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Birth Stories

All shared with permission

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Olivia Jude
April 6, 2024

Taylor and Erin were early in their pregnancy when they told me they were expecting. Right away I knew this birth would be beyond special to me as they are my brother and sister-in-law, so I was honored and excited they welcomed me into their birth space. I couldn’t wait to be an auntie again!

 

Erin prepared her body for labor by eating dates, drinking RRLT, and stayed active throughout her pregnancy with her busy job and going for many walks. She had a fairly uncomplicated pregnancy, besides the usual discomforts nearing her due date. 

 

A little over a week before her due date, Erin had an appointment where she had her provider check her cervix and attempt to strip her membranes. She was 1cm dilated, 30% effaced, and -2 station. Throughout the rest of the weekend, she started to have some bloody show and started to lose her mucous plug - all amazing signs that her body was preparing for labor! 

 

Erin continued throughout her week without any other signs that labor was near. She had another appointment on Thursday, April 4, where she was 39 weeks and 5 days gestation. She opted for another cervical exam to see if any progress had been made and another membrane sweep if possible to try and bump her into labor. To our surprise, she was now 3cm dilated, 70% effaced, and 0 station! We were so amazed by the progress she had made and were hoping labor would be right around the corner. Erin went home and did ALL the things - stretching, walking, the miles circuit, birthing ball exercises, and pumping.

 

The next day we stayed in touch quite frequently throughout the day about how she was doing. Erin was a trooper finishing her last full day at work before starting maternity leave. She was having quite a bit of low back pain and a lot of pelvic pressure - which all made sense with how low the baby was already!

 

Around 8:30 p.m. that Friday, Erin texted me asking if the intermittent back pain she was having could be early labor! I told her that easily could be the case and to start timing them to see if there were any patterns. The first hour of tracking them, the contractions were coming anywhere from 4-30 minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds. She continued to try resting through them, but it didn’t take much longer until her contractions were becoming more intense and she wasn’t able to get comfortable. At this point, Taylor and Erin made the decision to come into the hospital. 

 

They arrived at the hospital and got all checked in around 11:30. Her nurse checked her shortly after getting there to find she was 4cm dilated, 90% effaced, and 0 station! Erin was doing absolutely amazing coping and breathing with each of her contractions. She continued to have back labor, so she requested to have sacral pressure and/or a hip squeeze to get through each contraction. I was actually working this evening, but I was able to pop in quite frequently to see how things were going and I knew the nurses were taking the absolute best care of her. 

 

Her provider came to the bedside around 1:30 a.m. and she requested another cervical exam - she was 5cm dilated, 100% effaced, and 0 station. Erin requested an epidural at this time as her back labor was becoming so intense. She was ready for some rest and relief as she hadn’t gotten any sleep yet. While waiting for the anesthesiologist to come and place the epidural, she received a dose of IV Fentanyl to take away the breakthrough pain and she was able to rest in between her contractions. 

 

Erin continued to work very well through her contractions as Taylor applied pressure to her hips and sacrum. They truly made the best team through Erin’s labor, which was no surprise to me. 

 

Finally around 3:00 a.m., Erin had her epidural placed and was getting much better relief through her contractions. Erin, Taylor, and I decided we’d all try to get some rest at this time as it had been a long, sleepless night so far. Since I lived in town, I was going to quickly run home to shower and sleep for an hour or so. 

 

At 5:50 a.m., I texted Erin to check in with her and see how things were going. She was able to get some rest and just requested the nurse to check her again as she was feeling increased pressure. She also let me know that her water broke spontaneously at 5:30 a.m., so I figured we had to be super close. At 6:00 a.m., it was confirmed that she was completely dilated and the baby was at a +1 station! I got ready to head back to the hospital as quickly as I could.

 

At 6:54 a.m., Erin began pushing. She continued to have good epidural coverage. Right away, I knew she was going to be such a strong pusher. She was most comfortable and pushing effectively on her back, so that’s what she did the whole time! 

 

After a little over an hour of amazing pushing, their sweet baby girl was finally here…right on her due date! Tears instantly filled all of our eyes. It was truly the most exciting, beautiful, and an overwhelmingly happy moment. 

 

Olivia Jude

born April 6, 2024 at 8:10 a.m.

6lbs 11oz

 

Erin worked so hard throughout her pregnancy and labor which helped her have such a smooth labor and delivery. It was such an empowering, joy-filled journey to be a part of that ended in supporting my brother and sister-in-law and meeting my sweet niece. There’s nothing like witnessing your siblings become parents for the first time - such a beautiful moment to watch. It was truly an experience that I will forever be thankful to be a part of! 

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Miles David
April 6, 2024

Leta and Marcus set up a meeting to meet with me when she was approximately 10 weeks pregnant. They shared their difficult infertility journey with me and how they were thrilled to have their baby!

 

Throughout pregnancy, Leta actively did her stretches and eating dates, although she hated them. As Leta entered the last few weeks of pregnancy, she decided to have an induction date on the schedule as her doctor wouldn’t allow her to go past 41 weeks pregnant. She felt good having a date set but was hoping to go into labor on her own!

 

On Friday, April 5th, at 39 weeks 6 days gestation, Leta decided to go into the hospital to be evaluated as she seemed to be leaking fluid possibly. Once she got there, they hooked her up to the monitors and did a test to see if her water had broken, and sure enough, it had! It turns out that Leta had been leaking fluid for over 24 hours. Because of this, it increased her risk for infection, so throughout labor, her vitals were always frequently monitored.

 

At 1:00 on Friday, she texted me to let me know all of this and that she wouldn't be leaving the hospital until she had this baby! Her doctor had come in and checked her cervix, and she was still closed and was not having contractions. Due to her water being broken, she was not able to have many of the "usual" induction medications and opted to try oral Cytotec. I sent her some stretches to try and things to do to try to encourage labor. 

 

Throughout the day, we stayed in touch, and Leta started having some contractions but was coping well. 

 

At a little after 10 p.m., the nurse working with Leta called me and informed me that her contractions were picking up in intensity, and she was ready for me to come to support her for a bit. She had checked her cervix, and she was 2cm dilated, but the nurse felt it would be beneficial to try some positioning before she got her epidural.

 

Upon arrival at the hospital, Leta was in the tub, breathing through contractions. We did some positions to keep helping the baby try to descend into the pelvis. Marcus and she were an incredible team, and she was so controlled!

 

At approximately midnight, the nurse and doctor came in and checked her cervix, which was 4cm dilated. This was encouraging, and we continued to work hard and utilize all different positions to help the baby engage. 

 

Around 2 a.m., the doctor came in again and checked Leta, and she was 6cm dilated and 90% effaced. Leta was doing great, and we continued working through contractions; we went from the toilet to the bed to standing to squat. 

 

Leta decided around 4 a.m. that she was ready to be rechecked as she started feeling more pressure. The nurse checked her cervix and thought that she was 8cm dilated, and everyone was feeling good! Leta and Marcus were ready to rest briefly, as she had been up all night. I helped her into a side-lying runner's lunge, and she could sleep, and Marcus could lay down for a bit.  

 

After resting, she decided to get up and try more moving positions. She labored on the toilet some more and felt like she was ready for another cervical check and possibly an epidural. At around 6 a.m., the nurse checked her and thought she was roughly 8-9 cm dilated, but she wasn't completely confident in her exam. So because of this, she updated the doctor, and he decided to come in and check Leta's cervix herself. 

 

When he came in and checked her, he disappointedly informed everyone that she was still only dilated at a six and had not made any cervical change from his previous check. This was very disheartening as she had been working so hard all night but re-affirmed her decision for an epidural. 

 

Around 6:30 a.m., the anesthesiologist came in and started her getting prepped for the epidural. Leta, Marcus, and I decided that I would go home for a while, and everyone would try to sleep as it had been a long night. The nurse was going to start Pitocin as soon as she was comfortable, and then the doctor would come back around 10 a.m. and recheck her cervix. I said, "See you later," and left my lights and speaker all set up with plans to return after everyone had rested and things started to pick up again.

 

With Marcus Leta's permission, the nurse texted me and let me know she was comfortable with the epidural after a difficult process around 7:30 a.m.

 

At 10 a.m., the doctor came back to check on Leta after she had been on Pitocin for a few hours and was comfortable with her epidural. When he checked her cervix, he felt it had not changed from 6cm. He offered to come back in 2 hours again and see how she was doing but also gave them the option for a c-section. After a discussion between the doctor and Marcus and Leta, I received a text that said, "Still no change from 6cm at 2 a.m. Baby still looks great, but call a c-section."

 

Miles David

born April 6th, 2024 at 11:27 a.m.

7lbs 3oz and 18 inches long

 

Miles was trying to come out with his cheek first, which made it so tricky for Leta to keep dilating! Although her birth ended in a C-section, she and Marcus gave it their all. She was more than willing to do any position I had suggested and do it without complaints! Marcus stayed by her, said the ENTIRE night, and waited on every need, and it was such a sweet testament to their love story. I am so proud of Leta and Marcu’s perseverance throughout infertility, staying up all night, and working to bring baby Miles into the world! Thank you for inviting me to walk alongside you throughout the process!

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Hazel Noelle
March 28, 2024

My bestie had a baby! 27 years of friendship; from growing up together in California, to being a part of her birth here in Iowa. Life is wild! 

Cassandra told me she was pregnant when she was just 6 weeks along, and I was ecstatic to be a part of her birth. 4 years ago, Cassandra had a primary c-section after a labor induction. She then had a repeat c-section with her second child. Since then, Cassandra really started diving into birth education and she wanted to give her body another chance to have a vaginal delivery with their 3rd baby. Cassandra found VBAC midwives to help guide her in this journey. Throughout pregnancy, Cassandra prepped her body with plenty of movement and stretching, seeing the chiropractor, and chasing around her two active boys. 

Cassandra’s due date came and went with a few bouts of prodromal labor that never ended up amounting to much. At 40 weeks 2 days pregnant, Cassandra had an appointment with her hospital based midwife; she opted for a cervical check and membrane sweep in hopes to avoid an induction. She was already 3.5 cm dilated and very thinned out. While in Sioux Falls, Cassandra started to have some mild contractions, so she decided to stay there for a while just in case labor was starting. After a couple of hours shopping and doing some walking around, not much was changing with her contractions so she headed home. Throughout the night and next day, her contractions completely stopped. The following day, at 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant, Cassandra had an appointment with her local midwife who offered a second membrane sweep. Cassandra was now 4 cm dilated with a bulging bag of water. We knew it was just a short matter of time now!

At 10:30 pm that evening, I got a text from Cassandra saying she thought her water broke. It was baby time! She was having mild contractions when she left for the hospital and I planned on heading up when they started becoming more regular and intense. And on their drive up, contractions became just that. Cassandra was having contractions every 3 minutes that were getting quite uncomfortable in the car. I got my stuff together and headed up to Sioux Falls. Cassandra got checked in and was admitted to the floor. She was 5 cm at this point, but once she got checked in her contractions stopped. She couldn’t believe they would halt after being so intense on the drive to the hospital. 

It was around 1 am when I arrived, and Cassandra was getting all settled in. When she laid on the bed, her contractions stopped. However, if she was up and moving she would continue having them. We started off by doing some stretches to loosen her ligaments and help the baby find a better position, hoping this would start more contractions. We then decided to sleep since labor wasn’t intense yet. Cassandra and Logan both got a couple hours of light sleep before morning came. 

At 6:15 am, the midwife came in to check how things were going and asked to check if any progress was made through the night. Cassandra was still a 5 and not really contracting much. Her midwife suggested Pitocin to get contractions started again & was hoping to start pitocin before the next shift change came in the morning. She wanted to give Cassandra her chance at a vaginal delivery. With some hesitation, Cassandra decided it was at least worth a try. At 6:45 am, the pitocin was going and within 30 minutes, contractions were picking up again. 

I had a hunch that the baby was hung up on the right side and that was why contractions weren’t picking up on their own, so I told Cassandra we were gonna get to work getting this baby in the optimal position. Cassandra went along with all my crazy ideas knowing how important her baby’s position would be to her having her VBAC.

 

With only a couple units of pitocin going, Cassandra’s contractions were picking up with high intensity! By 9 am, Cassandra was moaning through her contractions that were coming every 2-3 minutes. We focused on lots of hands and knees and leaning forward positions to help rotate the baby forward. 

At 10:45 am, Cassandra was deep into active labor, nearly transitioning when her midwife offered a cervical check. Cassandra decided she wanted to know where things were at, so she consented to the check. She was now 8 cm and the baby had moved down significantly! 

I filled up the tub hoping that would help her relax. Soon after, Cassandra got into the tub onto  her hands and knees. Within a few minutes, her legs went numb and since the tub was so small, she got back out and instead squatted on the floor, lying her head at the foot of the bed. I offered counter pressure while Logan stayed by Cassandra's head, supporting her. 

Cassandra moved back to the bed and worked through contractions on her side, hoping that the end was near. At 12:05 pm, her midwife checked her and she was 9.5cm. She felt that Cassandra could push past the last little bit of cervix. After a few pushes, she was complete. Cassandra rocked side-lying pushing and moved her baby down with every push. We then tried the hands and knees position but it wasn’t as effective so she opted for side-lying on the opposite side. Cassandra got to reach down and feel her baby’s hair while crowning! With just an hour of pushing, Cassandra delivered her baby! An unmedicated VBA2C! Cassandra held her baby to her chest and exclaimed, “I can’t believe I did it!”. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Logan then got to call out to all of us that, “IT’S A GIRL!”. 

Hazel Noelle 

Born March 28 at 1:13pm 

6lbs 8oz 

Cassandra reclaimed her power and authority in childbirth. She trusted her body and baby throughout the entire process. Birth truly can be redemptive! I couldn’t be more proud to call you my lifelong friend and was honored to support you through this amazing experience! 

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Evelyn Ann
March 20, 2024

Kaitlin reached out when she got a positive pregnancy test in July for doula services in March. She is a nurse at a local hospital and is familiar with the labor and delivery world, so it was fun getting to hear her perspectives on things.

 

In the weeks leading up to birth, Kaitlin stayed active in working her job and keeping up with her other 3 children. She started having quite a bit of inconsistent contractions that started around 36 weeks. These would come and go, and some were even quite intense over the next few weeks. When Kaitlin was approaching 39 weeks, she decided she was ready to be induced as she felt her body needed an extra little push to go into labor as she was quite uncomfortable. She also had some higher blood pressure, and at her OB appointment also that morning. She and her doctor decided on a cytotec induction starting at 8 pm on Tuesday, March 19, and when she arrived for her induction was found to have protien in her urine which further confirmed that it was time for her to have her baby. She had cytotec placed with her other inductions and her body has responded well to it in the past, so she was optimistic this would be all her body needed.

 

When she checked in to the hospital, she was checked and she was 4cm dilated and a dose of cytotec was placed around 9 pm. I encouraged Kaitlin to get up and move around when she was able as the baby was still very high. She went through some labor circuits and positioning while she was awake but also tried to sleep for a bit. She updated me via text at 1:00 am that she was having regular contractions, but she was still able to cope and the doctor would be in in the morning to check her.

 

In the morning the doctor checked her and at 6:00 am she was 6cm dilated. She and the doctor discussed whether to further intervention or not, and she decided that she was ready for an epidural and then wanted the doctor to come back later and break her water. The epidural was probably the most intense part of Kaitlin's labor as she was having a very difficult time getting placement. During the process of getting an epidural, Kaitlin began to get shaky and decided to get checked to see if she was in transition. She was noted to be 7cm dilated, and she decided to continue the process of the epidural. Finally, after being completely miserable during the process, the epidural began to work. Once she was comfortable, the doctor came in and checked her and she was still 7cm dilated and he broke her water at 8:55 a.m. After this, we helped Kaitlin into several positions to encourage her to rest while still working on the baby coming down. She was able to rest for a couple of hours, but soon contractions were becoming more intense. Her epidural was light enough that she was able to hold herself up, so we continued to work on positions. These involved things such as hands and knees while leaning over the edge of the bed, semi-squatting, high thrones, and many more. She was such a good sport in working to move into any position I suggested! 

 

Around noon the doctor came back to check her and she was 8cm dilated and the baby had moved into the mid pelvis. After finding this out, Kaitlin opted to start some Pitocin to see if that would help give her more adequate contractions as she was getting tired. Pitocin was started around 1:00 pm and soon her contractions became much more regular and more intense. We continued to work hard on encouraging the baby through the mid-pelvis. During this time Kaitlin's epidural also really wore off, and she was able to feel pretty much everything. She stayed in control though and did a great job breathing and coping with contractions!

 

Around 3:00 p.m. she began to feel an overwhelming urge to push. She had pushed for several hours with her last baby, so the initial plan was for her to labor down in hopes of decreasing pushing time. But now with minimal epidural coverage, the urge was overwhelming and she asked for the doctor to come back to check her to see if she could start pushing. She was checked and found to have a small anterior lip on her left cervix. We decided to work through some more positions to try to get rid of the cervix as well as allow the baby to descend into the birth canal a little further. Within an hour, she had an even more overwhelming urge and began to involuntarily push with contractions.  The doctor came back again and checked her cervix and she was 10cm dilated at 4:14 pm. He got everything set up and soon Kaitlin was ready to actively start pushing! She was nervous about this stage due to the hours she spent pushing during her son's birth 2 years earlier. Once Kaitlin began pushing at 4:26 pm, it was obvious that she was pushing very well and that it wouldn't be hours this time! Chris and she did not know the gender of this baby, so when Chris began to see the baby's head, he was ready to announce the gender. Then, with one more strong push, Kaitlin delivered their baby earthside and Chris announced to the room, "IT'S A GIRL!" Everyone was shocked, as Kaitlin swore it would be a boy!

 

Evelyn Ann

March 20th, 2023 4:46 p.m.

7lbs 9oz

 

Kaitlin and Chris chose to name their daughter after Kaitlin's great-grandmother Evelyn. Her great-grandmother was a wonderful woman who will forever hold a special place in her heart. Kaitlin worked so hard throughout her induction, and Chris was there supporting her along the way with whatever she needed. Evelyn's birth was longer than Kaitlin had anticipated, but she continued to navigate each hour with perseverance. The look of shock Kaitlin had when Chris announced their baby was a girl, is something that I will never forget! Thanks, Chris and Kaitlin for allowing me to support you through Evelyn's birth!

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Jubilee Grace
March 3, 2024

Joselyn and Joe reached out in the early third trimester of her pregnancy when her original planned homebirth was changed to a hospital due to her midwife moving into a hospital setting. They were now excited about the idea of a doula to add to her care team in the hospital. I had an unexpected opening during the weeks around Joselyn's due date and was so excited to work with them!

 

Joselyn got right to work in preparing her body for labor but staying active by doing stretches, drinking RRLT, and eating dates. And most importantly she was patient and was trusting of her body to go into labor when it was ready.

 

Joselyn texted me Thursday night the day of her due date that she was having some tightenings but they weren’t painful or uncomfortable. She tried some stretches and then decided to try and get some rest as we weren’t sure what the evening would bring!

 

When Joselyn woke up Friday morning she was still having some off-and-on tightenings, but they had not changed. She decided to go about her day and see what would happen. I also encouraged her to go through the miles circuit to help ensure the baby was in a good position. Things didn't seem to change much throughout the day and we thought she maybe was just having regular Braxton hicks contractions. She also stayed in contact with her midwife throughout this time.

 

Saturday mid-morning Joselyn texted me that she thought her water may have broken but she was not having much more than just tightening yet. She let her midwife know and she was encouraged to eat, rest, and see if her body would start having contractions. 

 

By 6 pm, Joselyn had not started having contractions, so she was encouraged to go into the hospital to check on the baby and verify if her water did or did not break and to be evaluated by her midwife. 

 

Once she arrived at the hospital, the midwife did confirm that her water had broken. She also had her cervix checked and she was about 1cm dilated with a posterior cervix and 50% effaced. In discussion with her midwife, they were going to see how the evening went and see if her body would start to labor on its own. I encouraged her to call me during the night if things started progressing!

 

She was able to sleep during the night, but in the morning things started progressing and contractions were starting! She felt encouraged by this and felt her contractions were manageable. We continued to stay in touch and I sent her a few different positions to try to help encourage labor. At 11:00 a.m., contractions had increased slightly but not greatly. The midwife came to check her cervix and she was now 2cm dilated at 80% effaced. Joselyn and Joe decided with the midwife that it was time to start Pitocin to help encourage more adequate contractions. 

 

The Pitocin was started at around 1:45 p.m. and Joselyn and Joe felt ready for me to come support them in labor.

 

I arrived at the hospital at around 3:20 p.m. and Joselyn was having to breathe through contractions but was still talking and laughing in between. She had been resting in bed so we decided to get up and move through contractions to help encourage the baby to settle further down in the pelvis. The midwife was at her bedside and informed me that the baby was at -1 station so that informed us to utilize position to help the baby navigate the mid pelvis. Joselyn and Joe were such an awesome team and were willing to work through any positions I suggested!

 

Joselyn's Pitocin had been turned up to 4 units right before I arrived and it was all she needed to help her body kick into labor! Soon Joselyn began to slip into "labor land" and was not able to talk to us much in between contractions anymore.  We had the rope lights, diffuser, and beautiful Christian music playing in the background while she was laboring. It was such a calm and peaceful environment that several nurses and a doctor snuck in to watch and observe how Joselyn was laboring. She was breathing wonderfully through contractions and continued to me moving into several different positions. 

 

After a couple of hours, Joselyn began to bear down at the end of contractions. The midwife offered a cervical check and at 4:30 p.m. she was 8cm dilated with a bulging bag of water. Joselyn continued to labor for another hour and at 5:30, she was still 8cm dilated so she consented to her bag of water being broken to help encourage the rest of her cervix to dilate. After this was broken, she dilated right to a 9.5. We decided to labor some on the toilet and have Joselyn empty her bladder.  She labored through several different positions, and soon she was completely dilated and began to feel an overwhelming urge to push.

 

Joselyn began pushing at 6:30 p.m. and was so strong! The midwife and I helped encourage her to push in several different positions from hands and knees to standing, to squatting, her side, and her back. She was working hard and the baby was moving down great! Joe was right next to the midwife, and with one final strong push, he and the midwife caught their baby! She cried immediately and was placed up on Joselyn's chest! It was such a beautiful moment to be able to witness as Joe and Joselyn entered into parenthood.

 

March 3rd, 2024, 8:34 p.m.

Jubilee Grace

8lbs 5oz

 

Joselyn and Joe worked together the entire labor to bring Jubilee into the world. Joe was right by Joselyn’s side and was speaking encouraging words to her, holding her up, and believing in her. As Joselyn said, “Jesus is our Jubilee, and our daughter's name is a beautiful reminder of that joyful reality!" Thank you Joselyn and Joe for inviting me into your birth space, you were such a blessing to work with!

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Crue Andy
February 7, 2024

Courtney inquired about doula services when she was in the first half of her pregnancy. This was her second pregnancy and she was looking for some guidance and support to have a different experience than her first birth. 

 

Courtney prepared her body for labor by eating dates, drinking RRLT, stayed active with her little boy and work, and saw a chiropractor towards the end of her pregnancy. Courtney didn’t do many position changes and had a prolonged amount of time pushing with a vacuum with her first baby. She was hoping to avoid each of these things this time around. 

 

Courtney texted me they had set an induction date as she was hoping to avoid going beyond her due date. A couple of days prior to her set induction date, she texted me saying she’d been having contractions for a few hours - they were lasting about one minute long and coming every couple of minutes. We discussed that this could be the start of early labor, but we would have to give it some time and see how the rest of the night went. I encouraged her to stay active if she was able, but to also prioritize rest if she felt she was able. Unfortunately, the contractions subsided in the middle of the night. It was most definitely a sign her body was getting ready and preparing for labor which was super encouraging!

 

The morning of her induction came. We discussed what this induction process may look like and when I would be the most helpful throughout labor. When Courtney started her induction, her cervix was about 3cm dilated and 60% effaced. The plan was to start with Cytotec and then just see how things go. Courtney spent the morning staying quite active - on the birthing ball, walking, and many other labor warm up stretches. 

 

Around noon, her provider came back to check on her. She was still 3cm dilated, but her cervix had thinned out some more. Her provider then gave her another dose of Cytotec to continue with cervical ripening. Courtney continued to be very active throughout the afternoon and even got to go outside for a walk. 

 

Shortly before 5 p.m. Courtney texted me the contractions were picking up in intensity and she was really having to breathe through them. Her provider came back shortly after to perform another cervical exam to find out she was 4cm dilated. Courtney gave her provider the okay to break her water at this point. Things got really intense after this!

 

Courtney tried to go in the tub for a little while hoping this would help her relax some more, but the heat was too much to handle. At this point, she requested I start to make my way over to her. In the meantime, they gave her a dose of IV Fentanyl to help take the edge off for the time being. 

 

At 6:35 p.m. I arrived at the hospital. Courtney had requested an epidural so they were preparing everything for that as I was walking in. After about an hour of receiving the epidural, she was finally able to get adequate pain relief. She was exhausted and was hoping to get some rest at this time. 

Baby still had quite a way to come down into the pelvis, so we did several different positions to help do that. Around 9:30 p.m. her provider came back to the bedside to perform another cervical exam. She was 9cm dilated, 100% effaced, but still a -2 station. Our goal was to get the baby much lower into the pelvis before even thinking about starting to push. 

 

Within the next hour, Courtney started feeling nauseous and had a lot more pressure in her bottom. At 10:30 p.m. her provider came back to the bedside to check her again to find out she was complete and the baby had come down into the pelvis! 

 

After laboring down, Courtney decided she was ready to begin pushing. Shortly after beginning pushing, it was obvious we needed to turn her epidural down so she would have a better idea of where to push. 

 

Courtney was a trooper and was willing to try ANY pushing position that I suggested. She pushed while using the tug of war method, side-lying, hands and knees, closed knee pushing, modified squatting, etc. Unfortunately little progress was being made after close to two hours of pushing. This was beginning to get quite discouraging for Courtney, but she persevered and continued to push as hard as she could over the next hour. 

 

Her provider asked another OB provider to assess if she’d be able to apply the vacuum on the baby's head, but they both agreed this wasn’t going to be the safest option at this point and time. At this time, Courtney was opting for a c-section as she was completely exhausted, feeling like she had nothing else to give and she wanted what was safest for the baby. Her provider discussed more of what a cesarean section would look like and Courtney agreed to this. At 2:05 a.m. Courtney and her medical team decided to go for a c-section. 

 

Crue Andy 

February 7, 2024

2:51 a.m.

7lbs 11oz

 

This sweet little stinker was in a face up position and had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck which explains why he was making us work so hard to get him engaged into the pelvis. We praise God that this sweet boy is here and healthy as can be!

 

Courtney’s birth is another true testament that even though it may not have gone the way she wanted despite all efforts, God is still SO good! His plan will forever be better than we could ever want and Courtney showed true surrender to this. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your birth space! 

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Ashtyn Jaymes
February 9, 2024

When Marissa texted me in July and said, "Good morning! What does your upcoming schedule look like? Grace will be a big sister, and I'm due on Valentine's Day!" I was so excited because I got to support Josh and Marissa through Grace's labor several months prior!

Throughout the weeks leading up to birth, Marissa actively chased around a toddler and kept up with her older kids' activities. Her main hope for this birth was that she could go into labor on her own as she had been induced with Grace.

When Marissa was 39 weeks and one day pregnant, she went in for her appointment. She was 2cm dilated and 50% effaced and decided to have the doctor strip her membranes in hopes that may help jump-start her labor. After her appointment, Marissa went for a walk, drank some tea, and went through some stretches, hoping it would bring on labor.

Throughout the afternoon and evening, Marissa and I stayed in touch, and in the evening, around 8:30, she noticed some slight cramping. She was tired, so I encouraged her to go to bed and see how the evening would go. At 10:18, she texted me and said that the cramping had turned more into contractions and was lasting about 35-50 seconds in length. We talked back and forth about some things to try, and Marissa decided to have her mom start coming over as her mom lived 45 minutes away.  At 10:35, she felt like the contractions were starting to get intense enough that she was ready for me to head to her house in hopes of laboring at home for a while. 

I arrived at her house around 11:15, and Marissa was having to breathe through contractions but was coping wonderfully! They were still inconsistent, ranging from 1 to 7 minutes apart. We did some inversions and had her lean over the birth ball in hopes of getting the baby in a better position to encourage a better labor pattern. She was such a trooper and was doing whatever position I suggested! After Marissa's mom arrived, we all hung out in the living room and talked and laughed while she continued working through the contractions. Marissa decided to try pumping while doing pelvic tilts on the birth ball to see if that would help bring on any stronger contractions. We then decided to move the toilet, aka "dilation station," so she could rest and continue to labor. At 12:45, we moved to the toilet, and while Marissa rested, she could sleep and her contractions spaced out. We debated whether I should go home for a while, and everyone tried to sleep as the intensity had not really increased, and now they seemed to be spacing out. Let's say it was a good thing I didn't!

After discussing this plan, at 1:05 a.m.Marissa got one massive, super intense contraction on the toilet that was much different than the contractions over the last several hours. We decided to see how the next one went, and it was again super intense! She climbed into her bathtub, and I had her lean over the peanut ball and place a leg on the side. We did this for two intense contractions, then she moved to the other side. After moving to the other side, Marissa had another big contraction at 1:15 a.m. and told me, "I feel a lot of pressure in my butt." I encouraged her to reach inside and see if she was able to feel the baby's head, and if not, it was probably time to head to the hospital! 

She couldn't feel the head, so I helped her out of the tub to dry off, and she decided she wanted to ride with me to the hospital because I was able to put my back seats flat so that she was able to go on hands and knees and her husband would follow. 

We got loaded up in the car, and Marissa continued to have intense contractions. I called the hospital and informed them we were on our way in! Throughout the ride, Marissa told me the pressure was getting more intense, and she was also beginning to yell out through contractions. When we were a few miles from the hospital, she yelled, "Oh my gosh, I just felt it drop like 3 inches inside me!" I started to speed up a little as Marissa had had a reasonably quick delivery with her first baby!

We made it to the hospital and were met by the nurse by the sliding doors, who helped Marissa walk back to her labor room. The nurse was so calm and prepared for Marissa by getting the tub to fill up and turning the lights down. Once inside the room, Marissa consented to have a cervical check from the nurse as her doctor lived a ways away.

The nurse checked her at 1:37 a.m., and she was 7-8 cm dilated with a bulging bag of water, and the baby's head was low! Marissa was ready to get in the tub now, while the nurse called her doctor and the on-call doctor as she wasn't sure her primary doctor would be able to get there in time. 

While in the tub, Marissa could relax between contractions while she squeezed a comb in her hands. She asked me to climb behind her and do counter pressure so her husband could be by her face. After a couple of contractions in the tub, it was apparent Marissa was bearing down. The hospital that she was at policies don’t allow for water birth, but Marissa was adamant she was not going to get out of the tub at this point as she was having so much pressure. No doctor had arrived yet, so the nurse calmly put on gloves and prepared to catch her baby as I climbed out of the tub. One super strong contraction came, and Marissa flipped to her back. We saw the baby's head coming out, so the nurse just reached down in the water and encouraged Marissa to keep breathing. Seconds later, the doctor came running in and took over, guiding the baby out from the nurse. I encouraged her to give one big, strong push, and with that push, at 2:02 a.m.,  the baby was here! 

Marissa reached down and grabbed her baby and brought her to her chest, but while bringing the baby to her chest, the baby’s cord snapped. The doctor acted quickly, took the baby to the warmer, clamped the cord, and began to stimulate the baby to breathe with the facemask. The nurse and I promptly helped Marissa out of the tub to the bed, and she clamped off the other end of the chord hooked to the placenta. Soon, everything was settled, and Marissa got her baby on her chest for skin-to-skin. It was then that Marissa announced to the room.

 

“Meet Ashtyn Jaymes”

 born February 9th, 2024 at 2:02 a.m.

weighing 7lbs 10oz

 

Marissa described her birth to me as “empowering to be able to give birth to her baby in a physiological process, where she felt her body was doing exactly what it was made to do!" Which is precisely what she set out for in the beginning! Though the birth was intense, her care team worked great together in caring for her and her baby. Supporting Marissa through another delivery and witnessing her incredible strength again is a blessing. Thank you, Josh and Marissa, for welcoming me into the birth space, and I'm so proud of your control and strength!

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Lincoln Christopher
January 28, 2024

Another Koehlmoos baby boy has arrived! Lincoln Christopher came almost as fast as his brother did a year a half ago. 

 

I had the honor of being a part of Ashton’s third pregnancy and delivery with their son Mason in the spring of 2022. It was a wild story worth the read if you want to scroll down to find it! Ashton reached out asking me to be their doula again for baby number 4. As you already know, I love my repeat families! Ashton stayed very active throughout pregnancy using her training program through her company Resilient Mama Fitness. She incorporated movements to strengthen her core and pelvic floor for labor, and she did many things to prepare herself physically and mentally. As Ashton and I processed her last labor and planned for this one, we focused on a few goals: making it to the hospital sooner (read her previous birth story to understand), avoiding the need for episiotomy, focusing on controlled breathing, and optimal positioning for Ashton and baby.

 

Around 38 weeks, Ashton started having irregular mild cramping and contractions. We patiently waited for labor to kick in. In the meantime, I encouraged Ashton to support her body so that it was ready for labor but not to push it into something it wasnt ready for yet. The week before her guess date, Ashton’s kids came down with RSV. Soon after, it came for Ashton as well. She was frustrated and worried about laboring when sick, but she gave her body lots of rest, hoping labor would wait until she was feeling better. 

 

On Sunday morning, at 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant, Ashton texted me while I was on my way home from another birth in Sioux Falls that she was losing more of her mucus plug along with some bloody show. These were definitely some signs of early labor starting, but we still didn't know if labor was just hours away or days. Of course, that afternoon was one of my few shifts of the month scheduled at the hospital. I crossed my fingers Ashton wouldn't go into labor during those 8 hours. 1 hour into my shift, Ashton texted me that she thought labor may be starting with mild contractions coming every 5 minutes and lasting 30 seconds. I texted my Ashtyn and had her on standby if I couldn't make it. Thanks to some awesome coworkers, I was able to leave early and meet up with Ashton when she needed me. After a couple hours of these contractions, Ashton decided she wanted to head to the hospital just to be safe. After such a quick labor last time, she wanted to arrive with more time to spare this time around.

 

Once in town, Ashton felt her contractions slowed a bit so she walked around Walmart while I ran home to eat dinner and see my family. After a bit of walking around Walmart, Ashton was ready to check into the hospital. I gave Ashton some stretching ideas and told her to text me once things were intensifying. 30 minutes later, Andrew texted me it was time for me to head over. 

 

I arrived at the hospital 10 minutes later and had just missed Ashton’s doctor coming in to perform a cervical exam. Ashton was 6cm dilated, 100% effaced and -2 station. When I walked into the room, I knew right away it was labor time. Ashton was on the floor in a split lunge, her head lying on the foot of the bed while Andrew was rubbing her back. I quickly checked in with them and debriefed their birth plan with the nurse. I then started setting up the room with the “Kyla experience” as we like to call it. The twinkle lights, music, and diffuser were going and I started filling up the tub because I knew if she didn’t use it now, she wouldn’t be able to at all. 

 

Andrew and I helped Ashton into the tub and she got into a kneeling position, leaning over the edge. While in the tub, contractions were picking up quickly. They were coming back to back with little break in between and clearly intensifying. Andrew rubbed her shoulders and neck, encouraging her while I poured water over her back and helped her control her breathing. Within 10 minutes of being in the tub, Ashton started saying “no, no, no, no, no” as her contraction would build and looked at me saying, “I can't do it”. I knew this meant she WAS doing it and her baby boy was going to be here soon. I quickly ran out to grab the nurse and have her call the doctor. Andrew and I helped Ashton out of the tub and another contraction hit. Ashton squatted and turned her feet in while Andrew and I were holding her up. For a moment, I thought we may have a baby on the bathroom floor! Ashton found a way to move onto the bed and onto her hands and knees. She ended up in a mild hands and knees inversion with her head lower than her bottom. I let Ashton regain her breathing in this position then asked her to move farther up on the bed to get more into a kneeling hands and knees position. Ashton’s urge to push was now uncontrollable and within two contractions, a sweet baby was crowning! Her doctor placed a warm compress on her bottom and I helped Ashton control her breathing to help stretch and make room for this baby to come earthside. With the next contraction, a sweet baby was born! Ashton’s doctor guided the baby through Ashton's legs and placed him on her chest!

 

Lincoln Christopher 

Born at 9:09pm

Weighing 8lbs 10oz

 

After two previous births with lots of pushing and episiotomies, Ashton truly rocked this birth! Lincoln was even her biggest baby yet! All her preparation paid off! 

 

Ashton and Andrew, thank you for welcoming me back into your birth space and letting me walk alongside you during the pregnancy and birth journey. I am so proud of you for taking charge of your birth, and preparing yourself both mentally and physically. Building relationships with families like yours is just one of the many reasons I love being a doula!

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Bennett Duane
January 28, 2024

Bennett’s birth could be described in many different ways. Challenging, confusing, difficult, beautiful, and relieving, but my favorite word to describe his birth would be “faithfulness”. The Lord’s hand of faithfulness was evident throughout the unknowns and questions of Megan’s pregnancy and delivery. 

 

During Megan’s fourth labor in 2021, I had the honor of meeting her and Steve. During this delivery, they were introduced to the doula style. They decided if a 5th was ever in their future that they would hire a doula. 2 years later, SURPRISE! Baby number 5 was on the way. Of course I was ecstatic to work with Megan and Steve and dream up their desires for this delivery. 

 

10 weeks into Megan’s pregnancy, she developed heart palpitations from an irregular heart rhythm that ultimately wound her up in the ER and being airlifted to Sioux Falls. From there on out, there were many questions on how this pregnancy and delivery was going to go. After a short stay in the hospital, Megan was released and her heart rate was doing well on medication. Throughout the first and second trimester, there were plenty of appointments and lots of back and forth on how and where this baby would be born. Ultimately, the decision was made that Megan would need to deliver in Sioux Falls for increased monitoring. Initially, she was told she would still be able to deliver with the Midwives at Sandford, which would have been a perfect fit for Megan's desire to have her 5th unmedicated birth. However, in the end, she was told she was unable to deliver with the midwives due to needing increased heart monitoring on telemetry while in labor. So instead, she needed to work with an OB or high risk specialist for her labor and delivery. Delivering in Sioux Falls with doctors she didn't know was far from Megan’s initial dreams for this birth, but at the end of the day Megan and Steve trusted in the Lord's plan. 

 

As Megan’s due date approached, her MFM (maternal fetal medicine) specialist felt that a 39 week induction was the safest option based on Megan’s heart. Thankfully, throughout the second half of her pregnancy, there had not been any more heart rate episodes. The MFM specialist still felt this was the best route to prevent any issues from arising in the future. 

 

Megan's induction was scheduled for Friday evening, January 26. Thursday, the night before her induction, Megan started to have some contractions and bloody show throughout the night and into her induction day. We were crossing our fingers that labor was starting on its own and this induction wasn't even going to be needed after all. However, Megan's contractions never got to a steady intense pattern by Friday night, so up to Sioux Falls they went.  Though the questions of needing an induction still lingered, they trusted this was a part of the Lord's plan for this baby’s birth. 

 

Megan got settled in and the OB placed a foley balloon to start her induction. I decided I would drive up to Sioux Falls once the foley balloon was out, so we all tried to get a little sleep. At 3 am on Saturday morning, Megan texted me that the Foley balloon had come out, so I got ready to head to Sioux Falls. I arrived around 5:30 am and Megan was feeling some regular contractions at this point. We started working with her body to help make room and move the baby down. We did inversions, shake the apples, flying cowgirl, the jiggle, sidelying release, squats, and lunges to hopefully help this baby find their way. But after a couple hours Megan's contractions slowed down. She looked at Steve and me and said, “It doesn't feel like it usually does at this point”.

 

At 10:40 am, the on-call OB came in to check how Megan was doing. Megan asked for a cervical exam and decided that if she was less than 6cm, she was going to have her water broken to keep labor going. The OB performed a cervical check and Megan was around 4cm dilated, so she consented to having her waters broken. After her waters were broken, we all questioned if they had actually broken because there was barely a small trickle of fluid, no big gush like usual.  Later in the day, we got more confirmation that her water indeed had been broken with lots of random gushes of fluid. We continued with lots of walks, used the shower, did position changes, and pumped to try to help Megan's labor kick in. Even while hooked up to all the cords, Megan was still able to have lots of freedom to move and even use the tub/shower throughout her labor. 

 

Evening rolled around, and Megan felt ready for another cervical check to see what progress was made throughout the day. The OB checked and said Megan was now a solid 5cm. The team tried to stay positive but there was definitely some disappointment in the room. It had already been a long night and day, so we all decided we needed a bit of a reset. The plan was now to start some pitocin in a few hours, so we all decided to rest while we could. Megan and Steve tried to take a nap and I quickly headed home to see my family for a bit. 

 

Around 10:00 pm, they started the Pitocin. I told Megan to call me when the contractions started to intensify and come closer together regularly. After a quick nap, I woke up at 2 am to check in on Megan, and it was time for me to head back to Sioux Falls. 

 

The mood was different when I came in this time. Megan was focused and tuned into her body through the contractions she was having. It was the mood of being in active labor…YAY! Megan gravitated towards being on the ball, rocking back and forth between contractions. She alternated between sitting on the ball, standing lunges, and slow dancing with Steve for the first couple hours while I offered lots of hip squeezes. I then asked Megan to try the dilatation station (aka the toilet) to see if sitting on there through a couple contractions would help relax the pelvic floor to help the baby drop down. Things were getting intense at this point and we knew we were getting close. Megan was needing to moan through contractions to stay in control. 

 

In between contractions, Megan’s nurse came in. She asked if Megan would like the midwife on call to come in to deliver her baby instead of the OB. We all looked at her a little confused since we were told the midwives wouldn’t do Megan's delivery. The charge nurse had spoken to the Midwife for Megan and asked if she was comfortable doing Megan’s delivery, and she was! This was just a small way God was showing His presence in their birth. Abby, the Midwife, was the perfect presence needed in the room. Megan was beginning to have more intense surges and was starting to feel “pushy” so she moved onto her side on the bed to start pushing. She pushed for a few contractions on one side, and then we switched to the other side to push for a few more. During the contractions, the baby’s heart rate was starting to drop but was recovering to normal between contractions. Abby asked if she could check Megan to see if she was close to complete. We were all shocked to hear that Megan was 7cm, but the baby had moved down significantly and that was probably why Megan was already starting to feel “pushy". Abby stayed optimistic that Megan could deliver this baby soon and that the baby could tolerate these heart rate dips for a short period of time. 

 

It was now 7:00 am on Sunday morning and the new midwife, RoseMarie, was coming on. Both midwives discussed the plan of care and stayed calm throughout the entire process. The baby’s heart rate was continuing to drop significantly during contractions, so RoseMarie had the nurses turn off the pitocin and had Megan switch positions. She asked to check Megan again at 7:11 am, and she was now 8-9cm. She was getting so close! Turning off the pitocin helped make the heart rate drops not be quite so significant, but Megan's contractions began to space out without the pitocin. RoseMarie and the nurses helped Megan switch positions every couple contractions to find ones that kept the baby's heart rate up the best. Megan gave everything she had while pushing, but without the pitocin helping her contractions, the process was much slower than her other deliveries. Usually Megan had the overwhelming feeling of needing to push during delivery but this time that feeling never seemed to come. After an hour of turning and pushing, Megan was feeling frustrated! It felt like her body wasn't doing what she was asking it to do.Confused and desperate to meet her baby, she asked to go onto her back and try pushing with her legs back. RoseMarie checked Megan again and said she felt that there may still be part of a bag of water that wasn’t broken yet, so Megan had her water broken for a second time. After the midwife broke her water, the baby's heart rate dropped significantly again. RoseMarie looked at Megan and said “You NEED to have this baby.” Megan dug deep and found every last ounce of energy she could find and like a rocket, a sweet baby was born!

 

The relief and joy in the room was palpable as Megan’s baby was placed on her chest. Steve called out, “It’s a BOY!”.

 

Bennett Duane

Born January 28 at 8:28 am 

Weighing 6lbs 9oz 

 

We all cried with joy that this sweet boy was finally here, safe and sound. Throughout labor, Megan wore her dad’s flannel. Bennet would be their first baby since he passed away in April of 2023, so having a surprise baby boy was an extra special gift. When Bennett was placed on Megan's chest, he was wrapped in his grandpa Duane's flannel. Bennett will always carry a piece of Grandpa in heaven with him.

 

After Bennett’s delivery, we have all been doing a lot of reflecting. Though this story was far from the birth Megan and Steve had initially envisioned, we could see God’s hand in this story throughout it all. Finding ways to show us He was there the entire time, holding them fast. Megan and Steve, I cannot thank you enough for letting me be a small part of Bennett’s story. I am so blessed by the work I do and the people I get to meet along the way.

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Rhyer Wayne
January 21, 2024

Welcome to this side of creation, baby Bonnema!

Alexa and Derek reached out for doula support again with the birth of their second baby! With the birth of their first son, Alexa, and Derek, labored over 36 hours, which ultimately ended in a C-section. As a doula getting to witness the absolute surrender to God’s plan during their first birth, I was honored to get to support them again as Alexa and Derek pursued a VBAC!

 

In the weeks leading up to birth, Alexa stayed active with her job. She continued to eat her dates and drink red raspberry leaf tea. She also frequently saw a Webster-certified chiropractor and switched to using a birth ball instead of her chair in her office. 

She had a few instances of times when she thought she might be in labor, as her uterus was quite irritable! This is a good sign because it can show that your body is "training" for birth. With these few regular contractions, she also made cervical changes and effacement. The midwife group she was seeing in Sioux Falls was feeling very encouraged about the early progress Alexa had been making, even if she wasn't in actual labor yet! Alexa shared with me that throughout her care with this midwife group, she felt respected and heard the entire time!

On the morning of January 21st, I heard a text come in, and it is always one of my favorites to receive. “Good morning! My water broke at 6 a.m.” 

Alexa had some mild contractions that came about every 2-5 minutes. They were going to get her son ready for her in-laws to come, and I encouraged a few positions to see if it would help engage the baby in the pelvis more. She had had mild contractions through the night but had been able to sleep through them until she woke up to her water breaking!

At 8:47, she texted me and let me know that her contractions were getting stronger, and I encouraged her to time them. They were consistently coming about every 3 minutes and lasting 1 minute long. Alexa, Derek, and I all decided it would be best for them to start heading to Sioux Falls!

Once she arrived in Sioux Falls, Alexa was checked in triage, and she called me to tell me that she was 4.5cm dilated and 100% effaced! This was great news, and I headed to support her!

When I arrived in Sioux Falls, Alexa was in the tub and working hard through contractions while Derek could hold her hands. We started working through different positions to encourage the baby to keep moving down. Soon, she began to vocalize that she was ready to give up and started getting shakey from the intensity of her contractions. The midwife came, and Alexa wanted to be checked again, and at 1:00 p.m., she was 5.5 cm dilated. She decided at this point she was ready for her epidural as she needed more help relaxing. While waiting for the pre-epidural fluids to be infused, we kept working through contractions. It was apparent her contractions were becoming even more intense, and Alexa asked for frequent cervical checks. At 1:23 p.m., she was 6cm dilated; shortly after, at 1:48 p.m., she was 7.5 cm dilated. She was making cervical change, and fast! Which added to the intensity of her contractions! Soon, it was just about time for Alexa to get her epidural, and she opted to be rechecked as we were noticing more bleeding. At 2:10 p.m., she was 8 cm dilated, but the baby had not moved down as much. Her epidural was quickly placed around 2:30 p.m. With an extra bolus and a higher start dose of the epidural medicine, she was able to get comfortable. 

The nurse, Derek, and I assisted Alexa in a comfortable position to help the baby through the

mid pelvis. She could rest and doze off between contractions while Derek and I relaxed as well. We continued to move positions to keep encouraging the baby to descend, as Alexa was still able to move reasonably well with her epidural! Again, we noticed more bleeding when she was in a hands and knees position, and the midwife came back to check on her. Alexa was dilated entirely on one part of her cervix but still had some left on the left side. With position and working with Alexa's body, the rest of her cervix soon had dilated! Now, at 4:10 p.m., she was 10cm dilated! She became emotional, as her body had never made it this far before, and a successful VBAC was in sight!

She did a few practice pushes with the midwife and nurse while working to breathe her baby down. Alexa wasn’t moving the baby a whole lot with pushing, so she decided to rest and labor down for an hour.

Her midwife returned approximately an hour later and worked through a few practice pushes again with Alexa. She was working on breathing her baby down with her diaphragm while trying different positions. After doing this for an hour, she had only made a small amount of progress. This was when we discussed that this was a larger baby and that she was going to have to PUSH. And that’s when everything changed! Over the next hour, Alexa pushed SO hard! With every pushing effort, you could see all of Alexa's muscles and her strength! After all her incredible work, she could soon reach down and feel the top of the baby's head, and shortly, we all began to see the baby's jet-black hair!

Then, with one final really strong push, the midwife exclaimed, "Reach down and grab your baby, Alexa!"

Alexa could guide her baby out and place the baby directly on her chest. She immediately looked down and cried, “My baby! Hi honey, oh my baby!…. It’s a boy!!!” 

Rhyer Wayne

January 21st, 2024 at 7:51 p.m.

9 whopping pounds, 21.5 inches long

The birth of Rhyer Wayne was a testimony to God's true goodness and graciousness. His middle name, Wayne, was after Alexa's deceased Grandpa, whose birthday was one day prior. After Alexa had placed her son on her chest, she began to sob, “I did it! I can’t believe I did it!” The Blessing, by Kari Jobe, played in the background while Alexa and Derek praised God for a redemptive birth and healthy son! I am so honored to have been able to be a part of a tough, traumatic C-section of their first son and then get to witness the beauty of this remarkable birth of Rhyer! Alexa worked through all her anxieties and cast her worries upon the Lord in surrendering to whatever this birth would bring, and it was amazing to bear witness to it! Thank you for allowing me to walk alongside you both!

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Hadley Jo
January 9, 2024

Welcome to Hadley Jo, the first NWIBN baby of 2024!

 

Katie and Kevin reached out in early pregnancy with their second baby! I was excited to get Katie's text as I was a doula for their first baby Navy in 2022. It is always such a joy to be welcomed into the birth space for a second time!

 

Katie stayed active chasing around a toddler and preparing her body by drinking red raspberry leaf tea, eating dates, and doing stretches. She waited patiently for labor to start as her due date came and went with no signs of labor. As Katie approached 40 weeks 5 days pregnant, the first blizzard of the winter came through. We both felt that this blizzard might send her into labor and of course, it did! 

 

Katie texted me on the evening of January 8th that she was having some back pain, but nothing consistent. She was going to go through the miles circuit and try to take a shower and see how she was feeling. I decided to go to bed early, and Katie and Kevin decided to try to get some sleep as well, as we suspected she would be in early labor. And sure enough, at 1:55 a.m. I received a call from Katie saying her contractions were coming about every 2-3 minutes and lasting a minute long, and she and Kevin were going to head to the hospital. They also had a little bit of a drive, and with the blizzard conditions they wanted to be sure they had enough time to get there! I packed up my stuff and decided to try the roads, with no promises that I could make it.

 

Katie arrived at the hospital around 2:45 a.m., and she texted me to let me know she was 5cm dilated at 80% effaced. I arrived at the hospital at 4:15 a.m. and went to find Katie and Kevin in their room. Katie was resting on her side with the peanut ball between her legs. She was able to talk in between contractions but had to stop and breathe through them. I set up the room with oils, lights, and Katie's Christian music playlist. She had used the same playlist from Navy's birth, and it was so special!

 

After watching Katie in labor, we noticed she had "coupling" contractions. Katie also said that the midwife thought her baby was OP (sunny side up) when she checked her cervix. So soon, we got to work helping the baby turn! Katie and Kevin were such an incredible team, and Katie was up for whatever crazy positions I suggested! She went from hanging over the birth ball to straddling the toilet to standing in a "flamingo" position. She continued with each contraction to breathe beautifully and keep in control! After a little while, her contraction pattern became more "normal," and they had intensified. During contraction after contraction, Kevin was so good at providing counterpressure on Katie's sacral bone. This was helpful for Katie in distracting her from some of the intensity of contractions. The next few hours were spent switching positions as Katie worked through contractions. Her contractions continued to grow in intensity, and throughout the few hours, the midwives stopped in to observe Katie. They had a shift change at 7 a.m., and the new midwife came in to introduce herself and honor and encourage Katie. Throughout the times they popped in, they respected the birth space and allowed Katie to dictate her care. 

 

At around 8:40 a.m. Katie began to bear down with the end of contractions and vocalized through them. She decided to have her cervix checked at 8:50 a.m. She was 10cm dilated, and the baby was at +2 station! The midwife asked Katie how she wanted to push, and Katie decided on her side as her knees were getting sore from being on her hands and knees. Katie's body started pushing, and she worked with her body and continued to breathe her baby down. And soon, we were able to see their baby’s dark hair! The baby’s head came out with the amniotic sac around it, and we thought we were about to have an en-caul baby! But then, with one last push, her water sac broke, and their baby was here! The midwife untwisted the baby's cord around the baby's neck twice and then turned the baby on the bed to Kevin so he could announce…. "It's a girl!! We have another girl!"

 

Hadley Jo

 born January 9th, 2024  at 9:16 a.m.

weighing 7 lbs 1o z and 20.5 inches long

 

Hadley was placed on Katie's chest, and she immediately started crying! Katie and Kevin were overjoyed with this new life they had created, and it was such a beautiful moment. Witnessing Kevin's excitement in announcing the gender of their new child has been such a special moment to have seen twice now! Katie, you were calm and in control as you breathed through labor. Thank you for taking me along on your pregnancy and delivery journey for a second time! 

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Ledger Jay
December 12, 2023

The best feeling is being welcomed back into a birth space for the second time with a family you love! I was so excited to hear that Kelsey was pregnant again and to have the honor of being her doula for a second time! Kelsey and I talked frequently throughout pregnancy about ways to stay active and healthy, avoid an induction, and avoid developing preeclampsia this time around. She worked hard staying active with workouts, walks, and chasing her 2-year-old son around. Things were looking great throughout Kelsey’s pregnancy until her 37-week appointment when her blood pressure was elevated. She had some blood work done that showed elevated liver enzymes. The elevated liver enzymes and high blood pressure were signs of preeclampsia, so her doctor and the maternal-fetal medicine specialist recommended an induction be started that afternoon. This was not the ideal situation but we also knew this was now the safest option for both Kelsey and the baby.

 

That afternoon, December 11, at 4:30 pm, Kelsey was all checked in for her induction. She was 2cm dilated and her doctor placed a dose of Cytotec. I gave Kelsey ideas of what to do while in the hospital, and I planned to come when active labor was kicking in. Kelsey did lots of stretches and movements on the birth ball until her doctor came back around 10 pm. She was now 3cm and contracting frequently but she wasn’t feeling them. Her doctor decided not to place another dose of Cytotec due to the consistent contractions and decided to reevaluate in the morning. Kelsey tried to sleep as best she could and waited for the morning.

 

The next morning, Kelsey had her labs rechecked which showed that her liver enzymes had increased through the night. The levels were now considered to be severely high and the maternal-fetal medicine specialist recommended a magnesium infusion throughout labor to avoid preeclampsia seizures. We had all been praying that this wasn’t going to be needed but we also knew this was what was now the safest option based on her lab results. Kelsey also had a cervical exam that morning and was now 4cm dilated. Her doctor planned to break her water at this time, however, Kelsey had it written in her birth plan she preferred to delay the breaking of water if possible. Her nurse reminded her doctor of this and together they decided to start Pitocin to get the contractions going again. The Pitocin and magnesium were started and a couple hours later, at 10:15 am, her doctor came to check her again. Her dilation had not changed, so they decided now would be a good time to break her water to help progress labor. Contractions started hitting strong soon after Kelsey's water was broken. We continued with lots of upright positions to keep the baby moving down and putting pressure on the cervix.

 

After a night of very little sleep and being on magnesium (which makes you very groggy), Kelsey was open to an epidural to help her rest. After about an hour of having her water broken, Kelsey felt she needed the relief and rest that an epidural could offer. Her nurse started getting things ready for the epidural and Kelsey got in the tub in the meantime to help with her increasing contractions.

 

After an hour in the tub, the anesthesiologist was there to place the epidural. Kelsey was ready for some rest! The epidural process went great until a couple of minutes after it was all set up, Kelsey’s blood pressure started dropping quickly and she started feeling very nauseous and light-headed. Thankfully both the anesthesiologist and nurse were still right there and gave her some medication to bring her blood pressure back up quickly. After that bit of excitement, it was finally time for her to try to get some rest!

After about an hour of resting, Kelsey’s doctor was back to check on how things were progressing. Kelsey was now 6cm dilated! We continued with different positions in the bed using the peanut ball to help keep things moving over the next few hours. Kelsey was still able to move her legs freely and get into various positions with help from both myself and the nurses, which worked in her favor. At 2:45 pm, Kelsey was checked again and was now 8cm dilated! Soon after this check, Kelsey started feeling more intense pressure with contractions despite the epidural. We decided to move to hands and knees, leaning over the back of the bed to help with the intensity that was building. At this point, Kelsey felt like her epidural had completely worn off but she stayed so strong through the intense surges, breathing with so much control. Less than 30 minutes after her last check, Kelsey started feeling a strong urge to push. Her doctor came in to check and sure enough, she was completely dilated and the baby’s head was right there. Kelsey opted to push in the tug-of-war position, her favorite pushing position from her first delivery. And with only a few strong, controlled pushes, at 3:23 pm, Ledger was earth-side! There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as we all marveled at the wonderful gift of life! We were also all shocked when her doctor showed us the true knot in Ledger’s umbilical cord.

 

Ledger Jay

Born December 12, 2023, at 3:23 pm

7lbs 3oz

 

I am truly in awe of Kelsey’s strength through her induced labor on magnesium. Although this wasn’t the birth plan she was hoping for, we praise God that both Kelsey and Ledger remained safe and healthy given the circumstances. Kelsey is the best mama to her sweet boys, working so hard to bring them safely into this world. I am so blessed to have gotten to know her and Taylor through both of their son’s deliveries. Deegan family, you hold such a special place in this doula's heart!

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Madden Noel
December 8, 2023

A year and a half ago, I got the honor of being Bekah’s nurse during the delivery of her first baby, Brynlee Jo! It was a beautiful, fun, empowering delivery! About a year later, during a Tan Taxi spray tan, Bekah told me she was pregnant with her second and asked me to be her doula for this delivery. Of course, I was thrilled to be welcomed into their birth space again, this time as their doula!

Bekah desired to try for unmedicated labor this time around and hoped to go into labor on her own before the induction date like she did the first time. Bekah is a type one diabetic, so we already knew an induction would be on the table at some point. Bekah worked hard to maintain her blood sugar levels, stay active with her toddler, and prepare her body for labor. At 35 weeks 5 days, Bekah started to have some mild contractions that persisted through the evening. We thought this was maybe the day, but through the night contractions stopped. We all stayed on high alert that week, hoping labor was coming soon! At Bekah’s 36-week appointment, her baby was measuring quite large so she and her doctor decided to move the induction date to 37 weeks. We crossed our fingers that labor would start over the next week, but before we knew it, her induction date rolled around.

On the afternoon of December 7th, Bekah checked in for her induction and got her first dose of Cytotec around 4 pm. She was 1cm dilated at this point. Bekah walked the halls and bounced on the birth ball throughout the afternoon. I stopped by later that evening to check in and make a game plan for the night / next day. I also had the job of making sure Bekah’s lashes were done for labor. I’m a doula that wears many hats, I guess! I got Bekah’s lashes on, did some stretches with her, and then headed home. Her doctor returned to place another dose of Cytotec at 9 pm. She was still 1cm dilated, but contractions were starting to pick up! I encouraged Bekah to sleep while she still could, as I was expecting a middle-of-the-night call.

A middle-of-the-night call is what I got! Bekah’s husband, Joe, called me at 12:30 am that Bekah’s water had broken at midnight. She was 5 cm dilated, and she was starting to get pretty uncomfortable. I got to the hospital around 1 am and found Bekah on hands and knees in the tub. It was clear Bekah was slipping into labor land, blocking out all other sensations. She was focusing on breathing through her contractions that were coming every 2-3 minutes with very short breaks in between. Joe and I sat with her in the bathroom. I offered affirmations and gentle touch to help her relax as much as possible through contractions. Bekah breathed her baby down beautifully with low, relaxed tones. After about an hour in the tub, I encouraged Bekah to stand up for just a few contractions to see how that felt. I had a feeling Bekah was getting close, and working with gravity would be the key to getting us there. Bekah stood and hung over Joe through two very intense contractions. She knew it was time to move to the bed because the overwhelming urge to push was there. It was baby time! I called the nurses in, and they called the doctor while Joe helped Bekah out of the tub.

 

We raised the head of the bed and Bekah kneeled with her head over the top of the bed to push. At this point, Bekah was unable to stop her body from doing it all on its own, as her body was pushing her baby out. Her doctor arrived quickly and confirmed that Bekah was completely dilated and encouraged Bekah to push with all she had! About 20 minutes later, a sweet chubby head was delivered. Bekah gave a few more pushes for the rest of the body but there wasn’t any movement. Baby girl's shoulders were stuck. Her doctor asked her to flip from kneeling onto her back instead. She quickly moved onto her back, as the nurses pulled her legs back to try to dislodge the stuck shoulder. Her doctor helped the baby get unstuck by pulling one of her arms out. After that, their baby girl arrived!

Madden Noel

born December 8th at 2:26 am

Weighing 10lbs 12oz

Madden went right to Bekah’s chest. She was a little stunned from all the extra activity, but thankfully after a few minutes with her mom, she came around, pinking up and breathing well. There was so much relief in the room hearing those sweet baby cries.

Madden's delivery was intense, but Bekah was the definition of strength and calm throughout her unmedicated labor with shoulder dystocia.

Bekah, you were an absolute rockstar and it was an honor to be welcomed into Madden's birth! I am so proud of you and Joe. You are the perfect parents for this sweet, strong girl!

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Sophia Mae
December 1, 2023

Jena reached out at about 30 weeks pregnant about doula services for December, and luckily I had an opening!

 

Jena was planning a homebirth through Promise Community Health Center, and worked hard to start preparing her body for labor. She did her stretches, ate dates, and drank red raspberry leaf tea.

 

On the morning of November 27th, Jena texted me that she woke up with some cramping that was inconsistent but enough to wake her up. We talked back and forth all day and tried suggesting positions to try and stretches, etc. This continued throughout the day with just a slight increase in intensity. She decided to sleep and we would touch base in the morning. On Tuesday, Jena’s cramping started coming more regularly. By the evening, she felt that she was ready for some more support, so Kari and I headed to support her in labor. Her contractions at this time were about every 4 minutes and she was needing to breathe through some of them. I arrived first and Kari soon after, and Jena was going to go for a walk in her hallways. After observing Kari for awhile and monitoring baby, Jena opted for a cervical check. She was 1cm dilated with a fairly thick cervix. The plan was then to tuck Jena and Colten in and see if she could sleep as it seemed it could be a long labor.

 

The next day, we continued to stay in touch and try different things to do. Her contractions seemed to pick up some, but nothing super intense. That evening, she was again ready for labor support as contractions were about every 2-3 minutes lasting a minuted long that she had to breathe through. When I arrived, Jena was on the ball and when a contraction came, had to stop and breathe through them. Kari arrived soon after again, and did her assessment and vitals. She also listened to baby, who sounded wonderful! Jena opted for another cervical exam as it had been 24 hours and this time was also found Jenas blood pressure was a bit high. Kari checked her cervix and she was still 1cm dilated, but the cervix had thinned out some and baby had come down. This was discouraging, and after discussion with Kari, they decided they should transfer in to the hospital. Kari was able to talk to Dr. Keith at Spencer hospital, and they came up with the plan to have Jena transfer in, give her some medication in hopes that she could sleep as well as monitor her blood pressure overnight and do some pre-eclamptic labs. If this all came back normal and Jena was able to sleep, possible discharge in the morning, but if it didn’t look good, then augment labor. I went with Jena and Colten to the hospital and helped them get settled and tucked them in for the night in hopes of sleep.

 

Jena texted me around 4:30 a.m. that all of her labs looked normal and she was able to sleep a bit. She also had made no cervical change the entire hospital stay, so she was being discharged to home. Once she was home on Thursday, she was able to sleep most of the day! She also was feeling groggy and nauseous assumed from the medications. I encouraged her to lay low, and rest! She was still continuing to contract but nothing major.

 

Friday morning, Jena woke up again to contractions that were growing but she was also not feeling good. She had a headache and she was able to take her blood pressure at home and this was also elevated. After talking to Kari, she decided to head in to be evaluated by Dr. Keith at the hospital. 

 

At 12:28 p.m. on Friday December 1st, Dr. Keith texted Kari and I and said “BP is 140/100. Discussed induction. She’s 2cm dilated and 50 percent. I broke her water. We are going to have a baby. I will keep you guys in the loop.”

 

I talked to Jena and sent her some exercises to try and informed her I would be there when she was in active labor. The nurse Jena had was wonderful and was able to help her through several position changes as well!

 

At 5:37 p.m. Dr. Keith called me and said that Jena was 5cm dilated and 100% effaced contracting regularly and that he felt she was ready for doula support. He knew I had a little bit of a drive to Spencer, so he was taking that into consideration as he knew Jena was getting to the point where she needed more assistance. He was going to talk to Jena and try buy me some time until I was able to get there. 

 

I quickly got ready and headed to Spencer Hospital and arrived at 6:35 p.m. I set up the lights and galaxy lights and got the diffuser going. Coltin had put some yoga music on the tv, but switched it over to my Bluetooth speaker. Jena was coping wonderfully through contractions! With discussion with the nurse, she felt baby was in the mid pelvis, so the next while we focused on positions to help baby through that. Jena was so willing to do everything I suggested and Coltin was so helpful in encouraging her! We labored on the toilet for some contractions, and then went to a “flamingo”position on the bed. Soon Jena’s legs were getting tired, so we had her rest in exaggerated runners on both sides. After awhile, we noticed more bloody show, and contractions seemed to be getting more intense! After resting for a bit, I had Jena go back to the toilet and labor in the “dilation station”. When she was in this position, she was feel more pressure and feeling a little pushy.

 

We moved back to the bed, and let the nurse know how Jena was feeling. The nurse came to check her cervix and at 7:40 p.m. she was a stretchy 6 cm, 100% effaced and baby was low and still in the mid pelvis. We had Jena rest in exaggerated runners again for a bit on both sides, and then encouraged her to get into a hands and knees with one leg in a lunge and leaning over the edge of the top of the bed. She was able to hold Coltin’s hands and while I was providing sacral pressure. She leaned into each contraction and soon, she began to bear down at the end of contractions! We labored for a bit while longer and the nurse came in to check her again.

 

At 8:38 p.m. she was a anterior rim or 9.5 c.m. And we decided to get out the squat bar and have her squat forward and see if we were able to get rid of the rest of her cervix. During this time the nurse also called the doctor to come back for delivery. Dr. Keith arrived at the bedside around 8:52 p.m. and rubbed Jena’s legs well she breathed flawlessly through contractions. Within a matter of minutes, we were able to see baby’s head! The doctor quickly put on his gloves and gown and Jena pushed through just two contractions, and quickly their baby was here! 

 

Sophia Mae

born December 1st, 2023 at 8:59 p.m.

6lbs 7oz
 

Jena and Coltin worked so perfectly together to help her through the long week. During labor Jena was so strong and so controlled! She had prepared for a homebirth, but was thankful to be able to receive such great care when her birth desires decided to take a different route. As Coltin said, it was Seredipity that Sophia’s birth played out the way it did! Thank you Coltin and Jena for taking me along on the journey of becoming parents!

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Judah James
November 14, 2023

I was thrilled when Seth and Ann reached out for doula services with their second pregnancy! Being a doula for the first birth of their son Shepherd, it was such an honor to be asked to attend their family's birth again!

 

Seth and Anna currently live in Iowa City, where Seth is in medical school, but they hoped to have a similar God-filled experience to the one they initially had with Shephard. Because of this desire, they decided to have their care at a local hospital with the same physician who had previously delivered them. This meant much back-and-forth traveling with a temporary move-in with Seth's parents when Anna was 38 weeks pregnant.

 

Her doctor suggested induction at 39 weeks since Anna had gestational diabetes, though it was well-controlled. Seth and Anna prayed about this option and decided on an induction beginning at 4 p.m. on November 13th. Anna had also previously been induced, and it had gone pretty quickly!

 

In the weeks leading up to her induction, Anna worked hard in preparing her body for labor. She regularly ate dates, drank red raspberry leaf tea, stayed active through walks, and cared for an active toddler. 

 

When the day of Anna's induction arrived, they checked in, and she had a cervical check. Her cervix was closed but was soft. The doctor prescribed a dose of Cytotec at 4:50 p.m. This caused some irregular contractions but nothing uncomfortable. Anna went through the Bundle Birth Circuit and went for a walk. 

 

I decided to head to the hospital and set my lights and oils up around 8:30 p.m., check in with Seth and Anna, and devise a plan for the evening. At 9:30 p.m., her doctor came back. Anna was 1.5cm dilated, and the doctor placed another cytotec dose. We tucked Anna and Seth in for the night, and I headed home. I had placed the peanut ball between her knees in flying cowgirl and urged them to call me whenever they felt things were picking up.

 

At 3:01 a.m., Seth texted me, "Anna is awake and breathing through contractions every 2-3 minutes. They are lasting 45 seconds to 1 minute long. They aren't super intense, but she can't sleep through them anymore."

 I replied that I would start getting my stuff and self-ready and heading to support them soon. Just as I hit send, Seth called and said Anna was ready for me to come as she had had two pretty intense contractions.


 

I arrived at the hospital around 3:45 a.m., and Anna was getting ready to get into the tub as she was having to work through contractions. She could talk in between, but she had to stop and breathe when a contraction came.

 

She labored in the tub for about 30 minutes before she started to get too warm. We decided to get out of the tub and utilize some more positions. Anna was able to empty her bladder and do a few contractions on the toilet before a super intense contraction, and Anna jumped out of the bathroom to a hands and knees position on the floor. We kept moving and trying different positions, but Anna soon settled on the pull-out couch on hands and knees in a modified forward-leaning inversion. We stayed this way through several contractions as Anna felt that was the only way she could tolerate contractions. She would bite down on a blanket Seth had wrapped around his arm to prevent her from biting his arm, which she had done earlier. She continued to cope with contractions with complete control while breathing and working with her body!

 

I suggested Anna use gravity to help move the baby down, and we moved to hands and knees on the bed. She quickly jumped out of this position and dropped hands and knees forward to the floor, leaning inversion again. Seth and I encouraged her to try another position to encourage the baby to descend in the pelvis. Soon, Anna returned to the pull-out couch, where we placed a peanut ball under her. I had her put one leg down and lunge with her contractions. She was able to do this for a bit before moving again. Seth and I worked together to have Anna at least use a birth ball to place her in a more vertical position. This allowed her to sit back more and try to help utilize gravity. 

 

Anna was so in control and quiet compared to her last birth! At 5:43 a.m. When Anna was in this position, I noticed her bag of water hanging out! I told Seth and quickly pushed the staff assistant to alert the nurses.

 

Seth and I helped Anna back to the bed while I used a towel to keep Anna's bag of water from rupturing. Once back in bed, Anna was on her hands and knees, and her bag of water was hanging so low and partially separated that we could see the baby's hair! The next few minutes were a mixture of chaos and beauty. Seth was planning on assisting in delivering their baby, as he previously had. But at this moment, he realized he might be doing it by himself since the doctor wasn't there yet! Thankfully, Anna had no considerable urge to push, so she could breathe through the following couple of contractions until the doctor arrived. The nurses were busy trying to get the warmer and things set up while I assisted Seth in putting on a gown. Right then, the nurses tried to take heart tones on the baby, and it seemed they were low. Also, at this time, the doctor came in and attempted to check Anna's cervix to ensure she was fully dilated. He couldn't thoroughly check, but due to lower heart tones, he encouraged Anna to push. Then, with one strong push, Anna delivered the head, and the body followed 1 second later. 

 

Seth was able to catch his son with the assistance of the doctor. The baby was passed between Anna's knees, and she cried, "Hi baby, Hi baby!" It was such a beautiful, God-filled moment! He was wide awake but wasn't crying. The nurses and doctor attempted to stimulate him to cry but without success. Seth cut the chord and was taken to the warmer, where he immediately started to cry!

 

Judah James

November 14th, 2023

5:52 a.m.

7lbs 1oz

 

Judah's entrance into the world was filled with thankfulness and the goodness of God. During labor, in between contractions, Seth and Anna leaned into each other, and after a contraction, Anna said, "Guys, God is SO good to us!". Judah means "Praise," and Jesus is the Lion of Judah. It was such an honor to witness Judah's birth and walk alongside Seth and Anna again throughout pregnancy!

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Brooklyn Michelle
November 2, 2023

KT reached out in early pregnancy after discussing her third pregnancy. She had two previous C-sections and was deciding that she wanted to try VBAC for this pregnancy.

 

She saw a midwife throughout her pregnancy and worked hard to prepare her body. She ate dates, drank her red raspberry leaf tea, and actively did stretches. She saw a chiropractor regularly and worked hard to assist the baby into a good position. 

 

Soon, KT's due date came and went, and after a discussion with the midwives, they decided to wait until her next appointment to determine a care plan. If she were dilated, they would attempt an induction, and if she weren't, they would schedule a repeat C-section. 

 

The week leading up to the appointment, KT was doing everything she could to send herself into labor. She even decided to drink the midwives' brew once and but twice! This caused some cramping but nothing else. We stayed in touch almost daily, and KT did a great job keeping me updated and asking questions!

 

KT went to her appointment on Wednesday, November 1st. She was nervous about this appointment and had spent so much time praying about it. We talked back and forth as I said a prayer for peace for her and her family, whatever the outcome may be.

 

After her appointment, KT texted me and told me that she was still not dilated at all. Between the team and KT, decided a C-section was the best option. She now had to decide whether to do a C-section closer to home or come to Sioux Falls. If she went to Sioux Falls, the midwives offered to check her cervix before her C-section in a day or two and see if she was dilated at that point. 

 

After much prayer and discussion, KT opted to do her C-section closer to home. Throughout that day, KT explained the excellent communication between the hospital, her midwife, and the OB department. She felt they all were working together to provide her with the best care she could have! And soon, through that coordination, KT had her C-section scheduled for the next morning!

 

On the morning of KT's c-section, I was not present due to the limited amount of people able to be in the OR. But that morning, KT told me she felt at peace. She reiterated that God's love and kindness is sufficient beyond words. "He instrumented ask these God-fearing and loving people to love, support, and care for our every need just when we needed it. What a blessing we have experienced to be walking with Him along the way. It may not have gone on our timeline or how we thought it should despite all efforts, but we trust in His love, grace, and everlasting life He has promised us."

 

Brooklyn Michelle

November 2nd, 2023

7:45 a.m.

9lbs, 20.5in

 

Brooklyn's birth journey was filled with trust and surrender to God's ultimate plan. It proves true that though our hearts may want one outcome, his plan may be different. KT and Beau showed a beautiful testament to experiencing His love and kindness through the birth of their daughter. He provides today, tomorrow, and forevermore. KT feels that even though she didn’t get to have a successful VBAC, she would “in a heartbeat experience the team of individuals who supported, cared, and educated them along the way.” Thank you for taking me along on Brooklyn's pregnancy journey!

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Adalyn Rae
November  2, 2023

Welcome to the world's newest addition to Northwest Iowa Birth Nurse! Brenna had an incredibly redemptive birth after two previous C-sections, and I was so honored to be a part of it!

 

When Brenna found out she was pregnant with her third baby, she began to work through all of her previous birth trauma. With her first birth, she had been induced at 39 weeks, which led to a 36-hour labor and 3.5 hours of pushing and ultimately led to a C-section. Her second delivery, she had decided to do a repeat C-section since her daughter, Braylen, was breech. Now, for this third birth, Brenna decided she was going to VBAC.

 

She worked SO hard throughout pregnancy in preparing her body for labor. Three separate times this baby was breech, so Brenna spent lots of time upside down and using her birth ball in hopes of turning her baby. When she was 35 weeks, her baby was finally confirmed to be head down! 

 

In the weeks leading up to birth, Brenna religiously was on her birth ball, eating dates, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, doing acupuncture and seeing a Webster Certified Chiropractor. Soon, Brenna's due date approached, and this was the longest she had ever been pregnant! She decided that on her due date, October 29th, she would try taking Midwives Brew. She finished this around 8:30 am and soon began having some intense contractions afterward. Brenna and Dalton hung out at home for a while and then decided to head to Sioux Falls around 5 pm as contractions were coming steadily. We chose to stay in touch and see how things went. She continued to labor all night and felt ready for me to come up to Sioux Falls around 5 am on Monday, October 30th. She had progressed from 1cm to 3 cm overnight and was ready for more support. Once I arrived in Sioux Falls, we could do different positions, but it soon became apparent that her contractions were spacing out. They went from consistently every 2-3 minutes to 8-16 minutes apart, and the midwife decided to come and recheck Brenna's cervix. At 9:30 am, she was still 3cm dilated and unchanged from her last check that was done around 3 am. The midwife offered options of breaking her water, starting Pitocin, or having a C-section. Brenna was exhausted at this point after laboring all night long. After a discussion, Brenna and Dalton decided to go to their sister's house and sleep to see if labor would pick back up. After a few hours, labor did not pick up, so Brenna and Dalton decided to head home and wait for labor to begin.

 

The following two days, Brenna rested and hung out with her family. She had an OB follow-up appointment on Wednesday 11/1 and scheduled an induction date for Monday, 11/6. On her way to her appt on Wednesday morning, she texted me that she had been having period-like cramping that started before bed and had woken her up a few times during the night.

 

At her appointment, she was 3cm dilated at 80% effaced and had the midwife strip her membranes to see if that would encourage things along. Her appointment was at 8 am, so she decided to head back home and see how things went. Once home, she went through the miles circuit, ate, and stayed hydrated. 

 

At 10:55 am, she was doing figure 8’s on her birth ball and pumping when she felt a POP! She called Dalton to come into the house and texted me, "I think my water just broke." I was so excited! I encouraged her to work through the miles circuit again to ensure the baby was in a good position.

 

After a few hours, Brenna started having more consistent contractions, and they decided to head up to Sioux Falls around 1 pm on Wednesday, November 1st. 

 

Once she got to Sioux Falls, she was checked in triage around 3:30 pm and was 3cm dilated, 80% effaced, and the baby was at -1 station. She was still coping with contractions well, so we decided to continue to stay in touch before I headed to Sioux Falls.

 

Brenna worked through a birth warm-up as well as continued to walk the hallways, to continue to encourage contractions. She declined a cervical check until she felt that the contractions were continuing to grow in frequency and intensity. Around 8 pm she decided she wanted to be checked and thought she was getting ready for me to head up to support her. 

 

She was was 4cm dilated, 90% effaced, and the baby had moved down. The midwife offered to start Pitocin, and Brenna was in complete agreement. She was ready to get in the tub as contractions were growing.

 

I quickly showered and started to head to Sioux Falls as now things were getting intense fast with 2 units of Pitocin going. Her contractions were becoming very strong, closer together and she had to concentrate on them. Brenna felt she was getting ready to start the process for an epidural.

 

On my drive to Sioux Falls, I called Brenna, and she put me on speakerphone so I could walk her through some positions to try. After thinking about her labor and where Brenna was feeling pain, I suggested a position that allowed her belly to hang and allow for her baby to move her head off Brenna's pubic bone. She felt almost instant relief through about 15 minutes of contractions when she was in this position. But soon, contractions started to get intense again as Brenna could feel the baby moving down. I was about 15 minutes out from Sioux Falls, so Brenna decided to start getting her epidural prepped.

 

When I arrived at the hospital, I went to Brenna's room, and she was leaning over the edge of the tub, squeezing  Dalton's hands. She had requested a cervical exam before getting her epidural to see where she was. The midwife came in shortly after I got to Brenna's side. The midwife offered to check Brenna in the tub, and at 10:00pm, she was 4.5 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and the baby was at 0 station. This was exciting as Brenna had thinned and effaced but re-affirmed her decision for an epidural.

 

While Brenna waited for her epidural, we utilized gravity the best we could. I had her switch positions into a deep lunge, and this got very intense as Brenna yelled, "She's moving down!" However, she continued to work with her body and continued to encourage the baby to move through the mid-pelvis while waiting for an epidural. During this time, Brenna requested the Pitocin to be turned down/off until she got her epidural. The nurse respected Brenna's request and turned the Pitocin down to 1 unit. When it was just about time for the epidural, Dalton and I helped Brenna out of the tub and dried off. We also had her use the bathroom and do a few contractions on the toilet.

 

For 2 contractions, we had Brenna use the peanut ball in a "flamingo" position utilizing the bed while waiting for the anesthesiologist to release orders. In between contractions, the nurse helped Brenna get in the correct position, and the anesthesiologist quickly slipped the epidural in at 10:45 pm.

 

The epidural began to affect her immediately, and soon, Brenna's contractions became much more doable. We assisted her into an exaggerated runner position, and she could close her eyes and rest. Dalton and I got settled as we were all planning on attempting to sleep for a few hours as we were unsure what the night would hold. 

 

We were all dozing off at midnight and able to rest for about 30 minutes when the nurse and midwife came in. They were having a hard time tracing Brenna's contractions on the monitor since she was lying on her side. They needed contractions to be picked up as she was still on only 2 units of Pitocin, and they needed to decide whether to increase it or not. So, after a discussion with Brenna, they agreed that the midwife would check Brenna's cervix to see where things were and if she was going to need to place an internal catheter for measuring contractions.

 

At 12:35 am, the nurse midwife told us that Brenna had only a tiny rim of cervix left (9.5 cm dilated!)! Brenna and my jaw just about hit the floor! Brenna said, "WHAT?!?" And the nurse reiterated that she only had a small amount of cervix on the right side! Brenna yelled at Dalton to wake up as we were all thrilled and now running on adrenaline! 

 

We positioned Brenna in a few different positions to help the last bit of the cervix melt away. Brenna had wanted to labor down for as long as possible, so she was happy when the midwife had to go finish another delivery. Brenna began to get very shaky during this time and even vomited, which were all good signs that she was going through transition!

 

When the midwife came back at 2:30 am to check Brenna, she was 10cm dilated, and the baby was very far down! At this moment, Brenna began to tear up as she couldn't believe her dream of a VBAC after 2 C-sections were so close. But she was also most nervous about pushing as she had pushed for 3.5 hours with her first baby and ended in a C-section. 

 

At 2:37 am, the midwife had Brenna do a set of practice pushes. The midwife asked Brenna how Brenna wanted to push as the midwife stated she "doesn't believe in stirrups." Brenna opted to stay on her right side while I held her leg and Dalton held her hands. With the first set of pushes, it was apparent Brenna was pushing well! 

 

Brenna couldn't feel her contractions, so the nurse instructed her to push again when the next contraction came. With this contraction, Brenna pushed hard, and we quickly saw some of the baby's head coming out! We were so excited, and I encouraged Brenna to reach down and feel her baby's head. When she did, Brenna immediately let out sobs of absolute happiness! She explained to the midwife and nurse that she had worked through some intense birth trauma to even try a VBAC, and now the end was TRULY insight!

 

This realization brought tears to the midwife, nurse, and my eyes! It was such a beautiful, vulnerable moment of surrender to be a part of. 

 

The midwife encouraged her to labor down through the next contraction while she brought in a delivery table as well as the NICU team since there had been meconium when Brenna’s water broke.

 

Once everyone was ready and settled, the nurse informed Brenna to push as she had another contraction. Brenna was shaking with a flood of emotions, and with that last one final strong push (after only 2 other sets of pushes), their baby girl was here!! 

 

The baby cried immediately and was put straight on Brenna’s chest while Brenna sobbed tears of raw emotion and said, "I did it, she's here, I DID IT!!" It was a moment of pure redemption and pure, unfiltered JOY! She could go straight to mom's chest for uninterrupted skin-to-skin, which was incredibly special for Brenna as she had never experienced immediate skin-to-skin contact before with her other births.

 

Adalyn Rae

2:45 am.

November 2nd, 2023

8lbs 4 oz

 

Brenna worked SO hard to not only prepare her body for labor but her mind as well. She was able to release her anxieties about her previous birth trauma in preparation for a VBAC. Adalyn’sbirth was so full of surrender and trust in women’s ability to give birth! Brenna was so strong and only pushed through 3 sets of pushes! Witnessing the rawness of emotions that were felt during Adalyn’s birth was such a remarkable journey to be a part of. Brenna, I am SO proud of you, and being a small part of Adalyn’s birth story will forever be held close to my heart!

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Owen Evan
October 27, 2023

Briana reached out in her second trimester in search of doula services and guidance through her pregnancy. I was so excited to work with her as we used to be CNAs together at the hospital, so I was very honored she asked me to be her doula. 

 

Her goal was to trust the Lord through her birthing process, no matter what it ends up looking like and ultimately praying for a healthy mom and baby at the end of the birth. Briana worked so hard throughout her pregnancy to prepare her body for labor. She stayed busy with their toddler, being a farm wife, walking, stretching, and drinking RRLT.

 

Throughout her pregnancy, Briana’s provider kept a close eye on her blood pressures as they seemed to rise with each appointment. High blood pressure can be very serious in pregnancy and must be assessed closely. On Wednesday, October 25, Briana went into the hospital as she was having headaches, shortness of breath, and increased blood pressures at home. She was able to get some IV fluids, nausea meds, and was able to return home that evening. They wanted her to come in the following day to get some more labs drawn and have a non-stress test to keep a close eye on baby.   

 

On Thursday, October 26, Briana returned to the hospital and little did she know that she wouldn’t be going home without a baby! Her increased blood pressures and lab results were showing she had preeclampsia, which meant she was going to need an induction that day. This was a surprise as she was only 36 weeks and 6 days gestation, but ultimately knew this was going to be safest for her and baby.

 

We discussed what this induction process may look like and when I would be the most helpful throughout her labor. When Briana started her induction around 11:00 a.m., her cervix was closed. The plan was to start with Cytotec and eventually put a foley bulb in when her cervix opened up. I sent Briana some positions and a labor warm up circuit she would be able to start doing. 

 

At 3:46 p.m., Briana texted me her provider had just put a foley bulb in to help mechanically dilate her cervix. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, she stayed active by walking in the halls and using the birthing ball. She was beginning to feel each one of the contractions but stayed in control and used effective breathing techniques. 

 

Just over 2 hours of having the foley bulb in, it fell out! This was encouraging that her body was beginning to make change, but her body would have to “catch up” as this was a mechanical dilation. Her cervix was about 3-4cm dilated after this came out. Her contractions were not very regular, so they were going to start a low dose of Pitocin. 

 

At 7:39 p.m., she had another cervical exam where she was 5cm dilated and -3 station. Contractions were becoming much more consistent and they were starting to become more intense. She was in the tub which was providing her some relief – she was doing such an amazing job coping and breathing through tough Pitocin contractions!

I figured I would be needed sometime in the middle of the night, so I decided to try and get some rest. Briana was going to keep me updated and let me know if would be needed any sooner. 

 

At 1:00 a.m., I texted Briana to see how things were going. She replied saying they had just performed another cervical exam where she was 7cm dilated and 0 station! Baby had come down into the pelvis so much which was so exciting. I decided it was time that I start heading into the hospital. 

 

I arrived at the hospital at 1:55 a.m. Briana was on the birthing ball and was handling each contraction so well. She wanted to continue staying as active as possible throughout her labor. Briana leaned into Josiah and put one foot on a step stool to help baby move through the mid-pelvis. She continued to have controlled breathing techniques and I applied counter pressure to her lower back. 

 

Just after 3:00, her provider came back to the bedside to break her bag of water. She was 7cm dilated, 100% effaced, and 0 station. Shortly after this, her contractions became even more intense and closer together. She wanted to try and rest in between contractions as she was beginning to get worn out. Around 4:00, I encouraged her to empty her bladder as it had been a while. While sitting on the toilet, she became very uncomfortable and pushy with contractions. 

 

At 4:20 a.m., she opted for another cervical exam and she was 9cm dilated, 100% effaced, and 0 station! She decided to get in the tub again as this helped give her the most relief. 

 

Briana continued to show amazing strength and determination through each contraction. She was willing to do any position I would suggest trying to move baby through the mid-pelvis. Around 6:00 a.m., Briana requested pain medications as she was getting completely exhausted as she had been laboring hard and had been awake for almost 24 hours. At this point, her cervix remained unchanged from her last cervical exam. While waiting for her epidural, we tried some “reset” positions as baby was more than likely asynclitic. 

 

At 7:30 a.m., her epidural was in place and we were all able to get some much-needed rest. Her provider came back and found her to be 9.5cm/100%/0. We continued to try many different positions to encourage baby to rotate and descend. Even with an epidural, we were able to get her into a hands and knees/lunging position while leaning into a birthing ball. She was able to tolerate this position for quite a while which was hopefully going to get rid of the small rim of cervix left. 

 

Her provider returned to the bedside at 11:00 a.m. and performed a cervical exam where she was found to be completely dilated! This was SO encouraging and I was so beyond proud of all the hard work Briana had done to get to this point.  

 

Briana tried many different positions while pushing – squatting, tug of war, hands/knees, lateral, etc. You name it, she did it. Unfortunately, baby was not descending even with all of her amazing pushing efforts. After 3 hours of hard pushing, Briana was completely exhausted and felt as if she had done everything she could. Briana, Josiah, and their medical team decided a cesarean section would be the best option for her and her baby. 

 

Owen Evan

October 27, 2023

2:52 p.m.

6lbs 9oz 

 

Briana worked long and hard throughout her unexpected induction. Although this was not the birth experience they had dreamed of, I was so amazed by the perseverance shown throughout Owen’s birth. Briana and Josiah fully surrendered to God’s plan for them and their sweet baby boy. They ultimately trusted that God’s plans were better than their own. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of Owen’s birth!

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Joyner Lee
October 27, 2023

Jackie and Jordan’s birth story starts out when Jackie reached out in early pregnancy in search of doula services as well as lactation. Brenna and I were thrilled to work with them!

 

Throughout pregnancy, Jackie worked hard in preparing her body for birth. She did daily stretches and stayed very active being a 1st grade teacher. She ate dates, and drank red raspberry leaf tea consistently. 

 

Around 36 weeks Jackie went in for a routine prenatal visit and a third trimester ultrasound. This ultrasound showed that Jackie was pregnant with a big baby and her doctor began to discuss the recommendation for induction on her due date. Jackie felt that she did not want to be induced, but wanted to do what was best for her baby.

 

In the weeks leading up to induction she worked very hard preparing her body in hopes of going in to labor on her own. But her due date approached and Jackie went in for her scheduled induction on October 26th.

 

Jackie and I had talked in depth about what the induction process may look like as well as the time I would be there to assist her in birth. With a first time mom induction, doula support is most effective once she has reached active labor and is contracting regularly, usually around 5-6cm dilated.

 

When Jackie started her induction at 7:00 am, her cervix was closed. So the doctor inserted a dose of cytotec in hopes of starting dilation. Throughout the day we talked about different stretches to try and things to help get labor going. The doctor came back around noon that day and checked Jackie’s cervix and she was still closed, so he placed a second dose of cytotec. She decided to try and take a nap as she may be in for a long night.

 

At 4:30 pm, the doctor came to check her again and decided she was ALMOST 1 cm dilated. Jackie was having some decently strong contractions, so they decided to wait a couple hours and evaluate again before starting Pitocin.

 

Jackie texted me at 7:15 and she was 1 cm dilated, so they decided it was time to start some Pitocin. I informed her that the Pitocin contractions may make her current contractions more intense, and we discussed again all the options for pain relief. 

 

At 12:24 a.m. Jacki texted me and said her water broke “Everywhre and it scared the crap out of her!” When her water broke, the nurse checked her cervix again and she was still only 1 cm dilated.

 

Jackie got in the tub at 1:30 a.m. she decided to get in the tub because now without her bag of water intact her contractions were becoming very intense. The nurse checked Jackie at 4:20 am and she was almost 2cm dilated now. We texted back and forth and discussed different pain management options as Jackie was becoming exhausted and she decided she was ready for an epidural.

 

She got her epidural placed around 6:45 a.m. on Friday October 27th, and was ready to take a much deserved nap. I stopped over at the hospital around 8:30 am and set up the room with lights and essential oils to help with a calm environment. The doctor had also just checked her cervix around 8 am and she was 3cm dilated now! I left for awhile while Jackie rested as it looked like it may still be awhile until she was in active labor.

 

Around noon Jackies epidural wore off and she began to be getting very miserable as she was on a high dose of Pitocin. After attempting a bolus and trying to get her pain under control, the decision was made to replace the epidural catheter. 

 

When debriefing with Jackie after her birth, she felt like this was probably the most intense part of her labor. It took almost one hour to get her epidural placed and took many many pokes (she counted 10+ poke holes on her back later) when finally she able to get some relief! Once the epidural was in, it worked wonderfully and allowed for some more rest for her! Her epidural still allowed for her to use her legs, which was nice for her to still be able to move well in bed.

 

At 4:00 the doctor checked Jackie again and she was still 4cm dilated but 100% effaced and baby was at 0 station. This was encouraging and I sent her again some positions to try while she rested. Around 5:30 Jackie woke up and said that she was starting to feel more pressure and I decided it was probably time to start heading over after supper. 

 

Once I arrived at the hospital, we did many different position in working with attempts to get baby through the mid pelvis. She had just been checked and was 5cm dilated. Jackie was even able to move to the toilet to straddle in in the “dilation station” position. She worked so hard! She was so willing to every position I suggested in hoping to get baby to move. 

 

The doctor came in a few more times over the next couple hours to check on Jackie and check her cervix. He began to discuss the possible need for a c-section as it seemed she wasn’t progressing any further. Nobody obviously wanted that to happen including the doctor as Jackie was really hoping for a vaginal birth. He said we had little bit more time, but at 10:00, Jackie had still not made any more cervical change, so the decision to go to c-secition was made.

 

While Jackie was waiting in the labor room to go back to c-section, we listened to praise music and Jackie and Jordan surrendered to God’s plan for this baby’s birth story. Before Jackie was wheeled back to the O.R., we all prayed together and prayed for God’s hand in protecting Jackie through surgery and for a quick recovery.

 

Joyner Lee Wolhert

October 27th, 2023

10:45 p.m.

8lbs 13oz and head FULL of dark hair!

 

Jackie and Jordan are such a special couple and are incredible parents! Although Joyner’s birth did not turn out to go the way they had hoped, they both kept a positive attitude throughout the process! They continued to laugh and crack jokes that kept the environment light. They trusted God throughout the ENTIRE process, from pregnancy to delivery, they knew He was in control of their baby’s story. Thank you for being such a testament to God’s perfect plans, and allowing me to come alongside in Joyner’s birth story!

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Zeke Douglas
October 24, 2023

Brooke had a fairly uncomplicated pregnancy, besides the usual discomforts of pregnancy. She prepared her body by staying active with her two kiddos, spent a lot of time in a tractor this fall, saw a chiropractor regularly, stretching, and drinking RRLT. 

 

Brooke has a history of having fast labors and lives about 45 minutes away from the hospital, so at one of her last appointments they put an induction date on the calendar just in case and to give her some peace of mind. 

 

Brooke was 38 weeks, 3 days when had an appointment on Tuesday, October 24. I asked her to keep me updated with how that went. She texted me following that appointment at 9:18 a.m., “Probably plan on a baby in the next 24 hours!” She was already 4 cm dilated, 70% effaced, and had her provider perform a membrane sweep. She was feeling quite crampy, but no real contractions yet. Her plan was to head home to get everything ready to go and we would stay in touch. She joked that bouncing around in a tractor should really get things going, but I am so glad she didn’t end up actually going into the field!

 

She texted me at 1:53 p.m. that her belly was getting hard every 8 minutes or so, so they were going to start heading to the hospital and she would text me when they are all settled in. 

 

At 3:10 p.m., she texted me she was 6cm dilated and 80% effaced. Her provider said he would break her bag of water at any time to augment her labor. I figured things would progress rather quickly, so I decided to leave work and start heading her way. 

 

I arrived at the hospital at 3:50 p.m. and the provider had just ruptured her bag of water 8 minutes prior to me getting there. Shortly after I arrived, her contractions were already starting to get stronger and Brooke asked to have the tub filled. 

 

At 4:00 p.m., she got in the tub. I suggested she go in a hands/knees position and alternate putting her leg up to help facilitate baby through the mid-pelvis. Within 15 minutes, contractions had gotten much more intense. Brooke had so much control over her body and was working hard to breathe through each of her contractions. 

 

After a half hour of being in tub, she was having increased pressure with contractions and had a feeling that things were really getting close. She got out of the tub and opted for a cervical exam; she was 8cm dilated, 100% effaced, and 0 station. She decided to stand and sway through next few contractions. Brooke was working very hard through all of the pain each contraction brought. Just 5 minutes after her last cervical exam, she began feeling an increased amount of pressure and the urge to push. The nurses called the doctor back to the bedside to be ready for delivery. 

At 4:45 p.m., Brooke was found to be complete and could begin pushing. After just a few pushes, at 4:50 p.m., Brooke delivered a sweet baby and her husband was able to announce, “It’s a boy!” to everyone in the room. It was such a sweet, emotional moment to be a part of. 

 

Zeke Douglas

October 24, 2023

4:50 p.m.

8lbs 14 oz

 

Brooke showed so much trust in her body’s ability to labor and birth her baby. Everyone in the room was amazed by the control she had over her body which brought such a calming presence into the room. Brooke, I am so proud of the strength shown throughout your fast, unmedicated labor. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of Zeke’s birth story! 

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Thea Sue
October 21, 2023

Dallas was in the first half of her pregnancy when she inquired regarding doula services. This was her second pregnancy and was looking for a different experience than her first birth. Her goal was to be able to welcome her baby girl joyfully and for the Spirit of God to be evident and praised through each moment/contraction, knowing He has caused, equipped, and prepared them for this time. I was over-joyed to be invited into this God-filled birth space. 

Dallas prepared her body for labor by eating dates, drinking RRLT, stayed very active chasing their toddler around, and consistently saw a chiropractor. Dallas was induced with her first daughter at 40 weeks’ gestation and was hoping to have a natural, unmedicated labor and delivery this time. 

 

Dallas had an appointment on Tuesday, October 17 where she found out she was 1.5 cm dilated, 60% effaced, and she had her provider strip her membranes in hopes this would bump her into labor. She stayed busy the next few days doing ALL the things – stretching, walking, the miles circuit, birthing ball exercises, and pumping. 

 

A couple days after her guess date, Dallas texted me at 6:40 a.m. on Saturday, October 21 that she had woke up at 3:45 a.m. to use the bathroom and started experiencing light contractions. Around 4:30, she started to have more noticeable ones for about a minute to a minute & 15 seconds coming about every 12-16 minutes. She was able to doze off and rest in between them but was breathing through them when they were coming. I encouraged her to rest if she could, but if she was unable, I gave her a labor warm up circuit she could start making her way through. 

 

Around 8:20 a.m., Dallas texted me they were anywhere from 4-13 minutes apart and they were growing in intensity, but she was able to continue breathing through each of them. Her plan was to shower and make her way through the miles circuit. 

 

A couple hours later she let me know that contractions continued to become closer together and she had started to have some bloody show the last few times she went to the bathroom. She had gone for a walk outside and was going to try and eat a little something. 

 

At 11:08 a.m., Dallas texted me that they were going to head into the hospital soon for some peace of mind. Her contractions were starting to get much more intense, but she still felt very much in control of her body. Shortly after arriving to the hospital and getting settled, Dallas requested me to come to the hospital. 

 

I arrived at the hospital at 12:20 p.m. Dallas was swaying to each contraction and doing such an amazing job breathing through each one. At 12:35 p.m., Dallas opted for her first cervical exam to see where she was at. To her surprise, she was 6cm dilated, 80% effaced, and 0 station! 

 

In the background, there was a playlist of worship music she had created and listened to throughout her entire pregnancy called “Embraced”. Through each contraction, she would hold her belly as if she was giving hugs to her sweet baby girl who she would have in her arms so soon. 

 

Dallas wanted to stay as active as possible throughout her labor. She leaned into Eric and put one foot on a stool to help baby move through the mid-pelvis. I applied some counter pressure simultaneously as she was having some back pain. Shortly after 1:00 p.m., she asked if we could start getting the tub ready since it was going to take at least 15 minutes for it to fill up. At this point, her contractions had become very powerful and she was beginning to moan with each contraction. 

 

Through the next hour, her contractions really started to become closer and much more intense. Dallas was so strong and continued to work with her body through each contraction. She utilized the birthing ball where I was able to massage her back and continue to give counter pressure through each contraction. 

 

At 2:20 p.m., Dallas decided it was time to get into the tub. She was laboring so beautifully and resting in between each contraction. The only position that was tolerable in the tub was hands/knees. I climbed into the corner of the tub to give counter pressure with each contraction to help ease some of the pain. It was evident she was beginning to hit transition as her contractions were coming fast and furious. 

 

At 2:55 p.m., she decided to get out of the tub as her feet were becoming really numb from sitting on them. She went to the bathroom and emptied her bladder as well as labor on the toilet for a few contractions. After a few contractions, she wanted to get out of the bathroom to cool off for a little bit. She continued to amaze me with how control of her body she truly was. 

 

A short while later, she wanted to sit back on the toilet again. She was questioning if her water broke as she was leaking a very small amount of amniotic fluid. While sitting on the toilet, she started to have an overwhelming urge to push. She decided it was time to head back to the bed as delivery was getting so close! She was leaning on the edge of the bed with one leg elevated. Dallas requested a cervical exam at this time, and she was 9.5cm dilated, 100% effaced, and +2 station. Her bag of water was still intact, but her provider asked if he could rupture it and she consented to this. 

 

At 3:30 p.m., it seemed she was complete as Dallas started involuntarily pushing while still leaning on the edge of the bed. Just 7 minutes after she started pushing, she delivered her sweet baby girl. 

 

Thea Sue

 born October 21, 2023 at 3:37 p.m.

 weighing 7lbs 4oz

 

Dallas worked so hard throughout her pregnancy and labor which helped her achieve her goal of a natural, unmedicated birth. She trusted her body’s ability to give birth. It was such an empowering, joy filled birth surround by the Holy Spirit. Dallas, I am so proud of your strength and determination you had throughout your labor. It was an absolute honor to be a part of Thea’s incredible birth story and will forever hold a special place in my heart. 

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Emmie Jean
October 7, 2023

When Caitlin reached out for doula services at 12 weeks pregnant, I was so excited because she is my cousin by marriage. This was her second baby and was looking for a different experience than her first birth.

 

Caitlin had a fairly easy pregnancy other than the usual discomforts of pregnancy. She was able to stay active in keeping up with her business demands as well as keeping up with their toddler Alea. She choked down dates and sat on her birth ball frequently. She was also able to incorporate the Miles Circuit into her busy days often.

 

Caitlin had been induced with her first daughter at a little over 39 weeks' gestation, and was really hoping to go into labor naturally this time. Caitlin texted me on the morning of Friday October 6th, 2 days before her due date, that if she made it to her appointment on Monday, she was going to get induced as soon as she could. Little did she know what the next 24 hours would bring!

 

The next morning, Caitlin texted me at 3:15 am letting me know that she was having some cramping coming about every 20 minutes. She was going to call me if things started getting more intense. At 6:15 a.m. her contractions were getting closer at 10-15 minutes apart. She was GBS positive and wanted to make sure she had enough time to receive her antibiotics prior to delivery. We talked about some things to try to help get them a little bit closer together before heading to the hospital. During this time, I encouraged her to go through the Miles Circuit and be sure to eat a good breakfast and wait and see how it goes!

 

At 8:30 her contractions were 8 minutes apart, so Mitchell and Caitlin decided they were ready to head to the hospital. We made the plan that she would get checked in and get her cervix checked and then decide when I would come. 

 

Once she got to the hospital, her usual doctor was gone, so the on-call doctor decided he wanted to come in and see her. She was checked at 10:06 am and she was 4cm dilated, and 80% effaced and baby was -2 station. 

 

She was still coping well through labor and didn’t feel like she needed me to come yet. So, we discussed some different positions to try and see if it would help bring baby down. She walked the halls and did some birth ball exercises. While she was doing “flying cowgirl” she felt pretty uncomfortable through contractions. She felt like she was starting to get ready for me to head to the hospital.

 

At 11:17, the doctor came back and checked her again and now she was 5cm dilated and 90% effaced. She was ready to get in the tub to labor while I was starting to head in to support her and Mitchell at the hospital. 

 

Once I arrived at the hospital, Caitlin had just gotten out of the tub as it was not feeling comfortable for her anymore. She decided she wanted to try resting on the bed since she had been awake for a while and was hoping to take a small nap. I assisted her to an exaggerated runner's position with the peanut ball. Mitchell was able to hold her hands by the top of the bed while I provided sacral pressure. Caitlin was having horrible back labor throughout her entire labor, but not due to malposition. So sacral pressure and massage was helping her cope through the intense back contractions.

 

In this position she was able to rest somewhat between contractions. We we did the peanut ball on one side and then the other. Soon Caitlin was really having to work through contractions, and they were getting much more intense! We decided to get the bathtub starting filled back up to see if that would help her with some relief.

 

The doctor came back to check her at 1:15 p.m. and found that Caitlin only had a small rim on the right side of her cervix left! This was so exciting and decided we probably not going to get to be able to use the tub now!

 

Mitchell and I helped Caitlin to a hands and knees leaning over the back of the bed position in hopes of using gravity and pressure to get rid of the last little bit of cervix. She labored this way while squeezing Mitchell's hand with every contraction for another 30 minutes when the doctor came back.

 

He came back at 1:45 and Caitlin still had the same small rim. Her water was not broken, so the doctor and Caitlin decided that breaking her water would help the rest of her cervix dilate. After her water was broke, we had her lay down on her right side to put more gravity on the cervix because she had some cervix on the right side. She was only able to tolerate this for a few contractions when she soon felt that she needed to push. We went back on to hands and knees over the bed while waiting for the doctor. While in this position, Caitlin began to feel an overwhelming urge to push. We encouraged her to listen to her body!

 

The doctor arrived shortly after, and Caitlin was 10 cm dilated at 1:54 pm! The doctor got set up to push and Caitlin started pushing right after this. Pushing was an intense experience this time as she had an epidural with her last birth and had been very numb. She worked very hard and worked through all the pain, she was so strong! And with one final strong push, she brought her baby earth side!

 

Emmie Jean

October 7th, 2023

2:24 p.m.

 8lbs 8oz

 

Caitlin worked so hard to prepare her body to go in to labor on its own and for her to deliver naturally! It may have been one of the most intense experiences she has ever gone through, but she showed absolutely incredible control! The nurses and I were in awe of her ability to control her breathing when she was completely dilated! She proved to show how strong the mind of a laboring woman can be. Unmedicated labor is not purely physical, but mentally difficult as well! Caitlin and Mitchell thanking for taking me along on the journey of miss Emmie Jean’s birth, and can’t wait to continue to watch her grow up!

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Walker Thomas
September 27, 2023

Becky was in the first trimester of her pregnancy when she inquired regarding doula services. Our initial consult was over the phone, but it didn’t take her and her husband long to decide they wanted to move forward with doula services. Her goal was to have a labor & delivery that increases her trust and confidence in her body’s abilities and deepen the bond with her husband as they welcome their first baby! 

 

Becky went above and beyond when it went to preparing her body for labor. She ate dates, drank RRLT, stayed very active, and educated herself with evidence-based research. 

 

Everything was going smoothly – soon Becky’s due date came and went. Becky and Trevor were patiently awaiting the arrival of their first baby whenever he or she was ready. Becky spent a lot of time doing the miles circuit, a labor warm up circuit, birthing ball exercises, pumping, and going on walks. At 40 weeks and 6 days gestation, Becky had a doctor’s appointment and decided she wanted to get her membranes swept to see if this would bump her into labor. She found out she was 3cm dilated and 80% effaced, which was so relieving to hear that her hard work prepping was paying off. Becky had a discussion with her provider and decided that in the membrane sweep didn’t do anything throughout the rest of the day or overnight, she was going to take the Midwives brew to attempt to induce labor. 

 

There was little to no change in how she was feeling throughout the rest of the day and into the morning. On Wednesday, September 27, at 9:00a.m., Becky took the Midwives Brew. I told her to just stay in touch with me throughout the morning and let me know if anything changes. At 11:45a.m. Becky texted me that things were definitely clearing, and she was feeling crampier, but wasn’t quite sure if they were contractions yet. She continued to work through the miles circuits. After her walk, she planned to relax & pump and see if she would be able to time any contractions. 

 

At 1:18p.m. she texted me that things were definitely changing, and she thought she was starting to have contractions. She was having intense cramping in her back, more lower belly tightness than with any braxton hicks contractions she had, and bloody show each time she went to the bathroom. I encouraged her to try resting if she was able and start practicing her breathing techniques in order to stay in control of her body. 

 

At 1:41p.m. Becky texted that her contractions were close to every 3-5 minutes. At this point she was still able to talk through the contractions, but not without focusing on talking. At 2:11p.m., Becky and Trevor decided it was time for them to head into the hospital – especially since they had an hour drive. At this point, I had told her to update me how things were going throughout the car ride and when they got to the hospital. 

 

At 2:54p.m. she texted me saying the contractions were becoming more painful with a lot of back cramping. 

 

At 3:12p.m. Becky told me the contractions were beginning to get closer and coming every 2.5-3.5 minutes. 

 

At 3:16p.m. she asked me what it would feel like if her water broke. She wasn’t sure if this happened, but we later found out it was her bag of water breaking! I was just getting home from work, but I immediately starting to get all of my things ready as I figured I was going to head her way shortly. 

 

At 3:39p.m. she texted me saying, “We’re at the hospital. 8cm dilated.” I immediately sprinted out the door and took off as I had an hour drive to the hospital. 

 

At 4:08p.m Trevor texted me saying she was taking some nitrous oxide to help take the edge off, but overall was doing absolutely amazing coping through each contraction. 

 

At 4:41p.m. Trevor told me she had just started pushing on hands & knees and making progress. At this point, I was less than 5 minutes away. I was praying the entire car ride that I wasn’t going to miss her birth. 

 

At 4:45p.m. I arrived at the hospital and she was pushing on her side. The nurse was holding her leg up and I could see that she was crowning with each push. Becky was an absolute rock star at pushing and continued to make great progress. We were all in awe of her strength and control as baby’s head stayed crowning. Finally, her sweet baby was finally here! Trevor was to announce, “IT’S A BOY!” to everyone in the room and it was so clear they were both so smitten by him immediately. 

 

Walker Thomas

Born September 27, 2023 at 4:57p.m.

8lb 3oz

 

Becky and Trevor worked flawlessly together through Becky’s fast labor. Trevor was by her side through it all and was constantly encouraging her. Becky worked SO hard to prepare her body for labor and it all paid off. After Walker was born, she told me, “When it was really intense, I just kept telling myself that just as my body knew how to make this baby that my body knows how to birth this baby”. I had sent that reminder to her the day before he was born as she was patiently waiting for her sweet boy to make his arrival. Becky, I admire your patience and strength as you brought Walker into this world. What an honor it was to be there through your fast and empowering birth experience. Thank you for welcoming me into your birth space. 

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Rose Opal
September 19, 2023

Tamara was in the first half of her pregnancy when she reached out about doula services for some guidance through their first pregnancy. Her goal was to have a relaxing and empowering environment centered around Drew and herself as their daughter was brought into this world. 

 

Tamara’s pregnancy was anything but simple. I was so proud of how she handled everything thrown at her with grace – proving to me how strong of a mama she was going to be. Around 25-weeks gestation, Tamara found out she was a gestational diabetic which resulted in extra appointments for growth scans and non-stress tests. In the weeks leading up to delivery, she was staying active, eating her dates, and drinking RRLT. 

 

Her provider had suggested an induction around 38 weeks for her gestational diabetes, but baby wasn’t going to wait for that day to come! On September 18, at 37 weeks and 2 days, Tamara texted me around 10:30 a.m. wondering what early labor contractions would be like and any positions to help her relax. The contractions had started earlier in the morning when she had woken up and continued to intensify in strength throughout the morning.  Throughout the next few hours, she began focusing on her breathing, did lots of stretching, utilized the birthing ball, and took a warm bath. Her husband, Drew, provided such amazing support and encouragement to her. 

 

At 1:30 p.m., Tamara and Drew decided it was time to head into the hospital. Her provider checked her cervix and she was 2cm dilated, 40% effaced, -3 station. Baby was looking great and contractions were now coming every 3-4 minutes. The plan was for her provider to return in 2-3 hours to recheck her cervix to see if any change was made. I sent them a list of different positions to encourage baby to descend into the pelvis and hopefully encourage some continued progress. 

 

The provider returned around 4 p.m., to recheck her cervix and found there was no cervical change. The plan was to get some IV fluids and recheck cervix in a few hours. Tamara remained active trying many different positions and utilizing the tub to help her relax some more. 

 

At 9 p.m., her provider returned and found her to be 3cm dilated and 60% effaced. Her contractions were continuing to come every 2-3 minutes and baby was moving down into the pelvis. This was encouraging news to hear that she was making change. Drew and Tamara were making an amazing team to bring their sweet girl into this world! I encouraged her to stay active if she could, but also to allow her body to rest if she could. We continued to stay in touch throughout the night. 

 

At 1:30 a.m., Tamara requested to get an epidural – her body had worked hard ALL day long, so some much-deserved relief and rest was due. I was so proud of the strength and grit Tamara showed while working through each contraction. I encouraged her to get some solid rest now, but to switch positions every 30-45 minutes. 

 

At 7 a.m., I arrived at the hospital to be there in time for the provider to perform morning rounds. I was able to get the room all set up – dim lights, essential oils diffusing, and music already playing. Her provider arrived at 8 a.m. and performed a cervical exam and break her water – she was 4 cm dilated, 70%, -3 station. 

 

Throughout the morning, we continued to do many positions to open the inlet of the pelvis to get baby engaged. Tamara was willing to do just about anything to keep things moving. We stayed busy throughout the morning doing the flying cowgirl, side-lying release, high thrones, hands/kneed with massage, and side-lying positions. She even was able to get another nap in between all of our position changes! 

 

At 12:10 p.m., her provider returned to the bedside to perform a cervical exam. She was 5cm dilated, 80%, and -1 station. Slow, but steady change and baby was becoming more engaged. Since Tamara was having good coverage with her epidural, I decided to go work for the afternoon and return in the evening. I went over many positions to continue doing and encouraged rest when she was able. 

 

Around 1:30 p.m., Tamara texted me that the baby’s heart rate had dropped on a couple different occasions in a short time span. They performed a position change, a fluid bolus, and put Tamara on oxygen to help stabilize the baby’s heart rate. Baby was able to recover for a short amount of time. 

 

At 2:00 p.m., I got a call from Drew that the baby’s heart rate had dropped low again and was taking a much longer amount of time to recover. Her provider was at the bedside and discussed with Drew and Tamara that a c-section was highly recommended at this time. They both consented to this as they both agreed this was the safest option for Tamara and her baby.

 

Rose Opal

6lb 13oz

Born September 19 at 2:39 p.m.

 

Tamara worked SO hard throughout her labor. Although this is not the birth experience Drew and Tamara had dreamed of, I was so amazed by the strength and perseverance shown throughout Rose’s birth. Birth is truly unpredictable and unfortunately sometimes it doesn’t always end in a vaginal birth. Drew and Tamara showed so much grace throughout her pregnancy and birth, fully surrendering to God’s plan for them. Tamara, I want you to know how beyond proud I am of you. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of Rose’s birth. 

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Weston Gary
September 21, 2023

Ashley reached out in early pregnancy for doula services as she was hoping for as natural of a birth as possible.

 

Ashley had a fairly smooth pregnancy but started developing some higher blood pressures towards the end of pregnancy. She decreased her work hours and began monitoring her blood pressures at home. This helped keep her blood pressures in a normal range.

 

The morning of Wednesday September 20th, at 39 weeks and 1 day, Ashley went in for her routine prenatal visit. At this visit she was found to have a higher blood pressure in the clinic. She was then sent over for Non-Stress Test and some blood work. Ashleys doctor felt the blood work was concerning enough that she should be induced that afternoon.  She felt very upset about this news, but after discussion with her husband she agreed to be induced. 

 

Ashley arrived at the hospital around 2:00 that afternoon to get checked it. Her cervix was checked, and she was closed so her doctor decided to place Cytotec. Her doctor came back and forth throughout the afternoon as Ashley walked the halls. At 5:00 p.m. the doctor placed the Foley bulb to help her manually dilate. This fell out around 9:00 p.m. and Ashley was 4 cm dilated. 

 

At this point her contractions were becoming more intense and regular. Ashley and I had talked earlier and discussed that since this was an induction and her first baby, the induction process may take a little while. We both decided we were going to try sleep for a bit. At midnight Ashley was ready for an epidural as she felt like she wasn’t able to rest anymore.

 

She texted me at 2:30 that she was 7cm dilated, 75% effaced and baby was at -3. After we texted back and forth for a bit, I decided to head into the hospital.  When getting to the hospital we were able to place Ashley in flying cowgirl to encourage for baby to come down. She was able to sleep, and I woke her up every 15-30 minutes to change positions. After one of the positions changes the nurse went to drain Ashleys bladder when she noticed lots of fluid soaked in the pad. Her water had broken around 4:30 a.m. and clear fluid was noted.

 

Her doctor came back and checked her again at 5:45 am and she was 8cm dilated, 90% effaced and baby had now moved to -1 station. Her doctor also confirmed that her water had also indeed broken. We continued to do positions to help baby continue to descend but allowing for Ashley to rest. 

 

She was checked at 7:30 a.m. again and now she was 9cm dilated, 100% effaced, and baby was at 0 station. Ashley was awake for the day now and we were able to get her into some hands and knees potions with the birth ball. She was tired but did so good moving into the positions I was suggesting!

 

Her doctor came back at 9:30 and Ashleys cervix was unchanged from the previous check and had discussion with her of starting Pitocin. Ashley started getting contractions every 2-3 minutes, so she opted for trying to utilize position changes first. We continued to keep changing positions every 15 minutes to keep encouraging baby to move further down.

 

After a while, Ashleys contractions began to space out. The doctor came and checked her again at 11:30 a.m. and her cervix was still 9cm dilated, 100% effaced, and baby was at 0 station still. Ashley agreed to Pitocin at this time. Ashleys epidural was only working on one side, and she was feeling lots of pain in her right hip. 

 

The anesthesiologist came and was able to bolus Ashleys epidural and get her more comfortable prior to starting Pitocin. Pitocin was started at approximately at 12:30 pm. Now that Ashley was more comfortable, she wanted to try and rest and save energy for pushing. 

 

At 1:30 p.m. the doctor came back, and Ashley only had an anterior cervical rim and baby was at +1 station. We assisted Ashley in a position leaning over the birth ball utilizing the squat bar. She was able to rest this way and close her eyes. While she was resting, the nurse, her husband, and I were busy talking all things pigs. 

 

While Ashley was pregnant, she struggled with bad acid reflux. This transferred to many episodes of vomiting during labor. This was very miserable for Ashley as her throat was raw and it was difficult for her to talk. 

 

At 2:45 p.m. her doctor came back and checked her and she was 10 cm dilated! The doctor and nurses got all their supplies set up. Seth was able to be right by Ashleys head and hold on to her hand. Ashley started pushing at 2:48 p.m. and soon she got the hang of it! Pushing as a first-time mom with an epidural, can sometimes take a little bit to get the feel of how to push adequately. Ashley quickly figured it out and started moving baby. Initially she was on her back and Seth was able to help support her neck and back while pushing. After doing this for roughly 20 minutes, Ashley was assisted into a hanging squat from the squat bar. This helped utilize gravity to help baby move down. Seth and the nurse and I were able to assist her in moving back and forth from laying down to the squat bar. 

 

Ashley arms were getting tired hanging from the bar, she wanted to push on her back again. She had made so much progress squatting that after only a few more pushes, baby was here! The first thing everyone noticed was his head FULL of dark hair! 

 

Weston Gary

September 21st, 2023

3:25 p.m.

7lbs 2oz

 

Ashley worked so hard throughout her whole pregnancy and labor! She was active in preparing her body for labor and saw a Webster certified chiropractor regularly. Her horrible heartburn was gone almost immediately after birth and proved the old wife's tale to be true for Weston with all his hair! Ashley and Seth were such a fun couple work with! Thank you for inviting me along on the journey of pregnancy and the birth of Weston!

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Lillian Beth
September 16, 2023

Baby Byl is here! 

When Kyla informed me that she was pregnant on January 3rd, she gave me a necklace of with the chemical make up of Oxytocin on it. This turned out to be so special as baby Byl’s birth was FULL of oxytocin and worship!

Kyla and Nic’s goal for their labor was a birth that was as physiological as possible. Kyla and I share the mutual belief in woman’s God given ability to birth. Because Kyla believes this whole heartedly, she decided she wanted to welcome their first child earthside in the comfort of the their own home.

At 5:30 a.m. on Saturday September 16th, at 40 weeks 2 days gestation, Kyla was awoken to the feeling of intense period cramping that was coming somewhat inconsistently. She texted me around 6:00 just to give me a heads up. Soon 7:00 came around, she was unable to rest through the cramping anymore and decided to get up and move around. She was able to enjoy the morning with Nic, eating home made muffins and relaxing. We continued to stay in touch throughout the morning and Kyla felt like she was doing well. The cramping was growing, but was still somewhat irregular and she was getting breaks in between. 

2:00 p.m. came around and Kyla felt her contractions were starting to get more intense and decided to try to relax her bath tub. This helped ease the intensity but now contractions were starting to come very regular and predicable. She was still coping decently, but was ready for me to start getting ready to head over. While I was getting ready to go, I got a text from Kyla at 3:47 p.m. that said : “I feel like I need to puke.”  we were getting close now!

When I arrived to Nic and Kyla’s house at 4:30 p.m., the midwife Kari was pulling in the driveway at the exact same time. Upon going inside, Kyla was leaning over her counter and swaying back and forth. Kari talked to Kyla about how she was feeling while I provided some counter pressure. After being present with her through a few contractions, it was obvious she is in active labor!

Nic got the birth pool started filling up in the dining room while Kari was able to get her supplies all situated and towels ready. The whole vibe of the room was so calm and peaceful! Kyla had placed soft lights hanging from the curtains and beautiful Christian music playing in the background. She had beautiful fresh picked fall flowers on display and easy access to food and drinks.

 When the tub was warm enough, she was able to climb in and relax. This allowed her to close her eyes while the warm water helped relive some of the intensity of contractions. Nic was able to be right by her side and hold her hands with every contraction. Soon Kyla began to feel an overwhelming feeling of helplessness, and was ready for baby to be here. Nic read Kyla her birth affirmations, one of which stated “ I rest in God’s peace which surpasses all understanding.”


At this point Kyla chose to have a cervical exam. 

At 6:00 p.m. Kyla had a cervical exam in the birth pool and was 9 cm dilated and baby was very low! This was extremely encouraging! The nurse, Kris and I urged Kyla that now would be a good time to try use the bathroom to empty her bladder and along with doing a few contractions on the toilet. She was not thrilled about the idea of getting out of the water and moving to the toilet, but with some encouragement we made it over to the bathroom. She was able to straddle the toilet and rest while I provided counter pressure. Nic was able to quick grab something to small to eat as it was now around 6:10 p.m.. Kyla labored on the toilet for a few contractions and soon she began to bear down with at the end of the contractions. She could feel that baby was moving down! 

She was really hoping for a water birth, so after an intense contraction ended, we were able to help Kyla walk back the the birth pool. She got in and felt some relief from the contractions and pelvic pressure she was feeling. She was able to lean over the edge of the and hold on to Nic’s hands. She was closing her eyes and resting between every contraction. After 2 contractions this way, she decided she was ready for a cervical exam to make sure she wasn’t pushing against her cervix. When Kari checked her at approximately 6:40 she had a small anterior rim and her water had broken previously! 

Kyla felt she could no longer breathe through contractions, so choose to have Kari hold the cervical lip out of the way with her fingers while she pushed past it. Kari attempted to hold it through 2 different contractions and with the second one, Kyla was able push past it and allow for the cervix to completely dilate! Now baby really started moving! 

She was leaning over the tub holding on to Nic, and she was able to reach down and feel baby’s head as she was getting so close to crowning! With the next big contraction, Kyla worked with her body and bore down as she delivered her baby’s head! She felt so much relief! From standing behind Kyla I could see this baby had chubby cheeks and a super cute nose! While Kyla waited for the next contraction, she was able to reach down and feel baby’s ears, nose, and short hair. It was so sweet! A few minutes later when Kyla got another contraction, baby’s head rotated and she reached down and was able to catch her own baby with just a small guidance from Kari! 

Kyla gave a scream of relief has she brought baby out of the water to her chest! She sobbed, “Hi my baby!! Hi my baby! Hi my baby!” Kyla looked down at her baby and screamed, “IT’S A GIRL! WE HAVE A GIRL!” She looked at Nic with sheer absolute joy! There was not a dry eye in the room and it was such a pure moment to witness Nic and Kyla's breakthrough in to parenthood.

Lillian Beth
September 16th, 2023
6:51 p.m.
7lbs 4 oz

Moments after Lillian was born while being held on Kyla’s chest, the song  "Goodness of God" started playing. Kyla held Nic’s hand as Lillian snuggled in to her mama. We turned the volume up and sang our praise to Jesus for this precious new life! It was a time filled with the Holy Spirit as Lillian was brought earthside surrounded by love and support. 

Kyla showed incredible strength and perseverance when she felt she couldn’t continue. She leaned into God and in to Nic and trusted her body’s ability to give birth. I am so humbled to get to witness such a testament of God’s goodness to us!

“All my life you have been faithful, all my life you have been so, so good. 
With every breathe that I am able,
I will sing, of the Goodness of God.”

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Mabel Rose
September 7, 2023

Kisara was in her first trimester when she reached out regarding doula and lactation services. She was looking for some extra guidance and education through her first pregnancy. Her goal was to stay strong and in tune with her body, stay focused, and breathe through each contraction knowing it was one step closer to meeting her baby. Kisara worked hard to prepare her body for labor. She saw a chiropractor consistently, got massages, stayed active, ate dates, and drank red raspberry leaf tea. 

 

Kisara’s due date was a week away when her and her doctor had set an induction due to the baby potentially being large for gestational age; her providers did not want her going past her due date. In the last week leading up to her due date, we had a few instances where we thought she was maybe going into labor. At her last OB appointment, she was already 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced! Her provider stripped her membranes in hopes this could bump her into labor. Throughout the entire weekend, she continued to do many natural induction methods. She was very crampy, had bloody show, and even lost her mucous plug. However, it all fizzled out and nothing came of it. 

 

On Wednesday, her due date, Kisara headed into the hospital for her induction. She requested a cervical exam prior to beginning her induction and she was 4-5 cm and 80% effaced. It was so amazing her body had already done so much work preparing for labor. Around 8:00 a.m., IV Pitocin was started. I encouraged her to be active in this early stage and gave her some labor warm up stretches to do. 

 

After a couple hours of being on Pitocin, her provider returned to the bedside to break her water at 10:30. She really started to feel her contractions after this was done and was having to breathe through them.

 

When I arrived around 11:30, she was leaning & swaying over the side of the bed and Lane was applying sacral pressure. In between contractions, she would sit on the birthing ball. She was coping and working effectively with her contractions. 

 

At 12:15, she decided it was time to try and tub to see if that could relieve the intense contractions that were coming on top of each other. After about 45 minutes, she decided to get out of the tub as there wasn’t much room to change positions in it. 

 

She was getting quite exhausted as she wasn’t able to sleep much the night before and she was having intense back labor. Kisara started feeling intense pressure after getting out of the tub and opted for a cervical exam. She was 6 cm dilated, 80% effaced, and -1 station. Baby was moving down and starting to get engaged into the pelvis.

 

At 1:10, she decided she wanted to try some nitrous oxide to take the edge off of contractions that she was feeling in her back. As she was lying in bed, we did side-lying release in order to create more room in her pelvic floor. She was able to rest in between contractions which was much needed. 

 

After an hour or so, she decided something else was needed to take the edge off of the excruciating back labor she was having. She opted to receive a dose of an IV medication which helped tremendously. At 3:00, I had her get up to the bathroom as it had been a while since she had emptied her bladder and sitting on the toilet would be a great position for her. Kisara was beginning to feel a lot more pressure and began involuntarily pushing in this position. She was getting quite uncomfortable sitting on the toilet. She decided to get back in bed where she went into a modified lunging position with a peanut ball and was able to rock back and forth while I applied sacral pressure. 

 

At 3:25, she requested a cervical exam to find she was 7.5cm dilated, 80%, and -1 station. Immediately after the cervical exam, she had a lot of bloody show which was promising there was more cervical change happening! The nurses performed another cervical exam as she was feeling a lot of pressure and an intense urge to push.  She remained the same, except baby had moved down into the pelvis more and was at 0 station! Kisara was doing such an amazing job coping with her contractions as they continued to be super intense. She asked for another dose of IV medication since that helped manage her pain the best. She then went into a hands/knees position leaning over the head of the bed with one leg up. Her legs tired quickly and she quickly wanted to lay back down into an exaggerated runner’s position in bed to encourage more descent into the pelvis. 

 

At 6:00, her back labor was more intense that it had ever been. Another cervical exam was performed to find that her cervix was now becoming swollen from the involuntary pushing she was doing with each contraction. The nurses and I began to have a conversation with her about receiving an epidural to which she agreed. 

 

Shortly before 7:00, the epidural was in place and she was getting great relief. Every 30-45 minutes, the nurse was able to help me move Kisara into a different position to encourage continued progress. She was actually able to get some much-needed rest at this time. 

 

At 9:00, the doctors made rounds and requested to perform a cervical exam. She was 8 cm dilated, 90% effaced, and 0 station. Her provider wanted to put an intrauterine pressure catheter in to monitor the strength of her contractions to ensure they were strong enough to make cervical change. She would come back in a couple of hours to see if any progress was being made. In the meantime, we continued to perform asymmetrical positions and encouraged Kisara to get some more rest. 

 

11:00 rolled around and her provider returned to perform another cervical exam. She was now 8.5cm dilated, but otherwise unchanged. She was slowly, but surely making progress! 

 

Shortly after midnight, Kisara unfortunately started developing a fever and became tachycardic. The nurse began giving her a bolus of fluids and her provider ordered some labs to be drawn. They had diagnosed her with a uterine infection that was making her feel so poorly. This also began affecting baby’s heart rate as it got tachycardic as well. The discussion of a c-section was had, but her provider still wanted to give her a little more time to see if any cervical change would happen. 

 

At 1:00 a.m., her temperature kept rising, she wasn’t feeling well, and she had no cervical change. With the last cervical exam, the provider noted there was now some meconium which meant baby was becoming stressed out. It was decided that a c-section was going to be the safest option for Kisara and her baby. Around 1:30, Kisara was wheeled off to c-section. 

 

Mabel Rose

Born September 7 at 1:51 a.m.

9lbs 6oz

 

This birth story wasn’t the dream Kisara had for her birth, but it showed just how strong she is. I fully believe that you did everything you could for your baby throughout the whole labor and delivery process. You did all the education, research, and prep-work to best prepare your body. There are times when everything is done “correctly” but things still don’t go as planned. Kisara, I hope you know I am so proud of you and I was so honored to be there for sweet Mabel’s birth.

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Myka Marie
August 28, 2023

At our first meeting, Connor and Maddie decided to sign their contract right then. I was so excited to get to work with them. Throughout our prenatal meeting’s, Connor and Maddie soaked up all the information I had to offer as well as doing lots of research of their own.

 

Maddie had gone in to labor with their first daughter on their own around 39 weeks and was hoping for the same this time. But soon 39 weeks came and went, and Maddie decided to book an induction for 3 days past her due date to help her mentally know their was “an end in sight.” She was still really hoping to go in to labor before her induction date as she was hoping for an unmedicated birth.

 

In the weeks leading up to labor, Maddie had had one appointment around 36 weeks where she had a more elevated blood pressure and was sent over for a Non Stress Test as well as some lab work. This all came back normal, but Maddie was going to be followed more closely for possible pre-eclampsia and the talk of an early induction was had. As the weeks went on, Maddie took time off work and was able to control her blood pressure well and the doctor actually said “You look better as the weeks go on!”

 

Maddie was hoping for a unmedicated birth, so she was doing amazing prep work to prepare her body! She was eating dates every day as well as staying as active as she could in the heat! She did forward leaning inversions daily and drank red raspberry leaf tea. She went to a chiropractor very regularly to help make sure her pelvis was in alignment. Leading up to her due date, she had a few instances where we thought she may possibly going in to labor as she had bouts of regular consistent contractions. But these episodes all fizzled out after a few hours. Maddie felt discouraged each time that her contractions stopped, but I reassured her this was all good things and her body was starting to do some of the work ahead of time before she actually started labor. When she went to her 39 week appointment, the doctor did a cervical sweep as Maddie was already 4cm dilated and 75%. This resulted in Maddie feeling crampy and having some contractions, but nothing continued from it.

 

On Monday morning, the day before Maddie’s induction at 40weeks 1 day pregnant, she was having some contractions. She felt these contractions were nothing different that what she had felt with all her previous false labor instances. So she continued throughout her day and we stayed in touch. She decided to try go for a walk and try some pumping to see if that would help things become more regular.

 

At 4:02 pm Maddie texted me that she had felt a shift in her contractions and that these were becoming much more intense. They were irregular yet, so she was going to try and take a shower and then possibly head to the hospital. I told her that sounded like a great idea and to keep me in the loop! I started getting all my bags packed as well. She texted me back at 4:04 p.m. and said they were starting to come in her lower back and wrap into her abdomen instead of just being tight in her belly and that they were definitely more painful. I reassured her this was awesome news and if she wanted to try take a shower yet, before she left for the hospital that that might help with her pain. She texted me back at 4:08 p.m. that she was maybe going to take a quick shower but she wanted to give me a heads up that her contractions were now 3-4 minutes a part and they were thinking about heading to the hospital sooner then they initially thought as she was GBS+ and wanted to make sure she got her antibiotics in.

 

At 4:14 She asked me to meet her at the hospital as her contractions were coming fast and close together now! I quick gathered all my stuff in my vehicle and was getting ready to head out soon as I had a 25 minute drive to the hospital. Maddie texted me at 4:23 they were on the way to the hospital, and I decided to give her a call so we could quick touch base and I could hear how she was doing. When talking I asked  how she was coping right now, and Maddie had a contraction and had to stop and breathe through it. And Connor chimed in “She’s definitely having to stop and breathe through them!” I didn’t need more convincing then that that it was definitely time for everyone to head to the hospital!

 

Maddie and Connor arrived at the hospital at around 4:35 p.m. and the nurse checked her cervix and she was 4-5 cm dilated! When I arrived at 5:00 p.m. , Maddie was sitting up in the bed and the nurse was finishing her monitoring strip while the tub was filling up. She was contracting every 2-3 minutes and was able to talk in between, but stopping and closing her eyes during them. The nurse started her antibiotics while I set up the room with calm lights and peppermint diffusing. We played soft spa music in the background and turned down all of the lights.

 

Connor and I helped Maddie into the bathroom where I had her quick empty her bladder before getting in to the tub. She sat straddling the toilet facing backwards and I encouraged her to do 3 contractions this way if she could before getting in the tub. She was able to empty her bladder and contractions started to get visibly more intense in this position called the “dilation station.”

 

Connor helped Maddie into the tub where she leaned over the edge of the tub in a side lunge position. When she got a contraction I encouraged her to move with it and to lean in to the lunge to encourage baby through the mid pelvis. She did this on one side and then the other. She switched sides approximately every 3 contractions while Connor leaned over the tub and provided counter pressure. He also was making sure Maddie was taking sips of water after every couple contractions and keeping a cool wash cloth on her neck. Soon Maddie began to make much lower and deeper noises and we knew things were changing! The doctor had a ways to drive to get to the hospital, so the nurse offered to check Maddie again in the tub. She consented, and at approximately 5:25 p.m. she was 5-6 cm dilated.

 

She switched to a hands and knees position in the tub while she rocked back and forth and Connor provided counter pressure. Again after a few contractions in this position Maddie began to make much deeper more intense noises and began to slip more in to a “labor land”. The nurse offered to check her again and at 5:37 p.m. she was 6-7cm dilated and baby had come down quite a bit. Connor and I glanced at each other and smiled and were so excited! The nurses were bustling around outside the bathroom trying to get everything ready for delivery as Maddie was making quick progress. While in the bathroom, we had galaxy lights on, spa music playing and peppermint diffusing. This allowed us block out most of the bustle going on outside of the bathroom. Connor later described the next half hour as “controlled chaos”.

 

Maddie had 2 more contractions and she asked for another cervical check and at 5:40 was 7-8cm dilated! After this check, I had Maddie grab on to the grab bar on the wall and hold herself in a deep squat and sway back and forth while the majority of her body was still in the tub. She had a bulging bag of water so we tried to use gravity to aid in helping bring baby down and help her keep moving down. She continued to use low deep noises and stayed in complete control of her breathing!

 

After 2 more contractions Maddie started to bear down with contractions and was starting to feel pushy in the tub. At this point, I looked at the nurse and said “who is the ER doctor? And maybe we should have them head this way.” The nurse quick checked her again to figure out the plan since her primary doctor wasn’t here yet. At approximately 5:44 p.m., Maddie was 8-9 cm dilated! Everyone decided it was time to get out of the tub and head to the bed. Just as her last contraction finished in the tub, Maddie primary doctor slipped in to the bathroom, said hello, and decided to start getting ready to deliver the baby!

 

Connor and the nurse helped her out of the tub and walk to the bed. She did one contraction standing leaning on the edge of the bed and was definitely bearing down! We put head of the bed straight up so we helped her in to hands and knees leaning over top of the bed, in hopes of using gravity to help dilate the rest of the way.

 

The doctor checked Maddie at 5:48 and she was 10cm dilated and baby was +2 station. Her water had also broken at some point in the tub! With the next contraction, Maddie pushed and soon we saw baby’s head! She was able to breathe while crowning and wait until the next contraction. Everyone is in awe of her strength and complete control while the baby’s head stayed crowning! Then when the next contraction came, she gave one big push and the head was delivered with the body shortly after!

 

Maddie let out a scream of relief and Connor said “You did it Mad!! You did it!!”

 

Myka Marie

born August 28, 2023 at 5:52 p.m.

8lbs 14oz

 

Maddie and Connor were an incredible team together throughout her quick unmedicated birth experience! Connor was so helpful in making sure Maddie was comfortable as possible as well as encouraging her she could do this! Maddie worked SO hard preparing for labor, and it showed! She stayed in complete control of her breathing the entire time, never asked for an epidural, and did not need any stitches even with an almost 9lb baby! Thank you Connor and Maddie for inviting me to be a part of Myka’s powerful birth story! I am continually in awe of the miracle of childbirth!

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Scottie Allen
August 9, 2023

Keely inquired about birth doula services after attending our BBBB class (Body, birth, baby, breastfeeding). She was hoping to have some more guidance through their first pregnancy. Her goal was to have an empowering and positive birth experience. 

 

Keely’s due date was a few weeks away when her provider had started discussing an induction due to gestational hypertension and the baby potentially being large for gestational age. She started to have weekly appointments where her blood pressures were monitored closely, and her provider ordered non-stress tests to make sure that baby was still doing okay. The goal was for Keely to try and make it closer to 38 or 39 weeks before being induced, but she had a really elevated blood pressure at her doctor’s appointment when she was 37 weeks and 2 days. Keely’s provider decided she needed to go directly to the hospital to be induced that night. 

 

Keely went straight to the hospital from her doctor’s appointment. On August 7, at 5:00 p.m., Keely and Eric arrived at the hospital. After the nurses were done doing her admission and all the paperwork, I came to the hospital to discuss the game plan and do some labor warm up stretches. Keely had a cervical exam in the clinic – her cervix was closed, super thick, and baby was not engaged into the pelvis. We geared up for what would most likely be a very long induction. At 6:15 p.m., Keely took her first dose of Cytotec orally in order to ripen & soften her cervix. We started with getting up and moving, side-lying release, lunging, hands/knee with a jiggle, and different birthing ball exercises. I left different positions for Keely to do, but really encouraged her to sleep as much as she could to let her body rest. 

 

Keely was able to rest in between fetal monitoring throughout the night. Her provider checked her cervix and she was 0.5cm dilated, 40% effaced, and -3 station. She had also lost her mucous plug in the middle of the night. We were all encouraged there was some changed, even though it wasn’t much change at all. 

 

Late morning, I arrived to the hospital to do more labor warm up positions. At 1:00 p.m., her cervix was unchanged from her previous cervical exam and she received another dose of vaginal Cytotec to continue ripening her cervix. She was able to take a nap and rest but stay active while she was awake. 

 

Keely’s provider wanted to perform another cervical exam around 5:00 p.m. to see if she would be able to insert a Foley bulb to help her cervix dilate and start IV Pitocin, but unfortunately, she was unable to reach her cervix, so she gave her another dose of vaginal Cytotec. Her provider would then come back in between 9-10 p.m. to see if she would be able to place the Foley bulb. 

 

Eric texted me around 9:00 p.m. that she was starting to feel her contractions more. Keely was doing an amazing job staying focused and breathing through them even though they were coming quite frequently. They planned continue on and to re-assess around 3:00 a.m.

 

At 2:30 a.m., Eric texted me Keely was wanting me to come in. She was really becoming more uncomfortable and overall not feeling well. Right when I got there, the nurse was performing a cervical exam where she was 1cm dilated, 40% effaced, and -3 station. She continued to be uncomfortable and unable to relax in bed, so I suggested she try to go in the tub for a while. After being in the tub for 25 minutes, she decided she was ready to proceed with the Foley bulb and IV Pitocin. 

 

At 4:10 a.m., her provider returned to the bedside to check her cervix and insert the Foley bulb. She was 2cm dilated, 70% effaced, and -2 station. This was such great cervical change since her last cervical exam just over an hour ago. After this was placed, she wanted to get up and move so she got on the birthing ball for quite a while. Then her nurse came in as it was time to monitor her again and pull down on the Foley bulb to put some pressure on the cervix. To our surprise, the nurse went to pull down on it and it came out just an hour after being put in! We then figured she would be about 3-4cm dilated but knew her body had some work to do since that was mechanical dilation. 

 

After the Foley bulb came out, things started to get intense rather quickly. Keely’s mom, Tammy, came at this time to be another support person for her. Keely was having some back pain, so we did side-lying release again and started to give counter pressure with contractions. I suggested we try flying cowgirl as she wanted to lie down in bed. At about 6:45 a.m., Keely got in the tub again. She was becoming really focused on her contractions and doing such an amazing job breathing through them. Soon after getting in the tub, she requested to get an epidural. 

 

At 8:00 a.m., her epidural was in place and she was beginning to get comfortable so she would be able to rest. Once she was all settled, she opted for another cervical exam to see the progress she had made. She was then 4cm dilated, 70% effaced, and -2 station. She then went to lay on her right side to try and get a nap, but unfortunately, her epidural quit working and she had to get a new one placed. Eric never left her side and was constantly giving her words of encouragement and telling her she could do it! 

 

Finally, at 10:05 a.m., she had a new epidural in place and got immediate relief from the intense contractions. Her provider then came to the bedside to check her cervix and break her water. At this time, she was 5cm dilated, 80% effaced, and -2 station. 

 

At 1:15 p.m., Keely began feeling more pressure with her contractions. She sat up in a high thrones position to encourage further descent. Her provider returned to the bedside to check her and she was 6-7cm dilated, 90% effaced, and 0 station! However, her epidural was not being effective again and she was able to feel everything. Keely truly had a sense of giving up in this moment, but she was so strong and continued to work through the intense contractions. Eric held her hand and was constantly letting her know she was doing an amazing job. I let her know not only could she do it, she WAS doing it. She was so strong. We all believed in her. She then received a dose of IV Fentanyl to see if that could take the edge off and moved positions to hands/knees to see if that would help. Nothing was helping, so the CRNA was called back to the bedside where he gave her a bolus of medication which gave her instant relief. 

 

After getting relief for the second time, she was feeling pushy and requested a cervical exam. Her provider returned to the bedside to perform a cervical exam to find she was 8cm dilated, 100% effaced, and 0 station! All of her hard work was paying off and she continued to make amazing progress. She preferred to lay on her left side with a pillow in between her legs and was ready to take a nap. After a much-needed nap, she woke up and was complete. 

 

At 5:43 p.m., Keely started pushing! She had excellent epidural coverage but was still able to feel increased pressure when a contraction was starting. She preferred to push on her back while holding onto the grab bars attached to the bed. Her mom was able to help support a leg and Eric helped support her neck while continuing to give her sweet words of encouragement. With each push, we could see she was making progress and could see that baby did have a lot of hair! Once baby was beginning to crown, her provider started using a warm compress in hopes to help prevent tearing. 

 

After less than an hour of pushing, their sweet baby boy was here! Keely immediately started tearing up and saying, “my baby is here! Mama loves you!” He was born while the song “Never Grow Up” by Taylor Swift was playing, so there truly wasn’t a dry eye in the room. 


 

Scottie Allen Salazar

6lbs 15oz

Born August 9, 2023 at 6:37 p.m.


 

Keely and Eric, what a joy it was to be a part of Scottie’s birth. Your story is a true testimony of being patient and trusting your body was able to do it. This will truly always hold a special place in my heart, and I was honored to be a part of such a sacred time. I will never forget memories such as sweet as these!

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Haven Dey
July 13, 2023

Jamie texted me that baby Prescott #2 was on the way, back in December. I think I literally jumped for joy! There really is no greater compliment than being asked into a birth space not only once, but twice. Almost exactly 2 years ago, Jamie and Cole welcomed me into their birth space for the delivery of their first child, Judah. And now, I was going to have the opportunity to also be a part of this baby’s birth!

 

Jamie already knew many of the tips and tricks to prepare her body for labor. She was doing frequent walks, stretching, and eating her dates in the third trimester. Jamie rocked an unmedicated induction with her first baby, and the plan was to do the same this time around, with hope of going into labor naturally. Jamie’s body was showing lots of signs of readiness for labor. A couple weeks before her due date, Jamie’s baby dropped, she lost her mucus plug, and she was having frequent Braxton Hicks contractions.

 

At 39 weeks and 5 days, Jamie opted for a membrane sweep to see if that would be the push to get her into labor. If it didn’t work, Jamie decided she was okay with an induction later that week, especially since her last induction went so smoothly. We had our fingers crossed the membrane sweep would work. After the sweep, Jamie had some hormone surges which resulted in some nausea, more Braxton Hicks, and lower pelvic pressure, but still no true labor. So a couple days later, at 40 weeks and 1 day, Jamie went in to be induced.

 

Jamie arrived to the hospital at 7am for her induction, and baby girl was looking great on the monitors. We chatted about her birth plan to the nurses while she did some lunges. Her doctor then came in to start the induction. Jamie was 1cm dilated and 30% effaced. The doctor placed one dose of vaginal Cytotec to start ripening the cervix. I set the room up with twinkly lights and made sure to have my peppermint ready since Jamie clung for dear life to her peppermint cotton ball during her last labor. I gave Jamie and Cole some ideas of things to do until labor really kicked in, and I headed out for awhile until Jamie needed me.

 

Over the next couple hours, Jamie walked the halls, bounced on the birth ball, and did lunges.  Around 11am, Jamie’s doctor came back to check her progress. Jamie was now 3cm and 50% effaced. She was having regular contractions, about every 3 minutes, but she was overall pretty comfortable. Her doctor placed another dose of vaginal Cytotec at this time.

 

With Jamie’s last induction, her contractions didn’t get uncomfortable right away, but after a few hours they became very strong, and her labor progressed very quickly. So I was ready to get back to the hospital at a moment’s notice of her labor starting to pick up. I decided to try to eat some lunch and then head back to the hospital before things picked up too much. At 1pm, I was back at the hospital with Jamie and Cole. Jamie was starting to feel more intensity with her contractions, but still she said they were quite bearable. I suggested to Jamie we could do some stretches to open things up and help the baby descend. I helped Jamie with a side-lying release into flying cowgirl to start out. While doing these stretches, contractions started to pick up in intensity. Jamie was starting to really breathe through her contractions at this point. Once we completed these birthing positions on one side, Jamie’s doctor was back to see how she was doing. He asked to check Jamie, and she consented. She was now 5cm and 70% effaced. We rolled to the other side and did side-lying release into flying cowgirl on this side as well. As we did this, we had the tub filling up because Jamie’s labor was definitely now progressing at full force.

 

It was 1:50pm when Jamie got into the tub. She squatted on her knees, leaning over the edge of the tub while holding Cole’s hand through her intensifying contractions. Jamie also held a comb to help distract her pain receptors during contractions, as well as keeping the peppermint cotton ball close by to help keep her nausea at bay.

After just a couple minutes in the tub, Jamie started moaning through contractions, so the nurses stayed in the room to make sure everything was ready for delivery. After no more than a few minutes in the tub, Jamie was feeling intense pressure and knew she needed to get to the bed for delivery. Cole and I quickly helped Jamie out of the tub and into the bed. She moved to her side preparing to start pushing. Jamie was having the uncontrollable urge to push with her contractions. During the first contraction on the bed, Jamie’s water broke. The nurses quickly called her doctor to the room for delivery. The nurses were trying to get an accurate reading on the baby’s heart rate, and were getting a low heart rate — even lower than Jamie’s. Jamie was pushing with all her might to try to get this baby out as fast as she could, knowing that the heart rate was low. Her doctor could see the head easily even between contractions, so he placed a vacuum to help with the final part of delivery. With the littlest bit of help from her doctor and the vacuum, Haven was earth side.

 

Haven Dey

born July 13 at 2:19pm

weighing 7lbs 7oz

 

Haven was delivered with a double nuchal cord and a true knot in her cord. Initially at delivery, Haven needed some assistance from the nurses and respiratory therapist with her breathing. After a few minutes of assistance, Haven was breathing on her own and transitioning well. Haven was then able to snuggle up with her mama and start breastfeeding.

 

Pregnancy and birth really bring us to our most vulnerable moments. Jamie and Cole, thank you for welcoming me into your birth once again. It was an honor to encourage and support you through the process. Your family holds a special place in this doula’s heart!

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Ayda James
July 7, 2023

Maddie was in the third trimester of her pregnancy when she reached out about doula & lactation services for some guidance and education throughout their first pregnancy. Her goal was to have a calm and low stress delivery as possible. After our initial consult, it didn’t take long for them to decide they wanted to go forward with having a doula. 

 

Even though she had reached out later in her pregnancy, Maddie had already been working hard to prepare her body for labor. She stayed active by going on many walks, stretching, and seeing a chiropractor regularly to help support her body. 

 

Maddie’s due date was a couple weeks away when her and her doctor had started discussing an induction due to the baby potentially being large for gestational age. Maddie continued to try all the natural methods to go into labor while waiting for her induction date to come around. On Thursday morning, she had an appointment scheduled where she wanted to get her membranes swept in hopes this would help her body go into labor naturally and then if not, then she would get induced. However, while she was at this appointment, they were having a hard time deciphering the baby’s heart rate versus her own heart rate apart. Her doctor had her stay for a non-stress test to make sure everything was okay. After this little episode, they decided it would be best to be induced that afternoon. Maddie called me following her appointment to let me know her decision. I encouraged her to go home and rest as it was probably going to be a long night/following day. 

 

Late afternoon on July 6, Maddie arrived at the hospital for her induction. I arrived shortly before 5 p.m. that evening to come up with a plan for the evening. Her provider came around 5:15 p.m. to check her cervix – she was 1cm dilated, 70% effaced, and baby was at -3 station. At this time, he administered Cytotec vaginally to help ripen and prepare her cervix. Soon after this was given, we started to do some labor warm up positions. We started with side-lying release, hands/knees with a jiggle, forward leaning inversion, and different birthing ball exercises. Maddie loves to go on walks, so she got the okay from her provider to go outside to walk and do some curb walking. She walked outside for 20-30 minutes, until she had to head back inside and get hooked back up to the monitors. She sat in a high thrones position with her knees out to open the pelvis and encourage that sweet babe to come down into the pelvis. 

 

At 7:40 p.m., Maddie was feeling tired and wanted to try resting while she could. At this point she was having contractions on the monitor every 4-5 minutes but wasn’t really able to feel them. I decided to go home for the night and try to get some rest myself. I gave her several positions to do throughout the night if she was able to or feeling up to it. I told her to call me if any questions come up or if her labor becomes more intense & she needs more support. 

 

At 10:30 p.m., the doctor checked in again since it had been over 4 hours since her first dose of Cytotec. Her cervical exam remained the same, but the provider stated her cervix was much softer. Maddie was then able to get some rest until about 3:00 a.m. When she woke up, she wanted to try and relax in the tub for a while. She was having contractions frequently, but not really feeling them. She was feeling quite nauseous, but this resolved with some peppermint oil and nausea medication. 

Around 5 a.m., I got an update that baby’s heart rate was starting to drop after each of the contractions. She had been in the tub for a while, so we were thinking she maybe just got a little too warm from being in the tub. Thankfully, this was able to resolve with a position change and an IV fluid bolus. 

 

Shortly before 7 a.m., her provider came back to check her cervix again and decide the next step. He checked her and at this point, her cervix was 2cm dilated, 80% effaced, and baby was still at -3 station. Maddie and her provider decided they would try to place a Foley bulb to facilitate more dilation. As her provider was placing this, her water broke! She continued to perform different position changes. After her water broke, things picked up rather quickly. An hour after the Foley bulb was placed, her nurse went to pull on it and it came out! Maddie’s contractions intensified greatly after this. She did an amazing job of breathing through each contraction. Austin was such a great support to her in this time. At 9:00 a.m., she opted for another cervical exam and she was 5cm dilated, 80% effaced, and 0 station! Baby had come down into her pelvis SO much. 

 

I arrived at 9:10 a.m. and she had just requested an epidural. She was lying on her side when I walked in – she was inwardly focused and coping so well with each intense contraction she was having. The room was set up with dim lights, soft Christian music playing and lavender diffusing. It was taking some time for the CRNA to come give her the epidural, so she decided to get up and go to the bathroom. Maddie was standing and swaying in the bathroom while Austin and I took turns giving her sacral counter pressure. She was so strong working through intense labor contractions. At 10:15 a.m., she was finally able to get her epidural and get relief. It only took her about 5 minutes after getting the epidural for her to fall asleep which just proves how hard she had been working. 

 

Maddie continued to do many different position changes in bed with a peanut ball to encourage baby to descend into the pelvis more. About an hour after she got the epidural, she was feeling more pressure. Her provider had come back to see how she was doing and checked her cervix again. To our surprise, she was 8cm dilated, 100% effaced, and +1 station! Everyone was so relieved to hear that Maddie’s body had continued to progress without any more interventions. She liked laying on her side, so she went into a side-lying position with the peanut ball in between her ankles to open the outlet of her pelvis. After being in this position for a while, baby’s heart rate started to drop abruptly with each contraction. Her provider was called to bedside to perform a cervical exam. At noon, she was 9cm dilated, 100% effaced, and +1 station. 

 

She then went into a hands/knees position in the bed with her knees together. The pressure really became intense here and she was started to feel pushy! Around 12:30, she requested another cervical exam where she was 9.5cm dilated, 100% effaced, and +2 station. Baby was really starting to come down even farther into her pelvis causing all of that pressure. 


 

Maddie continued to move into several different positions; she gravitated towards hands/knees but would tire quickly and have to rest after doing that for so long. After laboring down some more, the provider came back at 2:15 p.m. to check her and she was complete! A short amount of time later, she began pushing. She started off in a tug of war position, which she loved. I could tell right from the beginning Maddie was going to be amazing at pushing. However, 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. She went back and forth between side-lying positions with the peanut ball to hands/knees several times while pushing. 

 

She then wanted to try a high thrones/squatting position while pushing. She enjoyed being able to lean into all the pressure she was feeling. After a little over two hours of pushing, their sweet baby was finally here! After a little bit of time, Maddie looked over to Austin and asked if the baby was a boy or a girl. Austin was able to announce, “It’s a girl!” where Maddie replied, “I know!” with such a relieved look on her face. 

 

Ayda James

7lbs 6 oz

Born July 7, 2023, at 4:29 p.m.

 

Maddie and Austin, it was such an honor being a part of Ayda’s incredible birth story. This will forever hold a special place in my heart. It was such a blessing to get to know you both in a short amount of time and be there for such a life-changing moment. Your love for each other was so evident throughout pregnancy and birth. Maddie, I am so proud of you of how you brought sweet Ayda into this world.  I will cherish these sweet memories forever! 

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Braylin Harper
July 2, 2023

When Kenli reached out in early in her second pregnancy for doula services I was so excited! Kenli is my sister and law and the birth of her daughter in July of 2021 was my first ever doula baby!

 

Kenli had an unmedicated physiological birth with her first daughter, and was hoping for the same thing with this birth. She had a few appointments with a family practice provider and began to feel a tug in her heart for an undisturbed homebirth, and decided to meet with the midwives at Promise Community Health Center. After her first consult, Kenli and Dalton decided that this was the birth God was calling them too!

 

The weeks leading up to their daughter’s birth Kenli was staying active chasing her daughter Whitlee as well as regular chiropractic care, eating dates, and daily walks. Everything was going smoothly and soon Kenli’s due date came and went. Kenli and Dalton waited patiently for their baby girl to make her arrival whenever she was ready.

 

On Sunday morning, July 2, Kenli woke up around 2:30-3:00 with some mild cramps and her stomach was feeling a bit off. She tried resting, but around 3:30 felt that she wasn’t able to lay down and decided to get up and move around. She was having low back pains that were rounding around to the front and causing some mild cramping. These continued to go on irregularly and Kenli was somewhat uncomfortable. She texted me around 4:50 am to let me know that she was cramping and wondering if there was anything else she could try. I didn’t hear her text, and so she decided to call me at 5:00 a.m. She said she was having some back cramps leading around to the front and were wondering if she should try anything to keep them coming. We discussed taking a shower and then maybe trying to rest if possible. She hung up and we were texting back and forth. She decided that she didn’t feel like resting and decided to try walk on the treadmill. Kenli’s plan was to walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes and then try taking a shower. After walking for a minute or two on the treadmill Kenli texted me at 5:16 that she was going to get off because it brought on a pretty intense contraction. At this point Kenli still didn’t really feel as if she was in labor and was feeling good working through the cramping pains.

 

At 5:25 a.m. Kenli texted me that her pains that she was feeling where getting much more intense. They were still starting in her back but wrapping around very low. She was feeling pretty weak after a few and decided to try eat and drink something small to give her energy.

 

At 5:30 a.m. she texted me that she had a contraction that definitely lasted 1 minute long. I encouraged her to start getting the tub filled up. She said her contractions were feeling so low down. Kenli says that this is the point where she actually felt like this might be real labor. Kenli started to feel a bit weak and shaky and texted me at 5:40 that she was ready for me to come over and that she was going to call the midwife. I had already gotten up and was getting ready because I felt that her labor was definitely progressing from her texts!

 

I arrived to Kenli and Dalton’s house at 5:55 a.m. and found Kenli on hands and knees sitting on the floor of their living room. Dalton was working hard to get the tub set up and filling it with warm water. I quickly set up my lights and soft Christian music, and turned down their living room lights. Kenli had a few contractions in the living room on hands and knees and while I provided sacral pressure. After those few contractions, Kenli started to bear down at the end of the contractions. At this point, I looked at Dalton and said, “Ummm, where are the towels just in case?”

 

At 6:10 a.m. We moved to the bedroom in case the midwife wasn’t going to be able to make it for the delivery. Kenli continued standing/squatting and leaning over the edge of the bed while squeezing Dalton’s hand during contractions. I placed chucks pads and towels underneath Kenli as we noticed some more blood and fluid leaking. At the end of every contraction, Kenli bore down. She wasn’t fully pushing, but just working with and listening to what her body was telling her to do.

 

Kari, the midwife, arrived at 6:20 a.m. and came in to the bedroom calmly and quietly. She watched Kenli through 1 contraction and listened to baby with the Doppler. Baby was sounding great! At this point, the tub was 3/4 filled up, and Kari encouraged Kenli that if she wanted a water birth, now was the time to move to the tub. A water birth was something Kenli was really desiring! So after her contraction passed, we all helped guide Kenli into the tub. She got in the tub at 6:26 a.m. and was able to lean over the edge of the tub and relax her body in between contractions. She felt that the water helped take the edge off of the pressure she was feeling. When a contraction came, she squeezed both of Dalton’s and bore down, listening to her body. After her 2nd contraction in the tub, she asked the midwife to check her. Kari giggled and said “I don’t need to check you hun, you are going to have this baby soon!”

 

Kenli’s mom arrived to pick up their daughter Whitlee at approximately 6:30 a.m. and quietly sat down on the couch observing. She says that she was amazed “how calm and peaceful everything was!” Kenli was still leaning over the edge of the pool holding on to Dalton’s hands in a side lunge, and gave one big push and the baby’s head appeared! She took a second to breathe and waited for her body to have another contraction. Kenli’s mom and I stood beside the tub and rubbed her back while we both had tears in our eyes!  A few moments later, with her next contraction Kenli roared her baby earth side! Kari helped gently guide the baby out mostly out, but immediately said-

 

“Now reach down and grab your baby!”

 

Kenli reached into the water and brought her own baby to her chest and leaned back with relief and repeated “My baby, thank you Jesus! Oh my baby!”

 

Braylin Harper

born July 2nd, 2023 at 6:40 a.m.

8lbs 8 oz and 22 inches long

 

Minutes later, the Promise nurse came in quietly and said, “Good morning! Congratulations! Looks like I missed it!”

 

Braylin was born in the water, in the intimate space of her own home, surrounded by love and support. She came quickly and in her own unique way. Kenli listened to her God given instincts and chose not to fear birth, but embrace it. Minutes after Braylin was born, Whitlee got to meet her baby sister. She may not understand the power of that moment right now, but will someday see the amazing example her mom has set for her. Birth is so sacred and intimate, and even more special when it be shared with the ones you love. Kenli, I am so proud of you for believing in yourself and your ability to give birth! I am always in awe of how powerful laboring mothers are! Thank you for inviting me in to Braylin’s birth space and it will always hold a special space in my heart!

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Lyncoln Anne
May 29, 2023

Lyncoln made a fast and furious entrance into the world, but Nathan and Jackie made an amazing team!


For the birth of their third child, Nathan and Jackie felt home-birth was the best choice for their birth. They met with the midwives at Promise and immediately felt confident in their decision! Jackie started preparing her body for birth in the third trimester and worked hard to get Lyncoln in a good position! At Jackie’s 38-week appointment, the midwife felt that baby girl was very low and lined up perfectly. She had gone into labor around 39ish weeks with their 2nd child, so they decided to get the tub set up and the basement ready to go for the birth just in case baby girl decided to make an early appearance! Jackie stayed active throughout the last few weeks of pregnancy and continued to feel great! She never slowed down and was staying super active, along with going for a walk nearly every day. Soon week 40 rolled around and Jackie was still feeling great! She updated me that she was busy doing all the activities at the Tulip festival and wasn’t having any contractions. On Saturday after a busy day of parades and rides, Jackie made a pedicure appointment. She hoped that this would send her into labor as it had with her son. We stayed in touch throughout the evening and it seemed as if nothing was happening.


Another week went on, now Jackie was 41 weeks! She was continuing to stay active and curb walking daily. She was seeing her chiropractor twice weekly along with doing acupressure. She was chugging red raspberry leaf tea and getting prenatal massages. We texted frequently throughout this week as everyone patiently waited for baby girl to make her arrival. Jackie had seen her midwife at a little over 41 weeks and discussed stripping her membranes to see if that would kick start labor. They did a fetal nonstress test and everything turned out great, so Jackie decided against the membrane sweep for the time being. On Saturday, May 27th, Jackie’s parents came into town to stay for a few days. They had a busy Saturday and spent a good day together as a family. Jackie had discussion with the midwife and decided that if she still didn’t have the baby by Sunday, she was going to take the Midwives Brew to attempt to induce labor.


On Sunday May 28th, Nathan and Jackie ate a big breakfast and got to spend the day with family. She texted me and told me she was planning on taking the Midwives Brew between 3-4pm. They sent the kids overnight with her parents and were able to spend the evening hanging out! Jackie took the Midwives Brew around 6:30 p.m.. Nathan decided he was going to take it, too! Which if you know Nathan, this was not surprising... ;-) Jackie went for a walk and took a nice long bath to help relax. She also had Nathan give her a good foot massage to try to massage the oxytocin pressure points. I texted Jackie around 9 p.m. to see how things were going, and she told me not much had changed and she was still feeling great! I decided to head to bed and told her to call me during the night if things changed!


The next part of the story is a whirlwind!


Jackie told me that her and Nathan were watching a movie, and around 12:15 a.m. she felt her stomach “gurgling.” At 12:30 a.m. is the first type of cramping that she thought that maybe could have been a contraction. At 12:42 a.m. is when Jackie timed her first actual contraction on her contraction counter. At 1:02 a.m. I heard my phone “ping” and I knew it was a text from Jackie. She texted and said that she was having contractions that started roughly 30 minutes prior. They were only 35-40 seconds long and coming somewhat irregularly, and that she would call me if things got more intense. I encouraged her to rest if she was able, but this was awesome news! We texted back and forth for approximately 10 minutes, and she felt that they were starting to come more regularly and closer together.


At 1:17 a.m. Jackie texted that her water broke “everywhere.” I told her to beware that the next contractions could be much more intense with her water no longer intact.
 

1:27 a.m. She texted that she was leaking fluid with every contraction and that contractions were not slowing down at all.
 

1:29 a.m. Jackie said they were getting much more intense, and she was definitely sure this was the real deal.
 

1:31 a.m. Jackie told me she was ready for me to head over to her house. I quick got up, got dressed, and put my contacts in.
 

1:41 a.m. Jackie calls me and she says, “I am feeling very pushy with these contractions.” I literally ran out the door frantically as I had a 25-minute drive to her house. At this time Nathan also called Kari the midwife and updated her that Jackie was feeling pushy as she had a bit of a drive, too.
 

1:46 a.m. She sent a screenshot of her contractions and rated them as “angry face” and asked my ETA.
 

1:48 a.m. She texted her contractions were feeling soooo pushy! I encouraged her to keep breathing and her body would push when it was ready.

According to Jackie, at this point she and Nathan realized that they may possibly be delivering this baby by themselves! She was standing and swaying in the bathroom and Nathan had placed some towels underneath of her.


1:53 a.m. Jackie texted me “Thank you, see you shortly!”


Right at this time Jackie said she reached down and could feel baby’s head was just about to come out. Nathan called Kari on the phone just as Jackie pushed Lyncoln’s head out! Kari was almost there and told Nathan to get some towels ready!


At 1:55 a.m. Jackie reached down and grabbed her baby, while Nathan swept his hands under Jackie’s with towels, and they were able to deliver their daughter together! Jackie says that she was holding Lyncoln in front her, and they were both gazing at her in awe! Lyncoln was staring right back at them, calmly and peacefully. Jackie and Nathan were amazed and empowered at what they had just done! Kari came running down the stairs right at that moment and was excited to see Lyncoln so bright eyed! She helped Jackie take off her shirt to do skin-to-skin with their new daughter.

I arrived at 2:00 a.m. and was quickly trying to grab my lights out of my car and Kari was opening her trunk on the driveway to grab her bags. She said to me, “Don’t bother with your lights. She’s here. It’s a girl!” I was so shocked!


I helped her carry her bags downstairs and she directed me to the bathroom. Here Jackie was standing, holding her brand new baby to her chest and beaming! She was so amazed with herself and basking in a powerful moment of delivering her own baby!
I smiled and thought to myself, women are absolutely incredible, and birth is such a gift from God!

Lyncoln Anne 

May 29th, 2023 1:55 a.m.
8lbs 6oz

We helped get Jackie cleaned up and tucked in bed. Her and Nathan were able to snuggle with brand new Lyncoln! She was perfect in every way! Nathan stated that Lyncoln’s middle name, Anne, was after Jackie’s grandma who had passed, and that it turned out her birthday was also May 29! So they shared birthdays and a middle name, which as Jackie says, “Was definitely a God wink!”

Jackie’s labor was a fast, empowering experience where her and Nathan leaned into each other and God’s unique plan for Lyncoln’s birth! Nathan was so supportive and never panicked when they realized they may have to deliver their own baby. He stayed by her side (except to keep checking on the birth pool..;-)) throughout Jackie’s precipitous labor. I didn’t get to be there for the actual birth, but I am so thankful I got to be there immediately postpartum! Jackie, I so admire your strength and determination! You were amazingly patient in waiting until 41 weeks and 6 days gestation for Lyncoln’s birth story to unfold in its own uniqueness! Your whole family was a such a blessing to get to know throughout the pregnancy journey!

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Willa Grace
May 21, 2023

The birth story of Willa Grace really started almost 2 years prior, in the birth of her brother Landon. I had the great honor of being a part of Landon’s birth as well. It was a beautiful, fast delivery. No less than 2 hours after delivery, Nicole looked at me and said, “I could have done this in my own bathtub”. The seed of desire to have a home birth was planted for Nicole after that. Fast forward to this past September, when I received a text of a positive pregnancy test from Nicole. She was pregnant with her third baby, and it was a bit of a surprise to say the least. Nicole and I talked frequently about the timing of this pregnancy not being on her exact timeline, but being in God’s. She felt the calling that God was somehow going to use this pregnancy and birth in a beautiful way.

Nicole’s desire for a home birth was still there when she found out she was pregnant. However, knowing her husband wasn’t fully on board with the idea, she went back to the same hospital and provider she used for her two previous pregnancies / births. As her pregnancy progressed, the desire to have a home birth continued to grow. Nicole began researching home birth and physiologic birth more and more. She continued to feel a tugging from the Lord, calling her not to fear birth, but rather, use it to glorify Him in the beautiful, natural process of birth He created. Nicole was torn, and wrestled with these feeling for weeks. After two positive hospital birth experiences and having a provider she enjoyed, she still had an unsettling feeling about her birth plan. Nicole began to bring up these feelings with her husband, and eventually asked him if together, they could meet with a home birth midwife to help answer some questions. She hoped this would bring them the clarity they needed. Around 32 weeks of pregnancy, after meeting with midwife Kari at Promise, both Nicole and Jordyn felt peace in their heart that a home birth was the right direction they wanted to go for their birth.

Throughout the last weeks of Nicole’s pregnancy, we prepared for a peaceful, surrendered, worship-filled home birth. Hearing Nicole’s many stories of the Lord’s calling to use pregnancy and birth as a form of worship was convicting and clearly a true desire from the Lord. We spoke frequently about letting this birth be undisturbed as much as possible, trusting the natural process of birth that doesn’t need interventions when “normal”.

Nicole continued through her last weeks of pregnancy, and actually got to see her due date come and go for the first time. Both previous pregnancies, Nicole went into labor a day or two before her due date, so this was already a change for her. This didn’t phase Nicole one bit. Her baby would come when her baby was ready. There was already so much peace surrounding Nicole, the baby, and this birth experience.

On Sunday, May 21, 4 days after her “guess date”, Nicole texted me in the morning that she was starting to lose her mucus plug, had some bloody show, and some mild cramping. Nicole went to church and rested throughout the afternoon waiting to see what the day would bring. With her last two births, she went into labor each time within 12 hours of losing her mucus plug, so we knew there was a good chance this could be the real deal. Around 3:30pm, Nicole texted me again that she was having mild contractions, ranging from 5-10 minutes. She continued to try resting through this early start of labor, not knowing how the evening would progress. Over the next couple hours, the contractions continued to intensify and grow closer together. When she let me know her husband was heading to drop the boys off to their grandma, I knew I would be heading over to their house soon. I was at a prior commitment at the time, but thankfully I was able to find a way to sneak away to Nicole’s house. I arrived around 7pm to Nicole walking around between contractions, helping her husband set up their birth space. We got the lights hung, the worship music on, written bible verses hung up, and the birth pool filled. We were all excited for the birth of this baby. Nicole and I sat and talked about how she was feeling, not just physically, but mostly mentally and spiritually about this labor and delivery. We talked through some ideas about what to do throughout labor to keep things progressing. Nicole walked the stairs, did lunges, stretched on hands and knees, and swayed through contractions over the next hour or so. Her midwife Kari arrived around 8pm, checked on the baby with the doppler, and then let Nicole keep doing her thing. Nicole swayed through more contractions while I offered counter pressure. Nicole began yawning frequently and felt pretty tired, so we suggested she try resting in bed. We had her use the peanut ball while Jordyn cuddled and rested in bed with her. The midwife and I hung out in the kitchen, letting them have some time to themselves. After about 30 minutes, Nicole was feeling ready to get into the birth pool. The warm water felt amazing for Nicole, helping her feel super relaxed. She was so relaxed that her contractions actually began to space out.

At her last birth, once Nicole got into the tub, her labor progressed quickly and she delivered an hour after getting in. Nicole was sort of thinking that would happen again and was confused when that wasn’t the case. I reminded her that each labor is unique and unfolds at its own pace. The baby would come whenever the baby decided to come. After a bit more time in the tub, trying different positions to keep contractions going, the midwife suggested she get out and try moving around again to see if contractions would pick up. As soon as Nicole was up and moving again, contractions were back to 3 minutes apart. Nicole continued to move around the house: lunging on the stairs, bouncing on the ball, on hands and knees, and standing, leaning over Jordyn while I offered sacral counter pressure. Around 10:45pm, Nicole was ready to get into the birth pool again. Jordyn sat behind her, outside the tub, offering sacral counter pressure. But before we knew it, Jordyn was in the pool too, holding Nicole and offering her massages and words of encouragement. Contractions were coming not too close together but close enough that they were getting much more intense. There was a clear change in Nicole’s breathing and focus. We knew the birth would be soon. I was sitting in front of Nicole while she was in the tub, offering words of affirmation and reciting verses from the bible she had picked out to be encouragement throughout labor. Nicole began to get shaky and moan through her contractions. Her breathing changed as she was breathing her baby lower. I asked Jordyn to say a prayer over Nicole and his baby before the delivery. It was a beautiful, intimate moment of surrender to the Lord before the birth of Willa.

Nicole worked through a couple more strong contractions. She was leaning forward on her knees with her arms over the front of the pool when she began to feel Willa’s head start to deliver. She then pushed up into more of a squat, and laid back into Jordyn as Willa’s head delivered. Nicole’s contraction was over, so she rested in Jordyns arms, waiting for her body to be ready to push again to fully deliver Willa. Nicole breathed calmly and listened to her body, knowing this was a part of normal physiologic birth called restitution. Allowing the baby to rotate and fit their shoulders through the birth canal better. Nicole listened to her body and waited until the peak of her next contraction to push. She delivered Willa Grace at 11:20pm.

Her midwife helped bring Willa to Nicole’s chest, and she was awake and wide eyed right away!

We all cried tears of joy for this child of God. Nicole and Jordyn sat in the tub, admiring their  beautiful baby. After a few minutes had passed we realized we still needed to know whether this baby was a girl or boy! Kari pulled back the towel, and I don’t think I hid my big smile very well. That gave it away that IT’S A GIRL!

 

Willa was wide eyed, taking in her new world while snuggled up with her mom and dad. She latched right away to breastfeed. Willa's birth was filled with peace, strength, worship, and surrender. What an honor to be a small piece in a beautiful birth like this. Nicole and Jordyn,  thank you for welcoming me back into your birth space. I have said it over and over again, God had a bigger plan making us neighbors and now friends. He had a plan to use each of us in each others’ lives to grow His kingdom. I believe this is just a small piece of the Lord’s greater plans for Willa’s life. I can’t wait to see what else He has in store.

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Clara Jean
May 19, 2023

Clara’s birth was a whirlwind of 3 days that started with a “failed” induction, to a natural physiological labor and delivery!

 

On Tuesday, May 16, Katie had her 37 week OB appointment and had had a pretty significantly elevated blood pressure. She was also having some swelling in her feet, so the midwife decided to run labs. Her labs were borderline, so the decision was made to induce Katie on Tuesday. Katie called me to update me with this decision.

 

After 1 dose of cytotoxic and an overnight stay, Katies blood pressures leveled out. The next morning they re-drew labs and decided to send her home and recheck labs/blood pressures on Friday.

 

Thursday night Katie went for a walk to her dad’s house when her water broke! This was at 5pm and Katie was 37weeks at 4 days pregnant. She texted me at 8:00pm that they were getting ready to head to Sioux Falls (1.5hours away). At this point she was not really contracting or having any bleeding, but decided to get checked out. We agreed we would see how things progressed when she got up to Sioux Falls. Once there and they were settled, hopefully everyone would be able to get a little bit of sleep.

 

When Katie got to Sioux Falls and checked in, the midwife confirmed that her water had for sure broken. She was 2.5cm dilated and soon she started contracting. I encouraged her to get up and move if she felt like it, but should try rest if possible as it may be a little while. I got a call from her husband at 1:45 a.m. that things were definitely progressing and they were ready for more support!

 

I arrived to Katies room at 3:30 a.m. where she was sitting on the edge of the bed. She was able to talk to me, but when she had a contraction she need her husband rubbing her back and was needing to breathe through it. The midwife had checked her cervix a few hours ago and she was 4cm dilated and baby was high. I suggested that maybe Katie could try resting in a flying cowgirl position to see if we could encourage baby to engage more in the pelvis. She was able to do this for a contraction or so, but she was having horrible hip pain and the hard hospital bed was not helping. The most comfortable for her was lying back and resting. She was able to breathe through and rest as she was exhausted from being up all night. After allowing for rest, I suggested that we get up and use the toilet for a few positions while the tub filled. Katie was contacting every 3 minutes during this time.

 

She was able to empty her bladder and labored straddling the toilet for a few contractions. She then got in the tub and was able to really fully relax! She loved the tub throughout the labor process and was able to cope much better with contractions. Her husband was able to hold her hand and they both dozed off in between contractions. After about an hour and a few position changes, Katie was ready to head back to the bed and try rest. At 5:30 a.m. the midwife came and checked her and she was 6cm dilated and 90% effaced. This was very encouraging that her cervix was so thinned out! Once back in bed, she found that resting on her side was most comfortable. We utilized the peanut ball but Katie was still having a lot of difficulty coping with the hip pain on the hard bed. Her husband Chris, was able to help with the pain by pushing on her hip during contractions but she was still quite miserable. We attempted to put pillows under her hips, along with a variety of things to try get her comfortable with no success. It was then Katie decided to get back in the tub again for relief. Once in the tub, she was able to go on hands and knees while running warm water on her back. She was most comfortable laying back and letting the jets massage her back and hips. This is the position that allowed her for the most relaxation. We continued to move her legs in different positions to help baby continue to descend in the pelvis.

 

At little before 7:15 a.m., Katie had decided to get out of the tub and go back to the bed. While resting in bed she continued to have hip pain that she was having difficulty coping with and decided she wanted to be checked again. The midwife came in and said that she was now 6.5 cm dilated and felt that baby was just a little bit mal-positioned. She discussed all different pain options with Katie and her and Chris decided for IV fentanyl.

 

The IV was placed and Katie received one dose at approximately 7:50. This was enough relief for her to allow for her to get in to a different position to facilitate baby to turn. Katie was extremely exhausted and with the help of her husband and I we were able to get her into a modified forward leaning inversion. We were also able to put the bed in trendelenburg while I “shook the apples” with my rebozo. She was able to tolerate this through a few contractions but then her knees started getting numb. She laid back on her side, and where we were able to do a slight side lying release through a few contractions. Katie was continuing to breathe through each contraction, but they were become more intense! We also began to notice more bloody show when Katie changed her position. I encouraged Katie to dig deep and muster up strength to move one more time. With assistance of me, the nurse and her husband, she was able to get to hands and knees leaning over the peanut ball. She could some what relax this way since she was supported on the peanut ball. After a few contractions in this position, Katie had more bleeding and started to feel pushy. She was also beginning to bear down with contractions. The midwife came in and checked her approximately 8:45 a.m. and she had a very small anterior lip of her cervix left. Katie was breathing amazingly through contractions! She breathed through a few more and soon was actively pushing! At 8:55 a.m. the midwife called her complete and baby’s head was far down. She started pushing on hands and knees and pushed this way for some time before her knees and legs were becoming numb. Katie then rolled to her side and tried some side pushing, followed by some back pushing. The midwife was wonderful and encouraged Katie to listen to her body and never once forced her into a certain position. Pushing is a 2 steps forward and one step back when you are a first time mom, and Katie was pushing amazingly! She soon found lying on her side with Chris supporting her neck and back, while doing tug-of-war with me and my rebozo, with nurse holding her knee was working great! She gave a few super strong pushes this way and really was making progress! With the last strong push Katie was able to slow her pushing efforts and the midwife guided Clara out easily with minimal tearing!

 

Clara Jean

born May 19, 2023  at 10:09 a.m.

weighing 5lbs 14 oz

 

After birth, Katie had a fair amount of bleeding. She opted for IV Pitocin but the midwife encouraged the Methergine shot also. This was given with very deep and frequent fundal massage. But this was very quickly under control and Katie tolerated this well.

 

Katie worked so hard in preparing her body for labor! She ate dates, chased by peanut butter faithfully. She stayed active and kept her goal as unmedicated delivery at the fore front of everything that she was doing to prepare! Chris and Katie were a great team and worked so hard together! I am so proud of Katie and her perseverance through exhaustion and whirlwind of events leading up to Clara’s birth! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of Clara’s birth!

Myles Matthew
May 14, 2023

Chyan reached out in early pregnancy in hopes of attempting a successful TOLAC (trial of labor after cesarean). Chyan had one prior pregnancy/delivery that ended in a C-section. She questioned whether the outcome would be different with a new provider and a doula. Chyan did all the research to give her the best chance at a vaginal delivery. Makenna worked with Chyan throughout her pregnancy to help prepare and educate her on all the options available for birth. We were so excited she was working with one of our favorite providers who not only loves promoting physiologic birth but also working with doulas. In the weeks leading up to her due date, Chyan was having a good amount of Braxton Hicks contractions which led us to thinking she would deliver before her “guess date”.

 

On Mother’s Day, at 38 weeks and 3 days, Chyan went into labor. Unfortunately Makenna was out of town and unable to make it so I had the opportunity to support Chyan during labor. Chyan had started labor early Sunday morning and got to the hospital around 7:30. She had a cervical check and was already 5-6cm dilated. I quickly got ready and hopped in the car to head to hospital. I arrived to the hospital around 9am and Chyan was in the tub breathing so well through her contractions. I hadn’t met Chyan or her husband previously so I quickly introduced myself, then squatted next to Chyan while offering words of affirmation and tips to help stay calm and relaxed through the intensifying contractions. Over the 40 minutes as I was supporting Chyan in the tub, it was clear things were progressing well and we were getting close to complete. At 9:40am, Chyan was feeling ready to get out and move around. She was beginning to feel a lot of lower pressure at this point. As she got out of the tub, Chyan’s water broke! There was just a little bit of fluid so at first we weren’t sure whether or not it was her water but her baby’s head was acting like a cork, not allowing a lot of fluid out. Chyan moved slowly to the bed — needing to stop, lean over, and sway through contractions many times. The nurse asked to check Chyan to see if they needed to call the doctor for delivery. Chyan could barely imagine having to lay on her back for a check but she managed to get there and we were so excited when the nurse said she was complete at 10am. Chyan got out of bed again and swayed at the bedside, leaning over and bending her knees through contractions while I offered some sacral counter pressure through contractions.

 

At 10:25am, her doctor came in. Chyan was working hard standing and squatting through her contractions. He came in calmly and asked how she was doing. I asked if he was okay with her standing and squatting instead of getting back into bed. His response was “Of course, if that’s what’s working for her, it works for me”. So he put on his gloves and took a seat on the ground. Chyan was feeling at lot of pressure so we encouraged her to try bearing down through her contractions to see if it would feel better to push through the intensity. Chyan squatted down through her contractions and pushed so strongly. Her doctor checked to make sure she was complete while she did this and she was. Chyan continued to push standing up, squatting down, and occasionally hiking one leg up in a runners start position which is awesome for making room for the baby to come down. After doing this for a little over an hour, Chyan was getting tired of standing and wanted a different option for pushing. So we suggested hands and knees on the bed. Chyan crawled into bed and leaned back through contractions to push while I offered counter pressure to her sitz bones to help guide her pushing. After about another hour of pushing like this, her doctor checked again to see what progress was made. There was some small progress but not as much as he was hoping to see after 2 hours of pushing without an epidural. He explained to Chyan that he wanted to give her the best chance at a vaginal delivery, trying all the things to help her achieve that. He felt that her pelvis was probably smaller and we had to keep that in mind after her previous c-section. He suggested an epidural at this point to help relax her pelvic floor. He told Chyan that he thought her pelvic floor was still quite tight through pushes and since we hadn't made a ton of progress yet, maybe some pelvic floor relaxation could help things along. Although it wasn’t part of Chyan’s original birth plan, she decided this was a good idea considering how things were going.

By 12:30, Chyan’s epidural was in and shortly after, she was comfortable. I then ran out to grab some lunch for her husband Jared and I. When I got back, Chyan was lightly resting and Jared was napping on the couch. Clearly this rest was needed all around! I had Chyan change positions in bed about every 30 minutes to keep her pelvis moving in hopes of helping the baby move down. We did some closed knees with the peanut ball and exaggerated runners.

 

Around 3pm, the nurse came in and checked Chyan. She said the baby had possibly descended a bit and her pelvic floor seemed more relaxed with the epidural. She also talked to Chyan about starting some Pitocin. Since receiving the epidural, her contractions had spaced out. Her doctor wanted to keep those strong regular contractions going to keep things progressing. Once again, this was something Chyan originally didn’t want as part of her birth plan, however, she wanted her best chance at a vaginal delivery. So she consented to the Pitocin.

 

We decided it was time to try all the positions to help this baby descend. We started with a side-lying release for 20 minutes on each side to help relax her pelvic floor. From there we went into a forward leaning inversion with a rebozo booty shake. We then did Walcher’s for 20 minutes with the nurse in hopes to help baby drop. This whole process took nearly two hours. Chyan wanted to sit up after all of that so we sat the bed all the way up, lowered the bottom of the bed so it functioned like a chair, and then sat the birth ball on the bottom of the bed so that she could lean forward onto it.

 

At 6:10pm, Chyan’s doctor came back so we could try pushing again. Her doctor checked the position of the baby. There was little descent from before the epidural but we had to try pushing with the epidural before we were ready to call that vaginal birth wasn’t going to happen. Her doctor was SO patient and wanted to give Chyan every possible chance to have the baby vaginally if possible. She first started pushing with tug of war position. We all encouraged Chyan and she was SUCH a strong pusher. After pushing like this for about 30 minutes, we switched things up to squatting. Chyan had a lot of strength in her legs even with her epidural. So for the first few squat pushes, she got all the way off the bed and did a full deep squat. These were great pushes but with the strength required, Chyan got tired quickly. So we then switched things up slightly to squat pushing while seated in the bed the whole time. Sitting at the edge of the bed, holding onto the squat bar, and pushing down. Chyan got the hang of this position quickly and really enjoyed pushing like this. She wanted to keep pushing this way over any other position, so we did this till her doctor came back at 7pm.

 

When Chyan’s doctor came back, he felt that this baby was probably a tight fit and delivery without some help may not happen. Her doctor talked through the use of a vacuum assisted delivery to assist Chyan’s pushing efforts and help bring the baby down. Chyan consented to this intervention in hopes this was her chance for a vaginal delivery. Her doctor placed the vacuum and Chyan pushed with all she had. The policy at this hospital for vacuum deliveries is the vacuum cannot be on the infants head for longer than 20 minutes. Her doctor was able to keep the vacuum on with on 1 pop off for the whole 20 minutes but with each push/pull, the baby would move down, then move back up, not staying lower in the pelvis. When the 20 minutes were up, we all felt we had exhausted all our options and C-section was now the safest option for Chyan and her baby.

 

Thankfully Chyan’s baby had looked healthy the whole time throughout labor. So the nurses and doctors were able to take more time prepping for the C-section while letting Chyan and her husband process everything that was going on. Around 9pm, Chyan was wheeled off to C-section.

 

Myles Matthew

Born Mothers Day May 14, 2023 at 9:32pm

weighing 7lbs 2oz

Healthy and sweet as can be!

 

This birth story wasn’t the dream Chyan had for her birth, but it was a story of determination and strength. This birth story goes to show the importance of women knowing they did everything they could for their baby in the labor and delivery process. Chyan, I believe you can come away saying that. You did everything “right” when it comes to labor. You did all the education and prep-work, and you moved gracefully through labor while trying each option. There are times when everything is done “correctly” but things still don’t go as we plan. This is where medical intervention is a great tool, when necessary, to help bring our babies into the world. Chyan, I want you to know how proud I am of you. I hope you can be proud of your story bringing sweet Myles into the world!

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Ellis Talmid
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.

 

Ellis Talmid

Born May 12 at 7:16am

8lbs 6oz

 

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.

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Maya Grace
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!

 

Maya Grace

born May 6th, 2023 at 6:17 a.m.

6lbs 10oz

 

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!

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Benson Lee
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. 

Benson Lee

8lbs 0oz

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!

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Tulsa Mae
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!

Tulsa Mae

6lbs 15oz

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!

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Hayden Jean
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!

 

Hayden Jean

born April 12th, 2023 at 1:22 p.m.

7lbs 12oz

 

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!

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Reese Christine
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.

Reese Christine

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!

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Tyson Michael
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!”

Tyson Michael

born March 27th, 2023  7:42 a.m.

8lbs 10oz

 

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!

Gaige Charles
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