• Faye Strauch

Doris's Birth: A Change of Plans

I was contacted by Christine and Nathan early on in their pregnancy. They were interested in having doula support for their first birth which would be taking place at a hospital close to their home. At our initial meeting I made them aware that the location they had chosen to birth their baby was not one of the most supportive places if they were planning on a more natural birth. I gave them a recommendation of a wonderful OB in the west valley who also had midwives in their practice. They were very receptive to my suggestions and switched practices not long after. I was thrilled that they chose a supportive care provider and would be birthing their baby at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City, Arizona.

At around 32 weeks in Christine's pregnancy one of the OB's (the one who had many many years of experience) started voicing his concern that her baby girl was large and in the 95th percentile. Well we all know about certain doctors using the "big baby" card but I knew at this office they wouldn't be throwing that around without real concern. I really trusted that office as did my clients and especially the ultrasound technician who works there. In my experience, he was very accurate with his weight estimates when most of the time those estimates can be 1-2lbs off in either direction. So let's just say that I was starting to think she was really having a BIG baby! Her providers were willing to let her go into labor on her own within reason and wouldn't start thinking about induction until she was past 40 weeks.

Early labor started the morning of December 30 when she was 40 weeks plus 4 days. And wouldn't you know it, Christine was suffering from a really bad cold and earache at the same time! I felt so bad for her! They had an office appointment that afternoon so they went on in hopes of getting a cervical check to see if changes were being made. Christine was in so much pain with little relief. The doctor found that her cervix was very high as was baby. I believe there was some miscommunication between the couple and their OB at this point because according to them, he recommended they head to the hospital for some pain management in the form of IV pain meds but we soon realized at triage he meant for them to arrive for a cesarean birth. In the end, all was straightened out and Christine chose to continue laboring in the hopes of having a vaginal birth, big baby or not.

The overall consensus among the midwives and OBs was that baby was just not moving down because she was too big but Christine wanted to give her body the opportunity to birth her baby vaginally (this made my doula heart proud). We got the water running in the tub once we got to their room and she labored for a couple of hours right there. The contractions were becoming increasingly intense and she decided she wanted an epidural. It took over an hour before she could get the epidural because the anesthesiologist had just gone into a cesarean birth but Christine did amazing. Once she was comfortable after the epidural was placed, one of the newer midwives came in to chat with Christine and Nathan. She wanted to give them every chance she could to have a vaginal birth because she new it was so important to the first time parents. She wanted to perform a technique called the Walcher's maneuver to see if baby would back out of the pelvis just enough to get into a better position. Christine agreed to try. I believe she would have tried just about anything to avoid a cesarean.

Unfortunately, nothing we tried worked and Christine and Nathan made the decision that a cesarean would be best. They felt good about their decision at that point because they had exhausted all options to encourage baby to descend further down the birth canal. Christine was also very exhausted (on top of being sick) after being in labor for close to 40 hours.

Once baby girl was born we realized she was indeed a big girl at 9lbs. 8ozs. and she had a 15 inch head. Both mom and baby were healthy and the proud parents were so happy to be holding their baby girl in their arms. Congratulations Christine and Nathan on your beautiful baby girl Doris!

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