It is a joy to help families manifest their goals during a time that can be so transformative and leave a long lasting impression. It is my desire that everyone walk away from their birth having been cared for, listened to and encouraged.
It was a cold morning, a week and a half before Christmas. The night before, I had been with my daughter and best friends to view the holiday light exhibit. I clearly remember sipping a peppermint mocha while I tried to ignore the cramping that I had experienced for many months. Very early on in the pregnancy I developed a cyst that caused intense cramping and led to weeks on bedrest. However, on this morning, the cramping was different and by 8:30 am my usual tightenings were full on “contractions” with amazing intensity.
My birth plan was hospital, epidural, baby. It was a solid plan. A plan I had fallen into during the birth of my daughter. Everything had gone well with her and I , obviously, wanted this birth to go well too.
At 11:30 my husband was speeding down the local highway as I breathed through contractions every two minutes. By the time he dropped me off at the front door of the hospital I was struggling to walk. You can imagine the faces of strangers as I dropped on all fours in front of the building to work through a contraction.
On the labor and delivery floor (literally) I began to feel more and more intense urges to push. These urges were met with resistance and fear as I had never experienced them with my first pregnancy, having had an epidural at 6 cm dilated.
In an interesting turn of events, my planned OB was in surgery as my son started pushing his way into the world and the nurses informed me that my window for epidural had passed ( I may have cried ) and a midwife would be attending my birth.
The midwife stepped into the room, looked into my panicked eyes, used her hands to calm my writhing body and told me it was time to birth my son. After expressing my fears to her (very loudly), I succumbed to the need to push. The midwife gently told me pant and put my hands out to catch my baby. In what seemed like thirty seconds, it was over.
My eyes had been opened to a new way to experience birth. The compassion of the midwife and the quick recovery of my body were enough to have me singing the praises of unmedicated birth with a midwife.
However, what I found to be the most memorable part of that birth is the compassion and support that I felt in those moments. During the time when I felt the most intense physical trial, when no one else in the room was able to comfort me, that midwife confidently and calmly supported me. That support melted my resistance and allowed me to see the beauty of my sons emergence. Walking away from that birth, I realized that I was lucky. Many who give birth do no experience the calm that can come from being supported and encouraged. A desire grew within me to provide that for families. I started researching and a doula was born!
I now encourage families to know exactly how they want to feel during their pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I want them to know which outcomes are important to them and to be prepared with education and information. I’d love for every family to know all of the options available to them and feel supported in making the decisions that are right for them.