I felt that giving birth was a completely private event, and I only wanted to share that experience with my husband and necessary medical staff.
I had no desire to have an unmedicated birth, and was completely comfortable ordering up an epidural as soon as the pain got too intense.
With both labors, I received my epidural around 4 or 5 centimeters dilated. What I now know is that epidurals and my body do not play nice together. While it took me two separate occasions to figure this little fact out, I decided that if there was ever going to be a third (or now fourth) birth, I would do everything in my power to avoid getting an epidural. I came to the conclusion that a major part of my birth plan could hopefully be achieved by hiring a doula.
A Doula is someonewho provides non-medical support to women and their families during labor.
A few reasons I hire a doula, and what I expect out of her:
1. To help fulfill my birth plan. While my birth plan is pretty relaxed, I have a few ideals that I really want to be carried out. Before birth, my doula and I go over all these items so when it’s time to deliver, she can remind both myself and my doctor of what I initially wanted to see happen.
2. Aid in pain management. As a birth professional, my doula is equipped with pain management tips and tricks that I just don’t know. She knows when to suggest them, and how to administer them. When I was pregnant with my son, I was having a lot of lower back pain. She knew just where to apply pressure, to try to alleviate some of the discomfort.
3. She’s my advocate and voice to the medical staff. At the hospital where I deliver, the doctors and nurses are sporadically in and out of the room while I labor. My doula stays by my and my husband’s side, throughout the entire journey. When it comes to my doula’s presence, there is no shift change. If I need something, she makes sure I get it. If I need to talk to a nurse, she finds them. And when my body all of a sudden tells me it’s time to push, she flies out of the room to find a doctor (and yes this happened with my son, and I’m SO glad she was there).
4. Her presence takes some of the worry and stress off my husband. While my husband is fantastic moral support, he sometimes just doesn’t know how to be helpful. My doula offers suggestions how he can be an active part of the delivery, while staying in his comfort zone.
5. Breastfeeding support and postpartum care. My doula checks up on me those first few days after we’ve left the hospital, to make sure everything is going well. In the event that I needed additional aftercare support, she would help me find the resources I need.
I know hiring a doula isn’t for everyone, as each birth plan and experience is unique. For me, the presence of a doula has helped me become more confident during my labor, and I believe can help me achieve the positive birth experience I desire.
How about you? Are you hiring a doula for your birth?
Emily also blogs on her personal site, DesignHER Momma.