A planned homebirth goes over 42 weeks and the amniotic fluid becomes dangerously low...so mom goes to the hospital for an induction. Despite desiring a "pure" birth, or one without any interventions, mom accepts many interventions for the health of her baby. Mom bravely delivers after two days of induction without pain medication.

Mom arrives at the hospital and is hooked up to monitors.

Mom's midwife discusses with the nurse the fact that mom hopes to do Cord Blood Storage and shows her the kit.

Mom requests another ultrasound to see if the amniotic fluid might have changed, allowing her to go home and continue with her plans for a homebirth. The fluid level did not change, and it is understood that the planned induction will proceed.

The doctor inserts some Prostiglandin gel, hoping that this minor intervention will encourage mom's body to go into labor. Mom is 2cm dilated and about 70% effaced. Baby is at -1 station.

Dad affectionately sings to his wife.

Midwives need to eat, too!

The nurse shows dad the monitor strip. "This is the baby's heartbeat, and this shows mom's contractions."

The external fetal monitor machine. Baby's heartbeat is 139 beats per minute. Mom's contraction monitor (TOCO) shows "18", indicating that either mom is not having a contraction, or if she is having a contraction the monitor is not picking it up. Mom's blood pressure can be seen in the green window as 144/93! That's alarmingly high...but it is mostly from stress from the change of plans. It is retaken and found to be lower.

Not too many contractions are happening, and after much debate they finally agree to Pitocin. The "Pit Pump" is brought in (machine on the right on the pole with the green digital read-out) and mom is hooked up. Mom is overwhelmed with grief at the loss of her plans for a natural, at home birth....so dad gives mom a much needed hug. Mom cries out all of her frustrations so that she might meet the challenges ahead of her with all of her attention and strength.

Another dose of prostiglandin gel is inserted.

An internal is done on mom to see if any progress has been made. Mom has fairly easily worked her way to 4cm and 80% effaced.

Labor begins to pick up strength. Mom finds it very comfortable to sit on the birthball and lean back on her doula. She stays that way for a couple of hours, getting up only to go potty.

After laboring very well for several hours, mom puts on a telemetry unit (an external monitor on a battery pack that allows for freedom of movement) and is able to get into the bathtub.

Mom finds the warm water to be an incredible relief and dad gently pours cupfuls of water over her back. With the bathroom light off and the door closed, it is completely dark. These photos are courtesy of a camera with the ability to film in complete darkness (night vision).

Even in the darkness, you can see concern on dad's face. The "light" on the wall behind them is nonexistant and is from the camera. In reality, dad can barely see mom through the darkness.

Mom is out of the tub, her membranes are ruptured (with no fluid coming out!) and an IUPC, or Internal Uterine Pressure Catheter is inserted to accurately monitor the strength and duration of her contractions.

Mom rests with her husband on one side and her doula (and videographer/photographer) on the other side. Mom is dilated to about 6cm and is 100% effaced.

A squat bar is put on the bed to help mom into a squat during some of the transition contractions. Mom is still incredibly calm, and even smiling between contractions.

Mom is experiencing a lot of lower back pressure suddenly...so her husband, midwife, and doula all take turns providing counter pressure. Here is mom leaning over the back of the bed while her midwife stands on the bed and leans on her lower back.

Mom decided at 8-9cm that she is tired and so she begins to nap.

Baby's heartrate is wonderfully strong...and the powerful contractions can be seen as "mountains" on the monitor strip.

It has been a busy few days, and while mom is napping the lights are turned off and dad tries to get a few seconds of rest for himself before he meets his baby.

Mom is on 6 unites of Pitocin, and 74.2 units have been administered total thus far in this labor. This hospital uses a 1-1 ratio...some hospitals use a 1-3 or even a 1-6 ratio, so it often looks different depending on the hospital you are in.

Mom gets out of bed and onto the birth ball and soon is spontaneously pushing. Her midwife does perineal massage while she pushes. She has a "lip" left of her cervix, and her midwife tries to push that lip back while mom pushes. It doesn't work and the bit of cervix continues to slip back over the head, but the midwife encourages mom to continue to push.

Mom uses the squat bar in hopes that it will help move the baby down more effectively. After this, mom moves to the bathroom to push while on the toilet. She then gets on a birthing stool. Nothing seems to be helping.

The doctor finally enters after mom has been pushing for over 2 hours. Mom's midwife has told the doctor that she believes that a vacuum extraction is needed. He explains the proceedure to mom, and explains that if it doesn't work she will need a cesarean surgery.

While mom pushes, the doctor inserts the vacuum cup and attaches it to baby's head.

Dad is excited..but it is hard to tell if he is more excited or worried about his wife. While he originally intended to catch his baby, circumstances make that not an option and dad feels that he is needed more by mom right now, so he chooses not to leave her side.

While mom pushes, the doctor pulls on the vacuum.

It appears to be working slowly, and more of the cup can be seen while she pushes.

While mom rests between contractions, the doctor makes eye contact with the midwife and gives her a "I'm crossing my fingers" sign.

Mom's pushing with the vacuum is being effective! The head begins to move down.

The baby's head moves down and more of the vacuum cup can be seen.

The entire cup can now be seen as the baby begins to crown.

You can see the baby's head now right on the perineum.

The baby is fully crowned and mom is stretching beautifully.

Mom grunts as she pushes...

...here comes baby's forehead...

...and eyes and nose....

...and finally the entire head! Mom reaches down and touches her baby's head while the doctor prepares to suction the baby's mouth.

The doctor reaches for the DeeLee suction tubes to do a deep suction of the baby. There is a lot of meconium and they hope to avoid having the baby inhale any of it. You can see the caput the baby's head has (the swollen spot), and can see that it's off-centered. The baby's head was asynclitic inside (which means that rather than being straight, it was crooked).

The doctor suctions out the baby's nose.

Mom pushes one final time, and the baby's anterior shoulder (one on top) comes free.
Both of baby's arms are free.

The lower body is born.

Mom looks over her disappearing belly and see her baby for the first time.

The baby is placed immediately on mom's belly. Dad sobs as he looks at his baby.

Mom and dad marvel over their new baby. Neither one know yet if it's a boy or a girl! They are so overwhelmed by the fact that they are parents and the baby is here that it never even occurs to them to look!

The baby is taken over to the warmer quickly. They use a special instrument to look deep inside the baby's throat to see if any meconium was breathed or swallowed.

There is meconium, and so they deeply suction the baby out.

Dad is overcome by emotions. It is now that dad finally looks across the room at mom and says, "It's a boy! We have a boy!"

The baby boy gets his first hat on him in preparations for seeing his mom quickly before being taken to the nursery.

Dad continues to love on his son while he breathes the oxygen.

The baby is brought over to see his mother. Mom cries as she touches her baby. "I'm your mommy....and this is your daddy!" she says through the tears of joy.

Baby is brought to the nursery and weighed and measured....7 pounds 8.4 ounces and 20 inches long.

Baby is placed in a warmer with his head under a "hood" so that he can breathe air with richer oxygen.

The doula holds the beautiful baby.

Father and son reach out to each other.