Naturally, I was SO excited when I was pregnant with my first child. I couldn’t wait to get a nursery ready, buy tiny clothes and dream about our new family member. I was even excited about the birthing process… because come on ladies-this is what we are MADE for.
As my pregnancy progressed, I knew that I wanted to give birth without any intervention or medication. I even specifically chose my doctor because she doesn’t do many interventions and is very natural. I made it through the ‘are you sures?’ and ‘you can always get an epidural’ talks from my mother and stuck to my plan of no drugs, no intervention. In order to achieve this goal, I figured I would need some help. This is where my wonderful doula, Dawn, came in.
Doulas are not medical professionals and don’t deliver the baby (like midwives), they are there to provide emotional support to the mothers and their partner.
I chose a doula because my family doesn’t live here and I was nervous that if my doctor were not available during my delivery, I wouldn’t know anyone other than my husband in the delivery room. I interviewed doulas and chose one after much thought. Well, as it turned out, she was going to be gone when I was in labor and I got her backup, Dawn. It was meant to be, because Dawn is honestly one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known. She has a voice that just instantly calmed me (I am *highly* anxious, so this is no easy task) and made me feel safe. I knew she was perfect to help me achieve a drug free labor.
Fast forward to my 9th month of pregnancy (which strangely lasted 63 days longer than any other month of the year) and I was so anxious to get. this. baby. out. already. I ended up having my water broken, but I stuck to my guns about no drugs and was ready to do this thing. Because, you know, I am woman, hear me roar! Or something like that. But turns out that when in labor, the only thing I roared was “I think I am dying! I am dying, right?! How much longer?!” Dawn came to my rescue and really helped me breathe and relax. She assured me that, no, I was in fact not dying and she couldn’t tell me how much longer, but I was doing great. In fact, one of my most vivid memories of my daughter’s birth is Dawn locking eyes with me and saying I could do this. After some medicine to help me calm down (which I am quick to point out did not relieve the pain!) 6 hours later my perfect girl was born.
When I found out I was pregnant a few years later, Dawn was one of my first calls. I knew I needed her with me again. This time, I was much calmer during labor and didn’t ask if I was dying. Dawn deemed the birth of my baby boy “fast and furious”. I don’t think I would’ve been one of those crazy people who falls into a trance-like state between contractions (yes-that really happens!) and achieve my drug free labor if it weren’t for her.
I love that she is forever a part of my children’s birth stories.
So, if you are having a baby, here are my reasons why I think you should hire a doula:
1. It never hurts to have another person in your corner. Having a doula is a guarantee that someone will be there to speak up for you and your wishes if you or your partner is unable to do so. We met with Dawn before both of our children’s births to go over a birth plan. She helped me clarify what I wanted and provided me with tons of advice.
2. She is someone to ask any questions you may have. I was able to be in touch with Dawn the last 5 weeks of my pregnancy during my prodromal labor. She coached me through those contractions and helped me determine if ‘this was it’ or not and answered all my questions. It was very comforting to have her as a resource.
3. When it’s time for the big day, your doula stays with you. I loved this. Your doctor and nurses are in and out of the room-but a doula is constant support. She is there to help you change positions, suggest comfortable ways to manage contractions, etc.
4. Having a doula takes some of the pressure off your significant other. Especially with our first, I wasn’t sure what my husband would be like while I was in labor (turns out he was phenomenal). With a doula there, she is able to help your partner know how to support you and give them a break if needed (to eat, use the bathroom, etc).
5. She may help with postpartum care. The fee for our doula included a postpartum follow up. With our daughter I actually paid to have a few extra visits so I could have a little help around the house and with the baby when my husband went back to work. Doulas are often great supports when it comes to breastfeeding as well, (some are lactation counselors).
If you are thinking of hiring a doula, but are on the fence – just do it! You won’t regret having the extra support when you need it the most. I hope that I have done and adequate job of outlining the amazing work doulas do. If you are interested in learning more, then you can check out DONA international and Beautiful Birth Doulas is the organization we found Dawn through.