Category Archives: Doula

My first Vbac!

I got called by my client’s husband at 4pm on Sept. 15th letting me know that my client was in labor…and had been for the last 24 hours. She was experiencing contractions that were entirely random in both their timing and length. They had just gotten back from the hospital where she had been labeled as 4-5 cm dilated and received a prescription for 1 Ambien to be taken at 10pm that night.

While I had been expecting their call to come sometime within the next week, I was pretty surprised to learn that she was already so far dilated. I offered my assistance, but they politely declined preferring to continue laboring just the two of them until the contractions came closer together. I could tell in the husband’s voice that my client must be feeling a bit down…the start of this birth was mimicing her previous birth EXACTLY, and she felt that she was going to end up with another 50 hour labor ending in a C-section. I offered tons of emotional support over the phone choosing to focus on the fact that she was nearly halfway through already!

Around 9pm, I called my clients to check-in. They were much happier and felt like she was relaxing really well through her contractions. She had passed her “bloody show”, and was feeling that her contractions, while still coming with no pattern, were doing work in bringing the baby down and opening her cervix. She had decided to take her ambien at 9:30pm, and they were about to bed down for the night.

At midnight, I got a call from my client’s mother (who had been watching their son) letting me know that they had already left for the hospital because my client was feeling the urge to push! Her last words out the door were, “I don’t think I’m going to make it!”

Needless to say, I threw on some clothes grabbed my bag and was at the hospital in 10min. I arrived about 5 min. before the midwife, and the nurses and I worked hard to keep my client from pushing! She arrived to the hospital complete at 10cm dilation, 100% effacement, and +2 station. When the midwife arrived my client gave one practice push and brought the baby’s head down low enough for us to see its hair! After a few more pushes…I’d say no more than 6, she birthed a beautiful baby girl. The whole thing took less than an hour!

This was my first vaginal birth, and I cannot get the image of that sweet little baby first entering this world out of my mind. I was helping to hold back one of my client’s legs, so I was able to witness the turning of the baby’s head and everything! It’s amazing how unearthly babies look when they first emerge from the birth canal–so purple and alien-like. Give them a minute or two, and they’ll pink up and begin to breathe as though they’ve alwasys been earthside!

I stayed for another hour or so to help with breastfeeding and then my job was done! How about that for an easy client? I had my first postnatal appt. with her today, and I’m still beaming over how pleased she is with her vbac! She never actually believed that she could do it, and now here she is 3 days after her birth literally skipping after her older son while her new daughter sleeps in Daddy’s arms. Absolutely wonderful!

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Filed under Birth Stories, childbirth, Doula, Uncategorized

My Business Cards Have Arrived!

SANY0084250 lovely business cards arrived from Vista Prints this morning. I feel very pleased…very Adult actually. What do you think of the design? I thought it had a nice “birthy” feel to it without being over the top or too scary 🙂

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Filed under Doula, Doula Business

Continuation of Birth Story #1

I gave a brief overview of my first doula client’s birth HERE. It’s taken me a while, but I finally have wrapped my head around a few of the things that bothered me about her birth. Of course, visiting her postnatally has helped her tremendously, but I can’t help but feel the burden of her birth on MY shoulders. It’s not as though I could have done anything differently to get her through the 37 grueling hours of labor withOUT a C-section. Once she entered that hospital with broken waters but NO contractions, she became a medical patient sick with childbirth. Once she “failed to progress”, she was a shoo-in for surgery.

Anyway, in this post, I wanted to give an update as to my client’s condition. Shortly after the birth of her son, she complained of shortness of breath and chest pain. After being ignored for quite some time, she was finally sent for a scan that showed fluid around her lungs. An EKG later diagnosed her with Congestive Heart Failure. (Basically, that her heart had expanded to a level that would not allow it to retract like a normal heart…in other words, her heart is not able to pump like normal.) Needless to say, she was rushed to the Heart Tower of the hospital where she was completely separated from her newborn (who remained in NICU) for a full week. After a week, her baby was finally released from NICU and reunited with her in the heart tower. 2.5 weeks AFTER her birth, my client was released from the hospital with instructions to limit her physical activity to only lifting her baby.  A few days later, she ended up in the ER due to pain and numbness in her arms and left leg. The doctors gave her medicine to the relieve the pain, and sent her home after a brief hospital stay with no diagnosis. Today, she begins follow up visits with her team of 12 doctors who are working to treat her various conditions.

I visited her a few days ago at her request, and I was shocked at how frail and frustruated she appeared. It’s one thing to have a hard labor and birth, but quite another to deal with additional medical emergencies while remaining the sole caretaker to a newborn! The hard part though was when she began to ask me questions…staring at me eagerly as though I could offer some valid reason as to why her birth has turned into this nightmare. We discussed the various stages of her labor and the progression of interventions leading up to the C-section. When she told me that she had been told by the doctors that she could never go through childbirth again as a result of her heart condition, she started to cry. This is her birth…this is her ONLY birth.

As a doula, my role is to support her…as a WOMAN it is my role….and most especially, as the person who has seen her in that most primal state of childbirth. I helped her with her baby for a few hours, and we talked until she was confident in herself once again…confident that, for her, she had made all the correct decisions (the ones that were allowed) with regards to her birth. She is now satisfied….I am the one left with questions.

Questions such as…why did your water break in the first place? Why did you ever go to the hospital? Why did you let them give you pitocin? Why did you let them drug you to high heaven? Why did you never question the doctors’ decisions regarding YOUR body? AND, most importantly, why are you STILL complacent with those decisions?!!!

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Filed under Birth Preferences, Birth Stories, C-section, Doula