13 Sep Lift Your Head and Sing
I had just finished up one of my Bradley™ series and received a phone call from a student and her husband expressing interest into hiring me as their doula because their midwife highly suggested they have a doula at their home birth. I’m always happy to take on more doula clients because being at a birth is like nothing I’ve ever experienced and I absolutely love the feeling I have when I leave a family and their new little baby. It’s amazing!
We spoke on and off throughout the day in regards to them using me as their doula and eventually they landed on yes. So with a signed contract sitting in my inbox at around 6:30pm Friday night, I sat back and waiting for labor day. Little did any of us know that it was just around the corner. In the wee early morning hours of Saturday I received a text from the husband saying “contractions are pretty steady but we are going to rest and can you be here first thing in the morning?”. After checking my doula bag and getting everything ready to go I went back to sleep just in case things picked up and I needed to come earlier. Good thing I did because just two hours late her contractions had picked up and I headed out the door. It was such a nice and peaceful drive, still dark out, no traffic. When I arrive the sun was just starting to brighten the sky but had yet to shine it head over the horizon. As I walked up the stairs the birds were singing – I thought, what a wonderful peaceful morning for a baby!
Inside I was greeted by their very lovable dog (which I love when clients have pets because I’m a huge animal lover!), and mom was laboring quietly on the bed. I sat with them in their bedroom for a while assessing what they might need from me – I like to sit back and watch for a little to take in where labor is and what is needed and try not to ask too many questions so mom can stay focused. They were working so beautifully as a team and she seemed well supported so I stepped out for a minute to give them some time together. After a bit I came back in and noticed contractions seemed to intensify for her and she was definitely becoming uncomfortable but still laboring well in her bed.
At one point her husband left us in the bedroom and went to make breakfast for him and myself which was so very kind. After breakfast she was really getting uncomfortable and decided a shower would be nice. While they took a shower I could hear her contractions coming closer and so I decided it was probably a good idea to set up her birthing pool. I don’t know how to explain the feeling I get when I know mom and partner are laboring away doing a wonderful job and I’m preparing everything else while they are allowed all their attention on the labor. It’s just wonderful! If you are familiar with the Enneagram, I’m a 2 so helping is in my blood and it’s when I feel most alive 🙂
She seemed to be feeling better after the shower but wanted to do some laboring on the toilet. The toilet is such a great place to labor! We spend our whole life fully relaxing our bodies on the toilet to allow for emptying our bladder and bowels and it’s just a natural reflex by the time you’re an adult. So for a laboring mother to sit on the toilet it does the same thing, it helps her to fully relax all of her muscles and it brings those contractions on stronger and closer together progressing labor along nicely! She was doing a fantastic job laboring on the toilet and then she yelled out “something feels different, this feels different!”. She was having a lot of pressure in her pelvis and knew this was a good sign she was moving into the pushing stage.
She decided to go back to the bedroom and lay down on the bed while her husband called the midwife to tell her it’s probably a good time to head over. As she was lying on her side (because you NEVER want to lie on your back during pregnancy, labor or delivery!) she said “I need to push”. I knew the midwives were on the way but I had no idea how far away they were. I told her I wasn’t a baby catcher and I didn’t think her husband wanted to catch the baby so she needed to try with everything she had to not push – “Lift your head up and sing us a song or hum us a tune!”. I could see changes when she would have a contraction and bulging. See whether a mother pushes or not her uterus is going to push regardless. I won’t lie I was getting nervous but not as nervous as I was about to be. Mom was doing an outstanding job holding back from pushing, singing us all kinds of tunes and humming all kinds of songs but then I looked down as she was having another contraction and could see a small bit of the babies head. I told myself “no that can’t be, it’s ok”. Only deep down I knew what I was really seeing. I probably wore a path in their floor from their bedroom to the window to check for the midwife. I’m trained to do an emergency delivery, as in the baby came to fast, I have no choice and I make sure mom and baby are ok, but that’s it! What if there was a complication? What if something was wrong with baby? What if something happened to mom?
Finally after what seemed like a whole album of songs (although in reality I’m certain it wasn’t nearly that long), in came the midwives! We were all happy to see them but not as happy as mama who had been holding back pushing for a while now and really wasn’t sure if she could hold out any longer. When the midwives came into the room they told her “you can push now” and I can only imagine that was music to her ears!
Her pushing was the one of the most beautiful pushing stories I’ve had the privilege of witnessing. She was so calm and peaceful, making absolutely no sound at all. I wanted to be that way with my births but this mama is a loud birther! But this mama was amazing to watch! She eased and guided that baby out and made it look like the easiest thing in the world – it was incredible to see!
After the umbilical cord stopped pulsing they asked who was going to cut the cord and the parents asked that I cut the cord – talk about honor! It was the first time, even after birthing three babies of my own, that I had cut an umbilical cord. Such a special moment for me to be invited into their birth story a little bit more.
Once everything was cleaned up and the midwives left I stayed behind to make sure mom, dad and baby were doing ok. I brought mom some food and cleaned up the dishes and started the laundry we dirtied from the labor and delivery, while her husband took the dog for a walk. It probably my second favorite serving moment of a birth. Next to setting everything up and making sure they have what they need for a labor and birth, I love cleaning it all up afterwards and setting them up with a nice comfortable tidy place to rest and enjoy their new family in.
When I left the sun was shining in all it’s glory, neighbors were out, traffic filled the streets, and I drove home full of energy and excitement oblivious to anyone that I had been awake since 4 in the morning. However there’s something about hitting my front door after a birth that makes me want to slip into bed and stay until the next birth. I’m lucky to have a husband that allows me to do this – well I don’t get to sleep until the next birth but I do get to enjoy a nice quiet nap.