Birth Notes from the Doula’s Perspective
I'm sure I left something out, as birth brings so many magical moments. The official birth story belongs to the couple.
It was April 15th and you were 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant. This birth would be a planned VBAC. You called me around 3:00am to let me know contractions had started an hour earlier. You decide to try and go back to sleep for a bit. Dad calls me at 6:17am to let me know that contractions are 5 minutes apart and he says that you are focusing through them; I assure you I will be at your home shortly. I arrive at your home at about 7:00am. I come in the house to see you rocking in the rocking chair; your face looks peacefully radiant as you close your eyes during contractions. I sit down at your side and massage your feet as we welcome a few contractions together and we discuss how wonderfully you are doing. They are about 2-4 minutes apart when I arrive. We prepare to go to the hospital and you make your son’s breakfast in the kitchen, pausing during a contraction to lean on Dad or the counter while you rock your hips back and forth, instinctually. You feed your son at about 8:30am after which he comes up to you and hugs your leg and smiles. The love in this moment was magical. Dad went to drop your son off at the sitter and you make final preparations to leave for the hospital.
We arrive at the hospital at about 10:00am. You are 6cm, 90% effaced with a bulging bag. In triage, you stand against the wall or Dad for contractions, you say “Tell me about her…” and Dad goes on to tell you how beautiful and amazing your little girl is going to be. In that moment, I see you close your eyes as if you are imaging your daughter’s beauty and you gather the strength to continue.
Once admitted to the birth suite we dim the lights, turn on soothing music and you and Dad get in the tub, where he uses the shower head to stream warm water on your back and belly. I remind you to stay “loose and limp” as you take deep cleansing breaths during contractions. The water was cooling quickly, so the nurse and I ran basins of warm water from the sink in your room into your tub. Dad was sitting behind you in the shower and you found comfort by leaning in his lap between contractions. Dad was always reminding you how incredible you were with each contraction, even telling you “You’ll never have that same contraction again, just take them one at a time.”
In the bathroom the lights are off and the only light is that of the flicker of my flameless candle, it creates a mellow orange hue to the room. I notice your cesarean incision under the water, and I am reminded of your incredible strength. Your uterus so strong, your body…beautifully designed to do this.
You ask Dad to say a prayer and he prays for strength for you and baby Annabelle. You decide to get out of the tub and sit on the toilet for a while, we cover you with blankets and you notice a change of intensity in your contractions along with bloody show, I remind you that it means you are showing signs of cervical change! You try a few other positions in the room, eventually getting back into the tub. At 12:58pm you are feeling “pushy” and a bit nauseous so you are checked to be 8cm, 100% effaced with just a bit of an anterior lip. The nurse tells you its okay to bear down a bit with your urges. You moan lowly, grunting with the sensations. You mention that you are tired but you stay motivated and focused.
We breathe together, “Big deep breaths….here we go…. in... and out….and again, in... and out…”
At about 2:00pm you mention more pressure and you find yourself pushing more with each contraction. Your midwife comes in and checks you to be fully dilated with your water intact. She leaves the room for a minute only to return to find you squatting while holding on to the shower head on the wall while pushing. This is when your water must have ruptured, because the next time you were checked your water was gone. You get out of the tub and into the bed, pushing with your own urges, no coaching, and no counting, just you….breathing and pushing.
With Dad at your bedside, you reach down and touch your baby’s head as it slowly emerges from you. You even help pull your baby up and on to your chest as she is born at 2:21pm. Dad cried tears of joy and you rejoice “We did it!” Annabelle only cries once, pinks up in a heartbeat and literally crawls to your breast and latches perfectly. A breathe taking moment! After you spent an hour bonding and breastfeeding, Dad held baby Annabelle skin to skin for the first time...
This birth was filled with so much love and strength! Congratulations! You did amazing, momma!
Taryn Goodwin, CD(DONA)