There’s a quote about doulas that pretty much sums up how I feel about my doula’s role in the birth of my baby.
“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” — Dr. John Kennell
When I think about my labor and delivery no detail doesn’t include the involvement of my doula. She was both a friend and mentor so when I was expecting it was the natural next step to ask her to be a part of my labor and birth. I met with her a few times throughout my pregnancy for advice and support, and also to discuss my birth plan. She lent me oils to diffuse and answered all my texts and calls (before and after birth) with usually odd questions and concerns. She calmed many fears and helped me develop a healthy fear and awe for childbirth.
I loved my midwife, but my doula was the first number I called when the morning of labor dawned bright and early. She is the one that told me it was time to go to the hospital. She met me at the car and didn’t leave my side for the rest of the day.
My husband had taken a birth class with me. He knew all the things he was supposed to say, the positions he should suggest, my preferred comfort measures and the ways I wanted him to hold me, but when the time came for labor, what I needed was the touch of a woman who had been through the same experience and understood what it meant to bring a child into the world. During each contraction she placed her hands on me, usually one on my neck and one on my lower back. She whispered during each contraction for me to relax different parts of my body. She reminded me to let my body do what it needed to do. I was in the tub for the first and second stages of labor and I progressed very quickly. I credit this to the atmosphere my doula helped to create. I was the most relaxed during that time.
Once I hit transition, her role changed. During this time, I let some fear (of tearing and pushing) get the best of me and as a result, my labor stalled for about two hours. This was the hardest part of my labor and also when my doula became the most valuable. When all I wanted to do was curl up into a little ball she helped me labor in different positions to help progress. She reminded me that pressure was good and again, what was happening was normal and GOOD. At one point she suggested a change in position and I firmly told her no, I would prefer to stay where I was. After the next contraction ended, she quickly and quietly got me moving into a new position. I know if my husband would have tried this I probably have bit his hand. When I finally admitted I was afraid of tearing she helped me let go of that fear and surrender to my body.
She spooned ice into my mouth and coaxed me into eating small snacks to keep my energy up. When I was pushing and felt like I couldn’t go any further, she squeezed my hand and told me how close I was. When my boy came out she took pictures that I will treasure forever.
Because I delivered with a midwife, the advocacy role was unnecessary. My midwife had also delivered two of my doula’s children so everyone in the room was on the same page. We were all there to safely, and with the least amount of intervention possible, get my boy into this world. I was able to follow my birth plan and I’m not sure I would have been able to without the support of my doula. Because of my experience, I would encourage anyone to ask a doula to join their birth team.
My first birth experience was beautiful, empowering, HARD and something I will never forget. There was just something amazing about having a woman I trusted, who had gone through what I was going through, by my side the entire time. I could have done it without her, but I’m so glad I didn’t have to.
Esther grew up in Beaumont, relocated to Kentucky for three years, and has recently moved back to Southeast Texas. She has a three month old boy named Silas and is married to Josh, her loving husband. She is very eager to live life alongside other like minded mamas in the area and write about her adventures as she finds her way as a new mama!