After watching several documentaries and reading about pregnancy, labor, and birth I had my heart set on attempting a natural childbirth. At first, I heard many disapproving comments, like: “oh sure, you will change your mind once you get there“.
In my search on getting ready for birth I decided I needed two things: 1. a class on Hypnobirthing, to better be prepared for labor; 2. a doula, someone who has seen many births, knows how to navigate the medical system, and who could give me the support that a nervous husband might not be able to do at that time.
What is a doula? The word itself comes from the Ancient Greek and means “a woman who serves”. A doula is someone who provides a woman in labor with emotional support, comfort measures, and help carrying out her birth plan. Click here for more information.
So, in my personal quest of assembling my birth plan, I started searching for doulas, even though many around me were still unsure if I was making the right decision. I have to admit so many times I also thought to myself: “what if I end up with a c-section? Won’t it be such a waste of money?” As a sidebar, some health insurances will offer reimbursement for doula services, but unfortunately that was not the case for us.
So, I met my first doula, Nancy, for an informational interview. We hit it off right away, chatting for over an hour at our local Panera. At the end of the session, Nancy tells me: “you should interview other doulas first before making a decision”. What? Am I being dumped by my doula, I thought. I liked her. I thought she liked me. Why is she telling me “to see other people”? So, I did as told and spoke to two other doulas. One, was not in town around my due date. The other, I didn’t quite click with. So, after talking to my best friend (who is also a numerologist) we decided that my heart was right the first time. Nancy had numbers that made her someone with a caring nature and so she would have to be great at her job! The numbers confirmed my initial intuition and the decision was made. Nancy Abbott would be our doula.
We met Nancy once while I was pregnant and sat for a long time, talking about our hopes and wishes for the birth, discussing our fears, reviewing strategies for a healthy pregnancy. She told us about different positions to help the baby turn, since the baby hadn’t done it so far, and 3 days later… our little one was head down!
At the end of our pregnancy weekly emails were exchanged, providing support and information. Once I reached 40 weeks and no baby, Nancy helped me manage my expectations, talked about natural labor inducers, and helped me navigate the conversations around possible induction.
And when the L-day arrived, she was there! Greeting us with her nurturing smile at 8am as soon as we got off the hospital elevator on to the maternity floor. What a start! She was there when we were told that we probably should head back home. She was with us at home. She was with us through the tough decisions. She was there 40 hours later, when our little one arrived. She helped me make decisions. She helped prepare my husband, when we DID end up with a c-section. And, boy, was it still worth having her there! That answered my question!
Two weeks later, Nancy came back to meet our little one. With her she brought a beautiful 11 pager Birth Story, so we can always remember how our pumpkin came into this world. Amongst laugh and tears, we relived that day (or those days, better yet) and processed all the emotions that were still lingering about a birth plan gone wild (subject for a future post).
Nancy will forever be in our thoughts, memories, and pictures as someone that truly helped us through one of the most difficult days we had, but also the happiest days we’ve ever had. I am 100% happy that we made the decision of hiring a doula. Not any doula. Nancy.