As you prepared for the birth of your son, you came to understand that birth is never a straight forward line but that birth has many twists and turns along the way and the labour process is very much a journey. You knew I would be there for you wherever the journey took you, that I would inform you and educate you of the choices before you and hold your hand as you made the best possible choice for you and your baby.
As the weeks went by… 40, 41 and then getting very close to the 42 weeks you had to wrestle with a possible induction. You kept saying you felt the baby and your body were not ready yet. “What if he wants to come tomorrow and we induce today?” you asked. “What if… what if… ” You had never thought it would get to this point when you were hoping, as many Mama’s do, that your baby would come earlier rather than later.
You made the choice to induce hoping he would still come of his own accord… but the morning of the induction came, you checked into the hospital and a plan was made to induce the labour process.
First breaking the membranes… then medication.
It gave you contractions… but no dilation! Your body responded and contracted but did not open.
You remained strong and determined… but the lack of progress made the pain harder to handle… the hours passed by and you worked Oh so hard… we all worked hard, your birth team of three… and not to forget the baby!
A tough decision for pain relief was made, your decision, the right decision. And relief it was, with a small part of your belly still feeling the contraction pain. You knew that epidurals were not always the perfect pain killer but it was exactly what you needed and you were actually glad you could still feel something. (Yes you said that!)
Then… 9 hours further (4 with epidural) with intense contractions and only 1 added cm of dilation.
A tough decision for a c-section was made, your decision, the right decision. This was not working, your body was not responding… this is what they call a lack of progress, and was now officially a failed induction. You can’t force a body to open.
At one moment you looked into my eyes and said “Sophie, will you be disappointed in me if we go to cesarean?” and without hesitation I told you “Of course I won’t.”
As your doula it is my job to be there for you, to keep you as comfortable as possible, to make you laugh, help you relax and make space for you to cry, to help you process decisions and emotions and to celebrate with you when your little one is finally in your arms. I go on that journey with you whatever that looks like, wherever it may take you and support whatever decisions you make along the way.
I know without a doubt that nothing I said in our preparation for this day and up to this moment led you to believe I would be disappointed in any decision you made. But at that moment you still needed to hear from me, and your husband, that we were behind you, supporting you and loving you through this decision. You needed to not be disappointed in yourself and hearing us affirm you (because, after all, one of your love languages is ‘words of affirmation’;) helped you accept your own decision.
Nothing in me, no fibre of my being was disappointed in you Nan. This was your journey not mine. A journey you and your baby went on together. You were amazing, you were strong, you endured and you even rocked the labour that got you no-where and definitely didn’t get you the birth you were hoping for!!
We may never know the answer to the ‘what ifs…’ but I was honoured to journey with you, to ease your way a little and to help you have no regrets. I was so happy today, 4 days later, to hear you say you have no regrets.
And now here he is, your little one… and you are a little bit more prepared for the twists and turns of parenthood because of the birth journey you have already taken.
It has been such a pleasure to support and get to know you,
With deep respect and a special fondness,
(Doula) Sophie x