A gracious spirit

You have probably spent some time over the last few weeks watching at least one event from the Olympic Games, either in London live (lucky fish) or on TV like the rest of us. We have heard the term "Olympic Spirit" several times over the last few months, and I wondered, what is this thing called spirit that we talk about? Is it a personality trait, an attitude or something more intangible? Are we born with this thing or can it be learned?

I'm not sure that I am any closer to the answer, but i do think that we all know it when we see or experience it. And my last Doula client epitomised (for me in any case) what can only be termed a Gracious Spirit.

Cheryl's labour started around 21h30 and continued until 18h32 the following day. The body prepares for delivery in a number of, sometimes unexpected, ways (especially for first time moms). Part of this is a process of elimination where everything unnecessary is jettisoned, and this includes some vomiting in the final stages of labour. In Cheryl's case this phase lasted a lot longer than normal poor thing. I cannot stress enough the importance of staying well hydrated, and to eat small snacks in the early stages to keep energy levels up.

Labour is an endurance event after all, and being in top physical condition is one way of preparing your body for this "marathon". Cheryl had no concerns in this area being a dedicated yoga practitioner, and had laid fantastic foundations in not only physical strength but also endurance, flexibility and a calm temperament.

Mom to be had created herself a wonderful "labour cave" at home for the early stages of the process. A cool, darkened room complete with candles, soothing music (don't you love playlists) and zen-tastic aromatherapy scents. Justin, aka Dad, was present for the entire duration reflecting in every way how dedicated this couple are to one another. Truly inspirational to say the least.

The only way to describe Cheryl's attitude throughout this long labour is one of true graciousness. She remained focused and intent all the way, relying on her husband's unfailing strength and support in reaching their shared goal. It was amazing to watch them working together in such unison.

After 19 hours Cheryl was 10cm dilated....no mean feat but largely due to her being a yoga fan. As is so often the case, births have a way of throwing curve balls at us - and this one was no exception. Although mom was fully dilated the baby's head would not drop. Help was needed from the medical team at this point, but with her well-established core muscles mom was finally able to birth Molly. Not many women would have managed to pull off this amazing feat after such a gruelling labour, and certainly not whilst remaining so centred and calm. Truly amazing.

At 18h32 Baby Molly Jean made her way into the world, literally kicking and screaming ( I think she was comfortable in there) - 4.786 kgs and 58 cm long! The joy of her birth was so aptly expressed by Mom...I have never heard such unadulterated joy contained within a sound in my life and have no way to express it in words, all I can say is that it moved everyone present to tears.

A truly miraculous event... I feel honoured to have been part of this inspiring birth.

Thanks as always to Dr Raj , Clair and her team at the American hospital for the amaaaaazing job they did, and always do.

Welcome Molly Jean!