Your mom and dad, as new parents, were a little nervous about going through pregnancy and birth on their own. A friend recommended considering having a doula present, a professional who provides information, support, and encouragement to families before, during and after the birth of their babies. They met with me and decided having a doula was a perfect fit for them!

We met several times before your due date, to talk about Twyla’s concerns and fears, and to help both of them prepare for labor. We also met with Dr. Holley, to discuss Twyla’s wishes for birth. As the days went by, both Twyla and Jonathan became more and more excited to meet you.

We knew you were not going to be a “small warrior” by any means– ultrasound predicted you to be about 9 lbs at 39.5 weeks, so Twyla decided it was ok to go ahead and induce labor. So in the evening of 2/20/12, a few days before your due date, she and Jonathan entered the hospital to get labor started.

Because her cervix was not very open and still firm, they used a special medication to help it get soft and start to open more, in preparation for labor. That Cytotec caused Twyla to have mild contractions over the night. The nurses gave her an Ambien to help her sleep, but because Twyla hardly ever took any kind of medication, she had some interesting dreams as a result– about having to work through layers of pound cake as she labored having you!

By morning, her cervix was about 2cm dilated and 80% effaced, and she was ready for labor. Dr. Holley broke her water and the nurses started Pitocin around 7am. I checked in around 7:45am and Twyla said the contractions were really starting to hurt and they would welcome my support.

I arrived around 8:30am at Cedar Park Regional Medical Center. Twyla was in bed, and surprisingly enough, did not have her usual smile on her face! I remarked “No one said labor was a piece of cake”, which brought on some laughter and smiles– after her strange dream! We had two great nurses- Deb and Tracy who supported Twyla’s wishes. Twyla was having a hard time managing the stronger contractions. Over the morning, they were inching the Pitocin levels up and up. I advised her to get out of bed, and find a better position to manage labor. She decided to try sitting in the chair a while. Jonathan ran home to get the ipod speakers, Twyla’s toothbrush, and some reinforcements. (Food!)

I did a foot massage with lavender to help her relax. She was able to get herself calm and was doing a great job of breathing through the contractions. Jonathan was able to “shove” some food in his body quickly and get back to helping Twyla. There was construction going on next door, which was loud and distracting, and then a floor cleaner went by outside. The final “straw” was Twyla’s phone going off– just too much. She broke down in tears, really doubting if she could go on. She started talking about possibly getting an epidural for the pain. Her contractions were 1.5 minutes apart, with hardly any breaks in between. The Pitocin was up to 8ml/hr.

We discussed her options and I suggested another exam before making any final decisions. Tracy checked her and said she had made some nice progress, was a “good 3cm” and 90% effaced. The baby had come down even more. She was wonderfully supportive, letting Twyla know even though it felt scary and overwhelming, that she was really doing a great job managing her labor. But ultimately it was her call how she needed to manage her pain.

Twyla felt “out of control” and since she was only 3cm, knew it would be awhile – so decided to ask for an epidural at 10:30am. The staff immediately got things prepared for it’s administration. As Jonathan and I helped Twyla to the restroom one last time, she began to feel “pushy” with the contractions… could things have changed that much? I notified the nurses, asking them if they wanted to check her one last time before actually putting the epidural in. They felt it was most likely just the position, so we moved forward. Dr. Klein was the anesthesiologist, and he was super kind and encouraging. He easily placed the epidural by 11am. It took a few minutes for it to work completely, but by 11:15am, Twyla was comfortable during a contraction. She stated “I feel SO much better!” Although she had hoped to avoid an epidural, she was glad she had chosen it.

As things settled down, Jonathan shared how happy he was that I was there– there was no way he could have handled all this on his own. Twyla agreed– it would have been overwhelming. I was happy to be there.

Tracy needed to put a urinary catheter in Twyla and did another exam– surprising us by saying she was already 6cm dilated! Well, no wonder Twyla was hurting so much– she had just dilated 3cm in a little over one hour! That was amazing progress in such a short time. We praised her for a job well done! Tracy went ahead and reduced the Pitocin back down to 4ml/hr since it was obvious Twyla didn’t need much!

I encouraged Twyla to get a little rest in– pushing would be hard work, and then when Ronin got here– sleep would be hard to come by! She got out her sleep mask and tried to nap. Jonathan was too “ramped up” to sleep, but I encouraged him to relax and take a few minutes to update friends and family.

Twyla continued to feel strong “pressure” during the contractions, and some discomfort, but nothing like what she had endured before– she nurse informed her she could add more medicine to her epidural, but Twyla was happy. She had good control of her legs and body and was not in miserable pain. Her contractions were still 2 minutes apart and looked nice and strong!

Jonathan ran out to grab more gatorade for Twyla. While he was gone, her BP dropped to 97/56 (probably due to the epidural) and anesthesia came in to give her some Ephedrine to help it back up. Other than that, she really had no major side effects from the epidural, which was great. When Jonathan returned, he commented they had gotten the baby warmer ready– yes, apparently the nurses had an inkling there was a baby coming!

Around 12:15pm we switched Twyla to her right side– she was getting some of her hip pain back and we hoped the position change would resolve it. It felt good to have her legs open, feeling pressure of the baby moving down, so I propped her leg up with the birth ball! I am sure we looked ridiculous, but it’s all about comfort…

Dr. Holley came in at 12:30pm and said “I know they just checked you an hour ago, but let’s see where you are”. She did an exam and said “She’s complete!” Twyla had dilated the last 4 cm in literally one hour! We were all pleasantly surprised– few first time moms dilate that fast. It was time to start pushing.

Because of the epidural, Twyla needed a little guidance how to push effectively. Jonathan and I helped hold her legs while the nurses gave her feedback. We got started around 12:45pm and it took a few tries before she “got it”. Soon we could begin to see a little bit of your hair– long and dark. I suggested a mirror so Twyla could see what we were seeing… as soon as she looked her eyes got really big and a smile crossed her face. She knew she’d be meeting you soon.

Within 30 minutes of that, we could see lots of your head, and it was time to call Dr. Holley back in. She got ready and within a few pushes, you were crowning! That last big stretch was a tough one, but Twyla was strong and pushed you out into the world at 1:48pm on Feb. 21, 2012. Everyone oooh’d and aaah’d– You were quite a good sized baby!! Chubby cheeks, chubby arms, and legs. You even had a double chin already! You were placed onto Twyla’s belly immediately and towel dried off. Twyla even cut her own umbilical cord! We were all very curious how much you weighed, so the nursery nurse took you over to the warmer— 10 lbs, 1 oz of baby! Now that’s a 10 pound cake!

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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.