Part 4 - The Gentle Giant
In time, Dr. Pyle arrived. He was huge. Not overweight, but tall and strong. I don't have any legitimate assessment of how tall he was, but he seemed enormous. His hands looked like he could have palmed a basketball without effort. And yet, this huge man was one of the most gentle people I have ever encountered.
One of the first things out of Dr Pyle's mouth was the statement, “I love breech births.” Having spent months researching our childbirth options in the St. Louis area, this comment dropped our jaws. What a reminder of God's sovereignty. He brought us the only doctor we know of in St. Louis who would actually welcome a breech presentation!
Dr. Pyle very respectfully prepared me for an internal exam to see what he could learn about how and what Baby was doing. Ever so gently, he checked for a presenting part (what part of the baby's body is closest to the cervix) and waited through the next contraction to see how Baby was handling things. This confirmed that Baby's bottom was coming down during contractions to help the cervix open. He could feel the umbilical cord before the contraction, but not during, and Baby's heartones were fine during contractions, so it was evident that the cord was being pushed safely out of the way with each contraction.
This gentle giant of a man had obviously been prepared for us. He knew that our desire was to birth this baby vaginally. We talked for several minutes about the possibilities... that if we attempted a vaginal delivery and had a complication, I would have to go under general anesthesia instead of local, because time would be of the essence. I agreed that I was willing to go that route if needed. My comfort is nothing to me in the face of the safety of my child. He assured us that the team would be ready at a moment's notice if they were needed, but strongly impressed on us his belief that we could do this. He obviously respected us as parents and was eager to support us however he could.
Dr. Pyle left the room to give us privacy, and simply asked Cindy to buzz him when she needed him. As he walked out, he noticed my verses on the TV monitor and remarked on how much he liked them. What a blessing. And what a needed reminder at that moment... “In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” God was making it abundantly clear that He was faithful. How could I do anything other than continue to trust?
I think Dr. Pyle must have given the rest of the staff the signal that we were to be left alone. I don't remember anyone else entering the room until we called for them.
So it was down to business. The plan was simple. Wait, breathe, let my body and Baby do the work. Pray. Wait and breathe past my former definition of “have to push.” Pray. Wait. Breathe. Be thankful beyond measure for my wonderful husband, doula, and midwife. Wait. Breathe. Pray. Repeat until there was no possible way to not push.
I don't know how long this stage lasted. Time was irrelevant. The waves came and went. Embrace them... then let them go. Almost like a dance. A very intense, hardworking dance.
I begin to know, and think I stated out loud, that it wouldn't be long. Cindy decided she needed to check on Baby. In the midst of a contraction, she lifted my leg. My concentration broken, I could no longer resist the urge to push. Pop! The amniotic sack burst... all over. Cindy turned to hit the buzzer for Dr. Pyle, (another irresistible push from me) and turned back to see Baby on the bed. Elizabeth Katherine had decided it was time for her arrival, and her birth was one of the most empowering/trust building events in my life.
And I would need all the faith available for the events of the next couple weeks...
Katie's Birth Story -
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, The Power of a Picture