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YourBirthHelper's 2018 Birth of the Year

Dad embraces Mom after hemorrhage

This birth was chosen for our YBH Charlotte Birth of the Year, for many unique reasons. First, watching this couple labor together, moved me and others in the room to tears, literally! Second, the husband coach, Wes unknowingly helped write his own birth story. Normally, I write the birth story from the perspective of Doula, in combination with sharing answers to questions I ask the couple, along with educational information that applies, as to better prepare other couple's reading the story. This couple, was so in sync! They remained committed to the natural process, despite such a long and strenuous labor, with so many unknowns, that I decided to focus on his responses to the following. So, without further ado, I share the beautiful, heart warming labor marathon of Elysa & Wesley Espinoza as highlighted from Dad's perspective. If you are expecting a baby, if you feel inadequate to support your mate during labor, if you desire to learn from others a better way to birth, THIS BIRTH STORY IS A MUST READ!

We begin with my questions in Bold

Wesley's responses in Bold Italic

Wes, could you imagine being untrained, clueless and simply being a spectator at your baby's birth?

Not at all. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve our birthing goals without the training and guidance from Your Birth Helper. Because of the support, I knew what to expect and was able to be proactive. Without the training and assistance, and with the circumstances of my wife’s labor, I feel like without it, we definitely would have ended up with a c-section and much longer recovery period.

Its Labor day | Induction | Nancy Cook, Rn, YBHD  | Nurse Erin

#CharlotteDoulaDreamTeam| Doula Assistance

In regards to undergoing an induction, my best advice to others would be....?

The moment you attempt to fight a chemical attack on your body with natural methods, you’re going to have one heck of a battle. It does not mean it can’t be won. It means you need to be prepared to be tested every step of the way. The body is strong, but the mind is stronger. Educate yourself, set timelines on intervention methods, and know your options. Also, be flexible because plans change. Take it one decision at a time. Ask the staff, “Are there any other options? What are the risks, Why are we moving on from our original plan?” Just make sure you ask why.

Why did you choose

Your Birth Helper came highly recommended by another dad in the area. We connected via social media and he expressed how helpful the team had been in their birth experience. Pam and her team have extensive experience and knowledge for all situations and all birth wishes. This team works with you to craft your ideal birth plan through education and will support you in any way you need. It’s more than simply hiring a doula, it’s joining a family.

Your Birth Helper labor workshop | Birth Training

The couple first attended a Labor Workshop and quickly realized there was much to learn. They determined YBH Doula services could help them obtain their personal birth goals and wanted to make the best of the training time that remained. Therefore, they enhanced their skills and understanding of how to work with her body during labor by attending additional birth classes. Shown here, the couple learns a variety of techniques to help with support of Mom while allowing her to sink down into a contraction. With dad being 6'5" any help to save his back is good. The average contraction is 60-90 seconds, right about the time brachial plexus would start making arms tingle. After contraction, of course mom stands and rocks hips out.

YBH Nancy Cook, YBHD, RN shares insight during workshop

How do you feel the labor

workshops and

intense training

classes with

Sarah Neri, YBHCE, benefit your experience?

I was able to tell what phase my wife was in every step of the way and how to best support her. Without these classes, I would have been clueless and probably in the way a lot. Because of these classes, I was a part of the birth and not just a cheerleader on the sidelines.

Dad coaches mom through transition | YBH Trained

What was the most memorable part of your labor of love?

When I knew Elysa had reached her “DND mode” we ended up staring in to each other’s eyes, for what seemed like hours. She explained after that she felt like she was gaining strength from me, involving me in the labor. We were both able to let go of our fears, doubts and tension when we locked eyes.

Overcoming Hard Labor/ Transition

Another part during labor was when Elysa needed to avoid pushing too early. She had taken the nitrous oxide and her body was relaxing through contractions, causing some involuntary pushing. To prevent this, it was suggested to sing a song. We ended up singing “you are my sunshine” over and over again which not only helped her get through the need to push early, but also connected us and allowed her to focus on moving through the discomfort.

Use of nitricious oxide during pitocin use to avoid epidural

Couple manages pressure and back discomfort with hands and knees

What the medical staff could've done to better support us and our birth plan?

The majority of the staff was incredible and put our wishes first. If this had happened at another hospital, we most likely wouldn’t have encountered the happy ending we did. At one moment, when my wife entered transition and had been laboring for a very long time, the midwife came in at the end of her shift and proposed having a c-section. She did not provide other options up front and did not provide risks for continuing vaginally. We wanted to take steps before we jumped to that point, so we asked for a few moments to talk through and were able to find another solution (nitrous oxide) that led us to have the birth story we wanted.

Squat Bar dad supporting | Push phase

What would you tell others who think going blindly into this is the way to go? Those men and women whose mentality is: "no need to prepare ahead of time that's what doctors and hospitals are for, "We are just gonna do what they tell us to" or the concept, "Women and their body instinctively know how and what to do to give birth."

Good luck! I thought we were being overly cautious with all the preparation we were doing for our first birth. I thought instinct would even carry me. The classes were originally extra precautions taken to learn more about birth, but they definitely came in handy during the laboring process. Instinctively women do a lot of things wrong during contractions. That's where a good coach and doula comes in to help mom correct such things and experience the least amount of discomfort during a contraction. As Pam says, "We have to have a contraction to have a baby, we do not have to do everything wrong and increase pain levels."

Cool cloth during push phase | YBH Trained

Anything else you want to share with the readers of this birth story?

My favorite parts of the laboring process were when we connected through dancing and singing and not speaking at all.

Couple performs labor dance during hard labor | YBH Trained

We connected on a spiritual level and grew closer through this experience. We were able to do this because of the prep work in the weeks leading up to the birth. We often discussed our birth plan, how to handle pain and what we needed from each other when game time came. We practiced relaxation together and focused more on what increased comfort. I suggest all couples stay open with one another about birth wishes and needs throughout the entire pregnancy. This way, you’re fully prepared to support one another when it matters most.

Couple weathers the challenges of medical induction

Even though you both knew women can hemorrhage after birth, describe at that moment how you felt and any advice to others on handling a difficult third stage labor?

Our labor was incredibly long and intense due to medical induction methods and other hereditary factors. When she began to hemorrhage, I felt paralyzed. The person I love more than anything in this world was in danger. Time had stopped. There was a moment where I came to and realized I couldn’t express my fears or break down because she needed me to be strong. I prayed and focused on bonding with the baby. We focused on skin to skin and being in the first few moments with our daughter. This was a huge contributor to my wife being able to push through it.

DAD cuts cord of first baby! |

The hardest part of labor and birth for me was?

After baby’s arrival, Elysa was hemorrhaging a great deal. I wanted to break down, but knew I had to keep it together. While her and the baby were having skin-to-skin contact, I was absolutely terrified I’d lose the most important person in my life.

It is important to consider the risks involved in child bearing despite where you plan to have a child. The risks are real. Couples should know and recognize them and speak up if a danger sign presents and that is not just during postpartum, but in general. Your Birth Helper had a former client who almost lost her life after a miscarriage. She did not know she was pregnant when the bleeding began. Women need to also recognize the difference between a normal period and abnormal bleeding. Be informed, speak up and if needed, request another nurse. If you are home, and your provider fails to respond in a timely fashion, seek medical attention from urgent care, emergency room, etc. if you feel your provider is not responding appropriately to your concerns of blood loss,signs of infection, pain, etc.

Low Intervention Supportive Midwife, Tina Moreno, CNM celebrates Birth

Elysa really managed the third stage exceptionally, I'd love to know what technique she found to help her relax the most during that time other than deep breath breathing and orange juice distraction?

Elysa was able to stay calm and relaxed through third stage by focusing on the baby. After nearly three full days of labor and a whole bunch of doubt, she was amazed by the delivery of our beautiful baby girl. Focusing on the baby helped her ignore all the other noise around her. No matter how much time she was going to be able to have with the baby, she was going to soak in every last second. I believe this is what got her through.

YBH Trained couple celebrates the birth of first child

My team and I, can not say enough good things to say about this Warrior Woman and SuperMan Coach, who endured 68 hours of labor induction to give birth! Special thanks again to Tina Moreno, CNM, for her encouragement and support, the wonderful nurses Erin and Nancy who supported their birth plan through a variety of obstacles the entire journey and Dr. Fox for her medical expertise in third stage labor.



Elysa Espinoza, Artist | Newborn Artwork

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