A Day in the Life
So the midwife called me at 2:15 a.m. & asked me to meet her in Murrieta 20 minutes later… why do babies always come in the middle of the night?
I jumped up & got dressed and we arrived at the mother-to-be’s house in Menifee at 3:00 a.m. Although the hospital in Wildomar was close by, she chose to have a homebirth for the delivery of her baby.
We knew that the mother was in early labor but it seemed she had no one else to help her through this birth. The father of the baby had moved back to England and she lived with her Grandmother.
Her contractions at this point were sporadic, 5 minutes, then 3, then 7, then 10, and then back to 5 minutes apart.
I waited on one couch and the mother was trying to sleep on another couch, trying to get some rest before things got more intense.
She was excited to be finished with her pregnancy and knew that soon she would be holding her baby. I told her that she needed to sleep so she finally slept from 5:30am to 6:30am. Then she was up again and took a bath. At 7:15am I suggested we go for a walk around her neighborhood on the outskirts of Menifee.
The walk increased the intensity of her contractions and at 11:00am the midwife gave her a pelvic exam for the first time & said that she was 7cm!
This was very encouraging. I tried to keep the mom in the upright position to keep her contractions going, they never did get consistent, a sign of a posterior positioned baby. She went through transition sitting on a birthball and she did very well with staying focused.
This was a very effective position for her even though she did not like it & wanted to go back to her bed. Later she went back to bed because she was very fatigued. The midwife checked her again and said that she was fully dilated with just a small rim of cervix over the baby’s head on one side.
This home-birth had been going amazingly well but at this point something changed, it seemed the baby shifted & her head came down the birth canal at a bad angle. Later we saw that the shape & molding of the babies head showed this to be true. The rest of the birth seemed difficult and when the midwife checked her cervix again at 11:30am she had gone back to 6 cm dilated! At this point we got her up again & tried many different positions.
After 3 more hours, a beautiful 6 pound, 14 ounce, baby girl was born at 2:20 pm!!!
The mom had inverted nipples so breastfeeding was not easy for the baby. We sent the one of the mom’s family members out to buy nipple shields and they were an amazing device, I’m not sure she would have been successful without them.
Personally, this home birth was encouraging to me to see that my instincts are good & my suggestions for position change etc. are usually helpful and affective.
The best part was when the baby was starting to crown, we could see about 3” of her head. I suggested we get the mom off her back & into a supported squat. She pushed one more time and the baby came out with a big whoosh. The midwife was very surprised. I was thinking, ‘we’ve got to get this baby out’.
The heart tones went down to 90, 80, and at one point even 70. The mother was very, very tired since she had not slept for 2 nights and would not eat anything in the time that we were there. This mom was also over 200 pounds and it seemed to me that for some reason she only made progress when in an upright position throughout the whole labor.
The mother’s emotional reaction to labor, birth and early postpartum were interesting. I was impressed that a young, 21 yr old, single woman would opt for a home birth.
I’m sure she would have had many interventions in a hospital setting, possibly resulting in a cesarean.
Time seems to go very slowly during labor, it’s good to keep record of the significant changes happening for a realistic view. The pushing stage of this birth was 2 hours and the mom and baby were not doing as well as you would hope for. So it seemed very intense. Afterward, I realized that it was 2 hours of pushing which is very normal for a first time mother. I also learned to trust my instincts for positions, change in room, breathing techniques and pushing.
It was my pleasure to serve this mom well as her Doula and to help her avoid a C-section. I responded as soon as she called and stayed until well after the birth. In fact, the midwife & I stayed 5.5 hrs after the birth. It is truly an amazing experience, and an honor, to be a part of home birth bringing a new life into this world.
My First Home Birth!
The mother-to-be called her midwife at 1:00 in the morning to tell her that she was having contractions every 5 minutes. The Midwife called me immediately and we met within 15 minutes in Murrieta to drive to the mom’s home in Temecula.
When we arrived in Temecula she was very excited to be in labor! Her husband had made a fire and prepared the living room for the home-birth. She was excited to finish her pregnancy and hold her baby soon.
She was in early labor, 3cm at 2:30am when the Midwife checked her. She moved constantly all night, walking, kneeling and rocking. At 4:00am she got into a nice tub full of warm water, this really relaxed her and I believe she went through transition during this time. At 6:20 she started feeling the urge to push so the Midwife checked her to find that she was 9 cm dilated. Her water was broke at this time and shortly after that she began pushing. At 7:59 a.m. a baby boy was born and placed directly on the mom’s chest. He began to nurse within 15 minutes.
My role as a Doula was to encourage the mom and help her relax. Her husband was very present for her but he believed that women know how to help other women best so he took a secondary position as birth coach. This was another very sucessful home birth which may have ended with a Cesarean Section in a traditional hospital setting.
I continually stayed by the mom’s side while she moved about the house into the bathroom, living room, kitchen, and eventually the upstairs den. I reminded her to breathe slowly so that the baby would receive plenty of oxygen and I suggested different positions for her. I also applied the double hip squeeze since she had back labor. The baby was born posterior so his head was hitting against her sacrum during the whole labor. It took a lot of effort on my part as well as the Midwife to get her to not move away from the pain but to push into it and to push effectively.
The mom-to-be was very excited and chatty when we first arrived then eventually she really went into herself as she transitioned. She got very quiet herself and did not want us talking through any of the contractions. She was very focused at this point. At the end of the birth, during the pushing stage she was very tired and didn’t feel that she could continue. Once she figured out how to push effectively, and the Midwife gave her a 20 minute time limit then she got very determined and pushed the baby out even though his shoulders were somewhat stuck.
I learned many things at this birth, it was my first homebirth and I loved it. It was much easier to keep things natural and moving forward than in a hospital who are quick to perform C-sections on women.
I also learned that sometimes it’s best to back off a bit and let the mother figure out what works for her. In the end, she has to push past the pain and make it happen. Time stands still in parts of labor so it was very helpful to keep a record of when things happened such as when the water was broke, when she began pushing, when the head was out, when the body was out, and when he breathed and cried.
What a wonderful experience for me! I got to learn all over again why I love being a Doula.
I believe in the benefits of massage for ultimate health. Many of us carry around stress that we’re not even aware of and this affects our body and our health.
This is especially true during pregnancy when you’re body is going through many physical and physiological and emotional changes such as increased weight, shifting posture, and adjusting hormonal changes.
• Reduce stress, anxiety and depression
• Decrease edema in legs and feet by increasing circulation
• Relieve aches and pains in muscles and joints instead of taking pain medication
• Lower blood pressure
• Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system
• Promote relaxation and deep breathing
• Decrease pain in the pelvic/hip area
For expectant mothers I use techniques that are safe and effective for pregnant women.