Real Baby and Birth Stories from Real Women

The Birth of Athena, August 2009

A Perfect Birth

As Remembered by the Doula

Tania was referred to me in her last month of pregnancy. She felt that, had she received the right kind of support for her first delivery, it may have gone differently and less traumatically. After 3 prenatal visits and a refreshed course, Tania and Lorin were prepared for the birth of their second child.

Tania and Lorin called me (Heather, the doula) at 6:10 am on Aug 23 2009 with contractions about 5 minutes apart. After asking a few questions I suggested that they call the hospital and then let me know what they were told. Tania called back around 7:00 and said that they were told that they should come in but not to rush. I arrived at the house at 7:45am and found that Tania was having good contractions at about 3-4 minutes apart, was coping well while sitting on the ball but was feeling nauseous. After a few bouts of vomiting Tania decided that she would like to go to the hospital, so we packed up and left.

We arrived at the hospital at 9:15am, Tania was still vomiting but was already 4cm dilated. Lorin started counting out the contractions for Tania, letting her know when the contraction was half-over (30 seconds). In triage the nurse told her that hydration was not going to be a problem because she would likely have the baby within 2 hours. We all got a chuckle out of that. Within 15 minutes Tania was off the monitor and in her room.

Dr. S came in and gave a fairly negative speech about how the body tightens up beyond your control when you are in labour and that epidurals usually help. He said that Tania should be flexible in her desire not to have an epidural if possible.

At 10:15am Tania was still interested in being up and mobile but was definitely feeling the contractions more strongly, so she decided that the tub might be worth a try. What a great relief! Lorin spent most of the time showering her belly while counting out the contractions (15…30…45). Tania kept saying how great the tub was and seemed so surprised that more people weren’t made aware of this option. After a little over an hour, Tania started feeling a bit lightheaded and decided to get out.

At 11:45, back on the monitor, the baby was coping well but Tania was having a bit more difficulty. She spontaneously started breathing with deep sighs and asked me if I thought that she was in transition. I said that I didn’t think so, but that maybe she was around 7 cm. She got some comfort by being up and swaying/slow dancing with Lorin. At 12:15 she told me that she felt that she was still on top of the contractions and wondered when they would check her dilation. I suggested that they ask the nurse.

Dr. S came in at 12:50 to check on Tania. He broke her water, found that she was fully dilated but that the baby still needed to come down some more before she started to push: “Just let the contractions do the work and let the pressure build.” Tania felt best lying on her side and waited for the urge to push, which came at 1:00pm.

Tania and Lorin had clearly explained to the doctor and nurses their concerns about perineal tearing based on her previous experience. So with my help and the doctor’s instructions to breathe slowly and push gently at the appropriate times, Tania brought Athena Christina DeVries into the world in a smooth, controlled and beautiful manner at 1:24pm. About 15 minutes of pushing and no sutures at all required. Tania kept saying “I did it!” Beaming and excited, she said it was so much better than last time. Grandparents were called immediately and told of the beautiful, perfect Athena weighing in at 9 pounds 13 ounces.

A fair amount of massaging was required to stem the bleeding after the placenta was born and then oxytocin was administered to assist the uterus to contract and then Misoprostol rectally. This was effective but left Tania feeling a bit nauseous.

After breastfeeding a bit, Mom and baby were transferred to another room at 3pm, where Tania drank and tried to eat but was not really up for the offerings from the cafeteria. Another attempt was made to breastfeed, but Tania soon discovered that Athena was happy, skin to skin, just looking at her while she hummed a familiar tune.

Since Mom was getting sleepy, I decided that it was time to leave Tania, Lorin and Athena to rest and so I left at about 3:30pm.

Tania and Lorin exemplified natural birthing at its best. They got into a groove and did what came naturally, following the rhythm that Tania’s body played. Tania never fought the surges that were bringing her baby into the world and Lorin knew how to peacefully be there for his labouring wife. With patience and confidence, Athena travelled her short but challenging journey from one world into another, and was welcomed gently and lovingly. I wish the same birth for all women and their expectant families.

Shared by the DeVries family, and Heather Aguilera of Helping Hands Doula Services, from Ontario, Canada



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