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Magical & Intense: Doula supported birth, 2nd time mom

Thank you to mama Ali for sharing her birth story with us! Thank you to doula Tara for her authentic, professional doula support.

Naples Mom births baby no pain doula

"The birth of my son was the most magical and intense experience of my life. This was my second pregnancy, and since the birth of my first child didn’t go exactly as planned, my ideal birth this time around was going into labor naturally with an unmedicated hospital birth.

It all starts with a routine checkup 2 days before my due date. I asked my OB for a membrane sweep as Tara, my wonderful doula, and I discussed it could potentially help speed things along if my body was ready. I wasn’t having any signs that labor was immanent, but I was ready to meet my miracle IVF baby and I really wanted to do whatever I could to safely induce labor.

That day, after my sweep, I had minor cramping but nothing noteworthy. The next day, I texted Tara immediately when I noticed I lost my mucous plug. Shortly thereafter, I started getting cramps and back pain. I was in denial thinking this could be early labor (I simply didn’t want to get my hopes up) and went to the pool with my husband and daughter.

On the way home, we stopped to eat and I had zero appetite as the back pain was increasing. I still wasn’t hungry when I got home which was so unlike me (pregnancy made me ravenous 24/7). It was then that I knew something was happening. I stayed in contact with Tara and she told me to text her with updates, and that this could be it!

How Labor Started

We went to bed even though I couldn’t sleep and at 4:00am, I woke up to a huge gush of warm water. In that moment, I knew my water broke and I was shaking. I was filled with so many emotions- mostly excitement and nervousness, but there was also a sense of tranquility and calmness as I was in tune with my body and ready for what was to come.

The water didn’t stop.

I was leaving puddles all over my house wherever I walked, and we couldn’t help but laugh. It was definitely a theatrical movie style water break! About an hour after my water broke and many towels later, I felt my first contraction around 4:45am.

And then they kept coming.

I was timing them while texting Tara and as they got closer together, we decided it was time to leave for the hospital. We got in the car around 5:30am. We listened to my favorite music on the way there and the quiet and dark outdoors kept me calm as contractions increased and got closer together. We arrived in triage around 6:15am and at this point, contractions were about 2 to 3 minutes apart and I was around 3 to 4 cm dilated. My contractions were painful but bearable. With each one I was feeling so much pressure.

I remember the nurses saying this baby might come quickly! I was so excited to progress. We got into our room at 7:30am. Tara met us there and we immediately told the nurses we wanted a very hands off approach, but I was ok with fetal monitoring. The nurses had no problem with that and left the room shortly after that to let me labor and only came in when necessary.

Tara made the room feel so serene and it immediately put my anxiety at ease. The lights were low and there were essential oils in the diffuser. It was amazing and for the first half an hour or so, we just hung around and talked and I put my feet up on the step stool with each contraction.

Back Labor and How I Coped

doula in Naples Florida

Suddenly, my contractions really started to intensify. I was having a lot of pain in my back. The pain was so bad that even after each contraction was over, I wasn’t getting any relief because my back hurt so badly.

I asked for a cervical check around 8:30am but the nurse couldn’t find my cervix and that was really disheartening as I wanted to know how far along I was. After laboring for another hour or so, the back pain wasn’t getting any better and Tara had me get on my hands and knees and she used the rebozo as she believed baby was possibly posterior.

I remember now the contractions were so intense and back to back, I wasn’t getting ANY breaks. The only relief I felt was from Tara and my husband rubbing my back as well as laying sideways on the peanut ball. I don’t know how long I laid like that for, I think it was for a while, but I remember I was so quiet and still, riding out each contraction in pure silence, just envisioning a big wave going up and down as I felt the contraction build and then release, constantly reminding myself that the pain wont last forever.

The back pain was still present but it did ease up a bit which was nice. Tara reminded me to relax my jaw and that helped a lot. Once again, the pain intensified even more and the back labor returned along with severe nausea with each contraction. Tara had me smelling essential oils when the nausea hit and that helped me so much.

Transition: labor's hardest (and shortest!) phase

The contractions were now consistently in my back and front, it was becoming unbearable. I ended up vomiting and immediately begged for an epidural and a cervical check. This was the first moment I felt doubt in my plan, and in myself, and that was really hard. Things were so fuzzy around this time, I barely remember any of it. Thankfully, around 9:30am, the nurse checked me and I was 8 cm dilated, not realizing at the time I was definitely in transition.

Time to push

Naples doula NCH doula

Things sped up SO fast and I knew I needed to push, there was absolutely no time for an epidural now. I started pushing even though I honestly felt like I didn’t have enough stamina. I felt so defeated from the pain. I truly didn’t think I could do this. Tara, my husband, the nurses and my OB were all amazing and cheered me on. Pushing was hard but it felt so nice to push with each contraction. I just remember feeling so much pressure, it was so intense.

After about 20 minutes of pushing, one of the nurses grabbed the big mirror so I could see how close he was. I felt like I couldn’t continue but I knew he was almost here and I remember thinking to myself, “I can’t believe after three years of trying to get pregnant I am moments away from meeting my son” and that thought was the only thing that gave me the strength to keep going and keep pushing. I couldn’t wait to meet him.

One more big push and he started crowing and I felt the ring of fire. It was the most intense feeling I’ve ever felt and I started screaming. The next push, his head was out and I watched the whole thing in the mirror. I knew the shoulders were next and then I was done, so with everyone cheering me on, I gave the biggest push I possibly could and out he came, right onto my chest and moments later I heard his sweet cry. He was born at 10:28am.

We Did It!

The placenta came easily soon after and we had a lovely golden hour with delayed cord clamping. I couldn’t stop staring at him and I kept saying “we did it, buddy! We did it!” Remembering this sweet moment still brings tears to my eyes. We went through so much to have him, and finally, he was here. Our son was finally in my arms.

The birth of my son went exactly how I wanted it to go. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, but the most magical experience and I love reliving it.

Looking back, I’m so glad I didn’t get the epidural. Even though the pain was more than I could handle, I was completely in tune with my body.

Tara came by our house a few times after our son was born to help around the house, watch the baby while we rested or made food, and spent time with our daughter while we tended to the baby. I couldn’t have done any of this without Tara and we are so beyond thankful for her and her kind, calm and loving demeanor. "

Authored by Ali McAndrew

Baby Crew Callum

Doula: Tara Hoverson

SWFL doula Mindful Birth Doulas


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