Saturday, March 12

Being A Doula







When I was pregnant with my first son I didn't really know what to expect. I was 23 and had been working as an EMT up in Peace River Alberta. 
I didn't have any family around so when decisions were being made as to where we would deliver and how and what we wanted, I was blissfully unaware of almost all options available to me. 
I had had one friend who was more alternative and had had a midwife birth with a doula, but my husband at the time and I felt a hospital birth was a better option for us because we were both in EMS and trusted the doctors we knew and worked with and of course...."what if"
Looking back now, I am not upset with my birth experience. I was induced like so many women, I only had my husband there (again, like so many women) and we were left to figure it all out alone with only the occasional nurse to pop in and out to check out how we were, check the babies heart beat and to ask "do you want drugs yet?"


After what felt like a year long labour and birth, I had massive sleep deprivation, a baby boy, and a  shredded bottom end that would take a full year to heal. 
So 7 months later when I found out we were expecting baby number 2 (yup you read that correctly) I started to look at options that might allow me to have a birth that would be better for me in the long run. And that's when I decided I was going to birth with a midwife. We had moved to a small town that had a birthing centre in a hospital (best of both worlds for us) the midwife would over see my delivery and my doula would be there to help support me not leaving the entire responsibility to my husband. 

Birth number 2 was so different to my first in every possibly conceivable way. I went into labour on my own , I gave birth In the water with a midwife and doula. Not only my body left this second experience unharmed, whole and intact, so was my confidence and faith in myself. I also found a desire to make sure EVERY woman had a birth like this. Or at least have a birth where they felt supported and not left alone. Someone would be with them and that should not only be an option for people with money. 

After the birth of my third son (a respectable 12 pounds, again delivered with my midwife Noreen Walker and doula Ava in a birthing pool) I registered for a course to become a Doula. 
That was in 2004. I have been helping women give birth for almost 12 years now. It is and always will be one of the best parts of my life. 

Not all births go as planned but every woman deserves to feel supported during this experience. To not be alone in a room, and every couple deserves to have a constant with them from beginning to end to help with the little things that busy hospital staff can't always attend to. 


Having started radio 4 years ago, I have not been able to do as many births and childbirth classes as I normally have. But I do get to squeak in a few, and this beauty is up next.







Due in the next month or so, Rachel and her husband have invited me to join them in the birth of their third child. I taught them classes with their first.

J - So Rachel, why did you decide to go with a Doula? 


Rachel - I was induced with my first, which ended in an emergency c-section because she turned out to be footling breach. For my second I wanted a VBAC so badly, and that's what I got...but I wasn't prepared enough to work my way through contractions. I ended up choosing an epidural, which completely stalled my labour. My body did exactly what it was supposed to, and what I had wanted it to do, and then I intervened and it changed the course of the birth. This time I want my baby and body to be in control, and the support of a doula will help me work through those intense moments. 

J - What do you hope it will be like?

Rachel - Empowering. I am excited to see what I can do! 




The next few weeks are going to be so exciting. I have kept my phone on at night and will until the baby arrives and I leap when I hear it ring at night.

...It NEVER gets old helping with babies. I am still just as excited as I was with the very first birth I ever attended.


Today:

I am grateful for this part of my life. The people I have met being a doula, the experiences I have had and the lives I have seen brought into this world have changed me. Serving women in this capacity has proved to be some of the most fulfilling work I have ever done. It's a beautiful thing that I will never take for granted.

I am grateful for technology. So very very grateful. Getting to FaceTime with mom is such a blessing.






I am grateful the peeling skin from my burn is done now. FINALLY! It was super gross and I lost most of my tan, but the shedding in disgusting amounts is now over.

I am grateful for vanilla coffee in the morning. WHAT.A.TREAT!!



J


OOh and anyone looking for a midwife or Doula in or around edmonton can look 


or