Parker’s birth was one that I submitted to complete my DONA certification. When I wrote about the one thing I learned as a doula from Parker’s birth, I wrote this - “As Natasha and Matt’s doula, I learned the power of a quiet laboring mama.” After two of my own natural births and two years into this passion of assisting women birth their babies according to their goals and wishes, I am still in awe of the power that Natasha beamed as she labored with her body and birthed her baby. I cannot begin to describe how amazing this experience was for me.
Thank you, Natasha and Matt for not only allowing me to be a part of it, but allowing me to relive it by honoring me to write Parker’s story from my perspective.
It was around 9pm on June 15th when Natasha texted me and said she thought this might be, definitely, maybe labor. You see, Natasha and I had been texting a lot that week. Since I lived four hours away from her and, with my youngest son only being 2 months old, I had a finite period of time that I could spend with her. If I came too early or came for a period of prodormal labor that fizzled out, basically we blew our shot. I wouldn’t be able to make the 8 hour round trip twice. From what she was telling me and with her intuition driving her, we made the call that this would be our best bet. I was in the car by 9:30pm, suggesting that she try to sleep the best she could as I made my way to her. After a pretty easy drive through mostly no cellular service farm land, lost for about 45 minutes and with my phone battery near death, I arrived at Natasha’s home around 1:45am. She was awake to get water as I came to her door. (There goes my planetary alignment theory, again!) But, let down, she informed me that thought her definite labor had fizzled into not labor. Total Bummer! Well, I’d better sleep a bit before I drive back. We decided that I’d hang out until sun up morning for a while and made another plan that by 11am, I’d be heading back home unless she was in labor. She went back upstairs, I set up my breast pump and, after pumping, fell asleep on the couch bed she had made up for me. (Thanks girl!)
Around 5am, I heard some shuffling upstairs as I woke up to pump again. Owen, Natasha’s first boy, had awoken. Natasha, the ever so successful breastfeeding mama (I’m serious - Breastfeeding Goddess , folks!) nursed her first baby when he woke and “Ding Ding Ding!” we were back in labor land!
It started slowly. I watched her as she came downstairs and turned on the TV to distract her first born as we talked. Matt, her husband followed, getting Owen and Natasha some breakfast and we all talked about a plan for the day. Matt would go to work but stay at the ready as we puttered around, flowing through what I believe we all saw as “the real deal” starting.
Matt went upstairs to get ready for work as Natasha and I stayed downstairs, speaking about our kids, how we saw the day going, her new home on the East Coast (remember she had just moved across the nation only a few weeks before), her new life here, our families, and in what ways she hoped that Parker’s birth would be different than Owen’s birth. Natasha kept up with the conversation, moving around in the chair, concentrating slightly on contractions as we conversed. Then, Owen asked to go upstairs to play. Upstairs, in Owens phenomenal play room - obviously organized by a former teacher with books taking up a entire wall, floor to ceiling, left to right - Owen, Natasha, and I played as I saw Natasha quickly progressing along. It wasn’t long before she had the idea for the babysitter to come get Owen.
Once sweet Owen left with his sitter for the day, Natasha’s labor started change. She sat on her birth ball and and bounced a while as I stood with her gently massaged her. She began to sway and get hot so I offered to put up her hair and stayed with her swaying and gliding her own internal rhythm. She stopped talking and started to really focus inward as she swayed. Only coming out of her trance to accept water a few times. She got up to go to the bathroom around 7am and we decided that Matt should make his way home. Matt arrived at 7:30am and sat with us for a few minutes before he went upstairs to change and ready everything for the trip to the hospital.
It was 8:48am when we left for hospital. Around 9am, a very, very, very quiet Natasha was admitted and in bed for her first check. My role as direct support changed once Natasha got settled as I became more of a birth database and Matt took over as direct support. Natasha was checked and the room suddenly went into a whirlwind. At 7cm, the hospital staff rushed around trying to provide Natasha with everything they had to help her with her natural birth plan. Everything from Olive Oil to diffusers came into her room as she laid in bed, quiet, eyes closed, concentrating. Being in her room, I felt like we were in a hurricane with Natasha and Matt being the eye of the storm.
I wish I could accurately describe to you the way that room felt as watching her labor. Natasha laid in bed and held Matt’s hand. For 2 hours, as nurses flowed in and out and the doctor checked in, she laid there. Eyes closed, breathing in rhythm, listening to her own internal conversation. She was so calm, so incredibly peaceful, every single person who came into her room asked me quietly if she was asleep. Honestly, I had to ask myself that a few times but what I did know was that whatever she was doing, was beautiful.
Natasha started to comment that she had to push around 11am. After using the bathroom, she was checked again. She was complete. Time to meet her son! Listening to the support and coaching that Matt, her doctor, her nurses, and I provided, at 11:21am, Parker Levi was born to a suddenly awake and overjoyed Mama who, wide eyed, took her son to her breast as he heartily began to nurse. (Told you before, Nursing Goddess!)
Happy Birthday, Parker Levi! You are a lucky dude!!!!!!
Cat is the founder of Birth Freely Birth Services. Her passion is empowering women through education and providing them with continuous labor support so they can have the birth they desire!