I come from a family of planners, we thrive off of knowing everything is planned out for a certain event. Even if that event is something as small as a trip to the store, it gets planned out. So it was only natural that when the big moments in our lives came, we planned the snot out of those as well. I can't tell you haw many hours have been spent on dreaming up and planning my sisters and my weddings, and everything the encompassed the birth of my daughter (showers, registries, the actual birth). So when my sister and her husband found out that after five very long painful years of struggling with infertility that they were finally going to have a child of their own, you better believe that the planning level was off the scales. Many things had already be planned as what else is there to do while you wait to get pregnant but do your research. So once those two positive lines showed up Jennifer and Travis already knew that their baby girl, who they named Paisley, would be born by a midwife in the comfort of a birthing tub in her home. She started her care with a midwife soon after and things were going well when I noticed a hesitation in her voice when talking about the upcoming birth. After much discussion and really listening to her intuition she decided to do the unthinkable in my family and abandon the plan she had made of using a midwife for her prenatal care. It would be the first in a long line of abandoned plans during her pregnancy but sometimes in life you have to go off of faith and intuition. She wound up in the incredible care of Dr. Steven B. Harter in Las Vegas, NV. She also hired her amazing doula Erica Delmore of Doula Services of Southern Nevada. With the support of these two amazing care providers Jennifer was able to have a birth that was nothing like she planned but amazing none the less.
On January 31st, 2016 Jennifer went into ER after having a bad case of food poisoning and needed some fluids as she hadn't been able to keep anything down all day. While there they noticed that Paisley's heart was having some decelerations that were not normal and since there was already a confirmed issue with her heart and Jennifer was already 39 weeks into the pregnancy the decision was made to induce her the following morning. Being in Temecula my mom and I packed our bags and headed to Las Vegas that night, just in case things started that night. I arrived at Centennial Hills hospital the next morning around 7:00 ready to document every beautiful moment of my nieces birth. The induction went smoothly and soon the contractions started to roll in.
Due to Paisley's heart decels Jennifer had to stay on the monitor and was not able to walk and around as she had planned. She was able to use a birth ball next to her bed to help her during contractions. Over the next few hours Jen, Travis and I would listen to Jim Gaffigan radio on Pandora and watch Cops while Jen worked through contractions. Erica arrived a little after noon and soon after things ramped up a bit.
Sometime around 6:00pm exhausted from both laboring for most of the day but also from being physically sick the entire day prior Jen decided to get checked for dilation. Our hope was the news would be the boost of encouragement she needed to push through. However she hadn't progressed since the previous check hours ago when they took out her Foley catheter. After a few long discussions and many tears Jen gave up on her biggest plan of a non-medicated birth. The images below are two of my favorite and they show a moment of complete surrender. Giving up a plan you have envisioned for years is never easy. But Jennifer knew she needed to let her body rest if she was going to birth Paisley vaginally.
By midnight she had been able to sleep and give her body time to rest. However she had progressed only a centimeter even though she was on a very decent amount of pitocin and her water had been broken for quite sometime. I will always remember going to to the hallway with Erica to discuss what we thought was the inevitable. We knew that after 12 hours of her water being broke the discussion was going to move towards a c-section. So we planned how we would support Jen when this happened and who would would be going in with the camera during surgery. However her amazing OB Dr Harter had another plan. As long as Paisley's heart was tolerating labor and Jen was progressing, even if it was very very slowly, he would allow her to continue to labor.
Sometime around 6:00am I woke up curled up in my chair and heard a beautiful and welcome sound, the low deep moan of a mother in hard labor. Finally after a full day of Pitocin, epidurals and working together, Paisley and Jennifer were just about ready for Paisley to come earthside.
After a few hours of pushing, days of abandoning plans to follow instincts and years of praying for a miracle at 12:49pm a perfect 7 pound 5 ounce miracle was placed in the loving arms of her Mamma. Welcome to the world Miss Paisley Anne.
Birth, just like life doesn't always go how you plan. But when you have an amazing birth team that supports you and your wishes, you can still have a birth that is beautiful and perfect for what you and your baby need.