When I was pregnant with Eli I was pretty scared about the birth process. What I’ve come to understand is that’s not all that uncommon in this day and time. I didn’t know anyone, besides relatives, that has had a baby in the past 20 years and so had no idea what to expect.
In my quest to educate myself I found out about a person called a doula, which is basically a labor support person. She doesn’t take the place of the dad, she’s just another pair of hands in the labor room to help you with anything you might need. Most especially, she sees to your physical comfort and emotional needs and helps explain options when the situations changes. She helps dad with understanding ways to support you as well, so you become a team trying to get the baby here as opposed to a couple of people stranded in a hospital room with no one to explain what’s going on.
Which pretty much sums up my first labor experience. It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t good and mostly, I just felt stranded. The bulk of my active labor was during shift change and I’m not sure we could have scared up a nurse if Stephen had delivered the baby himself and then walked into the hall to ask for some assistance with the cord. There was one delivery nurse that was really excited about Eli scoring a 9 on the APGAR test but she moved out with the doctor to the next delivery. But my doctor was there on time and the baby came quickly so what is there really to gripe about, right?
My doctor is young and I like that about her, she’s only a couple of years older than me but she is a caring and confident person. When I asked her about getting a doula with Eli, she didn’t come out and say she didn’t want one in her labor room but I could tell, it aggravated her. So I dropped the subject. This time around, she has had one child and when I asked her about it a second time, was pregnant with twins. (She’s out on maternity leave now but is supposed to be back before my due date.) She seemed much more receptive to the idea of a doula, so Stephen and I started talking about it again.
At first, it seemed a bit silly to get one for a second birth. I mean, I’ve already done it once, right? What could I possibly need with a doula when I know what’s going to happen? But that’s the thing, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Just because one birth went relatively smoothly, doesn’t mean that the second one will. Since my epidural wore off on one side with Eli, I decided that I’d like to go as long as possible without drugs this time. I don’t know if or how I’ll make that but that’s the great thing about having the doula, she’s there for encouragement for whatever you decide.
So then came the process of actually trying to find someone. I had mentioned it to Ashley and since she’s having her first, she really wanted to get a doula. She started looking and found someone she’s really happy with. The problem in Huntsville is that there aren’t many certified doulas here and then because they like kids, guess what, they usually have a lot themselves. So sometimes even if there are multiple options in your area, they may be out because of their own births or booked up with other people’s births. Which is the case here right now. There’s about five practicing doulas but currently only two of them are taking clients. Ashley’s doula was a bit nervous about taking both of us on as clients since we are both due so close together and rightly so, I think. I contacted the other one set up a meeting with her.
We had our second appointment with Jeanne this week and she is great! I’m so glad that she’s going to be there with us. We talked about what I’d be wanting and she showed Stephen some foot massage techniques. I get my feet massaged during labor? Can I go ahead and get that part started now?
I’m actually starting to get excited about trying to make it through labor without the drugs. Not because I think it’ll be fun but because I want to be awake enough to experience it all this time. With Eli, I just wanted it to be over as quickly as possible but this time, I’m think I’m ready to give the whole experience a try.
I have to say the feeling of optimism concerning the labor and delivery is much more pleasant to look forward to than the dread that I felt before. I think the bulk of that is due to knowing we’ll have an advocate in the room with us no matter what happens.