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Mom shares beautiful doula supported hospital birth story: Welcome Maeve Therese 9.20.22

Congratulations to new mom and dad, Lauren and Sam! And special thanks to Christa for providing doula support, both during their labor and also postpartum. We love when parents share their birth story and this one is no exception! Read on for our pre-Hurricane Ian baby's birth story, told by first time mom, Lauren.

SWFL Mindful Birth Doula Healthpark

"Rapidly approaching my due date, I felt a little disappointed I hadn’t felt any Braxton hicks at this point or really any symptom that labor was coming any time soon. I became convinced and prepared myself to go past my due date.

Then at 4:15am on Sept 20 (39 + 5), I woke up with what I thought could have been a contraction but wasn’t sure. I waited a few more minutes and felt a twinge again, so I quickly downloaded an app to start tracking.

I could tell that the contractions were getting close together (anywhere between 5-10 mins) but were still very mild. So when within about 10 minutes the app told me it was time to go to the hospital based on my pattern, I figured I was doing something wrong or maybe these weren’t real contractions.

At that point I went to the bathroom and remembered reading that if you aren’t sure whether you’re in labor or not, to take a bath because the contractions will either speed up or mellow out. Well once in the bath mine immediately sped up and got very intense. I called Christa (my doula) and we talked a bit, both a little confused given how early it was/how quick things seemed to be progressing. I then decided to get in the shower which is when it got REAL - I fell to my hands and knees and at that point knew I was in full on labor. My husband called Christa back and as she listened to me through speaker phone told us we needed to go to the hospital asap.

Christa Graziano Mindful Birth Doula

Making it from our bathroom to the car was an enormous feat - I didn’t think I could do it and was literally crawling across our house towards the door for what felt like hours working through contractions that were coming fast and furious.

I wound up getting in the trunk of our SUV because there was simply no way I would have been able sit upright in the front seat - my husband put blankets and yoga mats down on the floor and I shoved a peanut ball between the seats of our middle row and hugged it.

When I finally had the courage to look up at the GPS on the dashboard I nearly had a heart attack when I saw it said it would take an hour (instead of the usual 35-40 mins) to get to the hospital.

The car ride was BRUTAL and there were moments I didn’t think I would make it but we thankfully finally arrived to hospital at 9:00am. It’s all a bit of a blur but I remember having two contractions on the way to triage alone which cued the nurses that I was far along.

Turns out I was almost 9 centimeters dilated.

They rushed me to the delivery room, but our baby girl didn’t show up until about 3 hours later at 12:34pm!

Transition in labor Fort Myers doula

I think everyone was a little surprised at how long the last bit of labor/pushing took given how quickly things had progressed prior to. I was insistent on being upright bear hugging a peanut ball on the hospital bed and I wanted to/tried to push in that position for a while. I (probably not so politely) declined pushing on my back twice, but did ultimately agree to lay on my side and push which is how I ultimately delivered. Looking back I would tell myself not to be so stubborn and to be more willing to at least try other positions.

Pushing was NOTHING like what I expected - first off, it was the hardest work I’ve ever done! Second, what ultimately worked (holding my breath and pushing as hard as I could) was exactly what I thought I wanted to avoid doing! I was attempting to breathe the baby out with no forced pushing. So to go against my gut messed with my head, and I ignored the nurses and even midwife telling me to do it for quite a while. It was only once Christa, who I knew understood and respected the labor and birth I wanted, told me to try it that I did - and it worked!

Maeve arrived completely calm and at peace. It was so reassuring throughout labor to hear the nurses say that the heartbeat was steady and even as I was pushing they kept commenting that she looked like she didn’t even realize she’s being born, which helped me relax because I knew the baby wasn’t under duress. My midwife Lonas was amazing - she was so encouraging, almost cheering me on as I pushed which made all the difference, especially as I felt myself getting fatigued. And it was like Christa could read my mind - doing or saying exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it.

Baby born Fort Myers birth

The ONLY thing (of a long list of other techniques/practices I had planned on!) that I was ultimately able to rely on to get through the contractions were breathing exercises. I practiced hypnobirthing diligently and know it was the game changer for me. Everyone commented on how calm and in control I was in between contractions. During contractions themselves though I guarantee I looked and sounded like a wild animal - and I’m proud of it! Contractions (especially near the end) were the most intense, wild thing I ever could have imagined.

Ultimately my birth was everything I could have dreamed of and more. It was terrifying, exhilarating and ultimately the most rewarding experience of my life. I pray that if I’m blessed with more children I get to do it like that again!

A huge, endless thank you to Christa and this group for the education, support and guidance."

Welcome to the world, Maeve Therese born 9/20/22

And congratulations again to mom and dad, Lauren and Sam!

Our doula best,

Christa + the Mindful Birth Doulas


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