Updated: Mar 3, 2019
Today’s birth announcement was written by Emily, our fantastic doula with her own wonderful sense of humor. Emily is a mother of 6, and when she’s not doulaing or deepening her faith at church, you’ll find her joy riding on her Harley.
A MIRACULOUS BEGINNING
Did you hear the one about a sperm and an egg and a petri dish? I know this sounds like the beginning of an odd joke, but instead it's the extraordinary beginning of the life of Nicholas, born to a couple with a great sense of humor!
Nicholas is a dream come true! When I first met with Ela and Charles I felt their excitement and saw the whole room light up when they talked about their miracle baby. They shared with me their heartfelt story of how Nicholas was conceived. This little miracle was 5 + years in the making, and after countless visits to the fertility clinic and a little help with in vitro fertilization, (IVF) their dream became a reality. In classical IVF procedures the eggs and sperm are put together on a petri dish. In Ela’s case a frozen embryo transfer lead to pregnancy.
A NATURAL START
Ela's due date was on November 10th, a Saturday. She knew that on the following Monday the couple was going to have a conversation with their OB about induction. After reviewing what they had learned in Birthing From Within childbirth class on how to communicate with their care provider, and also practicing with their doula they were confident, armed and prepared for this conversation. They reached an agreement to continue with the pregnancy for one more week in hopes to start labor naturally. Early in the morning Ela’s waters broke! The very considerate couple decided to wait several hours before informing their doula of the onset of labor. Ela was experiencing mild cramp-like contractions. I suggested nipple stimulation to increase uterine activity which daddy was more than willing to lend a helping hand, ("when duty calls,” were Charles’ words). The couple enjoyed spending the day together eating and resting and encouraging contractions as well as periodically checking in with "the mothership,” (doula), Charles words again. Later that evening they decided to make their way to their birthplace. Ela was 2 cm dilated and contractions were now 10 minutes apart and they were nearing 16 hours with ruptured membranes. They were faced with a challenging decision; should we go back home and continue laboring hoping contractions would pick up, or stay at the hospital and consider augmenting with Pitocin. After several hours of careful consideration and several powwows with their doula, the decision was made to continue labor with a gentle induction. Again, this thoughtful couple felt it would be best for me to rest and then join them when contractions were closer together and when Ela felt she needed additional support. Knowing that Charles didn't get much rest throughout the night, I literally invited myself to the hospital so I could offer my support. By this time Ela was 6 cm dilated and resting comfortably with "joy juice" (epidural); you guessed it, Charles’ words again. Enough juice to take the edge off.
SENSE OF HUMOR
I loved how humor played a huge role during their labor. At one point, Ela told a joke and what made it even funnier was that she had to pause to breathe during contractions before she can get to the punchline. Labor is hard work, and we often forget that it is punctuated with moments of laughter and joy! I'm sure humor is the glue that keeps this couple rejuvenated. Between the entertainment we squeezed in a few Spinning Babies techniques which helped us to arrive to the pushing stage.
After three plus hours of pushing, countless position changes and the nurses being concerned with the baby's heart rate, she called for the OB. I asked the nurse if she felt that the OB would give more time, the nod and the concerned look on her face answered my question. We jumped into action for one last-ditch effort, knowing that the OB was going to walk in any minute. We ask for the nurse to increase the Pitocin to make the contractions stronger. With the support of the nurse I pulled out every trick I could think of; I felt like it was a miracle that we had just enough time to do a side-lying release and a Walcher's (a position to open the pelvis from all angles.) It was evident that Ela was feeling the intensity of the contractions while enduring these acrobatics in bed. You might think that this would damper their mood, but on the contrary they dug deeper into their sense of humor to find relief. Ela asked Charles to find some pushing music, and during each contraction he would blast rock and roll music while we all laughed. She also had us laughing while she made it a competition with the woman in the next room to see who could push their baby out first.
36 hours had passed with ruptured membranes Ela was showing signs of a fever. After a quick examination the OB shared her concern for the babies temperature and heart rate. She recommended that they continue delivery via cesarean birth. Ela didn't hesitate and quickly agreed. As Charles prepared himself to enter the operating room and knowing how the couple used humor to lighten the mood, I suggested we draw a smiley face :-) on Charles’ mask. He loved the idea and took it a little further and wrote the words hello Nicholas. I will especially cherish my conversation with Charles in the waiting room while we waited for him to meet Nicholas face-to-face. Charles shared his most treasured journey with his wife. How they met, the decision to have a baby, and how profound this moment in his life meant to him. I truly appreciate the beauty of it all and being able to offer support to our birthing fathers as well as our birthing mothers.
Please join me as we celebrate Nicholas's remarkable entrance into the world. Nicholas Richard was born on November 16th weighing 8 pounds 1 oz.
The most precious moment was when Daddy sang a song to the baby that he wrote himself. He shared that he started writing this song five years ago and finished it just in time for the delivery. I included the lyrics and I'm sure you would agree that it sounds like a prayer.
In doula love,