This will be my 4th delivery and I've never had a birth doula. I've always had support people in my corner during delivery, but none of these people have been formally trained to offer me support. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband to death, but he's no help when I'm in labor. His default is to pace around the room and call people to tell them I'm in labor.
During my last birth, my sister-in-law was super helpful during labor. She and my husband took turns holding my hand and ran to get my midwife upon request. However, I still felt like something was missing during my labor.
Lets rewind to 2016. That year, in April, I gave birth to our 2nd child. That delivery was insane. Long story short: The labor was long, I nearly ran out into the street naked to get into an ambulance, I got an epidural and then she was born.
However, one thing I remember most about that delivery was this little old Jewish lady who served as my Midwife at the hospital. While the doctors were reading charts and in and out of the room, she literally stood by my side the entire time. She wiped sweat off my forehead, repositioned my pillows, fed me ice chips, massaged my legs - I mean this lady was awesome. When her shift was over, she refused to leave. She looked straight into my eyes and said, "I'm not leaving you until you have this baby."
I was fortunate to have this support, but, I received it by accident. My original plan was to have our daughter at a free-standing birthing center with just my husband and I. However, I labored for 5 hours at the birthing center and requested to be transferred to a nearby hospital because of the pain. If I never transferred to the hospital, I wouldn't have met that midwife.
While this lady wasn't a doula, she served as an additional support person for me. I never had to ask her to do anything, it was like she knew what I needed before I even said anything. I want that for this birth!
Having my husband and family around is super important, but I also want someone who is trained to solely support me.
Since I plan to have a natural birth at a birthing center, it's super important to have someone in the room who knows different strategies for pain management. During my last delivery I managed my pain by biting down on a wet towel and squeezing someone's hand until they no longer had circulation - probably not the best strategy... If you're familiar with birthing centers, you know pain management is mostly your responsibility. Sure your midwife is present and can offer some strategies, but their job is to "catch the baby", not sit by you during labor.
Another reason I want to have a Doula is so I can have an advocate for my health in the room. Recently, there's been a lot of news stories circulating about black women who were mistreated medically and lost their lives during labor and delivery. I haven't had any signs that would suggest me having complications during my labor, but it gives me peace of mind to know there will be someone in the room who is trained in this work. Plus, our doula is a black woman herself! Having a doula in the room that looks like me and has experience in the different health issues that can arise during labor is important to me.
The final reason I've opted to have a Doula is because of the postpartum support I'll receive. Lets face it, I'm going to have 3 kids under five, a teenager who'll be doing remote learning and a husband who'll be going back to work a week after my delivery. I'm going to need ALL HANDS ON DECK! The doula we've chosen to go with offers postpartum support hours. We plan to have her come to our home at least once a week for 3 weeks after hubby has gone back to work. She'll be able to help with light cleaning, breastfeeding support if needed and emotional support as well. Plus, our Doula offers placenta encapsulation free of charge for clients.
Labor and delivery is both scary and unpredictable. But, I feel super confident with our doula choice. When I interviewed her, I knew that she was the one! If you're pregnant or plan to have have children in the future, I highly recommend getting a doula. Here are some awesome resources that helped me with my decision:
My Birth Stories: