“New estimated due date: NEVER”
Anna sent this text to me two days before her baby was due. When her due date had come and gone it really was starting to feel like it was never going to happen.
Fast forward to Wednesday morning March 22, exactly one week after Lucy’s due date. We had all been patiently waiting but Lucy was taking her sweet time. At this point, Anna was still firmly against inducing with pitocin but she was definitely ready for a membrane sweep. I couldn’t quite blame her. I had just delivered my baby a week late about a month and a half earlier, so I remembered the agony.
She woke up that morning with diarrhea and she was really emotional. I got excited (I mean seriously birth is the ONLY time you get excited over diarrhea, right?). I got the kids ready, called my mother-n-law, and drove across town. I knew that with that sign and a membrane sweep that we were going to have a baby before the day was out! She left her appointment that morning 2cm dilated.
Around 1:00 contractions that were coming every 8 minutes. They had been coming since she left the office that morning. By 3:45, as she was getting ready to pick her husband up from work, her contractions were coming every 5 minutes and were lasting around 45 seconds long. It sounded bad to me but to her they weren’t that intense. She asked me if she should go ahead and take her daughter to her mom’s house who lived about 30 minutes away and I told her it was probably a good idea. We planned to meet at her house at 6:00. She called me back within a couple minutes and said to meet her at the hospital instead.
Now here comes my epic doula fail. I went to the WRONG HOSPITAL!! Apparently, there are two Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospitals in Ft. Worth.
Total. Epic. Fail.
So, I got there on time but I was still 26 minutes away. I practically ran back to the car, quickly strapped my amazingly cooperative newborn into her car seat, and headed to the right hospital. I could tell Anna was getting to the point where she wasn’t going to be able to talk to me anymore so I told her to give her husband Charles the phone so I could bug him and not her. I just knew I was going to miss the birth. She got to the hospital 5 cm dilated.
Sure enough my suspicions started coming to life when I get a message saying “This is Charles…hurry up I’m useless to her”. I asked him how bad it was and if she was still at least talking to him and he told me that they were every minute apart and they were at labor and delivery. I immediately told him some quick labor support 101 techniques because I just knew Lucy would come before I could get there. I was still 20 minutes out. When Charles began to text me saying that Anna was asking for the epidural I felt like a complete failure. That was my job as her doula to help her have the natural birth she wanted! I asked him if he could get her to at least wait until I got to the hospital in 12 minutes and he said he could. There was still hope.
I finally arrived at the hospital just before 7 and luckily, I found her room quickly. Anna had held on and was laboring so well using the nitrous oxide. As soon as I got there I grabbed her hand, began to breathe with her, and told her that I was there and that she was doing great. She looked up at me with pleading eyes and said “I want the epidural”. What I interpreted that to mean was “I know what we talked about and I know what I wanted but I don’t want that anymore give me the epidural and don’t tell me no!!” I said ok and asked the nurse about how long it would take for them to get it to her. Luckily for us she still had to have her blood work come back before they could issue it and that would take 15 minutes. I had already used up my “can you wait a little longer” line so it was nice that the nurse was telling her she had to wait this time. I could work with 15 minutes. There was still hope!
I began to breath with her and that really helped her to breath more effectively. I was really impressed at how well she was laboring. I noticed she had a rag on her chest and realized she must have been hot. Luckily, I had brought my spray bottle with me. I remember that being a lifesaver during my births and sure enough she loved it. Soon little Lucy’s heart began to drop so the midwives began to try to get Anna into different positions. First, we got her on her side, then on her other side, then to her hands and knees. After a few minutes of doing that the midwife checked her and said “You’re complete, you’re ready, let’s get this baby out!”. We were all so relieved! She had done it!
This is when things got a bit crazy. I was so focused on Anna and helping her labor that I did not realize the slight panic in the room. She had pushed a couple times but nothing had happened, which is completely normal. I looked up and around the room though and there were a lot of nurses and doctors in the room and they all looked disturbed. As I began to listen to the chatter around me I realized that little Lucy’s heart rate had been down for a while and it was urgent now that Anna push her out. Within a couple minutes there were lots of people practically yelling at her every time she pushed telling her that she had to get the baby out FAST or she was going to have to have a c-section. At this point, there was a doctor in the room who was feeling for the baby and realized that sure enough baby was in a funky position and that was making it difficult for her to come out. We quickly got Anna on her hands and knees for a few pushes and then down back to her back. After a few more pushes and not much progress I could tell Anna was beginning to panic. I leaned down in her ear and began to called on the Lord and prayed that he would get this baby out on the very next push. The very next push baby didn’t come but the doctor was able to manually turn the baby into a good position. Praise God!! With a few more pushes after that baby Lucy was born at 7:34pm at 7lbs 6oz and 20in long! All natural!