Through the Doula's Eyes
Jessica is the owner of Soothe Doula Services. What motivated her to start it was hearing the stories of many birthing people and their journeys, many of them negative and trying. She knew there was a way to help curve the fear that came along with labour and delivery. Having three difficult labours and births herself, she felt it was time to educate not only herself, but also others on how to have a birth that they would be happy to share and remember.
Jessica lives in Woodstock, Ontario. She is also the owner of Jarful Refillery.
You can follow her @jarfulrefillery.
Kate Leatherbarrow, the mom, gave permission to Jessica to write her birth story, and to share it on this website.
This birth was not only my first one to support, but it was also my first one to capture.
Forty-one weeks to the day and mom was eager to meet her first daughter. She had three boys waiting at home and a husband who was also anxiously waiting for their daughter’s arrival.
This client was also a good friend of mine; a headstrong, exhausted woman just waiting for the pregnancy to be over. I kept saying to her, “you are one of the strongest women I know. So what do you think your daughter is going to be like?” She was politely impatient—as most pregnant people are—and I can’t blame her, I know that feeling from my own pregnancies.
I picked her up at 7:45 a.m. on February 15th, and we headed to the hospital. She was set to be induced at 8:00 a.m. The morning was cold and stiff, but the excitement in her eyes melted it all away. When we arrived at the hospital, I grabbed our bags and walked through the wind into the front doors; this is when I started to doubt my abilities. Am I going to be what she needs? Is she going to regret not having her husband here? Do I know enough?
She got herself checked in and we walked into the labour and delivery room, putting all our stuff on the floor like we were just staying at a hotel for the night.. This part of the hospital had a relaxing atmosphere and it was quiet, as she was the only one giving birth that day.
Her doctor came in and broke her water right away. She was only 2 cm at this point, and I thought to myself, the babywill be here today! Contractions started pretty fast; they were irregular, but they were there. She decided to relax in the tub before they got more intense.I believe she wanted one last moment to feel as one.. We went through a few positions to help with the contractions and she was breathing well through them.
The plan was to go as natural as possible. She had had three epidurals with her other children, so she really wanted to try without one, and that she did. But there came a time when she knew that if she didn’t get an epidural sooner than later, she would not be in the right headspace for when her baby was born and that was the last thing she wanted; for both of them.
I supported her mentally and physically as the anesthesiologist started the process. This was the best decision for her and that’s all that mattered. Once the epidural was set in place, she got comfortable in her bed and within two hours she was at 9 cm. But that excitement turned to discouragement when it took another four hours to be ready to push.
The baby’s position was right occiput transverse (ROT) and the nurse was unaware. We didn’t find out until the head nurse came in and performed her own check. Once the nurse knew why the baby wasn’t moving into position, she called the doctor who then performed another cervical exam.
“You’re going to have your baby now,” said the head nurse. With the next contraction, she was told to push and the doctor guided the baby into the right position, which got her to 10 cm fairly quickly
At this point, she was completely over with the day and everything that had transpired over the last 10 hours. Tired, exhausted, anxious, excited, and 100% emotional. She needed a moment to gather herself. Once she took that final deep breath in, she gave it all she had. Within four to five pushes her daughter entered the world.
My first birth as a doula is going to stay with me forever. I witnessed a friend and a mom welcome her fourth healthy child, a daughter she always wanted, into her arms. The day was filled with laughter, love, and learning experiences, and I will always be grateful to have had the honour of being present at the beautiful birth of baby Fiona.
Meet all the birth story's writers here, and read their stories.
Learn about the Birth Story Contest and the Birth Sharing Circle too.