A Birth Story ~Layne~
A Birth Story
It was a warm summer morning, August 26th, 2020. Amber’s due date was 3 days prior and she and her loving husband, Zoram were VERY ready to meet their baby boy. Every day dragged. Amber had miraculously managed to work full time through the middle of the 39th week of her pregnancy, but now, each day was spent waiting. It was long, painful, anxious waiting. It was beginning to seem like baby Layne would never come. Finally, on the morning of the 25th, Amber woke to find that her waters could be leaking. She had inconsistent contractions every 8-20 minutes all day, but labor still had not begun, by the next morning, she and her midwife decided that it was time to get things going. Her doula ran to the store and came right over arriving at 10:20 am. Together, they mixed a full blender of a castor oil midwives brew. Amber managed to down the whole blender full in under 20 minutes in her determination to meet her little boy.
After the rather unpleasant drink, the excited pair curb walked together down the road to a nearby park to work on getting labor moving. A sweet lady they ran into at the park yelled encouragement at Ambers every step. Already, her strength was beginning to show.
Unfortunately, their park trip was cut short by an urgent trip to the bathroom necessitated by the castor oil. Despite having a very upset stomach, Amber continues her work. Her kind husband brought cheeseburgers and fries for lunch. Her mom stopped by to observe some contractions and check in on her baby girl.
“Dum dee dum, dum.” She sang through contractions.
“You’ve still got a while;” her mother said. “when things really kick up, you won’t be smiling singing ‘dum dee dum dum.’”
Amber boogied and danced baby down. Contractions finally began to progress. She and her doula did some rebozo work and continued dancing the afternoon away between bathroom trips. Every contraction caused a small “sploosh” of fluid that made Amber giggle; Her cheeks flushed pink at the sensation. The next time Amber took a trip to the restroom that evening, bloody show! She was making progress. At her mother’s suggestion, Amber decided to get a priesthood blessing from her father that everything will go well- the first of 2 blessings she has during her labor. The second was even more special administered by her sweet husband. Throughout labor, even as things became more and more intense, Amber was concerned about everyone else in the room more than herself. Between heavy contractions, time and time again, Amber could be heard whispering
“Babe? Have you had enough rest?” to her husband
or to her doula or midwife
“Have you had something to eat? You look tired. Are you taking care of yourself?”
Amber, with her perfectly selfless spirit continued to be herself throughout the throws of labor.
The happy couple took a walk outside and contractions kept becoming more and more steady. After walking and yet ANOTHER bathroom break, The whole family sat down to a hot meal of pizza and breadsticks. At that point, contractions were becoming so intense that Amber had to put her plate aside and focus during each wave.
By the time dinner was over, Amber was starting to wear out. She began to lay in bed in a labor position. Before she got all the way laid down- “POP! POP! POP!” Her water burst the rest of the way in 3 successive pops! Amber squealed and giggled as water rushed everywhere! After cleaning up, She crawled back into the clean bed on top of a pad. The midwife arrived shortly thereafter and she decided that it was time to stay.
Within about 20 minutes of her arrival, Amber took a trip to the restroom. When she got up, a wave of nausea overtook her. She began to shake and vomited. Things were getting very intense, yet Amber sang her way through labor to a playlist of songs she had made just for this. Her voice was soft, tender, and perfectly on key. Sweetly, she sang her baby down. She was still cheerful and held Zoram while sitting on her ball during contractions. He played with her hair and held her while her sweet voice filled the still air.
Amber felt much better after vomiting. The room was lit with soft light. Amber’s best friend Meliah arrived. She told us there was a lightning storm outside. Brilliant flashes Illuminated the windows. The thunder outside started roaring Ambers labor onward. By this point, Amber had crawled into the warm tub. It was a wonderful relief. Deep in labor land, Amber suddenly blinked and started to laugh
“Bubbles! Oh! There's bubbles coming from my bum!” She exclaimed.
The baby moving down had been expelling air unexpectedly, and Amber’s sweet laugh filled the room, contagious, the room burst into laughter.” Amber went right back to work bringing her baby down. Shortly thereafter, she felt the urge to push. Amber pushed and the room lifted as everyone cheered her on. Her team was using counter pressure and were brushing her hair. She was in the zone, working beautifully, but something was wrong. After nearly 2 hours of work, Valerie decided to do a check. Amber’s cervix was not complete. The urge to push was nearly unbearable, but she had to stop. Valerie administered some herbs for rest and the tired couple snuggled in for a long night. Everyone was able to get a few hours of rest before the work began again.
By morning contractions were still slow, it was time to wake them up. Everyone began with a renewed energy to bring this baby into the world. They were walking stairs, they were dancing, they were bouncing on the ball. Amber was at 8 cm. So close. They spent the day working away. Contractions were regular.
In the middle of the day, Amber and Zoram decided to take some private time in the shower to reconnect. The day went on, an entire second day of hard work. By that evening, Amber’s cervix was nearly complete with a small cervical lip. They tried pushing again. Zoram held Amber in his arms. They were a perfect team, but that cervical lip would not recede. Valerie (the midwife) tried to manually push it behind Layne’s head, which was incredibly painful, but Amber gritted her teeth and worked through it.
Amber, in her valiant strength, was starting to fade. The couple was beyond exhausted. Amber had endured more than any normal person could have, and her waters had been broken for a very long time. Time was running out. Valerie decided that it was time for a discussion.
“Do we transfer to the hospital? Are we looking at epidural/pitocin? Is it time for a cesarean? Does Amber want antibiotics?”
The questions floated around the room. Anyone else would have given up, but Amber in her Herculean strength, decided that she could hold out for one more long night. Again, Zoram wrapped his arms around his beautiful bride, prepared to hold her all night long. Completely supportive. He had no idea how she could keep going. None of us did, but somehow she did. She was able to drift into an uneasy rest as Zoram read aloud to her in a lullaby of love more comforting than any artist or song.
By dawn, a pink light was creeping over the horizon. Amber got one more check. 9cm.
It was time. Amber was faced with the difficult decision to transfer to the hospital to bring her baby into the world. Despite the cost; emotional, physical, mental, and financial, Amber made the best, but hardest decision to transfer to the hospital.
Upon admittance to the hospital, they called anesthesia immediately. It was time for some rest and to allow the pelvic floor to relax. The doctor expected a cesarean so much that he refused to allow Amber anything to eat or drink. He had very little faith in Amber’s willpower or her body. The nurse checked Amber upon admittance only to share the incredibly defeating news that Ambers cervix had regressed back to 4 cm. Even after hearing this Amber was somehow, SMILING. She had some pain relief and she still trusted her body to bring her baby home. Amber was able to, for the first time in days, get a couple of hours of solid sleep. Sweet relief. Amber had new energy and strength.
After her epidural, she had some side effects. Her blood pressure dropped significantly and they were forced to turn the epidural down and administer medication twice. Baby had a few delayed decels, but with some position changes, and medication tweeks, mom and baby were doing just fine. After turning down the epidural, Amber could feel her contractions, but they were mostly pressure. By 1:45 in the afternoon (only a few hours after her epidural and medications) Amber was checked and was once again at 8 cm. Her family's prayers from home lifted her up.
She had gone from 6-8cm in only 40 minutes. By only the afternoon, Amber was once again complete with a cervical lip. Quickly, she and her team jumped into action to resolve the stubborn cervical lip. Position changes, massage, med adjustment, and a manual cervical stretch. Finally, nearly 53 hours after the onset of labor, Amber was ready to push again, this time, finally beyond the cervix. Amber geared up for the hardest work of her life. Because she had had so much practice, she pushed incredibly effectively, but it was slow work. The pitocin was turned high and the epidural was low. It was everything she had to keep going for her baby. It was hard and it was painful and there was no rest. The pressure cuff was turning her arm purple. Her body was beginning to panic, but she still pushed on. Layne’s heart decelerated one more time at the final push. The doctor tried to lift out baby Layne, but after all Amber had been through, she wasn't giving up the experience of catching her own baby. Amber pushed his hands out of her way as she caught and pulled her own baby to her chest after 2.5 hours of pushing at the last stretch. No one thought that she could do it. The doctor had prepped the OR. At last, she proved them wrong. She believed she could, so she did!
The relief on Amber’s face was absolutely palpable. She became an instant mother. She instinctively held her perfect, healthy baby close to her chest.
In the truest “Amber” fashion, her first words to her new baby were
“Good job little guy! You did it!” As though she wasn’t the true hero here.
Overwhelmed, Zoram paced across the room. Emotions too big to be felt poured from his eyes. His wife had never been so beautiful. She had really done it. He came back to her side, where he would stay forever. The perfect family, bound together by a love longer than any labor.