Last Tuesday at 8:57pm, I was honored to witness another life be welcomed into this world. As exciting and powerful as the other births I attended as a doula, this was was very special to me for a completely different reason. This birth took place in Staten Island, my hometown. Not only that, it also happened to be with a midwife who is a dear family friend and has known me since I am five. Seems like going back to my roots has become a theme lately!
It all started when Mama went in for a normal check-up and in a crazy turn of events, was admitted into the hospital where her labor was induced. This was a powerful lesson for me as a doula because despite all of our planning, preparation and envisioning together of the most ideal birth, the plan was scraped for the safety of both mom and baby.
We all did our best to adjust and find ways to create a safe and powerful birth that aligned with Mama’s wishes. We kept the lights dim, played mediative Tibetan bell music and limited any unnecessary interruptions. Mama used deep breathing, changes of position and low moaning sounds, all of which are proven to help with labor discomfort. Thankfully, within an extremely short but intense amount of time, baby boy was born, without interventions or complications.
Me + the midwife
Life amazes me yet again.
The power of the female is mind blowing. No offense guys, but we rule the world.
Honestly, the birth happened so quickly, way faster than any birth I have ever witnessed so I didn’t need to use as many comfort techniques to help manage pain and contractions. This was a change for me because most of the other births I attended took significant longer and required me to take a more active role.
I am continually being reminded that each birth is different and therefore my role for each will vary. Although I used less hands-on methods, this birth was more important for me to hold and protect the space, offer emotional support, stay with Mama while Dad took a short break and make sure baby was taken care of in a way that the new parents wanted. I offered encouragement, massaged her feet, ensured she was properly hydrated and after the birth, gave her healthy snacks to replenish her energy. Mama and I were also able to share a quiet, intimate moment after she was transferred to the maternity ward and everyone had left. We just sat and chatted while baby slept, digesting her birthing experience, processing the day’s events and gazing so lovingly at the miracle that laid on her chest.
Upon refection, the real warrior of this birth (any any birth, really) was the Mama. Even though her weekly check-up transformed into the day she gave birth, Mama was able to remain centered and calm while trusting in herself and her team. She adjusted so well to the change of plans and did such an amazing job throughout the whole process. I felt so inspired by her ability to adapt despite the challenging circumstances. And like any warrior does, she mustered all of her courage, strength, will and power to birth her baby with ease!
I must mention something about this birth that I didn’t realize when I first agreed to be the doula for this particular couple. The hospital where mama gave birth was the same hospital where my father died. (Ironically also, the Dad used to work for my dad’s company!) I didn’t make this connection until after I got off the Express bus from NYC and started walking towards the hospital. This is the same walk I took the morning my father passed away. After a long and brutal night of keeping vigil next to my dad’s bedside, Sebastian and I decided to take a quick walk to get breakfast for us and my mom. And now, three years later, I am taking the same walk but for an entirely different reason.
The Isle of Staten 🙂
I did get a little emotional as I entered the revolving door and memories of my father and that tumultuous time flooded in. But then I remembered my father’s light, his powerful presence, his unconditional giving nature and I mustered my own courage and strength and proceeded to the labor and delivery floor with a deeper sense of connection and purpose.
My father may have passed on in this very building but now I am here to welcome, support and assist life. What a better way to honor my dad and come full circle in the cycle of life. How special that I get to carry on his mission in my own way while being in place that I feel deeply connected to him. I sensed and KNEW he was there with me in spirit and which gave me even more focus, energy and intention to show up and be completely present.
Check out the street sign named after my dad!
Being a doula has added such a special dimension to my life and career. It is the best way possible for me to help other women, especially in such a powerful and profound way. It is an honor to participate, help facilitate and witness the birthing of a new family, not just a baby but also the birth of a mother and father. I love my job and anticipate many more extraordinary birth stories, much like this one, my first ever Staten Island birth!
Special thanks to Mama and Dad for trusting me, for the incredible midwife, the solid team of nurses and all of us working together for a positive, amazing and very special birth. Welcome to the World, Sweet Baby Boy!