It had been a long, exhausting induction. At nearly 40 weeks, diagnosed with pregnancy induced high blood pressure, she was tired. Sooo tired.
She could not move out of the “throne” position, the last position I was able to coax her into after the final disappointing cervical check. No progress. Eyes closed, breathing deeply and methodically through every pitocin fueled contraction, we all heard the OB say, “lets talk about the next steps…” but the weight of disappointment combined with our collective fatigue blurred some of the message. It didn’t matter. We all knew what the next steps were.
“I can’t do this anymore.”
In every prenatal she had expressed her adamant refusal to have any type of pain medication, including an epidural. A C-section was to be avoided at all costs, but here we were. Dangerously high blood pressure, and an unwanted and unproductive induction had left her with no other safe options.
“Just do the C-section.”
The nurse and I explained that an epidural would be relatively the same procedure as far as medication if she would like to try that first and get some rest, but I knew what her answer would be. Her husband broke down as he watched her grimace through the next wave, her concentration now broken, and asked if he could call her mother to meet us at the hospital. She nodded yes as I hugged him and assured him that I would also be here when they returned from surgery. She then reached out and grabbed my arm so that I turned toward her.
“Please don’t tell my mom I gave up.”
We all quickly began reassuring her that she did NOT give up. We reviewed the events that took place, reaffirmed the severity of her condition, showered her with praise for her Herculean efforts, but her words have stayed with me. ..please don’t tell my mom I gave up.
Oh, the power we have as mothers.
In our first postpartum meeting we delved into this as she processed her birth. We discussed the pressure she put on herself to power through, as she had seen her own mother do as she birthed her younger sister. The bar had been set in her mind, and this accomplished, successful, woman felt that she had somehow come up short. There was work to do here. The raw, emotional interior work that would be a part of her own healing. The tears flowed as her husband told her how proud he was of her. Her own tears came when I asked if she was proud of herself and she couldn’t really answer. Healing will be an ongoing journey, which I hope will lead to her own discovery of the power she has as a woman and the power she now holds as a mother.
As a doula, I mother the mother.
I enter the birth space with no expectations, no needs of my own to be fulfilled. I come with an open heart full of acceptance and flexibility, and the experience to know that birth takes its own path. A path sometimes so far from the road to motherhood that we had envisioned and expected that it leaves us feeling bewildered at best, and despondent at worst. As your doula, I do my utmost to prepare your heart, mind, and body for all the possibilities, while at the same time focusing on helping you plan for the birth of your dreams.
I help you to find your power.