Shortly after I completed my doula training with a DONA approved site I was eager to branch off. I began volunteering my services with a local center that needed doulas. I was on a 12 hour on call day shift awaiting for a mother to be in labor. I had my bags packed with a few snacks. My phone finally rang. It was the midwife on call. The midwife began explaining the patient’s pertinent health information and confirmed that the patient would like a doula. I was so excited that I grabbed all of my belongings, packed up Remy (my dog) and headed to my mothers house to drop him off.
This particular mom is what we call a “multigravida”. This term is used to describe a woman that has been pregnant before. Typically women that have been pregnant before experience birth differently. Studies have shown that these mother labor faster than first time moms. I had to beat the clock if I wanted to be present for this mamas birth story.
I finally reached the hospital that the patient was laboring at. I introduced myself to the midwife as she directed me to the patient’s room. The patient was laboring in the bed. She appeared calm. After I introduced myself to the laboring woman I sat my bags down and began setting the atmosphere. I refilled her pitcher of water, grabbed cups of juice and ice. I also tracked down a birth ball to help incorporate more labor positions. After completing those task I was ready to hop into action.
We engaged in small talk in between contractions. She was pleasant. Smiling while she could and thanking me for my presence. I encouraged her to change positions frequently. We started off doing hip circles and lunges on the birth ball. After a few contractions we used more upright positions swaying from side to side. She was doing amazing.
After some time the laboring mom decided to rest in bed. I decided to take this time to rest too. I felt awkward resting, but as an experienced doula now, I have grown to appreciate periods of rest. I decided to rest on the couch across from the hospital bed. I begin to search through my bag to find that I didn’t bring my charger, lol rookie mistake. I also realized that I didn’t pack enough snacks! I thought frantically to myself how am I going to get through this birth.
After mom rested, we begin going through another cycle of labor positions while standing near bed. The midwife pops in the room to check on the laboring mother. As the midwife was getting ready to leave, the mom stated, “I have to poop”. Standing behind the mom I looked up at the midwife wondering if this is it. The midwife replied, “Are you sure? Lets get you back in bed so I can check you.” “I’m sure I have to poop”, said the mom. I quickly jumped back barely missing the splat that just landed on the floor. My advice to any doula out there, don’t wear crocs with the holes in it lol. I grabbed a chuck pad to cover up the feces that landed on the floor. Just as I placed the chuck on the floor, things began to take a turn. The midwife repeatedly states “help me get her in bed”.
The patient had began to transition and before I knew it she was pushing. The nurse in the room gave me gloves to put on as I stood to one side of the bed holding up the patients leg. She was crowning. The baby had so much hair on his head. I believe mom took two pushes before the baby sprouted out. The astonishment on this moms face was priceless. I couldn’t believe how well she labored. She barely expressed any level of pain. If you noticed I didn’t mention anything about pain medications. That’s because she had an unmedicated birth with limited interventions.
I watched while she held her baby in her arms. As she took her time to bond with the baby I began to start cleaning up around the room. Before I rendered my services I asked if there was anything else I could do to support her. She replied, “no”. She began to thank me for my services. Before I left I thanked the midwife and debriefed with her. Looking back on my first birth story, I wish I would have stayed longer. There were so many other things I could have done to support mom, like breastfeeding. Like the old saying goes hindsight is 20/20.
It was that birth that gave me confidence to continue to launch Gingersnaps, The Empowering Doula and to grow as an educator and doula.