Well...it was a busy day. LL's water broke late Monday night (first baby), but there were no contractions immediately. She said that she'd try to sleep and call me in the morning. Only a few hours later, the phone rang. I answered, thinking that the contractions must have started quickly...but it was LF in labour with her third baby. I knew she was going to be quick, so I crossed my fingers and headed off to meet them at the hospital.
This is always a dance for a doula...two clients at once. I knew I had backup at the ready, but I felt pretty sure that I'd be able to make it to both. I just had a feeling... I decided not to panic.
At about 5am, I was at the hospital with LF. She was at the "I really don't like this any more" point, and feeling more "pushy", and I knew that the baby would be born around breakfast time. My phone rang...it was LL's husband. They'd started contractions at about 3:30am but had held out, wanting me to get a good sleep. Ah...but I was already up and deep into another labour. I reassured them that my backup (daughter Sarah) would be there as my mini-me within 20 minutes, and that I would follow, probably around 9am.
Well, it miraculously worked out just like that. LF's baby came in pretty much one smooth push...amazing...beautiful. The staff were attentive and trusted her through and through (not even a vaginal exam to confirm full dilation - just a trust in the mum's own body wisdom) and the baby came so sweetly.
Not long afterwards, I heard from Sarah, "We're heading to the hospital" (not the same hospital that I was at...of course). I hugged the new mum who was still glowing (can I tell everyone that you're an amazing 50 years young, LF?) and headed through the slippery snow to LL. I found her in her apartment lobby, hugged my daughter, and followed LL and her husband to the hospital.
After a quick assessment, we headed back to their home for extended shower time, then returned to the hospital hours later...and thankfully qualified for a beautiful room (5+cm dilated will get you the "Hilton").
Now, earlier in the morning, LL had told Sarah that she had a feeling that the baby's hand was up near the head. Well...12 hours later...after hours and hours of powerful pushing (we really pulled out all our tricks) we saw that baby...right arm crossing her chest and her hand up by her left ear. LL had managed to push out that baby, despite one of the more challenging compound presentations ever. She DID IT!
Two triumphant mums. Two beautiful girls. One thrilled doula...who tumbled into bed exactly 24 hours after she woke up. What a fabulous day!
Thanks to all the amazing staff who went above and beyond to help these two mums have the best experiences ever. And to the amazing doc who helped us squeak out the "let's think outside the box" baby...you are truly gifted. Thank you for trusting birth - completely.
- Jacquie Munro, Vancouver Doula
Jacquie Munro, founder of the "Slow Birth" movement, is an experienced doula and childbirth educator and is well-known for her individualized, intuitive approach to supporting families in the childbearing year and beyond. Since 1987, she has provided support at over one thousand births, at home and in hospital, and taught thousands of expectant parents. At home, Jacquie lives only a bike ride away from four generations of her family. You can usually find her at the park or beach, playing beside her twin grandsons who call her "Deecy".