Baby Theo: A Birth of Strength and Resilience
She was in her third trimester when we met, and contemplating switching gears from her hospital birth plans to a home birth. She made that change some weeks later, and her birth team was waiting patiently alongside her for little man to make his debut. The 42 week mark was approaching, and the natural remedies began to (hopefully) help push things along for her...but for whatever the reason, nothing was working to be consistent enough to be considered active labor.
(In the state of California, home birth midwives hands are tied in the event a woman surpasses the 42 week point in pregnancy, and mother's are advised to admit themselves into the hospital to begin the induction method.)
At 42 weeks, she was admitted into a local hospital where she began what would be a very long and intense induction process. I stayed in touch, waiting for them to ask for me to arrive. Inductions can take a while, especially for a first time mom so I stayed ready to head their way but slept that first night in my own bed while they settled into the hospital and what would be the start of her birth story. I got the request sometime before noon the next day, and readily headed for the hospital. I arrived and entered into a very laid back atmosphere, where momma was smiling and conversing in between the surges while daddy was right by her side ready to encourage and support her.
This would be my first experience as a doula, and I am really grateful for the incredible experience it was to stand by this family and support them for what turned into 32 hours for me. I could not have supported them the way I did without the support of their Bradley Method instructor and their midwife, both of which were attending another birth together and unable to be physically present for this one, but both of which still supported all of us by texting and helping from afar. If you're reading, thank you to the both of you, from the bottom of my heart.
She powered through, while family members and myself took turns finding ways to support them. The atmosphere in the room was full of joy and happiness, something that took me by surprise after the extremely long week they were already experiencing with a ways to go.
Active labor had approached sometime in the night, and the atmosphere in the room naturally made a shift to a bit more focused and somewhat heavier, if you will.
The contractions were becoming more intense for her, and her back continued to give her trouble while she soldiered on. At some point in the evening, she approached a breaking point solely based out of utter exhaustion. She had been working so hard, with very little rest and a much less than ideal night of sleep the night before. That recipe isn't a good one to have a steady active labor keep itself up.
A shower relieved her for a short time, and then it was time to head back for some decisions to be had. Throughout the night things were progressing, but the hospital staff didn't feel comfortable with the rate at which things were progressing.
Waters were manually ruptured at some point around midnight, and she continued to press on. By around 6am, there was still no rest being had and her energy was completely depleted. An epidural was administered (and well-deserved, she desperately needed rest).
We all got some sort of rest from 6-8ish am, and around 9am I made the decision to head home (7 minutes from the hospital) to attempt to regain my own energy to be able to continue being there for them with support and documenting...
It was between 12-1pm when I arrived back with them, feeling refreshed and grateful I made the tough decision to step away for a few hours. I came back to momma being much more well rested as well, and there was some hope in the air that was lacking when I had left just a few hours prior. She was fully dilated, and ready to start the pushing stage of labor.
There's zero chance any of us in that room were anywhere near as tired or worn out as this birthing mother, yet she wore a smile on her face that only went away when she was back on the battle field, pushing with everything in her.
She definitely seemed to enjoy the lemon essential oil to relieve the nausea she experienced the entire time she labored.
A mothering warrior, giving it everything she had in her, for her son.
There was so much energy being surged into each push, she gave it everything she had.
Trembling, she kept going. There was never a moment of hesitation in her, never a moment of wavering. She was set on doing this, and she did indeed accomplish what she set out to with such divine beauty.
Relief, at last. Moments later to be washed over with worry as baby needed a little bit of help. Everyone is healthy and ok, and peace washed over everyone as everything became as it should be with babe learning who his momma and daddy were.
The best feeling in the world...knowing you get to keep this little bundle of joy you didn't know it was even possible to love as much as you do.
Daddy's first time holding his little man. The connection they had right away is just always so special to witness.
All of the chaos in life, in the world, slows down for moments like this. Nothing else matters when you're meeting your brand new baby for the first time.