I’ve been really wanting to write about my recent pregnancy and birth of our baby but really haven’t had time with school. So I thought today… better late than never right? 🙂
A doula is a labor coach “who is professionally trained to assist a women during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born” [Google Web Definition].
Why a doula?
I was really terrified of childbirth but after talking to a few good friends who had really good birth natural experiences, I prayed about what I should do. After praying about it I felt the desire that I wanted to have a natural childbirth. (Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against epidurals! If you want one then by all means get one! For me, I was really scared to get an epidural because I didn’t want a big needle poked up my spine or to be paralyzed from the waist down. Who knows… may be one day I’ll overcome my fears and get an epidural.) For those who know me, I am a big wimp when it comes to pain. I have zero pain tolerance. Dallin can poke me and I would say “ouch!” So I knew I had a lot of work to do to prepare for a natural labor. I wanted someone to coach Dallin to help me get through labor without an epidural. I wanted someone who knew hospital procedures and protocols. I wanted someone who could massage me and help me relax during labor. I wanted someone who could teach me different positions I could use during labor. I wanted someone to stay there with me during my labor. I wanted a pain-free labor. And guess what?! I got exactly what I wanted with my doula! Here’s a picture of my doula, me, and Micah right after birth.
What about a doctor?
I had a OBGYN (a doctor) and hired a doula on the side. A doctor is the person you go to during your pregnancy to get your check ups. He can write you prescriptions, perform lab work, and make sure you’re in good health. A doctor comes to check up on you when you’re in labor at the hospital and usually comes back at the very end when you about to deliver the baby unless there’s a complication. A doctor performs C-sections and other medical labor procedures. A doctor makes all the medical decisions and facilitates the delivery of the baby. A doula does not cross over the medical side of your pregnancy or labor. A doula is there for support emotionally, physically, and helping you achieve your ideal birth usually with a specific birthing method.
What part did my doula play in my childbirth experience?
After I hired my doula, I was in constant contact with her. I would let her know how my pregnancy is going and ask her for her advice on things I was concerned about. She would help me decide when it was appropriate to call the doctor or help me work out my concerns. My doula came for a pre-labor visit to discuss my birth plan and what I wanted during labor. She answered all my “how will I know I’m in labor?” questions and my questions about “what it is like to deliver a baby in a hospital?”. She also helped me draft my birth plan to give to my doctor.
When I was having contractions (aka. birth waves), I stayed in touch with my doula throughout the day. My baby came faster than we thought! The doula helped me decide when to go to the hospital. My water broke at around 10:30 pm at home. The doula met us at the hospital. When she came, it made the world of difference. She helped me get in comfortable positions. The doula and Dallin gave me pressed on various parts of my body like my lower back and hips to help equalize the pressure of the birthing waves. It felt so good and such a relief. She helped me bounce on a birthing ball to dilate faster and she also helped me with different positions to help me push the baby out. The doula helped me do mother-directed pushing which also felt really good to be in control of the delivery of the baby. She also gave me emotional support and lots of encouragement. She helped me mentally feel like I can do it! It was like running a race and she was there to keep me running! After she helped us get our bags out of the car and took lots of pictures for us which was really nice because Dallin and I were busy looking at our new baby! My doula helped me achieve my natural childbirth and it was sure worth it! Right after the baby came out my body stopped working and it felt normal again. In fact, it felt better than normal because I was on an adrenaline rush at 4:00 am in the morning! I was able to walk, eat, and go to the bathroom by myself. I have to thank my doula for helping me overcome my fears and also one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.
How do you get a doula?
I just searched online and asked for references. You go through an interview process with as many doulas as you want. Interviews are usually free and it allows you to find a doula who fits your needs/personality. It’s definitely worth the time and research to find the one you want.
Andrea Donaldson Lythgoe – This is the doula who attended my birth. She was very good to work with and is a certified doula. She likes lamaze birth method and teaches natural childbirth classes at St. Marks hospital. She also came to visit me for a postpartum visit.
Kristy Avery Huber – My original doula who helped me during my pregnancy but was not able to attend my birth so she sent Andrea. Kristy was the doula I interviewed with and visited me for my pre-labor visit.
Both are very highly skilled at what they do!
Let me know if you want to talk about childbirth because I could talk about this for hours!