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.