In Feb. 2012 I gave birth to my baby girl, Grace Annalise. My husband and I had decided that we wanted a natural birth and had attended Bradley Method classes to prepare. I was still very nervous about the whole thing. Having experienced some anxiety and panic attacks in the past, and feeling as though I had a rather low tolerance for pain, the labor scared me the most. My husband and I both have family out of state and decided that it would be best if it was just the two of us for the labor, delivery and first couple weeks with baby. However, we wanted someone there with us who could be a calming influence and who had lots of experience with different deliveries. There was a good chance we wouldn’t get the doctor I was familiar with and even a chance that my husband would be out of town since he travels frequently for his job. We had learned about doula’s from a friend of ours, so I began to search online. I met with a few different doula’s but I just felt a connection with Patti the first time we met. She was so warm and sincere and she shared our Christian faith so we knew she would be able to pray for and with us during labor.
Just over two weeks prior to my due date, I went in to see my ob for a routine exam. They determined that I was measuring too small and the ultrasound measurements were confirming that the baby was not growing fast enough so they needed to induce. Everything in my gut told me it was wrong, but we didn’t want to take the risk with the warnings we were hearing, so I called Patti and let her know we were going in for the induction.
The induction ended up taking 6 days through various rounds of cytotec, cervidil and pitocin. Six exhausting days. Patti stayed with us all day for multiple days (every time I thought I was actually going to be in labor). Every time we had to make a new decision about a drug or procedure, Patti was there to, listen, and offer words of wisdom. Her experience was invaluable. I had three different doctors by the time it was all over. Right away they wanted to break my water. If I hadn’t had the support of Patti and the knowledge from our Bradley classes, I might have very well ended up with a C-section, but I was able to make educated choices about my body and my baby and let my body take the time it needed to go into labor. Patti was by my side through the whole thing. She walked in the hallways with us, brought snacks for us, played games with us, watched movies, and relieved my husband now and then so he could go grab some grub. Once the labor kicked in, it was only about 7 hours before Grace was born. It was not the way I had envisioned the labor (in the comfort of my home with full mobility) but I was able to delivery her with out any pain medication or epidural. Transition (the part I worried most about) was tough but Patti helped me focus on my special place (that was part of an earlier homework assignment she had given me) and I was able to just go into myself and work through it. It wasn’t long before they placed my amazing little girl on my chest. I was so happy at that moment and thought everything was just perfect, however, it was only the beginning.
We had gotten so little sleep in the hospital (except for the couple times I fell asleep to Hypnobabies, another suggestion of Patti’s) and Grace had her days and nights reversed so sleeping at home was nearly impossible too. Both my husband and I were at the point of pure exhaustion and I had trouble getting my milk supply to come in and Grace was losing weight rapidly. Initially, we didn’t plan on using Patti’s postpartum services but that turned out to be a dream come true for us. Patti was able to come to the house and stay all night taking care of Grace and waking me for feedings. We were finally able to get a little bit of rest. She was so amazing with our baby girl and it was the only time we felt like we could relax. Patti called to check up on us, and I called her for all her wonderful advice. She even referred us to a great lactation consultant. If we have another child, I will definitely ask Patti to be our doula again. She is truly an angel. Ron and Julie Leslie