I missed the Saturday knitting/crocheting meetup for a very good reason. I got to see a baby being born. I was on my way to the meeting when I got a call from my doula mentor, S. When I asked when I should meet her, she said take “Take your time. She’s a primip at 2 cm. Spanish speaking only. Let’s say 11:30”. So I get there and change into my uniform. S. is already running around so I have no idea where to go. But I finally find her and we walk into the room together at the birth center.
Mom is 18 years old and her support system is her aunt. Her mom and father of the baby were in Mexico. She is was sitting in a chair and was practicing her breathing. She reminded me so much of Nicole Richie. Same facial and bone structure. Very tiny. When we got there, her pain was 9/10 and we practiced massage and walking with her. Her nurse encouraged her to eat lunch and drink fluids. No IV fluids were running at this point. She was doing great.
At around 1 pm she started running a low grade fever and had a heart rate running in the 120-130’s. So… that bought her a trip to the L&D floor. Down there she would be given IV antibiotics to kick the infection that she probably had. But that also meant that she had to get pitocin to speed up her labor and continuous monitoring. S. and I were with her all day and we noticed a definite change w/ the interventions that she wanted. Once she got hooked up to pit, she did not want to be touched and she was writhing in pain no matter what we did. Poor girl was so tense that her body couldn’t open up. She was stalled at 4 cm dilated for hours. They started upping pit even more and added the internal uterine monitoring to the mix. She started wanting an epidural around 4 pm but didn’t get it to work until 7 pm. She had her first one done at 5 pm but it didn’t work and had to be replaced. I felt like I failed her as a doula because we couldn’t get her thru her birth the way she wanted to but she was much more relaxed after the epidural and her labor started to progress.
Now, if you’re thinking she had her baby soon after that, you are dead wrong. Her baby was born at 11:45 at night! First babies take a really long time to come out as any mother will tell you but she was so joyful and happy when she heard her baby cry. The nurse and the midwife immediately put the baby on her chest for a minute and then took her for a few minutes for assessment while the midwife attended to the momma. The baby had the cord wrapped around her neck and the midwife had thought she might have to intervene but at the last minute the baby repositioned herself enough for the midwife to attend to the cord w/o cutting momma. This girl walked away with minimal bleeding and just a small tear.
I can’t describe what a privilege it was to attend to this mother. Being a doula is a volunteer thing for me but I feel so rewarded by being about to see the start of life for this little girl. She’s beautiful and her mother did a great job in bringing her into the world. What was amazing about the whole experience is that the momma barely understood English and my Spanish is of the spanglish variety but we managed to give her emotional support anyway. When she heard her baby cry, she asked me “Como esta me bebe?” And I got to tell her “Buen trabajo. Su bebe is bonita”. She was tiny and very pretty like her mom.
I got home very tired around 1:30 am and slept very deeply. I found out that the baby hats I had been knitting were huge. They wouldn’t fit this baby for about a year lol… Next time I’ll bring my knitting. Being a doula is cool.