Doula comforts mom while the midwife performs a vaginal exam.
Mom moves to sit on the birth ball. Dad rubs her shoulders while doula provides eye contact and caring hands.
Birth can be a team effort. Both doula and dad support mom and give her strength.
Mom is back in bed, trying to relax between contractions.
Back on the birth ball once again.
An intimate moment between laboring mom and doula.
The midwife checks the baby's heartbeat to make sure everything is going smoothly...and it is.
The doula holds mom up during a contraction.
Back to the bed again, and another vaginal exam is performed to see how she's progressing.
Time for the tub! Water washes over mom as she uses it like a drug to let her relax.
Mom looks at her doula and relaxes between contractions.
That was a tough one! The doula uses a towel to wipe mom's head immediately after a difficult contraction.
Dad offers a reassuring touch to his wife's belly.
Mom gets onto her knees so the midwife can check the baby's heartbeat.
Labor slowly becomes more intense, but the doula's comfort never tires.
Time for another vaginal exam.
Dad becomes the main source of comfort as mom looks up at him between contractions.
Midwife uses her watch and the doppler monitor to check the baby's heartrate. Everything's going well!
After another vaginal exam shows mom's cervix to be at 9cm (but swelling some), the midwife decides that maybe it would be a good time to get out of the water and back on the bed. They aren't sure if she's pushing involentarily or what...but they want her to get onto her knees and her chest to relieve a little of the pressure on the cervix, so hopefully it can dilate the rest of the way.
Everything stops while mom works her way through a painful contraction.
The midwife's assistant uses the doppler between mom's legs to check on the baby.
And yet another vaginal exam is performed.
She's there...just a little bit of a lip holding the baby back..
The midwife helps push the remaining bit of cervix over the baby's head while mom pushes. It works and the baby moves into the birth canal. Pushing can now begin.
Time to start pushing!
Doula plays a "tug of war" with mom which helps her to direct her pushing downward.
The midwife's assistant applies hot compresses to the perineum to help mom avoid any tearing.
Midwife checks the baby's heartrate again.
The labia begin to open and the top of the baby's head is JUST starting to be seen.
A little more of the baby's head shows as mom pushes very effectively!
A little more...
The midwife lets the head come slowly....and this helps the mom avoid all tears. This baby was born over an intact perineum.
The baby is allowed to come out at his own pace...easing its way out.
The baby's forehead is out...
The eyes emerge...
And finally the whole head is out!!
The midwife pulls on the head gently but firmly....and realizes that the shoulders are stuck.
Time for the "Gaskin Maneuver", named after Ina Mae Gaskin, founder of The Farm and used for shoulder dystocia. Everyone helps mom flip over onto all fours and mom lowers her chest to the bed, leaving her behind up in the air.
It works...and the shoulders come free.
Mom is helped into a side-lying position and baby is immediately brought up to her.
Mom, Dad, and Midwife marvel over the new baby.
And dad cuts his baby's cord. The separation is complete.