My favorite part of being a doula is meeting new people, hearing their stories, and supporting their birth experience as their family grows. Every birth is amazing because of the connection I've made with the family.
Yes, you’ve read that correctly. I am eternally grateful that my labor stalled. My birth experience was fantastic, and everything I needed because my labor stopped!
My vision for birth was that I would be able to leisurely stroll, slow dance with my husband, bake lasagna and garlic bread for the midwives to enjoy while I labored, and eventually discover whether we were expecting a boy or a girl (neither of which we had names for by the way).
However, when I first noticed a pattern to my contractions, it was Friday evening, after a full week of art classes, teaching 45 six year olds at a time! I was ready to rest and relax, and instead was watching the clock and writing down how often I felt tightening in my belly.
What in the world was I thinking? Why didn’t I immediately jump into a warm bath with bubbles, candles, and then crawl into bed afterwards?
Well...I thought a baby was on the way! I had waited patiently for months, and now “it” was here. My husband, who must have paid attention in childbirth classes, and remembered that I needed to rest, told me he was going to a local musical performance.
“But what if I have a baby while you’re gone?”
“But what if I do?”
Well, he went, and I was going to have a baby while he was gone. I was set on it, I called my best friend who drove over immediately. My neighbor had her window open, so as we began our walk (I was going to use movement and gravity to my advantage) I stopped by and told her I was going to have a baby soon, and labor had started.
I was giddy, she was skeptical. She had two children, I had none. Well still, it was early but it was the real deal, it had to be.
We walked to the end of the street and back, one contraction, only one! We needed to walk more, and we needed lots of ice so the midwives could enjoy iced tea with their lasagna; it was September in Texas, iced tea was mandatory. We took an empty stroller, so we could get groceries without having to take a vehicle, because we needed to walk! In the checkout line, the cashier looked into our stroller perplexed, and my friend reassured her by saying,
“She’s having the baby!”
Although maybe that isn’t as reassuring to others, as it was to us.
Once we got back to the house, and put the ice away (neglecting to take the lasagna out to thaw however), we were bored! Where did those contractions disappear to? Well, let’s blow up the inflatable children’s pool so I can have my water birth WHILE my husband is away; we will show him!
There is an efficient way to blow up an inflatable pool, we were not efficient. We used a handheld pump, that squeaked every time it was squeezed causing mayhem among my chocolate lab, her middle name is Godiva, and my 90 lb mutt aptly named Moxie. It took FOREVER.
At some point I climbed inside, and I tested out various positions, and still it was not full. Oh my goodness, a pump would have been magnificent, but what did we know, we were just passing the time.
Speaking of time, my husband came home around 11 p.m. and I had NOT had a baby. What?!
My friend teasingly commented on how pregnant I looked, because, well, I was very pregnant. So I demonstrated how I could suck in my stomach and almost look “not pregnant”. There is video; at no point did I look “not pregnant” I only looked “less pregnant”, but it was humorous and we were sleep deprived.
So I told my friend she should probably go home, and I did the most logical thing yet ... I went to bed.
From 2 a.m. to 9 something or another, I slept wonderfully. Sleep, glorious sleep, can’t you just imagine a song about it! I woke up refreshed, made tomato, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches for my husband and I, and went outside where he was gathering fresh basil from the garden to go with the sandwich (my pregnancy cravings were unusual).
I had a contraction! One that took some focus, and swaying.
Shortly after, I had another that took more focus, and convinced me I wanted to try something other than swaying and slow dancing.
In no time at all, my entire focus was on vocalizing, moving, and all my plans went out the window: the lasagna, the garlic bread, the ice, the pool, the walking, the laughing. This was work! I could not ignore this if I tried, I cried for no reason at all (hormones) and in 4 hours and 31 minutes my son was born.
It would have been extremely difficult to have maintained energy and focus, if my birth had taken place the night before; not to mention that my husband wouldn’t have been around for hip squeezes, filling the pool, calling the midwife, catching our baby BOY. You know, the important things!
My labor stalling was the best thing to happen to me.
It enabled me to sleep, sleep, sleep, and wake up rejuvenated (probably because I needed to use the bathroom). In case you’re curious, the midwives never did get to enjoy the lasagna and garlic bread; it was ready 3 hours AFTER they left.