First, I described Liza's labor in terms of the emotional signposts. Then, I wrote a post rethinking the 3rd emotional signpost of self-doubt. This is the promised continuation.
So yeah, I needed a doula. All those websites and forums were right. A woman in labor needs physical and emotional support by other women experienced in childbirth. Not sure why I thought I didn't need a doula but I was quite sure Taylor would suffice. I was wrong. Don't misunderstand me, Taylor was good. He knew the stages of labor and I had lectured for months all about natural childbirth but he isn't a woman and he had never seen a woman experience childbirth before. Remember that Henry's labor was spent with me knocked out asleep flat on my back while he watched the 2008 Summer Olympics......this was a different ballgame. He was supportive and sweet but he just didn't know what to say or do . My doula would have known what to say to reign my emotions in and get me focused on my task at hand.
What is a doula? According to DONA International, "the word "doula" comes from ancient Greek meaning 'a woman who serves' and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth." According to me, a doula is a woman trained and experienced with childbirth who acts as part of the laboring woman's support team during childbirth.
While my midwife was busy doing her midwife thing and being hands-off as possible per my request and Taylor was pretty sketched out with the unfolding scene of me bringing a new life into this world, my non-existent doula would have been busy:
- making sure the water was the right temperature in the birth tub
- recognizing the signs I needed help centering my emotions
- helping me with controlled pushing in hopes of not tearing (again)
- reminding me the pain is for a purpose and a brief period during the amazing miracle of childbirth
I didn't need help physically managing my labor but had I needed a back massage to aid back labor or a cool washcloth across my forehead, my non-existent doula would have been on top of that too.
Yep. I needed a doula. My medical care was well taken care of by my midwife. The supportive husband role was played out nicely by my very own supportive husband. But, I needed a woman there whose sole job was to tend to me and make sure I was in the proper mindset for giving birth.
I needed a doula.
But do you need a doula?
Whether you are planning a natural childbirth or a medicated childbirth, a homebirth or a hospital birth, if you are fearful of labor or beyond prepared to push that baby out, a first-time mama or a mama to many, if you've had a previous traumatic birth experience or if you have love everything about giving birth.......women throughout the ages have been supported during labor by knowledgeable and caring women and you deserve that loving support too!
Get a doula. I know I will next time.
Did you have a doula?
Did you need a doula?