Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Birthing Experience: Why I Wish I Had A Doula

I am a short female; yes I admit that I only reach 4'11". At 6 months along with my first child, everyone (who didn't know me asked if I was due any day). My stomach was huge! I asked my doctor if my son would be too large to deliver. She thought it would be best to induce 10 days early. Sure, I was excited that I wouldn't have to wait much longer, but I didn't know all of the risks of being induced. I had a horrible experience trying to focus and stay in control of my breathing. My poor husband tried to comfort me, but it just wasn't enough. I was about 9cm when I finally asked for an epidural. I had intended to have a natural birth, but it all went down hill.
I had to wait for over a 1/2 hour for an epidural, because the anesthesiologist was busy. While I waited, the nurse asked me if I wanted an IV medication "to take the edge off". I thought that less pain at the moment sounded great. I actually became sick and my thoughts got cloudy. I don't know where the "edge was taken off", but I was not happy with the results and her interpretation of the medication. I finally received the epidural, and felt great.
Unfortunately, I had pushed for a few hours and my son's heartbeat slowed with contractions. I was faced with a c-section. My doctor believed it was the best option. Not sure of all that it entailed, I felt it was my only option. My beautiful son was born about 20 minutes later.
I had some side effects from the medication, epidural, and the healing process from the c-section. I truly wish that I had been able to have someone experienced with relaxation techniques, massage, and childbirth in general. Having a person there to inform me of the pros and cons of each step I took, would have been so very beneficial. If there was someone to help me possibly reach my goals in my birth plan, I would have been thrilled. I also struggled with breastfeeding the first few days and there was no one on staff in the middle of the night when I needed someone the most. How I would have loved to be able to call someone to walk me thru the steps.
A doula helps to inform parents about each step in the delivery process. She can help alleviate stress with relaxation methods. She can help dad find ways to be more supportive. She can give you the risk factors with medications and procedures. She is there for you! I didn't have a doula, because I didn't know that they existed, but now I wouldn't go without one.
Please Remember: Doulas are not doctors and they cannot suggest what you should do, or give their opinion about what they would do. Doulas inform, encourage, and support.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cesarean Birth and Doulas

By Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE, About.com

A doula can bring in another set of hands and eyes and ears to help you better prepare for your upcoming surgical birth. She can help you get answers to your questions and formulate a birth plan for a cesarean section. Sometimes your doula can even help you by offering you an educational class on cesarean section.
During the pre-operative period, your doula can help explain procedures to you and help you get answers to any questions that you have, much like she would during a normal labor setting. Your doula can help you manage painful procedures like the administration of an IV, or even the spinal or epidural anesthesia for your surgery.
Once inside the operating room, your doula will assist you in knowing what is going on by giving you details of whatever you wish to know. Your surgeon and assistants are busy doing the surgery. The nurses are preparing the room for the baby. Your husband is awaiting the baby and will soon go to the warmer to greet the baby. Your doula will be at your side. She can take photos if you desire, particularly after the baby is born. She can remind the staff of any special requests you may have, like letting your husband announce the gender of the baby or a quiet room during the birth.
If your baby needs to go to the nursery, your husband can go with the baby. Your doula stays by your side. She can also act as a liaison between the staff and you for getting updates on baby while you are separated.
One important fact to remember about the cesarean is that the baby is born in the first few minutes. The rest of the nearly hour long procedure is the repair. If your husband is busy with the baby or in the nursery, you would otherwise be alone during this period. During the postpartum period your doula can suggest post-operative comfort measures. She can assist you with any breastfeeding questions you may have or special help you or baby may require with breastfeeding. Your doula can also help with reminding the staff about your birth plan and special needs you may have.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What doulas do not do:
As a doula, I do not:

*Perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, and others. I am there to provide only physical comfort, emotional support and advocacy.
*Make decisions for you.
What I will do:
I will help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision. I will also remind you if there is a departure from your Birth Plan. I will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but you or your partner will speak on your behalf to the clinical staff.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

What is a Doula?
A doula provides informational, physical and emotional support to pregnant women and their families/partners before and throughout the birthing process. A doula typically meets with expectant families a few times prior to the birth, offering information and assessing their individual needs and desires to have the birth experience that they choose.