Sometimes birth gets complicated. Truly. Biologically. Not because of disturbance or less-than-ideal-conditions.
Contractions can slow and stall, or alter in feeling, leaving the mother despondent and even desperate - and the most usual cause for this is the baby's position.
For birth to flow and resolve, both parties need to participate - mother AND baby. If either get 'stuck' for some reason, the smooth arrival of a baby can start to feel out of reach.
Lots of things can help - an epidural being often the first recourse, and for good reason, as employed wisely (by switching off ALL lights getting on your side and going to sleep), it can be a way of dedicating yourself afresh and take you from blown off course to back on track.
But there are other, less intrusive/derailing ways and means to restore focus and summon resolve too.
As you know, hormonal flow, paramount for getting contractions to hit their peak, would be my first recourse - and if an impasse has been hit, asking the question, what could be disturbing her? Providing total and complete privacy for a period is usually what helps most. The deep safety that unselfconsciousness WITHIN-ness provides can jumpstart a birth as powerfully as if a pair of electrical leads had been attached.
But sometimes this doesn't work. A baby may have it's chin deflexed (lifted), or its head at an angle, and is just not pressing sufficiently on the cervix to create enough contraction power.
And in such a situation, an EXTRA someone, saying an EXTRA something is what is needed to get her over that hump. A trusted companion, rolling up their sleeves and saying, 'Right, I want you to trust me. We're going to do this together.'
What is then DONE together can vary according to the situation.
It may be changing rooms; creating a super-comfy/gamechanger of a position; cox-like, breathing through each and every contraction WITH HER, slowly, evenly, steadily, until just perhaps, something shifts, the baby moves...and on she goes.
And if it's pushing that's the problem - its been a long time and there is no sign of a baby at all, going for it together in a fiercely focussed, heave-ho kind a way.
'I can't do this, you don't understand, the baby's not coming. I can feel it - nothing's changing,' she may say.
And the response?
Right come on.
I've got you.
Are you ready?
Let's do it.
Then pouring in the strength she hasn't got. Clearing the path with the courage you have to spare. Grounding her feet into the floor if she's on the toilet, or letting her push her foot into your chest to give her purchase. Oh the wonders you can see with just a few moments of sharing the work in that way, helping her round that corner - and within moments, something changes. Progress is FELT and she's rolling downhill herself again. All the wonderful way to meet her baby.