Archive for the ‘Birth Stories’ Category

Dear Hannah,

I had been present for your big brother’s birth 3 years ago– Bethany had an unplanned cesarean for Christian and was hoping she’d be able to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) with you. She started going to ICAN  (International Cesarean Awareness Network) meetings and met some key people who helped encourage and empower her to make the choices she needed to set herself up for success. Bethany learned that her best odds of having a successful VBAC were if she gave birth at home with an experienced midwife. She found a wonderful midwife, Sandra Stine Tallbear, who happened to live right in their neighborhood. Initially, it was a little hard for your dad to imagine a home birth, but the more he talked to Sandra, he too was convinced this was a safe and good thing to do. (Besides, Bethany is one tough cookie– an army vet and has run a marathon. What’s left on her bucket list?)

As the months progressed, Bethany got more and more excited about her homebirth. It was so wonderful having Sandra coming to the house for prenatal appointments, working around her and Jon’s crazy schedule. It was such a nice change from the traditional OB practice.

We met a few weeks before your due date and reviewed some comfort measures for labor, reminding Bethany she already had all the skills to do this. All she needed to do was relax and trust her body knew how to birth a baby. She had made arrangements for a tub to labor in this time, sure the relief from the tub would help her get through the hard parts of labor.

I first heard from Bethany at 7:45pm on Thursday, April 14, 2011, when she texted me she had been having mild contractions 8-10 minutes apart since late afternoon. They were not strong, and she was doing fine, but she wanted me to get the “heads up”. I advised her to eat, drink, and rest…

At 9:50pm I received another text saying the “rest” was not going so well. Her contractions were now 5-6 minutes apart and much more intense. Sandra was coming over in about 30 minutes so I packed up my stuff and headed over too.

I arrived at 10:20pm. The tub was in the living room, waiting for water. Bethany was standing, a smile on her face. “Did you hear the good news? I’m 4cm, 80% and -1”. How long did it take to get to 4cm last time? Hours! She was lighthearted, joking around. Jon was happy to see me and excited too. Jon guessed we were going to have a tax baby– April 15th. “Just an hour and a half to wait.” Little did we know how right he was! Christian was upstairs, asleep with Grampa watching over him.

It seemed like only a few minutes after I got there Bethany’s contractions took a turn. They started coming more frequently and were more intense. She was having to really focus on relaxing to get through them. She asked me to do the “hip thing” which provided good comfort. After awhile she was tired of standing, so we sat on the couch for a few contractions, rocking. She didn’t love that so I suggested sitting backwards in a chair– that felt good. All she could think about was getting in that tub, so Sandra and Jon worked on getting it ready while I rubbed and squeezed Bethany’s back and hips. She had a doozie of a contraction and said “I think I just went to 6cm” I didn’t doubt it!

At 11pm, Bethany was able to muster the strength to text someone– We were taking pictures and a little video, joking about updates on FaceBook! Bethany was able to smile and laugh in between the contractions, but she was serious and focused getting through them. “I want the tub”. Finally, it was ready and Sandra said ok.

Bethany stripped right then and there and let us help her in. As she melted into the water, she moaned and said “I’ve died and gone to Heaven”. The tub felt wonderful. She was able to totally relax and let the contractions come. I put a little lavender on a cool washcloth and placed it on her head, talking her through as the contractions began to intensify again. Sandra made her some “birth tea”– a combination of basil, nutmeg, lavender and red raspberry.

At 11:15pm, Bethany announced her water broke. Jon looked in the tub and sure enough you could see the cloud of amniotic fluid mix in with the water. He was amazed he could see it (“that’s trippy”) and Bethany was amazed she could feel it. Sandra continued to monitor your heart rate periodically. You sounded beautiful each time she checked, even during those strong contractions. Her soft voice and calm words reassured us that everything was going just fine.

Bethany moved around and changed positions frequently in the tub. It looked like the water was going to leak out onto the floor when we realized it seemed like it needed more air. Jon got the pump out and filled it up… much better.

At 11:35pm, Bethany was vocalizing regularly and beginning to doubt her ability to go on. She was feeling a little nauseous. The contractions were really hurting. (Although she did suddenly look up and ask Jon if he had taken out the laundry in the dryer!) All she wanted was for them to stop. Sandra took that cue to text Heather, the other midwife, to start making her way over. “Please come out Hannah”, Bethany was literally talking you out!

Well, the talking must have worked, because at 11:50pm, Bethany indicated the first inkling of feeling pushy. She asked if Sandra needed to check her. I assured her we trusted if her body “said to push”, it was time to push. The contractions were still very strong, and painful– Bethany wondered, “Where was that break I was supposed to get”? Her body was ready to push you out!

By 11:55pm, she was “officially” pushing with every contraction. She started on her back in the tub, then leaned forward, then squatted for a while. With every change of position she brought you down further and further. (we also had to put more air in the the tub with all that movement!) This was the hardest part for Bethany– “What was I thinking?, This sucks”. I agreed it was really hard work but she was doing beautifully and it wasn’t long now! It hit midnight and we joked that it was now ok for Hannah to come!

It was hard to slow down at the end. We tried to help Bethany pant like a puppy but her body was saying OUT and indeed, she pushed you out while on her hands and knees at 12:18am on 4/15/11 (tax day!) into Sandra’s loving hands. Sandra brought you through your mama’s legs and she reached down to hold you for the first time. She sat there in that tub, holding you, looking into your little face, while you looked up into your mommy’s eyes for the first time. Jon was so happy, proud, and relieved!

Heather showed up– Jon said “You missed it!” She thought he was kidding– he wasn’t! She came in and looked truly surprised to see Bethany sitting in the tub holding her baby girl.

They helped Bethany deliver the placenta, which was transferred to a ziplock bag in the fridge for encapsulation. (Jon: “I have a placenta in my fridge?”) Bethany was ready to get out so we helped her out, dried her off and headed to bed. Sandra examined her and found a tear, so we helped Bethany through the repair, which was no fun. But once that was over, she sat up in her own bed, and nursed her baby for the first time. She was finally able to take a deep breath, and let what just happened settle in. Bethany had just had her baby in a tub in her living room! Grampa even came downstairs and met you for the first time, in awe at everything that just happened.

Sandra and Heather kept close tabs on both mom and baby– both were looking perfect! We made some food for Bethany which she welcomed. They also prepared a wonderful herbal bath for both of you, to promote healing and relaxation. Sandra gave you a loving, gentle bath while you rested comfortably in your mother’s arms. It was so peaceful. No hurries, no policies, no agendas other than you.

Finally, the kitchen was cleaned, the tub drained and put away, midwife and doula stuff returned to their place. Mom and baby were clean, fed, and tucked into bed. There were hugs all around. It was time for all of us to leave and let everyone take a nap! (All except Jon who was wired!) It would only be a few hours before your big brother would awaken and discover you had arrived in the middle of the night while he was sleeping!

Love, Shelley

For those of you unfamiliar with World of Warcraft, warning, this story is a tad different. You’ll get the gist though…

Westley Charles Balch

Release Date December 7, 2010

The tale of a heroic 5-man with a legendary human hatchling loot drop.


Jeni- Human Warrior tank
Andrew- Human Pally off tank
Shelley- Night Elf Shaman healer
Paula- Gnome Rogue DPS
Brenda- Dranaei Hunter DPS

12/6/10 Jeni had her membranes swept today. She was already 3-4 cm dilated. I told them to go empty out their bags, stock up on food and mana potions and to get ready to head to the instance.

Contractions started mild around 3:30pm and were about 7 minutes apart at this point. Andrew sent me a PM around 5 for a “heads up”.

Talked to Jeni around 8:45pm and her contractions were 4-5 minutes apart. They were thinking about heading in soon. I talked to her on the phone, she still sounded cheerful, and “herself” so I recommended they stay home awhile longer and wait for the big emotional change and hard contractions. She is so excited this is happening on the eve of the emergence of Death Wing!

Around 11:12pm, I received a text that they are heading in. I met Jeni’s mom in the parking lot, trying to figure out the way into the instance (women’s center). We ended up going around to the ER entrance and found Jeni and Andrew there so we all entered the portal together.

Jeni was doing great. She had to stop to wipe out some of the trash (contractions) but otherwise she was in a great mood.  When we arrived at labor and delivery, she wanted a room with a view of the waterfall, so we waited outside while they prepared one for her. We were also waiting for our back up DPS Brenda.

The nurse Deidre (NPC Quest giver) was a midwife from Ireland and her accent was so adorable. I wanted to pack her up in my [Enchanted Rune cloth Bag]. Brenda arrived and it was nice to be able to sit and group up, get our buffs and mana up.

Jeni liked sitting the rocking chair while the two Grandmas (DPS) shared their birth stories. Again, so excited that this is happening on the eve of the great Cataclysm. She knows the people of Azeroth (her coworkers) are going to love this!

Andrew had just gotten the achievement of Shave and a Haircut, for the first time in years of game play! Everyone thinks it looks great and we even got a screenshot with Jeni in her last pregnant belly pose. Grandma was updating Greg on the phone and he actually asked, “How long is it going to be?” Many LOLs going on after that one!

1:15 am we moved into room 4. Stacy [NPC Nurse] was wonderful and supportive. She sees lots of doulas and natural births so we are so excited to have her.

Bye 1:30am, Jeni is on the ball. She is getting the Deadly Boss Mods add on installed (baby monitors) and hep lock in place.  Feeling most of the damage in her back, she rated the pain about a 6-7 on a scale of 1-10. Her health points were fluctuating, but I had an eye on them as I put a Lesser Healing Wave on her.

I escorted the Grandmas to waiting area for a walk/snack/water break. Her next exam at 2:15am said she was 6-7 cm, 80-90% effaced and -2 station. She was taking a lot of damage, but her armor was holding out and her spirits were still up. She instinctively knew this fight and was doing great!

Around 2am, I received a PM from a guild member needing me in another instance. I had to step out to arrange for another Shaman (doula) to replace me. I assured my group that I am staying with them! She is so glad she engaged this boss first so she has dibbs!

3am Jeni throws down a repair bot named Uncle Greg. He’s hanging out with is jacket, not wanting to sit down. The contractions are starting to take her attention at this point but she still has her sense of humor.

About 12 hours into the fight, the Boss started to enrage.  The contractions are intensified and Jeni has turned serious. She has lost her sense of humor and is very focused on getting this fight over with. Around 4:10am, Jeni says: These are doozies in party chat and she needs a rest.

Andrew took a quick mana break while the grandmas and Greg took a walk.  I encouraged Jeni to sleep between contractions as well.

Jeni’s shield armor was yellow (she was having bad back pain). So I tried a double hip squeeze, which relieved the pain but Jeni didn’t like standing up so she went back to sitting.  I thought [Searing Totem] might help. (I put heat pack on her back) Contractions are 2-3 minutes apart and Jeni is shaky and cold so at this point I’m thinking “Transition?”

Around 5:10am, the contractions suddenly space apart and become 5-6 minutes apart and are not anywhere as strong. Jeni is able to rest and really doze between the contractions. Could this be “Rest and be Thankful”?

Paula came back and now with nowhere to sleep, Greg goes home.

5:30am, Jeni is awake and feels good. Andrew is up as well. He feels better. Jeni tried a few contractions while lying on her side on the couch. She says it feels so good to lie down but the contractions are so strong still!  Twenty minutes later Jeni’s armor is all yellow, she is suffering from fatigue and she wants an exam to see how far she’s come. She is 8-9 cm, 100% effaced, but the Human Hatchling is about -2. Stacy (NPC Nurse) is unbelievably supportive and encouraging! You can do this! But Jeni is not so sure, her armor is in need of serious repair.

At 7am, Camilla (NPC Nurse) took over for Stacy. I recommended a shower to refresh and get a second wind. I am so hoping she will be fully dilated in less than an hour and we’ll be rolling on that legendary Human Hatchling loot soon!

She is out of the shower and reports that it felt great and helped immensely. She feels more ready to go in for Phase 3 of this extremely long Boss fight.

7:45am. Jeni is overwhelmed and feels like she needs another exam. Camilla (NPC Nurse) reports  8-9 cm, but the cervix is super stretchy and the Human Hatchling is now 0 station. It’s all falling into place, but Jeni is exhausted.

At this point, she doesn’t think she can go on without sleep, so she asked for a [Healing Stream Totem] (epidural).

By 8:45 am the [Healing Stream Totem] was in place and Jeni is loving it! She is able to rest comfortably and cannot feel the contractions at all! Grandmas went to café to get Well Fed and I suggest that Andrew do the same.

At 9 am Dr. R joins the group. He will take over DPS until the end of the boss fight.  He gives everyone a pep talk and some encouragement.  He says he’ll finish his rounds then be back to break Jeni’s water in hopes to help move things along.  All Jeni wants to do is sleep at this point.

9:25am Dr. R has made it to the boss fight.  Jeni’s exam now shows 9.5 cm and Dr. R broke her water. There was a little meconium which is not unusual for a 40+ weeks.  Jeni had the shakes from the epidural and labor so I got her to her side and did pressure points in the solar plexus, which took away the shakes.

Karen (NPC Friend) stopped by for a visit and we talked about pushing and how it would be different with a [Healing Stream Totem] in place.

At 10am I noticed some good “deceleration” of the baby’s heart, which is a sign he moved into the birth canal.

At 10:40am Jeni’s exam shows 9.75 cm and the Human Hatchling is +1. We are getting so close and Jeni is feeling much better. She is getting phone calls and checking face book. Westley already has fans!!


At 12:25pm Dr. R is in and all looks great.  Jeni’s exam shows cervix is all gone but still around +1 station. Jeni will be able to rest some more and will start pushing in about 30 minutes.  They also added a little Pitocin to help contractions stay close.


Everyone was laughing about how every baby and delivery is different, “Even if you have 6”.


I was encouraging everyone to take a mana/food break. Jeni needed to rest since pushing was still ahead of us and that is hard work.

Finally, at 1:50pm, Camilla (NPC Nurse) said the Human Hatchling was +2 and it was time to start pushing.

Jeni worked very hard she was throwing Thunder Clap, Demoralizing Shot and Shield Block. Trying her hardest to down this boss in it’s last 5%.

She liked using the mirror to see what was going on. She was totally tripping out watching her baby’s head emerge!

At 3:15 Dr. R was called in for delivery. Jeni was using her Superhuman Shero Strength.

24 hour mark

Westley [Human Hatchling Companion Pet] dropped at 3:34pm into Dr. R’s hands. We all greed rolled on him, but Jeni and Andrew need rolled and they won the loot.  Wes was taken to the warmer for suctioning because of meconium. Jeni just loved hearing Westley’s cries.  She said in party chat “That’s the best sound ever”. She was so glad it was over but did say, “That wasn’t so bad”.

They welcomed Westley into their arms, so glad to finally meet him. Andrew and Jeni just amazed that they were parents! Their son was here!

A story can be told in many ways.  This beautiful birth story is shared as a slide show. Thank you to Lyndsay Stradtner, for quietly capturing the essence of John’s special day:

And thank you to Kelly and Josh for sharing your pictures and your love.

Reese Clare’s Birth-Day!!

Your Mom and Dad did their homework when it came to having a baby: They talked to friends, they read books, and even watched a documentary on birth. They wanted to have the best and safest birth for you. They decided a doula would help them along the way. We met in March and decided to work together. They took Childbirth Classes, and prepared for a natural birth. This is the story of your birth-day from my perspective…

Rob called me at 4:00am on the morning of Aug 8th, 2010 (your actual due date!) to let me know Lesley had begun to notice contractions around midnight. They had gotten more regular around 2am, and had been 3-5 minutes apart since then. He was wondering “timing”– not wanting to wait too long before heading to the hospital, but also not showing up too early. We talked about waiting until they were closer to 3-4 minutes apart, her water breaking, or noticing a change in the intensity of the contractions, before heading in. I listened to Lesley laboring in the background and knew things were moving along. I told him it probably wouldn’t be long, and Lesley would probably feel like it was time to go soon. She should trust her instincts.

I went ahead and took a shower and got my things ready in anticipation of another phone call soon. Sure enough, around 4:40am, Rob called and said they were on their way to the hospital. I said I’d meet them there.

I arrived at Seton Medical Center at 5:15am. They had just arrived too. Lesley was on the monitors in bed, trying to relax and breathe through the contractions. Our nurse, M, was very kind and supportive, gently encouraging Lesley. She did an exam and Lesley was already 5 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and the baby was -2 station! That was great news! “We’re halfway there!”

I suggested Lesley try a different position, as it was obvious lying in bed was uncomfortable. She liked standing, leaning on Rob during the contractions. Melanie got the admission paperwork signed and started a Saline lock. Because Lesley had experienced some nausea, I offered a peppermint washcloth and M offered some medication to help with the nausea, which Lesley welcomed.

As things settled down, Lesley tried the rocking chair. It was a nice place to rest between contractions, as she had been up all night long. She said “I’m so tired”… of course, you just pulled an all nighter! We joked it’s been since college since they stayed up this late!! Rob stayed by her side, supporting her with every contraction.

Around 6:30am, I noticed a change– the contractions became more intense and closer. Rob put on the “ocean waves” sound in the background to help calm Lesley, who was doing an excellent job managing the contractions. I suspected things were going to move fast at the way Lesley was acting… It was shift change so we were getting ready to meet our new nurse. Lesley continued to work, using her breathing and vocalization to cope with the tough contractions.

Around 6:40am, Lesley noticed the first “urge” to push. We waited until it was almost unstoppable before calling M back in. She did an exam and said Lesley was 7 cm, 100%, and -1… We encouraged Lesley to use her paced breathing to resist the urge to push, which was really tough. I suggested a side lying position to take some of the pressure off, and Rob and I helped her through every contraction while the nurses prepared for shift change. K was taking over for M.

At 7am, Lesley couldn’t stop pushing… I called K back in and she did a quick check– sure enough, she was complete and the baby was super low. She called for a delivery crew “stat” and told the on call doctor, Dr. M, to “run!” The room immediately filled up with staff in preparation for a fast delivery– doctor, tech, baby nurse,labor nurse. M thought she was going home, but decided to stay for the delivery! As we got Lesley into position for delivery, K and I helped her focus her energy and learn how to push.

After rushing round, preparing for a quick delivery, it seemed this was going to take some time. Lesley was a pushing champ, and worked hard. It helped to have K count with each push, so as she felt the contractions come,she would call out “K, here it comes”, and K was by her side counting. Rob held the other leg and the whole room coached and cheered as she moved you further and further down… Even Dr. M sat patiently through the whole time, gently encouraging. When we could see your hair, everyone got even more excited! (Especially your dad!)

After 1 ½ hrs of pushing, Lesley pushed you into the world at 8:44am. You were immediately placed onto your mom’s chest where she welcomed you with your first hug. I took pictures of those first moments so your Mom and Dad could just take you in. I gave Lesley a big hug, “You did it!” She was exhausted, but glowing and smiling at the same time, so glad you were finally here.

You weighed 7 lbs, 3 oz and measured 22 inches long– a tall baby! While your mom got cleaned up, your dad held you for the first time… I knew instantly he had fallen in love with his new baby girl. He just stood there, looking into your face, amazed.

Welcome to the world, Reese Clare!

Corinn’s Birth Story

Corinn, your mom and dad wanted the best birth experience possible for you. They had experienced an unplanned cesarean with your big sister Morgan and hoped to have a vaginal birth with you. They chose Dr. Christina Sebestyan as their physician, and me, Shelley Scotka, as their doula, to help them through this journey.

Robin first knew something was happening the morning of Friday 2/12/10, almost a week “past” your due date. Se had been experiencing some cramping overnight and now knew something was “up”. She was pretty sure she was losing her mucous plug, and by mid day, was having consistent contractions 3-7 minutes apart. She called Brendan to come on home. They had a 2:30pm ultrasound appointment already scheduled, so planned to head in for a checkup.

By 4pm, Robin called me and said they were heading into the hospital. Lisa had checked, and Robin was already 3 cm and 90% effaced! She was continuing to have contractions 2-5 minutes apart and they were getting stronger. I let them know I’d plan to meet them at the hospital within the hour.

I arrived at 5pm with Robin in bed on monitors- smiling and excited! Contractions were still 2-5 minutes apart. Both she and Brendan mentioned how different already this experience was compared to their experience with Morgan. They were so thrilled!

Dr. Schmitz was on call overnight so came into introduce herself. Our night nurse was Shelly, who was super sweet and flexible to let Robin shower and take a break from the monitors periodically. Robin checked in with her sister to give the update.

By 8:30pm, Lisa came in and wanted to check on things. Robin was still 3 cm. Dr. Schmitz suggested breaking Robin’s water to help progress the labor, but Robin was really wanting to let nature take it’s course. We tried walking around for a while, and talked about the pros and cons of rupturing the membranes. Robin decided to try to sleep awhile, as the contractions spaced some and were mild. We helped her get comfortable, then rested, hoping labor would perk up during the night.

By morning, there was virtually no labor going on. Robin was disappointed but agreed the best thing was to go home and wait to things to perk up again. Dr. Schmitz offered to break Robin’s water come Sunday or Monday if she hadn’t gone into “active” labor by them. That sure sounded far away!

Robin spent the day Saturday trying to rest. By the afternoon, Brendan called and reported Robin was “at her wits end” with exhaustion. The contractions were still strong enough to keep her from sleeping well, but not enough to count as labor. I suggested a warm bath and a small amount of beer or wine, to slow the labor enough to allow for some rest. He said they’d give it a try. Robin called at 8pm that night and said it worked, she felt very relaxed and was going to try to get some sleep. (She told me she hated beer and wine but Brendan and her mom figured out how much alcohol was in Bailey’s Irish Cream and mixed a little with a glass of milk!)

By 10am Sunday I talked to Robin again. She had slept a little overnight but still was feeling pretty tired, so we talked about getting a sleep aid. Dr. Schmitz was willing to call in for an Ambien to help her get some rest. I talked to Robin again later that night and she said it helped a little, but not as much as she would have liked. They were making plans to go in the morning to have her water broken if nothing had happened on it’s own by then.

At 9:45pm, Brendan called and said they were on their way to the hospital. The contractions had gotten 2-5 minutes apart and were much stronger! I met them in triage where it was obvious Robin was working through the contractions. We were sure this was it! Cathy did not arrive until 11:30pm to check Robin. She reported she was about the same, still 3 cm. That was so disappointing. She recommended a sedative to help Robin relax and sleep, and to come back in the morning for the rupture of membranes. Liane would be on call in the morning– Robin and I both loved her. So while it was sad to leave the hospital once again without a baby, we knew tomorrow was the day for sure. I hugged both Brendan and Robin as we parted ways, agreeing we’d see each other in the morning.

I arrived at North Austin once again at 7am Monday, February 15th to find Robin and Brendan getting settled in their room. Brendan needed 3 trips to the car to get all the stuff- today was the day no matter what Corinn said!

Liane came in, wanted to get a round of antibiotics in Robin before she broke her water just in case– she’s plan to be back around 11:30am. We hung out, did a foot massage, then I recommended a nap… I knew Robin had hardly slept in two days and was going to need all the rest she could to muster enough energy to have this baby!

At 11:40am, Liane broke Robin’s water. She said she was officially a “good” 4 cm and 90% effaced. Everyone felt positive and encouraged, this was a great start, and more dilated than Robin had ever been! Robin moved around, sat on the ball, and continued to be amazed how different this labor was, over and over…

By 12:30pm, Robin was noticing a few contractions. Her water was really gushing with those contractions… we went through all the towels in the room! As the day progressed, Robin felt the contractions more in her back, so we hoped that meant progress. We walked off and on, trying to bring on labor. We warmed the rice sock for Robin’s achy back, and encouraged her to rest in between the contractions. Even Brendan finally gave in and dozed off for a short nap.

At 3pm, Liane came in and talked about the possibility of using a bit of Pitocin to strengthen the labor. Robin was having contractions that were 2-3 min long, but 10 minutes apart. Liane felt perhaps a small amount of Pitocin would bring those contractions a little closer so we could actually make some progress. Robin was just ready for all this to be over- she was so exhausted! We talked about keeping all her options open, including an epidural, even if it was for sleep, not for pain.

At 4:00pm, Liane came in to check again. Suddenly something kicked in and the contractions got close and strong! Robin got focused and serious– was active labor finally here? No need to talk about Pitocin now!– Robin’s back was bothering her, so I recommended a shower to help her relax. She and Brendan enjoyed some time together in the shower, relaxing under the warm water on her back.

By 5:30pm, Robin was whooped. She really began to wonder if she’d have the energy to have a natural birth. I reminded her an epidural was an option at any time to help her be able to do this. She started wondering- was it time to call it quits? Had she given her body enough opportunity to have a normal birth? Was this all a long message letting us know a vaginal birth was not happening? I suggested to Robin that she have Liane check her one more time to see what was going on, and to help her make a decision about where to go from here. At 6pm, Liane said Robin was 5 cm. It was progress for sure, but not enough to convince Robin she could do a vaginal birth. Liane suggested bringing in Dr. Sebestyan in to talk about options. She was on her way and would be here soon.

Robin continued to work with her labor, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. She was so ready to be DONE and have a baby in her arms. Brendan remained by her side, supporting whatever decision she felt was best. I told Robin that no matter how this baby came, this time, she was in complete control and in the drivers seat. Whatever SHE wanted this time, she was going to get.

By the time Dr. Sebestyan came in, Robin was ready for a baby. She requested a repeat cesarean. Dr. Sebestyan and the staff were very respectful and let her know they’d get things ready right away. Within 30 minutes, they had Robin prepped and were walking her into the OR. I helped Brendan get ready, and packed him full of gear- peppermint oil and homeopathics for possible nausea, cameras, etc. I walked him over the the OR and helped fill in the time while we waited… he was called in as it got close to 8pm.

And somewhere behind closed doors, Corinn Moira was born at 8:01pm. Dr. Sebestyan remarked as she gently pulled her into this world, “Robin, I think you made a good decision”. Corinn weighed a whopping 11 lbs, 9 oz!!

I spotted Brendan as he exited the OR area and they headed to nursery. The nurse said I could join Robin for the surgical repair, so I suited up and headed in. I sat by Robin’s head and held her hand and stroked her face and hair as we remarked how beautiful and big Corinn was! We knew we were having a big baby, but no one expected a baby THIS big!

Robin was amazing… what a trooper. I walked with her as we left the OR and headed into recovery. Robin was doing great– feeling great, in fact, asked me to get her phone so she could call a few people and give them the good news that Corinn was finally here!! She was chatty and so relieved it was all over. We shared a moment together, grateful for a sweet healthy baby.

Brendan stayed with Corinn in the nursery and waited for Robin to make it into postpartum. We finally arrived close to 10pm where Robin got to hold Corinn for the first time. Luckily, Corinn was ready for her mama, and eagerly took to the breast right away! Both Brendan and Robin could not believe their beautiful daughter was in their arms, finally.

I stop to think about what makes a positive birth experience– A birth where the mother is respected and supported without interruption. Where she feels like her opinion matters. Where she can move around, eat and drink, and have loving companions with her at all times. Where she can listen to her baby and body and make decisions for herself. Where she welcomes a healthy and beautiful baby surrounded by love and joy. Where she is never left alone to feel scared. Where she can nurse and hold her baby skin to skin, and relish in the amazing newborn she has just met.

Brendan and Robin, although we had all hoped Corinn would find the “traditional” exit ramp for delivery, she was brought into this world with love and positive intention. Thank you for inviting me to share in the amazing journey that brought Corinn into your family. I hope you’ll be able to look back on the hours (days!) that lead up to her birth, and remember it fondly. I know I will.

Ana was sure she would have you before her due date of Jan 20th, 2010. She just had a “feeling”. I tend to trust moms when they have these instincts, as they are so often on target!

Ana called the morning of Jan 11th around 10am to let me know she was pretty sure her water had broken earlier that morning. She was continuing to have “gushes” of fluid as the morning progressed. I confirmed it sounded like her water, and she’d want to check in with the birth center and let them know.

I talked to Ana again around 2pm. She had spoken to Lauren at the Austin Area Birth Center, who had confirmed it was her water. They were just waiting for active labor to start. At that time, Ana was experiencing a contraction about once an hour. I recommended a nap, staying hydrated and eating whatever sounded good. We talked about possible “home” remedies which might help labor get going, and Ana promised to stay in touch.

That evening around 6pm I received a call from David who said Ana was now having contractions every 20-25 minutes and they had plans to head into the birth center to get labor going by 7:30pm. I asked him to just let me know when they felt they would need me, as I was on stand by!

Ana called again at 8:20pm… she had taken some cohosh and used the breastpump to stimulate labor. Lauren was there, and she said they were fine… they were playing Scrabble! She would call when she needed me… wanting me to be fully rested so I could massage away!

At 10:45pm David called and said things were now moving along. Lauren had checked Ana’s cervix and she was 3 cm– contractions were close together and strong and they were ready for my help. I asked if they needed anything… a hot pack for Ana’s back and a Diet Coke for Lauren! I grabbed my things, and was off to the Birth Center.

I arrived at 11:15pm with Lauren greeting me at the door. She reported things were “cooking” now with contractions every 2 minutes. I entered the Windsor room and found Ana standing, leaning on David, moaning with the contractions. It was obvious they were intense! I softly rubbed Ana’s back and helped her lower her moaning, to help her relax with the contractions. Ana was feeling a little overwhelmed and scared- asking how much longer, what stage was this? Lauren and I joked- if only we could make predictions like that, we’d be rich women. We encouraged Ana to take “one at a time” and to continue to focus on her vocalizing and finding a position that worked for her.

Ana really liked standing up best, she leaned on David for support while I softly stroked her back. She was really working hard to get through the contractions. I offered music or aromatherapy, which she declined. She just wanted to lean on David and have me close to her, and for us to stay quiet so she could rest.

Ana’s mom called around midnight- they gave her a status, but asked that if she came, to wait in the waiting room outside. Things were getting really intense so I suggested a bath to help Ana relax and possibly soften the intensity of the contractions. It was a little after midnight.

As Ana lowered herself into the warm bath, she instantly said things felt better. The contractions were still strong, but not as sharp, and she had a little more break in between to rest, which is exactly what I had hoped the bath would do. David and I stayed close by, to offer a cool washcloth, and a hand to hold.

Ana really settled into the bath and found her “groove”. She was doing an amazing job of handling the contractions. One contraction seemed more intense than the others, and both Lauren and I noticed something was different. After Ana got through that contraction, she said “The baby’s coming”. That got our attention! Lauren asked, “Do you feel like you need to push?” and Ana said a little. So even though it was only a little over 2 hours since she had been checked, Lauren suggested an exam. She waited until Ana was between contractions, then gently leaned into the bath. “Guess what… you’re 10cm!” I couldn’t believe it, Ana had gone from 3 cm to 10 cm in a little over 2 hours. No wonder those contractions felt intense! It was 12:45am.

Ana didn’t feel a strong urge to push right away, so we just encouraged her to listen to her body and do what felt right. As the contractions intensified, her sounds became more pushy. Lauren gently coached Ana to hold her breath and bear down to help move the baby down. She needed both David and I by her side for hands to hold and support. Between those pushes, we encouraged Ana to rest and relax completely, which she did.

Ana was making progress, but Lauren suggested some squatting to really help the baby come down. A few squats in the bath, supported by David, did the trick, and Lauren called the assistant in for delivery. Ana leaned back in the tub and continued to slowly and gently move that baby down. I suggested David move to Ana’s side so he could see better, while I continued to support her head and offer a cool cloth. I took the opportunity to capture some of those precious moments on the camera too.

With Lauren’s gentle guidance, Ana maintained complete control and was able to ever so gently push out the baby’s head. Even before the whole body was out, she said “It’s a boy”… truly before there were any parts available to confirm! You were born at 2:03am, and we did indeed verify that you were a boy! You were placed immediately onto your mother’s chest where she welcomed you with love and joy. Ana and David admired how cute you were already- with your eyes open wide, calm as can be. Ana said joyfully “We have a son!”

Soon after, it was time to deliver the placenta, which Ana did easily while still in the tub. Lauren took a moment to show both Ana and David the placenta and amniotic sac, explaining the different sides and parts. It was pretty amazing.

We helped Ana to bed where we could get both of you dried off. Your dad took that opportunity to hold you for the first time while Ana got settled, admiring you quietly in a rocking chair. You still did not fuss or cry, just took in the sights around you.

I suggested David take you and crawl into bed next to Ana so you could hang out as a family… which he did. Ana was exhausted, it felt great to just take a moment to relax and take a breath! As soon as you started showing signs of rooting, we helped Ana get you to the breast and latch on for your first feeding! Ana welcomed her mom in “Abuela”, who was just beside herself with joy in meeting you for the first time.

Before I left, I made sure Ana was comfortable, finishing the day with a lavender foot massage. I passed out hugs and encouraged Ana and David to take a rest– together as a family for the first time.

Ana and David, thank you so much for inviting me to share in the day Max was born! It was truly a beautiful, peaceful, natural birth. I felt honored to be there. Best Wishes to your Family!

Shelley Scotka, birth doula

I saw Sydnia and Rajeev the evening of January 4th for a routine prenatal meeting. Sydnia commented that she had been feeling more crampy than usual… and had noticed some mucousy “show” earlier in the day. It sounded like something was starting, so I wasn’t surprised when I got a call from Rajeev at 5am on the 5th.

Rajeev calmly reported that Sydnia was having contractions every 3 minutes and had been doing so for about an hour… Sydnia reported she had woken up at 2am to use the restroom and noticed mild contractions at that time, but they weren’t strong enough to keep her up. She woke up at 3am with stronger contractions, and finally woke Rajeev up at 4am, needing help.

Her contractions were very close together, long, and she reported feeling “pushy”. I didn’t want to freak Rajeev out, but asked if they had called the med-line yet. He said they had 25 minutes ago, but had no response. I advised them to call L & D directly and to head straight in. I suspected Sydnia was close to fully dilated and was feeing the beginning urges to push. I listened through one contraction and knew what was happening.

I threw on clothes and jumped in the car, arriving at North Austin Medical Center at 5:30am. I walked in to the labor room and found Sydnia standing, surrounded by nurses trying to get her blood drawn and hep lock in place. Sydnia looked up between contractions and said “8-9cm”… wow! Rajeev looked relieved to be there, where he could take a breath and relax!

Sydnia’s contractions were one on top of the other, so we took advantage of the short breaks to get everything in place. Liane was on call and came into the room, smiling sweetly. She was so positive and encouraging, using a soft, gentle voice to help Sydnia find her inner strength. I massaged Sydnia’s back and used the double hip squeeze to relieve the pressure and pain. Liane offered a hot towel for Sydnia’s back, which felt great. Sydnia was struggling with the urge to push- I helped her focus, relax, and try to breathe through those tough contractions.

We tried getting Sydnia on the bed on hands and knees, but she didn’t like that. I suggested the supported “chair” squat we had just tried the night before, which felt good to Sydnia. She was beginning to push for real, so I suggested we move that same supported squat onto the bed instead. We got Rajeev up on the bed and helped Sydnia make her way as well. She got settled in, and we encouraged her to go ahead and follow her body’s lead if she wanted to push.

As her pushing got stronger and more intense, I noticed we could see a glimpse of the baby’s head, so asked the nurse to notify Liane. She arrived, and sure enough, we could see more and more head! Soon we also realized we were seeing an intact amniotic sac, so Liane set up some plastic to catch the spray we were sure would happen soon.

As Sydnia pushed and pushed, gently supported and encouraged by the whole room, we could see the sac bulging more and more with each push. Finally Liane said “we’re going to have a baby”. It was tough for Sydnia to push through that final stretch, but she had amazing control and determination, and at 7:17am Jazmin was born in her amniotic sac, known as “en caul”, an omen of good luck!

Jazmin was immediately placed on her mother’s skin where Sydnia held her daugther for the first time. I captured those precious first moments on the camera so she and Rajeev could just sit back and relish in the peace and joy of their daughter’s birth. It had been quite a whirlwind, but everything happened exactly as Sydnia and Rajeev wished.

I met your mom and dad in the Childbirth Class that I taught at St Davids Medical Center.  They decided they’d like a birth doula to help them the day you would arrive. They planned and hoped for a perfect natural birth to bring you into the world.

Kirsten called me just as I was leaving class Monday night 11/09/09 around 8:45pm. She reported having some pinkish liquid discharge- just a trickle- and wondered what I thought. We debated back and forth whether it could be her water broken, so I asked her to keep a watch on it and if it increased, continued, or turned into contractions, then it might be labor starting. How exciting!

I heard again from Kirsten at 12:30am on 11/10/09. They had called Dr. P and he had advised them to come in and get checked. She was already 5 cm dilated! They were definitely staying! Wow- I couldn’t believe it! Kirsten was still her cheerful self, said she was having contractions about every 4 minutes, but they were “no big deal”. I told her I was on my way!

I arrived at 1am, Kirsten with a big smile on her face sitting in bed on monitors. Matt was close by playing on the laptop. They both can’t believe they are actually “in labor” and staying. They told the story of the drive in, how they discussed they would most likely be coming back home. They didn’t even bring in the stuff from the car!

The nurse said she couldn’t confirm if Kirsten’s water had broken or not, but Kirsten reported continued leaking, so we assumed she had a high tear somewhere in her bag. She took a quiet moment when the contractions came, but otherwise you could not tell she even was in labor.

Around 2am, Kirsten made a trip to the restroom- feeling a little shaky, not cold though. Started some good “self talk” telling herself she could do anything. We offered the birth plan to our nurse, who then understood Kirsten’s wishes. She was pretty hands off and gave us our space to do exactly what Kirsten and Matt had wanted.

I recommended Kirsten try to take a break between contractions and get some rest. The adrenaline from earlier had worn off and I could see she was showing signs of weariness. Matt was only too happy to oblige… “We haven’t been up this late in a LONG time!” Kirsten got comfortable in bed and rested between contractions as best she could.

Things settled down, I dimmed more lights and found a quiet corner to sit. Matt and Kirsten chatted a little here and there… “Do you have a feeling boy or girl?” Kirsten asked. Matt wasn’t sure- Kirsten said she thought it was a girl…Matt shared a story of going to Wimberly and finding Rock A Bye Baby CD’s- they had already been listening… which one will be Baby’s favorite? Laughing about eating Thai food for dinner… did the spicy food put her into labor?

Kirsten was up again at 2:40am for another restroom break (all those IV fluids!) She was showing signs that things were progressing… starting to furrow her brow and take the contractions more seriously. I suggested one last belly picture- Kirsten allowed for it.

By 3am, Matt was wiped out and I convinced Kirsten she needed to sleep while she could. We got Kirsten comfortable on her side with Matt leaning against her pillow from the recliner chair. Kirsten was having contractions every 2-3 minutes which did require her attention, but she breathed through them and went back to sleep. In between one contraction, Kirsten said “Wouldn’t it be crazy if we had the baby before lunch?” Matt replied “How about before breakfast?” I was pretty sure at the rate she was going it would be by breakfast for sure!

Kirsten battled heartburn as the labor progressed. Another restroom break around 3:15am, things more serious, focused, smiles between the contractions still there but less frequent. Kirsten was still holding up beautifully.

At 3:30am, our nurse came in and said Dr. P wanted her to do an exam and “make sure things were progressing”. Kirsten was 7 cm, 100% effaced, and the baby had moved from -2 to -1 station. That was great progress! We encouraged Kirsten she was doing amazing, and to keep doing what she was doing.

By 4am, Kirsten was not smiling anymore. She was feeling a bit nauseous, so I offered some cool compresses and peppermint oil to relieve. (That darn Thai food was not happy in there.) More self talk- “I can SO do this.”

Kirsten was up out of bed, liked a light massage on her lower back. She was using slow breathing to get through the contractions, and was doing a great job staying relaxed. She liked sitting on the ball awhile too, and was so relaxed, she almost drifted off to sleep in between the contractions! Matt and I stayed by her side, gently rubbing her back and shoulders, and whispering words of encouragement.

At 5:00am, Mara wanted to do another exam. Kirsten was 8-9 cm, 100% and the baby had moved down to 0 station… Kirsten knew she was close to the finish line. She decided to try to relax in bed again to rest. I suggested Matt do the same, leaning on Kirsten’s pillow, staying right by her side.

Things stayed quiet and peaceful. As contractions intensified, Kirsten worked through them. Unfortunately, the Thai food refused to stay down around 9cm, so while Matt got Kirsten into the bathroom for clean up, I freshened up her bed. It was 6am when I noticed the first “grunts” during contractions. I asked if Kirsten felt pressure, and she wasn’t sure yet… so we waited. I knew it would be obvious at some point.

Finally around 6:45am, Kirsten was definitely bearing down during the contractions, so I called the nurse in. She confirmed Kirsten was fully dilated, and the baby was already +2 or +3 station. (I think Kirsten had been gently pushing all that time and didn’t even realize it!) It was shift change, so a new nurse took over and got things ready for shift change. I advised her to get Dr. P here ASAP – she was busy prepping the room and I could clearly see the baby’s head while Kirsten pushed!

The rest of the delivery crew entered, Dr P quietly sat down and got read to catch Baby De Steffen. He gently guided Kirsten through the delivery and as you were born, he said “Dad, what do you have?” and Matt announced through his joy “a girl!”. It was 7:07am.

You were placed on your mommy’s belly right away and she and your dad treasured those first few moments together. I took some pictures so they could just relish you. As the staff finished their work, the room finally quieted down again… we helped your mom get positioned and she offered you the breast for the first time, and you happily took it.

Kirsten and Matt, thank you for inviting me to share in Evangeline’s birth. It was truly a peaceful, and gentle birth, surrounded by love and joy. I felt honored to be there. Enjoy your precious and beautiful daughter.

Shelley Scotka, doula

Kate was more pregnant than she had ever been. She walked, visited the acupuncturist, did everything she could do persuade Lemon to come. 38 weeks came and went… 39 weeks came and went… surely before September 1st… alas, Lemon had ideas of his own.

Kate was 3 cm dilated when Dr. P checked her cervix Wednesday Sept 2nd. He scheduled her for a 9/9/09 induction “just in case” but felt confident she would not still be pregnant by then. At that point, I was not so sure she was convinced. She finally let go and left it up to Lemon to come when the time was right.

So I wasn’t too surprised when Kate called around 3pm on Sunday, Sept 6th to say “something was going on”. She had been having contractions about every 7 minutes since 1:30pm that were “definately different” than before. They were supposed to be heading to a birthday party at 5pm and she wondered what she should do. I reminded her early labor was very unpredictable and it could be just a few hours or it could last into the evening. I advised Jason and Lucy to go to the party, to give Kate the chance to take a nice bath and rest, and to keep me posted if anything changed.

Jason called at 4:30pm. (I always know when it’s “time” when the dad calls instead!) He said Kate was contracting every 5 minutes now and they were the “can’t walk or talk through them” kind. I asked if they felt ready to head to the hospital, or if they wanted me to come and be with them. He wanted to pow wow with Kate and said he’d call back. When he called back at 4:45pm, he said they decided they were “good” for now but Kate wanted to know how much time I’d need to get there, when she was ready. I told him I was ready to go and could be there within 30 minutes. He’d keep me posted…

Only 30 minutes later, Jason called again and said Kate was contracting now every 3 minutes and she was having a hard time getting through them. “But we’re still a little on the fence about whether to go in”. Hmmm… I outlined the course of the afternoon sofar, going from “something’s happening” to 3 minutes apart and strong in less than 4 hours. I suggested that they not panic, but that maybe if they didn’t want to have the baby on Mopac it might be time to think about heading in. After a short pause, Jason told me he thought that sounded good and they’d meet me at the hospital.

When I arrived at 5:45pm, Kate and Jason were already in labor and delivery in a “triage” room. Kate was in bed on monitors. There were hugs all around. Kate was contracting frequently and she was really having to work at getting through them. I helped her relax and breathe, cooled her with a wet washcloth, and helped her focus. Jesse was our nurse and was wonderful and supportive of Kate’s wishes. She got Kate off the monitors as soon as she could to allow her to walk and move around. She did an exam at 6pm and found Kate to be 7/8 cm dilated already! What great news. Kate took it all in stride, as we walked to our labor and delivery room, ball in tow…

The nurses got to work getting Kate admitted… knowing this would not take long. Kate signed forms, and answered questions between the contractions. She warned them she was a “tough stick” when it came to IV’s. The first nurse was unsuccessful, so the second nurse gave it a try. They finally settled for a hep lock in Kate’s hand. Finally, all the administrative tasks were finished and we could dim the lights and just focus on labor. Kate preferred to move around, only pausing for contractions, to lean against me or Jason. She used breathing and vocalization to cope with the contractions, which were getting very intense and frequent. She asked me, “Shelley, how much longer?” I assured her things were moving along and it would not be long.

Dr. C came in to introduce himself around 6:45pm. Kate was working hard, still wondering how much longer it would take. The doctor and nurses offered to break her water to speed things up but we also warned Kate with speed comes intensity. She wasn’t sure she was up for that, so passed for now. Dr. C asked the nurse to check her in 20 minutes, which freaked Kate out. “I’ll still be doing this in 20 minutes?”

It wasn’t long before Kate began to feel pressure to push. Jesse did an exam and said she was 9 1/2 cm dilated– there was a bulging bag which was the only thing holding her back. Kate said it was ok to break it at that point. Cathy, the charge nurse, came in to do the procedure. Jesse guided Kate through a few more contractions and helped her gently push to ease the remaining cervix out of the way. It was Jesse’s time to go home, but she hung on for a while, to help Kate through this challenging time. Ashley was the nurse who would take over.

Kate was feeling the strong urge to push, so finally she was given the “ok” around 7:15pm. She was a powerhouse pushing… Dr. C came in dressed and ready for delivery. But Lemon wasn’t quite ready… needed a little more time to find the right position, or to ease down. Dr. C waited in the room a while, but then stepped out to give Kate some privacy. Kate kept asking, “What’s taking so long, what am I doing wrong?” and I assured her she was doing great. This baby was needing a little more time to come on down, but he was coming. Finally we could see BLACK HAIR coming out of Kate, and that made her smile. I promised her it would not be long now! A few more Amazon woman pushes, and Lemon was so close… Kate was pushing so hard she shot her hep lock straight out! Dr. C returned just in time to ease Lemon out… Kate had amazing control and pushed just right. Ever so gently, Lemon was born at 7:45pm on 9/6/09- was placed on mom’s belly and Jason was the first to announce “It’s a boy”!

And Lemon officially became Milo.

Kate hugged Milo close to her while Jason looked on. She couldn’t believe he was finally here! I think it took Jason a whole 5 minutes to post an announcement on Facebook! He was so excited to have a boy! Lucy had a little brother!

Kate and Jason, thank you for inviting me to share in the amazing moments that brought Milo here. What a whirlwind– really only about 6 hours from start to finish. Kate, you were powerful and strong, even in those intense moments. It was such an honor to support you through that journey.

Nola, your Mommy and Daddy wanted this special day to be the best it could be. They read books about having babies, they took a childbirth class, they did their research, and they hired a doula to help them through the journey of labor. Here is the story of the day you were born.

Carrie called me at 7:30am the morning of July 14th, 2009, almost a week past her due date, to let me know “something was starting”! She said she had probably slept through a lot of cramping last night, today the cramps were stronger, and her sciatica was so bad she could hardly walk. She had called Michael and he was already on his way home from work. I told her to keep me posted.

Within an hour, Michael called and said Carrie was definitely having contractions, and there was quite a bit of bloody show- how much was too much? We talked for a few minutes, and I advised him to time the contractions, and call the doctor. It sounded like things were on their way! Michael called back within 30 minutes to say they were on their way to the hospital. Carrie’s contractions were 3-4 minutes apart. We knew she already had a nice jump start, as she was 4 cm and 90% effaced at her last doctor’s appointment.

I met them at Seton Medical Center at 9:40am. Carrie was in bed being monitored. As I walked in, I instantly recognized their nurse. I had worked with her many times before and was so excited she was going to be on our team. Carrie said the contractions had slowed down a little, which I explained was normal with the transition to the hospital- all that rushing, anxiety, etc. We’d get her settled in and relaxed and I was sure labor would perk right back up.

Michael went to go move the car. Dr. G came in for a quick visit and exam at 10am. She was only going to be on call til noon, then Dr. B would take over. Carrie was already 5 cm, 90-100% effaced, and -2 station… what a great start! Carrie was only slightly uncomfortable with the contractions, and easily breathed through them. Her sciatica was probably more painful than the contractions at that point. We tried various positions to help her be more comfortable.

As our nurse got paperwork signed, we contemplated whether this baby was a girl or a boy. Carrie shared a story of a vivid dream that she had a girl, but she wasn’t so sure anymore. Nurse guessed it was a girl based on heart rate. We knew we’d be meeting baby soon!

Nicole and Beaner arrived, anxious to visit… they had delayed their day at Schliterbahn to spend the day waiting in the hospital instead! They were very excited, and a little nervous about being there.

Since Carrie was relaxing in bed, I offered a foot massage to help her relax and maybe encourage stronger contractions. The nurse made a third attempt to collect blood and get a saline lock going. Meanwhile, the foot massage seemed to be working. Carrie was having stronger, more frequent contractions and she was having to focus more of her energy getting through them. She was feeling a lot of pain in her back, so we moved around, trying different positions to help her be more comfortable.

Around noon, Carrie was pretty miserable with back pain, so I suggested a shower. She and Michael spent some time in there, relaxing, enjoying the warm water. It helped relieve her pain quite a bit. Unfortunately, it was time to check on baby, so Carrie had to cut her shower short.

By 12:45pm, Carrie was working hard and was ready for another exam to check on progress. We knew Dr. B was doing another delivery and we’d have to wait. He showed up about 1pm, joking around, all smiles and enthusiasm. Carrie was doing such a great job managing her pain, I think Dr. B assumed labor wasn’t progressing– he alluded to breaking her water to get things rolling along… little did he know! Upon examination, Carrie was already 8 cm, 100% effaced, and baby was -1 station! That was amazing progress in only 3 hours.

Carrie was feeling exhausted, but continued on. She liked sitting in bed, leaning on Michael. We kept the lights low, soft music in the background to help her relax. Carrie was showing definite signs of transition… as Michael’s phone continued to vibrate in his pocket, Carrie, in no uncertain terms let him know it was time to turn the phone off!

I alternated massage and counter pressure on Carrie’s back, then hot and cold compresses. It all seemed to help, and she liked the variety. Around 1:50pm, the nurse came in to do a quick check on the baby- perfect. Carrie was so tired, she literally slept against Michael’s back in between the contractions. We heard a baby crying in another room– inspiring!

Carrie thought she felt her water break around 2:15pm. Dr. B checked– her water bag was still intact, but she was 9 ½ cm, 100% effaced, and the baby was 0 station. She was continuing to make amazing progress. We encouraged her, just a few more contractions, and she’d be ready to push!

By 2:25 pm it became obvious Carrie was pushing with the contractions. We called the nurse in who confirmed Carrie was completely dilated and encouraged her to find a comfortable pushing position. Carrie liked sitting upright, but we didn’t see a lot of progress. We tried leaning her back a little, with her feet on the squatting bar, and before we knew it, we could all see a little head! Our nurse called Dr. B in- Carrie’s water still hadn’t broken and the nurse thought she saw a little meconium. Dr. B broke Carrie’s water, and sure enough, there was a little. The staff prepared for delivery– which didn’t take long! Only a few more strong pushes, and Carrie delivered Nola at 3:09pm! She was whisked to the warmer so they could check her out and do some suctioning to get all that yucky stuff out of her tummy.

It wasn’t long and new Daddy Michael brought his little girl to meet Mommy. Carrie was overjoyed to finally hold the baby she had worked so hard to meet! It was then that they officially announced your name- Nola Wynn. Welcome to the world!

Does a doula really make a difference?
Families report having a postpartum doula improved breastfeeding outcomes, increased their confidence as parents, helped them get better sleep, and improved their emotions, including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.