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!
November 14th, 2023
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!
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."
November 2nd, 2023
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!
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.
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!
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.
October 27, 2023
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!
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
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!
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.
October 24, 2023
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!
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.
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.
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!
October 7th, 2023
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!
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.
Born September 27, 2023 at 4:57p.m.
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.
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.
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.
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!
September 21st, 2023
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!
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.
September 16th, 2023
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.”
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.
Born September 7 at 1:51 a.m.
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.
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!!”
born August 28, 2023 at 5:52 p.m.
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!
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
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!”
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!
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!
May 29th, 2023 1:55 a.m.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
May 12, 2023
It was an honor to be one of the first people to know of Jess’ pregnancy and to be asked to be a part of her birth as her doula. Jess prepared for her first pregnancy with plenty of researching and educating, stretching, eating dates, and drinking red raspberry leaf tea. Jess’ goal was to have as low intervention birth as possible, depending on how her labor process went.
Early in the morning of May 11th, the day after her guess date, Jess woke to some contractions. She was able to sleep in little spurts until around 5am when contractions were coming on stronger and regularly, not allowing Jess the opportunity to rest much more. Jess let me know she was in early labor around 8am. Once Caleb texted me back letting me know her contractions were close to 2 minutes apart, I knew it was probably a good idea for me to head over to their house. I arrived to their house around 11am to Jess puking over the toilet. Unfortunately, the nausea of the first trimester was back for her. Contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes but Jess was still able to talk between contractions and relax some. Jess naturally gravitated towards standing over her stair railing, moving her hips through contractions while Caleb offered to rub her back. Jess worked through her contractions beautifully. While we were at the house, we tried some different positions to help Jess relax and help baby descend into the pelvis. Jess used the birth ball, the birth sling, and the shower for the first few hours at home. After the shower, we decided to try a side-lying release. This position was SO intense for Jess that she couldn’t complete it so we switched to lying in bed in exaggerated runners position with the peanut ball while Caleb and I gave her foot rubs. She then went into a child's pose with rebozo sifting and finally, back to side-lying in their bed while Caleb cuddled her.
Around 2:00pm, Jess was feeling ready to move again and stood at the bedside swaying. Contractions were continuing to get stronger and Jess’ nausea was back. After discussion, Jess and Caleb decided they were ready to head to the hospital. Jess was ready for the magical labor tub. We arrived to the hospital around 3pm, and got into the labor room. The nurse monitored the baby while Jess hung on Caleb through contractions. I started the tub, set up the labor lights, and started the playlist of christian music to set the mood. When the tub was filled, Jess melted into the tub loving the warmth and buoyancy it offered. Contractions continued to grow but the tub was helping take the edge off. Just after 4pm, Jess’ doctor came in and asked if he could preform a cervical exam. Jess consented to getting one in the tub. Her cervix was 4cm dilated, super thin, and the baby was in the mid pelvis. Jess decided to stay in the tub to help her through contractions. Her contractions continued to grow in intensity. As they intensified, Jess began to move in the tub more through her contractions. She moaned through them and kept her hips moving. Moving one leg up or switching to hands and knees through contractions. I offered Jess a comb to squeeze in her hand to help distract her brain from the intensity of contractions. Jess had been in the tub for about 2 hours at this point so I suggested that she try standing through a few contractions for gravity to help out a bit. Jess stood through some contractions, hanging onto Caleb. He and I offered double hip squeezes and held the shower head so warm water would run down her back. After about another hour of this, Jess was feeling ready to get out of the tub. She slow danced with Caleb while she dried off then tried both side-lying and hands and knees positions on the bed. Caleb was by her side the whole time being the BEST support to Jess.
Around 8pm, Jess’ doctor came back and she asked to be checked again. Jess was now 6cm dilated. This was good progress but not as much as she was hoping for. Jess felt like her energy tank was getting low and felt she needed something to allow her body to rest in order to make it to the end. She asked for an epidural and while she waited for it to be ready, she had IV fentanyl to manage the pain. Jess continued to try to rest as best she could through these contractions while Caleb laid in bed with her to help her relax. By 9:30pm the epidural was in.
It took awhile to fully kick in and give her relief on both sides but after another 30 minutes, Jess was much more comfortable and able to relax much more. We continued with different position changes in the bed: side-lying with a peanut ball, seated squat, and hands and knees. At 10:35pm, Jess’ doctor came back to see how she was feeling after the epidural and also asked to check her cervix. Jess was now 8-9cm dilated. We were all excited for good progress with the epidural and decided to keep letting her body work.
We continued with some position changes and at 11:40pm we were preparing for a position change and looked at Jess’ pad, and to our surprise her water had broken! We’re still not sure exactly when that happened but her body was getting closer to being ready for delivery. Jess had a new boost of energy at this point and was chatting with all of us about all things birth and life.
At 1:23am, Jess’ doctor was back to check on her progress and she was completely dilated! Jess wasn’t feeling an urge to push at this time so she decided she was comfortable laboring down and resting while her body continued to contract and move her baby. We did positions to open the pelvic outlet to allow space for the baby to come out, hoping it would help move the baby down. Around 2:15am, Jess was in hands and knees position and was starting to feel more lower pressure with contractions and was wanting to try pushing. She also asked the nurse to turn down her epidural for pushing, hoping that she would be able to feel the pressure and contractions to help guide her. Initially, Jess pushed for awhile on hands and knees, then we started trying some different positions like tug of war and squatting.
3 hours later, around 5:15am, Jess was still pushing and feeling tired and worn out. Her doctor came in and felt that an anterior cervical lip had developed throughout the process of pushing. For the next little bit, her doctor used his fingers to push back the lip during pushes around the baby’s head. He was also able to give Jess good feedback that her pushes were strong and she was doing a great job pushing in the right spot. After about an hour of this, the cervical lip was gone but Jess’s baby was not moving much farther down. Her doctor talked about the options of a c-section or a vacuum delivery. Jess wanted to try everything before a c-section so she decided that the help from the vacuum would be a better option for her. She was starting to become more uncomfortable with her epidural turned down and vacuum deliveries can be very intense, so her birth team decided to bolus and turn up the epidural to allow her more comfort. Jess kept pushing while we waited for her to get more comfortable. This was also a great time for Jess to be able to ask questions and process this change in her birth plan. Around 7am, Jess and her birth team were ready to meet this baby. Her doctor placed the vacuum, which is like a little suction cup, to the baby’s head to help pull the baby out. With a vacuum, if the suction cup pops off 3 times without delivery, a C-section is indicated. Jess pushed hard with the help of her doctor and the vacuum. After a few pushes, the baby moved down but there was 1 pop off. We were still optimistic though because the baby had moved down and was making good progress. Jess pushed a couple more times and the same thing happened but the baby was moving down a ton! We were close. Her doctor would have to call a c-section if there was another pop off and the baby didn’t deliver, so he decided to also cut 2 internal episiotomies to allow more room in hopes to get this baby out vaginally. We encouraged Jess to give it all she had. With 3 more big pushes, Jess’ baby’s head delivered and quickly after, the rest of body did as well.
Born May 12 at 7:16am
Ellis came out pink and crying right away! A perfect baby boy! He was placed on Jess’ chest and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. After a couple minutes of cuddling Ellis, Jess started to feel light headed so the nurses took Ellis to the warmer and laid Jess down. Jess had lost a decent amount of blood after delivery and was starting to feel the effects of blood loss. She started to go in and out of consciousness, so her nurses and doctors started taking action calling for more help while taking vitals, giving medications, and monitoring her bleeding. Thankfully after a couple minutes, Jess was starting to feel better and her bleeding was slowing down. We all knew Jess “was back” to feeling better when she started asking all of us a hundred questions about what was going on. After some more time and the chaos in the room died down, Jess was able to hold Ellis again and enjoy those sweet baby snuggles.
Jess’ birth was intense and not exactly the dream birth she would have imagined but she took the twists and unknowns of labor and set aside her desires to do what was best for her baby. Jess truly is an amazing mother who would do anything for her little boy. It was a long, intense labor but it was an honor to walk through this experience with Jess and Caleb and see their love for each other and Ellis.
May 6, 2023
Maya was born on May 6th, 2023, exactly 355 days after her big sister on May 16th, 2022! I was so honored to get to be a part of Hilary and Austin’s first baby’s birth as the nurse for their daughter Ellie’s birth, almost exactly 1 year prior! So I was so excited when they reached to me for doula services!
Hilary worked hard in preparing her body for labor and choked down her dates religiously! She has stayed very active with their toddler and farm life. It definitely paid off when at her 38 week appointment, she was already 4cm dilated!
On May 5th, at 8:30 p.m. Hilary called me that she thought her water had broke! She had wanted to labor at home for awhile, but knowing she was 4cm dilated already and GBS positive, decided to head to the hospital. After Hilary got to the hospital, she had a cervical check at 10:15 pm and was 6cm dilated and baby was at 0 station. BUT her water had not actually broken. After discussion with her doctor, me and Austin, they decided they didn’t feel comfortable going home being 6cm dilated and would spend the night at the hospital. We discussed the importance of resting if possible!
Soon Hilary began having some contractions that were growing in intensity and she wasn’t able to lay down or rest anymore. These were about every 4-5 minutes.She decided that since she wasn’t sleeping anyways, that she wanted to have her water broken to see if it would speed up the process.
The doctor came in at 1:50 a.m., Hilary was still 6cm dilated and broke her water at this time. She texted me that she was still coping decently, but since I wasn’t really sleeping, decided to head to the hospital to support her and Austin.
I arrived at the hospital at 2:30 a.m. and her contractions seemed to have faded out a little after breaking her water. Walking did help bring on contractions, so I suggested her and Austin go up and down the stairs sideways (modified curb walking) to see if that would help encourage more contractions. While they walked, I set up the room with dim lights, soft Christian music, and lavender diffusing.
When they came back, she was having contractions back roughly every 6 minutes apart. She decided after walking she was ready to lay down and rest for awhile. She laid down and I assisted her to an exaggerated runners position for 30 minutes on one side and then she rolled over to the other side for approximately 30 minutes. During this time Austin was able to nap while I applied sacral pressure with contractions. Hilary was able to deeply relax and slightly dozed off in between contractions.
After resting for an hour, Hilary had to use the rest room and also felt like contractions were getting too intense to keep laying down for. I had her straddle to toilet and propped a stool under one foot to help the baby through the mid pelvis. This position is wonderful because it allows for rest and counter pressure to be applied from behind. Hilary was able to stay in control and breathed perfectly throughout these!
When Hilary was ready to get up and move again, I had her lean over the raised bed with a foot on a stool. With contractions I encouraged Hilary to work with each contraction and really lean into a lunge on the stool. She worked through contractions on the right side and then some on the left side. These started to get extremely intense, which was a great sign! Austin started getting the tub filled up as Hilary was ready for some more pain relief. While waiting for tub Hilary was able to squeeze Austin’s hands while I provided counter pressure. She was working so hard and really had to tune in to herself to focus on her breathing.
Once the tub was filled, Hilary quick emptied her bladder before getting in it. She got in the tub around 5:30 a.m.. Once inside, was able to lay back, relax, and close her eyes between contractions. After every contraction I reminded Hilary to relax her jaw and completely melt in to the back of the tub. She was able to squeeze Austins hand during these intense contractions and was breathing amazingly through them! I kept refreshing her cool washcloth on her face and helping her take sips of water. At one point during her time in the tub Austin went and grabbed a fresh cup of coffee. When he took it in the bathroom to keep holding her hand Hilary said “Austin I can not stand that smell of your coffee right now!” So he and I quickly moved our coffee out of the bathroom and I added some more lavender essential oils drops to the tub to help cover smell.
After a few more contractions Hilary started voicing that she felt she couldn’t go on much longer. She also told us that she felt like her belly was somewhat pushing during contractions. Austin and I looked at each other and knew that it was time to help Hilary out of the tub, as things were obviously progressing. We helped her dry off and she walked slowly to the bed. She decided she wanted a cervical exam to see where she was dilated and as she was feeling lots of pressure.
The doctor came in and checked her at 6:02 a.m. and she was 9cm dilated and baby was very low! Austin and I helped Hilary to a hands and knees position while leaning over the peanut ball to help get her cervix fully dilated. The next 15 minutes were intense! Hilary begged for an epidural, while Austin gently reminded her that it didn’t work last birth and that she that was almost there. After a few more contractions, Hilary’s body was definitely pushing. The nurse and I sat by the foot of the bed and waited for the doctor to arrive bedside. He got there and got his gloves on just as the baby’s head emerged! 1 more push and Hilary roared her baby earth side!
Austin announced so quietly to Hilary that at first she didn’t hear him say, “It’s a girl!” He repeated himself and Hilary cried with excitement in realization of another girl!
born May 6th, 2023 at 6:17 a.m.
Hilary worked SO hard prior to labor and through out the whole delivery process! I am so honored to have built our initial relationship as her nurse with their first, to getting to be her doula for their second! Austin’s love and support for Hilary during labor was so imminent. He knew just what to say to remind her how capable and powerful she actually was! Maya’s birth was so special and she will be very well LOVED by Austin, Hilary, and Ellie! Getting to work with your family was such a JOY! Thanks for inviting me to be a part of her birth! Being a doula is the best!
April 30, 2023
Shortly after finding out I was going to become a certified birth doula at the beginning of the year, Katie and Jerod reached out to me interested in doula and lactation services for some guidance through their first pregnancy. Right away I knew this birth would be so special to me as they are close friends of mine, so I was honored they welcomed me into their birth space.
Katie worked hard to prepare her body for labor. She ate her dates, drank a lot of red raspberry leaf tea, and stayed active throughout her pregnancy.
On Saturday, April 29, Katie had texted me she lost her mucous plug in the morning. Together we discussed that this was a great sign that her body was beginning to prepare for labor and that baby could decide to make his appearance at any time. Katie told me she was having some mild Braxton hicks contractions, but overall feeling great. I encouraged her to be active by going for a walk, stretching, and using different birthing ball positions to try and kick start labor. She was going to keep me updated throughout the rest of the weekend with how she was feeling.
Later that evening, my husband and I were at their house hanging out and playing some card games. I had gotten home shortly after midnight on Sunday, April 30 and went to sleep. To my surprise, I woke up to a phone call at 3:30 a.m. from Jerod telling me that Katie was experiencing some contractions! She had woken up at 2:30 a.m. to use the bathroom when her contractions started. She tried to rest and sleep some more, but the contractions seemed to only be getting stronger and closer together. We spent some time talking and agreed it would be best for me to come to her house first.
I arrived to their house at 4:15 a.m. where Katie was leaning over her kitchen counter and Jerod was giving counter pressure to her back. I could already tell he was going to be the best support person for Katie throughout labor. While Jerod was finishing packing some things & getting the hospital bags loaded in the car, I gave Katie some counter pressure to her back and helped her breathe through her intense contractions. She was so strong working through intense labor contractions in her back that were coming frequently. At 4:30 a.m., Katie and Jerod decided it was time to head to the hospital as things were getting quite intense.
Right when we got to the hospital, Katie was checking in when she told me her water had just broke spontaneously! While walking back to the OB department, she had to stop multiple times to focus and breathe through her contractions while Jerod applied counter pressure.
At 5:00 a.m., Katie had a test performed to confirm her water had broken and the test was positive! Right after this, she opted to have her cervix checked and she was 3cm dilated, 60% effaced, and baby was at -1 station. We were encouraged by this, but knew we had some work to do to get baby engaged into the pelvis. Katie decided she wanted an epidural at this time. Katie was most comfortable in a side-lying position while Jerod and I continued to take turns holding her hands, giving counter pressure, and squeezing her hips. Being in this position allowed her to rest in between her contractions as she had not gotten much sleep through the night. Katie was very much inwardly focused on her contractions and did such a great job breathing through each one of them. We had the lights dimmed and quiet Christian music playing. Jerod did such a great job encouraging her through each contraction and help her focus on her breathing. He always knew exactly what she needed and was quick to get it to her.
At 6:30 a.m., Katie was able to finally receive her epidural. After some time being able to get full pain relief on both sides, I was able to set up the lights and had peppermint diffusing. We used the peanut ball in bed to help baby come down into the pelvis. Her and Jerod were both able to get some much-needed sleep! Every 30-45 minutes, the nurse was able to help me move Katie into a different position to encourage continued descent with the use of the peanut ball.
At 11:00 a.m., Katie opted for another cervical exam to see how much progress she had made, and she was 9.5cm dilated, 90% effaced, and -1 station! The nurse stated that she could feel a fore-bag of water. At this point, she got very nauseous and wasn’t feeling well. The nurse was able to get her some nausea medication and continued to use essential oils to help relieve this. We then put her in a high thrones position to help open the inlet of her pelvis.
The doctor came back to the bedside at 12:30 p.m. to check if the rest of the cervix was gone. However, she was unchanged from the last cervical exam. The doctor offered to break this bag of water, but Katie decided to wait to see if this would break on its own. Her provider she had also seen all throughout pregnancy was going to be back around 2 p.m., so she really wanted to wait for her to get back. At this point, I suggested trying a hands/knees position, but her epidural was too strong, and she wasn’t going to be able to hold herself up. She preferred to try and rest some more, so she went into the flying cowgirl position and was able to take a nap.
At 2:30 p.m., her provider made it to the bedside! Katie was so relieved by this. She checked Katie’s cervix at this time, and she was 9.5cm dilated with a loose anterior lip, 100% effaced, and +1 station! The provider suggested artificially rupturing her bag of water and Katie consented to this.
At 3:08 p.m. Katie began pushing! She had excellent epidural coverage, so together we decided that it would be best if we turned down her epidural a little bit, so she was able to have a better sensation of where to push. Katie was such a strong pusher, even for being as numb as she was. She started pushing on her back while holding onto the grab bars and this was most comfortable to her. Jerod helped support her neck and gave sweet words of encouragement at she was pushing. As baby continued to move down, she did some knees together pushing to open the outlet of the pelvis. Katie was an absolute rock star when it came to pushing and was moving her baby down with each push.
After an hour and a half of pushing, their baby boy was here! He was placed right up on Katie’s chest. He let out a big cry and everyone was cheering! It was such a cool and exciting moment to witness.
Born April 30, 2023, 4:38 p.m.
Jerod and Katie, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of Benson’s birth. It was truly magical and such a joy to be a part of. This will always hold a special place in my heart, especially as my first doula baby! What a blessing it is to be a part of this special time in your lives. I will cherish these sweet memories forever!
April 24, 2023
Kassidy and Sean decided to be induced when Kassidy was 39 weeks because she really wanted her specific provider to be at the delivery, and had found out he was leaving town right around her due date. They also did not find out the gender of their baby and were ready to meet him or her! Kassidy worked hard in preparing her body for labor. She stayed very active and went for walks almost daily. She did her miles circuit and even opted for inserting Evening Primrose Oil capsules most evenings.
On the morning of her induction, Kassidy arrived to the hospital and her cervix was checked at this time and was found to be 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced . After some monitoring and drawing of labs, her doctor decided to start Pitocin.
Her Pitocin was started around 10:00 a.m. and was gradually increased throughout the morning. Kassidy and I stayed in touch to see how she was coping as well as suggesting different things to try and help her contractions to help baby get in a good position.
Around 3:45 p.m. Kassidy’s doctor came in to check her as well as break her water. She was 4cm dilated and much more thinned out and baby was at -1 station. She decided at this time she was ready for me to come as she knew contractions would start getting much more intense with her water no longer intact.
I arrived at the hospital at 4:45 p.m. and Kassidy said that her contractions had gotten much more intense and she was getting ready to get in the tub. I had her empty her bladder before getting in so that she could stay in the bathtub and not have to get out for awhile. Once in the tub, Kassidy got very comfortable and was really able to relax in between contractions. She even dozed off in between a few! She continued to labor one contraction at a time and was doing wonderfully! After about an hour, Kassidy started to get quite warm and decided she was ready to get out of the tub and move around. Her contractions were growing in intensity and she felt like she was ready to try some different positions. Sean helped Kassidy dry off and she clung to him for a few contractions while I provided counter pressure in the bathroom. Once out, she felt good standing and we utilized a stool under one foot and then the other while Kassidy was able to lunge with contractions.
At 6:15 p.m. Kassidy was checked again and was 4-5cm dilated and baby was very low. She did a few more contractions standing and then decided she was ready to get back in the tub. Sean and Kassidy’s mom Paula, went out to the waiting room to eat supper during this time and I continued to labor with Kassidy. She emptied her bladder again as well as did a few contractions while straddling the toilet with some towels under her foot. Baby was in the mid pelvis, so the best positioning is utilizing asymmetrical positions.
Once Kassidy was back in the tub, she felt great relaxing in the water and definitely took the edge off of her contractions. We played soft Christian music, and had lavender diffusing. We also used the galaxy lights in the bathroom to keep it dark and relaxed. Kassidy and her mom joked it was like she “was laboring at the spa!”. She did some lunging positions in the tub on both sides and then decided she was ready to lean back and relax with the jets. She was able to grip the railing with one hand and used a comb to squeeze in the other. Throughout the time in the tub Kassidy was able to rest and relax, but her contractions were continuing to grow in intensity.
Kassidy’s doctor came back at 8:00 p.m. and she was ready to get out of the tub and have a cervical check. After her doctor came back in the room, Kassidy was on hands and knees leaning over the peanut ball. He asked how she was doing, and Kassidy said “S**t’s getting real Doc!”
He checked her cervix and she was 6cm dilated but very stretchy. He discussed with her that if she wanted an epidural, now was going to be the time to get one because he felt like that if she dilated a bit further, it would go very quickly and she wouldn’t have time for one. She decided after a few more contractions that she was ready to get an epidural.
While waiting for the epidural, Kassidy got up and we tried to utilize movement and gravity as much as we could. She leaned over the peanut ball with her one leg up on the bed and swayed in to each contraction. Her contractions continued to grow with intensity as the Pitocin was still be administered. She was working so hard to cope through contractions and but was getting extremely miserable. We did a forward leaning inversion as well to make sure baby was in the best position she could be before getting the epidural.
Kassidy got her epidural placed at 9:15 p.m. and felt so much relief but the epidural was working more on right side versus her left. So we rolled Kassidy to her left side and utilized the peanut ball between her ankles to keep working with her contractions. In this position she was able to really rest and closed her eyes in between contractions. Sean, Kassidy, Paula, and I chatted about life and shared quite a few laughs. If you know Paula or Kassidy, you would understand that there is never a boring conversation!
30 minutes later with assistance of the nurse, we rolled Kassidy to her other side. While rolling we noticed lots more fluids coming out. Once she was comfortable on the right side, Paula was going to try rest on the couch and Sean was going to go for a walk outside. She was resting with the peanut ball between her ankles again and closed her eyes. After approximately 20 minutes on the right side, the nurses were having a hard time finding baby’s heart rate on the monitor. When they did find the heart rate, it was right at Kassidy’s pubic bone! Baby had moved WAY down! She decided to have a cervical check and she had a small anterior lip of her cervix, but baby was “right there!” I put Kassidy in a throne position with the bed to see if that would help the rest of cervix disappear, while the nurse called the doctor. One of the other nurses woke up Paula and Kassidy called Sean and told him to come back inside!
The doctor got to her bedside and had Kassidy start pushing at 10:45 p.m. She had to be directed when to push as she was still so numb from her epidural. Kassidy pushed with at total of 2 contractions, and then their baby was here!
“It’s a girl!” The doctor exclaimed.
She was placed directly up on Kassidy’s chest and let out a loud wail! Kassidy, Sean, and Paula all cheered and cried tears of joy! It was such an exciting moment!
born April 24th, 2023, 10:52 p.m.
Kassidy worked hard in preparing her body as it could be to allow the birth of their second daughter. Sean, Kassidy, and Paula were so much fun to work with in labor, and a pleasure to get to know ahead of time! The relationships you build as a doula are truly special! Kassidy and Sean, thanks for taking me along on the journey of Tulsa’s birth! It was such a joy to be a part of!
April 12, 2023
Dallas and Jamie reached out in early pregnancy for doula services in hopes for some guidance through pregnancy and the birth of their first daughter!
Jamie texted me in the afternoon of Tuesday, April 11th, that she had gone in to be evaluated as she was having some higher blood pressures and increased swelling in her feet. The hospital did some blood work, and ultimately decided to start an induction. Jamie felt nervous about this as she was a first time mom and was 38 weeks and 3 days gestation, but was at peace with the decision.
Cytotec was placed at 6pm and Jamie cervix was still closed. She was having some contractions on the monitor, but not feeling much. I stopped by the hospital later that evening and set up lights and the diffuser. We talked and hoped for rest for Jamie and Dallas as this may be a long process for her. I told her that if she needs me at all during the night to call and I would be right over!
Jamie was able to rest a little bit during the night, but not sleep much. She texted me at 6:00 a.m. saying that her water had broken spontaneously at 12:45 a.m. and Pitocin was started at 4 a.m.. Pitocin was started because her contractions were fairly spaced out yet. She was going to get in the tub but was ready for me to come over soon. We decided that I would come around 8 a.m. after dropping my kids off at school. The doctor was also planning on coming around that time to do a cervical exam.
I arrived to the hospital at 8:05 a.m. and found Jamie in a standing position leaning over the bed and swaying with contractions. She was really working hard through contractions but was able to talk in between. The nurse told me that when the doctor had just been in, Jamie was 5cm dilated, 70-80% effaced and baby was at 0 station! This was extremely encouraging news!
Jamie’s contractions were in a “coupling” pattern, so the first thing we did was do a forward leaning inversion to see if we could get baby in a little better position. She was able to tolerate this position, but was definitely not a fan of it…ha! After she came back up from the inversion she did 3 deep cleansing breaths and felt she was ready to stand up and move again. We grabbed pillows to allow for her to lay her head down on the bed with contractions. I also borrowed a stool for Jamie to place under one leg, and then the other to help the baby through the mid pelvis. She labored this way for roughly an hour while Dallas or I did counter pressure with the contractions. During this time we decided to get the tub filling up again to see if that could help with some relief from the intense contractions.
Before Jamie got in the tub, we did a few contractions facing backwards on the toilet with a stool under a foot, then the other foot. Once Jamie got in the tub, she was able to relax. We had the bathroom lights off with rope lights around and soft Christian music playing. She laid over the edge of the tub while on hands and knees. Dallas was able to rub her neck and shoulders and I could provide counter pressure. At this point it was obvious that Jamie had turned more inward and was having a hard time talking to us. After awhile she sat back and utilized the jets for relief. She was able to really rest in between the contractions with a towel behind her head for support. After a few more contractions she began to bear down a bit with contractions and was feeling like she had to push.
We assisted Jamie out of the tub and helped her dry off. While in the bathroom, Jamie standing clung to Dallas and I was able to provide counter pressure. It was a very sweet moment and I could truly see how much Dallas loved her! She was able to move slowly to the bed where she was sitting on the edge of the bed being able to hold on to Dallas in a hug. He was kneeling and she was able to rest on him in between contractions.
At 10:37 a.m. the doctor came in as he had been called that she was starting to feel pushy and Jamie opted for a cervical check. She was an anterior cervical rim and baby was +1 station! The doctor discussed with Jamie that she could attempt pushing and he would see if he could hold the lip out of the way, or if she wanted to labor down through more contractions to see if that would resolve it. Jamie opted to continue to labor through contractions and allow her body to keep working without over exerting herself as she was exhausted from minimal sleep. She moved to a hands and knees position hanging over the edge of the bed so that she was able to close her eyes in between. Dallas stayed up by her head making sure she was taking sips of water, and reminding her that she was doing a great job! I was able to climb on the bed behind her and provide counter pressure with each contraction while supporting her ankles in a knee’s in- calves out position to encourage movement through the outlet. Jamie stayed in this position for approximately 30 minutes and felt her legs were getting tired. The doctor came back during this time and Jamie chose to have another cervical exam. The anterior lip was still there, but almost out of the way. She decided she wanted to rest and labor down until she couldn’t anymore. Jamie got comfortable on her side with her pillows and a peanut ball between her ankles. She was able to close her eyes and continue to breathe through her contractions this way!
At 12:00 there was an obvious change and Jamie’s bearing down had turned in to pushing. It’s amazing how your body knows exactly what to do!
The doctor came back and at 12:06 p.m. Jamie was complete and baby was +2 station. He asked Jamie which position she wanted to be in for delivery, and Jamie chose her hands and knees. At 12:10 was when she truly started pushing with a coached effort. She was pushing so strong and were soon seeing Hayden’s dark hair! Every push was paving the way for the baby to be here! Jamie was making amazing progress on hands and knees with gripping on to the handles on the bed, but soon her legs became numb. It was hard for her to hold herself up and decided to try utilizing the squat bar. Jamie rolled to her back while waiting for the squat bar, and found herself to be very comfortable in the position. She gave a few more super strong pushes, and soon the baby’s head was almost out! She was able to breathe through the most intense part of Hayden’s head being out, flawlessly. Jamie gave one more big push, and Hayden was here with her hand by her face! Dallas’s reaction to watching his baby be born was awesome! He was crying, and cheering, and encouraging Jamie all at the same time! It was truly so special!
born April 12th, 2023 at 1:22 p.m.
Dallas and Jamie had suffered a miscarriage 1 year prior in late March. Jamie had went in for a DNC on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Hayden Jean was born on Wednesday, April 12th, 2023 exactly 1 year later. They sobbed hugging each other, with their new baby on Jamie’s chest in this realization of this and thanked God for their healthy daughter! The doctor who had done her DNC the year prior was now here again, but for the joy of their new baby! It was so obvious of the goodness of God in that moment and I feel privileged to have witnessed it.
Jamie had worked hard in preparing her body for labor! She ate her dates and saw a chiropractor faithfully. When working through Jamie’s birth preferences, she was definitely open to an epidural if she felt like she needed one. When it came to her labor, she never even mentioned the epidural! Women are incredibly powerful and determined. She worked through every contraction with support of all around her. She was strong and worked with her body throughout the labor process, and it paid off through her quick induction story! Thank you for taking me along in this journey, and it was a blessing to get to know you both!
April 10, 2023
Reese’s birth was a long, whirlwind of events that lead to God’s ultimate redemptive birth plan!
Stephanie and Dillon contacted me when they had found out their previous doula would no longer be able to attend the birth of their 5th (3rd living) baby, due to a move out of state. When meeting, Stephanie shared with me her last birth was the birth of her stillborn twin boys, Abel and Bennett, at 17 weeks. This would be their rainbow baby, after 2 years of grieving but trusting God’s plan!
Throughout pregnancy, Stephanie dived in to all things birth! She said that once she starts learning about something, she wants to know as much as she can about it! After doing a lot of research and educating herself, she began to feel that her current provider no longer was aligning with her views on birth. While looking for a new provider, she interviewed the Flourish midwives and she toured the Flourish Birth Center suite. Immediately, she felt Erin (midwife) understood her belief that birth is a God given gift to women! She felt supported and empowered. After some back and forth discussion with her husband, Stephanie made the decision to switch providers at 37 weeks pregnant.
On Friday night, Stephanie lost some of her mucous plug. With her deliveries for Colin and Blair her labor had started immediately after. The week leading up to Friday was a stressful, emotional one. Dillon’s dad had passed away unexpectedly on Sunday evening (3 years after his mom) and their daughter had been hospitalized from Wednesday in to Thursday (the day of the funeral and one day before Stephanie’s due date) for croup! So we talked through this and they decided to sleep the best they could. Saturday morning came around and she continued to lose some more of her mucous plug and was having some menstrual type cramping, but nothing extreme. She went for a walk and to the chiropractor to see if things would continue. Saturday night came around and again, not much had intensified. I stopped over Saturday evening and brought my peanut ball and went through some stretches and we came up with a “game plan” if labor kicked in Saturday night.
Stephanie called me Sunday morning at 4:30 a.m. to tell me that her contractions had intensified and they were getting ready to head to the birth center. We met and I followed them up to the birth center, arriving around 8:00 a.m. Erin had met us at the birth center and discussed Stephanie’s labor progression. The decision was made to rest and nap as they were exhausted. At 10:30 a.m., contractions had stopped and everyone decided to leave the birth center for while. Dillon and Stephanie went out for Easter brunch and spent some time walking around stores before heading back to the birth center. Home Depot and Walmart were about the only stores they found open as it was Easter Sunday.
From 2-4:30 p.m. we worked through some different stretches and positions to see if we could help labor progress. Erin came back during this time and we came up with a plan in that Stephanie and Dillon were going to stay in Sioux Falls overnight and I was going to head back home, as not much seemed to be progressing.
I was about to walk out the door at 5:30 p.m. when Stephanie had a few intense contractions. It quickly became obvious that these contractions were different than previous ones. We started working through them & labored in different positions over the next few hours.
At 8:45pm, Stephanie opted for a cervical check. She was 5cm dilated (stretched to a 6-7). At this point she was ready to get in the tub. She labored beautifully in the tub and was able to rest and relax in between her contractions.
There was another obvious shift in intensity of contractions at 10:45 p.m. and Stephanie continued to labor flawlessly with the support of Dillon speaking affirmations. She coped with each contraction and loved having her arms touched with soft touch. Throughout the labor process, Christian Hypnobirthing app was playing on repeat, reminding Stephanie that this is what her body was made to do.
At 11:58 p.m. Stephanie opted for another cervical exam as she was starting to become very physically fatigued. She was now 7-8cm dilated. After in-depth discussion and all pros’ and con’s with Erin, Stephanie decided she was ready for her bag of water to be ruptured. This was done at 12:08 a.m. When Erin broke her water, the baby’s head went back up just a bit. Erin kept her hand held on the baby’s head and waited until the next contraction and guided Reese’s head back down to be re-engaged. This was quite uncomfortable for Stephanie and she was ready to get back in the tub in hopes of a water birth!
She continued to breathe and labor through each contraction with her husband and support of loving women around her. Her room was calm, and dim light with lavender, valor and frankincense diffusing throughout. Stephanie had placed a handmade picture of her twin boys, Abel and Bennett, on the mantel to honor their memory. The beauty of those moments is a memory that will forever be a part of my heart of how supported birth can truly be!
Around 1:20 a.m., she was bearing down with contractions without truly pushing. She was checked, and she had only a small cervical lip left. She breathed through a few more contractions and soon started pushing at 1:30 a.m.
Stephanie was pushing so hard and in different positions in the tub, and it was soon obvious that baby was not descending as they should. Erin had Stephanie get out of the tub and move to the toilet to try pushing to see if that would help baby get in to a better position. After spending a few contractions and pushes there, Stephanie went back to the bed. She pushed in multiple different positions in the bed, and it was becoming increasingly obvious that baby was not in a good alignment for delivery. Stephanie had given permission to the midwives to continue to assess placement internally with pushes. Baby was coming down occiput posterior position- OP (sunny side up), with her forehead (brow presentation) and her nose was hung up on Stephanie's pubic bone. The midwives worked hard to internally rotate baby, one way and then turn baby the other way without success. During one of the internal attempts, baby grabbed on to the midwife’s finger and left her hand up by her face as well.
After multiple different attempts in getting baby in a good position and Stephanie’s growing exhaustion, a last “Hail Mary” was done. Stephanie was assisted in to a forward leaning inversion where she had to be completely held by the midwives, the nurse, and Dillon. I jumped up behind and “shook the apples” with my rebozo in attempts to back up baby just enough for delivery. Stephanie was able to tolerate this through three contractions and and it was extremely intense. After the inversion, we helped her in to a side lying release with assistance from everyone on the team. She breathed through the side lying release, as her body was continuing to push. While holding this position, the song “God Turn it Around” by Jon Reddick began playing over the speaker. Erin pleaded, “Lord God, turn this baby around” while listening to baby through the doppler. Everyone in the room lifted a prayer for God to turn this baby, and prayed for strength! All of a sudden, there was an obvious fall in Stephanie’s leg that was being released!
She rolled back over and with the next contraction pushed against us holding her legs and Erin on the bed using my rebozo in a tug of war position. Dillon supported her behind her head and along her neck and shoulders.With this contraction, she made so much progress! The baby had moved!! Stephanie pushed hard through a few more contractions with help of the whole team. With one last hard push, Stephanie roared her baby out and baby immediately let out a loud cry!
Everyone let out a huge sigh of relief and many tears were shed! The baby had moved ever so slightly during the reposition that she was able to tuck her chin just enough to allow for delivery. She was delivered, still OP and looking wide-eyed, straight up at the midwives but Stephanie was strong enough to push through that position!
After the baby was placed on Stephanie’s chest she said, “He’s here!” And then she realized she needed to look and says “It’s a boy??” I encourage her to look and Dillon says softly to Stephanie, “It’s a girl.” “It’s a girl!!” Stephanie looks then announces to the room through joy and sighs of relief.
born April 10th, 2023 at 2:49 a.m.
April 10th is significant because it was also the anniversary of Dillon’s recently passed parents. Christine was given to Reese in honor of Dillon’s mom, whose first name was Christine. When Stephanie’s labor seemed to not really “take off” until Easter Sunday evening, Dillon joked it’s because his mom and dad wanted to spend some time with Reese before she came to this side of creation. One of Stephanie’s birth affirmations- God has perfectly prepared this day for my baby’s birth. God wanted this precious new life to be born on a date that he wanted associated with not only grief, but joy. Joy in the fact that God is good, even in the suffering. There is no more beautiful way to celebrate the promise that Easter is, along with honoring memories of loved ones lost, than with a birth of a new baby.
Stephanie, I am so proud of you for following your instincts and following God’s plan for your birth. Thank you so much for inviting me in the redemptive story of Reese! It will forever hold a special place in my heart! You and Dillon are resilient and amazing people inside and out, and it has been such a blessing to get to know you both so well!
March 27, 2023
Kyle and Elise reached out early in pregnancy for doula and lactation services after finding out they were pregnant with their first baby. From the beginning Elise had voiced that she wanted to have an unmedicated birth, but was open to interventions if they were needed.
Throughout our education meetings and texts back and forth, Elise and Kyle soaked up as much information as they could! She read multiple books including Bumpin, What to Expect when you are Expecting, and Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Newborn: The Complete Guide. They loved learning and ask many in depth questions about the process of labor and ways to prepare your body.
As her due date started to approach, Elise continued to voice her wishes for a natural labor to her doctor. He was in full support as long as baby continued to look good through out the end of pregnancy! She stayed active with walking their dog Drake (who became my new best friend!), drinking red raspberry leaf tea, and seeing a chiropractor. She also mustered down dates and did the miles circuit regularly.
On Saturday afternoon, Kyle and Elise went to go for a hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City to hike and enjoy the nice weather! On Sunday they went for a walk, ate supper and then started watching the Iowa game. At 10:00 pm, Elise started getting back pains that were starting to come regularly and she sent me a text and let me know that she was going to try rest and see how things progressed. I didn’t answer her text because I was already asleep, but was soon awoken by Elise calling me at 12:15a.m.! Her contractions were coming more frequently and getting harder to lay down through. We talked for a bit and decided to try sleep/rest a bit more if she could as its typical for first time moms to be in labor for awhile.
At 1:46 a.m. Elise texted me saying that she was not able to really rest through contractions anymore and that they were all coming in her back. I messaged a couple things to try to see if the back labor was due to the position of the baby, but then we ultimately decided it was time for me to head to their house. In heading to their house we were hoping we could figure out a way to help with the back labor and get baby in to a better position.
I arrived at Kyle and Elise’s house at right around 3:15 a.m. and found Elise in a forward leaning position. We talked about how she was feeling and how contractions were going. She stated that she still felt them almost all in her back and felt they were growing in intensity a little. We tried some modified forward leaning inversion and I used my rebozo to “shake the apples” in hopes of helping baby engage in a better position. At this point Elises contractions were coming very regular and predictable. After talking to Elise some more, she told me that her menstrual cramps are also always ALL in her back and this was comparable to that cramping. We began to think that baby actually was in a good position and that this was just how Elise was going to feel her contractions! I suggested that we do some flying cowgirl with my peanut ball and see how her labor continued to progress. We got into the flying cowgirl position at 4:00 a.m. and we were able to chat in between the regular contractions. Kyle and Elise are SO fun to talk to! Elise had flipped to the other side after about 15 minutes, and so their was a visible change in intensity of her contractions! She felt she needed to get up and move and decided to move to sitting on her exercise ball and move her hips in a figure 8 motion. She was really starting to have to breathe through contractions! We started discussing that we should probably starting making our way to the hospital and call to give them a head up. Kyle called the hospital and started getting Drake everything he would need while they were gone. I suggested Elise try empty her bladder before leaving. I had her to do this straddling the toilet in a position often known as the “dilation station.” She stayed this way through a few contractions while I applied counter pressure. She was really having to work through contractions now!
I followed Kyle and Elise to the hospital and we arrived at 5:15 a.m.. We went back to the labor and delivery room while the nurse asked the arrival questions to Elise. She had her birth preferences scanned in to her chart, so it was easy for the nurse to look it up. When we had arrived in the room I started the tub filling and had Elise put her foot up on the bed and “lunge” in to her contractions to open the mid pelvis. Kyle provided counter pressure from behind and made sure Elise was taking sips of water. Kyle and Elise decided to wait for the doctor to do cervical check before getting in the tub.
The doctor arrived at 5:30 a.m and Elise was found to be 7cm dilated, 80% effaced, and baby was at 0 station! She was now very much ready to get in the tub to help with contractions which continued to be in her back. While in the tub, Kyle stayed right by Elises side and helped her through every contraction. We set up some lights and turned the lights down and brought in Elise’s soft Christian music. It was all so quiet and intimate! Elise lunged through a couple more contractions on each side and soon slipped in to “labor land”. She was no longer conversing with Kyle or I in between contractions, but was silent with eyes closed. We continued to remind her, that this is exactly what her body was made to do. Every contraction we helped Elise to remember to focus on her breathing and relaxing her jaw and breathing her baby down. I reminded Elise the peak of her contractions were lasting 10-20 seconds and she can do anything for the amount of time. She would slightly nod her head letting us know she was hearing our affirmations, but was not in a state to respond. During this time the lab came to draw her blood as Elise had chosen not to have an IV.
Around 6:30 a.m. Elise started to bear down towards the end of contractions and voiced that she was starting to feel like she had to push. We helped Elise out of the tub, and encouraged her to empty her bladder again as she had been taking sips of water throughout labor. She did roughly 3 contractions straddling the toilet again while Kyle gently rubbed her back. Elise was able to walk back to the bed and got into a hands and knees position. I suggested we get a birth ball for Elise to lean on so that she could rest in between contractions.
The doctor came in and checked Elise at 6:49 a.m. and she’s was 9 cm dilated and baby was +1 station! Her water also still had not broken at this time. We helped Elise to breathe through a few more contractions to allow her cervix to dilate the rest of the way, while Kyle continued to provide counter pressure. Elise began to feel the need to bear down again at the end of contractions. At 7:07 a.m. Elise had just a small anterior rim of her cervix left. She was able to breathe through a few more contractions and soon Elise had an overwhelming urge to start pushing!
Still in hands and knees over the birth ball, the doctor checked Elise at 7:20 a.m. she was complete and pushing! At 7:21 a.m. her water finally broke with her first true push! She was so strong and knew right where to focus her eagerly, which can be a huge plus of not having an epidural! The athlete in her definitely came out as she gripped the bed rails and pushed her baby down very effectively. Kyle stayed right by her head and was continually talking to her telling her how proud he was in between counter pressure with contractions. Around 7:30 a.m. we started to see Ty’s dark hair! Elise allowed for everything to stretch and her body to make room. With one final strong push, and Ty was on this side of creation! Kyle looked down at his new baby, and announced to Elise and the room..
“It’s a BOY!”
born March 27th, 2023 7:42 a.m.
Elise’s had never really had any abdominal contractions her entire labor, which goes to show to look at the labor process for each individual. Sometimes what tends to be the “normal” doesn't always mean that it is for each person! Elise and Kyle were such an awesome couple to work with! They soaked in all the information Brenna and I could provide! Elise worked hard in getting her body prepared for labor ahead of time, and it really was helpful in her powerful labor. Kyle was right by Elise’s side the entire process and his unconditional love for her was evident. She leaned in to him when she needed to, and he helped in anyway he could to relieve her pain. They were such an awesome team! I’m so glad you guys reached out and chose me to be a part of Ty’s birth! It’s been such a fun journey, and I am SO happy for you guys! Brenna and I feel blessed to educate and support you both a long the way!
March 24, 2023
Kendra reached out in early pregnancy and we ended up doing our first initial consult over FaceTime thanks to the snow storm (of many we had this winter!) and decided to hire me as a doula!
She and Tanner (not Tyler! Which I called him several times in labor..ha!) decided that a homebirth would be a good fit for what she was desiring for the birth of their first baby!
She worked with midwife throughout pregnancy and talked about all her hopes for labor and delivery. Kendra was also great about choking down her dates and preparing her body as much as she could for the labor process.
She texted me at 6:00 am on Thursday the 23rd saying that she was having some cramping and contractions that had woken her up around 4:00 am. I suggested trying to time her contractions and rest some. She had borrowed my peanut ball, so I encouraged her to try resting with that. Her contractions were somewhat irregular but seemed to be coming roughly every 3 minutes. At this point she was still able to breathe through them pretty well, and I suggested she try nap since she may be in labor for awhile. Around 11:45a.m., Kendra texted me again saying that things were more intense, but was still doing okay. She was having difficulty getting comfortable and felt she was ready for more support with coping with contractions as well as positioning.
I arrived at Kendras house around 1:45 pm and found her resting on the couch with peanut ball between her knees. They had starting filling up their birth pool and I starting setting up lights and getting lavender diffusing. We started to play soft Christian music in the background as well to help Kendra relax. After we got this all set up we got to work on positioning to help baby engage more in to her pelvis to try to get contractions to pick up in frequency. She liked to stand and utilize the birth sling to support her body and help her sway back and forth through contractions. Soon it was evident Kendra was having to concentrate more through her contractions and decided to get in the pool. We updated the midwife and she decided to start heading our way. The first midwife, Jeanette, arrived around 3:15 pm. And then Kari, the second midwife, arrived at 3:45. They found Kendra in the birth pool while I provided counter pressure from behind. They made themselves and home and kept the environment calm and relaxed.
The next several hours were spent laboring and taking one contraction at a time. The midwives “sat on their hands” and continued to let Kendras body do what it was made to do. We just took every contraction as it came, and she breathed perfectly through each one. We moved from standing, to the tub, to the toilet, and to the ball. Just following Kendras lead with whatever her body felt like it needed at the time. The best part about being in the home is being able to truly follow what your body is telling you and doing it in the comfort of your own space! Tanner held her hand and made sure she drank something or ate a few bites of food every couple contractions to help Kendra keep her strength up. The midwives would intermittently Doppler baby and he tolerated labor fabulously throughout. It was such a calm, supportive environment!
At 11:32pm, Kendra began to feel the urge to push with contractions. She had started bearing down and the ends of her contractions. At this pointed she opted for a cervical exam from the midwife. She was 10cm dilated but baby was at 0 station and the midwife felt like baby was tucked up on her pubic bone. Her bag of water had not released yet, so after the midwife explained all the pros and cons, Kendra consented to having her water broke. She was getting very tired and the hope was to allow the baby to come down after the bag was released. The midwife went to use a small little hook to realize the bag and was checking her, that the bag released by itself! At 11:45pm midwife felt like the baby was able to move down some with the bag no longer intact, but was still not off the pubic bone enough. After some back and forth thoughts about best positioning to help baby come down, the midwife and I assisted Kendra into Walchers of the bottom of her bed. She was able to tolerate this through 2 contractions as it was quite intense to feel baby dropping so suddenly. The midwife monitored the baby’s heart rate during this and it was noted that baby was feeling the rapid drop as well. But his heart rate recovered quickly and Kendra headed to the toilet to try empty her bladder at 12:52am. While on the toilet she really started having an overwhelming urge to push with contractions, and that’s exactly what her body was doing. She stayed on the toilet for a few contractions and then was ready to go back to the birth pool. Once in the pool, she was guided by her body to multiple different positions in the tub from squatting, to lying back, to hands and knees. During the pushing phase of labor Tanner placed himself right in front of Kendra and gave her the encouragement she exactly needed! As she says, “he knows my brain, and knew EXACTLY what I needed to hear in those moments.” Kendra then got out of the pool and pushed on the birth stool for a bit but found this to be too uncomfortable after a few contractions. We decided to move to the bed for some side lying pushing as Kendras legs were getting tired holding herself up. Kendra was able to lay her head on Tanners chest as he held her hands on her side. I held up her leg for her to push against and soon Kendra pushed so hard now that we started to see part of the baby’s head! The midwife checked suture lines of babies head and felt that he was pretty tilted to left side. Right about this time, the baby started to have some lower heart tones. The midwife was so skilled in handling this situation and the nurse quickly helped Kendra by putting a oxygen mask on. Baby’s heart tones recovered, but the midwife felt it was time to get the baby delivered. This gave Kendra a little adrenaline surge and she pushed SO hard! We decided to get Kendra to squatting and holding on the edge of the bed to utilize gravity to help get baby delivered quicker. After getting to this position, Kendra had one big contraction and she pushed with all her might, and right out came the baby! She did it!
born 3/24/2023 at 2:51 am
Gaige was handed up to his mom and Kendra walked over to the bed and was able to snuggle up with her baby! He was looking around at the new world and took a little bit of time to recover from his rapid appearance! The midwife and nurse stimulated him by rubbing him with a warm dry towel and soon we started to hear his cries! At 3:01 am Tanner was able to cut his chord after it had turned completely white and was done pulsing. Kendra and Tanner cuddled up with their new baby and took in every ounce of this new little life. He had light brown hair and long fingernails!
Kendra’s placenta had not started to release yet, and since she was having no bleeding, the midwives decided to not force it to deliver. We helped Gaige get latched and took off nursing! The nurse and midwives were busy cleaning up the pool and starting laundry for Tanner and Kendra. They also had a snack while working on their charting and waiting for the placenta to deliver. After Gaige was finished nursing, the midwife and nurse decided to have Kendra empty her bladder and take a shower to see if that would help the placenta detach. She got in the shower and washed her hair and cleaned up. Which felt AMAZING Kendra said. While in the shower she tried actively pushing to see if that would help. With no success, the decision was made to administer IM Pitocin. After the shower Kendra moved to the bed and was skin to skin with Gaige. After a few more minutes, Kendra was able to push out the intact placenta. The midwife inspected everything and decided to do a couple repair stitches on her. Kendra was feeling the after birth high, and we were able to talk through a lot of what had happened! The midwife did her assessment on baby Gaige, weighed him, and administered any newborn meds Kendra consented too. After all this was done, and everything settled down, we tucked Kendra and Tanner in to bed while Gaige slept safely in the bassinet right next to their bed. It was the sweetest moment!
Kendra worked flawlessly throughout labor and never gave up on herself. When she was no longer strong, she leaned in to Tanner for support and encouragement. It was so intimate and showed how well they work together as a couple. Her whole pregnancy and labor, Kendra trusted her body and her ability to give birth. She had voiced in our multiple conversations prior to labor that she was completely at peace with welcoming their son into the world in the comfort of their home. She knew her son’s birth story was already written and God was in control. During labor, her midwife and team worked so perfectly together and showed true skill set on how to handle “complications” that arose in the labor process. Throughout the labor Kendra’s decisions and wishes were up held and respected. Birth in the comfort of your own home, is such a raw experience that can be so empowering! It proves time and time again, women are so strong and know how to work so well with their body! Kendra and Tanner, thanking you for taking me along on this intimate journey in the birth of Gaige! It was such a powerful birth and I am forever blessed to be able to witness it!
March 11, 2023
Getting to know and work with Kristen and Eric was nothing short of a pure JOY.
After years of infertility and 2 ectopic pregnancies Kristen and Eric began to feel peace from the Lord that their calling was not having children. God surprised them with a gift of a healthy pregnancy at almost 40 year of age.
Kristen and Eric hired me on as their doula and hearing their story and their love for the Lord, this child, and each other was a blessing. We enjoyed digging into the physiologic birth and the options she had for her hospital based birth.
At Kristen’s 39 week appointment her doctor wanted to get an induction on the schedule so Kristen was now scheduled for an induction in one week at 40weeks and 1 day pregnant. Kristen desired to go into labor more naturally if possible so she decided to have a cervical exam and membrane sweep done in hopes to get labor to start. Kristen was already 4cm dilated at this point and we were all optimistic!
Around 12:30am that night Kristen woke up to the start of contractions that were enough to keep her awake through the rest of the night. Kristen and I touched base in the morning and planned to see how the day went and if labor continued to progress. Kristen and I stayed in frequent contact throughout the day and by the afternoon it seemed that Kristen’s labor was progressing well and could use some extra support so I headed to their home. I got there around 4:15pm and Kristen was breathing beautifully through contraction standing and leaning over a ladder. Contractions were coming around every 5-6 minutes and growing in intensity. Kristen was feeling all of her contractions in her back so we tried some counter pressure that didn’t really help, so then decided to try some different positions. Throughout the afternoon Kristen, Eric and I hung out and worked together to try new positions to alleviate Kristen’s back labor and try and help her labor progress. From all the side lying positions, standing, swaying, hands and knees, rebozo, the birth ball, and tub we tried most positions in the books.
Around 10pm Kristen was feeling ready to go to the hospital and make sure everything with baby was looking good and see how far along she was since it had been almost 24 hours since her contractions had started. We all arrived to the hospital just before 11pm. The nurses hooked Kristen up to the monitors and we listened to baby girls happy and healthy heart rate. Kristen got all checked in and opted for a cervical exam. Kristen was now 6cm dilated. Kristen was hoping to be farther along but kept up her good spirits that labor was in full swing now and she could keep going.
At the hospital we continued to try different positions to help progress labor. With all of Kristen’s back labor I was concerned of the baby being in a non optimal position so we went through a circuit of position to try and help rotate the baby into an optimal position. Most of these potions were sidelying which were the most uncomfortable for Kristen (sorry Kristen I had to try them). Kristen gravitated to standing and leaning over Eric and always came back to that position. I would massage Kristen’s sore lower back through those contractions. We then decided to have Kristen try the tub for her back and help her relax through contractions. It helped maybe a little but wasn’t Kristen’s favorite. So we got out of the tub and decided to try sitting backwards on the toilet for a few contractions. This was a position that was also very uncomfortable for Kristen, but she obliged me and gave it a try through 3 contractions. On the 3rd contraction on the toilet Kristen felt a release in her bottom and some wetness. We were excited that maybe her water had broke! The nurse came in to check Kristen and perform a test to see if her water had broke. Kristen was 6-7cm and the nurse said that the baby had come done farther in the pelvis. It was slow progress but it was progress and that’s what kept Kristen going. The test came back a few minutes later that Kristen’s water had not broke but we remained optimistic that the toilet had done some work to help Kristen progress. We continued trying different positions and ways to help Kristen’s back labor. Kristen then tried a shower (and nearly flooded the bathroom) which she enjoyed for a while, as well as some squatting, and lunging positions.
Kristen continued to work beautifully through her contractions but was feeling tired after 2 nights of no sleep and about 30 hours of labor at this point. We started discussing the options of having her doctor break her water and getting an epidural. After discussing Kristen decided she was ready to do both of those things. Kristen’s doctor came in and checked Kristen’s cervix and called her the same dilated as before. At 7:10am she broke Kristen’s water and the nurses were preparing for the epidural.
After being up all night and a weekend trip planned I called Ashtyn and asked her to come and finish the birth for me. Kristen and Eric were so understanding and welcoming to Ashtyn taking over as their doula. It truly was a team effort. Kristen got all set up with her epidural just before 8am and Ashtyn got there shortly after to take over.
After taking over for Kyla, Kristen had just gotten her epidural after having minimal sleep for 2 evenings. She was soon comfortable and able to sleep. At her last check she had been 6 cm dilated. For the first few hours I was there we really prioritized sleep to help fight some of the exhaustion of the long labor. Every 30 minutes, I woke up Kristen and we moved to a new position and then she would fall back asleep quickly.
At 12:15pm the doctor came to touch base with Kristen and check her cervix. At this check, Kristen was still 6cm dilated and 100% effaced. So at this time, decision was to start some pitocin to help her body make some more progress. It was started right at 1:00 pm as it had taken awhile for pharmacy to mix it up, etc. Kristen had a very dense epidural so the pitocin didn’t bother her much thankfully and she was still able to sleep after every position change. At around 2:00pm the nurse came in and told me that Kristens contractions were “coupling”, which can sometimes be a sign of a malposition of the baby. The nurse and Eric and I got Kristen into a modified forward leaning inversion and then put the bed in to trendelenburg. I climbed up behind Kristen on the bed and used my rebozo to “shake the apples” through a few contractions in hopes to back baby up a bit to get in to a better position.The whole time she was supported by pillows and the nurse and Eric to make sure she stayed safe. After a few contractions I snuck the rebozo under Kristens belly and lifted with some gentle shaking in an attempt to help re engage baby into a better position. Soon Kristens contraction pattern became regular with contractions every 2-3 and the coupling had stopped! We were so excited!
The nurse checked Kristen again 2:54pm and she was a 6.5, but baby had come down much more in the pelvis! With this information, we did many positions to help baby through the mid pelvis that also allowed Kristen to continue resting. At this point, the contractions continued to be regular and the pitocin did not need to be turned up anymore. At 5:00pm, the doctor came in to check Kristen and she was found to be 9 cm dilated and baby was at had come down some more! Everyone was so excited! Eric and Kristens family were hanging out in the lobby, so Eric was able to go eat pizza with them and Kristen did her make up while we chatted about Enneagram. She was so full of knowledge it was so fun to learn all about the personality tests!
Exactly 2 hours later the doctor came back and Kristen had a rim of cervix on the left side, and baby was at +1 station. We moved Kristen to a position to aide in getting rid of the last little bit of her cervix. As well as doing a side lying release to help baby to continue to keep moving down. The nurse checked Kristen again at 8:30pm and she was complete! Baby was at +1 still and she had no urge to push due to the dense epidural. So Kristen labored down in waiting to feel the urge to push and allowing her body to continue to push baby down without exhausting herself pushing.
At 11:30 pm she still wasn’t feeling any urge to push, so the decision was made to turn the epidural down in hopes of her being able to feel a bit more since her epidural was so dense. And then we began to start trying to actively push to see how that felt and see if she was pushing correctly. The next few hours were spent working so hard to help baby descend and to help Kristen push her baby out. She worked so hard and was pushing so strongly! We allowed for times to rest as well as SO many different positions to keep working baby down. Throughout these hours, Kristens contractions started to become overwhelmingly painful. Throughout her whole labor she never felt a single abdominal contraction! So now with the epidural down from 12 to 10, the were back and excruciating for her with the combination of the pitocin.
The doctor was staying in touch with the nurses throughout the labor, and then she decided to come in and evaluate at 1:30 am. She check Kristen through a contraction while pushing, and she said baby was still at +1 station. The baby had not come down at all this entire time, despite being in the perfect position. After hearing this, Kristen, Eric and the doctor made the decision to go to C-section. Kristen had reached the brink of exhaustion from 50+ hours of labor after multiple hours pushing adequately and not moving the baby, they felt like it was time.
Kristen went back to the OR at 2:30 am and Eric followed shortly after.
March 11, 2023 2:56 a.m.
9lbs & 22inches long
Eric and Kristens miracle baby was here! She was a miracle she was conceived and was the most precious gift! Throughout the entire labor, Elliotte tolerated the long labor so perfectly it was such a blessing! Kristen worked SO hard during her 50 hour labor, and Kyla and I were extremely in awe of her. She took each deviation from her birth preferences with so much grace and class. Eric and Kristen are the sweetest, most genuine couple, and are going to be the BEST parents to sweet Elliotte! Thank you for inviting Kyla and I in on your beautiful journey!
February 11, 2023
There is one word that comes to mind to sum up Stetson’s birth, and that is redemptive!
Brooke reached out at about the halfway mark in pregnancy, in hopes for a different birth experience then her second baby. Her second birth was traumatic with a shoulder dystocia and a NICU stay, that rightfully left Brooke feeling nervous about the birth of her third.
Brooke went for an appointment and an attempt at having her membranes stripped on Friday 2/10. At this appointment she was 1cm dilated and the midwife tried to strip her membranes. Once Brooke got home from Sioux Falls, she was feeling pretty good and not noticing much change. While at home she did some cleaning and light house work to keep herself occupied. Around 4pm she decided to try and drink the midwives brew and see if this did anything to help encourage things along. Brooke and Keith were able to go out for a nice supper that evening as the kids were away at her parent’s house. At around 8:30 pm, Brooke was having some cramping, but nothing to extreme, so her and I talked and made the decision to try and get some rest.
At 6:30 a.m. the next morning, Brooke woke up to more intense contractions. She texted me a picture of the contractions she was timing and they were a little bit irregular but she was having to breathe through them sometimes. Her and I discussed whether she should head up to Sioux Falls and check in at the hospital right away or go to her brother and sister in law in Harrisburg for a bit. Since Brooke’s previous births seemed to go fairly quickly, we decided it would probably be best to head to the hospital. Then if she got to the hospital and felt as if she had a ways to go, then she could leave and head to her brother and sister in laws house. But it was a good thing she decided to go to the hospital first! Brooke let me know during the car ride that her contractions were getting much more intense and she was really have to breathe through them. I started getting my stuff packed and she was going to let me know when she got to the hospital after she got checked. At 8:49 am, she texted me that she was 5cm dilated and 90% effaced!
I jumped in my car and headed straight to Sioux Falls. I got to Sioux Falls shortly after Brooke had gotten in the tub in her labor room. Keith was providing sacral pressure and Brooke was breathing beautifully through contractions. I set up my diffuser with lavender and lights to create a more intimate environment. I also started my music playing soft Christian music as this was important to Brooke. Throughout her pregnancy, she trusted in God for a safe and healthy outcome for baby. She was so grateful that she was able to safely house this baby inside her for the last 9 months, whatever the outcome in birth may be! Brooke continued to breath through each contraction, relaxing her body in between. We continued to do this one contraction at a time until her body started to bear down a bit. She opted for a cervical check, but only if the midwife would check her in the tub. At 11:00 a.m. she was 7cm dilated, 90% effaced, and baby was at 0 station. Her water had also broken at some point in the tub. We assisted Brooke in to a lunging position in the tub for a few contractions and then to the other side for a few contractions. I continued to provide sacral pressure and Keith was able to be by Brooke’s head for her to squeeze his hands. We reiterated the affirmations from Christian hypnobirthing and reminded her that every contraction brought her closer to meeting their baby. Brooke labored and leaned in to each contraction again and again. She knew this is what her body was made to do and trusted the process At roughly 11:37 a.m., Brooke sat back to a squatting on her knees position and her body obviously was pushing.
Brooke said “I felt the baby drop down!” We alerted the nurses and told them to call the midwife. After the contraction was done, the nurses urged Brooke to go back to the bed, but with the sudden change in baby’s position, she felt like she needed to get her bearings before moving. In this time another contraction came, and she body was obviously pushing. The nurses were busy trying to get ahold of the midwife as well as get the delivery table ready to go. After that contraction passed, with the assistance of me and the nurses, Brooke was able to stand up and swing her legs over the edge of the tub and get to a standing position next to the tub. The nurses were trying to hurry Brooke along to the bed, but she needed a moment again to get her bearings while standing by the tub. With this, another contraction came and Brooke squatted down on the bathroom floor. The nurse threw a blanket underneath of her in between legs. I was on one side against the wall with Brooke and the midwife and nurses were on the other side with her back to them. With this strong push Brooke was giving, I soon saw baby’s hair and then head! She delivered the head and Brooke was able to reach down and feel his whole head out of her body. I encouraged to give one more push, and the midwife was able to catch the body, while Brooke and I had the head! The midwife reduced the chord from his body and was able to hand the baby through Brookes legs for her to hold. She held the baby to her and waddled to the bed with her baby skin to skin with her.
When Brooke got to the bed there was immediate cries of relief. Brooke looked at Keith, with her baby snuggled up to her crying his first cries, and sobbed “We are SO BLESSED! We are SO BLESSED!” Everyone shed a few tears of pure joy and gratefulness!
In the midst of all the joy, Brooke peaked down at her new baby and announced to the room “IT’S A BOY!!”
February 11, 2023
Throughout her pregnancy and weeks leading up to birth, Brooke worked through her trauma in the birth of her second. Some doctors had advised her to have a primary c-section after the shoulder dystocia, but Brooke felt confident in her body’s ability to birth. She worked hard to prepare her body and her mind to surrender to the labor process. In labor she stayed so in control and breathed through each contraction so perfectly. She had told me prior that she had wanted to labor in the tub as long as she possibly could, and really didn’t want to give birth in the bed. She listened to her body and delivered her baby safely in the middle of bathroom floor without difficulty. Stetson got to stay skin to skin with her the entire golden hour and he was perfect in every way. After working through all her anxieties and past intense experience, she was able to have a beautiful, REDEMPTIVE birth, and I will forever be honored to have been a part of it.
February 12, 2023
Jackie was in the third trimester of her third pregnancy when she reached out about having a doula at her birth. As the birth of her third son was coming nearer, she was hoping for more education and support to help achieve a low-intervention birth. Jackie had gotten an epidural for both of her previous births— one being an induced birth and the other a spontaneous birth. Jackie was hoping to avoid induction and an epidural, having as little interventions as possible.
In our prenatal meetings, Jackie and I went through all the ways to prepare her body for labor. When her due date was approaching, we started talking more about ways to “naturally” induce labor. Jackie was eating dates, stretching, and seeing a chiropractor regularly to help support her body through the 3rd trimester. She was already having frequent Braxton Hicks contractions that were kick starting some early cervical dilation. Jackie asked her provider for a membrane sweep at her 39 and 40 week appointments, in hopes it would be a little extra boost to put her into labor. The membrane sweeps started more contractions but each time they ended up fading out, not resulting in active labor. Jackie was set up with an induction at 41 weeks but was eager to try other methods to get her body into labor naturally, as she was hoping not to be induced.
On February 12, the day before her scheduled induction, Jackie woke up with contractions every 10 minutes. We hoped this was the start of labor! Throughout the morning, she continued to have some contractions but they weren’t growing into active labor. Jackie decided to try a midwives brew to help her body progress. Around 9:30am, Jackie drank her midwives brew and contractions began to pick up. Over the next hour, her contractions started growing stronger and closer together. They were now every 6-7 minutes. At noon, I got the text that Jackie was ready to head to the hospital as contractions were more intense, 4-5 minutes apart, and she had some bloody show.
We all made it to the hospital around 12:45pm. After getting settled in, Jackie was checked by the nurse and found to be 5cm dilated and 70% effaced. We were excited for the progress her body had already made! The monitors showed a healthy heart rate for Baby Roy, so Jackie was able to opt for intermittent monitoring instead of continuous. While we waited for Jackie’s doctor to come in, Jackie stood leaning over the bed rocking her hips to help move the baby down. I helped her put her leg up on a stool periodically which helps the baby move through the mid-pelvis.
The doctor arrived at 2:10pm and asked to check Jackie’s cervix. She was now 6cm dilated and 90% effaced. We were all very excited that her labor was moving along nicely. Jackie was now ready to try the tub for some pain relief. She gravitated to a hands and knees position which is great for pelvic mobility. While in the tub, Jackie alternated between hands and knees position, squatting, and lying back. Her contractions continued to grow stronger and closer together. I sat with Jackie in the bathroom, offering affirmations of strength and tips to help keep her body relaxed through contractions. Around 4pm, Jackie started to get shaky and was starting to show signs of transition. She remained so calm and relaxed through all of it, she was even able to fall asleep between contractions! About 15 minutes later, Jackie had the urge to push with her contraction so we prepared to get out of the tub and move to the bed. Jackie breathed through another contraction, then Joe and I helped her out of the tub. Another contraction came quickly so Jackie held on to Joe, doing a slight squat through the contraction. Jackie then moved to the bed on hands and knees, working hard to breath through her contractions. With her next contraction, her water broke. Jackie’s doctor checked her cervix and found that she was complete. With one more contraction and two pushes, Roy Joseph was born at 4:32pm. Weighing a whopping 9lbs 13oz!
The looks of pure joy and excitement on both Jackie and Joe’s faces were priceless. Birth is such an exuberant moment in time that I wish I could bottle up and savor forever. Each birth reminds me that I really do have the coolest, most rewarding job. Thank you Jackie and Joe for welcoming me into your birth space to witness such a beautiful, joyful birth.
February 1, 2023
Madyson and Tylers story started after Madyson started reaching out and looking at the possibility of a VBAC for her second child. The birth of her first started out as an induction that lead to a C-section for failure to progress. Now pregnant with her second, she was hoping for a more natural vaginal birth, when she reached out for doula and placenta services!
Madyson chose a provider who was completely VBAC supportive and patient in letting her body to go in to labor on its own! On January 31, when Madyson was 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant, she went in to have a non-stress test and a biophysical profile. This is very routinely done when you are over your due date to check on baby and placenta. After everything checked out perfectly, Madyson decided that she wanted to try drinking midwives brew to see if it would start her labor. She had tried midwives brew with her son without success, so was unsure if it would work this time. She took the midwives brew around 4pm and made her feel quite nauseous and woozy. She texted me around 6:30pm, saying that she was going to lay down and rest as she was not feeling well. Soon she was having mild contractions, but was able to make supper and spend the evening with her husband and son. She also told me that she had the urge to get the house cleaned and ready. That nesting instinct is strong, especially in early labor!
At 8:30 pm, we touched base again and Madyson was resting and snuggling in bed with her son. She had borrowed my peanut ball, so I encouraged her to try flying cowgirl with the peanut ball to see if it could help get baby further down in to the pelvis. At this point contractions were coming somewhat more regular, but she felt like she was still able to cope with them. We both decided to try sleep while allow her body to continue to labor, and see if things progressed on their own.
At 12:06 am, Madyson called and I attempted to answer, but at the same time her phone had hooked up to her car’s blue tooth, so I was unable to hear her. Seconds later I received a text from Madyson saying her contractions “were getting gnarly and they were waiting for her mom to get the house.” She was soaking in the bath to help her cope with her intense contractions. She asked me to meet her at the hospital as we both had roughly a 50 minute drive. I quickly jumped up and got ready to go as it sounded like things had really picked up! On the way to the hospital, I texted her doctor as he had asked for a heads up that she was coming in in labor. He was so excited! While I was on my way, I received a text from the doctor that I needed to hurry, because Madyson had called the hospital and the nurse had heard her screaming in the background! Later Madyson said it was the worst car ride of her life and swore Tyler was hitting every bump he possibly could… :-)
Madyson and Tyler arrived at the hospital at 1:45 a.m. were she opted to have a cervical exam and was 8-9cm dilated! The doctor also provided sterile water injections into Madyson's back to see if would help her with pain. I arrived shortly after this, and Madyson was on hands and knees on the bed screaming with contractions. We decided to take my rebozo and try have Tyler help take some of the pressure off her belly with lifting. This only lasted through a few contractions though, as soon Tyler got very pale and had to sit down. So I took over counter pressure while the nurse brought him some orange juice and crackers!
Madyson was still very uncomfortable so we decided to try to utilize the shower as the tub takes awhile to fill. The nurse and I assisted Madyson to the shower were we ran hot water over her back.She also rolled her “active labor” oil roller all over her arms and chest to help her regain control of her mind. The doctor said that baby was at 0 station, so we put a stool in the shower and had Madyson put her foot up on it. We were using gravity and side lunging on both sides to encourage baby through the tightest part of the pelvis. She was amazing taking one contraction at a time and really working with her body! Soon Madyson was obviously bearing down with contractions as the pressure was much more more intense. She was able to walk back to the bed, and helped in to it in between contractions. She opted for a cervical exam at 2:37 a.m. and was a “rim” and baby had come down! During this cervical check her water also broke!
Madyson was bearing down with each contraction, and we assisted her in pulling herself up to lean over the squat bar in a squatting position. After the contraction was over, she sat back and was able to lean against Tyler who was seated in the bed behind her. He was able to help Madyson re gain control of her breathing and allow her body to relax in between contractions. She closed her eyes and he whispered encouragement to her, and she leaned upon him for strength. It was truly special how well they worked together in helping her keep her mental and physical strength.
After a few more contractions Madyson roared through one more push, and baby was born quickly on to the bed! Tyler had jumped up from behind Madyson and was able to witness his daughter coming earth side!
Tyler exclaimed excitedly “You did it!!! You did it!!” Everyone was so thrilled and the joy was felt through out the room!
February 1st, 2023 3:21 a.m.
Ember had her chord around her neck two times, so this was reduced and she was placed up on Madyson’s chest. Tyler kissed Madyson on the forehead, and it was obvious he was so proud of her! Madyson leaned back in to the bed to snuggle her new baby and cried with relief “Thank you guys! Shes’s here! Thank you guys!” She had achieved her goal of a spontaneous, unmedicated vaginal delivery! It was a beautiful, redemptive moment that brought tears to my eyes.
Madyson was so pro active in preparing her body for labor, as well as waiting patiently for her baby. And it definitely paid off with her raw, quick labor and delivery! She truly trusted her gut and her ability to birth her baby! Her doctor was also very supportive of physiological birth and believing in women’s ability to have natural labors. Madyson and Tyler were so fun to work with, and getting to be apart of another beautiful VBAC is such a blessing!
December 29, 2022
Chelse reached out after deciding that she was going to have a homebirth with a midwife. She had talked to different providers at a few different hospitals and felt they were not a good fit for her and Jacob’s ideal birth experience.
Jacob was immensely supportive throughout the entire birth, and his love and admiration for Chelse were so evident! During the early morning December 29th, around midnight Chelse woke up having some mild contractions. Chelse laid in bed timing contractions from midnight until 2 a.m. to make sure this was the real deal before waking Jacob up. Around 2 a.m. Chelse woke up Jacob and said “I think it’s happening... they are lasting a minute and coming 5-6 mins.” Jacob was so excited and immediately got up to rub her back through some of them in bed.
After awhile they decided to get out of bed and started to get a few things ready around the house, while still working through the contractions. He brought down all of the birth supplies they had purchased and worked to get the birthing pool setup in the kitchen, while Chelse cleaned up the house a bit. He would go to Chelse whenever he heard a new contraction happening to rub her lower back or let her lean on him for support. He dropped everything he was doing to be right at her side every time.
Chelse texted me and her midwife at 5:07 am saying that she had been having mild contractions that were 5 and 1/2 minutes apart, lasting roughly a minute. We suggested resting and maybe taking a bath. Chelse is a first time mom, so she was thought she might be in labor for a while and rest is SUPER important early onFrom 7 until 9 a.m., they were able to snuggle up in bed and were able to sleep through some contractions.
For the majority of the labor, before Chelse’s water broke, it was a lot of the same. Jacob putting counter pressure on her lower back, telling her that she could do this and making sure she kept a positive mindset. They continued to work through contractions together as a team with Jacobs continued hands on support.She texted me again at 10:40 a.m. saying contractions were continuing regularly and roughly the same intensity, but with a little more pressure. Chelse and Jacob were still coping well and was comfortable at her home.
At 12:30 p.m., the midwife called Chelse and Jacob and talked to her on the phone. The midwife felt that things were progressing slowly and that baby could possibly be here in the middle of the night. She told Chelse to take a shower and then lay down and rest again to see if she could sleep. Chelse was feeling a little discouraged after the call with midwife in the afternoon saying baby was probably not coming until way later in the evening. She remembers saying to Jacob “I really don’t want to be doing this until midnight.”
They decided to try and get a little nap in and save up energy for later this evening. After she laid down and the next two contractions were intense, way more intense than they had been all morning. It was obvious there would be no sleeping! Jacob helped was able to help her get out of bed to use the bathroom again. When she stood up and she felt a gush of water. After getting to the restroom, she discovered her water had just broken!At 1:26 p.m she texted me and said “Okay, no resting. My water just broke and things are way more intense. The midwife is coming when she is finished with her patients”
The contractions that followed her water breaking, were much more painful than before and Jacob could tell she was in a lot more pain. He ran her a bath and helped her get in the tub. He kept holding her hand, running water down on her back. Throughout the whole labor Jacob continued to remind Chelse “You are doing it and we were going to get through all of this with our sweet baby.” Soon Chelse started feeling the urge to bear down and push but it was still just Chelse and Jacob at the house. This is where Jacob got noticeably concerned that is when the texts got a little bit more urgent, and then at 1:46 p.m. I got a text that said “Please come now.”
Even though Chelse’s labor started to intensify, Jacob still stayed calm and kept reassuring her that her body was made to do this and it was all going to be worth it in the end. Chelse reiterates that she “could not have done it without him!” At 2:55pm, Jacob started finished setting up the birth pool just as the midwife Jeannette arrived, and together helped Chelse get into the pool.I got to Chelse and Jacob’s house at 3:15 pm and she obviously bearing down and pushing with contractions. The midwife was calmly letting Chelse’s body do what it was made to do. I got some lavender diffusing and then held Chelse’s hand during contractions. She instinctively moved her body with what it was telling her to do. After about 30 minutes we decided to move to the toilet for some contractions and to allow Chelse to empty her bladder. She felt very comfortable on the toilet and kept bearing down with contractions. Soon the other midwife arrived and brought in all of her tools and medications in case needed.
At 4:20 p.m. Chelse moved to her bed and opted for a cervical exam to verify that she was indeed complete and to see what station baby was at. The midwife said she was obviously 10cm dilated and the baby was +1 station. Chelse did some resting and pushing with the peanut ball in a side lying position. She did this on both sides and was making slow, but steady progress.
At 5:15p.m. We decided to move back to the toilet in the bathroom to see if emptying her bladder and pushing on the toilet would help. After a few contractions in this position, it was an obvious shift in baby’s position. Chelse got off the toilet and did a few contractions and pushes on hands and knees on the floor and was really moving baby down! The midwives talked to Chelse and Jacob about where they would like the baby to be born and the decision was made to move back to the bed.
Once assisted back to bed, she instinctively moved to hands and knees. Then after few more powerful strong pushes, their daughter was born! The midwife passed the baby between Chelse’s knees and up to her chest skin to skin, as Jacob lovingly gazed at his new daughter. A few tears were shed between everyone as Chelse said “I can’t believe I did it! That was SO hard!”
12/29/2022 5:57 p.m.
Born at home into the loving arms of her parents! Jacob and Chelse will be such amazing parents. They worked together so well in helping bring Ava in to the world and were such an awesome team. Jacob provided continuous support and encouragement for her throughout the whole birth experience, and the love he had for Chelse and his daughter poured in to the birth space. Chelse really trusted her body and trusted the labor process! Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your powerful homebirth!
December 21, 2022
Maria reached out for her second pregnancy with interest in doing a VBAC. Her first birth was a 37 week, 3 day long induction that ultimately ended in a C-section. She was looking for a different experience with this second baby as she felt the first birth was long and exhausting. She was hoping for a more intimate and personal birth with a calm environment.
When meeting with Maria leading up to her birth, we discussed ways to help her body be as ready as possible. She started choking down dates and doing her circuits frequently, as well as staying active with a toddler! She waited patiently for her body and baby to be ready to go in to labor.
On Tuesday night, 12/20 Maria was having some mild irregular period cramping. We discussed different things to try and see what her contractions would do. Contractions were some what irregular but seemed to be coming more frequently. That evening Maria and Tyler decided to head to Tylers parents house in Larchwood, so the drive to Sioux Falls would be shorter if labor decided to continue. Once Maria and Tyler were there, they were able to sleep for some of the night as well as get their daughter Gracie tucked in.
Maria texted me at 6:43 am on 12/21, and said “My water just broke!”. Tyler and Maria decided to head in to the hospital and let me know when they were ready for me to head up to Sioux Falls. After getting settled in at the hospital, Maria was checked and she was 2cm dilated and 60% effaced and not contracting much. We talked about the importance of getting up and walking and moving to see if contractions would start up.
At 10:15 a.m. I checked in with Maria and she said she felt like contractions were picking up and getting more intense. She had not had any cervical checks yet since the initial one, but we decided that I would start getting things ready and heading up to Sioux Falls. The midwife had discussed starting Pitocin, but Tyler and Maria opted to wait a little bit and give her body a chance to continue building contractions.
Maria had been checked about 12:30p.m. and was 4cm dilated and 80% effaced. She and Tyler had decided that she was going to get the epidural and try rest for a little bit as it looked like it might be a little bit until the baby was here. I got up to Sioux Falls around 1:15p.m. ( due to snowy roads) and Maria had just gotten an epidural placed. I set up the room with dim lights and started some lavender diffusing. We also had some calm spa like music playing over the speaker to help Maria relax through contractions. Maria was resting while Tyler was giving her a back massage and “cuddled” up in her blankets.
At 1:45p.m. Maria felt her epidural was completely not working on the left side. We had worked on different positions to help it set up better, but with no success. The decision was made to come in and give her a bolus of another medication to see if it would help her to get over the edge of the pain. This medication made no difference in her pain relief, unfortunately. At 2:45p.m. the anesthesiologist came back in and decided to try replace Maria’s epidural catheter and see if this would help her.
Once this was done, Maria had almost immediate relief! She felt SO much more comfortable and fell asleep quickly. The nurse and I assisted Maria in doing side lying release while she slept. After side lying release we assisted her in to flying cowgirl with the peanut ball as baby had been a -2 station with the cervical check from a few hours ago. While in the position, Maria was able to fall in to a deep sleep and Tyler was able to rest as well and take a short nap. We kept everything calm and quiet and allowed for rest.
At 4:00pm, the midwife came in to check Maria’s cervix and decide if Pitocin was needed. Her contractions had spaced about to about every 7 minutes, and was unsure if her labor was progressing due to this. The midwife was also wonderful with waiting to do a cervical check until Maria was more comfortable with her epidural.
When midwife went to check her cervix, to everyone’s surprise Maria was 8.5 cm dilated and baby was at 0 station! We were all so excited at this progress! The midwife felt she definitely did not need Pitocin as her body was making great changes and baby was coming down!
We helped Maria to an exaggerated runners position on her left side so she could continue to rest. No one was able to sleep at this point though as we were all so excited! Her successful VBAC was in sight! Maria and I got the chance during this time to reminisce and laugh about the years we worked together at Pizza Ranch when we were in high school. Life is crazy that it brought us from high school co-workers to me getting to help support while bringing her baby in to the world! God is so good!
At 5:00pm, the nurse came to insert a catheter to drain her bladder as it been a few hours since it had been done. When she was inserting the catheter laughs and says “Umm, I can see the baby’s head. It’s right there!”
She called the midwife and she came in and everyone in the room was laughing and the excitement was definitely felt! We were just waiting for all the correct staff to come in the room and for the delivery table to be set up to begin pushing. Maria was completely comfortable throughout all of this, and was glowing with such excitement! Tyler was going to be announcing the gender of the baby (they did not know) so everyone was making their final guesses as they were SO close to meeting their new baby!
At 5:12p.m. everyone was ready, and Maria began actively pushing with assistance of Tyler, me, and staff. She was such a strong pusher! Especially for being as numb as she was! She moved baby with each powerful push! It was so fun to watch Tylers face throughout this as his JOY was SO evident with seeing a little bit of his baby each time.
Soon it was obvious that this baby would have A LOT of dark hair! The nurse brought in a mirror so Maria could see all the baby’s hair and so she could see where she was pushing. Maria was so excited as she said she “was hoping for a dark haired baby!!”
At 5:28pm, at 40 weeks 2 days and with only 16 minutes of pushing, their baby was born!
The midwife was suctioning the baby with bulb syringe and Maria was the first one to see the gender! She screamed the most purely JOYFUL… “IT’S A GIRL!!!!!”
It was the most exciting, beautiful, overwhelmingly happy moment! She had an amazingly successful VBAC!
December 21, 2022 at 5:28pm
Maria and Tyler were SO much fun to work with and Mila’s birth was such a beautiful birth to be a part of! The amount of love that Tyler and Maria showed throughout the labor process was so special to witness. The pure excitement that they had the moment their daughter was born, brought tears to my eyes. Maria, I am so proud of how you prepared your body for birth and trusted your body to birth your baby! You were so patient in waiting for labor, and it truly paid off! Thank you for inviting me in to Mila’s birth, it was a truly special birth to be a part of! I will forever cherish the memories!
December 16, 2022
Being a part of Paige and Zach’s birth experience was so special to me because I was their nurse for the delivery of their first child. I was so excited they hired me as a doula for the birth of their second child.
Throughout pregnancy, Paige, Zach, and I processed her last delivery experience and went through what they wanted for this one. Paige’s hope was for a low intervention birth. Specifically avoiding induction, epidural, and not pushing on her back (all of which she had with her first delivery). During pregnancy, we worked on ways to prepare Paige’s body for labor and coping techniques to prepare for an unmedicated birth.
When Paige’s due date came around, her and her doctor discussed induction due to potential risks of going over 41 weeks. Paige decided that an induction at this point was good for her but hoped that she would go into labor on her own before then. Paige continued to try all the natural induction methods but her induction date rolled around with no labor. Paige discussed with both her doctor and I what she wanted for her induction and we made a plan of how we hoped things would go.
On Friday morning, Paige went in for her induction and had a foley bulb placed to help with dilation. Paige was already 2cm dilated at this point, which helped her feel more reassured that her body was more prepared for induction than the last time. Her doctor also wanted to start a low dose of Pitocin with the foley bulb in place to help stimulate contractions. The plan was for me to stay at home till the foley came out or contractions became stronger and more regular. I texted Paige to try to be up and moving as much as possible with the foley bulb to help put more pressure on the cervix. 3.5 hours later, the foley was out and Paige was 6cm dilated, 70% thinned out, and on 2u of Pitocin. At this point, her doctor wanted to break her water and turn off the Pitocin but Paige wanted to wait and consider all options before breaking her water. She declined and asked to re-discuss after I arrived to the hospital.
Around 12pm, I got to the hospital and talked with Paige about how she was feeling about the next steps in her induction. Her foley was out but her Pitocin was still going and she was contracting every 1-3 minutes. It was now 12:30 when her doctor came in again and asked if he could break Paige’s water. Paige asked to be checked again since it had been another hour on the Pitocin and decide afterwards. Paige was now 7cm dilated and 80% thinned out. She asked her doctor to step out so that the 3 of us could discuss what she wanted to do next. We discussed the options of turning off the pit and breaking her water or just leaving the pit on and not breaking her water. Paige then asked, “what if I don’t do any of it?”. Paige wanted to see what her body would do on its own since she was now 7cm and barely on any Pitocin. My response was “Heck yeah, of course you can!”.
Paige's doctor came back at 1pm to discuss Paige’s decision to turn off the Pitocin. Her doctor discouraged her from this but Paige stood firm and wanted to give her body a chance to do it on its own for a little while. The nurses unhooked the Pitocin and Paige got in the tub. Paige loved the tub for relief while we played Christian music and continued to work through contractions. Even though Paige's Pitocin was turned off, she continued to contract every 1-4 minutes. As contractions got stronger, I continued to remind her that her body was doing this all on its own now.
After about an hour and a half in the tub, Paige was ready to get out and move around again. Paige sat on the birth ball while leaning over the bed, stood over the side of the bed rocking her hips and squatting, and also did hands & knees position once out of the tub. Zach and I also offered lots of counter pressure to her hips throughout contractions.
Another hour and a half went by and Paige was coping so well with contractions but was feeling like she was ready to potentially have her water broke in hopes that it would speed up this last part of her labor. At 4pm, Paige’s doctor broke her water. It was go time! Paige’s contractions went to the next level. The intensity was a lot but Paige worked so hard to try to stay in control of all the pressure she was feeling. Paige got in the tub for about 10-15 minutes while I tried to help her stay focused through contractions. Paige started feeling the urge to push through contractions so we helped her out of the tub and onto the bed. Her doctor came in to check her and called her 8cm. With the pressure she felt and the way Paige was breathing, I knew it wasn’t going to be long before that last bit of cervix was gone. Paige breathed through contractions on her side and started grunting through some pushes. The nurses looked over and saw hair! They called the doctor in and with the next contraction, Paige delivered her baby girl!
Quinn Alexandra was placed on Paige’s chest and let us all know she had made her arrival with her very strong lungs.
Born December 16 at 4:31pm
Weighing 7lbs 9oz
Paige— I can’t even begin to describe how proud I am of your self awareness and courage to advocate for yourself and your labor experience. I hope that your story can inspire many women to do the same. I feel so blessed to be a part of not only one but both of your birth experiences. I have loved getting to know you and your family better. Your children are so lucky to have a loving, determined, and powerful mama like you!
December 13, 2022
Truett’s birth is forever going to hold a special place in this doula’s heart since he’s my birthday buddy!
Korrie reached out to me pretty much as soon as she found out she was pregnant for doula services. This was her second pregnancy and birth and was desiring to have low intervention birth avoiding induction and an epidural this time around. Korrie and her husband soaked up all the education we went through and also attended our in person BBBB class to help prepare for labor.
In the few weeks leading up to her due date Korrie had been walking around at 2cm dilated and having braxton hick contractions. She continued to wait and prepare for labor to come on its own. On her due date Korrie went into her appointment and consented to a cervical exam and membrane sweep. Korrie was 3-4cm dilated and her doctor said that her cervix was very ready for labor. After her appointment Korrie was having more cramping and some mild contractions so we waited to see if they continued to turn into real labor. Cramping after a membrane sweep is common and sometimes it goes away and sometimes it turns into labor. So we waited to see which it would be. Korrie continued through the evening having cramping that was mild so she went to bed.
At 4am Korrie woke up and was having regular, more intense contractions. She got up and worked through her contractions at home. At 6am Korrie called me to let me know she was in labor. We had talked in our birth planning about me coming to Korrie’s house to help her labor at home for a while but we decided against doing that since the weather and roads weren’t very good because we were in the middle of an ice storm. We decided the best bet was to get to the hospital sooner so that we weren’t stuck anywhere unable to get there. We met at the hospital just after 7am. In the car ride Korrie’s contractions continued to intensify. When we got to the hospital the nurse checked on the baby and performed a cervical exam and found Korrie was 7cm dilated and the baby was very low. Korrie breathed through a couple more contractions lying on her side in the bed while Chris or I offered sacral pressure. Korrie asked for an epidural at this point because her contractions were intense and not giving her a lot of break. I suggested she try the tub while the nurse prepare for the epidural in hopes it would help relax Korrie and help her progress fast so that she could do this without the epidural like he had originally hoped for. We got Korrie in the tub and she labored on hands and knees. Chris sat by her head supporting her while I sprayed warm water on her back.
Not even 15 minutes into being in the tub Korrie looked up and said, “I’m pushing” and her water broke in the tub. The nurses came rushing in and her nurse said, “I see the head” Korrie had gone from 7cm to crowning in 20 minutes! Thankfully Korrie’s doctor had already been called and was right outside the door. Her doctor came into the bathroom preparing to have an unplanned water birth! Korrie found the strength to get out of the tub and walk to the bed. She breathed through another contraction on her hands and knees in bed when her doctor asked her to move to her back. Korrie’s response to that was “ON MY BACK!?!?” Her nurse suggested her side as a good compromise for her and her doctor. Korrie moved to her side and with one push delivered her baby’s head. With one more push the body was fully delivered and Truett was officially earthside. Chris announced to us all, "It's a BOY!" Korrie’s labor was SO fast and so intense with no induction, no epidural, and no tearing!
It ended up being a good thing that there was an ice storm and we decided to meet at the hospital otherwise we probably wouldn’t have made it to the hospital for delivery!
Born December 13 at 7:43am
weighing 7lbs 15oz
I can’t think of a better way to start off my birthday than with a beautiful birth. Korrie it was an honor to get to know you and your family more throughout our pregnancy and to be welcomed into your birth space. Your labor shows the power of women and the beauty of birth.
December 6, 2022
Courtney and Ben met while working at Pizza Ranch, and were so excited to get to welcome their own “special delivery” into their world!
Courtney decided to get induced at 40 weeks 2 days pregnant. She got to the hospital around 8 am on Monday December 5th and was 2cm dilated and 70% effaced. The decision was made to start Pitocin. Contractions took a little bit to start getting more regular and more intense. I went to the hospital at 1pm as Courtney felt like contractions were picking up in intensity and were coming every few minutes. At this point Courtney was in the tub and able to talk after contractions, but had to concentrate through each surge. Her last cervical exam showed that baby was at -1 station so we worked on some positions to open the mid pelvis as well as having Courtney work with her body and relax. After the tub we decided to go to the bed for some resting positions. We continued to reposition and move every 30 minutes or so. At 2:25 the doctor came to check Courtney and said she was a 3-4 and opted to break her water. Soon after this we were able to do some upright positioning and she decided to get back in to the tub as intensity of contractions were picking up after her water breaking.
At 4:00 Courtney was starting to talk about getting her epidural as contractions were becoming much more intense as well as making her vomit. The doctor came to check her to see where she was at before the epidural. She was 5cm dilated and 100% effaced! The process of getting an epidural for Courtney was an…interesting… one. She was doing amazing breathing through every contraction and was holding still. After the epidural needle was placed, her husband turns and says “I’m not feeling so good. I’m very light headed…” He was very pale! The nurse and I helped him sit down in a chair and the nurse ran to get water. After about 30 seconds he said “I’m going to pass out…” and sure enough he did! The student observing the epidural and I helped him to the floor and called for more help. A minute later he woke up with several nurses around him, and he knew exactly what happened! The first thing he did was look up at Courtney finishing getting her epidural “Oh hello love, how are you doing?” After everything settled down, everyone including Courtney were laughing and teasing Ben about it. Courtney said it was a good distraction from her epidural! Her epidural was started at 5:50pm.
Courtneys epidural was dosed a little bit higher and she was able to rest for a bit in a runners position with the peanut ball. At 7:40 she was checked by the nurse as she was feeling more pressure and she was 9.5cm! She wasn’t having and “urge” to push, so Courtney decided to rest and labor down. The doctor checked in at 8:43pm and Courtney was obviously completely dilated. She did some different practice pushes and positions and then the decision to have the epidural turned down was made, as Courtney was not able to feel where she was pushing.
Courtney really started pushing effectively at 10:30pm when she was able to feel what she was doing and the epidural had worn off a bit. She was able to get in to all different types of positions and was making great progress the first hour! But during the next 2 hours, baby did not make much progress in descent. We tried every position (and some made up positions) with pushing trying to get baby to descend to crowning as we were able to see some of baby’s hair with every contraction/push.
She was SO STRONG and pushed so hard trying to get baby to move. The doctor was very open minded to trying all different positions to try. But as time went on, he began to become more nervous about baby being stuck. Respiratory and another doctor were called in to the room around 12:30 a.m. for extra support and to be prepared in case he was really stuck.
Courtney was obviously now starting to get tired, and the doctor offered to attempt vacuum extraction to see if could help baby get to crowning. Courtney and Ben consented.At 1:00 am the vacuum was placed and Courtney pushed with all her might. It unfortunately, was not successful. This same thing was attempted 2 more times, with again, no success in even moving baby an inch. Baby tolerated this happening to him very well!
At this point, everyone knew that baby was stuck - stuck. The doctor talked to her and Ben about the risks and benefits of attempting to keep pushing or going to C-section. Courtney and Ben and the doctor felt that it was time for a caesarean birth.They called in the crew and everyone went back to the OR around 1:30 a.m. In the meantime, I helped move Courtney and Ben’s stuff over to their room and then waiting for them to come back from surgery.
Courtney and Ben did not know the gender of their baby, but everyone had their guesses!
December 6th, 2022
1:49 a.m. Reuben Tait was born!
Wide eyed as could be!
Awhile later the Respiratory Therapist and nurse went to the nursery with Ben as baby was having some issues maintaining his temperature. He was also having some blood sugar issues. He stabilized and Courtney was able to get some snuggles in as well as start nursing. Later throughout the day, Rueban was continuing to have a hard time keep his sugars and temperatures up. There was also some concern about the swelling in his head from the vacuum, and the decision was made to transfer Reuben to the NICU for more specialized care.
Courtney was so strong and worked so hard to get her baby here! She told me when she was in her C-section the doctor had to vaginally push his head back up and it was very difficult! Birth is something that truly can be unpredictable. You can work so hard and do everything right, and sometimes it isn’t doesn’t always end in a vaginal birth, unfortunately. But that’s where we leave it up to God! Courtney and Ben handled everything with such grace and faith! They were such a fun couple to work with. Courtney told me that she had wanted an upbeat birth experience and we all spent most of the labor laughing and cracking jokes! As well as doing our fair share of teasing Ben about fainting. Thank you for inviting me to get to be a part of Reuben’s birth! It was a blessing to get to work with you!
November 29, 2022
Johanna's birth was an honor to be welcomed into and to witness the beauty of labor and the power of a support team. I'm so thankful to have been welcomed into the birth space.
On Monday night, the evening of her due date, Alyson was having some mild contractions so she let me know and decided to try and sleep and see what happened. At 1:30am contractions picked up and Alyson wasn’t able to sleep so she got up and tried the shower. Contractions were every 1-2 minutes but were on the shorter side lasting about 30 seconds. At 2am Tim called me to come over that labor was definitely here. Alyson was in the shower when I got there. She felt the shower helped take the edge off the contractions and slow them down to about every 2-3 minutes. Soon after, Alyson was ready to get out of the shower and moved to the birth rubbed her back.
We then decided to do a labor circuit with the peanut ball to help get the baby into the best position. Throughout the labor circuit Alyson's contractions became more spaced out but they were getting longer in duration. We decided that since she was able to rest in between contractions while laying down she would try and rest for a little while. At this time I also went home to rest which was conveniently just houses down the street. Not even a half hour later I got a text that contractions picked back up to every 2 minutes. It was about 5am at this point and Alyson was ready to try the shower again to help with contractions. Alyson got in the shower and we prepared to head to the hospital soon because things were definitely changing and Alyson’s past two labors were fairly quick. After a quick shower Alyson was ready to head to the hospital and use their awesome labor tub. Alyson got out of the shower and breathed through contractions on hands and knees on the bathroom floor between drying off and getting dressed.
At 5:30am we all left for the hospital which was just a quick 3 minute drive. When we got to the hospital Alyson stood at the bedside and rocked her hips through contractions while Tim or I helped with double hip squeezes as counter pressure. Alyson opted for another cervical check and she was 4-5 cm dilated 100% thinned out and very low. Contractions were changing quite quickly, already becoming longer and stronger so Alyson wanted to get in the tub as soon as she could. After monitoring that the baby was doing ok Alyson got in the tub. Alyson continued to breathe and move through contraction in the tub using different positions in the tub like laying back, squatting, and hands and knees, while Tim and I tried to continue with hip squeezed when we could reach. At 6:30 Alyson was ready to get out of the tub and try something new. She wanted to stand again so we went back to standing over the bedside doing hip squeezes for a couple contractions and then it was time to try something different again so Alyson laid on her side in the bed while Tim offered counter pressure to her back while I encouraged Alyson to power through contractions because the end was near. After about 20 minutes laying on her side Alyson moved to hands and knees. On hands and knees Alyson's water broke at 6:51am. Every time Alyson’s water broke the baby was born very shortly after so Alyson moved to her side since she wanted to push on her side and we got the nurse and doctor to come in. Alyson breathed through strong contractions full of pressure while Tim encouraged her and sported her back. At 6:54am her doctor was there and told Alyson she could push with her next contraction with that next contraction her baby's head was delivered. After the head was delivered the shoulders were stuck so the nurses quickly shifted Alyson from her side to her back and moved her knees to her chest for a strong push to help dislodge the shoulder and deliver the baby. With that push Johanna was fully delivered and officially earth side! Throughout this short pushing process Johanna also had 2 nuchal cords the doctor unwrapped around her neck. Johanna was placed on Alyson’s chest and cried right away. Tim announced the gender to us all “It’s a GIRL” the look of pure shock on Alyson's face was absolutely priceless as she was convinced she was having a boy.
born November 29, 2022 at 6:58am
Alyson's birth space was an honor to be welcomed into. Birth is a beautiful sacred space and I will never lose sight of what an honor it is to be invited into. I am so excited to have been a part of Johannas birth and to get the opportunity to watch her grow up.
November 23, 2022
“I freaking did it” Abby's words of power, triumph, exhilaration and relief when Dawson was placed on her chest and in her arms.
Abby became pregnant with her 3rd child and began thinking through her desires for her labor this third time around. After two epiduralized labors Abby's main goal was to obtain a low intervention birth especially trying to avoid the epidural. Prenatally Abby and I discussed ways to prepare for a low intervention birth in the hospital.
In Abby's previous pregnancy she was induced due to high blood pressure. It was a concern that this could develop again and would require an induction. High blood pressure can be very serious in pregnancy for both mother and baby and needs to be assessed closely. Abby throughout pregnancy in her third trimester had a few slightly elevated blood pressures that weren’t too concerning until 2 day before her due date. 2 days before Abbys due date she had an appointment where her blood pressure was significantly elevated. Her doctor had her stay for some testing to make sure the baby was doing okay and to see if her BP came down. Sadly her BP stayed high but her baby looked good so the decision was made to induce Abby that afternoon. Thankfully Abby was already starting some early labor over the past week and was dilated to a 4 that morning in the clinic. Abby went home and got ready to come back to the hospital that afternoon.
Abby's induction was scheduled for 1:00pm on Wednesday November 25. We met at the hospital then and came up with a game plan for her induction. Abby felt strongly that she wanted to avoid Pitocin as much as possible so the plan was to have her doctor break her water since she was already 4cm. At 1:30pm her doctor came in to break her water and to our surprise over the past few hours since her clinic appointment she had progressed to 5cm, her cervix was 50% thinned out and her baby was +3 station so still fairly high up in the pelvis.
The goal with breaking her water would be to help bring the baby lower and put pressure on the cervix. Thankfully Abby's body was already starting early labor and it was only a matter of a small amount of time before her body would have gone into labor on its own. Her water was broke at this time and we got to work with labor positions to get her baby into a good position.
Our labor warm up started with positions in bed to stretch her muscles and let the nurses monitor the baby for a little while. We then focused on upright positions to engage the baby into the pelvis and get pressure on the cervix. After using upright position for about an hour Abby was clearing becoming more uncomfortable with stronger contractions and more pelvic pressure and was ready to try the tub around 4 in the afternoon. In the tub Abby laid back and relaxed through her contractions utilizing deep calm breathing through her contractions. Every couple contractions Abby changed position in the tub to either hands and knees or squatting through a contraction or two to keep her pelvis moving to help her baby continue to engage lower into the pelvis. After about an hour in the tub Abby was ready to try something else so we moved to the shower. This hospital had a shower separate from the tub so we walked to the shower and Abby sat on the birth ball in the shower while warm water was sprayed on her back. She said this was her favorite labor position. Another hour or so in the shower and it was time to change things up again. Abby tried to lay down with the peanut ball but as soon as a contraction came she felt that she needed to stand up. So she stood up next to her bed leaning over the bedside while I offered double hip squeezes as counter pressure through contractions. Contractions were getting longer and much more intense and Abby was getting nauseous and shaky. All signs of progressing labor and transition. Abby's doctor came by at this time and asked to check Abby's progress with a cervical exam. Abby consented and her doctor found that her cervix was 7cm, nearly comply thinned out and 0 station. Even though it was a 2cm change in 5 hours this was huge progress with how thinned out and how much lower the baby got.
Labor progress is usually exponential so the last centimeters usually dilated the fastest. The finish line was in sight and Abby's body and contraction patterns were showing us that it was not going to be long. Abby stood up and moved with her body through contractions like before and was feeling the overwhelming feeling of it all being too much. She was tired and the contractions were intense! I encouraged her that this was her body finishing the job and she was so close to the end. Abby still felt like she might need something to take the edge off and asked for some kind of narcotic medication to help with the edge. Her nurse asked her doctor and her doctor explained that she didn’t want to give her any narcotics because the baby would also get some of the medication and since she was so close to delivery there was a chance the narcotics would make her baby tired and not a great breather at delivery. Abby understood this and opted to be checked again because her contractions were so strong and she was feeling a lot more pressure even though it had only been 20 minutes since her last check. Abby was now 9cm dilated and this was the reassurance she needed to get to the end and power through without any medication. I told you those last centimeters go exponentially faster! Abby moved back to standing at the bedside and with her next two contractions she felt a strong urge to push. I had Abby move to hands and knees in the bed for delivery. A few contractions later at 6:56pm Abby was completely dilated and able to push. With just 9 minutes of pushing Abby delivered Dawson Crew on hands and knees unmedicated! Dawson was placed on her chest and Abby said,“I freaking did it!”
Dawson Crew born November 25 at 7:05pm weighing 7lbs 13 oz
Abby you persevered through an intense labor and were so strong to reach your goal. It was so special to be a part of your birth team and walk with you through your pregnancy and labor. Being your doula was an honor!
November 21, 2022
Brittany and Luke reached out as first time parents early pregnancy for support as they were looking for a natural unmedicated birth experience. Brittany believed that women were created to give birth, and completely trusted her body to do so. She worked hard during pregnancy in staying active and being patient. She was hoping her baby would be here by Thanksgiving, but was content if the baby was not.
Brittany texted me around 7 am on November 20th, at 40 weeks and 1 day, saying that she was having some cramping that was in her back and abdomen. The cramping was irregular and not very intense yet. Throughout the day we continued to talk back and forth about different things to try to see if we could get the contractions to be a in a more regular pattern and pick up in intensity.
Brittany and Luke live an hour away from the hospital, and at 7:30 pm they decided that it possibly was going to be a long night as contractions had got a bit more intense, and decided to head to the hospital. They figured it would be better to drive in earlier rather then in the middle of the night. We decided that they would get settled in the hospital and have a cervical check and then we could come up with a game plan after that.
I got a text from Brittany at 8:53 pm that they had just gotten to the hospital and that she was now having some spotting. She had not had any spotting before this throughout the day at all. Soon after the text from Brittany, my phone rings at 9:13 pm and its her husband Luke. I answer and he says “They just checked Brittany, and she’s 8 centimeters!”
I grabbed my stuff and headed out the door as the hospital is 50 minutes away from me as well! Upon arrival to the hospital, Brittany was on hands and knees on the bed with the bottom of the bed dropped down. Her contractions were visibly intense, and yet Brittany was moaning so powerfully through each one. She was truly in the zone and was allowing her body to completely relax in between. Luke was up by Brittany’s head and the doctor was massage Brittany’s calves and feet. This doctor told me that he likes to “describe himself as half doula!” I got to setting up with room with lavender diffusing right by Brittany and the lights hung. They already had music playing and the lights turned down. I coached Luke in providing counter pressure and took over rubbing Brittany’s legs, while the doctor started taking pictures since I jokingly “took his job”. After a few contractions we decided that Brittany should try empty her bladder and do a few contractions straddling the toilet. Luke helped her to the toilet where she did a few contractions and I provided counter pressure. During this time Brittany began to feel pushy pressure. The doctor suggested that she have a cervical exam to see where she was at. After a cervical exam was suggested, Brittany stated that “she would like the nurse with the small hands to do it and not the doctor!” As he had much larger hands then the nurse. Everyone burst out laughing as well as the doctor and completely agreed with her! She said later that she had had a cervical exam by him in the office and “had given it the ole’ college try!” But was going to not have that during labor.At 11:03pm we helped her back to the bed and the nurse with the small hands checked Brittany’s cervix. She was 10cm dilated! Brittany’s water had not broken yet, so she was still able to continue to cope with contractions extremely well!After the cervical exam, she went to hands and knees with a peanut ball as Brittany was most comfortable this way. She had had quite a bit of back pain throughout the day, and had utilized a TENS unit to help her with the back pain. Later she told me that the TENS unit had been a lifesaver for her!
Time becomes very fluid during the labor process as it turns in to coping though one contraction at a time, and that’s exactly how Brittany went through labor. She had the perfect support team that allowed her body to keep doing what it was made to do. The environment was so beautiful and you could just feel the support and respect for the birth process radiating through the room. She was so powerful and moaned and roared her way through each contraction, one contraction at a time.
At 11:47 she began to bear down at the end of contractions. She was never holding her breath and counting, but more moaning and bearing down and working with her body. After about 40 minutes of doing this, Brittany moved herself to sitting back on her knees and continuing to work with contractions. At 12:29 a.m. there was a pop! Brittany’s water had finally broke! The doctor and I suggested that Brittany move to a squatting position with the squat bar for support as it felt her body was trying to get into a squatting position naturally. This way she could utilize gravity to aid in helping the baby come through the birth canal. We all helped move her to a squat position and leaning over the squat bar. The moving positions was the most intense part of labor, and the only time Brittany asked for any pain relief. The team reassured her that this was a very normal feeling and reminded her that she was so close to meeting her baby and finding out the gender!
Once squatting, Brittany showed so much strength! She moaned through 2 more strong contractions, allowing her body to stretch with each one. Brittany had stayed crowning, and with last powerful contraction, Brittany roared her baby earth side in one strong push!
12:50 a.m., the doctor announced “It’s a BOY!”
He cried immediately and placed directly on Brittany’s chest. She looked down on him with so much love and relief as natural oxytocin flooded her body. She snuggled him close and said over and over “hi baby, we did it!”
Kai Lynn Arrowood
And a head FULL of dark hair!!
Kai’s birth experience was a testament of how powerful women truly are! Undisturbed birth is so raw and primal. Brittany surrendered to the labor process and trusted her body every step of the way. She focused on relaxing her body and allowing the contraction to do what it was made to do! Birth can be such an influential event in a women’s life. Not only is a baby born, but a mother is born as well!
Thank you Brittany and Luke for inviting me to be a support, and witness in the empowering birth of Kai! Being a doula is the BEST job!
October 27, 2022
Anna’s birth story started back when Irene and Jeremy reached out to hire a doula when they they were pregnant with their second baby. Irene had previously had a C-section due to her first daughter being in a breech position and having a heart shape uterus. She had initially wanted to do home births all of her children, but now since she was going to have a VBAC, she no longer qualified.
When meeting with Irene and Jeremy, Irene had voiced her want to be at home as long as possible before heading to the hospital. If you ever met Irene, you will know she is a woman who does her research and knows all risks and benefits of all things involving birth. In the weeks leading up to birth, Irene was seeing a chiropractor and staying active by walking and keeping up with their toddler daughter.
In the afternoon of Wednesday October 26th at 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant, Irene called me and told me that her water had broken. She had been having Braxton hicks contractions, but no real labor contractions yet. Did you know only 7% of women’s water break with no contractions? Her plan was to wait home and see if labor started. They went for a walk and did some pumping. Around supper time, contractions started to become more intense and Irene decided she was ready for me to come to their house. By the time I arrived, contractions had faded and everyone made the decision to try sleep for a little while. At 10:00 pm contractions picked back up and were intense again. Irene felt as if baby was still high and not well engaged yet, so we did some abdominal lift and tucks with contractions, and then decided to rest some more in flying cowgirl. While in flying cowgirl, Irene and Jeremy were able to sleep as it was now midnight and I rubbed her leg with contractions. After about an hour in flying cowgirl, contractions became too intense to lay down through and Irene got back in the tub. The bathroom was set up beautifully with candles burning and essential oils diffusing with soft music playing. Jeremy went back and forth from providing counter pressure, to supporting Irene about by her head and reminding her that her body was made to do this. After awhile contractions were starting to become painful in Irene’s back and she was not feeling them much in her abdomen. With these extremely painful back contractions, Irene made the decision that she was ready to go to the hospital to opt for some medicine for pain relief.
We all arrived at the hospital and to Irene’s room around 3:45 am. At 3:55 she opted for a cervical exam and was 6-7cm dilated. She then decided to get in the tub after an IV was started. The nursing staff and doctor were wonderful and extremely respectful of Irene’s requests as well as explaining the risks and benefits of the medication options. Irene decided she wanted to try the narcotic pain relief. This was a wonderful thing for her as it helped her to relax and regain control of her birth and breathing. She labored in the tub for next hour and a half with dim lighting, soft Christian music plain and oils diffusing. Jeremy held Irene’s hands and she laid on his shoulder to rest after each contraction. The doctor sat quietly crossed legged on the bathroom floor and continued to let her body and baby do what it was made to do. He even took my phone and snapped some pictures of us in “action!”. During this time in the tub, she decided for one more dose of the pain medication to help her with her back contractions. Soon Irene’s body started to push her baby out. She continued breathing through each contraction and bear down with them and stayed in complete control the entire time. We all helped Irene back to the bed, as she breathed through the surges of contractions and the doctor checked her cervix at 6:44 a.m. and she was obviously complete. The squat bar was set up and Irene pulled herself up to the squat bar. She squatted and with the next contractions, Irene gave 2 strong pushes, and the baby was here!
On October 27th at 6:52 a.m., Jeremy was assisted by the doctor in catching his sweet new dark haired daughter. He looked up at Irene with the most loving eyes said “You did it! Anna is here! You are amazing!”
Irene had a moderate amount bleeding after birth, so the doctor asked for consent to administer IV Pitocin. She and Jeremy agreed to this, as well as the need some sutures.
Irene and pushed through fatigue and extremely painful back contractions and was able to have a successful vaginal birth after her first C-section. She showed true strength and power as she leaned in to the contractions and breathed through them one at a time. She continued to listen to her body and move in different positions to accommodate Anna coming in to the world. She stayed completely in tune with her body/baby and knew what she needed. Her and Jeremy were the sweetest couple to work with, and their true love and commitment to each other showed the ENTIRE birth. Thank you so much for allowing me to a part of this beautiful experience!
October 25, 2022
Sweet Sutton's birth was such an honor to witness. Hannah was so strong to achieve her goal of an unmedicated labor even when things didn’t go exactly as planned. Hannah went in for her OB check on Monday October 24 and at this point was 39week and 3 days pregnant. Over the weekend Hannah has started some cramping and braxton hicks contractions and was excited that her body was starting to prepare for labor. Hannah decided to get a cervical exam and a membrane sweep in hopes of starting labor. Hannah was 2cm dilated and had her membrane sweep in the clinic. The plan was to go home and see what happened over the next day or so but Sutton had a different plan. When Hannah got up from her appointment her water broke right there in the clinic office. So much for waiting to see what happens, it was happening now.
Hannah was brought over to the labor and delivery unit to be monitored. At this point Hannah wasn't having any strong regular contractions and we were hoping she could go home until contractions started but her doctor wanted her to stay for monitoring just in case. By this point it was already early evening so the plan was to rest and see what her body did over the next few hours and see if contractions started on their own. Throughout the evening Hannah progressed to 3cm and was having some regular contractions that prevented her from getting much rest. In the early morning around 3am Hannah was checked again and was still at 3cm and her contractions had died down. Her doctor wanted to start Pitocin at this point to keep her labor progressing. Hannah wasn’t thrilled about needing Pitocin but wanted to keep things moving. The Pitocin started working quickly to rev up contractions.
At 5:45am Hannah's husband Clay called me that she was ready for me to come and help her through contractions as they were becoming much more intense. At 6:45am I got to the hospital. Hannah was sitting on the birth ball breathing beautifully through contractions. We sat down and chatted about how things were going and how Hannah was feeling about her whirlwind of the past 12 hours. Her doctor came in again to check on Hannah's progress at 8am and Hannah was now 4cm and her cervix was nearly all the way thinned out. Even though the dilation didn’t seem like a lot of progress, being completely thinned out is great progress so that the cervix can dilate faster. The nurses continued to increase Hannahs Pitocin while we changed positions between the birth ball, hands and knees, and standing leaning over the bed. Around 10am Hannah decided that the tub would feel good on her lower back. The tub worked wonders. Hannah continued to breathe through contractions and breath her baby down in the water. Pitocin contractions are no joke especially with your water broke but Hannah stayed so calm and in control of her breathing the whole time. Just before noon Hannah was still in the tub when her doctor came in to do another cervical exam. He did this while she was in the tub and said he thought Hannah was completely dilated but wasn’t positive because of her position in the tub and would like to do a check in the bed before starting pushing. He offered that Hannah could continue to breathe through contraction in the water but Hannah was ready to be done and start pushing if she could so she got out of the tub to be checked. This check found that Hannah still had a small lip of cervix all the way around and wasn’t quite fully dilated. This wasn’t what Hannah was hoping for but there was no other option but to keep going because the end was in sight. For 45 minutes Hannah breathed through contraction in a squatting position in bed. At 1:00 Hannah was fully dilated and able to start pushing. First Hannah pushed in a seat squat position in bed and did so great controlling her breath and focusing her energy down towards her baby. After pushing in this position for about 20 minutes I suggested a change to try tug of war pushing. Tug of war worked great on the first push like this we were able to see the first peek of baby hair. Tug of war was working well for Hannah so she kept pushing this way until her baby was nearly crowning. On the last push to change up her hips we had Hannah pull her leg back and with that push Suttun Rae was born.
Born October 25 at 2:04pm
weighing 6lbs 14oz
Hannah, your strength through intense pitocin contraction was so amazing and something to brag about. It was an honor to see your strength in person and be a part of your birth story.
October 20, 2022
Emma hired a doula for her third pregnancy in hopes of achieving a more natural birth after a previous induction and 2 epidurals. Emma did so much front work in her pregnancy to prepare for labor including working with Kyla, attending our BBBB class, working with a Webster certified chiropractor, eating dates, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, labor exercises, and mental preparation for childbirth. Initially Emma consented to a 39 4/7 induction with the reasoning of a big baby. As Emma prepared for her induction she began feeling uneasy about it and decided that the induction didn’t seem right at this time so she canceled her induction in hopes of going into labor on her own. Another week and a half past and still no labor. There had been lots of prodromal labor but still no contractions that came and stayed consistent. At this point her doctor recommended induction due to her being 41 weeks pregnant. Emma was disappointed that she was still needing to be induced but was feeling much better about this induction because of the extra time he gave her body to prepare. Emma went in for her induction on Wednesday night October 19. Emma was 2 centimeters dilated and was given a dose of vaginal cytotec to help continue to ripen and prep the cervix. I stopped by that evening to set up all my doula things, do a labor warm up with Emma and discuss what interventions she would prefer for her induction. Later that evening after I had gone home to sleep Emma’s doctor came in again and placed another dose of vaginal cytotec which was double the original dose. The first cytotec caused some random mild contractions and this second started some more regular mild contractions. It was late at this point and contractions were not very intense at this point so that plan was to try and get some sleep before active labor kicked in. Emma was able to rest/sleep on and off for a couple hours about around 3:30am contractions were becoming too strong to sleep/rest through. Emma had her husband give me a call that she was needing more support coping through contractions around 4:15am and I got to the hospital around 4:45am. Emma was sitting on the edge of the bed breathing through her contractions when I got to the hospital. She told me that she had tried walking, squatting, and laying down and nothing was comfortable. I could tell by the way Emma was acting that she was really progressing in labor so I suggested the tub as this was something she really wanted to utilize this birth. While we waited for the tub to fill Emma breathed through a few contractions on hands and knees while Dustin and I massaged Emma's back and hips. A little after 5am Emma got into the tub. Contraction continued to grow in the tub quickly. Within 15 minutes of being in the tub Emma started to feel a lot more pressure during contraction and a couple contractions later was starting to feel the urge to push. I ran out to tell the nurse and have them call the doctor that things were getting close. When I got back Emma was breathing through contractions but felt that her body was pushing without her control. Emma's uterus was pushing for her and moving her baby down. A few contractions later Emma said she felt the baby in her bottom and sure enough through the water I saw a peak of the top of her baby’s head. The hospital she delivered at doesn’t do water births and the doctor wasn’t there yet so Dustin and I quickly helped Emma out of the tub to get to the bed. Emma went onto hands and knees in the bed and as she got in bed her baby's head delivered. With the next contractions Emma pushed the rest of Winston's body out and he was caught by the nurse and I.
Born Thursday, October 20 at 5:34am
Weighing 10lbs 2oz and 23.5 inches long
A couple minutes later her doctor arrives to deliver the placenta. With how fast Winston's birth went goes to show how ready Emma's body was for labor. Emma, your hard work during pregnancy to care for your baby and your body was so clear and really paid off. It was an honor to support you through this process and help deliver Winston. This will be a birth I will never forget.
Josiah James "JJ"
September 16, 2022
Happy Birthday Josiah James!
Emily and Derek recently moved to the area from Denver, and when they found out they were pregnant they reached out to NWIBN for doula, lactation, and placenta services!
Throughout the pregnancy Emily and Derek and I often stayed in contact about different prenatal questions they maybe had or thoughts about labor and delivery. In the third trimester, Emily made sure that she was doing all the things she could do to prepare her body to be receptive to the labor hormones. She was eating dates, curb walking (so much “her calves were sore”) and seeing a Webster certified chiropractor regularly. We stayed in touch often during the last couple weeks of pregnancy.
When Emily was 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant, she began to have a small amount of spotting. The spotting continued through out the day, but she had a doctors appointment Friday morning. Friday morning she called to the hospital to inform them of the spotting and the nurse thought she could maybe be in early labor.
At her appointment at 10:45 her doctor did a cervical check and Emily was 2cm dilated and 70% thinned out. The doctor