My Journey with KC didn’t just start with her asking me to be her birth Doula. It started 3 and a half years ago when she came to me for support in a very challenging time in her life. Since then I have watched her grow from strength to strength. KC has this warrior energy; she doesn't leave any coin unturned (so to speak) and she faces everything head on. When fear rises, she meets it and uses it as a source of power, it becomes her strength.
Her journey through pregnancy and labour was no different.
KC researched and study as much as she could to learn about her new experience- pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum. I also shared tools of support for labour and birth with her and Ryan (her partner) during their pregnancy. KC was so prepared, that Ryan could not have been any other way, even if he tried. He was on the KC train and more than happy to take the ride! I saw early on that these two were going to make a great team and Ryan's calm, stable and strong, yet flexible nature was going to give KC the unwavering attention she would need throughout her labour and birth.
KC sailed past her estimated time of arrival, all whilst staying connected to herself, baby and her body. She was so trusting in her body and baby, trusting that her baby knew exactly the perfect time to arrive earth side.
KC's wish was to have a natural vaginal birth, free of intervention. So, when the time come to be induced, she moved through the steps, one step at a time. KC kept me in the loop via phone or text letting me know exactly where she was at and I supported her decisions every step of the way.
They broke her waters at 7.30am in the morning and I had this feeling this was the last step of intervention she would need to get labour underway (her cervix was thinning and 3cm dilated) and that is exactly what happened!
I arrived at the hospital just after 8.30am. KC was doing well with the surges and they were consistent. Her and Ryan were so beautiful to watch. They had the perfect system happening and I slipped into their flow effortlessly. KC was enjoying being outside, walking around the gardens (and a peaceful waterfall) for her early stages of labour. After a little while it was time to go upstairs and give KC some water. It was perfect timing as her surges amped up once returning to the room and I knew it was time to move to the birthing suite.
Once in the birthing suite, listening to KC and her surges, I intuitively felt she was in active labour and was probably hitting the 5cm mark. At this time the body is working really hard to thin (efface) and open the cervix, we need nice long strong surges for this to happen. Surges last around 45-60secs with 3 to 5mins apart, generally speaking. KC’s were not textbook, but what labour is! She was in a similar pattern, but still had her own unique rhythm that was working a treat! If you know KC you will know she isn’t a textbook girl, she takes what she needs and tunes in to her own rhythm and follows that wisdom. I knew her labour was probably going to follow a similar pattern to who she is as a person and how she does life! This was helpful for me as a doula because not long after she had had an internal and was about 5 cm dilated her ego did get swayed by that result and she went through a stage of thinking she couldn’t do anymore of this pain ( which is natural when a women hears a result that they feel should be further along than where they are. Especially with all the hard work that they have been doing) and was losing her focus, I knew it was up to me and Ryan at this stage to support her through this and keep her in line with her birth plan. I also felt she was getting closer to the 7cm mark, so the surges would have been intensifying. She was also laying on her left side which can make the surges more uncomfortable. So, at this point I said it was time to try another position and get her into the water, standing up or sitting on the chair in the shower.
Which is what we did.
I could see during her surges how she was holding on and I gently encouraged her to remember her voice, breath and move with the surge. Letting the sound move deep into her vagina, as she exhaled all the way down and out! To let the energy of this surge, move through her, moving with it instead of pushing or tightening against it. It’s really challenging to know you’re doing this when you are experiencing possibly the strongest intense energy/pain you have ever experienced in your life! Having someone there that knows, feels and can be your eyes, can make the world of difference, helping shift you into alignment with the energy moving within you.
We had turned a corner.
She was making these beautiful sounds of a mother moving her baby down the vaginal canal.
Singing her baby out. It was breathtaking. Sacred moments. It felt like time had become still.
The water soothed her, supported her, all whilst Ryan held her and gave her the beautiful hip squeeze! We shared very few words, intuitively Ryan, myself and the midwife moved anf flowed with KC, surge by surge.
KC was now in her groove, flowing like a warrior woman through each surge and did this for about an hour and a half and then it was time for her to rest her legs so we hopped into the bath and she continued to sing and sync with her surges in the bath.
The surges started to heat up a notch and I could hear that in her toning and also the few short words with us. Again, we heard the words of, “not sure if I can keep doing this”. I felt she may be at transition. Another midwife didn’t think so and we carried on in the bath and tried some gas to help support the stronger surges that were coming through. I still felt she was at the 8 – 9cm mark. The midwife said to see how she goes in the bath for a little longer. So, for about another hour longer KC stayed.
The magic words came flowing out of her mouth, “I feel like I need to poo!”
She wanted to get checked again to see how far she was. So, we got her out of the bath and up on the bed.
This is where we heard that magic number – your 10cm!
It was all that beautiful toning and breathing that had got her there in such a short time. She was awesome. She was that warrior woman on a mission to meet her baby boy!
She started breathing her baby down with the surges and was making great progress, until it was said she had been in the water long enough and we needed to get her out of the water.
She was now back on the land and she was starting to get fatigued by this point and the sun was setting. She had been at this labour thing all day now! She showed nothing but strength and was so grounded all the way through!
We got her up standing to help bring bub down (using gravity to support her) moving her hips a little and Ryan was giving them a good squeeze with each surge. Her obstetrician came in to check how she was progressing and mentioned she had been pushing (breathing and toning her baby down) for nearly 2 hours and felt bub may need some help coming out - meaning using suction. KC asked the risks, turned to Ryan asked him what he felt and then asked me. We all agreed to give it another 30mins (as she had been at it for 12 hours all up by now) to see if she could bring him out on her own. KC gave it her all! But his head was not budging, as he had turned posterior on the way down, took a wrong turn and got stuck under her pubic bone!
Up on the bed she got. Her Obstetrician prepared KC for vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery. KC needed to push with her surges as the obstetrician gently pulled on the vacuum that was placed on the little one’s head.
It felt like seconds and his head was out. In the next surge he was out and up on Mum’s chest. He was Divine! The love that unfolded in those 1stfew moments was truly something else!
Love. Joyful. Wholehearted expansion. Sacred. Blessed. Deep Deep Gratitude.
KC and Ryan had now become parents and been blessed with this gorgeous little soul!
Not once did KC loose control. She stayed connected and had one thing on her mind; to birth her baby! Ryan stayed by her side the whole time, holding her hand, silently letting her know he had her and shared loving words to her of “you have got this” or “You are doing so well” he was her pillar of strength not wavering. So much so that I had to tell him to go have something to eat and drink! He was the love, support and strength KC needed to feel safe in this incredible journey of labour and birth.
It was so beautiful to observe these 3 beings bonding over the next hour or so that I stayed. I was so happy for them, to have each other. I also was bursting with love and joy for KC to have overcome many challenges, heart break and to now have the love and joy she deserved. My Job here was complete and I left this new little family in the arms of their own love. Creating new moments. Living and breathing the fullness of life, one moment at a time.
Truly Blessed to be a part of KC, Ryan and Baby Atticus sacred birth story. It was one to remember that’s for sure. As a doula you grow close to those you support. This is part of the process of how labour and birth is. Labour and birth have a way of bonding people like no other. It cracks you open. You get vulnerable and real. You are raw. The birthing mother shares the deepest parts of her. We hold her in love through it all.
It changes your heart forever. It opens your heart.
The 4 of us will always share that in our hearts, and to me, that is what makes being a Doula the best job in the world!
Words by Tracy Whitton. Pictures from Michelle Palasia Photography and Tracy Whitton.