Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Archer's Birth

In honor of World Doula Week, March 22-28, 2013, I am posting as many birth stories as I have submitted! I want to share stories of women who had doula support for their birth and how they feel they benefited from the experience.

If you would like to share your story, please submit it by email. Include anything you wish to, but particularly how and why you chose to have a doula at your birth, what she did, and how you feel it made your birth experience a positive one. 

Please enjoy Ashley's story of her second birth. Ashley was a client of mine last year and she and her husband are a lovely couple!
With my second pregnancy, our family had just moved to Oklahoma and I discovered that my natural birth plan was not as excitedly supported as it had been in Canada, where I enjoyed such an experience with the delivery of my first son. Nevertheless, I was determined to re-experience natural childbirth again, but knew I would need some extra support to have my voice heard, and bolster my confidence in my plan along the way. 
Enter Missy.  
With our first meeting, I knew that Missy was the person my husband and I would need during this great time in our lives. She was warm, inviting, knowledgeable and supportive of all my ideas and questions. During my pregnancy there were a few hiccups. The first being the slight possibility that I may need a C-section due to a low-lying placenta, and the second being told my midwife/nurse practitioner would be unable to deliver our baby as planned since she herself would be on maternity leave. This meant that I would be left with who was ever on call at the hospital – a thought that provoked a great deal of anxiety for me. In both of these instances, I was so grateful I had Missy to turn to. She alleviated my fears on both fronts by providing reassurances that no matter what happened, I would be just fine and that she would be there to support me regardless of the outcome. Missy and I met a couple of times over during my pregnancy to review my birth plan, meet with the midwife, and to test out some techniques of relaxation and natural pain alleviation that I thought I would want to use during my labor. Every time I left our meetings, I was high on excitement, and confident in my body’s ability to deliver my second son without medical intervention.  
After a couple of false starts, my delivery day finally came! Determined to stick to my plan and not end up on my back in a hospital bed, I spent the day shopping through my labor pains (a great distraction if there ever was one!), and staying in touch with Missy about the status of my contractions. With Missy by our side, we checked into the hospital around midnight, and at 3:31am our big baby boy arrived! During those 3+ hours, Missy walked the hospital halls with me and made sure I stayed hydrated. During my contractions, she supported me, swayed with me, rubbed my back and constantly reminded me to have faith in my body and to relax. Those few short hours were REALLY intense, but I credit Missy to the fact it was only 3+ hours of intensity, and not 12. She was the one who suggested various positions for pain relief, and using the birthing ball to encourage my baby to move down quickly and gently – in fact, this is when my water broke. During the pushing stage, Missy was at my side helping me to focus my energy. Post-delivery, I required a bit of medical intervention, so Missy stayed with me and soothed my remaining fears away. Of all the wonderful and amazing things that Missy did for me during my labor, the one I am most grateful for was when she was ‘my voice’. At points during the process, I was unable to communicate effectively/clearly with the hospital staff about my wishes, so Missy made sure that they were accurately expressed. And when they couldn’t always be fulfilled, she quickly sought out helpful alternatives to ensure that I was comfortable and able to follow my body’s demands.  
I would recommend a doula to any pregnant woman, regardless of what level of medical intervention her birth plan entails. It’s just so reassuring to have support and warmth during one of life’s most intense - but wonderful - experiences!

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