A first time mom's membranes rupture and the contractions that follow do not cause cervical change. Her labor is augmented with Pitocin, and mom labors without any drugs or anesthesia...but with the help of two doulas. As per mom and dad's request, their faces have been blurred.

Mom, Dad, and doula listen to the nurse explain that the internal exam she just performes has shown no cervical change.

Mom lays down on the bed while the nurse adjusts the fetal monitors.

Doula smoothes back mom's hair while she relaxes, waiting for labor to begin.

Mom stands and shows her belly off before heading to the bathroom.

Mom's doctor explains to her that there has been no cervical change, and recommends beginning Pitocin to augment the labor. Mom has put off beginning Pitocin for over 12 hours, but after much debating and struggling, she finally agrees to Pitocin after she is allowed an hour to sleep for an hour. Everyone leaves, and mom naps.

The hour is up, and mom watches as the nurse hooks up the Pitocin pump.

Pitocin is started at 6ml ...

... and upped 6ml every 30 minutes.

The external monitors, continuous now that she is on Pitocin, show the baby's heartbeat (136bpm) and the strength of mom's contractions (12..she is not currently having a contraction)

Mom's nurse does some charting on the computer next to the bed in mom's room.

The monitors show that mom's contractions have picked up both in strength and duration. However, mom is still smiling and holding cheerful conversation even during the contractions.

Mom's temperature is taken.

Mom's blood pressure (127/81) and pulse rate (101bpm) are monitored.

Dad spent quite a bit of time looking outside of the hospital window and watching the beautiful snow fall to the ground.

As mom's contractions pick up, she moves to sit on a birthball next to the bed. Mom has been checked and is found to be 3cm before she gets out of bed. Mom is no longer comfortable talking through contractions, but the only external sign that she is having a contraction is when she closes her eyes, exhales deeply, and lays her head down on the bed. Except for that, she looks like she is sleeping through contractions. Dad rubs her back for her..

After only an hour and a half on the birthball, mom is checked and found to be 8cm dilated!! From 3cm to 8cm in just under 2 hours. Mom high 5's her doula and smiles and says, "I can do it!" Mom soon gets back into bed so she can get onto all 4's leaning on the back of the bed.

The Pitocin is as high as it is going to be.

Mom works through each contraction in transition. Still, the only sign she gives that she is having contractions is that her whole body relaxes and mom's breathing becomes more deliberate.

This photo is grainy and very poor, but I felt it important to add to her birth story. Mom is in transition, 9cm dilated, when they wheel in the baby warmer. Doula says, "look up" and mom sees the baby warmer. Mom smiles a glowing smile in acknowledgement that her baby will be here soon. It was a moment to be remembered.

The baby warmer is set up.

Doula helps mom through some of the last labor contractions before pushing begins.

Mom's entire body just melts into each contraction, and the doula is helping to hold mom's head up some.

Almost ready to push, dad holds mom and they "slow dance" through a contraction.

Mom squats next to the bed and begins to feel a small urge to push. She is checked and found to be completely dilated.

Mom gets up into bed and is checked while she pushes to see how effective she is being. The baby is very low, and mom is pushing well.

A squat bar is brought in and attached to the bed.

Mom relaxes between contractions.

As a contraction comes, mom pulls herself to squat and supports herself with the squat bar. The baby moves down beautifully.

Doula applies hot compresses to mom's perineum in attempt to help her avoid any tearing.

The nurse performs perineal massage, and the baby's head begins to be seen.

In between pushing, mom calmly gets herself a drink of water.

Mom is pushing very effectively, and more of the head can be seen soon.

Mom reaches down and feels her baby's head for the first time.

Doctor enters the room with her tray of medical equipment.

Nurse helps doctor with her sterile gown.
The nurse uses a betadine solution to wash mom. When doula asks nurse why they do that, nurse says that it's unnecessary, but is standard at their hospital.

The head begins to crown perfectly!

The doctor supports the perineal area.

Even with that much of the baby's head crowned, mom calmly talks about seeing the baby on last week's ultrasound, and she gets herself another drink of water.

Again mom reaches down and strokes her baby's head.

One more push, and the head slips gently out.

The doctor finds a cord around the baby's head and just slips it over the baby's head.

The baby's head begins to rotate to mom's left thigh.

Mom loves on her baby's head during its last moments before the rest is born.

The doctor tugs on the baby, and the anterior shoulder is freed.

The posterior shoulder is freed.

Mom reaches down for her baby.

And mom takes her newborn, still half inside of her, into her hands...

...and gently brings her baby ...

...onto her belly.

Mom and dad look at their new baby.

Mom looks up at dad and smiles.

The scissors are handed to mom.

Mom cuts the baby's cord, finishing the baby's separation from her body.

Mom and dad are elated as they look at their new son.

A calm baby, pink but not crying, opens his eyes and looks around the room.

A local is given to mom before repairing a 2nd degree tear.

As mom begins to birth the placenta, there are some interesting and rather unusual things that were noted. The baby's cord was unusually large in diameter, with a "bulbous" area (between doctor's fingers). There was also the beginning of a velamentous insertion (where the vein and arteries leave the Wharton's jelly before attaching to the placenta).

Mom births the placenta.

And the complete placenta is birthed.

After the placenta is out, we are amazed to see that there is a separate lobe. There is what appears to be a small placenta (top of doctor's hand) on the opposite side of the membranes from a normal, healthy looking placenta. This is the view of the maternal side of the placenta.

On the fetal side of the placenta, the veins which connect the main placenta with the extra "lobe" can easily be seen running between the two pieces. Very unusual.

Dad holds his son's hand while the nurse administeres oxygen. Although the baby is pink and alert, they are not used to seeing a newborn who isn't crying.

Baby calmly looks around while his daddy holds his hand.

Mom touches her baby while the nurse cleans her up.

The nurse swaddles the baby tightly.

Then the nurse hands the baby back to his mommy.

Mom immediately unwraps baby and looks at his perfect body.

Mom offers her baby the breast while her doula tries to help with the first breastfeeding.

He may have been 3 1/2 weeks early, but you'd never know it by looking at him! A perfect 7 pound 13.4 ounce baby.