I was blessed to be both doula and photographer for my dear friend, no family member, Arianna and her husband Josh. Their little miracle was featured here:
A wonder of love, prayer, and science Ms Adalynn has truly been wished for, prayed for, and cherished from the moment she existed. You can imagine the excitement in the house as her due date approached. And past. And an entire slew of labor induction techniques started. From walking and pressure points and another several known methods to trying the wives tale of pineapple core NOTHING worked! And believe me, we tried!
The carefully created and lovingly written out birth plan started to dissolve. She asked to keep as much as possible. No pain meds, low lights, freedom to move during labor.
After a ROUGH start with cervical ripening (helllllo 2hr long contraction!!) they moved on to pitocin. Mama tried to go natural for a long time, but with barely any progress, lack of sleep, and a sunny side up baby she finally got the epidural and relief! Another part of the birth plan left behind with some tears and ultimately acceptance. Turns out it was a great thing too. Her cervix had one of the side effects of in vitro: inability to dilate naturally unless 100% relaxed and helped. And after some time on both pitocin and epidural it FINALLY gave way!
And then turning the baby had to happen. Decidedly NOT the most comfortable thing!
When it came time to push, the real story of her birth began. And the rest of the plan dissolved. I have witnessed many births, but none have come close to the intensity and admittedly, risk, this one did. Due to epidural she had to be in a bed raised, semi reclined position. Which put her pelvic bone in the way of babys head. After her doctor did some MAJOR manual grappling, he was able to help get babies head under the bone. And that is when labor stopped. The pitocin had been turned off some time prior as her body was doing just fine without it. Suddenly, all contractions stopped. And baby was stuck. I have NEVER seen a team work as strongly as they did. Her Dr. not only was helping to push baby from the top, he demanded the pitocin be turned back on (not usually done) when babys heart decelerated for a couple minutes we were all on edge. We all knew what this could mean. If labor did not start back up, we could loose her. Thankfully the contractions started almost immediately after the pitocin went back on, and with some MIGHTY pushes from an exceedingly exhausted mama and the most gentle forceps help I have ever seen, little Adalynn finally came into her mamas arms. And as you can see by their faces, both of her parents were utterly rocked to their core when they saw her.
The medication they had to give her to stop the bleeding rendered her unable to breast feed for almost 24hrs. The last piece of the plan was shattered. The one thing she had planned on cherishing after birth was taken away. Through the amazing staff they were able to get donor milk, which allowed for the one thing that was so important for her: Breastmilk for her baby.
They were blessed to have both sets of grandparents in the waiting room so everyone got to meet Adalynn and whisper sweet words of love and welcome. I know this little girl is in for some serious spoiling!!
I have never seen a couple face so many challenges in becoming pregnant, staying pregnant, and then with the delivery and even post delivery. They handled it all with amazing strength and acceptance. The tears were short lived. The plans let go without anger. And the realities embraced.
I have included some more raw photos in this gallery for a few reasons:
-EVERY birth is amazing. Whether you have a child naturally, induced, cecarian, no pain relief, epidural, with tearing or without, breastfeeding right away or not.... ALL births are sacred!!! ALL births should be honored for what they are: MIRACLES.
-The hard work of Drs. should be celebrated! I personally had home births, and I cannot tell you how GRATEFUL I am that hospitals exist! There are very good reasons for all types of births, and when a hospital is needed or even just preffered NO ONE should every say word one about it. Her Dr. was the most amazing OB I have ever seen in my life. Dedicated, educated, compassionate, and fierce.
-Most of the time you see the beauty of birth. The joy on parents faces, the cute noses, the smiling nurse. Rarely do you see the reality of when a mom is bleeding badly, when there is a team of 8 waiting to help, what happens that half hour post birth while mom and dad are gazing with wonder at their little one. There is stitching, pushing of the fundus to help stop bleeding, an exhausted mom, and a whole team working to clean up so that family can come in and see the incredible miracle that has arrived.
Thank you to Arianna and Josh for allowing me to be there as your doula, your friend. For allowing me to capture your truly AMAZING birth of your miracle girl. And for the incredible honor of watching you fall in love.