Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Love My Doula

I have eluded to my birth before, but I wanted to talk about my experience in relation to having a doula. I gave you my doula's perspective a bit ago with our birth story and I think its equally as important to give you my perspective of her role in the birth of Ainsley.

For the first half of my pregnancy, I firmly stated that I wanted the epidural early. I didn't want to feel anything, I just wanted my baby. It was about the mid point that we went to the child birthing class at the hospital. I began my journey of learning more about birth. At first I was frightened. I was still set on the drugs. By the end of the class, I began to feel differently. I was beginning to realize that this was what God designed my body to do. Birth was meant to be experienced and not just survived. I changed my tune. I wanted to be a part of the most important day of my baby's life.

I still had fear. I wanted to be able to give birth from a position of confidence, not fear. We began to think about doulas. We were given a name of a local doula who was early in her practice. Being who we are, we thought that this might be a more inexpensive way to go than the most experienced doula. God used that lapse of judgement for our benefit. I called Mary on a Sunday afternoon and she and I immediately "clicked". I felt as if I knew her from the start. She was such an advocate for God's plan. I knew she knew my Jesus and I knew I wanted her there for the birth of our daughter.

She met with us extensively before the birth. She tried to prepare us for what was to come. She encouraged us to read some great books. She looked up scriptures for me. She was giving me the confidence I needed to really be involved in the birth process. I felt good about what was to come.

The week I was in labor (I consider the prelabor that I experienced to be part of that week), Mary was never far. We spoke regularly on the phone. We emailed. We were very in touch. She coached me through the beginning contractions over the phone. She told me to rest. She just encouraged me. I felt very loved.

As the week progressed and it became obvious that this was "it", she was there. She came over at 3:00 in the morning as we were having contractions at home. She used many great doula techniques to help ease the back labor that I was experiencing. She regularly helped me keep my focus on our baby. She gave Ryan and I space to experience this process as a couple and stepped in when we needed more support.

At the hospital she did all those things as well. She helped us through some rough decisions. She helped me to read the signs my body was giving. She helped me decide the appropriate times to call for interventions. This was hard for me since I had the idea of doing this 100% naturally. She helped me to realize that taking Pitocin and an epidural isn't the end of the world and that I wasn't a failure for doing so. I was doing what was best to ensure a healthy mom and a healthy baby.

As we pushed for hours and felt like days with little progress, Mary encouraged both Ryan and I to continue to trust on Jesus. My body was doing what it needed to do. Our baby was just a short time away from arriving.

As Ainsley arrived, Mary was the one that captured the early pictures. She aided us in our initial bonding experience. I don't remember much of that time but I do remember that it was exactly as I wanted it. I remember feeling complete. I remember feeling empowered. I remember feeling like I had experienced this life changing moment and I would be forever bonded to the people in that room.

Since Ainsley's birth, I have continued to be loved by Mary. She is a member of our family now. Nothing will ever change that. She loves us and we love her. I know this for sure, the first call outside the family if I get pregnant again will be to Mary. I couldn't imagine it any other way.

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