Getting baby into position? (Beth-Ellen’s birth story, part 4)

We discussed the possibility of malpositioning as the allotted hour of walking came to a close. If baby were posterior, perhaps that could explain how I’d been laboring so long and hard with so little progress.

We knew with my history of severe preeclampsia that we didn’t want to do anything inverted, but my doula could do a side-lying release and we could see if that helped things out any.

Are you feeling lost? Maybe you’d like to read part 1, part 2 and part 3 of Beth-Ellen’s birth story

The doulas also wondered about nipple simulation, but I was unsure. I was still torn between the desire to get labor over with and the desire to have enough strength to bring it to completion.

The triage staff were busy when we returned after our hour of walking, so we began the side-lying release.

The resident came back to check me. No progress. No surprise there.

But I couldn’t leave yet. They needed to check the baby again. This time, I insisted on standing. I continued chatting with Daniel and Mary (my primary doula), pausing every three minutes to lean over the bedside table and sway my hips or lunge a bit as another contraction hit. These were at mid-day intensity now – but nothing I couldn’t manage by myself.

A twenty minute tracing stretched to thirty, forty minutes. Even longer. It must have been quite an emergency the other woman was having.

Mary mentioned that one of the nurses had recognized me, asked my name. She’d taken care of me with Louis and had requested to be my labor nurse if they kept me. My mind jumped to the two primary nurses who’d taken care of me with Louis. I felt sure it was one of them, and I felt a twinge of regret that I wouldn’t be staying. But I’d be crazy to stay when I was two centimeters dilated.

The triage nurse finally returned. She took a look at my tracing, at those every three minute contractions, and called the resident. She knew he’d been intending to send us home, but these contractions were pretty close together. Could he come back in and check me again? Or maybe she could just do the check if he was busy?

She got off the phone and I told her not to bother. These were the same contractions I’d been managing fine at home for a good part of the past twenty four hours. Contractions that had dilated me to a 2 in that time. I’d go back home and manage labor there until something changed.

Which is exactly what we did. We went home and went to bed. By this time, I was exhausted enough that I did something like sleep between contractions. I lay there in a left side-lying Sims’ position between contractions, drifting in and out of consciousness. And when the contractions came, I rose onto all fours, raising my bottom as high as I could and lowering my chest as close to the bed as I could manage. If malpositioning was our problem and I could get this baby into a better position through my own positioning, I was going to try.

I can’t have slept long, given that we didn’t get home until three or four – and the children generally wake up between six and seven.

But the rest felt delightful, and now it was Christmas Eve – when my family traditionally celebrates Christmas.

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