How Birthing With a Doula Changed My Experience

It’s been 1 month since I gave birth to my newest baby boy, and baby #3 for me.  My daughter is 9 years old now, and my older son is 7 years old.  So starting over with a new baby was not necessarily in the plans for me, but he has definitely been a welcomed surprise.  This pregnancy was labeled “high risk” from the very beginning.  Having a history of multiple miscarriages in both 1st and 2nd trimester, and hemorrhaging and needing blood transfusions, left me in the high-risk category.  Throughout my pregnancy, I had a great doctor that respected my decisions, even when it was against the norm, like refusing the glucose test since I had absolutely no risk or symptoms of Gestational Diabetes.

I also had a Doula during my pregnancy that was able to help give me a lot of information that was very helpful during those months.  Due to medical reasons, doctors and myself agreed it was best to induce labor at 40 weeks.  My Doula was there from the beginning of the labor.  I chose the very difficult route of going through labor with no epidural while being induced.  Trust me, that was no picnic!  However, I felt it was safest, and best for myself and the baby.  It turns out my baby’s head was at the wrong angle, and the cord was wrapped around his neck.  After 32 hours of labor, I was finally given an epidural so they could turn the baby while he was still inside.  The epidural took the edge off, but I was still able to feel pain for the next 2 hours.

From the beginning of my labor, my Doula helped me by doing Acupressure to help my body dilate.  She encouraged me and breathed with me through each contraction.  She constantly reminded me to try and relax, ride the contraction out like a wave. Yes, easier said than done, but it worked. When I thought I had no more strength, it was the encouraging words that urged me to keep going.  Not only was my Doula there helping, but I had my husband and family there too.  I had the support of people I love and care for through the entire event.

I’m grateful that I was able to have my Doula there not only for reassurance, but during long labors, there comes a point where you’re just exhausted and want it to be over.  She was able to walk with me through those moments.  She reminded me that my body was built to be able to do this.  During a long, exhaustive labor you can forget that women have been birthing since the beginning of time. You tend to focus on bracing for the next contraction, and the pain that you’re in.  I was induced with a few other women on my floor.  By the next day, I was still in labor.  My doctor tried to encourage me and tell me come on let’s get this baby out, and let me know all of the other women on the floor had already delivered.  I guess those were the wrong words, and I was already exhausted and in so much pain that I started crying.  My Doula and a wonderful nurse that came on shift helped me to pull myself together, they reminded me that we were in the home stretch.

When the hospital staff was pressuring my doctor to do an emergency c-section, and my support team knew it wasn’t what I wanted, except in the case of emergency, they helped me refocus and allow my body to do what it was designed to do. My Doula used Essential oils and music to help calm me, and help guide me. After 36 hours of labor, I was finally able to give birth to my son.  Could I have done it without my Doula and my family’s support? Yes, but I probably would’ve tapped out far earlier. I don’t think the experience would’ve been as peaceful as it was had I not had that encouragement and support.  My wishes were respected, and I was appreciative of that. I hear too many horror stories where the hospital staff dismisses the mother’s wishes and does what is best in their agenda.

This was my first birth with my Doula, and this will be my last child.  I can honestly say I’m grateful I was able to have my family at my side.  And I’m grateful I was able to have my Doula by my side. Oh, did I fail to mention that my Doula is my younger sister? I did, didn’t I? Yes, my younger sister has been the Doula for my son’s birth as well as our youngest sister’s birth of her baby as well.  Not only is having a Doula there for your birthing process more important than I previously realized, but it actually makes a tremendous difference in the outcome, in the experience, and in the way you look back and remember your labor.

Note:  Midwives and Doulas are not the same thing.  Doulas work more for the support and the encouragement of the mother.  They do not perform any medical exams or the like.  However, even with that being said, Doulas are so much more important than I once realized, and I’m very grateful to have had mine.

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