It was my honour to walk beside Aimee and Ryan for the birth of their baby girl Kenzy. Here is their story…
When I think back on my “Birth Day” it was nowhere near what I expected, despite all my reading and “scenario-planning.” And to be honest, I wasn’t convinced I needed a doula in the beginning. I went to the Relax into Birth workshop which was incredible and empowering. Then I listened to the tracks every single day, and after a month I’d realized something. Not only did I now want a doula, but I only wanted Charlene. I couldn’t actually imagine giving birth without her there. I didn’t know my water had broken on Saturday. It just felt like I’d wet my pants. On Monday a confirmation call for Tuesday’s gynae appointment became the green light to come into hospital *with my bags*… There was some urgency as it had been almost 40 hours since the water breaking and I hadn’t experienced any contractions. But the phone call was pleasant and relaxed; and when I hung up I had a little joyful cry and some reflective me-time while I waited for Ryan to come home.At the hospital, a litmus test for amniotic fluid was positive and the gynae started a Propess induction immediately. (According to my Birth Plan, I hadn’t wanted to be induced, but by then it had been 45 hours since my waters had broken, and I was completely at peace with it). I was told it would take a while, and we could just relax! Great! The baby would be coming that night or in the early hours of the morning (it was only 2pm at that point). We were excited, joyful, “floating”! So we started sending some messages to the family and we told Charlene that she could come in after the traffic died down.
Half an hour later, I was in agony and I couldn’t bear to lie down on my back. The baby’s heart rate was high. She was in distress – fetal tachycardia. The Propess was removed and I needed to have an emergency caesarean. My gynae was so kind, gentle and professional. She knew I had wanted to have a vaginal delivery, but we talked through the situation and I felt like we were always on the same page. Physically, it was agony, but emotionally I felt cared for and respected. I even felt quite content about going in for the surgery, knowing that my baby needed it. (We learned later, during the surgery, that it was all because her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice. I am so glad I trusted my doctor.)
Then it was a whirlwind to get prepped for surgery. Even though our time schedule had changed drastically, I was mostly just feeling excited to meet my baby. Charlene arrived just in time! I was relieved to hear her voice: the same calming voice I’d been listening to every day. She put on some beautiful music and came to massage my shoulders, which was just what I needed then because I started to really feel a lot of pain. It felt like I was being bullied internally, my organs being pushed and pulled. Tears were rolling down my face and I could hear myself groaning with every surgical touch. The pain was too much and I agreed to a general anesthetic. I know I was hyperventilating, but I felt Charlene’s firm grip around my shoulders and chest guiding me to breathe slowly while the gas was administered. Despite the intensity of it all, I felt safe. I closed my eyes and woke up to see my beautiful healthy baby 45 minutes later.
Five months later I filled in that missing 45 minutes. Charlene had captured the whole birth on video on my husband’s phone! It was such a gift.
Ryan and I hadn’t spoken through the “sedated-scenario” and by that stage he was quite traumatised by my pain. He was so worried about me that he didn’t even watch the birth; he just held my hand and kept watch over me. When Kenzy was born, he didn’t know what to do or expect. (And that was exactly why I had wanted a doula: Someone to be a guide for us both, to be on our “new parents” team, our coach.) Ryan was particularly grateful to Charlene for talking him through those first moments of our daughter’s life. A funny moment comes up in the video where we hear Charlene saying “take off your shirt” and Ryan looks so surpised! He thinks she’s joking. But because he listens, the nurse brings Kenzy to put on Dad’s chest right away for skin-to-skin. I bet she didn’t expect to get a mouth full of hair while looking for her first drink! He really cherishes that time he got to share with his daughter.
It was an unexpected arrival in most ways, but I am so grateful I was prepared for every surprise step. I praise the Lord for modern medicine and how swiftly and professionally the whole team worked!