“The night before Sebastian's birth I was feeling very tired. After a brief nap, I talked to Cassandra about some things we could do to encourage labor. Somehow she always seemed to know exactly when and how to communicate with me. I remember feeling so much calmer and more at ease after talking to her that night. Our plan was to rest that night and try the Miles circuit the next day. No time for rest though!
About an hour after we spoke, my waters broke as we were getting Sophie ready for bed. It felt like a popping sensation followed by a stream of water. Kevin called Cassandra and the midwives to let them know my waters had broke. I had just enough time to shower and put Sophie to bed before contractions started. They were fairly close together from the start, about 3 minutes apart but still fairly mild. I remember thinking, I must be miscalculating these contractions because we're supposed to let them (the midwives) know when they're 5 minutes apart.
Pretty soon, the contractions began to be closer together, about 2.5 minutes apart and more instense. I was hoping to get some rest but baby had other plans. Around 11:30 (3.5 hours after waters broke) my contractions were about 2 minutes apart, so we decided it was time to get our stuff in the car, wake Sophie, and head to the birth center. We left the house around midnight. What an uncomfortable car ride!
Once we arrived at the birth center, my contractions were still about 2 minutes apart. Cassandra arrived shortly after us and took Sophie into the family room to play and hang out. I felt a sense of relief knowing my daughter was able to be at the birth center with us but someone was there to help attend to her needs as well. About an hour or so after arriving my contractions started to become more intense and Cassandra came back in the room to help me through them. I also opted to get into the tub at this time.
While in the tub, Cassandra noticed I really wanted to move around during a contraction and helped me figure out better positions to do that.
During my very intense contractions, Cassandra was my support person, literally holding my hands and talking me through my breathing. She also continued to tell me that I was amazing and doing such a great job which really helped my mental state because I felt exhausted by that point.
Pushing was really strenuous for me and my birthing team helped me try different positions and spaces. While I had hoped to have a water birth, that's not what worked out and I ended up pushing on the bed in a kneeling position. Cassandra made sure I was continuing to get fluids and kept my hair out of my face. She was really attuned to what I needed, whether it was encouraging words or wiping the sweat off my forehead. Finally, Sebastian made his way into the world at 4:10am. 8 hours after my waters broke.
I didn't know it at the time but Cassandra captured several photos of not only Sebastian's birth but also big sis and dad's reaction. These are some of my favorite photos and I am so happy she took them.
The moments following Sebastian's birth are a bit of a blur but I remember snuggling Sebastian and just feeling really supported by my birth team. That support really allowed Kevin, Sophie, and I to just take it all in and bond with Sebastian in those early moments.
One of my favorite differences between hospital birth and community birth, is that with a community birth your support system comes to you. Cassandra came to check on us about a week after Sebastian's birth just to make sure breastfeeding was going well and that we were doing okay. She also graciously had a meal dropped off to my house, which was amazing especially after Kevin went back to work.
Words really don't express how grateful Kevin and I are to have Cassandra as our doula. She really listened to us and took to heart how we wanted to bring our baby into the world. She took action (my love language!) when I was approaching 41 weeks, which would've made me "risk out" of using the birth center. Just knowing that we had that support helped alleviate my fears, which also helped Kevin in his support for me.“
- Erin, a strong mama of 2 kiddos