Lindsay. second time mom.
Tristan's Birth Story: From the Doula's Perspective
Just in time for World Doula Week, it is my great pleasure to be able to share my recent experience as the first Doula to attend a birth at Baby+Company Charlotte. Every birth that I witness is a miracle, and after over a decade of doing this work, the power and strength of women and their families in birth never ceases to amaze me. My first time seeing the Baby+Company team in action was a special treat. Here is Tristan’s birth story from my point of view.
“The act of opening yourself up so that another being [creation] can pass down the channel and out of you takes a woman all the way down to the very deep of living.”
– Judy Grahn
I first met Lindsay, her husband Clive, and their adorably charming toddler at a Baby+Company Open House event. We later met up at a local coffee shop to discuss how doula services could support their desires for a natural waterbirth at Baby+Company. I felt an instant connection to Lindsay. Over the next few months, Lindsay and I had many long conversations about her frustrations from her previous birth experience, and ways to prepare herself for the work of labor the second time around. In preparation and support, I joined Lindsay for her childbirth preparation class at Baby+Company as well as one of her prenatal visits with one of the midwives. Every time I am at Baby+Company I am incredibly impressed with the personalized care each woman receives.
When Lindsay’s labor began a full week early, it was such a pleasant surprise. With the coping techniques she learned from the midwives and at her childbirth class, she felt well prepared to labor on her own at home through the night. We stayed in touch through text messages from 8pm and through the night, until she finally asked me to prepare to join her at the birthing center in the wee hours of the morning. I arrived just before Lindsay and her husband Clive, and the midwives and nurse greeted me with warm hugs and welcomes. As I walked into the beautiful birthing room, the tub was already filling up with warm water, and we quickly prepared the essential oil diffuser to greet Lindsay with aromatherapy. A look of relief washed over Lindsay’s face as she walked into that soothing room with the dim lighting, flameless candles, aromatherapy, music, and birthing pool – all things that she had envisioned would be helpful tools to aid her labor and make her feel safe and secure. When Lindsay was checked, she was already dilated to 6 centimeters, having done the long and steady work of early labor all at home, through the night with her husband by her side.
Through the next few brief hours of Lindsay’s labor, we utilized many of the great tools available at Baby+Company that make this center beautifully unique. She was experiencing some of her most intense labor pangs in her lower back and hips, so the entire support team went to work to ease her discomfort. Rebeca Moretto, an incredibly warm and wise nurse, efficiently suggested we all take turns offering counter pressure and hip squeezes, which Lindsay found very helpful. We additionally assembled the Tens Unit and a cozy heating pad to help block the sensation of pain in the lower back. Lindsay had prepared herself for this labor as a dedicated student in a Bradley Childbirth class series, and the tool she relied on most from her training was deep, slow and intentional breathing. With cues from me and her husband, she worked her way through the most intense part of her labor while rocking on a birth ball and breathing calmly and deeply. She was the picture of peace, and she worked hard to keep herself in that serenity zone. The team of certified nurse midwives, Becky Yates and Holly Christensen, were in the birthing room continuously, acting as gentle guardians of the labor process, monitoring the baby’s heart rate and mother’s progress while also holding the space for Lindsay’s labor to unfold as it needed to.
Peaceful breathing eventually gave way to deep, guttural moans as Lindsay let her body do the work of moving her baby down. The members of the support team all exchanged knowing glances and smiles. A few hours after arriving at the center, Lindsay climbed into the warm birthing tub just in time to usher her baby into the world with a beautiful roar. Baby Tristan was born so quickly after Lindsay had gotten into the tub, and as he was placed on her chest, they both relaxed into the warm water surrounding them to savor the moment. Minutes later, Lindsay moved over to the large comfy bed to settle in with her husband and son to snuggle and nurse. Family members and friends who had gathered in the waiting rooms came in for their first special sneak peek.
A beautiful moment I will always remember from Tristan’s birth was sitting next to Lindsay in the big roomy bed, while Clive sat at her other side, and the midwives at the foot of the bed. The cozy birthing rooms at Baby+Company lend themselves to intimate and sweet moments like this. We watched the baby learn to nurse for the first time, marveled at his mop of dark hair, and talked about the quick blur Lindsay’s active labor had been and how the guided breathing was what got her through each contraction, one by one, and breath by breath. It had been the redeeming birth experience she had worked towards and hoped for. What an honor to witness.
“Imagine what might happen if women emerged from their labor beds with a renewed sense of the strength and power of their bodies, and of their capacity for ecstasy through giving birth.”
– Dr. Christiane Northrup