Joleen's Birth Story
Updated: Feb 11, 2019
It was your typical summer afternoon in Savannah: hot, humid and Abercorn traffic was beginning to build as we edged closer to 5 o’clock on Monday, August 27.
I was in a store when I heard my special text tone that let me know Joleen was texting me. My heart skipped a beat as I fumbled for my phone in my purse.
It was a simple text message, “6 cm 75-80%” My adrenaline began pumping, she was getting close to having a baby! In my contract, I state that I’ll come to you when you’re 5 cm dilated and she was already at 6!
I rushed out of the store and zipped through Abercorn traffic back to my house. Christina, Joleen’s doula called me and we made a plan to meet up and head out to Joleen’s house 20 minutes later.
We arrived at Joleen’s house and were greeted by kids and a pup with the soundtrack to Moana in the background. Joleen sat in the living room and took each contraction in stride on a birthing ball. After a little while, she decided it was time to head to the hospital.
She got checked into her room and Christina went to work setting the mood: battery-powered tea lights, essential oil diffuser, affirmation cards and different tools to help manage the pain from contractions. The lights were dimmed, soft music played throughout the room and the scent of lemon drifted throughout the space.
The nurse asked Joleen plenty of intake questions and set her up on the monitor. Soon after we arrived, the doctors came in and broke her water. After that, contractions started coming on quicker and stronger. As Joleen was answering intake questions, she told the nurse that this was her fifth VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Yes, you read that right. Number five. Everything I thought I knew about Joleen was confirmed in that moment: this mama is a warrior.
Once the contractions were coming on steady, Joleen started pushing. With her husband, Brian on one side of her and Christina on the other, she pushed hard for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, she was exhausted; she’d pushed and pushed and felt like she made no progress. In that moment, she decided she couldn’t push anymore, she just wanted baby Leo out in the world, no matter what that looked like.
The doctors gave her about an hour break to rest and recoup before coming back into the room. They came back in, explained what her options were and Joleen decided to give it one more shot. She started pushing again and soon, Brian could see Leo’s head. Joleen reached down, felt his head and from that moment on, a new strength rose from deep within her. She used every muscle and fiber of her body to get him out.
After several hours, several tears, many words of encouragement and lots of pushing, Baby Leo was born on his due date, August 28, 2018. I’ll never forget Joleen’s strength and resolution to bring her baby into this world. Congrats, Joleen and Brian!
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