What type of technology is safe for childbirth? If you know me, you know that I question even vaginal exams. Less technology usually means better experience for moms and better outcome for moms and babies. So how could I have recently been swayed into the world of technology!? Yup, its true. Here’s how it happened.
I’ve been the doula twice for this family. Mom and I are more than doula and client, we are friends. Her pregnancy passes uneventfully. We exchange a few emails. She is due end of June but has late babies. I start getting text on my cell phone and we meet for lunch late May. I get more text and I visit the family first week in June. It is a lovely Sunday for a prenatal meeting and lunch with the family. I realize from our face-to-face time that Mom is way-to-busy to have a baby. We talk about going on early maternity leave from work. Then we exchanged more text about slowing down and taking her leave. I learn on facebook and texting that she will go on leave – YAY! Maternity leave starts June 11.
June 13…text reads, “today might be the day, backache, braxton hicks, natural cleansing…”. Then, “breaking out the smart water just in case”. The cell phone texts start to pick up. Often many times a day we are texting back and forth. Mom experiences a lot of prelabor, one time it turned out to be the flu. Then just when we thought it was real labor her little ones get really sick and labor stops. After all, Mom is needed to clean up barf and pick up meds and make runs to pediatrician. Again, no time to have a baby! Argh.
After June 18th appointment with OBGYN text reads, “…80% effaced, bulging bag of water, lost mucos plug…”
We text some more. One night I sleep through a text that says, “contractions went from 10 to 5 to 3 minutes apart, can’t sleep…” I call and get a real live person. “Please call me if it’s the real thing…texting is great but please call me when you are in labor.”
On Saturday, June 20, Mom gets some bloody show and CALLS me to ask if she should go to Fathers Day barbecue. “Yeah” unless you are too tired. The great thing about family barbecues are that the little ones will be loved, fed and entertained and then tired when they get home. Bloody show does not mean a woman is in labor, it’s yet another sign that labor is close. Mom texts me when they are home from bbq, “Home now. Putting boys to bed. Getting hard to walk thru contraction. Hoping quiet and tub will get it going. Stronger but don’t last long. Getting a little closer than earlier.” Then, “More bloody show”. I expected to get a call in the middle of the night. I kept my cell on loud and close to me. Then on Fathers Day, June 21 at 6:37AM I get A TEXT! “Getting really tired of this. I’m in pain and tired…starting to cry.” All I read is “cry”. I text her back, “I’ll be right there”. She texts me back, “OK”.
It was a beautiful birth! After breakfast (made by Dad on Fathers Day) we walked 2.5 miles. Labor changed, contractions were getting longer. Mom got into her big deep tub (like she always does). Dad took the boys to aunties house and got home just in time to drive mom to hospital. She arrived there at 12:30PM completely dilated. Baby was born at 12:57PM.
My favorite part? Hmmm well that’s a hard question.
1)Our walk where we talked about everything under the sun (literally). That’s how babys position came up. Mom remembered that he had his hands by his face in the Ultrasound! We discussed how to juggle his nuchal hand out of the way and mom started walking with one foot on curb and one foot on street. We’d done some rebozo before our walk, which may have helped. On the way home from our hike I stopped the car at the bottom of the driveway where we could have a quiet moment of prayer.
2)Getting to the hospital and just being a witness to the miracle of birth. Dad and mom’s love for each other and for their baby filled the room, maybe the world. They didn’t need a doula, except to text her once in awhile : )
And that is how the technology of cell phone texting became an acceptable childbirth tool for me.
P.S. Mom later told me that she didn’t think she was in real labor Sunday morning. When I texted her I was coming she thought, “How nice Rosie is coming to visit”. Dad later told me that he didn’t think she would’ve had the baby that day if I hadn’t come. They just needed a little encouragement to let go, and have confidence in the process. A few doula tricks of the trade may have helped but we think it was prayer that helped mom relax most.