Friday, September 5, 2014

The Waterbirth of Riley Dawn

I often speak of the importance of a strong and trusting patient-provider relationship- what it entails, what it means, and why it is absolutely necessary. Specifically, I often speak of how it's even more so pertinent to our Out-Of-Hospital birth patients.

Out-Of-Hospital birth is an entirely different beast than hospital birth. For the patient, the family, and the providers alike. There are no epidurals, no pain medications- not even the comfort of having it as an easily accessible, immediate option. To do Out-Of-Hospital birth means to have a strong desire and a determined commitment- again, not just for the woman and her family, but her care providers as well. And is the cornerstone. To have trust in each other is to know that everything is out on the table- concerns, fears, desires, expectations- and that we can mutually work together through it and for it. Trust is when the shit hits the fan and you think you may very well be dying because you are in the thick of it, but we look at you with guidance and reassurance and well, you ARE reassured that yes, it's ok, and yes, you CAN do this.

This morning was a perfect example of trust and commitment and how the patient-provider relationship carries that.

I helped support a family in welcoming their 3rd baby; not only their first Out-Of-Hospital birth, but their first unmedicated birth. I didn't see them at all throughout their pregnancy and therefore didn't (and don't) really know them in the way that I know my own patients. But what made them special is that they have been long-time patients of Glen's.

I remember first meeting Randi- at a childbirth class I taught at the office. Afterward we stood and chatted briefly. She hadn't previously considered a birth center birth, but after learning of her options and wanting the same doctor- her doctor- she changed her plans for birth. She looked at me and said, very matter-of-factly, "We've had two babies with Dr. Elrod. I'm not having a baby without him. If I need to have a birth center birth to guarantee that he'll be there, then I'm having my baby here. I'll go wherever he is."

I remember going home and being amazed, repeating those words to Glen. Yes, a relationship and trust are very strong things.

Just like any woman experiencing natural childbirth- there were a few- but brief- intense moments. It may have been her 3rd baby, but Randi had never felt THIS before. In the small birth room, in the corner tub, surrounded by the decor I myself love and deliberately selected, with her husband by the side of the tub, and Glen and myself kneeling in front, with the urge to push and not knowing what to do she exclaimed, "Dr. Elrod, please help me!"

The room was dimly lit by the sconces that light up on each side of the bed. The same sconces we have in our home. The wood headboard that was made locally. A room that not only has what is needed to practice evidence-based care and safely have a baby, but that also feels like the kind of environment that is conducive to a family actively working together and welcoming their new baby.

Glen looked at her and reassured her that her baby's head was right there. She pushed 3 times and the baby's head was out. She looked at me- directly and intentionally- and said entirely calm and collected, yet every bit as intense as the words she spoke,

"Tara, I'm scared. I'm so scared."

Her eyes were wide and intensely locked on mine.

"You're ok. It's just your baby's head. Everything is ok, " I reassured her.

And with that, one more push and she delivered her baby girl- into the water, into Glen's hands and then immediately up to her chest. Even though she was admittedly scared, she was strong, and SHE DID IT!

Riley Dawn was born today- an uncomplicated, unmedicated, beautiful waterbirth. Mom and baby are doing great, and Dr. Elrod is pretty proud too!

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