Kaitlyn’s labor began concurrently with another client’s (read Kylie’s story here). Kaitlyn was having her first baby, however, so it took a while longer to get going. I drove down to Binghamton to see how things were going on Monday evening, and since labor was still in the early stages I discussed some ideas and suggestions for how to manage the next several hours, and then headed to Newfield for Kylie’s birth. When all was said and done and I was able to return to Binghamton, it was 5:00 am in the morning of the next day.
Kaitlyn’s labor appeared to be in full swing when I arrived at about 6:00 am. I had asked one of my assistants, Michelle, and a nurse/student-midwife, Denise, to sit with Kaitlyn until I could get there and they reassured me that all was well upon my arrival. Kaitlyn was breathing, moaning, and moving through each contraction. She was in good spirits, excited and ready to have her baby, but also a bit tired after a long night of regular contractions. I settled on the couch with a cup of tea to observe and wait for a little while before offering to do or change anything. Kaitlyn was quite active at this point, frequently changing her position and swaying, rocking, and moving with every contraction. After several hours, it was agreed that checking her dilation would help us decide whether to start getting the room ready for birth or to keep on working with the contractions as we had been. When I checked Kaitlyn, her cervix was about four cm dilated. This came as a big blow to Kaitlyn—she thought she must be getting close to the pushing stage as the contractions were so strong and intense. However, with some gentle encouragement, support, and the space to have a good cry, she rallied and got back on track with just taking each contraction one at a time. Again, she breathed and moved and changed positions for several hours. By this time, Megan had arrived after leaving Kylie, Matt, and little Matthew cozy and tucked in bed, and Michelle, Megan, and I drank tea, breathed with Kaitlyn, and held the space for her labor to unfold.
When I next checked Kaitlyn at about 12:00 pm, her cervix was five cm dilated, and the head was in a position called asynclitism. Basically, this means that the head is coming down into the pelvis tipped towards one shoulder or the other, rather than straight down. It can make labor longer and more painful. Kaitlyn was crushed to hear that she still wasn’t ready to push. We all had to take a minute to breathe and refocus and dig down deep for inspiration and energy. We decided to do the Miles Circuit, which includes movements and positions that encourage the head to wiggle into place. We also gave Kaitlyn homeopathic and herbal remedies to keep her energy up and encourage rotation of the baby. Throughout this long and difficult afternoon, Kaitlyn’s determination, courage, and persistence never wavered. Every weird position and movement she was asked to do she did. Megan, and Michelle, and I had tears in our eyes as we watched this brave, ferocious person cope with such a difficult labor. The baby’s heartbeat never dipped or caused any concern so we were encouraged to continue on with our efforts.
After a few hours of focused work to change the baby’s position, I checked Kaitlyn’s cervix at 3:30 p . The good news was that the baby’s head was no longer asynclitic; the more discouraging news for Kaitlyn was that her cervix was six cm dilated. Again, we supported her through feelings of disappointment. We talked about our options at this point, and it was decided that I would break the bag of waters now that the head was in a good position. This was accomplished and the pace and intensity of contractions increased yet again. Kaitlyn was hesitant after about an hour of intense labor to think that she might be ready to push, after the slow course of dilation previous to this point. When I checked her cervix at 4:30 pm, we all cried with joy to find that the cervix was fully dilated and she could begin to push!
I was in awe of Kaitlyn’s strength and power as she dug in her heels yet again to get through the next several hours of pushing. With frequent position changes and lots of support from her husband, Nick, Kaitlyn pushed her son Theodore out into the world at 8:29 pm. Another big boy weighing 9 pounds, 2 ounces.
Welcome to the world Theodore! Congratulations Kaitlyn and Nick!
For more photos of Kaitlyn and her family, check out the Photo Gallery of BirthRoot Families.