The Birth of a Baby, a Mother, and a Doula

August 16, 2016

On Aug 15, 2013 at about 8:30 pm I was standing in the bathroom, washing my hands, when I heard my mom from the kitchen say, "Do you want to go the the grocery store? You are low on some groceries and I have a feeling you are going to go into labor soon."

"Sure, let's go but I really doubt that anything is happening too soon."

It was 3 days until my due date and I wasn't expecting labor yet because I was late with my first baby. At that exact moment my water broke.

"Uhhhh, my water just broke," I said to myself.

Then a bit louder, "Oh my gosh, my water broke!"

I made a quick call to my midwife, and then to my doula. I hopped in the shower and anxiously awaited contractions. It was a totally different feeling than my first labor because my first began with contractions and my membranes didn't rupture until I was near pushing. 

It was a space of intense waiting. I was anxious, excited, terrified, and feeling joyful. That moment of knowing my baby would certainly be born soon but labor stood between me and that moment.

I got dressed in comfortable clothes and talked with my toddler for a while about what was to come. I had prepared my newly two-year-old daughter the best I could and she was so happy her baby sister was coming.

I was feeling nervous because my last doctor's appointment left me concerned about the size of my baby. My doctor wasn't feeling great about how big she was and wanted to induce my labor. I had called my midwife and doula and we discussed the evidence and the options that I had. I was able to make an informed decision and plan to go ahead and wait for labor to begin on its own.

My doula and photographer arrived.  Knowing my doula was there was extremely comforting. We talked and laughed for a few minuets then,

Boom!

A few contractions. "Let's walk the stairs a few times," my doula suggested. We went up and down, taking large steps, and my contractions became intense around 12:30am.

Around that time my mini doula was wanting her mama. I nursed her through a few contractions. I remember feeling a bit of panic. How can I focus on labor and meet my toddlers needs at the same time? It was a surreal moment that became so precious after I was able to relax. I remember breathing through the contractions and holding my sweet two year old knowing this was the last time it was just us. It was bittersweet and satisfying having that last moment together.

Off with grandma she went. They stayed in her bedroom as my mom soothed her while I focused on breathing my baby down with my contractions. My midwife assistant arrived and my whole team worked together to fill up the tub.

As soon as it was ready I got in the water and could feel the pressure becoming more intense. My midwife arrived at some point, but was in the background almost the entire time.

I remember saying to my doula, "I'm done. I want out. I want to go to bed and do this later. I can't right now. I can't do this. I'm too tired. I just need to stop for now and do it again later."

I was ready to stand up and walk out of the tub and leave my labor there. As I started to move my doula made eye contact with me and sweetly reminded me of my strength, my power, and also that labor wouldn't go away. I wanted a second water birth and she reminded me of my previous wishes.

I was ready, I knew I had to do this and I surrendered to the process. This was my baby. My birth. I could do this.

She held me and carried me through transition. I remember actually biting her at one point.

Finally the urge to push. "Oh god, not the urge to push." An overwhelming power moved through my body and along with it came my baby. With my daughter, my niece, my mom, my doula, my photographer, my midwifes assistant, and my midwife standing around me, Adelaide was born after a few pushes at 2:34AM.

I remember hearing someone comment on what a big baby she was and how healthy she looked.

Relief.

My moment is here.

I did it.

My 10lb baby snuggled onto my chest, slipped right into my heart and within moments latched on and nursed for a while.

"Mama, can I touch her?" My heart was full. It grew through labor and I finally realized how I could love this baby as much as my other. I didn't have to divide the love I had for my first baby. Something miraculous happened. My heart grew bigger and had enough space for both.

I decided to get out of the pool for my placenta delivery. I cut her cord about 4 hours after birth. We snuggled in bed and nursed. My midwife slept in bed with me until morning answering my questions. Her assistant cleaned out the birth pool. She was so supportive, so calming, and so present. I could see the passion in her eyes. I remember saying that I was so grateful to have her there and that she was made to do this.

My birth team was supportive, respectful, encouraging, and made me feel safe.

This is what all women and growing families deserve regardless of how or where they choose to birth their baby.

Today my daughter turns 3 and the joy I carry from being her mama is divine. After her birth I knew my passion was to provide the same exceptional care and support that I was given to expectant families. I love how I am able to get to know my clients during pregnancy, attend their births, and provide support afterwards. It is nothing short of a miracle every time.

I have been to lots of births and supported many families during the postpartum period. My job isn't just a job. It is a message, a passion, a level of care that I hope my clients carry into parenthood just as I have.