In de laatste weken van je zwangerschap kun je bij mij een openingsceremonie komen doen. Tijdens de ceremonie nemen we de tijd om je fysiek en emotioneel voor te bereiden op dat wat komen gaat. We besteden aandacht aan het openen van je lichaam en nodigen je kindje uit om te komen wanneer het daar klaar voor is. Het is een moment om even stil te staan, een moment van volledige aandacht voor jezelf en de baby in je buik. 

The second stage of labor was vastly different from my first. I went on the bed to start pushing, but ended up on my back and staying in that position. It was extremely difficult, as the midwife instructed me to pull my knees to my shoulders, lift my head, hold my breath, and push. I could only take it for so long before I instinctively almost rose up to move (which is what i had wanted originally, but as Maura was almost reading my thoughts she told me that the baby was malpositioned. At that point I put all my trust in the midwives and Maura to coach me to get the baby out the best way possible. 

 

Although it is widely known that pushing on one's back leads to more strenuous and lengthy pushing stages, neither Maura nor my original midwife, felt space to suggest anything different than what the hospital staff were instructing me to do. The way I was pushing unfortunately made my labor very uncomfortable, as I could barely hold my legs up and I wasn't able to push her out successfully. This led to eventually placing my legs in stirrups to keep them up. We did try another position on the side, but that also did not succeed in bringing her Earth side. There was hospital staff entering the room during this period to check the monitors of another ongoing labour, and although I barely took notice of this at the time, I do feel it disrupted my flow, as the room was quite chaotic. Thankfully, Maura asked some people to leave. Even though I was not receiving any coaching or suggestions from Maura during this time, she was right next to me, holding my hand, getting me water, applying essential oils, giving my husband a break and some rest, offering me words of encouragement, and reminding me that I can trust my body and do what I wanted to do.


After about 45 minutes of this arduous and coached pushing/breathing from a hospital midwife, something in me told me she needed to be born. I looked at Maura and told her this, and in that instant my baby's heart rate started to decline. The gynecologist stepped up, asked to give me an episiotomy and to perform a vacuum assist to get her delivered. Within minutes, I felt a great relief from the episiotomy and vacuum as she left my body and went straight onto my chest. As I was in total complete shock from the ordeal, Maura gently pointed out that my daughter was looking at me, and we shared a beautiful moment of locking eyes for the first time. 


After the birth and during the golden hour, Maura remained present but discrete, there if we needed anything but also allowing us the privacy and intimacy with our newborn. Her presence consistently put me at ease and made me feel like I was in good hands. She waited until we felt comfortable enough to leave, and declined my offer to hold my daughter as she knew and respected the importance of a new baby being held by as few people as necessary. 

 

A few days later Maura made a home visit to check on me, cook a beautifully delicious meal, give me a foot massage, and lend me all her teas and tinctures and healing techniques for my episiotomy and post labor vagina. It was absolutely incredible! I felt like a queen! Maura also took care of my placenta, making beautiful pieces of artprints with it, which she later delivered to me, carefully wrapped. Something I will forever treasure.

Maura was present afterwards to discuss anything I needed or that was still on my mind, which I was so appreciative of. Even months after when I needed to discuss the pushing stage again, she welcomed to revisit the experience and was also open to learning and growing from it herself to ensure she is the best doula she can be for her clients. 

 

I look back on my birth as positive and empowering, but also feel that I've experienced firsthand how easy it is to be influenced by midwives that are trained to practice outdated breathing techniques and encourage you to push on your back for their visual benefit. During labor we are most vulnerable and, especially as a first time mom, it's so difficult to advocate for yourself or know what to do. Without Maura I'm not sure how my labor would've ended, but I'm confident her support reduced my chances of a c-section which many babies that are stargazers end up as.

"and for that, and so much more, I am endlessly grateful. 

 

Thanks to the support, kindness, and delicate care from Maura throughout this experience, I am inspired to become a doula myself. I can honestly say that I describe the months postpartum as the happiest of my life."