Natural birth with a doula in Fort Myers! Welcome baby Ethan James born 2/24/19
Ethan's birth announcement was co-written by our birth doula, Tara and agency owner Christine. Tara is our Naples area doula and is a quite a natural at this doula thing! Tara is a mom of two boys and one pup, with her background in social work.
Dana came to Mindful Birth looking for a doula in Fort Myers, having moved here from Gainesville. We were able to connect her to our doula services quickly, and she was the kind of mom who could sense that birth was BIG and required her full attention. Dana and her husband registered for our online Birthing From Within childbirth classes, and Dana was tuned in every class, taking notes, taking it all in. When we had group coaching calls (these are calls that I facilitate as a Birth Mentor through Birthing From Within) Dana was there, asking questions but more so as a wise observer, dipping her toes in to what may be a puddle, or may be an ocean. She showed up to our Birth Circle Gatherings and quietly made connections with other moms in our group. She took her birth preparation seriously, and if I’m speaking my truth I will share that is one of the main things that influence how parents feel about their births in hindsight. Taking your preparation seriously, tuning in to your inner process, and surrounding yourself with a supportive birth team headed up by your doula, these are the ingredients to birth success. And success has nothing to do with the outcome of the birth, how many interventions were had or how much medical support was refused. I’m talking about deeper insights, life lessons, personal growth. Dana was right there. What a delight it was for me to have played a small part in her journey into motherhood.
When I first met Dana, she and her husband had just moved to Fort Myers. They were busy getting settled in a new home and a new community in addition to getting ready for their first baby. With so much uncertainty taking up space in their lives, Dana was motivated to be as prepared as possible for childbirth and life with a new baby. She did her research, took our Birthing From Within classes with Christine, completed the Spinning Babies exercises I recommended, ate well, listened to podcasts, and more. However, there are parts of birth you can not fully know or understand until you experience it. Isn’t this uncertainty what makes birth so scary for many new moms? But it is living through these unknowns that gives us strength and confidence to cope through other uncertainties we face in other aspects of our lives. Think about the unknowns that come along with new parenthood, for example (baby sleep habits? Getting baby to latch? Putting the baby down for a minute?). Facing the unknowns of labor and coming out the other side even stronger can help us face other unknowns that come with motherhood and life in general.
When Dana’s due date came and passed she wasn’t concerned. She said, “I’d like one more weekend and then I’ll be ready.” Famous last words! She didn’t get that last weekend, as she reached out to me Saturday morning stating she was starting to have contractions. We talked about things she could do to cope at home and some Spinning Babies techniques that would help encourage labor’s progression. Throughout the day she would repeat to me, “The contractions are not lasting long. Only 30 seconds.” Many new moms are told how labor will progress by the book: You’ll start having mild contractions that will be far apart. They’ll increase in intensity and get closer together. Once they reach four minutes apart, last one minute, for one hour, call or go to the hospital. Right? The reality is labor is different for every woman and every pregnancy. This linear line is not how it always plays out. Sometimes contractions start closer together. Sometimes contractions don’t last a full minute…and so many variables in between.
By that evening she was ready to go to the hospital. I met them there. Dana was most comfortable walking, so she walked up to L&D and kept walking throughout her labor. That movement and gravity helped her to have a fairly speedy first labor. Besides walking, Dana used the birth ball to help move baby down.
One of our doula go-tos is the double hip squeeze. This technique is great during labor and even during pregnancy. Dana and Derrick learned this technique during their birth class in Fort Myers with Chris. We went over it again during our prenatal. Dana wasn’t convinced and at the time didn’t feel its benefits. However, during labor she understood!
Even at the hospital Dana would repeat, “But the contractions aren’t lasting long. Are we sure they’re doing anything?” They were! Even in the midst of active labor, uncertainties creep in. Your doula can help you validate your worries, allay your fears, and encourage you to keep going. It wouldn’t be long before Ethan James was born!