The Ware Marathon

Photo by Khristina Helmich, Itur Ad Astra Birth Services

Photo by Khristina Helmich, Itur Ad Astra Birth Services

I remember getting "the call" on an early Friday morning. My client, had been using her HypnoBirthing® practices to help manage her labor but was reaching the point where she thought it was time for the birth team to start heading over to her home. By her paused speech, my instincts told me she was right.

When I arrived, the home was full of nothing but love and smells of coffee. Her husband, mother, father and sisters were gathered in the home prepping food and towels, each taking turns caring for the client. Pets were snuggled on couches and trying to sneak into the birthing room to comfort their mama.

The midwife and her assistant arrived and immediately started setting up their birthing equipment and assessing the situation by checking vitals and prepping. 

Contractions were consistent, 4 minutes apart or less and lasting at least a minute long. Myself and the rest of her birthing team settled in for a long day of labor. Little did any of us know, we would be at this birth for the next 54 hours.

Photo by Khristina Helmich, Itur Ad Astra Birth Services

Photo by Khristina Helmich, Itur Ad Astra Birth Services

We tried oils, different positions, sifting, showers, baths – you name it, we probably tried it. At one point, the midwife and her assistant started singing the most beautiful, soothing sound to the baby to encourage baby to descend. It filled the room with enchantment.

We took turns throughout the night trying to help the client relax enough to get sleep in between her contractions. Thankfully she was able to get relaxed enough to sleep through some but Friday night into Saturday morning was a rough time for her.

Fast forward to Saturday night. Myself, the family and the birth team had all taken turns throughout the night and day resting and taking care of the client. Between napping and snuggling on a couch with a dog, I think I got a total of 4 hours of sleep in that 54 hour period. My client got less. I'd like to note here that I am ALWAYS amazed at the amount of adrenaline and energy the body is given when given the task of birthing a human. It is such a miraculous thing every.single.time!

Saturday night came and went. Still no baby.

A 2nd midwife was called in to help give the lead midwife enough sleep to prepare for the delivery. I'd like to note here how PROUD I am to live in a community where the midwives can rely on one another in such a way that allows them to work with each other in these special situations to care for the mother's and baby's health in the best way possible.

Photo by Khristina Helmich, Itur Ad Astra Birth Services

Photo by Khristina Helmich, Itur Ad Astra Birth Services

Then, as we finally crept into the first hours of Sunday, the time had finally come.

It was time to breathe baby down and out. I sat next to my client as she leaned on her husband. Her sister was now on the other side, giving her words of love and encouragement. We both massaged her legs into relaxation as my client focused on herself and baby. And then in a quick instant, baby M was there! She shot out like she had been trying to get out for days. 

The rest of the family was called into the room. Whether it was the emotions of the events or the zombie-like-tiredness we all faced, I don't think there was anyone in the room not crying. 

As the doula, it was so beautiful experiencing a birthing team working seamlessly well together for the single purpose of caring for a mother and her child. My client was nothing less than Superwoman that weekend as were her midwives and the midwife's assistant. This was my first experience witnessing prodromal labor almost from start to finish. Throughout the entire process, mother and baby were healthy. There were no interventions to speed the process along, nor the need to do so. The client used HypnoBirthing® throughout the entire process. It was a beautiful experience that I am honored to have been a part of.

Happy 3 Months Baby M!

Did you experience a long labor? What was something that helped you get through?

Thank you to Luna Midwifery & Traditional Midwifery of Lynchburg for their amazing care during this birth!

*All images in this post are property of Itur Ad Astra Birth Services and the clients involved in this particular birth. Images have been posted with permission of the clients as birth is a sacred event. When taking photos at a birth, my job as a doula ALWAYS comes first.

If you are interested in inquiring more about my services, please contact me to set up a FREE initial consultation so we can get to know each other better and see how I can support you. Khristina Helmich,