Strength in Numbers, or Why We Love Our Doula

In the last post I mentioned our doula, Katrina and some advice she had given.  This is our second time using Katrina as a doula and we’re so happy she is available for this birth.  Like so many decisions you make surrounding giving birth, choosing to use a doula is one of personal preference, but one that A and I felt was right for us.

Katrina was our doula for LC’s birth.  It had been our intention to have a birth with as few medical interventions as possible.  Complications in my pregnancy prevented that from happening (it was quite the opposite really) but we still had Katrina by our side.  She was a huge support to me through bedrest, answer questions as we constantly received new information and then be in the delivery room when our time came.  Even though our intended “doula use” didn’t happen, it was still great to have her in the room.  For me the biggest reason why came immediately following LC’s birth.  LC was taken by the NICU team and A went with her to ensure everything was ok and be with her.  I continued to have complications and it was great to have Katrina by my side, not only supporting me through the continued pain and issues but to keep me company while I anxiously awaited news to of how LC was (and eventually be able to hold her.)

When talking about hiring Katrina again this time, we discussed whether the risk of similar complications might discourage us from using a doula.  In the end, we both felt that the support and guidance that Katrina provided was worth it, even if things played out as they did before. (As I am closing in on 39 weeks complication free, we’re very glad we decided to go with a doula again).

So our goals are the same this time as they were last time – to have an unmedicated birth.  I hope to labor at home for as long as possible and then take advantage of the great resources our birthing suites have available (birthing balls, jacuzzis, showers, etc.)  Since the first day we met Katrina, she has been a very calming presence.  While I never anticipated A and I getting into an argument in the delivery room, I also know that A’s coaching style and my stubborness don’t always work well together.  Katrina’s personality is not like either of ours and I think helps to balance us.  Katrina acts as a support not just to me, but to A.  She lets him take a break to eat or run to the bathroom, without feeling like he is abandoning me.  Him being able to do these things means he can support me better.  She has been to many more births than either of us (obviously) and so her knowledge of coping skills, positions and relaxation techniques will be an amazing resource for us.

Pre-birth (because we all know this baby is going nowhere right now) she has been very helpful with every panicked question I’ve thrown at her.  Even though this is our second birth, last time was not “normal” with packed hospital bags and laboring as I wished in the birthing suite.  I’ve had questions from when do I call the doctor, can I stay home longer to what should I pack to wear in the jacuzzi and do I have to wear a hospital gown.  For those questions that keep arising that I’m not sure whether I should call the doctor for, she is a great sounding board.  Earlier last week I thought my water may have broken (it had not) so I called and talked through the symptoms with her.  She thought it didn’t sound like it but felt it was worth a call to the doctor.  On Thursday I had a number of contractions that made all of us believe this baby was on her way (silly, silly us).  I spoke to Katrina throughout the evening, discussing what was happening and what I should be looking for if this really was labor.  In the end, when contractions went from every 10 minutes to every 25 and then nothing, she was supportive and reassuring.  Both A and I were disappointed – thinking we were going to be able to meet our baby by Friday – but she helped remind me that this was a sign things were getting ready to happen and at least allowed A and I to have a dry run of babysitter calls and packing hospital bags.  It may seem like a small thing, but it definitely helped me that evening.

Postpartum last time, Katrina helped us through breastfeeding issues as well as my guilt issues surrounding LC’s birth.  We talked about all of the interventions I had through the birth and why each was needed.  It made me feel better to know that the interventions couldn’t have been avoided and that we did what we needed to have a healthy baby.  I worried that I didn’t speak up for myself or my baby enough and challenge the interventions, but she reminded me of the high level of questioning both A and I had done before any intervention was taken.  While it may not have been the birth we imagined, it was the birth we needed for a healthy LC.

There are many reasons to choose a doula, these are just a few of ours.  While I’m not a 10 member “birthing team” in the room type of person, I am so happy to know I will have two wonderful support people in the room with me.  I just hope the next time I text or call her, it is to say that I really mean it this time, I’m in labor.

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