A Phone Call with April the Giraffe

best doula in Richmond

*Ring Ring*

The Virginia Baby Co. Doula: Hey April, I noticed that everyone has been commenting on how long your birth is taking.  I just wanted to check in to see how my favorite client from Animal Adventure Park is are feeling.

April the Giraffe: Ugh! Like a watched pot.  Do you know when then turned on my camera, something like 40 million people tuned in to see baby arrive?  As if there wouldn't be a big announcement or something.

Virginia Doula: I heard.  I know that can be so hard on someone who is pregnant, people checking in every 15 minutes to see, "have you had that baby yet?"  I usually tell my clients just to keep their baby adventures off of social media if they don't want people asking every 12 minutes, but some people just can't help themselves. Try to keep your mind off of them, and on the little baby you'll be meeting soon.

April the Giraffe: Right? As if it's not bad enough that I'm paying that close of attention to every twitch and movement, but it feels like everyone else needs to be up in my business too, just when I need some space.

Virginia Doula: We've already discussed how you aren't going to call the grandparents-to-be until the baby arrives, so you can have your birth nice and private.  You could always direct people to www.haveyouhadthatbabyyet.com. It won't make your baby come faster, but a little laugh might make you feel better about this whole situation.

April the Giraffe: *Checking out the website*  HA!  That is good.  I'll have to show that one to Oliver. I mean, I know this is his first baby, but I feel like my partner is just hovering all the time! I feel so crowded! 

Virginia Doula:  Aw, he's nesting, just like you.  My suggestion, give him a job that speaks to his personality.  Have him help build an area for the baby to rest or that the baby's college fund is established. Talk to him, and tell him kindly what you need, don't leave him guessing.  My guess is he is feeling anxious, just like you.

April the Giraffe: This is taking SO LONG.  I feel like I'm going to be pregnant forever, and everyone is going to be watching, and I'm going to be this huge and uncomfortable for the rest of my life!

Virginia Doula: You aren't the first client we've had say this exact same thing.  No one likes being 9 months pregnant, and certainly not 13-15 months pregnant.   You WOULD be our first client to stay pregnant for all of eternity though, so, in that case, you might become VERY famous.  You could probably leverage that fame though for an appearance on The Late Show, I know how you love Stephen Colbert.  Giraffe, I bet we could even get you a cameo on Scandal!

April the Giraffe:  I feel like watching Netflix is all I have the energy for these days.  Plus, there is no way I'm getting on TV looking like this.  I'm puffy and heavy and just feel... blah.

Virginia Doula: It's so hard, right here at the end.  This little period between expecting and becoming a mother seems to drag on, but there is an end date.  Have you talked to your care provider?  What do they say? 

April the Giraffe: They don't want me to be too worn out and for the baby to remain healthy, but right now, they're just leaving me to do my thing, and even asking me to move around outside to get some of this sunshine in.   They think the baby is doing well, you can even see them kick, which is reassuring.  When they said I was in Early Labor, I thought that I would be having this baby right away, but they're still hanging out in there.

Doula: Yep, babies often like to do things on a schedule different than we had planned.  I tend to think it's good preparation for the flexibility needed in parenthood.  *smiling*.  Let's talk about your labor so far:  What does early labor feel like for you?

April the Giraffe: I've been having contractions on and off.  I can't really focus well, but I'm not having to concentrate on the discomfort exactly.  Sometimes I can time them, sometimes not, and they tend to come and go.  They pick up at night, but then every morning, I wake up again, still pregnant, no contractions.  It's been this way for WEEKS.

Doula: You poor thing. I always hate to tell people Labor can last such a long time, but it can.  Early labor, or prodromal labor, can go on for weeks like you've described.  It often feels stronger and more intense than Braxton-Hicks Contractions, but does not necessarily indicate the beginning of what most people think of as Labor.  The good news, it does often indicate that your body is gearing up, getting ready for the big event.

April the Giraffe: I'm just ready to be done.  Is there anything I can do to get labor started?

Doula: Knowing your body isn't going to give birth until it is good and ready, the best thing you can do is to live your life and follow your body's clues.  This is the last time you won't have a child following you around for a while, so I suggest enjoying it.  Go get your hooves done, take long, luxurious baths, get as dolled up as you can and go out on the town with your honey. 

April the Giraffe: I don't feel like doing any of that.  I want to nap all of the time. *sighs*

Doula: A good nap can be life-changing!  Take your nap.  Do a little nesting, but don't exhaust yourself.  Then snuggle up on the couch for some Netflix and Chill.  There are so many hormonal benefits to snuggling up with your loved one, feeling relaxed and letting that warm feeling progress into "quality time" with your partner. I'll just say that this is the time to remember how you got pregnant in the first place. 

April the Giraffe: *giggles*  Ok.  So, basically, just wait?  How will I know when I'm actually in labor?

Doula:  Oh, you'll know.  Right now, on the more intense contractions take the opportunity to practice the relaxation and meditation techniques we covered in your Childbirth Education Class.  But mostly just remember that you have everything you need within you to deliver this baby, and when it is time, your partner, your care provider, and your doula will be there by your side.  All you have to do is call.

April the Giraffe: Ok.  Thanks for listening.  Sometimes I have a hard time reaching out, but I always feel better after we talk.

Doula: No problem.  When we say we are the support you need as you grow your family, we mean it.  That's what we do best.

April the Giraffe: Well, I better get back to my one million viewers.  I've got some entertaining to do.

Doula: Giraffe, you are the perfect entertainment just by being yourself, so you do you.  Enjoy this beautiful new sunshine, and give us a call if you need anything else!

April the Giraffe: Will do! Thank you so much!

Victoria McCollum

Victoria McCollum is a birth and postpartum doula and owner of Doulas of Fredericksburg, in Fredericksburg, Virgina. She resides there with her husband and three precocious sons.