Thursday, June 4, 2009

Birth Story from a Doula's Perspective

This birth story was posted by a local valley doula on the Arizona Birth Network, and it was so wonderful that I just had to post it! This is what hospital birth SHOULD be and CAN be! This is reposted with her permission. It's long, but well-worth the read!

Interested in what you hear? The doula's name is Katie, and you can reach her at
(they used to staff the Bethany Birth Center, now unfortunately closed).

Bottom line? Doulas rock!!!! Don't birth without one! (Especially in-hospital!)

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"I don't think I've seen a doula post a birth story, but I just couldn't resist sharing this with everyone. I have permission to post this, but am just using initials instead of full names....How J and I met is kind of an interesting story, so I'll start with that. I randomly went on freecycle one morning and saw that someone was getting rid of a boppy breastfeeding pillow. I thought it would be great to have one as a doula to demonstrate with or just have to loan out. So I responded 12 minutes after the ad was posted. I emailed back and forth with her mom, T, and then we ended up talking on the phone. T said her daughter (J) was pregnant and looking into natural birth and was so excited to hear I was a doula. I said I'd be happy to talk with her when I came to pick up the boppy. A few days later I went over there and J and I immediately connected. She was just so excited about natural birth and so curious and had so many questions - a doula's dream! She was so receptive and open to everything I was telling her and we ended up talking for several hours. Our conversation went beyond birth and I felt so comfortable with her - I knew I had to attend her birth. We stayed in contact the next few weeks and went to the Phoenix birth circle together and to a La Leche League meeting. After watching the Business of Being Born and attending the birth circle, she was getting more and more excited and confident about having a natural birth. She was getting more and more uncomfortable with her OB and decided to interview the midwives at Bethany Women's Healthcare. She switched on the spot after talking with a couple of the midwives and being there for several hours. I was thrilled! She met Lylaine and Lisa that day and was set to meet Lynette at her next appointment. She loved Lynette too and I was so happy to hear the excitement in her voice. I think it was so freeing and empowering to her to feel that things that she wanted were totally doable. A whole world had been opened up for her.

"On Thursday, May 28th J used some evening primrose oil as a way to possibly naturally stimulate labor. J called me at 8am the next morning to say that she had been having regular contractions since 5am. She had been able to sleep, but they had started waking her up. She didn't feel like she needed me to come just yet, but definitely felt like "today was the day." We talked again around lunch time and she said that this was for sure happening and they were getting a bit more intense and closer together. This was around noon. She called me again a couple of hours later to say that she wanted me to come. Heather came home shortly after and wished me good luck. I went home and packed my bag and then headed over to J's.

"I arrived around 3:30, walked in and gave her mom a big hug. J's younger children were quietly watching a movie and J's two "nieces" had been keeping track of her contractions. J walked out and looked so adorable! She had on a leopard print bra, black shorts and had a Breathe-Right strip on her nose. It was just the cutest thing. I gave her a big hug and she told me how she was feeling. Then she had a contraction and put her arms around me and sort of hung on me until it was over. I just immediately had a feeling of calm and peace about the whole birth. I had no anxiety, I was just excited to be there. She started getting ready and was putting on different pants and shirts until she found the right one. That cracked me up. It was a little crazy at her house though and the environment wasn't the most relaxing so when J said she was ready to go to the hospital a few minutes later I thought that was a good idea. Her mom and nieces were going to come a little while later, after the baby sitter for the two younger children arrived. So it was just J and I. She made it down the stairs and had a contraction on the walk to the parking lot. We just stopped and she held on to me and moaned. We made it to the car and were on our way. She was still joking and laughing and calling friends and family to let them know what was going on. Her contractions had definitely slowed down, but I knew that was to be expected. In my mind though I was still thinking "This is too early...." and as we got closer to the hospital I asked if she was sure she was ready to go in - we could go walk the mall for a while or something. But she insisted on going in, which was fine with me. We pulled in and parked and she had a contraction just outside the car.

"We walked into the building and went up to registration. There was a woman and a man up there. The man said "Are you here cuz yer in labor?" We both just kind of looked at him and sarcastically said "No." The woman pointed us up to the third floor and then J had another contraction. She leaned on me and then the man starts asking her questions... I was so irritated with him! Clearly she is contracting, and clearly it is difficult or she wouldn't be leaning on me, closing her eyes, trying to focus. I wanted to punch him. We got in the elevator and J immediately said, "What was up with that guy?!" We had already decided no boys allowed and this guy just reinforced that. I pointed out that the woman hadn't asked her anything. :) We made our way up to the third floor and stepped into a small office and she got registered. This was about 4:30pm. She had one or two contractions in the office. Then we were walking to triage and she had another contraction in the hall. Everyone was completely respectful, no one was trying to rush her and the nurse just patiently held the door and waited.

"We went into triage and the nurse hooked J up to a monitor so she could record a couple of contractions. J said that could not imagine labor in this position (on her back, semi reclined) and no wonder so many women scream for epidurals. Contracting while sitting up was torture for her, but she knew it was only for a short time and dealt with it soooo well. The nurse asked her all the intake questions and her contractions had majorly slowed down. Then the nurse checked her and she was 4 centimeters, 100% effaced and +2. J was psyched and I was so glad because I've had other clients who, when they hear they are at 4cm, completely freak out and say "Oh my gosh, I'm not even half way there! Ahhhh!" I think 4 centimeters is amazing and I was so glad J did too. Then the nurse suggested that we walk for an hour, come back and if J had made "progress" she would be admitted. On the one hand I liked this because I was glad they weren't anxious to admit her and get things going and start the domino effect that leads to a cesarean - this is my doula brain totally overreacting. But on the other hand I hate the idea of relying on machines and measurements and "progress". There is so much more going on in a woman's body that can't be measured. J seemed a little disappointed that she wasn't going right away to a room, but I reminded her that this was great - very supportive of an overall natural birth.

"Soon after J's mom and nieces arrived. I was nervous that this would start the whole "So how far is she dilated?", "How much longer do you think it will be?" hoopla, but they all remained pretty calm and unintrusive. J's mom was concerned with us walking around and why they wanted us to do that and why they weren't checking J in, but we explained it to her and then she went to get a Starbucks with the nieces. And we started walking the halls at 5:15pm. J's mouth was dry and she said she felt like her breath stunk. I grabbed a hand full of candy - I had some butterscotch, some cinnamon suckers and a lemon lime sucker. She snatched up the lemon lime and it was so cute how much she enjoyed it, it was like one of those simple pleasures in life. The labor and delivery floor goes in a circle so we just started walking. Everyone was so sweet on the floor. Every nurse we passed gave a sweet smile or some encouraging words. Then we passed a dinner cart with a ton of food on it and J about barfed. Then we passed another cart. Then the women delivering the food walked by us with a tray of food and noticed J's face and apologized because she knew how J felt. It was so funny. She passed a couple more times and each time you could tell she felt so bad.

"J started trying to walk through her contractions - I couldn't believe she could do that. But it seemed to be working for her. I was holding her hand and with the other hand she was leaning on the guard rail during contractions. She then said she had to use the bathroom (me again in my overreacting brain was like..."Oh god, is this one of those moments where she thinks she has to poop, but then pushes a baby out?" LOL). By the time we got to the bathroom she didn't have to go anymore, but went in anyway to splash some cold water on her face. She was getting hot flashes and getting uncomfortable. We continued walking and at one point she threw off her back gown - she had been wearing a gown on the front and the back so that she was covered. We were walking and passed our triage nurse who said "Oh honey your back side is hanging out!" I said that she was hot and didn't care, and I was a little irritated that she had said that. Obviously J knew her ass was hanging out - she had underwear on though, there's no need to make her feel uncomfortable. I was feeling very protective of her space. She asked what time it was and I said "5:38" and she was upset! She thought we only been walking for 8 minutes. I reminded her that we had started walking at 5:15, not 5:30. That was better. Then she started getting extremely tired and was having a hard time standing up. She needed to lay down so we went back to our space in triage. She got comfortable on her side with a bunch of pillows in between her legs and was able to somewhat doze between contractions. I stood by her bedside because each time she would contract she would fling her arm up and out grabbing for me. Then she asked for a cold rag so I ran and grabbed a hand towel and dipped it in a pitcher of ice water. She loved it and kept it on her head for a while. Then she was rubbing it on her face and chest. She dozed again and then when her next contraction started she began smacking her forehead. I took this as her wanting the cold rag back. Then she would hold her hand out and make a fist when she wanted water. She would smack her lips when she wanted chap stick. I laughed to myself a couple of times because it was like a comedy routine - J doing these physical gestures and me quickly figuring out what they are and delivering. I always had water nearby and I had on stretchy pants so I kept the chap stick tucked under the waist of my pants. This was all she ended up needing the whole labor - my hand/arm, chap stick and water. It was so funny. You never know what you're actually going to use out of your doula bag!

"After a few minutes of laying down she sat up and vomited - thankfully we had a bucket right there. She had told me I could leave if I wanted, but vomiting is nothing I haven't seen or smelled before so I stayed. I stood behind her with my hand on her back. After a few minutes she got up to freshen up in the bathroom. The triage nurse came back in. She hooked J back up to record a few more contractions and said she'd be back in a minute to check her again. J's mom and nieces came back and J's mom was getting very anxious and wondering why the nurse hadn't checked her again and she was asking all of these questions. I tried to calmly answer her questions and just focus on J, I was hoping her mom would follow suit. She did and she was rubbing J's feet and telling her how great she was doing. It was very sweet. Then the nurse came back in, checked her and said "5cm, you're a keeper!" Again, I just hate the idea of a nurse having to validate that you are in fact in labor, but oh well. That's just how the system works I suppose. Then she said "Now I know you don't want an epidural, but do you want to order stadol or something? Because if you say no and then decide you want it later it's going to take a very long time. But I can just order it for you now and have it on standby". J can hardly think straight at this point and sort of just mumbled yes. I didn't like the nurse's approach at all and again in my negative overreacting brain I'm thinking that is where it starts to snowball - she orders the stadol to have ready just in case...at the first sign of J wavering the stadol is offered...it makes her feel like crap and doesn't last long....she then orders the epidural, etc., etc. I'm so wary of every little thing.

"J sat up in bed to get ready to walk to her room. She had declined a wheel chair and wanted to walk herself. She had a contraction sitting up and then had several more in the hall way walking over. Her mom and I were at her side and the nurse was in front of us. Then she felt like she needed to vomit so the nurse ran and got a bucket. She held it up for J and she vomited again. The nurse was very patient and didn't react at all. She just held the bucket until J was finished. Then we made our way to the room. It was a big beautiful private room with a great view, a rocking chair, a birth ball, a bed for the partner to sleep on and a giant shower. J was very much still in a daze, in "the zone", checked out, whatever you want to call it. She was so deep into her labor - it was one of the most incredible things I had ever seen. She just completely surrendered to it and let go. But this is what needs to happen - the logical part of your brain needs to shut down so that you don't care if you're moaning too loud, if you're making people uncomfortable, etc., etc. She crawled into bed and again got comfortable on her side. We turned down the lights and I just sat by her bed, ready and waiting with my chap stick and water bottle. She took to grabbing my forearm whenever she would have a contraction. A woman walked in with a big cart full of stuff and I thought "Oh crap, here comes the fight about not wanting an I.V." But no - she just quickly took a blood sample. The woman asked J if this was her good arm and J said, "Well, yes because this is the available arm." I liked that she wasn't going to move for the woman. And she shouldn't! She's in labor and everyone should accommodate her.

"Our nurse, Rian, came in and instantly she brought an incredibly calm and soothing energy to the room. I was so grateful to have her. She was young and sweet with long beautiful thick blond hair. Then Tiffany, the CNM on call, came in as well. Tiffany and Rian both just had such gentle touches and were completely respectful the entire time. Tiffany was the one midwife that J hadn't met at Bethany Women's so it was kind of funny. But she turned out to be absolutely perfect. They both asked if J had a birth plan and I grabbed several copies out of my bag and they both stood there and they actually read it! Tiffany said that a room with a large tub instead of just a shower was available across the hall and we could go ahead and move if J wanted to. J was in no position to make decisions at this point so we kind of decided for her. Tiffany thought the tub was a great idea so we moved. The nieces carried J's bags across the hall and I held onto her as she walked in a trance to the next room. She again crawled up onto the bed and got on her side. Tiffany started running a bath.

"Rian came back in with a bunch of release forms. I loved this though because at other births I've attended they just assume you want to whole standard lot of crap and if you don't want something, or you want them to do something different it's almost a fight for the damn release forms. And most certainly a guilt trip. But Rian brought in everything up front and just asked J yes or no questions to a bunch of stuff and J had to signs a bunch of things. This was difficult and I felt bad for Rian, but she had to do it. Then Rian said she was just going to monitor J for a minute before she got in the tub. That was so refreshing - she actually stood there and monitored her! She didn't make her lay on her back, get hooked up and then leave. I really hate when that happens because then as soon as the woman moves the nurse runs back in to reposition the monitor. Then the woman moves again and the nurse has to run back in. It seems like such a waste of time and the nurse inevitably gets irritated at the situation and the monitors and how is the woman supposed to relax and assume any position that is comfortable if she's constantly being messed with? One can only take so much. So Rian stood there for about 10 minutes and got a reading of the baby's heartbeat before, during and after a couple of contractions. Everything looked perfect. Tiffany came back over and asked who I was. I'm always hesitant to say I'm a doula because a lot of times people don't like that and it makes them get defensive. Especially if they've never worked with a doula before, or had a bad experience with a doula. But Tiffany thought that it was so awesome I was a doula and she called me by my name the whole night. It was very sweet. J was having trouble answering questions so Tiffany asked me instead since I knew everything anyway.

"Then we got J up and into the tub. She was sitting up and kind of leaning over to the side. She was holding onto the hand rail with one hand and holding onto my hand with the other. Her mom was in there too for a moment. I could hear her mom whispering to the nieces and could tell she was getting uncomfortable watching J labor. I just kept my focus on J and pretended like there was no one else in the bathroom with us. Then J said "Chap stick, chap stick" and her mom started calling for someone to get chap stick! I just quietly pulled it out of my waist line and rubbed it on her lips for her. I was really trying to model behavior for everyone and I'd like to think it was helping. Even if it's something not so easy like running to the closet for a towel and rushing around for ice water to dip it in - I don't want the mom to pick up on that. I want everything to seem like it's a piece of cake. Eventually everyone left, even Tiffany, and we just sat there together. I thought about suggesting she lean back more or get on her hands and knees, sort of in child's pose and lean over the side, but for some reason that didn't feel right and I didn't want to disturb her. Then she said she wanted to get out. J wasn't saying much, in fact, we really hadn't spoken any words to each other. So when she did speak it was simple and to the point. So we got right out. I pulled her up and then her mom came over with a towel. J stepped out of the tub and had a contraction. She was leaning on her mom and I was at her side holding her up. Her mom was looking at me so desperately and was on the verge of tears. I whispered that it was ok. I know it must be so hard to watch your daughter go through something like that. It's obviously easier for me because I'm not emotionally attached to J in the same way and also because it's easy for me to see her as a laboring woman just working with her labor. It's not like she's in horrifying pain being tortured and I must do something to stop it. Although that's one of the hardest things about going through labor with someone - there is nothing you can do besides just be there and offer support if needed. You have to have so much patience and be able to remain calm, even if things do not go as planned. After the contraction J's mom dried her off a bit and then we walked her back to the bed. Again she crawled back in and got comfortable on her side.

"Tiffany came back in a minute later and whispered to me "She didn't like the tub, huh?" Then J opened her eyes and saw Tiffany and asked to be checked. Tiffany said that wasn't necessary, but if J wanted her to she would. J did want to know where she was at. So Tiffany sat on the edge of the bed and waited for J to let her know when was a good time for her. J went to turn on her back, but Tiffany told her not to move and to just stay right where she was. Tiffany just maneuvered a bit and checked her while she was lying on her side. She was so sweet about it telling J when she was going to feel her hand and apologizing because she knew it was uncomfortable. She was 7 centimeters! I was so excited about that. She had gone from 4 to 5 in less than an hour and from 5 to 7 quickly too. At this point I think it was about 8pm. I wasn't keeping great track of the time, but that is my best guess.

"J continued laboring on her side and was moaning with her contractions and it was just so beautiful to watch. Everything was just unfolding perfectly. It was magical. There were a couple of times when Rian and Tiffany were discussing things and they just did it in such a whisper - it was so great. It allowed J to stay perfectly in her zone. That is another one of my pet peeves - when doctors and nurses are talking so loudly, either about personal stuff that is unnecessary to discuss in a laboring woman's space, or about scary medical jargon that only upsets the mother and others in the room. I was straining to hear their conversation at one point and they were concerned about the baby's heart rate going down. Again, I could only hear this because I was really straining hard. Rian monitored the heart rate through a couple of contractions and everything turned out fine. I just thought how great that was and how they avoided unnecessary anxiety on J's part. Not being hooked up to EFM is such a beautiful thing because it keeps every one's focus on the mother and not on the machine.

"Tiffany came back into the room a minute later and I realized I had never seen her leave. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her sitting in an arm chair just watching J. It took me a minute to figure out what she was doing, but then I realized she was just monitoring her. I thought how cool it was because I think you can tell so much more by looking at the woman - you can tell when she's in between contractions, you can tell when one is coming up, you can tell when one peaks and when it's over just by observing the mother's body language. I was so impressed and inspired by Tiffany's style. Although for a moment I did feel self-conscious and I thought "Gosh...should I be doing something else?" I felt like I should be offering up great suggestions or positions or speaking more encouraging words. But that only lasted for a moment and then I realized I was right where I needed to be doing exactly what I needed to be doing and I resolved to following my instincts just like J was doing.

"At one point Rian had come into the room and J sat up and started moaning and said "No, no, no I need something for the pain," and I got nervous for a second, because this is the point typically where the nurse would jump all over that and call in the anesthesiologist. But instead Rian said "Ok honey, you need something for the pain? Why don't we try getting you on the ball? Or on your hands and knees?" I about fell over. It was like a dream. That is the kind of thing I have fantasized about hearing. And what a testament to having a supportive birth team because in moments like this your team can make or break you. If you have people who are not on board or comfortable with natural birth this is when everything could shift. But instead everyone stayed strong and kept J on track. In fact I think that was the only time I spoke to J. I said "J you are doing this. You are having the birth you've always wanted. I know you can do this." I don't know if she even heard me or not, but she didn't ask for anything again. Although that didn't stop me from being anxious through the next few contractions waiting for her to start screaming for an epidural or something. But she never did. I couldn't believe how amazing and in control she stayed. You could tell that all her breathing, all her movements, all her moaning was completely involuntary. It was incredible. I am getting emotional writing this just thinking about witnessing her strength through the whole thing.

"We got her up on the ball and she had a couple of contractions on it and then said "I don't like this!!" so she crawled back up on the bed. She was shivering and getting hot flashes so we got some warm blankets that we were throwing on and off of her as needed. Then Rian raised the head of the bed up and we helped J getting on her hands and knees, but in a resting position. She didn't like that either. She sat up on her knees and I sat in front of her so she could lean on me. Then she went back on her side. And she stayed there the rest of the labor.

"A little while later J was moaning through a contraction and kind of whispering "Ow, ow, ow this hurts" and Rian said "Honey you are doing so great, this is hard work" And J sat bolt upright and said "Fuck yeah it is! This is the most exhausting thing I've ever done in my entire life! It's more exhausting than raising children!" And she collapsed back down on her side. It was hilarious! I just love her. Rian said something else later, something like "You're doing so great" and J shouted "I know I am! I am doing this!" It was just so amazing. That's how I wish every woman felt! Such confidence and pride. I loved it.

"Tiffany and Rian were getting things set up for the birth. Tiffany pulled out her cart and asked Rian to get some oil and some warm compresses ready for her. Then Tiffany was quietly explaining how you should always use natural oils like olive oil or safflower oil (versus like massage oil) because that way if that baby aspirates any, it's ok. That made sense. I had never thought of that before. I loved Tiffany's approach when explaining things. She never made anyone feel dumb or inferior and she was so happy to share her knowledge. I just couldn't get over how sweet she was to me too. I had been either squatting by the bed or on my knees by the bed next to J and Tiffany quietly rolled over a ball for me to sit on. So sweet! It's funny though because I never thought "Oh my gosh, I'm so uncomfortable or hungry or I have to pee" or anything like that. I peed once, I never ate, I had a few sips of water. I just didn't need much of anything. I was so consumed with J that I couldn't think about anything else.

"J stayed completely focused inward, hardly even opening her eyes. She would moan and move her head around, her eyes would open slightly and you could see her eyes rolled back. She held onto my arm and there was no talking, no questions, nothing. But J did lift her head up when she heard the door open. I guess she sensed that Tiffany was leaving or something. J said "Don't go far because I might want to push soon." Tiffany said "Well I'm not leaving if you tell me something like that!" It was really funny. J asked to be checked and again Tiffany said that wasn't necessary, but she'd do it if J wanted. She did. Tiffany said she was 9 and a half and could push whenever she felt the urge. J's water still had not broken and there was no talk of breaking it. It was just so amazing because in a typical hospital with a typical OB, her water would have been broken long ago and if an OB checked and a woman was 9 and half it would have been "Ok, time to push!" and then the big production would have started, people would have been rushing around, lights would have been turned up, instruments would have been pulled out and it would have been "Ok, now hold your breath, count to ten, push, push, push!" Not to say that aren't amazing OBs who would give this same level of care, but you definitely have to search around for them. Tiffany knew that J had a pretty bad tear with one of her previous births and also knew that J had epidurals. So Tiffany said, "J, when you start pushing you may feel a burning sensation - this is completely normal and does not mean that you are tearing." I thought that was a wonderful thing to say because I could totally imagine feeling that burning and thinking you are splitting in two and then freaking out. So I'm sure that made J feel a lot better.

"Tiffany and Rian stayed beside J and then J just started pushing. It was very calm and very peaceful. There was no drama, no anxiety, no voices raised, no instruction. It was perfect. After one or two pushes her bag of waters popped. It was very loud and it gushed out everywhere - we all laughed. It got all over Tiffany and got on my arm a bit. I think it may have gotten on J's mom's head too, but I'm not sure. She pushed amazingly well and after only a few pushes the baby's head was right there. Tiffany and Rian were taking turns holding warm compresses against J's perineum. The only thing Tiffany even said to J was asking her to slow down and take a breath. J said "I can't stop, I can't stop!" and Tiffany said "That's ok honey, just do whatever you need to do". It was so awesome. Tiffany was also saying how great she was doing, her pushes were just perfect, she was amazing. It was so sweet.

"She only pushed 6 or 7 times and the baby's head was out. Then Tiffany was telling her to just rest and let the baby's head stretch her a bit before the shoulders came out. Then she gave one or two more pushes and she was out! A beautiful baby girl was born at 9:52pm on May 29th, 2009. The baby was place immediately on J's belly. The cord pulsed for a few minutes and then Tiffany clamped it and J's mom cut it. It was amazing to witness. J just laid her head back and said "I did it, I did it, I can't believe I did it". She looked at me and asked if I could believe it and I said I knew she could do it from the beginning and I never doubted her. It was so sweet. She looked at me and said "I couldn't have done it without you, I couldn't have done it without you" over and over. At that point I had tears streaming down my face. It was such a powerful feeling. J moved the baby farther up on her chest and started nursing her. She latched on incredibly well and started nursing like a champ. J started having some intense cramping and Tiffany said to just give a little push. She did and then Tiffany said if it was ok with J that she would just do some gentle and very light cord traction to help the placenta out. So J pushed and Tiffany barely pulled on the cord and the placenta plopped out. Tiffany put it into a basin and put it on her cart. She then held it up for us all to see - the nieces were fascinated by this. Tiffany said if they wanted to put on gloves and feel it she had no problem with that. The nieces didn't want to, but I thought that was cool of Tiffany to offer. J kept saying how she couldn't believe how amazing she felt and how with it she was immediately after. J's mom couldn't believe it either - especially compared to her other two births. Then J sighed and said, "my vagina hurts!" and she started laughing. It was hilarious.

"Tiffany checked her and she just had a tiny little skid mark, not even a tear and Tiffany said it would heal on its own, but might hurt a bit when she peed for a few days. J was passing some pretty large clots so Rian unfortunately had to push on J's stomach and massage a bit to help her uterus shrink back down. This was painful for J, but again was done in such a respectful way. It could have been much worse. And J was constantly reassured the whole time. There was never any fear instilled in her. The baby kept nursing and J's bleeding eventually stopped, although Rian did have to massage her a few more times. Rian cleaned up the bed as best she could and brought J an ice pack. That seemed to help her a bit.

"Tiffany was leaving the room and I followed her out and thanked her and told her that was the best birth ever and it was one of the births that you read about in books and hear about and look forward to one day witnessing. She thanked me and said she was really impressed with me and said I was so calm and so there for J the entire time. She also thanked me so much for referring J to her practice and that she would definitely refer people to me in the future. I thought that was really sweet too.

"Rian came in a few minutes later and weighed her and measured her. She was 7 pounds, 8 ounces and 19 inches long. Then J's mom decided to take the nieces back home and go relieve the baby sitter that was with J's younger two children. So that left J and I. It was nice to have that time to reflect on the birth with her. She kept saying how she couldn't believe how great she felt and how after the birth of her first baby she was completely wiped out and wanted the baby taken right to the nursery and she just passed out. The baby still hadn't left her chest and she couldn't imagine her being taken away. She said she couldn't believe how everything had gone so perfectly and I pointed out that it was because of her - this doesn't just happen out of nowhere. It happened because J researched and educated herself, she switched providers and switched birthing places that she was in a more supportive environment. She made her birth plan, she had an excellent birth team. She allowed herself to be completely consumed by her labor and stayed inward the entire time. That is why everything happened so perfectly. And it should happen that way - this is how birth is supposed to be. I told J that this was by far the most wonderful birth I had ever attended and one that I will certainly never forget. I told her it was one where I left feeling completely "full" and not depleted at all. I told her how special it was to have been there with her. I am already looking forward to having my own babies, but seeing J birth just gave me all the more inspiration that I too will be able to do it someday.

"Rian came back in and took the baby to the warmer and did the eye drops and vitamin K and all of that. This had all obviously been delayed at J's request and it was not a problem. The baby went back to J to nurse for a bit and then Rian gave her a sponge bath and dressed her in a cute little outfit J had brought. Then Rian got J up to go to the bathroom. J came back out in those lovely giant panties made of netting with the worlds biggest maxi pad tucked inside. She got back into bed and just looked so great though. Then we moved to her postpartum room. I carried her things and made sure she was settled and had everything she needed and then I went home a little after 1am on the best birth high ever."

4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this story, not just because the baby was born on my birthday :)
    I work in OB in a hospital, and hospital births get bad raps all over the internet (as some should). I truly believe you can have a wonderful hospital birth, I had one, and I have seen many. We in the industry need to strive to make birth beautiful for everyone who delivers in a hospital.

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  2. I was just wondering....what is the relationship dynamic in the room if there is a partner present? The entire time i was reading this, i was wondering about either the father of the baby, or J's partner. Is there none? And how does that change the doula dynamic? My husband would be with me when i delivered, so what roles can he play that the doula played here, etc.
    -Michelle

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  3. I am so incredibly thrilled to see this story popping up everywhere. J.'s birth was beautiful, she did such an amazing job. Katie worked very well with her - giving her just what she needed. I was also very honored to be spoken of so highly!

    This isn't the only birth like this at a hospital...we help women make it happen all the time!

    Tiffany

    PS We midwives at Bethany Women's no longer catch babies at St Joe's, only Phoenix Baptist.

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