Unexpected Journey

It wasn't until I was about 16 weeks pregnant that I decided that I wanted a natural childbirth. Having read a number of books and watched documentaries, I had my mind made up but the big question was, what resources were available to me in Baton Rouge? I was connected with the fabulous René Johnson from Birth Help and I knew right away that she was the right person to guide me through this journey. I hired René as our doula and also attended the 4-week Birth Help Natural Birthing Class Series; my husband and I could not have felt any more confident.

Our journey took an unexpected turn when at 41 weeks and 4 days, my water broke without experiencing contractions and I was only 2 cm dilated. Over the next 24 hours I did all that I could to naturally induce, but with little success.

As one might imagine, it was a very stressful period of time and I was so grateful to have René's knowledge and care throughout the day; she frequently checked in with me, offered advice and eventually attended the appointment with the Birth Center midwives to determine the way forward. Because of the risk of infection, I was admitted to Woman's Hospital where I received a very low dose of pitocin at 8:15 pm to begin contractions.

Almost immediately, my body was progressing in labor, and I was overwhelmed by all the sensations my body was feeling. It seemed like not much time had passed before I was moaning "pushing" to René and my husband, Nate. I was horrified that it was too soon and I was sure that I was going to get ourselves into some trouble by pushing before it was time. René recognized what was happening, calmed my fears, and notified our nurse. The nurse came in and sure enough, I had dilated to 8 cm. Our son, Holland, was born that night at 11:28 pm.

The contractions were so incredibly powerful and intense, but thankfully I had my greatest labor tool with me - the kind, sincere, loving and inspirational guidance of our doula, René. She helped me through the pain of each contraction with her calming words of support and encouragement. Through her coaching, she enabled Nate become an even more incredible birth partner.

I am so proud to have endured the natural childbirth experience and to have met my birth goal, which was simply to deliver my baby with the least amount of medical intervention as possible. We are so grateful for the people we met along this journey and for the level of care we received from Birth Help.

Kelly Jean