“I was 38w when the doctor said the dreaded words : ‘Your baby is breech'” – A successful ECV & vaginal birth story

I was 38 weeks pregnant with my second baby boy when the doctor said the dreaded words, “Your baby is breech.”

I started this pregnancy with one OB/GYN and for weeks I had been asking her about the baby’s position and every time she stated that she wasn’t sure or that it was too early to matter. I was frustrated because this was a very different experience than my first pregnancy where I saw midwives at a birthing center (in Berkeley, CA).

This lack of care about the baby’s position and the “1 in 12 chance” that my doctor would actually attend my birth were the primary reasons why I changed providers at 34 weeks.

I felt weird changing so late in pregnancy but my partner, friends, and doula totally supported my decision and I was relieved that my new doctor was almost guaranteed to be at the birth, especially since it was going to be in a hospital.

Like many pregnant women, I wanted to avoid the “cascade of medical interventions” that can derail a normal low-risk labor and delivery. I feared it so much that for my first pregnancy, I planned to birth at a birthing center to avoid any temptation or persuasion. At each hour-long prenatal visit the midwives would note the baby’s position and guess his weight as we thoroughly discussed my concerns and planned my out-of-hospital birth.

My labor with my first baby lasted 3 exhausting days and after 1 hour of pushing while sitting upright on a birthing stool, my baby boy was born naturally without IV or drugs, or physical interventions (such as forceps, vacuum, episiotomy, etc.).

After moving to Madison, I was disappointed that the birthing center here had recently closed, so for my second pregnancy, I hired a doula early and prepared for my hospital birth. Part of my preparation included revisiting several exercises from the book “Birthing from Within” by Pam England and Rob Horowitz.

My essential question for my second pregnancy was: Can I overcome the added fears and stress of birthing in a hospital in order to have the birth I want and know that I am capable of having? This question led me to poll every mom friend who had birthed at St. Mary’s Hospital and also influenced my decision to change doctors.

And with all that mental and emotional preparation, and carefully choosing a new doctor, here I was at 38 weeks faced with the possibility that I would need a C-Section to safely deliver my baby since doctors are wary of breech babies.

It was a Thursday when we heard the news. I tearfully walked to my car outside the doctor’s office and called my husband. Then I called my doula, Miranda.

After a bit of processing the feelings of fear, disappointment, and anger, Miranda helped me create a plan of action: schedule chiropractic visits, do exercises from the spinning babies website, then have an ECV (External Cephalic Version) if needed.

On Friday evening I experienced my first Webster Maneuver at the chiropractor. The doctor was hopeful because we could feel the baby’s head move on my right side from just below my ribs to just above my hipbone. “We’re making room for him,” she said as she massaged my round ligaments.

His head was like a pendulum moving back and forth along my side. I would see her again Saturday morning and Monday morning for the same adjustments. Meanwhile at home, I was doing forward-leaning inversions and breech tilts, and researching the ECV procedure.

On Tuesday, after 4 unsuccessful days (of trying to get him turned), we headed to the hospital for our ECV. We were hopeful, but prepared for the worst (i.e. that the baby would respond poorly to the ECV and I would have an emergency C-section). My older son (3 years old) was with our next-door neighbor who was willing to stay the night if needed. My in-laws were on their way to Madison, 2 weeks early. My hospital bag was packed – but left in the car.

When we arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital, we headed toward labor and delivery. I was admitted to the hospital and assigned a room in triage. A nurse wheeled in a portable ultra sound machine to confirm the baby’s position and she placed fetal monitors around my belly to collect a baseline for the baby’s heartbeat. Someone else came in to take blood for tests and place a catheter in my arm for the medication that would relax my uterus.

Then we waited, and waited, until a time when 2 doctors and a nurse were all available at the same time to do the ECV.

We were grateful that Miranda was able to accompany us. She provided the perfect balance of reassurance, entertainment, and education as we experienced the ECV process.

After what felt like an eternity (it was like 2 hours), the ECV started. The nurse administered the medication, which took effect almost immediately – relaxing the uterus and raising my heart rate to that of a very over caffeinated state. One last quick check with the ultrasound to confirm the baby’s position, and then everyone took their position.

I was lying on my back with my eyes closed, focused on breathing and staying relaxed. My husband stood by my head, the nurse moved to hold my feet, and the doctors stood on either side of my belly – one for the baby’s head and the other for the bum. With their feet braced on the floor like spotters, their hands pushed towards each other and up, gathering the baby. Then with all their weight, they spun him counter clockwise and placed his head in my pelvis.

Although I felt the doctors pushing on me with all of their weight, I did not experience any pain. The whole procedure took less than 30 seconds.

I sipped on some water as my heart rate was returning to normal and the ultra sound showed that the baby’s head was now down. I remained in the room for another hour while the nurse observed the baby adjusting to his new position.

Then we went home and waited for labor to start naturally.

At home I felt some soreness and cramping as the medication wore off, but otherwise felt normal, or as normal as one can feel when 38 weeks pregnant.

Two weeks later I woke up at 5am with cramping and knew that labor was starting.

We went about our normal day, cooking, grocery shopping, playing, and napping, until dinnertime when I could no longer ignore the contractions.

I noticed an unusual contraction pattern – when I was standing up, my contractions were short, came quickly, and were very uncomfortable. When I was lying down, my contractions lengthened and spaced out. Miranda joined us in the evening while I labored at home and helped us determine when to head to the hospital.

Once at the hospital, my exam in triage showed that I was 7 cm dilated with a bulging bag of waters. I was then transferred to a birthing suite. Miranda smartly suggested that my husband request the baby monitor straps be removed before transferring since she knew that I wanted unrestricted movement while in labor.

In the birthing suite Miranda filled the tub with warm water. At first the warm water seemed to intensify the contractions and I wanted to get out, but Miranda encouraged me to stay with it for a few minutes.

Miranda did her best with adjusting the lights and playing nature sounds on her phone to transform the sterile hospital bathroom into a cozy labor cell.

While in the tub, I felt my water break after a particularly strong contraction. Miranda called in the nurse to check the fluid. The nurse wisely called in our doctor because with a bulging bag of waters, she knew that the baby would be coming soon.

On my very next contraction the baby’s head forcefully moved into crowning. The doctor and nurses picked me up out of the tub and almost had to carry me from the bathroom to the bed. Once on the bed, I was surprised when my doctor suggested laying in happy baby pose. But it worked – Miranda and Grant each held a leg, the doctor was able to support my perineum. After 20 minutes of pushing, my second natural birth was complete and Ezra was born!

doula supported birth

“In each moment that passed I was moving closer to meeting our baby” – Two vaginal birth stories

Two birth stories and two baby boys in two years.

My heart always feels like it’s going to explode when I think back to those two best days where my partner and I met them face to face for the first time.

I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect and think about our experiences.

Our Cole came into be with us on May 30th, 2015 eight days after his due date.

I spent a lot of my pregnancy nesting and feeling every little change in my body and mind. I was tired and happy and excited and nervous and supported the whole way. Mark made birth affirmations for me and everyday I stood in front of the mirror and read a new affirmation. If my voice waived, if I didn’t look like I quite believed the messages of strength and stamina- Mark had me read them again.

I had wishes for the labor and delivery and having the support of a doula was something both Mark and I wanted. We instantly felt a connection to the lovely Alli when we met her for the first time.

Alli had a way of hearing us and validating us and providing support and education in ways that felt like we were being held.

At each step of the journey, Alli walked next to us- supporting our beliefs in one another and my capacity to labor and birth.

Laboring mom with supportLabor with Cole was a powerful, empowering, rich and transformative process.

I was constantly reminded that I was doing it- that in each moment that passed I was moving closer to meeting our son.

Alli stood beside Mark and myself cared for us both when we were at our most vulnerable in a compassionate, quiet, strengths-based way. After many hours in labor and two hours of pushing, our Coley arrived! That beautiful boy, our little love, was with us.

We got pregnant with our Theo the week after Cole turned one, and Alli was one of the first calls we made. There wasn’t a doubt that we would use Alli again and this time, we were also able to meet the lovely Riley.

Despite ‘being through it already’ there were many moments that I called them to talk about concerns and fears and worries and celebrations before birth. Mark and I revisited plans and ideas.

Two big moments stand out to me about the incredible work of doulas in Theo’s birth story. The first situation occurred one day prior to going into labor, one week before our due date. Cole was out of the ordinary clingy, slept poorly, and despite having stopped nursing three months prior, asked to nurse that evening. I remember waking up in the morning, exhausted and worried about how much I had to do and how not ready I was feeling about having another baby.

I was fumbling through Target and ran into my girlfriend, the incredible Emily, and nearly broke down in tears right in the toothpaste aisle. She heard me, validated me, hugged me, and reminded me to call Alli.

I walked back to the car after finishing the errand, checked my phone, and saw Alli had texted. This intuitive woman just knew it was a day to check in with me.

I cried to her and told her that everything was falling apart and Alli said the best thing to me- that possibly, everything was coming together.

She said that Cole maybe was in tune to momma needing momma love, that maybe we were connected in more ways that could be understood. She supported me and helped me reframe my thinking through her support- and six hours later, my water broke at my husband’s work when I was visiting him.

I am confident that Cole, Emily, and Alli were all working together that day to bring Theo to the outside world.

The other pivotal doula moment occurred during Theo’s labor. My labor was progressing slowly but I was actually feeling very Doula supported laboring couplemuch at peace in the process. I knew I could have a long unmedicated labor and that at the other end was my babe, but some of the providers were feeling more anxious about the speed of my labor.

I had two nurses that were not sensitive to my experience and desires, and one in particular, although likely great for many people, was upsetting to me. I had a few moments were I was really upset, and Riley, in a very skillful way, found a way to have a quiet moment with Mark and I to remind me that I was in fact in charge of the support I was receiving from hospital staff.

She helped us create a plan in a way that had my voice be central and follow my desires of the birth experience I wanted.

Riley’s support in this moment was unmatched- she sensed how my experience had changed away from my goals- and at a moment where I felt scared and vulnerable, was able to guide me and empower me.  She knew how to navigate a system that I didn’t know how to and provided me support and education that I could birth in the way I wanted to.

After I received a new nurse, my labor progressed quickly and our Theo love joined us after two pushes on February 22, 2017. Our new little love was with us.

Newborn

(Image credits – Sunshine Marigold Photography)

Besides for the wonderful care before, during, and directly after the births, one of the biggest benefits of using a doula is the support after.

The nature of the experience is so intense, and although Mark and I spoke at length about the two births, having Alli and Riley to process with afterwards was incredibly beneficial.

For myself, I needed time to talk things through, to look back, to wonder out loud. I am grateful for the visits postpartum that we had to check in and process; it was therapeutic.

These deliveries have been my two greatest accomplishments, my two greatest days. Growing, birthing, and meeting them has made my heart change in beautiful ways.

“Don’t make a decision based on fear” – An induction birth story

 

Kyla Rose’s Birth Story (born 7/25/16 at 7:10am)Newborn

Day 1: July 23
Since Ky had not arrived spontaneously by the end of our 41st week, we went into St. Mary’s Hospital on Saturday July 23rd at 7:30pm to be induced. I was nervous about the outcomes of the interventions, since ideally we wanted a natural birth.

After talking through my fears with the doulas and especially with Zach, I felt comfortable with the decision to help Ky’s birth so she could arrive safely.

We got settled in and one of our doulas, Alli, arrived shortly after we did and “doula-fied” our room with aromatherapy and lighting; we also brought some photos, an art piece I had done in birth class, and inspirational cards Alli lent us.

Meanwhile our nurse asked me a series of medical history questions, hooked me up to the continuous fetal monitoring/contraction monitoring, and outfitted me with a saline lock. At 9p the obstetrician inserted the Cervidil to run it’s 12-hour course.

Zach got our iPhones connected to the TV so we could watch movies we brought and hopefully get some rest.  I was too wired and I finally asked the resident for a sleep aid at ~ 3a. I slept for about 6 hours after an Ambien, which was the longest I had slept in months since I was always up going to the bathroom.

The couch for Z to “sleep” on was so small, that he never found a comfortable napping position. Unfortunately, Zach didn’t sleep well at all!

Day 2: July 24
Around 9a, the doc came in, removed the Cervidil, and did a cervical exam (I was 2 cm dilated, 75% effaced, and 0 station). Contractions started pretty regularly (ranging from about every 2 to 6 minutes apart) shortly after the Cervidil was removed.

Z texted our other doula, Riley (who would be attending the labor/delivery), around 9:45a and asked her to come. She got there around 11:15am. I was really looking forward to laboring in the tub; it felt OK, but not dramatically better than laboring outside the tub. My contractions started to slow down and become irregular so I got out around 1p.

I started laboring while standing up and leaning over one of the counters. The obstetrician on duty had recommended we augment labor with Pitocin but I wanted to wait and see how things progressed without it. Around 4:15pm a new nurse checked me and I was only 4 cm (still 75% and 0).

Even though my labor had slowed, I had still made progress, so the obstetrician said it was totally my call to start using Pitocin or not. I was nervous about Pitocin since I wasn’t sure how it would affect the contractions and the labor.

There was also a lot of laboring still yet to do and I didn’t want the rest of labor to go that slow.

I asked Riley what she would do and she said (one of the most helpful things she said throughout the labor): not to make a decision based on fear.

I was afraid, so as soon as I let go of that fear it was a much easier decision and we decided to give it a try (especially since it could be adjusted or slowed at any time).

We started the Pitocin IV drip at the lowest level. Things started progressing quickly. I started laboring at the end of the bed on the birth ball. I got very warm during contractions and very chilly in between contractions, so my “cue” for starting a contraction was taking off my wrap sweater and handing it to Zach. I had my eyes closed pretty much during the whole labor. So our ritual became: I gave Z my sweater and start vocalizing (moaning at this stage) and he would massage my back with an electric massager or massage my head with a spider massager.

The Pitocin was increased gradually over the evening.  At around 9p I wanted to get back into the tub but there was a fetal monitoring snafu. The one I had been wearing (looked like from ~1980) had stopped working and the only option was to switch me to a fancy wireless system. It sounded awesome since it had no bulky straps, but they were afraid it wouldn’t work while I was in the tub. They finally figured out the new monitoring system and I was allowed back in the tub and labor. The new fancy system was awesome since it didn’t have any straps and was just these small and sticky monitoring pads.

Getting back in the tub was good but at first it took me some adjusting to find a comfortable position, which ended up being on my back. I labored hard for about 2 hours in the tub. I was doing this loud, quasi-singing, low, “ah-oh” noises that increased in volume throughout. I had my eyes closed and Zach was right next to me.

I felt really focused and internal, and that the contractions were a natural part of the process. Riley reminded me to keep my vocalizing low, to breathe into the contractions, and to not run away from the sensations.

After I got a rhythm going I felt pretty good. Around 11:30p I was starting to feel pushy at contraction peaks so I got out of the tub. The nurse did a cervical exam and I was at 8 cm (75% and 0) so I had progressed from 4 cm to 8 cm in less than 3 hours (much faster than before) and was starting to have bloody show. I continued to labor standing at the end of the bed with Zach helping distract and comfort me the whole time.

Day 3: July 25
Soon after I emerged from the tub around midnight, I started feeling very strong involuntary pushes but my cervical exam at 12:30am did not show much change (8 cm, 80%, +1). I felt like I had to go to the bathroom so I started laboring on the toilet for a bit until I moved back to the bed.

The strong involuntary pushes were so intense, and by far the most challenging part of the whole labor experience, but since I wasn’t complete at 10 cm I was being told not to push yet. Our doula Riley suggested I have another cervical exam since my vocalizations also sounded quite intense. At 1:50am I had progressed to 9 cm (still 80% effaced and +1 position).

At 2:30am the nurse said even though it wasn’t in our birth preferences she thought we should artificially break my waters (AROM). I whole-heartedly agreed since my birth preferences stated that I didn’t want premature rupture of membranes and this was certainly not premature!

As it turned out, however, our doctor was down the street at the other neighboring hospital delivering a baby so she couldn’t perform the AROM. The resident on staff was the only doctor in the unit, but she tentatively said she had never done an AROM without the supervision of a doctor. We discussed alternatives, but they all involved calling someone and waiting for them to arrive and since I was getting to the point of having a hard time tolerating the intensity of trying not to push, I didn’t want to wait.

I told the resident to “just do it!” and she did it perfectly on the second attempt (although she needed to work on her confidence!). The waters were clear, which was a good sign (no meconium) for the baby. The waters breaking was a relief but the contractions came on even stronger along with the involuntary pushes, which I was still told to not give in to.

I started laboring lying down on the bed on my right side. Zach was right next to me holding my hand and giving me all his good vibes. At 3:30am I had another cervical exam (9.5cm, 90%, +2) and still wasn’t complete. The nurse asked how was I managing the pain, since my vocalizations probably sounded like shrieks at peaks. I responded I was handling them as well as I could and she asked if I “still wanted to continue with the plan” [of no medication].

Our birth preferences also stated that I did not want to be offered medication, and this was the nurse’s roundabout way of asking that. This was the only time during the whole labor where I doubted my ability to cope, since not being able to push and stalling at 9/9.5cm was not sustainable and I didn’t know what the alternative would be. As I was processing her question (my thought-processing time was delayed throughout labor) Zach responded “Yes” (to the plan of no medication) and I was able to nod.

At 4:40a I had another cervical exam and still had no change (9.5cm, 90%, +2). The breaks between contractions were my only relief since I was not able to “give in” to my body’s wishes. I then moved to the toilet and labored there since it felt like I had to go to the bathroom.

Finally, my savior in the form of the charge nurse came into our delivery room at 5:20a. She suggested she manually reduce the remaining cervix and essentially push the cervical lip to completion. I readily agreed since something needed to change. The charge nurse had to try the reduction during a contraction though, which was absolutely insane. It took her two tries, but she successfully got me to 10cm and I could actually start pushing.

We all rejoiced! Someone commented that I had an hour and a half until the obstetrician’s shift was done at 7:00am. My eyes shot open and I said, “Wait…what the fuck time is it???” since this was the first time I had been aware of the day or time. Everyone laughed including myself since I was so happy to be able to push.

It was a great feeling and such a relief to finally get back on track with what my body had been ready to do for 5+ hours.

I started to push on my back since that’s the position I had been in for the reduction. I soon wanted to try another position though since we learned in our birth education classes that the back position didn’t take advantage of gravity and wasn’t the optimal position to push in. The staff rigged up a squat bar at the end of the bed and I started pushing in a squat at 5:50a. This worked okay for me, but it was more effort (I was pretty exhausted by this time) to get up and squat while hanging from the bar.

I didn’t push in a squat for long though, as after a few pushes in that position the nurse told me to lay down again and gave me an oxygen mask to breathe into. Apparently something about the position wasn’t good for the baby, and her heart rate had suddenly dropped. The nurse was very calm when she said it and just told me I needed to breathe deep to give baby more oxygen and to not push for the next two contractions or so to let baby recover. I wasn’t phased at all by this in that I didn’t really process the implications. I just did what they told me and didn’t let my mind go to a negative place (later Zach said he – and likely others – was holding his breath).

By 6:05a everything was good again – baby’s heart rate was back to normal – and although they wanted me to keep the oxygen mask on, I was able to start pushing again. I could take the oxygen mask off during actual pushing, since the baby doesn’t get oxygen during that time anyway they informed us, so that became my cue for starting to push. The staff told me pushes were more effective if I held my breath, so that’s what I did, even though I also remember from the birth classes to not do “purple pushing” (holding breath until you’re purple in the face) but at that time I was so motivated to get baby out and did whatever I was advised.

I vocalized really loudly – like straight out of the movies loud (felt like that anyway) – and pushed as hard as I fucking could during contractions.

I rested in between and just let my body adjust and my muscles stretch to baby’s position. Although slightly uncomfortable, pushing felt good – it was such a relief in comparison to the last several hours prior. Even while the baby was crowning it was nothing compared to the involuntary pushes before. I was told there would be “burning and stinging” – which there was – but it wasn’t bad at all. I just relaxed in between contractions and rested for the next push.

At this point I was grateful I was lying down because I was so exhausted and I could let my entire body relax on the bed. Pushing seemed to go very quickly for me in my mind (although I learned later it was about an hour and a half). Zach was by my side the entire time holding my hands and giving encouragement.

Riley was also great during the final moments since she would update me on what was happening with my body and what was logistically happening around the room since my eyes were closed the entire time.

Moment of BirthWhen part of baby’s head had emerged she told me to touch the head so I knew how imminent everything was. I did and gave a little squeal of excitement.

When she was very close to being born Riley told me they were getting the table set up next to the bed which meant things were “happening very soon” which was so encouraging to hear. I think there was a lot of staff in the room at this point because at every push people were shouting words of excitement and saying how good I was doing as the baby started to emerge. In between one of the last few contractions when I was resting staff started exclaiming how strong she was because apparently baby had started to squirm out on her own.

At the very end Riley said in a joyful, almost laughing voice, “You’re doing it Kristin! You’re having this baby!” which was the last little bit I needed to hear and Kyla Rose was finally born at 7:10am.

They placed her on my chest immediately under a blanket while Zach and I just cried with joy. You could already see she had red hair! The placenta was born shortly after (maybe after about 10-15 minutes) and the obstetrician showed it to us – apparently it was large and still quite healthy, so baby was doing just fine in there and likely could have gone even longer than the 42 weeks, 1 day she was born on.

Afterwards, the obstetrician had a (somewhat protracted) “teachable moment” with a new resident about repairing my second-degree tear that was seemingly taking forever as she was instructing her on what do and what not to do. It was a little distracting and I wanted them to finish ASAP, but at the same time I didn’t care and couldn’t feel much anyway (they applied local anesthesia).

Kyla started breastfeeding in the delivery room right away and she latched on really well. Riley stayed until nursing happened and then Zach and her started packing up the room and getting all our things together since we only had two hours until we needed to move to the postpartum suites.New family

Finally everyone left and it was just Zach and I (our nurse came back later to help me to the bathroom, get cleaned up and dressed, etc.). We both started crying again and I confessed some of my worries I had throughout pregnancy (especially the last two weeks while she was “overdue”) that I couldn’t even really think about at the time. You just never know if everything is okay (even if all the data says there’s no reason to worry, which was the case for us) until the baby is born happy and healthy.

All those low-level worries, anxieties, etc. were immediately lifted the moment she was born. I felt so wonderful. Now that I could reflect on it, I couldn’t believe what I had just accomplished. The staff was in awe as well. Ky was finally here and she was perfect.

“Having that calm voice of experience by my side made all the difference” – A VBAC Birth Story

My daughter was a footling breech, which resulted in a semi-planned C-section. There was so much about that birth that didn’t go as I would have hoped and over which I was not in control. When I became pregnant with my son, I knew I should hire a doula in order to get more of the birth experience I really wanted.

Even before going into labor, working with my doula and being able to ask questions and make a plan empowered me far more than I was with my first birth.

No labor or birth is perfect, and there are always unknowns that we have to adapt to, but feeling like I had a “team” this time put me in a very relaxed state of mind going into my labor.

I was due on July 3, and contractions started on July 2. I texted my doula to let her know that I would probably give birth that weekend. The contractions were low intensity and 10-15 minutes apart. They continued to be sporadic on the 3rd and I did a lot of walking and bouncing in order to encourage them. Because I was attempting a VBAC, my doctor had asked that I come in sooner than the normal 5-1-1 that is recommended. My contractions had been about 10 minutes apart all day and some lasted a minute or more, but I was still walking and talking through them. That evening they dropped to 8 minutes apart and increased in intensity. The whole day I had been chatting with my doula and keeping her informed so that she could also track my progress. When a few contractions were suddenly 3 minutes apart and I was shaking from adrenaline, we decided to head to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital about 11:30pm July 3 and the cervical check said I was only 1 cm, but about 75% effaced. I continued to labor for another 2 hours, after which they rechecked the cervix and I was 3 cm, with baby at a -1 station, so I was admitted. During this time, I was feeling a lot of nausea during contractions, but my doula was prepared with scented oils and soothing music. It was so calming to have someone else take charge – I didn’t have to make many decisions, or even make requests.

While my husband is a great partner in all things, he doesn’t have the experience with labor to help make confident choices, or to give me useful options.

With our doula there, she was able to make suggestions on food, laboring positions, movements, and so on.

I labored for several hours and changed positions on the bed, used the ball, and walked around. The contractions continued to be longer and stronger. By 9:30 am, contractions were strong and about 3 minutes apart. Another cervical check put me at about 4-5 cms. At this point, my water still hadn’t broken, nor had I lost my mucus plug. Around I was very tired and becoming discouraged with the slow progress. As always, our doula had several gentle suggestions for changes in position, and words of encouragement. I labored for several more hours, during which I had a bloody show and we tried “dancing” a bit to encourage baby to shift even lower. By 4:45 I was about 8 cm, my water broke, and baby was at a 0 position.

At this point, I was tired. I’d been in the hospital for 17 or so hours and the contractions had been very strong for awhile. At that time, I knew why women chose medicated births; I just wanted someone to pull the baby out. I felt like I was at the end of my reserves.

But, again, gentle encouragement and support from our doula got me through and helped me hold my ground for the birth I wanted.

Had it been just me and my husband, he would have supported whatever I said I wanted, and at that moment it felt like I was done and I wanted a fully medicated birth. But I knew (and my doula knew) that that wasn’t truly my desire, and I would have regretted not being able to labor through on my own.

Having that calm voice of experience by my side made all the difference. 

My son was born at 7:29 on July 4th, after about 2 hours of pushing. We were given immediate skin-to-skin, and he seemed to latch and begin feeding right away. He and I were not separated until it was time to move to a recovery room. That was the result I wanted, and I feel confident that I would not have gotten there without the support of a doula. Throughout the entire labor, I was barely aware of other staff in the room.

I was able to function completely inside the experience without harsh interruptions or the stress of having to tell others what I wanted/needed. Having a doula with us meant both my husband and I could focus on the birth and not on the details that detract from that experience.

I wish I had had a doula for my first birth, but I know that I will certainly hire a doula again if we choose to have more children. She was an invaluable asset.

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