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A beautiful birth story of baby Ben (resolved placenta previa at 38 weeks)

We LOVE when parents capture and share their own birth stories with us! Thank you to 2nd time mom, Bethany, for sharing her story of her second birth. We ALSO love 2nd time doula clients and feel so very honored to have supported Bethany and Trey for the birth of their sweet baby Ben, just two years after we helped them welcome baby Jack. Read on for Bethany's firsthand account of her labor and birth story.

"My second pregnancy was much harder than my first: my nausea lasted well into my fifth month; my body

grew bigger faster, and with it came more aches and pains; fatigue set in early on and never really abated; and

on top of all that I was trying to parent a toddler while taking care of myself. I reminded myself that it could

have been a lot worse - which is true - but that didn’t make the constant discomfort any easier.

But I’d also learned some things since my previous pregnancy and had a support plan in place to help me cope.

I found a new doctor who was more attentive and flexible than my first, my husband’s schedule allowed him to

take additional time off from work, and I still had Tara (my doula). The resources, counsel, and labor support she

provided were crucial in my first pregnancy, and I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to work with her in

my second.

I was healthy for most of my nine months (despite having a “geriatric pregnancy” - who comes up with these

names?!), but when I went in for one of my routine ultrasounds the doctor discovered that I had partial previa.

Unless it resolved that meant an automatic C-section, something I was hoping to avoid.

Before each OB appointment I would convince myself today would be the day I’d get the all-clear for a vaginal birth, and each

visit I was disappointed. As the chances of the previa resolving grew smaller, my anxiety grew bigger. Thankfully I had Tara. She met with me and my husband, talked us through what a C-section would entail, and answered all of our questions. By the time she left I had convinced myself that there really were a lot of benefits to surgery, and I was able to shift my mindset.

But then - because birth is inherently unpredictable - at my 38 week checkup my OB surprised me with the update that the previa had resolved. Honestly, it threw me for a loop. I had just finished convincing myself that a C-section was the way to go, and now I felt like I had to start all over. Once again I turned to Tara, who helped me reframe my thinking and prepare (as best as one can) for a vaginal delivery.

At my 40 week appointment, my amniotic fluid was a bit low, and since I was also a few days past my due date, my doctor suggested we schedule an induction. I left his office feeling disappointed that I hadn’t gone into labor naturally but also optimistic that this time would be better than the last.

It’s like my body knew what was coming.

That same night, I started feeling the first contractions. I labored at home for a few hours, but with such consistent contractions (and the knowledge that second pregnancies can progress much faster) I decided to go to the hospital.

We arrived at the ER a little before 2am, and I was 2cm dilated. By the time they allowed Tara to join us and had a room available, I was 3.5cm, and the contractions were becoming more consistent. Tara guided me through different positions while the nurses checked me in, took my vitals, and started an IV. As the hours wore on, the contractions intensified. With my first pregnancy each contraction felt like a gradual building up of pain until it reached peak intensity and then subsided; in my mind, the pain looked like a sine wave. But this time each contraction came on fast and furious before slowly easing over time.

By 6am I hadn’t slept in 24 hours, nor had I progressed past 3.5cm, so I asked for an epidural. Even though I’d had one (and loved it!) with my first delivery, I was hesitant to get one again. I’d internalized the notion that it was somehow “weak” or a “cop out” to get one, and that a “real” delivery is unmedicated. Somehow it felt like a failure to use anesthesia.

But that’s stupid.

I got the epidural around 9am (after nearly 12 hours of contractions), and just like last time It. Was. Glorious.

It allowed me to rest and recover but also, just as importantly, be more mentally present for the rest of labor and delivery. I was no longer spending my entire time bracing for or recovering from contractions; I could catch my breath - literally and figuratively. And if any doubts lingered, my body answered them with a clear confirmation of my decision when my water broke all on its own a short time later.

I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon snoozing, talking about birth and family with Tara, and luxuriating in a reprieve from the pain while my body continued to do what it naturally wanted to. By 1:30 I was completely dilated and effaced, and the fetal station was +2. I was ready to push. My nurse said she would help me get started, and then once the baby was close the doctor would come in to finish the delivery. My husband and Tara got into place, and on the next contraction I started to push.

I have a very clear memory of the nurse holding her hand up in front of me and shouting a slightly frantic, “STOP!” The baby was crowning, so she stepped out into the hall to get the doctor. I couldn’t hear what she said, but I did hear the response from him and the other nurses: “Wait, ALREADY?” When the door opened again, there was a flurry of activity as the team prepped the room. Once everyone was in position, we were ready to try again.

Four pushes, and the head was out.

Three more and the shoulders came clear.

Our son Ben was born on May 25, 2022 at 1:49pm weighing 8 lbs. 14oz.

Unlike the pregnancy, this labor and delivery were much faster and easier than my first, and I’m grateful I

was surrounded by a team that trusted me to make the best decisions for my body and my birth."

Thank you again for sharing your story with us, Bethany!

My doula best,

Tara + the Mindful Birth Doulas


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