Photo here and on homepage slideshow by Genevieve Fridley www.genphotos.com
Fran’s water broke early on Sunday morning about two weeks before her due date. She called to tell me the news a few minutes later. Contractions had not started yet, so we agreed to stay in touch. We spoke several times throughout that day as mild, sporadic cramping became stronger and more consistent contractions. Fran’s husband, Adam, called me at about midnight to say that the contractions had been coming regularly for a few hours and that they wanted me to come. I packed up my gear and headed out into the calm June night to drive up to the Syracuse area.
When I arrived at about 1:30 on Monday morning, Fran was kneeling over the couch and breathing softly through contractions. My initial assessment of her, the baby, and the labor was normal and reassuring so I encouraged Fran to continue doing whatever was working for her. Within an hour or so, Fran and Adam decided to lie down and try to get some rest in preparation for the hard work ahead. I also rested and checked on Fran and the baby every half hour. Both were doing well, with the baby’s heartbeat strong and steady throughout the night. We continued this way for several hours, with Fran lying on her side and breathing rhythmically through contractions. She was beautifully relaxed and settling in to this early labor pattern. As the sun rose, labor continued with a slight increase in intensity. I decided it was time for some more support, so I called my assistant Megan, who had been at another long birth the previous day! She said she would leave her home soon, and offered to bring me some food (thank you Megan!)
Throughout the day we made good use of the entire house and yard as Fran walked outside, squatted by the picnic table, knelt on the bed, floated in the tub, rocked in the shower, swayed on the birth ball, and rested lying down. She began to vocalize with each contraction as we stroked her back and shoulders and legs. We told her how amazing and wonderful she was as she worked so hard to bring this little baby into the world. Not once did Fran’s determination and focus waver. As she gripped the sides of the birth tub and threw her head back and howled, her strength and courage shone through. The baby’s heartbeat continued to be strong and steady and reassuring. She was as strong and fierce as her mother through this long day of strong labor.
At about 6:00 pm Fran was fully dilated and ready to start pushing. The next several hours were challenging for Fran as we tried several different positions to encourage rotation and descent of the baby. Even though she was exhausted by this time, Fran remained upright and pushed while standing, kneeling, and squatting. Just after 10:00 pm, the head began to slip out along with a tiny hand. The rest of the head and body followed quickly as I maneuvered the baby through a cord wrapped tightly two times around the neck. Josephine arrived safely into this world at 10:10 pm on June 23, 2014 and went straight into the waiting arms of Fran. She was wide eyed and calm as Megan and I went about our assessments, and stared straight into Fran’s eyes as she accustomed herself to this world. The next few hours passed quickly as we helped this beautiful new family settle in and get cozy in bed. Megan and I cleaned up the disarray that had accumulated over the past 24 hours and were ready to leave by midnight. What a long but extremely amazing day!
Welcome to the world Josephine! Congratulations Fran and Adam!
For more photos of Fran and her family, check out the Photo Gallery of BirthRoot Families.