By: Willa's mommy
Tricia is a dear friend and was my doula for the birth of our second child. My first birth was very traumatic and changed everything about the way I viewed birth. It showed me that the way in which a woman is treated during her pregnancy and birth greatly impacts the birth she will experience. I was hell bent on having a peaceful, loving and gentle birth for this baby. For that reason, I chose a home birth provider, took a 5 week HypnoBirthing course (Tricia was on maternity leave so I took it with another awesome CBE) and hired Tricia as my doula. I was so happy that we were her first birth back from her own maternity leave. My pregnancy went along normally and Tricia was always there to answer any questions I had. We had just purchased our first home and I was soooo excited to bring this baby into a place that was so full of love. I listened to my HypnoBirthing tracks each night and by 30 weeks had all of our homebirth supplies ready. At 35 weeks something started to feel off. I started itching like crazy. Blood work confirmed my liver enzymes and bile salts where out of control. They sent me to the head of MFM at UIC and that day I felt my home birth slipping away. I was 36 weeks 5 days when I had the appointment and it was confirmed that I indeed had Cholestasis. This disorder is dangerous for the baby and the determination was made to induce the very next day. Needless to say, I was a mess. Tricia was such a comfort to me during this time. I can't even really put it into words. Of course I wanted what was best for my baby and she was instrumental in helping me understand that all of the work I had done could still result in a peaceful birth...even with induction. Honestly, I had a lot of fear tied to hospital birth (from my last birth experience) and she helped me through all of that....and this is before the birth even started. The night before my induction I had tons of self doubt...tons of fear. I cried laying with my son (knowing it was the last time we would be a family of three). I cried in mourning for the birth we had lost.
The next day we arrived at the hospital at 2 and got shown to our room. Everyone was very respectful. They knew I was aiming for a natural and peaceful birthing and assured me that they would be there to help me achieve it. We didn't really feel at ease until Tricia arrived. They had started pitocin ( I was 3 to 4 centimeters so other methods first seemed useless). Tricia in the beginning was there helping to clam my nerves, reminded me to rest when I could and was overall just being my good friend. At this point, I wasn't having any meaningful contractions. Induction takes a really long time and I was terrified that someone would tell me it wasn't working...that my body was broken. Tricia was always there to clam my nerves to suggest a walk or a rest (to shhh offer a snack). I remember, she had given me this huge water bottle before the birth (that I was going to use in my homebirth) and I brought it with me to the hospital. For some reason, that water bottle became a focal point for me. It was always with me. I LOVED that thing.
When things got really going I was in my own world. I remember her suggesting things that helped tremendously....walking the halls, swaying, dancing with my husband. She was a little voice in my ear helping me through and my trust in her buoyed me...it helped me trust myself and the wonderful work that my body was doing. Finally it was time for me to push and this is where I really remember Tricia being such a huge huge support. You see, I hated pushing...it's the one time during labor that terror crept in. I didn't think it was possible for me to get this baby out. During the whole labor process I had felt pressure and change and some discomfort but I could handle it. I took it one step at a time. THIS was different. I swore, I pushed. I decided I wanted to go home. I let my voice soar high instead of low....I. was. terrified. During this time (and I have no idea how long it lasted) I heard Tricia. I focused on what she said to me. She told me I WAS doing it. There was a roar of voices in that room but I only heard her and I thank heavens she was there. This was the most difficult thing I had ever done in my life and she was telling me I was doing a beautiful job. When the baby was crowning and all I wanted was to get the baby out NOW....I heard her saying "Listen to Hillary, Listen to Hillary" who was guiding me to give little pushes so as not to tear. When my baby got stuck for a moment and the room went wild...all I heard was her in my ear saying "just push just push." And then the baby was out. My husband announced that we had a girl. She was perfect but needed to be checked out quickly because of the shoulder getting stuck.
This birth was a far cry from what I had planned but it was so so so beautiful, gentle and peaceful. I attribute a lot that to Tricia and the love and support she showed my husband and I. I would never in my life birth another baby without her.