Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Doula Me

To piggyback on Red's previous post, doulas seem to be an awesome way to achieve natural labor within a hospital setting. As a labor advocate, the doula will step in to represent your birth wishes amidst the intensity of natural labor, allowing both wife and husband to remain focused on the birth. The doula's knowledge and expertise can also provide additional options for labor positions and alternatives to medication.

I have just found a FREE doula-in-training who is going to be present for our birth! Can you sense my enthusiasm?! We met with her last night and I believe she is going to be the perfect compliment to my husband and I in the delivery room. What an absolute blessing to find her with less than two weeks until my due date... God was listening as my husband and I pondered our options Saturday night before bed. He was expressing some apprehension about being my labor coach with so little experience and only a few chapters of Husband Coached Childbirth (Bradley) under his belt. I stood my ground, knowing labor is primarily my job, but also filling with worry as my #1 labor guy fell to fear.

"Do you think we should look for a doula?" he said. (I had wondered this same question aloud a month before, but we overlooked it at the time.) "I don't know, honey," I replied, "They are expensive and you convinced me that if I did it last time, I can do it again." "Yeah, but Jay at the office says sometimes you can find them for free or reduced cost due to them being in training" he said. "Yeah, but where in the world are we going to find a free doula who would be willing to take us on so late in the game?!" I questioned...

God answered! The very next day at a baby shower as I shared with a friend my desire to have a natural birth, she recommended her friend who was a doula-in-training and doing her first three labors for FREE. How great is that?! We will be birth #3. My natural labor has just become a little more achievable! I'm totally stoked.

So here's where you all come in. What should I tell my doula? What specific instructions were you glad you gave to your doula or midwife before your natural delivery? What words did you appreciate hearing? Should I have the doula come over to our house before we head to the hospital? I am swimming in thoughts and would love your insight!! Thanks!


This Heavenly Life said...

I'd definitely invite her to your house! You can meet her and speak about some of your fears and hopes, so she'll know what to address in encouraging you. You can talk with her about your birth plan so she'll be able to advocate for the experience you most want. Plus, you can just get comfortable with her! Tell her what kind of music you like (she might bring it for you!), tell her what kind of touch you like best or worst (like, I hate having my feet touched, and my doula wanted to know that in case she felt like a nice foot massage would have helped me relax in early labor!) Definitely invite her over :)

I loved my doula, and I'm so glad you're getting to have one for FREE!!

Right Said Red said...


We have talked IRL about this, but I think a doula is an excellent solution! I am so happy for you that you found someone and that she is FREE!!

I think most men are intimated to be the sole coach, which is why I think the actual Bradley courses, as opposed to just reading the book, can be helpful. There is something about that class setting that helps men feel more confident.

Things to bring up with the doula: Your birthing Hopes, any "no no's," and your overall "plan" for how you would like things to go. I say have her come to your house when you are in early labor--she will be a great judge as to when you should leave for the hospital. I would meet with her more than once before you go into labor, just so she can get a feel for who you are and what you want from your birth experience.

Mary Alice said...

B, my MIL is a doula, so if you want to email her directly she can advise you as to how to get the most out of the relationship, I will send your her email address, as well as that of a friend who is a Bradley instructor. This is great news!

Kat said...

B-Mama, I can't believe that you're so close! I was fortunate to have a doula when Lucy was born, and it was a great experience. One of the major bonuses was having someone to act as a liason between Ed and me and the nurses/doctors. That way, Ed and I could just concentrate on the labor and delivery, and Janet (our wonderful doula) did all of the behind-the-scenes work! She dimmed the lights at one point and had me take a much-needed rest, she massaged my feet and legs, and she told friends and family when we were ready for visitors and when we needed a break.

I was wary of putting off the nurses and doctors by bringing a doula into the hospital, as was Ed, and I asked Janet to please be as gentle as possible in her requests. After all, it was going to be the doctors and nurses that would be delivering my baby and caring for us after the birth! Janet did a great job of this, and I really appreciated it. The nurses didn't seem to mind having Janet around at all - she was a great complement to the whole process.

God bless you, B-Mama - you can do it!

Oh, and just as an aside, Lucy has been my only natural birth out of the 4 - I didn't really have a choice because she came so quickly, but still, it really helped to have a doula present!

Right Said Red said...


Did you meet with the Doula? How did it go?

Juris Mater said...

B-mama, one thing that I always make a key part of my birthplan for my midwives is that I really like the lines of communication to be wide open between me and the nurse or midwife who's attending my labor. I get frustrated and irrationally ticked off when a nurse or midwife is making notes and observations and not sharing them with me. I really like to be talked to about what my body's doing, both because I'm interested, and even more, because as a controlling type and an athlete (attuned to the precise workings of my body), I feel more at peace and brave when I know what's happening and can work along with the process. Otherwise I feel defeated and incapacitated, like a victim of the process. (This does not include being checked a lot--I usually request that only right as I'm checked in to the birth center and as I start feeling like I'm at the end of transition). As a science lady and an athlete, I think you might also want to ask that your doula observe what the nurses and doctors are observing and share any information with you, as well as her sharing from her own past experience what this and that means, how things are going, etc. Talk it through, talk it through.

B-Mama said...

Ladies, these are all gems of wisdom. We are working on a birth plan today and are hoping all goes smoothly once we hit laboring at the hospital. According to the doula (who consulted her doula teacher), #4 births can be "tricky" and can involve a lot more prodromal labor. We'll see! The perk is that the body does so much work ahead of time that actual active labor is a lot shorter. Count me in!

Red, YES!, we met with the doula Monday and really enjoyed meeting her. She is our age and very chill. I just loved her overall "vibe" and she is really willing to work with us and give us the experience we're desiring. She gave us sample birth plans, birth positioning sheets, another Bradley book for reference... Both GG and I agree that she is a perfect fit for us. We are probably going to really appreciate having another opinion around if my pre-labor is long! I don't want to head to the hospital too soon...

JM, I am going to encourage the open communication as you recommended. I'm a "need to know" kind of gal too, so this is perfect advice.

Yesterday was crampy and full of BH contractions with an edge. Perhaps pre-labor has begun? Doubtful, but I'm eager to see if I've progressed at all at my appt. tomorrow!