I am a member of the Long Island Doula Association. One of the many service this group provides is doula services for teens in an adolescent pregnancy program in Suffolk County. My second client was going to be a women from this program.
Not quite a teen any more at 21, my client, Eve (as I will refer to all my clients as going forward) was now pregnant with her third child. A four year old and a 2 year old. They live in a poor neighborhood with her Mom who had her fifth child when Eve had her last one. I can clearly see that there is a cycle happening here but I have to focus on my job.
As with any client, I am not here to judge how you got pregnant or the situation you are in. My job is to help you bring your baby into the world in the way you want. Eve wanted doula support and I was going to be the best for her. During our initial meeting, she expressed that she was unhappy with her OB. It was clear she was being spoken down to and treated without respect. Statistically, the average OB visit is 7 mins long. That doesn't leave much time for answering questions or making someone feel valued.
I suggested she see a midwife even though she is close to her due date. She takes my advise and was thrilled. I realize that this woman is not ignorant, she is someone that people probably haven't taken the time to talk to. She is interested in everything I discuss with her and she is confident that she wants to do this birth natural. This birth is going to be my first in a hospital. I have heard so many different criticisms and stories of hospital births. I am excited and nervous, but as just as my client, I am taking comfort in the fact that I will be dealing with a midwife.
The call comes in the middle of the night, from her Mom telling me that they called an ambulance because the contractions were strong and painful. She does have a history of rapid labor so I understand the move. I don my brand new scrubs and head in my car to the hospital. It was a peaceful ride in the middle of the night. Never is the LIE so empty.
I beat the ambulance to the hospital and I am waiting by the elevators on the maternity floor. The doors finally open and I hear her panicking from the pain. I focus her eyes on mine and talk her down while they bring her into triage. It is 5 am and she is 6 centimeters. We go to the room and since she is hooked up to an IV and fetal monitor, we stand at her bedside and work with Eve hanging from my neck, swaying back and forth. I invite her boyfriend to help which he does while I give her verbal encouragement.
After about 2 and a half hours of labor, massage, relaxation, and repositioning, it was time to push. At this point, Eve gets a little panicked and starts losing her focus. I being a novice, I feel a bit as at a loss as well. The midwife looks her in the face and barks, "Eve, do you want to yell or do you want to have this baby?" She calmed right down. Darn, I thought, if I would have know it was OK to be that firm, I could have done that myself...lol.
Four pushes, and out comes a beautiful 6.5 lb baby girl. All natural. Completely alert and eyes open wide. Mom feels great though very tired. I take all the pictures and after I make sure they are all settled in, I take my leave. I am pleased with my first hospital experiance and I know that the midwife had everything to do with that.
I see her 10 days later for the post natal visit. I see a happy Mom and excited sisters. She is thankful to me for my help and support. She mentions her next visit to the midwife for follow-up and that they will discuss contraceptive. I tell her she needs to be a strong role model now for these three girls. She needs to stand up for herself and depend on herself. She understood. She did get in touch with me soon after about some post pardum and I helped her get the resources she needed.
I can't help but hope I made an impact on her future and maybe change the cycle of things. I know I gave her the birth experience she wanted and that was my job. I am learning that I have to accept my limits as well.