Wow! Wow! Wow! Yesterday (15/08/2019) I was welcomed into the home of a couple, who were preparing for the birth of their first child… and the next 17 hours were absolutely incredible!
A few months before, the expectant mama and I initially had a 30-minute video call to ask any questions she had about me and the doula service I offer, and to see how we got on… conversation flowed easily and it seemed that she and I just ‘clicked’. We ended the video-call with me saying that I’d follow up a week later to see if she’d had a chance to decide on what she wanted her labour and birth support to look like. 3 days later, she called me to say that she’d spent some time thinking about her options and wanted to book me.
Do you have any idea of what an honour it is to be invited to share in such an exciting, life changing, sometimes-scary transition – and to be the person chosen to walk alongside expectant and new parents in such a life changing event in their lives?
Since that first video call, we kept in regular contact, had a few face-to-face meet-ups and built and nurtured a trusting and respectful relationship. There is overwhelming evidence that highlights the importance of continuous care and knowing your caregivers – especially in pregnancy, birth and beyond.
For many women, the process of labour – transitioning from a known self to an expanded and changed self, with powerful and intense sensations that result in the birth of your precious new-born; can be scary. Feeling comfortable and at ease with the people who are with you on that journey is absolutely imperative! Especially when we start to think about the importance of the hormones involved in the labour and birth process, and how they work…
I arrived at their home, shortly before 2 midwives, and over the next few hours the awesome expectant mama noticed that her sensations slowed down a bit. The environment had changed and there was a lot of chatting. She asked the midwives to leave and come back later, and she and her partner went for a walk in the woods, at the back of their house, and I hung out at the house and caught up on emails etc. When they got back, we enjoyed a wonderfully tasty lunch of scrambled egg on sour dough bread and salad over light-hearted chatter and laughter. Those oxytocin hormones were flowing, again. We decided that she would try and take a nap, I’d catch up with some admin – from my phone; and he’d enjoy a bit of relaxation.
Fast forward a few hours, and the surges became regular in strength and length. Her partner filled the pool - so that it was ready if she wanted to use it; and called to update the midwives. They arrived a couple hours later - It was great to see the same midwives as had been there in the morning… they were familiar, and we’d built a rapport… but their shift ended and two different midwives arrived to take their place, who were absolutely lovely – the change over felt seamless but it was interesting to observe how the pattern of the surges changed for a while after that.
Over the whole labour process - latent and established; there were times when this incredibly strong, focussed, absolutely awesome mama struggled with belief in herself and her body’s ability to do what it was quite clearly doing… preparing to birth her precious baby… but, her partner was FAN-tastic and – his faith in her, his words of encouragement, his presence, his admiration of her; kept her going. A positive support person makes a huge difference in how a woman experiences the labour and birth process.
Shortly after midnight, the most incredible, beautiful, powerful, challenging, tiring journey came to an end. The room was dark, except for a few LED candles, a warrior goddess stood alongside the birthpool, the soothing sound of silence – other than her own powerful roar; embraced her, and she birthed her daughter into her arms. What a brilliant day!
It’s left me wondering… Did you have continuous care during pregnancy, labour and birth, or not? What kind of social and emotional support did you receive in preparing for birth and beyond? Did it impact on your experience of you baby’s birth? So many questions! I look forward to hearing from you 😊