My Birth with Deployed Spouse & Doula Support
A note from the Military Birth Resource Network: Birth comes in all shapes and sizes. We often hear the negative side of birth. By sharing women’s stories we hope to put a positive outlook on the experience when giving birth at military bases around the world.
I spent the week leading up to my husband's patrol doing everything and anything to get labor started with my second daughter. During the birth of my first daughter he had stood by my side, supporting me in the most strong, empathetic and surprisingly calm manner. I was terrified to watch him leave without first getting hold our newest addition. Unfortunately, our time ran out and he had to return to sea.
Two days later I had just put my daughter to bed and sat down to watch my favorite show when I felt a warm gush of fluid. In disbelief, I went to the bathroom and started to change when there was another small gush. I called my doula and explained what had happened. I wasn't having contractions and it was getting pretty late, so she suggested to go to bed and call my doctor in the morning.
After giving my doctor a call they wanted me to come in to see if my water had in fact actually broken. They determined my water had broken, but that it was only a small leak and that the bag was still very full. They asked that I head to the hospital later that afternoon to get further induced since I still wasn't having contractions. I called my doula expressing my hesitation to receive Pitocin because I had heard how much more intense it can cause contractions to be. Together we discussed having my water further broken since that had worked with my older daughter.
I arrived at the hospital at 4:30 pm and my doula met me there. We were able to come to an agreement with my midwife on how to approach my labor. We would further break my water and if contractions didn't start naturally in a couple hours I would receive Pitocin. Around 5:15 pm my water was finally broken, and my contractions were naturally progressing on their own. During the first 2 hours of labor my doula and I talked, laughed and listened to music as I followed my urges to move around the room.
When things started getting more intense I focused on my breath and the feeling of her warm hands rubbing my lower back. Around the 3 hour mark I found comfort laboring on the toilet of the bathroom in my room. It was comfortable, dark and the railings were nice to hold onto during my contractions. I also knew this was a great position to be in to help my baby move down. At this time my doula kept assuring me, "You're getting really close". I knew my contractions were intense at this point, I trusted what she was saying and I had faith in my body's ability to give birth. During each contraction I slowly repeated "I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay" and "I can do this". I thought about my oldest daughter and how much I loved her, and I thought about my husband and what he would be saying if he were with me.
While still sitting in the bathroom I started to feel the overwhelming urge to push. My doula asked if she should get the nurse and I replied no. I didn't want to be left alone, and I was also worried they might insist on checking my dilation. During the next contraction the urge to push overtook my body. Trusting the sensation from deep in my belly up towards my throat I moaned and started to push. My doula left the room running to get the nurse, with no time to notify my midwife. With the nurse in the room they helped me off the toilet, onto all fours on the bathroom floor. I grabbed the side of the bathtub and bared down. In what felt like one push my daughters head emerged. My next contraction I screamed and put every ounce of energy I had into bringing my daughter into the world. At 8:40 pm on August 21, 2017 the day of the Solar Eclipse my daughter Luna Day was born.
Words cannot describe the feeling of total accomplishment I felt in that moment. I missed my husband, but I had done something that required so much strength all by myself and I was so proud.
As military spouses, we watch our significant others leave with no idea of what kind of danger they might encounter. We have great pride for the strength and courage they have to run into those kinds of situations. By giving birth without my husband, I feel it allowed him to share a similar sense of pride for me. For anyone preparing to give birth without your significant other, give yourself permission to be proud of the amazing accomplishment you are about to achieve.