• Merkaba Doula

A Birth Amidst a Pandemic – Birth Story of Ensley – March 17, 2020 - 9lbs 4 oz – 10:53am

This beautiful birth began at 11:30pm the prior night when my client’s water broke. I received a text that things were underway, and I instructed my client to page the midwife. The midwife encouraged everyone to try to get some rest through the night. As soon as my client tried to lay down her contractions became stronger and she called me again. I showered and packed a few things before heading over. I only live about 5 minutes away, so I made it over quickly. When I first arrived, the contractions were only lasting 15 – 30 seconds, but they were strong and occurring every 3 minutes. In between contractions we spent the time watching episodes of ‘Friends’ to try and pass some time and encourage relaxation. My client was settled in a rocking chair and had some snacks and water. The contractions continued to increase in strength and frequency until they were lasting 1 minute and occurring every 2-3 minutes. At this time, I called the midwife who indicated she was on her way to check on us.

My client’s back pain was getting very uncomfortable, so I suggested she take a bath. The husband drew the bath and my client experienced immediate relief once she got in. The midwife arrived at 2:40am and once my client was done in the bath, the midwife checked her. My client was about 3-4 cm dilated, her contractions were strong and were a full minute in duration. At this time the client’s husband went upstairs to try and get some rest. My client was once again getting very uncomfortable and she was moving back and forth between the toilet and the bath. The midwife got a bowl of hot water and I poured it onto my client’s back over and over with every contraction. Although my client was uncomfortable, she still had awhile to go so the midwife left and instructed us to page her when things increased in intensity.

I helped the client get out of the bath because the hot water was now making her dizzy. Sitting back down in the recliner with some juice made her less dizzy. Once she was a bit more settled, she tried laying down, got onto the birth ball for a bit and then went back to sit on the toilet. At 5:30am the client had a shower and washed her hair, this is when she started to feel pressure in the perineum. I’m still in shock that she washed her hair between each strong contraction. I paged the midwife, woke up the husband and we prepared to go to the hospital. I left before my clients and stopped to grab some coffee for myself and the husband. Everyone arrived at the hospital at the same time and my client was admitted to the maternity ward. I was unfortunately not permitted to enter due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19. With a broken heart I had to leave, as I was leaving I could hear my client pleading with the hospital staff and midwife to allow me to stay. I departed the hospital at 7:00am.

I will now finish the story as it was recounted to me by the client. My client got into a hot bath and remained there for a few hours. She started to transition. My client knew she was in the transition phase and that the baby was coming soon. This gave her the strength to refrain from asking for medication even though she wanted it. When my client felt the need to ask for medication, she would look at the midwife and say ‘I need a break’ as opposed to ‘I need drugs’. The second midwife took over at this point and told my client that she was free to start pushing if she felt the urge. My client was definitely ready to push and got out of the bath and laid in the bed. The husband was wonderfully supportive to my client both emotionally and physically. He held her leg up while she pushed the baby out on laying on her side. Baby boy Ensley was born at 10:53am on March 17, 2020 weighing 9lbs 4oz and the birth was 100% medication free.

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