By Rebecca Ednie
I was fortunate enough to have my sister as my doula. She had taken her doula course and was yet to be registered when she was present at my birth. It was her first experience and mine too as this was my first child, although I am a nurse and had worked in Labour and Delivery before. The pregnancy was somewhat difficult with a 4 day hospitalization and a scare that my son could have had a heart defect, both due to my systemic lupus erythematosus. I had planned my perfect birth, written out an actual birth plan – music, no artificial induction, labour ball, up to walk, eat and drink what I liked, no epidural, no episiotomy, very natural.
2 weeks before he was born, I fell and dislocated and broke my shoulder. There went my plans for using a labour ball! But the rest looked good as my water broke at 7am. By 11:30 we decided I needed to head for the hospital. My Lamaze instructor reminded us that when we got to the hospital to not be surprised if we turned out to be only 1-2 cm dilated. At 12:30 I was 4-5cm!!
I had planned to use the whirlpool tub and chose a hospital with private, in-room tubs particularly for this feature. I was fortunate to have my own doctor there and his nurse from his office who also worked at the hospital. I was in the tub from 6cm and loved it. I don’t think I could have done it without the warm, swirling water. It relaxed me and I never needed or wanted an epidural. My sister who is also a Registered Massage Therapist was happy to give me back massages while my husband, who was very worried, tried to comfort me and help me with my Lamaze breathing.
When I got out of the tub, I was fully dilated. I didn’t want to push at first because I was a bit scared, but after about 5 tentative pushes, my body took over. I was glad the nurses and my doctor were willing to let me get ready emotionally rather than insisting I push right away. My baby and I were doing well and there was no hurry.
While pushing, my husband and sister would count out how long I should push, 1 to 10, 1 to 10. It took them several long pushes to realize that they could count higher than 10 as my body would take over and push for longer than I though it would. After 1 hour of pushing, I delivered a beautiful baby at 9pm. We all cried including my mother, husband, sister/doula and myself. Of course the baby did too but not for too long as he snuggled up to his mom right after delivery. It was a very rewarding experience despite the broken shoulder!
My only wish now, is for my health to be good enough to do it all over again. I want to be in labour again, and breastfeed and comfort a tiny, special little person who needs me so much.