Wednesday, February 19, 2014


 Our friends Seth and Kagney had been married for nearly eight years when they found out they were finally pregnant with their very first child. Perhaps because I was outspoken about how wonderful my birth was outside of the hospital at the birth center in Whitewood, SD, they came to me wanting to hear more about my experiences so they could make a more informed decision about choosing a provider. After having had three babies in three different hospitals and then having had a water birth (plus being a nurse), I felt I had a pretty good perspective. I just told them how very much superior the midwife model was for me compared to the hospital show-up-and-catch-the-baby-and-have-almost-no-support model. I guess they liked what I had to say because they decided to go to the same midwife I used. 

What surprised me more was that they asked me to be their doula (a doula is a labor support person, not in replacement of the husband of course. because, really, a laboring woman needs all the help she can get!)! I'd never had a doula and didn't know if I could do the job, but since the midwife suggested me and I've had four kids, I agreed. I did more research to compliment what I already knew from school and felt pretty good about it. We met three times before Kagney went in to labor to talk about pregnancy and labor and what to expect. It was teaching and question and answer time over mochas. That was fun. 

I had told them several times not to expect the baby to come early since that hardly ever happens with first time mothers. But we were a little concerned about it since Terry was going to be out of town for Dare 2 Share the weekend before her due date. Who would watch my kids if she went in to labor early and Terry was gone? I could have worked something out of course, but thought the probability was pretty low. But low and behold, at the exact moment that Terry arrived back at the church from Dare 2 Share, Kagney's water broke. Seriously. Terry returned at 6pm on Sunday January 9th and that's when Kagney went in to labor. Talk about divine timing!

I was able to spend a couple hours with Terry before Seth, Kagney and I drove the 45 minutes to the birth center to be checked out and administered her first dose of antibiotics since she was Group B Step positive. She was already 3 cm dilated but we were sent back home with two more doses of antibiotics for the next eight hours (you can't be admitted unless you're in very active labor). I got to bed at 130am but was so worked up I could not sleep for anything! At 345am I headed across town to Seth and Kagney's to give her the next dose of antibiotics. She was having more contractions, but we were mostly trying to rest. At 8am for her next dose the contractions were picking up and Kagney was having to breathe through them and was feeling pretty nauseous. I thought we had better leave for the birth center since it sounded to me like she was getting pretty close. 

I was wrong! She had only gained 1cm. That was a very discouraging time for all of us, due in part to how very tired we all were. But I felt bad since I made the call. I definitely learned a lot by that choice. So the midwife sent us out to get some breakfast (no one had eaten since the night before and it was 10am and we needed fuel!) and to do some walking. We went to Perkins in Spearfish since that sounded good to Kagney. It was definitely good to eat. Her contractions were coming every 4 to 5 minutes lasting about a minute and were pretty strong, but we were still feeling so very tired. After having had some food, I was able to be more positive. Another thing learned!
Kagney breathing through a contraction at Perkins. We were pretty sure our waitress knew Kagney was in labor and was totally freaked out, which we thought was really amusing. It seemed like she gave us the check a little too quickly. Ha!

We went back to the birth center at 12pm for the next dose of antibiotics and were advised to go rest somewhere (since we had nearly NO sleep all night and were plain exhausted) and then walk to get things moving more. We decided to get a hotel in Sturgis instead of going all the way back to Rapid. We all tried to rest, but Kagney's contractions were coming often enough, it was pretty impossible. So we just tried lots of different positions to help her and applied a lot of counterpressure to her poor back. After a couple hours, Kagney was finally able to get some rest. By then it was about 4pm and time for the next dose of antibiotics. At first I was just going to go grab them and come back to the hotel when Jeanne thought she'd come herself and check on Kagney. We were told enough rest and more activity! But Kagney was now dilated to a 6 so we could be admitted to the birth center.

Being able to go to the birth center was such a relief. And once there, Kagney's labor definitely picked up. Seth or I was coaching her through every single contraction and she was doing wonderfully even though I could tell they hurt like the dickens. After about an hour and a half Kagney was able to labor in the tub and I know that's a nice feeling. She was almost there! 

In fact, she hadn't been laboring long in the tub before it was time to push. Poor Kagney ended up pushing for about one hour! I had no concept of this from my own experience. I had only ever pushed about five times in that many minutes (and most likely less time) and I was done and the baby was born. Kagney did so great though. She had wonderful support and instructions and birthed that baby all by herself at 803pm on Monday January 10th. It was beautiful!

I had completely forgotten that they didn't know the gender since I had been so concerned on getting that baby out. But they went to check and it was a girl! She looked big too.

Kagney was quick to share her name and it's meaning: Elyada Mae, Hebrew for God has heard. They had waited quite a while for God to give them a baby and God heard them! She ended up being 8 pounds and 5 ounces. 

After getting Kagney and Seth dinner and having a little myself once she was all settled, I was finally able to go home. It had been about 24 hours with maybe 30 minutes of sleep! So tired. But so good. In my eagerness to get home, I didn't even have a chance to hold baby Elyada! That plus there was just too much going on for me to even have the chance. So two days later before Awana and Youth Group, I brought all of my kids and I was able to hold her and they were able to meet her. They really wanted to since they had been praying for us during the labor (I had asked my family for prayers throughout the day and especially during pushing). In fact, we think Elyada was born just after the kids and Terry prayed that she would be born. God heard again!
What an amazing experience. I'm so thankful and proud to have been a part of it. 

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