Being pregnant and convinced that I wanted to do things naturally, I was researching getting a doula. I wanted a coach to help me get through all of the screaming “I can’t do this, and “you did this to me” moments of labor. I also wanted her to be my advocate if people tried to push me towards medication if things were moving the right direction and it wasn’t needed.
What is a Doula?
A doula is not a medical professional. Other people like your nurse and doctor or a midwife are going to handle things in the nether regions like checking your cervix. They will be doing the work of helping to deliver your baby and not the doula.
A doula is going to be there for you before, during and after the birth as a support system. I really think of them as a coach to help you when things are rough during labor and even when home breastfeeding with baby.
Convincing My Husband We Needed a Doula
My husband was not sold on the idea at all. “What does a doula do that I can’t?” His feelings were fair having already participated in two successful births of his other children. He wanted to be the one to help me through the process and didn’t want to feel in the way while some stranger helped me instead.
I acknowledged his feelings but…I’m stubborn. I don’t give up easily and I use manipulation at all times. So, I thought, genius! I’m going to get him to watch The Business of Being Born where I learned about the science behind my decision to go natural.
The Business of Being Born highlights that the majority of hospitals in the US, at the time of the film in 2008, were built to treat labor like an assembly line. Drugs get used that work against each other to try and “speed things up” and ultimately lead to a higher rate of C-sections.
Women interviewed in the film express their unhappiness with the birth of their other children in a hospital setting. They felt like they weren’t listened to and pushed into going against their birth plan. Emergency C-sections left women feeling scared and normally the staff wasn’t focused on caring for them emotionally. I had heard similar stories from friends and didn’t want it to happen to me.
I knew that after my husband watched the film, being a “science guy,” he would be sold on the plan and would see what having a coach could do for us. After all, I wasn’t going to go the kiddie-pool-in-our living-room route so he would be able to see the practicality of being in a hospital room with some extra help.
I was wrong, so very wrong. We started fighting about whether or not hospitals in the Midwest would try to get you to start to use medication to push your labor along quicker since the documentary takes place in New York. (Insert eye roll here.) Surely the nurses in Kansas will listen to what the mom wants?! (Double eye roll.) They would be the ones to coach us if we needed it and would listen to what we wanted to happen. Besides, getting a doula was expensive and he was free. #%&@!
He could also not get passed that I had made him watch a very “National Geographic naked” Ricki Lake give birth in a bathtub to one of her children which was now an image burned into his retinas. They also watched a show she hosted every morning at work and he was suffering daily PTSD.
Venting to My Sister
Needing to vent after our strong communication on the topic, I headed to the healthiest of options, texting with my sister while hiding in our bedroom. I explained to her that I couldn’t believe my documentary plan backfired. I said that I really thought being scientifically minded, the charts and graphs would have made an impact on him. I whined about what I was going to do next to get my way. Her text back said:
“Babe, who do you think you’re talking to?”
Confused, I looked to the top of the message string and was horrified to see my husband’s name! My stomach became a bottomless pit as I went out to our living room to come clean.
Reaching an Agreement
Our next conversation was more chatting with each other and trying to see where the other was coming from. Mostly it went this way because I was humbled by my texting stupidity. I still really wanted a doula. He still did not. He was in support of me doing things the way I wanted but wanted to be the one to coach me. So, I gave in and told him that if he was going to be my doula, he had to do the work. He had to watch the videos, ones where Ricki Lake would not be starring. He had to be committed to sticking to my plan and telling people at the hospital when what they wanted to do didn’t match them. He agreed and stayed true to his word through the whole experience.
I didn’t get a doula like I wanted. Instead, I got a labor coach who wanted the best for the baby and me. I got an opportunity to fall deeper in love with the man I married as well as gain new respect for him.
Stay tuned to find out more about the whole labor experience went!
Interested in a Doula in the Kansas City area?
If you’re looking for a certified labor Doula in the Kansas City area, I recommend checking out Rebekah Hoover’s site www.inspirationalbirths.com!
Rebekah has 6 children of her own through laboring un-medicated, medicated with epidural and emergency cesarean. She also has experience in the fertility world too with her last child being conceived through an adopted embryo program. If you have concerns about lactation post birth, she was able to nurse her adopted son so she’s got helping you out all covered! She has a little experience with this whole birthing process and babies thing people.
Rebekah’s site has resources, beautiful testimonials of women who have used her services and priceless birth photos that she’s taken. Momma, do yourself a favor and go for the diamond package which includes a pedicure and a homemade treat during your postpartum visit.