A Doula Shares Her 3 Births – Joyce Dykema
In this episode, Joyce tells all three of her birth stories which included a hospital birth using hypnobirthing and a birthing tub. Joyce had three natural births that share some similarities, but which were also surprisingly different. As a doula, Joyce offers a helpful, informative perspective on birth and doesn’t hold anything back!
Joyce thought she wanted to be a veterinarian or an animal behavior research scientist, but is now a housewife with a MS in biology, a homeschooling mom of three, and a birth doula, and loving it! Joyce is certified by DONA International, a Hypnobabies(r) trained Hypno-Doula, and is a co-leader with her local chapter of ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) in Lincoln, NE.
[Voice 1] Uh, I think my water just broke!
[Voice 2] I think that things really intensified..
[Voice 3] She was right there, and she was coming…
[Voice 4 It was…it was an amazing feeling.
[Voice 5] I could cry just thinking about it. I could FEEL her HEAD!
[Voice 6] (choking up) We heard her cry. We were holding hands and she was SCREAMING (chuckles)!
I’m Bryn Huntpalmer and you’re listening to The Birth Hour. This podcast is designed as a safe place for women to come together to share their childbirth stories. Stick around to hear informative and empowering birth journeys from women all over the world.
[Bryn]: I’m Bryn Hunt-Palmer and you’re listening to The Birth Hour. This podcast is designed as a safe place for women to come together to share their childbirth stories. Stick around to join us to hear empowering birth journeys from women all over the world.
[Bryn]: Today’s guest is Joyce Dykema. Joyce is a mom of three and she is trained as a birth doula as well as hypno-baby. She is also the co-leader of her local I-Can chapter in Lincoln, Nebraska. Today Joyce is going to she the stories of her three children’s births.
[B]: Hi Joyce welcome to The Birth Hour. I’m excited to have you here today to share your three birth stories. Why don’t we go ahead and start with how old your children are now.
[Joyce]: Ok, well my oldest, he is is six and a half, my second just turned four this year, and then my youngest just turned one on Monday.
[B]: I love talking with women who’ve had more than one birth because we always hear ‘every birth is different’ but we don’t often think about that when it’s the same woman. So after your first birth you start thinking ‘oh I’ve got this’ but then the next one is completely different.
[J]: It’s really interesting because the first two had similarities and then the third one on the surface her birth had a lot of similarities as well but it was interesting how it all panned out. My first it was the day after my due date, I was born on my due date so we assumed that it was going to be around 40 weeks when we were going to have these babies. So the day after my due date, I woke up around three in the morning needing to use the bathroom because you know at 40 weeks pregnant you always need to pee. So I used the bathroom and went back to bed. I couldn’t seem to get comfortable, I just kept on tossing and turning and Could Not go back to sleep. That’s just not like me and finally I realized that I was having contractions. So I decided to get up and stay up for a little bit to see if this is going to be it versus just tossing and turning. We had just bought a lamp for the baby’s room, so I went to the living room and put together a lamp. Bounced on my birth ball and figured out how to put together the pack and play because we hadn’t done anything with that yet. Then at five or six am I started feeling the contractions stronger and there was as start and stop to them. So I woke up my husband and we timed them and I think they were about 5 or 6 minutes apart and about 45 seconds long. I was still very comfortable, being able to talk to them. It was helping to rock with them, moving side to side, so we decided to both take a shower and then time them after that. This was about an hour later and they were about 5 minutes apart and 50-70 seconds long. Then we got confused because I was still talking through them. Like I had to move with them, but I could still talk through them and was feeling pretty comfortable but the timing said that stuff was happening. It was just confusing, like ‘what’s going on? I’m not supposed to be able to talk though these.’
[J]: So, we ate breakfast and I bounced on may birth ball grabbed some of our last minute things for the hospital. We just sort of putzed around for a bit and then timed them again an hour later. They were longer, stronger, and closer together- about 4 minutes apart, surely a minute long- but I was still talking through them. So I called my doula. I loved what she said to me after hearing my story. She said “ yeah I noticed that you’re still talking through them. What did your caregiver say?”
[J]: Then I had to think. Well she said to come in when they were five minutes apart and a minute long. Oh I guess we should go in. So we packed up all the rest of the stuff, I ate another snack before we left. We got to the hospital, sitting in the chair doing all the paperwork, insurance card, blah blah blah was not at all fun. It wasn’t awful but I probably should have just stood up instead of sitting in that chair. Anyways, then the student midwife came in after they had listened to baby’s heartbeat, taking my temperature, and all that jazz. This is about nine o’clock, she came in, introduced herself again, and checked me. I was about five centimeters and- I don’t know- maybe 80 percent effaced. So I was like ‘ Oh yay I’m actually staying.’ At that point was when the first of my two doulas came and she just got me relaxed, kept my comfortable. Then my other doula came and I started having back labor. That was fun. That was not my favorite but luckily by that point I was in labor land. So I wasn’t consciously thinking ‘Oh I have back labor, so my baby might not be in a great position, blah blah blah’ I was in my primal place already. My doulas knew in the beginning- They didn’t make me worry about anything- that my baby was right occiput posterior, ROP, so he was facing my right hip. So they tried a bunch of positions on me to try and get him to turn. We did the lunge- which made me throw up. really brisk walking- which made me throw up. Throughout it all I just felt like I was in this labor zone, I don’t know, primal and otherworldly but I felt very safe and it was emotionally comfortable. At some point I said that I wanted to get into the tub, so they filled it up and I got in. I was in the tub for at least an hour, then the student midwife checked me and I was 9 1/2 centimeters. Then I had to get out to use the toilet and my water broke, which was convenient. That was when I felt like things really intensified. Before then I was just sort of cruising, riding the the labor waves then at that point I was like ‘Whoa! What in the world is happening with everything??’ It got really intense with lots of pressure, lots of back pressure, lots of back pain. That was when I was vocalizing and stuff like that. Looking back on it, I think that I was really picky going through transition. Like I only wanted to hang on my husband in the slow dancing position but his stomach rubbing on my pregnant belly was the most uncomfortable thing on the planet. So my husband had to lean over while I was hanging on him, his poor back. It was probably horrible. Then we had a resting phase, it was lovely. It stopped feeling so intense, I got a break and caught my breath. I said ‘I’m going to lay down for a bit’ so I laid down on the bed, my husband laid down behind me and I have no idea how long we were there. I should ask my birth team. The next thing I remember is getting out of bed and saying ‘I think I need to push.’
[J]: So let’s see as far as a timeline goes we got to the hospital at 8:30pm and I started pushing at 1:30-45 or so. Then pushed, and pushed, and pushed. I was still having back labor so they kind of knew from the place I was feeling the back labor and pain that he kept on moving. They said ‘we think that he moved from a side ROP to a strait ROP’ and then he kept descending because the pain spot kept on moving down. So that was cool. Anyways, I pushed, and pushed, and pushed in all sorts of positions. Let’s see they had me do the birthing stool, supported squats, tug of war, side lying, squat bar, they probably had me doing all of the positions except for hands and knees.
[B]: Was this a birth center within a hospital or just a the most amazing hospital ever?
[J]: It was the most amazing hospital ever. They’re fabulous, absolutely fabulous and this was for my son’s birth almost seven years ago and they’ve only gotten better.
[B]: That sounds amazing.
[J]: They are wonderful. And in my state certified nurse midwives can’t attend home births… Yay Nebraska. So home births are very much underground and not as common as they would be if home births were more legally supported. So this hospital has been the focus of where natural birth mothers go in our state. I had two midwives, the midwife and the student midwife. I had two doulas, the doula and the student doula, and I had my husband. It was really awesome. I didn’t have an IV, I didn’t even have a hep block, It was really great. Anyways, I pushed, and pushed, and pushed, and after an hour you could see his head. He was still posterior, and he was crowning and made no more progress for an hour.
[B]: Oh my god…
[J]: Yeah, so they kept on saying ‘Ok Joyce. One more push, you’re almost there’ and yup! Nope not almost there because my son got his stubbornness from me.
[J]: Then finally, I started tearing on both sides of my labia and maybe starting to tear at the top. Possible in the direction of my urethra. So my midwives were like ‘Joyce you’re starting to tear in all of these places… I think we need to do an episiotomy because we don’t want you to tear up to your urethra’ and I said ‘Yup.’ So they numbed me and cut then did perineal pressure or support so I didn’t tear any further. I actually didn’t tear any further than my episiotomy which is Awwwwwesome. Then he was born in the next push. So that’s all we needed, we needed a little episiotomy. Then, we found out he was a boy annnnd you know I felt very safe emotionally. Like I was in control, and I came out of his birth thinking ‘OMG that was awesome. Oh my gosh that was amazing.’
[B]: I feel like you don’t hear about episiotomies in that way very often.
[J]: Yeah. You know I knew what they were seeing and saying and what was in my birth plan, that I’d rather tear naturally versus an episiotomy, but there was a reason why they suggested it and it just made sense. You know what a tear into my urethra just doesn’t sound fun.
[B]: Yeah No.
[J]: Yeah then there was all those labial tears, I mean they just had to do like one stitch on one side and two on the other but they really stung. They stung more than the episiotomy did. So, yeah it is what it is.
[B]: I think that it makes such a difference if you really trust your care provider. When something like that happens, it wasn’t in your birth plan but because you trusted them you don’t feel emotionally upset about it afterwards. Whereas if you just had some doctor on call that you’d never met before and then said ‘Ok, well we need to do this’ afterwards you would’ve been discontent about it.
[J]: Yes, and they explained it to me. It wasn’t an emergency situation and knowing them now if I had said ‘No I’d rather tear up there’ they would have been like ‘ok, you’re weird but alright. Cool.’
[B]: Alright so then second birth?
[J]: The second was very similar. I awoke at 3:30 in the morning, went to the bathroom, and then couldn’t go back to sleep, two days after my due date. Then because my first was so fast with a posterior baby and first birth, I mean it was only 12 hours from start to finish. So with the second, I was worried that I wasn’t going to make it to the hospital but I’d had a false alarm about a week earlier. I had gone to the hospital and I was one centimeter and the contractions stopped so I was sort of in denial when I woke up at 3:30. So I just putzed around, ate breakfast, folded some diapers, I don’t know and probably cleaned something. I was texting my doula because she was up and like forty-five minutes away. So she went home and showered, got all of her stuff together because she could see that I was in denial and having a baby that day. So then then we had to call grandma for the two year old and she took, she took her time coming over. We probably called her at 6am and she probably got there around 7:30. By the time we got there we said that ‘ok we’re not talking a walk, we’re going to the hospital.’ When we got to the hospital and I was six centimeters. I was shocked because I didn’t have back labor and it was so much easier. I got in the tub, and i had Group B strep with that baby so I had my antibiotics in the tub. Then between all of the water I was drinking earlier and the IV I had to get up to pee like every ten minutes. While I was in the tub I kept on thinking ‘are you sure? Are you sure we’re having a baby today?’ then I’d have a contraction. They were getting longer and stronger but farther apart. I didn’t notice this, I mean I was in labor land so I didn’t know. This questioning cycle just kept on happening with me relaxing in the tub disbelieving and then a strong contraction. It was this weird time warp thing happening in my head because it was just sooooo much easier than back labor. So they were getting farther apart, they were like three minutes apart when we got to the hospital and then while I was in the tub they were like ten minutes apart. I was vocalizing with each one, I had to move with them, I had to concentrate on them, stuff like that. So there were some weird things about it but good things as well. This is why I love my doula, she left us in the jacuzzi tub and went to talk with my nurse. The nurse was like ‘I think we’re going to have to start pitocin. Her contractions are moving really far apart, I think we’re going to have to start pitocin.’ and my doula was like ‘I don’t know, do you hear her?’ So they got me out of the tub and took a walk through the halls, things started getting intense again with that turn around the halls. We got back to the room, they took my vitals and then my water broke. Then things truly intensified again. My plan was to have a water birth so I stopped to pee on my way there and then it feels like I’m going to throw up. At that point in your birth all you can say is ‘Vomit, Vomit, Vomit, Vomit!’ My midwife is holding the vomit bag and I find out that what I thought was a vomit was really the start of a contraction that was going the other way. I went ‘Oooooh no this is not going up it’s going down.’
[J]: So I jumped off the toilet into the tub and then her head came out.
[J]: Yeah. Then you hear about the Fetal Ejection Reflex where it pushes the baby out, that happened. Literally I jumped in the tub and her head was born then I felt the ring of fire from my second child. My midwife, who was hold my vomit bag, only got on one glove before my baby was born.
[B]: Did you prefer the water birth?
[J]: Yeah. You know it wasn’t the right choice for my first birth because I had to push in all of the positions. Also after my water broke with my first I did Not want to get back into the tub, that did not sound cool. They actually like me deliver the placenta in the tub, not what they usually do but it happened really fast. Usually they have the midwife, the labor and delivery nurse, and at least one nursery nurse maybe two but she was just so fast. It was just my midwife, my doula (who thankfully grabbed the camera when she heard my vocalization), and my husband. Apparently- I didn’t even notice or hear this, my doula told me later- when her head was born, my midwife with her one glove said ‘There’s a head’ and my nurse went ‘WHaTTT?!?!’ She started gathering all of the delivery instruments, opening sterile packaging, and by the time she got everything together my baby was born.
[J]: Yeah it was awesome. Then afterwards when they were moving me to postpartum, my nurse kissed me. It was really just an awesome birth. Then my with my third birth I planned on delivery with the same midwifery practice in the same hospital with another water birth. This was last year when ACOG sent out their water birth opinion paper about how they should be experimental. So my hospital banned them.
[B]: Oh my gosh…
[J]: Yeah so I was seven months pregnant. Not Nice. Not Nice at all. Anyways what ended up happening was we ended up transferring to a freestanding birth center. Which was about 55 minutes from our house compared to the 15 minutes that was the hospital distance, but I wasn’t going to give my money to them so yeah we went to the birth center.
[J]: It’s back now though so that’s good. After my first birth and before my second I became a birth doula and had worked at this birth center before. The issue was though that I wanted to go to the same hospital because I knew that I could get the birth that I wanted there and had these great relationships with my midwife and most of the nurses there. So that was why originally we planned the same birth instead of this birth center even though it’s amazing. Anyways this birth started completely different. My husband was helping out with a church concert and I was taking a nap with the big kids around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. This day was 39 and 1 days pregnant and I woke up from this nap, rolled over doing some of those pelvic thrusts, got up and my pants were wet.
[B]: Oh wow.
[J]: Yeah so I waddled over to the bathroom and was like ‘soooo did I have an accident?’ That was different from the other two because their water broke at around 9 and 1/2 centimeters in very active labor and Pops! With this one it was just all of a sudden I was wet and this is why even doulas need doulas because I’m at home with the older kids, my husband is ten minutes away at church, and I think my water just broke. What do I do? So I texted my doula, she was my student doula from my first birth and another doula that we all do backup for each other, and said ‘uuuuuuhhhhh I think my water just broke, what do I do?’
[J]: So I get my husband home first and then called the birth center saying ‘Uhhhh I think my water just broke so I guess we’re heading out soon.’ For her birth I studied Hypnobabies, and I was doing my tracks during nap time, it was actually fear clearing which is what you’re supposed start out with when you begin your birthing day. So it was Perfect! Anyways I started all of my tracks, we grabbed all of our stuff, got the kids to grab all their stuff. We were planning on bringing the kids, they wanted to come and see their baby sister being born. My son was five and a half when my youngest was born, and my daughter had just turned three. We had watched videos, we looked at their birth photos, told them their birth stories, they had helped me with my hypnobabies cues, they both had jobs, etc. So they grabbed the last of their stuff to pack into their bags to stay overnight at grandma and grandpa’s house. I called my dad to get them rolling to take care of the big kids while everyone was at the birth center. By that time contractions had started but they weren’t really anything. They were just piddly. They did intensify pretty quickly but when we were getting in the car and with hypnobabies they weren’t really anything. So it was super easy with them and just coast with it. Anyways we get in the car and they’re probably three minutes apart and maybe 35-40 seconds apart. By the time we got to the birth center they were about eight minutes apart, they got the first dose of Group B antibiotics in and doulas arrived, everyone was there. After the antibiotics were in, got unhooked the IV and walked around the parking lot a few times. Then I started back labor…… Yay. But seriously though YaY to Hypnobabies! If anyone’s on the fence DO IT because it was Ammmaaaaazzing! There was such a difference between the back labor of my first baby and my third it was seriously night and day. Partly because I’d already done one before, it’s not my favorite thing in the world, but it’s not going to kill me. Then with my hypnobabies and being able to focus my hypno anesthesia, like with my first baby I needed my husband and doula doing counter pressure for every contraction, then with my third baby and back labor it felt nice to have counter pressure but I didn’t need it. All of the hypno practice was really just golden.
[J Continues]: So with her, her position was right occipital transverse. So she was facing my left hip. Forward leaning positions felt good, so lots of hands and knees or leaning over things and stuff like that. Oh and walking felt really good too. So I had been there for an hour, let’s see this will have been four hours total so far, I said I think that I want to get in the tub. When we first got there they checked me and I was 4-5 centimeters, 90 percent effaced, and low station which is why I felt like there was a head on my cervix. The midwife was like ‘well let’s check to see what’s going on’ you know because I’d only been there an hour, so she did and I was only a little bit more closer to a five. So she said not to get in the tub to make sure we don’t slow the labor. So they got me a birth ball and I leaned on that on the floor and the bed. At some point I told my doulas that my midwife was mean and that I was surely more than five. They said yup
[J]: I then told them that I was feeling some rectal pressure. Now if any of you have given birth you know that there’s a baby’s head down there. So one of my doulas ran out and told the midwife ‘She said that she had some rectal pressure, she just said those words’ and the midwife was like ‘Whaaaat?’ because this was an hour after I had asked to get in the tub where I was only five centimeters. So the midwife and the nurse come back in and ask if I feel pushy. I say ‘ummm noooo not pushy just, you know, rectal pressure’ and while this was happening the nurse was trying to listen with the doppler and another contraction started. That one definitely felt pushy so I was like ‘Ahhhh what’s going on here??’ At some point, I don’t remember if it was before or after the pushy contraction, but at some point the midwife had suggested sitting on the toilet to get my cervix to dilate and I was like ‘Nooooo.’ All because of my last birth having to rush around. Anyways, they filled up the tub and I got in and ohhhhh it felt sooooo nice, just heavenly. At some time in that last hour between getting checked and getting in the tub I had felt baby turn, like all of the pressure went away from my back and directly to dilation, cervical pressure. Now we have this on video, which is the only reason why I remember it, by after I got in the tub one of my doulas got my other kids because they were in the other room watching the movie Cars with my dad, which was really cute. My son runs in, grabs the bottle of water, and gives me a drink! So, anyways, I was laying on my side and soaking up all the awesomeness of the lovely tub and then a really pushy contraction came on and I was like ‘ooohhh this is not the right position.’ I then got on my hands and knees, and back tracking a bit, the midwife had asked my husband if he wanted to catch when we arrived at the birth center and he had said Yay! So my midwife was giving my husband directions on how to catch and my three year old is like hopping around trying to see everything so my midwife picks her up so she can see. Then the very next contraction, where I had just gotten into the tub, I birthed a head. What was cool for me was that I could feel what was going on down there and then like with my other daughters birth the ejection reflex birthed the rest of her.
[J]: Yeah so it was really awesome, my husband helped get her out and while I picked her up the nurse came over and helped untangle her from her extra long cord. It was legitimately loosely wrapped twice around her neck, around her torso, and around her arm. Hahaha. Besides that my husband and I were the only ones who held her until we got out of the tub. So, yeah those are my births. It was cool because I had back labor for my first and my third, my second and my third were both water births and fast pushing, my first and my second I woke up at 3:30 in the morning to go to the bathroom and my water didn’t break until the end, so it’s just cool how there were similarities and differences between them all.
[B]: I always tear up during the telling of a birth story and for you it was when your son came in a brought you water. So cute.
[J]: I don’t know if other moms have said this but it’s interesting how a child’s birth can foreshadow their personality. Like my son is very stubborn and we butt heads all the time, then my second is real pokey unless she wants something it has to be right not, then my third kind of goes with the flow and chill.
[B]: So thanks so much for your time today. I loved hearing all of your birth stories and it’s always fun to hear from a doula who says things like ‘rectal pressure’
-Both Laugh- End of Episode-
[B]: Joyce thanks again for being here today to share your birth stories. If you want to review any of the resources that she mentioned visit thebirthhour.com/podcast/joyce You can connect with me on Twitter and Instagram @thebirthhour Thanks so much for listening if you enjoyed our show visit thebirthhour.com to sign up for our newsletter and if you really like the show leave a review on iTunes. I’m Bryn Huntpalmer and you’ve been listening to another episode of The Birth Hour. Thanks for listening!