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Doula makes a Difference
- November 27th 2013, 12pm
- by Steffi Heintzeler
When I go to events or friends’ houses and tell people what I do, I often hear “A doula? What is that?” So I say “It’s like a midwife, just non-medical.” But that’s not all. As a doula I am the one who will guide you throughout pregnancy, birth and the postpartum phase.
Recently, I was involved in a very special birth. Lily and John (names changed) were expecting their first child and had taken my childbirth class. So it was great to know them well before they called me very early one morning. Lily told me that she was bleeding a little and having contractions. Her husband was very nervous, which made me think that he needed me even more than Lily.
When I arrived at their home, Lily’s contractions had picked up already, coming approximately every five minutes. Lily didn’t know how to react to them other than moaning. John was pacing around. I sat by Lily’s bed and watched her go through two contractions. Then, I suggested trying a different position so she could actually move during contractions. We placed a medicine ball on the bed and Lily kneeled in front of it with her head on the ball. John started massaging her lower back with tennis balls and Lily slowly calmed down. I breathed with her through the next contractions, and she moved her pelvis left and right in between. I made sure everyone ate a snack and sent Lily to the bathroom every hour so she could make space for her baby. Lily took a bath and could rest well in between contractions.
John seemed more at ease seeing her with this different behavior. We put on relaxing music and ate chocolate as the contractions got stronger and stronger. From time to time Lily called her OB/GYN who told her to stay at home since he didn’t feel she’d be dilated enough to be admitted to hospital. When Lily felt more pressure downwards I suggested we go to have it checked out. I had a car service confirmed earlier, so it arrived soon and we had a powerful drive crossing Brooklyn Bridge at dawn watching the last party-goers on 10th Avenue while Lily was in the back of the car trying to breathe through her contractions. I had everything with me in case the little one would arrive too fast, so I was not concerned.
When we got to the hospital, Lily started pushing automatically. I had her move around in front of the emergency room for a few more contractions, knowing that in the delivery room she’d have to lie down and it would slow things down. John arranged the wheelchair and when we arrived on the 12th floor they told us there was no room available at this point. I suggested to Lily she’d give it a good push during the next contraction and when she did that, the team suddenly moved very quickly. We were brought into the triage area. Three contractions later her water broke while she was standing up and she called out “the baby is coming.” The nurse and I pulled her into the examination room behind a curtain and with that push the baby in fact did come! A healthy baby girl!
Create the possibility of getting the birth you want!