I usually do not share birth stories of my clients on my blog, but this birth had a lot of ‘first’s for me as a doula. After having obtained the permission to post this story anonymously, I’m sharing it also with the hope that it inspires others as a positive birth story.
For starters, this was the first time I was asked as a doula to work outside of my usual region. When this lovely Turkish couple asked me to support them in Zeeland, and we had a match at our first skype meeting, we mutually accepted the drawbacks of the long distance. One of potential drawbacks of working outside one’s region is that you are not familiar with the healthcare providers there. So I was open for surprises while helping my clients navigate their way between the midwives and the hospital when the birth took its course.
My clients wished the birth to be as natural as possible, and their birth plan was policlinic birth with their midwife. After my client lost her mucus plug, she also started to gradually lose amniotic water as she moved around. She was not having regular contractions yet, so we remained in contact, and she waited patiently and chose to take her rest, while remaining under control of her midwife. After two days, the midwife referred them to the hospital, and they agreed the birth to be induced at the hospital the following day.
The morning of the birth, I joined the couple at their home, and we drove to the hospital together. They were excited but relaxed, and the mother had been able to sleep through her mild contractions. They were ready for birth.
The first surprise of the day was that the hospital in Goes had a wireless heart monitor, which meant that my client could move freely throughout labor. The wireless monitor was registering very well and needed just a few adjustments along the way, which meant that the fetal monitoring node on the baby’s head was not called for, which frequently happens with a regular heart monitor belt.
My client was coping with the contractions very well. While her husband was supporting her with her favorite massages, I was supporting her with positions and moves which would help her to deal with the contractions and bring the baby in the optimal position for birth.
In the early afternoon, she mostly needed mental support. She was totally concentrated and very much in contact with the baby. It got so intense that we all thought the birth was near.
When we called for the nurse, she actually started the preparations for the baby and asked for her first clothes.
However, when the midwife came to check the dilation, she unfortunately gave some discouraging news. The progress had not been as swift as we thought, and she was 4-5 cm dilated. This was a major setback, and now my client felt tired and in pain. She wanted to relax in bed.
After a few rebozo massages, Spinning Babies moves, and some encouragement, the midwife of the new shift arrived. There was progress, so my client picked up her courage to move on. It can be so tough to be ‘stuck’ in birth while you were working so hard, but perseverance does wonders. And indeed, it did not take long after that for her to feel the baby pushing.
And it was the pushing phase that held the biggest surprise for me as a doula. There is a general tendency in Dutch hospital births to go on with coached pushing once there’s full dilation. Yet, in this hospital, the nurse was patiently waiting for the mother to reach the natural fetal ejection reflex stage. She called the midwife to join only when she had reached that stage and could not hold on anymore. I actually saw the ‘purple line’ appear on the lower hips of the mother, when she had chosen to be on her hands-and-feet to cope with the intense contractions. It was amazing to see a smooth, powerful, and short natural pushing phase. To top it all, the midwife was so patient that I saw for the first time the head of the baby and the body born in two consequent contractions, which is also unusual in the Netherlands as care providers prefer to help the baby out after the head is out, in order to prevent shoulder dystocia.
All in all, a birth to remember for me as a doula – a birth that showed that a medical birth can also be physiological, when there’s patience and trust to let nature run its course.