Updated: May 3, 2019
Today's birth announcement was written by our birth doula, Tara. Tara is our Naples area doula and is a quite a natural at this doula thing! Tara is a mom of two boys and one pup, with her background in social work.
When I first met Lisa at her home for our initial doula consult, I immediately admired and respected her. Here was a determined woman who knew what she wanted and went after it. (She also had a great sense of humor and is British, what’s not to like?) Lisa had decided she was ready to have a child and she wasn’t going to let the fact that she hadn’t met her life partner stop her. She went through months of treatments and tests and her family and friends supported her every step of the way. When the IVF worked, she was thrilled! She couldn’t wait to meet her little girl!
Lisa was faced with many tough decision and hurdles throughout her pregnancy. Birthing an IVF baby and being over a certain age, she was immediately placed in the high-risk category. This meant she was faced with lots of fear based assumptions from the many doctors she was told she needed to see. It seemed every appointment she was given something new to worry about from being told her daughter had an issue with her kidneys to the fear that baby would be over 10 pounds. Lisa tried to take it all with a grain of salt. I reminded her that each suggestion was one person’s opinion, not fact. She used statements like, “these are the steps I will take if such and such happens, but for now I will think positively.” She said her positive affirmations that she created during Birthing From Within classes with our agency owner and educator, Christine, and even had them hanging up in her house to remind her of her power and influence over her thoughts. She read books, listened to podcasts and did the hard inner work required of birthing mindfully.
So, when her due date started to approach, and her doctors told her inducing was her best option, she struggled with the decision.
As her birth doula, I discussed having a Mindful Induction with Lisa. What’s a Mindful Induction? It’s our way as Mindful Birth Doulas to make sure a birthing parent has all of the information they need to consent to an induction, including personal considerations and questions to discuss with their care providers, alternatives to what is being proposed, and a thorough understanding of what to expect from the induction process if it is ultimately consented to. My role as her doula isn’t to make any medical decisions for her or question her doctor’s medical expertise, but it IS my role to make sure she understands what is being proposed and what might come along with it.
Ultimately, she decided to trust her provider’s guidance.
What sometimes walks hand-in-hand with an induction includes consenting to an epidural, as Pitocin contractions are often more intense than our body’s contractions and an epidural can be the most compassionate option for the birthing mom. Even the most steadfast and prepared mothers can be brought to their knees by Pitocin contractions, not to mention the emotional turmoil that can accompany a days-long induction. Everyone needs to rest at some point during a days-long labor. Luckily, after a slow start to the induction process, a few days of minimal dilation, and an epidural, Lisa progressed from 1.5 cm to almost five in just a few hours, and then from 5cm to 9cm in another 15 minutes! Lisa then was given a few hours to rest before the pushing stage.
Lisa’s step-mom, Valerie, was a constant support to Lisa. She and her friend Meghann continued to remind Lisa how strong and determined she was. They rallied around her with love and encouragement. Her Dad hovered around the hospital wanting to be there for his daughter but also not wanting to impose. He came back and forth to the hospital, waited in the parking lot and then came in the middle of the night to see his new grand-daughter. When we thought delivery would be soon and Lisa would be hungry but it was too late for food, he worked his magic at the Ritz and got his daughter a meal. Beautiful family support!
Surrounded by amazing the feminine energy of her doula, step mom, best friend, and favorite nurse, Lisa started to push. After 2 hours, baby was unable to pass below the pubic bone, so another nurse was called in for extra support. She discovered that baby was OP, or sunny side up, which can result in a more difficult navigation through the pelvis. After another 30 minutes of pushing, a cesarean was suggested. Then baby’s heartrate had a sudden drop. This made the decision for Lisa easy. Within 10 minutes Lisa was being taken back for surgery and baby was born just before midnight.
A cesarean birth comes with many facets to process afterwards; there are not only the physical considerations of an emergency surgery but also the sheer exhaustion of having been through days of labor to have a cesarean afterwards. We talk about this in Birthing From Within class and role-play ways to be more mindful and aware during a cesarean birth, as well as ways to practice self-compassion when the unexpected happens. It’s moments like these when it’s important to have a birth team you trust and to have done the difficult prenatal work during your pregnancy, this work of emotionally preparing yourself to be mindful and solution-focused, even when you’re in the midst of a scenario you don’t wish to be in. It’s learning to hold one set of emotions, including worry, apprehension, disappointment and others, alongside with joy, bliss, elation and exuberance. All I know is that in this moment, the world changed. A baby was brought forth, and it was beautiful.
The postpartum period after a cesarean can be challenging. Lisa planned ahead and hired us for postpartum doula work as well. Not only that but our entire Mindful Birth tribe of doulas and mothers is ready and eager to offer support! Birth Circles are one way that we all get together to offer in-person support to every one of our doula clients. It's a missing piece of birth in our culture and we are pretty proud to shine a light on this simple form of connection. Moms, you weren't meant to do this alone!
I am so proud of Lisa and all of the hard work and tough decisions she has made throughout this process. The journey to motherhood is never easy. We are tested and tried. We face self-doubt and vulnerability. But it is in this space we also learn how to rise to meet those obstacles. It is where we grow as women and into mothers.
Freya Dianna was born at 11:57pm on 4.25.19. She was 7lbs 15oz, 20.5 inches long. Named after a fertility goddess, her arrival has been long awaited by not only her mom, but many family and friends. This little girl will have lots of “aunties” and “grandparents” to shower her with love! Welcome to the world, baby Freya!
In doula love,