Friday, September 13, 2013

The Home Water Birth of Baby Desmond ~ A Doula's Perspective

     It was around 8:30 am, I had just been up with my sick toddler all night, but the rest of the family was up and ready to go! First instinct, COFFEE! I start heading to the kitchen to attempt such a task and I heard it. THE phone call. The one I have been waiting for, the one for which I had been on call for the past two weeks or so. I always get this incredible feeling deep inside me when I know it is time. It feels like a roller coaster, lovely fun butterflies flutter around in my tummy. I rush outside and call the number back immediately. It is Phil, the super-husband calling to tell me what I knew already, it was time! Quickly, I hang up and promptly call up babysitter to see how fast she can come to my house. After all the phone calls were finished it was time to hurry up and get ready. Doula bag was already packed, and had been for some time. In my bag you will find extra snacks, gum, change of clothes, rice pad, a rebozo and some oils, just to name a few things.

    I just threw on some new clothes, brushed hair and teeth, changed baby and packed his backup things. The exciting thing about getting ready for this birth was that my 4 month old baby would be attending with me! I brought a few carriers so that I could wear him on my back while supporting the mama-to-be/my amazing friend, Tammy.
    After I finished getting ready the babysitter arrived around 9:30 am. I was super rushing at this point, anxious because Tammy had fast labors previously and I wanted to get there to help support her as her Midwife had not yet arrived. I tripped up my stairs in haste to say goodbye to my boys one last time. Left a nice goose-egg and bruise to remember it by. ;)
   Once in the car I did my usual deep breathing and relaxing that I like to do before heading into a birth. I do not want to have an over excited presence with a laboring mama who is usually trying to focus hard. I stopped real quick to get some caffeination and a snack. Played some fun music and drove exceedingly fast to get to her house.
   Pulling up to her house, decided not to park in driveway as I was the first to get there. Brought in baby and took a video of when I walked into the house. This is what I saw:

   Tammy was already laboring beautifully, her two girls were very excited, and her husband was running around like crazy doing EVERYTHING he could to get ready. He had three pots of water boiling, and the tub set up, and half way filled with water already! I was incredibly impressed!
As soon as I settled in Phil and the girls hopped in their van and ran over to Tammy's Mum's house to fetch her. She was going to help watch the girls and support Tammy. It was nice and quiet with just Tammy and me in the house. She has some very strong contractions. I sit quietly next to her during it and whisper encouraging words to her. I add another big pot of boiling water to the tub and do a little pressing on Tammy's lower back, but am not sure she was wanting the hands on since she had told me previously that she prefers to labor on her own.
   The next couple hours were beautiful and magical. It is always so amazing to watch a woman persevere through labor. I feel blessed to watch her loved ones interact with her as she moans, sighs, and yells a little bit through the intensity. Her girls are curious. They ask questions, feel the water, they want to help! Her sister sent her an encouraging video, which Phil played while she was in the tub. The Midwife and her assistant are also very encouraging. They take fetal heart tones, record notes, and assure Tammy that all is OK and normal. Phil brought her drinks, put cool rags on her head, and sang songs to her. Watching them together made me teary eyed a few times, you could feel how much he loved her and wanted to help her!
   It feels like a party. A beautiful, peaceful get together in which we are witnessing something miraculous happen! 

   Tammy's contractions get stronger and the tone is more serious. She cant wait to hold her new baby and for the pushing to begin. I continue snapping pics left and right. She looks amazingly beautiful in the water with so much love all around her. I tell her so...and Phil agrees.

 We all encourage her to keep drinking and try to eat something for some energy.At home births you rarely have cervical checks like they do so routinely in the hospital, but Tammy wanted some reassurance, so around 12:45 she asked Midwife to check her. She was about 8 cm, and baby was still a little high up in her pelvis.  I know the water feels like bliss and she does not want to get out. Eventually though the Midwife says what I was thinking... that she should get out for a bit so she can use the bathroom and also so the change of pressure could bring baby down a bit. Tammy slow danced with Phil a little bit after getting out of the tub. He held her tight as she worked through a few strong contractions, encouraging baby Des to move down.

   Then we all followed her into her room down the hall where she laid on her side, and we could all visibly see the contractions get stronger and a little bit longer it seemed. I took Marsden off my back and laid him in the crib next to Tammy. There was an adorable moment where he seemed to be mimicking her sounds, he was just babbling away! I smiled so big!

 Then there was this moment.

   It was in this moment that things changed. This moment is what birth workers just know to listen for, it is when her sounds change. Her roars and moans changed to where she added this liiiiiiitle grunt at the end! OOOOh, I smiled so big when I heard that and looked over at the Midwife, she was also smiling and encouraged Tammy, "That's right! Good job!" Pushing time was near now! I gently reminded her of her desire to give birth in water, and asked if she still wanted that. Tammy said yes, she got through another few strong grunty contractions and we quickly (and I mean she moved very quickly for having a baby so close to being born) back into the other room where the birth tub was set up!
   Super strong contractions are happening frequently now with loud vocals and a little pushing. Phil got his swim trunks on in case he needed to jump in to catch baby.

  Tammy called our for her Mum at this point. She became her rock as Tammy worked so hard to push her baby out into the world. This doula had tears again watching them.

   And then I hear that baby is crowning, and I make sure to have video ready to capture the moments of his arrival. Tammy is working so incredibly hard, but she is doing it, and I am so so very proud!

   Desmond Allen, 7 lbs 13 oz and 20" long, born on August 20th at 1:57 pm into Tammy's loving arms. Her husband helped catch and unravel the baby, her daughters and mother watched on, and everyone felt so ecstatic when she finally held him in her arms.
   And then, after the placenta was delivered, cord was cut and Tammy moved back into her own bed, something else amazing happened.... life went on. Everything seemed so normal, just now there was another little life added to the mix. Two daughters and now a son. Perfect, simple and incredibly beautiful. This is homebirth! I just got to witness a family of four become five. I took my pics, I said some encouraging words, I brought her snacks and drinks, helped talk with her daughters and assure her husband, and then I went home and left them to get acquainted their new beautiful addition.  

I will leave you with this video pics/video slideshow I put together for Tammy and her family. Enjoy!