This the timeline of Lucan’s birth through the eyes of my wonderful doula, Jessica. I’m currently working on his home birth story, and wanted to share this with you in the meantime.
Kaitlin calls in the morning to say that she had some contractions overnight, but they have slowed down now. We talk about varying rest and activity, perhaps including a bath, a nap and a walk.
We stay in touch throughout the day as things seem to surge forward and then slow again. We talk about how this baby is finding his or her own path, and some labors require more warm-up. Katie is able to nap and eat well, which will help for the journey ahead.
Eric calls to say that things seem to be getting more regular, and Katie’s midwife is on her way. He says it’s up to me whether I’d like to come now or wait for more information. Given the long drive, I would rather be close but arrive a bit early than scramble at the end. I prepare to head their way.
12:30 a.m. Thursday
I arrive at the lake house to find Katie laboring in the living room overlooking the lake. Ella is sleeping, but Eric Katie’s mom Patti, and Linda are all gathered together. The attitude is quiet but happy. Katie leans forward during contractions, and breathes softly through them. It still seems early, but she is coping beautifully and the contractions are coming in a nice pattern.
Katie was feeling some pressure when Linda arrived, so together they agree to a cervical exam. Linda checks while Katie squats on a stool. The cervix is 4-5 cm dilated and 100% effaced. Katie has her first strong contraction during the exam, and they remain somewhat stronger afterward.
Kaitlin and Eric head upstairs so she can get in the bath. Linda and I stay downstairs with reassurances that we are nearby if they need us.
Katie feels like the bath may be slowing contractions a bit, so Eric mentions that she has decided to get out so she can rest in the bed. I suggest to Eric some cuddling and even skin-to-skin between the two of them to help get the oxytocin flowing.
Katie is feeling restless and come downstairs for a bit to walk. Eric is getting some much deserved rest. It still seems a bit early in labor, and we talk about resting for a while longer, but that doesn’t seem to be where Katie’s body is leading her.
She tries walking, sitting on the ball and a hands-and-knees position leaning over the coffee table. Linda is downstairs sleeping. It feels so peaceful, just the two of us. It’s a very sweet moment during labor for me as her friend and doula.
Kaitlin comments that the baby is moving a lot. As a contraction begins I encourage softly, “Come on baby, find your way out.” During that contraction, her water breaks. We laugh softly, and Katie heads for the toilet to address the leaking. I ask if she’d like Linda to check heart tones, and she says yes. I head downstairs to wake Linda. Patti had been sleeping on the couch and must have noticed the hubbub, because she heads upstairs to wake Eric, who is waiting in the living room when I return.
Contractions are much stronger now, but Katie is coping well.
Ella must have noticed the excitement and the shift in energy, because we hear her stirring in the bedroom. Katie heads in to nurse her and lay with her for a few minutes. She comes out a few minutes later and all is quiet.
Contractions are much stronger now (a combination of the water breaking and nipple stimulation?). Katie labors on hands and knees in the living room again. I rub a bit of oil on her belly while Linda works with her back and hips. Everyone is present and supportive.
Ella is awake again, and Katie
doesn’t feel like she can go back into the bedroom. So Patti brings Ella out to join us. She immediately wants to nurse and Katie agrees. It is amazing to watch the two of them together, and hard to believe that Katie is able to focus on Ella during such strong labor. Amazing!
Eric, Patti and Ella head downstairs so that Katie can more fully tune into her body and her labor.
Katie gets back into the tub, and the water seems to ease the intensity. She is coping so beautifully!
Eric returns, which seems like perfect timing as it is clear this little one is close. The three of them (mom, dad and baby) work together perfectly.
Kaitlin announces, “I’m ready for this baby to come OUT!”
For the first time, I notice a little grunt at the peak of a contraction. Katie is easing into pushing.
Katie gives her first strong push in the tub.
Clearly, her body knows exactly what to do. She works so well with each surge, and asks once for Linda to check to be sure the baby is coming down. As her perineum starts to stretch, she uses her hand to provide her own perineal support – perfect. She is pushing in such an instinctual yet controlled way, it is lovely to watch.
It’s a boy!
Katie and Eric’s son slips into the world, caught in the water by his daddy. After a few moments, Katie asks for Ella to come up and meet her brother. She joins Katie in the water to nurse and connect. Katie asks for everyone to come into the bathroom and announces her sweet boy’s name: Lucan Frederick Walker.
Welcome earthside, gorgeous boy! You are so very loved!