…as witnessed by our Doula.

Dear Lukas,

I had the great privilege to be present at your birth. Your mother and I met at a picnic in the summertime and she invited me to come to your birth as a doula (labor support person). We met up later in the season and talked about ways I could be of help. Your parents were planning a homebirth and I was delighted to be a part of what promised to be a gentle, beautiful, natural birth. And so it proved to be…

During the week before your birth your mother experienced periods of practice labor – surges that get the body ready for birthing. On Monday, September 20th in the afternoon the surges began to get stronger, longer and closer together. Your mother tried to reach me but I didn’t find out it was time to come until almost eight o’clock in the evening! I rushed over and arrived by about eight thirty. Your birth team was assembled and ready for you. Your mother was in the birthing tub in the living room with your father right behind her. Your sister, Mila moved about the room, expectant and impatient to meet you. There was a mirror placed so your mother could watch you emerge. Your mother’s friend, Martina, was by her side helping her relax with calm, encouraging words. The midwife, Dale, greeted me at the door with a smile saying, “No baby yet but almost.” The midwife’s assistant was also there, as was a third midwife that your mother graciously invited. Two of your grandmothers were in the kitchen.

The energy in the room was strong. Your mother was clearly in the second stage of birthing – she was concentrating on breathing you down and out into the world. She greeted me warmly and asked me to get the video camera ready. I did my best to get it working but try as I might I wasn’t able to get it going! Your mother became a little distracted at this point by the video camera and by Mila’s growing impatience. Mila had waited a long time to become a big sister and this was taking longer than she expected (and bedtime was approaching).

It was taking longer than your mother expected, too. With Martina’s help your mother increased her effort to keep her concentration on each breath, let go and release into the power of her body. It was a challenge. At the advice of the midwives she took a short walk to the bathroom and worked with her surges with Dale and Martina in there for a while. Then she took another short walk to the bedroom. We all tried to calm and comfort Mila but she was very upset and your father put her to bed.

It was near 11 PM at this point and your mother settled down on her side in the bed to regain her concentration, get a little rest and move deeper into her birthing. She did this beautifully. A calm, quiet energy came over the house as your mother lay in semi-darkness with Martina by her side providing calming, soothing words and a healing touch. In the kitchen your father provided a great service to the rest of us by making coffee and plying us with snacks and jokes.

A little before midnight Dale and I returned to the bedroom to offer support and encouragement. Your mother was on her hands and knees now breathing you down and out. She had rested and was ready to meet you. All her concentration was on her efforts. Martina showed me how to gently massage your mother’s shoulders and back. Your mother’s body was alive like no other I had touched before. She was not shaking or trembling but her whole self seemed to radiate and pulse from the inside out. Her breath was slow, calm and deep. Her eyes were closed, her attention turned inward. Martina stepped out for some minutes and your mother worked through her surges skillfully, calmly, beautifully. Dale and I were on either side encouraging and supporting her when she wanted to rise up onto her knees.

A little bit after midnight Dale got a flashlight to peek at your mother’s bottom so she could get a sense of what was happening. When she did so she immediately said in surprise, “Oh! There’s the baby! Get Dave, get Dave.” I opened the door and soon the room was filled with people getting ready for your arrival. Your head emerged like a great, white, full moon, for you were born inside the bag of waters – a very rare state to enter the world in, completely cushioned by the waters in which you had grown in all those long months. Seconds later we all watched as the moon became a human baby’s head and face, perfect and new. I will never forget the sight. Your body followed quickly after and you had arrived. It was 12:18 am September 21st, the last full day of summer. You took your first breaths on your parents’ bed lying between your mother’s legs while she sat back and took in the sight of you.

Mila was woken and brought to your mother’s side. In wonder and sheer joy she greeted you. After cutting the cord your father made delighted phone calls and Mila told all the world that she had a baby brother. The birth team was all smiles as your cord blood was collected and your mother birthed the placenta. The house was all bustle and celebration as you and your mother were cleaned up and made comfortable. You nursed right away while Mila opened your birthday presents and your father broke out the champagne. Your mother was up and around searching for the video charger and setting things right with you perched on her shoulder. We finally convinced her to rest after she had a snack and used the bathroom. Your father and I put the house back together as best we could.

When I climbed in to my car at almost 3:00 AM, the house was still ablaze with activity but things were showing signs of slowing down. Martina had left and the midwives were packing up their gear and finishing paperwork. The night sky above us was clear and full of stars. The air was cool with just a hint of the coming autumn. I rode home with a rekindled belief in the birth process.

You were birthed in the comfort of home, with your family joyfully gathered around you, without any medical intervention and without any injury to you or your mother. Yours was truly a gentle, natural birth and I will be forever grateful for the gift of being allowed to witness it.

Thank you Lukas and thank you Debi, Dave and Mila. May you know joy, may you live with ease.

In gratitude,

Anna Westley

DONA trained Doula

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