This morning I was going through some of the stuff we brought home from the hospital, and noticed that on my discharge papers, the nurse wrote "Brilliant birthing." That made me smile : )
I shared my version of Carmine's birth story a few weeks ago, and our doula also wrote her own version, which she gave to us when she visited the week after Carmine was born. It was such a wonderful thing for her to do for us, and I'm including it in my blog book that I have printed every year, and a copy is also going into Carmine's baby book. I get goosebumps every time I read it.
And if anyone else cares to read it, I'm posting it below. Thank you again, Jessica. Our doula was most definitely worth the moula (and then some!).
This is the story of your birth, as told by me, your Birth Doula.
I was more than happy when I got a call from Rene asking for me to be her backup-doula. She was supporting a friend through her third birth. That friend ended up being you, and I didn’t end up staying in the role of a backup.
I had such a good feeling about how your birth was going to be after I left our prentatal visit. Not only had you served me oreo cookie balls that were to DIE for , but you also expressed a sincere desire to have this baby with as few interventions as possible and with no pain medication. You were so pure and true in your feelings about this birth. You had two prior deliveries that were both very different from each other. Both you had epidurals for. This time around you wanted to feel the labor all the way to the end. You wanted to participate as much as possible in the birthing of this, your third child.
I got my first phone call from you on a Friday. This was one week past your due date. You had slight contractions, and since you were already 4 cm dilated, this could mean something good was going to happen! But it didn’t. The following Wednesday you went to see an acupuncturist to try to induce labor. You had been having the same slight contractions again, so coupled with the acupuncture, it could have set off true labor. But it didn’t . Thursday you had an appointment with your midwife. She said that since you were now two weeks past your due date, it was time to get your baby born.
Friday the 22nd you got to the hospital at 5:30 in the morning to have your waters broken. It was very exciting! Once that bag of waters is popped, a baby must be born. It was going to be today! I arrived at 6:30 to join in the beginning of your labor. When I got there everyone was happy and in anticipation of seeing your baby for the first time. There was lots of talk of what the gender might be. Most agreed that you were having a girl. I voted for a girl, but wasn’t quite sure
At 8:00 they finally broke your waters. We immediately started to walk to try to get things moving. You walked and waddled. You squatted and wiggled. Not much was happening though.
The staff at the hospital were so very respectful of your birth wishes. They knew you wanted as few interventions as possible. They knew you didn’t want to be on a monitor if possible and not hooked up to an IV if possible. Though it’s normally their routine to do all of the above, they let you be as natural as you could be. Lucy Batista was your midwife and she was wonderfully supportive. You had a few different nurses, but every single one was behind your plan 100%.
By 10:30 the decision was made to possibly try to “re-break” your waters. Not much fluid came out the first time, so they decided to try again to be 100% positive that all was working correctly. Your cervix was a little odd, the midwife said. It was 3 cm on one side and 5 cm on the other, with the effacement 100% on one side and 80% on the other. So exams were awfully uncomfortable, and finding your bag of waters was a little rough too. But this time she got it. Off we went to walk the hallways again!
We’d walk for an hour or so, then come back to the room to get monitored for a short while. We listened to music. You drank and drank. You sat on the birth ball. You rocked in the chair. We watched Rachel Ray on TV and you dreamed about food that you weren’t eating. You were being incredibly positive and doing everything possible to start this labor rolling.
But hours had gone by and nothing was happening. There were slight contractions, but nothing that was going to birth your baby. Emotions got down and decisions had to be made. Still no one was forcing any decision on you. The idea of pitocin was thrown out there, but you decided you still needed a little more time.
It was decided that you’d try to get some rest since you hadn’t slept well the night before and you had been up all day being active. Lights went out at about 2:15 and you got a really nice long nap. I snoozed in the room with you as well. Scott sat out in the atrium to answer some emails on his computer. You slept until about 4:00! Your body needed that rest badly.
When you woke up Lucy came in to the room. The clock was ticking and no one wanted you to be laboring all night long, when your body would be even more tired. She suggested starting some pitocin slowly to see what would happen. I was so proud of you when you asked to be left alone so you, Scott and myself could talk about the pros and cons. It allowed this to by YOUR decision, not some healthcare providers decision. It was a hard decision to make, since you wanted to not have to have any medical interventions. But in the end, what you needed was a nudge. And this might just be the nudge you needed.
And it was! At around 6:00 Pitocin was started slowly to give you the chance to adapt to the coming contractions. Even on the Pitocin you were adamant about being able to walk. So we were up doing just that. We even had to plug in to the hallway if you remember. That’s when nurse Dita from next door joined us out in the hallway. She confessed that she really wanted to have you and Scott as her patients. I thought that was kind of sweet.
It was soon after that when you wanted to stay in the room. Your contractions quickly went from 8-10 minutes apart to 3-5 minutes apart. This was really encouraging news for you. The idea of having to be on Pitocin was disappointing for you, and hearing that progress was being made helped you to get past this new twist in your labor plans.
By 7:00 you had gotten into such a focused state of mind that you wanted the TV turned off. You were sitting on the birth ball at the end of the bed and Scott had been rubbing your back. For a moment Scott left the room. While he was gone you asked for him. You needed him. When he came back in I suggested he resume his place behind you since you needed him so much. When he saw that you were in pain he teared up himself. It must be so hard as a loving husband to see the person he cares about the most in such a state of being.
You were very quiet while you labored. But I could tell things were getting much more intense. You stopped talking in between contractions. You were specific about where and how you needed Scott to rub your back. Your breathing became much more patterned. Everything got very quiet in that labor room at about 7:00. I got on the bed to talk you through each contraction. Scott whispered words of encouragement often. Lucy sat in the chair and directed you when needed. And the wonderful nurse was on her knees trying to fix the monitor the whole time.
It was around 8:00 that things changed. You began to cry…a sure sign of transition. But the most convincing sign that you were nearing the end, was when you looked up at me and Scott with tears in your eyes and said that you wanted your “Icecream”, our little code word. Every woman who is laboring unmedicated gets to the place when they think they can’t do it anymore. You had gotten to that place. Immediately Scott’s eyes welled up again. We looked at each other for a brief moment silently telling each other what to do. I knew in my heart that you were almost there. It’s one of my policies that before any major decision is to be made, you must be checked to see how far along dilation is. So that’s what we suggested you do. You agreed.
Oh how I hoped you had progressed! I hoped and prayed in my heart that you’d almost be done!
Lucy checked you. It was painful to say the least. But…You were 8 ½ cm!!! Oh my goodness! You, in effect, had done it! And hearing that number convinced you that you had done it as well. I don’t say this to all of the moms I work with, but I looked into your eyes and said that If you had gotten this far, you could do the rest. But you had to take over, believe in yourself, and get yourself to the finish line. You mustered up whatever it took and kept on going.
Within 4-5 more contractions you felt the urge to push. Oh what glory that sound of pushing is to a support person, after being in intense labor with a mom. That phase of just having to survive the contractions, to now being able to work with them, is so liberating. The end is now in sight.
It was 8:30 when you started to push. And your baby was born at 8:53. You were a magnificent pusher. Scott was a magnificent support. As soon as your baby came out, Scott took a peek and announced to you that you had a little Carmine. It was a boy!
I am so proud of you as a woman and a mother. You made it through so many twists and turns with the birth of this baby. Being 2 weeks past due; Having to go to the hospital to have your waters broken; Not having labor start even after that.; The emotional and physical strain of getting pitocin; And that point when you think you can’t handle one more contraction.
But each twist of your pathway in labor you managed just fine, even if you thought you couldn’t. You were strong, powerful, beautiful and pure. You adapted when you needed to, and kept to the course when it meant the most.
Thank you for inviting me into this journey with you. It has been a true privilege. I hope you remember what you have accomplished for the rest of your life. You were already a wonderful mother. This just tops it off.