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Maisie's birth story at NCH in SWFL with Mindful Birth labor doula

Thank you to first time mom Marissa for so beautifully sharing her birth story of her daughter, Maisie. Congratulations to mom and dad, Marissa and Mike!

Naples labor doula Mindful Birth

The birth of my daughter, Maisie, was the most intense and beautiful experience of my life. Everything turned out to be very different than what I had spent months planning and

preparing for but yet it was even more magical than I ever imagined.

Leading up to the big day…

I had spent weeks preparing my body and mind to give birth. I meditated and spent time every day working on my breath work. I dedicated hours every day to being active and practicing all of the stretches and exercises Tara taught me. I thought for sure our sweet girl was going to come early; that was not the case.

I eagerly attended my 40-week appointment hopeful that I was more dilated than the week

before. To my disappointment, I was exactly the same as I was the week before. I had spent the last week walking miles, climbing the stairs over and over again, performing the miles circuit, drinking raspberry leaf tea, eating dates, and the list goes on. I was hooked up to a monitor and informed that I was having contractions every 8 minutes. I was shocked as I wasn’t feeling any pain or discomfort. Mike eagerly watched the monitor and counted down to each contraction. After 30 minutes, my OB offered to admit me next door and get the process started. We declined at first due to my birth plan wanting to be as natural as possible. My OB suggested a second membrane sweep and we agreed. We left the office with the option to call back later in the afternoon and be admitted if we changed our minds. We went home and immediately went for a walk where I curb walked the whole way. My contractions became noticeable and got to 4

minutes apart. My excitement began to grow as I thought this could be the day! I went inside and conducted a training with new physicians as I breathed through my contractions, and everyone laughed with excitement. As the night continued my contractions continued to become more intense. I let Mike sleep as I climbed the stairs and tried to keep moving. Unfortunately, they started to grow further apart until they stopped all together. I felt so discouraged. I went to sleep for a few hours in hopes that they would come back but they didn’t. I spent the entire day bouncing on my ball while working to stay distracted. We made plans to go to dinner with the family and around 4pm I started to feel funny. I felt like I was starting to have light contractions and was losing a lot of mucus. Could this be it? Again, they went away, and I was left wondering when I was going to meet our girl. 

Friday morning came and as I was working on carrying on with normal daily tasks, I suddenly felt a “dampness.” Not enough for me to think my water broke, but enough for me to question and start to think this might be it. As the day continued, I periodically felt the dampness again, but still it wasn’t too concerning. Maisie was extremely calm all day, which was unlike her. After talking with Tara, we decided to call the hospital and let them know how I was feeling. The hospital advised me to come in for an exam. We frantically showered and got ready, walked Bentley, Mike had leftover Chinese food, and I finished packing the last-minute items for our hospital bags. I said goodbye to Bentley with the statement of “I’ll probably see you in a few hours.” Little did I know, that would not be the case.

Hospital arrival…

I drove us to the hospital. Yes, I drove. As we arrived, we jokingly said “well maybe we’re having a baby tonight.” We checked in and impatiently sat in the waiting room. I became very hot and anxious. As the doors opened and a nurse walked out calling my name, I nervously stood up and walked through the Labor & Delivery doors. I explained my symptoms and they decided to do a swab for amniotic fluid. Mike and I talked about what we should have for dinner as he put the US Open on tv. The nurse walked into the room and said, “your water broke, time to have a baby!” I felt a rush of adrenaline go through me. This was finally it; I’d have my daughter in my arms shortly. My blood pressure also showed my anxiousness as it displayed 170/110 and three nurses attended to me trying to lower it. We sent a quick text to the family and Tara letting everyone know my water had broke, and it was baby time.

The fun begins…

We arrived in our room, and I got an IV placed while Mike got our bags from the car, and we settled in for what was going to be a very long night. After an hour of being monitored, they informed me that I was not showing any contraction activity and I would need to start Pitocin. My plan was to be as natural as possible, which didn’t include Pitocin, but I knew it was for the best. We started off slow and it quickly increased. After an hour and a half, I started to feel contractions. I texted Tara to let her know I was starting to have contractions and she walked me through some positions to try while my labor progressed. I sat on my exercise ball and breathed through my contractions while Mike held a fan in my face, ice pack on my neck, and rubbed my back. Who knew he had so many hands! As the contractions intensified, I knew I needed Tara. I let Tara know it was time and she quickly got to the hospital. Upon her arrival there was an overwhelming calmness to her. She quickly setup her essential oil, clary sage, to provide a sense of calmness and relaxation in the room. It’s now one of my favorite smells. She put me in a new position and walked Mike on how to handle the next contraction. I instantly felt at ease knowing she was there and also knew what the heck she was doing because we sure didn’t! We spent the next few hours breathing through contractions, getting in new positions every few contractions. I was progressing quickly, but the OB decided to manually break my water. Maisie had been so low that she “resealed” the sac and that is why my body didn’t realize it was in labor. I felt a gush of warm liquid and that was the beginning of the “real” contractions. I sat on the end of the bed bent over, eyes sealed tight, trying to focus on getting through each contraction. They grew closer and closer together and I knew I was getting to my breaking point. It was around 3:15am. Even with Mike and Tara both rubbing my back, applying ice, blowing the fan in my face, I could not bear the back pain any longer. As Mike was

in my face telling me how strong I was and how amazing I was doing, I knew I couldn’t make it without an epidural. The back pain was the most intense and painful feeling I had ever experienced. In tears and through screams, I asked for an epidural. I was 5cm. I made it halfway and I was so proud of how strong my body was to get me that far. I could barely sit still to sign the paperwork and my nurse, Jessica, told me I needed to find a way to sit still to get the epidural. I had no idea how I was going to do that. As they came in to do the epidural, Jessica sat down and got in my face and told me how strong I was, and I needed to be as still as a

statue. She gave me her hand and I squeezed it as tight as I could as she counted my breathing. Miraculously, I didn’t flinch and started to feel relief. 

At around 4am Tara got me settled in bed with a peanut ball and told me to rest for a bit and then we would rotate in about 30 minutes. Tara had Mike take a nap because it was going to be several more hours before it was “go time.” Tara and I spent the next couple hours changing positions to keep my labor progressing. At one point she had me in a “throne” position and I briefly forgot I was even in labor! I quickly was at 8cm. We gave an update to our family and continued to work through the labor. I started to feel a lot of contractions again and slight back pain. I pushed the button for an extra dose of my epidural, and nothing happened. I became increasingly uncomfortable and started shaking in pain. My contractions were one right after the next giving me no time to relax. We called the nurse to let her know the epidural was wearing off and I was really starting to feel the pain. I was in a side laying position and Tara and Mike were holding my hands and rubbing my back as they talked me through my contractions. I

was in the most pain I have ever experienced and just remember hysterically crying and uncontrollably shaking. A nurse came in and gave me something for the pain while my epidural kicked in over the next 20 minutes. I started to relax and calm down. After about 30 minutes, I was back to feeling okay and was able to fall asleep. I slept for about 30 minutes until Tara woke me to put me in a new position. I slept for another 30 minutes until I was awakened by an extremely intense contraction causing my entire body to shake. The nurse walked in to check me and immediately said “never mind, I can see the head, it’s time to push!”

Time to push…

a baby born with doula Mindful Birth Doula

I was still half asleep and trying to comprehend that it was already time to push. Tara talked to me about my options of pushing right away or waiting a little longer until I got the sensation to push. I was so numb; I wasn’t sure if I would even feel the sensation to push. I decided to go ahead and push now. The next thing I knew the bed was being taken apart, equipment was

wheeled in, new nurses arrived, and the OB was called. As Mike took my left leg and Tara took my right, they began to countdown my pushes. It took about 15 minutes to understand how to push. At that point the OB had arrived, and the real pushing started. I pushed and pushed and felt like nothing was happening. Tara said, “I can see her head, keep on pushing.” I jokingly

asked what color her hair was to which Tara replied “dark, and there’s A LOT of it!” Mike continued to encourage me and tell me how incredible I was doing after each pushing session. He told me “You’re so close, she’s almost here” which I replied “you keep telling me that and nothing is happening” in frustration. Another contraction came and I focused all that I had on pushing thinking in my head “you’re one push closer to meeting your daughter, you got this.” I could feel her head making progress. I felt the next contraction coming and said let’s go and Mike began the count. I pushed with everything I had and felt her start to move as everyone in the room cheered me on telling me “This was it!” The next thing I knew, I felt the most incredible release as my daughter entered the world at 12:14pm.


She was the most perfect thing I had ever seen. She was placed on my chest and the tears started flowing. Mike and I were in awe at what a perfect beautiful human we had created. I studied every inch of her and could not get over her little fingernails and all of her hair. After delayed cord clamping, my placenta was delivered shortly after, and we spent the next hour enjoying our “golden hour” while Tara took photos of us and helped the nurses get me cleaned up. 

This experience was the most challenging and rewarding experience I have ever been through. I felt so supported by Tara during the entire process leading up to the birth and could not have gotten through labor and delivery without her as my labor doula. We decided to get a doula after feeling so lost and brushed off from our OB. After our initial conversation with Christine, we knew we wanted a doula and after meeting Tara, we knew she was a perfect match for us. She came with a wealth of knowledge and always communicated with such calmness; it really eased those pregnancy nerves! We have told every person we spoke to about the birth that we would not have been able to do it without Tara. She provided a calm environment allowing Mike and I to focus on each other and enjoy the experience of bringing our daughter into the world. I cannot thank Tara enough for her support and cannot wait to have Tara there to support us at our next birth…in a few years!

Authored by Marissa M

proud mom of baby Maisie Ann

JUNE 2023

labor doulas in Naples


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