The Birth Story of Andrew Jackson Shafer
By Doula Diana Petersen
On October 24 at around 5:00pm, I got a call from doula Dianne Hamre asking me if I could attend the birth of a wonderful couple named Kaitlin and Rob who were about to have their first baby. I quickly and happily agreed, and an hour later I met you and Rob at Babymoon Inn, along with midwife Wendi Cleckner. I was immediately struck by how calm you both were. Wendi checked you soon after your arrival, and you were at 5cm. You were calm and focused during your contractions – something that never changed even as you pushed your baby into this world 25 hours later. At this point, you and Rob decided to labor at home a while longer, and we would all meet back at Babymoon at 10:00pm.
When you returned to the birth center, Wendi checked you and found you were dilated to 7cm. By 10:30pm, we were filling the tub and you were ready to labor in water. For the next few hours, you labored in the tub, with Rob by your side and your family surrounding you. You closed your eyes and breathed through your contractions, and as each one ended, you would open your eyes, look up, and smile. Your blood pressure had been high, so an IV was started at 11:40. At 2:00am, you felt like you needed to use the restroom so Micah, the birth assistant, helped move you to the bathroom where you labored on the toilet. Rob sat behind you, rubbing your shoulders and applying pressure to your lower back, where you had been feeling your contractions.
By this point, you had been in labor for about two days. We moved you to the bed to lay down with a peanut ball between your knees, hoping your body could rest. At first you and Rob conversed quietly. Then Rob fell asleep, and you also were able to drift off slightly in between contractions. By this point the contractions were becoming less frequent, so after a little while in bed, we got up and went for a walk, then got on the birthing ball to try to get labor to pick up.
At 5:30am, Wendi checked you and you were still at 7cm. You had been working so hard for so many hours, and you continued to work for another seven hours when you ultimately made the difficult decision to go to the hospital after subsequent cervical checks showed no change. I knew how hard that decision was, but I also knew that you had done everything possible to get your labor moving. Your and Rob’s strength, will, and resolve during those long hours at Babymoon were truly inspiring.
You arrived at St. Joe’s hospital at 1:45pm and checked into a room at 3:15. You started the lowest dose of Pitocin at 4:10, and it was increased every 30 minutes. By 5:00, your contractions were three minutes apart and increasing in intensity. Dianne had come to the hospital with us, and she and I took turns putting pressure on your back and hips while you sat on the birthing ball facing Rob, who was looking in your eyes, talking quietly to you, and rubbing your shoulders. He was a perfect birth partner. Even as the Pitocin increased and the contractions became much stronger, you never lost focus. You never panicked. You never mentioned pain medication. Instead, you rocked, breathed, and softly moaned through your contractions with a strength I wish I could describe in words.
Sometime after 6:30pm, Dianne asked you if you were feeling at all like you wanted to push, and you replied yes. A cervical check revealed that you were complete, and a cheer went up from your family in the room. You began pushing eight minutes later, and 10 minutes after that, beautiful Andrew Jackson arrived in this world.
Kaitlin, your birth was beautiful and you were simply inspiring. Your son is so fortunate to have been born to two parents who love each other the way you and Rob do, and who have the strength and perseverance to continue on and thrive even when plans change. Thank you for letting me be a part of your birth. Your family will always hold a special place in my heart.
Andrew Jackson Shafer
Born October 25, 2012 at 6:59 p.m.
At St. Joseph’s Hospital
9 pounds, 2.8 ounces, 20.75 inches