The Unpredictable Birth of Elijah at Banner Del Webb Medical Center
I had met Laurann two years before when she was expecting her third baby so when she contacted me and was interested in having me support her and document this birth I was really excited. This was her fourth and final baby so she wanted to make it special by having a birth photographer there.
I need to give a little background about her third birth...the birth of her daughter 2 years before. Laurann had been in denial that she was in labor that whole day but once her water ruptured, she knew is was definitely happening and they should get to the hospital soon. Well let's just say that her baby girl was in a big hurry after that because she was born in the car right around the corner from the hospital.
Sooooo I was really nervous leading up to her estimated due date because I was so worried I would miss her birth. But we all know how births go....never according to plan. Laurann ended up going into early labor the day before her due date. I had a text from her early that morning that she had been woken up a couple of times by contractions during the night but they were still far apart and not consistent. We were in contact through the day but nothing much was happening but contractions here and there.
At 8:45 that evening she decided to go to the hospital to see if there was any change happening to her cervix because she didn't want to have another car baby and she also was GBS positive so she wanted to get the antibiotics during labor. I asked if she wanted me to meet them there but she said she thought I could wait until they got checked to see what's going on. I was so nervous waiting! She found out she was dilated to 2-3cm so they suggested she walk for an hour to see if anything changed. After the hour she was 4cm so they admitted her so they could start the antibiotic and preventing another baby birthed in their car. Once she was settled in she was going to try to get some rest so she didn't feel like she needed my support yet.
I received the next text from her at 2:30am asking me to head to the hospital. Her contractions were getting stronger and very painful. I walked into her room around 3:15am and found her in the birthing pool and her oldest daughter, Abbi, asleep on a cot as well as Laurann's boyfriend dozing in the chair. She seemed to be handling the contractions well by breathing through each one as they came. It was so special that Abbi had chosen to be present at all 3 of her siblings' births, even the car birth.
We were still expecting her labor to go really quickly once she was farther along or her water ruptured. But we all know how birth is....unpredictable! This baby boy was making her work so hard! The contractions were not that close together or consistent but they were super strong and painful. She labored mostly in the birth pool because the water helped her manage the pain so well.
About 20 minutes before baby arrived, Laurann got to the point of feeling like she couldn't go on and asking for an epidural. The nurse and I both gave her a pep talk and told her she was probably super close to baby coming plus she would have to be moved to a different room because she was in one of the natural birth suites where epidurals were not given. Thankfully at just about that moment Laurann felt like she had to push so with great effort she made her way to the bed and baby boy was born at 10:32am. He had his umbilical cord wrapped tightly around his neck (nuchal cord) twice but once the doctor unwound it he started pinking up and opened his big bright eyes.
I learn something with each birth I am present for but at this birth it was something I already knew but in the moment had somehow forgotten! Each birth is different! It doesn't matter if mom had a super fast third birth...this was a completely different baby and birth experience. I have to be reminded of these kinds of things often but it's a really good lesson for all of us.
Congratulations to Charles and Laurann on your handsome baby boy Elijah born on his due date! You were so strong and determined Laurann....right up to the end even when you had to be reminded that you could go unmedicated like you desired and planned.