IllumiNations Baby

This is a fun birth story I have rarely shared.

When I was a doula for a client, another Disney fan, she went into the hospital to have her baby.

Searching her bags, her husband couldn’t find her iPod. She got more and more agitated, saying she had to have her music. She knew exactly what she wanted to have her baby born to (not unusual for clients to do this).

Mom was telling dad he had to go back home for the music and I told her he would not have time. That made her even more distraught.

I suspected it was something Disney. Baby of Mine from Dumbo is a common Disney birth song. I had my iPod and asked her what the song was, maybe I had it on my iPod.

Crying, she said I would never have it and moaned out, “IllumiNations.”

IllumiNations Music

IllumiNations was the closing water, fireworks, and light show at EPCOT from 1999-2019. It was glorious and I can still see every detail in my mind and it’s 2022. 

As my client cried, I dug out my iPod and connected it to her speaker (that they had not forgotten) and turned on the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth music.

Her eyes opened wide and she said, “You’re not serious. You really have this on your iPod?” 

I said, “Listen for yourself!”

She leaned back, her face went from tight and teary to utter calm with a smile.

Baby Born to IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

The birth was wonderful. Mom got her music and it was good.

Afterwards, we could not stop laughing that I had the one thing she wanted for the birth. How many doulas in the world would have that music at that moment for her?

I was never happier for a serendipitous moment as this one.


Grabbing for Oxygen

I went by an oxygen refill depot this morning and as I saw the Flammable Liquids sign, I had an incredible rush that felt like that ice bucket challenge where the bucket of ice and water are poured over your head in one big splash. But instead of ice cubes, it was memories that fell around me. Inside me, actually. 


In less than five seconds, I flashed on the dozens of times I had used oxygen on a mother or baby, sometimes even both at the same time (which is why I always carried two tanks and had an assistant).

  • the baby born in the water after stuck shoulders
  • the mom whose baby inside needed it
  • the baby that came out floppy for no observable reason
  • the mom bleeding a bit too much and feeling lightheaded
  • the baby with respiratory distress
  • the mom panicking about a segment of her labor
  • the baby with blue lips, but no visible respiratory distress
  • the mom waiting for the ambulance to transport her for postpartum hemorrhage
  • the baby born after a shoulder dystocia

The list goes on and repeats multiple time.

The Energy in a Memory

At the same time as the bucket was poured over me, I felt an electric shock coursing through my body. In another world, someone might call it panic, but for me, a doula and/or midwife for 32 years, it was High Alert.

Thunder Lightning

Early on, under supervision, that energy sometimes pushed my movements too quickly and if I was using the bag and mask on the baby, I might not dry the baby’s face enough and the oxygen mask would slide off the nose or not seal the mouth and nose completely, ruining the entire purpose of the exercise. It took a couple of times, and the attending midwife saying something, before I realized what was happening and corrected my actions. I learned to take a deep breath before placing the mask, to make sure the baby was dried, warm, and the equipment was ready when I reached out with my hand… all in about two seconds’ time.

Bag and Mask Resuscitation

Managing the energy in an emergency is crucial. I operated well under stress, while it was happening, but, as happens, after the crisis was over, shaking and, for me, often tears of release/relief occurred.

It was then, I was able to, with my lungs, grab my own oxygen… and breathe.

Calling All OG Birth Bloggers (Navelgazing Midwife Wants You!)

I, Barb Herrera, am finally coming out of my midwifery coma, 10+ years of ignoring everything birthy, and now I’m feeling very alone. Sure, it was of my own making, but I am aching for reconnection with several other OG birth bloggers that have to still be around somewhere.

  • Sage Femme – Pamela Hines-Powell
  • Red Spiral
  • Dark Daughta
  • Shyla
  • At Your Cervix
  • Housefairy
  • Kneeling Woman
  • Doulicia
  • VBAC Facts
  • Emory Student Midwife/studentnursemidwife

If you read my old blog Navelgazing Midwife, please touch base if you are so inclined.

There is a reason behind my madness.