Dear baby boy
I was honored to be your parent’s doula at your birth. My name is Elena and this is my attempt to capture the magical moments that lead up to your arrival. I hope that when you read this you get a glimpse of how amazing your parents are and how much they love you.
Your mom, was on ‘top of things’. She researched and informed herself. She prepared so thoroughly and fought so valiantly to have every chance to have her VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) because it was so much healthier for both of you and a lot nicer too. I think she showed the birthing team a few things. I was fortunate to meet your parents and big sister a few days before the birth at their beautiful apartment in Geneva. Your mom showed me her birth plan and everything she had prepared for your safe and happy arrival. She seemed so happy and so ready to meet you. Your dad was so considerate towards her needs. We joked that he was “well trained”.
Five days later on august 10th, I received an early call from you mom. She had been feeling contractions since around midnight and they kept waking her up. By mid morning se felt things were advancing enough for her to consider continuing her labour at the Hospital. So I picked her up and drove her to the Hospital.
It was amidst the Fête de Genève festivities that we made our way. Your dad stayed at home with your sister, she was having a nap. Every time a hugging contraction came, your mom would stop, turn on her TENS machine. She had very cleverly attached and positioned the control on her chest (bra). She was also keeping track of contractions with her Ipad. Your mom would concentrate so profoundly during contractions and then she would walk and walk all around the house, and later the waiting room, the ER room etc. She avoided sitting. You did not seem to like it when she sat.
Since it was a holiday, things were quiet at the HUG maternité. It had been recently renovated so everything was brand new and lovely. The Midwife, Odile, a tall and very friendly woman in her late 40’s, took your mom in and checked her dilatation and attached her to the monitor. Odile kept humming Disney’s ‘Beauty and the beast’ song. She was in such good spirits. Your mom was OK with lying down for a while even though it seemed to slow things down and it was not very comfortable. Mom was still very chatty between contractions. Things were still moving along but they seemed to have slowed down. She then connected her IPAD and Face-timed with your Dad and sister while they were having lunch.
We decided we wanted lunch too. Maybe the new energy would help the contractions get stronger. We headed to the cafeteria and had sandwiches and coke on the terrace. It was a lovely day after all. Soon after, Dad arrived with your big sister. All through out, your mom would handle the “hugs” with all her attention, in silence and walking. After a bit of fresh air, your mom went in for more monitoring and to be checked. A few minutes later she decided that she wanted to leave the hospital until things got more intense. We all had a coffee and left. It was about 16h. I understand your family went to a petting zoo and slowly made their way home.
Your mom called me around 20h and told me she had a bath and she managed to relax and even fall asleep in it. So things had lulled down a bit and we all thought we would get a bit of sleep. At 22h20 your Dad called to let me know they were ready to go to the Hospital. And I could hear your mom’s birth sounds in the back. I love those. The Geneva Fireworks were just about to start. Your parents made it to the Hospital with all the streetlights off and illuminated by the fireworks’ spectacular finale. It was magical! I joined about 5 minutes later. I waited while the Midwives in the ER checked your mom. Your dad was with her. A very friendly male Midwife called Nassif approached me to let me know that they were ready to take your mom to the delivery room. She was 4 cm with good strong contractions. She was progressing so well.
I finally saw your mom as we all headed up to the birthing room area on the elevator. She told me with a mix of excitement, tiredness, and effort “ I think this is going to be fast”. And it sort of was. I commented about how magical it must have been to arrive amongst fireworks in a night where a meteor shower was also visible. You were special and arriving at a special time.
Your mom and Dad settled in to the HUG salle d’accouchement number 5. Meanwhile I waited for approval to join them. It was not that long, but by the time I could join them, mom was in bed with the electric foetal monitor in place and an epidural had been applied. It was hard for mom to manage while lying down as required by HUG protocols for VBAC so she agreed to have the epidural. By now it was past midnight and we all settled down to rest as much as we could. Not much, and I say this with a big grin.
Your Midwife Rachel was really in tune with your mom’s wishes and she did all she could for her. She aided dilation, she helped your mom in to different side lying positions to enable you to descend further in to the birth canal: She kept the OB/GYNs happy and away. The epidural was not working well but your mom was Awesome. She handled every contraction like a lioness. She was fully concentrated. She is such a powerful woman.
For the next couple of hours, She held your dads hands, she held mine in turn or at the same time. I tried helping her release all her muscles, breath deeply and relax to allow the hugs to be as efficient as possible. We would lock eyes and this seemed to help her get “in to” the contraction. Your dad and I did as much as we could to help her relax and melt in to the effort. We gave her water and we used a wet wash-cloth to moisten her face. By now she was falling profoundly asleep between contractions. Sleep twitches, snores and all. She looked lovely. She was fully dilated. After a few minutes the anesthesiologist was called again. She was young and a bit overwhelmed. Her French was limited. And she seemed quite new to the job. She wanted to be helpful. She tried. But your mom had more resources in herself and did without the full effect of the epidural until the end.
Mom’s breathing changed. You were ready to come and your mom’s body started to push. She could not help it. It was beautiful to watch a mother doing her thing. So perfectly! Slowly you started to emerge. You did not seem to be in a terrible hurry. You crowned for a while. And Rachel encouraged your mom to take a big breath, hold her legs and concentrate all her strength in to pushing, helping the contractions along.
Rachel was holding your moms sacrum hoping to nudge you out. Your mom was lying on her back with her legs bent and her feet on the holders. We thought about getting your mom upright but for some reason it was not possible. In one final effort while we held mom’s legs in an almost crouching- lying position you were ready to come. Your head was out and we could not quite figure in which direction you were rotating. When you came out we saw the reason for your delay. You had your arm next to your head in a hugging way. I guess you were trying to wave “hello”. You made your entrance at 3:30 am on August 11th 2013.
You arrived and the Midwife put you directly on your mom’s belly. We were all so exited!
You stayed in your mom’s arms for a little, while everyone admired you. The cord was cut. You were quite alert and you cried very little. It was as if you were trying out the new sounds you could make. You started looking all around you. I took a few pictures. I was full of joy and in awe. What a privilege to be there when you entered this world. How amazing to witness how powerful your parent’s love for you is. Your mom rocks!!!
Your mom had still some work to do, so Dad held you skin to skin while the Midwife and OBs helped mom with the rest. Placenta emerged perfectly and Rachel showed us where you had been living for past few months. Placentas are amazing you know. Your dad had many very lovely words for you I wish I had filmed them. You were listening so attentively. Your eyes fixed on him.
Rachel made sure the placenta was all out and your mom had a couple of stitches that the OB took care of. She used relaxation techniques to get trough the stitching. She is a master.
Now comfy and clean and because you looked very interested in the closest nipple, meaning dad’s, we figured you were ready for breakfast. I got to
hold you to take you to mom and your first feed. You latched on like champ. As if you had been nursing for months. Your mom looked so proud of herself, and you. We joked again that your dad was “well trained” because he was so present and involved. We could see all the love he has for you and your mom.
I know that at some point the midwife checked you, measured you, and put your first diaper on, but I can’t remember exactly when. She was gentle and you seemed very interested. You were all settled in by 5 am. And I took leave. You parents looked so happy, so proud. We all had a rest.
Dear Mom, Dad and babies, Thank you for sharing these wonderful moments with me. It was a real pleasure. This was the beginning of your story, dear little one, welcome to this world. Have a wonderful life!!!!
All my love and best wishe