Even before I fell pregnant, my heart was set on giving birth naturally without medication. I really wanted to experience everything my body was made to do.
My sister, who had given birth just a few weeks before I found out I was pregnant, encouraged me to contact Colleen to be my Doula. I'm so glad I did, as I not only felt prepared for birth, I felt like my heart for natural birth was being heard and encouraged.
We found a good doctor who also encouraged natural birth and after witnessing Colleen's influence on the birth of my baby girl, now also encourages having a Doula present. He was impressed that I was so well prepared and calm through the whole experience.
I can't imagine anyone going through birth without the support I received. The nurses, though very kind and efficient, left me feeling a little lost and uninformed. Colleen's arrival during labour made a world of difference.
My pregnancy went smoothly without complications up until my 36/37 week scan. This was the first scan I had been to without Jared, my husband, and there I was given the news that my blood pressure was too high and that the doctor believed that it would be safer for both baby Emily and I if I were to be induced the following week. With a sunken heart I contacted Jared and we decided that we would go through with the induction the following Monday.
Although it was a difficult decision to make because of the added risk to Emily as she wasn't yet full term, once it was made I felt peace that all would be well. Everyone close to us was praying for a safe delivery and I must say that knowing the date our little one would be born was quite exciting.
I went in for my induction at 19:00 on the 9th of May. The nurses monitored Emily's heartbeat while they booked me in. I was surprised to see that mild, erratic contractions had already started ...confirming to us that we had made the right decision. Emily would've made her appearance that very week anyway.
To our dismay Jared was asked to leave and would only be contacted once active labour had started. I was finally induced at about 22:20.
I slept quite a bit through the night with mild contractions, mostly back pain. By early morning I was 3 cm dilated. I prayed that things would start moving along faster as I wanted Jared by my side. Not a half hour later my water broke naturally, surprising the nurses as this is not a common occurence with inductions. This was around 5:00. After I was cleaned up, I sent Jared a message as well as Colleen. Jared arrived at about 5:20, just as the intense pain started. They were once again monitoring Emily's heartbeat and I was glad to have Jared lying next to me making me laugh and making sure I was breathing through the pain.
Colleen arrived shortly after and was a welcomed peaceful presence and support as she coached me through different positions to help ease the pain. By 7:00 I was only 4 cm dilated and I remember feeling a little disheartened. By 8:30 I was fully dilated and we were headed for the delivery room. There we waited another hour and a half for Emily to move down further before I started pushing. I remember hearing, as the midwife prepped the room, that the doctor was busy with an emergency ceasar but Colleen reassured me that if we needed to, we could do this without him. Doctor arrived just at the right time, he seemed calm and was even joking with the midwife, making me feel more at ease. Emily was out in a few short minutes born at 10:10 on the 10th, just under 12 hours after the induction. I will never forget the moment I heard her first cry and seeing her little face and outstretched arms as she was placed on my chest.
What a blessing it was to have the support of Colleen who constantly reassured me through the haze of pain that I could do this and kept reminding me that my body knows how to birth a baby, I just needed to let it do what came naturally. Jared and I are both very grateful for the role she played in the birthing process and after.
Photograph by Annelie Jonker