I’d just dropped off Joan and Ana at school and had done an air punch jump after finding out I had won a ticket to Sonar when Martin called to tell me that Alina had been kept in hospital for induction. I was shocked. We met 20 minutes later and went to Hospital de Maternitat together. When we arrived, as suspected, poor Alina was distress and scared. She had gone in that morning at 10am for a blood pressure check with the midwife and at 16h30 when we arrived the poor darling was still there, alone in the hospital all that time. They’d given her a prostaglandin pill and put a sondar (something to help open the cervix) in because they found she was losing a lot of protein and her blood pressure was really high, on set of preeclampsia a life threatening issue in pregnancy and birth which is provoked by the placenta.
So now we just had to wait and hope this didn’t end where it felt like it was going….cesarean….
The staff let Alina and Martin go up to their room so that she could rest, they would give her another pill at 20h30 so with nothing else to do but wait I went home to rest myself. At midnight Martin and spoke, he told me that not much was going on, she was having a few random contractions and the hospital would give her until 7am to go into labor before inducing her with oxytocin. Fortunately at 05h30 I got another call, her waters had broken and she was having contractions every two minutes! I was at the hospital by 07h00. The three of us worked through contractions until about 08h00, Martin putting pressure on her back around the kidney area and me breathing and putting pressure on her shoulders to help Manuela descend. From there we went downstairs again to the dilatation room. Between the movement, prostaglandin, waters breaking and not sleeping Alina was exhausted and not coping well with the contractions although there were still very short (but close together). She had asked for the epidural various times, this one she was persistent, we talked it through and it was confirmed. There were about to give here oxytocin anyway.
I STILL KICK MYSELF FOR NOT SUGGESTING SHE TRY GAS FIRST. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK.
Here is were it all got complicated. The silly anaesthesiologist badly located the epi and all of it went to Alina’s left leg sleeping it quickly while she still had the contraction pain in the right leg. To top that they hooked her up to oxytocin to dilate. Poor thing suffered quite a bit at first. There was a lot of fuss over this issue, she had to be turned onto her right side to try and get the anaesthesia down into that side, but of course that put pressure on her vena cava and distressed the baby-back to the left side and let’s have a PH test because baby is not happy. It all went bonkers from there and I sincerely started to lose faith in Maternitat’s brilliant reputation. The staff did not leave her alone for more than five minutes; the whole purpose we thought of her turning to the epidural was to get some rest and dilate. huh! The good thing with all this fuss was that she was being turned and moved so often in the bed I think it helped Manuela descend a bit.
She had 3 PH tests in 3 hours!! (10h30,11h30 and 13h15) no fucking wonder Manuela was stressed! The way I saw it was the staff was stressing her. If they weren’t moving Alina, they were upping the oxytocin or shoving there hands in her body to take blood from Manuela or do a vaginal exam. The first PH test was a major palaver because the Dr. failed to be precise and get it the first time, instead it took many tries and about a 6 person audience. Between 09h00 when the epi was administered, and 14h20 when Manuela was born that everything was sailing along perfectly was when the three of us were left alone for a whole 30 minutes without one interruption. Martin began to whisper into Alina’s ear, she feel asleep and he stayed by her side caressing and hugging her. Manuela was fine that whole time. Outside of those 30 minutes there was a bombardment of, what seemed to me impatient staff, every 5-10 minutes despite them having the heart rate monitors outside of the room. I felt they were very attentive, caring and professional but at the same time over eager. Lara popped in every 5 minutes to DO something-either give her more oxytocin, a vaginal exam or move her. At one point she even said “ok, i’m going to give you some medication for the side effects of the oxytocin and epi, oh wait, no i guess i won’t!” like she was just trying to be busy.
At the third PH test Alina said to the head midwife, in front of all 6 staff “she just wants to cut me!!!” hahahahaha, I wanted to burst out laughing. Curiously I think that had an enormous overall effect because after that they literally left us alone for that 30 minutes, prior there were constant threats of cesarean.
I must tell Alina how her sincerity probably changed her fate…..
During another and the final period of rest I decided to go upstairs to freshen up and get my phone charger. I was going about 20 minutes, not taking my time but feeling Alina and Martin could use the time alone after almost 24 hours of constant visits. They had finally both relaxed completely. When I was upstairs just before leaving the room I did some stretches. In Ado Mukha I suddenly had the urge to get back to them so I left and when I walked back into the birthing room Alina had Manuela in her arms!! I FUCKING MISSED THE BIRTH!!!
Both mom and dad were in tears, joyful tears. They told me that Lara had walked into the room and said ok when we tell you push! In four pushes Manuela was out with the cord wrapped tightly around her neck!! No episiotomy and no forceps. Alina had said to the gynaecologist between hardcore pushing “NO FORCEPS!!”
Manuela was very white/blueish and limp. But the staff left her on Alina. Then they checked her and gave her back. She had not cried yet and at least 20 minutes had passed. After all the staff had done their stuff and cleaned up Lara put Manuela to the breast with Alina side lying. I got the impression that Lara did not have much knowledge or experience with breastfeeding.
Within 10 minutes Manuela was completely white and none of us noticed that she was suffocating until I looked over Alina to observe the gorgeous new born and touch her. She wasn’t moving! I started to rub her back vigorously and she took a breath and moved but then went totally limp again so I rubbed harder and ordered Martin to get someone. They did not come running but walking slowly! Weird. They took Manuela and did no go running but walking slowly. Fucking weird as she was not breathing and totally limp. She was resuscitated and fine after that, in fact for the first since being born 30 minutes earlier she was pink. Part of me feels responsible for what happened because Martin early had said “can she breath” to me when they had first put her at the breast and left us alone. I said yes she was taking air in. In a bigger way it was the responsibility of the staff, Lara who put her at the breast, to explain to the new parents positioning and explaining the nostrils must always be exposed. I just hope the staff do not blame me for it, I don’t want any future animosity with them. The overall experience for me as a doula was incredible. They were completely respectful of me, friendly and welcoming. There were no problems what so ever and it was the first hospital birth I have done where I did not leave tense and with a horrible headache. I actually felt comfortable there.
Everyone that entered the room commented on how great it was that we had music in fact it was a massive aid and so cool to have it there! It definitely helped a lot to warm and lighten the atmosphere. It also brought on some good hearty laughs and memories for the couple. At one point we stood around singing and dancing to Shanaia Twain, Alina giggling in the bed!!
Finally back upstairs in the room when Martin went out to get some food and make some phone calls Alina and I had some girl time. We bonded a little, had a good laugh and I loved it. At one point she joked about all the shakes she had from the drugs that Manuela would think her mom has Parkinsons! Martin came back with pizza the star!
I am very proud of myself. For this entire labor and birth and maintained positive thoughts, constantly repeating to myself under the threat of cesarean that it would not come to that under any circumstances. Also despite the hospital atmosphere of eagerness I kept faith in Alina having a vaginal birth. I feel I was very present and connected with the couple. I also feel I gave 110% especially persisting with the breathing through the PH tests.
I hope that I have fulfilled Alina and Martin’s expectations as well.
Things I learned:
to let go-i forgot to suggest the gas but there was nothing i could do about it after
music is essential
**pressure points on both shoulders midway between the neck and shoulder edge helps the baby descend but also really relaxes the mother during and between contractions
**pressure point on the head, between the hairline and back of the head, helps moms relax the mind
acupuncture is not necessary, using the hands efficiently is just as effective
how to read the foetal heart-rate machine (170-180 bpm tacchychardia, 100-120 bpm bradychardia for foetuses OP or transverse, 80-100bpm severe problems below 80 fatal) normal 120-160 bpm
always take notes, lots of them
never forget the photos, they will thank you later!
- study before birth