• Alisha and Matt Cussen (doula clients)

{Birth Story} From the Perspective of Mom and Dad


Typically, the moms write the birth stories on our blog. But we love how both the mom AND the dad wrote their sweet son's birth story. Enjoy this wonderful birth story from an awesome family!

Early labor

Alisha: As a first time mom, I was fully prepared for our baby to be late. I was a little surprised to find out that I was having minor contractions when I went in for a non-stress test at 40 weeks and 1 day, a Tuesday. I was even more shocked when the doctor came in and asked if I wanted to have my membranes stripped. This was one of the many, many times I was grateful we took the Bradley Method class with Sarah. I was anxious to meet our baby and I considered it for a minute but then thought "Wasn't my body doing its job? Why interfere?" and declined.

The rest of that day and the next I had some contractions but honestly they were nothing compared to menstrual cramps. It wasn't until early in the morning on Thursday that things picked up. I spent most of the day alternating between eating, walking, and resting with a bath thrown in too.

Matt: When Alisha began experiencing signs of early labor, reality began to kick in. I tried to keep my mind calm, but I really struggled to remain focused at work that week. I knew that our child could come at any time. Having the Natural Baby Doulas to answer questions quickly was extremely comforting. It allowed me be more confident in that time period.

Water Breaking

Alisha: All day Thursday my contractions had been all over the place which was super annoying. They were very intense but since the timing was sporadic I didn't feel like I was progressing. And then at 3:33 that afternoon I had a contraction that lasted 5 minutes (not exaggerating, Matt was timing with an app). I was positive something was wrong because it just wouldn't stop. Once it stopped, I rushed to the bathroom to get sick and in the process my water broke. Not a pretty image, and definitely not what I was expecting. In fact, I wasn’t sure my water had broken at first. But after calling the midwife we were convinced and we decided it was time to head to the hospital!

Matt: The day that Alisha's water broke, I had stayed home from work. I was confident that we were within 24-48 hours of our child being born. She had been having contractions that had increased and decreased throughout the day. However, she had one contraction that was a series of about 5 contractions. These were noticeably more intense, and they were followed by her getting sick and having her water break. We immediately called Kristian, our doula, to confirm, and she believed that Alisha's water had broken. She advised us to call the the midwife. We called, and they told us to come right away.

Car Ride and Triage

Alisha: Luckily I had thought ahead and put a puppy pad in the passenger seat because with every contraction came more amniotic fluid. On the car ride, my contractions fell into to the rhythm we had been looking for and by the time we arrived at the hospital they were two and a half minutes apart. We spent very little time in triage because I was 7 cm dilated and my water was broken. At that point I was in quite a great deal of pain. When I had a contraction, it was the only thing I could concentrate on. I mostly remember a blur of people running around and doing things while I tried not to throw up. At some point our doula, Kristian, arrived and the midwife introduced herself. Before I knew it, I was in a gown and being wheeled to the delivery room.

Matt: The car ride felt like the longest of my life. We had a 30 minute drive to the hospital, and I tried my best to remain focused on driving as Alisha continued having stronger and more frequent contractions. I promised her that I wouldn't drive like a mad man since this would only add to her stress. Thank God for cruise control. When we arrived at Women's Hospital, we were taken back to triage within 25 minutes. Kristian arrived in triage immediately after we did. Alisha and I were instantly more comfortable once she arrived. She was in "game mode" and wasted no time helping to comfort Alisha and providing peppermint essential oil to ease her nausea.

Labor and Delivery

Alisha: I am still so grateful to Kristian and the nurses that rushed to get the birth pool up as quickly as possible once we were in the delivery room. I was in agony in the bed. Although the water didn't take away the pain, it made it much more bearable. I was able to move around and Matt and Kristian could apply counter pressure on my hips. After about an hour I felt like it was time to push. I was so excited to finally get to do something the help. I don't know how long I pushed for but I do know I said several times that "the baby's stuck". The baby had crowned and I was able to reach down and feel the head, but it seemed to me that it wasn't progressing any more. I had expected things to move a lot quicker once we got to that point and was afraid something was wrong or I wasn’t trying hard enough. Everyone in the room assured me that the baby was moving with every push but to me this was the longest part of the whole labor. Then, finally after pushing harder than I ever thought possible (I actually left bruises on my legs from holding them so tight) I felt the release of pressure and the next thing I knew Matt was putting a tiny balled up baby on my chest. Our son had arrived at 7:45 PM, less than 4 hours after we arrived at the hospital. The midwife gave Matt a nudge and reminded him that we was supposed to announce the gender of our baby. We had both been so caught up with that fact that our baby was now here that we forgot to see if we had a boy or girl! He exclaimed “it’s a boy!” and the whole room welcomed Malcolm Walburn Cussen into the world.

Matt: As we went back to the delivery room, I was amazed by the controlled chaos that I witnessed. While my wife and I were pretty overwhelmed, we were fascinated and calmed by how well Kristian and the hospital staff handled the situation. We never doubted that they knew what they were doing, and we wouldn't trade that for anything. Kristian immediately worked to get our water birth tub inflated and filled. Once Alisha was transferred to the tub, it was just a matter of waiting for our child to come. Kristian helped to assist me with providing counter-pressure and other comforting techniques for Alisha. Kristian did a wonderful job of keeping Alisha confident and instructing me on things I could do to help. It was truly special to see the confidence that Kristian gave Alisha with her words of encouragement. After some time and a lot of work from my awesome wife, our son Malcolm was born! It was as if everyone was holding their breath, and now we could all exhale.

Reflections

Alisha: We were lucky to have an incredibly positive birth experience. So much of that we owe to our support system. The Bradley Method class help keep me calm and make decisions based on the natural course of labor instead of “how can we get the baby here as fast as possible”. Kristian encouraged both of us during labor. After a bad contraction I told her I couldn't do it. She replied "But you are!" and repeatedly told me how well I was doing. Our midwife let me labor how ever I wanted to. Per our birth goals, she never once mentioned medication or any interventions. I don't take my experience for granted. A million things could have gone wrong that day. And although everything wasn't "perfect" we stayed as flexible as possible and let nature take its course.

Matt: The birthing process was incredible. It was so much more exciting and positive than I could’ve ever asked for. The feeling of becoming a first time father can’t accurately be put into words. It is certainly life-changing. I’ve never felt so much instant love for anything else in my life. Seeing a smile on my son’s face is the greatest feeling in the world. After our extremely positive experience with Kristian and the Natural Baby Doulas, we will not think twice about using them again in the future. They were all very professional, and the amount of confidence they instilled in us cannot be overstated. It's so wonderful to have such special people be an integral part of such a special experience.


Natural Baby Doulas supports families prior to and through the birth process in hospitals, birth centers, and home births located in Greensboro, High Point, Winston Salem, Burlington, Chapel Hill, & Statesville, NC. Contact us at 336-267-5879 or contact@naturalbabydoulas.com 

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