I was so blessed to be the doula for my sister and witness the birth of my niece, August 7th, 2013. I have not written about the experience, as I was waiting for my sister to share her birth story first. She blogged about it on her Blog and so I felt that it was time to share my experience as being her doula.
First off, it was oddly strange watching the birthing process, instead of doing it. As I have shared before, I have given birth three time, the last time was at home in a birthing tub. The experience having a midwife was so surreal, and so peaceful, that I knew I wanted to help other women give birth. Sadly, I was not able to be there for two other births I had planned on attending: one had to have an emergency c-section and I was not permitted to attend, and I could not get to California to be with my other sister when she had twins. I am grateful that my parents were able to be there to help her transition from the hospital to home, but she had her twins right when we were moving to our new home. There was no way that I could attend the birth, much to my dismay.
My other sister lives about twenty minutes away from me, and had requested that I be her doula. I was more then happy to accept, and we met with her due date being about a week later. We went over every aspect of the labor, from start to finish, and what she could expect. On August 5th, she started laboring at home about 9pm.
The next morning she texted me, letting me know what was happening, and how far apart her contractions were. By 7pm on the 6th, I went over to her house. Her contractions were about 2 min. apart, but not very strong. She had high blood pressure during the pregnancy,and decided that she wanted to go to the hospital to make sure everything was ok, and see how far she was dilated.
By 8:30pm, we were at the hospital, and she was only dilated to a 2. Her contractions were still 2 min. apart, and the staff agreed to allow her to do intravenous monitoring. That meant she would be allowed to be off of the monitors for 20 min, and back on for 20 min. It wasn't much, but we were able to work with what the hospital would allow.
For the next 10 hours (yes until about 5:30 am) we walked, balanced on a birthing ball, massaged key pressure points in her legs to speed up the contractions (and it really worked well!)and her contractions stayed at every 2 min, but she was stuck at 4 cent. dilated. She was able to handle the contractions when she was off of the bed, and not being monitored, but once they stuck her back on the monitor, it was hard for her to cope. Finally, at 6 am, on the 7th, she decided that she had had enough and wanted medication. I don't blame her at all. She hadn't slept in over 24 hours, and was just exhausted. Despite everything that we tried to get her dilate, she was just stuck. So, at 7am, she finally got an epidural, which gave me a small break to go get some food.
Just because she had an epidural, didn't mean that my job was done. I got the nurse to agree to let me get her a popsicle, and she was able to drink water. When she finally was dilated to a 10, at about 7pm, her hot flashes kept me on my toes to keep her sponged off and cool. Finally, at about 8pm, she was feeling like she was ready to push. She pushed like a champ, but as the baby started to come down, either a foot or an elbow started pushing on a nerve in her hip. The poor woman had such a Charlie horse, and the only thing that would somewhat sedate it was for me to ball up my fist and rub as hard and fast as I could. It was hardest when she felt the urge to push, and I needed to keep my fist on her hip so she could manage the cramp.
Finally, the Dr. came in and allowed her to push on the side that was cramping. It seemed to help a lot with the pain, and she was able to push as much as she could until the baby started to crown. At 9:19 pm, Ms. Emery Cadence was born, with the fullest head of hair I've ever seen on a baby! No one knew the sex of the baby, the parents wanted it to be a surprise, and it was hard to keep the tears back when my Brother-in-law started crying that it was a girl! Such a sweet little girl, and a sweet family. I am so honored that I was able to help in this birth.
If you read the Blog I linked to, you'll note that my sister mentioned that I should offer my services to other women. I plan on it, the L-rd willing. According to the Dr., who delivered the baby, she has been looking for a good doula for several of her patients, and wanted to know if I would take them on. I plan on doing just that, but once the children are a bit older. Thank you, Katie, for allowing me into a personal and private time in your life, and allowing me to serve you and help my gorgeous niece be born!
Until Next Time,