2020 Daddy Doula Ben. Story told by Lily

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Nominee for Daddy Doula Award 2020

My partner Ben

Why do you feel this Daddy Doula deserves the award?

He helped me through pregnancy and delivery, he massaged me, reminded me how to breathe, did the acupressure, managed the playlist, took pictures and most importantly caught the baby to introduce me our daughter. If this is not the job of a doula what is it ?! Haha. This is my birth story.

It is Easter Monday, 8 pm and we just finished the She Births® breastfeeding course via zoom. I am 38 weeks and 2 days and my obstetrician mentioned that I could be induced within the next 10 days if the baby does come by itself as I have gestational diabetes. As I really do not want a medical induction we spent our Easter weekend walking an average of 10 km per day. I have been having a few contractions here and there for the last 3 days.

Just after the zoom class, the contractions become more regular: one per hour and more intense. It feels like Braxton Hicks but much stronger. I have the feeling that it could be the labour starting but I am not sure so I let Ben sleep all night and just manage them with the She Births® breathing techniques all night. When we wake up in the morning I told Ben that I had contractions all night every hour and that it could be labour starting. We decide to go for a walk to stay active. We went to grab our morning coffee at our usual coffee shop, the barista asked us “when are you due by the way?”… Ben said “I think Lily is in labour and the baby will be here later today …” the barista looked at us with the biggest eyes and a very confused look. We walked 2kms stopping for each contraction to do breathing techniques and acupressure points. Sometimes in the middle of the road sometimes in a more quiet street, the contractions are now more regular every 20/30 minutes.

We spent the day dancing, listening to our birth playlist and preparing healthy snacks for the next few hours and … went on another walk in the afternoon where we walked 3 kms. The contractions are much stronger now and 5 minutes apart. Ben exactly knows where to push on my hips and back to help me with the pain during each contraction, he times them all so we can see that there is a very clear pattern. Contractions are very very regular. It’s time to go home and use the tens machine now! I Had been in labour for 20 hours when we decide to call the hospital, it is 7 pm we are on our way to the maternity, at this stage I have 4 contractions every 10 minutes and they are over 60 seconds long. The tens machine is so extremely helpful at this stage.ben 1

Once at the hospital I feel like the pain escalates and become much stronger, I am already 6cm dilated. It’s time to use the bath now. We go in the bath together (could not wait for this as we don’t have a bathtub at home) I remember being very scared of removing the tens machine as it was helping me a lot! Ben is my only help now to manage the pain while we are in the bath. We manage to relax in the water between the contractions for an hour or so going between the bath and shower. My contractions are now 3 minutes apart and last for over 80 seconds each so I have very little rest when I decide to ask for some pain relief. The midwife offers me the gas however my contractions are so so long that the gas makes me really sick and vomit for over 20 minutes. This during strong contractions was very challenging. I could not stand on my legs and felt very weak.

At this point I feel like I need more help for the pain, I asked the midwife to check me and baby, I was 7 cm dilated, and bub is going well. it is midnight and I ask them to give me a walking epidural. Installing the epidural was a bit of a shock for us. This is when the birth became a bit more medical. My body started shaking uncontrollably and I vaguely remember Ben being worried and asking multiple times why I could not move or talk because the shaking was so strong. I saw for the first time that he was a bit scared. After an hour the epidural is in and working and allow us to sleep for 2 hours. Until I wake Ben up and tell him I need to push. We call the midwife to ask for a check and she confirms that bub is still happy and going well, I am 8cm dilated and not ready to push. I insist and tell her I need to push on all fours as that’s what my instinct guide me to do. By this time the epidural has faded and I can feel this very strong urge to push and all contractions. After 1 hour of pushing I am now fully dilated, the baby is still happy and going well, my obstetrician has just arrived but I have no more strength to push on all fours and feel exhausted.

Ben has been by my side the whole time coaching me for every single push and reminding me to do my breathing techniques and keep encouraging me. I will push for another hour until I urge my obstetrician to “do whatever you need but get her out” 😅 so he decided to get a bit of help with the vacuum. Bub is still happy and going well.
Soon after this, the obstetrician asked Ben to get ready to catch the baby, as he knew it was very important for us. Everything is extremely intense for me at this stage, the pressure is very strong and I am absolutely exhausted I feel like the baby is going back inside after each contraction and I don’t have the strength to keep pushing, I am absolutely exhausted… until Ben told me that he could see the head. I barely have any memories of this but he told me that something changed inside me, suddenly I did not look exhausted anymore and seems to have the strength to push her out.

Ben caught her and extracted her and put her on my chest. I cried and screamed (again I don’t remember) I only remember him crying when he put her on my chest. Louise did not cry, she was very calm.
I remember very vividly this intense physical relief when the pressure stopped. I was very calm and peaceful and had this intense beatitude feeling.
It is 4:25 am, Tuesday the 14th of April and Louise, Rose Scemama was born. This was supposed to be my last day at work! She decided to show mummy that I will never ever decide for anything any more 😂 now she is the boss.

ben 3

Describe your birth experience in 3 words:

Empowering, bonding, amazing.

How did you prepare for birth?

She Births® course and daily rehearsals

How did you bring your baby into the world?

Vaginal birth

Who supported you throughout the birth?

Ben !!! We had a midwife who we called for check-ups every few hours and the obstetrician for the delivery part

What was the most challenging part of the birth?

The pushing. It was extremely intense and challenging

What most helped you through the birth experience?

Ben! His constant support and coaching to remind me what to do. The breathing really really helped

Was there anything that surprised you on the day?

How calm I was !!!

Anything else you would like to tell us about your experience?

I was terrified of giving birth and this was the most intense and empowering experience I have ever had in my life!
Ben has been an absolute legend! He has been my doula, coach, obstetrician, midwife and partner all the way of the pregnancy and delivery and was super-empowered too by all the tools you taught us !!! Can’t thank you enough for this!

The most magical moment that I will remember my whole life is when he caught her to put her on my chest. This memory will stay intact forever I think.