DOULA DIARIES – The Beauty of Birth by Rachel Schwartzman #teachmetuesday

The phone rings, it’s 2 am. My doula client has been having contractions for a few hours and needs my labour support. I stretch out of bed, get dressed and make a cup of green tea. I grab my medical bag filled with all the naturopathic labour essentials; acupuncture needles, homeopathics, herbal tinctures, rescue remedy, gum and lip balm. The roads are quiet as I pull up to a home with the lights on. I quietly walk in and observe the scene. She’s resting on a birthing ball with her head on a chair and her partner is rubbing her back. The lights are dim, music is playing. I slowly sit down beside her, I check in that she is hydrated, I remind her to relax her shoulders and together we focus on breathing.

After several hours of labouring her contractions are getting longer, stronger and closer together. We decide it is time to go to the hospital. Once there, she is assessed and is 7 cm dilated. It’s a happy moment to know that her baby will be here soon. We settle into our room and I suggest she take a shower. Water is very soothing for labouring women, especially during transition. She labours in the shower and moves back to the bed as she feels downward pressure. She is fully dilated; we’re right on track.

I move to one side of her, partner to the other and together we coach and encourage pushing, the final part of labour. Her breath tones are low and she remains focused. A first time mom may push for 1-2 hours. When she pushes her baby out, the room is filled with elation and tears of joy. The baby has immediate skin-to-skin contact, both parents and baby gaze into each other’s eyes. The baby begins to root, showing signs of feeding. I help latch the baby—research shows if a baby latches in the first hour breastfeeding will be more successful. As the baby nurses I make toast and a warm cup of tea for the new mom. The doctor leaves the room, the nurse heads to the nursing station and I say my goodbyes for the day. While the rest of the city gets on with their day, a new family is born and I leave the three of them to discover each other. I head home to rest, happy to have been part of this miracle of life.


Rachel_Schwartzman_HSDr. Rachel Schwartzman, ND is a naturopathic doctor in the St. Clair West neighbourhood. She is the co-owner of West End Naturopathic Doulas, a naturopathic collective that supports pregnant women and partners with the birth of their babies. www.westenddoulas.com

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