Dannelle was referred to me through Christy. I was so glad she took a chance on me even though I had not attended a birth yet. At all of our prenatal appointments I felt that Dannelle and Bryce were so prepared. I was so glad to be her doula but a little worried I wouldn’t be able to do much since she was so well prepared.
On Tuesday April 14th Dannelle texted me to let me know that she had been having some contractions that morning. She told me she would let me know if they picked up or became more consistent. I stopped by later that day. She texted me around 4 and said that her contractions had been consistent all day. I was so excited! I grabbed my diffuser and some oils and brought them over for her. I remember that she was burning some sage and she just seemed so peaceful. I didn’t stay long and I told her not to hesitate calling me whenever.
At 10:45 she texted me to let me know that Christy was headed over and to come over whenever but not to feel rushed. I was so excited and I got my kit and went right over. When I got there everyone was visiting on the couch and Dannelle seemed so peaceful still. We all visited for a bit and Christy suggested checking Dannelle since she didn’t seem too restless. She was at a 5 and Christy said we should all get some rest. We all left (I think Chrystal may have stayed).
I got a call at 3:05 am from Bryce. He told me that Christy was headed back and that they were ready for me to come back. I was so tired but I did get a little bit of sleep. I ate an apple on the way and listened to music so loud to wake me up.
I let myself in once I got to their house. There was a much bigger difference with these contractions, she had to move in order to feel *somewhat* better. I tried to do some hip squeezes when she had contractions. Once Christy arrived they filled up the pool. I could tell the water was a huge help for Dannelle. For the next few hours we just watched Harry Potter while Dannelle labored in the tub. I could tell that Bryce was so involved and that she needed him the most. It’s so awesome to see a couple working together. I could definitely see how much they love each other.
She kept laboring but she seemed to be so calm and in control ( I don’t know how else to describe it). I remember wailing and weeping at times but she never did. It was a pretty calm soothing environment. I remember seeing it get lighter outside, hearing the birds, and hearing the traffic pick up. I think it may have been around 7ish? I think it was soon after I noticed the changes outside that Dannelle was trying to push in the tub. Chrystal left sometime around then, I think. I just remember thinking “I hope she hurries back because this baby is going to be here soon”! At this point I remember she got out for a bit. We gave her a banana and a spoonful of honey. She tried pushing in many different positions. I could tell she was so tired. We were all tired but we all weren’t working as hard as she was. I think Christy mentioned she should try and rest. That didn’t really work out because her contractions just kept coming. I know we filled up the tub with warm water again she tried to go in the tub again for a little while. Then she tried pushing again and I thought “this is it”. I couldn’t see the head coming, I kept thinking that maybe the water would break or maybe the baby would be born in the caul. When she was pushing I was so excited and couldn’t wait because I knew she would feel instantly better and feel a huge rush of endorphins. Still no baby 🙁 Christy mentioned that they should think about transferring or resting more. We left the room and waited in the living room. In a short while Dannelle came out dressed and mentioned that she thought she should transfer. She started crying, I could tell she was so devastated. I felt so bad. I don’t think any of us would have expected that this would happen. Even though that was such a hard decision she definitely made the right choice.
We all drove to the hospital in our separate cars. Christy called the hospital on the way. Once at the hospital there was a room all ready for Dannelle. The nurses were very kind and reassuring that everything would be ok. The doctor was ok. She seemed kind of understanding. I remember she checked Dannelle and she was at a 3. They seemed a lot more rough at the hospital. Dannelle chose to get an epidural (I don’t blame her). The anesthesiologist was there shortly and told her of the risks and gave her an epidural. Soon after that the nurse put in a catheter. Christy and I left soon after that and told them to get some rest.
We got some lunch at the Habit (I think around 3ish). I was starving! I ate a big double cheeseburger and all of my delicious fries. After we ate, Christy got a coffee and then we went back and they were sleeping. The doctor showed us the new birthing rooms and then we went and rested in the lobby. I don’t really remember if Dannelle texted Christy or what. I think we went back to their room next and then we went back to their house to clean up their room. We also packed a little bag for them while we were there.
After we went to their house we went back and Dannelle and Bryce looked great. It’s amazing what a little sleep can do. It was so good to see them rested. We visited and talked for a little while and talked about options that the hospital doesn’t always mention. Dannelle definitely knew what she wanted and she knew that she had options. It’s so good that she was strong in telling the staff of her wishes. I think around 7 or 8 we were talking and Frankie mentioned she wanted to leave for an hour and come right back. I took the same out and left for an hour. I was really full of milk since I didn’t nurse for a while. I went home and ate a little bit of dinner and tried to nurse my boy but he wasn’t too interested. I changed my clothes and headed back.
Once I got back I think around 9ish, they said Dannelle was a 10 and going to push soon. I was so excited for her! Even though they said it was time to push soon, they really come back and get things ready for at least an hour. As pushing became closer and closer Dannelle started to throw up.
So the nurses put on their garb and put Dannelle’s legs up and started to direct her in when to push and they would count to 10 I think two times during each push. When she started to throw up one nurse offered her some medicine and she replied “I don’t want Zofran”. I laughed inside. The got her a 7 Up or something because they didn’t have ginger ale either. Throwing up sure helped with pushing though. At one point she threw up and the baby’s head got pretty close so they hurried and got the doctor in. My job was to video the birth and Frankie helped hold one of her legs while Bryce was near Dannelle holding her hand. Christy took pictures. I am obviously an amature because I kept recording every time I saw the head. I just didn’t want to miss the big moment.
In the moment it didn’t seem too long. I really don’t know how long she pushed. She did great. At one point Dr. D said she was going to tear but Dannelle stayed strong and said she didn’t want an episiotomy. After a couple of big pushes baby A was born and Dannellle held her right away. She was beaming, so happy, relieved, and so full of love. Addison’s cord was so thick and beautiful. It was also kind of short. I remember that the doctor couldn’t wait to cut the cord, waiting 5 minutes seemed like one of the hardest things for her. As soon as Addison was born it seemed almost chaotic. It was like Dannelle and Bryce were in slow motion as they held Addison and looked at her and everyone else was scrambling the doctor started stitching up Dannelle after the cord was cut. After Dannelle held Addison for a little while a nurse asked to take her for a minute, Bryce stayed right with Addison as they weighed her and whatever else they do. It was madness for however long and then everyone left and it was quiet. It was so awesome to see all three of them together. All of that hard work, all day and night was so worth it. She was born on the 15th after all at 11:54. Soon after it was quiet Addison latched on like an old pro and I left after that.
Addison’s birth was beautiful. Even if it didn’t go as they had hoped, it was still great. I hope that she knows she did well and I hope that she will consider becoming a doula. I know we talked about it at a prenatal appointment. Her calmness and experience would greatly help any mom in labor.
*I only knew the specific times because of texts and phone calls 🙂 and I was there!
To read this story from her perspective and to see some photos from this journey, check out her blog:dannelleballian.wordpress.com