One of the hardest things for a doula can be starting off. It can be hard as a new doula to find clients when you have no in person experience.
Once I completed my certification I decided to offer my services for free to gain that real life experience. I've always been more of hands on learner anyway.
I made a post on my social media pages offering free doula services and was lucky to make two connections. My first client was due in just a few weeks so I was able to jump into the birth world quite quickly!
This was her second birth, both with midwife led care. Her first was at the birth centre but due to severe tearing, required a transfer to the hospital. This resulted in mom & babe being separated quite quickly and wasn't ideal.
The goal for this birth was to avoid the risk of transfer by birthing in the hospital.
I received the text around 8pm, contractions are starting to be consistent. Which also meant, I likely wasn't getting any sleep that night. I tried to get some rest before I was needed but the adrenaline rush of my first birth wasn't going to let that happen. It wasn't long anyway until I was needed. I headed over to her home just before midnight to offer support in early labour. She said even just having someone to talk to at this stage helped make things easier.
Contractions began to get closer and heat was a helping friend at this stage. A long rice bag just under the baby bump & another on her back with some counter pressure. By about 2am contractions were hitting the 4-1-1 marker so she made the call to head in to the hospital.
Once in the hospital she made use of the soaker tub for relaxation. Soaking felt good, moving did not. After some time in and out of the tub she felt progress had slowed, nothing had changed since she had arrived and she was getting tired. At this point I reminded her that while standing or squatting may bring on more intense pressure, that pressure means baby is getting closer. It was time to release the fear and move forward in to the contractions.
She agreed she was ready, and got out of the tub. Standing brought on intense contractions and the feeling of needing a bowel movement. The midwife recognized this and got her on the hospital bed instead of on the toilet. It was time!
The fear of tearing again was very present as she asked over and over at this stage if she was tearing. We helped her get in to a side laying position to hopefully reduce tearing. She had a hard time adjusting positions at this point as the contractions were at their peak so we worked together to try and get her into a position that felt comfortable. Her body now took over to get baby out, there was no slowing things down. It went quickly and intensely. The pain was clearly strong but I held her hand (and her leg) and baby was out in just two big surges.
A baby boy was welcomed in to the world at 6:18am. How quickly the energy went from intense to calm. While some tearing did happen again, the ability to stay with baby, to stay in the same room, to have less panic and chaos showed this plan to birth in the hospital was a good choice.
It's remarkable being part of the process and witnessing the miracle of life. Being there as a support person for the first time, there were the internal questions of, will I be enough? What if I can't handle it? But being there I knew this is exactly where I'm meant to be. I'm so excited to continue to learn and grow as a birth worker to support as many people as I can in their birth journey.