Thursday, April 22, 2021

Lights, Plants, and Dreamcatchers

After supporting births for 17 years, and writing this blog for 12, I sit down today to write my final birth story as a doula.  And I couldn't have asked for a better birth to end on, or a sweeter family to work with.  I first met this couple in 2019 when I was their doula for their first birth.  That birth was long and difficult, as first births often are.  But this America Ninja Warrior had the physical and emotional strength to endure.  For her sake, I really hoped this second baby would enter the world a little faster!  :) 

With her due date several days ago, I've been anxiously awaiting her call.  I received a text around 6:00 pm on Wednesday, April 21st saying she was feeling crampy, but not really having contractions.  Then I heard from her husband at 9:30 pm saying her contractions were regular, but that they didn't need help yet.  I encouraged them to rest, but resting was not in their future.  At 10:40 pm they asked me to head over, and I arrived at 11:00 pm to find mom laboring on her hands and knees, and moaning through her contractions.  It was go time!  

Labor was progressing quickly.  The midwives were boiling water in order to get the birth pool filled.  The room was decorated with lights, plants, dreamcatchers and birth affirmation cards.  I got the music going, and coached mom through each contraction.  She listened to her body, and used her breath  to get her through each one.

At 11:30 pm, mom was ready to get into the water.  It brought some needed relief.  I could see the intensity building and I encouraged mom to allow the changes to come.  It can be overwhelming when labor progresses so quickly, and surrendering to the experience can be difficult.  She got in control of her breathing, and by 11:50 pm she was starting to grunt during contractions. 

The midwife in this photo was sorority sisters with this mom back in college, and it was fun to see their relationship during this experience.  Birth has a long history of women taking care of each other, and birth is more successful when women feel safe and supported.  I first met this midwife when she was training to be a doula, and it was really great seeing her now as a competent and compassionate midwife.  She has found her calling.  The midwife below also started as a doula, and she and I became internet friends before she even moved to Boise.  So basically, it was a really awesome group of people to be around, and I just love working alongside such amazing women. 

Ok, back to the birth...

Pushing didn't take long this time.  (Last time we were lunging and doing all sorts of things to encourage baby #1 out.  Baby #2 didn't need any help at all!)  This little one was a little tangled up in the umbilical cord, and quickly slipped into the world at 12:02 am.  She needed a couple puffs of oxygen, as water birth babies tend to transition a little slower, but she couldn't have been cuter!

After a couple minutes of snuggling, it was time to get mom out of the water.  She was bleeding a little too much and needed a couple shots of pitocin.  She was also freezing!  It wasn't an easy walk to the bedroom, but by 12:25 everything was under control and everyone was tucked in bed for the first nursing session.  And just like last time, mom snacked on orange slices and La Croix.

Dad snuck in a few minutes of snuggling, too!  He was a great support during both births, and it was easy to see how much he loved his family.  These two are such a great team.  Running a business and raising a family together. 

Welcome Sylvia!  Born Thursday, April 22nd at 12:02 am.  Weighing 8 pounds, 2 ounces.

Doula work has changed and shaped my life.  It has been an unexplainable honor to be invited into almost 200 births.  To be a trusted resource and ally.  It has taught me so much about love, strength, endurance, resilience, pain, fear, and even heartbreak.  It has given me a lifelong passion of supporting families.  It has simultaneously filled me with excitement and joy, and taken everything I can give.  It has made me who I am, and I will never forget the amazing lessons I have learned and the wonderful people I have served along the way.