If you missed it, I wrote a blog post a few months back explaining Why I Chose to Use a Doula for My Second Birth. I am here to tell you more about my experience and why you should consider having a doula for your birth!
It was Thursday afternoon and I had just finished a late lunch with my mom and aunties at La Madeleine. I had a couple of returns to make at Nordstrom Rack. Given that it was right across the street, I went by to make my returns. I completed my transaction and I was browsing the sunglasses waiting for my mom to finish paying when, all of a sudden, I felt it! Immediately I knew the baby was coming soon!
» » RELATED READ: Water Birth: How to Prepare Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally « «
My water had broken. It was not a big gush of water like you see in the movies. It was more of a trickle. As this was happening, I thought to myself, “Oh my, did I just pee my pants a little?” But this felt different, so I knew it wasn’t pee. I didn’t tell my mom about it because I didn’t want her to worry. Instead, I drove home and told my husband what had happened.
My water did not break with my first baby so this was a very different experience from the start.
Right away my husband texted our doulas. (We were assigned two doulas in case our primary doula couldn’t be there for the birth for some reason.) They quickly responded to our message with some tips on what to do to confirm if my water had indeed broken. Since I was not feeling any pain, I decided to take a nice hot shower, wash my hair, and do all of the things I needed to get done knowing this baby was more than likely on his way.
We made it to the hospital about three hours after my water had broken. Still no contractions, just the constant leaking. Part of the hospital protocol is to run multiple tests to confirm membrane rupture. While waiting for the results, we continued to update our doula via text and she was prompt to respond.
At the Hospital
Once the doctors confirmed that my water had broken, I was admitted to the hospital. At this point, they provided me with a few options and I felt very overwhelmed. Since I was not in active labor, the options I was given were: starting Pitocin right away to get things going, placing a prostaglandins tab in my cervix, or allowing me to kick start labor on my own. FYI: Once your water breaks, there is a higher chance of infection, so doctors tend to want to ensure the baby comes ASAP to avoid any complications.
The doctors allowed my husband and I to discuss our options and make a decision. I called my doula to talk through our options. After much deliberation, we decided to let my body progress on its own. Our doula provided us with several ways to kick start active labor, including walking around, bouncing on the yoga ball, pumping my breasts, and doing some of the exercises from The Miles Circuit. By 2 a.m., I was checked to see what progress I had made. To the doctor’s surprise, things were happening! They allowed me to continue to progress on my own.
This was when we also decided to have our doula join us at the hospital.
Around 3 a.m. our doula made it to the hospital. I still had a lot of progress to make so she worked with me. We walked the halls, bounced on the yoga ball, and did some exercises using the peanut ball. She made sure I stayed hydrated, helped me shower, and also encouraged my husband to take a nap. There was no need for him to stay up since she was there and we needed him to be rested for the big moment.
By 9 a.m., I was checked again and I had progressed roughly 2 cm. I was now at 5 cm. Contractions started to pick up and were getting more intense so my doula worked her magic to help me manage the pain and discomfort.
This was the point when I realized “I am so glad she’s here.”
With every contraction, she was quick to comfort me and walk me through the discomfort. Our goal was to be able to get to a good point so that I could eat a good meal before getting the epidural and being bedridden until the baby came.
I was able to make it to 7 cm on my own, but by this point, I was tired and needed to rest. Once I got the epidural, I was ready for a nap. Our doula set up the best ambiance in our room. She set up flameless candles, ran a diffuser, and turned all of the lights off. It was honestly like being in a spa. After resting for a couple of hours, the doctors did another check and it was go time.
During birth, our doula was incredible. She helped me maneuver into the most optimal birthing position that would minimize tearing but also created space for the baby. She held my belly to feel for contractions so she could tell me to push at the right time. And she even had a warm towel sprinkled with orange essential oil for me to smell. Throughout the process, she provided me with encouraging words. After pushing for 20 minutes, Mateo Lee entered the world at 9:24 pm.
» RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum in Albuquerque «
It was all a beautiful blur. I couldn’t believe how empowering and magical his birth was. Even our nurse told us after that she was so glad she had been a part of our birth. She said that there was a really awesome vibe in the room.
Our doula came to our home two more times to check-in on me. She set up a sitz bath for me that felt amazing and helped with small chores around the house.
I don’t know why most insurance companies refuse to cover doula services. I honestly feel like if doulas were used more, maybe the number of c-sections would go way down. Not to mention the emotional support could help minimize postpartum depression.
If you read this blog post in its entirety, THANK YOU for allowing me to share my story. Just writing this takes me back to the amazing day our little Mateo made his grand entrance.
Check out other resources to help your pregnancy and postpartum journey.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.