Lincoln's Gentle Belly Birth
A Letter to Lincoln
I first came into contact with your mother when she was about 25 weeks pregnant with you; she was a bit nervous about birth, but full of hope and wonder about who you were going to be. There was an instant connection between your mother and I. Your mother told me that she and your dad were an alternative couple: they were into the arts and covered in tattoos. I said that was ok, “I am an alternative Candice.” I am kind of loud and bouncy with amazing energy. I love animals and for some reason animals have always really loved me too.
Upon meeting your mom she pronounced it was fate, because everyone cancelled on her and I had stuck it out. I instantly adored both your parents, there was a great connection. I met with them twice as the weeks went by and we talked about your mom’s plans. She became more confident and comfortable with her upcoming birth. She was less worried about what was going to happen once we talked about each stage and she knew what she could expect in her birthing. We talked about the strength and power her body needs to bring you into the world. She had that strength and power right from the start, she changed her plans and chose to try a medication free labour and birth.
Your birth story begins at 9:30 pm on May 26. On May 27 at about 2 am, my colleague joined your family for her birthing; unfortunately I was sick and couldn't join at this time.
Your Momma laboured through the night using a TENS machine, bath, rest, and walking. At 5:30 pm on May 28th, I had finally joined your mom for the second half of her birthing. Your mom was labouring away and her cervix measured 3 cm when I arrived. I was with her for only a few short hours when she started to do some things that point to transition. She let out this low grunting howl, all while squatting and jiggling. This to me is a sign of pushing, and usually the point where I call the midwives to join us for a home birth. So I turned to your dad and said, “Call the midwives, it’s either time to go, or you may be having a baby at home.”
The midwife arrived and your mom still measured 3 cm and you where high in the pelvis at a -3 station, that is practically floating with being engaged very little. She was in what appeared to be transition for the first time. She would do this again several times throughout the night in and out of these hard waves, that would hopefully be bringing on good progress. The midwife and your family had a chat and Mom chose to stay home where she was comfortable and fine, knowing that you both where safe it was an easy and instinctual choice.
I set her up on the toilet to sleep, and she laboured well there a while while napping. When the midwife checked again, she found your mom still measured at 3 cm dilation, and you were quite high in the pelvis at a -3 station. The midwife discussed the options and your birth team weighed the pro’s and con’s. Your mom talked it over with your dad and they chose to go to the hospital where there were more options available to them.
Once we arrived at the Richmond hospital and got comfortable, I set up the bath. Mom hopped in there and continued to labour for a while with the gas. Her midwife checked her cervix again and she still measured 3 cm and at -3 station. Your parents then made the choice to get an epidural and some rest. This was a good choice. Your mom rested and continued to make some progress. You dilated her to 5 cm during this time and her waters broke! But you still did not come down, you where still at -3 station. The midwives then introduced Oxycontin. Oxycontin is what causes contractions to become really strong. Both your mom and you worked really hard.
After a while it became evident what was going to be needed. The Obstetrician came in and talked to your mom about a Cesarean. She told your mom that you were happy and your mom was strong, but you were not going into the birth canal. Your mom chose to labour a bit longer to see if progress could be made. Later another OB joined us and checked everything out, you were great, mom was great but again the OB said that a Cesarean would most likely be the way that you were going to be born. You hadn't budged, you were staying nice and high in the pelvis, where you where cozy and warm. We were all guessing your weight, and that made mom very anxious, so we stopped, she worried about having a big baby. Turns out you were a perfect size and a perfect shape, you were just coming in all wrong, and your head wouldn't fit the way you wanted it too, you where barley engaged when the OB pulled you out, and there was very little molding.
Your mom had a talk with her midwife about how she had made some great choices and done some very hard work. The midwife felt everything that could be done first, had already been done. There was nothing else left to do. I supported your mom by reassuring her choices and by saying that this kind of birth can still be very beautiful. Your mom was very sad about the loss of her birth plans and both your parents openly mourned this loss.
When the OB came back, I pulled her aside to say that I was documenting this birth story, and asked to be allowed to join in the OR. The OB said they don’t normally have more than two people: the midwife and the partner in the OR. I was disappointed, but thanked her anyways. The OB joined your mom’s side and told her how the birth was going to work. They were going to top up her epidural and put a curtain up so she couldn't see anything. Your dad would not be able to cut the cord because it is surgery and your mom would be exposed to germs if they allowed that.
Your mom asked, ”Can I have my doula with me? She is documenting my birth.” The OB said, “Normally we have just the partner and midwife with you.” Your mom was very upset, crying and visibly shaking. I turned to the OB and said, “When the baby is about to be born, can you drop the curtain?” The OB said, “No, they (mom and dad) don’t normally see anything.” I said, “She may not see the birth, but she could see the baby as you are taking him out of her.” The OB looked at me and said “I don’t normally do that, but I guess I can.” I then said, “Can you cut the cord long, so that Kenny gets a chance to cut the cord again later?” The OB looked at me again, puzzled and said, “I guess I can do that too, but it is not what we typically do.”
Your mom and I both thanked her and she walked away. Your mom looked at me and said, “Thank You.” I took your mom’s hand and said, “You may not be having the birth you wanted, but Dr. OB here is going to give you the best belly birth she can.” The OB looked at me, looked at mom and said, “I am.” She looked up at me and said, “Tell you what, no pictures of my face or my colleagues faces and I will get you in there.” I said, “DEAL!” well I got in. The look on your parents’ faces was priceless. They were so happy to watch you being born. Your dad was so emotional, crying and very happy to see you. He cut your cord, and brought you to mom. They kissed and hugged and you all really bonded as a family in the short time after your birth.
You, Lincoln, are a beautiful gift and I am so happy to be able to tell your’s and your Mom’s story.
Funny moments to remember:
I was counting with your mom through contractions. Your mom would stare at me, without blinking (kinda creepy) and I would take a deep breath in and say 2-3-4...2-3-4...2-3-4… After a wave she looks at me and says, “I could just record you.”
The Anesthesiologist hears this and says, “Your doula is like a metronome, I used to play my instrument too.”
“I’ve got Candice’s eyes burned into the back of my eyes forever.”
“Candice is the most hypnotic person ever.”