I'd like to share one of my birth stories with you...
In late 2008, I found out I was pregnant with a little bean. My first baby. I was in graduate school in Arkansas with absolutely no family. No guidance. No support. Just me and the father of my unborn child. I have always been fascinated with science and research so I did just that...researched. The first book I'd ever picked up centered around birth and pregnancy is going to sound so cliche...are you ready for this?? The first book I'd ever read was "What to Expect When You're Expecting". I needed to have some kind of basis for this whole pregnancy thing because I knew absolutely nothing. I remember getting to a little box that was titled: "To Doula, or Not to Doula" and I read about how Doulas help women through labor and the birth of the baby. So, I got on my computer and started looking for Doulas in my area. I found an organization called BirthWorks, who at the time, had a program where they provided volunteer opportunities for student Doulas to attend births for low income clients.
SIGN ME UP!!! NOW!!!
My Doulas were amazing! They came to my house and met me and my husband at the time and went over what our goals were for my birth and took the time to educate me where she could. (She was a student Doula...btw...) She signed us up for an eight week childbirth education class (FOR FREE!!). We learned so much!! We learned about pain management techniques, visualization, what happens to the body while growing your little human, what to expect at the hospital, options for where to give birth, and so much more.
I think I panicked about 10 times before actually going into labor. I did a lot of mistaking Braxton-Hicks contractions for labor contractions. My Mom even came all the way to Little Rock from St. Louis to try to be present for the birth of her first grandchild. She was with me for a week.......baby never came....*sigh*. A few days after she left, I noticed a shift in my contractions. IT WAS TIME!! My Doula was at my house, ready to assist me. When she saw I was in early labor, she told me to rest and try to get a meal in. I rested. Cleaned up a little. Ate. Made sure everything was in my bag. Rested some more...
When the contractions became too much, I called her and let her know that I was ready to go to the hospital. She met us there. I had 4 Doulas there with me that day. The "Natural Nurse" was a Doula, I had my 2 student Doulas, and another Doula helping another client popped in and out from time to time. It was great!!! I had the lights dimmed like I wanted, essential oils permeating the air, and Johnathan Nelson's "My Name is Victory" playing in the background. I was able to get up and walk around as I pleased. Labored in the tub for a while. I did everything I could to bring this baby down the canal and to Earth plain. My doctor was very patient with the entire process, and once she saw I wasn't progressing (I was at 8.5 cm for 4 hours...) she decided to take the baby via C-Section. *sigh* But I understood. I reassured myself that I did all that I could to get baby here and this was what was needed to get baby here. I got the epidural and prepped for the OR. My Doulas were with me every step of the way. And even though I was in another state, with my husband, I felt very well supported. My first born son, Dylan, was born via c-section at 10:12 pm on September 16, 2009 weighing in at 8lbs and 20in long.
I enjoyed my experience so much with my Doulas that I decided that I would train to become one myself and offer this level of support to other women who needed it.
A Doula is a woman (or man...I've seen men be trained to assist women in childbirth...) who provides emotional, physical, and spiritual support to women and their families. They provide education centered around your choices in childbirth and assist you and your partner with coming up with a plan to bring your baby Earthside. The do not, by any means, replace your birth partner and they hold space for you and your partner during your most vulnerable moments. Doula is Greek for "woman servant".
Even with the support of Doulas, things don't go as planned. I definitely wanted a vaginal birth. That's not what happened, though. And that's okay. Maybe I'll get the chance to do it next time...
There's always next time, right?
One day, I will share with you the birth of my second son. You will get to know and understand how his birth changed my life forever...
Be on the lookout...Until next time...
Peace and blessings!
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Peace and Blessings all!!