Kate's Birth Story
*Story & photos shared with permission*
On July 28th 2019 I had the honour of doula-ing for one of my oldest friends, Kate. So you can imagine how emotional this birth was!
I feel that this story is important to share because it’s a fantastic example of how well a medicated birth can go. There’s often a lot of fear around inductions and interventions.
Unfortunately we live in a sort of black & white world in terms of birth and bias. I’ll even admit that I had it in my own head that interventions usually turn into a cascade of problems.
However that is not always the case.
Unmedicated, seemingly peaceful, natural births might actually end up being traumatizing for a mother, just like a medicated one filled with interventions can be perfect and exactly what she needs and wants.
There’s no one-size-fits-all birth.
There’s not a right way to birth and a wrong way to birth.
The only way is the way that the birthing parent feels safe & supported. And that is what you need on your birth team; people who will make sure you feel like that.
Kate’s water broke on the morning of July 27th. It wasn’t a huge gush like you see in the movies (in fact only a small percentage of waters rupture like that), it was more of a trickle, a very normal way for water to leak. Though she felt contractions throughout the day, they never really picked up in terms of strength or frequency.
Around 11:00pm Kate & Kyle decided to go to the hospital for an assessment. She was still only 1 cm dilated (which is where she was a couple days prior when they did a membrane sweep). The decision was made to induce her with pitocin to make the contractions more effective.
Hearing that you’re going to be induced, when it most certainly was not part of your birth wish list, is enough to make the anxiety creep in and make you wanna poop your pants. There’s a whole bunch of tricks to do though, that will make things a bit nicer and hopefully ease your mind.
You’ll see in the photos ahead that Kate had her own gown to wear (wearing a hospital gown can make you feel like a sick patient, when you most definitely are not, so wear what makes you comfortable!), she had her own pillow from home, I set up electronic candles and dimmed the lights, plus she had a ton of support.
All things that summon comfort.
I arrived at the hospital at 2:45am. They were still waiting for a room to open up so I joined them in the cafeteria for a little bit before we headed up to triage to wait.
It was around 4:00am by the time we got into a room. Kate was hooked up to an IV and had all of her medical history recorded by the fabulous nurses at North York General Hospital. The pitocin was started shortly thereafter.
We decided that the best course of action was to get up and moving so that gravity could do it’s job. It was very beneficial to get in all the movement Kate could do before the epidural that she knew she wanted. We did a few laps in the halls, pausing each contraction for a hug or hip squeeze.
Back in the room, she bounced on the birth ball, and had her mom brush her hair. The atmosphere was a happy one. Kate was coping very well and we were all hopeful that things were progressing just as they should.
By 8:00 am the contractions had gotten to the point where Kate knew she was ready for some relief. So that’s exactly what she got. While waiting, they did another vaginal exam to see where she was at dilation wise, and we were all pleased to hear that she was 4.5 cm dilated. Great for such a short amount of time! The anesthesiologist was there in about 15 minutes, and Kate took that epidural like a champ.
The time had come to rest. The hospital luckily supplied peanut balls, so we were able to use that to open Kate’s pelvis up while she was lying down in order to promote the fetal descent.
It had already been a super long day, night, and morning, but sleep never came, there was too much excitement in the air! I recall chatting away with Kate, her mom Kerry, and Kyle’s mom Diane about everything from crafts to raising kids to their own birth stories. That positive, female energy was amazing.
What I’ve learned in birth, is that rest helps like you wouldn’t believe. By 11:00am, she was 9.5cm dilated!
I truly think that that progress happened because Kate was able to rest (and the peanut ball worked wonders!).
She was almost at that magic 10cm, however just being 10cm is not an indication for being ready to push. Sometimes your body has a bit more work to do.
They left Kate alone for another little while, until she really felt pressure like needing to poop. Even with an epidural, you can still feel this pressure, and that is the indicator when it’s time to push.
It was now just before 2:00pm and it. was. time. We called our nurse in and she got Kate all set up for pushing. She explained how to breathe and when to push and did some practice ones.
Each contraction brought on more and more of baby’s head, and the progress was undeniable. Kate was having her baby, and would soon hold her in her arms.
At 2:20pm Robin Ann Morrison came into the world, and we all cried.
Kate’s labour took approximately 10 hours (if we’re counting from when they induced her). Perfectly normal for a first-time mum like herself! Kate is very proud of her labour and delivery, she really enjoyed it, and honestly that is the best thing for my doula ears to hear.
Though it didn’t go exactly as planned (it is birth, so usually nothing goes to plan), she still ended up having a birth that she felt good about!
She felt supported by her wonderful birth team which included not only myself, but her partner, both of their moms, her aunt, and all the amazing nurses we worked with.
Robin joined a beautiful, loving family, and has been thriving these past 5 weeks. She is heavier than her birth weight now (which was 7lbs, 5oz.), and is being cared for so tenderly by her phenomenal parents.
Thank you so much Kate for the honour of being at your bedside while you became a mom.
It was the coolest thing and I’m so proud of you.