One of the roles we play as doulas is to offer support and back-up for other doulas in our community. It is quite rare that we have to call in our back-up because we are committed to being on-call for at least 2 weeks before and after each baby's due date. However, I recently had the privilege of providing support to a fantastic family when baby Nora decided to make her debut 6 weeks early, and their doula had an out-of-state commitment. Here is their story.
Kathryn was our doula for the birth of our first child, Nora, born on October 21, 2016. Our daughter decided to make an early entrance (due date was November 27) and our original doula could not be there for the birth. Luckily, Kathryn stepped in to help. Due to only being 34 weeks, we were transferred from Corvallis to Riverbend Hospital in Springfield in the early morning hours of Oct. 20th. Kathryn arrived around 9am and spent time with us while we decided on a plan for induction. Dan (my husband) and I originally wanted to wait a few days for natural labor to start but because my membranes were ruptured and the baby looked great the doctor recommended an induction. We settled on starting pitocin at midnight and then increasing it at 6am. Kathryn went home and returned the next morning at 6am.
Contractions started around 7am. Kathryn, Dan, and I took a walk around the delivery floor, just talking and keeping things light. By 8:30am active labor started and Kathryn gave me a wonderful massage while I labored on, just breathing and relaxing between contractions. She suggested I move to a birth ball and continued to calmly help me breath and relax. She helped create a wonderful environment to labor in- lights were off, and the window shade was open to give natural light.
By 10:15am I was in transition. Kathryn made sure I was comfortable with cool towels and reassuring comments. She also helped my husband understand what was going on. When I requested an epidural she gently reminded me of the disadvantages of getting one too early (I had not been checked at all at this point). After the nurse checked me and said I was 7cm she completely supported my decision.
After receiving the epidural Kathryn, Dan, and the nurses helped me get comfortable in bed. I labored down from 11:35am to 12:30pm and then started pushing. Kathryn kept me focused and my husband calm with lots of reassurance that everything was going great and I was doing an awesome job. She also quietly took some pictures for us of the process like we had discussed. At 1:18pm Nora was born. She was 6lbs 4oz and perfect.
After my husband left to go with Nora to the NICU, Kathryn supported me through the delivery of the placenta. I was so thankful she was there because it took over half an hour and a lot of hard work to get it out. It wasn’t stressful and everyone was calm but if I had not had her support I would have been really confused.
After the birth Kathryn stayed with me until I was transferred to the mother/baby ward and checked on Nora in the NICU. Overall, I would describe my labor and delivery as fast and peaceful. Kathryn was a huge part of creating that atmosphere and we will always be grateful.
Amanda Zengel, Dan Magee, and Nora