Doula-ing the Doula
October the 7th started out as a rather uneventful day! I was up at 5:30 am to go exercise and would soon be heading home to try and grab a couple more minutes of sleep before the kids woke for the day! However, just a few miles away, Brooke was in labor and had been having contractions since the night before. Checking my phone as I was leaving the studio, I saw her message- today would be the day we would meet Baby Ellington #2. I was so excited I could barely stand it! Brooke's birth would complete the third and final Nurture Me doula birth of 2015. Yes that's right! We all three had our second babies in 2015. It's been a busy year to say the least!
Back to the unfolding of October 7th... As I headed home, I was able to experience the most beautiful West Texas sunrise. It was a beautiful day to have a baby!
Brooke was sending Jenny and I periodic birth updates via text. Everything was progressing well, but slowly. Her first birth went rather quickly, so everyone was expecting a similar birth. Around 1 o'clock in the afternoon or so Brooke told us she was ready for a doula to come be with her. Jenny and I worked everything out so my kiddos could spend the rest of the day with her, and I went to serve my fellow doula in labor.
I arrived right as the midwife (Shanna) arrived. We both made our way into the backyard where Brooke was spending some time outdoors laboring in the beautiful fall weather. She was wearing a teal green dress and looked beautiful as she intensely worked through contractions. The second I saw her, my eyes watered up and I just wanted to hug her. My own baby (Libby) was only 5 months old at the time, so the experience of birth was still very fresh in my mind. I knew exactly what she was experiencing- I was so proud of her for what she had and would accomplish on this day.
She stayed out side and had a few more contractions with Shanna, Steven (Brooke's amazing husband), myself, and Ryder the dog, all by her side . She would become completely internally focused when a contraction would start- she would begin to rock, sway, and breathe her way to the other side of the peak. She was managing beautifully. I was so happy to be there with her.
Soon she decided she would allow Shanna to perform a cervical check so she would have an idea of her progress. She was fearful of being at 4 cm dilation and in fact, she said she KNEW she would be 4 cm along. And she was. Only momentarily was she a bit discouraged, but with everyone rallying behind her with support, she accepted where she was and focused on the great work she had already done. Shanna recommended breaking her water to help the labor progress. After discussing her options with Steven, they decided that would be a good option for her at that time!
(NOTE: Having her water broken was the ONLY compromise Brooke made on her birth! She was so blessed to have an amazing midwife walk her through pros and cons of different options and together they made a great decision for her birth!)
After her membranes were ruptured, labor immediately picked up. It was time for Baby Ellington to make his or her arrival! Contractions became more intense, and with each one, Brooke became more focused and more powerful. For some contractions, she would sway and rock, some she held on to the foot of the bed and squatted, and some she would lovingly slow dance with Steven. It was beautiful. It was magical. She was doing so amazing. I was so proud to be apart of it all. I was doing double hip squeezes until my arms were sore and offered massage anywhere I felt like it would help relieve pain.
Shanna jokingly asked me, "How long do you think it will be until we have a baby?" I really didn't know but answered "Before 8 tonight!" She sweetly laughed and said she thought it would be well before then. And she was right!
Brooke soon headed to the birthing tub that was set up in their playroom. Steven had prepared the water to the perfect temperature, and when Brooke got in, she melted into the water. She was still having painful contractions, but it was obvious the water was very comforting. Brooke spent about two hours in the water managing contractions and resting in between them. She was leaning over the side of the birth tub, she was head to head with Steven and holding onto his arms for support. Steven was being an active part of bringing their baby into the world. It was a sweet thing to witness.
(NOTE: While all this laboring was occurring, Boone (Brooke's three-year old), was in the living room playing and spending time with his grandparents. Little did he know how peacfully his mommy was working to bring his sibling earthside.)
I continued to help her by doing the double hip squeeze while she was in the birth tub, and also just giving her abundant encouragment, affirmations, and kept reminding her how great she was doing.
She was surrounded with so much love and support. I was honored to be sharing her birth experience. Around the room, you could see all the preparation Brooke had put into her birth. She had little birth affirmations printed and hanging on the walls, a video camera set up in the corner, and the birth photgrapher Brooke had hired was discretely snapping pictures of the unfolding birth.
Soon Brooke was ready to start pushing! She continued to lean over the edge of the tub, her strong arms gripping Steven's forearms. She was breathing her baby down the birth canal and would soon be meeting her little one. Somewhere during the pushing stage, she remembered to have Boone come into the playroom. She had wanted the whole family to be in the room when Baby Ellington was born. Boone was adorable. He seemed to almost be unaware that his mom was doing anything other than "hanging out in a bathtub." Boone was offering his mom "Labor-aid" and gentle kisses, but really was most excited about the flashlight from the birth kit.
As Brooke worked through a few more contractions, Shanna told Brooke to reach down and feel her baby. Within moments her baby was born. And there HE was. A healty, beautiful, bright-eyed baby boy. Boyd Ryan.
The room was filled with excitement, and joy, tears and relief. The birth was over, but now it was time for a new journey to begin. I only stayed with Brooke about an hour after her birth before she reminded me to go be with my sweet baby girl. I cried the whole way home. What a wonderful day. Yes, it was a perfect day to be born!
In the Doula Spirit,