9 months ago I received a message from a friend that she had just gotten a positive pregnancy test and wanted to claim her spot for August. I couldn't have been more thrilled to be part of the process from day 1.
Lots of people know that doulas advocate for you during labor and birth, but Doula's can help you through your entire pregnancy by answering questions, calming fears, and providing education when needed.
The last few months for Christina hasn't been great. She had prodromal labor on and off, a Lyme diagnosis, and then a breech scare! I was happy to help her navigate the stress and anxiety that came with all of those mounting things.
Yesterday she let me know she was feeling some contractions on and off, but that she had some other changes too. While, we talked about it as if it was prodromal labor, my gut was telling me it just might be something else.
We chatted through out the day and at 8:15 pm she sent me a screen shot of some contractions she had timed. They weren't quite in a pattern, but they certainly were not far apart.
She sent me another screen shot 30 minutes later and I said to my husband, "Christina is going to have this baby tonight!" Her Midwife, Sera of Primal Roots Midwifery, and I were both telling her the same thing, unknowingly while both getting ready to leave our homes.
Neither one of us is close to Christina, but her previous labors, were a predictor that we would have time to get to her. Of course though, labor never does what you want it to do!
I hopped in the car, stopped for gas, and asked Christina if she needed anything. That's when things got hairy. About 30 minutes into my drive, I entered detour madness. A bridge was out, and being in an area I wasn't familiar with, the detours were taking me in circles. I was in a panic. That's really unusual for me. I'm pretty calm in these scenarios but I didn't want my friend alone in labor. (She has 3 other children and her husband was putting them to bed last I knew!) Sera called me to see where I was during the detour madness. (We both giggled about it later. I have never sworn so much in one phone call.)
Sera was 15 minutes behind me and neither of us had heard from Christina. I knew she had a birth photographer going, the amazing Allie Zingaro, and I was hopeful she had arrived.
I called and Allie answered Christina's phone. She said Christina was doing well and her contractions were 4-6 minutes apart. I was about 20 minutes away, and felt confident that everything would be fine.
Eventually I stopped and asked an officer who was managing the detour route to help me out. He was so lovely and helped me get out of my detour disaster.
I was speeding at this point on back roads, that I was not familiar with. Allie called me back. Christina seemed to have progressed quickly to contractions that were three minutes apart. Neither one thought she was in transition yet though.
Just a few minutes later, another phone call came and Allie's voice was different. I could hear those low moans coming from Christina, that always signifies baby is close to earth side. I was 4 minutes away.
Sera and I had been keeping in contact and we made a plan to help Christina as best we could to keep her and her baby safe.
Christina lives in the middle of nowhere. Upon my arrival it was so peaceful, as the full moons light shined down, but I knew something different was happening inside. I could hear those beautiful birthy sounds all the way in the driveway. I ran through their yard and into the door. Her husband, sighed as I walked in and he said "so glad to see you". Allie, had taken over as her main support. Christina and her were intertwined and Christina upon noticing me, yelled my name out. I went to her side and when the next contraction came, I knew that her body was involuntarily pushing.
While most people are used to seeing pushes that involve counting to 10 and instructions on bearing down, that jazz is often unnecessary. Your body will take over; and Christina's had.
I dialed Sera on speaker so that we could see how far she was away. She had also entered detour madness (!!!!!), but was close. During Christina's next contraction, I checked for a head. I could see a strip of baby and I knew I needed to get her out of the tub.
If you've ever labored in water, you just gasped, and if you haven't labored in water before, trust me when I tell you that water brings copious amounts of relief. Asking someone to get on dry land is basically asking them to consent to mild torture.
Christina didn't think she could do it. Moving during this part of labor is hard. However, Christina had labored all by herself this entire time. She was stronger than she realized. I knew she was capable. I explained to her how safety was important to me and how getting her out could slow labor down just enough to allow Sera the time she needed to arrive.
Many people wonder what the differences are between doulas and Midwives. Anyone who does this work, knows that our scopes of practice are so very different. While I've watched lots and lots of babies come into this world, and certainly have aided in the catching of babies previously, I am not trained to do so. I am there for the birthing parent alone. Babies exiting aren't at all on my scope. Having Christina get out of the water, was so that if I did have to catch this baby, I would be able to evaluate blood loss. I'm not confident that I would be able to decide if there was an emergent amount of blood loss while she was in the water.
Christina eventually stood up and Allie and I helped her over to the bed. This was a brave moment. Trusting someone after you have been doing it on your own for 2 hours, is no easy task. We laid her on her left side (this often can slow things down a bit) and I began to massage Christina's legs. I spoke slowly and quietly in hopes to bring a calmness back to the space. We talked through each contraction and Sera helped by counting down the minutes and miles until she arrived over the phone.
Christina, then called out Sera's name, as she had done mine. The tone of those calls is something I will never forget. Sera ran through the door, and 10 minutes later Rowan Oliver made his appearance.
Christina might just be one of the strongest woman I have ever known and while I have always respected her, this brings on a greater appreciation for her power and strength. Thank you for asking me to take part. I am so happy for you and your family
Sera of Primal Roots Midwifery can be found here: www.primalrootsmidwifery.com