Thursday, February 24, 2011

L's Birth Story - Part 3 (as observed by my birth doula)

This is my secondborn's birth, as described by my birth doula. I have changed it only to remove my children's names, the rest of her writing is intact :) I can't get the included pictures to copy over, sorry! Most were the same as the ones I posted already though.
The Birth of Baby #2

Friday, June 26, 2009   11:23 a.m.

As Observed by Barbara Pal, Trained Birth Doula (DONA)

Dear Baby,                               

I first met your Mom in the Autumn of 2008. We were at a weekend doula course together, learning how to help a Mommy who is ready to have her baby. Mom told us that weekend that she had just learned you were growing in her womb, and everyone was very happy for her. I remember thinking Mom was a thoughtful, quiet, smart woman. I was impressed that her Mother (your Grandma) ran a business helping birthing Mothers, and I thought Mom must know a lot about birth.

During the course, we all got to know each other and enjoyed each other. After the course was over, we were invited to be part of a group that would keep in touch online. We were all excited to start our work and keep in touch with each other, sharing stories and helping one another.

In December, a couple of weeks before Christmas, Mom asked me to get in touch with her. She asked me if I would be her doula and we would meet with Daddy so we could be sure that we were all comfortable with each other. I was very excited and honoured that Mom asked me to help her when it was time for you to be born. Mom said your family would be busy with Christmas activities, so we agreed to meet in the new year, after things settled down a bit.

We agreed to meet in January, but Mom got very sick, so we decided to put it off a bit. Also Dad was busy with school on the weekends. Eventually we agreed on a time I would come by to have a visit and a chat. We drank tea while Big Brother played around us, and Dad came over so we could all meet each other. It was a nice visit and I felt excited because I liked Mom, Dad and Big Brother a lot, and was so happy Mom asked me to be a part of this special time of their lives.

We spoke on and off over time. Mom got busy sewing diapers for your arrival. She did some more reading to prepare for your birth. She had some aches and pains that reminded her just how much her body was changing as you were growing inside her womb. Soon came spring, and then came the summer. Mom, Dad and Big Brother waited for you to come.
Then one morning, on Friday June 26th, 2009 Mom woke up at about 4 in the morning with strong contractions. They were coming every 3-5 minutes and lasting 1 minute long. Mom went to the washroom and sat there for awhile, went to the living room and sat on the birthing ball for awhile, and then she tried to go back to sleep. But the message from her body was strong and would not let her fall back to sleep -- it was your day to come. Mom went to the living room and called Daddy. Dad was in the basement working on the broken computers. He didn’t hear Mom for awhile and then heard a noise. He thought that was Big Brother calling out from his bed. Then he realized it was Mom calling him. “What?” Dad shouted. “Come here!” Mom said. Dad came upstairs and then realized Mom was in labour. It was finally time for you to come.

Dad called me at 6:00 a.m. I answered the phone from my bed, where I was sleeping with my baby. I hopped in the car and called Dad back to see how Mom was doing. She was doing fine and Dad's voice sounded very excited. When I arrived at around 7:30 a.m. and Dad was on the porch, talking on the cell phone, with a huge smile on his face. I knew he was excited that you would finally be born and it made my heart smile to see it. Mom was in the washroom with Grandma, hugging and breathing through contractions. The midwives, Tracy and Carla, were there when I arrived. Tracy had come from another birth and was a bit tired. Big Brother was already gone. We slowly moved into the living room and Mom sat on the birth ball. People were excited and chatting. Mom leaned forward to hug Grandma, and then later hug Dad, while I rubbed her back. Aunt Rebecca arrived and her eyes were sparkling with excitement and joy. She kneeled down at Mom’s side waiting to see how she could help. So many people were excited for your coming! Mom told me she couldn’t believe that this was it, you were really coming now!

 After awhile people quieted down so we could give Mom a chance to focus on her breathing and her body. Her contractions started to get stronger and Mom was feeling tired because she had gotten very little sleep. She leaned over the ball while Aunt Rebecca rubbed her back. I stroked Mom’s head and hair, shoulders and arms. We helped her relax between contractions and breathe through them. All of a sudden Mom turned and vomited on the sheet set up on the living room floor where she was planning to birth. The midwives rushed to bring a bowl to Mom. We were excited and happy that she vomited because we knew this was a good sign that her labour was progressing and we were getting closer to meeting you.

I asked Mom when was the last time she had a pee – and it had been sometime early in the morning. We slowly walked Mom over to the washroom so she could pee – we knew this would help you move further down because an empty bladder would not block your way. I sat on the edge of the tub and hugged Mom during her contractions, rubbing her lower back. Tracy popped her head in to see how things were going since Mom felt a little pushy.

Mom returned to the living room and leaned over the birthing ball again. The contractions were getting very intense and Mom was tired. She leaned forward quite a bit and her shoulders came down low to the ground while her hips stayed up. Grandma, Aunt Rebecca, Dad and I were trying to help Mom feel comfortable by rubbing her, breathing with her, stroking her hair and body. I spoke to Mom in a calm, comforting voice and helped her use the time between contractions to rest and relax. At times the room got completely quiet while we were in tune with Mom’s birth rhythm. There was a quiet power in the room.

Tracy suggested Mom sit on the birthing stool for a little while – or not. Mom sat on it while leaning back against Aunt Rebecca. Grandma stood between Mom’s knees and helped her breathe. I brought her a cool wet cloth for her forehead and neck. Mom was feeling discouraged and was in a lot of pain. She said, “I can’t do it! Take me to the hospital for an epidural now!” Dad, Grandma, Aunt Rebecca and I all told her that we were totally confident she *could* do it. It is normal for women at this stage of labour to feel this way, and we would help her work through it. She prepared so much for this day to have her baby born at home, without drugs or needles, to be able to walk around, to rock and sit and step, to move in the ways that felt right to help you to be born. If anyone could do it, we knew Mom could! We offered a warm rice sock for the pain in Mom's lower tummy and even some frozen juice cans, but these things didn't feel right for her. So I suggested Mom step in the shower because sometimes warm water helps labouring Mothers feel less pain.

Tracy checked the opening of Mom’s birth tunnel to see if Mom was ready to push you out yet. Her contractions were very strong, close together and long. Usually this means it is close to the time that a Mommy is ready to push her baby out. Tracy felt that Mom still had some time to go and noticed that Mom’s low shoulder/high hip position got you moving back up into her womb. We wanted you to come the other way, not go back up! Tracy said getting up, walking around and getting into the shower was a good idea. Aunt Rebecca and I each took a side and hoisted Mom up under her arms. We put her arms over our shoulders and slowly shuffled over to the washroom, telling Mom all the while that she could do it! We were so proud of her. She was at a very hard part of labour and was working so hard in body, mind and spirit.

In the shower Aunt Rebecca hugged Mom and rocked with her while Mom cried. Mom knew it would be very hard work for her body to bring you out and she was tired. I turned on the shower and we found a warm temperature that felt good to Mom. Aunt Rebecca sang a hymn in her beautiful voice to comfort Mom. Tracy the midwife popped her head into the bathroom and smiled -- Aunt Rebecca's voice was very comforting. Dad came by to see how Mom was doing and she told him, “Don’t leave!” When Mom was feeling very scared and tired, wanting to go to the hospital, Aunt Rebecca told her, “No, you can do this! We all believe in you. This is what you have been wanting. You are a strong woman! You can have this baby at home naturally.” She gathered her arms around Mom even more tightly and swayed and rocked with her. Aunt Rebecca told her many wonderful encouraging soothing words to help Mom get through this difficult time. It was very beautiful to hear and see. I rubbed Mom’s back and poured water from a little cup on her body to help comfort her. Mom later said the water helped a little bit and was distracting. After awhile Dad left when Mom was unhappy with him there, and we all chuckled at the things she said. We knew it was normal for a Mom at this stage of labour to be feeling like Mom did.

When we moved back to the living room, Tracy again checked Mom. She suggested breaking Mom’s water because Mom felt soooo much pressure, and your little watery bag had not burst yet. We knew it would help you be in Mom’s arms more quickly. Mom agreed. Tracy and Carla also helped stretch the last little bit of cervix over your head so Mom could begin pushing you out.

Mom growled like a Bear Mama and called out like a Warrior Woman. She prayed and worked very hard to get you moving down and out. She leaned back against Aunt Rebecca's lap and pulled her knees up to push you out. Aunt Rebecca held Mom's hands as Mom pushed. "Baby, get out!" Mama Bear said to her Little Cub. The midwives knew you were a big baby making your slow way out to meet the world, and this was very hard work for Mom. Everyone made a circle around Mom and the midwives told everyone to be quiet so they could work with Mom and help you be born in a healthy way. Suddenly Tracy said, I see hair! Mom did not believe her, but she brought a mirror and Mom's eyes popped open. She touched your little head and was so happy to see it that it gave her a burst of energy to keep pushing you out.

My favourite part of your birth came next. Mom was resting after having pushed your little head all the way out. You were halfway between two worlds: the warm dark world inside Mama's body, and peaking out into the bright wonderful world where your loving family and life were waiting for you. We all sat there in great excitement because Mom was doing it and you were about to be born. I was amazed at the beauty of Mom's power and strength through this difficult mind, body and spirit battle. It was such a beautiful and powerful moment. Tracy noticed you had your umbilical cord wrapped around your neck. She went to cut it but decided to see if she could slip it over your head. She was able to do so. Your shoulders were a little sticky and Tracy the midwife placed her hands carefully on either side of your ears, and gently but firmly eased you out while Mom pushed. You were born at 11:23 a.m.

Tracy placed you on Mom's chest when you were born and everyone was so excited and happy. Mom was relieved. After a few moments Carla, the second midwife, took you over to the table so she could help clear the fluid from your airway, and help you breathe the fresh air from the world. Mom felt cold lying on the living room floor on the bed sheet, so Aunt Rebecca and I got socks, a warm rice sock, and blankets for her.

A short while after, Carla brought you over to Mom and lay you on her warm chest, hoping you would catch the rhythm of Mom's breathing. You were still grunting and Carla took you back to the table. She asked everyone to be quiet, turned the lights down low, and placed her hands on your little body. Dad, who had been a firefighter, said they were trained to put babies on their stomach after they were born to help clear the fluid out of the baby's lungs. Carla turned you over and it worked. She did a Newborn Assessment and found that you were 8 lbs and 13 oz. and 21.25" long. A big lovely round baby!

At 12:30 p.m. we set Mom up by the sofa to breastfeed. You latched on and did just great. Grandma went to get juice, muffins and Timbits. I decided then to say goodbye, because I wanted to get out of the way and let Mom to have this special loving bonding time with her little family.

Time passed and you grew. Big Brother was so happy to have a little brother. There were some rough nights for you and Mom with crying, and Dad helped rock you to comfort you. You and Mom had some breastfeeding troubles but got some good help, so things got better. Once in awhile Mom went in to Grandma's store to work and help out there.

I visited you, Mom, Dad and Big Brother with my little girl Emi, later in the summer, after you had grown a bit. You were a very beautiful baby and I was so pleased to be able to hold you close! The grown ups chatted and you napped.  Big Brother and Emi took turns riding the car outside, figuring out how to share something they both wanted. (This is something we do our whole lives!)

I had really enjoyed working with your family and could see you were surrounded by love.

Baby, may you be inquisitive, resourceful, and determined like your mother. May you be independent minded and adventurous like your father. May you live a healthy, joyful life surrounded by love.

Peace and blessings,

Barbara Pal
Trained Birth Doula (DONA)

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