“I have to give it up to my husband! Noah was on his feet supporting me for over 18 of the 22 hours I was having contractions. From hanging lights and affirmations to standing up and advocating for me when I couldn’t, he did everything I wanted and so much more. I fell even more in love with him through this entire process.” – Erika R.
Some babies come fast, and some babies take a long time. Being prepared and knowing how to advocate is CRUCIAL, especially when your water breaks BEFORE labor begins (i.e. PROM or Premature Rupture of Membranes).
In most hospitals, when your water breaks, it starts the 24-hour time clock to deliver your baby. Doctors may be anxious to deliver your baby right away to avoid the risk of infection. This can add lots of pressure and stress to your labor experience after you’ve been preparing long and hard for a peaceful birth.
It’s important to know, “In today’s era with access to antibiotics if needed, the ’24-hour clock’ for giving birth is no longer based on evidence.” -Evidence Based Birth.
It can be tempting for couples to enter birth thinking they are just going to roll with it and “go with the flow”. Although birth is unpredictable, you can’t just “go with the flow” especially in a hospital setting. You need to have a PLAN, while being flexible to pivot when plans change (as they often do in labor!).
When Pain Free Birth student, Erika, first shared her story of how her husband advocated for her in a long labor with PROM, I knew I HAD to share it with you.
This story shows the importance of:
- Knowing your birthing rights
- Having a partner who knows the plan and how to advocate
- Asking questions
- Being on the same page for birth
Husband Advocates for More Time
9:30pm – After being at the hospital for several hours and my water having been broken for 18 hours, my midwife and the staff were really starting to push for us to do something to speed things along.
Noah pulled out the Advocacy Sheet from Karen’s course for a refresher and stepped in:
Noah: “Ok is my wife safe right now?”
Noah: “Is our baby safe right now?”
Midwife: “Yes, but you have to understand, the longer we wait to do something, the higher the chances of her developing an infection because the membranes have been ruptured for over 18 hours.”
Noah: “Ok, we understand that (he saw my hesitancy). Is there any reason you couldn’t give us 30 minutes to talk about it and let you know what we decide?”
Midwife: “Sure, we can do that. Just call the nurse when you’re ready to let me know.”
I was so relieved and proud of him!
The midwife and RN walked out…
Noah: “You saw what I did there? I was looking over the paper when she was talking to you!”
Me: “Yes, that was so awesome!”
Labor through the Night
11:50pm – We talked it over and prayed on it. I decided to take a half pill of Cytotec to see if the contractions would start so my body could take it from there, and I fell asleep shortly after.
2:45am – I woke up to stronger surges, every 10-15 minutes, and I started getting the rhythm as they flowed over me like waves. I could hear Karen’s voice from the Breathing Activation Module coaching me through them.
6:10am – The midwife and RN came back and the midwife stressed to do either another dose of Cytotec or insert the Foley Bulb to keep things progressing. I agreed to the Foley Bulb.
8:00am – Midwife inserted the Foley Bulb and said I was about 2cm upon insertion.
9:25am – I got up to use the bathroom, and the surges became even stronger. I got really hot and dizzy while I was on the toilet and threw up. Noah helped me use some hydrotherapy in the shower after that. Then, I used a peanut ball to lean over on the bed with the surges and sway my hips from side to side.
Husband Fires the OB!
7:oopm – An OB from the hospital came in and walked straight over to me (during a contraction) and was incredibly rude.
OB: “Okay, I don’t know what you’re waiting for but what’s gonna happen is you’re going to get an infection for baby being in too long and then baby’s heart is going to stop working and it’s gonna lead to C-Section or death, but apparently that’s what you want so that’s on you!”
I was shocked. All I could verbalize was, “Of course that’s not what I want. Why would you even say that?!”
Noah was talking to the midwife and didn’t hear the way she spoke to me, but he saw her demeanor (and the look on my face) and the following conversation took place:
Noah: “I’m sorry, who are you?”
OB: “I’m Dr. ______. I’m explaining to your wife the consequences of her declining everything we offered.”
Noah: “Well, the reason—”
OB (Literally cutting him off): “I already know – you guys wanna go all natural and put your baby at risk–“
Noah: “Can you let me finish my sentence so you know what’s been going on?”
OB: “No! I already know what’s going on – I read the charts, I talked to all the nurses, I don’t need to hear it!”
Noah: “Why are you being confrontational? Why are you even here? We’ve worked so hard to create a peaceful environment. We don’t need your services. You can leave now. I don’t want you anywhere near my wife and baby.”
OB: “Good!” *Starts to walk towards the door…
Noah: “You’re fired!”
OB: “Good, I’m glad I’m fired!” *Slams the door behind her.
RN: “I am so sorry that happened. I’m in shock. I have never seen someone behave that way! I’m so sorry she treated you guys like that.”
I was so grateful for my husband being there to stand up for me. He was literally my knight in shining armor!
Day 2: Midwife Doubts Progress
Midwife: “Ok it’s been over 40 hours since your water broke, you’re most likely still at a 2-3 (I had declined Cervix exams since the morning), what’s your plan?”
Me: “I’ve been contracting all day, every 1-2 minutes now, my body’s doing what it needs to.”
Midwife: “Well, I can tell just by looking at you that you’re not in active labor. So let’s say you are at 4cm. That’s still a long way from where you need to be to deliver this baby, and I know you don’t want assistance. So what’s your plan?”
Me: “Well, I’ve been preparing for this for weeks. I believe I’m in active labor. The surges are really strong.”
Noah: “How do you know she’s not in active labor?”
Midwife: “Well, I can tell just by looking at her. She might be 5cm, but that’s not far enough. We need to know what she plans to do next.”
Noah: “Well, why don’t you guys check her, see where she’s at, and then we can go from there. There’s no need to talk about second options yet. Are you alright with that, Erika?”
Me: “Yes, thank you.”
Midwife: “Wow, I’m shocked. Erika you’re at 7-8 cm, you’re doing excellent! Keep doing what you’re doing. We’ll leave you guys alone and when you have the overwhelming urge to push just page the nurse and we’ll be in to deliver your baby!”
Those few minutes were some of the most satisfying of my entire labor! I don’t know what it is, but being doubted and then delivering and proving them wrong just feels so good!
11:30pm – I started getting the overwhelming urge to push and my body just took over. Noah called the nurse in, and she knew I wanted to squat or go on all fours or runner’s pose, but I was so exhausted at this point I couldn’t hold myself up. The RN suggested I lay down sideways with the peanut ball. I did and pushed several times and started to crown. Noah saw him rotating, too. Then they rolled a mirror over for me to see, and it was awesome! I got a burst of energy to push harder and started to roar.
I kept feeling the ring of fire, and then he would slide back in. The midwife came in and said, “It’s okay to stop pushing when the contraction stops. Just let your body rest in between. He’s just stretching your perineum out so you won’t tear.” This was the most work of the whole laboring process for me, and it took almost 50 minutes of pushing before he came, but when he finally came out it was the most incredible feeling of my life!
Our son was born at 12:20am on October 2nd after 34+ hours at the hospital and well over 40 hours since my water broke!
Knowing your rights in labor, and what the evidence clearly states is crucial to protecting the physiological birth you want to have.
For more information about the evidence of PROM, click HERE.
Having the confidence to advocate and ask questions is invaluable.
That’s why I created my newest mini e-course: The Birth Partner Bootcamp.
Designed to give your partner the tools and knowledge they need to support your desire for a supernatural and pain-free birth.
Sign up for the Birth Partner Bootcamp HERE.