Never did I ever think I would have a doula. Not that I am against them, I just wasn’t very educated about them. For more of a backstory of how/why we decided to involve one in our pregnancy see this post.
Definition of a doula – “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.”*
Another way to describe a doula is how our midwife put it; With a doula, in the hospital room your partner can focus on being there for you and doesn’t have to worry about knowing how to coach you. Your doula will also fetch you anything you need. For my hubby and I this was great since this will be our first child and we did not have family on that side of the country to help.
I received a call from our Doula-to-be on a Wednesday while I was at work so I couldn’t take the call at the time. When I got home I called her, at that time she was in an appointment and said she would call me back. She sounded kind and similar in age to myself which was nice as that is what I asked for in my request form.
Emily, my Doula. Called me back shortly and asked me how my pregnancy was going thus far. I let her know it’s been pretty easy up until this trimester when pregnancy insomnia had kicked in full force. We chatted a bit longer and I felt really comfortable! I was excited about how easy she was to talk to. We scheduled an at-home appointment for the upcoming Monday evening. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the idea of a Doula, yes their visits are at your home, pretty great perk of you ask me!
Meeting my doula…
Before our visit Emily emailed me a few articles to read, like the choices to expect in the delivery room/right after baby is born, a list of essential things to have before he comes home with us and a list of what you need to pack for the hospital. Super helpful and was great because it prompted me of what to ask her about.
So that Monday my doula Emily came for our visit, I say visit because she came to my home which was so nice, so much more comfortable than an office. Right off the bat it was like having a friend come over and chat with you. She started by asking how the pregnancy has been thus far, they ask this because they do not have access to your medical records. We continued to talk about many topics, a lot of which being how I feel about induction, epidural, my fears of labor and so on. I was able to ask her questions about the articles and other birth questions and it felt like I was talking to a friend, it was so relaxing and such an easy experience.
Getting on the same page…
Later in the conversation she picked up on my “accent” which I hardly notice anymore and asked if I was from the east coast, I laughed and said yes my husband and I are from Nova Scotia, we had a good laugh and chatted about Halifax since she lived there for a few years and her mom is from Bedford. Small world! In total she was over for just over an hour and a half. It was for sure not a visit my husband needed to be at, he had to work anyway so it worked out.
Emily went on to say that her job in the process is to be there for myself and Geoff. For my physical and emotional needs, any questions we have. As well as support in the hospital room on the day. We also went over birth plan, so that she would be on the same page as me. Part of her job was to help be my voice in the hospital room so that I could focus. I told her that I wanted to avoid epidural among my other requests.
In the following weeks Emily would check in with me from time to time to see how I was doing which was very refreshing. Between Emily and our midwife team I felt so supported. I can’t tell you how relieving that was.
On the morning that my water broke, I texted Emily to let her know. She instructed me to let triage at the birth unit know. Since I was not group B Strep positive I would not need to go in and start an IV. Emily told me that since we would have a long day ahead of us to just rest. As best we could obviously, and to keep her in the loop.
Triage at the hospital told us to come in at 5pm if my contractions hadn’t started yet so they could check on me. Keep in mind my water broke around 9am. By 5:30/6pm we headed down to the hospital (two blocks away), they checked me and sent me home as I did not yet have contractions.
Around 7pm my contractions started and we notified Emily. From here on out Geoff was the one texting her on my behalf. Emily was relaying information to Geoff on how to comfort me. She would ask him questions about where my contractions were and such. It was still too soon for her to come over as they were still not close enough together yet.
Helping me through the pain…
In the early hours of Sunday morning Geoff made the final text saying it was time. Emily came over and sent Geoff back to bed so he could get some rest. While Geoff was in bed Emily got me set up with a portable Tens device. Basically it’s a muscle simulator. She placed the patches on my lower back and told me that whenever I had a contraction to tell her. The Tens was a huge help. It massaged my muscles while they were contracting and to help more, Emily would apply pressure to my lower back.
Emily helped me through my contractions for a few hours. We hung out in the kitchen and living room for most of it until we decided to try a bath. Honestly, once I got in the water, it was such a calming feeling. Don’t worry, we took the Tens off before I got in the tub! The pain of my contractions lessened so much while I was in the tub. I honestly didn’t want to get out! I can see why water birth is such a therapeutic option, maybe I will visit that with our next baby!
Once I got out of the tub I decided to try to lay down for a bit in bed with my hubby while Emily napped on the couch. It didn’t take long for my contractions to come back with a vengeance! I woke everyone up and said it was time. By now it was around 6am and we left for the hospital for what we hoped would be the final time.
Delivery room support…
Once we got settled into our room, Emily joined us and asked if either of us would like any water or juice. She quickly came back with refreshments and continued to help me labor around the room. Since she knew my birth plan she helped me through the pain by being very nurturing. She would reassure me and keep me as calm as possible given the circumstance. In the hours it took to get Mr. P into the world she got both Geoff and I multiple drinks to keep us hydrated, made sure I had a cool cloth for my head and neck and was the voice of reason for both my husband and I.
I really loved how Emily and my midwife worked in tandem together. They were such an incredible team. From what my husband said, it helped him be able to enjoy the moment of our baby coming into the world. Having a doula eased his fear of the delivery room by taking on the major birth partner responsibilities.
Two weeks after getting home from the hospital Emily stopped by to visit Peyton and I. It was so great to see her again. We talked about the transition of pregnancy to new mom life. She checked in with me mentally, to make sure I was feeling great. It was amazing to see her with Peyton. Knowing that she was such a huge part in bringing him into this world. I appreciate her more than she can know and am so thankful that we had her with us.
I would recommend a doula to any first time mom. As much as our mother’s have gone through this and want to be in the room with us. It’s not always possible. To be honest, I think having a birth professional being your support just makes sense. Doula’s are here for you as a mama, and they are also there for your husband/man. Even though I will know what to expect (within reason, all labor’s are different), I would love to have a doula again.
Some doula’s also offer postpartum care. You can always ask what services your potential doula provides, most will have a service list for you. My doula was specifically a birth doula.
Thank you again Emily! We love you!
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