If there is anything predictable about birth, its that it is unpredictable.
Bethany had been having some contractions for awhile, but they weren't seeming to progress to the real deal. And then they stopped all together. And then they started...and stopped. So when they started again, Bethany called and said they were going to head into the birth center, but she wasn't sure where she was or if she was ready for me to come. It might still be awhile. I volunteered to meet her there and leave again if she wanted me to because it sure sounded to me like she was going to have a baby.
Sure enough, just a couple hours after arriving at the birth center, her baby girl was born--it was such a beautiful delivery! Laboring women are simply stunning, and Bethany was every bit of gorgeous as she brought her little girl out of the water and to her chest. Congratulations, Sams family!! Thank you for letting me be a part of your little girl's birth day.
Make sure you watch the slideshow at the end to see more from this beautiful girl's big debut!
This sweet girl was sure in a hurry to get here! We came right when she called and well still almost missed it. I'd say we've got another strong and determined little girl in our midst! :) It would be more than fair to say that she gets it from her mom. This lady acted like a pro at this labor thing, fast and furious though it was. It was amazing to witness such a peaceful labor!
There's something about getting to be with your best friend when she delivers her baby--I'm not sure I've been more excited about a birth since I had my own babies! The lady was with me, supporting me with my babies and I'm so glad I was able to be there with her while she labored to bring her little one earthside. Labor is hard work, but when we are surrounded by those who love us, encourage us, and support us, it makes the work less overwhelming. This is a birth story that I will treasure always because this family means so much to me, so I hope you enjoy watching this incredible woman on the day she welcomed her little man into their family!
I'm guessing you've heard this before, but labor is unpredictable.
During a prenatal visit, our doulas always go over a worksheet with our clients that is titled, "Birth Options and Preferences." We do our best to help these awesome moms achieve the birth they have been thinking about, planning for, and waiting on for so long, but since so much can't be planned ahead of time, we just have to see what hand we are dealt when labor begins. And that is exactly why I think that having a doula is such a wonderful thing! She can help guide you along this unfamiliar, unpredictable path and hopefully help you be thrilled with where it takes you.
One such story recently happened here in Knoxville, TN. There was a mama who was planning to deliver at the birth center and had chosen Stephanie as her doula. Unfortunately, when labor called, Stephanie was sick with a stomach bug and in no condition to be with a mama through labor. So this mama got me (not that I'm too shabby of a replacement, but it's just not what this mama had planned!).
This woman wanted a water birth, but when it came time to push the pool was not so comfortable and it was difficult for her to really feel what she was doing. The most comfortable position for her was actually sitting on the toilet. Thankfully, she had chosen her provider well and was attended by a kind and supportive midwife who acted like it was no big deal for a mama to push a baby out while sitting on the toilet. So she did! It was really awesome and so powerful to watch this mama go with the flow, use what she had, and bring her baby into the world. I'm so thankful that I got to be part of their beautiful day.
Congratulations, Mommy and Daddy! You rocked that delivery and I'm so proud of how you handled everything that labor threw at you. You are so strong and your little girl is so precious. Thank you for letting me be there with you!
Once upon a time, somewhere around 4 in the morning, my phone starting ringing on the table next to my bed. I fumbled with the cord and the screen to answer--my brain wasn't fully awake yet.
"I'm not sure if this is really it, but something is going on. SOMETHING is definitely happening."
I jumped in my car and got to their house while most of the world was still sleeping (or at least most of Knoxville). It was dark outside and the stars were shining. Something was definitely happening. Mama labored and rested and relaxed until the sun peeked over the horizon. As she stood on her back porch swaying and rocking, the day began around her; neighbors were getting in their cars and going to work, while she prepared to meet her baby.
Settled at the hospital with wonderful nurses to care for her, her labor continued to progress, though perhaps it was slower than she wanted it to go. But mama was a rockstar and kept on rocking, swaying, and moaning her way to complete. The strength in her pushes moved baby every time and around 1:15 in the afternoon, mama held her baby in her arms.
Mama was amazing. She listened to her body, she moved to the rhythm of the contractions, she took one contraction at a time and even when the going got rough and it seemed like the end would never come, she kept going. She rocked that birthing thing! It was truly a beautiful birth.
And now somewhere across town, a new family of three is settling in for the night with hugs and kisses and sweet baby's breath. I would wish them sweet dreams, but I'm pretty sure that precious little boy will want to eat around 2 AM. :)
Thank you, thank you for letting me be part of the story of your baby's birth day. I loved every minute and think you are an incredible team. Watching you work together to welcome your baby was the best part of my day. Congratulations to you both! And welcome earthside, little man!
There is great excitement when meeting a new family and it is awesome beyond words to be present when their baby enters this world. But the BIGGEST reason we work as doulas comes down to what we know (and wish every expectant mother knew) - If an expectant mother has a doula, statistically she will have*:
50% reduction in rate of c-section
25% shorter labor
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in oxytocin use
30% reduction in analgesia use
40% reduction in forceps delivery
Why is this important and what does it mean? It means there is a significantly decreased chance that either mom or baby have complications, they get to go home sooner, the risk of postpartum blues or depression is significantly decreased, and mom feels that she had more control of and is more satisfied with her birth experience. This is important because complications from labor and delivery can have lasting negative effects on mother, baby, and future births. It is also important because women remember and reflect on their birth experiences through their entire lives. This colossal event can cause lasting positive or negative effects.
What we want to shout from the rooftops is that "There is a super effective, simple, and proven way to help ensure a better birth experience and labor outcome." It's not magic, or voodoo, or even crunchy alternative thinking. It's a scientifically proven, educated, non-invasive, and time-tested practice that makes sense for every mom in EVERY birth situation. You are not excluded from the benefits of having a doula if you plan a hospital birth over one at home or a birth center. The benefits still apply to you if you are planning an epidural or other narcotic pain relief. If this is your second birth, third birth, fourth birth...you get the idea - the benefits of having a doula still apply to you and your baby! If you are expecting, trying, or even plan to have kids one day in the future, take the time to educate yourself about what a doula is and how having one is the best gift you can give yourself to help you through pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the early days of parenthood.
You may say I’m biased, spinning the statistics and reports to favor the practice in which I work. I would be lying if I told you I don’t have a vested interest in more women hiring doulas. We are doulas and more women hiring doulas would logically increase our demand and ultimately our bottom line. But as you delve into the information you will see there are many scientific studies that confirm the benefits of having continuous support from a doula during birth. You will also find that there are some doulas who offer discounted rates while they are in the process of attending their first births in order to be certified by the organization through which they received their training. There are also doulas that provide discounted services for those with spouses in the military, young mothers, or families that lack the financial resources to pay the full rate.
Whatever your objections to having a doula, I encourage you to take the time to research the benefits. If you believe the statistics you find, please take the time to interview multiple doulas, find one that best suits your personality and desires, and look for one that is offering discounted fees or free services if necessary. There is no way to guarantee that your birth will go exactly as you imagine, but you can certainly stack the deck in your favor. Think about it, take action, and then tell other moms-to-be so they can benefit from your experience and knowledge.
By: Stephanie Roberts
(DONA), and Certified Childbirth Educator (ACBE)
Graduate Nurse, Birth Doula
*Information from "Mothering the Mother: How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter Easier and
Healthier Birth", Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus
About three weeks ago, I had a mama call me and say she might be in labor. Contractions were regluar, lasting about 45 seconds and seemed to be getting stronger. Those contractions continued for several hours--just enough to mess up a good night's sleep--and then disappeared. A few days later, the same thing happened...and again went away after using up most of the night. And so it continued, for three weeks, until this morning when they did not go away, but continued getting stronger, though still a bit irregular.
When I think back on this morning, I have to chuckle a bit. Mama texted me and said she wasn't sure, but she would feel better if I was with her. Baby had teased her so many times, she couldn't tell if it was really going to happen today. (And to be honest, she was so calm through it all, I had a hard time telling, too!) But, I got to her house about 1:30 and within 30 minutes we were back out the door!
Mama labored beautifully in and out of the water and around 4:45 she welcomed her beautiful baby boy into the world. It was such a peaceful delivery. Mama was simply amazing and her baby has the cutest, chubbiest cheeks! He is absolutely precious!
Congratulations, Mommy, Daddy, big brother and big sister! I am so proud of you all and I am so thankful that you let me be a part of welcoming your little one to our world.
On Monday morning the full moon was doing it's thing and making lots of women's labor start. One of those women was saved from a scheduled morning induction because her water broke in the middle of the night. Hopes were high since labor starting on its own meant that she could be at the birth center!
As the day progressed and labor did not, mama made the choice to move to the hospital and get some help to keep things moving. Oh, how the story of this labor would take pages to tell: failed epidurals, painful contractions, lots of pitocin, tired mama, too many hours to count. Honestly, I don't know how she did it. Her mother-in-law kept looking at me and saying, "I can't believe you're still going." and I would say, "I figure if she can keep going, so can I." She was working so, so much harder than I was, and I was beat. But she kept going! Then, at 8:15 p.m., more than 36 hours after her contractions started, she delivered a happy and healthy (surprise!) boy.
She is so amazing. She was incredible and strong. I'm not sure how she was able to find the energy to push her baby out! After her baby was born and latched on she was finally able to rest. I hope she had the best nap of her life that day!
I also need to say a HUGE thank you to Stephanie for bringing me food and for bringing some fresh energy. You are the best!
Almost every pregnant mom wonders how she will know when labor really starts. Women who have already had a baby or two think, "I've done this before. Surely I will know when it starts." If only baby could send you a text that says, "Ok, mommy, ready or not, here I come!"
In the wee hours of the morning today, a precious new soul joined our world. Mama had been having some contractions all week, but each time they started, it wouldn't be long before they faded away. But last night--last night was different. They didn't stop! She thought "Maybe. MAYBE this is it. Better go in, just in case." Once she was there, it quickly became evident that she was really in labor. She labored BEAUTIFULLY. Calm, relaxed, moaning at the end. She was incredible! Not even three hours after arriving, baby made his way into the world. And he let everyone know that he was NOT HAPPY about being kicked out! Big sister had the honor of cutting his cord and the whole family was over the moon about their little baby.
Tonight there is a strong and amazing woman holding her newborn boy and her family is transitioning to a group of five. I hope they know how incredible they are, how thankful I am to have been there, and how happy I am for each one of them.
What an awesome birth!
Early this morning, one waiting mama had her day begin with a big gush of breaking water. Baby had been teasing us for a couple weeks, but there was no denying it this time! Everyone excitedly gathered (again) at the hospital, ready to meet the newest member of their family.
Mama walked and rocked and swayed for as long as she was able, but there came a time when she was ready for some relief. Baby, though, had other plans. While waiting for the anesthesiologist, mama was suddenly feeling the need to push with her contractions. In matter of 45 minutes, she had gone from 5 cms to 10 cms!
Have I mentioned how much I love surprise babies? Mommy and Daddy made all of their family guess whether baby was a boy or a girl before they were allowed in the room. It was wonderful! Everyone was smiling from ear to ear and baby is as precious as can be.
Congratulations, Mommy and Daddy! Thank you so much for letting us be a part of your special day and share in the sweet beginning of your family!