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Valley June born at 11:22am on 1/19/22, 38+4 weeks and 5lbs, 13oz and 18.75 in long

Thank you to Kelsey for sharing her birth story with us! It's a tear-jerker, be warned! Thank you to our doula, Tara, for her unwavering support.

"This time around with my second, I set an intention to release any fears and any limiting thoughts about my capability to have a different experience compared to my first, where I wasn’t as aware of what I am now after having that first experience. One in which I am so grateful for having because it led me to where I am now and gave me the ability to know exactly what I needed and wanted in my second pregnancy. I knew that this time I was going to seek out ways in which I could be more in tune with my body and using the knowledge I had from my first birth experience, I had the confidence that I could trust myself and the process.

I’m going to take it back to my first experience for a bit because this is what ultimately led me to Tara and the Mindful Birth Doulas today for the birth of our daughter Valley. During my first experience, after an induction at 41 weeks, pitocin for 22+ hours, an epidural, being told my baby had her head turned to the side and that I needed to have a cesarean (but was on a 3 hour waitlist); I was blessed to have a night nurse come into my room that evening that changed the course of my first birth experience 5 years ago. After she read my chart, she explained to me that she was previously a doula before she had become a nurse at Health Park. I had zero knowledge of what a doula was or did, but she brought a sense of ease with her that I needed in such a vulnerable moment in my life. I trusted her and she assured me that she was going to do everything in her power to get our baby to turn her head prior to having a c-section in 3 hours. She used a peanut ball, moved me into all sorts of positions that I had never heard of, got me to move around as best as she could, all the while I had no way of helping her or my husband move me because of the epidural. She checked each of the three hours to see if there was any progression and for the first 2, there wasn’t any change. Finally, she turned the lights off and told me to close my eyes and rest and that she would check one last time before I would go back for the c-section. As she came in for the final check, minutes before they were going to come in to discuss what was next, I was 10 cm dilated and our daughter was ready to be born. After 15 minutes of pushing our first was in our arms. All thanks to my night nurse that was once a doula <3

Fast forward to the spring of 2021, I knew I wanted a doula with us throughout our pregnancy and birth journey. I was lucky enough to have a family member of mine who had recently given birth and had posted her birth experience about the same time I had found out I was pregnant. She had tagged the Mindful Birth Doulas and how Christine’s class was so very helpful for her journey. I knew this was it, what I was searching for, the perfect fit.

With Tara being so informative and helpful throughout my pregnancy and with Christine’s Birthing From Within class, I felt that I could trust my intuition and flow through my pregnancy with ease without worry of what may or may not happen come January. A sense of confidence that our birth would unfold as it should and that I could trust the process and focus on the week to week journey while following the spinning babies exercises, walking/exercise and mindfulness and meditation as tools in my toolbelt. When I met with Tara at 32 weeks, I had expressed that I would like to have a natural birth, if that was something that was possible, but I would be open to changes in my birth plan if it was something that I or my baby needed in the moment.

On January 18th at 5:30 pm, after an amazing girls day spent with my oldest going to the Tea Room and spending 2 hours at the butterfly garden, I was tidying up the house and as I was folding a towel, I noticed that I felt a trickle of water run down my leg. I paused and thought to myself, “did I just accidentally pee myself”? So I stood still just to be certain and sure enough more and more water came. This was it. I called my husband to the bathroom and said I think my water just broke, I think it’s happening! He told our five year old that it’s time, Valley is on her way and the smile on her face was beautiful and exactly what I needed to see to ease my anxiousness at that very moment. We called Tara and she said we could decide if we wanted to labor at home or head to the hospital and after my 38 week appointment the day prior, my OB mentioned that since I was 3 cm dilated, it’s my second child and the fact that we live 45 minutes from the hospital, it would be wise to head that way. So we did just that.

After arriving at the hospital and confirming in triage that I was going to be admitted, myself, my husband and Tara arrived in the delivery room after 8 pm. Tara closed the blinds, turned down all the lights and placed candles in the bathroom for a dim light. All things that I would have never thought to do at the moment and I was so grateful that she did these things because it gave me a sense of ease, one that felt so familiar to how I felt with the night nurse 5 years prior. I wasn’t having very strong contractions throughout the evening and as it started to get late we decided it would be a good idea to get our rest while we rotated me from side to side with the peanut ball, as we would then start discussing what to do and my options around 6 am if my contractions were not progressing.

Tara woke me at 4am and said “let’s try to get these contractions going naturally”. And we did so using my pump before they came in at 6am to check for progression. After a bit, my contractions became regular and Tara and my husband were taking turns with the lift and tuck, while I listened to a playlist made by my husband of my favorite songs over the bluetooth speaker. This was one of my absolute favorite moments to experience through it all. During one specific song, as my husband was holding me through the intense pain, there was a moment. A special moment where he and I were so very present. So much so that this specific song came on during a drive 2 days after Valley came home from the hospital and we both immediately burst into tears because it brought us back to that very moment as he was holding me.

After some time, Tara then had me moving; from the ball, the peanut ball while doing the side lying position, and continually eating snacks as I could through the contractions. I was able to be free from getting fluids as long as I continued to stay hydrated, so I was able to move freely while experiencing my contractions. From 4am to 9am, I steadily progressed through active labor and I went from 3cm, to 4-5cm, to 6cm dilated. It was during this time that I needed a change to help with the pain and Tara suggested the shower- which turned out to be my favorite place to be. Having my husband spray the warm water over my belly and back through my contractions felt so amazing and relieving! After the first shower, I went back to the ball, trying everything I could do to get some relief. From there I went to 7-8cm dilated and it was getting more and more difficult to tolerate. Every contraction was coming faster and stronger each time. As the pain kept coming, I remembered to focus on my breath and I asked my husband to lay in the bed with me. I felt so vulnerable in these moments of not having control, that all I wanted was for him to hold me as I focused on my breathing through each contraction.

As I became more and more uncomfortable and knew that my body and my baby were getting closer and closer to transitioning, all I wanted was to get back in the shower for some relief in those brief moments between contractions. I spent another 20 minutes or so in the shower for a second time and as I came out, Tara said let’s try sitting up on the back of the bed. As I climbed up to face backwards on my knees, the final contraction came that changed everything. At that moment, I felt a shift. I couldn’t hold myself up on the back of the bed and laid down immediately before the next contraction came. I looked at my husband and Tara and said my body is pushing and I’m not trying to. The nurse happened to be in the room at this moment and could tell it was time to check and sure enough, Valley was ready. In that specific moment on the back of the bed, during that one contraction, I knew my body had transitioned into the next phase and the need to push was almost entirely out of my control, as if my body was taking over completely. Within minutes, my Dr. arrived in the room and 2 and a half pushes later, Valley was in my arms. It was such an amazing moment to have with my husband as we cried and enjoyed all of her- her precious, sweet face, her beautiful long fingers, her gorgeous eyes and so much more. All of the little details that I will cherish forever.

I felt so grateful in that moment for my entire journey in both of my pregnancies and deliveries, even though they were both so vastly different- they both gave me a tremendous amount of growth. Growth that I never knew I needed in those moments in my life. With Valley’s birth story, I am able to truly understand that I am capable of so much more than I had ever imagined. A strength within me, that I didn’t know even existed. As I hold her and my oldest, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with so much joy and gratitude.

Thank you Tara, Christine and Emily. You have all been a blessing in my family's lives. We appreciate you all so very much and love that we will be able to have these precious memories with us for the rest of our lives."

Authored by Kelsey Waldrop, mother of 2

Our doula best,

Tara + the Mindful Birth Doulas

Interested in learning about having a doula at your birth? Schedule your complimentary Intake Call with the Mindful Birth office!


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