Beautifully and honestly told by this strong mother, Lauren, she shares how important it is to have a supportive birth team when plans change: ” I thought I would have a wonderful, natural birth where I would labor at home with our doula and avoid all hospital interventions. Well, those plans began to change quickly…”
***This story also includes an update at the end from Lauren about a diagnosis of GERD their baby received and how they used their doula for overnight help as they adjusted to his needs.
The Birth of Masen Wade
By Lauren Winans
As I lay here and write this blog post, I’m watching my one day old beautiful baby boy sleep. We spent his entire official “birth” day night watching each other, learning about each other and waking daddy up for everything that may have been just a simple little hiccup. I’m exhausted. But it’s all worth it. And as I start to drift off to sleep, I remember that I made it through this birth because I had an amazing doula. Don’t get me wrong, my husband Martin was the perfect birth support partner in many ways and I had family support, and a wonderful doctor, but my entire birth process was the exact opposite of what I had planned in my mind. I thought I would have a wonderful, natural birth where I would labor at home with our doula and avoid all hospital interventions. I thought I would just show up and pop this guy out like it was no big deal!! That did not happen. Here is how it happened and why I am so thankful for our doula, Emily.
I have a huge fear of needles and I have somehow managed to avoid them for years until I found out I was pregnant. That first blood draw was the scariest moment of my life. I couldn’t just enjoy being pregnant. I was already thinking of how bad I would freak out when I had to get an IV. Don’t even get me started on an epidural! I honestly had no clue about the birthing process. I knew the obvious common sense things but as far as details went, clueless about my own body. So, we went to a natural childbirth class: A 6 hour course on how to labor without the intervention of pain medication. My husband was so into learning the doula process that he decided we needed our own. I didn’t know if he wanted the doula for my comfort or to keep him sane! Kidding. He knew it would help me relax and make this scary process better. We instantly connected with Emily who happened to also be a massage therapist. I felt good knowing I would go into labor with someone who could rub the pain out of me. Emily was so much fun to be around and I couldn’t wait to have her by my side.
So, weeks passed and passed and still, no baby. Finally on Monday the 6th, we checked into Williamson Medical Center. On the way to the hospital, i drenched myself in Emla numbing cream and covered the veins with Saran Wrap to hold in the numbing for the initial IV. Yes, I was that crazy person wearing plastic wrap on my arms. They threw me and the baby on the monitor quickly and asked if I knew I was contacting pretty heavily. I thought, “wow! I’m a bad ass. I don’t even know I’m contracting!” Next step was removing my plastic wrap and sticking that scary needle in. I did not even feel it. I was on cloud nine that I got over my needle fear and was also laboring without pain.
Well, all of that began to change quickly. I was not progressing so the scary drip of pitocin started. Within an hour I was having contractions that were insanely painful every 45-60 seconds with no breaks in between! Emily was massaging me, changing my positions, helping me bounce on ball- everything we could do to find comfort. I was not finding it! The contractions only continued getting stronger, longer and back to back with no time to breathe in between. Emily and my husband were doing pelvic compresses and everything to comfort me but I was getting tired and scared. The nurses had to turn off the pitocin because both baby and I did not have a good reaction to it. I was worried I would be laboring forever at this rate even though it has only been a few hours. After 5 cm dilated, I needed an epidural. My heart sunk as I had the thought of another needle. My heart was broken that I couldn’t do this naturally and that I couldn’t even handle pitocin. I was so close to seeing my baby but the stories of how epidurals slow births down went through my head making me feel even more sad. Emily said not to worry because we would use the peanut ball! Women who get epidurals still need to keep that pelvis open so the peanut ball was the way to go. Emily switched my peanut ball leg positioning every 20 minutes. My nurse came back in to check on me about an hour and a half after epidural and I had suddenly dilated to 8! The peanut ball in for the win! We were having a baby soon!!
Excitement came back over me as they prepped the room for my little man to arrive. Emily and Martin kept changing peanut ball positions and before I knew it, I was ready to push. Pushing with an epidural is interesting. Luckily I still had a lot of feeling but still pushing was hard because you don’t have total control. Once again, another reason Emily was amazing! She told me how to breathe and push along with our totally awesome OBGYN, Michelle Montville.
After 45 minutes of pushing, at 5:01 pm on June 7th, Masen Wade Bertelli came into the world. He was 7 lbs and 13 ounces of perfection.
I had one small tear internally and no other issues, so I instantly felt like getting up as soon as my epidural had worn off. The nurse wasn’t too happy with me when I got up to walk, but I felt awesome! I have Emily to thank for that. She massaged my legs and feet the entire time I was forced to lay down from the epidural.
You may not think you need a doula if you aren’t going the “all natural” route, but I will tell you, she is the reason I got through that day the way I did! I had gotten pretty sick as I “transitioned” and I puked all over myself so my husband ripped his shirt off and did skin to skin with the baby! It was such an adorable moment as Emily cleaned me up and daddy held the baby against his skin. Doulas are amazing no matter what kind of birth you are going to have. And always remember, it rarely goes the way you plan for it to!