This week we are delighted to bring back Cole Deelah to shares the second part of her insightful story of birth from her point of view as a Doula. Cole has over 10 years of birthing experience and has created her own independent childbirth curriculum.
The atmosphere in the birth center was fabulous: dim lighting, candles by the tub, inspirational music softly playing when I wanted it, and temperature controlled to my liking…I truly don’t know how anyone achieves a natural birth in a brightly lit hospital. The half-darkness helped me to stay calm. In fact, for most of my labor, I kept my eyes closed and just wanted to be left alone with the comfort of the select few members of my birth team.
The midwives took turns monitoring my progress. Every 15 min or so they were listening to the baby’s heartbeat with the Doppler. I was so glad I was not restricted in my movement in any way by an electric fetal monitor or by an IV. They were also checking my blood pressure and my temperature often. Everything was normal, which was very reassuring. I also remember how vastly important it was for me to have someone’s hands to hold during each contraction.
My husband was the best support I could have ever asked for. He was calm and reassuring. He held my hands and gave me water to drink. When he needed a break, my doula was there, holding my hands, massaging my hands, telling me I was doing great. I am forever grateful for the hands I held during each contraction.
I think the atmosphere in the room started to change around 3:00am (24 hours after my water broke), when I still was not pushing. I remember Jackie telling me that another hour or two and they’d need to take me to the hospital. I was so scared. I did not want to end up with a C-section. I’m not sure if the thought of going to the hospital motivated me or slowed things down, but soon after that I began pushing. I felt an urge to push, but it was not an uncontrollable urge…I think I was rushing it because I was scared.
We encouraged you to tune into your body and push only when you couldn’t not push. You became very introspective at this point, totally tuning the world out and listening to your body. You moved your hips back and forth, side to side, and began lots of loud vocalization. We could all hear the slight push that began to appear at the peaks of some birthing waves. You were not quite ready, though, and chose to return to the warm water of the birthing tub.
At this point, I know I was in transition. I was afraid I would not be able to push the baby out. Later, my doula told me a conversation I had with my husband during this time. Me: “I’m scared.” Him: “The baby is coming.” Me: “The baby will come any day now.” Him: “You are doing great. The baby is going to come.” Me: “The baby will come any hour now.” Him: “You’re right. The baby is coming.” Me: “The baby is going to come any moment now.”
I also remember telling myself (silently) that I was NEVER going to have another baby again. Then I said a prayer out loud, and I thought about all the people who cared about me and the baby. It gave me strength and at that moment, I chose to surrender to miracle of birth.
Shortly afterward, we started to really hear pushing noises from you for longer durations. You moved to the edge of the bed and squatted… really feel more pressure and starting to ‘wish push’ with each peak. We reminded you to conserve your energy until you had no choice but to push. Like magic, within the next two contractions, your pushing changed, your body had taken the reigns and you were submitting to the power of bring your baby forth.
Now I was definitely feeling the urge to push, and push I did. For pretty much the whole time, I remained in a full-squat position with my arms supported on the edge of the bed and my hands squeezing my husband’s hands. I was beginning to feel progress, and I continued to be encouraged by the midwives and my doula saying “Great job Lynnette.” “This is normal.” “You’re doing great.”
Then, the midwife got a mirror and placed it under me to see if she could see even just a little part of the baby during one of my pushes. I was elated when I heard that the baby was crowning. The whole atmosphere of the room changed, and I knew in my heart that I would indeed be willing to have more children and I would definitely choose this same route. I was going to have this baby at the birth center after all!
This indeed was the most painful part of labor, but without a doubt the most joyous. I had been so afraid of this part, but it was the best and easiest part (mentally and emotionally) of labor. Real progress was being made and my baby was coming into the world.
I was impatient at this point and was trying to wait for a strong contraction before pushing, but I just pushed and pushed, wanting my baby to be born. Looking back, I should have taken more time with this part and waited for the peak of contractions to push…I think this is why I ended up with a tiny first degree tear requiring 2 stitches).
Before I knew it, my daughter’s head and then shoulders emerged from me. And with one final and amazingly awesome feeling, her body came forth. She was born at 8:05 am (29 hours after my water broke). I was told, reach down and take your baby, which I did!
Your eyes popped over, you cooed ‘oooh!’, broke into a smile, and took your baby by the arms, lifting her out of your body and into your loving embrace.
I brought her to my chest and smiled and looked in her beautiful eyes and knew that I was blessed beyond measure. She was perfect. Her skin was amazingly pink and she looked into my eyes and let out some beautiful baby sounds. She weighed 7 pounds 2 ounces and was 20 inches long.
I cried with joy and exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, she’s my baby! Oh my goodness. Hi sweetie. Hi sweetie. Oh my goodness. I love you so much. I love you so much. Hi sweetie. Hi sweetie. She’s so cute! My baby girl; I love you.”
The midwives and my doula all helped me with breastfeeding within 20 or 30 minutes of the birth. My baby latched on right away with no issues whatsoever. She never left my arms. This was the most amazing bonding time, completely uninterrupted by the routine things (bath, shots, baby warmers, etc.) that would have been done at a hospital. Instead of all these procedures, I got to hold my baby skin to skin and bond with her.
The placenta was birthed and then my family came in to see the baby. My husband played his guitar and sang a beautiful version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Our baby stayed awake and alert for a good 2 hours after the birth, staring into our eyes. Afterward, we were left alone with her in the peace and quiet of the birthing room. We were told to nap, but I was so happy, so high on life, that I could not sleep a wink. I did rest. I did smile.
Our journey into parenthood had begun.
Beautiful family! What a blessed event! The laughter in that room, the joy and triumph, love and peace! It was an honor to attend you during the birth of your beautiful baby girl!
Cole Deelah is the mother of 5 beautiful, home schooled children and the wife of one feisty entrepreneur. She resides and works in the Houston area as a birth doula, childbirth educator, and midwife apprentice. She has over 10 years experience in the birth field and has written an independent childbirth curriculum and head’s up a local cooperative of doulas. Cole has authored articles in such publications as Midwifery Today, the International Doula magazine, and others. She has plans to become a practicing midwife and travel the world with her husband and children, supplying basic life skills and maternal and neonatal healthcare to underdeveloped and developing countries.