9 05/09/2012 parenting Pregnancy

Did You Doula??

When women were out in the fields dropping babies and then resuming their work five minutes later, I’m sure a doula would never have come to mind.  But now, they are becoming more and more popular.  I’m a HUGE proponent of the doula.

Why?  What does a doula do?  I see a doula as a mid-wife for the mother.  Her focus is on you – your needs and ensuring that you have as successful a birthing experience as you can.  She acts as your advocate with the doctors and nurses so you can focus on getting that baby out and your loved ones can focus on feeding you ice and telling you how great you’re doing.
I had never considered using a doula but my friend suggested it.  It made total sense for me.  I needed the security of knowing that someone would be there at the hospital.  I wasn’t sure where my sister would be.  Mitchell, my birthing class partner, had a little guy of her own and I didn’t want to disturb her at 2am if that’s when the action got going.  So I called Lisa and we met.  And I loved her.  She took all of my fear of childbirth out with one statement – “It’s not like a broken leg.  The pain stops once the baby is out.”  MAGIC.
We mapped out my birth plan.  It was simple.
a. Will was to get on me as soon as we out (man – has that not changed).
b. My dad was to cut the cord
c. Under no circumstances were they to show me the plancenta
d. Drugs if I wanted them


I was lucky.  I had a very fast labour.  And Lisa was amazing.  My step-mother was at the hospital when we got there.  Lisa noted that wasn’t part of the plan and said she would ask her to leave.  I burst out laughing and said it was fine.  BUT – the key is she would have done it.  At 8 cm and in the middle of a two hour contraction I finally yelled for drugs.  She ran to get the anesthesiologist.  When Will shot out – literally – an hour later, she made sure he was settled on my chest instantly.  She got my dad out of his cowering position in the corner and brought him up.  He made Will’s belly button.  The placenta got taken away for testing because Will was so small – so check – gone.
Everything to plan.  And I can look back – in all seriousness – really fondly on my birthing experience.  It was fast, funny, a little dramatic….but it was smooth.  And I’m so blessed.  A huge reason for this was my doula.  (although the nurses are still convinced that she was my partner…not that there’s anything wrong with it!).
So did you doula?  Do you wish you did??
*the pic is Lisa introducing me to a wrapped up Will!  Amazing how much he looks the same AND how awesome my nails were…what a joke….that’s what bedrest will get you!
  • Julie

    midwife here, too. i just regret not having a homebirth with my 1st. to me it is insane to want to go to a hospital to give birth…hospitals are just cesspools! (not that my home is immaculate but, y’know)

  • DesiValentine

    I didn’t doula, but it definitely would have been worthwhile to have one. My labours were crazy-fast – 45 minutes with my daughter and less than 30 with my son. But I would have paid a lot of money not to be the one to tell my mother-in-law it was time for her to leave about a minute before my son was born. If she had talked to me about staying for the birth ahead of time, I would have been (somewhat) more comfortable with it, and possibly saved her hearing me scream “[name], GET OUT! NOW!” during that fourth and final contraction. Clearly, I could have used an intermediary!

  • Amanda

    I had a doula with my first and she was beyond amazing! It was so helpful and empowering to have another woman there guiding me through it. For our second and third, my husband stepped up to the plate and was a wonderful support, but for the first we could not have made it through without her! LOVE DOULAS!!

  • Susannah Lavallee

    So, as you know Sara, I am a “two kid” kinda person…. no need to have a third in our house. But.. I considered it only so I could hang out with out doula again. She was incredible. In both cases she helped us navigate very scary labours and difficult recoveries. Jackson was small and had trouble feeding, and she was right there. Gracie’s labour was 40hours. She was there the whole time. Both resulted in emerengy c-sections, and she helped Rene, and my family get through it all, as well as me. She was lovely and kind

  • Kath

    The nails were the first thing I noticed in that picture!
    I didn’t have a doula, but I did have my mom, two midwives and my chiropractor with me for my first birthing experience (planned homebirth, hospital transfer). Our chiro was a recent grad (had taken over the practice of our regular chrio while she was on holiday for 2 months) and she offered to come. I didn’t really want her to, but our midwife must have called her and she showed up anyway. Once she was there, she stayed for the WHOLE duration (which turned out to be nearly 24 hours). Even when the midwife went home to rest while my labour was not progressing but our chiro stayed. She helped so very much during all the slow and tortuous back labour I endured, she seemed to know when to blend into the background and when to be there front and centre (and nobody could put pressure on my lower back like she could!) and in the end I was so grateful for her!
    I think doulas (or chiropractors) are a wonderful idea!

  • Sara

    totally KB! So many of my friends said their husbands loved the doula – once they were there. Many had issues with the idea of not being in ‘control’. I know my sister did….:). Yours sounds lovely!

  • Kaybee

    Sara, we did doula. I can say she was a HUGE help not only to me, but to John. It was such a comfort to John to know that he had “help.” When my contractions started at 2:00 pm on a Wednesday afternoon, Stephanie came over and we went for a walk in the cold sunshine (it was March.) We talked about all sorts of stuff, keeping me calm. John recalled the moment when we decided that Maeve needed to be delivered via C-section, and he was ordered to go get into surgery scrubs. He stood there with all of our stuff – his bookbag, my little suitcase, our coats… and he was absolutely a deer in headlights, like, WTF to do with all this stuff? Stephanie took it all from him and assured him that everything was going to be alright, and gave him a push in the direction he needed to go. While that might sound like a little thing, it was monumental at that moment for him. At the hospital, Stephanie reminded me that I did not have to allow the asshole resident in the room if I didn’t want her there (which I did not, and she encouraged me to tell her to scram, which I did.) Stephanie helped get me situated with Maeve once she was “out” and helped get her latched on to the boobage. And Stephanie was a compassionate, kind, loving person who was as excited for our daughter’s arrival as we were. Our doula experience was fantastic, and I highly recommend it to anyone considering it.

  • Christine

    No doula here. I like to be left alone when I labour/deliver.
    Don’t talk to me.
    Don’t touch me.
    As far as a birth plan – we talked with the nurses in early labour and let them know I wanted the baby on my chest immediately and Sean to cut the cord. I didn’t want a mirror and please don’t ask me to touch the head when it comes out.
    I had my oldest sister there for Sean’s company the first 2 times. She was a great calming support for him. I do feel badly that she had to watch the horror that was Cuyler’s birth, but it’s bonded us in a way nothing else could.
    With Eva it was just Sean and I and the hospital staff, who pretty much left us until we needed them.
    It was my favourite L&D because it was intimate. Mostly just Sean and I.
    One nurse and our amazing dr when she was born. Then they left us to fall in love with her.

  • Tracey

    We didn’t doula – we had midwives for the home-birth we planned, but in the end, I had a c-section. And then I opted for a second c-section for the birth of Madame. I didn’t go the doula route, only because my midwife was enough for me – I felt totally comfortable and supported by her.
    I think doulas are terrific though – I would recommend one for anyone, especially if that person feels she needs more support. That’s exactly what they’re there for!!
    And whoa – your nails DID look awesome, dude!

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