Kaiser-Clairemont Mesa, San Diego
Big brother Parker was born via c-section, so Kim was hoping for a VBAC with baby #2. She spent the months leading up to baby #2’s birth researching and preparing, and hired an amazing and supportive doula, Angela, to help her with the process. In fact, a VBAC was so important to Kim that we didn’t even discuss the possibility of a c-section leading up to this birth.
Kim and Kam’s first son, Parker, was induced when he was already long overdue, so none of us were surprised that baby #2 was already 10 days late. In fact, we were anticipating him being born on his scheduled induction date of 9-17, so I was thrilled to wake up to a text at 3:37 Thursday morning saying that contractions had started and that Kim would keep me updated.
Just before 7:30 in the morning, after hours of laboring at home and a very sleepless night, Kim and Kam walked into the new Kaiser hospital. Already dilated between 5 and 6 cm, they checked her in right away. She was breathing too deep to keep me updated, but thankfully one of her bestie’s had her back and headed to the hospital with a camera just in case. Kim’s husband, Kam, and her mother, Lori, were also in the room to support her during labor.
Although we had several conversations about seeing a new baby welcomed into the world by lunch, and the contractions were regular and intense enough to help labor progress, lunch time came and went without a baby.
Kim walked, used the birthing ball, crouched in the bed while hanging over the back of it, huddled over the toilet, and stood beside the bed, grasping it for support during the height of contractions. Anything to avoid laying down in the bed, where the pain was far more intense. With the coaching of Angela, Kam, and the nursing staff, she breathed through the contractions and the room maintained a very calm, quiet atmosphere. I’d go as far as saying that if you didn’t know that she had to be in intense pain from the strength of the contractions by reading the monitor, you would call the environment serene.
At 12:40, the doctor broke the sac of waters to try to encourage her body to dilate the last centimeter or two and help the baby descend lower. Without any pain medication, Kim was worried that the process would be painful, but she simply uttered “Oh, that was warm, was that it?” when the doctor broke her water, and quietly battled through the next few contractions. Soon after, Kim started telling her support crew that “the pressure is real.”
Although Kim wasn’t asking for an epidural, and she was breathing through most of the contractions, her doctor suggested one to help her relax enough to dilate the last centimeter at 2:30. Kim went along with the doctor’s advice, and by 3:30 she had her epidural in place. By 4:15 she was fully dilated and the doctors told her she would be ready to push soon. Lori brought Parker in for a quick visit, and then it was time!
At 4:35, with an epidural still in place but wearing off, Kim started pushing. The nurses told her that it was her job to move the baby down further for now and that it could take a little while. She jokingly said “I hope I’m not pushing for four hours” in response to this.
Two hours later, she was still pushing! Her doctor said she could push for another hour as long as she was making progress, but then they may need to consider assisting the birth with a vacuum or by c-section. With a deadline in place, Kim’s motivation clearly picked up. She was determined to avoid a c-section. Her nurse started moving her into new positions to help the baby descend, and frequently commented that the new baby had a full head of hair that she could see each time Kim pushed.
Just after 7:45, the doctor returned to assess the progress and announced that it was time for the baby to be born. She was going to help him into the world by using a vacuum to “pull while you push, Kim.”
At 8:21 p.m., just over 18 hours after first realizing she was in labor, Kim gave birth to her beautiful second son. Weighing in at 8 pounds 14 ounces, and 21 inches long, he was large and laying on his side, which made it difficult for him to make his way out of the womb and into the world. Still, with just a little help, he joined this world ten days after his due date, just like big brother Parker, with a loud cry and a full head of hair.
Immediately after her new baby was placed on her chest. Kim turned to her doula and thanked her through tears, expressing her gratitude as she cried “I could never have done this without you.” Kameron and his mother joined in with tears of happiness as baby Thoner #2 snuggled against his mom, surrounded by love and joy.
This woman was a complete badass and we were so blessed to be a part of this pregnancy and birth. She is a dear friend of ours, so we may be a little biased, but we were both awed by her quiet strength and determination through such a painful, exhausting experience.