I had my second baby in February 2020. My first birthing experience was very traumatic for me, and I went back and forth for years about whether I would want to go through pregnancy and birthing again. With my first birth, I was GBS positive and my water broke first so I was required to go into the hospital to receive antibiotics. Contractions took a while to start so I was induced. Soon after my contractions started and were really intense--I ended up dilating several centimeters in an hour. I hadn’t slept the night before and I was exhausted. I didn’t want to push on my back, but I didn’t receive much assistance with alternative positions. Pushing took 5 hours and I ended up needing a vacuum assist. I didn’t feel well supported and I felt my sense of agency lost. With my second birth, I knew that I wanted a doula to help me work through my previous birth experience and help me come up with ideas to make this birth non-traumatizing. I selected Connie as my doula and I also attended her hypnobirthing online class. Connie was a great listener and was open to ideas about what type of support I needed. Attending the class also helped me to stay on track with doing some sort of mindfulness almost daily, even if it was just practicing breathing calmly for a minute. I also selected the midwife team at my birthing hospital and having their support was very helpful.
For the actual birth, I started having some mild contractions the night before and I was surprisingly able to get a good night's rest (which is really difficult for me even under normal circumstances!). In the morning, the contractions started picking up a little more, but nothing I couldn’t walk around for. My spouse dropped our first child off at school and when he got back, we were just relaxing and thinking it might be a while until things really started moving like my first birth.
Then I started having some leaking where I felt like I was peeing myself, but it just never stops trickling. This was very similar to my first birth and something that surprised me at the time because I thought your water breaking was supposed to be a big gush! I wasn’t GBS positive for this pregnancy, so I didn’t worry about having to go in right away. I figured it might take awhile like my first birth, so I let Connie know about it and to keep her updated. However, after the water broke my contractions got really intense and started getting closer and closer. I labored in my bathtub. Then, some of the discharge started turning greenish/light brownish (turns out it was meconium). We called the hospital and they said to come in so we let Connie know to meet us there. We quickly packed up things (including our first child’s stuff and had a family friend pick them up from school).
I remember the contractions were so intense, I had to lay down when they were happening, and by the time we packed things up I could barely walk to the car. There was so much pressure on my hips and force being pushed down by my uterus that I went from not sure how long the labor would be to thinking the baby might be coming real soon! I remembered some of the stuff from the hypnobirthing and tried to keep my throat open and let it all out through each contraction.
When we got to the hospital, they checked my cervix and said that they could feel the baby’s head! We decided I was too far along and they set me up to give birth in triage. My husband remembered I wanted music during my labor, but he couldn’t find my playlist so he played a random running one he could find. I labored on all fours to “Eye of the Tiger'', “Stronger”, and “Party Rock Anthem”. Connie showed up not too long after and helped provide counter pressure for my legs in order to push the baby out. I was very relieved to have a quick, well rested labor. Although things moved so quickly that Connie wasn’t there for much of the labor, I still was really glad I had a doula to provide me support and to give me skills to utilize. Connie stayed for a longer time after the birth, getting me snacks and literally hand feeding me and encouraging me to drink water because I was so exhausted. It was nice to have someone there to talk to and process everything that had just
happened. She also assisted with getting breastfeeding started. The next day, she came by to check on me and held the baby while I took a much needed shower.
We also arranged a postpartum visit with Connie. Connie was ready for whatever we needed so she prepared us lunch, washed the dishes, and helped me walk the dog with the baby in tow.
Thank you Connie for all your support both physically, emotionally, and mentally. It increased my confidence and prepared me to be flexible with my expectations and accepting of possible outcomes.