Updated: Nov 28, 2020
Today (Nov 26th) I celebrate my one year anniversary of attending my first birth. I had the pleasure and honor of supporting Daniella during her second birth of her beautiful baby girl Leia. (Pictured above) Happiest of birth days to this beautiful baby girl. May creator continue to bless you with many years of good health, love, strength, and wealth. A huge Congratulations to Daniella for being so strong, so brave, and so resilient during such a sacred time in her life. It is amazing how our paths crossed, I truly believe in divine timing and this was all just that.
In September 2019 I had a class assignment that gave me two options 1- read a book and write a review of each chapter or 2- find an organization that resonates with me and volunteer 20hrs, then write a reflection paper. Although I absolutely love reading, at that time I was looking for excuses to dive deeper into the birth work I whole heartedly wanted to do. So I got to searching, I reached out to friends who I knew already in the industry, I emailed many midwives, and I reached out to community members looking for a volunteer opportunity that had to do with birth work. I literally had zero luck for 2 months and my deadline was fast approaching. Then, my good friend Byanca from Apapachar Wombyn Services sent me a message about a volunteer program.
Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, CA was starting a Doula Volunteer Program for their Labor and Delivery Department
I was literally weeks away from having to complete my 20hours of volunteer work and I began to stress out. At the same time I was so excited and ready to begin my work. I submitted the application for the volunteer program and I had to take a training which was way out of my economical reach at that time. Luckily, they had a scholarship option. I thought to myself, hundred's of people are going to sign up for this, I highly doubt I will be the winner of this scholarship. I took a step back, laid some Tabaco down and submitted my scholarship application. The very next day (Sept 24, 2019) I received an email stating "Congratulations, you have been award a scholarship!" I was in complete disbelief. How did I get this out of so many people, me! I doubted myself even when I was filling it out, I doubted myself when I received the email, I doubted myself when I received my badge, and I even doubted myself walking on to the floor on my very first day.
I attended my training, I did my reading, I focused, and I practiced to get ready to begin volunteering. Tuesday November 19, 2019 7:30pm first shift shadowing an experienced doula, Muna. My palms where sweaty, my hair was perfectly in place, my mouth was dry, but my womb was warm. I knew I was nervous because I did not want to mess up but something in me also knew I had nothing to be worried about. I was at the right place at the right time and everything was going to be just fine. We had the opportunity to support a couple who was on their 4th baby during very early labor. She was at 4cm dilated with no pain medication and was doing so well. We offered words of encouragement, position options and just sat with the family offering support. There was not much progress in the time we were there and I really wanted to see a baby be born so I waited an additional hour after my shift was suppose to be over. I found it so difficult to part ways with the family but I had to do so at 1am. I ended my night feeling so much excitement, and confirming that this is what I really loved doing. I was however sad that I did not get to see a baby be born but I thought, my time will come when it needs to.
November 22, 2019, I was ready to support another family and I needed to quickly complete my 20hours of volunteer work for my class. Honestly, I was more excited about possibly watching a baby be born rather then my class. I was shadowing another experienced doula and we arrived no family needed our support at the time. One family had just given birth and they were getting stitched. We were standing at the nurses station talking about things we could do to support when we begin to hear screaming from the room of the new family. The screaming continued and I told the other doula, "I think she may need our support." The doula agreed and we went into the room. The mother was being stitched and she could feel everything, her mother was taking loudly on the phone in the room, her partner was telling her, "all that matters is baby is here and everything is fine," completely ignoring her screams. Since I was very new to this environment and I was shadowing I thought I had to bight my tongue, and hide in the corner and observe. I was super uncomfortable in this situation and I asked the doula if I could step in, she said I could and in this moment I knew just what to do. I looked mom in the eyes and I reminded her of how amazing she is, I supported her in breathing and gave her some water. It was such an amazing experience. My shift ended leaving this family bundled up, and fed. I felt confident now that I could come onto a shift on my own.
November 26, 2019 12:30pm, this was my day. It was my first shift on my own and I was so nervous. I gave myself a pep talk as I walked into the hospital reminding myself that this is where I needed to be. If a family wanted or needed me on this day I would be present and fully available for them. I called in my ancestor to guide me and support me during this time and I felt held and supported. This when I met Daniella, it was her and her partner and they where expecting their second baby, she had received an epidural and was looking for a comfortable position. Her partner had to step out for a while and I reassured them I would not leave Daniella alone. We spent the next 4 hours talking, Daniella was not able to feel any contraction and she was wide awake. We talked about her baby, her work, our families, and I shared with her that I had 4 sisters. She told me, "Well now you have one more." I will never forget when she told me that, I felt so blessed to be connecting with a completely new person during such a sacred time in their life. My shift was coming to end and we were waiting for the doctor to check her one more time. Her partner had not come back yet and we had no idea where we were in receiving baby Leia. 10minutes until my shift is over and the doctor is coming in to check her, she gets into a position to be checked and the doctor says, "Okay, you are ready to push." Daniellas eyes looked up at me, full of excitement, nervous, and worry. She was confused as she had not been able to feel anything and asked me to call her mom, dad, and her partner. I reminded her to remain calm, everything was going to be okay. As I began to walk away from her bed side to grab her phone she grabbed me hand with her slightly shaky hand and asked me not to leave her side, "Please don't leave me."
Leaving was not even close to a thought I had, I knew my shift was almost over but this is where I needed to be, we had gotten so far I could not walk away now. I reassured her I was not leaving and ended up staying 3 hours over my shift. (I loved every second of it!) I grabbed her phone, the doctor gave us a minute to call her family and they began to get their instruments ready. I called and texted her family and I took some pictures for her, minutes before her baby was born. Everything and everyone was ready to receive baby Leia, the doctor asked Daniella if she wanted to start pushing or wait for her family to come. Daniella decided to start pushing and I supported her decision, 1 push, baby is getting starting to come, 2 pushes Danielle is panting, worried her family isn't there yet. 3rd push, we can see babies head, 4th push in progress her partner runs into the room and comes to her side. I switch sides on her bed and continue to support her breathing and her pushing. One last push and Daniella's mother walks in and stands at her bedside as well. A few seconds later, Leis is born. I am trying my very best to hold in my tears, to continue to support all that continues as we all celebrate Leia's birth. Daniella and her partner are crying and their baby girl is placed on Daniella's chest. I am shaking, crying, and so filled with happiness to have just witness such a strong an amazing woman birth her baby.
I stayed with the family after the birth, brought them food and drinks and ensured they where comfortable. I was sweating from excitement and work. I had not realized how much work it took on my part to support Daniella, but of course my work does not compare to her work. As a new doula this was something new to me, I did not expect to have done so much physical work that I would break a sweat, I loved it. I understood it and I accepted it.