Home Delivery: Diary of a Successful Home Birth
To give her labor a nudge, Kristin decides to take a shower. Standing and relaxing under the warm water gives gravity a chance to help move the baby in the right direction. After the shower, Cara checks the baby’s heart rate. At 180 beats per minute, it’s much too fast—it could be a sign that the baby is in distress. But when she checks it again a few minutes later, it’s back to normal; Cara thinks the hot water from the shower may have revved up the baby’s heart rate temporarily.
Another internal exam shows that Kristin’s cervix still isn’t dilated fully, and the baby’s head hasn’t budged. Again, Cara tries to manually turn the baby, which causes excruciating pain for Kristin. “Just keep breathing deeply,” she says. Soon Kristin gives a short high-pitched scream. Cara thinks she has righted the baby from the posterior position only to have it move back.
To help Kristin relax, Debra asks where she would feel most secure. “In Glenn’s arms,” she says. He promptly embraces her and, with strong hands, massages her lower back.
Administering Pain Killers
“Please give me something to take the pain away,” Kristin says.
“This is normal for posterior presentation. The baby isn’t in danger, and neither are you,” says Debra. Despite the pain and the length of time she has been stalled at six centimeters, Kristin’s labor is still considered normal and safe as long as her baby shows no signs of distress.
Cara gives Kristin a shot of Stadol, a narcotic that may take the edge off her pain and allow her to rest for a few minutes between contractions.
Administering drugs like this at home is unusual: Cara says she’s given narcotics only twice in her career. Meanwhile, Glenn applies soothing counter pressure to Kristin’s back as she continues pushing with every contraction.
Glenn wonders aloud whether Kristin should go to the hospital. Everyone discusses the possibility, but because the baby’s heart rate is still normal, they collectively decide to stay put.
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