My friend Staci asked me to be her doula and invited a few friends to her birth. I thought her asking me to be her doula was her just being nice but she really did want me there. I say that because, that happens to me sometimes. I hear women say “oh yeah, I totally want a doula, or you should be my doula” but then I never hear from them.
This was baby number five for Staci and although not planned, this babe is lucky to be in this family and they are lucky to have her. I thought Staci might have her baby near the time of her Mother blessing, more on that here, but she still needed time to cook. She usually has her babies around the 37th week so nearing 39 weeks, this was her longest pregnancy.
On the 15th Staci texted me and all of her birth support team, including three other friends (one a photographer, one the birth assistant to Staci’s midwife, and one just a friend who wanted to be there for Staci). I thought this seemed like a big group but it was just right for Staci. I was very wrong, it turned out that we all had a job to do and you can never have enough love, support and good vibes especially during labor. In the end it was so wonderful having everyone there and it was so cool that we got to share this experience with Staci.
Back to the 15th… the stars aligned with this birth because my parents had just gotten to town around the time Staci texted me that her contractions were “getting real” and that I could come anytime. I ate dinner with my parents and packed an overnight bag for my son to stay with them in their hotel and I packed my things and headed to her house at about 7:00 on a Friday night, so convenient…seriously! My story is not the only one where the stars aligned. Thank you baby Trudy for coming at such a reasonable time! As soon as I got to her house I think she was on the phone with her dad talking about her water heater. The water heater wasn’t as helpful as we had hoped it would be. While I was there she was texting Alecia (her photographer and friend) and making sure Alecia would be there, like I said earlier, the stars aligned here too. While she was making sure Alecia would be there I had her pick an essential oil for my diffuser, she liked peppermint in that moment. I filled it up and put it in her room. After that I worked with Kim (another friend) boiling water and filling up the tub. We had a really good system going and it seemed like it took a while, probably an eternity for poor Staci, she really wanted to get into the water. Finally the water was up to a good point, so Staci changed into a night gown and got into the tub. We continued warming water on the stove and pouring it into the tub so that it could be deeper for her.
Once we finished filling up the tub we watched her labor. She did so great. We put on some music for a little while (David Bowie) but one song was too repetitive- I don’t know which song it was. I remember at this point we could all sense that each contraction was getting harder and we all went silent when Staci would have a contraction. After one she said “you guys can still talk if you want”. She was so considerate and thoughtful even during labor! We laughed and didn’t know what to say. I think Alecia said, “so do you come here often”. We chatted a little bit but still kept quiet when she would have a contraction. I held her hand a couple of times. Rob went to change and got into the tub with her. I was so glad, I was under the impression that he might not get in the tub with her so I brought clothes to get in with her if she needed me at all. I was so glad Rob got in with her. That’s how it should be, I think. As labor progressed I put cool wash clothes on her neck and got her water if she needed it.
She was on her knees for the most part and then mentioned that her legs were falling asleep so she switched to a different position and rested on Rob, on her side. Soon after changing positions she started pushing with her contractions. Oh and the music had changed to soundtracks by this point. As she was pushing the amniotic sac was coming through, her water had not broken yet. Her midwife broke it for her and mentioned that it was like an amniotic sac of steel. Once that was done, she only pushed a few more times. Pushing seemed really painful (after Trudy was born Staci’s midwife let us all know that Trudy was a stargazer meaning that she was face up which was why pushing was so hard!) but she stayed positive and repeated “I can, I can, I can”. Soon after that (of course it was the moment when I was reaching for a wash cloth) her baby was born. The first thing I saw was baby come up to the water and then, I think Staci’s midwife gave her her baby. It was such a quick moment that I’m not even sure, I was a little bummed that I didn’t see everything. I didn’t really miss anything but I think it the moment I may have felt that I missed something. Anyway Staci held her baby girl right away and fell back into Rob. She only rested for a moment and then her midwife had her get out of the tub. We helped her to the bed and helped dry her off.
Baby Trudy was born at 9:56 pm. After we moved Staci to the bed and she delivered her placenta, she rested and we all ooh’d and aah’d at sweet Trudy. She was so alert and didn’t really make a peep at all. Staci was truly glowing, her and her husband Rob looked so happy. There is an incredible high after having a baby and it’s so awesome to experience it. It’s wonderful to feel that high and it’s so cool to see someone else feeling it, it’s almost contagious.
I’m so glad Staci asked me to be her doula, she worked so hard and at times I feel like I couldn’t do much for her but I know that being there, all of us being there supporting her and believing in her meant a lot to her.
Love you Staci!