In celebration of having now attended forty births, I am developing a series of blog posts on just a few of the myriad reasons that hiring a doula is an awesome choice. This portion looks at some of the ways I can make your birth experience better through solid, practical assistance. There aren’t as many links to studies and evidence as in my earlier post, but you can see how all this is a normal part of a supported birth, right?
11. Pre-Labor Support and Info: Did your midwife tell you baby might be posterior? I can point you towards some resources to help baby spin around. Unsure of what you saw when you wiped after using the toilet, or if amniotic fluid is SUPPOSED to be that color? Or, maybe, just maybe what you felt was a contraction, but you’re not sure….doulas are there to let you know when things look normal, and give you some great strategies for working with it!
12: Help Knowing When to Go To Birth Place: This is probably one of the most common questions I get during prenatals: “How will we know when it’s the right time to leave the house?” I usually go over a family’s goals for birth, coupled with their caregiver’s instructions, and can help gauge when a labor has turned from “early” to “active.”
13. Knows Way Around Birth Place: When you need a puke bag, you need it NOW. Or having those cool washcloths ready before you need them….or that one perfectly-sized footstool for lunges…or even the button on the hospital bed that brings your butt DOWN and your feet UP. I love making my client’s lives easier by just knowing the map of their birth place.
14. Fetch Ice Water: This is where I tag-team with your other support person, whether that’s your husband or mom or best friend–you get what you need, quickly and without having to call and then wait for your nurse, and without being left alone.
15. Reminders to Eat/For Mom: Eating during labor is kind of hit or miss; it’s pretty normal to not really feel like getting much in your stomach. Still, keeping your body strong is important, and I’m going to be watching how much you’re able to get in, and what sits well in your stomach. If your birth facility has asked you to limit yourself to clear fluids, I’ve got my favorite honey sticks handy to help you keep your blood sugars up!
16. Reminders to Eat/For Dad: I’ll never forget the time I almost had a Dad pass out from low blood sugars. I am there to support your entire family, and part of that is letting Dad know that he can step away to take care of himself, without feeling like he’s leaving his wife in the lurch. If he doesn’t want to step away, I will absolutely fetch granola bars or whatever snack he’s got handy, and bring them to him.z
17: Add, shove, or remove pillows: Pillows can be such good friends to a laboring mother! Part of what I’m watching for is how comfortable you are. Is something hunched up or twisted funny? Let’s give you more room. Need to be able to lay on your side, but still get some support at your back or in between your knees? I’m a pro.
18. Gatekeeper for Birth Place: The birth of a baby is usually anticipated by a wide group of loving–and maybe a little pushy–family members. I can–and have–shut the door when a Mom wasn’t quite ready to deal with questions, and personally relayed exact messages to waiting family. I’m the protector of your space.
19. Answer Questions During Labor: Lots of questions come up during labor that aren’t really worth calling in a nurse or midwife, but that knowing the answer to really helps with a family’s sense of security. Most often they fall in the realm of “is this NORMAL???” and I can absolutely bring immediate reassurance to those.
20. Take Pictures: When a mother has just birthed her baby, she doesn’t need me as intensely for a few minutes. With my clients permission, I usually grab their phones, swipe the camera open, and start taking pictures of those first few minutes. It’s easy for them to delete anything that seems too revealing, and they get to really look at how their precious baby changed so drastically in the first five or ten minutes of life, when they themselves were overcome with joy and amazement and wonder.