I got referred to my client and her partner by the South Coast Midwifery Midwifes. I had a brief one hour interview where she decided I would be a great fit for her and her partner for labor support. The next day I had my first prenatal meeting at her home. I brought a sample of my electrolyte drink that I could potentially make for her labor. It was fresh pressed watermelon juice with a pinch of salt and a handful of chia seeds. She loved it and said she'd really appreciate having a bunch of it during the time of her labor. Next I asked her all the basic prenatal questions and asked what she would like to experience in her birth. After gathering all the appropriate information, I gave her a prenatal loving touch massage so she could get comfortable with my touch. Afterward, I guided her through a physical touch meditation. I guided her to relax at different points that I touch on her body. We connected beautifully! I was excited to be their Doula! I went over various positions with both the father and mother so the father could be more actively engaged during the labor. My client requested that I mainly support him so that he could support her the best he can.
A couple days later she went into labor. Again I had a special feeling she might be in labor or prelabor, so I texted her at 5:30am to check in on her. My intuition was correct! She had been in early labor for about an hour before I texted her that early morning. I couldn't believe how sensitive I can become with these mothers during this beautiful life event! I kept in contact with her all day and told her she could call on me anytime she wanted me. At 7:30pm she called me to join her at the birth center. By 8pm I arrived and quickly jumped into guided her breath and helping her stay focused on keeping a rhythmic breathing pattern. Her partner told me she didn't feel like receiving physical touch unless her surge had finished. So I discussed with her that she could tell me "hands off" anytime she no longer needed my touch. That way I don't cross her comfort boundary. I did a couple hip squeezes, guided her partner to do partner slow dancing with her. All the while I helped guide her breath. I tried breathing with her but I felt as though my words were more effective than breathing with her. So I stuck with that. She was a great client! She constantly got into new positions without me asking. It was her second baby so she knew what to expect. She knew she had to keep moving, keep squatting, and keep walking. She told me she wasn't going to hold back and resist any pain. I wish all first time mothers could have this mindset. She labored in the tub and wanted to give birth in the tub but we had to get her out after awhile. We just followed the Midwife's instructions. I made sure to speak to the Midwife about her birth plan. I expressed to the chief baby catcher that my client wanted to squat out her placenta instead of it being lightly pulled out of her body once it was detached. The Midwife was open to the suggestion and everything went smoothly. She got to naturally push her baby out without active management. She got to squat her placenta out and she didn't tear. The father and the whole birth team did so well. A lot of the time there was only silence and being present in the moment. I felt uncomfortable during those times because I felt as though I should be doing something or saying something. I had to remind myself over and over again that its okay to just be present to what is. Because everything is going okay... That was my biggest challenge.
I took pictures for the family during the entire labor and even after the baby was born. I stayed with the family during the baby's vitals and until the baby was all packed up into the car. I was exhausted right after the baby came and felt in a daze about my responsibilities. Luckily the Midwife guided me on my next steps. I had exhausted myself with the anticipation of this birth and with prenatals/interviews all week leading up to this birth. It was all a great learning lesson for me.
I saw the family once postpartum where we got to recap on the entire experience. My client was a natural breast feeder so latching was easy for the baby. She told me I did perfectly as her Birth Doula. The only thing she would change about my services is that she'd prefer to have me as a Doula a lot longer before the her birth so we could develop a better relationship. It was amazing to work with a second time mother who felt empowered about how to birth her baby better the second time around. I felt really proud of her for stepping up to the plate and owning her birth.