My First Doula

I first heard about doulas when I was doing research on birth and birth support in 2008--as I was preparing for my first labor and birth. I don't think I would have been reading and researching anything that suggested a focus on options in birth at all, had in not been for my medical history.

Three years before, I was diagnosed with a rare blood disease--one that could have killed me, but thanks to quick acting practitioners and medication, didn't. It did leave me with many lessons learned in a short amount of time and new information about how my body works--including the fact that *if* my blood platelets happened to dip too low during pregnancy, that I would not be a good candidate for an epidural.

I had only ever imagined myself having the maximum amount of pain relief available--since I was a card carrying member of the Ultimate Wimp club and could not fathom enduring the intensity of labor without the assistance of modern medicine. As I was wrapping my brain around the fact that it was TOTALLY POSSIBLE that I would even have the OPTION of an epidural, I decided I needed to learn what the other options were.

I read up on birthing philosophies, methods, and alternatives to medical interventions. It was in this search that I realized that throughout history (until fairly recently), women have relied on other women for emotional, physical, & mental support during birth. 

I learned that a doula is a support person for the birthing mother (and spouse/partner), whose support can have an incredible impact on birth outcomes. In addition, many mothers--especially those choosing to avoid medical pain relief--found their doulas to be a priceless addition to their support team and their natural birthing plans.

I made some calls and did some internet searches--and found the ONE DOULA within a TWO HOUR radius of where we were living (small town Kentucky). The local hospital's lactation consultant also recommended her and I was excited to find out that she was also a massage therapist. Perfect.

I contacted her and made an appointment to interview her. At our in-home visit, I asked all kinds of questions from my pre-printed list (I had found lists online of questions you should ask a potential doula) and she made a few comments on how much she liked our "aura" and "energy" (Trevor still jokes about this, 8 years later). 

My list-making personality and her hippy vibes meshed and we hired her to be our doula. In the end, because my water broke before active labor and a host of other reasons (that I now know much more about, and would argue), I ended up having a c-section. 

My doula was at the hospital with us for 24 hours, and even though I didn't birth as I had hoped/imagined...she was an empowering force for me, as she was the only one with me during the final minutes of prep and the first minutes after the surgery. She was also the only one who took the time to explain to me what exactly it would be like and send me off to the operating room with quiet affirmations of hope and courage.

Bonus: I had the most luxurious prenatal and postnatal massages that were part of her birth doula package. Dreamy.

Every day in November!  NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month. Write a post on your blog every day in November. After a really massive break in my blogging, this will be the 4th year (not in a row, clearly), I've decided to tackle this challenge & enjoy the opportunity to switch to writing mode. I  have actually been looking forward to this for awhile--because I really do enjoy writing and don't make time to do it enough! Want to join me? Leave your blog link in the comments so I can follow you too! Or not. Does anyone follow blogs anymore? 

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