A Doula’s Empowering Birth Story

I woke up Monday (for the third or fourth time) around 7:45 am, went to the restroom and noticed more bloody show. I had some pink tinged mucous all weekend so I knew some kind of change was happening. Last Monday at my 38 weeks checkup I was 2+ cm dilated and about 50% effaced.

So I layed back down in bed with my boys and started playing on my phone. Almost immediately I had a contraction. Much different than the braxton hicks I had for nearly 6 weeks straight and much different than the contractions I had with Halen. About 6 minutes later I had another.

At 8:00 am I got out of bed to start timing them and move around to see what they would do. At that point they averaged 4 minutes a part and about 45 seconds long. When they stayed this way for an hour I let a few people know what was going on and asked for prayers. I then called my Mother-In-Law because she is who would be taking care of Halen while we were in the hospital.

I started doing dishes around 9:30 and they kept coming and getting stronger. At this point it felt really good to squat down really deep through my contractions. When Halen’s Nana was on her way to get him, I woke the boys up. “Hey, honey, we’re having a baby today.”

“Huh?” Dustin replied.

“We’re having a baby today!” I said again.

Then he asked “Why?” but meant something along the lines of how did I know. I told him I had been having consistent contractions for a couple hours and his mom was on his way to pick up our boy.

At 10:00 am I make Halen’s breakfast and continue to pack the rest of our last minute items. Lisa showed up and we said our goodbye’s to what would be our last moments of being a family of three. After they left Dustin got out of bed, did a few last minute chores as well and then got into the shower. We’re talking about my morning in the bathroom and he worries that we’ll be going too early since we got sent home when I was laboring with Halen. I, on the other hand, wanted to make sure we got to the hospital in enough time to get antibiotics for my Group B Strep.

So we headed out the door at 11:00 am. Living 35 minutes from the hospital, meant I had to go through about 10 contractions without the ability to squat through them, like I had been doing at home. After making a quick pit stop to get Dustin breakfast we arrived on the L&D floor, still smiling, a little before 11:45 am.

My nurse checked my cervix and found me to still only be 2+ cm dilated. I was pretty disappointed in my body until she said I was 80% effaced and had a bulging bag! They said they needed to get at least a 20 minute read on baby’s heart rate then they would let me walk around. I had to make progress quickly or they would send me home to labor some more! I did not want that AT ALL so I squatted some more through my contractions but eventually what felt best was just sitting straight up on the end of the bed.

At 12:36pm my baby kicked really hard and my water broke! Yay! I couldn’t get sent home, and that meant I was really having my baby! It was such a crazy feeling having a spontaneous rupture of membranes. My nurses came in to admit me and they wanted to get baby’s heart rate through a contraction to make sure there was no cord prolapse.

As they’re attempting to start an IV, draw blood and get baby’s heart rate my contractions started to get crazy and very close together. I couldn’t sit still and my nurse trying to stick me blew two veins. The other, more experienced nurse decided to just check me internally again to look for the cord. Baby’s head was engaged, no cord, 90% effaced and 4 cm dilated! She finally got my IV started and my Midwife, Kim, came to check on me and see how I was. She told me she would be here as soon as we were ready and reassured me I was doing a great job handling my contractions.

When Kim left my whole mood changed. I started getting snappy with my poor husband and yelling at him for no reason. I remember telling him to “shut-up, I am breathing”. I flipped to my hands and knees at the end of the bed and started to feel lots of burning and pressure. It scared me that I was feeling those sensations so quickly so I asked her to check me again. It had only been 20 minutes since my last check and I was already at 6 cm!

Dustin stepped into the hall to call my mom and update her. She heard me on the phone and said, “Let me know when she gets here and I will come up”. When he hung up he texted his mom and told her I was at a 6. While he was doing this I felt my body pushing hard and fast. How was this happening already? I knew it could be involuntary but I didn’t want to tear my cervix from how hard I was pushing already.

My nurse, bless her heart, asked if there was anyway I could get to my back so she could check me again. I told her I couldn’t and she warned me how uncomfortable it would be to check me like that and I said “just get it over with”. So at that point, only about 15 minutes maximum since my last check, I was at 9.5 cm.

“Call Kim!” She said to the other nurse. “Don’t fight it, Janis, push if you need to push”.

At first, it felt so good to push with the contractions. It actually made the pressure feel better. I could feel her head making its way through my pelvis, then it happened, the burn. Then I heard Kim’s voice say “I’m here sweetie just do what you need to.” I couldn’t see her, but hearing her sweet voice, so calm and reassuring gave me confidence.

At this point I don’t even know what my husband was doing, though I vaguely remember him saying push a couple times. I no longer felt waves of contractions, just bursts of pressure and my body bearing down for short amounts of time. I was pushing on my hands and knees at the edge of the bed and I felt Kim helping to stretch my perineum. “Stop doing that, it BURNS!” I yelled at her. I think I may have even crawled away from her a bit.

“I’m just trying to help you stretch a little so you don’t tear, she is very big,” Kim calmly said to me.

“Okay but it burns really bad.” I felt my voice getting shaky and my body literally sucked her back up. The doula inside me started talking and thought quickly “It will stop burning once you got her out,” and there was no way around it, “You just have to do it.”

The next time I felt my body bearing down I pushed as hard as I could, she was big, bigger than I thought was possible. I had to adjust my legs wider to make more room in my pelvis but I got her head out! I didn’t know it at the time, but her cord was wrapped around her neck and Kim slipped it over her head quickly. With my next urge I started to push again to get her shoulders out, I knew this would be just as difficult.

“Okay Janis I need you to put your right leg up, like you’re going to take off running.” At that point, I figured her shoulders were stuck so I pushed a bit until Kim asked me to change positions again to accommodate for my big girl. I was laying on my left side, pulling my right leg up toward my shoulder. I thought once I got her shoulders out she would slip out pretty easy but that wasn’t the case at all. It still took quite a bit of effort to get her hips out!

She passed some meconium immediately after delivery and had aspirated some fluid on the way out so it took her a bit to cry and pink up. After her cord stopped pulsating, I cut her away from me.

Harley Marie Belle came Earthside on July 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm. After 6 hours of labor and only about an hour of active labor. She weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds 10 ounces and 20.5 inches long. Bringing Harley into this world made me realize how strong I am, I feel like a super hero.

a doulas empowering story

{Story submitted by Janis Tucker}

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