Jennifer B’s Story
This was my third baby, my husband’s first, and I can tell you we had high hopes for our birth experience. There was so much to be redeemed, as the births of my first two children were so hard emotionally in ways completely unrelated to having a baby.
Having enough time and emotional energy to really have a birth plan, we were looking forward to the glorious experience every mother deserves bringing her child into the world.
Our original plan involved a doula, laboring at home, then a birthing center with a hot tub, a midwife and little or no meds.
We plan. God laughs, right?
Needless to say, the road to our daughter’s birth was complicated. In the end, we ended up with a semi-emergency induction in the hospital almost two weeks early, connected to IVs of all kinds, and an eventual epidural with everyone tearful, scared and exhausted.
After a round of meds, when contractions finally started, Summer came and gave me a full body massage – a really, luxuriously long one – in my hospital bed to allow me to rest. She spritzed fabulous, custom aromas into the air above my bed, played some soft music in the room, wrapped me in a warm scarf and ordered (kindly but firmly) my husband and mother-in-law to be still and rest, so I could rest.
Since I had been seeing her for months beforehand for prenatal bodywork (highly recommended), I knew she was amazing with her hands, but my mother-in-law as beside herself watching the massage. “What’s a doula,” she said, “And can I have one?”
Labor was long and very, very slow, so after nearly 12 hours of glorious aromatherapy, foot massages, music, gentle guidance, working with the robozo, moving me in all different kinds of positions and coaching my husband on how to support me, we sent Summer home to rest.
Unfortunately, the second she left, things went south – she had a feeling they would. The doctors nearly doubled my meds, my water broke, and within moments the contractions were coming on like a freight train.
My husband used the tools Summer had taught him when she was there, we breathed together, we worked with the robozo, we moved into different positions – when I could move – but I wasn’t able to get ahead of the contractions again.
After many tears from both my husband and myself, we called Summer to talk with her about getting an epidural.
Best Advice Ever.
“If it would be a kindness to yourself and to your husband, you should do it,” she said.
A kindness? Without even being able to process what it would mean for me – who has time to process anything between contractions – I knew it would be a kindness for my husband. (It only took one look at his face, poor guy.)
Two agonizing hours later, the epidural was FINALLY done, and I was able to rest. In more than 12 hours of labor, I had only progressed to a 4. I can say, without a doubt it was the right thing to do.
I was able to rest for couple of hours while my body worked its way to a 7. We called Summer to ask if she would come back when it was time to push. She said she would.
Finally, when I was eeking my way to a 9, the doctors swept the rest of the membranes. Summer arrived just in time. She guided my mother-in-law and husband in how to help me best during pushing, then stood back – but within reach – and let the doctors, nurses and my family help welcome our baby into the world.
Because of her encouragement and the rest I received because the epidural she advised us on, I was able to push like the pushing champ I am and feel nothing but confidence, power and love when I brought our daughter, Claire Jane into the world.
Summer quizzed the hospital staff about one thing or another, took pictures for my husband, brought coffee.
One of the best gifts of her presence was how she comforted my older daughter, who was overwhelmed by what I looked like when she finally was able to come into the room, by wrapping her in one of birthing scarves.
In the end, our birth story was truly a victory! And we will definitely use Summer for our next and final birth. No price is too high when you have an amazing doula to partner with at a time like this.
Thank you, Summer.