In this series, we share real, raw, & honest birthing stories.
Straight from the birth person.
I was honored to be their birth doula and capture photographs.
Was there ever a moment in your birth journey that you felt your options and choices could have been explained better to you?
"There are multiple OBs at the practice I used, and the doctors were not all on the same page in regards to induction at 39 weeks for moms over 40. I felt pressured to induce by some of the doctors and others seemed fine letting me go to term or past term. After reading about induction between 39 and 40 weeks on the Evidence-Based Birth website (provided by Sessy), I decided I was OK with inducing towards the end of the 39th week. In the end, part of me wishes I waited to go into labor without induction, but I did feel a lot of pressure by the doctors to induce and worried they would not provide the same level of care if I went against their advice.
My induction was initially scheduled to start at 11 PM, but we decided to move it out a few days to give baby a chance to come on her own. The induction was moved from a night induction to a morning induction, and I wasn’t informed by my practice that this meant changing the method of induction from misoprostol to Pitocin. That was a significant change that I had to come to terms with faster than I would have liked. After an hour on Pitocin, I was having regular contractions every 2 minutes. The OB showed up and told me she was going to break my water. I told her that Brian and I needed to do a lap around Labor and Delivery real quick to discuss it before breaking my water and she was very pushy and said “we are both here right now” and “do you want to be induced?”. I told her, “not really”, but I was already on the Pitocin drip! I decided to go ahead with having my water broken, at this point, I just wanted to keep going and meet our baby, but I wonder how things may have gone differently if we called Sessy to join us sooner, or if doulas could be involved in those last couple OB appointments."
What was something your partner, doula, nurse, midwife, or doctor did or said to support you that stood out to you?
"During transition, I was ready to give up and get an epidural. Brian, my husband, kept reminding me that it was all normal and that it was just muscles working hard, that helped me stay calm. Sessy, my doula, told me to “let go, that contraction is over and it served its purpose”, after the big ones. That helped me relax between contractions and get my breathing back under control. A few times I said, “I think I want the epidural”, but by the time I got on the bed for cervical check I already felt the baby making her way out! I never had to use the safe-word (chinchilla)."
Describe the active labor experience and how it was either different or similar to what you expecting
"I was stressed about my entire labor taking place at the hospital due to being induced. I had linked being in control with being at home for early and active labor and initially felt like I had to give up some of the control due to the fact that we were in the hospital. Once the Pitocin drip started, I resolved to use all of the tools I had built to help labor progress and to remain calm through the process. I immediately felt in control and strong by walking the halls and doing lunges on a chair. Right before transition, I remember thinking to myself “I am a bad-ass”... transition quickly wiped that thought from my mind, haha. I am still amazed that we were able to stick to the birth plan despite being induced."
What was the most memorable part of your birth experience?
"At the end of transition, before I started pushing, I felt the baby move WAY down. It was the craziest sensation! I remember saying “she’s coming out”. It didn’t hurt, which surprised me, but it was intense and I knew I would be done soon!"
Describe the pushing/birth of your baby experience and how it was either different or similar to what you expecting
"I’m so glad Sessy was there when it was time to start pushing! The doctor told me to lay on my back, and Sessy calmly asked me if I wanted to stay on my side to push, I said “yes”. I was more comfortable on my side and lying on my back made contractions much more painful. I would have complied with the doc’s request if Sessy hadn’t been there, because at this point in labor I was not in the state to negotiate. The pain of transition went away almost immediately when I started pushing, such relief!! I was a little scared about the “ring of fire”, but I didn’t experience any pain associated with stretching while pushing!"
What were your first thoughts when you saw your baby for the first time?
"Relief! Relief that we were both healthy and past the birth stage! I was ready to start getting to know her."
What was the most challenging part of your labor, birth, and/or immediate postpartum time?
"I had a small tear and getting stitched up after delivery was tough! After giving birth I was DONE. I was so jumpy and still shaking and didn’t want to be touched. Too much adrenaline was flowing! I was given a numbing shot, so I didn’t feel pain, but I really just wanted to be left alone for a few minutes."
Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience?
"This was a tough year to be pregnant! First a surprise pregnancy, then a pandemic. Working from home without childcare for a period of time and a career change had my stress levels sky high. I was running and walking to stay sane throughout the pregnancy, and would listen to NPR during my runs. More than once my relaxing run was marred by news of high rates of black maternal death and higher infant mortality rates in black babies. I needed to get my anxiety under control and I decided to start looking for a birth doula. As soon as I found the Mama Bee Doulas/Queen City Birthwork website I knew I’d found the right people to have my back during the birth! Having an additional support person with me during the birth made allowed me to stay calm and feel supported during our entire time in the hospital."