If there is anything predictable about birth, its that it is unpredictable.
Bethany had been having some contractions for awhile, but they weren't seeming to progress to the real deal. And then they stopped all together. And then they started...and stopped. So when they started again, Bethany called and said they were going to head into the birth center, but she wasn't sure where she was or if she was ready for me to come. It might still be awhile. I volunteered to meet her there and leave again if she wanted me to because it sure sounded to me like she was going to have a baby.
Sure enough, just a couple hours after arriving at the birth center, her baby girl was born--it was such a beautiful delivery! Laboring women are simply stunning, and Bethany was every bit of gorgeous as she brought her little girl out of the water and to her chest. Congratulations, Sams family!! Thank you for letting me be a part of your little girl's birth day.
Make sure you watch the slideshow at the end to see more from this beautiful girl's big debut!
I'm guessing you've heard this before, but labor is unpredictable.
During a prenatal visit, our doulas always go over a worksheet with our clients that is titled, "Birth Options and Preferences." We do our best to help these awesome moms achieve the birth they have been thinking about, planning for, and waiting on for so long, but since so much can't be planned ahead of time, we just have to see what hand we are dealt when labor begins. And that is exactly why I think that having a doula is such a wonderful thing! She can help guide you along this unfamiliar, unpredictable path and hopefully help you be thrilled with where it takes you.
One such story recently happened here in Knoxville, TN. There was a mama who was planning to deliver at the birth center and had chosen Stephanie as her doula. Unfortunately, when labor called, Stephanie was sick with a stomach bug and in no condition to be with a mama through labor. So this mama got me (not that I'm too shabby of a replacement, but it's just not what this mama had planned!).
This woman wanted a water birth, but when it came time to push the pool was not so comfortable and it was difficult for her to really feel what she was doing. The most comfortable position for her was actually sitting on the toilet. Thankfully, she had chosen her provider well and was attended by a kind and supportive midwife who acted like it was no big deal for a mama to push a baby out while sitting on the toilet. So she did! It was really awesome and so powerful to watch this mama go with the flow, use what she had, and bring her baby into the world. I'm so thankful that I got to be part of their beautiful day.
Congratulations, Mommy and Daddy! You rocked that delivery and I'm so proud of how you handled everything that labor threw at you. You are so strong and your little girl is so precious. Thank you for letting me be there with you!
There is great excitement when meeting a new family and it is awesome beyond words to be present when their baby enters this world. But the BIGGEST reason we work as doulas comes down to what we know (and wish every expectant mother knew) - If an expectant mother has a doula, statistically she will have*:
50% reduction in rate of c-section
25% shorter labor
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in oxytocin use
30% reduction in analgesia use
40% reduction in forceps delivery
Why is this important and what does it mean? It means there is a significantly decreased chance that either mom or baby have complications, they get to go home sooner, the risk of postpartum blues or depression is significantly decreased, and mom feels that she had more control of and is more satisfied with her birth experience. This is important because complications from labor and delivery can have lasting negative effects on mother, baby, and future births. It is also important because women remember and reflect on their birth experiences through their entire lives. This colossal event can cause lasting positive or negative effects.
What we want to shout from the rooftops is that "There is a super effective, simple, and proven way to help ensure a better birth experience and labor outcome." It's not magic, or voodoo, or even crunchy alternative thinking. It's a scientifically proven, educated, non-invasive, and time-tested practice that makes sense for every mom in EVERY birth situation. You are not excluded from the benefits of having a doula if you plan a hospital birth over one at home or a birth center. The benefits still apply to you if you are planning an epidural or other narcotic pain relief. If this is your second birth, third birth, fourth birth...you get the idea - the benefits of having a doula still apply to you and your baby! If you are expecting, trying, or even plan to have kids one day in the future, take the time to educate yourself about what a doula is and how having one is the best gift you can give yourself to help you through pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the early days of parenthood.
You may say I’m biased, spinning the statistics and reports to favor the practice in which I work. I would be lying if I told you I don’t have a vested interest in more women hiring doulas. We are doulas and more women hiring doulas would logically increase our demand and ultimately our bottom line. But as you delve into the information you will see there are many scientific studies that confirm the benefits of having continuous support from a doula during birth. You will also find that there are some doulas who offer discounted rates while they are in the process of attending their first births in order to be certified by the organization through which they received their training. There are also doulas that provide discounted services for those with spouses in the military, young mothers, or families that lack the financial resources to pay the full rate.
Whatever your objections to having a doula, I encourage you to take the time to research the benefits. If you believe the statistics you find, please take the time to interview multiple doulas, find one that best suits your personality and desires, and look for one that is offering discounted fees or free services if necessary. There is no way to guarantee that your birth will go exactly as you imagine, but you can certainly stack the deck in your favor. Think about it, take action, and then tell other moms-to-be so they can benefit from your experience and knowledge.
By: Stephanie Roberts
(DONA), and Certified Childbirth Educator (ACBE)
Graduate Nurse, Birth Doula
*Information from "Mothering the Mother: How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter Easier and
Healthier Birth", Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus
About three weeks ago, I had a mama call me and say she might be in labor. Contractions were regluar, lasting about 45 seconds and seemed to be getting stronger. Those contractions continued for several hours--just enough to mess up a good night's sleep--and then disappeared. A few days later, the same thing happened...and again went away after using up most of the night. And so it continued, for three weeks, until this morning when they did not go away, but continued getting stronger, though still a bit irregular.
When I think back on this morning, I have to chuckle a bit. Mama texted me and said she wasn't sure, but she would feel better if I was with her. Baby had teased her so many times, she couldn't tell if it was really going to happen today. (And to be honest, she was so calm through it all, I had a hard time telling, too!) But, I got to her house about 1:30 and within 30 minutes we were back out the door!
Mama labored beautifully in and out of the water and around 4:45 she welcomed her beautiful baby boy into the world. It was such a peaceful delivery. Mama was simply amazing and her baby has the cutest, chubbiest cheeks! He is absolutely precious!
Congratulations, Mommy, Daddy, big brother and big sister! I am so proud of you all and I am so thankful that you let me be a part of welcoming your little one to our world.
On Monday morning the full moon was doing it's thing and making lots of women's labor start. One of those women was saved from a scheduled morning induction because her water broke in the middle of the night. Hopes were high since labor starting on its own meant that she could be at the birth center!
As the day progressed and labor did not, mama made the choice to move to the hospital and get some help to keep things moving. Oh, how the story of this labor would take pages to tell: failed epidurals, painful contractions, lots of pitocin, tired mama, too many hours to count. Honestly, I don't know how she did it. Her mother-in-law kept looking at me and saying, "I can't believe you're still going." and I would say, "I figure if she can keep going, so can I." She was working so, so much harder than I was, and I was beat. But she kept going! Then, at 8:15 p.m., more than 36 hours after her contractions started, she delivered a happy and healthy (surprise!) boy.
She is so amazing. She was incredible and strong. I'm not sure how she was able to find the energy to push her baby out! After her baby was born and latched on she was finally able to rest. I hope she had the best nap of her life that day!
I also need to say a HUGE thank you to Stephanie for bringing me food and for bringing some fresh energy. You are the best!