"Anna was my doula for the birth of our first child. I liked how professionally she
conducted her service. She was always prompt to respond to my text messages
and phone calls. This gave me the confidence that she would definitely be there
when I really needed her help. As expected she arrived at our house very early in
the morning when my labor pains had started. She suggested many ways for me to
handle the contractions and was very adept at using her rebozo to relieve the very
painful ones. She was a great support all through my long labor and helped us with
the many decisions we had to take regarding using medical interventions to speed up
my labor, all the while helping me stick to my birth plan as much as possible. She wrote
up the details of the birth in the form of a birth story and gave it to me when she visited us
postpartum. It's great to have a detailed record of one of the most important events in my
life. I would definitely recommend her service as a doula!"
~Malvika, mother of Sitara
Hospital Birth- Durham, NC
****Birth Stories shared with permission from clients****
On May 30th, 2015, two weeks before her due date, around 12:30pm Malvika called me. She called to let me know that she had been having contractions that were about 10 to 15 minutes apart for a few hours. She said they were still very mild, and that she could walk and talk through them. I told her that it could be early labor or it could be a false alarm. I suggested she drink lots of water and rest. If it was early labor, then I wanted to make sure she got as much rest as possible, before things got more intense. Around 2:45pm, I sent Malvika a text to see how things were going. She said she had been able to get some sleep and that contractions were still coming, but that they had slowed down some. I told her to try to get some more rest and to give me a call if things picked up more. That evening at 8:45, Malvika’s husband, Naren, called me. He let me know that Malvika’s contractions were about 10 to 12 minutes apart, but had increased in intensity. He said they were going to try to get some sleep, but that he would update me more in a few hours. On May 31st at 12:55am, Naren texted me a quick update. He said Malvika’s contractions were now 8 to 10 minutes apart and one minute long, but much more intense. She could no longer sleep through the contractions, and wanted to get on hands and knees every time a contraction came. He asked that I come to their house between 4:00 and 4:30 to help out.
I arrived at their house around 4:20am. Naren let me in. Malvika was in her room sleeping on a chair next to the bed between contractions. It was easier for her to have to get up from a chair when the contraction came then to get up off the bed. I sat on the bed next to her. Naren went downstairs to the couch to try to get a little more sleep. He knew they probably had a long day ahead of them, and he’d already been up most of the night helping Malvika. Malvika’s contractions had started getting closer together. They were between 5 and 6 minutes apart and still lasting about a minute long. Every time a contraction hit Malvika would stand up from the chair, put her hands on the bed, and lean forward. She would vocalize, sway, and do pelvic tilts during each contraction. I would put pressure on her hips to help some with the pain. We did this for a while. Around 6:00am, Malvika ate some toast and jam. Contractions began to space out again so we decided to go downstairs and go for a walk. Malvika and I went outside for a bit and walked around the house, in an attempt to get labor to pick up again.
Around 7:00am, we came back in. Malvika was very tired and really wanted to rest for a while. Naren set up the couch so that Malvika could sit and sleep, but still be able to rest her head and lean back. Malvika slept and her contractions really spaced out. Malvika was able to sleep on and off between contractions for about an hour. After that she woke up and decided to walk outside some more. We walked outside some more, and then we went back upstairs to your her room. Once in there, Malvika rolled out her yoga mat, and got on hands and knees. She did lots of pelvic tilts and stretches. During this time we also discussed other options to try to speed up labor. I also bound her belly. Malvika really didn’t feel like she could sleep more, so she decided trying to move things along was the best option. We discussed pumping/ nipple stimulation and climbing stairs and doing squats. Malvika decided to try squatting first. Naren sat on the birth ball and supported her while she squatted. She did this for a while, and then decided to climb up and down the stairs several times. Contractions began to pick back up again. They were about 4 to 6 minutes apart, and about a minute long.
This lasted until about 9:30am. Then contractions began to space back out again. We decided at this point to try nipple stimulation. We put Malvika’s pump together, and she tried pumping. She also tried manual stimulation. It helped to pick contractions up for a while, but after about 30 minutes they began to spread out once again. Around 10:15am, Malvika was very tired, and contractions were back to being 9 to 10 minutes apart. I suggested she try getting in the bath to slow things down and then see if she’d be able to take a nap. Malvika and Naren decided to call the midwives to see what they would suggest. The midwife on call suggested the same thing. She also added that she wanted Malvika to drink so much water that she’d be stuffed. So Malvika got in the bathtub and drank lots of water. Contractions spaced out even farther. Malvika was able to relax some. Malvika, Naren, and I talked it over and decided it would be alright if I went back home and got a nap in, while Malvika was resting. I left around 11:30am.
At 6:30pm after getting a nap, I texted Naren to check in. He responded around 7:00pm saying that Malvika’s contractions were still about 8 to 10 minutes apart. He said she was able to nap for a little over an hour after she got out of the bathtub, and nap between contractions after that. They had decided to go in to the hospital to do a quick check. They hooked Malvika up to a fetal monitor. The baby’s heart rate looked great. The midwife came in at 7:30pm and checked Malvika’s cervix. She was 5cm dilated, but the baby was still very high. She felt that Malvika’s contractions were intense enough, but not close enough together to bring the baby down. She suggested trying some pitocin in order to get the contractions closer together. Malvika and Naren decided they would like to wait a while on starting the pitocin. They wanted to try to walk around some more and do exercises, as well as, some rebozo techniques to see if they could get labor to pick up that way.
I arrived at the hospital around 8:30pm. When I got there Malvika’s contractions had already picked up some on their own. They were coming every 3 to 5 minutes. She was doing an amazing job working through each one. The nurses were still trying to get a good strip on the fetal monitors, so she was attached to those and couldn’t move around much yet. They waited a little while longer, and they were able to put her on the wireless monitors. Naren set up the room perfectly. They had battery powered candles up and peaceful music playing. It was a beautiful birth atmosphere. Once Malvika was on the wireless monitors she sat on the birth ball for a while. We also did hip squeezes with the rebozo during each contraction. Eventually Malvika decided she wanted to get in the bath. She labored in the bath for a while. Naren sat next to her and encouraged her. After she got out of the bath she walked around the room, and squatted during each contraction. She found the squatting to be very helpful in relieving some of the intensity of the contractions. I applied counter pressure on her hips and back during each contraction.
After a few hours of closer, consistent contractions, they began to again spread out. At 1:00am on June 1st, the midwife came in to check on Malvika. She felt that something else may need to be done since the contractions were spacing out again. She checked Malvika’s cervix and she was 6-7cm dilated with a bulging bag of water. She didn’t feel comfortable at that time checking how high the baby was. She felt like she might end up breaking the bag on accident. After the check, she suggested either starting pitocin or checking again, and if the baby was low enough, then breaking her water. Malvika and Naren took time to discuss the risks and benefits of each option. They decided they would first prefer trying to break the water. Around 2:00am, the midwife came back in and did another check. She felt like the baby was still too high for her to feel comfortable breaking the water. She didn’t want to risk a cord prolapse. At that point, Malvika and Naren decided the next best option was to start pitocin. They started Malvika on a very low dose of pitocin. She was laboring beautifully on that, as long as, she was able to move. Unfortunately, they had trouble keeping the baby’s heart beat on the monitor when Malvika would move around during contractions. Around 3:00am, the nurse came in and had Malvika stay in the bed. She wanted to keep a closer eye on the baby, and couldn’t do that with Malvika moving. Being unable to get in the different positions that helped with the pain, combined with the fact that Malvika had been in labor so long was just too much for her. She decided to get an epidural. We all felt like this was a good decision. She had been in labor for over 30 hours, and she hadn’t had much sleep. The epidural would give her the ability to get some rest. They had to get more fluids in her before they could administer the epidural. They took her off the pitocin while she got fluids, so she could move around to work through contractions.
The anesthesiologist came in a little after 4:00am. I had to leave the room while they administered the epidural. The epidural worked perfectly! Malvika was able to get a much needed and deserved nap. Naren napped on the couch, and I napped on the rocking chair while Malvika was sleeping. A little after 6:00am, I woke up. The midwife’s shift was over at 8:00am, so she came in for one last check before she left. She did a cervical exam and Malvika was 8 cm dilated. Her water bag was still bulging. The midwife went to check the head position, and the bag of water broke. Malvika immediately went from 8 cm to 9 cm dilated, and the baby’s head was low and on the cervix. Malvika decided to take one last nap before it was time to push.
At 10:45am, Malvika began feeling different. She was feeling more pressure. She thought it might be time to push. The midwife who was on call now came in and checked Malvika’s cervix. She was 10cm dilated and the baby was very low!!!! Malvika pushed. Naren stayed on one side of her holding her leg and encouraging her. I stayed on the other side. We kept giving her water and kept a cool rag on her head. She pushed for about an hour and a half. When the baby started to crown she felt the top of her head. Sitara was born at 12:18pm into a room full of love. Malvika and Naren were so ecstatic to finally meet her. They were overjoyed. It had been a long, hard journey to get her here, but it had been worth every second.
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