I met my new clients at Mothers Market in Costa Mesa for the first time to interview with them. As we sat with one another, I could tell that they were passionate about having a vaginal birth in the comfort of their own home. I was very excited to be interviewing with them because they were very much aligned with my practice and the care that I offer as a Birth Doula. All three of us shared a passion for herbs and holistic methods of caring for the body. When I got their approval message to be their Doula, I set up our first prenatal! Our first prenatal went well as we became more acquainted with one another. They had taken the Bradley Method birth course, so they were well versed on what to expect. I felt as though with my knowledge of the Bradley Method course, I could support them even more since their understanding of birth was aligned with the course I was currently taking. During our three prenatals I was able to go over how to comfort mama and what to expect from a laboring woman. I emphasized to mama how important it was to let the whole body go completely limp during each wave while breathing deeply into her baby. I worked with them on using the rebozo for sifting the baby’s position for better alignment and how to use it for comfort and relaxation. I became familiar with their lovely home and how each of them functions and feels comfortable within their home. Mama discussed with me that her partner has trouble with maintaining balance and strength in his body after a long day. I felt I needed to lock that information in so that I could be a more physical support for her during her labor. She also shared with me that she wouldn’t want any candles lit, no music on, dim lights, and very little talking during her labor. I told her we could accommodate that atmosphere and that I felt comfortable in this environment.
One day before her 40 week guess date, mama’s water released around 3:20 a.m. on May 3rd, 2018. She woke up with a start from the dead of sleep! She jolted straight up and woke her partner with the news. Immediately her contractions began at 4:00 a.m. At 7:30 a.m. the next morning I got a sweet call from her partner about the wonderful news. He told me her surges were strong and consistent and that they might be needing me over very soon. When I got the call at 9:00 a.m. to head over I was ready to go! I arrived at 9:30 a.m. and made my way upstairs to check on mama. She looked good. She was relaxed and her labor had stalled. We sat down and talked for a little while discussing how normal it is for labor to stall especially when someone new comes into the labor and birth space. I told her that her baby was in great health and that she just needed to keep walking calmly until the surges picked up again. Shortly after our conversation, her surges picked up. Her partner was a very excited and supportive partner for mama. Sometimes too excited. Mama asked him to talk less and ask less questions because she had to go inward to concentrate. In the meantime, I called their lovely midwife, Melanie, and discussed what was occurring at home. She guided me to tell the partner to start setting up the pool for mama. While he set things up, I supported mama through her surges. She did AMAZING! She would always go completely limp and breathe deeply. Once the tub was set up, mama sent both of us to TraderJoes to pick up food for after the delivery of their son. I thought this was a great idea and encouraged her partner and I to get some fresh air and sunshine since it was a beautiful day outside. I told him that it is good for mothers to have alone time during their labors to focus inward and to not be a watched pot. We grabbed some food and headed back home.
Mama was excited too. She walked and paced down stairs while she prepared lentils for me and the midwives who were to come later. She was trying to keep busy and less focused on what was happening until she couldn’t any longer. I told her that I felt as though she was focusing too much on my comfort and my hunger levels so I suggested that I would leave again to the nearest park until her surges came on stronger and harder. I felt intuitively that this would be the best thing to do because she felt watched even from me. I left and took a walk outside. 15 minutes later her partner called to tell me her surges were right on top of one another. I figured she was about 6 to 7 cm dilated at this point due to the timing and frequency at which her surges were coming and going. I headed back quickly to find mama in a good rhythm. I told her partner to call Melanie so that she knew this would be a good time to come over. Her partner and I switched on and off with supporting mama and breathing with her. She stayed limp the whole time and started her first laboring ritual. She would first lean against a wall as the surge built, then find one of us to lean on until it ended. With her next surge she would try leaning over the birth ball while I applied the double hip squeeze. She would get up, sway a bit and start over again. The midwives were great company. They listened to baby’s heart tones and reassured the new parents that their baby was healthy and happy. We had mama get into the birth tub to relax and to start working with her body’s pushing sensations. She had a new ritual in the birth tub. She would sway, splash, and bob her head forward. After she was in late first stage she consistently bobbed her head. Every woman’s rituals is different and beautiful and amazing to encounter. She kept repeating (whispering) “God, help me, someone help me”. But we reminded her that she can only help herself. She has to do this work herself. We are here to support her but she has to understand that this is her work. Her right of passage.
After the birth tub, we took her to her room to labor and work with her pushing sensations on her bed. Melanie beautifully described how to start sending that energy down and through her vagina. We had her push on the bed with her partner supporting her while he sat behind her. She would push in this position for a bit and then get onto hands and knees while remaining on the bed. She would push in hands and knees and then lean back, relax her whole body, and smile until the next wave. We had her squat and push on the floor too. While she was squatting and pushing on the floor, we used a rebozo around my shoulders and upper back so mama could grab a hold of the rebozo to support her weight. While this was happening, her partner watched from behind and rested a little. After this position for quite some time we had her get on all fours and push in this position. We encouraged her to use the strength that she has never tapped into before and utilize it. Mama never complained, cursed or yelled out. She dove right into the whole experience, let go and kept breathing deep. I was so incredibly proud of her. We all were!
Finally, the time had come when baby’s head was crowning. Her partner got right behind mama to support her weight and I stayed in front of mama to support her as she beared down, hard. Baby came out head first with a tiny hand up by its cheek. When the baby slipped out, mama fell back against the bed and her partner to catch her baby. She was in utter shock! We all were. It’s always amazing to see a baby being brought onto this planet while gazing into the faces of new parents experiencing birth for the first time. Mama finally exclaimed, “can I look at him?”. We didn’t even realize that she couldn’t see him because she was holding him tightly into her breasts. She brought her baby forward and looked at him for the first time and was surprised by how adorable he looked. They are happy new parents to their baby born at 10:43 p.m. weighing 8lbs, 5oz, measuring 20 inches long on Friday May 3rd, 2018. Congratulations you two! You worked incredibly hard and diligently to have the birth of your dreams. It was an absolute pleasure working with individuals so aligned with my own truths of being and relating in this world. I wish you all the best in the next phase of parenthood.