Sharon’s (not her real name) husband called me 3am to let me know she was in labour, but it was quite painful in her back, and even in between contractions. Hmm, sounded like a posterior baby. I made my way over to her house to see how she was doing.
Sharon was walking around her living room, breathing well during contractions. She said she had been up all night, since lying down was way too painful on her back. I asked if she had tried hands and knees or sitting backwards on a chair to rest. She said all of that was painful. Only standing and walking was easiest, but she could sit down in between contractions. I had brought a TENS machine, so we put that on her back. A hot pack or counterpressure didn’t work so well cos she was walking around quite a bit. I asked if she wanted to get int he shower, but she said she had already done that before I arrived.
She seemed to be doing quite well, but complained that she was quite sleepy. I told her that since her baby was posterior, it was great that she was in upright positions and moving, but we definitely need to find a way she could sleep since she would very likely still be in labour another night as well.
Since her contractions were about 10 minutes apart, I suggested her husband pull up a chair in front of her while she sat on the couch. She could lean forward and rest on his shoulder while he supported her, and then she could stand up during contractions. That actually worked really well. Sharon managed to fall completely asleep for 10 minutes at a time then wake up and walk around for contractions.
This went on for about 3 hours until the sun came up and Sharon said she felt really rested and wasn’t sleepy anymore. She decided to have some breakfast. It was a nice morning so I suggested we go for a walk in the big park next to her house after breakfast.
She had a good, relaxed walk around the park for over an hour. She leaned onto her husband for contractions while I did counterpressure on her sacrum. I also got her doing lunges on the stairs to make more room in her pelvis for abby to turn into a better position.
When she got home, I suggested she try hands and knees, while I did hip squeezes. She eventually went back to walking, so I suggested she do some pelvic tilts or rotations while walking. After a couple more hours of that, she decided to call the midwife to let her know how it was going. Contractions were still pretty spaced out. The midwife asked when the last time was that she felt baby move. It had not been for a few hours, so she asked Sharon to go in to the hospital for a check since the midwife had another mom in labour in the hospital.
Sharon put down the phone and burst into tears. She had thought the midwife meant that there was something wrong with the baby if she hadn’t felt it move in a long time. I reassured her that it was quite normal if baby was sleeping, and she was busy focusing on contractions and not focusing on whether baby was moving or not. Sharon calmed down, knowing her baby was fine.
When we got to the hospital, the baby’s heart rate was fine, it was just sleeping. Sharon was at 2cm. The midwife said she was coping great with contractions and there was no point staying at the hospital. She would do much better at home.
Sharon went home encouraged. She felt like she was ready for the long haul. We went back and had an early dinner, then she rested again the same way she did before – sleeping on her husband’s shoulder.
She slept in between contractions for a couple of hours then couldn’t sleep anymore once contractions started coming closer together. I asked if she would like to put on some music and turn up her TENS machine. I also reminded her to take a deep cleansing breath before and after each contraction now that they were stronger.
At about 9pm we went back to the hospital. She was at 6cm, but baby was still posterior. I asked for the birth ball so she could sit on it and keep her hips moving while leaning forward onto the bed. She asked if she could be in the shower. We took off the TENS and brought the birth ball into the shower. The warm water on her back definitely helped. Her husband sat in front of her holding her hands as I kept the water on her back and encouraged her to help her focus through the now intense contractions.
She was in the shower for a good hour before she started saying she really couldn’t do it anymore. Her husband asked the nurse to please give her something, so the midwife came to check how far along she was.
It was good news. She was 9cm and the baby had turned! Sharon was thrilled and said that if she was near the end then she would be able to manage. She did try some laughing gas but said it didn’t help much by this point.
She walked around the room holding onto her husband for the next half an hour until she felt like pushing. She got into hands and knees backwards on the bed with the back of the bed inclined up so she could rest on it. When she got tired of that, she sat on the bed and used a birth bar to pull herself up into a squat to push.
Her baby daughter was born shortly after 1am. Sharon was, of course, elated that it was all finally over and she had her beautiful baby. She was also very proud of herself that she did it without drugs even though it was a posterior labour.