A letter to Milana Grace…

This birth story was written to Milana from the perspective of my doula, Bethany. As part of the services she provides, she captured my birth story in the form of a letter to the new baby. I share this story with great pride, as she has a wonderful gift for the written word. In addition to her incredible pregnancy and labor support, I have this beautiful memory. 

Midwives names have been redacted for their privacy.

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Dearest Milana Grace…

Welcome to this world.  You were born gently into the water, and your mother’s embrace, in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 7th, 2019. Your mom had done so much to prepare for you. When you were born, the fulfillment of months of love and prayers were made complete.

My name is Bethany and I was your  mom’s doula for your birth. I actually have been able to support your mom since before your big brother was born. I love that I was able to grow as a doula while your mom was able to grow as a parent. I will always have a special place in my heart for your family.

Your mom started planning your birth after your big sister was born. It wasn’t long after her birth that your mom asked me for a list of homebirth midwives in the area. She knew what she needed for you. She knew your birth experience was going to be different, and incredible.

I’d like to say I was surprised when I heard from your mom last year that she was pregnant. The feeling that really came over me was that of satisfaction. This was going to be an amazing next few months and I was thrilled to walk alongside your mom on this journey.

Over the months and weeks leading up to your birth, your mother dreamed of what her perfect experience would be. She imagined the location, the atmosphere the music in the air. She deliberately planned who would be present and who would know she was laboring. Every detail had a purpose.

She began meeting with midwives [redacted] and [redacted] for prenatal care. They would be present for your birth as well. You were due on July 11th but we hoped you would be a little early. I actually secretly hoped for a July 4th birth and I packed sparklers in my birth bag, just in case we would be celebrating you with fireworks. You missed the Fourth of July festivities, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t be celebrated with fireworks.

In the days before your birth, your mom was having some contractions that would come and go. They never stuck around for too long, but we knew they were letting us know that labor was coming. Bags were packed, the birth tub was blown up and ready for water, your mom’s birth room was prepped with inspiration and comfort, the support team was on call. We waited.

On the evening of July 6th, I received the text from your mom.

I hope you like to party because there ain’t no party like a homebirth party!”

This summed up the energy surrounding your birth. About a half hour after this first message, I was on my way to your home. Labor was happening. Forces were being joined and we were all coming together to hold space for your mom while she labored and brought you earthside.

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I arrived to your home around 10:45pm on the evening of July 6th. The drive up was quiet and the night was clear. When I pulled into your neighborhood you could tell people were settling down for the night. House lights were off, crickets were chirping, and a fog was settling in the valleys. The midwives had arrived a few minutes before me and had set up their space off the the side of your mom’s bedroom. Your dad was quietly filling the tub with water from the bathroom through a hose. He was adjusting the temperature of the water and creating that labor space for your mom, who would soon be breathing through rushes with the help of that water.

I first noted how quiet the room was. Your mom was playing music in the room and there was no unnecessary conversation. [redacted] and [redacted] were in the corner, keeping a low eye on your mom while she labored in front of the bed. She stretched with each wave and moved her body to accommodate the pressure pushing downward. Over the next couple hours, she would utilize the birth ball, the bed, and the chaise lounge in the corner of the room. She was attuned to the way her labor was progressing and changed her positions as needed.

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[redacted] and [redacted] moved in a few times to listed to your heart beat and check in on your mom. She declined any cervical exams. Knowing how dilated she was wouldn’t change the path of this labor. We could tell just from observing your mom, that labor was moving along just fine. Rushes were coming more often and consuming more and more of your mother’s energy.

As you moved lower into your mom’s pelvis, we offered a more hands-on comfort for your mom. Pressure on her hips and pelvis as the waves worked to make room for you. Warm hands and a soft touch are medicinal in a natural labor.

Your mom was transitioning to the next phase of labor. She began using her TENS unit and contemplated when the right time would be to get in the tub. The pressures were starting. We knew that Nico wanted to be there for your birth so now was the time for your Nonna to gently wake him up. He would need some time to acclimate to the experience and the middle of the night.

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Your dad warmed the pool up and we helped your mom move into this new space. She lowered herself into the water, leaning forward onto the edge of the tub. We poured warm water on her back to keep her comfortable as she labored. She rocked back and forth with the surges and soon was looking behind her to move into a different position. The midwives were moving closer and we all knew she would be pushing soon. The beautiful part was that no one needed to declare anything; the calm and quiet your mom desired remained. It was such a gentle progression of labor and everyone was on the same page.

Once your mom was leaning back on the tub wall and found a space where she felt safe, she began to give in to those primal urges to bear down with every rush. It took a few minutes to get her footing and find the rhythm of labor again, but she found it. There was a small cervical lip she needed to push through, but the good news is your mom is STRONG. Of course she did it.

Pushing was intense but your  mom knew she could do it. Each breath brought you closer to us. In addition to the birth team, your dad, Nico and Nonna were present in the room as your mom did the hard work. Finally, at 1:28am, on July 7th, your mom pushed her last push. You were born into her arms and she finally got to just look at you.

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The excitement wasn’t totally over yet, though. No one knew if you were a boy or a girl, and your mom wanted to wait just a bit before checking for herself. We were so glad to see you, but we didn’t yet know who you were. After much time spent in adoration, your mom confirmed to everyone in the room that you were Milana Grace. What a perfect moment. What a series of perfect moments. Miss Milana Grace.

You spent the next bit of time in the warm tub with your mom while everyone around you doted on you both. Eventually you both made your way over to the bed to dry off and warm up. You snuggled in a blanket that your mom bought just for you and we pulled out adorable little clothes and bows for you to wear.

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Milana Grace, you are so loved and adored. I am beyond thankful to have been a part of your birth and can’t wait to see what the world has in store for you. I hope you grow up strong and confident and shower the people around you with love and encouragement. You are a force, like your mom.

All my love,

Bethany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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