Kristen's Story (The Backup Doula)

Often times I get the question "Well, what happens if you can't make it to the birth?" To which I respond with "It's not likely to happen, but if it does I have the worlds best backup doula!" And I am serious about that. She truly is awesome. She has a wonderful heart and I know that my clients would be in great hands! 

With that being said I want my clients to get to know a little about her birthing experiences and who she is as a person. I hope you enjoy these birth stories as much as I did.

Hi, I'm Kristen...

The Lord has given me the gift of birthing three beautiful babies. Each one I carried in my belly just a bit longer than the one before. I am so grateful for each one of these experiences.

My First Birth

I was due October 19, 2006 with our first child. My water broke but I wasn't having any contractions. I had tried everything I could think of to encourage them to pick up and after a while of no activity my Dr. at Womack thought it was best to come in and get checked out. I was dilated to 3 centimeters but couldn't relax enough to get my contractions to pick back up so the Dr. decided to start me on pitocin. (Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin and a very common intervention for hospitals to use) This was one of the things I really hoped to avoid but it did its job and almost exactly 12 hours after my water broke, at 10:31 pm on October 7, 2006, I was holding our precious son Jack Rowan, weighing in at 7lb 7oz.

My Second Birth

When we were pregnant with our second son that was due December 9, 2009, I had been laboring for hours at home with contractions 3-5 minutes apart. We decided to head into the hospital since it was about a 40-minute drive. About half way to the hospital my contractions that had been in a good, strong pattern for hours suddenly stopped. This isn't a decision I would make now but at that time we decided it was best to go in to get checked out any way to make sure everything was ok. I was 5cm but had stalled out and needed to get my contractions going again.

After 3-4 hours of working to get my contractions to pick up again with lots of walking, nipple stimulation, and clary sage oil, with no change I was again told that my body needed Pitocin to give it a boost to get me from 5-10 centimeters. The nurses strongly encouraged me to get an epidural and when I stated I wouldn't be getting one and politely refused to sign the consent form, they told me I would change my mind. Thanks for the support, ladies! I didn't get one and don't regret it at all. They started me on a low dose of Pitocin and broke my water and just 40 minutes later on November 30, 2009 at 6:43pm at Sparrow Hospital our second son, Kian Thomas came into the world. Kian weighed 8lb 15oz.

My Third Birth

By the time we were pregnant with our third baby I realized how your environment can heavily impact how you give birth. My husband and I began to research options other than the hospital because of how uncomfortable they make me. I wanted to be able to birth my baby in a place where I was surrounded by people that would give me space and respect my body's ability to give birth. We found our wonderful midwife, Nancy Harman and after our first meeting with her, my husband and I knew we were making the right decision to hire her to attend our home birth.

At 39 weeks I woke up with a feeling that she was coming that evening. I decided to clean my entire house, bake two freezer meals and make homemade play dough (who does that??) with my boys. Around 4pm that evening I drank a tea called, "Hello Baby Tea" while finishing the last chapter of Ina Mays, Guide to Childbirth. (Highly recommended the read!)

At 8pm when we prayed with and tucked in our boys for the night our oldest, Jack, told me that he knew baby sister was going to be here when he woke up in the morning and he was *almost* right. At 11pm I woke up with contractions that were 10 minutes apart but I didn't get excited since that had been happening on and off all week. I was so tired that I was able to sleep between them until around 1am. At that point, my contractions intensified and I knew I would need the energy later so I went to the kitchen for a snack. (Can't do that at the hospital! ;)

I continued to breathe and move through contractions while snacking on my cheese, crackers and mixed nuts until about 3am. Since my midwife had an hour and 15-minute drive to get to our house I decided at that point to give her a call and let her know contractions were now 5 minutes apart and the baby was on her way but that I was doing fine and she didn't need to rush right over. Then around 3:30am I woke my husband for the extra support as I labored. Many women enjoy laboring in a tub but my body was telling me to keep moving. I was experiencing pretty intense back labor but found some relief moving in our hot shower.

The midwife and her assistant arrived at our house around 5:30am and found I was 7cm. Things began to get even more intense at that point but between the hot shower, different position changes and hip squeezes and assistance from my amazing doula, Danielle, I was able to manage the pain.

Right about the time I was feeling the urge to push, of course, our boys woke up for the day. I prepared for such a moment and we gave them a new movie I had gotten them and sent them upstairs to watch it with breakfast. My husband also gave our boys my cell phone and told them to text him if there was an emergency but otherwise to stay upstairs and just watch their movie. While I was facing the most intense part of labor yet, our oldest sent my husband a text asking him to bring up popcorn... not quite an emergency, buddy!

Just a few short minutes after the popcorn text, at 7:58am on December 15, 2013, with the help of my husband and midwife, I delivered my baby girl in the comfort of our home. Our home birth was truly one of the most amazing and beautiful experiences of my life. Audra Kate was our largest baby weighing in at 9lb even, although she pooped 4 times before she was weighed so you be the judge.

During each of these births, I experienced different levels of pain. For me, this pain was an awakening. In my last birth, it hit me, God was using these moments of pain to take the attention off of me and onto Him. He was using this pain to draw me near to Him.

I had spent months preparing myself to have strength for this day and by His grace, in that moment He allowed me to see that I couldn't do it in my own strength and that it wasn't about me at all.

As a doula, in our line of work, you often hear that you need to trust your body but I believe you need to trust the Creator of your body. Birthing a baby was not something I could do apart from the strength that He provides. Birthing a baby takes some serious work and it was Christ in my weakness pouring out His grace to help me go on. Birth gives us one of the best opportunities to let go of our own strength and look to the Creator of life for His supernatural strength. Let's trust Him to provide the strength for our bodies that He promises and may He be glorified no matter the outcome.