We are excited and blessed to share our birth story with everyone. We are so thankful for all the training and input that we received during our pregnancy. Rachel Supercinski was an amazing Bradley teacher and we do not think Emma’s birth would have been as successful had it not been for her knowledge and training. The outpouring of love from our families and Emmanuel Baptist Church was humbling. God has been incredibly faithful to us in each stage of Emma’s life.
In the evening of Wednesday November 2nd, Grace began to have more consistent contractions. We began to implement the relaxation techniques, but the contractions did not last. They stopped around 2 a.m. Infrequent, but strong, contractions continued through the night. These contractions did not seem like Braxton-Hicks, but we were not sure. Grace did not sleep well. We walked around our neighborhood some that night and the next morning.
Thursday November 3rd, James worked from home. Grace had infrequent contractions throughout the day. In the evening, the contractions began to pick up. We walked around the neighborhood. Interestingly, we met another couple that was due the same week as us who were learning Bradley and had our same doctor. James went to Bible Study and when he returned at about 9 p.m. the contractions were strong. We began to relax and try to work with the contractions. After midnight, we began to time the contractions and they were getting close together, three-five minutes apart for 50 seconds to one minute in length. However, within an hour, these contractions began to space out and slowed down. This was stressful both emotionally and physically for us.
Friday November 4th, James and Grace went to work. Grace was having intermittent strong contractions, but she did not want to focus on them. James did some research and reached out to Rachel Supercinski and came to the conclusion that Grace was probably experiencing Prodromal Labor (Prodromal labor is a type of labor that happens prior to the onset of full active labor. It is often considered a type of “false-labor,” but this is a misnomer, because doctors and midwives will explain that the contractions are real but they start and stop). This realization was encouraging because we at least knew what to expect.
Friday evening, Grace’s contractions began to pick up again. James went to sleep around 10:30 p.m. Grace woke James up around 1 a.m. and told him that she needed help because the contractions were strong. James began timing the contractions and they were less than five minutes apart lasting 50 seconds to 90 seconds. A little bit later, Grace decided to take a bath. James began to hear how hard she was working and made the call to start loading the car. Grace was really anxious that she was not far enough along. James reassured her that it was not a problem if they were not admitted and they had the whole weekend to work on labor together.
At around 2 a.m. on Saturday November 5th,Grace was taken up to Labor and Delivery and checked. She was 100% effaced, six centimeters dilated, and the baby was at zero position. They admitted us and quickly began prepping the room as they thought that the baby was coming really soon. Grace’s labor began to slow down. Our nurse was nice and supportive, but not very knowledgeable about natural methods. We began to walk and do some different positions.
Around 4 a.m. our doctor, Dr. Rice, was called. Grace had really high blood pressure and needed to be monitored more frequently. They were worried that she might have a seizure if she was not treated. Dr. Rice did not want to intervene, but we needed to get Grace to relax. After some relaxation and a warm shower, Grace’s blood pressure went down some and she did not need medication, just monitoring. Her blood pressure was still high, but it did not warrant medication. The medication would have made Grace groggy and may have slowed labor even more. Dr. Rice left at about 6:30 a.m.
At shift change at 7 a.m. we got a new nurse. We actually knew her. She worked with Grace for a little bit at Hope Pregnancy Center. Grace was nervous at first, but God showed us how faithful he was. Our nurse was hoping and praying for a natural client that day. She had a couple of her kids naturally. This was a great encouragement to us. She was super helpful and encouraging to us, James in his coaching and Grace in her laboring. She even prayed with us a couple times.
Around 10 a.m. Grace was checked again. Labor had been off and on. She was about eight centimeters. We tried some other techniques, but labor was just not progressing. Grace was very tired. She had not slept much in the last three days. Grace was checked again around noon and not very much progress had happened. Grace was eight to eight and a half centimeters. At this time, due to Grace’s fatigue level, Dr. Rice recommended that we artificially break the bag of waters. We thought that this was a good idea. Pretty quickly, Grace got an urge to push and was checked again. Her cervix had become a little inflamed because of the pushing. Dr. Rice recommended that she take a shower and not push even though she wanted to.
At around 1:30 p.m., Grace was checked again. She was nine centimeters dilated and the inflammation had gone down. She was beginning to get very tired. Grace’s contractions had slowed a lot at this point as well. She was not feeling all of them. Dr. Rice recommended that we start a low dose of Pitocin. We agreed that this would be ideal due to the length of labor so far and Grace’s energy level. Dr. Rice also told us to go “full Bradley.” Grace had been handling the pain well, but not really relaxing 100%. She found that laboring outside of the bed was easier for her, but we think that her contractions did not make much progress. Dr. Rice told her to act like she was sleeping, relax through the contractions and fight the urge to push until it was overwhelming. Pitocin was started around 2 p.m.
At around 2:20 p.m. Grace was checked again. There had not been much progress, but the Pitocin had just started to kick in. We needed to be patient. Grace said that the contractions were twice as strong she was nearing her limit. At around 3 p.m., Grace could not resist any further. She began grunting and pushing. The nurse checked her and there was only a very small lip of the cervix that was in the way. She said we might be able to push through it since it was very stretchy. Dr. Rice was called and was there in ten to fifteen minutes. Grace began to really push. Dr. Rice massaged her perineum between contractions (she commented on how stretchy it was, the massages Grace did payed off) Grace was really encouraged when we could see the head. With about five to six pushes in about 30 minutes, Emma arrived. Her head came out just fine. She came out with a fist to her chin which caused Grace to tear a little. Emma was immediately put on Grace and after the cord stopped pulsing, James cut it. Emma was six pounds seven ounces, eighteen and a half inches long and born at 3:32 p.m. on November 5th, 2016. Bonding time went well. James was able to help bathe Emma in the room as well. Postpartum went well and we learned how to feed and care for her. We were able to leave Monday November 7th around 12:30 p.m.
Since Emma was so small breast feeding was a challenge the first week. We consulted with Kimberly Hill, who was a major help and encouragement. We did not give up and eventually Grace and Emma began to nurse better and better. Emma is doing well and on track to regain her birth weight. We hope this story is an encouragement to you. Sometimes the ideal does not happen, but with knowledge and training you can overcome the challenges of labor.