Hey friends! After a small hiatus- I’m back! I wanted to do a follow up to my previous piece on why we hired a doula. You can find that here. I figured it might benefit those on the fence about hiring a doula to share what having one was actually like during labor. So here I am, 2 months postpartum, and I can’t get over what a difference it was to have a doula by our side during the labor and delivery of our second daughter (3rd child). So without further ado, here are 3 things my doula did during my labor that made it more than worth the money!

Accessibility

I loved knowing that by 38 weeks my doula was on-call for us 24-hours a day 7-days a week. We all know that military life is unpredictable. We don’t always have someone who will definitely be there for the birth, or in my case, to help with older children. Also in my case, our little lady was born smack dab in the middle of the COVID-Omicron outbreak. When I say people who could help were dropping like flies, I mean it. We were very stressed. My sister flew in and we were so hopeful that I would go into labor while she was here (I didn’t. My daughter was born the day after she left). Having our doula just a call away was so comforting.

In fact, when my contractions started I started texting her. When they picked up, I called her. Over the phone she told us we needed to go to the hospital. How, you may ask? Simply but chatting with me through contractions. She was able to gauge the “situation” without even being there. And thank goodness we had her there to send us on our one-hour trek to the hospital. We got there just 20 minutes before I delivered.

Having access to someone on our team, someone trained and ready for what was coming, made having a doula so worth it.

Actual Coaching

This was my third baby. And my first time having a doula. After labor and delivery was over my husband looked at me over our newborn baby’s precious head and said “Worth every single penny.” And I couldn’t agree more. And here’s why.

The coaching actually started before I ever went into labor. Our doula came to our house and went over birthing positions and scenarios. She gave my husband actual tangible ways to support me physically and emotionally during labor. She set us up with a toolbox of ways to get baby down (and out). She talked me through walking, sitting on the birthing ball, and ways to induce labor naturally. Which turned out great- because for the first time I actually went into labor on my own.

The first two times I gave birth- I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t understand how to push. I didn’t know what to do with my legs or how to position my body in the best ways to help baby move down. I had no idea. And so when our doula Hannah walked into the room she stood next to me and she coached me. She talked me through coming up over the contraction and bearing down at the right time. She moved my legs to where they needed to be. She didn’t just stand there and expect me to figure it out. For the first time during labor I felt so empowered and in control of what I was doing. And so supported. With her words calming me and reminding me of my own strength I pushed our sweet girl out in just 15 minutes.

When I think about my first two births there was a lot of confusion. I never felt like I knew what I was doing or how to do it. Our doula standing calmly and strongly next to me, coaching me through each and every contraction, helping me breathe and find strength when I felt like I had none definitely made it more than worth the money to have her.

Advocacy

This is a big one, guys. Advocacy like I had never experienced. The difference in the care I received with a doula there to also advocate for me changed everything. When the OB told me to get on my back but I didn’t want to (reminder: YOU DON’T HAVE TO PUSH ON YOUR BACK!) I felt the confidence to say “No” as my doula (and my fantastic nurses) reminded me “You do whatever is comfortable. You push how you want to.” And so then when just a few minutes later he told me to get on my back again, I felt totally fine, again, and more forcefully saying “I am not getting on my back.” To which my doula again reminded me, and him, that it was my choice.

When the doctor went to cut the cord immediately after birth it was my doula who noticed (as my eyes were glued to my sweet new baby) and who said “She wants to wait.” And when that OB said “There’s really no benefit after 1 minute” (I don’t have the time to go into how wrong THAT statement is) it was my doula who again replied “She wants to wait.” And guess what? We waited.

Finally, when the OB went to administer Pitocin even though I had expressly stated I didn’t want it due to adverse reactions in the past, it was my doula who stopped her (again, my eyes were glued to my baby). And so when they came at me with a needle, without even asking my consent, she reminded them I didn’t want Pitocin. To which my husband and I also chimed in “NO PITOCIN!” And the exchange between my doula and the OB will forever be enshrined in my memory:

OB: Well Pitocin is for excess bleeding.

Doula: …Is she having excess bleeding?

OB: Well…no… but then we will have to monitor her….

Doula: *Stares nicely*

OB: Ok….

Advocacy, friends. Standing next to me and up for me. Making sure my wishes were carried through. Ensuring that we were supported, and coached and cared for. Having a doula changed everything for us. We finally walked away from birth without the regrets of “what could have been” feelings that we always had before. What if we had asked more questions? What if we had just said “No?” Could we have said “No?” This time we knew what we wanted. We knew what we were allowed to do (side note: the answer there is anything you want). And now for the rest of time we will shout from the rooftops all the reasons hiring a doula is more than worth the money.

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