Fernanda shared with me that she had been having light contractions off and on for several hours and was kept awake with some pretty strong ones at 3 am. She felt it was likely early labor still, but wanted me to know. As they increased she found that she was able to handle them pretty well as long as she could stay in the shower. She did pick up pretty quickly and appeared to be moving through the early stages of labor with ease. In talking to her she was calm and focused. Being in the shower was so helpful but of course the hot water heater was challenged to keep up. She began  imagining the endless hot water at the hospital. I believe the choice to go to the hospital was perhaps even inspired by this.

As it turned out her timing was pretty good. She arrived at the hospital in early active labor.  She was planning a water birth and had to wait to get in the tub until she was 7cm.  Once they ran through the preliminaries of paperwork and monitoring she was able to get back in the shower where she had already been finding lots of comfort. I felt she was handling things very well. She had found a good vocalization that was working well for her and when it was time for her to get into the tub it brought even greater relief,  her contractions were running very close and getting stronger and stronger. She moved to 9 1/2 cm pretty quickly. It seemed to all of us that baby would be here very soon.

And…the unpredictable way that babies arrive into the world left us through the next hours facing wave after wave of surrender. Fernanda stayed strong and focused, allowing the water and her vocalizations to keep her calm. Her husband and mother both too had to find that place of surrender, trusting, waiting…. Contractions slowed down, exams were showing an anterior lip, just a small one, but enough to keep baby from descending far enough down.

We thought of lots of ways to help her move in the water to open things up. Fernanda moved through different positions, swaying her hips in the water,  listening to her body and moving to help the baby move. It can be frustrating to be so close and yet feel that you are still so far away. After several hours she made the decision to let the midwife break her water, in hopes that would create additional movement and allow her to stay in the water without  additional monitoring. The midwife was hoping to keep her from having to get out of the tub, due to the rules of 4 hour monitoring required. Breaking her water brought on much more intense contractions.

I watched Fernanda constantly dip into her internal well of strength and keep moving, helping her baby labor down, letting the water, movement and voice be her pain relief.  When she felt enough pressure to start a focused pushing she pushed for 2 hours. Concentration and focus seemed to be her greatest gifts. Even when I know she was feeling like she couldn’t go another step I watched her let go a little more and keep her focus.

Fernanda shared with me during her prenatal visit that through out her pregnancy her body just continued to surprise her. She felt strong and healthy and one of her top 5 desires for her birth was that her body continue to surprise  her. I believe that is exactly what happened. She demonstrated a calm and powerful woman, moving and listening to her body with little need of intervention. She trusted her body that it knew just what to do…and of course…it did. Even in the difficult challenging moments, it seemed obvious to me that she remained true to that trust.

We watched the hours tick by in the end. A waiting game that is never easy on anyone…especially mamas. This little guy wanted to be born on Thanksgiving and so…he was…at 1:03 a.m. Of course we were all in grand celebration at his emergence. The gratitude and relief spilling over  everyone as we greeted this little new person into the world. When I left them they were wrapped in a bubble of bliss. I drove a very elated Grandma home for some rest.