Quick! Helping a friend through labor! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 01-22-2003, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My friend asked me to attend the birth of her third child. She has planned on an epidural so I was prepared to mostly help her pass the time and take photos at the end. Well she just got back from her appt. and is 3-5 cm, 50% effaced, having regular somewhat painful cx, and having bloody show. At this rate she may not have time to get an epdiural. I also had an epidural so am not real well versed on how to cope with labor. Any suggestions for how to support her through this would be very helpful as she is expected to go into active labor tonight or early tomorrow.

Thanks!
Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#2 of 16 Old 01-22-2003, 08:45 PM
 
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If you have enough time, grab a copy of "Birthing From Within" and read the sections on labor and how to behave as the support person.

Another option would be to see what doulas are doing, i.e., pop over to the doulas & midwives forum here on MDC, and maybe do a search w/ a search engine to see what pops up...maybe some decent BB's or websites with tips for actual doulas.

I don't have any decent online options for you (mangomama.com is offline; that's the only one I could think of.)

Be with the woman, remind her to go to the bathroom every hour or so, keep her hydrated with lite juices/water & use a straw to encourage frequent sipping.

Good luck...hope to hear the results of this adventure!
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#3 of 16 Old 01-22-2003, 08:55 PM
 
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For me, just knowing someone was there, helped.

quiet encouragement. soft touches.

follow her lead...she might want you close, she might not want to be touched, she might want talking, she might want silence. i wanted all these things.....moment to moment!

dont ever say "its not so bad"

say "youre doing great. i wish you could see yourself"

take each contraction one at a time. dont worry about the next one. focus on the "now".

good luck. your friend is lucky to have you!
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#4 of 16 Old 01-22-2003, 09:13 PM
 
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Encourage her to try different positions, especially when she's seeming really uncomfortable. Hands and knees, side lying, squatting (hanging onto something or someone holding her up from behind), walking around, try different things. Don't just let her lie in bed on her back; that's the worst and slows down labor.

If there's a bath tub or a shower, encourage her to get in the water! The whirlpool hot tub is what got me through labor without drugs.

Bring some honey - a great energy booster that doesn't require any effort to eat and isn't nauseating. Really encourage her to drink lots of liquids and eat if she feels like it to keep her energy up and stay hydrated.

Bring massage oil for rubbing her back and shoulders.

If you have a rice sock heating pad type thing, that's good to have for comfort as well - whereever it hurts.

Help her do visualizations if that works for her - talk her through a scene that makes her feel relaxed, or talk to her about visualizing her baby - whatever stories work for her. My husband told me as much detail as he could remember about our honeymoon trip, and we worked together on filling in the details.

Know what her birth plan is, find out ahead of time how she feels about interventions, etc. so that if/when the labor staff suggests them you can help her remember what her plan is and why she might not have wanted a particular thing. It's hard to stay focused on that kind of thing when you're in labor.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

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#5 of 16 Old 01-22-2003, 10:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by USAmma
At this rate she may not have time to get an epdiural. I also had an epidural so am not real well versed on how to cope with labor.
I have seen most hospitals give epidurals up to 9 cm. I think that changing courses during labor can be stressful. Just smile and know that being there is most of the help.
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#6 of 16 Old 01-23-2003, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all your help! Her cx stopped last night and she's still pg, so I'm off to the library and will also get some massage oil and try to find some nice pictures for her to focus on.

This is going to be educational because I want to be a doula someday, after my kids are older and I can leave them at the drop of a hat to attend to the laboring woman.

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#7 of 16 Old 01-23-2003, 05:44 PM
 
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Also check out The Birth Partner by Penny Simken. It's really helpful, and has flip-to sections for what you really need to know "right now."

Come visit the NEW QuirkyBaby website -- earn QB Bucks rewards points for purchases, reviews, referrals, and more! Free US shipping on great brands of baby slings and carriers and FREE BabyLegs or babywearing mirror on orders of $100+. Take the QB Quiz for personalized advice!

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#8 of 16 Old 01-24-2003, 08:27 PM
 
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Her body obviously isn't ready, so it's a good thing she didn't get the epidural yet, then it would have been "stalled labor" and a c-section. One encouraging thing is that if they sent her home 3-5 cm dilated and having painful contractions, they must really want to help her have a vaginal birth!

Since you had originally planned on your role to be something other than support person, I think it's especially important that you simply hang back and follow her lead. If she wants something from you, she'll indicate that.
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#9 of 16 Old 02-09-2003, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to give you all an update. Her water broke this morning (finally!) and she's at the hospital right now. I'm about to head over there. She's at 5 cm. but not in labor with regular cx. Hope they don't push pitocin. That's what I'm going to be there for. :-) She wants an epidural but does not want her labor to be induced, so we'll be doing lots of walking and squatting. I'll post back later . . wish us luck!

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#10 of 16 Old 02-11-2003, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She had a baby girl! It was awesome!! I learned more at her birth than my own because I was an observer. Actually I helped a lot, held her hands with some pressure which she said was very helpful, and suggested she relax her jaw, etc. She thinks I should be a doula. :-) Got some great photos too!

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#11 of 16 Old 02-11-2003, 09:04 PM
 
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C'mon! Details! Did she fall prey to the 'system' with the slow start ? Did she get the epidural as she wanted and was she able to squat with an epidural? How was the staff to you? And what is always my biggest interest: was her perception the same as yours? I am always amazed as a doula at women's perceptions of what happened vs what really happened.
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#12 of 16 Old 02-12-2003, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My friend was traumatized by her last birth, so she really wanted that epidural. Everytime they came near her to check her cervix she started to wimper and tremble, if that gives you any idea. With her last baby she had severe hypertention and her kidneys were failing so they induced labor. She wanted to go natural and tried to with pitocin but ended up passing out because of the pain and baby was delivered about the time she came to 20 minutes later.

<<Did she fall prey to the 'system' with the slow start ? >>
I wouldn't say that. She wanted to get things going and just get the birth over with. That's how scared she was. They started pitocin at around 2 PM after her epidural was in place, which is what she wanted. They turned it off again around 5 PM because her body was taking over the labor on its own.


<<Did she get the epidural as she wanted and was she able to squat with an epidural? >>

She didn't want to squat. SHe just wanted to hide under her covers until the baby came. Poor thing. They rotated her from side to side every hour. On one side the baby's heart rate kept crashing, and at one point stayed down at 40 bpm for 5 minutes. They tilted her bed back so her head was lower than her feet to take pressure off the cord. Baby was happiest on one side so they left her there for most of the labor after the emergency. When baby was born the cord was very tight around her neck, so that's what was probably causing her heart to crash.

When baby was born her dh and I held her feet, and she held some handles to pull herself forward, so she was pretty much squatting on her back. It took only about 20 min. of pushing to get the baby born.




<<How was the staff to you?>>
The nurses were all getting excited about a c-section when the baby crashed, and talking about it in front of my friend which terrifed her evey further, but the doctor was very cool and calm. He's the same one who delivered my dd and I was very happy with him. He remained calm and baby was just fine.

When dd was born he followed my birth plan and massaged me down there to prevent tearing. Worked great until my dd's heart almost stopped, so he had to cut me and get her out fast. With both births he waited until the cord stopped pulsing to cut it.

One interesting thing-- baby didn't cry at first and didn't appear to be breathing while it was attached to the cord. As soon as he clamped it baby started to scream as if she felt it! It was so incredible! I'd always pooh-poohed the idea of the baby feeling the cord but now I'm not sure.


<<was her perception the same as yours? I am always amazed as a doula at women's perceptions of what happened vs what really happened.>>

I haven't talked at length with her about it yet (letting her get some private bonding time with baby and leaving her alone for a few days), but she feels very positive about the birth experience. This is great from someone who was so terrified of it after her last birth experience. I strongly believe that having a good support person there made all the difference for her.

I also was her advocate and reminded the staff what she wanted, and I think that eased her mind too, that her wishes would be respected.

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#13 of 16 Old 02-12-2003, 02:17 PM
 
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wow, sounds like you were a very calming influence on her, you should feel proud! But remember that epidurals cause fetal heart decels more than the cord would, just a thought. Maybe you will look into doula work too eh?
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#14 of 16 Old 02-12-2003, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But remember that epidurals cause fetal heart decels more than the cord would
I know it causes a drop in blood pressure, but in this case the cord was not helping. Baby was crashing only on one side. Baby was also born backwards (face up) and that didn't help much either. But glad it turned out well, and friend was not traumatized again. It's her last baby so it was important for *me* to do whatever I could to make her birth go well. I felt very protective of her. Even let her dh eat all my food since he forgot his own. hee hee!

I would *love* to be a doula, but just don't have time becuase my toddler is so young and we want at least one more. My baby brother was killed by a sitter so we don't use them-- at all. Maybe if I ever found someone I trusted with my child's life I would consider it. Until then I'll just depend on friends to have babies and invite me to their births. lol!

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#15 of 16 Old 02-12-2003, 07:28 PM
 
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(((Darshani))) about your brother

Sounds like you had a good experience with your friend!
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#16 of 16 Old 02-16-2003, 07:43 AM
 
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Not to take away from your help and experience, but it always amazes me how mothers, women who have given birth in a hospital, do not even know what to say to a woman who is giving birth naturally.

It just goes to show everyone how doctors, drugs and hospitals have protected us from our real selves.

No one knows what real labor and birth is like anymore.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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