Friday, April 20, 2012

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering

After having a grueling 22 hour labor with my firstborn son, E, I decided that I could go for a "better time."  I had a doula the first time but decided again to search for the right doula for this birth.  I spoke with several doulas and we interviewed two doulas.  One doula was pure natural with a new age background. Another doula was a mothering type with a gentle spirit with lots to share about her thoughts and experiences in birth and raising her 12 children.  The first doula showed up on time, the second doula forgot our first appointment. My husband was a little upset about the no show but I convinced him to give Laurie a second chance. After all, she did have several children at home. 

 We decided to go with the mothering type.
Laurie recommended me to read books on gentle birth. These books spurred on my brain to go with the pain. I read Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices by Sarah Buckley.

Laurie encouraged me through many emails to talk through all my concerns of my first labor and now my second labor anxieties.  She encouraged me to think of the Hebrew women in the Bible.  For example, in Exodus 1:19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, "Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive." My new mantra then became "think strong, vigorous birth."

Shiloh means peace, and indeed she came into this world in a peaceful manner.  My husband and I were planning to attend a party for my cousin who had recently returned home from Afghanistan with the Air Force.  The contractions started around 3pm, while I was resting on a Sabbath afternoon.  My sister called me. I was brief on the phone.  I did not want to give away that I was in labor.  I then told my husband that we should go to the party and I will just pretend the contractions are Braxton hicks. As we were getting the 20 month old ready the contractions became intense.  

I called Laurie and she was planning to go up North for a home visit. I told her I may be in labor. This was 16:00.  I called her again at 16:30 and said please don't go up North, please come to my house and walk me through these contractions.  She arrived at 17:00, shortly after the toddler was picked up by an uncle.  

I felt an urge to walk around the living room during contractions and then rest on the yoga ball, inhaling the  damp air of a humidifier due to a nasal and throat cold. When my contractions sent me into low tones, Laurie spoke of how it may be time to head to the hospital.  My husband and I talked of how we wanted to stay home longer.  Laurie suggested that the baby was coming faster then anticipated.  Around 19:00 we loaded up the car with yoga ball, car seat and hospital bag.  

With the encouragement of Laurie, my husband called the physician at 19:30 and asked her to meet us at the Emergency department.  Once at the hospital we bi-passed triage.  Laurie rolled me up towards the elevator to the 9th floor.  I sat on my knees facing backwards in the wheel chair.  My water broke in the elevator. She continued to wheel me into the delivery room.  In the delivery room the physician checked me and I was 10 cm dilated!  I stood up on the bed and felt the urge to push. I then was encouraged to get on all all fours and push. Again, I pushed, with gusto and vigor.  I got on my side and pushed, I pushed again.  Out came eight pounds of Shiloh Elizabeth. 

Since it was now 16:30 visiting hours were over. The physician, nurses and attendants all left the room. Shiloh and I enjoyed peaceful kangaroo care.  Laurie, my husband and I discussed the events and details of the birth.  Laurie rubbed my feet and continued to voice how I prepared my body and mind for this birth.  My goal of having a calm, peaceful atmosphere for my labor was accomplished.  My goal of laboring at home with no medical interventions was accomplished. My goal of being vigorous like the Hebrew women was nearly accomplished.


  1. thank you, Brian, for giving me a second chance after forgetting our first appointment!!
    It has been a privilege to accompany the births of your second and third children. :)

    1. Thank you Laurie for walking us through the great adventure of birthing children.