Remember when you were a little girl and you and your little friends would play house? Someone was the ‘mommy’ and then everyone else were her children. I remember being the mommy once and I made all my ‘children’ pick the buds off the tree to make soup. Such fun times. As grown ups we don’t really play pretend anymore. We have finally entered the ‘real’ world and for some reason playing house just isn’t as much fun. Well this past week I got to pretend again. But this time I pretended I was a doula. The next best thing to having your own baby is being there for a friend’s birth. What an amazing experience it was! I have no training and no experience. I have had two of my own kids, read a few books, and I had a doula at my first birth and that is about it. “Hello, my name is Chantal and I’m your pretend doula for the day.” (Or two days in Samantha’s case.)
I was truly honored that Samantha asked me to be there. I was excited to be there and see a birth, but also to help her through labor. Samantha is a real trooper and I am very very proud of her. She also had a really good doctor and set of nurses that helped a lot. Samantha was adamant about not wanting a c-section and she never lost sight of that, even when people tried to tell her it was the easy way out. “It will hurt less,” someone told her. She had a very long pre-labor that really exhausted her. That started Monday afternoon. I was up with her most of Monday night and then on Tuesday her doctor told her that she either had to go home or start pitocin. She went home. Her hubby asked me to come over that evening to be with them. When I got there I could tell the her contraction had changed. We were only there about an hour and half while I timed them for her before we went back to the hospital. She had not progressed at all even though she was finally in active labor. I really tried to encourage her, but the contractions where so strong she just cried through them. I was on the verge of crying with her. I didn’t have that strong of contractions that early in labor with either of my boys, and facing another night of sleeplessness was overwhelming for her. So they gave her an induction so she could get some sleep that night. I must say it is quite something to see a laboring mom go from crying through contractions, to talking/laughing in just a few minutes, to sleeping in a few hours. I told her I was a little bit jealous. Ha ha. But as the night wore on she got terribly sick, which the nurse said is a side effect of the pain meds. Poor girl, threw up all night. She was so sick she couldn’t lift her head off the pillow with out throwing up. I sat up until 1:30ish with her, praying for her while she slept until her hubby took over. By morning her contractions had slowed almost to a stop. She had been in bed for 8 or 9 hours straight. I told her that she had to get up and get moving. Her labor had stalled because she was lying down for so long. The doctor started talk about one of three options, breaking her water, starting pitocin, or a c-section. But thankfully he wasn’t in too much of a hurry and told her to move around for a while first. As she made laps around the hospital the contractions slowly started to build. After breaking her water she told me that if the contractions got as bad as the night before she would need an other pain shot. I told her I understood but that she needed to know that if she got as sick as she did last time that I was really worried she wouldn’t be able to push. I started asking people to pray for her that either she could handle the contractions or that she wouldn’t get sick from the pain meds. She did finally ask for more pain meds but the nurse told her it was too late. You should have seen her sad face. My heart went out to her. I showed Dustin how to squeeze her hips together to help with the back pain, and how to apply pressure to her low back. We got hot towels for her back and cool towels for her forehead and face. I told her that she was strong enough to get through this. That she could do it. She was handling the pain so much better than she was the night before, even though they were the same contractions and I told her that. By the time the doctor came and said they could probably give her something she had convinced herself that she could do it, and told the doctor she thought she could handle it. I have never been so proud of someone before!! She labored for about two hours after her water was broken, and pushed for another two hours. I was practically in tears with her when they placed her perfect, beautiful baby boy on her tummy. What a joy and amazing experience. I stuck around long enough to help her breastfeed and then I went home. I told her I needed to go home and hold my own baby. 😉
It was very interesting for me as a home birth mom to see a hospital birth. There is a big difference!
The following are the top 12 reasons why I will not be having a hospital birth any time soon:
- I don’t want to wear a hospital gown. This may seem small, but I like my shorts and tank tops that I wear while in labor. The hospital gown is full of gaps and holes that keeps it almost impossible to be modest in. I don’t want to worry whether or not my back side is showing every time I stand up.
- I don’t want to be tied to a bunch of machines. At one point Samantha had to go to the bathroom and the nurse had to unplug 6 or 7 cords before she could get up and walk. No thank you.
- I like more privacy then the hospital can offer. There is just too many people coming and going. At one point I started telling Samantha who was coming in since she would crane her neck around each time the door opened.
- I want to sleep in my own bed that night. No offense to hospital beds, but my bed is so much better. I would much rather be there after giving birth.
- I want to do what feels good for my body, not be told by my doctor what to do because he is looking at a machine. I was surprised when Samantha started pushing that the doctor and nurses would look at the numbers on the graph and tell her when to push according to that.
- I want the option of eating food, if I’m hungry.
- I want to be able to go to the bathroom or change positions when I want. Samantha had to ask if she could get up, or walk around the hospital, or go to the bathroom every time.
- I don’t want to be “checked” so many times. I was checked once my whole pregnancy, labor, and birth with James. I was checked twice with Gideon. Poor Samantha was check all the time, and often the nurse would check her, tell the doctor, and he would come in and check to make sure the nurse got it right. Wow! I have no idea what they were doing to Samantha but it hurt a lot when they check her, it never hurt when my midwives checked me.
- I don’t want my vitals taken every 30 minutes while I’m pushing. The nurse took Samantha’s temperature 4 times while she was pushing! Why, I ask, why?
- I want to hold my baby right away for a long time. Samantha held Thomas for a few minutes before they took him away. I set the timer on my watch because I wanted to know just how long it would be. It just a few minutes shy of 20 before they brought him back to her. Much of that he was just lying in a bed by himself while the nurse measured him and did all that other first documentation that they have to do. She even took a foot print of his feet before bring him back. Why are they in such a hurry that this has to be done before a mom can hold her baby? They were in the hospital for two days after the birth. Plenty of time then to foot print a baby. After both my births I remember the baby being on my tummy and the midwives just sitting there smiling. I don’t have any idea how long it was, but we all just looked at the baby. I remember the midwives just kinda fading into the background while Titus and I looked at our baby. Afterward when they do finally take the baby to clean him up and weigh him it’s only a few minutes that he is gone.
- I don’t want an IV. This also may seem small to some people, but I am not good with needles. Plus it got in the way a lot when the hose would get caught or something and pull on her hand. In Samantha’s case her IV was very useful when they gave her a bunch of fluids because she was slightly dehydrated because of throwing up so much, but I still really really don’t want one.
- I did wonder if Samantha’s labor was so long and more painful then mine because her doctor kept messing with her. He stripped her membranes three times and broke her water. I have no idea if that can cause a difficult labor but I don’t want to find out. I want to go into labor naturally, and then let it progress naturally. Poor Samantha was ready to push before she was fully dilated and I believe that it because of braking her water prematurely.
With all that said, I was very very impressed with her doctor. He really cared about her, and when he told her different options of things to do he always told her whether or not it would increase her chances of a c-section because he knew how important that was to her to avoid. I liked him a lot. The only thing I have to say is, why do we have male doctors delivering babies? When Samantha asked which muscles to use when pushing he started telling her how to push. HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE THOSE MUSCLES!!!
A huge shout out to her hubby. What a great support he was to her. Samantha would not have done so well with out you!
And a HUGE thank you to my sister Emma who took care of Gideon at the hospital while I helped Samantha. I know it wasn’t easy.
Once again, thank you Samantha for letting me be apart of your beautiful birth story. I am so excited to have been there! You have a beautiful, strong boy. You and Dustin have so much fun and joy ahead of you!