October 22, 2011

Doula: Do-What?! What is a Doula and Why I Had One

Don't worry. Four years ago I had no idea what a doula was either. I would have guessed it was a crocheted item that grandmas put under ceramic lamps. But it's not!

A doula very simply is a helper.

The concept for a doula comes from the idea that traditionally, mothers and older women who have gone through their own natural childbirths are with younger women to coach and encourage them through their births.

Statistics show that women who have doulas are less likely to tear (calmer pushing), or have a c-section among other things.

I knew that this was something I would love to have. We did our research (there are actually quite a few in the Lubbock area). Over spring break I interviewed several and chose one.

Quite honestly, without my doula I think I would have ended up with a c-section. We were nearing the end of a long hard labor and there was still no baby. But with her encouragement and guidance we managed. Also, Sara had several comfort measures such as massage that amazingly made my contractions only feel a fraction of their actual pain. Once I tried to sit in a chair through a contraction and quickly realized what a difference her pressing on my back made!!

At first we really weighed the cost of a doula (at that time $500) and I have to tell you that in hindsight, our doula was priceless. We would have paid TRIPLE that. And I'm not kidding.

Our doula met with us SEVERAL times leading up to the delivery. She loaned us videos, answered questions and was just plain kind. We had a back up doula in case she couldn't make it and when I called her the night we went into labor, she beat us to the hospital and never once looked at the clock (and it went a long time!).

Time and time again she would run and get juice or snacks for us so Jacob could stay by my side. She massaged my back the ENTIRE labor and encouraged me. She prayed with us and for us and she kept hoping. She even offered to go and get a meal for us after the baby was born (I was happy just to sleep!).

Our doula had been a labor and delivery nurse before she decided to stay home with her children. So her knowledge was a comfort through the long months of pregnancy. If I EVER had a question, I could call my doula and discuss it with her. This was invaluable!

Also, our doula is a lactation specialist and in the days after Claire was born she was on hand for me to ask questions and she came and visited us weeks later to see that everything was going well.

I honestly think that our doula ended up answering about a thousand questions! She was never annoyed when I called and always listened to my concerns. I actually miss her now!

My doula and doctor know one another and worked REALLY well together also. I think that having a doula also helped Jacob to know what to do. She would recommend that they both massage my hands or feet (THANK YOU SARA!), and that we move around or change positions for my comfort.

I can't recommend a doula ENOUGH! She made a huge difference in our birth experience and her help was really priceless.

She has a service on her website where you can go and make your own birth plan also.

If you've ever even remotely considered using a doula- I would say go for it!! (and if you're in our area- use our doula!)

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