I met my client and her partner through the South Coast Midwifery birthing center's referral list. I met with the two of them twice prenatally. The first time we met at a park, enjoyed a picnic supplied by my client, and went over their birth preferences. We covered things to expect during labor, how to prepare for some uncomfortable situations, and labor position changes. It was a really great prenatal because I felt as though we would be a great team and I felt aligned with who they were as a pregnant couple. The father was going to play a very important support role and he wanted my support through that. Everything about our interactions were very easy going and light hearted and I kept thinking about how amazing it is to be a Birth Doula. Later I set up a second prenatal 1 week before she went into labor to go over exactly how I would comfort her verbally and physically. This second prenatal really set up a good system for all three of us and we felt very good about this birth. All of us confident and excited! I gave her a loving touch massage so she could get used to my physical touch. I then guided her though a meditation to help set up a "bubble of peace" in my client's mind. Her bubble of peace was the birth center so I made sure to incorporate language that supported a positive birth experience at the birth center. We went over a couple more positions and spoke more together about how excited and ready we all were.
When I finally received the call to come over to their house for early and active labor I had a couple things prepared for her. I had an electrolyte drink prepared and made of fresh pressed watermelon juice, chia seeds, and a pinch of salt. I had honey sticks and frozen wash cloths with essential oils on them ready to use when things got heated. When I arrived, I immediately guided her breathing and used touch on her tummy to provide a sense of where she was supposed to let go and release her tension. This method worked super well and during every surge she expressed that receiving that support was great. All three of us went on a walk and continued with that pattern of support. Her partner was great! I couldn't have asked for a better partner support for a laboring mother. Our dynamic was a team effort. As she transitioned at home she stayed positive and we got her into many different positions. She threw up pretty heavily for a minute and so we decided to call the Midwife to let them know that her surges were a 311 pattern.
When we all arrived at the birthing center, my client was 9cm dilated. The Midwife couldn't believe how calm she seemed at 9cm. We were all excited and proud of our accomplishment! When she started pushing naturally everything changed. My client went very inward. She became wild and primal. I spent a good amount of time taking beautiful photos of the laboring process at the birth center because her partner was on top of guiding her verbally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Offering prayers up to God for support and guidance. It was a beautiful thing to watch. Everyone moves differently on this earth and I LOVE being a witness to it. Supporting your choices as a human but still standing firmly in how I choose to show up. I assisted the Midwives and spoke to my client when it was very important to do so. Pushing for her was difficult and long. The Midwives were afraid of maternal exhaustion. We had her drink and eat as much as she could take down. She threw up a large amount of liquid we gave her previously. Throwing up is completely normal in labor and shouldn't discourage you from eating. During the pushing phase, her partner and I had to confirm to her that she "could make it through to the final stretch of this birth marathon. She had to grasp at her internal strength and utilize it now". The pushing phase was intense for me since I couldn't imagine her struggling hard for so long. She is a very fit person who has performed marathons in the past. The room was tense as she became a bit wild, energetic, and determined to meet her baby. She went beyond her limits and strength and finished pushing late into the evening. The baby was born healthy and I stayed with the family postpartum for three hours.
I met up with the new family postpartum about 3 days after the birth. They were glowing and taking in their newborn really well. The mama was a changed woman. I remember walking into their bedroom and being stunned at how beautiful she looked after the birth. She was a new woman. I am so happy we had a chance to debrief and share both our sides of the story. I felt more confident as a Doula after this birth. I felt something shift inside of me. Maybe more confidence? Breast feeding was going really well and the support she had was perfect. The couple lives in a house with many other friends so there was a lot of love and support all around. A true friendship was formed between myself and the couple which impacted how well we performed together.