A natural birth story w/ 10 tips for you (spoiler: hire a doula!)
We love when our doula clients share their birth stories! Below is the story of Vitalina's birth as told by her mother, Tanya, and her partner Denis. Thank you for sharing your story for other parents to gain wisdom from. Special thanks to Mindful Birth Doula Emily for her tireless support and guidance.
I want to congratulate all families with upcoming Christmas and New Year, to share my happy birth story and to thank this year for the best gift ever!
That was a beautiful sunny Saturday - a day before the due date. Our community organized a barbeque and my husband and I spent some time in the pool. After coming out of the pool I felt that my water was leaking. Since I was well informed and prepared for labor (I took online classes, read books about natural delivery and also attended the classes at Mindful Birth Services), I stayed calm, enjoyed delicious food and communication with our neighbors. We left the party early and I remember all our neighborhood was waving Good Bye to us and wishing Good luck. Even though I told them my due date was in two weeks (just to avoid the tension of too much "when"), so I was the only one person who knew that the baby was coming soon.
At home I finished packing a hospital bag and ironing swaddling clothes for the baby. I called our doula Emily and she said that contractions should have began and I just did not feel them due to high pain tolerance. She told me I needed to have a rest and to keep energy for delivery. So before going to sleep I told my husband Denis that it looks like I was in labor and our baby was on the way. I also explained that every labor is unique and sometimes can last a couple of days. So I asked him to stay calm and just love and believe in me.
I woke up and began to feel contractions around 2 a.m., called Emily and she stayed on the line with me during a couple contractions helping me to breathe well. And I should say that right breath helped me so much, it made contraction intensity feel less. So I tried to stay in bed as long as I could, cuddling with my husband, sleeping between contractions, and later I was staying in elbow-knee position finishing writing my birth plan between contractions.
To be honest even though I was prepared well and was going to have an unmedicated delivery, there was a moment when I was almost ready to give up and to go directly to the hospital soon to get an epidural. Around 4 a.m. I was feeling such severe discomfort during contractions and it just grew with every new contraction. So I thought I would not be able to manage it for a long time. And luckily after the next contraction (that was the worst in feeling) I ran to the bathroom and threw up. And I felt so relieved, remembered that vomit was the sign that dilation went well, and I decided to continue following my goal.
Around 7 a.m. my contractions were happening every 4 minutes and lasted for a minute for one hour (4-1-1), so we decided to go to Health Park. I was 8 cm dilated by that time, which was great news. But since water had broken around 12 hours ago and I didn't drink water during sleep, I was dehydrated and had to have IV with alkalines and vitamins. Medical staff did a lot of attempts to get the needle into my vein since my veins were flat due to dehydration. And that was painful and left a couple big bruises.
Speaking about pain during labor - everything that was natural and happened inside my body was not really painful that I could not overcome. I would describe labor pain as not a pain itself, but a very high level of discomfort and body weakness.
I felt pain only at medical intervention like setting up the IV and the fundal massage after delivery. That was the first time when I cried during labor, and Emily had warned me before and reminded to breathe during the massage.
So my husband and our doula Emily were helping me so much to live the contractions and that support was wonderful and so essential. I felt very relaxed and protected. I was thinking about my baby, I knew she was also working hard to be born and I was sending a lot of Love to her. Few hours later Emily made warm bath to help me to relax more and that was amazing! She decorated the bathroom with lights and candles and even brought inflated pillows. She was like a fairy making the atmosphere pleasant and beautiful and at the same time she was like a good commander who acted highly professionally and gave clear commands to my husband to work as a team and support me.
"Our doula was like a fairy making the atmosphere pleasant and beautiful and at the same time she was like a good commander who acted highly professionally and gave clear commands to my husband to work as a team and support me."
After half an hour in the bath I was fully dilated, asked my husband to spend some time in other room and began to try pushing little by little. I changed the way of breathing - I did a really deep inhale (sent my attention to the diaphragm to fill it with air) and a long narrow exhale. Some time after I felt a pleasant flush of power, and I told Emily: "I feel I can do this!" and she explained that it was an adrenaline rush provided by nature so that mom could take care of a newborn baby. Isn't it amazing?!
Doctor DiGiorgi came soon, she was so professional and cheerful at the same time, she smiled and said: "So, let's have a baby," and it sounded so encouraging. After pushing for some time my baby girl was born at 12 p.m.. 7 pounds 6 ounces, 21 inches of happiness.
We had immediate skin-to-skin contact and tried first breastfeeding. I began welcoming the baby and telling her how much I love her and how precious she is. The umbilical cord was clamped when it finished pulsing (in around 5 minutes) and soon I felt a new wave of contraction - that was placenta coming out. Doctor DiGiorgi showed it to me, explained that it has two sides - baby's and mother's side. What a wonderful powerful organ it is!
The next day we were discharged from the Hospital, came home being a newborn family of three and our new joyful life and happy journey began. I will keep this great birth experience for all my and my baby's life and am excited to repeat it again later.
I am so grateful to my husband, to our birth team (Christine, you are a great coach and Emily, you are our lifesaver), to all great medical staff and how professionally they worked. I did not have a chance to give them my birth plan, but somehow (in some magical way) it looked like I got everything I wanted and even better!
Here are some tips that helped me in labor:
- first of all is Knowledge, I studied the theme of labor and birth carefully a lot;
- keeping the environment around that helps to produce natural oxytocin (dim light, warm, quiet and safe);
- focused breathing during contractions (full inhale and long exhale with low deep sound as Christine taught us);
- keeping mouth wide open during contractions (our lips muscles are synchronized with "down there" muscles and we need it to dilate);
- maximum relaxation between contractions;
- changing poses, moving around;
- using vertical positions as long as I could to have gravity help baby move down;
- drinking a lot of water and herbal tea;
- positive attitude and trust to my body, my baby, the Universe and our birth team;
- the last, but not least is Doula. Even my husband, who was pretty skeptical about this service, after the labor told: "I cannot imagine how could we manage the labor without Emily's help!".
Story shared by Tanya, mother of one beautiful baby girl, 2020
Thank you, Tanya, for sharing your beautiful birth story with us! It has been our pleasure to be your guides through your birth journey. We look forward to serving you again in the future!
In doula kindness,
The Mindful Birth Team
To schedule your Intake Call with our office to discuss your birth plans and if a doula is right for you, click here.