pee.  She asks if there is anything to help take the edge off.  The nurse explains she might be too close to pushing. 

So at 2:00 S is checked again and is 9.5, just a little lip left.  No time for any medication and S is just ready to be done, time to push!  The nurse goes to get the OB.  DH is so great at encouraging S.  She is doing it! 

2:10 the OB is ready and S pushes for 1 or 2 PW, completely mother directed.  No one telling her how long to push.  Little C is born at 2:16!  She did it!  Horray.  He is so cute and has curly dark hair.   He was 7 pounds 14 ounces, her biggest baby and no tears!  🙂  DH did not want cut the cord, so I got to!  This was my first time.  🙂

I left not long after, because I knew I would be on mommy duty in the AM and it would be a long ride home, I wanted the adreniline rush to help keep me awake.  S is a pro at breastfeeding, so they were fine with me leaving.  With no traffic I was home and in bed by 3:30. 

My thoughts… I think had she not had the pitocin she would have had a more relaxed time for the last hour.  But she was ready to have the baby and was already tired.  I don’t know if waiting a few more hours with no sleep would have been the best choice for S.    I talked to her today and she was happy with how things had gone.  That last hour was really intense and she said she didn’t really feel any pain, it was just so strong and she wasn’t getting any breaks!  So she agrees without the pitocin it would have been a smoother ride.  But she was fine with how it all turned out, which I am glad for!

I also think that really it was meant to be that her baby was born by 2:15 so I was home in bed by 3:30.  You will now see why. 

Birth 2: HBAC (home birth after cesarean) 

The phone rings at 4:30. 

Yes, 1 hour after I had fallen into bed.

It is Alison, she says she is having PW every 5 minutes for an hour.  I think my first words out of my mouth were, “How exciting!”  But honestly for about 20 seconds I am thinking… who, what, huh?  But then my brain starts to wake up and I ask if she has listened to any CDs yet.  She had not, so I explained I had just gotten home and asked if I could sleep a bit more and she could call with an update after her CD.  She said, OK. 

I got back in bed and found it hard to sleep.  I wanted to go be with her, but thought if this is another long birth (her first was 24 hours and ended in a cesarean) I am going to need more than 1 hour of sleep to help her through it.  I thought if I can just sleep until 7:30 (4 hours) then I can shower and get there around 8 and can do it. 

I still couldn’t relax or stop thinking, so I thought even if I get 1 more hour of sleep and she calls and needs me, I should be fine! 

I still couldn’t sleep so I said a little prayer along the lines of, “Help Alison and let me be able to get some sleep so I can go and help her in a little while.”  I then got a very strong impression that I needed to get up NOW and go or I would not see her baby be born.  I also felt that she needed me NOW.  I think I lay there for a few more seconds and thought, what if she is listening to a script and I call back and interupt her?  But again, “go NOW” 

So I got up and got dressed and called her to say, “I feel like I should come now.”  She said something like, “Oh good.”   While driving I prayed, “Please let Michelle (midwife) get there with plenty of time to catch this baby.  If she doesn’t get there in time, help me to be calm and that things will work out just fine.” 

I pulled up and the door was a little open, so I walked right in.  DH was upstairs and waved me up.  I go into the office and Alison was on all fours on chux pads and her water had literally just broken.  I sat down next to her and we had a little chat about what was happening.   Her first PW was around 3:18 and then had another 13 min later then they were suddenly 5 minutes apart and REALLY strong.  She had thought the baby was coming when her water broke.  So she was a little on edge.  She had a nice long break before another PW started (probably 10 min or so) I was thinking, “Is this the rest and be thankful stage?”  (Sometimes there is a break between transformation/transition and pushing.  Where PW space out and mom can gather strength to push baby out.) 

DH was on the phone with the midwives and they told him to read the Emergency Childbirth handout.  He told them I was there and they said they would call right back.  He read the sheet and looked at me and said, “Do you know this stuff?”  I took the sheet and read it and said, “Yes, we will be fine.”  I felt totally calm.  I loved that at the top of the sheet was a scripture and something along the lines of everything will be ok. 

Alison’s PW started again and they were 5 min apart lasting about a minute.  We got her iPod plugged into some speakers, but I couldn’t find the easy first stage script and I didn’t want to leave her.  So I put the birthing affirmations on.  Alison was relaxing great between and during the PW.  I got the birth ball so she could be on all fours, but rest her upper body.  I got clean chux pads down so she wasn’t kneeling in a wet puddle.  I got a towel to cover her, because she was cold.  Then we just chatted between waves and relaxed through them, I would talk her through each one.  Sometimes she would sound just a bit pushy and I just listened and said you are doing great.

The midwives called back to get an update, they wanted to know if the bed was ready.  I said I would check and then the phone went dead.  I didn’t think much of it, I figured they would call back soon.  But apparantly Alison’s phone had gone out and they tried to call back but couldn’t get through.  They just prayed all would be well.   

At some point I had her lie on her side because she was tired of all fours.  She found it hard to be comfy on her side… not open enough.  Though I honestly didn’t want her TOO open until the midwives got there.  She was also on the floor of the office as the bed was not ready and she didn’t want to move anyway. 

They arrived around 6.  There was some confusion because the plastic tarp for the bed was missing and there were limited chux pads.  Alison and I hung out in the office while they helped get things together.  They were coming in and checking out the baby and Alison between organizing things.  She was getting more vocal with her PW, sort of moaning through them… nice low sounds.  She wanted to get checked and Michelle suggested waiting because of the risk of infection with her water broken.  So probably around 6:45 when Alison asked again, Michelle did check her.  She was 8 and stretchy with just an anterior lip.  So part of her cervix was complete, there was just a bit left on one side.  So Michelle said if she felt an urge to push she could just follow that urge. 

Alison continued to vocalize through her PW and started making some little pushy noises during them.  We encouraged her and said she sounded great! 

About 7:15 we helped Alison move to the toilet, where she started really pushing.  Then we helped her move to the birth stool and Michelle checked and she was complete.  She showed Alison how far the baby needed to move down to come out.  Alison soon moved to the bed for some side lying pushing, she then switched back to all fours.   Alison was encouraging the baby to come out. 

Suddenly after a few pushes in that position the baby was crowning.  It was so cool!  DH at this point was laying next to Alison and I was in a place where I could see the baby coming out!  The head was out and Alison paused a bit, it was so calm and peaceful in the room.  No yelling for her to push, just gentle encouragement to follow her body.  She soon pushed out the whole body.  “I did it!” Alison shouted. 

They put the baby on her back to rub dry baby off.  Alison asked what is it!  Dad checked and with confirmation from Michelle (he was in an awkward position to see) announced it was a girl!  Alison was so shocked, everyone was sure it would be a boy.  She got turned over and held her baby.  She announced her name was Penelope Jane.  Alison was exhausted but thrilled. 

They left the cord alone until after the placenta was out.  DH didn’t want to cut the cord, so I got to cut my second cord about 6 hours after I cut my first cord.  How crazy is that???!!!!  I then got to watch Carly (midwife’s assitant) examine the placenta.  It was pretty cool! 

So Penelope was born at 8:06 AM.  If I had not listened to that impression, I probably would have missed the birth.  I am SO glad that I prayed and followed that impression that I needed to go NOW.  I feel like I probably was more needed during 5 to 6 am than I had ever been needed another birth.  It allowed Dan to get things ready while I supported Alison. 

It was my first homebirth and it was wonderful.  I felt a calm and peace I had never felt before at a birth.  Even when it was Alison and I alone in the office and me thinking, I might get to catch this baby.   It was just so right.  I think that it shows that intuition is really important during birth… not just the moms intuition, but also her support people too. 

I am SO glad that I prayed and that I followed that prompting to leave right then.  I am SO glad that the timing worked out that I was able to attend both of these births.  While I was hoping for a good nights sleep between them, it didn’t really matter.  God worked it all out as He always does! 

You can read Alison’s version of her birth story here

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17 thoughts on “I Cut 2 Cords in 6 Hours OR a Crazy Day in the Life of a Doula”

  1. wow sheridan, this all sounds so wonderful and happy and thrilling and amazing all at once. you are doing such a wonderful thing for women. i am SO PROUD OF YOU.

  2. Exciting! The second birth sounds particularly beautiful, but it sounds like both mothers got the births they planned for. It also sounds like you are a wonderful doula!


  3. I love it! Thanks so much for sharing the birth stories!

    Those back-to-back births are crazy-wonderful, aren’t they?

    Congratulations to both of your friends on their AWESOME births!!

  4. How amazing! What beautiful birth stories! So crazy that you got to do two of them back to back. Good for you listening to the promptings. Don’t you love that? So fess up… how long did you sleep after that??? Thanks for sharing!

  5. What an exciting time! These births are so encouraging for me. Thanks for sharing them and congratulations!

  6. It’s so fun to read about the birth from your point of view–and now I have a better idea of the timeline from that morning, since I had no concept of time whatsoever!!! 🙂 You were an amazing and totally integral member of Penelope Jane’s birth team, I honestly could NOT have done it without you. Thank you so much for helping me get my VBAC!


  7. Yay! What a great story{s}. Intuition is so so so important. And I totally agree that it needs to be not only on the mom’s part, but her caretakers as well. This is why I feel like it’s so important to grow a good, strong bond with your midwife or doula or ob.

    Congrats on two cords in less than a day!

  8. vbac stories are always great but to have back-to-back births where EVERYONE listened to her instincts — that’s truly special!
    Congrats to all the mamas and papas and babies and doula 🙂

  9. Congrats! I had an experience like this as a doula once… client in labor, I was with her overnight at the birth center, first baby, going verrrry slow… she was about 5cm dilated when another client called, in labor, said she was already at the birth center. So was I! She was right across the hall! LOL

    I made sure client #1 was good in the shower with hubby and midwife, ran across the hall, and this 2nd time mom pushed out her baby in twenty minutes!

    Although I wasn’t as lucky as you to have them so close… mom#1 didn’t have her baby for another twelve hours… 😉

  10. Sheridan, Great stories! Your recollection of events is very precise! I too was great full to here the birth story from another persons point of view.

    It was an ecstatic birth for me! I love HBAC’s. I am continually awestruck when I watch a woman be completely in her power undisturbed. Women are totally capable but are too often interfered with to get their work done normally. VBAC’s seem to work best at home because there is more faith in the womans ability to deliver her own baby and less technology that could possibly interfere with her success. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Hey, just found your blog through Rixa’s. I started reading your account of Alison’s birth story and thought, hey, that sounds familiar! I actually just read Alison’s story on her own blog a few days ago, so it was really neat to see it from your point of view. I had my own first home birth (4th baby) on the 19th, and it’s the greatest thing ever! :o) You certainly had an exciting night! And I agree, it’s so important for the mother’s birth support team to be “in tune”, as well. Good for you for following that prompting! :o)

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  13. Great story! I know what you mean about the middle of the night confusion. I photographed my best friends birth 2 years ago, and she called me at 2:00 am to tell me she was going to the hospital, and I was sooo out of it. I told her to call me when she got there and update me when it got closer. She told me I’d better come now or I wouldn’t make it and she was right. Baby was born 40 minutes after we both got there!

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