I met my client and he partner through a Midwife referral from South Coast Midwifery birthing center in Irvine. They had decided on a home birth so I was excited to potentially have my first home birth experience. I met up with them at their home twice prenatally to build a relationship with them. The first prenatal consisted on understanding their birth plan, how their home is set up, and getting a feel for one another. We went over labor positions towards the end of the visit. My second prenatal was just with my client. I guided her through a visualization I found in a Doula book. This visualization focused on how smooth her home birth could look like, feel like, and be like. I wanted to send as much positive affirmation and intention for her upcoming birth. I reminded her to to text me when she goes into prelabor and to call me when she is ready to have me come over to support her during early or active labor.
The day she called for me to come over to assist her, she had only been in prelabor for a very short while before quickly transitioning through early and active labor. My client really struggled through her labor and didn't want to use her Hypnobirthing sound tracks. She felt confident, excited, and was in great spirits before her labor but unfortunately didn't fully understand the intensity of what labor could entail. A lot of women do not fully understand what they are about to embark upon. I do also understand that not all labors are as intense, long, or uncomfortable... You never know what cards you will be dealt so it is best to prepare as much as possible. Because she was experiencing a lot of discomfort and fear during labor I felt as though I stepped into a more confident Doula role. She experienced very extreme back pain and couldn't catch her breath properly through each surge. I guided her during every surge to relax her forehead, to breath through a loose throat, and to breath out through loose lips. That way she could maintain proper breathing during each surge. I guided her to always breath into her baby as well. She needed constant reassurance that she could keep going. She asked how long each labor phase would take and we had to remind her that there is no set time limit on any phase and that every birth is different. She needed back massage during every single surge which her partner graciously provided! I fed her at least 12 honey sticks. When we got her into the shower with her partner, the constant hot water stream relaxed and provided tremendous relief for her. We had her stand in the shower so gravity could work its little miracle on helping guide the baby further down the pelvis. I had great Midwife support and I felt very aligned with their care. We got her to contract and push in many different places and positions throughout her home but the best and fastest way was on the bed baring down. Pushing was very hard and painful for her because she couldn't receive any back support from her partner.
I took a lot of great photos throughout the entire labor. Some of the most beautiful photos I've taken of such a raw, intimate, and highly charged experience. After every pushing surge I fed her water. And if I forgot the midwife would remind me:) My client would push with so much power during every surge then fall back onto the bed to rest for a minute before the next wave came.
The experience was primal and intimate. I felt very honored and special to be a part of this home birth since it was just me and two Midwives delivering this baby. How cool! We cleaned up their house, put all the dirty laundry into their washing machine, took group photos of the new family, made the bed, and left in good spirits. It felt so good to set it all up and to break it all down. I went to go visit my client 4 days after she gave birth to see how she was recovering. Breastfeeding was going really well, enough diapers were being filled, and she had a great support team from family and her partner. The only suggestions I made to her were to take three 10 minutes sitz baths per day to help heal her vagina, to use pillows under her arms when breastfeeding, and to wear her baby as much as possible if she decided to go out for a short walk.