In honor of my second born's second birthday, I am finally sitting down to write her birth story.
I first saw the double lines on the little white stick before the sun came up on a windy October day in Colorado. I was excited and nervous as the reality of what those lines meant sunk in. I had planned on telling Alex in some cute pinterest worthy way, but that lasted about 3 minutes before I shook him awake and held up the test. The next 9 months would be a whirlwind that would bring us to Arizona. This meant finding a new midwife well into my 3rd trimester.
I interviewed five midwives. Jennifer was the last one on my list to meet with before I would make a decision. I knew instantly that she was the one. I say it was love at first meeting. That proved to be a wonderful decision as she has become such a dear friend and mentor in my personal and professional life. My wish for every woman is that they can feel this way about their care provider/birth team.
My due date was June 20, 2015. Like all my pregnancies, that day came and went. It would not be until June 29th that I would meet my baby girl. We had joked that she would wait until Monday morning, after dad made his hour plus commute to work. That is exactly how it happened! When he said goodbye that morning around 4am I realized I was having pretty regular contractions but they did not seem serious enough for me to keep him home. After about an hour it was clear that it was the real deal. I let everyone know that I was in the early stages and tried to keep my mind off of it. It didn't take long before my DIY pedicure and the tv were no longer amusing.
Around 10am I headed upstairs to get into the bath. Soon after, things picked up very suddenly. Contractions started coming one on top of the other and breaks were becoming shorter and shorter. Alex called the sister circle to make their way over. Over the next 5 hours I was mostly on all fours as I could not seem to move. That was the only position I could handle. Trying to stand up was impossible as the next contraction would hit and bring me to my knees. I was disappointed to say the least when I asked to be checked and was only at 5 cm. We realized that she was trying to come out with her hand on her head which is not an ideal exit strategy. If you have had a positionally challenged baby, you know what I'm talking about.
They finally convinced me to get out of the tub to try the rebozo. It was intense but it did the trick. I leaned on my mom as Jennifer sifted my belly. I cried and moaned, my mom cried and empathized. It was an instant relief when baby girl finally backed up and moved her hand. All of a sudden I was in no more distress. I was just so tired. I laid down and instantly fell asleep. As far as I know I slept for about an hour and woke up feeling like I my belly was convulsing. I realized that my body was trying to push. I got back into the tub and pushed her out soon after.
There is no feeling like meeting the baby you worked so hard to bring into the world. After almost a year of growing them inside your own body, hours of labor, and the physical power of pushing them out into their new life; it is something truly magical. The miracle and mystery of birth never loses it's luster. This birth was my most difficult by far but it was still incredible and a memory I hold dear.
When you come home with a new baby (or two!) and are recovering from having given birth or having had cesarean surgery, things can be a little overwhelming. A postpartum doula can be there to assist you. Her role is to provide support and information to empower you to be the BEST parent you can be. Every mother and family can benefit from hiring a caring, knowledgeable, and experienced professional during this time of transition. Parents of multiples and those mothers who want to breastfeed will benefit greatly from this service.
Hiring a postpartum doula as a gift for a loved one can mean the world to her and show her you care about her wellbeing. Each mother and family has unique needs. Generally postpartum doula services include the following:
It's impossible to predict or control how birth and labor will go. Will you connect emotionally with your labor and delivery nurse, and will she have time for you? In a typical hospital setting, doctors don't stay in the room with you continuously during labor and nurses often have to split their time between several patients. They also come and go during shift changes. A doula is a constant physical and emotional support with all her focus on you and your needs.
How will you react to the pain? Will you have a swift delivery or a long, drawn-out labor? How will your husband or partner hold up under the pressure?
Faced with these uncertainties, many women find enormous reassurance in having a doula by their side. A doula can support you during a hospital, birth center, or homebirth, and can include: