I was honored to support Allison and Jay through the birth of their second daughter, Amelia. Allison really tells the story best, so I will let her words and my photos speak for themselves.
When Marcy approached me about being my doula, first of all, I asked what a doula was. When she told me I thought the extra support would be ok but I knew my husband would be with me and I thought his support would be enough.
I went into spontaneous labor on the afternoon of my daughter's birth. Marcy told me that if I wanted to continue my plan of an unmedicated birth I should stay at home for as long as possible. I walked around Target and did some last minute shopping. I started getting excited and anxious, so I called Marcy and let her know I was headed to the hospital around 3pm. She was there within the hour. While waiting for her to arrive, my husband was talking to me and making jokes trying to "lighten the mood." I know he was trying to be sweet, but unless you've been in labor you have no idea what to say or how to help.
By the time Marcy arrived I had still not even been officially admitted yet, given a real room, or an iv. She walked over to me, started rubbing my arm and calmly telling me how good I was doing and telling me "you've got this Allison." Those words helped me SO much.
When I finally got to the birth room, about 2 hours later, Marcy helped me walk around the room a bit. Holding me up and comforting me when I felt another contraction coming on. She also told my husband how to help comfort me by holding my hand and rubbing my arm.
When I Iaid down in bed I felt ready to push, but my water hadn't broken yet. Marcy told the nurse I felt ready to push, but my OB was assisting in a c-section. I was feeling a lot of pressure and I felt like I couldn't do it without an epidural. Marcy looked me in the eyes and told me I was doing great and she was proud of how strong I was. Because of her encouraging words, I decided to forgo the epidural and I am SO unbelievably happy I did.
When the OB finally came in to break my water it was time to push. My mom and husband were both in the room at this point. Marcy got behind me, held my hand. She let me know it was ok to cry, to yell, whatever I needed to do. And, while I was doing all those things, she remained calm and encouraging. I'm surprised I didn't break her hand :)
At 7:57pm, my little Amelia was born. And, while helping me through my labor, Marcy still managed to get some amazing shots. Me pushing, my husband cutting the cord, and the "catch shot."
With the birth of my first daughter, I had mild pre-eclampsia. I had to be on a 24 hr magnesium drip, I was in labor for 19 hours, and my BP was through the roof. Because of all the meds I had to be on, including the epidural, I felt awful after I had her. I was in a fog, I felt sick, and I was so tired I couldn't enjoy my first few days with her.
With Amelia, the nurses had to tell me to lay down and rest. I felt so good I wanted to walk around like normal. I truly believe that if Marcy hadn't been there, my BP would have been high again and I wouldn't have believed that I could give birth without an epidural.
My mom told me that Marcy was amazing and because she was there, my mom felt like she could enjoy the experience of her granddaughter being born. She felt like someone else was in charge, so to speak, and it didn't all fall on her.
My husband said he felt so relieved with Marcy present. She knew what I needed to hear and how to comfort me. He admitted that he really didn't know what to say or how to comfort me when I was in labor. But with her help he felt calm and better able to enjoy Amelia's birth. He even cut the cord with her encouragement, which he was really hesitant to do.
I am beyond thankful that Marcy was there for me and my family. Her help and encouragement was immeasurable. I honestly don't know how I could have done it without her.
Marcy Harris Photos is a birth & life photographer based in Canal Winchester, Ohio and available for travel.