Reflections on Motherhood and Life as a Doula

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Birth of Chaela Eve

Thursday, January 3rd I drove out to my midwife's home for what I hoped would be my last appointment before my baby was born.  Actually, I had hoped there wouldn't be another prenatal appointment, but alas my due date came and went. 

By the time this appointment came around, I was feeling much more hormonally balanced than I had been a few days before then.  I really was convinced this baby was coming before the New Year and was really disappointed when 2013 rolled around.  Once I got over the initial disappointment, I chugged along just as any other mother of 2+ kids does when she goes past her due date just like every other pregnancy she had.

My appointment was just as amazing as my other appointments.  Good conversation, good company, and I walk away feeling at peace with where I am at that moment in life.  I left letting her know that the next time she saw me, I'd be screaming in labor.

That night I went to bed with my husband.  I was sleeping comfortably when I felt the first of the contractions.  They were rolling contractions.  Strong.  Long.  Irregular.  I woke up with each one and would caress my belly as they rolled over me.  I wanted so badly to get up into a more comfortable position with each one, but was so tired that I didn't move and just tried to embrace them instead.  When I got up in the morning, my labor fizzled away.  The kids and I packed up and went to spend the day with my mother-in-law.  I started to stress about my messy house, so she offered to keep the kids for the day and evening while I went home to clean.  Of course I came home and fell asleep.  After my long nap, Mike and I went out to Brennans for dinner.  Once again the contractions began.  We finished dinner and picked up the kids.  Everyone was convinced that I would be having a baby that night.  I called my best friend, Megan, and requested her presence from Buffalo.  She left immediately.  That night I had contractions that forced me to move into different positions.  I groaned through the night.  And when everyone awoke in the morning, the contractions continued.  Even with whining children and things to do, my labor continued.  I was so excited.  About midday things started to slow down again.  I sent the kids back with my mother-in-law and ran out to some stores to walk and shop.  I decided to head over to a local bar for some hot wings and pizza to see if that would move the baby out.  Haha.  Nothing picked up and I was sure I had a few more days of this.  That night our kids were dropped back off to us and we all went to bed wondering when our baby would join us.  About 10pm my contractions picked back up enough that I couldn't sleep.  Around midnight I was in the shower thinking this might be it.  When I got out of the shower, Megan had woken up and helped me labor.  I honestly couldn't have done this labor or Delaney's labor without her.  We sent a text to my friend and doula, Jackie.  I still wasn't convinced completely that it was real, so I didn't call the midwife yet. 

The labor was so weird.  It was entirely in my pubic bone.  No back labor, no wrap around contractions, just excruciating pain in my pubic bone.  It was confusing and frustrating.  I had no idea what my body was doing.  At this point I had lost track of time.  I went into my bedroom and labored loudly right next to Mike to wake him up.  He didn't budge.  I made it very clear that I was not mad at him, just jealous.  Haha.  I jumped back in the shower praying for hours of hot, hot water to run over my aching body.  The contractions came one on top of another while I was in there.  It was getting really intense and I couldn't run away from them.  I started to feel extreme pressure in my pelvic floor area.  I screamed for Mike and told him to call everyone and let them know that it was time.  When I got out of the shower, things slowed down but remained intense.  I got on my hands and knees and rocked over my birth ball in the living room.  I was stressing about calling everyone to come over.  I started to question whether or not I was actually in active labor.  The contractions were unbearably intense, but I felt like I was having incredibly long breaks in between.  Megan assured me I was in active labor and that they were 3 minutes apart.  They felt like they were 20 minutes apart.

The first to arrive was my mother-in-law.  She brought some comic relief with her which really lightened up my mood and made things a little more bearable.  A few minutes after she arrived, the midwife called and said she was just a few streets away.  Not only was I amazed at her timing, but I suddenly had a small sensation that felt like I might need to push.  She  walked in the door and said she was not surprised that I would be that far along already.  We moved our way into the bedroom and continued to labor.  I gave a few grunty pushes with a couple contractions to see how it felt.  It felt better, but I wasn't sure if it was the right time yet.  I was getting more and more frustrated with not being able to read what my body was trying to tell me.  At one point I asked the midwife to do a vaginal exam in hopes that this would give me a sense of what was going on.  Note: I never had a vaginal exam with my pregnancy and labor with Delaney and had not had any up to that point with this pregnancy/labor.  I was disappointed in myself at first for asking, but realize now that I needed it.  When she checked me (ever so gently), she found me to be "7 to 8cm but stretchy and could stretch to 10".  My cervix was also still a little posterior.  With the information she gathered and my description of labor, she guessed that there might be a nuchal hand (baby has a hand up by their head).  With this being a possibility, I got off my hands and knees and labored leaning against the wall while lifting my belly.  That sucked.  Really bad.  It just intensified the pain and all I wanted to do was lay down and go to bed. 

"This is stupid."  "I hate this."  "People who have babies are stupid."  "I'm never gonna be a doula again cuz I don't work with stupid people, and only stupid people have babies."  These were some of my most famous quotes during labor. 

Some parts of labor are a blur and others clear as day.  I don't remember when Delaney woke up, but I remember hearing her half asleep, whiny voice and wanting to hold and cuddle her.  She came into bed with me for a short while until I couldn't bear the contractions with her there.  I don't remember what exactly was going on around me, but I remember the midwife whispering the most encouraging words to me.  I don't remember what they were, but they made me feel so powerful.  I also remember her telling me to "get out of my doula head".  I never disappeared into laborland.  I was very aware...a little too much aware.  I was constantly trying to think instead of just letting my body "do". 

Something kept drawing me to the bathroom.  The toilet.  It truly was a porcelain goddess.  I knew that I needed it.  I would sit on it and then get up so frustrated because I couldn't figure out how to push this baby out.  I KNEW it was time to push, but had no rectal pressure to guide me in pushing. 

I finally sat on the toilet and mustered up all my guts and energy to push the way I thought I would push if I was constipated.  Shit.  It worked.  All of a sudden I felt the baby in the right pushing position.  Oh the pressure.  I wished away that stupid push I just did.  Can't I take it back??  I tried to think of a way to suck her back up and not have to push.  But then I'd be in labor forever and that sucks too.  Fuck.  I have to push this baby out.  So I pushed.  Maybe the better description would be that I screamed...and pushed a little.  It took me a little while - maybe 10 minutes - to realize that when I screamed and only pushed a little that the pain still sucked and it was taking the baby longer to get out.  So I pushed hard.  Ahhhhh, no description for that sensation.  I knew I needed to be in the squatting position to get this baby out, but I was so nervous about tearing (especially where my episiotomy is).  The midwife suggested the birthing stool in the bedroom because she would be able to better protect my perineum than on the toilet.  I agreed and made my way back into the bedroom.

 I sat on that birth stool and stared at everybody as if I was watching a movie.  It was like they were in a different world.  Or maybe I was the movie and they were watching me.  I was surrounded with so much love and support, but felt so alone.  Not in a bad way.  It was just that realization that only I could do this.  Nobody else.  I HAD to push this baby out. 

So I pushed.  And screamed.  And panicked.  And pushed.  And then after a whirwind of crazy conversations, thoughts, and emotions...she told me to reach down and pull my baby up. 

And now there are truly no words.  No words to describe catching your own baby.  I physically pulled her out of me.  From one world to another.  It was the most triumphant feeling in the world. 

Oh, and that nuchal hand that the midwife thought might be there.  She was right.  Two of them.

Chaela Eve was 7lb 13oz of love and perfection.

Here is a video of my last 6 minutes of pushing (right when I moved off the toilet and onto the birthing stool).


  1. Meagan, you are my hero... So proud. You really have done an amazing job and have a beautiful family to show for it. Love you :)