Melissa's Birth, Tiffani's Story
For those of you who may not know me, my name is Tiffani. I am a fertility, birth, and postpartum doula of Nourish Thy Seed Services. I began working with Nicole in October and immediately started shadowing births to become her birth assistant. My very first birth with Nicole was Melissa and I was super nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. Being a birth assistant differs from being a doula in the sense that as a birth assistant, you work more closely with the midwife with whatever is needed to ensure smooth transitions for mom as baby is making their way earth side and being an extra hand in the event that there is an emergency; while being a doula is more supporting the birthing person physically, mentally, and emotionally as they give birth. No matter what position you are in though, being a part of the birth team is such an amazing experience.
Going into Melissa’s birth, I was eager to learn and even take notes. Little did I know that Nicole was going to teach me in a way that was super hands on. When we first walked through the door, Melissa was still in early labor. My nerves were through the roof until I heard a song playing on the television that I had been listening to all week long and it put my mind at ease. Nicole went into teaching mode, showing me the ins and outs of equipment and how to use everything properly. As Nicole began examining Melissa, she talked to us both through everything that she was doing and explained it thoroughly. One thing that stood out to me was how compassionate and gentle Nicole was with Melissa and how much Melissa trusts Nicole. Working with other clients in hospital settings, this was something that I rarely saw. Because of this trust that was established, when Nicole asked Melissa if I could do her vitals and practice hearing the baby's heartbeat, she agreed. I totally wasn’t prepared to be hands on for this birth, but when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped right in and I loved every bit of it.
Nicole and I stayed close as we allowed Melissa to labor in peace with her doula for a while. As contractions become more intense, Melissa powered through them so gracefully. I remember going to check the fetal heartbeat and Melissa asking me what was next and if I planned to become a midwife, something that I was thinking about but hadn’t told anyone yet. It was basically the confirmation I needed and I knew that I was going in the right direction as a birth worker. Shortly after, active labor intensified and we moved from the bedroom to the birthing pool where Melissa listened to her body, did what felt most comfortable, and gave birth to her beautiful 9lb baby boy. Witnessing this birth and the joy on her family’s faces brought me so much happiness. It also showed me firsthand that our bodies know exactly what to do during birth, we just have to flow with what our body is telling us in the moment, something that Nicole continuously assured Melissa of with each contraction. After the birth, I learned what immediate postpartum and infant care looked like, again with Nicole being super gentle and caring. The hardest part is trying not to fall in love with the baby once they are born, but that's something that you just can't fight.
The beauty of midwifery care and home birth is building meaningful relationships with the family and witnessing such powerful births where the birthing person is most comfortable and never rushed. Being able to shadow for this birth was so exhilarating. I was beyond grateful that Melissa felt comfortable enough to allow me into her home and birthing space because it set a special vitality in me for my journey towards midwifery. Meeting Nicole and working alongside her has been a wonderful experience, she’s a great teacher and even better Midwife to her clients. I’ve learned so much much from her in these short few months and I look forward to many more amazing experiences, but in the meantime, be sure to come back next week for Melissa’s birth story from her perspective.