I met Katie and Chris on a wintry evening after they had spent the day playing in the snow and having maternity pictures taken. As we chatted about birth and my role as a doula, the strength of their partnership struck me. I had no doubt that their baby daughter, then fondly referred to as "Moonbeam," was lucky to have such incredible parents.
Throughout the weeks leading to Moonbeam's birth, Katie and Chris planned for a peaceful, prayer-filled unmedicated delivery. Moonbeam, however, had different needs. She found herself resting comfortably in a breech position and, despite many efforts and a strong commitment to helping Moonbeam move, the little one found herself feeling safest head-up. While her parents had to rethink their birth preferences, they trusted Moonbeam's inherent wisdom, knowing that there was a reason she chose the breech positioning, and planned for a what was a beautiful gentle cesarean birth at the University of Virginia's Medical Center.
Under the care of the UVa Midwives, Katie and Chris were able to wait until spontaneous labor began, signaling that Moonbeam was fully ready to enter our world. Once early labor started, the expectant parents and I headed to Labor & Delivery. Labor was confirmed and the couple prepared to meet their daughter. Acting as their doula, we had not anticipated the hospital permitting me in the operating room for the birth. Blessedly, the l&d nurse asked if I would like to continue my support in the OR, to which we all answered, "yes!" The anesthesiologist on duty was consulted and he graciously gave his approval to allow me to continue my care during Moonbeam's birth. I know that both the new parents and I are so grateful for the continuity of care and that I was able to document the birth, giving Katie glimpses of the birth that she would have otherwise completely missed.
It was phenomenal to watch Katie and Chris's awe as Moonbeam, now named Mara Rose, arrived earthside. Chris, a natural father, jumped into action supporting Katie as she and Mara had their first moments of skin-to-skin in the OR. The new daddy continued to be verbally and physically supportive as his wife and daughter initiated nursing for the first time. Katie was a champion through the whole birth, strong and brave. A smile never left her face and a lovely contentment had settled upon her when I bid them goodnight that evening.
While Mara Rose's birth was different from how her parents initially envisioned, Katie and Chris researched thoroughly, advocated firmly, and were able to have a beautiful gentle cesarean birth.
If you are pregnant and are interested in having a doula supported birth and/or having your birth story professionally documented, let's talk!