Samantha’s Birth Story
I remember that I met Samantha while she was teaching a car seat workshop to a group of local doulas. Once I got to know her a bit I immediately realized how awesome she is. And once she told me she was pregnant, I was really excited for her. Through our conversation, I also learned that her dream birth story included having me as a doula and that made me so honored.
Although our plans had to change a bit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to work things out so that I could be involved. My favorite memory of this birth was when Sam decided she wasn’t ready to push yet, and we spent about an hour talking and laughing while Sam let her baby move down on her own terms. Here is her birth story.
When we conceived in October 2019, we never imagined I would give birth to our baby girl during a global pandemic, however, after the birth of our son two years prior Nick and I decided to think through our birth plan and hire a doula, specifically Ashley.
Closer to our due date, COVID-19 struck, and we learned that hospitals had put restrictions in place that would drastically alter the birth plan we had put in place. This was terrifying!
While home birth was still an option, Nick and I decided that we loved and trusted the Woman’s Health Providers to help us achieve the birth story we wanted for our family with Ashley being there supporting us every step of the way via Zoom and Facetime.
The 40-Week Mark
At 40 weeks and 3 days, I went in for a check with Eliza. We attempted a membrane sweep, but my cervix was still very much closed, and this stubborn baby girl was still high. So we ended up going home to wait some more!
On June 24th around 1:00 AM, I woke up with contractions that were approximately 5 minutes apart and I wasn’t sure if I should tell Nick to wake up yet. I rolled over to see if he had woken up with me and felt a small gush of fluids. He was still sound asleep so I went to the bathroom to confirm if my water had broken.
As I stood up I got all the confirmation I needed. A larger gush came and I started yelling to Nick to get me a towel. At 1:30 am, we called the on-call nurse and asked Hallie to meet us at Yale to ensure everything was fine.
My Long Labor
We had originally planned on laboring at home but when we arrived at Yale I was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced with consistent contractions occurring every five minutes so we decided it was best to stay where we were and get some sleep. When we were finally moved to our room, my contractions had slowed so much they almost stopped so I decided to get in the shower to see if nipple stimulation would help. Still nothing.
At 4:00 PM after having tried everything we could on our own with Ashley’s help we chose to have a Pitocin drip started. My contractions returned almost immediately and things began to progress once again.
We were almost in constant contact with Ashley, who is a terrific doula, through our birth. She suggested positions to help keep me comfortable and talked Nick through the decisions that needed to be made since my contractions left me unable to do so.
Because we unfortunately couldn’t have Ashley there with us in person for hands-on support, we were able to keep her on via zoom. It was amazing because it still felt like she was right there with us and talking us through everything that was happening. I eventually climbed into the bathtub, which brought tremendous relief as it immediately helped ease my contractions leaving me able to relax a little bit while 7cm dilated.
An hour later, I was still at 7 cm. After much discussion with everyone we decided that since dilation had stalled, an epidural would be best to help me relax and get through the transition phase. After receiving the epidural I was back to laughing and joking between contractions.
At 12 pm, we decided to rest and see if labor would progress independently. At 3 am I woke up and started to feel the urge to push ever so slightly. I never felt this with my first child, so I called Kristin back and we discussed our options. We decided to try a little pushing, but I wasn’t completely ready, so I asked if we could rest.
For the next hour Ashley stayed with me via zoom and we laughed and relaxed. With each contraction she guided me through breathing exercises to help move our baby girl down. Nick fell right back to sleep. He obviously didn’t have the same feelings as Kristin.
Time To Push
Eventually the urge to push was so great I called Kristin and our nurse back in. Someone suggested rolling me onto my side to try pushing and with the help of a PA holding my foot, Nick holding my hand, and Ashley on zoom being my biggest cheerleader, I pushed for about 20 minutes and suddenly asked, “IS THAT HER HEAD?!”
I was told to reach down and touch her and I was so surprised at how short of a time it had been since I started pushing. It turned out she also had her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, which is very common, and Kristin calmly reassured me that they would move it out of the way.
With one more big contraction, I pushed, reached down, and helped to deliver my baby girl. At 5:36 AM, Vaeda Layne was born weighing 7 lbs 5oz. I immediately started skin-to-skin contact and she opened her eyes and started her “breast crawl.” She was able to latch on her own within 10 minutes. Unfortunately, when it came time to deliver the placenta there were some complications. It had not been delivered within 30 minutes of another dose of Pitocin so the plan was to remove it manually, but all of the ORs were full.
We waited and waited and after a very long, nerve-racking hour, I yelled to Kristin that it was coming out. The placenta came out and not even 30 seconds later, the nurse came in to tell me that the OR was ready. The rooms being full turned out to be a blessing in disguise because my body knew what to do.
What I Learned From This Birth
This birth was the most empowering and healing moment of my life. The whole journey started with so much planning around my anxiety and what I thought I needed to happen. It ended in me feeling beyond supported and loved by my entire care team. Ashley is every person’s dream doula. She was not just our doula, she was our friend when I needed one, an educator when it was decision time, and everything I could have ever asked for as a support person.