May 12, 2023
It was an honor to be one of the first people to know of Jess’ pregnancy and to be asked to be a part of her birth as her doula. Jess prepared for her first pregnancy with plenty of researching and educating, stretching, eating dates, and drinking red raspberry leaf tea. Jess’ goal was to have as low intervention birth as possible, depending on how her labor process went.
Early in the morning of May 11th, the day after her guess date, Jess woke to some contractions. She was able to sleep in little spurts until around 5am when contractions were coming on stronger and regularly, not allowing Jess the opportunity to rest much more. Jess let me know she was in early labor around 8am. Once Caleb texted me back letting me know her contractions were close to 2 minutes apart, I knew it was probably a good idea for me to head over to their house. I arrived to their house around 11am to Jess puking over the toilet. Unfortunately, the nausea of the first trimester was back for her. Contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes but Jess was still able to talk between contractions and relax some. Jess naturally gravitated towards standing over her stair railing, moving her hips through contractions while Caleb offered to rub her back. Jess worked through her contractions beautifully. While we were at the house, we tried some different positions to help Jess relax and help baby descend into the pelvis. Jess used the birth ball, the birth sling, and the shower for the first few hours at home. After the shower, we decided to try a side-lying release. This position was SO intense for Jess that she couldn’t complete it so we switched to lying in bed in exaggerated runners position with the peanut ball while Caleb and I gave her foot rubs. She then went into a child's pose with rebozo sifting and finally, back to side-lying in their bed while Caleb cuddled her.
Around 2:00pm, Jess was feeling ready to move again and stood at the bedside swaying. Contractions were continuing to get stronger and Jess’ nausea was back. After discussion, Jess and Caleb decided they were ready to head to the hospital. Jess was ready for the magical labor tub. We arrived to the hospital around 3pm, and got into the labor room. The nurse monitored the baby while Jess hung on Caleb through contractions. I started the tub, set up the labor lights, and started the playlist of christian music to set the mood. When the tub was filled, Jess melted into the tub loving the warmth and buoyancy it offered. Contractions continued to grow but the tub was helping take the edge off. Just after 4pm, Jess’ doctor came in and asked if he could preform a cervical exam. Jess consented to getting one in the tub. Her cervix was 4cm dilated, super thin, and the baby was in the mid pelvis. Jess decided to stay in the tub to help her through contractions. Her contractions continued to grow in intensity. As they intensified, Jess began to move in the tub more through her contractions. She moaned through them and kept her hips moving. Moving one leg up or switching to hands and knees through contractions. I offered Jess a comb to squeeze in her hand to help distract her brain from the intensity of contractions. Jess had been in the tub for about 2 hours at this point so I suggested that she try standing through a few contractions for gravity to help out a bit. Jess stood through some contractions, hanging onto Caleb. He and I offered double hip squeezes and held the shower head so warm water would run down her back. After about another hour of this, Jess was feeling ready to get out of the tub. She slow danced with Caleb while she dried off then tried both side-lying and hands and knees positions on the bed. Caleb was by her side the whole time being the BEST support to Jess.
Around 8pm, Jess’ doctor came back and she asked to be checked again. Jess was now 6cm dilated. This was good progress but not as much as she was hoping for. Jess felt like her energy tank was getting low and felt she needed something to allow her body to rest in order to make it to the end. She asked for an epidural and while she waited for it to be ready, she had IV fentanyl to manage the pain. Jess continued to try to rest as best she could through these contractions while Caleb laid in bed with her to help her relax. By 9:30pm the epidural was in.
It took awhile to fully kick in and give her relief on both sides but after another 30 minutes, Jess was much more comfortable and able to relax much more. We continued with different position changes in the bed: side-lying with a peanut ball, seated squat, and hands and knees. At 10:35pm, Jess’ doctor came back to see how she was feeling after the epidural and also asked to check her cervix. Jess was now 8-9cm dilated. We were all excited for good progress with the epidural and decided to keep letting her body work.
We continued with some position changes and at 11:40pm we were preparing for a position change and looked at Jess’ pad, and to our surprise her water had broken! We’re still not sure exactly when that happened but her body was getting closer to being ready for delivery. Jess had a new boost of energy at this point and was chatting with all of us about all things birth and life.
At 1:23am, Jess’ doctor was back to check on her progress and she was completely dilated! Jess wasn’t feeling an urge to push at this time so she decided she was comfortable laboring down and resting while her body continued to contract and move her baby. We did positions to open the pelvic outlet to allow space for the baby to come out, hoping it would help move the baby down. Around 2:15am, Jess was in hands and knees position and was starting to feel more lower pressure with contractions and was wanting to try pushing. She also asked the nurse to turn down her epidural for pushing, hoping that she would be able to feel the pressure and contractions to help guide her. Initially, Jess pushed for awhile on hands and knees, then we started trying some different positions like tug of war and squatting.
3 hours later, around 5:15am, Jess was still pushing and feeling tired and worn out. Her doctor came in and felt that an anterior cervical lip had developed throughout the process of pushing. For the next little bit, her doctor used his fingers to push back the lip during pushes around the baby’s head. He was also able to give Jess good feedback that her pushes were strong and she was doing a great job pushing in the right spot. After about an hour of this, the cervical lip was gone but Jess’s baby was not moving much farther down. Her doctor talked about the options of a c-section or a vacuum delivery. Jess wanted to try everything before a c-section so she decided that the help from the vacuum would be a better option for her. She was starting to become more uncomfortable with her epidural turned down and vacuum deliveries can be very intense, so her birth team decided to bolus and turn up the epidural to allow her more comfort. Jess kept pushing while we waited for her to get more comfortable. This was also a great time for Jess to be able to ask questions and process this change in her birth plan. Around 7am, Jess and her birth team were ready to meet this baby. Her doctor placed the vacuum, which is like a little suction cup, to the baby’s head to help pull the baby out. With a vacuum, if the suction cup pops off 3 times without delivery, a C-section is indicated. Jess pushed hard with the help of her doctor and the vacuum. After a few pushes, the baby moved down but there was 1 pop off. We were still optimistic though because the baby had moved down and was making good progress. Jess pushed a couple more times and the same thing happened but the baby was moving down a ton! We were close. Her doctor would have to call a c-section if there was another pop off and the baby didn’t deliver, so he decided to also cut 2 internal episiotomies to allow more room in hopes to get this baby out vaginally. We encouraged Jess to give it all she had. With 3 more big pushes, Jess’ baby’s head delivered and quickly after, the rest of body did as well.
Born May 12 at 7:16am
Ellis came out pink and crying right away! A perfect baby boy! He was placed on Jess’ chest and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. After a couple minutes of cuddling Ellis, Jess started to feel light headed so the nurses took Ellis to the warmer and laid Jess down. Jess had lost a decent amount of blood after delivery and was starting to feel the effects of blood loss. She started to go in and out of consciousness, so her nurses and doctors started taking action calling for more help while taking vitals, giving medications, and monitoring her bleeding. Thankfully after a couple minutes, Jess was starting to feel better and her bleeding was slowing down. We all knew Jess “was back” to feeling better when she started asking all of us a hundred questions about what was going on. After some more time and the chaos in the room died down, Jess was able to hold Ellis again and enjoy those sweet baby snuggles.
Jess’ birth was intense and not exactly the dream birth she would have imagined but she took the twists and unknowns of labor and set aside her desires to do what was best for her baby. Jess truly is an amazing mother who would do anything for her little boy. It was a long, intense labor but it was an honor to walk through this experience with Jess and Caleb and see their love for each other and Ellis.
May 6, 2023
Maya was born on May 6th, 2023, exactly 355 days after her big sister on May 16th, 2022! I was so honored to get to be a part of Hilary and Austin’s first baby’s birth as the nurse for their daughter Ellie’s birth, almost exactly 1 year prior! So I was so excited when they reached to me for doula services!
Hilary worked hard in preparing her body for labor and choked down her dates religiously! She has stayed very active with their toddler and farm life. It definitely paid off when at her 38 week appointment, she was already 4cm dilated!
On May 5th, at 8:30 p.m. Hilary called me that she thought her water had broke! She had wanted to labor at home for awhile, but knowing she was 4cm dilated already and GBS positive, decided to head to the hospital. After Hilary got to the hospital, she had a cervical check at 10:15 pm and was 6cm dilated and baby was at 0 station. BUT her water had not actually broken. After discussion with her doctor, me and Austin, they decided they didn’t feel comfortable going home being 6cm dilated and would spend the night at the hospital. We discussed the importance of resting if possible!
Soon Hilary began having some contractions that were growing in intensity and she wasn’t able to lay down or rest anymore. These were about every 4-5 minutes.She decided that since she wasn’t sleeping anyways, that she wanted to have her water broken to see if it would speed up the process.
The doctor came in at 1:50 a.m., Hilary was still 6cm dilated and broke her water at this time. She texted me that she was still coping decently, but since I wasn’t really sleeping, decided to head to the hospital to support her and Austin.
I arrived at the hospital at 2:30 a.m. and her contractions seemed to have faded out a little after breaking her water. Walking did help bring on contractions, so I suggested her and Austin go up and down the stairs sideways (modified curb walking) to see if that would help encourage more contractions. While they walked, I set up the room with dim lights, soft Christian music, and lavender diffusing.
When they came back, she was having contractions back roughly every 6 minutes apart. She decided after walking she was ready to lay down and rest for awhile. She laid down and I assisted her to an exaggerated runners position for 30 minutes on one side and then she rolled over to the other side for approximately 30 minutes. During this time Austin was able to nap while I applied sacral pressure with contractions. Hilary was able to deeply relax and slightly dozed off in between contractions.
After resting for an hour, Hilary had to use the rest room and also felt like contractions were getting too intense to keep laying down for. I had her straddle to toilet and propped a stool under one foot to help the baby through the mid pelvis. This position is wonderful because it allows for rest and counter pressure to be applied from behind. Hilary was able to stay in control and breathed perfectly throughout these!
When Hilary was ready to get up and move again, I had her lean over the raised bed with a foot on a stool. With contractions I encouraged Hilary to work with each contraction and really lean into a lunge on the stool. She worked through contractions on the right side and then some on the left side. These started to get extremely intense, which was a great sign! Austin started getting the tub filled up as Hilary was ready for some more pain relief. While waiting for tub Hilary was able to squeeze Austin’s hands while I provided counter pressure. She was working so hard and really had to tune in to herself to focus on her breathing.
Once the tub was filled, Hilary quick emptied her bladder before getting in it. She got in the tub around 5:30 a.m.. Once inside, was able to lay back, relax, and close her eyes between contractions. After every contraction I reminded Hilary to relax her jaw and completely melt in to the back of the tub. She was able to squeeze Austins hand during these intense contractions and was breathing amazingly through them! I kept refreshing her cool washcloth on her face and helping her take sips of water. At one point during her time in the tub Austin went and grabbed a fresh cup of coffee. When he took it in the bathroom to keep holding her hand Hilary said “Austin I can not stand that smell of your coffee right now!” So he and I quickly moved our coffee out of the bathroom and I added some more lavender essential oils drops to the tub to help cover smell.
After a few more contractions Hilary started voicing that she felt she couldn’t go on much longer. She also told us that she felt like her belly was somewhat pushing during contractions. Austin and I looked at each other and knew that it was time to help Hilary out of the tub, as things were obviously progressing. We helped her dry off and she walked slowly to the bed. She decided she wanted a cervical exam to see where she was dilated and as she was feeling lots of pressure.
The doctor came in and checked her at 6:02 a.m. and she was 9cm dilated and baby was very low! Austin and I helped Hilary to a hands and knees position while leaning over the peanut ball to help get her cervix fully dilated. The next 15 minutes were intense! Hilary begged for an epidural, while Austin gently reminded her that it didn’t work last birth and that she that was almost there. After a few more contractions, Hilary’s body was definitely pushing. The nurse and I sat by the foot of the bed and waited for the doctor to arrive bedside. He got there and got his gloves on just as the baby’s head emerged! 1 more push and Hilary roared her baby earth side!
Austin announced so quietly to Hilary that at first she didn’t hear him say, “It’s a girl!” He repeated himself and Hilary cried with excitement in realization of another girl!
born May 6th, 2023 at 6:17 a.m.
Hilary worked SO hard prior to labor and through out the whole delivery process! I am so honored to have built our initial relationship as her nurse with their first, to getting to be her doula for their second! Austin’s love and support for Hilary during labor was so imminent. He knew just what to say to remind her how capable and powerful she actually was! Maya’s birth was so special and she will be very well LOVED by Austin, Hilary, and Ellie! Getting to work with your family was such a JOY! Thanks for inviting me to be a part of her birth! Being a doula is the best!
April 30, 2023
Shortly after finding out I was going to become a certified birth doula at the beginning of the year, Katie and Jerod reached out to me interested in doula and lactation services for some guidance through their first pregnancy. Right away I knew this birth would be so special to me as they are close friends of mine, so I was honored they welcomed me into their birth space.
Katie worked hard to prepare her body for labor. She ate her dates, drank a lot of red raspberry leaf tea, and stayed active throughout her pregnancy.
On Saturday, April 29, Katie had texted me she lost her mucous plug in the morning. Together we discussed that this was a great sign that her body was beginning to prepare for labor and that baby could decide to make his appearance at any time. Katie told me she was having some mild Braxton hicks contractions, but overall feeling great. I encouraged her to be active by going for a walk, stretching, and using different birthing ball positions to try and kick start labor. She was going to keep me updated throughout the rest of the weekend with how she was feeling.
Later that evening, my husband and I were at their house hanging out and playing some card games. I had gotten home shortly after midnight on Sunday, April 30 and went to sleep. To my surprise, I woke up to a phone call at 3:30 a.m. from Jerod telling me that Katie was experiencing some contractions! She had woken up at 2:30 a.m. to use the bathroom when her contractions started. She tried to rest and sleep some more, but the contractions seemed to only be getting stronger and closer together. We spent some time talking and agreed it would be best for me to come to her house first.
I arrived to their house at 4:15 a.m. where Katie was leaning over her kitchen counter and Jerod was giving counter pressure to her back. I could already tell he was going to be the best support person for Katie throughout labor. While Jerod was finishing packing some things & getting the hospital bags loaded in the car, I gave Katie some counter pressure to her back and helped her breathe through her intense contractions. She was so strong working through intense labor contractions in her back that were coming frequently. At 4:30 a.m., Katie and Jerod decided it was time to head to the hospital as things were getting quite intense.
Right when we got to the hospital, Katie was checking in when she told me her water had just broke spontaneously! While walking back to the OB department, she had to stop multiple times to focus and breathe through her contractions while Jerod applied counter pressure.
At 5:00 a.m., Katie had a test performed to confirm her water had broken and the test was positive! Right after this, she opted to have her cervix checked and she was 3cm dilated, 60% effaced, and baby was at -1 station. We were encouraged by this, but knew we had some work to do to get baby engaged into the pelvis. Katie decided she wanted an epidural at this time. Katie was most comfortable in a side-lying position while Jerod and I continued to take turns holding her hands, giving counter pressure, and squeezing her hips. Being in this position allowed her to rest in between her contractions as she had not gotten much sleep through the night. Katie was very much inwardly focused on her contractions and did such a great job breathing through each one of them. We had the lights dimmed and quiet Christian music playing. Jerod did such a great job encouraging her through each contraction and help her focus on her breathing. He always knew exactly what she needed and was quick to get it to her.
At 6:30 a.m., Katie was able to finally receive her epidural. After some time being able to get full pain relief on both sides, I was able to set up the lights and had peppermint diffusing. We used the peanut ball in bed to help baby come down into the pelvis. Her and Jerod were both able to get some much-needed sleep! Every 30-45 minutes, the nurse was able to help me move Katie into a different position to encourage continued descent with the use of the peanut ball.
At 11:00 a.m., Katie opted for another cervical exam to see how much progress she had made, and she was 9.5cm dilated, 90% effaced, and -1 station! The nurse stated that she could feel a fore-bag of water. At this point, she got very nauseous and wasn’t feeling well. The nurse was able to get her some nausea medication and continued to use essential oils to help relieve this. We then put her in a high thrones position to help open the inlet of her pelvis.
The doctor came back to the bedside at 12:30 p.m. to check if the rest of the cervix was gone. However, she was unchanged from the last cervical exam. The doctor offered to break this bag of water, but Katie decided to wait to see if this would break on its own. Her provider she had also seen all throughout pregnancy was going to be back around 2 p.m., so she really wanted to wait for her to get back. At this point, I suggested trying a hands/knees position, but her epidural was too strong, and she wasn’t going to be able to hold herself up. She preferred to try and rest some more, so she went into the flying cowgirl position and was able to take a nap.
At 2:30 p.m., her provider made it to the bedside! Katie was so relieved by this. She checked Katie’s cervix at this time, and she was 9.5cm dilated with a loose anterior lip, 100% effaced, and +1 station! The provider suggested artificially rupturing her bag of water and Katie consented to this.
At 3:08 p.m. Katie began pushing! She had excellent epidural coverage, so together we decided that it would be best if we turned down her epidural a little bit, so she was able to have a better sensation of where to push. Katie was such a strong pusher, even for being as numb as she was. She started pushing on her back while holding onto the grab bars and this was most comfortable to her. Jerod helped support her neck and gave sweet words of encouragement at she was pushing. As baby continued to move down, she did some knees together pushing to open the outlet of the pelvis. Katie was an absolute rock star when it came to pushing and was moving her baby down with each push.
After an hour and a half of pushing, their baby boy was here! He was placed right up on Katie’s chest. He let out a big cry and everyone was cheering! It was such a cool and exciting moment to witness.
Born April 30, 2023, 4:38 p.m.
Jerod and Katie, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of Benson’s birth. It was truly magical and such a joy to be a part of. This will always hold a special place in my heart, especially as my first doula baby! What a blessing it is to be a part of this special time in your lives. I will cherish these sweet memories forever!
April 24, 2023
Kassidy and Sean decided to be induced when Kassidy was 39 weeks because she really wanted her specific provider to be at the delivery, and had found out he was leaving town right around her due date. They also did not find out the gender of their baby and were ready to meet him or her! Kassidy worked hard in preparing her body for labor. She stayed very active and went for walks almost daily. She did her miles circuit and even opted for inserting Evening Primrose Oil capsules most evenings.
On the morning of her induction, Kassidy arrived to the hospital and her cervix was checked at this time and was found to be 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced . After some monitoring and drawing of labs, her doctor decided to start Pitocin.
Her Pitocin was started around 10:00 a.m. and was gradually increased throughout the morning. Kassidy and I stayed in touch to see how she was coping as well as suggesting different things to try and help her contractions to help baby get in a good position.
Around 3:45 p.m. Kassidy’s doctor came in to check her as well as break her water. She was 4cm dilated and much more thinned out and baby was at -1 station. She decided at this time she was ready for me to come as she knew contractions would start getting much more intense with her water no longer intact.
I arrived at the hospital at 4:45 p.m. and Kassidy said that her contractions had gotten much more intense and she was getting ready to get in the tub. I had her empty her bladder before getting in so that she could stay in the bathtub and not have to get out for awhile. Once in the tub, Kassidy got very comfortable and was really able to relax in between contractions. She even dozed off in between a few! She continued to labor one contraction at a time and was doing wonderfully! After about an hour, Kassidy started to get quite warm and decided she was ready to get out of the tub and move around. Her contractions were growing in intensity and she felt like she was ready to try some different positions. Sean helped Kassidy dry off and she clung to him for a few contractions while I provided counter pressure in the bathroom. Once out, she felt good standing and we utilized a stool under one foot and then the other while Kassidy was able to lunge with contractions.
At 6:15 p.m. Kassidy was checked again and was 4-5cm dilated and baby was very low. She did a few more contractions standing and then decided she was ready to get back in the tub. Sean and Kassidy’s mom Paula, went out to the waiting room to eat supper during this time and I continued to labor with Kassidy. She emptied her bladder again as well as did a few contractions while straddling the toilet with some towels under her foot. Baby was in the mid pelvis, so the best positioning is utilizing asymmetrical positions.
Once Kassidy was back in the tub, she felt great relaxing in the water and definitely took the edge off of her contractions. We played soft Christian music, and had lavender diffusing. We also used the galaxy lights in the bathroom to keep it dark and relaxed. Kassidy and her mom joked it was like she “was laboring at the spa!”. She did some lunging positions in the tub on both sides and then decided she was ready to lean back and relax with the jets. She was able to grip the railing with one hand and used a comb to squeeze in the other. Throughout the time in the tub Kassidy was able to rest and relax, but her contractions were continuing to grow in intensity.
Kassidy’s doctor came back at 8:00 p.m. and she was ready to get out of the tub and have a cervical check. After her doctor came back in the room, Kassidy was on hands and knees leaning over the peanut ball. He asked how she was doing, and Kassidy said “S**t’s getting real Doc!”
He checked her cervix and she was 6cm dilated but very stretchy. He discussed with her that if she wanted an epidural, now was going to be the time to get one because he felt like that if she dilated a bit further, it would go very quickly and she wouldn’t have time for one. She decided after a few more contractions that she was ready to get an epidural.
While waiting for the epidural, Kassidy got up and we tried to utilize movement and gravity as much as we could. She leaned over the peanut ball with her one leg up on the bed and swayed in to each contraction. Her contractions continued to grow with intensity as the Pitocin was still be administered. She was working so hard to cope through contractions and but was getting extremely miserable. We did a forward leaning inversion as well to make sure baby was in the best position she could be before getting the epidural.
Kassidy got her epidural placed at 9:15 p.m. and felt so much relief but the epidural was working more on right side versus her left. So we rolled Kassidy to her left side and utilized the peanut ball between her ankles to keep working with her contractions. In this position she was able to really rest and closed her eyes in between contractions. Sean, Kassidy, Paula, and I chatted about life and shared quite a few laughs. If you know Paula or Kassidy, you would understand that there is never a boring conversation!
30 minutes later with assistance of the nurse, we rolled Kassidy to her other side. While rolling we noticed lots more fluids coming out. Once she was comfortable on the right side, Paula was going to try rest on the couch and Sean was going to go for a walk outside. She was resting with the peanut ball between her ankles again and closed her eyes. After approximately 20 minutes on the right side, the nurses were having a hard time finding baby’s heart rate on the monitor. When they did find the heart rate, it was right at Kassidy’s pubic bone! Baby had moved WAY down! She decided to have a cervical check and she had a small anterior lip of her cervix, but baby was “right there!” I put Kassidy in a throne position with the bed to see if that would help the rest of cervix disappear, while the nurse called the doctor. One of the other nurses woke up Paula and Kassidy called Sean and told him to come back inside!
The doctor got to her bedside and had Kassidy start pushing at 10:45 p.m. She had to be directed when to push as she was still so numb from her epidural. Kassidy pushed with at total of 2 contractions, and then their baby was here!
“It’s a girl!” The doctor exclaimed.
She was placed directly up on Kassidy’s chest and let out a loud wail! Kassidy, Sean, and Paula all cheered and cried tears of joy! It was such an exciting moment!
born April 24th, 2023, 10:52 p.m.
Kassidy worked hard in preparing her body as it could be to allow the birth of their second daughter. Sean, Kassidy, and Paula were so much fun to work with in labor, and a pleasure to get to know ahead of time! The relationships you build as a doula are truly special! Kassidy and Sean, thanks for taking me along on the journey of Tulsa’s birth! It was such a joy to be a part of!
April 12, 2023
Dallas and Jamie reached out in early pregnancy for doula services in hopes for some guidance through pregnancy and the birth of their first daughter!
Jamie texted me in the afternoon of Tuesday, April 11th, that she had gone in to be evaluated as she was having some higher blood pressures and increased swelling in her feet. The hospital did some blood work, and ultimately decided to start an induction. Jamie felt nervous about this as she was a first time mom and was 38 weeks and 3 days gestation, but was at peace with the decision.
Cytotec was placed at 6pm and Jamie cervix was still closed. She was having some contractions on the monitor, but not feeling much. I stopped by the hospital later that evening and set up lights and the diffuser. We talked and hoped for rest for Jamie and Dallas as this may be a long process for her. I told her that if she needs me at all during the night to call and I would be right over!
Jamie was able to rest a little bit during the night, but not sleep much. She texted me at 6:00 a.m. saying that her water had broken spontaneously at 12:45 a.m. and Pitocin was started at 4 a.m.. Pitocin was started because her contractions were fairly spaced out yet. She was going to get in the tub but was ready for me to come over soon. We decided that I would come around 8 a.m. after dropping my kids off at school. The doctor was also planning on coming around that time to do a cervical exam.
I arrived to the hospital at 8:05 a.m. and found Jamie in a standing position leaning over the bed and swaying with contractions. She was really working hard through contractions but was able to talk in between. The nurse told me that when the doctor had just been in, Jamie was 5cm dilated, 70-80% effaced and baby was at 0 station! This was extremely encouraging news!
Jamie’s contractions were in a “coupling” pattern, so the first thing we did was do a forward leaning inversion to see if we could get baby in a little better position. She was able to tolerate this position, but was definitely not a fan of it…ha! After she came back up from the inversion she did 3 deep cleansing breaths and felt she was ready to stand up and move again. We grabbed pillows to allow for her to lay her head down on the bed with contractions. I also borrowed a stool for Jamie to place under one leg, and then the other to help the baby through the mid pelvis. She labored this way for roughly an hour while Dallas or I did counter pressure with the contractions. During this time we decided to get the tub filling up again to see if that could help with some relief from the intense contractions.
Before Jamie got in the tub, we did a few contractions facing backwards on the toilet with a stool under a foot, then the other foot. Once Jamie got in the tub, she was able to relax. We had the bathroom lights off with rope lights around and soft Christian music playing. She laid over the edge of the tub while on hands and knees. Dallas was able to rub her neck and shoulders and I could provide counter pressure. At this point it was obvious that Jamie had turned more inward and was having a hard time talking to us. After awhile she sat back and utilized the jets for relief. She was able to really rest in between the contractions with a towel behind her head for support. After a few more contractions she began to bear down a bit with contractions and was feeling like she had to push.
We assisted Jamie out of the tub and helped her dry off. While in the bathroom, Jamie standing clung to Dallas and I was able to provide counter pressure. It was a very sweet moment and I could truly see how much Dallas loved her! She was able to move slowly to the bed where she was sitting on the edge of the bed being able to hold on to Dallas in a hug. He was kneeling and she was able to rest on him in between contractions.
At 10:37 a.m. the doctor came in as he had been called that she was starting to feel pushy and Jamie opted for a cervical check. She was an anterior cervical rim and baby was +1 station! The doctor discussed with Jamie that she could attempt pushing and he would see if he could hold the lip out of the way, or if she wanted to labor down through more contractions to see if that would resolve it. Jamie opted to continue to labor through contractions and allow her body to keep working without over exerting herself as she was exhausted from minimal sleep. She moved to a hands and knees position hanging over the edge of the bed so that she was able to close her eyes in between. Dallas stayed up by her head making sure she was taking sips of water, and reminding her that she was doing a great job! I was able to climb on the bed behind her and provide counter pressure with each contraction while supporting her ankles in a knee’s in- calves out position to encourage movement through the outlet. Jamie stayed in this position for approximately 30 minutes and felt her legs were getting tired. The doctor came back during this time and Jamie chose to have another cervical exam. The anterior lip was still there, but almost out of the way. She decided she wanted to rest and labor down until she couldn’t anymore. Jamie got comfortable on her side with her pillows and a peanut ball between her ankles. She was able to close her eyes and continue to breathe through her contractions this way!
At 12:00 there was an obvious change and Jamie’s bearing down had turned in to pushing. It’s amazing how your body knows exactly what to do!
The doctor came back and at 12:06 p.m. Jamie was complete and baby was +2 station. He asked Jamie which position she wanted to be in for delivery, and Jamie chose her hands and knees. At 12:10 was when she truly started pushing with a coached effort. She was pushing so strong and were soon seeing Hayden’s dark hair! Every push was paving the way for the baby to be here! Jamie was making amazing progress on hands and knees with gripping on to the handles on the bed, but soon her legs became numb. It was hard for her to hold herself up and decided to try utilizing the squat bar. Jamie rolled to her back while waiting for the squat bar, and found herself to be very comfortable in the position. She gave a few more super strong pushes, and soon the baby’s head was almost out! She was able to breathe through the most intense part of Hayden’s head being out, flawlessly. Jamie gave one more big push, and Hayden was here with her hand by her face! Dallas’s reaction to watching his baby be born was awesome! He was crying, and cheering, and encouraging Jamie all at the same time! It was truly so special!
born April 12th, 2023 at 1:22 p.m.
Dallas and Jamie had suffered a miscarriage 1 year prior in late March. Jamie had went in for a DNC on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Hayden Jean was born on Wednesday, April 12th, 2023 exactly 1 year later. They sobbed hugging each other, with their new baby on Jamie’s chest in this realization of this and thanked God for their healthy daughter! The doctor who had done her DNC the year prior was now here again, but for the joy of their new baby! It was so obvious of the goodness of God in that moment and I feel privileged to have witnessed it.
Jamie had worked hard in preparing her body for labor! She ate her dates and saw a chiropractor faithfully. When working through Jamie’s birth preferences, she was definitely open to an epidural if she felt like she needed one. When it came to her labor, she never even mentioned the epidural! Women are incredibly powerful and determined. She worked through every contraction with support of all around her. She was strong and worked with her body throughout the labor process, and it paid off through her quick induction story! Thank you for taking me along in this journey, and it was a blessing to get to know you both!
April 10, 2023
Reese’s birth was a long, whirlwind of events that lead to God’s ultimate redemptive birth plan!
Stephanie and Dillon contacted me when they had found out their previous doula would no longer be able to attend the birth of their 5th (3rd living) baby, due to a move out of state. When meeting, Stephanie shared with me her last birth was the birth of her stillborn twin boys, Abel and Bennett, at 17 weeks. This would be their rainbow baby, after 2 years of grieving but trusting God’s plan!
Throughout pregnancy, Stephanie dived in to all things birth! She said that once she starts learning about something, she wants to know as much as she can about it! After doing a lot of research and educating herself, she began to feel that her current provider no longer was aligning with her views on birth. While looking for a new provider, she interviewed the Flourish midwives and she toured the Flourish Birth Center suite. Immediately, she felt Erin (midwife) understood her belief that birth is a God given gift to women! She felt supported and empowered. After some back and forth discussion with her husband, Stephanie made the decision to switch providers at 37 weeks pregnant.
On Friday night, Stephanie lost some of her mucous plug. With her deliveries for Colin and Blair her labor had started immediately after. The week leading up to Friday was a stressful, emotional one. Dillon’s dad had passed away unexpectedly on Sunday evening (3 years after his mom) and their daughter had been hospitalized from Wednesday in to Thursday (the day of the funeral and one day before Stephanie’s due date) for croup! So we talked through this and they decided to sleep the best they could. Saturday morning came around and she continued to lose some more of her mucous plug and was having some menstrual type cramping, but nothing extreme. She went for a walk and to the chiropractor to see if things would continue. Saturday night came around and again, not much had intensified. I stopped over Saturday evening and brought my peanut ball and went through some stretches and we came up with a “game plan” if labor kicked in Saturday night.
Stephanie called me Sunday morning at 4:30 a.m. to tell me that her contractions had intensified and they were getting ready to head to the birth center. We met and I followed them up to the birth center, arriving around 8:00 a.m. Erin had met us at the birth center and discussed Stephanie’s labor progression. The decision was made to rest and nap as they were exhausted. At 10:30 a.m., contractions had stopped and everyone decided to leave the birth center for while. Dillon and Stephanie went out for Easter brunch and spent some time walking around stores before heading back to the birth center. Home Depot and Walmart were about the only stores they found open as it was Easter Sunday.
From 2-4:30 p.m. we worked through some different stretches and positions to see if we could help labor progress. Erin came back during this time and we came up with a plan in that Stephanie and Dillon were going to stay in Sioux Falls overnight and I was going to head back home, as not much seemed to be progressing.
I was about to walk out the door at 5:30 p.m. when Stephanie had a few intense contractions. It quickly became obvious that these contractions were different than previous ones. We started working through them & labored in different positions over the next few hours.
At 8:45pm, Stephanie opted for a cervical check. She was 5cm dilated (stretched to a 6-7). At this point she was ready to get in the tub. She labored beautifully in the tub and was able to rest and relax in between her contractions.
There was another obvious shift in intensity of contractions at 10:45 p.m. and Stephanie continued to labor flawlessly with the support of Dillon speaking affirmations. She coped with each contraction and loved having her arms touched with soft touch. Throughout the labor process, Christian Hypnobirthing app was playing on repeat, reminding Stephanie that this is what her body was made to do.
At 11:58 p.m. Stephanie opted for another cervical exam as she was starting to become very physically fatigued. She was now 7-8cm dilated. After in-depth discussion and all pros’ and con’s with Erin, Stephanie decided she was ready for her bag of water to be ruptured. This was done at 12:08 a.m. When Erin broke her water, the baby’s head went back up just a bit. Erin kept her hand held on the baby’s head and waited until the next contraction and guided Reese’s head back down to be re-engaged. This was quite uncomfortable for Stephanie and she was ready to get back in the tub in hopes of a water birth!
She continued to breathe and labor through each contraction with her husband and support of loving women around her. Her room was calm, and dim light with lavender, valor and frankincense diffusing throughout. Stephanie had placed a handmade picture of her twin boys, Abel and Bennett, on the mantel to honor their memory. The beauty of those moments is a memory that will forever be a part of my heart of how supported birth can truly be!
Around 1:20 a.m., she was bearing down with contractions without truly pushing. She was checked, and she had only a small cervical lip left. She breathed through a few more contractions and soon started pushing at 1:30 a.m.
Stephanie was pushing so hard and in different positions in the tub, and it was soon obvious that baby was not descending as they should. Erin had Stephanie get out of the tub and move to the toilet to try pushing to see if that would help baby get in to a better position. After spending a few contractions and pushes there, Stephanie went back to the bed. She pushed in multiple different positions in the bed, and it was becoming increasingly obvious that baby was not in a good alignment for delivery. Stephanie had given permission to the midwives to continue to assess placement internally with pushes. Baby was coming down occiput posterior position- OP (sunny side up), with her forehead (brow presentation) and her nose was hung up on Stephanie's pubic bone. The midwives worked hard to internally rotate baby, one way and then turn baby the other way without success. During one of the internal attempts, baby grabbed on to the midwife’s finger and left her hand up by her face as well.
After multiple different attempts in getting baby in a good position and Stephanie’s growing exhaustion, a last “Hail Mary” was done. Stephanie was assisted in to a forward leaning inversion where she had to be completely held by the midwives, the nurse, and Dillon. I jumped up behind and “shook the apples” with my rebozo in attempts to back up baby just enough for delivery. Stephanie was able to tolerate this through three contractions and and it was extremely intense. After the inversion, we helped her in to a side lying release with assistance from everyone on the team. She breathed through the side lying release, as her body was continuing to push. While holding this position, the song “God Turn it Around” by Jon Reddick began playing over the speaker. Erin pleaded, “Lord God, turn this baby around” while listening to baby through the doppler. Everyone in the room lifted a prayer for God to turn this baby, and prayed for strength! All of a sudden, there was an obvious fall in Stephanie’s leg that was being released!
She rolled back over and with the next contraction pushed against us holding her legs and Erin on the bed using my rebozo in a tug of war position. Dillon supported her behind her head and along her neck and shoulders.With this contraction, she made so much progress! The baby had moved!! Stephanie pushed hard through a few more contractions with help of the whole team. With one last hard push, Stephanie roared her baby out and baby immediately let out a loud cry!
Everyone let out a huge sigh of relief and many tears were shed! The baby had moved ever so slightly during the reposition that she was able to tuck her chin just enough to allow for delivery. She was delivered, still OP and looking wide-eyed, straight up at the midwives but Stephanie was strong enough to push through that position!
After the baby was placed on Stephanie’s chest she said, “He’s here!” And then she realized she needed to look and says “It’s a boy??” I encourage her to look and Dillon says softly to Stephanie, “It’s a girl.” “It’s a girl!!” Stephanie looks then announces to the room through joy and sighs of relief.
born April 10th, 2023 at 2:49 a.m.
April 10th is significant because it was also the anniversary of Dillon’s recently passed parents. Christine was given to Reese in honor of Dillon’s mom, whose first name was Christine. When Stephanie’s labor seemed to not really “take off” until Easter Sunday evening, Dillon joked it’s because his mom and dad wanted to spend some time with Reese before she came to this side of creation. One of Stephanie’s birth affirmations- God has perfectly prepared this day for my baby’s birth. God wanted this precious new life to be born on a date that he wanted associated with not only grief, but joy. Joy in the fact that God is good, even in the suffering. There is no more beautiful way to celebrate the promise that Easter is, along with honoring memories of loved ones lost, than with a birth of a new baby.
Stephanie, I am so proud of you for following your instincts and following God’s plan for your birth. Thank you so much for inviting me in the redemptive story of Reese! It will forever hold a special place in my heart! You and Dillon are resilient and amazing people inside and out, and it has been such a blessing to get to know you both so well!
March 27, 2023
Kyle and Elise reached out early in pregnancy for doula and lactation services after finding out they were pregnant with their first baby. From the beginning Elise had voiced that she wanted to have an unmedicated birth, but was open to interventions if they were needed.
Throughout our education meetings and texts back and forth, Elise and Kyle soaked up as much information as they could! She read multiple books including Bumpin, What to Expect when you are Expecting, and Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Newborn: The Complete Guide. They loved learning and ask many in depth questions about the process of labor and ways to prepare your body.
As her due date started to approach, Elise continued to voice her wishes for a natural labor to her doctor. He was in full support as long as baby continued to look good through out the end of pregnancy! She stayed active with walking their dog Drake (who became my new best friend!), drinking red raspberry leaf tea, and seeing a chiropractor. She also mustered down dates and did the miles circuit regularly.
On Saturday afternoon, Kyle and Elise went to go for a hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City to hike and enjoy the nice weather! On Sunday they went for a walk, ate supper and then started watching the Iowa game. At 10:00 pm, Elise started getting back pains that were starting to come regularly and she sent me a text and let me know that she was going to try rest and see how things progressed. I didn’t answer her text because I was already asleep, but was soon awoken by Elise calling me at 12:15a.m.! Her contractions were coming more frequently and getting harder to lay down through. We talked for a bit and decided to try sleep/rest a bit more if she could as its typical for first time moms to be in labor for awhile.
At 1:46 a.m. Elise texted me saying that she was not able to really rest through contractions anymore and that they were all coming in her back. I messaged a couple things to try to see if the back labor was due to the position of the baby, but then we ultimately decided it was time for me to head to their house. In heading to their house we were hoping we could figure out a way to help with the back labor and get baby in to a better position.
I arrived at Kyle and Elise’s house at right around 3:15 a.m. and found Elise in a forward leaning position. We talked about how she was feeling and how contractions were going. She stated that she still felt them almost all in her back and felt they were growing in intensity a little. We tried some modified forward leaning inversion and I used my rebozo to “shake the apples” in hopes of helping baby engage in a better position. At this point Elises contractions were coming very regular and predictable. After talking to Elise some more, she told me that her menstrual cramps are also always ALL in her back and this was comparable to that cramping. We began to think that baby actually was in a good position and that this was just how Elise was going to feel her contractions! I suggested that we do some flying cowgirl with my peanut ball and see how her labor continued to progress. We got into the flying cowgirl position at 4:00 a.m. and we were able to chat in between the regular contractions. Kyle and Elise are SO fun to talk to! Elise had flipped to the other side after about 15 minutes, and so their was a visible change in intensity of her contractions! She felt she needed to get up and move and decided to move to sitting on her exercise ball and move her hips in a figure 8 motion. She was really starting to have to breathe through contractions! We started discussing that we should probably starting making our way to the hospital and call to give them a head up. Kyle called the hospital and started getting Drake everything he would need while they were gone. I suggested Elise try empty her bladder before leaving. I had her to do this straddling the toilet in a position often known as the “dilation station.” She stayed this way through a few contractions while I applied counter pressure. She was really having to work through contractions now!
I followed Kyle and Elise to the hospital and we arrived at 5:15 a.m.. We went back to the labor and delivery room while the nurse asked the arrival questions to Elise. She had her birth preferences scanned in to her chart, so it was easy for the nurse to look it up. When we had arrived in the room I started the tub filling and had Elise put her foot up on the bed and “lunge” in to her contractions to open the mid pelvis. Kyle provided counter pressure from behind and made sure Elise was taking sips of water. Kyle and Elise decided to wait for the doctor to do cervical check before getting in the tub.
The doctor arrived at 5:30 a.m and Elise was found to be 7cm dilated, 80% effaced, and baby was at 0 station! She was now very much ready to get in the tub to help with contractions which continued to be in her back. While in the tub, Kyle stayed right by Elises side and helped her through every contraction. We set up some lights and turned the lights down and brought in Elise’s soft Christian music. It was all so quiet and intimate! Elise lunged through a couple more contractions on each side and soon slipped in to “labor land”. She was no longer conversing with Kyle or I in between contractions, but was silent with eyes closed. We continued to remind her, that this is exactly what her body was made to do. Every contraction we helped Elise to remember to focus on her breathing and relaxing her jaw and breathing her baby down. I reminded Elise the peak of her contractions were lasting 10-20 seconds and she can do anything for the amount of time. She would slightly nod her head letting us know she was hearing our affirmations, but was not in a state to respond. During this time the lab came to draw her blood as Elise had chosen not to have an IV.
Around 6:30 a.m. Elise started to bear down towards the end of contractions and voiced that she was starting to feel like she had to push. We helped Elise out of the tub, and encouraged her to empty her bladder again as she had been taking sips of water throughout labor. She did roughly 3 contractions straddling the toilet again while Kyle gently rubbed her back. Elise was able to walk back to the bed and got into a hands and knees position. I suggested we get a birth ball for Elise to lean on so that she could rest in between contractions.
The doctor came in and checked Elise at 6:49 a.m. and she’s was 9 cm dilated and baby was +1 station! Her water also still had not broken at this time. We helped Elise to breathe through a few more contractions to allow her cervix to dilate the rest of the way, while Kyle continued to provide counter pressure. Elise began to feel the need to bear down again at the end of contractions. At 7:07 a.m. Elise had just a small anterior rim of her cervix left. She was able to breathe through a few more contractions and soon Elise had an overwhelming urge to start pushing!
Still in hands and knees over the birth ball, the doctor checked Elise at 7:20 a.m. she was complete and pushing! At 7:21 a.m. her water finally broke with her first true push! She was so strong and knew right where to focus her eagerly, which can be a huge plus of not having an epidural! The athlete in her definitely came out as she gripped the bed rails and pushed her baby down very effectively. Kyle stayed right by her head and was continually talking to her telling her how proud he was in between counter pressure with contractions. Around 7:30 a.m. we started to see Ty’s dark hair! Elise allowed for everything to stretch and her body to make room. With one final strong push, and Ty was on this side of creation! Kyle looked down at his new baby, and announced to Elise and the room..
“It’s a BOY!”
born March 27th, 2023 7:42 a.m.
Elise’s had never really had any abdominal contractions her entire labor, which goes to show to look at the labor process for each individual. Sometimes what tends to be the “normal” doesn't always mean that it is for each person! Elise and Kyle were such an awesome couple to work with! They soaked in all the information Brenna and I could provide! Elise worked hard in getting her body prepared for labor ahead of time, and it really was helpful in her powerful labor. Kyle was right by Elise’s side the entire process and his unconditional love for her was evident. She leaned in to him when she needed to, and he helped in anyway he could to relieve her pain. They were such an awesome team! I’m so glad you guys reached out and chose me to be a part of Ty’s birth! It’s been such a fun journey, and I am SO happy for you guys! Brenna and I feel blessed to educate and support you both a long the way!
March 24, 2023
Kendra reached out in early pregnancy and we ended up doing our first initial consult over FaceTime thanks to the snow storm (of many we had this winter!) and decided to hire me as a doula!
She and Tanner (not Tyler! Which I called him several times in labor..ha!) decided that a homebirth would be a good fit for what she was desiring for the birth of their first baby!
She worked with midwife throughout pregnancy and talked about all her hopes for labor and delivery. Kendra was also great about choking down her dates and preparing her body as much as she could for the labor process.
She texted me at 6:00 am on Thursday the 23rd saying that she was having some cramping and contractions that had woken her up around 4:00 am. I suggested trying to time her contractions and rest some. She had borrowed my peanut ball, so I encouraged her to try resting with that. Her contractions were somewhat irregular but seemed to be coming roughly every 3 minutes. At this point she was still able to breathe through them pretty well, and I suggested she try nap since she may be in labor for awhile. Around 11:45a.m., Kendra texted me again saying that things were more intense, but was still doing okay. She was having difficulty getting comfortable and felt she was ready for more support with coping with contractions as well as positioning.
I arrived at Kendras house around 1:45 pm and found her resting on the couch with peanut ball between her knees. They had starting filling up their birth pool and I starting setting up lights and getting lavender diffusing. We started to play soft Christian music in the background as well to help Kendra relax. After we got this all set up we got to work on positioning to help baby engage more in to her pelvis to try to get contractions to pick up in frequency. She liked to stand and utilize the birth sling to support her body and help her sway back and forth through contractions. Soon it was evident Kendra was having to concentrate more through her contractions and decided to get in the pool. We updated the midwife and she decided to start heading our way. The first midwife, Jeanette, arrived around 3:15 pm. And then Kari, the second midwife, arrived at 3:45. They found Kendra in the birth pool while I provided counter pressure from behind. They made themselves and home and kept the environment calm and relaxed.
The next several hours were spent laboring and taking one contraction at a time. The midwives “sat on their hands” and continued to let Kendras body do what it was made to do. We just took every contraction as it came, and she breathed perfectly through each one. We moved from standing, to the tub, to the toilet, and to the ball. Just following Kendras lead with whatever her body felt like it needed at the time. The best part about being in the home is being able to truly follow what your body is telling you and doing it in the comfort of your own space! Tanner held her hand and made sure she drank something or ate a few bites of food every couple contractions to help Kendra keep her strength up. The midwives would intermittently Doppler baby and he tolerated labor fabulously throughout. It was such a calm, supportive environment!
At 11:32pm, Kendra began to feel the urge to push with contractions. She had started bearing down and the ends of her contractions. At this pointed she opted for a cervical exam from the midwife. She was 10cm dilated but baby was at 0 station and the midwife felt like baby was tucked up on her pubic bone. Her bag of water had not released yet, so after the midwife explained all the pros and cons, Kendra consented to having her water broke. She was getting very tired and the hope was to allow the baby to come down after the bag was released. The midwife went to use a small little hook to realize the bag and was checking her, that the bag released by itself! At 11:45pm midwife felt like the baby was able to move down some with the bag no longer intact, but was still not off the pubic bone enough. After some back and forth thoughts about best positioning to help baby come down, the midwife and I assisted Kendra into Walchers of the bottom of her bed. She was able to tolerate this through 2 contractions as it was quite intense to feel baby dropping so suddenly. The midwife monitored the baby’s heart rate during this and it was noted that baby was feeling the rapid drop as well. But his heart rate recovered quickly and Kendra headed to the toilet to try empty her bladder at 12:52am. While on the toilet she really started having an overwhelming urge to push with contractions, and that’s exactly what her body was doing. She stayed on the toilet for a few contractions and then was ready to go back to the birth pool. Once in the pool, she was guided by her body to multiple different positions in the tub from squatting, to lying back, to hands and knees. During the pushing phase of labor Tanner placed himself right in front of Kendra and gave her the encouragement she exactly needed! As she says, “he knows my brain, and knew EXACTLY what I needed to hear in those moments.” Kendra then got out of the pool and pushed on the birth stool for a bit but found this to be too uncomfortable after a few contractions. We decided to move to the bed for some side lying pushing as Kendras legs were getting tired holding herself up. Kendra was able to lay her head on Tanners chest as he held her hands on her side. I held up her leg for her to push against and soon Kendra pushed so hard now that we started to see part of the baby’s head! The midwife checked suture lines of babies head and felt that he was pretty tilted to left side. Right about this time, the baby started to have some lower heart tones. The midwife was so skilled in handling this situation and the nurse quickly helped Kendra by putting a oxygen mask on. Baby’s heart tones recovered, but the midwife felt it was time to get the baby delivered. This gave Kendra a little adrenaline surge and she pushed SO hard! We decided to get Kendra to squatting and holding on the edge of the bed to utilize gravity to help get baby delivered quicker. After getting to this position, Kendra had one big contraction and she pushed with all her might, and right out came the baby! She did it!
born 3/24/2023 at 2:51 am
Gaige was handed up to his mom and Kendra walked over to the bed and was able to snuggle up with her baby! He was looking around at the new world and took a little bit of time to recover from his rapid appearance! The midwife and nurse stimulated him by rubbing him with a warm dry towel and soon we started to hear his cries! At 3:01 am Tanner was able to cut his chord after it had turned completely white and was done pulsing. Kendra and Tanner cuddled up with their new baby and took in every ounce of this new little life. He had light brown hair and long fingernails!
Kendra’s placenta had not started to release yet, and since she was having no bleeding, the midwives decided to not force it to deliver. We helped Gaige get latched and took off nursing! The nurse and midwives were busy cleaning up the pool and starting laundry for Tanner and Kendra. They also had a snack while working on their charting and waiting for the placenta to deliver. After Gaige was finished nursing, the midwife and nurse decided to have Kendra empty her bladder and take a shower to see if that would help the placenta detach. She got in the shower and washed her hair and cleaned up. Which felt AMAZING Kendra said. While in the shower she tried actively pushing to see if that would help. With no success, the decision was made to administer IM Pitocin. After the shower Kendra moved to the bed and was skin to skin with Gaige. After a few more minutes, Kendra was able to push out the intact placenta. The midwife inspected everything and decided to do a couple repair stitches on her. Kendra was feeling the after birth high, and we were able to talk through a lot of what had happened! The midwife did her assessment on baby Gaige, weighed him, and administered any newborn meds Kendra consented too. After all this was done, and everything settled down, we tucked Kendra and Tanner in to bed while Gaige slept safely in the bassinet right next to their bed. It was the sweetest moment!
Kendra worked flawlessly throughout labor and never gave up on herself. When she was no longer strong, she leaned in to Tanner for support and encouragement. It was so intimate and showed how well they work together as a couple. Her whole pregnancy and labor, Kendra trusted her body and her ability to give birth. She had voiced in our multiple conversations prior to labor that she was completely at peace with welcoming their son into the world in the comfort of their home. She knew her son’s birth story was already written and God was in control. During labor, her midwife and team worked so perfectly together and showed true skill set on how to handle “complications” that arose in the labor process. Throughout the labor Kendra’s decisions and wishes were up held and respected. Birth in the comfort of your own home, is such a raw experience that can be so empowering! It proves time and time again, women are so strong and know how to work so well with their body! Kendra and Tanner, thanking you for taking me along on this intimate journey in the birth of Gaige! It was such a powerful birth and I am forever blessed to be able to witness it!
March 11, 2023
Getting to know and work with Kristen and Eric was nothing short of a pure JOY.
After years of infertility and 2 ectopic pregnancies Kristen and Eric began to feel peace from the Lord that their calling was not having children. God surprised them with a gift of a healthy pregnancy at almost 40 year of age.
Kristen and Eric hired me on as their doula and hearing their story and their love for the Lord, this child, and each other was a blessing. We enjoyed digging into the physiologic birth and the options she had for her hospital based birth.
At Kristen’s 39 week appointment her doctor wanted to get an induction on the schedule so Kristen was now scheduled for an induction in one week at 40weeks and 1 day pregnant. Kristen desired to go into labor more naturally if possible so she decided to have a cervical exam and membrane sweep done in hopes to get labor to start. Kristen was already 4cm dilated at this point and we were all optimistic!
Around 12:30am that night Kristen woke up to the start of contractions that were enough to keep her awake through the rest of the night. Kristen and I touched base in the morning and planned to see how the day went and if labor continued to progress. Kristen and I stayed in frequent contact throughout the day and by the afternoon it seemed that Kristen’s labor was progressing well and could use some extra support so I headed to their home. I got there around 4:15pm and Kristen was breathing beautifully through contraction standing and leaning over a ladder. Contractions were coming around every 5-6 minutes and growing in intensity. Kristen was feeling all of her contractions in her back so we tried some counter pressure that didn’t really help, so then decided to try some different positions. Throughout the afternoon Kristen, Eric and I hung out and worked together to try new positions to alleviate Kristen’s back labor and try and help her labor progress. From all the side lying positions, standing, swaying, hands and knees, rebozo, the birth ball, and tub we tried most positions in the books.
Around 10pm Kristen was feeling ready to go to the hospital and make sure everything with baby was looking good and see how far along she was since it had been almost 24 hours since her contractions had started. We all arrived to the hospital just before 11pm. The nurses hooked Kristen up to the monitors and we listened to baby girls happy and healthy heart rate. Kristen got all checked in and opted for a cervical exam. Kristen was now 6cm dilated. Kristen was hoping to be farther along but kept up her good spirits that labor was in full swing now and she could keep going.
At the hospital we continued to try different positions to help progress labor. With all of Kristen’s back labor I was concerned of the baby being in a non optimal position so we went through a circuit of position to try and help rotate the baby into an optimal position. Most of these potions were sidelying which were the most uncomfortable for Kristen (sorry Kristen I had to try them). Kristen gravitated to standing and leaning over Eric and always came back to that position. I would massage Kristen’s sore lower back through those contractions. We then decided to have Kristen try the tub for her back and help her relax through contractions. It helped maybe a little but wasn’t Kristen’s favorite. So we got out of the tub and decided to try sitting backwards on the toilet for a few contractions. This was a position that was also very uncomfortable for Kristen, but she obliged me and gave it a try through 3 contractions. On the 3rd contraction on the toilet Kristen felt a release in her bottom and some wetness. We were excited that maybe her water had broke! The nurse came in to check Kristen and perform a test to see if her water had broke. Kristen was 6-7cm and the nurse said that the baby had come done farther in the pelvis. It was slow progress but it was progress and that’s what kept Kristen going. The test came back a few minutes later that Kristen’s water had not broke but we remained optimistic that the toilet had done some work to help Kristen progress. We continued trying different positions and ways to help Kristen’s back labor. Kristen then tried a shower (and nearly flooded the bathroom) which she enjoyed for a while, as well as some squatting, and lunging positions.
Kristen continued to work beautifully through her contractions but was feeling tired after 2 nights of no sleep and about 30 hours of labor at this point. We started discussing the options of having her doctor break her water and getting an epidural. After discussing Kristen decided she was ready to do both of those things. Kristen’s doctor came in and checked Kristen’s cervix and called her the same dilated as before. At 7:10am she broke Kristen’s water and the nurses were preparing for the epidural.
After being up all night and a weekend trip planned I called Ashtyn and asked her to come and finish the birth for me. Kristen and Eric were so understanding and welcoming to Ashtyn taking over as their doula. It truly was a team effort. Kristen got all set up with her epidural just before 8am and Ashtyn got there shortly after to take over.
After taking over for Kyla, Kristen had just gotten her epidural after having minimal sleep for 2 evenings. She was soon comfortable and able to sleep. At her last check she had been 6 cm dilated. For the first few hours I was there we really prioritized sleep to help fight some of the exhaustion of the long labor. Every 30 minutes, I woke up Kristen and we moved to a new position and then she would fall back asleep quickly.
At 12:15pm the doctor came to touch base with Kristen and check her cervix. At this check, Kristen was still 6cm dilated and 100% effaced. So at this time, decision was to start some pitocin to help her body make some more progress. It was started right at 1:00 pm as it had taken awhile for pharmacy to mix it up, etc. Kristen had a very dense epidural so the pitocin didn’t bother her much thankfully and she was still able to sleep after every position change. At around 2:00pm the nurse came in and told me that Kristens contractions were “coupling”, which can sometimes be a sign of a malposition of the baby. The nurse and Eric and I got Kristen into a modified forward leaning inversion and then put the bed in to trendelenburg. I climbed up behind Kristen on the bed and used my rebozo to “shake the apples” through a few contractions in hopes to back baby up a bit to get in to a better position.The whole time she was supported by pillows and the nurse and Eric to make sure she stayed safe. After a few contractions I snuck the rebozo under Kristens belly and lifted with some gentle shaking in an attempt to help re engage baby into a better position. Soon Kristens contraction pattern became regular with contractions every 2-3 and the coupling had stopped! We were so excited!
The nurse checked Kristen again 2:54pm and she was a 6.5, but baby had come down much more in the pelvis! With this information, we did many positions to help baby through the mid pelvis that also allowed Kristen to continue resting. At this point, the contractions continued to be regular and the pitocin did not need to be turned up anymore. At 5:00pm, the doctor came in to check Kristen and she was found to be 9 cm dilated and baby was at had come down some more! Everyone was so excited! Eric and Kristens family were hanging out in the lobby, so Eric was able to go eat pizza with them and Kristen did her make up while we chatted about Enneagram. She was so full of knowledge it was so fun to learn all about the personality tests!
Exactly 2 hours later the doctor came back and Kristen had a rim of cervix on the left side, and baby was at +1 station. We moved Kristen to a position to aide in getting rid of the last little bit of her cervix. As well as doing a side lying release to help baby to continue to keep moving down. The nurse checked Kristen again at 8:30pm and she was complete! Baby was at +1 still and she had no urge to push due to the dense epidural. So Kristen labored down in waiting to feel the urge to push and allowing her body to continue to push baby down without exhausting herself pushing.
At 11:30 pm she still wasn’t feeling any urge to push, so the decision was made to turn the epidural down in hopes of her being able to feel a bit more since her epidural was so dense. And then we began to start trying to actively push to see how that felt and see if she was pushing correctly. The next few hours were spent working so hard to help baby descend and to help Kristen push her baby out. She worked so hard and was pushing so strongly! We allowed for times to rest as well as SO many different positions to keep working baby down. Throughout these hours, Kristens contractions started to become overwhelmingly painful. Throughout her whole labor she never felt a single abdominal contraction! So now with the epidural down from 12 to 10, the were back and excruciating for her with the combination of the pitocin.
The doctor was staying in touch with the nurses throughout the labor, and then she decided to come in and evaluate at 1:30 am. She check Kristen through a contraction while pushing, and she said baby was still at +1 station. The baby had not come down at all this entire time, despite being in the perfect position. After hearing this, Kristen, Eric and the doctor made the decision to go to C-section. Kristen had reached the brink of exhaustion from 50+ hours of labor after multiple hours pushing adequately and not moving the baby, they felt like it was time.
Kristen went back to the OR at 2:30 am and Eric followed shortly after.
March 11, 2023 2:56 a.m.
9lbs & 22inches long
Eric and Kristens miracle baby was here! She was a miracle she was conceived and was the most precious gift! Throughout the entire labor, Elliotte tolerated the long labor so perfectly it was such a blessing! Kristen worked SO hard during her 50 hour labor, and Kyla and I were extremely in awe of her. She took each deviation from her birth preferences with so much grace and class. Eric and Kristen are the sweetest, most genuine couple, and are going to be the BEST parents to sweet Elliotte! Thank you for inviting Kyla and I in on your beautiful journey!
February 11, 2023
There is one word that comes to mind to sum up Stetson’s birth, and that is redemptive!
Brooke reached out at about the halfway mark in pregnancy, in hopes for a different birth experience then her second baby. Her second birth was traumatic with a shoulder dystocia and a NICU stay, that rightfully left Brooke feeling nervous about the birth of her third.
Brooke went for an appointment and an attempt at having her membranes stripped on Friday 2/10. At this appointment she was 1cm dilated and the midwife tried to strip her membranes. Once Brooke got home from Sioux Falls, she was feeling pretty good and not noticing much change. While at home she did some cleaning and light house work to keep herself occupied. Around 4pm she decided to try and drink the midwives brew and see if this did anything to help encourage things along. Brooke and Keith were able to go out for a nice supper that evening as the kids were away at her parent’s house. At around 8:30 pm, Brooke was having some cramping, but nothing to extreme, so her and I talked and made the decision to try and get some rest.
At 6:30 a.m. the next morning, Brooke woke up to more intense contractions. She texted me a picture of the contractions she was timing and they were a little bit irregular but she was having to breathe through them sometimes. Her and I discussed whether she should head up to Sioux Falls and check in at the hospital right away or go to her brother and sister in law in Harrisburg for a bit. Since Brooke’s previous births seemed to go fairly quickly, we decided it would probably be best to head to the hospital. Then if she got to the hospital and felt as if she had a ways to go, then she could leave and head to her brother and sister in laws house. But it was a good thing she decided to go to the hospital first! Brooke let me know during the car ride that her contractions were getting much more intense and she was really have to breathe through them. I started getting my stuff packed and she was going to let me know when she got to the hospital after she got checked. At 8:49 am, she texted me that she was 5cm dilated and 90% effaced!
I jumped in my car and headed straight to Sioux Falls. I got to Sioux Falls shortly after Brooke had gotten in the tub in her labor room. Keith was providing sacral pressure and Brooke was breathing beautifully through contractions. I set up my diffuser with lavender and lights to create a more intimate environment. I also started my music playing soft Christian music as this was important to Brooke. Throughout her pregnancy, she trusted in God for a safe and healthy outcome for baby. She was so grateful that she was able to safely house this baby inside her for the last 9 months, whatever the outcome in birth may be! Brooke continued to breath through each contraction, relaxing her body in between. We continued to do this one contraction at a time until her body started to bear down a bit. She opted for a cervical check, but only if the midwife would check her in the tub. At 11:00 a.m. she was 7cm dilated, 90% effaced, and baby was at 0 station. Her water had also broken at some point in the tub. We assisted Brooke in to a lunging position in the tub for a few contractions and then to the other side for a few contractions. I continued to provide sacral pressure and Keith was able to be by Brooke’s head for her to squeeze his hands. We reiterated the affirmations from Christian hypnobirthing and reminded her that every contraction brought her closer to meeting their baby. Brooke labored and leaned in to each contraction again and again. She knew this is what her body was made to do and trusted the process At roughly 11:37 a.m., Brooke sat back to a squatting on her knees position and her body obviously was pushing.
Brooke said “I felt the baby drop down!” We alerted the nurses and told them to call the midwife. After the contraction was done, the nurses urged Brooke to go back to the bed, but with the sudden change in baby’s position, she felt like she needed to get her bearings before moving. In this time another contraction came, and she body was obviously pushing. The nurses were busy trying to get ahold of the midwife as well as get the delivery table ready to go. After that contraction passed, with the assistance of me and the nurses, Brooke was able to stand up and swing her legs over the edge of the tub and get to a standing position next to the tub. The nurses were trying to hurry Brooke along to the bed, but she needed a moment again to get her bearings while standing by the tub. With this, another contraction came and Brooke squatted down on the bathroom floor. The nurse threw a blanket underneath of her in between legs. I was on one side against the wall with Brooke and the midwife and nurses were on the other side with her back to them. With this strong push Brooke was giving, I soon saw baby’s hair and then head! She delivered the head and Brooke was able to reach down and feel his whole head out of her body. I encouraged to give one more push, and the midwife was able to catch the body, while Brooke and I had the head! The midwife reduced the chord from his body and was able to hand the baby through Brookes legs for her to hold. She held the baby to her and waddled to the bed with her baby skin to skin with her.
When Brooke got to the bed there was immediate cries of relief. Brooke looked at Keith, with her baby snuggled up to her crying his first cries, and sobbed “We are SO BLESSED! We are SO BLESSED!” Everyone shed a few tears of pure joy and gratefulness!
In the midst of all the joy, Brooke peaked down at her new baby and announced to the room “IT’S A BOY!!”
February 11, 2023
Throughout her pregnancy and weeks leading up to birth, Brooke worked through her trauma in the birth of her second. Some doctors had advised her to have a primary c-section after the shoulder dystocia, but Brooke felt confident in her body’s ability to birth. She worked hard to prepare her body and her mind to surrender to the labor process. In labor she stayed so in control and breathed through each contraction so perfectly. She had told me prior that she had wanted to labor in the tub as long as she possibly could, and really didn’t want to give birth in the bed. She listened to her body and delivered her baby safely in the middle of bathroom floor without difficulty. Stetson got to stay skin to skin with her the entire golden hour and he was perfect in every way. After working through all her anxieties and past intense experience, she was able to have a beautiful, REDEMPTIVE birth, and I will forever be honored to have been a part of it.
February 12, 2023
Jackie was in the third trimester of her third pregnancy when she reached out about having a doula at her birth. As the birth of her third son was coming nearer, she was hoping for more education and support to help achieve a low-intervention birth. Jackie had gotten an epidural for both of her previous births— one being an induced birth and the other a spontaneous birth. Jackie was hoping to avoid induction and an epidural, having as little interventions as possible.
In our prenatal meetings, Jackie and I went through all the ways to prepare her body for labor. When her due date was approaching, we started talking more about ways to “naturally” induce labor. Jackie was eating dates, stretching, and seeing a chiropractor regularly to help support her body through the 3rd trimester. She was already having frequent Braxton Hicks contractions that were kick starting some early cervical dilation. Jackie asked her provider for a membrane sweep at her 39 and 40 week appointments, in hopes it would be a little extra boost to put her into labor. The membrane sweeps started more contractions but each time they ended up fading out, not resulting in active labor. Jackie was set up with an induction at 41 weeks but was eager to try other methods to get her body into labor naturally, as she was hoping not to be induced.
On February 12, the day before her scheduled induction, Jackie woke up with contractions every 10 minutes. We hoped this was the start of labor! Throughout the morning, she continued to have some contractions but they weren’t growing into active labor. Jackie decided to try a midwives brew to help her body progress. Around 9:30am, Jackie drank her midwives brew and contractions began to pick up. Over the next hour, her contractions started growing stronger and closer together. They were now every 6-7 minutes. At noon, I got the text that Jackie was ready to head to the hospital as contractions were more intense, 4-5 minutes apart, and she had some bloody show.
We all made it to the hospital around 12:45pm. After getting settled in, Jackie was checked by the nurse and found to be 5cm dilated and 70% effaced. We were excited for the progress her body had already made! The monitors showed a healthy heart rate for Baby Roy, so Jackie was able to opt for intermittent monitoring instead of continuous. While we waited for Jackie’s doctor to come in, Jackie stood leaning over the bed rocking her hips to help move the baby down. I helped her put her leg up on a stool periodically which helps the baby move through the mid-pelvis.
The doctor arrived at 2:10pm and asked to check Jackie’s cervix. She was now 6cm dilated and 90% effaced. We were all very excited that her labor was moving along nicely. Jackie was now ready to try the tub for some pain relief. She gravitated to a hands and knees position which is great for pelvic mobility. While in the tub, Jackie alternated between hands and knees position, squatting, and lying back. Her contractions continued to grow stronger and closer together. I sat with Jackie in the bathroom, offering affirmations of strength and tips to help keep her body relaxed through contractions. Around 4pm, Jackie started to get shaky and was starting to show signs of transition. She remained so calm and relaxed through all of it, she was even able to fall asleep between contractions! About 15 minutes later, Jackie had the urge to push with her contraction so we prepared to get out of the tub and move to the bed. Jackie breathed through another contraction, then Joe and I helped her out of the tub. Another contraction came quickly so Jackie held on to Joe, doing a slight squat through the contraction. Jackie then moved to the bed on hands and knees, working hard to breath through her contractions. With her next contraction, her water broke. Jackie’s doctor checked her cervix and found that she was complete. With one more contraction and two pushes, Roy Joseph was born at 4:32pm. Weighing a whopping 9lbs 13oz!
The looks of pure joy and excitement on both Jackie and Joe’s faces were priceless. Birth is such an exuberant moment in time that I wish I could bottle up and savor forever. Each birth reminds me that I really do have the coolest, most rewarding job. Thank you Jackie and Joe for welcoming me into your birth space to witness such a beautiful, joyful birth.
February 1, 2023
Madyson and Tylers story started after Madyson started reaching out and looking at the possibility of a VBAC for her second child. The birth of her first started out as an induction that lead to a C-section for failure to progress. Now pregnant with her second, she was hoping for a more natural vaginal birth, when she reached out for doula and placenta services!
Madyson chose a provider who was completely VBAC supportive and patient in letting her body to go in to labor on its own! On January 31, when Madyson was 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant, she went in to have a non-stress test and a biophysical profile. This is very routinely done when you are over your due date to check on baby and placenta. After everything checked out perfectly, Madyson decided that she wanted to try drinking midwives brew to see if it would start her labor. She had tried midwives brew with her son without success, so was unsure if it would work this time. She took the midwives brew around 4pm and made her feel quite nauseous and woozy. She texted me around 6:30pm, saying that she was going to lay down and rest as she was not feeling well. Soon she was having mild contractions, but was able to make supper and spend the evening with her husband and son. She also told me that she had the urge to get the house cleaned and ready. That nesting instinct is strong, especially in early labor!
At 8:30 pm, we touched base again and Madyson was resting and snuggling in bed with her son. She had borrowed my peanut ball, so I encouraged her to try flying cowgirl with the peanut ball to see if it could help get baby further down in to the pelvis. At this point contractions were coming somewhat more regular, but she felt like she was still able to cope with them. We both decided to try sleep while allow her body to continue to labor, and see if things progressed on their own.
At 12:06 am, Madyson called and I attempted to answer, but at the same time her phone had hooked up to her car’s blue tooth, so I was unable to hear her. Seconds later I received a text from Madyson saying her contractions “were getting gnarly and they were waiting for her mom to get the house.” She was soaking in the bath to help her cope with her intense contractions. She asked me to meet her at the hospital as we both had roughly a 50 minute drive. I quickly jumped up and got ready to go as it sounded like things had really picked up! On the way to the hospital, I texted her doctor as he had asked for a heads up that she was coming in in labor. He was so excited! While I was on my way, I received a text from the doctor that I needed to hurry, because Madyson had called the hospital and the nurse had heard her screaming in the background! Later Madyson said it was the worst car ride of her life and swore Tyler was hitting every bump he possibly could… :-)
Madyson and Tyler arrived at the hospital at 1:45 a.m. were she opted to have a cervical exam and was 8-9cm dilated! The doctor also provided sterile water injections into Madyson's back to see if would help her with pain. I arrived shortly after this, and Madyson was on hands and knees on the bed screaming with contractions. We decided to take my rebozo and try have Tyler help take some of the pressure off her belly with lifting. This only lasted through a few contractions though, as soon Tyler got very pale and had to sit down. So I took over counter pressure while the nurse brought him some orange juice and crackers!
Madyson was still very uncomfortable so we decided to try to utilize the shower as the tub takes awhile to fill. The nurse and I assisted Madyson to the shower were we ran hot water over her back.She also rolled her “active labor” oil roller all over her arms and chest to help her regain control of her mind. The doctor said that baby was at 0 station, so we put a stool in the shower and had Madyson put her foot up on it. We were using gravity and side lunging on both sides to encourage baby through the tightest part of the pelvis. She was amazing taking one contraction at a time and really working with her body! Soon Madyson was obviously bearing down with contractions as the pressure was much more more intense. She was able to walk back to the bed, and helped in to it in between contractions. She opted for a cervical exam at 2:37 a.m. and was a “rim” and baby had come down! During this cervical check her water also broke!
Madyson was bearing down with each contraction, and we assisted her in pulling herself up to lean over the squat bar in a squatting position. After the contraction was over, she sat back and was able to lean against Tyler who was seated in the bed behind her. He was able to help Madyson re gain control of her breathing and allow her body to relax in between contractions. She closed her eyes and he whispered encouragement to her, and she leaned upon him for strength. It was truly special how well they worked together in helping her keep her mental and physical strength.
After a few more contractions Madyson roared through one more push, and baby was born quickly on to the bed! Tyler had jumped up from behind Madyson and was able to witness his daughter coming earth side!
Tyler exclaimed excitedly “You did it!!! You did it!!” Everyone was so thrilled and the joy was felt through out the room!
February 1st, 2023 3:21 a.m.
Ember had her chord around her neck two times, so this was reduced and she was placed up on Madyson’s chest. Tyler kissed Madyson on the forehead, and it was obvious he was so proud of her! Madyson leaned back in to the bed to snuggle her new baby and cried with relief “Thank you guys! Shes’s here! Thank you guys!” She had achieved her goal of a spontaneous, unmedicated vaginal delivery! It was a beautiful, redemptive moment that brought tears to my eyes.
Madyson was so pro active in preparing her body for labor, as well as waiting patiently for her baby. And it definitely paid off with her raw, quick labor and delivery! She truly trusted her gut and her ability to birth her baby! Her doctor was also very supportive of physiological birth and believing in women’s ability to have natural labors. Madyson and Tyler were so fun to work with, and getting to be apart of another beautiful VBAC is such a blessing!
December 29, 2022
Chelse reached out after deciding that she was going to have a homebirth with a midwife. She had talked to different providers at a few different hospitals and felt they were not a good fit for her and Jacob’s ideal birth experience.
Jacob was immensely supportive throughout the entire birth, and his love and admiration for Chelse were so evident! During the early morning December 29th, around midnight Chelse woke up having some mild contractions. Chelse laid in bed timing contractions from midnight until 2 a.m. to make sure this was the real deal before waking Jacob up. Around 2 a.m. Chelse woke up Jacob and said “I think it’s happening... they are lasting a minute and coming 5-6 mins.” Jacob was so excited and immediately got up to rub her back through some of them in bed.
After awhile they decided to get out of bed and started to get a few things ready around the house, while still working through the contractions. He brought down all of the birth supplies they had purchased and worked to get the birthing pool setup in the kitchen, while Chelse cleaned up the house a bit. He would go to Chelse whenever he heard a new contraction happening to rub her lower back or let her lean on him for support. He dropped everything he was doing to be right at her side every time.
Chelse texted me and her midwife at 5:07 am saying that she had been having mild contractions that were 5 and 1/2 minutes apart, lasting roughly a minute. We suggested resting and maybe taking a bath. Chelse is a first time mom, so she was thought she might be in labor for a while and rest is SUPER important early onFrom 7 until 9 a.m., they were able to snuggle up in bed and were able to sleep through some contractions.
For the majority of the labor, before Chelse’s water broke, it was a lot of the same. Jacob putting counter pressure on her lower back, telling her that she could do this and making sure she kept a positive mindset. They continued to work through contractions together as a team with Jacobs continued hands on support.She texted me again at 10:40 a.m. saying contractions were continuing regularly and roughly the same intensity, but with a little more pressure. Chelse and Jacob were still coping well and was comfortable at her home.
At 12:30 p.m., the midwife called Chelse and Jacob and talked to her on the phone. The midwife felt that things were progressing slowly and that baby could possibly be here in the middle of the night. She told Chelse to take a shower and then lay down and rest again to see if she could sleep. Chelse was feeling a little discouraged after the call with midwife in the afternoon saying baby was probably not coming until way later in the evening. She remembers saying to Jacob “I really don’t want to be doing this until midnight.”
They decided to try and get a little nap in and save up energy for later this evening. After she laid down and the next two contractions were intense, way more intense than they had been all morning. It was obvious there would be no sleeping! Jacob helped was able to help her get out of bed to use the bathroom again. When she stood up and she felt a gush of water. After getting to the restroom, she discovered her water had just broken!At 1:26 p.m she texted me and said “Okay, no resting. My water just broke and things are way more intense. The midwife is coming when she is finished with her patients”
The contractions that followed her water breaking, were much more painful than before and Jacob could tell she was in a lot more pain. He ran her a bath and helped her get in the tub. He kept holding her hand, running water down on her back. Throughout the whole labor Jacob continued to remind Chelse “You are doing it and we were going to get through all of this with our sweet baby.” Soon Chelse started feeling the urge to bear down and push but it was still just Chelse and Jacob at the house. This is where Jacob got noticeably concerned that is when the texts got a little bit more urgent, and then at 1:46 p.m. I got a text that said “Please come now.”
Even though Chelse’s labor started to intensify, Jacob still stayed calm and kept reassuring her that her body was made to do this and it was all going to be worth it in the end. Chelse reiterates that she “could not have done it without him!” At 2:55pm, Jacob started finished setting up the birth pool just as the midwife Jeannette arrived, and together helped Chelse get into the pool.I got to Chelse and Jacob’s house at 3:15 pm and she obviously bearing down and pushing with contractions. The midwife was calmly letting Chelse’s body do what it was made to do. I got some lavender diffusing and then held Chelse’s hand during contractions. She instinctively moved her body with what it was telling her to do. After about 30 minutes we decided to move to the toilet for some contractions and to allow Chelse to empty her bladder. She felt very comfortable on the toilet and kept bearing down with contractions. Soon the other midwife arrived and brought in all of her tools and medications in case needed.
At 4:20 p.m. Chelse moved to her bed and opted for a cervical exam to verify that she was indeed complete and to see what station baby was at. The midwife said she was obviously 10cm dilated and the baby was +1 station. Chelse did some resting and pushing with the peanut ball in a side lying position. She did this on both sides and was making slow, but steady progress.
At 5:15p.m. We decided to move back to the toilet in the bathroom to see if emptying her bladder and pushing on the toilet would help. After a few contractions in this position, it was an obvious shift in baby’s position. Chelse got off the toilet and did a few contractions and pushes on hands and knees on the floor and was really moving baby down! The midwives talked to Chelse and Jacob about where they would like the baby to be born and the decision was made to move back to the bed.
Once assisted back to bed, she instinctively moved to hands and knees. Then after few more powerful strong pushes, their daughter was born! The midwife passed the baby between Chelse’s knees and up to her chest skin to skin, as Jacob lovingly gazed at his new daughter. A few tears were shed between everyone as Chelse said “I can’t believe I did it! That was SO hard!”
12/29/2022 5:57 p.m.
Born at home into the loving arms of her parents! Jacob and Chelse will be such amazing parents. They worked together so well in helping bring Ava in to the world and were such an awesome team. Jacob provided continuous support and encouragement for her throughout the whole birth experience, and the love he had for Chelse and his daughter poured in to the birth space. Chelse really trusted her body and trusted the labor process! Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your powerful homebirth!
December 21, 2022
Maria reached out for her second pregnancy with interest in doing a VBAC. Her first birth was a 37 week, 3 day long induction that ultimately ended in a C-section. She was looking for a different experience with this second baby as she felt the first birth was long and exhausting. She was hoping for a more intimate and personal birth with a calm environment.
When meeting with Maria leading up to her birth, we discussed ways to help her body be as ready as possible. She started choking down dates and doing her circuits frequently, as well as staying active with a toddler! She waited patiently for her body and baby to be ready to go in to labor.
On Tuesday night, 12/20 Maria was having some mild irregular period cramping. We discussed different things to try and see what her contractions would do. Contractions were some what irregular but seemed to be coming more frequently. That evening Maria and Tyler decided to head to Tylers parents house in Larchwood, so the drive to Sioux Falls would be shorter if labor decided to continue. Once Maria and Tyler were there, they were able to sleep for some of the night as well as get their daughter Gracie tucked in.
Maria texted me at 6:43 am on 12/21, and said “My water just broke!”. Tyler and Maria decided to head in to the hospital and let me know when they were ready for me to head up to Sioux Falls. After getting settled in at the hospital, Maria was checked and she was 2cm dilated and 60% effaced and not contracting much. We talked about the importance of getting up and walking and moving to see if contractions would start up.
At 10:15 a.m. I checked in with Maria and she said she felt like contractions were picking up and getting more intense. She had not had any cervical checks yet since the initial one, but we decided that I would start getting things ready and heading up to Sioux Falls. The midwife had discussed starting Pitocin, but Tyler and Maria opted to wait a little bit and give her body a chance to continue building contractions.
Maria had been checked about 12:30p.m. and was 4cm dilated and 80% effaced. She and Tyler had decided that she was going to get the epidural and try rest for a little bit as it looked like it might be a little bit until the baby was here. I got up to Sioux Falls around 1:15p.m. ( due to snowy roads) and Maria had just gotten an epidural placed. I set up the room with dim lights and started some lavender diffusing. We also had some calm spa like music playing over the speaker to help Maria relax through contractions. Maria was resting while Tyler was giving her a back massage and “cuddled” up in her blankets.
At 1:45p.m. Maria felt her epidural was completely not working on the left side. We had worked on different positions to help it set up better, but with no success. The decision was made to come in and give her a bolus of another medication to see if it would help her to get over the edge of the pain. This medication made no difference in her pain relief, unfortunately. At 2:45p.m. the anesthesiologist came back in and decided to try replace Maria’s epidural catheter and see if this would help her.
Once this was done, Maria had almost immediate relief! She felt SO much more comfortable and fell asleep quickly. The nurse and I assisted Maria in doing side lying release while she slept. After side lying release we assisted her in to flying cowgirl with the peanut ball as baby had been a -2 station with the cervical check from a few hours ago. While in the position, Maria was able to fall in to a deep sleep and Tyler was able to rest as well and take a short nap. We kept everything calm and quiet and allowed for rest.
At 4:00pm, the midwife came in to check Maria’s cervix and decide if Pitocin was needed. Her contractions had spaced about to about every 7 minutes, and was unsure if her labor was progressing due to this. The midwife was also wonderful with waiting to do a cervical check until Maria was more comfortable with her epidural.
When midwife went to check her cervix, to everyone’s surprise Maria was 8.5 cm dilated and baby was at 0 station! We were all so excited at this progress! The midwife felt she definitely did not need Pitocin as her body was making great changes and baby was coming down!
We helped Maria to an exaggerated runners position on her left side so she could continue to rest. No one was able to sleep at this point though as we were all so excited! Her successful VBAC was in sight! Maria and I got the chance during this time to reminisce and laugh about the years we worked together at Pizza Ranch when we were in high school. Life is crazy that it brought us from high school co-workers to me getting to help support while bringing her baby in to the world! God is so good!
At 5:00pm, the nurse came to insert a catheter to drain her bladder as it been a few hours since it had been done. When she was inserting the catheter laughs and says “Umm, I can see the baby’s head. It’s right there!”
She called the midwife and she came in and everyone in the room was laughing and the excitement was definitely felt! We were just waiting for all the correct staff to come in the room and for the delivery table to be set up to begin pushing. Maria was completely comfortable throughout all of this, and was glowing with such excitement! Tyler was going to be announcing the gender of the baby (they did not know) so everyone was making their final guesses as they were SO close to meeting their new baby!
At 5:12p.m. everyone was ready, and Maria began actively pushing with assistance of Tyler, me, and staff. She was such a strong pusher! Especially for being as numb as she was! She moved baby with each powerful push! It was so fun to watch Tylers face throughout this as his JOY was SO evident with seeing a little bit of his baby each time.
Soon it was obvious that this baby would have A LOT of dark hair! The nurse brought in a mirror so Maria could see all the baby’s hair and so she could see where she was pushing. Maria was so excited as she said she “was hoping for a dark haired baby!!”
At 5:28pm, at 40 weeks 2 days and with only 16 minutes of pushing, their baby was born!
The midwife was suctioning the baby with bulb syringe and Maria was the first one to see the gender! She screamed the most purely JOYFUL… “IT’S A GIRL!!!!!”
It was the most exciting, beautiful, overwhelmingly happy moment! She had an amazingly successful VBAC!
December 21, 2022 at 5:28pm
Maria and Tyler were SO much fun to work with and Mila’s birth was such a beautiful birth to be a part of! The amount of love that Tyler and Maria showed throughout the labor process was so special to witness. The pure excitement that they had the moment their daughter was born, brought tears to my eyes. Maria, I am so proud of how you prepared your body for birth and trusted your body to birth your baby! You were so patient in waiting for labor, and it truly paid off! Thank you for inviting me in to Mila’s birth, it was a truly special birth to be a part of! I will forever cherish the memories!
December 16, 2022
Being a part of Paige and Zach’s birth experience was so special to me because I was their nurse for the delivery of their first child. I was so excited they hired me as a doula for the birth of their second child.
Throughout pregnancy, Paige, Zach, and I processed her last delivery experience and went through what they wanted for this one. Paige’s hope was for a low intervention birth. Specifically avoiding induction, epidural, and not pushing on her back (all of which she had with her first delivery). During pregnancy, we worked on ways to prepare Paige’s body for labor and coping techniques to prepare for an unmedicated birth.
When Paige’s due date came around, her and her doctor discussed induction due to potential risks of going over 41 weeks. Paige decided that an induction at this point was good for her but hoped that she would go into labor on her own before then. Paige continued to try all the natural induction methods but her induction date rolled around with no labor. Paige discussed with both her doctor and I what she wanted for her induction and we made a plan of how we hoped things would go.
On Friday morning, Paige went in for her induction and had a foley bulb placed to help with dilation. Paige was already 2cm dilated at this point, which helped her feel more reassured that her body was more prepared for induction than the last time. Her doctor also wanted to start a low dose of Pitocin with the foley bulb in place to help stimulate contractions. The plan was for me to stay at home till the foley came out or contractions became stronger and more regular. I texted Paige to try to be up and moving as much as possible with the foley bulb to help put more pressure on the cervix. 3.5 hours later, the foley was out and Paige was 6cm dilated, 70% thinned out, and on 2u of Pitocin. At this point, her doctor wanted to break her water and turn off the Pitocin but Paige wanted to wait and consider all options before breaking her water. She declined and asked to re-discuss after I arrived to the hospital.
Around 12pm, I got to the hospital and talked with Paige about how she was feeling about the next steps in her induction. Her foley was out but her Pitocin was still going and she was contracting every 1-3 minutes. It was now 12:30 when her doctor came in again and asked if he could break Paige’s water. Paige asked to be checked again since it had been another hour on the Pitocin and decide afterwards. Paige was now 7cm dilated and 80% thinned out. She asked her doctor to step out so that the 3 of us could discuss what she wanted to do next. We discussed the options of turning off the pit and breaking her water or just leaving the pit on and not breaking her water. Paige then asked, “what if I don’t do any of it?”. Paige wanted to see what her body would do on its own since she was now 7cm and barely on any Pitocin. My response was “Heck yeah, of course you can!”.
Paige's doctor came back at 1pm to discuss Paige’s decision to turn off the Pitocin. Her doctor discouraged her from this but Paige stood firm and wanted to give her body a chance to do it on its own for a little while. The nurses unhooked the Pitocin and Paige got in the tub. Paige loved the tub for relief while we played Christian music and continued to work through contractions. Even though Paige's Pitocin was turned off, she continued to contract every 1-4 minutes. As contractions got stronger, I continued to remind her that her body was doing this all on its own now.
After about an hour and a half in the tub, Paige was ready to get out and move around again. Paige sat on the birth ball while leaning over the bed, stood over the side of the bed rocking her hips and squatting, and also did hands & knees position once out of the tub. Zach and I also offered lots of counter pressure to her hips throughout contractions.
Another hour and a half went by and Paige was coping so well with contractions but was feeling like she was ready to potentially have her water broke in hopes that it would speed up this last part of her labor. At 4pm, Paige’s doctor broke her water. It was go time! Paige’s contractions went to the next level. The intensity was a lot but Paige worked so hard to try to stay in control of all the pressure she was feeling. Paige got in the tub for about 10-15 minutes while I tried to help her stay focused through contractions. Paige started feeling the urge to push through contractions so we helped her out of the tub and onto the bed. Her doctor came in to check her and called her 8cm. With the pressure she felt and the way Paige was breathing, I knew it wasn’t going to be long before that last bit of cervix was gone. Paige breathed through contractions on her side and started grunting through some pushes. The nurses looked over and saw hair! They called the doctor in and with the next contraction, Paige delivered her baby girl!
Quinn Alexandra was placed on Paige’s chest and let us all know she had made her arrival with her very strong lungs.
Born December 16 at 4:31pm
Weighing 7lbs 9oz
Paige— I can’t even begin to describe how proud I am of your self awareness and courage to advocate for yourself and your labor experience. I hope that your story can inspire many women to do the same. I feel so blessed to be a part of not only one but both of your birth experiences. I have loved getting to know you and your family better. Your children are so lucky to have a loving, determined, and powerful mama like you!
December 13, 2022
Truett’s birth is forever going to hold a special place in this doula’s heart since he’s my birthday buddy!
Korrie reached out to me pretty much as soon as she found out she was pregnant for doula services. This was her second pregnancy and birth and was desiring to have low intervention birth avoiding induction and an epidural this time around. Korrie and her husband soaked up all the education we went through and also attended our in person BBBB class to help prepare for labor.
In the few weeks leading up to her due date Korrie had been walking around at 2cm dilated and having braxton hick contractions. She continued to wait and prepare for labor to come on its own. On her due date Korrie went into her appointment and consented to a cervical exam and membrane sweep. Korrie was 3-4cm dilated and her doctor said that her cervix was very ready for labor. After her appointment Korrie was having more cramping and some mild contractions so we waited to see if they continued to turn into real labor. Cramping after a membrane sweep is common and sometimes it goes away and sometimes it turns into labor. So we waited to see which it would be. Korrie continued through the evening having cramping that was mild so she went to bed.
At 4am Korrie woke up and was having regular, more intense contractions. She got up and worked through her contractions at home. At 6am Korrie called me to let me know she was in labor. We had talked in our birth planning about me coming to Korrie’s house to help her labor at home for a while but we decided against doing that since the weather and roads weren’t very good because we were in the middle of an ice storm. We decided the best bet was to get to the hospital sooner so that we weren’t stuck anywhere unable to get there. We met at the hospital just after 7am. In the car ride Korrie’s contractions continued to intensify. When we got to the hospital the nurse checked on the baby and performed a cervical exam and found Korrie was 7cm dilated and the baby was very low. Korrie breathed through a couple more contractions lying on her side in the bed while Chris or I offered sacral pressure. Korrie asked for an epidural at this point because her contractions were intense and not giving her a lot of break. I suggested she try the tub while the nurse prepare for the epidural in hopes it would help relax Korrie and help her progress fast so that she could do this without the epidural like he had originally hoped for. We got Korrie in the tub and she labored on hands and knees. Chris sat by her head supporting her while I sprayed warm water on her back.
Not even 15 minutes into being in the tub Korrie looked up and said, “I’m pushing” and her water broke in the tub. The nurses came rushing in and her nurse said, “I see the head” Korrie had gone from 7cm to crowning in 20 minutes! Thankfully Korrie’s doctor had already been called and was right outside the door. Her doctor came into the bathroom preparing to have an unplanned water birth! Korrie found the strength to get out of the tub and walk to the bed. She breathed through another contraction on her hands and knees in bed when her doctor asked her to move to her back. Korrie’s response to that was “ON MY BACK!?!?” Her nurse suggested her side as a good compromise for her and her doctor. Korrie moved to her side and with one push delivered her baby’s head. With one more push the body was fully delivered and Truett was officially earthside. Chris announced to us all, "It's a BOY!" Korrie’s labor was SO fast and so intense with no induction, no epidural, and no tearing!
It ended up being a good thing that there was an ice storm and we decided to meet at the hospital otherwise we probably wouldn’t have made it to the hospital for delivery!
Born December 13 at 7:43am
weighing 7lbs 15oz
I can’t think of a better way to start off my birthday than with a beautiful birth. Korrie it was an honor to get to know you and your family more throughout our pregnancy and to be welcomed into your birth space. Your labor shows the power of women and the beauty of birth.
December 6, 2022
Courtney and Ben met while working at Pizza Ranch, and were so excited to get to welcome their own “special delivery” into their world!
Courtney decided to get induced at 40 weeks 2 days pregnant. She got to the hospital around 8 am on Monday December 5th and was 2cm dilated and 70% effaced. The decision was made to start Pitocin. Contractions took a little bit to start getting more regular and more intense. I went to the hospital at 1pm as Courtney felt like contractions were picking up in intensity and were coming every few minutes. At this point Courtney was in the tub and able to talk after contractions, but had to concentrate through each surge. Her last cervical exam showed that baby was at -1 station so we worked on some positions to open the mid pelvis as well as having Courtney work with her body and relax. After the tub we decided to go to the bed for some resting positions. We continued to reposition and move every 30 minutes or so. At 2:25 the doctor came to check Courtney and said she was a 3-4 and opted to break her water. Soon after this we were able to do some upright positioning and she decided to get back in to the tub as intensity of contractions were picking up after her water breaking.
At 4:00 Courtney was starting to talk about getting her epidural as contractions were becoming much more intense as well as making her vomit. The doctor came to check her to see where she was at before the epidural. She was 5cm dilated and 100% effaced! The process of getting an epidural for Courtney was an…interesting… one. She was doing amazing breathing through every contraction and was holding still. After the epidural needle was placed, her husband turns and says “I’m not feeling so good. I’m very light headed…” He was very pale! The nurse and I helped him sit down in a chair and the nurse ran to get water. After about 30 seconds he said “I’m going to pass out…” and sure enough he did! The student observing the epidural and I helped him to the floor and called for more help. A minute later he woke up with several nurses around him, and he knew exactly what happened! The first thing he did was look up at Courtney finishing getting her epidural “Oh hello love, how are you doing?” After everything settled down, everyone including Courtney were laughing and teasing Ben about it. Courtney said it was a good distraction from her epidural! Her epidural was started at 5:50pm.
Courtneys epidural was dosed a little bit higher and she was able to rest for a bit in a runners position with the peanut ball. At 7:40 she was checked by the nurse as she was feeling more pressure and she was 9.5cm! She wasn’t having and “urge” to push, so Courtney decided to rest and labor down. The doctor checked in at 8:43pm and Courtney was obviously completely dilated. She did some different practice pushes and positions and then the decision to have the epidural turned down was made, as Courtney was not able to feel where she was pushing.
Courtney really started pushing effectively at 10:30pm when she was able to feel what she was doing and the epidural had worn off a bit. She was able to get in to all different types of positions and was making great progress the first hour! But during the next 2 hours, baby did not make much progress in descent. We tried every position (and some made up positions) with pushing trying to get baby to descend to crowning as we were able to see some of baby’s hair with every contraction/push.
She was SO STRONG and pushed so hard trying to get baby to move. The doctor was very open minded to trying all different positions to try. But as time went on, he began to become more nervous about baby being stuck. Respiratory and another doctor were called in to the room around 12:30 a.m. for extra support and to be prepared in case he was really stuck.
Courtney was obviously now starting to get tired, and the doctor offered to attempt vacuum extraction to see if could help baby get to crowning. Courtney and Ben consented.At 1:00 am the vacuum was placed and Courtney pushed with all her might. It unfortunately, was not successful. This same thing was attempted 2 more times, with again, no success in even moving baby an inch. Baby tolerated this happening to him very well!
At this point, everyone knew that baby was stuck - stuck. The doctor talked to her and Ben about the risks and benefits of attempting to keep pushing or going to C-section. Courtney and Ben and the doctor felt that it was time for a caesarean birth.They called in the crew and everyone went back to the OR around 1:30 a.m. In the meantime, I helped move Courtney and Ben’s stuff over to their room and then waiting for them to come back from surgery.
Courtney and Ben did not know the gender of their baby, but everyone had their guesses!
December 6th, 2022
1:49 a.m. Reuben Tait was born!
Wide eyed as could be!
Awhile later the Respiratory Therapist and nurse went to the nursery with Ben as baby was having some issues maintaining his temperature. He was also having some blood sugar issues. He stabilized and Courtney was able to get some snuggles in as well as start nursing. Later throughout the day, Rueban was continuing to have a hard time keep his sugars and temperatures up. There was also some concern about the swelling in his head from the vacuum, and the decision was made to transfer Reuben to the NICU for more specialized care.
Courtney was so strong and worked so hard to get her baby here! She told me when she was in her C-section the doctor had to vaginally push his head back up and it was very difficult! Birth is something that truly can be unpredictable. You can work so hard and do everything right, and sometimes it isn’t doesn’t always end in a vaginal birth, unfortunately. But that’s where we leave it up to God! Courtney and Ben handled everything with such grace and faith! They were such a fun couple to work with. Courtney told me that she had wanted an upbeat birth experience and we all spent most of the labor laughing and cracking jokes! As well as doing our fair share of teasing Ben about fainting. Thank you for inviting me to get to be a part of Reuben’s birth! It was a blessing to get to work with you!
November 29, 2022
Johanna's birth was an honor to be welcomed into and to witness the beauty of labor and the power of a support team. I'm so thankful to have been welcomed into the birth space.
On Monday night, the evening of her due date, Alyson was having some mild contractions so she let me know and decided to try and sleep and see what happened. At 1:30am contractions picked up and Alyson wasn’t able to sleep so she got up and tried the shower. Contractions were every 1-2 minutes but were on the shorter side lasting about 30 seconds. At 2am Tim called me to come over that labor was definitely here. Alyson was in the shower when I got there. She felt the shower helped take the edge off the contractions and slow them down to about every 2-3 minutes. Soon after, Alyson was ready to get out of the shower and moved to the birth rubbed her back.
We then decided to do a labor circuit with the peanut ball to help get the baby into the best position. Throughout the labor circuit Alyson's contractions became more spaced out but they were getting longer in duration. We decided that since she was able to rest in between contractions while laying down she would try and rest for a little while. At this time I also went home to rest which was conveniently just houses down the street. Not even a half hour later I got a text that contractions picked back up to every 2 minutes. It was about 5am at this point and Alyson was ready to try the shower again to help with contractions. Alyson got in the shower and we prepared to head to the hospital soon because things were definitely changing and Alyson’s past two labors were fairly quick. After a quick shower Alyson was ready to head to the hospital and use their awesome labor tub. Alyson got out of the shower and breathed through contractions on hands and knees on the bathroom floor between drying off and getting dressed.
At 5:30am we all left for the hospital which was just a quick 3 minute drive. When we got to the hospital Alyson stood at the bedside and rocked her hips through contractions while Tim or I helped with double hip squeezes as counter pressure. Alyson opted for another cervical check and she was 4-5 cm dilated 100% thinned out and very low. Contractions were changing quite quickly, already becoming longer and stronger so Alyson wanted to get in the tub as soon as she could. After monitoring that the baby was doing ok Alyson got in the tub. Alyson continued to breathe and move through contraction in the tub using different positions in the tub like laying back, squatting, and hands and knees, while Tim and I tried to continue with hip squeezed when we could reach. At 6:30 Alyson was ready to get out of the tub and try something new. She wanted to stand again so we went back to standing over the bedside doing hip squeezes for a couple contractions and then it was time to try something different again so Alyson laid on her side in the bed while Tim offered counter pressure to her back while I encouraged Alyson to power through contractions because the end was near. After about 20 minutes laying on her side Alyson moved to hands and knees. On hands and knees Alyson's water broke at 6:51am. Every time Alyson’s water broke the baby was born very shortly after so Alyson moved to her side since she wanted to push on her side and we got the nurse and doctor to come in. Alyson breathed through strong contractions full of pressure while Tim encouraged her and sported her back. At 6:54am her doctor was there and told Alyson she could push with her next contraction with that next contraction her baby's head was delivered. After the head was delivered the shoulders were stuck so the nurses quickly shifted Alyson from her side to her back and moved her knees to her chest for a strong push to help dislodge the shoulder and deliver the baby. With that push Johanna was fully delivered and officially earth side! Throughout this short pushing process Johanna also had 2 nuchal cords the doctor unwrapped around her neck. Johanna was placed on Alyson’s chest and cried right away. Tim announced the gender to us all “It’s a GIRL” the look of pure shock on Alyson's face was absolutely priceless as she was convinced she was having a boy.
born November 29, 2022 at 6:58am
Alyson's birth space was an honor to be welcomed into. Birth is a beautiful sacred space and I will never lose sight of what an honor it is to be invited into. I am so excited to have been a part of Johannas birth and to get the opportunity to watch her grow up.
November 23, 2022
“I freaking did it” Abby's words of power, triumph, exhilaration and relief when Dawson was placed on her chest and in her arms.
Abby became pregnant with her 3rd child and began thinking through her desires for her labor this third time around. After two epiduralized labors Abby's main goal was to obtain a low intervention birth especially trying to avoid the epidural. Prenatally Abby and I discussed ways to prepare for a low intervention birth in the hospital.
In Abby's previous pregnancy she was induced due to high blood pressure. It was a concern that this could develop again and would require an induction. High blood pressure can be very serious in pregnancy for both mother and baby and needs to be assessed closely. Abby throughout pregnancy in her third trimester had a few slightly elevated blood pressures that weren’t too concerning until 2 day before her due date. 2 days before Abbys due date she had an appointment where her blood pressure was significantly elevated. Her doctor had her stay for some testing to make sure the baby was doing okay and to see if her BP came down. Sadly her BP stayed high but her baby looked good so the decision was made to induce Abby that afternoon. Thankfully Abby was already starting some early labor over the past week and was dilated to a 4 that morning in the clinic. Abby went home and got ready to come back to the hospital that afternoon.
Abby's induction was scheduled for 1:00pm on Wednesday November 25. We met at the hospital then and came up with a game plan for her induction. Abby felt strongly that she wanted to avoid Pitocin as much as possible so the plan was to have her doctor break her water since she was already 4cm. At 1:30pm her doctor came in to break her water and to our surprise over the past few hours since her clinic appointment she had progressed to 5cm, her cervix was 50% thinned out and her baby was +3 station so still fairly high up in the pelvis.
The goal with breaking her water would be to help bring the baby lower and put pressure on the cervix. Thankfully Abby's body was already starting early labor and it was only a matter of a small amount of time before her body would have gone into labor on its own. Her water was broke at this time and we got to work with labor positions to get her baby into a good position.
Our labor warm up started with positions in bed to stretch her muscles and let the nurses monitor the baby for a little while. We then focused on upright positions to engage the baby into the pelvis and get pressure on the cervix. After using upright position for about an hour Abby was clearing becoming more uncomfortable with stronger contractions and more pelvic pressure and was ready to try the tub around 4 in the afternoon. In the tub Abby laid back and relaxed through her contractions utilizing deep calm breathing through her contractions. Every couple contractions Abby changed position in the tub to either hands and knees or squatting through a contraction or two to keep her pelvis moving to help her baby continue to engage lower into the pelvis. After about an hour in the tub Abby was ready to try something else so we moved to the shower. This hospital had a shower separate from the tub so we walked to the shower and Abby sat on the birth ball in the shower while warm water was sprayed on her back. She said this was her favorite labor position. Another hour or so in the shower and it was time to change things up again. Abby tried to lay down with the peanut ball but as soon as a contraction came she felt that she needed to stand up. So she stood up next to her bed leaning over the bedside while I offered double hip squeezes as counter pressure through contractions. Contractions were getting longer and much more intense and Abby was getting nauseous and shaky. All signs of progressing labor and transition. Abby's doctor came by at this time and asked to check Abby's progress with a cervical exam. Abby consented and her doctor found that her cervix was 7cm, nearly comply thinned out and 0 station. Even though it was a 2cm change in 5 hours this was huge progress with how thinned out and how much lower the baby got.
Labor progress is usually exponential so the last centimeters usually dilated the fastest. The finish line was in sight and Abby's body and contraction patterns were showing us that it was not going to be long. Abby stood up and moved with her body through contractions like before and was feeling the overwhelming feeling of it all being too much. She was tired and the contractions were intense! I encouraged her that this was her body finishing the job and she was so close to the end. Abby still felt like she might need something to take the edge off and asked for some kind of narcotic medication to help with the edge. Her nurse asked her doctor and her doctor explained that she didn’t want to give her any narcotics because the baby would also get some of the medication and since she was so close to delivery there was a chance the narcotics would make her baby tired and not a great breather at delivery. Abby understood this and opted to be checked again because her contractions were so strong and she was feeling a lot more pressure even though it had only been 20 minutes since her last check. Abby was now 9cm dilated and this was the reassurance she needed to get to the end and power through without any medication. I told you those last centimeters go exponentially faster! Abby moved back to standing at the bedside and with her next two contractions she felt a strong urge to push. I had Abby move to hands and knees in the bed for delivery. A few contractions later at 6:56pm Abby was completely dilated and able to push. With just 9 minutes of pushing Abby delivered Dawson Crew on hands and knees unmedicated! Dawson was placed on her chest and Abby said,“I freaking did it!”
Dawson Crew born November 25 at 7:05pm weighing 7lbs 13 oz
Abby you persevered through an intense labor and were so strong to reach your goal. It was so special to be a part of your birth team and walk with you through your pregnancy and labor. Being your doula was an honor!
November 21, 2022
Brittany and Luke reached out as first time parents early pregnancy for support as they were looking for a natural unmedicated birth experience. Brittany believed that women were created to give birth, and completely trusted her body to do so. She worked hard during pregnancy in staying active and being patient. She was hoping her baby would be here by Thanksgiving, but was content if the baby was not.
Brittany texted me around 7 am on November 20th, at 40 weeks and 1 day, saying that she was having some cramping that was in her back and abdomen. The cramping was irregular and not very intense yet. Throughout the day we continued to talk back and forth about different things to try to see if we could get the contractions to be a in a more regular pattern and pick up in intensity.
Brittany and Luke live an hour away from the hospital, and at 7:30 pm they decided that it possibly was going to be a long night as contractions had got a bit more intense, and decided to head to the hospital. They figured it would be better to drive in earlier rather then in the middle of the night. We decided that they would get settled in the hospital and have a cervical check and then we could come up with a game plan after that.
I got a text from Brittany at 8:53 pm that they had just gotten to the hospital and that she was now having some spotting. She had not had any spotting before this throughout the day at all. Soon after the text from Brittany, my phone rings at 9:13 pm and its her husband Luke. I answer and he says “They just checked Brittany, and she’s 8 centimeters!”
I grabbed my stuff and headed out the door as the hospital is 50 minutes away from me as well! Upon arrival to the hospital, Brittany was on hands and knees on the bed with the bottom of the bed dropped down. Her contractions were visibly intense, and yet Brittany was moaning so powerfully through each one. She was truly in the zone and was allowing her body to completely relax in between. Luke was up by Brittany’s head and the doctor was massage Brittany’s calves and feet. This doctor told me that he likes to “describe himself as half doula!” I got to setting up with room with lavender diffusing right by Brittany and the lights hung. They already had music playing and the lights turned down. I coached Luke in providing counter pressure and took over rubbing Brittany’s legs, while the doctor started taking pictures since I jokingly “took his job”. After a few contractions we decided that Brittany should try empty her bladder and do a few contractions straddling the toilet. Luke helped her to the toilet where she did a few contractions and I provided counter pressure. During this time Brittany began to feel pushy pressure. The doctor suggested that she have a cervical exam to see where she was at. After a cervical exam was suggested, Brittany stated that “she would like the nurse with the small hands to do it and not the doctor!” As he had much larger hands then the nurse. Everyone burst out laughing as well as the doctor and completely agreed with her! She said later that she had had a cervical exam by him in the office and “had given it the ole’ college try!” But was going to not have that during labor.At 11:03pm we helped her back to the bed and the nurse with the small hands checked Brittany’s cervix. She was 10cm dilated! Brittany’s water had not broken yet, so she was still able to continue to cope with contractions extremely well!After the cervical exam, she went to hands and knees with a peanut ball as Brittany was most comfortable this way. She had had quite a bit of back pain throughout the day, and had utilized a TENS unit to help her with the back pain. Later she told me that the TENS unit had been a lifesaver for her!
Time becomes very fluid during the labor process as it turns in to coping though one contraction at a time, and that’s exactly how Brittany went through labor. She had the perfect support team that allowed her body to keep doing what it was made to do. The environment was so beautiful and you could just feel the support and respect for the birth process radiating through the room. She was so powerful and moaned and roared her way through each contraction, one contraction at a time.
At 11:47 she began to bear down at the end of contractions. She was never holding her breath and counting, but more moaning and bearing down and working with her body. After about 40 minutes of doing this, Brittany moved herself to sitting back on her knees and continuing to work with contractions. At 12:29 a.m. there was a pop! Brittany’s water had finally broke! The doctor and I suggested that Brittany move to a squatting position with the squat bar for support as it felt her body was trying to get into a squatting position naturally. This way she could utilize gravity to aid in helping the baby come through the birth canal. We all helped move her to a squat position and leaning over the squat bar. The moving positions was the most intense part of labor, and the only time Brittany asked for any pain relief. The team reassured her that this was a very normal feeling and reminded her that she was so close to meeting her baby and finding out the gender!
Once squatting, Brittany showed so much strength! She moaned through 2 more strong contractions, allowing her body to stretch with each one. Brittany had stayed crowning, and with last powerful contraction, Brittany roared her baby earth side in one strong push!
12:50 a.m., the doctor announced “It’s a BOY!”
He cried immediately and placed directly on Brittany’s chest. She looked down on him with so much love and relief as natural oxytocin flooded her body. She snuggled him close and said over and over “hi baby, we did it!”
Kai Lynn Arrowood
And a head FULL of dark hair!!
Kai’s birth experience was a testament of how powerful women truly are! Undisturbed birth is so raw and primal. Brittany surrendered to the labor process and trusted her body every step of the way. She focused on relaxing her body and allowing the contraction to do what it was made to do! Birth can be such an influential event in a women’s life. Not only is a baby born, but a mother is born as well!
Thank you Brittany and Luke for inviting me to be a support, and witness in the empowering birth of Kai! Being a doula is the BEST job!
October 27, 2022
Anna’s birth story started back when Irene and Jeremy reached out to hire a doula when they they were pregnant with their second baby. Irene had previously had a C-section due to her first daughter being in a breech position and having a heart shape uterus. She had initially wanted to do home births all of her children, but now since she was going to have a VBAC, she no longer qualified.
When meeting with Irene and Jeremy, Irene had voiced her want to be at home as long as possible before heading to the hospital. If you ever met Irene, you will know she is a woman who does her research and knows all risks and benefits of all things involving birth. In the weeks leading up to birth, Irene was seeing a chiropractor and staying active by walking and keeping up with their toddler daughter.
In the afternoon of Wednesday October 26th at 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant, Irene called me and told me that her water had broken. She had been having Braxton hicks contractions, but no real labor contractions yet. Did you know only 7% of women’s water break with no contractions? Her plan was to wait home and see if labor started. They went for a walk and did some pumping. Around supper time, contractions started to become more intense and Irene decided she was ready for me to come to their house. By the time I arrived, contractions had faded and everyone made the decision to try sleep for a little while. At 10:00 pm contractions picked back up and were intense again. Irene felt as if baby was still high and not well engaged yet, so we did some abdominal lift and tucks with contractions, and then decided to rest some more in flying cowgirl. While in flying cowgirl, Irene and Jeremy were able to sleep as it was now midnight and I rubbed her leg with contractions. After about an hour in flying cowgirl, contractions became too intense to lay down through and Irene got back in the tub. The bathroom was set up beautifully with candles burning and essential oils diffusing with soft music playing. Jeremy went back and forth from providing counter pressure, to supporting Irene about by her head and reminding her that her body was made to do this. After awhile contractions were starting to become painful in Irene’s back and she was not feeling them much in her abdomen. With these extremely painful back contractions, Irene made the decision that she was ready to go to the hospital to opt for some medicine for pain relief.
We all arrived at the hospital and to Irene’s room around 3:45 am. At 3:55 she opted for a cervical exam and was 6-7cm dilated. She then decided to get in the tub after an IV was started. The nursing staff and doctor were wonderful and extremely respectful of Irene’s requests as well as explaining the risks and benefits of the medication options. Irene decided she wanted to try the narcotic pain relief. This was a wonderful thing for her as it helped her to relax and regain control of her birth and breathing. She labored in the tub for next hour and a half with dim lighting, soft Christian music plain and oils diffusing. Jeremy held Irene’s hands and she laid on his shoulder to rest after each contraction. The doctor sat quietly crossed legged on the bathroom floor and continued to let her body and baby do what it was made to do. He even took my phone and snapped some pictures of us in “action!”. During this time in the tub, she decided for one more dose of the pain medication to help her with her back contractions. Soon Irene’s body started to push her baby out. She continued breathing through each contraction and bear down with them and stayed in complete control the entire time. We all helped Irene back to the bed, as she breathed through the surges of contractions and the doctor checked her cervix at 6:44 a.m. and she was obviously complete. The squat bar was set up and Irene pulled herself up to the squat bar. She squatted and with the next contractions, Irene gave 2 strong pushes, and the baby was here!
On October 27th at 6:52 a.m., Jeremy was assisted by the doctor in catching his sweet new dark haired daughter. He looked up at Irene with the most loving eyes said “You did it! Anna is here! You are amazing!”
Irene had a moderate amount bleeding after birth, so the doctor asked for consent to administer IV Pitocin. She and Jeremy agreed to this, as well as the need some sutures.