I am so glad I had the opportunity to work with this amazing family for the birth of their third son. Getting to know them was an honor as they are both incredible, kind, smart, and extremely loving people. Ana is 32 years old and Nate is 40, both had previous marriages and slowly fell in love as timing worked itself out for their relationship. They were excited when Ana became pregnant, and Nate was thrilled to the moon when the learned they were having a boy, who they named Benjamin after Nate's father.
Ana went into labor on March 4th at 2AM and four hours later went to the University of Utah hoping to quickly deliver her son. After an exam, she was told to go home and rest a bit before returning a little further along in the process; so after some food and sleep they returned that evening and were checked in to labor and delivery. Ana's two previous births were 9 hours and 7 hours, and knowing that subsequent births are typically shorter in duration, everyone was expecting to meet little Benny rather quickly.
Both Ana and Nate are close with their families, and the evening of the 4th they invited their mothers to the hospital for additional support. Ana was born in El Salvador and the birth tradition there involves family accompanying the laboring woman to the hospital, and essentially acting as their main support because the staff-to-patient ratio is set up in a way that the nurses are only there to administer medication, but do not have time to complete other tasks. Ana was very well supported at the U with me as her doula, Janette as her primary nurse (she is amazing and one of my favorites at the U!), her mother, husband, mother-in-law and, on March 5th, her father-in-law joined the support crew.
Ana was a champion and labored in their birthing tub (located in room 4) for a while. The water helped to ease some of the discomfort and allowed Ana to relax her muscles for a while. In the early morning hours of the 5th, and after 23 hours of labor, Ana had an epidural in the hopes that she could get some much needed sleep. Unfortunately, the pressure she was feeling kept her from getting really good rest and she never did fall into a deep sleep.
At 8:00 AM on the 5th I arrived at the hospital to essentially rotate in and give her family members some time to eat food, sleep, and take care of themselves.
Labor had slowed down and she remained at 6 CM dilated for many hours without moving forward. At one point she had been 100% effaced, but during labor her cervix closed slightly, and when I arrived she was 70% effaced. A frustrating situation for any mom, but Ana did not let this deter her, she remained focused and willing to try different positions to help the baby engage more fully in labor.
She rotated positions every 30 minutes from hands-and-knees, side to side side, and sitting upright in her bed. After some time she progressed from 6 CM to 8 CM and 80% effacement, but this is when we noticed that her baby was in the posterior position (where his face was towards Ana's stomach instead of her back) and she had some cervical swelling that was preventing him from advancing further down the birth canal.
After 4 hours of adequate contractions and trying different positions to rotate her son into a more optimal position, we still did not see any changes in dilation or effacement. By this point Ana had been in labor for well over 30 hours. During a vaginal check to see if the doctors could turn the baby into a better position, his heart rate dropped and was not increasing back into the optimal range. Ana immediately knew that something had changed, and even before her monitors picked it up, she was looking around and asking "What is wrong?" and trying to tell the staff that something had changed, that something was not right.
After a brief delay, the monitors showed that his heart rate had dropped and everyone rushed into action: parents were asked to wait in the waiting room, the operating room was called to be prepped, additional doctors were paged, and Ana was taken in for a c-section. Nate and I stayed back getting him his scrubs and explaining how he could support Ana in the OR, and then Nate joined his wife to provide her the best support, and a few minutes later their son, Benjamin, was born.
Benjamin, or Benny, was born a healthy boy with APGAR scores of 8 and 8. He was pink, happy, and hungry! Ana and Nate cried tears of joy when they saw he was doing just fine, and Ana was able to do immediate skin-to-skin with him in the OR (something the University of Utah strives to do whenever possible, even for emergency c-sections!). 30 minutes after delivery, at 1604 on March 5th, Benny breastfed without any hesitation or issues.
Ana was an amazingly strong woman throughout her entire 37.5 hour labor! Nate was by her side providing unwavering support and encouragement, and he was extremely relieved when everyone was happy and healthy. Hugs filled the waiting area and recovery room when family came in to see their newest addition. Ana got some much needed sleep, Benny enjoyed his first meal, and smiles took over the faces of Nate, his parents, and his mother-in-law.
Happy Birthday Benny, we are all glad you arrived safe and healthy.