Thursday, February 11, 2010

Big Baby Birthing

Last night, I got a call from someone in labour. It sounded pretty mellow, and I figured by the sound of things, she'd call me within an hour or two to go to her house to support her awhile before heading to the hospital. But the mom and dad just did so great together at home, they didn't call me until the waters broke. Even then, the mom herself was on the phone, saying, "I think we'll go to the hospital now" all calm. But I knew I'd better hurry, because she has awesome birthing vibes. I got there, and she was already pushing. I kind of always feel a little bad when a birth goes like this and I wasn't there to hang out longer, but then I think, "Hey! How empowering is it to be at home with your partner, having a nice time, then show up to the hospital fully dilated?!" People don't always need me along for that ride, though they like it when I'm at the hospital protecting that birthing space for them, which I did. The resident, a sweet young guy, wanted to check her to see if the baby was coming down while she pushed, and she said, "Oh, it's coming down, alright. I feel it." She was a good sport so let him have a feel of what was going on and he said, "oh, yes, it's moving down, you're pushing in the right spot." I smiled at him and very gently, so as not to make him feel like he said something kinda silly, conveyed to him that a woman without an epidural will most definitely know that her baby is coming, that having got to where she was completely on her own steam and without direction, she was going to continue to do so. He just beamed and looked really proud of her, happy to be there. The night nurses, with whom I have good rapport, just did the bare minimum of stuff and and didn't interfere in the birthing space at all. I'm very grateful to them that they give me the space to create the environment the mother wants. The doctor, whom I just love because she is so accommodating, plus we have ALWAYS had natural, straightforward births together, came in and without anything but gentle praise and encouragement, caught the baby after a few easy pushes. The baby was 9lbs13oz.

What I love about this story as a doula, is that this resident now has a bit of a different side of the story. The mom already had supreme confidence in her birthing abilities, being raised by a mother who promoted a very positive view of birthing as normal. In his mind and training, a baby that huge, especially for a first time mom, is on the dangerous side to birth, and IF it is birthed vaginally, it must have to be with lots of direction, checking, and the very least, stirrups to "open the pelvis" and be ready for action, never mind no epidural. It was probably a good thing for this mom she had only opted for an ultrasound at 20 weeks and no other, as nobody figured the baby was that big, therefor nobody carried any fears about it. I know that in obstetrics being prepared for every eventuality is preferred, and they'd rather know if they're going to run into potential dystocia. But sometimes holding that worry creates tension and an enviromnent of "management", which, though while it is helpful for the staff to be aware of all contingencies, is not always so fun for the mom. I love that the resident now brings this story to his future practice, knowing from a good experience that the boundaries of normal are very very stretchy...just like birthing women!