And so you may be thinking that a husband, mother, or other partner could do all that. After all, there are birth classes, correct? Doulas are trained professionals. They know things your mother can't remember. They understand things your husband cannot possibly in a million years understand. They have the experience of being a part of the birthing process.
But I've done this before, so why the Doula this time?
I can't remember if I ever actually shared my labor story here. And I won't now. I'll just give some quick highlight.
- I was induced at just under 41 weeks. I went in at midnight and was given a cervical insert to get things going. I was 70% effaced and only 1 cm dilated. Baby had not dropped a bit.
- By around 12 noon, I was only 2 cm dilated, but my contractions were such that they were holding off on pitocin.
- The nurse continually asked me if I wanted an epidural consult even though my birth plan explicitly said, no epidural.
- By around 2, they said the contractions had backed off. Still at a 2. They would start Pitocin. Clint pushed me to get the epidural. The nurse pushed me. I asked, "Could I still be doing this in the morning?" The nurse replied "Yes." I succumbed to the pressure and received an epidural. After all, when you're induced, all moving around the room options are stripped from you. You're stuck in the bed hooked up to monitors.
- Around 3, they started the Pitocin. I didn't feel a thing for about 4.5 hours.
- Around 8 pm, the pain started. Bone crushing pain. They upped the Epidural. To no avail. And so, they stopped it.
- At around 10:15 to 10:30, I felt the need to push. Apparently, my doctor had decided to go home. She lived 30 minutes away. Another doctor came in.
- I delivered Ethan at 11:41. They had to use a vacuum to get him out because his heartbeat was erratic. I was on oxygen.
- My birth plan also stated I wanted instant skin-to-skin contact. And I wanted it before the Vitamin K shot or the eye gel. Guess what? They didn't abide by that. I vaguely remember them questioning me, but I was so out of it, I went along.
- I received a shot in my leg immediately. Turns out I was bleeding out because my uterus was not contracting. I then got sick several times and had no idea why. An hour later, they told me it was a side effect of the shot.
- I tried to feed Ethan. He wouldn't latch.
- The next day, I tried to feed Ethan all day, to no avail. He wouldn't latch; he was very sleepy.
- He became jaundiced and got sent home with a biliblanket.
- Side effects of Pitocin include heavy or continued bleeding after birth.
- For the fetus, Pitocin can cause irregular heartbeat and jaundice.
- Epidural may cause the uterus to relax and not contract properly....causing hemorrhaging.
- Epidural can cause baby's heartrate to become irregular.
- Epidural leads to increased interventions, including forceps, vacuums, and c-sections.
- Babies exposed to epidurals can have trouble suckling after birth.
So when taking all that into consideration, why in the world would I want to go through it again? I wouldn't.
And so, I hired a Doula. Studies show that when a Doula is present
- Labors are shorter by 25%
- C-sections are less frequent by a whopping 50%
- Use of Pitocin or another Oxytocin drug is reduced by 40%
- Epirdural request is reduced by 60%
While Clint can give a mean back rub when he's so inclined, he's not trained in the arts of hitting the right pressure points that help the body release natural pain relievers. AND, men often have a difficult time seeing their lovely wives going through so much pain...as they should since they caused the condition! (JK).
Now, I'll say that a Doula can very well compliment a husband. She can teach him/show him what to do for his wife, enhancing the experience. And that, well, that's sort of what I'm looking for.
Here's the thing. I know more this time around. That's obvious...I've been through it once. And while I had a birth plan the first time, I was easily talked out of what I knew I wanted. And so, I have very strong, solid, immoveable opinions this time.
- I will not be induced until 42 weeks unless there is a strong medical reason
- I will not receive Pitocin if they feel my labor is going too long
- I will not be confined to a bed and I will request for forego an IV
- I will not submit to a c-section just because things aren't going quickly enough
- I will not have an Epidural
- I will have skin-to-skin contact immediately. This means before a Vitamin K shot or eye gel application
- I will breastfeed my child immediately.
And so, I hired a Doula. We meet with her in a couple weeks. I am excited!