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B is for Bennett, Baby Bennett Lee! A sweet baby boy with a mighty tale and quite an intuitive mama

Today's birth announcement was written by our doula Emily, who had the privilege of attending baby Bennett's birth. Join us in welcoming this sweet baby boy to the most loving of parents, Sara and Matt.

health park doula birth


Sara was a mom long before she even conceived! Her love and her sacrificial spirit of putting her baby's needs before herself are qualities of being a great mother and she possessed these qualities and more.

When I met Sara, she explained to me how having Type 1 Diabetes may present a challenge for her pregnancy and delivery. With the support from her loving husband Matthew, Sara prepared her body and mind.


Due to her diabetes, Sara and Matthew accepted there may be an induction at 39 weeks but didn't expect that pre-eclampsia would move that induction up two weeks sooner. The night before the scheduled induction, the couple decided to try every natural remedy they could think of, and boy did their efforts pay off in a huge way! Labor went from 0 to 100 in no time! Her membranes ruptured, and this unusual intensity at the beginning of labor urged the couple to their birthplace.

After several hours, uterine contractions not only settled down but fizzled out completely, bringing the couple back to the threshold of a Pitocin induction.


Sara is what you might consider a Birth Warrior; she contended with some very challenging opposition and she depended on her intuition to make difficult decisions. Sometimes birth asks of us that we boldly and courageously cross over thresholds that completely blindside us. Sara floored her support team with her inner strength to manage the intensity of the physical experience of her labor.


Looking back at my prenatal visit with the couple, I gave Matthew (as I do most partners) a metaphorical tool belt filled with comfort measure techniques that he could bring out during labor to support Sara. I can only imagine his frustration when he discovered that the tools would be rendered useless against the intensity Sara was facing during her labor. I know without a doubt that if it were possible Matthew would have gladly switched places with Sara. It was challenging for Daddy to see her in pain, and I was proud that he allowed his wife this rite of passage of letting her find her own way using her intuition, rhythms, movement, sounds, and tapping to cope with the extreme intensity of her labor. Sara did her due diligence to research and be informed throughout her pregnancy, and knew her birth preferences inside and out. I believe this allowed her to focus her intuition during labor and she knew when a different course of action was needed with the labor she was given (much different for many of us than the labors we have ordered!). If she was not prepared with all she did during pregnancy she may have been stuck on the vision and could not be able to see what needed to happen. These are key pieces to having an empowered birth. HIGH FIVE!

A special moment sticks out in my memory: after Matthew and Sara crossed countless thresholds and conquered monumental obstacles, the OB was called in to assess the situation. Matthew and I crossed our fingers and toes and prayed while Sara was being examined. When we heard the most excellent news that Sara was given the green light to push, Matthew and I jumped up and gave each other a high-five in celebration!


Sara wanted to share a few more details about her birth that are only hers to share. They are an important part of her story; when a mom is in my presence and trusts me enough to share any part of her birth story, I take notice and listen. Read on with an open heart:

“I just want to give every momma the advice to trust that little voice in your head and do what you know is best for you and your baby! To back track just a little bit, we were originally supposed to deliver at Cape Coral Hospital with the OB practice that we loved and trusted. However, when my pre-eclampsia became too dangerous to continue being pregnant, our providers recommended we switch to Health Park Hospital for an earlier induction. At first, we were completely against it. Health Park was 30 mins from our house as opposed to 2 mins like Cape Hospital. We would also be dealing with doctors and nurses that we had never even met. We went home and discussed the options, and something told me we needed to be at Health Park.

We had no real reason to think our baby would require NICU time, but I was not willing to risk him being transferred to another hospital and being separated from him.

Fast forward to Bennett’s dramatic entry into the world... he had been handling my very intense labor beautifully. His heart rate was perfect and the medical staff was so pleased. We had been dealing with issues from my scoliosis all throughout labor, including Bennett being in an unfavorable position due to the anatomy of my back muscles. When it was finally time, pushing was something I could focus on and feel like I was doing something productive. Emily had the great idea of me pulling on one end of the rebozo while my husband pulled on the other end while standing at the foot of my bed. We felt like such a team, and I was so proud of my husband (he initially expressed his wishes to stay near my shoulders during this stage). He was so encouraging, telling me he could see the baby’s hair and that I was so strong.

The doctor came back in and we knew we were close to meeting our chubby boy. He had been estimated at just over 8lbs a few days earlier (I was 36+5 at that ultrasound). Once Bennett’s head was out, I expected the rest to go by very quickly, and I couldn’t wait to have him on my chest after 2 intense days of labor and pain. Instead, the exact opposite happened. Bennett got stuck and we experienced a two and a half minute shoulder dystocia.

Those were the worst 2.5 minutes of my life.

The doctor tried numerous maneuvers to get his shoulders to pass my pubic bone, to no avail. It went from 5 or so people in the room to about 15 or 20. One nurse was on my stomach, pushing down on my baby, while the doctor had both hands inside of me, pulling him out. Our big, 9lb 2oz (at 37+2) baby boy was finally on my tummy, but only for a split second.

Bennett had a few issues, including breathing difficulties that made the NICU a necessity. At birth, he had zero use of his left arm, but has since moved all his fingers, his wrist, and his shoulder. These movements are not full range or strength, but they are a promising sign that we will be able to help him recover from his brachial plexus injury he sustained during delivery. He will require a couple of years (at minimum) of occupational therapy, and potentially surgery.

Now, back to that intuition... I’m the crunchy kind of momma who would have LOVED a home birth. I had a feeling that wasn’t what was best for my baby, so I didn’t pursue it. I found a wonderfully supportive provider, who is very pro-natural birth instead, and decided the hospital was where we needed to be. When pre-eclampsia reared its ugly head, we were given the choice to transfer hospitals. Something kept nagging me that it was the right choice.

I have thanked God so many times that I listened to that little voice in my head. Our baby was able to have the immediate assistance he needed, with no ambulance ride, while staying in the same building as his parents. For that, I am so thankful. Trust your gut, mommas!

I am also happy to announce that we just received news that we will be discharged tomorrow and will be home for Thanksgiving! Thank you Emily and Chris for all of your support and guidance throughout my pregnancy, labor/delivery, and recovery. We are so grateful for your expertise and love!"


Bennett Lee Sushil was born 37 weeks old after 37 hours of Labor on Friday, November 9th at 2:27pm. He a fighter like his mom! Weighing a perfect 9lbs 2oz and 22 inches long. Join me as we celebrate his special arrival!

With love,

north port doula


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