"Only with trust, faith, and support can the woman allow the birth experience to enlighten and empower her. Women’s strongest feelings, in terms of their birthings, positive and negative, focus on the way they were treated by their caregivers."
Annie Kennedy & Penny Simkin
As many of you know, I completed my training in August 2020. Only a few short weeks after, a mutual friend of mine posted that she was expecting her second baby. I immediately reached out and offered my services, and she happily obliged!
Alexandra (Alley) was very early in her pregnancy when she hired me, so we had plenty of time to connect and establish a relationship. She was actually my very first client to hire me, so we will always have a special connection.
Throughout our prenatal visits, it became clear to me that Alley wanted to have some more "say" in her next birth than she did with her first. We went over her birth history and the fact that she had very little time to process her first birth, her daughter's.
She expressed that she wanted to avoid an epidural, allow herself to go into labor naturally, and allow for delayed cord clamping. As we all know, pregnancy itself is unpredictable and Alley had a pregnancy that was full of unexpected events. By the time she was due to deliver in April, she decided to have an induction-but baby boy was breech.
We went over several Spinning Babies exercises that I had her doing every morning and evening. The morning of her induction, he had finally turned head down! The nurse wrapped her belly in a binder and had her laying upright to make sure he stayed head down. I arrived at the hospital around 7 a.m. and she elected to have the epidural from the start. They began her Pitocin and she slowly allowed her body to progress.
A few hours after the binder placement, her nurse decided to take it off as she was confident that the baby wouldn't turn again. She was able to switch sides and for a while, I had her resting with a peanut ball between her legs.
As I say in every birth story, birth is unpredictable. When Alley was having severe pain with her contractions even with the epidural, I could tell something wasn't right. Unbeknownst to Alley, she metabolizes medicine very quickly. This meant that the epidural(s) were not working. Even after several doses, she was still feeling the pain of every contraction. Though this is rare, it was reality for Alley and Matt.
But nevertheless, we rode the waves of pain one contraction at a time. In the room, you could hear the slow music of Christian songs that I had specially created for Alley in those painful moments. She knew she'd meet her baby soon-but it was exhausting and excruciating.
All of the labor tools were out, the lights were dimmed, and the music was softly playing. I stood by Alley's side through each contraction, breathing her through every second.
Around 7 p.m., the new night shift nurse and OB came in to introduce themselves. The OB on call was unable to perform a cervical check, so the nurse helped Alley breathe through a contraction while explaining what would happen next. The next half hour or so, I could tell her contractions were much closer together and her voice of pain changed. There's a certain tone that women have when they are closer than ever to meeting their baby. But one phrase solidified my thoughts.
"Kristina, I need to push. Now."
When I heard her say that, I knew time was of the essence. I immediately had her husband call the nurse, who hurried in. I guided Alley through some breathing to distract her from pushing until the doctor could come in. The nurse called and called, but no one would answer. The more time passed, the more Alley's body was ready to bring life.
I could see the baby's head crowning, even though Alley wasn't in typical birthing position, so I quickly held her legs back and told the nurse to hurry, because as a doula, catching a baby is not necessarily in my scope.
Right as the nurse got ahold of Alley's leg, her baby boy decided he wasn't waiting. At around 8:20 p.m. on April 27, Jason Charles was born. And he was waiting for no one.
The nurse placed Jason on Alley's chest right as the doctor came in. Alley got to enjoy plenty of sweet moments with Jason on her chest and had plenty of time to delay clamping his cord. Her husband, Matt, cut his cord while Jason was laying on Alley's chest.
After all the tests were performed, Matt wanted to sit with Alley alone for a while, as she was cleaned up. So, I got the pleasure of holding sweet Jason. And boy-was he cute.
Jason is close to 3 months old now, but he is still a ham.
And again, I remind you-women are powerful. Birth is beautiful. That is all.