This past week I was blessed to attend a beautiful birth day! The totally unmedicated mother remained calm the ENTIRE time, her partner was totally supportive, and their baby was born beautifully. I wanted to take a minute to pen down exactly what I did to assist their birth story and walk through the doula support methods I provided.
When I first walked in I introduced myself (this was a volunteer position birth, I have an on call schedule for a local hospital and volunteer a few times a month) and washed my hands, this is a non awkward way to break the ice and to survey the room. I then asked the mother and father what had been working, and what had not been working. Mom’s labor had started the day before and it was slowly picking up. When she arrived at the hospital she was 5cm dilated.
The laboring mother stated that she had been laying in the hospital bed trying to rest in between contractions and that had been working but no longer was and she needed to do something different.
I immediately realized she was easy going and strong and needed a gentle guide through her labor, not a take charge routine.
I asked her if I could lay out a game plan for her (that could change at any time, mind you) and she happily agreed and said she was open to options and to try some new things.
I told her we would start with hip squeezes, sacral pressure, and the dancing with her partner technique. We were able to hold this space for only about 10 minutes due to sensitivity to her hips, so we needed to change it up!
Birth Day Next Steps
I asked her if she had tried any hydrotherapy and she said no, so into the shower we went! As soon as she stepped in she sighed and thanked me and said this is EXACTLY what she needed. She stayed standing in the shower for about 30 minutes and then we decided to get down on the shower floor, do some sacral massage (she loved this) and open the pelvic area with some stretching and hip swaying and kneeling in child (yoga) position. We stayed in the shower for an overall hour and a half, then decided to move to the toilet and stayed sitting and leaning over a linen bin for about 30 minutes.
Sitting was difficult for her due to it being a sedentary position and most unmedicated mothers want to move because it helps distribute and move the pain around rather than feeling like a sitting suffering duck as each wave of contraction hits.
At this point the midwife checked her and said she was 7cm dilated.
We then went to a birthing ball and did slow hip rotations for as long as she could bear, and then we rested on the bed on all fours and I placed her arms on a peanut ball (see my post here on peanut balls and how they help a medicated birth but can also help an unmedicated). This gave the midwife and nurse a chance to do their assessments and administer antibiotics as the mother was GBS+ and allow body rest for the mom.
When the midwife checked her again on the bed the mom was at 8cm dilated. So, we decided to repeat our program. Shower, toilet, a minute in the rocking chair for a snack, and back to the bed to rest.
When mom finally returned to the bed she was ready to push! YAY! She pushed for around 30 minutes and her baby boy was born! Mom had originally planned to birth with a birthing bar or on all fours, but due to fatigue, gave birth in the bed slightly reclined- I was able to advocate and remind all laboring parties of the mother’s wishes, but the mom decided she was ok in this position so we progressed.
It was a beautiful day for a birth day, and at the end of the pain there was immense joy! We were able to count breaths and have auditory exhales to relieve internal pressure, and through the 8 hours I was with mom and dad I was able to offer constant support from getting water and ice chips, to massage, to letting dad take a much needed break. This is definitely what a doula is for!