A BIRTH ON THE DAY BEFORE WORLD DOULA WEEK STARTED – We couldn’t have planned it better...

A BIRTH ON THE DAY BEFORE WORLD DOULA WEEK STARTED – We couldn’t have planned it better...

Here at the end of World Doula Week I wanted to share a reflection on our most recent BirthTactics birth. 

Baby B arrived by C -section on Monday 21st March, which was coincidentally day one of World Doula Week. I had been puzzling over how to share what doulas do, baby B arrived and on reflection this is the perfect example of how we can support women and their partners through the changing ‘tactics’ of labour and birth. R and S, baby B’s parents, had an early ‘scare’ which resulted in them attending a hospital out of their area for monitoring of R and their beautiful baby bump.

Thankfully all was well, but the experience sparked concerns as daddy S lives with extreme bouts of anxiety and the hospital visit brought on a reaction that neither R or S had expected. After discussing this they decided to look into doula care for their birth – Tah Dah, they found my details online, made contact and following a mid-week zoom discussion they booked doula care the following day. We were delighted to book another BirthTactics birth!

From that point we were in regular contact which enabled R and S to explore their thoughts, concerns and preferences for their labour and birth. Baby B was due around 30th March so her arrival a week early was a pleasant but unexpected surprise. Mummy R had literally finished work on Thursday and on Friday had early signs of labour which progressed slowly but surely. R and S had been feeling pressured by the hospital to have additional scans, which they were willing to attend, and to consider induction at 39 weeks. As a doula I provided them with evidence based information on induction and the options of ‘wait and see’ even if that meant daily monitoring. They were told they had a big baby with a lot of fluid on her tummy? A second scan proved this not to be the case. It was suggested R’s placenta could start to deteriorate if her pregnancy progressed beyond 39 weeks.

There was no evidence to suggest this. Both parents felt overwhelmed with the way their straightforward birth was heading towards a birth they had little control over. As a Birth Doula I suggested they arrange a meeting with the Consultant Midwife (CM) at their local hospital. The meeting went well with R and S discussing their concerns and also the information they had accumulated, to support their case. We had regular discussions before the meeting, on the day they messaged to say they felt confident and informed or the choices and options available to them. Before they went I planted the seed of a possible home birth.

Coincidentally, or perhaps as part of the power of the universe the CM had experienced several homebirths herself, reviewed R’s file and could see there was some overcautious suggestions which she too felt were perhaps not necessary. R was then booked to see the Obstetric Consultant who was very supportive. R was encouraged to look into a homebirth with the support of her community midwife. As a doula my thoughts on this is an over anxious Obstetric Registrar was perhaps unnecessarily concerned and there starts the spiral of Consultant led care for a ‘normal’ and ‘low risk’ pregnancy. Doula support starts and continues throughout pregnancy, throughout labour and of course in the period following birth.

As it happens all the discussion and planning were turned upside down when R’s labour started early on Friday morning. We all met at the Birth Unit local to my home as their local hospital was closed to admission and the Homebirth Service cancelled for the weekend. What are the chances of that happening? It was suggested R be admitted but with a doula/ client discussion we requested, and it was granted, that R and S could return to their home not for the 24 hours suggested in the Hospital Guidelines but for 48 hours as long as R remained well, coped with the contractions and had not signs of infection.

R had time to consider the changes to her birth plans, she was able to relax and prepare for her birth, on returning to the Birth Unit, where infact their pregnancy journey began many years previously, both R and S were ready for all that lay ahead. I met them at the Birth Unit at 10am – their birth story is theirs to tell, it is mine to feel so proud and in awe at the strength both of them showed. S managed to remain at the Birth Unit throughout the entire labour, R laboured long and hard, way into the night, exhausted by having been contracting strongly since Friday evening. Their birth story had an ending that we didn’t expect. Baby B was born by C-section on Monday morning at 10.45am.

R felt her birth experience was positive, she felt informed and made decisions that were right for her, and S to cope with. They are totally in love with their baby girl. As we prepped for theatre all was calm, no emergency or panic, just an acceptance that R had laboured long and hard, she had literally all her physical strength and mental capacity into working with her body to birth but an unexpected physiological situation prevented her long, arduous labour resulting in a straightforward birth. In the minutes, hours and days since B’s birth R and S have continued to be supported by us. They feel doula support not only provided them personally with support and care but it also enabled them to feel the birth they experienced was acceptable to them, they knew what was happening, we discussed every stage with the midwives and consultants (they had 4 midwives over the 25 hours of labour/birth, 3 Consultants).

They had one Doula by their side throughout. From their scare of the early monitoring months ago, throughout their pregnancy, at their side once labour had started and never leaving them throughout their labour. That is what a doula does, she is the constant in their birth journey. Lynne and I are so proud and honoured to be Doulas and Birth Practitioners. If you are having a baby and you feel overwhelmed by all that entails you can contact us to discuss Doula care at anytime. We have had clients who contact us at the sign of the little blue line through to clients who have contacted us literally days before their birth. There is no right or wrong time, only the time that works best for you.

BirthTactics is Lynne Bell and myself working in collaboration to ensure our clients have doula care at all times. Please use the contact link on this page if you would like to arrange a zoom meet for a quick ‘hello’. Or take at look at Lynne’s website and drop her a message.

We are currently taking bookings for July, August and September and early 2023 Doula | Lynne Bell