Nana's Birth Story
As promised, here I am to tell you a little bit of Nana’s birth story. Just to be clear, everything that I am going to share here is what I recall from the experience, and I was there as her doula - what means that I had no goal other than support her physically, emotionally and to advocate and be her voice in case she needed!
Just a little recap, Nana invited me to be her doula during a moment of transition for me. We were moving from Ft. Myers to Orlando (aka caos!), and Nana’s due date was pretty close to my midterm exams in school. But still, I really wanted to be there and support her, so there I was, agreeing to be her doula.
Her pregnancy was pretty smooth. She had some nausea in the beginning, and they had to follow up because she had a placenta previa, that resolved in the second trimester with the growth of her uterus.
We had two meetings during her pregnancy; the first one she was on her second trimester and was for me to understand her previous birth experience and expectations, the second meeting she was on her third trimester we did some breathing exercises and spoke about her strategies to cope with pain.
Nana also had a few episodes of back and shoulder pain, and since I was far away, I was able to teach her a few things that she could do to help ease the discomfort. The heartburn also came to bug her at the end of the pregnancy, and I also gave her a few tips that we used with moms at the birth center I was doing my clinicals.
Around 34 weeks, she started to have Braxton Hicks more frequently, and the midwives were attentive to see if any of pre-eclampsia symptoms were showing up, because she had it in her previous pregnancy.
I have to say that during this time, I was never so stressed in my life! I was 4 hours away, and Laura being her second baby would definitely be a faster labor. I remember putting my phone in the highest volume, and a few times I setted up alarms in the middle of the night to make sure she hadn’t called me and I didn’t hear. I remember how challenging was to try to tell her that for the littlest sign she should call me without sounding alarming, but I wanted to make sure I was going to make it on time. And with births, we know this is not possible!
Around 38/39 weeks, Nana started to complain of headache. She was under a lot of stress, but the Midwives decided to do a 24 hour urine test to make sure that she didn’t have protein in her urine. On October 26, Nana called me saying that she had some protein in her urine, and that she was going to be induced to prevent any complications, so I had the opportunity to “calmly” (only God knows what took me to not go 100 miles/hour just in case things started to happen!) make it to the hospital, even before Nana started having contractions.
It was a smooth labor. We were talking and laughing, we walked a little bit throughout the hospital, until the pitocin started to make its magic. The contractions were stronger, and that’s when I used some massage, essential oils and a lot of breathing exercises to try to help her cope with the pain. She asked for the epidural, and soon after, she was feeling “half” better - the anesthesia just worked in the right side of her body! And that’s when my admiration for her increased. I remember that she was in transition, saying that she was not going to be able to do it (classic sign of transition - I get so happy when I hear that!), but yet, she used all her strength to birth her baby girl! It was amazing to be there with them, to witness the miracle of life in a friend’s life, to witness a family of three become a family of four!
Laura went straight to Nana’s arms and there she stayed for a long time, cuddling with mommy, looking and recognizing each other. And when Laura was ready, she latched for the first time. I have to say that I was impressed, it was the perfect latch and she was sucking vigorously, I’ve never seeing a newborn so determined to get her momma’s milk! She was born with 8 lbs and 19 inches, her APGARs were 9 and 10 and she was perfect! A pink cute peanut of love!
The postpartum was a little challenging because not only she had to deal with her hormones and learn to be a mother of two, but she was also organizing her moving and dealing with a lot of personal challenges. Yet, she managed it in a beautiful way, reaching out for help when was needed and conscient of her limitations.
Nana was a warrior, and it was wonderful to see her overcome her fears and limitations and birth her beautiful Laura empowered and owner of her own birth. I am honored to have the opportunity to witness such powerful and beautiful moment in their lives!