Thursday, September 11, 2008
My First Birth as a Doula
So yesterday morning, I got a call at 4:15am... actually I didn't realize it had happened until Gary said to me, "Who would be calling this early?" I jumped up and said,"someone's in labor!" I called Meghan back and she told me she was in the car on the way to the hospital and when I asked her how far apart her contractions were, she said that they were right on top of eachother. Adrenaline kicked in and I was bumping around the bedroom in the dark trying to get clothes on. I ran to the bathroom to brush my teeth, grabbed my doula bag, threw some fruit in it and headed out the door. Gary was worried he wouldn't be able to get to class because for this week, we only have 1 car. I got to the hospital and did not know where to enter so I chose the main entrance. What was ridiculous was that when I walked into the ER entrance, there was not a person in sight! I kept saying,"what the heck!" I called out...."hello..."...nothing. I hopped on an elevator and chose the top floor...not a person in sight..again. Then I went down one floor...finally, a nurse! I asked her where labor and delivery was and she told me to go back to the 1st floor. I finally found the right place and I told the person at the desk who I was looking for. They pointed to the only room in use at the time(such a dead hospital..no pun intended)
I opened the door at about 4:42am and Meghan was screaming, there were 3 nurses helping her and the baby warmer was being set up. I knew this meant the baby was almost out. I told a nurse that I was her doula but since everything was so fast and intense at the moment, I just stood there. I could see the baby crowning and I could tell that I had walked in at the most difficult time for the mother...the head was descending. The doctor was not yet there and she was really feeling the urge to push and she was. A couple times, she didn't know if she was supposed to push and she asked, "can I push? I need to push.." I told her to push when she felt the urge. The doctor came, the nurses threw a gown on him and he started helping to ease the baby's head out. Then he grabbed the scissors and my heart skipped a beat...I thought, is it really necessary? Should I say something? The nurse told her that they were going to do an episiotomy and she just kept on pushing with each contraction. Shortly after the baby's head came out..what an amazing thing to see! Then with one more push, out came a beautiful baby boy. I was filled with maternal emotion and was in awe of what Meghan had accomplished. The baby was born at 4:50am...remember, I got there at 4:42am and she had gotten there at 4:30am. Can we say FAST! (Morgan, I have a better idea now of what your labors were like) I then watched and gave her ice chips as she delivered the placenta. She did not like being stitched back up..she was not medicated at all during the birth. They gave her 3-4 shots of local anesthesia to numb her perineum for the stitches. Her husband and I took turns holding her hand during the shots and stitches. They took her baby away for what I thought was too long for a healthy, pink baby. They said they wanted to "observe him for a while" but I don't know why that couldn't have been done on the mother or at least in the room. When she finally got her baby, we took some pictures and then I encouraged her to breastfeed her son since it had been almost an hour since he had been born and I didn't want him to get too tired before breastfeeding was initiated. She unswaddled him and he latched on like a champ. Both parents noticed how much more alert he was compared to their first two children who had a bit of pain medicine in their systems. She said she even noticed a difference in the ease of initiating breastfeeding. I left around 6:15am and got home before Gary had even gotten out of bed. Whew...is all I can say. What a rush. I wish I had been able to help her with the labor more but she only had a 3 hour labor and by the time it was regular, it was so far along that she traveled to the hospital in transition. Well I am glad I got to witness my first birth(aside from Bella) and I actually have another client due next week with her first. Since this is a first baby, I bet I will spend more time with this mother during her labor...but who knows?...