Saturday, September 21, 2013

Baby Ava 9/10/2013

Baby Ava was born on September 10, 2013 at 1:30 am. She weighed 8lbs 15oz and was 20 inches long.

I met Ava's mom, Sunny, the day she went into labor. I met her at her home, around 6pm, and was welcomed by a crew of loving and fun family members. All of whom were very supportive of Sunny using a Doula. Sunny was rocking on a birthing ball and timing contractions when I arrived. We went through all of the forms I had her fill out, and got to know one another. She had her 10 year old daughter Skyla and her mother with us the whole time, both of whom were very supportive and asked really great questions. I think we both felt right away that we were going to get along really well. Her birth goals included: Waters rupturing naturally, going through most of the labor in her own home, being able to stay calm throughout the labor and delivery, delivering naturally with no pain medication, keeping her husband an integral part of the birthing team, and being able to breast feed.
At Sunny's previous Dr's apt she was dilated to 2cm and was not fully effaced. She had requested that her Dr strip her membranes, but she was not effaced enough at that apt for him to have acquiesced.
With her permission I performed a Vaginal exam. She was at 3cm was 60% effaced, and I was able to strip a few of her membranes at her request.
I let her know to sleep and eat when she could, and to keep herself comfortable. I told her that if her body continued to progress that she would probably go into labor in the next day or two, but to keep me informed and I would come right back over.
At 10:15 pm I received a text from Sunny's mother, letting me know that Sunny's contractions were every 5 minutes and getting much stronger. I went right back over and checked Sunny again. At that time she was fully effaced and dilated to 5cm. I recommended going to the hospital, and all 8 of us headed off to be Sunny's Entourage!
When Sunny was checked in to the hospital, they examined her and she was at 6cm. Her labor started to progress much more quickly. She was having very strong contractions as well as hot flashes. Her husband was so supportive in getting cold wet wash cloths and wiping down her face, back and neck, as well as feeding her ice chips. Her daughter stayed in the waiting room watching movies, and would come in between contractions to check on her mom, while I massaged her back during contractions. By 12:45am Sunny was dilated to 7cm. The hospital staff offered pain medication via IV, but Sunny continued to labor on without assistance. Due to the hospital's regulations, only 4 of us could be in the room with her at a time. She had her husband, mother, mother in law and myself to support and encourage her on.
At 12:55am Sunny's water broke naturally. She'd had a "Bulgy Bag" and during one of the contractions, the nurses encouraged her to push lightly, which broke her water. At 1:10am the Dr came in and checked on Sunny. She was at 10 cm and the Dr prepared for her to start pushing. Sunny's husband and mother were up by her face to hold her hand and count aloud for each push, while a nurse and I each grabbed a leg and gave Sunny an anchor to push on. 4 big contractions later Ava was born.
Ava was a bit bigger than her other 2 children were, and so Sunny needed 8 sutures after delivery. They gave her a local for the pain. They also gave Pitocin IV to help stem her bleeding, which was a little abnormal. I stayed with Sunny and held her hand while the Dr sewed her up, and the nurses helped clean her up, we talked about how well she did, and how beautiful Ava was, and we both got a little choked up. But once everyone was done, Sunny was able to breast feed Ava.

Baby Ava and Sunny at Home.

At this time Sunny's mom and in-laws went home and took a very reluctant Big Sister Skyla with them. I always stay with my patients at the hospital until they have been moved from the L&D room to their own private room. This was an instance I am VERY glad I did.
Sunny's pain spiked an hour after delivery. She was in so much pain it hurt my heart. She had a stabbing pain  on one side of her bum. I massaged and rubbed, but to no avail. They brought her oral pain medicine at her request, and ice packs but it didn't work. Finally they gave her a Morphine shot IM and per her request, stopped the pitocin drip. Eventually the pain wore down to a more manageable state, and after she was up and had attempted to use the restroom, they put her in her own room to rest and sleep. Mom and baby were able to come home the following day, and are doing really well.
 Baby Ava and Daddy at home.

Every birth is special, which is why being invited and trusted to be a part of a birth is such a special occasion. Sunny was the 30th birth I had been a part of as a Doula, working by myself. Sunny was a fantastic case to be a part of, she had clear cut goals that we were able to accomplish, she had wonderful supportive family who helped to keep her in good spirits, she trusted in me to help her and she allowed me to do all I could.

Baby Ava and Big sister Skyla.

The other positive thing that happened was the next day, when I came back to see her, the nurse from the night before told me that any time I came in with a mom as her Doula, she wanted me to request her because she enjoyed working with me so much. In an area where Doula's can get a bit of flack from Hospital Personnel, that was a grand compliment.
Baby Ava, gaining weight and growing perfectly.

This was a wonderful birth to be a part of, and one that I will never forget.
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Baby Avoree 8/26/2013

Baby Avoree was born via Cesarean Section on August 26, 2013 at 5:27pm
At birth she was 6lbs 12oz and 19inches long.

Her mother's pregnancy wasn't easy. Keecia is a tall, slim woman who doesn't weigh much when not pregnant. All of the weight she gained was in front with the baby, and this caused a lot of stress and pain on her back. Keecia had delivered her first child by emergency C-Section, and it was her goal to deliver her daughter VBAC. (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) Unfortunately, due to her small size, and the amount of pain Keecia was already in, her Dr. only felt comfortable delivering via C-Section.
Keecia is one of the hardest working mothers I know, specifically when it comes to her Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery.
She walked every day, swam and chased after her two year old son, up until the day Avoree was born. At one point, when her contractions had been 1 minute a part for 2 hours, we went into the hospital. Keecia was out of bed doing squats, using a stair stepper, taking a warm bath and pacing her room during contractions, all to keep her labor progressing so that she could hopefully deliver Avoree vaginally. I was very impressed with her inner strength!
The different techniques we tried were Pressure Point Massage, which brought on harder and more consistent contractions. Perineal massage to help open and loosen her up in case a Vaginal Delivery became possible. Regular exercising, including walking, squats, deep breathing exercises, swimming and yoga stretches.
Two days after Avoree's due date, Keecia's Dr performed a Cesarean Section and a happy and healthy Baby Avoree was born. I was very privileged to share that day with the entire family.

Baby Avoree is being Breast Fed and is growing beautifully. She has a fantastic smile and loves to be held.

This is one of my favorite birth stories, not only because it highlights how hard working and brave mothers who choose to have a Cesarean are, but also it shows that a Doula's main goal is to support the mother, whatever her choices are. We can not project our own feelings or ideas onto another, especially a mother going through such a momentous occasion. A Doula is at her best, when she is able to help both parents work together to create a calm and loving environment for baby to be born into, no matter where that birth is, or under what circumstances.
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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Why I decided to become a Doula.

I've recently gone from private to quite public on my decision to become a Birth Doula here in Sacramento. Some of my friends are asking why. The answer is long and personal. 

When I found out I was pregnant, my husband and I had only been married 2 years. We were 19 and 20, and not ready, nor were we planning on children. I had worked in hospitals since I was 15, and had gone to school to become an RN and an EMT, and had spent years working in hospice care and I thought I knew everything there was about labor and delivery.
But when it came down to it, everything I thought I knew was useless. My Dr and I were not on the same page, my birthing group had no plan, and my birth with my son was a horrifying 3 days of pain, exhaustion and confusion. I vowed I would never let one of my friends endure what I did. And I also told myself that my next birth would be different.
But when my son was 2 I was diagnosed with an Endocrine disorder, that has left me unable to have any more children. So I did what I could to help my friends through their pregnancies and deliveries, never knowing how valuable the help was that I provided.
Eventually I went back to college to become a Veterinary Technician, and through the Vet Hospital who hired me, I met a fantastic woman who was a birth Doula. We had an instant connection. She told me about her Birthing stories, and I used my Hospice Care experience to help her with the loss of a dear pet. One day she surprised me by telling me that she thought I would make a wonderful Doula.
Shortly thereafter I left the Vet Hospital. Her and I stayed in contact via FaceBook, and every time I saw her face on my wall I remembered her words. So I started reading. I read and studied everything I could get my hands on about labor and delivery. Telling myself it was Just to Add to my knowledge. Until I had the opportunity to start using what I knew. That first birth, my head filled with everything I had learned, changed me. And I knew I needed to do this with my life. 
I felt my old Labor and Delivery wounds healing. I felt at peace. I felt as though I had finally found who I was supposed to be.
All of my schooling, training and experience had never prepared me for what it was like to be confident in myself. This is what I am good at! I want to help woman give birth in their own way. 

So I have decided to become a Birth Doula. I have participated in 27 births now. Some were home births, some were hospital births, water births, and even Cesarean sections. And all are precious in my memories. 

I plan to use this blog to discuss what I am learning and experiencing through this adventure. I hope you enjoy it. 
For more information please feel free to check me out on Facebook, at Miss Doula.

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