You Can’t Always Get What You Want…

…but amazingly, you usually get what you need. Sometimes birth is just. like. that.

My last doula clients changed practices at 35 weeks gestation. We had just met and they were telling me that they had never heard of a doula before finding me online, none of their friends or family had ever used a doula. They also did not know that midwives practiced in Georgia or what a midwifery model of care was. They asked for some education, so we spent several hours talking about the difference in a medical model of maternity care and a midwifery model. They got that their beliefs were in line with the midwifery model, thus the change in care providers. They were comfortable from their first meeting with the new practice, knowing that now their dreams for their birth, no longer including an epidural, were in line with their (newly discovered) beliefs.

And then it came at 39 weeks and 5 days: that first rush of waters. Off to the midwives! What? Not my waters breaking? Hydro-what? Patience being tested, mama, I told her. I know you are ready to meet your baby…but if it had one fingernail left to grow, would you want to rush it? She came for a massage and decided to enjoy the remainder of her pregnancy. She didn’t have to wait long…her labor began in the middle of the next night. She and her husband labored into the afternoon, walking, resting, time in the bath and asked me to meet them at the hospital. Intense, she said.

Once at the hospital, her cervix was checked and dilated to 3cm. Go home, mama. You have some work to do. Sleep, eat, be patient.

When she returned to the hospital late in the night, her cervix was dilated to 6cm! Woohoo! We worked with hypnosis, imagery, movement, rest and in the waterbirth pool…8cm, 9cm… then stuck. Looking at her belly, we could tell baby was in an awkward position. The skilled midwife attempted to assist the baby in adjusting. A second midwife joined in. The OB was called. Baby was truly in an odd position and then came my words: What are her options? Surgical birth, he said. Explanation of the baby’s position well understood.

Mama: Let’s do it! Dad: Let’s do it!

Everything was perfect. In our first prenatal meeting I had talked with this couple about empowered birth. They understood that an empowered birth comes from making educated decisions, and what the birth looks like isn’t always what you imagined. They are delighted with their birth, all 30+ hours of it, including the family-centered surgical birth that brought their (surprise!) baby boy directly to mama’s chest, where he suckled immediately.

They got what they needed.

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