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The Labor and Birth of Jillian Avery

as seen by Tiffany Flamm, Doula

On the evening of August 17th, I received a phone call from Rick. It was about 6:30 p.m. He said that they had begun their labor, and that contractions were 5-7 minutes apart, lasting 45-70 seconds. I asked how Tracy was doing, and he said, "She is awesome! She is doing better than I ever thought she would-beyond anything I ever dreamed!" He was very proud of her! He also said that she would get on all fours during contractions. I told him that things sounded great, and I would keep in touch over the next few hours.

Around 8:15 p.m. I called to check on things. Rick told me that she was still doing just beautifully, and the contractions were about 3 and a half minutes apart, lasting at least 60 seconds. He had also called Claudia, their midwife, and she was going to have Debbie come on over to check things out. I told him that I would be there between 9:15 and 9:30 p.m.

I arrived at Rick and Tracy's house at 9:15 p.m. to find Debbie listening to the baby. The kid sounded fantastic! Tracy was on her knees leaning over the chair in the living room. The house was softly lit with candles, and melodious music was playing in the background. During contractions, Rick would rub her lower back with some lotion. Tracy was just beautiful-working through the contractions, then sitting to talk to us! As a contraction came, she would close her eyes and lean into the chair. By swaying her hips, she kept loose and relaxed for the baby. When the contraction was over, she resumed her conversation with Debbie and I.

At 9:30 p.m. Debbie wanted to check Tracy to see what was happening. They went upstairs, with Rick and I following. When Tracy was ready, Debbie checked her cervix. 5 Cm, 70% effaced, and the baby was at a -1 station. What good progress!

I ran to CVS at 10p.m. to pick up some black and white film, toilet paper and PowerAid (the blue kind!). When I got back, Tracy was sitting on the floor (on some pillows) in the living room. Rick and Debbie went upstairs to start setting up the birthpool, so I stayed with Tracy and rubbed her back and shoulders. She did very well…if I told her to relax and drop her shoulders, she did. She learned to lean into the contraction and "sink into it" to allow them to work well. We would talk a little between contractions - she was still very alert. We did this for about an hour until it just wasn't comfortable for her anymore.

She moved to the bathroom and sat on the toilet for a bit. Her contractions were now 2-3 minutes apart and lasting close to 90 seconds. She said once or twice that "this is getting painful" but that was the extent of her description. She came back in the living room and did a few contractions leaning over the birth ball and rolling her body to stay loose and relaxed. Claudia came a little after 10p.m. and listened to the baby - sounds great! At 11:20 p.m. I set up the birthstool for her. She sat on it and during the first contraction said, "There is so much pressure! I feel like I have to poop!" I told her to go ahead….that it is the baby's head she is feeling.

By now Debbie and Rich came down to say that the pool would not be ready for many more hours…the hot water tank was not making the water hot fast enough. They started boiling water on the stove. The suggestion from Claudia and Debbie was to get her into her own bathtub for now (and get a little more comfortable) until the pool could be filled. We headed upstairs! She labored in the bathtub for about 10 minutes; all the while saying that her body felt like it was pushing. Claudia checked her at 11:30p.m. She was complete! Ready to push! The baby was at a +3 station…so push! Tracy did great in the tub pushing, but the tub was just too short. Her legs were cramping after contractions, which made it harder on her.

We set up the birthstool beside her bed, and Tracy walked there to continue pushing. She pushed very well on the birthstool, but at 11:50 Claudia had her get on her knees and lean into the bed. (she was trying to prevent a tear). Tracy moved to all fours after a while, and crowned her baby at 12:08a.m. Rick and Claudia were down catching the baby. Claudia felt the cord around the baby's neck, and it was very tight. So she held the cord in her hand and waited for the next contraction. With her next push, Tracy birthed her baby into the world! It was 12:12a.m. Rick and Claudia caught the baby as it was born, and handed it to Tracy. She and Rick looked astonished! They couldn't believe that their baby was here-and it is a girl!!! Tracy said to Rick, "Look! It's Jillian Avery!"

The three of them sat on the floor under the watchful eye of Claudia, and met one another. Tracy looked radiant as she and Rick bonded with their new baby girl. For the next several hours, they sat on the bed and talked to Jillian, Claudia, Debbie and myself. We had a little BIRTHday party! Tracy called her parents to tell them the good news. We took pictures, did the baby exam (Jillian was 8 pounds even), and dressed her in her first gown. (Daddy did a great job with the diaper!) After Tracy showered, we all talked and laughed some more. I didn't leave until 3a.m. Tracy and Rick had a beautiful birth in their own home - one that I was honored to be apart of.



For more information on The Bradley Method, for an international listing of instructors, or to contact the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth directly, please contact: The Bradley Method, Box 5224, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413-5224 - (800) 4-A-BIRTH or (818) 788-6662 -