Sumati's birth story

birth stories Mar 11, 2024

Hello! My dear daughter Meera/our first child - pictured with me - is 1 month old (young?) now and I thought to share a bit of my birth experience in these unusual pandemic times.

When my pregnancy was confirmed early this year we (mostly me to be honest, my husband had a more "as you must, dear" attitude.) were so keen to have a doula support our journey and met with the one and only Christa!

Then the pandemic happened and hospitals were limiting to a single support person. We really tried our best to get an exemption for both Christa and my husband to be able to attend birth but our hospital wouldn't budge. Since I hadn't fully committed to Christa I practically seeked her blessings, we accepted the situation was crappy but I believed the main requirement for my doula support would be in being present at the actual birth in hospital and if that wasn't possible then I figured my partner and I could manage ourselves with the ample education we had access to.

On a Sunday evening in September I started to lose the mucus plug and had menstrual type cramps throughout that evening and much of the Monday. On Tues morning I saw midwives in the clinic for a regular appointment and they suggested I could have my baby soon, or could still be a while as I was just shy of 39 weeks- it was too early to tell.

By Tues night I was getting pretty crippled with pain requiring my husband to assist with back massages at every contraction around 5 minutes apart. I kept receiving the age old wisdom that I would "just know" when I was in "real" labour but my husband and I simply couldn't make sense of that amidst the unfolding chaos... At what point would "just knowing" kick in!? 😳

At about 11pm that night we got to hospital feeling reasonably confident we "just knew" it was time for hospital and the baby to come soon. At about 3am we were practically kicked out of there as I was only 2cm dilated and despite the pain I didn't want drug intervention so as far as they were concerned- they couldn't do much for me besides tell me it was too early for me to be in hospital. They also threw in that some people remain in this stage for weeks!

We were mortified at the idea of being in this much pain for weeks but I was also determined to persevere.. we figured my husband should continue his work as we wanted him to have the bulk of his leave available for when the baby arrived (which could apparently still take weeks). He was working from home but was not appreciating the distraction of my needing him every few minutes to help/guide me through the surges. We had so much education between us yet neither of us seemed to be acting particularly knowledgeable bombarded with uncertainty and stress. He was getting frustrated and I was feeling helpless. I was also very particular about who I was allowing into my space and just anyone wouldn't do. That's when I thought of Christa and wondered if she could provide some "emergency support". My husband couldn't get to the phone fast enough and SO luckily for us Christa was able to come within the hour or so.

As soon as Christa stepped in (at around 2pm on Wednesday) I felt the biggest relief.. and safe - and actually able to tap into the knowledge I did have! My husband also got much more chill and useful (and less in the way with his own panic 😂). Bless her, she didn't leave my side until the absolute last point of entry into the birthing unit.. at which point I was actually deliberating whether I should take her in instead of my husband!.. I couldn't take away from him the birth of our firstborn though.

Thankfully it didn't take weeks, we were at the hospital fully dilated ready to push out the baby that day by midnight. The baby arrived birthed naturally at 3.17am and the obstetrician consultant mentioned how I was one of the strongest women she'd ever seen in labour for several reasons of which one was how far along I was when I came into hospital and managing this first pregnancy without any pain relief. I know every birthing journey is different but for me there's no way I can imagine achieving that without Christa's support. It was such a bummer she couldn't come into the birthing unit but I definitely did learn - it's not only in the hospital that a doula as awesome as Christa can help!

As for my husband who was initially not too fussed about doula support - he since turned to Christa for support so much it's become a bit of a joke in our family when we are faced with tough decisions "hey.. should you call Christa?" 😁 To Christa who kindly tells us we can call her anytime I joke to be careful as my husband may well be calling her for tips on surviving our daughters teen years with the trust and reliance he built in her!

Once again, thanks a million Christa 🙂

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